November 30, 2011

Made It Moment: Nash Black

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 11:02 pm


There are some Moments that require no intro. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know the writing duo of Nash Black on various writing forums and blogs. They are real, approachable, warm people who never fail to have an encouraging word for a fellow writer or reader. But their Moment? Or should I say, Moments? It will say more than I could about what it takes to leap at a certain point, and follow your dream.

Nash Black

I’m old enough to have heard a multitude of put-down phrases aimed at detective/mystery authors. The innuendoes are intended to render the recipient a shot of guilt should they indulge in amoral anti-intellectual behavior.

1940s – You read mysteries and detective novels.

1950s – Paperbacks! They are indecent and vulgar.

1960s – Pulitzer prize winners are superior reading.

1970s – A good book is reviewed by the New York Times.

1980s – Vanity presses publish inferior books.

1990s – Print On Demand books are of dubious caliber.

2000s – E-books are amateurish ego trips.

2010s – What sells is not a barometer for quality.

A span of seventy years cover our reading lifetime. The majority of books we read and kept for our personal shelves to read again plopped into several of the above categories. We were card carrying members of a public who read for pleasure; stealing a few hours from full days to relax and let the author lead us to discover ‘who-done-it.’ We started writing like many late-life authors who were searching for a skillful mixture of red herrings and clues to match our wits against the reader’s.

Our dream was to be represented by an agent who would find a publisher for our work. After more than ten years of attempting to reach our goal we knew that for us, time was running out. Contrary to the loving advice of friends and family, we garnered our meager resources to self-published with a print on demand publisher. We enjoyed a few moments of fame, but sales dropped off as the mechanics of promotion changed for the world of books. The world of social media had arrived while we were still struggling to relearn the principles of advertising and marketing we’d last studied in 1958.

Our Made It Moment arrived the month we received a five star review from Australia for Sandprints of Death,with news from Ireland that another reader found the story enjoyable enough to read our previous titles. We were being read on a global scale at the same time the buyer for Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, KY purchased 3 copies of each of our books. The books sit on the shelves of the gift shop where they are physically exposed to nearly a million visitors per year.

It took one person to cross the dining room and ask us to sign her copy for our pens to shake. This experience gave us the impetus to step outside the norm and publish on our own with an imprint we’d been using for over twenty years for other publications.

IF Publishing’s first venture as an entity is Visitorsa holiday story now available on all electronic platforms with a paperback edition available as well.

“The greatest risk is not taking one” is from a Chinese fortune cookie.

When you are rushing toward your eighth decade you are free to choose your own path. When you know an action is right for you then take it and don’t look back. You will have your own Made It Moment and the put-downs of the previous decades will fade into oblivion.

Nash Black is the nom de plume for the married team of Ford Nashett and Irene Black. Their passion for writing and story telling has earned them award finalist status for Haints (ghost story collection) and Writing as a Small Business. Nash Black reviews books, mainly mysteries, on Amazon and at their blog. You can follow them on Twitter @Pennhand.

We thank Jenny Milchman for allowing us to share our experiences of writing and publishing from a senior perspective of those who are free to follow their dreams.

November 27, 2011

Made It Moment: M. Louisa Locke

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 11:23 pm

Maids Of Misfortune

“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” Poet Langston Hughes penned those chilling and poignant lines, but in M. Louisa Locke’s case, her deferred dream exploded into e publishing success. For those of you considering both traditional and independent publishing routes, this author’s Moment exposes some real advantages to the latter.

M. Louisa Locke

I knew by the time I was twelve I wanted to write historical fiction. By college, however, I had concluded that writing fiction was not a career that I could count on to support myself. So, I concentrated on the historical part of my dream, getting a doctorate in history, challenge enough for a woman in the 1970s. Nevertheless, while writing my dissertation, I came up with the idea for an historical mystery, and, when I had a year off between teaching jobs, I wrote a draft of that mystery. That same year I also got a full-time college teaching job, and again I put the dream of being a writer away. I did periodically make stabs at the traditional publishing route, experiencing most of the disappointments that unpublished authors face, and simply confirmed my belief that my decision to pursue a teaching career had been the right one. Yet, I told everyone that when I retired from teaching I would try again. That time came in 2009 when, after cutting back on my teaching, I pulled out the manuscript for the historical mystery that would become Maids of Misfortune.

However, in 2009 the traditional publishing field was in a slump and new forms of print on demand, ebook, and self-publishing were emerging. I was intrigued and began to research these new opportunities, but I found it difficult to shake the old idea that self-publishing was vanity publishing. Until something happened to me that changed my mind. In June 2009 I attended a mystery conference in LA, where I heard the same old story about how you had to have a “platform” to even get an agent, how first time authors were having difficulty getting contracts, how advances were shrinking, and that the minimum time it would take from first query to finished product was 18 months. Even more discouraging, the editors at this convention made it clear that an author couldn’t expect their work to be published as an ebook for at least another additional year or two, even though ebook sales, unlike traditional books sales, were increasing.

I had an epiphany. I was approaching my sixtieth birthday and I felt too damn old to waste 2-3 years on a process with no guarantee that my book would ever see the light of day or be read by more than a handful of people. And, my research had shown me there was another way.

So I put the business cards away and committed myself to taking the self-publishing route.

I took the next six months to do the final edit and do what was necessary to be ready to publish (get a cover designed, set up an author website, and a blog) and then in a two-week period in December of 2009 I published Maids of Misfortune as an ebook on Smashwords and Kindle and used CreateSpace to publish a POD edition.

Two weeks, not two to three years.

My first made it moment came a year later, when I realized I had made enough money with the sales of Maids of Misfortune so that I could retire completely and become a full time writer. My second made it moment came this month when I published my second book, Uneasy Spirits, and I realized if I had decided to go the traditional route in December 2009, my first book would probably not yet be published, much less my second. In addition, that first book would certainly not be available as an ebook (where I have made the bulk of my sales,) so it would be very unlikely that I would have sold the 15,000 copies I have. And finally, without those sales of Maids of Misfortune, the sequel, Uneasy Spirits, would not have become the #1 best-selling historical mystery in Kindle after being out for less than a week. For me, the decision to forgo the traditional route was the best decision I ever made.

For over twenty years, M. Louisa Locke was known by students taking U.S. History classes at San Diego Mesa College as Dr. Locke, an enthusiastic and amusing teller of stories about the past. Now semi-retired, she has taken her story telling in a new direction with the publication of Maids of Misfortune. She is currently living in San Diego with her husband and assorted animals, where she is working on her next novel.

November 20, 2011

Guest Post: Elizabeth Lyon

Filed under: Great Reads,The Writing Life — jenny @ 10:00 pm

Manuscript Makeover

It’s not every day–OK, it’s never happened before–that I get to feature someone on the blog who played an instrumental role in helping me get published. There’s a dream guest of mine who would also fit this description–but today’s dream guest came in at an earlier leg of my journey.

I was querying agents with a 180,000 word manuscript. How did I get requests from agents despite that enormous pink elephant in the room? Because I’d read Elizabeth Lyon’s book, The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit, and she’d taught me how to write a query letter and a synopsis.

Pure and simple.

Of course, I did many of the things wrong that Elizabeth is going to warn more savvy writers than I was against in her post below. But it didn’t matter. I was getting requests, and soon one of those requests was going to lead me to slice 60,000 unnecessary words from my very first novel, and I was hooked on the process.

Thank you, Elizabeth. And here’s to all our writing roads being paved smoothly…with golden stories.

Elizabeth Lyon

How do I know when my novel is ready to query?

Brace yourself. Stop sending out queries. Am I serious?

All writers are blinded by subjectivity. Few books are ready for publication but the writer is the last one to know this.

Let’s assume that you have done everything you’re supposed to in order to have a completed, ready-to-publish manuscript. That means you’ve done several critical actions first:

  • Finished your novel,
  • Revised it multiple times,
  • Gained feedback from a critique group or a circle of readers,
  • Read Manuscript Makeover then
  • Revised it another 3 or 5 or 12 times.

In addition, to gain marketing savvy you may have boosted your chances of winning in the marketing game by:

  • Attending conferences to gain a quantum leap in understanding of the industry
  • Meeting agents or editors and pitched your book (trial runs on marketing)
  • Entering contests, and
  • Bagging publication of short stories.

You may be thinking, “That’s a huge amount of work. I’d rather be writing.”

Consider this: why should you expect to gain the prize—a contract, money, and recognition, if you have not fully pursued the education and apprenticeship that are pre-requisites in other professions such as playing in a symphony, practicing law, or performing brain surgery?

Let’s say you have done most of the above items. You may even match the following demographic profile:

On average, novelists who break in have 4 novels sitting in a drawer. On average, they have spent 10 years of writing, studying, and marketing. On average, they have a million words under their belt.

To flip this serious blog around, many writers do see publication of first novels (or memoirs—equally difficult to write and publish), after spending only a few years, and some do nothing that is advised and still succeed. Every writer’s trajectory is different.

When you’re ready to query, sometimes the only way to find out if your book makes the grade is by jumping in. Test the market. First, you’ve got to write the query that gains a request to see your pages. Read The Sell Your Novel Toolkit. The query should be 5 to 7 paragraphs, the shorter the better. I’ve seen 3 do the job. If you are sending the query in the mail, your pitch must fit on one page—and don’t forget that SASE. Most agents now want e-mail queries. Some require submission via forms on their websites.

Edit and revise that query till you are sick of it. One writer I know spent 40 hours, literally, on her query. A successful query, in my opinion, gains 3 positive responses out of every 10, and that is what her query produced.

Now, test your query’s effectiveness by sending it to 6 agents via email. If you get rejections, revise your query. Be Teflon coated and let rejections slide away. If you get requests, send exactly what is requested and no more. If you get a request to mail your manuscript or a partial, add a 1- to 3-page synopsis—and an SASE.

Next, send out another batch of 6 or 12 or 30 queries. Rejections? Revise your query; subject it to scrutiny by critique group members or your resident OCD critical friend. Change the order of paragraphs. Amp it with stronger verbs and a stronger hook. Shorten the sentences. Draw your hero in a way that shows original and three-dimensional characterization.

Since many agents (or their assistants) read only a few paragraphs of a query or a few pages of a novel before they hit the delete key or slap the form rejection into the SASE, consider hiring a professional editor to do a critical read-through or a full editing and evaluation of 50 pages and a synopsis.

Obviously, I’m a big believer in using professional freelance book editors either prior to querying or after you know that your novel is apparently not making an agent yelp “Eureka!”

When have you reached the flick-it-in time? You’ll have to decide. Maybe after 30 rejections. Or 50. Or when Catnip walks over your keyboard and won’t let you send more.

History is rife with novelists who believed in their work and were soundly rejected only to self-publish, or to find that one enthusiastic agent after 400 rejections. Some of these books later became bestsellers and award-winners. Traditional mainstream publishing is often too elitist, passing up books that deserve publication; books that are fully professionally written and simply do not guarantee the bottom-line return the publisher is seeking. A plague on all their publishing houses.

So what if your novel is ready to be published? In that case, make it happen. You deserve to complete the circle from idea to creation to a book you can share. We are artists; we deserve an audience. If your marketing gets you an agent and a sale, you’re in. If not, with print-on-demand and e-book technology, the costs are relatively small (do your Google homework) and the satisfaction immense. With completion, you can move on to your next novel, at last returning to what is most satisfying: writing.

Elizabeth Lyon is a freelance book editor for over 20 years. She is the author of Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write, The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit, A Writer’s Guide to Nonfiction, A Writer’s Guide to Fiction, and Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore.

Manuscript Makeover was featured in “The Writer” as one of the “8 Great Writing Books of 2008,” and as “perhaps the most comprehensive book on revising fiction.”

November 15, 2011

Made It Moment: Elizabeth Main

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 10:15 pm

No Rest for the Wicked

I met Liz Main while we were traveling west last summer, and I read her sharp small-town cozy not long after. The two experiences will forever be united in my mind by a vivid sense of place. Liz creates that sense of place in her fiction. And she creates it in her Moment below.

You can see the lawn on which she cartwheels, can’t you? I can practically smell the scent of her dogs. And see the sky rockets, which mean, eternally, that somewhere someone has made it.

Elizabeth Main

The tricky proposition is to define “made it.” I used to move the goal posts a lot: “The first sale might have been a fluke. If I sell a second book, or a third, then maybe . . .” I stopped playing that game about the time I started giving my occupation as “writer” when asked.

The initial cartwheels-across-the-lawn writing moment came one magic day 20 years ago when I slit open an envelope and found a check for $25 from a real magazine for a short story I had submitted. Independent verification of my dream!

After I stopped jumping up and down, I was wild to share my joy. But with whom? By chance, all my immediate family members were unavailable. I couldn’t think! I couldn’t think . . . let alone wait another moment to tell someone my news.

Aha! I tore outside to the deck, where Tar and Trapper, our black lab and golden retriever, dozed in the sun. Waving the check in their furry faces, I shouted, “I’m published! I’m published!” At first alarmed by my antics, they soon recognized the momentous nature of the occasion and jumped around with me, wagging their tails in admiration and grinning, as only dogs well-acquainted with the difficulty of getting published can do.

I’ve had both public writing successes and special, private affirmations. Our daughter once created a cardboard book cover (complete with rave reviews) as a stand-in for the real cover she was sure my first book would someday receive. Our granddaughter found the climax of my juvenile adventure novel so scary she made her mother stay with her while she read it. It’s a hoot to be known as the family author.

But several years ago I discovered, to my own surprise, that my deepest writing satisfaction comes from working on a project that I deem important, even if it doesn’t advance my career. It’s gangbusters when my work and the needs of the market overlap, but not necessary . . . the difference between the blaze of a skyrocket across the night sky and the visceral warmth of a steady, internal light. Each has provided me a “Made It Moment.” No need to stop at one.

Elizabeth C. Main has lived in and loved the High Desert country of Central Oregon, where she and her husband reared their two children, for over thirty-three years. She majored in English and taught in high school, but her primary focus was her family and community for many years. She became serious about writing only after the kids left home. She writes in whatever genre catches her fancy, currently cozy mysteries. The second in the Jane Serrano Mystery series, No Rest for the Wicked, was published in August, following Murder of the Month in 2005. Prior to that she published a middle-grade adventure novel, A Star for Courage, and a contemporary romance, Richer by Far. She also enjoys writing personal essays and short stories . . . anything to avoid housework.

November 13, 2011

Made It Moment: Susan Lute

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 10:41 pm

The London Affair

The best thing about the Made It Moments forum is meeting authors and discovering their books. The second best thing is when they take the concept of a Moment, tweak it, and make it their own. Susan Lute is not the first Moment-er to seize on the idea of a series of Moments–less a Before and After, and more a, Smell each rose along the way. But her range of possibilities–from so small it involves, well, me to so big that we’re probably all dreaming of the same thing along with her–is unique. Please read on below for Susan’s list. And then tell us–what’s a tiny Moment you’ve already had? And what’s the biggest you might dream of?

Susan Lute

Thanks Jenny, for having me here at Made It Moments. I’m not exactly sure what bar I’ve set for when I think I’ll be able to say, by god, I’ve made it! The other day, a writer friend of mine forwarded the USA TODAY’s Best Selling Books list, and when I noticed three indie books in the top thirty, I did think, if I could make it into the top thirty, I’ll have made it <g> We all have our dreams.

There are milestones, though, along the way. The first time I got that warm, fuzzy feeling, that maybe I’d done something good with my writing, I was finishing up my Bachelor’s degree at George Fox College with a writing course. At the end of the term, the instructor asked everyone in the class to bring something they’d had published and do a reading. No one would believe it now, but I was a very shy child, who grew into an equally shy adult. It’s only been in the last ten-ish years that I’ve begun to outgrow that. Anyway, I’d previously published a short story with Listen Magazine, a periodical distributed in high schools to kids, titled Jessie’s Choice. So I took the plunge and actually read it aloud to my fellow students and instructor. My voice shook. Got a few tears (I love that story). And then realized I wasn’t the only one with moist eyes. Wow! Did I do that?

That was my first Made it moment. Since then, there have been more, because the journey is full of these milestones, right? My first print published book. My first indie novel. That first fan letter for Jane’s Long March Home (the first book of my heart). Becoming a blogger. The day Jenny came to See Jane Publish, someone I didn’t know, who spontaneously sought me out to see what I was saying, and then stayed to comment (thanks for that, Jenny). And someday, hitting the USA TODAY’s Best Selling Books list in the top thirty.  They’re all good moments.

The oldest child of a military family, Susan Lute traveled a lot as a kid, never going to the same school for more than one or two years. Over the years she become an ardent student of human nature, and grew to love ancient history and myth. Along the way, she acquired a fascination for the ridiculous and unusual, and she collects way too much useless information. Fortunately, that comes in handy when cooking up plots for a novel.

These days, Susan writes, writes, writes whenever she can. In between she works as a Registered Nurse, reads, watches movies, gardens, takes black-and-white photos, travels, and works at remodeling the house.

November 8, 2011

Made It Moment: Lise McClendon

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:30 pm

Jump Cut

For everyone who ever hesitated to admit to someone that they were writing, this Moment is for you. For everyone who dared to do so anyway, this Moment is for you. For everyone who knew they had it in them, this Moment is for you.

For you, and, as Lise McClendon says in her witty, inimical voice, a whole bunch of sheep.

Read on.

Lise McClendon

Most writers struggle for many years before breaking through that barrier and getting their first contract for publication. This is the way it should be. God forbid anyone actually reads your first novel! Keep it tucked away for your grandchildren to chuckle over after you’re gone. It will be less embarrassing that way.

But during those years of struggle and self-doubt, when you wonder if you’ve on a fool’s errand and are just banging your head bloody against the brick wall to make sure you’re still alive, sometimes there comes a moment. For me, this was my “Made It Moment.” I just didn’t know it at the time.

It didn’t happen with my first novel, which I called “Sharp Horns Rising.” It was a western, kind of. Set in the 1920s in Wyoming, it featured a woman with a murky past, a cowboy who loves her, and a whole bunch of sheep. It’s still in a drawer but the process of writing it (I wrote the screenplay first then re-wrote it as a novel) was incredibly instructive, and humbling. I joined a writing group, went to my first weekend workshop, started to think of myself as a writer. And stumbled along the path to writing a saleable novel.

I distinctly remember the first time I admitted to someone outside my family that I was writing a novel. My heart pounded, I flushed, I stammered: fight or flight? Flight, for sure. What sort of gall does it take to think you can be a writer? The crazy kind, I supposed.

But I persevered. This is important. The number one quality of the published writer is not that she has a fabulous wit, or knows interesting people, or even has a way with words. It’s that he or she does not quit. A manuscript doesn’t sell? Put it aside and write another one. (I have more than that first one in the drawer, believe me. But I loved writing each one. And each one taught me so much.)

I still meet people who have never met a writer before, which I find oddly refreshing. My first mystery novel did finally sell, in 1994, and over the years I’ve met tons of writers, at conventions, book festivals, bookstores, and writing groups. I knew only a few writers back then. (Sandra West Prowell, also working on her first mystery, was an incredible friend.) Back when I was writing that novel (The Bluejay Shaman) something weird happened, a moment between sending out queries, tackling rewrites, receiving critiques, and doing networking. I realized something: I was going to sell a novel. I really believed that. Way down to my little writerly toes.

I have no idea why, of course. My husband asked me the question and my answer was: Yes, I will sell a novel one of these days. I will be published. I guess I thought I was good enough, with little evidence. The actual quality of that first published novel is irrelevant now. What matters is that I believed in myself. I knew I could do it.

These days I sometimes still tell myself: Nobody will ever believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Not exactly true, of course. There’s your mom. But even then, you have to believe in yourself, in the best you can do, in success in your time. Only then will the world follow.

My new thriller, JUMP CUT, is being published this month. It’s funny and exciting and sexy, a modern thriller about a Seattle TV reporter, a narcotics detective, and a terrorist plot. Sometimes I call it Bridget Jones meets the Russian Mafia. I’m using a pseudonym this go-round, Rory Tate. Hey, why not? No good reason. But way down in my writerly toes, I believe in Rory too.

JUMP CUT is the debut thriller by Rory Tate. As Lise McClendon the author has written seven crime novels, including Blackbird Fly, a suspense novel. Both Rory & Lise live out where the deer and the antelope play in Montana. For more about JUMP CUT, and to read a sample, visit the website. JUMP CUT is available in electronic and trade paperback through all major bookstores. is currently holding a contest for free copies of JUMP CUT. Enter and win! Rory Tate — and Lise McClendon— are featured on the Thalia Press Authors Co-op.

November 7, 2011

Made It Moment: Richard Godwin

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 10:53 pm

Apostle Rising

Richard Godwin conducts some of the most searching interviews of writers I’ve ever read (see the link at the bottom to Richard’s blog). So when I asked him to contribute a Moment, you can imagine I wondered whether it would be as fresh and unexpected as his questions.

It is. Below please find Richard’s Not Made It Moment.

My first crime novel, Apostle Rising, was published in paperback on March 11th of this year. It was a proud moment. I’d been published in an array of magazines and anthologies and I am always delighted when one of my stories reaches a wider audience, but the release of my first novel gave me quite a buzz. It has received great reviews, and sold well in a hard market.

But do I think I’ve made it?


I have since been included in several more anthologies, and am being approached all the time for work, which is nice.

But do I think I have made it?


I’ll tell you why. There’s a big ocean of writers out there and the very best are in another league. I am not comparing styles, because there are some brilliant and relatively unknown writers, but I am comparing longevity, consistency and saleability. While I think the profit driven areas of publishing are getting a deserved lesson with the rise of the E Book, which I welcome, it is hard for a writer to make a career out of fiction.

I write because I love it. I write because it is a process in which one can go on learning forever, there is no ceiling.

My next novel will be released as an E Book early next year.

I can’t wait.

A video trailer of Apostle Rising can be seen here

Richard Godwin is a crime and horror author who has been published in magazines and anthologies, including Pulp Ink and Laughing At The Death Grin. He also has had plays produced and published poems. Apostle Rising is his first published novel about Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle. Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now many years later and still suffering from nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with inside knowledge of the original case.

Richard also conducts popular and searching interviews with writers on his blog.

November 2, 2011

Made It Moment: Janet Oakley

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 6:29 am

Tree Soldier

Leave a comment today and be entered to win a copy of Janet’s novel!

Like many authors who have come to Made It Moments, Janet Oakley’s was a twisting path. But she sunk down roots in this writing world–much like the tree in her title–and when the e-volution arrived, Janet was poised to take advantage of it. Along the way she discovered that *how* you get published is less important than the responses you get from readers–and Janet describes this in her Moment much better than I.

Janet Oakley

There is no doubt the road to publication can be one long slog. And on the way you can lose heart. Though I had short pieces published in my local newspaper’s call for essays, the queries I sent out for my novels resulted in rejections. There were ups- my first novel, The Jossing Affair was a finalist  at the Pacific NW Writers Conference and a second novel, Tree Soldier, received similar attention. I even had requests for full and partials, but no agent or publication. Things changed when I submitted personal memoir essays to the Cup of Comfort series. Five were published in five different books. One won the top prize in non-fiction at Surrey International Writers Conference. I was also getting historical articles published on-line at I was clearly on the right path. And I made sure to celebrate each little publication success. I began to call myself a writer, but I still couldn’t get an agent.

In 2008, I entered Tree Soldier into the ABNA contest. Then I put it up at Authonomy. In doing so, I got a whole new perspective on writing and publishing. I got great comments and suggestions. And I made wonderful friends. Most of all, I got the confidence to self-publish the novel and find out what was going on in the totally game changing world of e-books and POD.

Tree Soldier was published in March 2011. This, one would think, would be my Made It Moment–but not yet. There was still marketing and getting the word out. Just as I was getting ready for my first book talk at my local indie bookstore, a request came from my book club to read it as one of our book selections. I was never so nervous in my life. This is no ordinary book club. Every one of these women have been reading teachers or heavily involved in literacy in the elementary grades. They are avid readers and what we read are some of the best in the last 15 years. To have them take on my book was both exciting and intimidating? Would they like it?  Or find it a bore? After two nerve-wracking weeks, I finally began getting emails from them. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Just a day after I gave my book talk at Village Books, my book club gathered to discussed my novel. To be honest, I don’t think anything has meant more to me than their positive support and gushing over sentences and characters in Tree Soldier. To get their respect…well that was a Moment for sure.

With their enthusiastic comments, the library has been propelled to put together a book club kit. Four book clubs have read or are reading my book. And that’s my Made It Moment. Not to mention that now I understand why word of mouth is such a powerful marketing tool!

JL Oakley has published essays on topics ranging from the dreams of four generations of women in her family to doing drywall after the sudden loss of her husband. “Dry Wall in the Time of Grief” was the winner in non-fiction at Surrey International Writers in 2006. Her articles on Washington State history are at Her novels THE JOSSING AFFAIR and TREE SOLDIER were finalists at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary contest. TREE SOLDIER is also a finalist in historical fiction for the 2012 EPIC Awards.

JL lives in the Pacific Northwest and writes every day. No matter what.

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