Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows - A Collection of Short Stories and Poems

"Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows" is a collection of short stories and poems touching on issues that all may face at one time or another, from lost love to life changing crossroads to moments of pure joy.

Writing "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows" was an emotional rollar coaster ride, as I laughed and cried right along with the people in my stories and poems. Life is like that, sometimes sad and sometimes happy. I can't help but think that if we didn't have those sad times we'd never truly appreciate the happy times.

So that was my inspiration for writing this book. It was a labor of love into which I poured my whole heart and soul. Even the saddest of these stories has a happy ending, the gray cloud with a silver lining, the treasure at the end of the rainbow.

Life may put obstacles in our path now and then, but then it offers us many sparkling moments to embrace and treasure. I like to think that's what you'll experience in reading "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows."

Buy "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows" at Amazon.com and/or read a free excerpt:  BUY or READ

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fiction vs. Reality

It has come to my attention recently that some people who read fiction are expecting reality. Now I have to ponder that a moment. I have never considered reality as a definition of fiction. So maybe it's time to check with Webster's.

Webster's says of fiction: "to shape, fashion, feign," "something invented by the imagination or feigned," "an invented story," "fictitious literature (as novels or short stories)," "an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth," "a useful illusion or pretense," "the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination."

Well, I think that pretty much covers the definition of fiction. Now what about reality?

Webster's says of reality: "the quality or state of being real," "a real event, entity, or state of affairs," "the totality of real things and events."

So this is what I think/believe. Fiction is not meant to be reality. Fiction may be close to reality, a kind of embellishment of reality, it may even mimic some of reality. Some fiction touches on the darker side of reality, or the sadness and turmoil of reality. Other fiction is imagination, make-believe, fantasy, escapism, romanticism, I could go on and on. Basically, fiction is a story. It may contain bits and pieces that are close to reality, but it is still a story.

For those readers who demand that fiction be reality, perhaps they should read non-fiction instead? Or perhaps they should be more selective of what they read? Some fiction is closer to reality than others. Mainsteam and literary fiction is definitely closer to reality than say, paranormal fiction, sci-fi or fantasy.

I write fiction, because that's what I enjoy writing. I don't claim that my stories are "true stories," though you may find some truths in what I write. That is true of most authors of fiction.

When I sit down to read a piece of fiction, I'm looking for a story I enjoy reading. I want to hear an interesting voice telling an interesting story. It may be contemporary, historical, fantasy, suspense, but I want it to be a story that catches me.

I read a lot of books of all kinds. I don't stick to one genre or another. I like to be surprised when I read. I'm not talking about a bunch of action or surprise endings. I'm talking about a new way of viewing things in general, or a new view of an old story, or just a darn good read.

I'm usually reading because I want to escape. If I want reality, all I have to do is turn on the TV and listen to the news. That's about as much reality as I care to deal with, thank you very much. In reality, the ordinary girl doesn't always get to marry the prince. In reality, the prince doesn't always win the girl.

I like feel-good stories when I want to feel good.  I like scary stories when I want to be scared, which I have to say isn't all that often. I like to read about the good guys winning over the bad guys. I like my characters to find the love of their life and to have a fairytale ending. This is just me. Others read for other reasons.

It's just, as far as I'm concerned, if you're wanting to read reality, you probably won't find what you're looking for in fiction.

Since all of us have a different definition of fiction, I'd love to hear yours.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows" - Now Available at Amazon.com

My latest book, "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows," was just ePubbed yesterday on 11/11/11. What a cool date to get published.

This is a collection of eight short stories and eight poems that touch on issues that all may face at one time or another, from lost love to life changing decisions to moments of pure happiness.

I enjoyed writing this book and hope you will enjoy reading it.

Here's a link to "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows," available now at Amazon.com for only $1.99.  BUY NOW

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Sneak Peek at "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows"

Here is a sneak peek at the cover for my latest ebook, "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows." I love how it turned out. My husband, Ben Heyer, did another great job in designing this cover. There is a big advantage having such a talented husband.

"Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows" is a collection of short stories and poems about life, love and other important issues. It should be available on Amazaon by mid-November.

I was originally aiming for a November 1st ePub of my book, only I was sick for all of last week, which delayed the launch. I'm really excited about this collection. It's more mainstream fiction with only a touch of romance.

Some of the short stories in this collection are: "Harry's Garden," "Checking Out," "A Kiss is Just a Kiss"  and "The Night of the UFO." I hope that gives you a tiny hint at what's inside.

Some of the poems in the collection are: "Bayou Blues," "Cartwheels," "Sweet Lips of Time" and "In a Cafe."

I'll let you know the minute "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows" is available online at Amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learning to be an Indie Author - Part 1

Some things in life are more difficult than others. Learning to be an Indie Author is one of the more difficult ones. I love to write and have been doing so almost as long as I can remember. But translating that into ePubbed books is a long process of trial and error, learning all along the way. This is definitely not something for the faint of heart.

First off, you need a book: a short story, novella or novel. Then you have to edit until you don't want to ever see it again as long as you live. And then you have to edit some more. It helps to have other eyes look at it too. But in this busy world, it's not always easy to find someone who will go through your book with a fine tooth comb. At best, a friend or family member will read the story and let you know what they would have done if it was their book. Not sure if this is really helpful.

I've heard authors say they bribe their friends to read and edit. Oh, yeah? And just where did you find those wonderful friends? I don't know anyone who has the time to carefully read and edit a novel, let alone a short story.

Even when I belonged to writers' groups, they only edited anywhere from the first three pages or, if lucky, the first chapter. No one edited a whole book for someone else, not even when I was a member of the Cactus Rose Chapter of RWA. I still have all those old edits on partials that I boxed up years ago. Gee, I really loved the comments like, "I wouldn't put a kid in the story if I was writing it." Well, if I took the "kid" out, it wouldn't be the same story. Sheesh! Or how about, "A four year old wouldn't talk that way, she'd talk baby talk." Huh? My two and a half year old twin granddaughters don't even talk "baby talk." They talk in full sentences and the words are very clear. So edits like that don't help a writer at all. Those kind of edits/comments are just someone else's opinion and nothing else.

For instance, my husband wrote a sci-fi story that was edited by a writers' group. One of the edits was, "Your premise is all wrong." So what are you supposed to do? Throw out the whole story? Another writer said, "I loved your story." So do you keep the story? Or throw it out? Or completely rewrite the thing?

Having friends/family members edit could cause life-long resentments between said parties. I'd hate to lose a good friend over some stupid comments made about my story, novella, novel. Of course, I have some great friends who, for some perverse reason, happen to like what I write.

So now we come to the aspect of having a stranger edit your book. There's the major problem that Indie Authors are usually pretty poor and can't afford to pay a few hundred dollars to have someone edit their books. Yes, there are "starving writers" out there, just like there are "starving artists." Several hundred dollars per book for edits just isn't in my budget right now. This is where I apologize to my readers. I can't afford an independent editor.

There are some advantages though. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English. That has to count for something. I know how to edit and have edited other peoples' writing, so I should be qualified to edit my own. Plus, I did technical writing for years. I mean, I was actually paid to write. So that should count for something. So I can and do edit my own work. It doesn't mean I'll catch everything, but I do the best I can.

Now we're back to square one about learning to be an Indie Author. You've written your book and edited the heck out of it. Now you have to make sure it's formatted correctly. So you go over and over it with another fine tooth comb to correct any formatting problems. You and Word have become close friends and adversaries at the same time.  You learn to plead with Word and praise it and, at the same time, curse it's quirks. But eventually you get the formatting right too.

Now, you have to learn how to ePub on Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords and if you're really daring, on other sites. The first few times is often trial and error. What's a vetter error? You'd better read the Smashwords Style Guide. KDP has it's own quirks too, so you have to read the Kindle Direct Publishing Style Guide too. In fact, you start reading style guides and how-to-ePub books like they're going out of style. You learn some things, but mostly just get confused. Eventually, you just jump in there and ePub your first book.

You think the second book will be easier to ePub, but you're wrong. By the time the second book is ready to ePub, you've forgotten everything you learned the first time around. The third book isn't much easier. I'm told that eventually it all starts to click in your "old brain" and it gets easier. I'm still waiting for that moment.

Before I forget, Indie Authors need to learn about book covers. Remember all those gorgeous book covers that you've taken for granted for years? Well, now you have to create one of your own. If you have an enterprising, talented (though very stubborn) husband like I have, then you're halfway to a good cover. I must say some interesting arguments (fights?) can occur over book cover design. In the end, if you're lucky (and still married) you have a great book cover. Then you have to figure out how to add the cover to your formatted book. Nope, nothing is easy in the early learning process, but it has to improve somewhere down the line. Doesn't it?

I'm realizing now that this post is a really long one. So I'm breaking it into parts in order to get Part 1 out there. Part 2 will be posted soon. Thanks for your patience. Oh, did I forget to mention that patience is one of the most important parts of being an Indie Author? Well, I'll get into that later.

(NOTE - Please forgive me for any errors in this post. I don't have time to do a fine-tooth-comb edit of this post. I just wanted to get this info/advice out there for anyone thinking about becoming an Indie Author. I don't intend to discourage anyone. My intent is purely to let you know that it's not easy. Read all you can about ePubbing and it will help you along the way. I would spend more time on this post, only I have my next ebook, Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows, which is running behind schedule. I intended to make the book available online today. Only I was sick for the last week and lost all that time. So please forgive me for the delay. Bayou Blues... will be available in the next week or so. Thank you for being patient. Please check back over the next few days to read more posts about "Learning to be an Indie Author.")