5 Things You Should Never Say to an Indie Author

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This post re-blogged from Sarahbeth Caplin, author.

This post can apply to a variety of people, not just authors. Some of it also applies to traditionally-published authors. Bottom line: ignorance of the publishing industry is a daily reality that drives us crazy at best, and makes us wonder why we bother writing at worst.

5 things you should never say to an indie author:

When are you REALLY going to get published?

Somehow, despite the fact that my book is available on a number of online retail sellers – most notably, Amazon and Barnes & Noble – some people are still under the impression that no agent = not ‘really’ published. If someone’s books are available for purchase and they earn a royalty for each, guess what: that means it’s been published!

On that note…

How much do you make?

This is a rude question to ask anyone, period. If you mean to ask how much royalty I earn, the answer would be 70%. But as for my monthly earnings? Yearly? That’s none of your business.

How’s the writing hobby going?

Any allusion to writing as anything but a career, be it a hobby, a past-time, or something that’s ‘just for fun’ is offensive. It takes time for an author to build a solid platform and readership. We’re working our butts off to try and stand out among the thousands of other authors who churn out a new book every few weeks or so. According to one source, that comes to roughly 10,000 self-published books per year. You may think we’re crazy (and we probably are), but please respect our dedication to what we do.

Why don’t you just get an agent?

There’s no such thing as ‘just’ getting an agent; it’s a lot more complex than that. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of querying someday, but I’m enjoying being my own boss for the time being.

Why don’t you get a real job?

As previously mentioned, building a platform is one of the hardest parts about being a writer: in my opinion, it’s harder than writing the book itself. Very few people enjoy overnight success. Since I’m in this for the long haul, I expect it will take years before I can expect my books to pay the bills. But there’s nothing else in life I’d rather do, so I’m willing to accept disappointments and failures along the way to achieving my goals. There is no shortcut to anything worth doing.

But here are some things you can do to help your favorite indie authors…

helpanindie

Discovery Time

I did laundry today. I had been given a new dress (new to me) with bright hues of green, blue, turquoise, and just a hint of pale chartreuse. I washed the dress with matching jacket separately, in a sink, in cold water. As expected, the colors bled. No problem since I washed it separately, right? Except I hang my clothes outside (when the weather is beautiful like today).

The dress was put in the laundry cart first, followed by the rest of the clothes. It didn’t occur to me that the colors would continue to bleed as long as the dress was wet. On top of the dress were a cream colored dress shirt (my husband’s–a Van Hussen bought on sale last year) and his white sweat shirt. They had tinges of turqoise all over them. Oh, no! How can I get rid of that blue tint on these clothes?

Praise the Lord for whoever invented Color Grabber sheets. I put the two shirts in a sink full of cold water and several Color Grabber sheets. When the water turned blue I drained the water out, threw those Color Grabber sheets away, and put fresh cold water in the sink. I sprayed the blue areas on the shirts with Oxyclean laundry booster and put the sweatshirt back in the sink by itself. I placed the color sheets on top of the blue areas and held them there for a couple of minutes. Then I walked away and let them soak for about an hour. Guess what? No more blue except for an ink stain I hadn’t noticed before.

I repeated that process with the cream colored shirt. There is still a light tinge of blue on the under side of one sleeve. I’m hoping that when it’s dry the blue won’t be noticable.

Yea, Color Grabber!

The Peace River Chronicles Book III Chapter 1

The Peace River Chronicles

Book III Chapter One

by Aleta Kay

Kayla

I live along the Peace River in Arcadia, Florida. Television and real estate ads make river front property sound like paradise. Let me tell you about Paradise.

The dark caramel colored water is infested with gators, catfish, and floating debris from dead plant life and rubbish that morons throw into the water. The banks are dotted with campgrounds and canoe rentals. And get this: my folks named our place “A Peace of Paradise.” Get it? Yeah, right!

My name is Kayla. I’m fourteen and the oldest of three kids. My two brothers, Kyle and Kevin (my mom likes names that start with K) are ten and seven respectively. My brothers are okay as far as little boys go, but Kevin can be a brat. Mom and Sabello think he’s adorable–when they aren’t drinking and fighting. Then all kids are brats.

Like most people on the river, we have canoes, two to be exact. Our property is posted. One sign bears the name of the property; the second says it’s posted; the last one says we have a big mean dog named Grinder and warns trespassers to be careful. Grinder is actually a runt-of-the-litter Jack Russell who hates us more than any stranger he ever saw. On my part the feeling is mutual.

One of these days I’m going to get in one of those canoes and never look back.

Jimmy

It was a balmy summer day. The gnats and mosquitoes were biting more than the fish. The bug repellent my mom gave us wasn’t doing anything. Dad and I had been lazily moving along the river, looking for places where the fish were biting. We were sitting in our rented canoe in the fourth or fifth place we stopped. This was a good spot. The fish were definitely hungry.

I had just reeled in my fish when I heard yelling on the opposite bank. To my surprise, when I looked over there, a young girl about my age was sitting on a wooden glider swing in a yard about ten feet above the water level. There was no sign of the dog mentioned on the sign, or of the people who were apparently near to murdering each other. But there were two canoes moored beneath the bank where the girl sat.

My attention was riveted on the girl. She wasn’t especially beautiful, just an average pretty, but her facial expression was that of a frightened, wounded puppy. She sat on the glider with her face cupped in her hands, elbows propped on her knees. I guessed it was the brawling of her parents I heard in the background.

She glanced up at me, then quickly looked away. The pain in her eyes stunned me. I knew kids at school who were always in trouble. They always looked angry and defiant, even the girls. Never before had I seen such stark wretchedness. I began to silently pray for her.

My dad pulled in another fish and declared we had enough for supper. That last catch gave us a dozen cat which Mom would cook to perfection along with home fries and a required vegetable salad (yuck).

I tried to forget about that girl but I couldn’t get that lost look out of my mind. As we were sitting around the campfire later Dad must have said something to me I didn’t hear. My sixteen-year-old brother, Marty, started laughing at me.

“Okay, Jimmy, give,” he said. “How’d you manage to meet a girl while you were fishing?”

“I didn’t.”

“Whatever you say, bro.”

Dad cut in, ‘Don’t go chasing any local girls, son. We won’t be here that long.”

How did parents just seem to know what was going on in a guy’s head? I went to bed but I still kept seeing her face. Sleep didn’t come easy that night.

Kayla, ten days later

Mom and Sabello were at it again. Kyle and Kevin ran into the woods to hide. Our dog, Grinder must have lunged at Sabello and grabbed the hand that held the knife. I heard the thud as he hit the floor and heard the subsequent whimpering.

I ran from my room when I heard the mutt hit the floor and raced into the kitchen in time to see Mom pick him up. At the same instant Sabello shoved Mom against the back door, sending her down the cement steps. The force of the fall released Grinder from Mom’s grip and sent him flying through the air. He hit a tree and died instantly. Blood was oozing from the back of Mom’s head.

I tackled Sabello like a linebacker, knocking the wind out of him. He lay in the floor, momentarily stunned. I grabbed the cell phone, dialing 9-1-1 as I ran for the door to help Mom.

Sabello got up and shook his black shaggy head as if to clear it. Running after me, he grabbed my hair from behind and jerked me back. I grabbed a knife from the butcher block on the table. Swinging my arm up and behind me, not being able to see where the knife would go, it sliced Sabello’s left cheek. He released his grip, toppling both of us backward. I landed on Sabello’s chest, jumped up and ran to my mom.

Her breathing was labored. How long before the ambulance gets here? I wondered. Fear gripped me. My chest was being battered by my heart. The arteries in my neck pounded. Was Sabello dead? Probably not; I dismissed the thought. He was too mean to die. What would happen to me and my brothers if Mom died? What would happen to all of us if Sabello went to jail where he belonged?

Panic set in as the sirens approached. They were coming to take my Mom away, and maybe Sabello too. I saw the ambulance round the corner with two police cars following close behind.

Jimmy

Jimmy was at his school’s third baseball practice of the season. The best hitter on their team, Matt, was up to bat. The pitcher was eyeing Matt, trying to decide which pitch to throw when Jimmy bowed his head. The urgency to pray for the nameless girl on the Peace River was great. He didn’t know what was happening but he knew the Holy Spirit was pressing on him to pray fervently right now. Dear God, thank you that you are such a great and mighty God. Thank you for being an all-knowing, loving God, who has a plan for each life you’ve created. Father, I know you have plans for that girl and her family, too. Please help them through whatever crisis is at hand, and Father, please draw them into a relationship with you. Lead them and guide them to that place where they can find you. Thank you for listening, Lord. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Kayla

I wanted to ride in the ambulance with Mom but not knowing where my brothers were, I  couldn’t leave them alone. I gave the paramedics all of Mom’s medical history as far as I knew. Then I gave them the cell phone number.

Meanwhile the police were questioning Sabello. First he said it was just a little misunderstanding. The police weren’t buying that judging by the condition of Mom and the house. I heard the exchange between Sabello and the cops and broke in.

“I’ll tell you what happened. Mom and Sabello were drinking. They always fight when they drink. This fight was much worse than normal. Sabello…”

“Who is Sabello,” the officer asked.

“Our new ‘dad,’ I said. “Anyway, he was accusing Mom of cheating on him and Mom was accusing him of doing the same. Sabello got madder. I was in my room so I didn’t see everything that happened but I can tell you that our dog attacked him and he stabbed the dog. I heard the dog hit the floor and came out of my room. My mom was picking him up and that jerk threw her out the door. That’s when she hit her head. I attacked the creep for hurting my mom. I really didn’t care much about that mean old dog. Sabello grabbed me by the back of my hair. I grabbed a knife to protect myself and managed to cut his face. That’s it.”

“Looks like he might need stitches,” Officer Davis said as he wrote it all down. He shrugged his shoulders and handcuffed Sabello, then put him in the police cruiser. I said I had two younger brothers and needed to stay home. When the officer asked where they were I said they were probably hiding in the woods. He said something about sending Family Services out to take us until Mom got out of the hospital. No way was I going to let that happen! I could take care of us that long. It couldn’t be more than a couple of days, right?

As the ambulance and police left the boys came out of hiding. Kyle was bravely saying he’d be the man of the house until dad got back. Kevin sniffed and said, “You’re only ten; you can’t be a man yet.”

They ran to the back door where I sat on the stoop. Kevin’s face was streaked with dirty tears and smudges where he had wiped them away. He was still sniffing and hiccupping when he spoke. “Kayla, where are they taking Mom? When will she be back? Is Dad coming back tonight?”

I hugged my youngest brother and rubbed his back. “I don’t know, honey. Mom is going to the hospital. Dad is going to jail. I hope they keep him there a long time. I don’t think I ever want him to come home.”

“Don’t say that!” Kyle yelled at her. “He isn’t always mean. He just needs to stop drinking. Anyway, where’s Grinder?”

I swallowed hard and set my jaw, looking at the ground. I knew Kyle loved that hateful old dog. “Better go get the shovel out of the shed. Grinder’s over by that tree at the edge of the yard.”

Both boys looked and broke into a run. Kyle began to sob. “He was my dog! My dog! Who did this to him? Kayla, what did you do? I know you didn’t …”

I interrupted him. “I didn’t do anything to that dog. I’m guessing he lunged at your dad to protect Mom and Sabello cut him. I heard Grinder hit the floor and came out in time to see Mom pick him up. That’s when Dad went after Mom and threw her out the door. I hope he never gets out of jail! If he does, I’m leaving.”

“No! Kayla, you can’t leave me here,” Kevin wailed.

“Don’t be a baby, Kevin,” Kyle said. But he was choking back sobs himself as he headed toward the shed to get the shovel. I heard him mumble something about killing that old man the same way his dad had killed the dog.

Family Services did come out and I was desperate to convince them that I could take care of my brothers. I figured they’d come so I cleaned the house real good, especially the kitchen where the fight had taken place. I made the boys wash their hands and faces and put on decent clothes. (They whined the whole time and called me a bossy old big sister.) I didn’t care what they called me; I didn’t want those people thinking we were useless trailer trash, and I sure didn’t want us split up into foster homes. I knew what those places were like from some of the kids at school. Besides, I had my own previous experience with foster care. Mom’s second husband was no prize either.

©2012 by Aleta Kay. All rights reserved. No portion of this manuscript may be copied in any form for any reason, without express written permission from the author

Recipes

Recently someone posted a recipe for a scalloped potato/pork chop bake. Really easy recipe that sounded really awesome. I copied it but it disappeared. Could that person please reblog? Thanks. My daughter wants a copy too. I need it for church supper this Sunday.

God Doesn’t Hate Women

I have heard so many women say that God hates women, and that’s why women need to take leadership roles in churches, in their communities, government, etc. These women feel downtrodden, inferior, undervalued, and degraded.

I don’t know what Bible they are reading, but my KJV Bible shows God’s love of women. It tells men to love their husbands the same way Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. It says men are to be gentle to their wives and protect them from harm. It says a man is to cherish his wife.

It does say that women are to be silent in church. This is because, as stated in Scripture, that in the days of Christ and before, women and men were not allowed to sit together in church (or temple, or tabernacle), and they would holler out questions to their husbands to get an expanation of the passage being read. Today, we sit together. It is still better for everyone around us if we wait until after church to ask questions. It’s rude to disturb others. Write the question down and ask about it later.

Scripture does emphatically state that a woman is not to teach, nor to usurp authority, over a man. It also gives the reason: because Eve was deceived–she listened to the serpent. She thought she was being logical and wise but she got herself and her husband kicked out of the garden. Adam sinned on purpose. Eve was duped. Because women, in general, are inclined to listen to everything that sounds like reason, but led by our emotions, we are to follow our husband’s lead. How we treat each other in our marriages is a picture of our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Scripture teaches that God will hold the man, as head of the household, accountable for the actions, attitudes, and welfare of his family. That’s God’s protection.

When we, as women, follow God’s rules and guidelines, it frees us from the responsibility, causes our husbands to value us more (see Proverbs 31), creates more peace and harmony in our homes, and teaches our children by example, how to have a happy marriage when they grow up. It keeps us in a right relationship with God, knowing that His guidelines and principles are there for our best and His glory. I feel so free, so loved, so valued, and so cherished, not just by my husband, but by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. I don’t have to push myself forward. I don’t have to elevate myself. When I stopped trying to be the one in charge and have everything my way; when I finally decided to do things God’s way, the chains that had me bound to strife and trying to be the feminist the world says I should be, I discovered true freedom, peace, happiness, joy, love. What else could I possibly want?

P.S. I’m not a doormat. I still get to voice my opinion, thoughts, feelings, etc. My husband and I are a partnership. We cooperate with each other and with God (or we try to). In the end I let him make the final decisions because he’s the one who has to answer to God in the end for our family. I trust him completely. Most of the time he’s right. Also, most of the time we agree.

Edible Water Tubers

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I saw the Hunger Games movies (the first two) and read all three books. I wondered if there really was an edible tuber called Katniss. Guess what? There is. You can learn about this plant: what it looks like and how to grow it at this link: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/water-plants/katniss/growing-katniss-plant.htm

Other edible tubers including many that grow in or around water can be found at:

http://www.breadandrosesgardens.com/native-edibles.html.

I don’t live in a place where I can grow anything, but as we travel around, if some of you who have the property with which to grow them will keep in touch, you can share your recipes with me, and perhaps invite us (just my husband and myself) dinner and we can try them out. We love meeting new people. Depending on where we are staying, we may be able to reciprocate the invitation.

If you have tried any of these let me know. Of course I know about blueberries, mulberries, and artichokes (not the Jerusalem ones). Personally, I never met a berry I didn’t like.

Happy discovering and eating. God bless.

The Sad and Homely Man

He was a sad, homely man

With no redeeming physical features

The hungry, the sick, the lame, and handicapped,

All followed him to receive whatever he could give;

He fed the hungry, healed the sick, cured the lame

and infirm, and gave sanity to the insane.

He even raised the dead! All of his worldly

possessions were the clothes he wore, no place

even to lay his head, except when he visited friends.

The penalty for his goodness was a cat-o-nine-tails,

laid cruelly across his back thirty-nine times;

a crown of thorns thrust upon his head, a nail to

pierce each hand and his crossed feet; his beard

was plucked while he was blindfolded, spat upon,

and punched in the face; all done by hands he

had healed or fed. He was mocked and scorned

by those he had loved, as he hung there naked,

humiliated, and abandoned by his friends. His

final answer was not retribution; it was,

“Father, fogive them, for they don’t understand

what they are doing.”

What is your answer to Jesus?

What Does Relationship Mean To You?

Why are relationships difficult?

I believe it is because we see things from different perspectives and our words don’t always come out the way we intend. What we say and what the other person hears are often not the same. Maybe that’s why I write. I can see what I wrote, think about the message, and change it if it doesn’t come out right. When I speak the option to change my words isn’t there, at least not until after I have spoken.  My husband and I have been married forty three years and we still sometimes have problems communicating. Sometimes I feel as if I’m speaking a foreign language. That’s why it is so important to talk things out. Relationships are too valuable to throw away over misunderstanding.

My rule for myself: ALWAYS give the benefit of the doubt, and choose NOT to be offended. (Psalms 119:164)