Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Indie Publishing Adventure Continues: Five Year Anniversary!!!


Wow. This month marks my five year anniversary as an Indie Author. It's hard to believe I've been self-publishing for that long. Five years. Half a decade. Just wow.

I've been rereading my past anniversary blogposts, smiling at the newbie enthusiasm, the milestones, the writerly moments; commiserating with the bad reviews, the not-so-happy downslides of sales and royalties. It's been a roller-coaster ride, that's for sure.

My sister calls the epublishing revolution: The Ebook Miracle. For years, she watched me submit manuscript after manuscript to editors and agents, only to receive rejections again and again. She said something to the effect: "If they're rejecting Anne Marie's books, there's no use for me to even try."

A sisterly compliment and tribute of the highest kind.  :)

Then in 2010, I got fed up with the whole traditional publishing/ small press routine, and that's when I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing. At long last, there was a way to publish my stories directly to readers. They would decide if my books were good enough. They were the gatekeepers, as they should have been all along. I no longer had to submit and beg for a crumb of attention or validation to this or that editor in New York City.

Readers buying and reading my books, propelling me onto the bestseller lists on Amazon, B&N and Apple gave me all the validation I needed.

And BOOM!!! The Ebook Miracle began.

I've been very lucky and blessed that my stories have found a readership. My sister is now writing and publishing, and she's also found a loyal and dedicated readership.

An Ebook Miracle for both of us indeed.

Rereading those past anniversary blogposts, I'm sad to find I no longer have that newbie enthusiasm. But after five years in this business, I'm a seasoned player. My enthusiasm waxes and wanes very much in sync with the roller-coaster ride of ups and downs that predominates Indie Publishing. As I've said before, it's not for the faint of heart.

This anniversary slipped quietly by with no fan-fare or big celebration. Looking back over the year, thinking I hadn't really accomplish that much, I was happily surprised to discover that I have published two novels, three short stories and one boxed set. Not bad by anyone's standards. Plus, I hosted my two annual BIAM Writathons. And the year's not over by a long shot.

When I'm feeling a little down, I remind myself that the Ebook Miracle makes it possible for me to live my dream: I write my books, I get to share my stories with readers, and I'm able to make a little dab of money from doing what I love. What could be better than that?

Happy Writing!!! Happy Reading!!! Happy Publishing!!!

Anne Marie  :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ruth's Texas Hot Cocoa Cake


I thought I'd share the recipe for Ruth McCade's, the Diamondback Ranch matriarch's, famous Texas Hot Cocoa Cake. It's the most delicious, most decadent, most luscious chocolate cake you'll ever put in your mouth. In real life, my Grandmother Ruth Reeves made this for us every time we visited the farm in West Texas.  

Go ahead!  Indulge yourself!!!

Texas Hot Cocoa Cake

1 stick oleo or butter
½ c. shortening
1 c. water

Mix these in a small pot and bring to a boil.

¼ c. sour cream
¼ c. milk
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix these together and let sit.

2 c. flour, 2 c. sugar, 4 heaping T. cocoa, pinch of salt.

Mix these in a mixing bowl.  Pour hot liquid over and mix.
Add 2 beaten eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla and milk mixture, beat
all until smooth.  Pour onto a greased 18X12 cookie sheet.
Bake 20 minutes at 375 F.  Or until toothpick comes out
almost clean.

Hot Cocoa Icing

1 stick oleo or butter
4 heaping T. cocoa
6 T milk

Melt these in a sauce pan; do not boil.

1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Combine these with the hot liquid
and beat until smooth; pour hot icing
over hot cake.

Enjoy!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Twenty Classic Romance Plots, and How to Use Them


Readers are always looking for stories that are “fresh” and “different,” and writers are always striving to fulfill these demands.

First and foremost, an author’s voice and writing style make his/her stories unique. Second, there are many classic romance plots that appear again and again in popular commercial fiction.  

Writers often combine two or more of these plots and tweak them to create refreshingly different kinds of romance stories.
 

Here are twenty of the classics in no particular order:
 
1. Secret Baby
2. Cinderella (rags to riches)
3. Opposites Attract
4. Bodyguard
5. Second chance/Love rekindled (they were once a couple)
6. Reunion (they knew one another, but were not “together”)
7. Stranded (forced proximity)
8. Love Triangle
9. Marriage of Convenience (mail-order bride)
10. Beauty and the Beast
11. Sleeping Beauty/Ugly duckling
12. Amnesia
13. Fish out of water
14. Blackmail/Revenge
15. Forbidden love
16. Mentor/protégé (boss/employee)
17. Princess/Pauper; King/Beggar maid
18. Bad boy/good girl; Bad girl/good boy
19. Best Friends
20. The Road to Adventure



In HER RELUCTANT RANCHER, I combined Opposites Attract, King/Beggar Maid, and Boss/employee.  In TALL DARK AND TEXAN, I combined Bad boy/good girl, Reunion, and Secret Baby with a twist—the “baby” is fifteen years old.

The combinations of the Classic Plots are countless into infinity.  Utilize them to create your own refreshingly different romance stories and your readers will love them.

Happy Reading and Writing!!!

Anne Marie   :)