Monday, August 28, 2017

The Woes of Moving

Well, we’re just putting our house up for sale and looking for another. I thought I’d be smart and repost an old blog, but… It seems I’ve already packed copies of my old posts. Guess I’ll have to come up with something new.
One nice thing about packing is that I’m finding things I’d forgotten I had. Nope. I can’t take the time to reminisce about the old days. I’ve got to keep on packin’.

The past couple of years have been life-changing for me and I haven’t done the marketing and promoting I should. Hopefully, once this move is over I can get back on track.

I’m sure most of you have had events that changed your initial plans. It happens. Get back on that horse? I think not. Sometimes it’s better to come up with a new plan. I sure hope that happens soon. I’m smiling because we make plans and God laughs. Maybe we’re too impatient and we need to wait for inspiration.

I’ve read a number of books about marketing and promotion, but I have to admit that I didn’t find any ideas that really put a hem in my skirt – if I still wore skirts.

I’ve talked about name recognition in other posts. Work on getting your name out there so if something changes, readers already know who you are. It’s really helped me, more than you can imagine. Fans! Love those people and they manage to make my day a good one quite often.

I started reading M.M. Gornell’s new book, Rhodes – The Movie Maker. I was really enjoying it, but now I’m packing and looking at houses instead of reading.

In fact, there are several things, in addition to reading, that are going to have to wait – like working on a new book. If I ever get back to it, and I will, it’s titled, Gin Mill Grill. How’s that for an interesting title?

My advice? Even when your life changes, don’t let go of your goals and ideas. Keep plugging along. Inspiration comes from the oddest places, so keep your eyes open and be alert, no matter where life takes you.

Life is a path with all kinds of crazy twists and turns, and left turns when you’re anticipating taking a right turn. Make the best of it. Roll with it. At the moment I’m tired and I can’t think of any other good clich├ęs. Maybe next week.

No matter what else, get your name out there. Respond to the posts of others, leave reviews, create an Internet presence for yourself, and maybe build a website. Let people know who you are and what you do.  And most importantly, do what you do best – write.

Until next week, have a good, quiet week and enjoy yourself. Or, have an exciting week and see if your week presents some good story ideas. Ah, just have fun.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
CLICK HERE for a  quick trip to

Here's a little promotion: Check out Entrance to Nowhere - A Sandi Webster Mystery. It involves kidnapping, hacking, cybersecurity and a few other current issues. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dorothy Bodoin, Guest Author

I needed a little humor to lighten my day, and my guest author, Dorothy Bodoin fulfilled my need. Read on, and think about some of the errors you’ve caught (hopefully before your book went to print). I’ve caught a few of my own after the book was published. Welcome, Dorothy!

On Mistakes
In spite of our best intentions, they creep into our writing, creating unintentional humor and confusion.  For example, whoever heard of a freshly baked (bathed) collie?  Or a pot roast dinner that miraculously turns into meatloaf with the turn of a page?  Or a shotgun that transforms into a rifle every other time it’s mentioned?
That last mistake was particularly embarrassing, especially when I received an e-mail from a gun expert.  When I wrote A Shadow on the Snow, I didn’t know much about guns.  I never owned one, never fired one.  But my Great Aunt Mary had a cabin up north, and above her fireplace hung a rifle.  Or was it a shotgun?  I thought shotgun was a synonym for rifle when I thought about it at all. 
Because I find it handy to arm my villains, I’ve made it my business to know the difference.
When I write, I revise each chapter of my book numerous times on a separate document before I add it to the complete manuscript, but sometimes mistakes occur and I never notice them.  The common explanation?  A writer knows what should be there, so she doesn’t see the mistake.
Sometimes I find them in time, but not always. I can’t believe how many there are.  Having a character in two places at the same time. Substituting one name for another.  I caught that one on my first reading of a manuscript.  Taking away one of my heroine’s dogs by typing the wrong number—implying that she wasn’t going to get a pancake treat—was more serious.  That’s the kind of mistake that upsets a dog lover.
For this and many other readers, a good editor is invaluable, and I’m fortunate to have one.
I’ve found errors in other authors’ writing, usually in e-book format.  They yank me right out of the story.  I go back and reread and wonder what I missed or if I misunderstood something.
I’m always grateful if a reader takes time to comment on a mistake they’ve found.  After the book is released, I can’t do anything about it.  All I can do is keep my mind from wandering and proofread more carefully in the future.
Have you ever noticed errors like typos or inconsistences in published work?  How much do they bother you, if at all?
Thank you, Dorothy! It helps to know I’m not the only one who sometimes has this problem. I hope you’ll be my guest again, soon.

 I love Dorothy's latest book cover

Website: (You can subscribe to her newsletter on her website.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to

Monday, August 7, 2017

What's BSP?

Someone asked me how I feel about having another book out and, believe it or not, the question surprised me. I’ve actually had two new books released this year: Black Butterfly – A Bogey Man Mystery, and Entrance to Nowhere – A Sandi Webster Mystery. This amazes me because I now have seventeen books out, and I still feel like I did with the first one.

How do I feel? Like I just gave birth to the oddest-shaped child in history (think book). A child that I slaved over and created to my own specifications. A child that will never change, nor will it grow. The child will be around as long as someone takes care of it, which could be a few hundred years under the right conditions. (Okay, let me fantasize.)

I’m obviously getting carried away here, but authors care about their work. We do the best job we can, and then we work to get the word out there. Once the book is available, we feed it by marketing and promoting it, but thankfully we don’t have to change its diapers. We do hope it will win the “cutest child” contest, figuratively speaking.

There’s an acronym writers use – BSP. This means Blatant Self-Promotion for those who’ve never heard the term. Many of us have been accused of blatantly self-promoting our books, but that’s how the word gets out there when there’s a new book in town and it’s looking for a home. We do need to be careful about where we do our BSP. There are places that it’s not appropriate, but many more places let us sing our little hearts out about our story.

When I have a new book released, and after my feet come close to touching the floor, and when I find I can sit in my chair without bouncing up and down, I alternate between wanting to laugh, cry, smile, do a cartwheel, worry that it won’t sell, do some more laughing in the hopes it might do well – and then the dog barks at me and brings me back down to earth. My daughter asks me what’s for dinner. I realize that I haven’t dusted the furniture in weeks. I (ugh) need to clean the toilets. Life must get back to normal. Uh huh. Like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

I order my copies of the new books. When they arrive, I’ll take the first one out of the box and stare at it. Then I might sigh and open it – carefully though, because I don’t want to crease the cover. I’ll sit down and I’ll smile, and I’ll continue to grin like a fool until my jaws ache.

When the first book I ever wrote came out, I cried like a baby. Seeing it in print was indescribable. The price for it was blood, sweat and tears. Okay, so I’m exaggerating, but that’s what it felt like. I reveled in the miracle of the book’s birth. Shoot! I wasn’t smart enough to write a book, was I? And yet, there it was in glorious black and off-white.

You’d be amazed if you could read an author’s mind each time a new book comes out. Some will be absolutely sure of its success, and others will moan and groan, feeling so unsure in their heart.

So to every author who’s ever had a book come out, I want to say Congratulations! You may not feel the same way about it that I do, but you’ve accomplished something wonderful. You have a new book and my admiration. Awesome!

If you’d like to share the title of a new book, or how a new book coming out makes you feel, please do.

Until next time, if you pick up a book this week, remember that some author is bouncing up and down in their chair and possibly inviting a concussion from hitting their head on the ceiling.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw's website
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to