Puerto Rico, The Isle of Enchantment

The summer 2014 launch of my historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, is right around the corner! With the book launch in mind, I’ve decided to share blog posts on topics that relate to my main characters, the midwife Ana Belén and young Serafina, and of course, the setting of the story-the colonial city of Ponce on the island of Puerto Rico. I am excited to introduce you to the Puerto Rico I know and love, and to share some of the reasons Puerto Rico is called la isla del encanto, meaning the island of enchantment.

A Decent Woman was birthed by family stories, old yarns and local lore told to me since I was a young girl. I interviewed my maternal grandmother, my mother, and my aunt (all born in Ponce) who, for hours, patiently retold the stories over family meals. I spoke with healers, a curandero (folk healer), a psychic in Puerto Rico and a medium in the Dominican Republic who helped me to better understand the fascinating and sometimes, difficult lives of healers, mystics and those who communicate with spirits in the spirit world.

My protagonist, the Afro-Cuban midwife Ana Belén, grew up as a slave in Cuba with the Yoruba traditions of her ancestors, so I paid good attention. From now until the book launch, I will share blog posts on the history of Puerto Rico, Ponce and midwifery practices at the turn of the century. I will also include posts on: healing practices and superstitions, women’s issues at the turn of the century, the sometimes blurred lines between spiritism, religion, and the Lukumí religion (also known as Santería) on the island. slavery in the sugar trade in the Caribbean, typical foods, flora and fauna of Puerto Rico, music and dance from the Barrios of San Antón and Bélgica in Ponce, and hurricanes that have affected the island which for me have become characters in A Decent Woman.

I hope you will join me on this journey and enjoy discovering the Puerto Rico I know and love. Thank you for your visit!

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW FRIDAY – Patricia Mann

Today we feature my new friend and fellow Booktrope author, Patricia Mann. Patricia is a university professor, wife, mother of two children and the author of the novel, Is This All There Is?.

Welcome, Patricia!

What is your book’s genre/category?

 Is This All There Is? is contemporary women’s fiction.

Please describe what the story/book is about. 

Beth appears to have it all. She’s married to her college sweetheart and they have two young kids. She teaches part-time at a university. It’s the fairy tale life we’re all supposed to want as women. But something is missing for Beth. She longs for the passion she felt when she was younger. She also misses the freedom she had before starting a family, though she loves her children deeply and strives to be the perfect mother. When a former student reveals a crush on her, Beth is torn because she wants to be a good person, but she’s drawn to him and finds it difficult to resist the temptation of what he offers her.

Beth is definitely flawed and makes some painfully poor choices. But most readers say they can relate to her, and can even forgive her, because she tries so hard to do the right thing most of the time. She’s tortured by what she’s doing. It’s not easy for her, yet she can’t seem to stop herself.

How did you come up with the title?

Regardless of life circumstances, I think we have all found ourselves asking the question, “Is this all there is?” at some point in our lives.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

To be honest, it was cathartic. I didn’t do what Beth did. But I did feel a lot of the things she felt when I started writing the first draft, which was ten years ago. I wrote it in a novel writing group over the course of four years, which was one of the best experiences of my life. It was my weekly escape from a very hectic life as a wife, mother of young kids, professor, consultant, and what felt like a million other things too.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Nothing beats a long, undisturbed writing session when the words just flow and the story takes you in new directions you never imagined. You lose all sense of time and nothing else matters. It’s magical. And highly addictive. 

What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of writing?

I can go for long periods of time feeling completely uninspired and unable to write. I’m unhappy with all my book ideas, pretend I don’t have a blog, and worst of all, shut myself off from my incredibly supportive online community of fellow authors. Pulling myself out of these slumps has proved challenging, but doable. It usually starts with reaching out to my closest author friends who encourage me to get back on the horse. I suspect that being a new member of the Booktrope family will force me to push through these times much more quickly. I’m accountable to people other than myself now, so the luxury of indulging in lengthy, poor-me, tortured-writer pity parties is no longer an option, thankfully.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Marion Zimmer-Bradley (The Mists of Avalon), Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five), Diana Gabaldon (The Outlander Series), Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird), Marianne Williamson (all her books). There are so many more, but I must stop somewhere.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

I love to write and read fiction but nonfiction is actually my favorite. Eckhart Tolle has been the most influential author in my life. His teachings have shaped the way I see the world and write about it. The Power of Now and A New Earth have changed me in profound ways. In my mind, Eckhart and I are the best of friends. We laugh and cry together regularly. I have an Audible audiobooks membership mainly so that I can listen to his book/lectures/workshops constantly. I recently got a 10-hour workshop for only one Audible credit and it felt like winning the lottery. Am I able to live fully in the present moment and enjoy The Power of Now at all times? Not even close. But I’m getting better at it thanks to my pal Eckhart.

Favorite place to write?

Depends on my mood. Sometimes the kitchen table. Sometimes the dining room table. Sometimes in bed on my laptop. Sometimes Starbucks or a health food restaurant. Almost never my home office, for some strange reason. It just feels like my work space for grading papers, preparing lectures and workshops, writing letters of recommendation, etc. I usually need to get out of it to write creatively.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

So many surprises. So many learning experiences. I loved self-publishing. I had complete freedom and found a beautiful sisterhood of authors online who taught me a great deal about social media, book promotions, and so much more. I’m a new Booktrope author now, learning all new lessons about the “hybrid publishing” world, which is very exciting. I’m looking forward to my continuing education.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I told the truth about an issue that’s difficult to talk about and is often presented from a very limited perspective. Most readers seemed to appreciate that. Infidelity happens. A lot. It was a story that had to be told in a new way. No one is a villain and everyone is a victim, in some way. One of my favorite reviews described the book as “real, honest, raw, unrelenting.”

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Never give up. Build your online community of authors, bloggers, potential readers, etc., immediately. You don’t have to wait for your book to be finished. You’ve done a great job of that, Ellie! Self-publishing is a viable and respectable option these days. It’s a great way to get started. A year later, Booktrope or some other publisher might come knocking at your door. It happened for me, so why not you? Dreams do come true. But usually in entirely different ways than you imagined them. Now, I’m not saying that if Random House calls, you should turn them away. You should hear them out, at least. 🙂

Website?

http://www.patriciamann.me

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Though I probably appear to be in the normal range for body weight right now, I’ve struggled with it all my life. I’ve gone up and down and spent way too much time stressing about it. I know that’s true for many women, so I thought I’d admit it here so we all don’t feel so alone. I had to include the issue in the book too. Beth definitely has food and weight issues. I don’t believe I’ve met many women who don’t, to some degree.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on the sequel to Is This All There Is?. I’m shooting for completing it over the summer. There will a third book in the series after that. I’m also working on a book co-authored by my mother, who has been a critical care nurse for over thirty years. It’s a steamy romance between a nurse and ER doctor with lots of great medical drama thrown in, based on my mother’s real experiences. Her stories are riveting.

Buy Links for the book:

Amazon: http://myBook.to/IsThisAllThereIs

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/is-this-all-there-is-patricia-mann/1114038095?ean=9781620153581

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/is-this-all-there-is/id845682795?mt=11

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT6uSuyFIuM

Thank you, Patricia!

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Rainy Day Update

A DECENT WOMAN is scheduled for publication in July 2014. At this time, my Booktrope Team and I are heavy into the editing and marketing phases of the book. I am fortunate and blessed to work with such talented folks!

This week, I’m finalizing the email to family and friends about joining my Book Launch Team. I’m also putting together a list of local book stores and hope they are open to me coming in to do a book reading. Local in this area means I’m looking at book stores in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and possibly, Washington, DC. I’ll be happy to drive an hour or two to do a book reading. But when I think about reading from my book, I get butterflies in my stomach. Not the good kind. I begin worry. Will I ever get to the point where I feel confident that I’ve sent out the best possible version of my book?

Lighting another’s candle from the flame of our candle does not diminish our flame in any way.

On Saturday, I met 10 awesome authors at the Chocolate and Book Festival in downtown Martinsburg, West Virginia. Half of the authors live in my town which was exciting to learn. I enjoyed visiting with them and with my favorite Queen Street store owners who graciously hosted the authors for the annual event. It was a fun event, the chocolates were amazing and I am excited to join the book festival next year! The authors and I shared information about our books and the issue of butterflies in the stomach during a book launch came up. I realized that my butterflies and I aren’t alone. The consensus was that sending a book out into the world with complete confidence is a goal! Gaining more confidence comes with experience, learning as much as we can about writing and, of course, continuing to read great books by talented authors.

I am extremely grateful to authors who share their writing and marketing expertise through classes, workshops, blogs, and books. I am a sponge at this point in my life which seems pretty amazing given that I’m over half a century old 🙂 The authors I met on Saturday very kindly shared what they’ve learned about marketing in this area and offered me several great tips on who to see about printing bookmarks, postcards and banners for my book launch. In June, I will be giving a brief presentation on reviewing books at the Berkeley Springs Book Fest in beautiful Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. I’m looking forward to meeting more local authors on that day!

In the middle of all this excitement, my son moves to Europe in a week. His move is never far from my thoughts. This past weekend, I enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my children and family in Northern Virginia, celebrating my son and this happy milestone in his life. It is looking like London will be my son’s new home. Two companies are willing to sponsor him and that’s great news. I only had to excuse myself once from the dinner table. I thought that was pretty damn good. I managed to hold it together and will try to keep it together at the airport next week. I can’t promise, though…a dear friend will accompany me to say goodbye to my son. He will keep me focused on making it back to West Virginia through DC traffic in one piece and has promised to remind me that the future looks great because it sure does.

All in all, this will be a busy week for me. I hope you are well where you are!

This Friday we will be interviewing Patricia Mann, author of the women’s contemporary fiction novel, IS THIS ALL THERE IS?. I hope you will enjoy this talented writer as much as I do! Please join us.

~Ellie

AUTHOR INTERVIEW FRIDAY

Our May line up of awesome authors includes:

Patricia Mann – May 2

Meredith Schorr – May 9

Mayra Calvani – May 15

I messed up in the scheduling of Author Interview Friday and now have a huge calendar to keep me organized!  So, I’ve decided to answer my own interview questions. I hope you enjoy the interview!

What is your book’s genre/category?

A Decent Woman is historical fiction.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

A Decent Woman is a story of catastrophe and survival, choices and betrayal, the story of the midwife Ana and the women she befriends who find themselves pitted one against the other in male-dominated Puerto Rico at the turn of the century. It is a story of the bonding power of unlikely friendships that carries them through tragedy and betrayal, and the cost of living with dark secrets.

How did you come up with the title?

When I finished the first draft of the manuscript, I realized that the main themes of the story were decency and indecency. During a conversation with my children about integrity and strength of character, we agreed that most people in the world are decent and have good intentions. We spoke about how decent people are sometimes forced into indecent situations for reasons such as poverty, trauma and catastrophic events. My title was born from that conversation and also from one of the amazing books I used for my research-Imposing Decency by Dr. Eileen J. Findlay Suarez. Her book changed the ending of my story, making it more realistic and historically accurate. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Findlay!

What is the reason you wrote this book?

My novel began as a very detailed tribute and gift to my maternal grandmother on her 90th birthday. My family and friends loved the tribute and my then-husband encouraged me to write an outline. When he read the outline, he told me I had a book to write. So I did.

What is your favorite part of writing?

All of it! I can’t imagine doing anything else and I am blessed to write full time. I love creating new stories that introduce readers to Latina(o) and Caribbean characters, history and perhaps, places that are new to them. When I am writing, the outside world disappears and I enter the internal and external worlds of my characters. There is nothing I enjoy more than writing. Painting is a close second, however.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

I enjoy both the writing and the editing which most writers dread. The most challenging aspect has been accepting that a story is finished. I have this issue with painting, as well. I tend to worry that the writing or brush stroke can be improved upon. Chapter One of A Decent Woman was rewritten more than times than you can imagine!  I’ll probably experience these challenges throughout my writing career as I’m tough on myself. I continue to learn to write better prose with each book I write and with every good book I read. 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

There are so many, but the authors whose books I will buy without hesitation are Barbara Kingsolver, Arundhati Roy, Jack Remick, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Odilia Rivera Santos, Esmeralda Santiago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Milan Kundera. 

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

The most influential people in my life have been my mother and maternal grandparents, all born in Puerto Rico. I was born on the island and spent every summer with my family in my grandparent’s home in Ponce, our hometown. Before I headed to the US for college, my grandfather told me never to forget where I came from. I took his wise words to heart. I am blessed to have a very close-knit family and in Puerto Rico, even the wife of a very distant cousin is always considered family!

Favorite place to write?

In the winter months, I write at my dining room table where I have a great view of my side garden. In the summer, I love to write under the ancient grape arbor that shades my patio and at my weekend get-away on the West Virginia side of the Potomac River.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

I began building my author platform in 2007 with writing a blog and joining social media sites. Social media is so important to the publishing process and it takes time. Every day, I learn of a new marketing angle or tips for selling books. I am learning to find a balance between keeping up social media and writing.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

Having an insane passion for the story and characters keeps me moving forward. You have to love your story because you could be reading and editing that manuscript for years! This might sound corny, but early on I visualized myself as a published author. I kept at it, made personal sacrifices and never gave up my dream.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

If you don’t write a blog, start one today and remember to comment on other’s blogs. Join social media sites and query as many literary agents as you can. The Writer’s Digest was a huge help in locating agents who represented my genre. Devour books on writing and attend writers conferences. Don’t give up, keep writing. I hate the thought of an untold story.

Website?

http://www.elliesbookz.wordpress.com

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Before I fell in love with writing books, I was an exhibiting artist for 20 years and facilitated many creativity groups using Julia Cameron’s seminal book, The Artist’s Way.

What’s next for you?

I’m thrilled to announce that Booktrope has accepted my second novel, Finding Gracia, for publication. I am currently writing the book that is based on the journey I took with my children on El Camino, the medieval pilgrimage route through Spain to Santiago de Compostela. I sure am glad I kept a journal on that trip!

The Next Level and Beyond

When I think back to the time before my book was accepted for publication, I realize that those days were easy peasy. While I certainly knew that preparing a book for publication and the marketing to follow would be time-consuming, I had no clue how much my life would change.

At this time, two months before my debut historical novel, A Decent Woman, is launched into the world, life is a blur. I eat, drink and breathe this novel and my daily routine is unrecognizable. I wake up earlier, fall asleep much later and as soon as I am up and about, my brain is focused on my book and marketing on social media. Gone are the days when I puttered around my house and garden after a couple of hours of good writing and editing. Now during my writing breaks, I’m on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter and my author page on Facebook and trying to think up new ways to reach readers of historical fiction, Caribbean literature, and women’s fiction. It is non-stop.

I’ve sent emails to favorite authors whose book reviews and blurbs I would be honored to include in my book and on my book cover and the writing of acknowledgements to family, friends and new friends who have been instrumental in the writing and publication of A Decent Woman has begun. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their constant love, support and encouragement. The list is long and I count myself a very blessed person, indeed.

I’ve learned a lot about myself during this process, mostly that I have the guts, nerves of steel (not always) and an insane amount of determination. I realize that although I knew very little about publishing and marketing a book when I started out, I’m learning and I’m a quick study. But, the most important thing I learned during the writing and marketing of my novel was to ask for help. Not easy for me!

The life of a writer can be lonely and every time a family member and friend reached out to me, shared the excerpt of my book I posted on Facebook and came forward with help that even I didn’t know I needed, I again realized how fortunate I am. I am blessed to have such amazing people in my personal and author corner which at this time in my life, is one and the same.

My daughter sent letters to every major television talk show host, introducing me and my novel to them. I had no idea she had done this and when I read what she wrote about me in her email, I cried buckets. Of course, I love her to pieces and was very touched by her words. In between studying for her Masters finals, planning her wedding and working her internship, she made the time to write this tender, touching and thoughtful letter. My daughter is a beautiful human being. How lucky I am.

Amazing friends have walked my dogs, cleaned my kitchen, printed out copies of my manuscript, helped edit and fed me emotionally, spiritually and physically since February 14, 2014 when Booktrope contacted me about publishing my book. I am eternally in their debt. My Booktrope Team members and fellow authors have taught, inspired and nudged me to the next level and beyond. They have opened my eyes and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. No lie! I am blessed to work with such incredibly talented and professional men and women.

It truly takes a village to publish and market a book! I hope I make them all proud.

~Ellie

 

Prayers Answered and Now What?

I’m sorry that I don’t have any writing advice this morning nor any great quotes from the Masters to share. I know this an author blog and it is also a blog where I write about the writing life–my life as a writer. This morning, I have to get this off my chest or I won’t be able to write. Thanks for reading my stream of consciousness writing! I’m not going to bother checking for typos or catching grammatical errors. I’m just going to write it, so I own it and move forward today!

In January 2014, I began a Happiness Jar. I’ve kept journals for prayer requests from friends and family to remind me that if people pray for me, I must reciprocate and I’ve also kept journals of blessings in my life. I don’t know who started the Happiness Jar idea, but I got the idea from on Eat Pray Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page. I was immediately on board!

By February, my jar was 1/4 full and I worried that I’d bought too small a jar. Wonderful things were happening to me and my family that needed to be included. No matter, I decided that I would press the little folded pieces of paper down if I had to, I am going to reach the end of this year in the same jar. On Valentine’s Day morning, I received an email from Booktrope. My historical novel, A Decent Woman, had been accepted for publication. I was stunned and very, very excited! My first thought was, I have to add that to my Happy jar and so, I did.

Later that evening, my beautiful daughter called me in tears. “I’m engaged!” “But, those are happy tears right, Sweetie?” I asked. A mother hears tears and usually thinks the worst, or at least I do. My first thought was how I wished I’d told her and the world about my book being published the next day! Actually, my first thought was how incredibly happy I was for her and her long-time boyfriend, now fiance. Then, I wished the day had been all hers, but c’est la vie. That’s life! Well, it was easy to write on the little scraps of paper that day! I must have added twenty thoughts on how happy I was for my daughter, her fiance, my family, myself and for my book. My daughter went back to school, doing her Masters in Counseling and finally doing what she is passionate about. She has found her niche as have I. A February to remember. My daughter and her fiance will be very happy and I am ecstatically happy that she is marrying her best friend. Not as excited that they plan on moving to Wilmington, NC in a couple of years, but that’s a long way off yet! I’m not dealing with that yet. Yes, denial is a beautiful thing.

So Spring is here, kinda sorta and plans for the 2015 wedding are gearing up. All good! We’ve visited great venues for the wedding reception and at the same time, I continue to edit my book and try to secure permission to use the image of Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s painting for my book cover. My Booktrope Creative Team was formed and we are on a roll with my book. I’m fortunate and blessed to work with such a fantastic group of creative people. The children are busy, I’m busy, and it seems my friends are just as busy doing fun and wonderful things.

NOTE – I wrote a letter to the Louvre, where the painting hangs, had it translated by my good friend and sent it off to the Louvre. This morning, I was directed to New York City to the company that handles all that stuff. Back and forth, across the Atlantic I go in search of this permission for the perfect book cover for my book! I’m on it!

Great things are happening this month and I started thinking that perhaps I need another large Bell jar and hope they wouldn’t stop making them! So last night, my handsome son called. I don’t give out details about my children, so let’s just say that he works with a fantastic company, makes the bucks, and is very highly thought of. He wants to make a change. A huge change. I support him and he was shocked when I told him that I supported him moving to London…………………………………….. you see those dots? Those are the rapid beats of my heart as I was telling my youngest child that I supported his move overseas after I listened to him give me the pros and cons. I told him that I was okay with him starting a life in London Town. My son confessed that he hadn’t told me of this plan for fear that I would collapse and have a nervous breakdown. He was stunned when I sounded excited about the new prospect. I was and I told him that his happiness meant more than my sadness. My daughter’s, as well. We lived overseas for 16 years, what did I expect? They have the travel bug as bad as I do.

I didn’t collapse or break down, but, after we hung up, I sure did have a good cry. Happy and sad tears, all at once. It’s a happy time and I prayed that God would help my children find their way in life and be happy. I just hadn’t thought about them leaving to be happy 😀 I had to write those little papers, but I couldn’t do that until this morning. Today, the skies are blue and it’s beautiful. My heart is happy for my children. I raised them to think for themselves and they know that all I want for them is their happiness. My family, friends and I would be thrilled for him if this is what he wants to do. It’s exciting as hell. My daughter’s wedding will be beautiful and we are thrilled for her and her fiance. My sister and I texted back and forth last night, planning which English pub we’d hit first, second and third.

This morning, my best friend sent me a text that reads:

“Sounds like a wonderful opportunity to ponder upon. Such is life…kids going on into adulthood..he has foreign opportunities in his blood. You did it to him! As I have done to my kids…you opened up a huge world as I did, now we pay…heartache for sure.”

Well, that sums it up, folks. God did indeed answer all my prayers for myself and my children. I just didn’t think it would all happen in the February-March timeframe! Ha! Thank you for all my blessings, God. Now, I please send me some calm and a clear head to make this all happen 🙂

Warmly,

Ellie

The Social Media Merry-go-round

I joined NetworkedBlogs last night and I love it. I can now view all my favorite blogs in one place and save the blogs I want to read later which will free up my email inbox. What will they come up with next? That is tongue in cheek, of course. “They” have and will come up with tons more and I would like it all to slow down a bit. Please.

Social media. Gotta love it and sometimes, it’s a royal pain. I get it, though. I’ve used it for years, building my author platform and it really works, but new sites come up all the time. New and improved. As soon as I learn a new site or app, there are ten to take its place. My adult children are computer wizards. “Mom, try this. It’s right up your alley.”  Okay, thanks! Yet another site that I have to look into. Groan. Just let me work with what I have for a little while, I want to say! It’s second nature for the younger generation, but it didn’t come easy to me.

Take my maternal grandmother for instance. She was born in 1900 in the coastal town of Playa de Ponce, Puerto Rico, just outside the colonial town of Ponce. When she died in 1994, she had seen and experienced the horse and buggy, the telegraph, trains, cars, land line telephones, victrolas, radios, tape recorders, television, airplane travel and computers. My grandmother had a cell phone when she was 90 and watched me write and do research on a computer when I visited her. I remember her amazement at the information available to us by simply typing words and phrases in little Search boxes. She took it all in stride and went with the flow, as I must do.

But, you don’t understand. I still happen to think it’s pretty amazing that when I fire up my laptop, I am instantly connected to our world and beyond. No joke. I truly am. To a non-computer, tech-savvy person such as myself, I marvel that when I log on, it all works. I am instantly connected with my favorite authors, blogs I love, and I can keep up with what my favorite authors and artists are doing through their posts on Instagram, LinkedIn, NetworkedBlogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

I’m doing all that, as well and I know there are sites that I should be using and I will. Just give me time. It takes up a whole lot of time to maintain a social media presence. On good days, it’s a lot of fun. I normally tackle this blog in the mornings and then, post it onto my various sites. I read the news of the day online and midday, I post again. In the early evening, I check all the sites to see who read what and who followed or liked me. It is then that I answer emails and respond to comments. In between all this, of course, I’m writing and trying to figure out what I can eat in my pantry so that I don’t have to go out. Once a week, I read the blogs I follow and I comment. I love that day and learn so much from writers, authors, publishers and agents. I make a pot of tea, grab my afghan and away I go into someone else’s world. In the late evenings, I read books, the news online, and very often, I fall asleep after a chapter of my current book. I wonder why?

When I write, the Internet can be very distracting. I’ve been known to write a paragraph of a novel and then, stop because I’ve just written something that I must research.This happens all the time. With a very innocent sentence such as, “Isabel leaned against the palm tree…”, I am stopped dead in my tracks. Palm tree. Is that correct? I know Puerto Rico has palm trees, but what type of palm tree, what variety of palm tree? Did that variety exist in 1901 in Puerto Rico? See what I mean? It’s constant but, at times like that, I thank God for the World Wide Web and for my BFF Kristine who immediately Googled palm trees and uncovered the Royal Palm!

Social media is never far from my thoughts. I know very few authors, writers and artists who don’t “do” social media. Even Pinterest has become a place to market and sell books. I cannot get onto Pinterest if I have any chance of writing. That is my one addiction. I must have 30 boards and of course, I have a board for my novel, an inspirational board, and a board of the books I want to read, to include the ones presently on my nightstand. It’s SO addicting.

Most authors have a Facebook account for personal stuff and one for each book of their books. I love that idea and that’s what I did, as well. I don’t have a website yet, but I’m working on that. I know a woman who maintains 12 personal websites. I can’t even keep my ten usernames and passwords straight from various websites and I never remember a birthday (except for my children and immediate family) until I see it on my Facebook feed.

I just don’t have that much space left in my brain…or do I?

So, if you had the idea that writers do nothing but write and sit around in cafes, discussing the world over vino while smoking Havanas, think again. I tried that. I went to my neighborhood bakery shop that has WiFi to spend the whole day writing. It was fun, but I didn’t get a lot done. I drank way too much coffee, had way too many Zuzu cupcakes, watched the patrons come in and out, and I talked with the owners. Back home I went. I write better in the company of my animals where the coffee is basically free and I can listen to my favorite music uninterrupted. I still visit the bakery shop, but just not to write. I do, however, never leave without six mini Zuzu cupcakes.

Has anyone written a blog about how not to gain weight while writing a book? Let me know. I’d read that blog 🙂

Happy writing to you.

Ellie