TRAVELS ON ROUTE 66

Put down the pen someone else gave you.
No one ever drafted a life worth living on borrowed ink.
Jack Kerouac
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The Road Where Fiction and Reality Collide

By P.C. Zick (Originally appeared on Stacy Eaton’s blog Authors from Everywhere )

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road inspired me to take my own journey down the Mother Road in 2007. I knew I’d write something about the trip, but I wasn’t sure what it would be. I wrote some articles for the magazine where I worked at the time, but they were nonfiction travelogue pieces. They didn’t convey some of the hilarity and magic that happened when my friend and our two daughters hit Route 66, starting in Chicago and ending in L.A. nine years ago.

A year after the journey, I decided that fiction would be my vehicle for capturing the essence of the trip. I changed all the specifics, of course, but the spirit of that journey remained as I wrote Live from the Road, my tribute to Jack Kerouac and all road warriors who know the essence of any trip lies in the journey and not necessarily the destination.

The real story behind the novel Live from the Road began one night over a couple of beers at a local bar. It took more than a year to plan and pull off.

“You know what I’ve always wanted to do?” I asked my friend Joy one rainy night as we sat commiserating about our complacent lives. “I’ve always wanted to travel Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. But I’ve never found anyone who wanted to accompany me.”

“You’ve found her now,” Joy said, and thus began more than a year of plotting and planning our escape from our lives for more than two weeks on the road.

Romantic visions of Jack Kerouac and the open road, John Steinbeck and a dog named Charley, neon lights and roadside motels clouded our minds as the mundane details of the trip threatened to intrude on our starry-eyed dreams.

Our daughters, both in their twenties, asked if they could join us. We were astounded.

“Why would you want to spend your summer vacation with two middle-aged women?” I asked my daughter Anna.

“It’ll be a blast,” she said.

Joy’s daughter Hillary said something similar, and so we became a foursome of road warriors ready to set forth on one of the most historic roads in the world.

Simply saying “Route 66” conjures up visions of greasy hamburgers, neon signs flashing “No Vacancy,” characters out of a Sam Shepard play, and, of course, freedom to disappear into the gut of this country. Even though the trip occurred years ago, those visions still reverberate within my soul.

My journal became my companion on the trip, as well as emails sent to friends and family whenever we had the Internet. Serendipity and downright foolishness collided into one of the most memorable trips of my life.

Soon after the trip, I began writing the fictional version using the seeds of events from the journey. All I had to do was take a small event from the real trip and amplify it into a golden nugget of a story. Amazingly, there were many stories that never came close to appearing in the book because they were just too outlandish. Those stories remain sacred, only to be pulled out when the four of us reunite to reminisce.

Live from the Road—my fourth novel—became the first book I published as an Indie Author in 2012. My other books had been published traditionally. I even had an agent for a bit before becoming disillusioned with the world of publishing. This road trip novel also marked my return to writing in a very different world from the one I’d known. Since its publication, I’ve written nine more novels, with four more simmering on the back burner in my mind.

The characters from Live from the Road always repeat one ridiculous axiom throughout the story:  “Always head in the direction we’re going.”

That’s exactly what I continue to do every day as a writer. The world of writing and publishing is undergoing a revolution right now, and I’m happy to be a part of it. As I head in the direction I’m going, I’m writing and loving every minute of the trip.

May all your journeys be fruitful. And if you need to be reminded of the importance of enjoying the ride on the way to your journey, give Live from the Road a read. If nothing else, you laugh at the antics.

Excerpt from Live from the Road

 Chapter 1 – Lake Michigan to the Pacific

Route 66 – just the name conjures up visions of flashing neon motel signs, convertibles filled with carefree travelers, Jack Kerouac-like adventures, and John Steinbeck writing odes to a dog. Route 66 connotes movement toward unparalleled scenery, unexpected miracles, and dreams come true.

My best friend Sally and I heaped all those expectations on our own personal journey down Route 66 – the road Steinbeck dubbed the “Mother Road.” I’m sure the author never envisioned “mothers” such as us hitting the road to discover our own meanings of life. When our grown daughters decided they wanted to join us on our journey, we welcomed them aboard. From the beginning, I heaped plenty of expectations on that glory road. I’d been numb for five years, and I suspected my daughter lived in the same limbo. With Sally and her daughter, Ramona, as our companions, I hoped CC and I would be able to peer into the abyss of our sadness created when my son Sean died five years earlier. Whatever happened, I knew with a certainty my life would change during and after this trip. I never predicted it would turn all four lives upside down. It’s probably not surprising – the path Route 66 followed carried many lost and broken souls from the displaced Native Americans on the Trail of Tears to the Dust Bowl victims of the 1930s. Even Jack Kerouac faced his share of demons while traveling the Mother Road.

The road’s original goal – to link Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean 2,400 miles away – still remains, even though most of the original road does not. The four of us raced toward the charm of Route 66. We yearned to discover its magic as the glory road leading to salvation and the Shangri-La of America – California. We found the road paved, not in gold, but in broken pieces of asphalt and towns killed by the interstate. But amid the actual reality of the road, we found moments of inspiration and serendipity.

After months of planning, we flew from our homes in Florida to Chicago in early June 2007. When we landed at O’Hare Airport, I looked at my daughter CC with her backpack and sleeping bag on her back, torn black T-shirt advertising Eraserhead, dyed-red and spiked hair, and I knew the years had sped by faster than I ever knew possible. Recently divorced from her father, I was beginning a new era in my life as a 50-year-old single woman. I stared at CC, attempting to put it all together in my mind. Even though I didn’t look it, I felt as if I was the same age as my 25-year-old daughter waiting for her luggage to appear on the carousel. Was this really the baby I nestled at my breast all those years ago?

“Mom, watch out,” CC said as I almost backed into a stroller being pushed by a toddler. I looked down into the face of a tiny baby sleeping peacefully as the older sibling attempted to maneuver around the people waiting for the bags.

“I’m sorry,” I said to the mother walking behind the stroller and watching both her children carefully. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

“That’s all right,” she said. “I really shouldn’t let her do it, but she insists on doing everything herself.”

“Really? I wonder what it would be like to have a child like that,” I said as I pointed my thumb at CC. “This one has always done exactly what I have said.” I rolled my eyes.

The mother smiled at me, and then took in CC’s hair and torn shirt. She quickly looked down at her own daughter and then at the baby sleeping in the stroller.

“Enjoy them now,” I said. “They grow up so fast you won’t believe it, and then they’re gone.”
I turned away quickly so she wouldn’t notice the sudden tears forming. The words slipped out of my mouth without thinking much about them. Only when I heard them out loud did I realize what I’d said. CC was right next to me, but her brother Sean was not and never would be there again. I wanted to chase after that mother and tell her not only to enjoy, but also to hold onto them for as long as she could. It could be over in the time it took to tie their shoes.

“You okay, Mom?” CC asked. She was looking at me intently.

“Fine, fine. I was just remembering you and Sean at that age. It’s over so quickly.” I was fighting to keep control there in the middle of the airport.

“This trip is going to be good for all of us,” she said.

She gave me a quick hug, unusual for my daughter who usually abhorred physical displays of emotion. Luckily one of our bags appeared right then, and the moment passed.

Sally and her daughter Ramona stood on the other side of the carousal. I saw Sally’s bag with the pink ribbons on the handle go by. It was a gorilla of a suitcase – very hard to miss. Sally said she’d rather have one large suitcase rather than the smaller two or three bags the rest of us carried. Problem was she couldn’t get it off the carousal, so Ramona was left to recover it while her two bags passed by unnoticed. Thank goodness the gorilla had wheels.

Once we picked up our rental, a red mini-van, we loaded all of our belongings in the back. CC was the packer in the crew, and she told Sally that her bag would always have to go in first because it was too big to go on top of any of the other bags.

Sally took the driver’s seat – she always drove, and I never argued. It was her way of maintaining control. I took shotgun with the maps and directions and Route 66 books. It actually worked out better this way. I liked giving directions as much as Sally liked driving the engine. Ramona would be our tour guide as she read from the Route 66 books we’d been collecting over the past year of planning for this adventure.

“First stop is Wal-Mart for a cooler and two tents,” Sally announced. “Everyone keep your eyes peeled for a good exit.”

After settling in our hotel, we decided we would walk toward Lake Michigan and find a place for dinner and whatever else might grab our attention.

The full moon directed us downtown. We crossed over the Chicago River, reveling in Chicago’s architecture. Some dubbed it the capital of architecture and the birthplace of the skyscraper. Studs Terkel called it a “city of men.” And as I looked up at the dizzying heights of the buildings surrounding us, I could see why. We stopped often for pictures, asking people we passed on the sidewalk to snap a shot or two.

We didn’t know where we were headed until Ramona spotted a banner waving in the breeze over a balcony railing, advertising “Rooftop Dining.”

“That looks like the perfect place,” Ramona said as she pointed to the sign. “It’s even got a view of the Sears Tower.”

A small elevator meant for two people opened up in the lobby.

“Come on, Mom,” Ramona said when Sally hesitated to crowd into the small cubicle. “It’s just a short ride to the rooftop.”

“All right, but I’m finding stairs for the trip down,” Sally said.

Sally hated small confined places, but we crowded around her and exchanged one-liners until we spewed out to the rooftop, where a waiter stood ready for the energy of four females set loose on the road for several weeks of freedom. Freedom is just another word for doing whatever we pleased.

“I’d like to hear some blues or jazz tonight,” I told Sally as we waited to be seated. The full moon began its ascent over Chicago’s skyscrapers, providing a soft glow over our already glowing faces. “Johnny and I came here twice, but he never liked going to clubs.”

“Then we’ll do it tonight,” Sally said. “Anything is possible.”

“Do you really believe that?” I asked. Sally’s perpetual optimism never failed to amaze me.
“I have no choice but to believe it,” Sally said. “It’s the only way I can get up every morning and remain positive.”

The waiter, young, handsome and very Jamaican, was actually the bartender, but he had to fill in for the usual Friday night waitress.

“She had quite a hangover from last night,” he said. “So I’m going to sit you beautiful ladies right here where you’ll notice there’s an extra chair just for me.”

“I don’t believe it!” Sally said. “They have hot dogs on the menu.”

“Mom, you’re not going to order a hot dog on our one night in Chicago,” Ramona said.

“I most certainly am,” Sally said. “And I’d like us all to make a pact. No criticizing each other for just being ourselves.”

Ramona shrugged and CC rolled her eyes, but eventually both of them agreed. Then they all looked at me.

“It’s a part of my personality to make fun,” I said. “Does that count as criticizing?”

“You know what I mean,” Sally said. “If I want to eat five hot dogs for dinner no one is allowed to say anything.”

“What if it gives you gas and makes the rest of us sick? Can we say something to you then?” I asked.
Now it was Sally’s turn to roll her eyes. She ordered the hot dog with everything except sauerkraut.
“Does that mean I can’t tease you about all the hand lotion you put on your hands?” CC asked me.
“I have no idea what you mean,” I said as I reached around to my purse hanging from my chair to see if I had a bottle of Aveeno ready to apply when I was alone.

Our substitute waiter messed up the drink orders, but he was so cute and funny we forgave him. We ended up with an extra drink or two, mixing our red wines with the whites. Two margaritas, one with salt and the other without, magically appeared when no one had even ordered a margarita. It was that kind of night. The margarita glasses soon stood empty on a table overflowing with dirty dishes and empty glasses.

“So where can we hear some live music tonight?” Sally asked our bartender-turned-waiter. “We have a need of the blues.”

“You ladies couldn’t be blue if you held your breath for two days,” our fantasy man said. Even I laughed at that corny line.

He told us to head down to Buddy Guy’s Legends. Buddy Guy – the bluesman who inspired Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton – had a club on Wabash a few blocks away.

“Buddy sometimes sits in on a set or two, but no one knows when,” our waiter/bartender said. “He even comes here for dinner once in awhile.”

We didn’t care if Buddy was in the house or not; we just wanted to hear music live in Chicago. Sally and I headed to the bathrooms on the top floor while CC and Ramona raced down the four flights of stairs to the lobby.

All the toilets in the bathroom were close to overflowing. I chose the least full one which meant there was an inch from the water level to the top of the toilet. After I finished, I attempted to flush, and so did four other women who had come in behind us. The water in the bowl gurgled but didn’t go down. I shrugged my shoulders and left the stall. As Sally and I stood at the sink washing our hands, water began seeping out of all five stalls.

“Quick, let’s get out of here,” I said, not bothering to dry my hands so we could beat the other women to the small elevator.

I pulled Sally’s arm, and we ran. We jumped in the small box before Sally could change her mind.
As the door began closing, a hand reached out and shoved the door open. A small black man wearing a beret and a Hawaiian shirt entered the elevator behind us.

Sally grabbed her mouth and began gagging.

“Something the matter?” the man asked as the doors shut on the three of us now crammed together in the small space.

“We just had a trauma in the bathroom, and she’s claustrophobic,” I said.

“This place is notorious for overflowing toilets, and this elevator is more like a moving shoe box. Where are you two lovely ladies headed tonight?” he asked.

“We’re going to a club,” I said. Sally stood mute with her hand still firmly clasped over her mouth. “Some place down on Wabash.”

The elevator made a rumbling sound, and then jerked to a stop. Nothing happened for a few seconds. Sally moaned next to me.

“Now isn’t that something? I happen to own a place down on Wabash. Place called Legends. Ever heard of it?”

“That’s where we’re going!” I said. “Then you must be Buddy Guy.” I held out my hand, but Sally did not because she now had both hands over her mouth.

“The one and the same.” He clasped my hand then pulled me close for a hug as the doors opened onto the lobby where Ramona and CC stood waiting.

Buddy Guy continued holding me as Sally hurled chunks of undigested hot dog across the small lobby. CC and Ramona jumped out of the line of fire just in time.

“Been a long time since I had that effect on a woman,” Buddy said as Sally gasped for air and fell out of the elevator.

“Been a long time since I’ve done that,” Sally said as she reached for Kleenex in her purse. “I’m so sorry. Did I get it on anyone?”

“No, Mom, you hurled a pretty clean shot out the door,” Ramona said. “Not badly done either.”

“Route 66 here we come. This trip is off to a rip-roaring start,” I said as we headed out into the night with Buddy Guy as our very own personal escort. “I hope the old road can withstand the onslaught.”

“I’m sure you ladies will do it justice in the best tradition of road warriors everywhere,” Buddy said.

“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again,” CC sang. “The life I love is making music with my friends. And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

“You can really sing,” Buddy said. “You in a band?”

“Not really,” CC said. “Just fool around sometimes.”

“Let’s get you fooling around some tonight then,” he said.

The moon, large and orange, illuminated us in soft natural light as the lights of downtown led the way. The city of men merged with nature as we marched toward Lake Michigan.

“Ever notice how when the moon is larger, it’s actually smaller,” Sally announced.

Somehow, it made perfect sense on a night when sense had nothing to do with anything at all.

 

Also available in paperback!

 

Author Wednesday – P.C. Zick

???????????????????????????????Welcome to a special edition of Author Wednesday. Since I didn’t have any authors lined up for the last two weeks in December, I thought I’d take a chance on answering my own interview questions. I found the experience slightly weird, but fun. Here goes. Patricia welcomes her alter ego, P.C. Zick, to Author Wednesday.

Welcome, P.C. You’re looking mighty fine this morning. I know you’re a great admirer of Rachel Carson (Silent Spring). She once said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Describe a time when a subject chose you.

I saw a docu-drama based on Rachel Carson’s life, and when the actress portraying her spoke the line about a subject choosing the writer, I cried. It described perfectly how I feel about my writing, particularly fiction. My husband, the engineer, was with me and for the first time, he understood my writing passion. I thought I’d have to explain to him why I was crying, but when I turned to him, he had tears in his eyes, and I knew he understood. Sometimes a line will come to me during sleep. That happened with Tortoise Stew. I woke one morning with the first line in my head without even knowing I was going to write a novel about Florida developers and environmentalists gone mad. The line was “The bomb sat in a bag on Kelly Sands’ desk for an hour before she noticed it.” I even had the character’s name choosing me. That remained the first line of the book throughout all the revisions. My latest novel Trails in the Sand came to me in a similar manner although I changed the first line of that book many times. However, the first line, “My family didn’t understand when I married my sister’s husband,” remained a part of the plot of the book.

What messages or themes do you try to convey to your readers?

I like to write about redemption to show it’s never too late to turn a life around to the positive aspects of life. I suppose some of that comes from being raised by a mother who was certain she—and our entire family—was cursed. I’ve fought my whole life to break out of that syndrome. I hope to make a difference through my writing and life, and even though my mother died in 1998, I think I’m trying to show her life is much better when living on the light and positive side. Trails in the Sand contains elements of that message. I also try to convey the importance of communication. Often times, we don’t express our deepest thoughts to those that matter and it results in all sorts of complications. Expressing our truths to those we love is the best legacy we can leave.

How does setting play a role in your books?

I lived in north Florida for thirty years. For several years, I worked as a reporter and covered several small towns on the brink of entering Florida’s out-of-control land grab and development. There are so many characters weirdly real in Florida, and the setting is sometimes magical, sometimes frightening, but most of all interesting. Plus, using the weather as a plot device is one of my favorites. Hurricanes and tropical storms are good for building tension. I’ve developed a new genre—Florida Environmental Novels—and I plan on continuing as long as the ideas come to me.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my next Florida novel, Native Lands, which delves into the disappearance of a whole tribe of Native Americans after the arrival of the Spanish. The novel goes between the past and the present day as an international conglomerate attempts to turn Florida—from the Everglades to St. Augustine—into one complete living environment. It stresses the concept of connection between people and between ecosystems. It also showcases the traditional thinking of development in Florida, which is to destroy the natural environment to build a fake environment for people to enjoy. Disneyworld is the shining example of this concept in central Florida just north of Lake Okeechobee and the gateway to the Everglades. Also, I’m pulling together a series of my travel essays for Odyssey to Myself, which I hope to publish in the coming months.

Are your books traditionally or self-published? Why did you choose one over the other?

When I first started out writing novels, I went the traditional route. Small publishers picked up my first three books. I even had an agent for a few years. It sounded so professional and successful to say, “My publisher” or “My agent.” But the reality is different because nothing happens unless the author is willing to get out and sell her books, no matter who publishes it. And the amount of money given over to agents and publishers is far too much based on the amount of work required by the author. I dropped out of this world around 2007 after publishing Tortoise Stew. I probably sold 500 books of my first novel A Victorian Justice after literally pounding the pavement and setting up book signings. It was exhausting work, and I only received a pittance in return. I tried half-heartedly with A Legal Legacy and Tortoise Stew, but I lost enthusiasm for book signings. The toll was far too high for the return. So I kept writing, but I didn’t enter into the query, rejection, query cycle. In 2011, I decided to enter into the new revolution of Indie Authors and eBooks. I reissued A Lethal Legacy and Tortoise Stew. I published the novel I wrote from 2007-2009, Live from the Road, and then this past year Trails in the Sand. I’ve also published two nonfiction books, From Seed to Table and Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier. I’ve sold far more books by sitting in my lovely office as an Indie Author. I love the freedom it offers me, and it fits my personality. It’s not for everyone, but for me, it’s perfect. I work well on my own, set deadlines and keep them, and continue to write. At this point, I can’t imagine going the “traditional” route again. Someday soon, the Indie Author path will become the “traditional” way of publishing.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading Anya’s Story by Julia Gousseva on my Kindle. I’m also reading a book on starting an editing business online, which I’m in the process of doing right now. I have at least fifty books in the queue on my Kindle. I have a shelf lined with books to be read. And I’m reading passages from several books on Florida and its environment. I’m never without a book in hand. I love my Kindle because I can slip it in my purse easily and take it wherever I go, but I still get a thrill from reading hard copy books.

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Happy Holidays to you and yours. Remember to think about gifting some Indie Author books that I’ve featured on this site. Most of the books are in eBook or paperback form. There’s some real talent out there and most of us do it because this thing called writing has chosen us, and it won’t let go. Happy reading.

Patricia (and P.C.)

Give the Gift of Reading

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This morning as I prepared the Author Wednesday post for the week, I thought about my own life as a writer. What have I accomplished this year? I often times think I didn’t do much as I faced harsh treatments for seven months. But I gathered all the books I’ve put out in eBook format and in paperback. I placed them under my Christmas tree and sat back amazed. I published five books this year (Live from the Road went live in 2012). Two of the books (A Lethal Legacy and Tortoise Stew) were re-issues, but I still did the formatting for all versions.

Books still make wonderful presents in this world of eBooks. I hope you’ll consider giving gifts from Indie Authors such as myself. I feature authors each week on Author Wednesday and review when I can on Book Review Friday. Take a look at some of the offerings because I’m continually amazed and pleased to read some great books from Indie Authors. The only way this form of publishing can succeed is from excellence in production of works and from sales from readers. The genres are varied as are the writing styles and plot twists and turns.

A few promotional things I have going on this month:

Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier – The Kindle version is available at a discounted price for the next week on Amazon. Check out the book trailer for this – it’s my first one. Rob Hess at Elite Book Design created this stirring video. He was a dream to work with, and I love what he did with the story of my great grandfather.

Rafflecopter contest going on for autographed copies of Trails in the Sand and Live from the Road over at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews.

Most of all, I wish for you a safe and relaxing holiday season. So many times, we get caught up in the bustle and pressure that we forget to enjoy this time of family and love and celebration.

Writer’s Write, and Then They Write Again

crazy author

writer writing

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

Here I am with four books published on Kindle and in paperback through Createspace. I started this journey of Indie Author with the publication of Live from the Road in May 2012. It’s been sixteen months, and I’ve learned and suffered and fretted. I’ve also enjoyed being in control of my work. I still don’t have a formula for success, but I keep plodding along.

At the prodding of another fellow author and blogger, I decided it was time to check the figures on my books. All four books are enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program, which means every ninety days I’m given five days to offer one of the books for free. I decide what days and can split them up into different free days. The point of giving away the book is to get it into the hands of as many folks as possible, hoping for reviews and residual sales after the free event. The number of reviews on Amazon affects the sales or so the experts say. Also, with KDP Select, readers can “borrow” the book on their Kindle. Authors receive a percent of the KOLL fund for these borrowed books. The amount varies month to month. For instance, in June, five of my books were borrowed, and I received a payment of $11.19, in addition to my royalty for sold books.

I do know sales have dropped since last summer. I’m disappointed in my sales record for Trails in the Sand, my latest release. I’m pleasantly surprised with the success of Live from the Road, a book I published simply to test the Indie Author waters.

Embarking on the Indie route requires an outlay of money for editing services (an absolute must) and cover design (another must unless you’re a trained graphic designer). Fortunately, I have a background in formatting so I did my own work there, but some folks may have to pay for that service as well. I’ve kept my advertising budget low. The biggest expenditure I made was for a book tour ($120, plus a giveaway valued at $50) for Trails in the Sand, and it was a bust as far as sales. I might have picked up a few blog followers as a result, but there was no residual effect for book sales. Next time, I’ll organize the tour myself and find blogs better suited for my platform. I’ve paid $5 and $10 here and there for advertising my free days, and I believe that works well. One time I paid out $80 for advertising after the free days on the advice of one of the biggest Indie Author support groups, and I didn’t see any benefit in networking or sales.

For my one nonfiction book on Kindle, From Seed to Table, I didn’t pay for editing, but I did have proofreaders on the project. I paid for a cover, and I haven’t converted it to paperback, and probably won’t because it contains so many images.

Here’s the breakdown of estimated cost to produce and advertise each book, along with sales, borrowed, and free “sale” figures:

FinalWebSizeLive from the Road (May 2012 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $530

Sold – 430

Borrowed – 53

Free – 26,009

Politics Florida-styleTortoise Stew – (July 2012 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $130 (reprint)

Sold – 28

Borrowed – 1

Free – 677

3-D1webTrails in the Sand (December 2012 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $1,030

Sold – 46

Borrowed – 0

Free – 3,499

S2T-5From Seed to Table (May 2013 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $150

Sold – 43

Borrowed – 7

Free – 10,204

I’m still in the hole for three of the books, but Live from the Road has paid for itself and covered the cost of some of the other books as well. I’m getting reviews for all of the books, except Tortoise Stew (one did come in last week after the free days, so hopefully reviews will increase). In the beginning, I chased down reviewers for Live, but then became disillusioned with giving away books and never seeing a review in return. I’m up to forty-one reviews for that book – they keep coming in steadily even sixteen months after the book’s publication. So far, Trails in the Sand has garnered eighteen reviews. I hope the free days from this month will result in more.

I do know having the books available for sale is better than having them languish in a file cabinet. I’m constantly trying new things, but I don’t have any magical formula for you.

Right now, writing and selling books is my job. It’s a great luxury to have this time, but it’s not supporting anything quite yet.

I remain optimistic as I keep writing. It’s the best advice I can give anyone. When I get a bad or good review, I get back to writing. When I do get discouraged, I write. Usually by the end of the day, the cloud dissipates, and I’m back on the keyboard hacking happily away.

I’m definitely a writer in my heart, body, mind, and soul; therefore, I write.

I’d love to hear about your experiences or answer any questions you might have. It’s a whole new world out there for authors, and I’m content for now to be exploring the Indie Author gig.

Winner of Book Tour Announced

Worldwind Virtual Blog Tour

The Trails in the Sand blog tour ended on April 29. Thank you to those of you who participated in some way. And now the winner of the tour giveaway: Ty Wilson from Utah.

Ty will receive signed copies of both Live from the Road and Trails in the Sand along with a Route 66 baseball cap, magnets from both books, and a “green” grocery bag donated by Betsy Wild over at the blog What’s Green with Betsy. Congratulations to Ty and a round of applause to all of you who visited my tour stops and entered the contest.

If you’d still like to try and win a copy of Trails in the Sand, there’s a giveaway going on over at Goodreads now through May 15.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tag, You’re It!

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I’m playing Indie Author tag today, and I’m IT. Being “IT” means that I share information about my work in progress, or WIP.

The Rules

  1. Give credit (including a link) to the Indie Author who tagged you.
  2. Play by the rules; therefore, you must post the rules.
  3. You MUST answer all ten questions below.
  4. List five other Indie Authors with links that you have “tagged” so that the game can continue.

Link Back

The Indie Author who tagged me is Christoph Fischer who writes the blog Writer Christoph Fischer where he writes reviews and promotes Indie Authors. He’s the author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners. His work in progress is Sebastian.

What is the title or working title of your WIP?

Safe Harbor, but I will have to change it before publishing. There are too many other books out with the same title.

What genres does your novel fall under?

Contemporary fiction with environmental themes

What actors (Dream Cast) would you choose to play the characters in a film version?

Emily Booth: Ashley Judd

Daniel Booth: Matt Damon

Barbara Evans: Michelle Pfeiffer

Jack Owen: Harrison Ford

What is the main outline for your book?

Safe Harbor is set in Florida where an international conglomerate starts to set up perfect living and vacation communities where they control every aspect of life, including wildlife put on display for the enjoyment of humans. The novel examines the folly of man when he transforms nature for his benefit. Nature always wins in the end. A group of ordinary citizens forms an odd group as they attempt to stop the destruction of the natural world they treasure.

Will your book be Indie published/self published or represented by an agency and sold to a traditional publisher?

I plan to publish this book as an Indie. However, I would be happy to accept an offer from a traditional publisher for any of my books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wrote the first draft during six months in 2007. Then life interrupted, and I put the manuscript aside until now.

What other books in this genre would you compare your book to?

It could be a combination of Barbara Kingsolver and Carl Hiassen.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The book is set in Florida where I lived for thirty years. For a time, I was a reporter covering the politics of several small towns in north Florida. For some reason, Florida and its people write the stories for me. Sometimes I create scenes that are tamer than real life because some of the things that happen in this state are not to be believed. Remember hanging chads, an astronaut in diapers, Trayvon Martin, and Casey Anthony, and you can figure out what I mean. Add in swamps that cover the lower part of the peninsula and some pythons, panthers, and alligators, you’ve got the setting for the next Great Florida Novel.

What else about the book might pique readers’ attention?

How about this: wildlife on steroids, new age charlatans clearing auras at the farmers’ market, a Vietnam Vet who’s actually a spy, and a dentist in love with his drill. I didn’t even mention the love triangles and the mysterious appearance of a tribe of people thought to be extinct.

Five other Indie Authors I’m tagging: Stop by their sites and say hello.

Rachelle Ayala: http://www.rachelleayala.com

Kris Jackson Design: krisjacksondesign.blogspot.com

Jennifer Donohoe, Author: http://www.jenniferdonohoe.com

Michele Shriver, Author of Real Life Women’s Fiction: http://micheleshriver.com

Carol Ervin’s Auther: http://carolervin.com

I hope you enjoyed this game of Tag as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.

Today is the last day of Trails in the Sand’s Virtual Book Tour and that means, it’s the last day to enter the giveaway. Visit my last tour stops today and enter the cool giveaway.

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I’ve been on a virtual book tour with Trails in the Sand this week and today is my last stop and your last chance to enter to win a special package.

I’ve been on “tour” April 22-29 to celebrate the forty-third anniversary of Earth Day and to celebrate the publication of Trails in the Sand. Today’s the last day you’ll be able to enter a raffle for an exciting giveaway at the end of the tour. I’m giving away a package of autographed copies of both Live from the Road and Trails in the Sand, along with a Route 66 baseball cap, a Trails in the Sand magnet, all wrapped in a “green” grocery bag donated by fellow blogger Betsy Wild at What’s Green with Betsy. The bags were designed by Where Designs.???????????????????????????????

The Tour Schedule for April 29 – Check out these blogs today and enter to win the tour giveaway.

April 29

Jody’s Book Reviews features my guest post “Tikkun Olan Found Its Way into the Novel.” Jody features giveaways and tours. She also posts book reviews, but at this time she is not accepting requests for reviews.

Celtic Lady’s Reviews features Trails in the Sand. Kathleen Kelly says her blog is for reviews and giveaways.

Confessions of an Inner Aspen features an interview with me. Aspen is an aspiring writer of fiction and writes book reviews.

 

Book Tour and Giveaway Continues

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I’m on a Virtual Book Tour this week with Trails in the Sand  – Visit tour stops to enter giveaway

I’m on “tour” April 22-29 to celebrate the forty-third anniversary of Earth Day and to celebrate the publication of Trails in the Sand. At each stop, you’ll be able to enter a raffle for an exciting giveaway at the end of the tour. I’m giving away a package of autographed copies of both Live from the Road and Trails in the Sand, along with a Route 66 baseball cap, a Trails in the Sand magnet, all wrapped in a “green” grocery bag donated by fellow blogger Betsy Wild at What’s Green with Betsy. The bags were designed by Where Designs.???????????????????????????????

The Tour Schedule for April 28 – Check out this blog today and enter to win the tour giveaway.

April 28

Bex ‘n’ Books features Trails in the Sand. This blog features book reviews, giveaways, and promotes authors and their books.

Trails Book Tour and Giveaway Continues

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I’m on a Virtual Book Tour this week with Trails in the Sand  – Visit tour stops to enter giveaway

I’m on “tour” April 22-29 to celebrate the forty-third anniversary of Earth Day and to celebrate the publication of Trails in the Sand. At each stop, you’ll be able to enter a raffle for an exciting giveaway at the end of the tour. I’m giving away a package of autographed copies of both Live from the Road and Trails in the Sand, along with a Route 66 baseball cap, a Trails in the Sand magnet, all wrapped in a “green” grocery bag donated by fellow blogger Betsy Wild at What’s Green with Betsy. The bags were designed by Where Designs.???????????????????????????????

The Tour Schedule for April 27 – Check out this blog today and enter to win the tour giveaway.

April 27

Create With Joy – Live With Passion features a review of Trails in the Sand and an excerpt. The title of this blog says it all: “an inspirational blog that celebrates creativity – in all its forms.”

Enter to Win During Book Tour

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I’m on a Virtual Book Tour this week with Trails in the Sand  – Visit tour stops to enter giveaway

I’m on “tour” April 22-29 to celebrate the forty-third anniversary of Earth Day and to celebrate the publication of Trails in the Sand. At each stop, you’ll be able to enter a raffle for an exciting giveaway at the end of the tour. I’m giving away a package of autographed copies of both Live from the Road and Trails in the Sand, along with a Route 66 baseball cap, a Trails in the Sand magnet, all wrapped in a “green” grocery bag donated by fellow blogger Betsy Wild at What’s Green with Betsy. The bags were designed by Where Designs.???????????????????????????????

The Tour Schedule for April 25 – Check out this blog today and enter to win the tour giveaway.

April 25

I Read Indie blog features my guest post “Why I love sea turtles” about my first interaction with the ancient creatures and how they became a central part of the plot in Trails in the Sand. I Read Indie blog reviews and features Indie Authors.

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers features Trails in the Sand and my guest post “Subject Chooses the Writer.” Stop by Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers to “feed your need to read.” Gina’s love of books led her to create a site for her readers.

Trails on Tour – Chance to Win Giveaway

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I’m on a Virtual Book Tour this week with Trails in the Sand  – Visit tour stops to enter giveaway

I’m on “tour” April 22-29 to celebrate the forty-third anniversary of Earth Day and to celebrate the publication of Trails in the Sand. At each stop, you’ll be able to enter a raffle for an exciting giveaway at the end of the tour. I’m giving away a package of autographed copies of both Live from the Road and Trails in the Sand, along with a Route 66 baseball cap, a Trails in the Sand magnet, all wrapped in a “green” grocery bag donated by fellow blogger Betsy Wild at What’s Green with Betsy. The bags were designed by Where Designs.???????????????????????????????

The Tour Schedule for April 24 – Check out this blog today and enter to win the tour giveaway.

April 24

Freda’s Voice features my guest post “Love Those Writers” about why I chose writers as the main characters in my books. Freda’s Voice is “a Canadian lifestyle blog that is PR friendly.”