Write Where? Right There!

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Being a full-time RVer and traveling the country means I’ve been able to experience some amazing places, meet fascinating people, and store up enough ideas for my writing for a few lifetimes.

When these sorts of places are right outside the door — it’s hard to sit down to write.

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Every town we pass through conjures at least one story idea. Every RV park delivers at least a half-dozen more. Continue reading “Write Where? Right There!”

Where in the World…

…has this blog gone? Why such a long silence? What have we been up to?

As my southern dad used to say, “A little of this, a little of that.” We’ve been here and we’ve been there. Most people don’t move from home to home very often. As full-time RVers, we’re moving all the time. Just this spring we drove through five states in one day to move our “house” from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.*

RV1 Continue reading “Where in the World…”

Unexpected Twists

Have you heard this one?

How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb?

Two. One to screw it in, the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

Life is like that, too. We think we’re headed down the right road when we realize we’ve made a wrong turn. And because my husband and I live and travel in our RV, we’ve made many wrong turns. The best wrong turns (oh, yeah — there are good ones and bad ones and downright awful ones) deliver up the kinds of unexpected experiences that usually become the best memories.

Sometimes it’s something small. Like a day this past spring, on our way from Boise to Nampa on the back roads, when we made a wrong turn. We found ourselves driving alongside a river, always nice.

And then: Continue reading “Unexpected Twists”

Reading the Road

Avid readers talk about how many books they read in a year. But there’s another type of avid reader: someone who reads EVERYTHING. Sitting in a restaurant, they read the entire menu, every poster on the wall, each placard tucked between the salt and pepper shakers.

I’m one of those avid readers. Which means I also read every single sign along the highway as we travel.

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This past June we drove across a portion of central Nevada and up into Idaho, from Great Basin National Park to Boise. Despite spectacular scenery around us, few other vehicles crossed our path.

But there was found plenty to read. Continue reading “Reading the Road”

Life as a Traveling Writer

Travel writers are a dime a dozen. Well, okay, maybe not *that* common. But when someone says they’re a travel writer, they usually don’t have to explain what it means, especially now with so many cable TV channels and hundreds of magazines devoted to travel. Travel writer implies they travel to various locations to write about it for magazines, books, and guidebooks. They get photos, interview interesting people, and make note of important details. The destination is the thing.

I’m not one of those writers. Nope, I’m a traveling writer. It’s a very different thing. Let me explain. Continue reading “Life as a Traveling Writer”

Read “Pea Body” on Your iPad!

My newest novel, Pea Body, featuring amateur sleuths — and full-time RVers — Walt and Betty Rollin, is now available via iTunes!

You can purchase this e-version directly from the iTunes store via this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pea-body/id854711250?mt=11

Or you can select the print version via Lulu from my author spotlight page here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ellenbooks

As always, thanks for your support and encouragement!

[Now… excuse me while I get back to writing the next Walt and Betty Rollin RV Mystery 🙂 ]

A View of Self-Publishing from Canadian Author Lin Weich

On our journey to Alaska this past summer, we traveled through much of British Columbia, Canada, and were rewarded with amazing food, great shops, and wonderful people. At a farmer’s market in Quesnel, we paused to peruse the booth set by the local writers’ group. A novel caught my eye, and a conversation began. Lin Weich has had a fascinating life and now writes stories born of her experiences, which she self-publishes.

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What compelled you to start writing fiction? Have you always written or made up stories? Was there a particular incident that got the writing momentum going for you? If so, what was it?
On a trip to Prince Rupert [BC] shortly after I retired early from teaching, I passed the sign on the highway that warned girls not to hitchhike on the highway of tears; then while on a mothership kayaking tour I asked the captain of the vessel if he’d ever run across any smuggling…one thing lead to another and I wondered if I could actually write a book. The story just came together (Strength of an Eagle). My second novel Half-Truths, Total Lies was basically started by a dream. My third book (Alone) is one of several running around in my head. Now I can’t stop writing! Previous to this I had no interest in writing.

How has your real life influenced your writing?
Writers write what they know and research and embellish the rest. I live a very outdoor life, have taught for many years, am intrigued by self-sufficient lifestyles, travel both in Canada and abroad. Couple those influences with the belief that everyone you meet has a story hidden inside them just waiting for me to tweak out…

Why did you decide to self-publish your books? Did you seek a traditional publisher or an agent first, or plunge right into self-publishing?
I spent two years trying to “sell” my books to both agents and publishers rarely getting past the gatekeepers. Publishers are not interested in new talent as they simply can’t afford to take a chance on unknown writers. Vanity press (self-publishing) has evolved into a now reputable option and with the advent of e-book publishing I decided to go the self-publishing route via a known company. Some writers might consider print on demand and doing their own e-book formatting but I do not have enough technical knowledge for that route.

How did you choose your printer? Cover designer?
I chose Friesen Press after doing a lot of research. It is more expensive but it is a Canadian company based out of Victoria, BC. Part of the package included cover design. There were also modules on selling your books, deciding your focus and goals etc. I purchased editing services from another company before I chose my publishing company.

Do you take your the cover photos? If not, how do you choose them?
The cover image for Strength of an Eagle is my photo. Half-Truths, Total Lies and Alone use stock photos available from various websites. Initially I wanted to use another of my photos for Strength of an Eagle but the pixels were not sufficient for a good quality cover.

What’s been most challenging for you as writer and publisher?
Waiting for other people to do their jobs, the selling/marketing aspect, although you would have the same problems with traditional publishers because authors must do their own marketing.

What rewards have you reaped by self-publishing?
Moderate success re- selling, people read and like my books, which is the best reward.

Would you consider traditional publishing?
The jury is out on this one…I wouldn’t say no if they came knocking but I like the complete control you have with self-publishing.

How has being a member of a writing group helped?
My writing group affords some opportunities for selling books and perhaps some moral support. I have a very supportive friend who also writes and have beta readers who are quite skillful. I need to reach out to more writers and online groups.

If you could give an aspiring writer advice about whether to self-publish or seek publication via traditional routes, what would you say?
Know yourself and your goals, have a good manuscript ready and edited, consider how much time you have to devote to seeking agents and publishers, do you homework about what traditional publishers want regarding queries etc., do your homework about self-publishing companies…compare the packages…It is very expensive. Know how much control you need to have over your final product, develop an ability to take constructive criticism, know how long you want to try with traditional publishers…it truly is like winning a lottery. Most importantly, if you self-publish, have a good product if you expect to get anywhere. Do not go with a company that is willing to publish anything just to get your money. Self-publishing is coming into its own but only if the novel reflects quality work.

Thanks, Lin!

To learn more about Lin’s work, visit her web site at www.linweich.com; contact Lin directly by accessing her site, then clicking the “Contact Us” link.

Lin Weich, a retired teacher, writes suspense thrillers, enjoys freelance writing and photography. She grew up in West Africa and has lived in various places in both eastern and western Canada. She lives in Quesnel, British Columbia with her husband Brian. Her kayaking adventures, teaching experiences, outdoor activities and travels have influenced the substance and voice of her stories and photography. When she isn’t busy creating stories, she enjoys travelling both in Canada and abroad. Lin has published two novels Strength of an Eagle and Half-Truths, Total Lies. She has also published articles in Our Canada, More of Our Canada, Postscript, Rocky Mountaineer brochure, and Royal Photographic Society (Canada) on-line magazine.