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

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welcome to Pensacola Beach!

Welcome to Pensacola Beach! 
I happen to live just a couple miles away from one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Florida, Pensacola Beach. Imagine miles of sugar-white sand and turquoise waters, a bright summer sun, a smattering of puffy white clouds, a nice ocean breeze blowing in from the Gulf, the smell of salt air, sand between your toes, a cold drink in your hands and hunky lifeguards. Hey, I had to include the lifeguards.

This being a holiday, Memorial Day, weekend, I thought it might be the perfect time to give you all a quick guided tour of our beautiful beach.

This is more of a family beach as opposed to a party beach. Though you'll find a little of everything here. Parts of the beach are alcohol free, for those who so desire. Other parts you can actually drink on the beach, but bottles are not allowed. Smoking is also not allowed on the beach, though there are places where you can smoke.

A few colorful beach bars can be found just steps from the sand. Some yummy restaurants too. If you're looking for a quiet spot, just drive a mile or more to the east or west of the water tower and you'll find that perfect spot to laze away the day. Don't forget beach umbrellas, sunscreen and boogie boards.

Sometimes the waves are big enough to surf.
 Surf is usually non-existent on Pensacola Beach, which is known for it's flat, tranquil waters. On the other hand, some days the surf is up and actual surfer hunks grace our beach. Ah, those are great days to people watch, uh, I mean, hunk watch.

I prefer the west end of Pensacola Beach. That's the quieter part of the beach, more family oriented. There are picnic tables, barbecues and covered areas, available for free on a first come first serve basis. Don't worry, you'll still find hunky lifeguards on this end of the beach. Sometimes you'll even find a cute little bikini-clad lifeguard too. Hey, we don't want you guys to feel left out.

The west end of Pensacola Beach.
As for me, I prefer beach umbrellas, a comfy beach chair, a good book and some music. Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley and Kenny Chesney are pretty much my beach favorites.

If you pick a weekday as opposed to a weekend, there are parts of the beach you can have all to yourself. No hunks. No cute beach babes.

This being a holiday weekend, our beach is crowded. So if you really want to see some beach hunks and babes, then now is the time to visit Pensacola Beach. If you're like me, I'll wait until the holiday weekend is over.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Indies Rock!

OUTBACK LOVE, an Indie Novel

Once again it is time to talk about Indies, both the Indie authors and those great <grin> Indie books we write. Just sayin'...

For those who are not quite sure, Indies are those writers not published by the big traditional publishing houses. Some Indies are published by small independent publishing houses or epubbed by the authors themselves. Hence the term, "Indie."

Contrary to what some people think, Indie is not a derogatory term. In fact, we Indies wear it like a badge. Being an Indie means we have to do all the hard work ourselves. The writing, rewriting, editing, re-editing, formatting, re-formatting, marketing, etc. You get the picture.

We Indies use our family members, best friends, Beta readers, paid editors and even our pets (dogs, cats, birds,etc.) to help us get that Indie book into the best shape ever.

Indie family members and friends soon learn to run the other way when they see us coming. "No, no, no! I'm not going to read your book one more time!" We quickly learn to bribe others to read our books, just to check for that elusive misspelled word or, heaven forbid, the wrong word. Babysitting? Sure! Mow your lawn? Sure! Buy you a beer? A whole case? Sure! Buy you a bottle of wine? Vintage wine? Sure! Anything to get someone to read that book one more time.

Indies have a big advantage over traditionally published authors. We do? Of course! We Indies write those books we have to write. We write those books that don't fit in that perfectly formed hole. Our books cross genres. A paranormal romantic comedy? Sure! A historical romantic horror thriller with a touch of comedy? Sure! We write those books that spring from our hearts and our souls.

Being an Indie is a scary thing at times. We Indies write the best books we can possibly create/conjure/birth and then put them out there for the whole reading world to read/analyze/love and sometimes even hate. Then we follow it up with another Indie book, and another, and another. We're determined souls if nothing else. We believe in the stories we write. We believe there are readers out there who will love those stories. So we keep writing, believing and offering our Indie books to others to read.

These are great times in which we live, because we Indies have the opportunity and ability to epub our books. Amazon/Kindle, Barnes&Noble/Nook, Apple/iPad, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc., all list Indie eBooks for readers to sample and hopefully buy. A few years back eBooks didn't exist, so this Indie thing is pretty darn new. Isn't it exciting? Think of all the great books available at just the click of a button.

I not only write Indie books, I read them too. Lots of them. Frankly, I've come to the realization that Indie authors and Indie books rock! Yessiree, Indies Rock! I keep adding Indie books to my Kindle and read them as fast as I can. Is it an addiction? Definitely! I love the diversity of Indie books. I love the excitement of reading something new and different, something that isn't a repeat of the books of yore.

If you haven't read an Indie book then you need to start now. It's a grand experience. Many Indies, me included, offer one or more books for free so readers can try out a new author. Isn't that cool? It's a free sample so you know what you're getting.  Other Indies offer one or more books at $0.99 for the same reason. A book for a buck? You betcha! On the whole, Indie books cost less than traditionally published books, because we Indies have a lower overhead in epubbing our books. We can afford to offer our books at lower prices.

Not all Indie books are free or $0.99 for the very reason that books take months and often years to write. Plus, Indie authors often have to pay for book covers, editors, marketing, etc. In addition, we do want/need to make some money now and then. You know, we Indies do have bills to pay and we like to eat now and then too. So you'll find that many Indie books are priced in the $1.99 to $4.99 price range and sometimes more. Compared to traditionally published books, it's still a bargain.

I'm not suggesting that readers switch from traditionally published books to Indie books. Of course not. We all have our favorite traditionally published authors that we'll never abandon. Just as readers are willing to try new traditionally published authors, readers will hopefully be willing to try Indies too. I guarantee that you'll love the experience.

Now just as a warning, I don't guarantee that you'll love every Indie book you read, just as you don't love every traditionally published book you read. All I ask is that you give Indies a try. I know you'll find many books you'll love and many new favorite authors.

In the event you're not familiar with Indies, at the bottom of the column to the right on my blog you'll find a link list, Indies Rock! I hope you'll try out some of their Indie books. Please keep checking back because the list will be growing. I won't be able to list all Indie authors, hey there are bunches of us, but at least it will be a starting point. Just to confuse you, some Indies authors are also traditionally published authors too.

If you're on Twitter you'll note that a lot of Indie authors add the hashtag, #BuyIndie, on their tweets. I use that hashtag and another, #CelebrateIndies. Now I'm adding a new hashtag, #IndiesRock! I hope other Indies will use that from time to time too just so our readers can find our books.

I hope Indie authors and/or Indie readers/reviewers will add comments below. Authors please feel free to add a short blurb about your book(s) and include a link to your blog/web-site. Readers/reviewers please feel free to mention Indie books or authors you love and/or links to your blog/web-sites. In future posts I hope to interview some of those great Indie authors. You see, another unique thing about Indies, we Indies support Indies. Isn't that cool?

A note to Indie authors/readers/reviewers: Please email me a link to your blog/web-site, comment below or Tweet me if you want to be added to my "Indies Rock!" list. Some of you will find that your link has already been added. I know that I'm forgetting a bunch of you, so please help me out here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Do We Hear Voices?

"We hear you!"
Do I hear voices? Well, that is a touchy subject. The answer depends on who is asking the question. If it is a medical doctor, of course not. If a fellow writer, why yes, I do hear voices. More often than not, in fact. Though I have to admit that oftentimes those voices are not saying the things I need to hear. You know what I mean, when those voices go off on another tangent and are working on a book of their own which has nothing to do with my current work in progress.

Now I am pretty sure the rest of you writers hear voices too. If not, oops, I didn't say that. But if you know what I'm talking about, then you certainly understand. It's those voices that we hear that help us write those novels that plague our nighttime dreams ( or nightmares) and our daydreams. When we sit down to write, those little critters, writer-elves, whatever, start yammering big time. Sometimes they're all in agreement and the words flow so fast your fingers can barely keep up on the keyboard. Other times, they argue incessantly. "No, you can't kill her. Not in chapter three." "What about chapter five?" "No, no, no, you can't kill her off at all."  "Maybe just maim her a bit?" "Sheesh, scrap this book and write something else, anything else." "Hush, we're working here." "Yeah right, you call this work?" Do you all have those kind of voices?

Sometimes, maybe it's just a fluke, but I wake up and the whole story is right there in all its glory. Those writer-elves (yes, mine are writer-elves) dictate and my fingers fly across the keyboard. Then I read it back and go, "Wow! Where did that come from?" It always amazes me when that happens.

Other times, lately for example, those voices are mute. Where do they go at times like this? I swear they're in there somewhere? Is there a door I can knock on so we can have a talk? Is there some secret password or code that I have to give them before I can enter? Did I offend one or all of them? I swear I've been nothing but kind to those little elves. Hey, maybe I need to dedicate my current work in progress to them? Would that get them talking again?

If I described all this to a doctor I might have those men with white coats knocking on my door. So I'm very very careful to say, "Nope, no voices at all." Of course, I don't have a doctor these days so I needn't worry about that aspect.

As a child those voices were a bit worrisome. I'd be sitting in class listening to the teacher drone on and on about something boring, like algebra or geometry, and the next thing I'd know, wham, I'd be tuned into their conversation. Often it had to do with pioneers, covered wagons, cowboys and Indians, adventure, pretty much any subject other than what the teacher was discussing. The next thing I'd know, said teacher would be standing over me, glaring down and saying, "Teri, what is x minus y x 3 squared?" Honest, I remember zilch about algebra and geometry, so I don't even know if that's a real question. Anyway, I sure I'm not the only writer with those kind of memories.

My dream back then was to be an author and illustrator of children's books. If I wasn't daydreaming and listening to those voices in my head, I was doodling. In grammar school I was known for my "Wanted Dead of Alive" drawings of classmates and teachers. I'd doodle an incredible likeness and make it a part of a wanted poster. My classmates loved them. Well, one day in 6th grade, my teacher caught on and was standing over me as I finished his wanted poster. This guy had a great profile, a big nose, big lips, big ears. As I finished with a flourish the teacher reached out and snatched up my drawing. Oh my gosh, you can imagine my horror. I was certain I'd be sent to the office, my parents called and my report card would once again say, "Daydreamer." Only this time, my teacher said something like, "No more doodling in class, Teri." He tried to look very stern, but as he turned away I saw that smile on his face. To this day I wonder if he still has that wanted poster. I'd like to think that he does.

Now see what I mean about my voices going off on tangents? This post was supposed to be about voices and writing and somehow art popped into the picture. You see, I have absolutely no control over those little writer-elves.

I'm really looking forward to the rest of you readers/writers/authors adding your comments to this post. Come on, I need you all to kick in and say something. Don't let me be the only one admitting to hearing voices.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day!
Happy May Day! How can it already be May 1st? This year is zipping past in record time. I thought it was just winter, then I blinked and it was spring, blinked again and May Day! Maybe I should stop blinking?

May Day was extra special when I was growing up in southern California. In grammar school days we would make colorful paper baskets and flowers out of construction paper. Then we would bring those artistic treasures home to our mothers. None of my paper flower baskets remain from those long ago years. So I am guessing my mother never saved them.

Now the best part of May Day was on the way home from school. My best friend, Debbie, and I would pick flowers from neighbors' yards all the way home. A pink rose here, a daisy there, whatever happened to be blooming at the time.

Have a Hoppy Day!
Looking back on it, I still wonder that the neighbors never got mad about that. But Debbie and I were both pretty cute way back then, so maybe that helped? We also weren't greedy and only took a flower each from each of the yards.

I remember one white haired "old" (yes, we considered her old) lady standing on her front porch smiling at us. Well, the end result is that we'd bring a tiny bouquet of real flowers home to our mothers on May Day. Maybe that's why the paper flower baskets weren't all that important?

My wish to all my fellow readers, authors, friends and family is for a Happy May Day! I have to confess, I have an inkling to walk through my neighborhood and pick some flowers here and there. Only I don't think the neighbors would be all that accommodating to have an "old" lady picking flowers from their yards.