Tag Archives: Cathy Tully

A Life Without Bookstores?

The mere title of today’s blog sends me into cold sweats because I am a lover of books. I shudder to think what a life without bookstores would be like. A few words that instantly come to mind are: cold, sad and depressing.

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was young, so I didn’t venture into a bookstore until I got my first job in Manhattan. Entering that store was an out of body experience for me. I spent more lunch hours than I care to admit, surrounded by books, rather than living breathing co-workers.

As a writer, it’s important to keep up with your genre, and the quantity of new releases can add up quickly, so, I broke down and bought a kindle last year. I find it extremely helpful especially when traveling, instead of packing five or six books, I can pack more clothes.

Here we are a few year’s later after the battle of the big bookstores, and I can’t help but find it ironic that after putting all the small bookstore’s out of business, these large conglomerates have also put each other out of business, leaving us with one bookstore chain.

One.  And I can’t help wonder how did this happen?

I talk to a lot of people who don’t buy ebooks. They want a print version. Not everyone owns a computer, and not everyone orders books on-line. So I think its always going to be important to supply readers with what they want. To do this, I have a hard time thinking that Amazon will be enough.

And one bookstore chain? Nope. I don’t think so.

Last week, a very good source told me that B&N closes twenty bookstores a year in the U.S. alone. Well, call me an optimist, but I think it’s time for the re-birth of the small bookstore. It’s time to get back in the game, boys. Whether they offer a little bit of everything, or specialize in certain genres: Children’s books, Romance, Mystery, Thrillers, Suspense, etc., I think people would welcome them back with open arms.

What do you think? Do you miss your local hometown bookstore? I know I do.

Best,

Cathy Tully

Advertisements

Collaboration. Is It For You?

If someone asked me five years ago whether I’d ever consider co-writing a book/short story with another author I’d probably have said no, because being the insecure writer I was, I didn’t think I had the skill set necessary for a collaboration. At the time, I viewed writing as a solitary endeavor. A mind bending, hair pulling, harder than heck task writer’s prefer to experience alone.

But over the past few years, I’ve attended conferences and listened to writers talk about collaborating together like Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. And I thought, well, yeah, she’s Jen Crusie, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to write with her? Thank goodness with time, most of us change, grow, and open our minds to opportunities that we would once have dismissed.

The end result: my critique partner, and I are co-writing a novella we hope to sell sometime this year. It’s an urban fantasy, a genre, I’ve never read or given much thought to before this project. After all, I  write romance, sweet and contemporary, and urban fantasy is on the other side of the football field in writing, but after discussing it, we decided to give this co-writing thing a whirl.

Of course, we started with an outline, which we changed, revised, and changed some more, until we were both happy with the end result.  Mixing my partner’s strong editing abilities and use of emotion with my inane ability to throw down a humorous scene with sensitive characters has been a blast, and I think I can speak for both of us when I say we are having the time of our lives.

The characters in this novella are a bit eccentric, but that’s what makes this project so much fun. I’m finding that exploring a new genre is also affecting my other writing projects in that I return to them excited. This excitement increases my productivity and imagination. Although I’ve always been one of those writer’s who can work on two projects at one time, I didn’t find bouncing in and out of those books a complete brain reset like I do when switching genres.

And here’s the best part. I don’t need mental health days as often as I used to when my muse decides to go MIA.  Light bulb moment. . .maybe I’ve confused my muse. Maybe I’ve taken away her ability to rationalize, become frustrated and abandon me because jumping in and out of genre’s keeps her on her toes?

Or maybe, and more importantly, I’ve supplied her with the diversity that fuels her inner writer. Hey, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, either way, this genre jumping is working for me and I’m grateful for that.

Have you ever thought about co-writing with someone?  Are you currently working on a project with another author and how is that going for both of you?

Best,

Cathy Tully

The Misplaced Muse. . .

Funny thing about being a writer; some days I can sit down and write non-stop for hours. Other days, however, like yesterday, not so much. I sat down to write this blog and stared at the computer screen for far too long. I almost yelled out, “Muse where the heck are you? but since this was far from the first time this has happened to me I knew it would be a complete waste of energy.

I take comfort in the fact that there are dozens, probably hundreds of writers also experiencing a misplaced muse and I move on.  The first thing I do is get as far away from my computer as humanly possible. No email, no facebook, no blog…

I resolve that today will be a day I use to clear my head. Since I live in the Northeast and it is bone chillingly cold, venturing out won’t happen. I mean, it could, but it won’t.  I’m not a big fan of the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing.

There are tons of options to choose from for this day I’ve given myself: I could curl up with a book on the couch in front of the fire, I could set a pot of soup to cook on the stove and fill the house with that wonderful aroma of home cooked love, or I could work on a cross-stitch project I’ve been meaning to finish. All of these tasks sound wonderful, and I could  do any one of them. . .only I don’t.

You see, I have this problem. I am a perpetual neat freak, and admit my issue openly and honestly. At this point in my house, if any family members are home, they make sure to get out of my way, because I come through the place like a banshee. I rip apart a closet I’ve been wanting to get to, I run the laundry and the sheets and all the towels, I clean out the fridge, the stove, and anything else that isn’t bolted down, and I keep on cleaning until my hands actually hurt.

My husband once asked, “why are you punishing yourself?” and I laughed at him because he didn’t get it.  I’m not the kind of mom/wife that can write when I know there’s stuff that needs to get done; i.e., household chores, etc. And since he’s never scrubbed a floor, or cleaned a toilet, he won’t understand the rush I feel when I’m done, cleaning, scrubbing, washing, and it sets me free. Yup. You read that right. I get into cleaning.

My mind is clearer than it’s been in weeks. I step back and look at the finished projects with a deep contented feeling and then after a hot soak in the tub, I pass out and go into the deepest sleep I’ve experienced in months.

The most wonderful part of this process is that the next day I wake refreshed, renewed, and invigorated. I no longer dread my computer and usually wind up putting in a full day at the keyboard.

What do you do when your muse is on vacation? Do you physically throw yourself into a task? Do you relax and play it by ear? Do you turn on some music and exercise? Do you clean like a banshee? What do you do to clear your head and reboot your muse? I’d like to know because sooner or later, I’m going to run out of “stuff” to clean : )

Best,

Cathy Tully

Judging A Book By Its Cover

I’ve always thought a good cover helps sell a book, but recent events, have turned me into a believer. One day last week, I ran into a local beauty supply store I’d heard good things about, but had never visited. The owner stood behind the counter animatedly chatting with two women about the antics of her new kitten. As I took my merchandise to the check-out, the owner mentioned how her cat is so much happier now that she has a companion.  I nodded in agreement, because I’ve lived this, only with dogs, and know the truth in this statement.

The women’s smile widened in appreciation of my acknowledgement. As she rang up my sale, we spoke in more detail about her cats. The subject soon focused on my pets. I told her I didn’t have any pets right now, and that we’d lost our dog to illness a little over a year ago. All the women grew quiet. One blotted her eyes; another patted my arm and my heart instantly warmed. I love animal lovers. They are honest, sensitive people, and I adore being around them.

After paying for my merchandise, I mentioned my book that featured my dog. I pulled out a copy from the bag I bring along when I run errands. They asked me questions about the cover, and pointed to the coffee cup, the steam in the shape of a heart, the young couple gazing into each others eyes, and the little dog sitting proudly in the corner. These women commented on how much they loved the cover and how inviting they thought it was as we talked about how all of the elements on the cover related directly to the story.

Wow. That was an enlightening experience for me. I’d always thought a cover was important, but this interaction with complete strangers proved to me just how important a good cover design can be.

I sold five books that afternoon, and am so grateful for publishing companies like Astraea Press and The Wild Rose Press, who encourage their authors to communicate in great detail with their cover designers, allowing us to work hand in hand to create a beautiful finished product.

Before this experience, I’d never even thought to ask potential publishers how much input an author would have in their cover design. Instead I got lucky. I sold to two publishers that do believe an author’s input is invaluable and since there’s no guarantee to my luck holding out, I can assure you, how much author input goes into a cover design will be the first question I ask any potential publisher in the future.

Best,

Cathy Tully

Indie Publishing–Is It For You?

Following the blogs of quite a few indie published authors has become a recent hobby of mine. A few of my favorites are: D.D. Scott, Theresa Ragan and Jen Talty. Their stories are enthralling, their enthusiasm is contagious, and their willingness to share their knowledge openly with other writer’s is inspiring.

They’ve also helped me sit back and review my own writing life, something I kept telling myself I’d find time for, and finally did. This hurry up to wait lifestyle called publishing has me more than perplexed. It’s frustrating trying write a book that will fit a certain house; it feels like I’m trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

It’s a true waste of energy, and I can’t help think spending the time writing my next book, the book I want to write, is more productive than worrying about whether my story will fit the specifications of a particular house.

Every hour, every day, every week, every month that I wait to hear whether a book sold,  is time I could have spent having another book edited professionally, the cover designed to my specifications, and uploaded to Amazon when I choose.  So this year, I’m going to dip my toes into the indie publishing pool and feel the water : )

Here’s what I’d like to know: Do you indie publish?  How long have you been doing so, and what are some experiences, positive and negative, that you’d like to share?

Best,

Cathy Tully

Never Assume.

When I published my first book, a children’s non-fiction, titled, NEBRASKA, eight  years ago, I was tossed into the ‘deadline’ world clueless of the work involved and the time entailed. Needless to say, my family was less than happy, and I was tired, stressed, and instead of being excited when I handed the book in, I felt more like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders.

Instantly I questioned, what the heck was I doing? After all, I worked hard to write and sell that book. and I deserved to see it through to completion. I should have been fulfilled, excited and elated when I finished. So, I knew to maintain my sanity, I ‘d have to make some changes in my life if I wanted to be a successful, published author, and I had to make them fast.

I think it’s important to note that my husband and daughter’s are my biggest cheerleaders, my website designers, my promo gurus, if you will.  They are proud of what I do and often brag until they’re blue. . . but they’re also human. And being human, they were used to my being at their beck and call without my writing getting in the way, so in a sense, their negative reactions to my deadline schedule were my own fault, simply because I hadn’t prepared them.

So, I sat them down and explained how important meeting a deadline was and how I much I needed their help. Once I put it that way, they smiled and said they wanted me to succeed and they hadn’t understood how important my deadline or my daily writing schedule was to me. After all, I usually wrote while they were in school and stopped when they got home. This change in my schedule, and theirs,  had pulled the rug out from under them. They promised to pitch in around the house so I’d have more time to write.

Hence, my daughter’s began doing the laundry, keeping their rooms neat, and cleaning the bathroom they shared. My husband began dropping off his own dry cleaning and running the vacuum through the entire house once a week. As my girl’s have grown,  they’ve taken on more chores, and I am beyond grateful for all their help. To a layman this may not sound like much, but to those stay at home mom’s out there doing their best to keep all the balls happily in the air, you know any help is good help.

And, no, these changes didn’t happen overnight, but the point is they did happen. And please don’t tell me talking to your kids  won’t work for you because you have sons, because, let me tell you, I have a friend with three boys and they do a better job of cleaning than some women I know : )

As my daughters mature, so does their understanding of what it is I do. They share in my happiness when a sale occurs, and feel the sting when I receive another rejection.  In my heart I believe their increased support and pitching in all took place because I sat them down and gently, yet firmly, told them years ago that ‘this is the way it has to be’.

Children never cease to surprise me. They adapt fast; they can bend to new situations when they’re asked to, and they come out shining and proud of what they’ve done in the end.

The important thing to remember is, a child won’t change merely because he/she can: you, my friend, must first ask them to.

Best,

Cathy Tully

MARRYING MR. RIGHT by Cathy Tully

MarryingMrRight_w7540_750

Here’s the cover of my new novella, MARRYING MR. RIGHT, from The Wild Rose Press, which is part of a new series titled: Dearly Beloved. It’s available for download now on Amazon.

Missy Modesto had it all: a successful business, two fabulous kids, and a twenty-nine year marriage to her high school sweetheart. Until…too many fights became too many arguments and, unable to compromise, she and Vinnie separated.

Vinnie Modesto is putting it all together by keeping in touch with his kids, and growing his business to its full potential–something he should have done before his marriage, to the only woman he ever loved, crumbled.

In the midst of their daughter’s impromtu wedding, Missy isn’t prepared to see Vinnie so soon, never mind accept his offer to help with the wedding. Will she see the man Vinnie’s become during their separation and take him back? Or will she think this is just another one of Vinnie’s empty promises?

The link is:  http://www.amazon.com/Marrying-Right-Dearly-Beloved-ebook/dp/B00AE7CHTQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355272143&sr=1-1&keywords=Cathy+Tully

I loved writing this novella because it’s fun, fast paced and features a dog I know  personally : )

Mr. Hugo!

I also enjoyed writing it because the heroine is strong, yet vulnerable and the ending is a bit of a twist a reader will enjoy if they love happily ever afters.

I hope you’ll read this story and enjoy it as much as I do!

Best,

Cathy Tully

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, Available now, Astraeapress.com/Amazon.com

Please Welcome, Author, Jessie Anderson.

My guest blogger and Astraea Press friend, Jessie Anderson, is here today to talk about her new young adult release, AT WHAT COST.

During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.

While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.

Buy Links:
 
 
To learn more about author, Jessie Anderson, check her out online:

BOOK LAUNCH

This past Saturday afternoon I held a Book Launch party at my home for my release, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. After only three months in e-book I sold enough downloads to go to print on demand, and that alone was exciting. But, now I was more nervous because I’d never done anything like this book launch party before. Putting yourself out there in front of a group is intimidating. I guess because I wasn’t sure what to expect.

My writer side, told me this was something I had to do, the unconfident writer in me, however, dreaded it because I really didn’t think anyone would come. I mean, this is my first romance in print, it’s not as though I’m Nora Roberts or anything…. well, at least not yet : ) My husband was the mastermind behind this whole idea. Last month he decided that we needed to host this event to increase excitement and sell books. Okay, I get that, but I wasn’t prepared to invite 60 people to the house and assume they’d be happy, and excited and ready to celebrate this accomplishment with me.

Early on, my daughters, who are both very creative, got involved. They baked cookies in the shape of dog prints, dog bones and dogs. They put together goodie bags and stuffed them with the cookies, and other promo items. They made signs, a personal promo board embellished with a great review I received from Coffee Time Romance, and a memory board about the book I’ll cherish always.

As a hostess, I always want to make sure there is enough to eat and drink. My motto is, more is always better. Still, I worried whether what I purchased would be enough. You can never plan enough for a party…sometimes, people eat and drink everything, other times, nothing goes. I guess it was the unknown that worried me, like it always does when we have people over. Turns out, I had enough food and drinks. Everyone ate, bought several books each, posed for pictures with me and some even brought me flowers. I was amazed and touched by their support and whole-hearted, honest enthusiasm for my writing career.

Over and over I heard people saying what I feat I had achieved by being published in print, and that’s when it hit me…they were right, because, anyone can write a book, but not everyone publishes one.

Cathy

First Book Signing

So, my ebook, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, is available as a paperback, on amazon.com, and I couldn’t be more excited! I managed to sell the downloads necessary for it to become a print on demand, and as if that wasn’t enough, this weekend I attended my first book signing festival at Unionville Winery in Ringoes, NJ.

One week before, my stomach started acting up, my face broke out, and I couldn’t sleep. Jeez, I felt like a sixteen-year-old going on her first date. This festival takes place every fall and it was one of the best I’ve been to in a long time. The owner of the vineyard told us he expected at least 2,000 people, and he wasn’t kidding.

I love to people watch–so sitting at the booth and watching everyone, in all shapes and sizes come together and enjoy different wines, good food and the wonderful fall weather was so much fun for me. As luck would have it, Mother Nature graced us with good weather. Although rain had been predicted, she held off until later that day after we had all packed up and were safely home. The wind gave us a run for our money, but other than that it was all-good. There were dozens of vendors, including crafts, food, and wine : )

A good friend, Linda Parisi, author of sinful suspense, showed up unexpectedly and made my afternoon. My husband, daughter, and one of my best friends came to the festival later in the day, and made the afternoon even more special. After they had been to the wine tasting, they brought over a bottle of wine, an extra glass, a large marguerita pizza, and we spent some time together. Is it just me? Because I think wine makes everything more special : )

I signed with two lovely ladies, Chris Redding, author of romantic suspense, and Helen Henderson, author of science fiction/fantasy/history books, both of whom I would spend the day with again : ) Did I sell dozens of books? No.

But in the end, that didn’t matter, I left with a few Christmas gifts, lots of business cards, and a good feeling. My daughter blamed it on the wine, but I disagree. When you spend an afternoon with people you enjoy and care about—life doesn’t get much better than that!

Cathy