Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Year, New _ _ _ _

Something exciting for the end of the year, and I'm not saying anything yet...but I'll just leave this here:

Not so mysterious, right?
Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankfulness and All Gifts

So, this past weekend, the husband and I hosted our niece and two nephews to a sleepover at our normally kid-free home. I’m not one hundred percent sure of their ages, (I know, what a terrible aunt, right? Let’s put it in perspective, though…I’m generally not sure of anyone’s age, including my own) but I think they are nine, seven and five.

We took the kids to a supermarket to pick up some kid-type groceries. Now, for me, part of having the kids visit is feeling extra vigilant and my tendency is to stay on top of them as though someone was paying me to do it…a kind of auntyesque security detail. This is all just to explain my mood–watchful, tense, hyper-aware. (ooh…not a good combination for the grocery store you’re thinking, right? Yes, you’re absolutely right.)

An older lady rang us up. The kids were kind of milling about (as kids do) and for me, because I am normally standing there with (at most) a husband, it seemed a little chaotic. In the midst of this, the lady checking us out asked the kids did they want some stickers. (The ‘PAID’ stickers normally reserved for paper towels, cases of water, etc., you know the ones I mean?)

This is where things (okay, me, specifically) got a bit ugly. I looked at the stickers in this sweet lady’s hand as though she’d offered the kids garbage. This is the ridiculously unkind train of thought that went through my mind:

These kids are NOT going to want ‘PAID’ stickers. They watch the commercials on the morning cartoon shows with the calm reserve of BOA executives contemplating their next derivatives check. They’re not spoiled, far from it, but they have a lot of stuff, you know? Good stuff…they’re not going to want stickers designated for a case of soda cans. And now, I'm going to have to feel bad for the kids eschewing your dumb 'PAID' stickers.

I was opening my mouth to say “Thanks, but no thanks,” with a dose of condescension thrown in because, well shit, I do that sometimes, when my nephews reached out excitedly and took the stickers, eyes alight with joy at this unexpected largesse and without any sort of prompting on my part started chanting “thank you! thank you!” and putting the stickers on themselves, my niece, my husband…even me. The cashier laughed and gave me a nice smile. I smiled back but inside I was dying a little.

Is there anything worse than realizing you are the asshole in the situation?

So, here is what I am thankful for. I am thankful that lady knew more about these kids (that she had never met before) than I, who have know them their whole lives. And I am thankful for the dose of humility. It wasn’t a huge crime, my moment of unkind thoughts, but still, it is good to brought up sharply on occasion, isn’t it?

All gifts, given with kindness, have merit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Born Lucky

The next book, Born Lucky, Book One in the JD Chronicles is with the early readers. It's nerve-wracking, waiting to hear what they'll have to say, but luckily I have started another book. It keeps me occupied. It's too early to talk too much about this next book, but suffice to say I am having a really good time writing it. It's a subject I have wanted to tackle. Fingers crossed that it works out.
That is probably one of the most difficult things about the way I write. Because I don't plot and outline, I'm never 100% sure where the story is going (if anywhere). I just kind of type and take it on faith that my brain has a plan.

I have sent The Devil Stood Up to several book bloggers and the first review has come back. You can see it here: http://kates-reads.blogspot.com/2011/11/this-devil-will-surprise-you.html

It's a really good feeling when you get a good review, whether it's posted on a blog, sent as an email, or someone telling you verbally how much they've enjoyed something you wrote. I get such a deep sense of satisfaction from it and I really appreciate every review I get.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Keeping Up

Oh man, I told myself last time that I'd be better about updating my blog and now look...week and a half goes by with NO updates! Aaaaarrrrrrrgggh!

Okay, so anyway, it's with good reason, at least. I was pushing to get the new book "Born Lucky" wrapped up and guess what? I did! I finished it! I am now in the process of getting it into the hands of the early readers and then forgetting about it for a month.

It was very fun to write. It's much less visceral than the last book (The Devil Stood Up) and in a way, I really felt like I was kind of washing the residuals of Devil away with Born Lucky. JD is the main character and he is a sympathetic psychic (in other words, his visions can affect him physically!) and this is the first of the hopefully many adventures he is going to have.

I've started the next book. It's been burning a hole in the back of my mind for the last month or so and I was glad to finally sit down and write the opening scene. I'm saying no more about it for now. :)

Check www.christinedoughertybooks.com for the news and updates as to where I'll be next. We have decided to cut back on the shows and signings for November and December. I need a break! Plus, this book is just...it's just killing me...it wants OUT!

So, out it will come.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Husband's Been Busy

I was shocked when I realized that I haven't updated the blog in two weeks...I thought it had only been one! Have we been busy? I guess we have. The husband's marketing genius has had us at a book signing something-or-other almost every weekend this month and we already have a couple things set up for next month and the month after. The husband is a promoting maniac. I haven't totaled this month's numbers yet, but I'm pretty sure we are going to exceed last month.

Here are some links to some of the things he's managed to get set up.

These two are articles in the Collingswood Patch about the 9th Annual Book Festival:

This one is from the Medford Central Record regarding the Carriage Trade Cheese Shoppe signing:

This is from the same Medford paper but a bit more expanded:

This is the podcast that I was interviewed on. The show is called "got paranormal?" and the host is S.E. Burns:

So, wow, right? Or maybe it's more of a "holy shit" if you're inclined to speak that way (which I am...truly a foul-mouth, but don't tell my mom). Either way, it's a lot of activity and a decent amount of press.

Let's hear it for my awesome husband!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Before and After

Who doesn't like a successful before and after?
Welcome back Donna White Glaser and her novel, The Enemy We Know.
(Please find the original critique here.)



Wow, right? I think it's a huge improvement and a much stronger cover.
What do you think? Weigh in in the comments!
Don't forget to check out Donna's book on Amazon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Halloween Sale

So, the Husband and I went back and forth over having a Halloween sale for the month of October. I didn't want to do it, but am not clear if it was ego making my decision, so I conceded. The Husband pointed out that it might be a good way to get eyes on books. It's all experimental at this point, right?
So, that's the deal. 99 cent books. (Ooof! It hurts me even to type that out! I think they should sell for a million dollars a piece!! Arggghhhhuuullbaaaargle!!!)

Okay, now that I have collected myself, here are the links, let's see if he is right (again. And I can't really hope for him to be wrong, now can I–it's a damn catch 22!):

The Devil Stood Up:
Other Formats

Darkness Within, A Collection of Horrorific Short Stories:
Other Formats

Faith, Creation:
Other Formats

Other Formats

Have you ever been in a situation where it's bad to be right and good to be wrong?

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Not Always Bad News

I want to welcome the work of Lisa Goodwin to the blog. Lisa contacted me for a cover critique and gave me three covers to choose from, so I critiqued them all.

Here are the covers, the critique follows:

I’m going to call them A (Within Dreams) B (Dark Dreams) and C (Stolen Dreams) for easy reference.

Technically, I think the covers are good. The imagery is strong and eye catching, even on the scaled down Amazon format. C is the strongest design because it has excellent balance with light and dark and the dark swirl is a strong, graphic element; almost a yin-yang. Your eye is bounced nicely from the figure to author name to title. A is second strongest because the imagery evokes a dream-like state which ties in nicely with the title.

If I were to change anything it would be these things:
Author name should be bigger on B and C.
Title is slightly difficult to read on A.
Floating, disembodied eyes in the trees on B look amateurish and odd. I would strongly suggest removing.
Figure on B does not look ‘likable’ because her expression borders on a sneer depending on how you look at her. Also, she does not look ‘engaged’. Perhaps that is the intent.

Here are two questions I think you might want to consider:
If these are a series, as the titles imply, does that show strongly enough in the covers? For the purposes of branding, I would suggest author name placement (at the very least) remain a constant.

Do these covers appeal to my core audience? I didn’t read anything about the books while critiquing, but I am assuming these are in the YA genre. If that’s the case then you have succeeded. If not, maybe rethink it (not with A so much as B and C).

All in all very nice! Good colors. Evocative titles. Upsize the author name! Be goddamn proud you wrote three damn books and make it easy for your fans to find you.

Thank you, Lisa, for allowing me to critique your covers.

Here are the links to Lisa's books. Two are available at this time (A&B) and the third (C) is in the works.



I am super torn up about Steve Jobs dying. It depresses the hell out of me. I can't think of anything to say that hasn't already been said, other than I was sincerely inspired by him.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Numbers and Other Exciting Things

In September, we implemented some changes that are giving us a much better view of what we're selling. We had all four books on Amazon for Kindle by early September and transferred the rest of the distribution of the e-books to Smashwords. So, the following are our September numbers, but they don't include Barnes and Noble. In October, we'll be going direct to B&N also, so we'll have those numbers, too. For now, everything save Amazon is a mystery.

Amazon Kindle: 52
CS Paperbacks: 44
Smashwords: 6
Festival: 117
Total: 219

Overall we are pretty happy with the numbers. Why not? We don't really have anything to compare them too. When we try and look up other indie author's numbers, they're all over the board.

For the month of October, we have all the books at 99 cents and we're going to do a Twitter and Facebook campaign to see if we can boost the ebook numbers a little more.

We were a vendor at the Collingswood Book Festival on Saturday. I think we did exceptionally well there, considering the crowd was probably not my core audience. We made the local paper which was very cool. Here is the link: http://collingswood.patch.com/articles/book-lovers-converge-on-collingswood

October 8th We're going to be at The Witches Ball in Mount Holly, New Jersey. This is a night time event which is a new thing for us and I'm very excited. This is a Halloween Festival and I'm really hoping this will be a crowd that will love the books! Link here: http://thewitchesball.com/The_Witches_Ball/home2.html

October 22nd  We'll be in Medford, New Jersey at The Carriage Trade Cheese Shoppe during the Medford Main Street Ghost Tour and I'll be signing books and sneaking nibbles of their delcious cheese. Can't wait for this one! http://www.carriagetradecheese.com/

There is a big convention in March in Cherry Hill, New Jersey called Monster Mania (link: http://www.monstermania.net/) and they get all kinds of celebrities signing autographs and speaking. We've seen Robert Englund, Bruce Campbell, Lance Henrickson, Cary Elwess, Cory Haim or Feldman, Jake Busey, Danny Trevo...the list goes on and on! But here's the cool part, along with being vendors, I contacted the president and guess who is now in charge of swag bags for all those celebrity guests? Me! Guess what's going in the bags?*

*I hope you guessed 'a thoughtful assortment of Christine Dougherty's Novels' because then you're right! Yay for you and yay for my novels making their way from the East Coast to the West Coast in the hands of  people who may have connections in the world of horror movie-making. Pretty cool, right?

I have writing to do.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cover Critique

Another indie author has stepped forward for a cover critique. I would like to welcome Marla Madison and her book 'She's Not There' to the blog. Side note: I make reference to Marla's son in the critique because she had mentioned him in her original email.

Here are the comments/suggestions I have after studying your cover. Please bear in mind that this is one person's opinion, but remember, too, that I am not your friend. Our friends are sometimes too kind and kindness doesn't always help us grow as artists, so it's helpful to get some 'real' feedback sometimes.
All the text is difficult to read, including the title. You never want to make someone struggle–even for a second–to be able to read the title of your book. YOUR title especially, is too strong to let it get bogged down in the design. If you are married to your imagery, then I would suggest reworking the placement of the title; perhaps putting a colorblock of some sort behind it.
The illustrations of the women are very cartoonish, which I think does a grave disservice to the message you are trying to convey. They have an almost "Scooby-Doo" (or some similar cartoon show) quality. It's a serious topic and a serious book and it needs to be portrayed as such.
The sticker bush is probably the strongest piece of imagery on your cover, however, the drops of blood, especially because they mimic your text color, are extremely distracting. The sticker bush illustration and the women ghosted behind do not 'match' and the styles are fighting each other.
If you are deeply attached to your cover imagery, then at the very least I would suggest you scrap the outlines of the women and try to rework the title to stand out against the sticker bush. They women are bordering on the comical.
So, I am afraid I agree with your son on this. Here would be my concept suggestion and your son would be able to throw it together for you with relative ease:
I love the idea of the ghosted silhouette, but how about if it was just one woman in a trench coat (with the high collar), facing forward, in shadow and seemingly melting into a grayish fog around her? If you start with a photograph, silo and flatten it so you have distinct (and very detailed) edges, then do everything in tones of soft grays, and you'll get that sense of someone 'disappearing' and it will convey mystery and jeopardy in one fell swoop. You'll also be able to really beef up the title.
I hope this helps!

Link to Marla's book on Amazon:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Success at the Wine Fest

We had a table at the Valenzano Wine Fest this past weekend and I have to say, it was phenomenal! This was the first of this type of thing that we've done as far as book promotion and it was really worth it. We met so many people and sold so many books and guess what? I got my first piece of fan mail! A lady who bought Faith Creation on Saturday read it on Sunday and sent me a really nice letter on Monday! She said she couldn't put it down once she started reading it...just about the highest praise I could hope for. Thank you Karen!

Here's another cool thing that happened: a woman bought Darkness Within (the short story collection) and a short time later, my sister and I went for a break and we saw the woman sitting in the sun, enjoying a glass of wine and READING MY BOOK! My sister said "You better hope she likes it or she'll come back and kick your ass."  I laughed, but, two hours later, I saw the same woman heading back to our booth. Oh no, I thought, she really is coming back to kick my ass! She must have hated it! But guess what? She bought another book because she loved the short stories! It was flattering, but also a relief. I was pretty worn out by then. I don't know how well I could have defended myself against an assault.

My father in law, sister and her boyfriend came and helped us out. They passed out book-markers and talked people into the booth...they are probably responsible for at least half of the sales if not more. So, a very heartfelt thanks to them.

We are contemplating our next event. Hopefully the next one will go as well, but I don't know...this first one will be hard to top.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

National Holiday?

So, we went to Starbucks, which is our usual Sunday thing, but this morning Starbucks was giving away free coffee from 8 to 11 in 'honor' of 9/11.
Oh man, I just don't know what to think. Is it a nice gesture or is it the beginning of the slippery slope? Even the baristas seemed timid and unsure as they told patrons their coffee was free, and the patrons seemed confused more than anything. Maybe we all had a twinge of unease, seeing the potential future this kind of 'honoring' may lead to.

In twenty years, will furniture and car sale supplements splash out in red, white, and blue with a ghosted Twin Towers in the background for their 9/11 50% Off Sale to 'honor' that day? Will supermarkets be extoling us to Stock Up for Your 9/11 Barbecue!
Will I throw up on myself when I see something like that?
Yeah, I probably will.

So, when I see things about making 9/11 a National holiday, well, I just don't know. It seems like it might be the right thing to do on the surface. But below the surface, man, there's a nasty monster called forgetfulness and eventually, people will be looking forward to their 9/11 three day weekend without a thought to the origins of the day.

Look at Memorial Day, right?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Indie Anyone, Indie Anything

I've been extremely lucky. In the balance, I have many more people supporting me than not, but I do know this isn't the case for everyone (or even most) involved in Indie publishing. There is a certain bias against people who publish their own books. I've been faced with it, too, but with the support I have, coupled with my incredible bull-headedness, I tend to brush off the naysayers.

It's a shame this particular bias exists against authors. If you were a musician, would you wait for a record contract to give you permission to make music? If you were an artist, would you wait for a gallery to represent you before you put brush to canvas? If you wanted to make a documentary, would you wait for a movie studio to call you with the go-ahead? If you're an entrepreneur, do you wait until everyone else has smoothed the way for a new venture (consequently reaping the reward). No, of course you don't!

There are dreamers in the world and we are they: writing, making music, making art, painting the living room bright purple because it is our favorite color, exploring recipes, building anything from birdhouses to  motorcycles, starting businesses...and we should be proud of all these things.

So here's the deal I am making with idie-ANYONE who isn't getting the support they need: come see me at any of the places I'll be selling and signing books, whisper the code indie, and let me shake your hand. To me, it will be an honor to shake the hand of someone brave enough to do whatever leads him or her from the beaten path. We'll shake hands in the fresh wilderness that is Indie Anything and I'll look at you in admiration because you are the brave frontrunner in a burgeoning new enterprise.

Visit me here:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dreams and Nightmares

One of the best and worst aspects of being creative is dreaming.

The nightmares are stupendously scary. Much worse than any movie I've ever seen or anything I've experienced in my waking life. And I don't mean the everyday anxiety kind of nightmares, either, though I have those in abundance, too. I mean the can't-wake-up, don't-know-you're-dreaming kind of nightmare that stays with you even after you've been awake (really awake!) for an hour or more. I don't usually remember the nightmares in their specifics, but I do know they almost always involve death and LOTS of blood.

For me, there are two good flipsides to the nightmares. One is the probably pretty common flying dream, but in my dream, I'm not really flying so much as leaping–over trees, over telephone lines–and in the leaping dream, it is always night and it has always just rained; strange, right?

The second thing is solving problems in my sleep. Okay, if you've never done this, then you're probably skeptical, but believe me, it happens. As a graphic artist, it's been my saving grace more times than I can count. Design problems that seem tied in impossible knots get untangled and smoothed over and I wake up with a solution to whatever the problem was.

I've read different things over the years abut keeping a notepad by your bed to keep track of some of the things that fade away shortly after waking. I tried it for a while, but generally came up with nonsense like: 'bend the chairs in metal' and 'why did the windows?' and (my favorite) 'giant rabbits.' Senseless stuff, really; no big revelations there, huh?

This past week, I started dreaming about the characters in the book I'm working on. This has never happened before. It was cool, but in a weird way, also scary, as if they aren't being written by me so much as they are being channeled. So here's my question: if I'm more or less channeling them...

Where are they coming from, exactly?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Not Fun, Not Funny

It has been a very tough month for us financially. Between cat, truck and then car trouble, we're almost four thousand dollars in the hole. That is a tough thing to take and it happened so fast! One minute we're okay, next minute we're teetering on the brink of financial ruin. Hey, listen, we all go through it. It's part of being an adult and I still insist that we are lucky because health issues are behind us for now. The Husband and I both had some major health scares in the past and believe me, a little debt just does not compare. I've always been poor! I ain't even mad, bro!

So I remain stubbornly, willfully, hopefully not stupidly cheerful, despite the hemorrhaging of money.

We are still on track to announce the website going live on September 1st. We're really excited for it--it looks cool! This is our first major initiative to get the books in hands and we have our fingers crossed. I think that with our hard work and lots of help from our friends...maybe we can climb back out of the hole?

Fingers crossed, but not for long...I have some writing to do.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Story

So, my boss at my daytime job did this incredibly nice thing: he bought a copy of Faith Creation for everyone in the department! Awesome, right? I mean, what a cool thing to do. (I tried to convince him to give out copies of Messages on Halloween, but so far, he isn't buying it...I'm a terrible salesperson.)

But, anyway, a lot of people seemed curious as to what had prompted me to write a novel so I thought I would nutshell it on here.

It all started with Kindergarten (don't worry, there will be big leaps in time, you're not in this for the long haul). I almost got kicked out for talking, did I ever tell you that? Everyone who knows me peripherally now will probably be surprised because I am the polar opposite of that chatty (and somewhat oblivious) little girl. I stopped talking because I got in trouble for it.

Fast forward to high school where I was (very quietly) taking extra english classes, one of which was creative writing and I loved it! Loved creative writing! But then one day I received a really scathing comment from the teacher on one of my 'stories' and guess what? I put the pen down. And didn't pick it up again for about thirty years.

I mean, that's effing sad, isn't it? But I was a kid. I didn't know.

Okay, so, jump ahead to last year. I'd tried drawing and painting and piano, none of which were particularly enjoyable, so then, after gathering my courage, I took a creative writing course. My wonderful instructor, Season Harper-Fox, told me I should put my short stories out for publication and I did and within six months, five had been accepted for publication. Which was kind of amazing.

So then I decided to tackle a novel. It was an idea I'd been mentally kicking around for a few years and it all just kind of poured out onto the page. And then I wrote another one. Then another. And now I'm on my fourth. Crazy, right?

So there it is. That's what happened. After a thirty year (or so) derailment, I'm back with the pen and blabbermouthing like a madwoman.

One other thing: the official christinedoughertybooks website won't be up for a couple of weeks yet, but in the meantime...check this out!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

There Will Be Blood (or at least, vicious arguing)

Okay, by now you all know we are lauching the website on September 1st, God willing and the creeks don't rise. Here's the dealio: the Husband and I are wrangling over the best way to tease the release of "The Devil Stood Up". ONE of us wants a tasteful, typeset block:

While the OTHER ONE of us wants some crazy Devil eyes from Fotolia.com (good site, btw):

Please weigh in before we go WWF all over eachother. Believe me...I am up for the challenge.
You'll get to see who WINS on September 1st!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hey, I'm tryin'a DO somethin over heah!

Sundays are pretty good housekeeping days, I think, and that's pretty much what my blog is today: odds, ends, loose strings, lint on the carpet...you get the idea.

First review for Faith Creation is in on Amazon!
"This thriller did exactly what a thriller should do: my stomach was in knots and I couldn't put the story down until I found out what happened to the characters! The story is well constructed and full of enticing foreshadowing and intrigue. This was my very first Kindle download, and I'm hooked! Hooked on Kindle and this author's work! I can't wait to read more."

It's really gratifying, I have to say. It's hard work, writing a book, but the harder part is putting it out there for everyone to read; I'm pretty shy by nature.

It's looking like the new website, http://www.christinedoughertybooks.com/, will be live on September 1st. We're excited for it. In the meantime, if you're of a mind, follow the links on the right for the Amazon versions of the books. Do me a favor and leave me a review!

Last thing: Welcome to anyone who finds me via The Trentonian! I'm happy to be aboard their blogger page.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Indie to Indie

There is a ton of information our there for indie authors about writing and publishing but very little, it seems to me, on design. Since I have been a graphic artist for a very long time, I thought it might be ideal to help the indie community at large by offering a critique on book covers. So, I put the offer out there.

Welcome, Donna White Glaser, the first to step bravely forward with The Enemy We Know.

I am going to post Donna's cover with a link to her book on Amazon and then the critique. In Donna's case, I also did a quick 'after' based on the suggestions.

Overall, the photography and typesetting have an unprofessional feel. I know that can be hard to hear, but here is what I would suggest to tighten it up.

You are draining the strength of your title: it has odd leading, in other words, there is too much space from the bottom of the first line to the top of the next, especially considering the uneven space above and below in the transparent blue block. Your headline is not holding together as a unit. It is also not centered correctly from left to right. Tighten the space between the lines and center it both up and down and side to side.

Your name is set oddly--not sure if it is supposed to be centered or not, but if not, then it should be more off centered or flushed right entirely, not somewhere in between centered and flushed right (where all words line up on the right hand edge)--it looks like a mistake.

I like the branding you are doing with the circle and triangle if this is a series, it is however much too big. If it is not part of a series, I would lose the circle/triangle entirely--just work the words in as a subhead.

The image is doing you a grave disservice. If that is the only image you have access to, I would suggest shadowing and fading to try and obscure it further--sometimes it is better to leave something to the imagination.

Is the book set in history? The calligraphy would suggest so. If yes, then I might disagree with your red, white, and blue color scheme. Blue tends to be calming and modern--neither of which I might think you'd want for your cover.


The most important things were minimizing and 'disguising' the image a bit. I made it black and white (except for the blade) and put a grainy screen on it to give it a grittier look. Then I screened a gradient over the majority of it to bring out the blade and the word 'bloody'. I changed your blue to something with a bit more gray, making it more neutral to get away from the red, white and blue. I retypeset your name and the title and changed the size of your 12 step symbol. The symbol is a strong one and doesn't need to be large to be readily identifiable to a consumer. Then I added some swagger by giving the title a metallised look--that one is subjective, though, you might not feel your book needs it!

I want to thank Donna for submitting her cover. I know critiques can be nerve-wracking, but as Donna said in her email: Anything that can make my book as a whole better is heartening.

Link to Donna's book, should the above link not work:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cautionary Tale

Indie publishing is turning out to be a rough track to run.

There's an awful lot to try and keep up with as we prepare for the book releases and I'd been keeping up with all of it pretty well...but then disaster struck: I got sick. This was right after the very sick cat and the marathon week of finishing the first draft of The Devil Stood Up. With everything tapping me, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I was, well, tapped out.

I should have known something was up when I had a small breakdown last Sunday night. The Husband was suggesting some additional things I might want to look into doing, and ... I ... melted ... down. I'm talking 'cotton candy covered, achy tummy, grimy face, overly tired four year old at the end of the fair' meltdown. It was ugly, my friends. It's actually been many years since it seemed pitching a fit was the most reasonable answer to adversity (the last time was the Moorestown Mall when I was about twenty-five...a crying jag in Boscov's two days before Christmas...picture it...).

But things are looking up now that I have a system full of antibiotics, help with the website, and a new book I'm excited to start.

As usual, time has saved me, and I am going to start drinking all my juice and taking my B vitamins. Hang in there, body. I'll try and do better by you from here on out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Serendipity Kicked My Cat's Ass

If you don't know already, I am a full time Art Director by day--it's my bacon job.
Well, the Husband and I aren't taking any vacations this year, and I have to use my time or lose it, so I put in for Thursday and Friday off this past week. I am getting down to the end of "The Devil Stood Up" and I figured I could use the time to write to my heart's content. Kind of pretend I was a 'real' writer. (I know, I know! I said I had no such fantasies; it was in the previous post for God's sake!...but maybe I do...a little...just a little...)
Anyway, good plan, right? Four day writing extravaganza! Woot! As long as I was able to keep myself home, I figured I'd get a good bit done.
Then, guess what? My cat became gravely ill two days beforehand. Very, seriously, ill. It was a urine thing; I won't burden you with the details (emergency vet, blockage, catheter, ouch!), but the upshot was that Chewie and I spent my two days off sequestered in my writing room (okay, my closet) and I wrote and wrote and wrote and...well, you get the idea. I wrote a lot. Lots of words.
Between the writing and the worrying and the distracting someone from licking their...um...boy parts, I was exhausted, but I also felt really good, like I'd accomplished something.
So, serendipity kicked my cat's ass. I'm not really ready to say "Thanks, Serendipity, for forcing me to stay in my room for two days straight by putting my cat's life in jeopardy!", but I am nonetheless grateful for any time I get to write.

Keri, thanks for the comment! I can't answer back (see posts relating to my technological impairment), so please feel free to email me at doughertybooks@gmail.com. I'd love to have your thoughts on the books!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Don’t Play Piano

For much of my adult life, I tried to learn to play piano. I’d always had this fantasy of being at a party or local tavern, sitting down to ‘tickle the ivories’ and wowing the crowd with a medley of popular music. When they begged me for one more song, I’d produce some piece of classical so complicated and powerful, that there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house.
Then, of course, the standing ‘o’.
Such a cool fantasy, right?
Here’s the problem: no matter how many times I’ve tried–with lessons or books, upright piano or electric keyboard–I’ve never been able to stick with it. And I know why I never stuck with it. Shameful as it is, it’s because it didn’t come easy. I wanted it to be easy…I wanted it to be fun…I didn’t want it to be a struggle as I fat-fingered the keys making sloppy non-notes that made my ears wish for ear plugs.
So, I decided that the piano wasn’t going to happen. The crowd doesn’t give you a standing ‘o’ for chopsticks. No one cries at “Mary Had A Little Lamb”.
The keyboard was sold at a yard sale. It was a shameful day for me.

No matter, I decided, I’d go back to one of my first loves: painting. So I bought paints, pencils, paper, and sat down cozily with my new fantasy of finding myself the talk of the art world with my stunning paintings. But I found I had nothing to paint, or at the core of it: nothing I wanted to paint.
I gave the art supplies away.
I guess I might have cried a little. Listen, it’s really sad to give up on your fantasies!

Then I thought very hard about the one other thing I could do. The thing I’d done well in high school but had then let go in college: I could write. So, I took a refresher course and started writing short stories and it was easy and fun and absorbing and I loved it. Loved it!
My instructor suggested I send my stories out into the world and they were accepted for publication so quickly, so eagerly, that I knew I’d finally hit on something. I was so encouraged that I started writing books and everyone seems to like them, too, and, I’ll tell you something weird: I don’t have any fantasies associated with it–no dreams of grandeur, no standing ‘o’, nothing crazy–I just want people to read the books and enjoy them. That would be enough.
I can’t play piano, and I probably never will, but I think I’ve found what I can do, and it’s writing.

I hope you all think so, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow me!

When I hear or see the words 'follow me!', I am reminded of being an excited little kid, just having discovered something AMAZING and offering to show my friends. Can you recall that feeling of nervous anticipation as you near the AMAZING thing and your every hope is that your friends find it just as enchanting as you do?

That's what writing is like for me. I hope with all my heart that you like what I have to show you.

UPDATE: The books are still in their various stages of publication–all out of my hands–and it is driving me INSANE (quite literally, according to the Husband). I waffle from impatience to rage to tears as I wait and wait and then wait some more. I guess that's another little kid kind of feeling, isn't it?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Been Doing a Lot of Thinking

As we have seen thus far, I have had some trouble with the tech aspects of trying to become an indie author. All this trouble with technology made me think about how grateful I am that I have people who understand this stuff and can help me through it. Then I thought about how glad I am to be an Art Director at my day job, because that at least takes the mystery out of designing my own book covers, but for some people, that aspect might be a hurdle. So, that made me wonder if there was anything I could do to help other indie authors, you know? So then I had this thought:
I could help other people with their covers!
Not to build the covers, I'm way too busy to take on another gig at this point, but I could do what I've been doing for twenty plus years as a graphic artist...I could critique it! With permission, I could even post it as a blog and that might help other indie authors, as well.
So that led me to this thought:
Offer it out on Twitter and see if anyone is game. So, I'm putting it out there. Send me your book cover in jpeg or pdf to the 'contact me' address on this page. Don't send content--don't even tell me what the book is about--and I'll give you a friendly little critique.

I am eating a blueberry muffin (I know what you're thinking, again with the muffins, Chris? You must really have a problem) and I just ate some of the muffin paper by accident and it was gross. So I am also thinking that I should avoid that in the future.

Lot of thinking going on over here. Hope my brain doesn't break.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Answers and Questions

Okay, so, obviously I have not figured out how to comment on my own blog, which is depressing. Rachel and Lisa, I am glad I'm not the only one who struggles. I am lucky in the respect that I have a good friend who is very tech oriented (Hi Chrissy! Come over for cucumbers and blog questions! Come over soon!).

I'm writing this just before work. It's nice and quiet in the office. The office is one of my favorite places to be and believe me, I'm not just saying that. I enjoy structure and am definitely task and goal oriented. For some, this would be the opposite of creative, but for me, the structure I build into the day is what allows me to design or to write effectively.

I am working on my fifth novel and am thoroughly enjoying it--it's a good story. It has parts set in Philly and Princeton and it's fun mixing what you know and what you imagine. I am pretty sure at this point of the title, but I hesitate to put it anywhere but in my draft...you just never can tell with these things.

I should get the proofs for Darkness Within, Faith Creation, and Messages today and tomorrow. I'd say I might be less than a week away from the print versions  being available on Amazon. Man, is that cool or what?

I hope Stephen King buys them! What do you think my chances are?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Technology, You Are Seriously Bringing Me Down

I wanted to type a comment back to Lisa under the 'Another Avenue' blog post and I can't figure how to do it. I literally cannot comment on my own blog. And this is coming after last night's humiliation of trying to use the 'easy to understand' website building template for my website, which has resulted in contacting a web-building person. On top of that, I can't really get Twitter figured out. It's been a bad two days...technology wise.

I'm going to keep trying on the comment problem. If you see another comment pop up under that post, check and see if its mine. If it is, send me a mental pat on the back!

The bad technology news is tempered by some really cool news: I got the first proof of my first printed book, Messages. It was pretty exciting, seeing the cover Husband and I had concepted (is that a word?) in glorious full color print. I'm a graphic artist by trade, and have been for (over, eek) twenty years, so it's not quite as exciting for me as it was for him. It certainly feels like progress which is a nice counterpoint to my technology impairment.

It's almost seven on Sunday morning and it's thundering but I haven't seen any rain yet. It's such an oddly anticipatory feeling, isn't it? I'm at a point in the current book that is like that, too--thundery and full of impending excitment--and I am anxious to sit down with it. No real plans today, so I should get some good writing done. That certainly puts the technology woes on a very distant back burner.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This Might Come as a Surprise, But

I am not a bright person.

Just kidding, I do okay. Not as smart as some of the (annoyingly) smart people I surround myself with (Ott, Husband), but I'm no dummy. So it's been difficult to reconcile all the mistakes I've made on the road to indie publishing. I have done almost everything wrong!

But I think I've finally gotten on top of it, and will very soon have three books (Faith Creation, Darkness Within, and Messages) available for Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Sony, and also...wait for it!...PRINT! Not to mention: my own website.

Any books clubs or writers clubs interested in hearing my trials, feel free to email me! I'm not ashamed to talk about all the bonehead things I've done.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Everything BUT Writing

Okay, so, I just baked blueberry muffins. It's blueberry season and the blueberries are fat, ripe and delicious and who doesn't like blueberry muffins, right? I know I love them.

Here's the problem: I've spent this entire Sunday doing everything but writing and that always makes me feel a little uneasy. I'd like to get something down EVERY day.

I am also anxious because Darkness Within didn't appear on Amazon yet. Fingers crossed for tomorrow so I can make sure it is okay through this new service (BookBaby.com) and then I can get Faith moved over. Messages (the new book, yay!) will hopefully be up by next week. Husband and I worked on the cover together. It was fun to watch him search the photo site...he's new to it. The cover kicks ass.

I feel super distracted by all the marketing-type stuff I've been doing for the books. I am trying to figure out Twitter and trying to be active on Facebook. You feel like you are yelling into such a big, crowded space. How can you get people to hear you?

Sundays are bluesy nights. Tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another Avenue

The link to Darkness Within isn't active right now. Here's why:

I originally went directly through Amazon.com to upload it and that was a great experience, but then I tried to find out about the other e-readers: iBooks, Nook, Sony and they all have to be formatted differently and I have to download software to convert my .doc to ePub and to be honest, I'd rather be writing!

So, my friend Gwyn told me about Bookbaby.com and for a fee, they will put your e-book on all four sites. They also offer other stuff–like cover design–but I didn't delve into it too deeply. I just want my books available to the widest range of e-readers as possible. So I joined up and put Darkness Within on there and it should be available within a week or so.

The unfortunate part is that I'll have to sell a lot of books to make up the fee–a LOT.

Well, look, it's all experimental right now as the Husband and I try and find the best avenue to independent wealth. At least, until Stephen King finds me and starts endorsing my books.

Come ON Stephen!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Second Book

My second book is available on Amazon. Click it! Here is the scoop on the book:

Darkness Within, A Collection of Horrorific Short Stories
These bone-chilling, mind-wrenching short stories will leave you wondering about the people around you...and yourself!
The Owners-What happens to us when the original owners of the planet finally show up?
More To Me-When the ugly truth is too much to bear, some people make their own truth...and it can get even uglier.
Popcorn-Cats are the most lovable of companions...until you cross them.
Kings Mountain-Three points of view spanning one Town's story of treachery and murder.
Junie-Plumb the depths of what a woman is capable of when everything she knows is threatened.

As a reader of horror and thrillers, I can tell you that those descriptions would capture my attention. What's wrong with a little hyperbole among good friends, right? Now, if I could just get Stephen King's attention...

Monday, June 20, 2011


The first Faith Creation sold this weekend. Can I count the first book sold as a milestone? I think I can.

It's an odd feeling, knowing that someone, somewhere is reading Faith Creation. I had people read it for me pre-publish to give me feedback and suggestions, but that's different. To just have it 'out there' teeters me somewhere between excitement and the worst feeling of vulnerability you can imagine.

I think a lot of the vulnerability probably comes back to the voices--you know the ones I mean, right? The ones that say things like: why are you wasting your time with this? and you're going to look like the world's biggest fool when nothing sells! and everyone is going to think your book is stupid.

I've tried telling the voices to f off, but really, the best way to handle it is to plow on through, ignoring them as best you can. Just leave 'em in the dust.

The only marketing we've done so far is to post links to the book on Husband's Facebook page. I'm not much on self-promotion–since I am generally somewhat introverted...but I am trying.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Bit of Explanation

Faith Creation is a fiction thriller. This is the first in a series. The second book should be out some time in late 2011 or early 2012.

Here is the 'blurb' for Faith Creation:

Faith was three the first time her twin sister died.

The second time, she was ten.

Raised by emotionally distant Grandparents, Faith and her twin had depended only on each other and devastated by her loss, Faith becomes a shut in, trying to never think about the telepathy that made her and her twin unique or about the odd form her body seems to be taking as she gets older.

Her only contact with the outside world is Lotte, the mysterious woman who first appears after the Grandmother’s suicide and then again to help the Grandfather through his final years. It is Lotte who finally pushes Faith–now a young woman–into reentering the world by getting her a job at a local greenhouse. It is there that Faith meets Joe–the amiable owner of Jungle Joe’s who alludes to a past that includes himself, Lotte and the Grandparents.

When Faith spots her twin sister during a trip to visit the ailing Grandfather, her unsteadily assembled world is turned upside down and Faith is forced onto a path to discover where her sister is and in the process finds out just who (and what) she is herself.

Hitches in the Giddy Up

Okay, I had a few hitches in the giddy up. I got Faith Creation set up and then found out that Husband didn't like the cover. So I pitched a (small) fit and after a bit of tussling, got something that he (and other people) seemed to like. I can always count on Husband to push me. I can count on it, even if I don't always dig it.

I have pasted the link at the end of this post. Fingers crossed that it works. If you can't click on it, copy and paste should work.

You can download a free sample--try it before you buy it, right?--and I hope you love it and buy and tell everyone you know about it.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Giving Up or Moving On

I guess you could see it either way. Today I published my first Amazon E Book. It is Faith: Creation and is the first in a series. I shopped it around to many agents, trying to find a champion for it and although I had a few nibbles, nothing concrete came of it.

Then I saw some stories about people who had self-published e-books and did very well with them, so I thought why not?

I'll post a link to it once it has cleared their lines.

More about me later.