What is the one thing that I would change about myself as an author?


This will be very short:




Confidence to cut where I need to cut.

Confidence to submit.

Confidence to resubmit.

Confidence to finish a couple of stories I have started already!

Confidence that the ideas for others will wait until the one on which I am working is finished.


I know this.

I have these.

I know there are worse things out there being published.

I know that I have stories that would be enjoyed.


I have told true stories and happily have had them published.

I have had poems published.

I have an award for writing hanging on my wall.


I get and lose confidence quicker than money.

I have a little in my ‘account’ right now, so

I’m stopping to add to a story.

Wish me luck.

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Greater Exposure

One Change I Definitely Need in my Writing Profession

By Jeff Salter

As one of the Foxes has already stated this week, I write what I like to read… and I like to read what I write. Oh, sure… I wish I was better at describing the scene [my stories tend to be driven by dialog and/or action]. And, yeah, I wish I didn’t have to spend so much time promoting and networking [and therefore would – theoretically, at least – have more time to actually write!]

But if I had only one magic wish about myself as an author, I think it would almost have to be that I could have more EXPOSURE. You know… some respected celebrity goes on a talk show and says, “I read this book by J. L. Salter the other day and it’s fantastic. I wish everybody in the English-speaking world would buy a copy.” Or, some influential editor of a high-profile book review column latches on to one of my titles and writes: “Finally, we have an author who recognizes the importance of well-developed characters, sparkling dialog, humorous scenes, and thrilling action… even if he sometimes skimps a bit on describing the scenery.”


Exposure — the phenomenon that swoops an author from virtual obscurity to “overnight” bestseller status… and thereupon people start also buying the author’s backlist titles. Whereupon the loyal publishers who have stuck with that author during those several lean years finally see their ship coming in.

Exposure — the snowballing effect (of positive word-of-mouth recommendations) that far exceeds what even a well-placed and well-funded commercial advertising campaign could develop.

Exposure — When readers get together at a conference or event and many of them are saying, “Have you read the latest novel by J. L. Salter?”

Yep, that’s one thing I’d change about myself as an author — I’d wave a magic wand and get a lot more positive press… reviews in higher places… more sales. Exposure!

[JLS # 461]

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One Thing I’d Change

What one thing would you change about yourself as an author?

First off, I don’t think I’d change the way I write. One of the reasons I like being an author is that I can write the kind of books I want to read. If you can’t find them at the library or bookstore then write your own. No, with a few exceptions I’m happy with the way I write.

Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted, though. Our Monday fox touched a chord in me when she spoke of all the things that could get in the way of writing. Truthfully, though, since I retired I have all the time I need for writing so I don’t think I’d change anything here either.

What would I change? I don’t like to do book promotion. I’m really an introvert who hates to put herself out there in front of lots of people, but every author knows that if you want to sell any books, you have to promote them. I tell people about my books, but sometimes I feel like I’m boring them. I’ve done book signings, and most of them have been successful, but it’s so hard to make conversation with strangers even if it is about books. It’s hard to build a relationship with someone in those circumstances. In a perfect world I’d write the books and have a publicist do the promotion, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. No, if I want the books promoted I have to do it.

With that being said, some of my best times as an author have been when I connected with my readers.

Authors and readers give me some hints. What kind of promotion do you usually respond to?

Posted in author's life, Elaine Cantrell, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The Perfect Author …

writer choosing

One of the foxes asked, “What one thing would you change about yourself as an author?”

I don’t think I’d change anything about what I write, but I think I’d change HOW I write. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to get sidetracked easily. I’ll sit down to write, and then I’ll get a notification for a text, email, or other type of message. And I’ll respond, because I hate to have people waiting for me. Or I’ll have to do some research or look for information to respond. Or I’ll remember that I have school papers to grade. An hour or two later, I’ll find myself going back to my WIP (work in progress).  I’ll have to re-read what I started so I can find out where I left off.

A few minutes later, hubby will call me from the other room, asking what’s for lunch. I’ll get up, walk past him in the family room and go to the kitchen, look in the refrigerator, and tell him what we have available. He’ll decide nothing is appealing to him and ask if I want to go out for lunch. I can either go with him and lose more time, or say no and get back to work.

After I sit back down, either after lunch or after my verbal spar with hubby, I’ll write a word or two and then discover I need to answer nature’s call. Or I’ll fix myself a snack. And then I’ll spend time trying to get back into the story. Until another distraction pops up.

So now, several hours have gone by and I’ve been staring at the computer screen, wondering how I’m going to reach my word count goal for the hour/day/week/month. And my head is starting to ache from staring at the screen. I need to do something different. I’ll remember one of my many craft projects and sit down at my sewing machine or serger, or I’ll pull out my paper and card making supplies, or I’ll take out my oboe and practice a difficult passage for an upcoming concert.

Then it’s time for dinner. Hubby usually eats an hour before I do, and if he cooks, he’ll take care of the meat and some sort of starch. Vegetables don’t appear on his menus except when chopped up and mixed in with the meat, so I’ll have to fix one for myself. And then I’ll get the dishes cleaned up and put away just in time to watch my evening shows (Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy). If I don’t have a rehearsal, I’ll work on getting my paraphernalia ready for the next day while bemoaning my lack of writing progress and promise myself I’ll do better the next day.

If I could completely control my way of working, I would seclude myself in a place with a nice ergonomic chair so that my back doesn’t ache, in an office where none of my craft projects are calling me. I would have staff to take care of my laundry, meals, clean up and scheduling. My stylist would take care of my appearance, and my personal assistant would ensure that no outside distractions would intrude on my creative space and time.


I don’t expect to ever achieve this lifestyle. Frankly, I’m not sure I’d want to. I get satisfaction from being able to take care of things myself, though I’d happily give some things up. But to answer Elaine’s original question, I’ll say that if I could change something about myself as an author, it would be to have the ability to shut out the rest of the world so that I can focus on telling a great story.

Posted in author's life, authors, Daily life, imagination, Life, lifestyles, Patricia Kiyono, Preparing for writing, The Author Life, time management, What if, writing | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Careless Whisperers

I have several works-in-progress. Oh, would that other stories would stop insisting on telling me more of their own people and plots and let me finish one at a time!

Do you have that problem?

I will get up a full head of steam, ready to tackle one story  and am determined to finish it when there, while I am doing something else, (housework, paperwork, in the shower), another one of my stories often says, “Listen, you know that part when whatshername finds the thing? It was because when you wrote that the guy said he was going there, she knew he had it.”  Perhaps: “Hey, the girl in the other story can’t have the name you gave her because the meaning we need is…”  Or I see/ hear something and hear: “This is like that part of the story of the man with the talent; if you phrase what he says to his assistant like this,  then…”.Then there’s the, “Hey, the stories you and TJ  put together and figured out about Uncle Whatsits’ the trouble is quite a story.  You could use it to make quite a read. You need to write it…now.”

Episodes like that.


I make notes when I can, but while I am otherwise occupied those scenes play out, scenes that have nothing at all to do with the story that needs to be fleshed out, finished, or edited.

Then I get caught up in the plots and dialogues of the other works.

can work on just one piece. I can be dedicated, totally immersed in one story… when patootie is in chair and fingers are on keyboard.

However, when they aren’t, I have intruders.


I hate to shut them out, because they are quite often very inspired additions to the other stories.

But they can be pests.

I wish they’d take turns.

I wish I had a one of these in my head:


Do your stories bother you when you aren’t planning on giving them attention?

Posted in author's life, big plans, characters, creating scenes, dialogue, experiences, free week, imagination, inspiration, Life, memories, protagonists, Tonette Joyce, vehicles, villains, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Revisiting My Spooky Tale

The Ghostess and Mister Muir

By J. L. Salter

I have always loved the spooky romance, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” — 1947’s classic film with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. While contemplating that movie in early 2014, I got to thinking: what if the spook was female… and she died in human form 100 years ago?

One of the interesting features of the cinema adaptation is that the new resident of the haunted cottage was hardly ruffled at all by the presence of a ghost — its former owner, a retired sea captain. I was intrigued by the notion of how a story might play out if the new tenant were a MALE and he didn’t even believe spooks really existed.

From there, my novel basically took a life of its own. I re-purposed almost all the names (of people and places) from the movie but I tossed them around quite a bit. For example, I gave the name of the movie’s Gull Cottage to the high school principal, who became Mrs. Gull. The heroine (and Muir’s other love interest) in my novel was named Lucy (after the film’s heroine) Tierney (after the name of the actress who played Lucy).

It was a lot of fun to fit in most of the repeated names of the movie… and I’ve always told myself that anyone who’d seen the film as many times as I have will recognize almost all of my allusions.

In my tagline for the novel’s cover —  No self-respecting Southern girl takes second place to a spook — I wanted to tip off the reader that the ghostess who is haunting Levi Muir has some very human competition. Nothing like a love triangle where one of the participants is a 100-year old ghost!


Despite not believing in spirits, it takes only one haunting for Levi Muir to become entranced with the beautiful ghostess. But will his real-life girlfriend take second place to a spook?


Don’t you love my beautiful cover by Amanda Matthews?


Though he doesn’t even believe in spirits, it takes only one haunting for Levi Muir to become entranced with the beautiful ghostess.

A young veteran recovering from a wrecked relationship, Muir moves to Magnolia for his first year teaching high school English and resides in the renovated old hotel, which everyone knows is haunted.

Despite his skepticism, Muir senses a presence, then smells a unique perfume. Later, he locates an old portrait of beautiful Danielle Gregg, who lived in that suite a century ago, but experienced a tragic death.

His lovely new colleague, Lucy – science teacher and dedicated Spirit-Chaser – tries to convince Muir that the supernatural is real… and not to be taken lightly. Though Muir has been attracted to Lucy since the first day he spotted her, something begins to jam his thoughts whenever she enters his mind.

Intrigued by the beauty and sensuality of the mysterious woman in the portrait, Muir tries to learn more about the ghostess and her untimely demise. Though still skeptical of ghosts and hauntings, Muir can’t shake the feeling there could be more to Danielle’s mysterious 1914 death than the locals believe.

The more Muir encounters the lovely ghostess, the stronger his desire for even more contact! But Lucy’s willing to fight for Levi’s heart, because no self-respecting Southern girl takes second place to a spook.

Amazon Buy Link:


What about YOU? Have you ever experienced a haunting? Or something you thought MIGHT be a spook?

[JLS # 460]

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Movie Time

I like going to movies, don’t you?  For one thing the refreshments are better than what I have at home, and for another the movie just looks better on a big screen in a dark room. Since I’m a romance author I’ve seen lots or romantic movies. Can you guess the name of these movies? To make it harder most of the movies are older.

1.He was a paraplegic former Marine, and she lived on Pandora in the Alpha Centauri star system.

2.She called him Preppie, and his family disliked her, but nobody expected her to die of cancer.

3.They were both robots, but in this Pixar release they learned to overcome their model differences and find true love.

4.She was an Austrian governess who fell for her employer and helped the family escape the Nazis  during the beginning of World War II.

5.He gave his life for hers when their unsinkable ship sank in the bitter North Atlantic Ocean.

6.She didn’t realize he and his family were vampires until she had already given him her heart.

7.He was a troubled rich boy, and she’d had hard times too, but just when they got their lives together, disaster struck in 2001.

8.Julia Roberts played a hooker whose life was changed forever by one of her clients.

9.Her wedding in Greece didn’t happen, but her mother and father’s did.

10.She’s a mysterious stranger who arrives in a small North Carolina town and meets a local widower whose children like her.

You give up?  Here’s an answer key.


2.Love Story. This one is old, but if you like to cry buckets of tears just find a copy and watch it.

3.Wall E

4.The Sound of Music



7.Remember Me

8.Pretty Woman

9.Mama Mia

10.Safe Haven

What’s your favorite romantic movie?

Posted in Elaine Cantrell, movies, Uncategorized | 8 Comments