Category Archives: Publishing

And Another Year Approaches!

This year has not been a writing year for me. I had planned to write at least one novel and one nonfiction book, but… well, let’s just say that it’s the end of November and I didn’t do it. I haven’t done a ton of marketing, either, although my sales have stayed reasonably consistent. Which tells me something about how much money I’ve spent on marketing prior to 2014, which is another post!

So what happened?

I think a few things:

I got burned out. I wrote 7 novels and a nonfic in 2 years (less, really). Plus edited, produced, published and marketed them. It was awesome and fun and fulfilling while I was doing it, but I think it was more mentally exhausting than I realized. Every time I’ve tried to start back in 2014, I just can’t get the juices flowing. So for the rest of 2014, I’m not going to worry about it. But in 2015….


We moved, downsized and empty nested. As everybody knows, moving sucks. I was trying to think of some wonderful synonym, but honestly, it just sucks. That was in January, after which this area where it *never* snows had 3 huge storms where we were snowed in. My husband wasn’t able to move until the end of March. My son, who was taking a gap year, left for over a month to visit family. Spring was late and wet, and I put in a huge (40×30′) garden. Summer was late and wet. I worked part time at a summer camp because…. I’m not really sure why, except that it seemed like a fun idea. My son, our youngest, left for college. I spent almost a month in Uganda. And now it’s almost Thanksgiving. Surprise! Basically, the year has been full of new, hard but mostly good things that took a lot of energy.


I started a new business. Funding for nonprofits has been down across the board in recent years, including mine. We’ve started a new socially conscious, fair trade business in hopes of funding it a different way – think of a Toms sort of model. But it’s taken a lot of effort, including an Indiegogo campaign, product design, and a LONG trip to Uganda to set up women’s co-ops. It’s up and running as of this week, though – check it out!


So that’s next?

Well, I’d like to write more screenplays. That’s actually what I’m best at, although it’s pretty hard to break into that world. But… why not try, right?

I’m aiming for at least one novel and one nonfiction in 2015. That’s very doable! If I say more… Well, better to under-promise and over-deliver, right?

Grow the Ndoto Collection and the non-profit. Continue to search out funding sources/opportunities. Travel to Uganda.

Live. Let’s make 2015 great!


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Guest post from Grammarly! Why Proofreading matters

As most of you know from earlier posts, I’m a big fan of Grammarly. When Nick Baron emailed me to ask if they could post an article on my blog, of course I said yes! It’s a great kick-off to 2014 for this blog (we moved in January, among other distractions!). Enjoy!

Why Proofreading Matters


Anyone who puts pen to paper or finger to keyboard as it so happens today, needs to understand the importance of proofreading. Proofreading is the very thing that can separate good writing from bad writing and greatly impacts your chances of being published. Further, proofreading is a simple task that takes very little of your time.

I should know, my name is Nick and I work over at Grammarly. Grammarly is a site dedicated to proofreading and improving your grammatical skills and part of my job is to study the writing habits of everyday writers to greater improve our site. As you can imagine I come across hundreds of texts daily with terrible usage and believe me when I say, it makes understanding the writers point near impossible.

So let’s start off with the basics—what is proofreading?

Proofreading, also known as line editing, is exactly what you think. It is the process of meticulously analyzing every word, line, paragraph of your writing for spelling errors, punctuation errors, usage errors and other typos. Proofreading is not a natural ability; it is a skillset that takes practice and patience to develop. Though it can be rather tedious at times, a well proofread piece is the true sign of a professional. It is the creation of a text that has the highest level of clarity and therefore understanding.

Therefore, if you want to be taken seriously as a writer and if you want your point to be understood you HAVE to proofread and proofread well.

This is why today we are going to review some resources that are available online. These resources will pave the way to your understanding of proofreading and editing, which will ultimately mold you in a better writer. Many of these resources deal with grammar and usage as these are typically the bulk of errors you will encounter, while others provide tips for making the task of proofreading easier.

  • Purdue’s Online Writing Lab—understanding the true mechanics of grammar has never been easier with the aid of Purdue’s famed OWL. The excellent writers over at OWL take those confusing grammatical elements and break them down in easy-to-understand language. It is a wonderful resource that will definitely advance your knowledge on both grammar and various writing styles.
  • Chicago Manual of Style—if you want to bring you grammar game to the next level, consider thumbing through the Chicago Manual of Style. What better way to learn the rules than from the people who make them? The manual itself is a little thick and boring, so should only be used as a reference or in a school settings however definitely check out their forum. There you can find endless discussions on virtually every grammatical topic known to man.
  • UNC’s Writing Center—like Purdue’s OWL, UNC’s Writing Center is an excellent resource for both academic and non-academic writers. Here UNC provides some excellent articles on tips and strategies for revising your writing. Working through their incredibly well-formatted website will leave you a proofreading pro in no time.
  • Daily Writing Tips—as the name implies, this site is dedicated to offering writers daily tips to help hone their craft. The site is filled to the brim with a number of proof related articles and covers many topics like grammar, spelling, punctuation and more. Further, many of these articles are not just well written but fun to read! Daily Writing is a must have on your “favorites” tab.
  • Grammarly—falls into the category of “online proofreader” but it is a lot more than just that. At its core, yes, Grammarly is an online proofreading site (arguably the best online), but a proofreader that does more than just proof. Grammarly is a tool that totally encompasses every aspect of writing as it can provide stylistic edits, word replacement suggestions to expand vocabulary, checks for plagiarized material while suggesting proper citations and more. However, the truly unique bit is that Grammarly teaches you along the way. Grammarly takes your grammatical errors and teaches you proper usage. Undeniably Grammarly is an excellent tool for any writer and proofreader.

Obviously this list does not include every resource out there but will get you started on the right foot. Proofreading, much like writing, takes time and effort to hone. If you are committed to learning the above sites will make your proofreading education much easier than your old high school grammar classes.


 By Nikolas Baron


Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

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Release day is ALMOST here!

I was hoping to get Darian’s War released earlier this week, but that didn’t happen. However, I’ve proofed both the print and e-versions, and am just waiting on the final files and artwork files, then however long Amazon and Createspace take to process. I haven’t seen the boxed set stuff yet….. I realize other people celebrate Thanksgiving, too, so I’m trying to be patient! (Not my strong suit!)

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, and that you’re not killing yourselves trying to shop. I don’t shop this time of year, since I don’t like crowds, but my daughter’s in-laws were out in the wee hours of the morning. Stay warm and safe!

Christmas-Countdown1I’m going to have some free days and sales going on around Christmas and New Years, so stay tuned!

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Did you think I disappeared? A writer’s tale…

I’m alive! yeehaw!

I realize you couldn’t tell it from my blog activity (this blog, at least). That’s because life just came along and slammed me in the face. True story. In fact, I’m taking time out from packing up our house to write this post out of guilt for not having written in so long!

So what’s up in the writer’s house? Glad you asked!

First of all, and a huge HALLELUJAH, I got Darian’s War off to the production team yesterday, only a month-plus late. Here’s the cover reveal: TA-DA!!!

Darians War cover 2

Do you love it? I do!! Here are all three covers side by side so you can see the awesome work Glendon at Streetlight Graphics has done:

IXEOS 800 Cover reveal and Promotional Ixeos Rebellion 800 Cover Reveal and Promotional Darians War cover 2

Not only will Darian’s War be released (fingers and toes crossed) next week, we’ll also have a boxed set of all three available for Christmas! So that’s really exciting. (I won’t tell you how stinking hard it was to wrap up a global war… Whose brilliant idea was that anyway?!) Now for marketing and all that stuff, and hopefully some good sales coming up to and just after Christmas.

In other news, we’re moving three hours away in January. I’m pretty excited because I’ve wanted to live there for years, but it’s kind of complicated, since we’re moving to a house we already own and which is already furnished. Plus it’s 1/3 the size. So that’s proving to be a logistical nightmare.

My grandmother will be ONE HUNDRED (yes, 100!) on December 1, and we’re all headed to FL for her big party the following weekend. She still lives alone, walks her dog, makes her meals… All my cousins will be there, so it’ll be chaotic craziness. But we’re driving, which is nine and a half hours, so that’s two full days. Then helping my mom get everything ready. It’ll be a fun but not very productive week.

My husband and I have been doing some national radio hosting. It’s been a blast! We’ll see if it goes anywhere, but, as the guy said last night, “You guys are a great team on the air!” I told him we were a pretty great team off the air, too!

C&J wedding brunch

Then there are the holidays just upon us… How is 2014 almost over??

So that is life at the moment, and I must say, I’m SO glad I’m not trying to do NaNoWriMo, and so glad to have Darian’s War done. I won’t be writing fiction for awhile. Maybe February? Or I might wait and see if the Office of Letters and Light does another April Camp NaNo. The next book will probably be a sequel to Undaunted Love. We’ll see!

Meanwhile, I’m hard at work on fundraisers for my nonprofit. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know about our work in Uganda and Andros, Bahamas. The end of the year is coming, and we’d love to have your help with our work. Please check it out, and you can donate on the website or at our page. A little goes a long way, especially in Uganda, so thank you for anything you can contribute!

That’s about it. I’m going to try to be more regular here, or at least repost some “best of” blogs. I’m going to be crazy busy until the end of January, so don’t think I disappeared! I wish you all a VERY………


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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Publishing, Self publishing, Writing

Author Interview with Jackson Paul Baer

A big thank you to Jackson Paul Baer for agreeing to be our Saturday Coffee with Authors guest today. His debut novel will be released later this month!

Tell us about yourself. When did you start writing and what made you start? 

I used to write poems as a kid and started writing books more times than I could remember. I never made it very far into a novel, but always had the desire to write. As a young adult, I began to write songs, and really began to find my passion. After studying at Oregon State, I found my calling as a writer. It was only about a year ago that I decided to write, and committed myself to doing so.

Tell us a little bit about your latest books. My first novel, “The Earth Bleeds Red,” will be out near the end of October (Pandamoon Publishing). It’s a literary suspense. It blends literary fiction, suspense, and a touch of mystery. Think Joyce Carol Oates meets Junot Diaz, while they were both reading Sherman Alexie. I’m very excited for its release as it feels like a part of me. I’m also writing a psychological thriller called, “The Lights Will Never Fade.” I plan on finishing that novel by the end of the year.

Where did you come up with this idea? The title came to me first and then the story just started to pour out. I wrote all night, every night. I stayed up till 3 or 4 in the morning nearly every night writing and editing, and then editing some more.

Who did the cover art for your book? The graphic designer at Pandamoon Publishing did the cover and they did an amazing job. I worked with the publisher for a while, passing ideas back and forth. They really captured the metaphorical image of this book.

Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while working on this book? I believe I learned everything about myself. Every time I write, I learn something new. It allows me to create this world that otherwise wouldn’t exist. I can’t think of anything else in life that does that. I feel like I know the characters so well, and they feel like real people to me.

Who do you find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that? My wife, kids, and family inspire me the most. Many characters come from experiences in real life, though they aren’t based on any of them, if that makes sense. Also, the writers I mentioned before, plus: Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and Zora Neale Hurston have been huge influences on my writing.

Which one of your characters would be the best to meet in real life? Scott. He’s the main character and he’s struggling with his faith, and the loss of his only child. He’s real and says exactly what he thinks.

What are you reading right now? I’m reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, “Dracian Legacy” by Priya Kanaparti, and “Men of Kent” by Elizabeth Gibson.

Besides the genre you write, what genres do you like to read? I like historical fiction, literary fiction, and books set in a different, era (1600’s-1800’s).

What is the most embarrassing mistake you’ve made as a writer? It’s usually something small, but annoying. I’ll post something on social media like “thanks you” instead of “thank you,” or leave out a word. I can’t think of anything huge.

What is the one thing that seems to always get in the way of writing time? Don’t take this the wrong way, but family. They are more important to me and many times, I’m spending time with my wife and kids instead of writing. I am writing nearly full time now though, and have time during the day, which makes a huge difference.

When you are not writing, what are you doing? I’m spending time with my family, finishing my degree, and I buy/sell/trade as well. I stay busy!

What is one of your favorite places to write? In my recliner, in the living room. It’s simple, but effective.

What is one of your favorite places in the world?  My wife and I went to Ireland last year for our 10-year anniversary. We absolutely fell in love with the country, and if I could, I’d move there. At the very least, I’d like to go for a month and write a novel there. Dublin and Killarney were our two favorite towns.

What is one thing about you most people find interesting (or unusual etc.)? That I have four kids and have been married for almost 11 years, yet I just turned 30.

Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those? I mentioned the novel I’m currently writing above and I’ve also had two short stories published in “The Rust Nail” magazine this summer. I blog regularly too. Plus, we’re thinking about turning “The Earth Bleeds Red” into a series.

What is your favorite quote? “Love your enemies.” Jesus

What secrets would you share with aspiring authors? Write and write every day. Every little bit adds up.

Name one author you’d love to meet and tell us why. Joyce Carol Oates. Her novel, “Them,” changed me as a person, reader, and writer. Plus, she’s written like 70 books. That is crazy.

Now for some THIS OR THAT:

Hot/Cold                              Cold

Summer/Winter                  Winter

Coke/Pepsi                           Water

Cat/Dog                                Dog (Pug)

Water skiing/snow skiing    Snow

Beach/Mountains                Beach (barely)

Romance/Action                 Romance (I know)

Convertible/SUV                 Convertible

Flip Flops/Dress shoes         Flip flops

Historical/Futuristic            Historical

Hero/Villain                          Hero

Car/Plane                              Car

London/Paris                        London

Mexico/Canada                    Canada

Ice cream/Chips                   Chips

Hot dog/Hamburger           Hamburger

Beer/Wine                             Beer (just a little)

Jackson Paul Baer author photo The Earth Bleeds Red Cover

I’m running a Goodreads giveaway for 3 autographed copies of The Earth Bleeds Red – enter today! (Through November 15, 2014)

 Here is a promo video for the book



Filed under Author Interviews, Publishing