Librarian, toes and zombies oh my: A story

The leader of my writing group has been in the hospital for about three months. Unfortunately, she had a toe amputated.

Deciding to keep her spirits up, she challenged us to write a story about how she lost her toe. Whoever won would get a $20 gift card to Panera.

Thinking about how to proceed, the only thing that entered my mind was zombies. Yup, that was the only idea that would come. My son shot down the idea.

But I proceeded and had such a good time with it. It was received very well, and there were loads of laughter. It was a comedy overall.

I didn’t win, but after receiving edits from one of the members, I worked on getting it in better shape.

The more I work on it, the better I felt I could do more. It may sound conceited, but there are certain sections of the piece that makes me laugh out loud. The same areas that made the group laugh out loud.

What started as a short piece now has over 2000 words. It won’t be a book. I have too many WIP. I have a notebook with book ideas that will never come to pass.

But it felt good to write something light and different than what I used to work on.

It came to mind that perhaps I could enter this into a writing contest. I have not fully embraced entering stories in this format.

I have kept telling myself to enter more writing competitions. It is on my to-do list. I have just ignored doing that.

You have such a variety of competition, from those that are free to those that are not. You have cash prizes as well.

Will I win anything I don’t know. However, this is a fun project to work on if nothing else. It is freeing.

Branding yourself as an author

Years ago, I was reading an issue of Writer’s Digest and came across this topic. The writer left her Twitter handle at the end of the article. I decided to follow her in hopes of learning more. Since then, I have expanded my brand through Facebook, Twitter, Goggle+, Linkedin, and a website.

It takes time to cultivate a brand, but it is, in my opinion, vital to each author out there. Once you type the end and the revisions and edits are complete, what then? No matter how you publish, how will you shout to the world about your book? Besides friends and family, how else can you tell people about it?

I started on my brand when I finished the first draft of my book, “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure.” I started sending query letters, and the publishers wanted to know where I was online. Thankfully I was able to provide that information.

As I mentioned, it will take some time but start somewhere, anywhere, and grow from there. Trying to be all over the place will exhaust you. The sites that work for you will suffer by you trying to do it all. That was how I learned my lesson, trying to be everywhere. I was not giving each site enough love and attention it needed.

New platforms are popping up regularly. It is up to us to learn about them and if those will work for us. Just remember, not everything will work for you. And while not all will work for you, there could be a time that your platform needs a go-over. What worked for you may have stalled and stopped working. 

Go over your platform. See if the links are working, the pages created are viewable, and your contact information is active. It is good practice to make the hub of your brand functional. It takes little time for a person to visit a site, see it is having issues and move on quickly to another website in under a couple of minutes, if not less.

Your platform is to make you and your brand sparkle.

In due time it will get easier to update the sites to go and make a post or send out a relevant tweet to your followers. But start somewhere, no matter how small, start. You want your book to shine. It deserves to shine.


When did you start your journey on becoming a writer?

I am a late bloomer. Friends, who were writers, asked me how long I had been writing in 2012. I told them since the end of 2009, and I received back wonderment and amazement, for they had been working on their books for longer.

Let me give you a brief background on how it started. My husband told a dear and close friend that he felt I wrote well in the summer of 2009.

She told me which is a great way to tell your wife. I soon had two surgeries within six weeks of each other in the fall of 2009.

Since she told me this news, I thought about a story. I was recovering for a few weeks when I started working on my first novel, which is now known as “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rain forest Adventure.”

I wrote some poetry growing up, and I still have the notebooks. But as far as writing novels and such, that was not something I thought of doing. Once you start writing, the writing bug digs inside of you. I would never consider not writing.

I try to do some aspect of writing daily, regardless of what level. It could be posting and branding myself on social media, writing a blog post, research, and more. If I was not actively writing, I could not call myself a writer, was my thinking.

People who are not writers have asked me if I am still writing over the years. It is refreshing, however, when a fellow writer and author comes to me and says, “Sharon, what are you working on right now?”

I love it when they see me. That part of our conversations includes that.

The bug is alive and well in me, which suits me fine. For me, not writing is no longer an option.

The Musings of A New Englander