My Blog
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Libby's Blog

There clearly is a conspiracy this month to test my courage where spiders, vampires, werewolves and the such are concerned. Don’t panic. This isn’t another spider blog. This week I’m going to address the subject of vampires.

I have to confess that I don’t read novels or watch movies about vampires. (I know. There’s definitely something wrong with me.) I do, however, critique novels about this interesting species. Why? Because a member of my critique group, Jim Grayson, writes in this genre.

Jim may have converted me, however. I’ve been copy editing his latest manuscript, and it’s really good. I’m “getting into it” as they say. I care about the protagonist and his friends, even though they happen to be vampires (and werewolves). Trust me, you have to be a very good writer and have a really good plot to make me want to read these kinds of stories. My writer friend has achieved this goal.

The reason I’m talking about this is to point out how a critique group should work. Members should always critique one another within the context of the genre. In other words, Jim will never demand that one of my characters bite someone, and I will never insist that his characters offer their antagonists a cup of tea.

I’ll let you know when Jim publishes his latest book. In the meantime, it’s Halloween week, so watch the vampire movies and read the werewolf novels.

I’ll just have a cup of tea.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to




Posted by libbygrandy at 11:02 PM EDT
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Libby's Blog

In the “old days,” or, as our six-year-old Jesse says, “back in the day,” women often dreamed about being a muse for a writer or artist. It sounded romantic. I have never particularly aspired to that, either now or “back in the day.” Apparently, however, I inadvertently became a muse for my writer friend, Tim Chizmar.

Before you allow yourself to be impressed, I should mention that the story that I inspired is in a horror book, Hell Comes to Hollywood II. The short story is entitled “Libby” (of course), and has a horrific plot involving an older woman and a resident spider. I had mentioned in our critique group that I was afraid of spiders, using basically the same verbiage as in my last blog. Tim was fascinated and, being the creative writer he is, went home and wrote the story.  It became Tim’s first published piece, and I became a muse. Tim has since signed a contract for three published books. Not surprising, the genre he writes in is horror. And, unfortunately for me, he’s very good at it.

I attended a Halloween party over the weekend hosted by the president of The California Writers Club. It was great fun. Judy had asked us to bring something to read, so I downloaded the aforementioned book with Tim’s story in it, read an excerpt, and scared myself silly.

I’m visual. I once read that only 20% of the human race is visual, so, if you’re not, you probably aren’t quite as sensitive to dreadful scenes as I am. If you describe an accident to me, I see it in my mind. If you say blood is running down someone’s face, I see a face with blood running down it.

So if a giant spider with long, hairy legs is ambling toward the main character, I see it clearly. Need I say more?

For those of you who are aren’t visual or love being scared to death, here is the link to the book:   You will find the short story, “Libby,” in it.

It’s a well-written story by a very good writer.

You’re welcome, Tim.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to




Posted by libbygrandy at 12:09 PM EDT
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Libby's Blog

I have a confession to make. I don’t really like Halloween. Undoubtedly, there are those who are shocked by this, especially people in California. Halloween is a big deal in California. However, I don’t like being scared. What scares me? Spiders. And they are everywhere this time of the year. Not real, but everywhere.

Having said all that, our six-year-old Jesse and I went shopping over the weekend and bought a giant spider and two bags of spider webs with little spiders in them. We also bought a skeleton. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any eyeballs. Anyone have an extra eyeball? Jesse assured me that nothing was real, and that I should touch the spiders to see that they were plastic. Jesse always has solutions to any problems I might have.

My spider problem comes from several things: the huge spiders that I occasionally encountered in Virginia when picking corn, and the Tarzan movie I saw as a child that had a giant spider who crawled over people and ate them. I’m visual and can picture that horrendous sight to this day. We also had big black spiders in our damp basement where the washing machine was. I found I could kill them if I screamed the whole time I was smashing them. When that happened, my daughters would ignore the screams, shrug and explain to any friends who might be visiting, “Mother’s killing a spider.”

I doubt that you all are that fascinated by this sad confession, so I’ll end this blog with these words.

In a few weeks, Halloween will be over, and—this, too, will pass.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to



Posted by libbygrandy at 11:34 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 October 2014 11:38 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Libby's Blog

Many readers have the idea that we writers think of a creative plot, write the story and publish it from a first draft. I wish. In reality, the journey of a published book from the idea inside a writer’s head to a reader’s hand can be a long one. When that journey is rushed, the end result is not always what the writer had envisioned.

I never publish anything that my critique group hasn’t read, and I often take their suggestions, which means rewriting. Writers need objective opinions, especially fiction writers. We become attached to our ideas and to our characters, even the bad ones. Well, maybe not serial killers.

Once a manuscript has been critiqued and edited, the last step is crucial. The manuscript must be copy edited. Some people can afford a professional editor, which is usually very expensive. For good reason, because a good editing job is time consuming. I’m fortunate to belong to the California Writers Club and have excellent writer friends, who read my manuscripts. They catch a missing period or quote or whatever.

The final proofing for self-published authors is the formatted draft they receive from the publishing company and then the print copy that they receive for final approval. Even when the original manuscript is perfect, the formatting by the company may need correcting. Usually it is simply an additional space that needs deleting, but every page has to be carefully checked. It can be a bit of a chore, since a writer has read this story many times, but it’s worth it, when the polished novel becomes available on Amazon. There will always be readers who won’t fall in love with your story, but, hopefully, they won’t be able to point out that misspelled word on page 242.

I’m waiting for my third Beta reader to return my present manuscript. I’ll then fix whatever might need fixing and follow my own advice: proof, proof, proof. 

I’d like to have Lydia, Book Two of the Haverford Trilogy, out by Christmas, but if it’s in January or later, so be it. I’ll know that it’s error free. If it’s not, you undoubtedly will read about it here.

I’m an open book. (Did I really just say that?)


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to


Posted by libbygrandy at 12:09 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 October 2014 12:12 PM EDT
Thursday, 2 October 2014
Libby's Blog

What is writer’s block—really? I know it can be a problem for writers, but I also know that sometimes when we don’t have anything we want to write about, we begin worrying about the infamous “block.” I’m not working on anything new right now but give me a prompt, and I’ll have no problem writing something. I just don’t have a specific writing goal.

I’ve sent off articles to Woman’s World and Chicken Soup for the Soul. I’m waiting to get back my Lydia manuscript from two copy editing friends and fix anything that needs fixing before publishing it. I’ve posted a few reviews. I have two more books to read and write reviews for.

However, I’m not sure what I want to write about next. I know an idea will come, probably two minutes after I post this blog.

Some of us tend to be overly conscientious. Unless we are productive, we feel guilty. Well, I’ve taken this writing lull to do fall cleaning. And, trust me, that was productive (and a bit exhausting).

I just want to reassure those writers who aren’t writing at the moment and don’t have anything to take to their critique group that it’s okay. Your family and friends will still love you. The crowd outside Walmart will not start booing you. You will hopefully still get into heaven.

You simply don’t have a desire to write at the moment. Neither do I.

Having said all this, I suddenly realized that I had a desire to write this blog. Does that negate everything I just said? Oh, never mind. Let’s call this an exercise in freewriting. Or better yet, let’s not put a label on it at all. Now there’s a novel concept—no label. Maybe that’s what I’ll write about next week—or not.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to







Posted by libbygrandy at 3:15 PM EDT
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Libby's Blog

Each week, I blog about whatever I happen to be thinking. This week it’s about writing. What a surprise!

 A few writer friends are reading, Lydia, Book Two of The Haverford Trilogy. Consequently, we are discussing plots, etc. I write character-driven stories. Having said that, Desert Soliloquy, is basically plot-driven, as it’s a mystery, with a lot of twists and turns. However, the development of the characters is still an important element.

In the The Haverford Trilogy, the evolvement of the characters drives the stories. Things happen, sometimes dangerous and upsetting things, but how the characters react to those plot lines is what interests me (and hopefully the reader). A writer has to be careful to stay true to a character. Although characters may have certain qualities that the writer shares, they have their own reactions to events. One of my readers questioned two actions of my character, Lydia. She didn’t think someone would do these things. I understood her point. I might not do it, or my reader might not do it, but I guarantee that Lydia would. I took one action out, as it wasn’t important to the story, but left the other in. Sometimes a simple reminder about the character’s eccentricities will satisfy the reader—something like, “Well, you know Dad.” 

One place that ignores all of the above is soap operas. Their concern is to make the viewer return the next day, regardless of how ridiculous the plot might be. Recently, I complained to my husband that the writing on one of them is really bad. He asked, “Then why do you watch it?” I replied, “Because the writing is so bad.”

In a novel, this is when you would have someone shrug and say, “Well, you know Libby.”

And, by this time, you probably do.

See you next week.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to



Posted by libbygrandy at 11:38 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:45 AM EDT
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Libby's Blog

I have often noticed that soon after I mention some problem, the solution shows up. Don’t ask me to explain that, it just happens, and I’m grateful. So, one day after I wrote my blog last week, I found a photograph for the cover of my new novel, Lydia. This after weeks of looking for one. 

Not only that, but I found a potential cover for the third book in my trilogy (True Abundance).

My artist friend, Peggy Jackson, said the picture I chose reminded her of Jane Smiley’s  One Thousand Acres’ cover.  That works for me! CreateSpace will take the photograph and create two covers for me to choose from. I can make suggestions to alter them, if necessary, and they will. However, they did a beautiful job on my last two books, so I’m sure they will come up with another great one.

Covers are important. They should not only “catch the eye,” but represent, to a degree, the story within. Having said that, I’ve read some wonderful books that had dreadful covers, created by traditional publishers. However, you better be a well-known, successful author to get away with that.

Now I’m waiting for my three readers to copy edit my manuscript. They will undoubtedly find some missing commas, etc. It takes a good, objective eye to catch everything. An author or critique group can get so caught up in the storyline, that small stuff is missed. Also, the brain tends to see what it expects to see, even when it’s not there. My readers may make some suggestions in regard to the plot, something that needs clarifying. If so, I’ll seriously consider them. I’m open to anything that makes the story better.

For now, however, I’m just happy that I found the right cover. Hope my readers agree with me.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to


Posted by libbygrandy at 11:54 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:58 AM EDT
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Libby's Blog

I need a picture for the cover of my next book. I've looked at hundreds of photographs on, Google Images, and Hundreds! I found a few that “almost” are what I had in mind but not quite. This is when I could choose to stop looking and “settle.” However, I’m stubborn. Just ask my husband. So I’ll keep looking until November when I hope to publish Lydia, Book Two of The Haverford Trilogy. Will I find what I’m looking for? Who knows? That’s the point. I’ll keep looking whether I find it or not. I won’t give up.

So many people give up on their dreams after a prolonged time of striving to achieve them. I understand that. Sometimes it’s even necessary for another dream to surface. We’re always evolving and growing. What we wanted at twenty is not always what we want at thirty, forty, etc. When we feel passionately about something, however, giving up should be the last choice. It’s okay to take a break, or take another path, but if giving up feels like depression, it’s probably not the best choice. If it feels like relief, well, that’s a different story.

There are people who would look at the photographs I’ve saved to consider and wonder what my problem is. They are very pretty.

But—not quite right.

Yes, I have to admit it’s true. I’m stubborn. (My husband is smiling and nodding.)


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to




Posted by libbygrandy at 11:58 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:06 PM EDT
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Libby's Blog

Something serendipitous has happened almost every week lately. I’m not sure why, but I love it.

This past week I got another surprise message on Facebook. It was from the photographer who took the picture of the Victorian house on the cover of Promises to Keep. I had bought it through and let her know on Twitter. She finally saw it on Amazon and wrote that she was thrilled to see it on the cover.

I was thrilled when I found the picture last fall. How often to you find a photograph that almost exactly matches the picture in your imagination? The word, “never,” comes to mind.

Brenda Bailey (  and is a talented photographer. Brenda says she’s buying my book. I hope she enjoys it as much as I enjoy her photograph.

I found the perfect picture for Desert Soliloquy by going into Images at Google. Gordon Wolford is another gifted photographer ( ).                                

Now if I could just find the right cover for Lydia. I need another miracle.

And it will undoubtedly come.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to

Posted by libbygrandy at 1:27 PM EDT
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Libby's Blog

Whenever I go to the California Writers Club meeting, as I did last Saturday, I come home filled with creative energy. Just being around other writers and hearing them talk about writing is motivating.

I always learn something new. The main speaker, Sam Nichols, talked about the writing process in regard to style and voice. He also gave me the words to describe my kind of writing. He called it “human relationship stories.” 

Granted that my first book, Desert Soliloquy, fits into the mystery genre, because there is a mystery that must be solved, but it’s the human relationships between the characters that interest me. I can say the same about Promises to Keep. It’s a ghost story, but it’s the relationship between the protagonist and the ghost that I find fascinating. On the other hand, my next novel, Lydia, fits perfectly into that description. I’ve often told people I write “women’s fiction,” but then everyone assumes I’m talking about the Harlequin-type novels or even chick lit. And, my novels are neither. So I was happy to hear a term that accurately described what I write—human relationship stories.

It’s important that a writer knows his or her readers. And that the writing is hopefully critiqued by those kinds of readers. That’s not always possible, of course, if a critique group is diverse. At our group, I always tell members to critique within the genre. I don’t expect most vampires in a manuscript to be as thoughtful as the characters in my books. Those stories are also faster-paced with more action (and a considerable amount of blood). I personally know authors, who write great stories in that genre.

Sometimes writers try and write stories that are presently trending, in order to sell books. That usually doesn’t work, as, by the time the novel is out, the trend is often over, and it’s seldom a writer’s best work. (You definitely don’t want me writing about vampires or werewolves.)

I’ll try to remember to note in my blog the day of the California Writers Club meeting in September, in case some of you live in the area and would like to visit. Trust me, you will find it interesting—and motivating.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to



Posted by libbygrandy at 1:28 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 August 2014 1:33 PM EDT

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