So It Begins

Here I am, doing NaNoWriMo again. I hate that it’s in November. But my competitive spirit makes me want to “win” at this, even if it’s very stressful every year. I’ll be posting word counts here to keep myself accountable.

This year’s NaNo novel is #3 in a series of 5 middle-grade novels I’m working on. Today, day one, I wrote 2480 words. That’s a good start.


About Jane Eyre

A few years ago, my brother traced our family tree and one of the things that intrigued me was that we have an ancestor whose name was . . . Jane Eyre. What a coincidence, right?

Last year my friend Sonya of Simply Charlotte Mason asked me to write a book discussion guide for Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It was a bit of a learning curve for me, as I had to figure out how to present and write down material that I normally would share verbally in discussions with my students. But, eventually I had something that both she and I could be happy with.

Thanks to many different limiting factors, the process of getting the book guide published has been very slow—but the wait is over. It is now available on the Simply Charlotte Mason website, here:

If you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler with a high school student, this is something you might consider for your literature program. Of course, you don’t have to be using the Charlotte Mason method to use this guide. I honestly think it would work for just about any high school literature program. If you do use it, and like it, please leave a review on the website!

Also, I’m working on Ivanhoe now. That one should come out next year I think.

Day Made

If you are local, and you would like to buy a signed copy of my anthology, Dreams & Dragons, I have some available now for $12. If you have already read it, and you liked it, PLEASE leave a positive review on Amazon!

Today I received a positive review via text. A friend and former neighbor texted me to let me know that she and her family were enjoying my book. I had no idea they would even be interested in it. And she included this adorable photo of her daughter reading it:

I am so tickled! Which made me think—I’d LOVE to see photos of my other readers (if there are any) with my book. Send me a photo of yourself holding a copy of my book and I will post it here. And thank you so much for giving my stories a chance.


Have you been holding your breath, waiting for my short story anthology to be available in print form? Or is that just me?

Well, today’s the big day. You can now buy Dreams & Dragons as an eBook and as a print book.


Print book:

Now, I know a few of my loyal readers will want an autographed copy, so I have ordered some copies for myself. As soon as they arrive, I will let you know, in case you’d rather order an autographed copy from me directly.

As always, the best and most encouraging thing you can do is to leave a positive review on Amazon, Barne & Noble, or Goodreads!

About that Kickstarter

You know the one I mean—the one that ended today, after having raised $41,747,373.24 in one month. Author Brandon Sanderson was only looking for one million dollars, and he ended up having by far the most successful Kickstarter of all time.

I have followed the story with great interest since Sanderson’s first announcement at the beginning of the month. I have read countless other authors’ take on the story. Many of them were bitter in the extreme:

“He’s taking money away from minority authors.”

“He’s taking money away from new authors who are trying to get their work out there.”

“It’s not fair. What makes him so special?”

“I just wish I could succeed at crowdfunding like he did.”

There is no mystery here. I did not find this Kickstarter all that surprising. Anyone can succeed like Brandon Sanderson. All you have to do is first, learn to write well. Write at least a dozen epic novels while you are honing your skills, and before you get any published. Once you have achieved mastery of your craft and your genre, find a publisher, which is a whole lot easier when you’re highly skilled and have a large stack of finished novels to prove it.

Then, once your novels start reaching readers, go out and meet them. Spend weeks on the road every year attending cons and talking to fans and answering the same lame questions over and over—with a smile on your face. Find out what your readers love and give it to them. For bonus points, you might also want to try taking over another writer’s popular franchise and finish writing it for him. You can also teach classes and post videos on YouTube for those who can’t make it to the cons. Earn your readers’ trust by always delivering on your promises.

Every minute that you’re not doing all those other things, keep writing. Work very very hard. And once you’ve attracted a massive global following, and you’ve got some unexpected free time, write even more and produce a handful of novels that aren’t part of your contract with your publisher. Then set up a Kickstarter with cool rewards for your loyal readers, and see how it goes.

Sanderson earned his success the old-fashioned way—he worked for it. His Kickstarter isn’t somehow “taking” money away from other authors. It’s taking money away from Starbucks and movies and restaurant dinners, which his readers might have enjoyed instead of investing in his new books. It’s naïve to think that if they hadn’t funded his Kickstarter, they’d have bought someone else’s books. It’s his books that have enchanted them, and if he hadn’t offered this opportunity, his loyal fans would have spent their entertainment budget some other way.

Whatever you might think about Sanderson as a writer, the truth is that he was already in the very top tier of successful authors, and this Kickstarter just proves that he knows exactly whom he is writing for and what kind of stories they want from him. I watched the numbers continuing to rise for the last 10 minutes of the campaign this afternoon, and I cheered him on. Way to go, Sanderson.

Words on Paper

It’s here! My advance hard copy of Dreams and Dragons!

I’ll be going through it very carefully over the next few days. Then, assuming there aren’t any major problems, it will be available to order.

Meanwhile, the e-book now has two five-star ratings, so thank you, whoever you are! Leaving a review or rating is so helpful and encouraging, so if you’ve read the e-book, please take a moment to leave a review or rating. And also, let me know what your favorite story was.

There will be some kind of book launch party online when the time comes.

Book News

So, the e-book of Dreams & Dragons has been out for five days, and now has its first rating on Amazon—five stars! Which means that at least one person has read it and liked it.

The print version has now been approved, but after an initial glitch with the e-book, my publisher is being extra cautious. So he and I will each get an advance copy of the print book and go over it very carefully to make sure there are no glaring errors before he gives final approval for it to be sold on Amazon and other online booksellers.

My guess is that process will take a couple of weeks—so hang in there, those of you who are waiting for a real book to hold in your hands!

Meanwhile, those of you who already have the e-book—if you have already read it, and liked it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Cover Reveal

So, yesterday while we were on the road, my publisher finalized the cover for my short story anthology, which should now be coming out on March 1st. Are you ready?

I love it! The cover image is a scene from a story titled “Dream.” My daughter Mercy did a beautiful job assembling the image from four other images. I am so tickled with it.