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Friday, September 18, 2009


Famous Self-Published Authors FAMOUS SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS:

Remembrance of things Past, by Marcel Proust

Ulysses, by James Joyce

The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter

A Time to Kill, by John Grisham

The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton

The Bridges of Madison County

What Color is Your Parachute

In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. (and his student E. B. White)

The Joy of Cooking

When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

Life’s Little Instruction Book

Robert’s Rules of Order


Deepak Chopra
Gertrude Stein
Zane Grey
Upton Sinclair
Carl Sandburg
Ezra Pound
Mark Twain
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Stephen Crane
Bernard Shaw
Anais Nin
Thomas Paine
Virginia Wolff
e.e. Cummings
Edgar Allen Poe
Rudyard Kipling
Henry David Thoreau
Benjamin Franklin
Walt Whitman
Alexandre Dumas
William E.B. DuBois
Beatrix Potter

(Thanks to Dan Poynter's website for this info; see


Pearl S. Buck - The Good Earth - 14 times

Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead - 12 times

Patrick Dennis- Auntie Mame - 15 times

George Orwell - Animal Farm

Richard Bach - Jonathan Livingston Seagull - 20 times

Joseph Heller - Catch-22 - 22 times (!)

Mary Higgins Clark - first short story - 40 times

Alex Haley - before Roots - 200 rejections

Robert Persig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - 121 times

John Grisham - A Time to Kill - 15 publishers and 30 agents (he ended up
publishing it himself)

Chicken Soup for the Soul - 33 times
Dr. Seuss - 24 times

Louis L'Amour - 200 rejections

Jack London - 600 before his first story

John Creasy - 774 rejections before selling his first story. He went on to
write 564 books, using fourteen names.

Jerzy Kosinski - 13 agents and 14 publishers rejected his best-selling novel
when he submitted it under a different name, including Random House, which had
originally published it.

Diary of Anne Frank

Stephen King’s first four novels were rejected. This guy from Maine sent in this
novel over the transom,said Bill Thompson, his former editor at Doubleday. Mr. Thompson, sensing something there, asked to see subsequent novels, but still rejected the next three. However, King withstood the rejection, and Mr. Thompson finally bought the fifth novel, despite his colleague’s lack of enthusiasm, for $2,500. It was called Carrie.During his entire lifetime.

Herman Melville's timeless classic, Moby Dick, sold only 3,715 copies.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


One of the nicest things that has happened to me that actually makes me feel like everything I have done so far has been well worth it was the book review I received from WORKING GIRL REVIEW. This is from my book LOVE CHANGES

Before I opened the first page of this book and even before I read the synopsis on the back cover I stopped to consider what the title of Marsha Casper Cook’s novel might mean. My first thought was that love is a vital part of life and every love must flow with changes to survive. As I glanced at the cover picture, I wondered if it was a picture of serenity or loneliness. Were the chairs empty in wait of a late night lover’s chat on the balcony or empty from missing love? The title along with the serene picture of two chairs sitting on a balcony with a pretty pot of flowers in the background intrigued me enough to open the cover and start reading. I’m glad I did. Love Changes is a good book.

Elaine Lewis is easy to dislike. First impressions are that she is selfish, unappreciative and unstable. Martin Lewis is easy to like. First impressions are that he is hardworking, loving and devoted to his wife. Elaine is a rich socialite who appears to flit from activity to activity simply to please herself. Martin is a well-respected doctor who overlooks much to honor his vow to love his wife no matter what. I refer to first impressions because as the story unfolds, readers get insight into Elaine’s past hurts and present pain. While the information doesn’t justify it, at least it shines light on Elaine’s actions.

Many readers will hate Elaine early in the book, however continued reading will allow some readers to move from dislike of, to sorrow for, to cheering the recovery of this wounded, fearful woman.
To friends and family members the Lewis’ appear to be a happy couple with everything going for them and indeed they are until the birth of Stevie, a son with a disability proves to be a life change Elaine is unwilling to bear. Readers will be appalled by Elaine’s decision to give away her disabled son and by her later claim to all that he died in childbirth. Although Martin is a wonderful husband and is secretly involved in Stevie’s life readers will question his steadfast willingness to do things Elaine’s way to the point of not raising his son in his own home. Not until much later in the book do we see that selfishness alone does not motivate Elaine’s decisions.

Painful memories of a devastating childhood loss and a misguided desire to protect her son from herself are what lead her to act as she does. Doing what she feels is best for Stevie leads to misery in all aspects of her future. Elaine’s perfect life is a veil over her lies and secrecy.

Love Changes confronts some serious issues such as gambling, adultery, mental illness, abortion, and self preservation. Rather than sharing her problems with her husband Elaine turns to the horse track where she gambles on a daily basis. She later turns to other men, but none of her relationships can fill the hole her son left in her heart. She must find a way to reconcile the past or she will not live to see the future. Can Martin’s love hold strong through affairs, lies and loss? You will have to read to find out.

The author presents vivid scene descriptions, honest dialogue and believable characters. She skillfully depicts emotions and the inner turmoil of a troubled lady. Although I found it a bit depressing, I nonetheless enjoyed Love Changes. The major characters were strongly defined and the minor characters were introduced in a natural progression allowing readers to get to know them and their role in Elaine’s life. Some of these individuals will be disliked by readers immediately; some will have redeeming qualities and others will be liked from the first. Readers will enjoy getting to know Stevie and cheer his ability to have a happy life despite his disability. His cheerful outlook on life comes in stark contrast to his mother’s gloomy view and made this reviewer wonder who had the true disability. Many characters play a role in Elaine’s life but none has a love as strong as her husband Martin. His is the love that can sustain Elaine Lewis.

The author had a good mix of dialogue and narration. The dialogue was mostly natural, but I felt it was slightly overdone in a few scenes.

While not a happy life I enjoyed my journey with Elaine through her ups and downs. It was satisfying to see how love impacted her life and made changes for the good and the bad. Love changes all of us and I enjoyed the journey into Elaine’s world to see just how love changed her.

I would recommend adding Love Changes to your future reading list, but don’t expect a light fluffy book solely written to entertain. It is too serious a story for that. It may leave you feeling down in sections, but the message to appreciate what you have, be honest with those you love and don’t let past hurts keep you from future happiness make it a worthy story. Elaine can’t truly love until she forgives herself. She finally gets her head on straight but is it too late? Oh how her life would have been enriched had she learned to love and be loved years earlier.

More reviews ... - reviews

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'll Get the Ball Rolling

To start this project off, I'm including an excerpt from my book "Love Changes." If you're interested, the book is available at Amazon, in paperback or Kindle.

Now it's your turn; please send me your work.


Chapter 5

After beauty came reality. Elaine came home to an empty house. Maggie had asked for the evening off and Martin was finishing up his office hours.

Once again, Elaine was alone. She hated silence, since she always felt it caused loneliness. So with only herself to please, she turned on some symphony music. Loudly, of course. There was no other way – powerful music was comfortable for her.

Elaine glanced at her dressing table and noticed a small, white envelope with her name on it. She quickly read on.

Dear Elaine,
Don’t forget our dinner date. The club at eight. Happy Anniversary.

Elaine started to get dressed. She glanced at herself in the mirror, then stood sideways, touching her flat stomach. Without thinking, she grabbed a pillow from her bed and stuffed it into her robe. Now she looked pregnant.

She closed her eyes and lifted her head back, almost trancelike. She looked into the mirror again, but this time she saw herself years before. She was just about ready to deliver. She reminded herself how fast those nine months really went by.

Elaine quickly pulled the pillow out from under her robe, wondering what the hell had gotten into her. Her decision to have the abortion would not be changed by her questionable feelings. Once again, she had proven to herself that making a decision and showing proper judgment were impossibilities. She often said one thing and did another.

She opened Martin’s dresser and yanked out the bottom drawer. She threw everything on the floor and pulled out several pictures of Martin and Stevie.

She held the pictures close to her heart with remarkable attachment. With smooth movements, Elaine’s fingers touched Stevie’s face. As she closed her eyes, she imagined herself holding her son. Only God and her knew how deeply she cared.

Regardless of the years that passed, Elaine unwillingly had vivid memories of the night before Stevie would be leaving her. Rarely a day passed when she hadn’t wished she could turn back the clock.

It was after ten. Stevie would be leaving the hospital in the morning. Not with his parents, but with a stranger Martin called Sophie.

Everyone on the maternity floor had gone to sleep, all except Elaine. She buzzed for the nurse.

When the night nurse entered the room, she turned on the nightlight over Elaine’s bed. “What can I do for you, Mrs. Lewis? I’ll be leaving soon and you need all the rest you can get. New mothers always need more sleep than they get.”

In embarrassment, the nurse stopped herself from continuing the conversation. She had forgotten Elaine would not be taking her baby home.

There was a brief pause before Elaine asked, “Do you think it would be possible if I could see my baby?”

At first the nurse didn’t respond. She had been confused by the question.

Elaine repeated herself. “Do you think I could see my baby?”

Finally, the nurse responded. “Are you sure about this?”

“Very sure. I just want to say goodbye.”

It hadn’t been more than five minutes when the nurse returned, holding the baby to her chest. She handed the baby over to Elaine, watching her reaction very closely.

At first, Elaine didn’t look at her son. She just held him toward her breast in a nurturing way, gently rocking him as he began to cry.

Elaine looked up at the nurse. “Do you think I could have a few minutes alone with my son?” she asked.

The nurse hesitated, but then she agreed. “I’ll be right outside if you need me. I’m not very sure this is such a good idea.”

As soon as the nurse left, Elaine opened the blanket and, for the very first time, she looked at her son. She leaned over and kissed his forehead. “You smell so sweet,” she said as she kissed his tiny hand.

Elaine held Stevie for quite some time before she spoke again. “I’m so very sorry for what I’ve done to you. This is all my fault. I love you and don’t ever let anyone tell you I didn’t. Have a good life, my baby. I love you.”

Tears fell from Elaine’s eyes as she handed Stevie to the nurse. “Could you please keep this visit between us?” she asked, confident that she would.

“If you wish.” The nurse didn’t look back as she left Elaine’s room. It was not her place to judge or discuss Elaine’s decision.

Elaine sat in the same chair until morning. When it was time for Stevie to leave, she watched from a distance, but she was there for the final goodbye.

An Interview With Me

I was recently interviewed about writing by Working Girl Press. Please check out the interview here.