“Grandma’s Braids” Published as Guest Blog

My side trip into writing some short stories has once again shown to be worthwhile. My short story (603 words) Grandma’s Braids was published on Wednesday 1 Feb 2023. I got word last night. Hope you enjoy it.

Read more about the site here:

Meanwhile, work goes on with the Freelan Series and other WIPs.

Best wishes to you all on your endeavors!


A.C.’s Journal: Entry 16 – Entering a Writer’s Mind

Ever want to get inside another person’s mind? You can – no joke. This isn’t about psychic ability, extra sensory perception, or any other phenomena that saw a surge in popularity in the 1970s and continue to be widespread today. There are no gypsies here gazing into their crystal balls, no seer reading tarot cards or tossing magic crystals to get a secret message from the cosmos. No, this is a pure and simple fact and based on the idea that, just as you “are what you eat,” you are also what you write.

One of the top-selling authors in the world, Ayn Rand, said:

“Art is the selective re-creation of reality according to
an artist’s metaphysical value judgments.”

That just means that how you see the world is how you will write. It comes through, often without you even knowing it. So, that means that when someone reads what you’ve written, painted, drawn, choreographed, or otherwise put out into the world, that person is seeing inside your mind. This is especially true of authors. The better you write it out, the clearer the reader will see it. And that makes the editing process all the more precarious. Be sure you’re working with someone who can see your vision and understand it.

With all this in mind, I was a bit worried about showing hubby a short story I had written a year or two before he and I met. It was from a dark time in my life and clearly shows it. But all was fine. He read it and then hugged me. And I told him, “Thank goodness we met.”

Have a great holiday, all, and thanks for reading. I am putting together a page to display excerpts from the Freelan series of novels. There will also eventually be a page with excerpts for the other fiction works. Look for both in January of 2023.

Write for Yourself or the Market

These days, writers face a choice. Do we write for ourselves or for the market? Only you can answer that. And a factor in making that decision is your goal for your writing. Are you hoping to make a lot of money? Then you have to hope that what you write for yourself appeals also to that market or you have to write something for that market. Both can be rather tricky, and one can be fulfilling while the other can be frustrating.

Writing for Yourself

Not a good route if your purpose in writing is to make a living from it.

Even if you have a story idea that you love and is burning inside you and you are sure that it is absolutely, positively going to appeal to a large number of people, your book might not even get published (Harry Potter got turned down right and left).

Don’t let this stop you. Type it up. You’ll feel great relief, as I do, for having the story down on your computer, mobile device, or even scribbled on paper. As for others seeing it, be ready for a real uphill battle and little or no payback. You’ll be badgered into hiring an editor (see Types of Editing for Your Work of Fiction) before you can present it to one of the literary world gatekeepers (literary agents and traditional publishers) who, if they like it, will then badger you to make more changes until you won’t recognize what you wrote. And if you decide to go the self-publishing route, you will need to pay not just for editing, but a copyright, an ISBN, and a cover design. You will recoup these costs in about fifty years, if lucky, at least from what I have seen authors posting (one said his royalties for 2022 so far were $2.56).

Writing for the Market

This is going to take a lot of homework on your part. But it may pay off in the end.

Go to the library and ask the clerks there which books are checked out the most and what feedback if any they get from readers (at our local library a lot of newer books get returned with comments like “total garbage,” “unreadable,” “disgusting and filthy – every other word was an obscenity”). Check out sites that show what books are selling, go to the authors’ websites, and see if they have excerpts posted or go back to your local library to find those books. Bestsellers will usually be on their shelves. Check out literary agents and publisher sites to see the kind of things they are seeking (they usually just say the genre – so it’s better to actually read books that are being published and that are selling – see Publisher & Agent Fiction Genres Defined). Once you’ve done all that, come up with a smashingly good idea that is entirely your own, not a copy of anything you’ve read. Of course, there’s still no guarantee that your book will sell – or even be published.

What It Means to You

No matter which of the above you choose, if you’re a new writer, getting published and then selling is going to be tough. I say that not to be discouraging, but to give you a realistic idea of what you’re facing. Be ready. The fun part will be the writing. The rest will be sloggingly hard, dogged work.

For one thing, Amazon is the elephant in the room when it comes to selling books, and they have some cards stacked against newbie writers.

One writer said that Amazon promotes only things that are selling and has lots of positive reviews, which is totally backwards from what was done when I worked in marketing for a large retail company. The slow movers got the heaviest promotion (the fast movers practically sold themselves, so no need to make the effort). Amazon instead practically guarantees that new stuff is buried by requiring lots of positive reviews to get promoted. Be ready to spend lots of time trying to garner enough reviews to meet this criteria (and losing friends and alienating family in the process). You have two methods, as far as I can tell:

  1. practically begging people who have read your book to post a review
  2. giving away enough free copies to fill a library shelf in the hope that enough readers will post a review

Hopefully, in either case the review will be a positive one.

A writer said that when he offers free copies of his books, people download them and post nasty reviews that show they didn’t even read the book (possibly competing writers trying to sink his book). Adding insult to injury, many e-books are returned for a refund after being read.

Also be ready for libraries to reject your book (some will, others will accept it, but be persistent).

Bottom Line

Don’t let all this get you down. Just approach writing as a personal experience. Write for yourself. You’ll feel more satisfied and enjoy the process more. And frankly, if you get the book published, avoid the pressure being applied these days to give out free copies or severely limit the number of free copies to five or ten. We have to face it, the system has been set up for people to abuse, and they do.

Of course, the choice is all yours.

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!

Please check out my works in progress (WIPs). And thanks for reading.

Great News for Conservative Authors & Readers

As if things weren’t tough enough for us authors (I saw a post the other day that an author had gotten a rejection from the 256th literary agent she’s contacted within minutes of submitting to that agent), the political atmosphere has frozen out any of us who don’t write on a certain list of topics.

Our voices are sounding coarse and ill-mannered in their ears – downright deplorable! We have men who love women, women who love men, men who know they’re men, women who know they’re women, characters who carry guns and know how to use them, and more. Love of country is not considered a crime. And making a profit is applauded. Sure, we can self-publish, but we still need to get our books in front of readers who will want them.

Enter on the scene a new site dedicated to listing our literary achievements, serving as one-stop-shopping for your readers craving conservative fiction. And the site is aptly named:


Who’s Behind the Site

The site concept, in the design stages now, is the brainchild of Jamie K. Wilson, owner and editor of Conservatarian Press, which replaced the now defunct Liberty Island Press.

See more about Jamie here.

Interview with Tiffani Jones on Rumble

What the Site Will Be

In short, a searchable hub connecting authors and readers.

The site exists now but is just a holding place. It will be developed into a database where authors will be able to create an account and enter book information to give readers all the information they need to find the books in which they would be interested. Authors will also be able to post inexpensive advertisements or find industry professionals (artists, editors, etc.) who can help them create their next masterpieces.

Why the Site Is Needed

Big publishers have deals with booksellers to place their booked in prominent positions. They own most of the text space in publications like Publishers Weekly or the New York Time Review of books. Thousands of online outlets promote their books. Not yours.

How You Can Help

Make a donation. Jamie has a fundraiser on GiveSendGo. Her monetary goal is modest, and she’s over halfway there. You can submit a contribution or you can contact her at her website about sending a check (which is what I did recently).

Spread the word. Share this article or at least the link to the fundraiser on your social media accounts, blog, and website, and tell your friends.

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: I get no compensation for this post. I pass along this information for your benefit.

The Ceres Stratagem Added to Line-up

A line-up of the book series currently in progress got a bit of shaking up in the past few days. These things happen a lot in the world of literature. Our writing overtakes our planning, sometimes.

Originally, there was planned a romance novel. That novel turned into a trilogy, The Hammil Valley Saga which is now a series called The Freelan Novels. That series spawned a follow-up series, The Freelan Journals. And now, after reviewing the first book of that series, we have separated it out “from the herd,” as the expression goes, to be part of the series but yet standing alone as a key step in the push for freedom.

The Ceres Stratagem is that first book. It covers Years 6 & 7 of Freelan, beginning as the first five tumultuous years of that new nation ended and life settled a little, or so many there thought. Those years were the Great Transition from a life where government intruded into every aspect of people’s existence to a life that was truly free. A warrior for freedom and one of the key people who had helped in that adjustment was a man who now calls himself the Scribe of Freelan. He has set himself the task of relaying to you the struggles and victories not only of Jim and Rose O’Connell and other residents of Hammil Valley but of all freedom-loving people against those who feared them and sought to re-institute control over them.

The novel is drafted and waiting for the review process to begin. Meanwhile, our efforts to publish the first three novels continue.

Please check out my WIPs. And thanks for reading.

Formatting Advice for Self-Publishing from a Successful Author

Dear readers:

I have had to remove this article, having discovered that the person I was quoting here is a bit – well, the best way to say it is unreliable. But irrational would be appropriate as well. My apologies for presenting such information.

I will be scouting for more accurate tips on self-publishing, to be presented on this site as found.

Don’t just write a great short story, poem, article, or novel. Get it published. In these days of self-publishing, that’s easier than ever as long as you start with a properly formatted manuscript. And don’t forget to edit, edit, edit!

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!

Please check out my WIPs. And thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: I get no compensation for links in this post or on my site to other sites and/or products.

Thoughts on Finding Readers

Authors need readers, but finding them can be a real slog through the mire.

If you are like me, your most enjoyable moments are when you are writing. Sooner or later, though, you have to start looking into getting your work published, at which time you enter a world full of hazards, roadblocks, struggle, disappointment, and heartache as your wonderful words get one rejection after another from literary agents and publishers. Have no fear, self-publishing is here. But it is not the easy road many think. Sure, you can get your short story, novel, etc., published, but what then? The phrase “laying a goose egg” – as in no one reads it, let alone buys it – comes to mind.

Soon, you find yourself not doing that enjoyable writing but spending every waking moment trying to get your wonderful work seen by more than a small group of people following you on social media or your website. It can be disheartening. And it is certainly a phase of this whole author process that I am dreading.

It can be done, and one who is doing it is romance author Ruth Ann Nordin.

From Author Ruth Ann Nordin

In the course of discussing some issues with WordPress, Ruth and I got into an exchange on attracting readers. She had some good advice, which she has agreed to let me share with you here:

Whether you self-publish or go the traditional route, finding readers will be a challenge. That’s why I will go out on a limb and try something different once in a while. I have no idea how posting audiobooks on Rumble, etc will do, but it’s something I enjoy doing, so why not? I’ve wasted my time on worse things like the YA fiction that languishes under my pen name. I didn’t even get a 1099 because I didn’t hit the $10 threshold. No one likes that stuff. I’m not sure if posting those on Rumble will do any good, but they’re short and easy enough to practice making audiobooks with, so why not?

Sometimes I stumble across something that works, but most of the marketing stuff doesn’t. MeWe is pretty much a bust for me. I had a good following on Facebook but left it because of the censorship. I’m not sure if I shot myself in the foot on that one or not. MeWe doesn’t seem to be a place where many readers interact with authors. Facebook has an advantage over MeWe in that regard. Most of my readers are there. A few followed me to MeWe, but only one ever interacts directly with me on a consistent basis, and that’s mostly in chat where we talk about things other than books. It’s hard to convince anyone to go to MeWe.

As for self-publishing versus going the more traditional route (or trying to), Ruth had this to say:

It was easier to gain momentum back in 2010-2013 when the e-reader was just taking off. That was when self-publishing was a dirty word, and only those who had “no talent” picked that route. I had quite a few authors try to talk me off the ledge, and the Romance Writers of America refused to acknowledge my books are [sic] being legitimate books. The reason I picked self-publishing was because the couple of books I submitted told me the hero and heroine needed way more angst between them rather than the external obstacles I kept writing into the plot. Romance in traditional publishing is very narrow in view. No wonder so many of the plots sounded the same to me. I just figured the authors of those books liked telling the same stories over and over. Self-publishing has changed things for the better in that genre, in my personal opinion. Anyway, no one was more surprised than I was when I started making money at it. I thought I had guaranteed that no one would ever read my books when I chose the self-publishing route. I get the desire to see your book published. That was my big motivator, too. I’ve never regretted writing a book I was passionate about.

As for audiobooks, which she mentioned above, she added this:

My goal is to use Rumble, Bitchute, and You Tube for the audiobooks. I have a couple of audiobooks up, and I just got one done with me as narrator, but I want to have more experience under my belt before I put more up on retailers. These video sites should help me achieve that goal while marketing my stuff to the world. I don’t expect a lot of money from the efforts. I’m looking more for visibility and a hope that people will recommend me to others they know who might be into ebooks. Ebooks is my main bread and butter. Mostly, though, I’m doing it because I’m having fun with it. No way would I go through all of this work and hassle if I didn’t enjoy this. Life is too short. LOL

I did go to Vimeo, but it looks like they want you to pay each month if you’re going to upload over a certain file size. 500MB, I think is their free limit. I decided to forgo that route.

Hear her books here.

Final Thoughts

If you can find someone to promote your book for you after you self-publish, that will leave you free to continue writing. I have found a number of such services, mostly on Twitter. Otherwise, be ready to spend effort on trying to attract readers. Ruth’s site is a great example. The overall look and feel fits her writing. It is also clean and easy to navigate.

Even if you use a traditional publisher, unless you are already fairly well-known, you will need to be ready to spend a lot of your time on social media or other venues promoting your book.

Of course, a good book cover helps as does professional editing. Traditional publishers have people on staff, but if you self-publish, you will need to find designers and editors on your own. If they help your book attract readers, they will be worth the cost.

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!

Please check out my WIPs. And thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: I get no compensation for links in this post or on my site to other sites and/or products.