Saturday, October 15, 2011

Writing for Fun and Profit and Jalapeno Corn

It's only October and I'm already starting to formulate goals for the New Year.

This is probably due to the fact that I spent the morning Christmas shopping. Is this jumping the gun or getting a jump on the gun-to-your-head type season that is coming at me like an army with bayonets?

I'm not sure.

Anyhow, I'm thinking about what kind of things I can be doing next year for writing. I have love, love, loved my novel writing experiences. I think it's the most satifying writing I've ever done. However, novel writing is what I'd put in the trickle-down category of earning. It takes a while to earn anything from writing a novel, royalties only come in a lump sum every six months (at least that's how mine come), and it eventually trickles to a drip, which is fine unless you have something new written coming down the pipe and didn't take a couple of years off to be the mommy of the kids. 

That's fine. Most novelists don't quit their day jobs, and I never could (as a stay-at-home mom it would be a colossal mistake. Plus, I kinda like my job. My bosses are pretty hilarious. And good fodder for the novels.)

So, as for the new goals, I think I'm starting to want to try some new formats. I've been writing novels for about 15 years. Before that, I wrote essays and short stories--and a bunch of papers for college (not a format I'd like to revisit.) My good friend Donna Hatch told me recently she had written a couple of novellas she put up on Smashwords and made available for Kindle and Nook. She had a fun time writing them. That sounded fun to me, and like not as much pressure as a full-blown 85,000 word novel to calibrate. And if I get something cute done, nice and frothy, I might do what Donna did and make it available for sale as an e-book. Even if I only make a few bucks, that's a profit, right?

For the past several years I've been writing a book review column for our local newspaper. I love it. I get to inflict on the local populace my taste in books. Ha! Sometimes I go to a doctor's office or a city luncheon and people say, "I've heard your name. Where...?" I tell them I write the column, and that's usually how they knew me. I'm using up all 15 minutes of my fame this way. It's not a bad way, promoting other writers' books. Good times! I haven't written a column lately (too busy writing to read much I'd like to recommend), so I think in the new year my goal will be to step that up, funnel a few more columns their way.

Besides that, I got a new community-involvement-assignment to work on the county's state Centennial celebration and do the write-ups for that. It should be a good variety of challenges, from the news releases to a pamphlet here and there, to website content, to a history of a local landmark. That'll make me stretch.

A friend of mine, Valerie Steimle Bashein Foy, from ANWA (my writers group) keeps posting on our Facebook group whenever she gets a byline in a magazine, newspaper, or e-zine. She's raking in the clips! It's inspiring! I don't know how much she gets paid for each column, but even if it's just a few dollars here and there, it's cool that her writing is valuable enough that she is being paid for it. That makes her a professional writer. I love it. She's quite the inspiration.

I'm not going to quit working on my latest novel (it's going to be the cotton candy fun I love to spin), but I want to branch out and make myself stretch into new projects in the new year. If I can just get through the holidays!
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I can't wait for the holidays. Seriously. When is food a bigger part of our lives than those diet-deadly and delicious six weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day? Ah, I think I can taste the jalapeno corn already. Mmm!

Here's my recipe:

4 bags frozen white corn
1 8-oz cube cream cheese
1 cube butter
1/4 cup milk
3 jalapenos seeded and chopped
garlic salt
season salt

On stovetop in saucepan combine cheese, milk, butter, seasoning and peppers. Stir until creamy and bubbling. Pour over thawed corn. Cook on stovetop stirring occasionally until peppers are tender. Keep warm in crock pot until ready to serve. Makes enough for the whole Thanksgiving gang (but I have to double this because our gang is gigantic.)


  1. I've been Christmas shopping for a couple of weeks now. Have about 30 presents wrapped and ready. Too bad there's another "gobs" to do. So I'm glad to see I'm in good company. I feel the army sneaking up on me, also. Especially with the son coming home from the mish—makes me feel like I might not have enough me to do it all. Need more me. And money. :)

  2. Christmas??? Sheesh! Too many goals, too little time to accomplish them. Totally Tina

  3. Gotta love those hilarious bosses. And don't forget, they're the ones who will choose your retirement home. ;)


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