Right now, this very minute I am sitting in what might possibly be my favorite writing spot, Gimme Sugar.  Yep, you heard it right here.  Gimme Sugar is a new bakery/coffee shop in Newberry we just discovered this weekend!  Thanks to the Newberry Observer my husband and I decided to walk over here yesterday and we were delighted.  One of the best things is the ambiance.  It is in a small older home, newly remodeled into quite the cozy little spot.  With three rooms to choose from there is plenty of seating options, little cafe tables which lend themselves to cozy visits.  Then of course there are the sweets and coffee.  Today I devoured a brownie (awesome) and I’m enjoying a bottomless cup of coffee.  Yesterday it was a lemon bar (unbelievable) and a chocolate chip cookie. 

 Here I am; me, my computer, coffee, and chocolate.  What more could a girl ask for.  So, when you are looking for something to do next weekend in Newberry (they are open Friday-Sunday only) come on down to the corner of Johnstone and Coat streets for a little sugar!

I want to give a shout out to some of my fans.  I have met some wonderful young people in the local schools.  Some have even become my friend on facebook!  So Parker and Benjamin… thanks for being my friend.  

I know this is short… but I’m writing here. 🙂  I am closing in on the end of the second book.  Once the rough draft is done I’ll have quite a bit of work developing the scenes so that they are descriptive and full of WOW words!  So back to the real writing…  

Have a great week and don’t forget next weekend… come check out Gimme Sugar!

When I chose the concept/title element of “Double Cousins” it seemed an obvious enough concept to me.  I thought everyone knew what double cousins were.  After all, I did!  Isn’t that so human. The truth though is something much diffferent.  There is a vast lack of knowledge in this world about what the term “double cousins” means.  So today I am going to try and explain it.  I admit, that is difficult.  It’s one of those concepts that defies easy explanation.  So I’m going to attempt.  Here we go…

Double cousins occur when two siblings from one family marry two siblings from another family.  For instance, when my great- uncle Ervin Jones married my great-aunt Florence Trunnell, my grandparents George Jones and Mildred Trunnell met.  Eventually they married.  So, two brothers were married to two sisters.  Therefore, their children are all cousins twice, thereby making them double cousins…  That’s not so hard is it? 

Another example:  My sister, Cheryl Jones married Norman Eggers lo, these many years ago.  They now have five children.  Seven years later my brother, Clark Jones married Norman’s sister, Cindy Eggers.  They now have seven children.  These seven children are cousins… twice.  They have all the same Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  They really have very much the same gene pool and they are all extremely intelligent, beautiful children.  Oh… I think I just crossed over into “bragging aunt territory.”  I’d apologize but I’m not a bit sorry. 🙂

So, I hope this helps you understand the concept of Double Cousins.  In the front of my book I have a family tree, another attempt to help understand the concept.  One reason I chose to have the cousins in my book be double cousins was for the future of the series.  Due to the fact that these families are so closely related, it will make for more family get-togethers in which they can solve mysteries.  A second reason…  my nieces and nephews are all my “muse” so to speak and they ARE double cousins.  So there you have it!

Happy Birthday, today to the oldest of the Jones/Eggers double cousins, my niece Kari Nora Jones!  She is 15 and I am so proud to be her aunt.

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted.  Busy, busy, busy!  I told my husband the other day, “I’m rethinking my statement that ‘a busy Miriam is a happy Miriam.'”  But really, it is true.  I am happiest when I keep busy.  I don’t do well with too much down time.  So the busyness I have been experiencing is fun!

This weekend I did write!  YAY!  I got about 15 pages done and I’m hoping to get more done this coming  weekend.  I am really hoping/planning to be done with the rough draft of book 2 this month.  Then I can start revising books 2,3, and 4.  Unless book four has to be book six or seven.  See, the reason for that is because it happens in the summer.  I want to be able to pack several books into a year.  I never looked at Trixie Beldon mysteries the same way after I realized there had been 4 mysteries set at Christmas, yet the kids were all the same age… hum.  So I guess I plan to have my characters age with the books.  Anyway, I think I’m going to try to slide a couple more books in there between book 3 and book (?). 

Monday I had an article in the Newberry Observer.  That was great fun and I’m sure you can find it archived by going to Newberryobserver.com  Thank you to the Observer for the great coverage.  I also have the opportunity tomorrow night to sign books downtown at Books on Main again.  More fun!

Today I had the great pleasure to go visit Reuban Elementary and my it was a wonderful morning.  Everyone was so welcoming and Mrs. Suber, the teachers, and the students were such fun to be around.  I talked myself into a happy oblivion!  Thank you Reuban Elementary and Mrs. Suber.

Tomorrow I get to go to Whitmire to their elementary school also.  I am looking forward to talking to even more students.

Finally, if you have read my book please let me know what you think!  You can comment here, or send me an email at info@doublecousins.net


Today I experienced the best kind of motivation.    I was scheduled to go to the Newberry Academy and speak to the third through fifth grades.  If you’ve been following this blog, or know me at all you will understand when I say I was looking forward to it.  I love spending time with children and they never fail to perk me up.  I went in with a throbbing headache and came out pain free.  I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to share how my book came to be and a few thoughts on writing.  However, I came away with something I wasn’t expecting.  The best kind of motivation.

I have commited to finish the rough draft of the second book in the series this month.  I have been struggling with finding the time, and then using the time I have to write.  I do have to work.  I do have to fulfill other responsibilities.  But I do know how to procrastinate.  Let’s just say I haven’t been writing up a storm…

This morning I stood in front of the room full of students and teachers and told them about the book.  But when I told them I was working on the sequel, the second in the series which I hoped to finish this month you could see their minds working.  “She just said this book took her 4 years to write and then 6 until it was published and she’s still working on writing the next one.”  Little eyebrows shot up!  Hum… I guess I’d better get with it, huh!  Twenty-three people bought my book.  Added to the nine I sold at the book signing last weekend, that’s thirty-two in a week… evidently the prayers I asked for are working.  Now I need to do my part!

So, this afternoon I made coffee, turned on my favorite music, and wrote.  I wrote 6 pages.  I’ll try to get another scene written this evening…  after all, those eyebrows are asking me the question… when will we get the next book?

I’ve had several people ask what they can do to help me sell my books.  I’ve also had several people ask when the next one will be coming out.  It’s much easier for me to answer the first question but the two are inevitably linked.  I really want to share my heart with all of you and ask you to pray.  I believe that the most important thing you can do is pray!  Even more important than buying a book!  (Did I really say that?)  YES!  And I meant it.

My goal for marketing  this book is to get me to the next book.  Let me explain.  When I started marketing the manuscript I heard this, “It’s just not edgy enough for us.”  I kept trying and I did received other reasons… “we aren’t publishing children’s books at this time,” or “we don’t do series,” or the dreaded nebulous “it doesn’t meet our needs at this time.”  Evidently the publishers I sent it to didn’t believe it would sell.  They didn’t believe there was a market out there.  I did.  I KNEW that I personally knew a lot of people who would welcome a book like this one because like me, they didn’t want edgy.  So I proceeded down a different path and chose WinePress, a custom publisher that would help me with editing.  I wanted a book that was professional.  I wanted one that didn’t look self published.  I wanted some marketing help.  I got all of those, but it was a huge investment of cold, hard cash for us.  Money which we are not likely to recover at 100% because I insisted on keeping the price low to make it available to cash strapped families.  Fortunately my husband saw the potential and was willing to take the chance.  Plus, he really, really  loved my Grandma and he knew how much she wanted to see it done. 🙂 

The present wisdom on the topic is that if you can sell enough copies of a custom published book you can get a traditional publisher interested in re-publishing your book, or publishing the next in the series.  Basically, it is now my job to PROVE there is a market for my book.  I’m up for that.  Even if it takes a long time.

Ah, time!  Let me share the problem of time-sensitivity here.  My book is for children ages 7-12.  From the responses I’ve been getting, the kids ages 9-12 are especially “into” this book.  They are all waiting for the next one. My problem is this.  It could take me a year to find a publisher, or longer!  It will take a publisher AT LEAST a year to get the book published, more likely a couple of years.  I’m concerned that I’ll get an audience all built up only to have them “age out” so to speak.  I could self publish if I had the money from the sale of all the books and then it could be done within a year.  But… if I sold all of the books that fast, I bet I’d get the traditional publisher interested… So, you see my concern

Here are a few ways you can help. Send me an email with requests for the next in the series.  When I approach publishers it will help to have a list of people wanting the next book.  If you have a blog and don’t mind, put in a plug!  (Thanks “Didaktic Dissertations” and “Thoughts of a Sojourner”).  If you are in a homeschool group, please let them all know. (Thanks Cheryl and Sarah.)  If your church, christian school or community has a library, check to see if they can get it.   Check with your local bookstore and ask them to order one in for you.  Often they will order more than one, if it looks like something they can sell.  If you know someone with grandchildren, recommend it as a Christmas present.  If you know someone whose child gets invited to a lot of birthday parties, suggest they buy several to have on hand for parties that pop up.  If you order from amazon or a similar site which offers a place to do reviews, please write one. (Thanks again Cheryl and Sarah.) If you have an elementary school teacher on your gift list it makes an awesome gift.  They are always looking for books they can share with their students.  I know this because I have many friends who are elementary school teachers.   I am willing to come speak at schools within my area or an area I frequently travel to.  I have a 45 minute power point presentation that is appropriate for grade school age.  It could be adjusted to any age really so if your seniors group wants a speaker on sharing our memories, I’ll be happy to come.    

I just want to be able to get good books into kids hands.  God certainly is able to do it and I’m sure he has an idea of the best way to go about it.  So, in addition to writing me if you want the next book, or telling everyone you know about the book…  please pray!  Pray that I’ll have the discipline to finish the second book this month.  Pray for me as I plan to go to the Florida Christian Writers Conference in March that I’ll meet a publisher there if that is the Lord’s will. Pray for God to be in control of the timing just as He was for the first book!  Pray most of all that God would be glorified in whatever I do!

Did you wonder if I was lost?  Looking at my blog stats it seems I must have one faithful daily reader and  several others who check in every couple of days.  Whoever you are, thanks.  And… I’m sorry I’ve put off writing so long…

As far as the last post goes, I’ve done some writing on my next book.  I FINALLY got past the dead zone, that “area I just couldn’t get motivated to finish but had to be done before I could go on”.  Now I’m getting into the story again, and my imagination is cooperating.  I took a 40 minute walk this morning and spent part of the time planning and “writing” in my head.  It always helps if I picture a scene in my head.

I’m headed for NC today.  At this moment I’m waiting for my husband to finish teaching his class then we are going to Hendersonville.  Tomorrow I’ll be on TV with Victoria Dunkle in Asheville.  (Channel 13-2 for locals.)  Then Saturday I have a book signing in Hendersonville at Walden Books in the mall.  I’ll be there from noon to 3 p.m. and would love to see anyone who is in the area.

I received my first report this week from the fulfillment center for WinePress.  They fill the orders for distribution companies, the online bookstores, and local bookstores.  They also sell my books on their website at www.Winepressbooks.com  This report was for sales that were actually paid for during the months of July-September.  My book wasn’t available until August so it was only two months and there were 60 sold and paid for.  YAY!  I even received a check.  From a publishing company.  WOW!  I was hoping, of course, that I would hear that they had sold 1000 books and were almost out (a girl can dream can’t she?)… but realistically, I think that’s pretty good.  I’m quite sure there were more that went out of there, they just haven’t received payment yet… 

So a total count comes in somewhere around 300!  Not bad for the first three months.  I’m excited about the opportunities I’ve had and will have to talk in the schools.  I’m hoping that more and more people will begin to hear about my book and want to get it.  I’m pretty sure it would make an awesome Christmas present.

If you would like a signed copy I’ll be happy to ship it to you.  Just go to my website www.doublecousins.net and it will tell you how to contact me.  Or you can just comment here.  I’ll be happy to get you prices etc. depending on how many you want. 🙂  I do offer a special price on 5 or more books at once, $10.00 each with $5.00 for shipping coming to $55.00 total, a savings of almost a dollar each.  I especially like being able to personalize the books to the particular person who will be getting the book.

So, I think I’m about done with my rambling.  Thanks for reading my blog.  I’ll write again soon from my porch in NC. 🙂