Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats.
And maybe a border collie or other critters.
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- Name: Becky Mushko
- Location: Rural Virginia, United States
I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Judging by a Cover
David Earl is twelve years old and disappointed in his father Lee, a once-famous rodeo clown who has quit the circuit and moved David to a small town in Vermont to start a new life. David has a hard time adjusting to life as a “normal” boy and is hurt that his father never allowed him the chance to be his partner in the rodeo arena. When Lee tries to buy David a horse at auction, David pretends to have no interest in it, and the horse is sold to the elderly and widowed Sarah Tierney.
Sarah, grief-stricken at the death of her husband, tries to ﬁnd solace in her new horse, Gypsy, but she needs help from the Earls to learn how to care for her new mare, Gypsy. As the three of them spend more and more time with Gypsy, they all become entranced by the horse and begin to learn more about themselves. Touching and heartfelt, A Kingdom in a Horse shows the meaningful impact an animal can have and the strength it can inspire in a person.
Horse folks will have to suspend disbelief during parts of this story. The mare bought at auction is too perfect. Why would someone sell a horse that is so well trained, so gentle, so accepting? The elderly Sarah doesn't have much trouble riding at all; soon she is galloping all over her farm. Apparently, she has none of the age-related infirmities that many of us have. Sarah installs a woodstove in the barn to keep her horse and herself warm? And then brings the mare into the kitchen when the stove isn't enough?
Some of the other horse-keeping ideas are a bit outdated: the wooden floors in the stall, the idea that wet legs can cause founder, etc.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I thought they'd arrive the first week in February, but when we returned from Kroger-shopping on Tuesday, three big boxes were waiting on the deck.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Shut Up & Write
A few months ago, I received a copy of Judy Bridges' book, Shut Up & Write, published by Redbird Studio Press in January 2011. I recently finished reading it and enjoyed it very much.
Shut Up & Write would be very helpful for someone who is just beginning to write for publication (either fiction or non-fiction) and needs encouragement or direction. However, it is also interesting—and helpful—for someone who has been writing for a while. A list of the chapters is here.
One thing I especially like is that Bridges not only defines terms, she also provides examples. The difference between showing and telling is sometimes confusing to new writers, but Bridges explains differences between show and tell in an easy-to-understand way (page 64):
Folks sometimes ask me what books I recommend for aspiring writers. I've just added Shut Up & Write to my list. Should you want to make your writing more effective—and more publishable—here's my choice of the top five books you should read, preferably in this order :
Begin with Bridges' book. Then read Lynn Price's The Writer's Essential Tacklebox, followed by Constance Hale's Sin and Syntax, then Les Edgerton's Hooked, and finally Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages.
These five books are all readable, entertaining, and helpful. And they've all received a cat scan of approval from Chloe.
Labels: reading. writing
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Authors, Save Your Money
Why are they sending this to moi—a self-published/vanity-published/small press-published author? Since this info came to my inbox, I figured I'd share some screenshots of the email here:
Don't you love their graphic—gotta be a real bookstore because it says BOOKSTORE right on the third images as well as BOOK-something on the second image. And there are all those shelves full of books! Makes you kind of want to cough up from $150 to $350 right away so you can get in on the action, doesn't it?
Of course, even if this is a legit mailing, and even if all those bookstores want your book (highly unlikely—you'll have a better chance winning the lottery), how are you actually going to get to all those stores for signings? We're talking major book tour here—and gas prices are going up again. And will anyone even turn out if you're a self-published/vanity-published/small press-published author that no one has ever heard of outside your immediate neighborhood?
If you'd rather go the email route instead of paying $$$ for snail mail, for only $199, you can have this company spam bookstores. Or, if you'd rather contact the bookstores yourself, they'll sell you the bookstore list for only $99. Of course, this is info that you could look up online for free, but you're a busy author, right?
If your book is vanity-published or completely self-published, bookstores all over the country aren't interested in your book. Bookstores usually don't buy directly from authors. They deal with a distributor, and odds are good that you—if you're, ahem, underpublished—don't have one. Also, bookstores want the books they get from the distributor to be returnable. And they want a big discount on the book.
Some small presses have distributors, but if the small press used print-on-demand technology to print your books, the books are unlikely to be returnable. Hence, bookstores aren't interested.
Just for the heck of it, I poked around on the
I'm not the only one who noticed this particular, um, service. Scambuster Victoria Strauss blogged about it last week on the Writer Beware blog: BookStoreMarketing.net: Beware Spam PR Services.
The message is pretty clear: Authors, don't waste your money! You'd be better of plugging your books for free on your blog from time to time, just like I'm going to do right here:
Ferradiddledumday and Stuck are available from Cedar Creek Publishing. They're also available from Amazon.com, as are my four vanity published-books. My self-published book, Patches on the Same Quilt, is available from me as long as the supply in the boxes under my bed holds out. One of these days, I'll do a Kindle version of it.
I was going to get my kitties to help advertise my books, but they were too embarrassed to be part of such a blatant promotion.
Monday, January 16, 2012
The first step was, of course, to actually learn how to do this. Fortunately, there are You-Tube videos, such as this one, which my buddy and a fellow Mac-user Diane ("The Blue Ridge Gal") recommended. According the video, we could do this in under five minutes. we watched it a couple of times.
The second step was to clean off the desk (a major undertaking since my desk is always a mess) so we'd have room to flip the computer face down. That took me awhile—especially cleaning up all the cat hair.