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Like you, I’ve heard all my life that there’s a first time for everything. What is difficult to infer from that statement, but which seems to be the case more often than not, is that this “everything” is often something you haven’t thought about before.

For example, I never in my life thought I’d get an e-mail from a blind person. Especially, a blind person who is a fan of my books.

But, that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday. It’s not that I’d never thought about blind people purchasing digital books. I actually have contemplated that off and on, because I myself “read” Kindle books using the Text-To-Speech feature because my eyes get tired quickly from reading. I’d just never thought about a person without sight consuming one of my books – and e-mailing me on top of it!

I wanted to share a bit of what her e-mail was about because she gave me some interesting information. She recently signed up to my e-mail list, and when you do, some of the e-mails you receive from me are follow-ups. These e-mails are automated; I set them up once and they get sent out to subscribers after so many days in a certain order.

One of the e-mails explains the horrible, rampant Internet book piracy, of which I have become a victim. This is why I’m no longer going to sell print books, so that if I ever see someone trying to sell a print title of one of my digital-only books, I will be able to tell Amazon in no uncertain terms that the seller has pirated my work.

Anyway, my new fan – I’ll call her Anne in case she’d like to remain anonymous – replied to that e-mail to tell me about the BookShare website. This is a low-cost subscription site that legally provides books for blind people, as well as others who have trouble reading text such as dyslexics, people with cerebral palsy, etc.  That is, they get permission from publishers to provide certain books in a format that such people can access – audiobooks, Braille, etc.

Unfortunately, Anne told me, many Christian book publishers don’t allow their books to be put on the site. Anne has gone on to read His Second Chance, and thanked me for providing books on Kindle that aren’t full of “evil and filth.”

You’re welcome, Anne. And thank you for enlarging my world a little bit more by helping me to remember that people of all kinds consume books.

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A Beautiful Ending

Yesterday, I finished the first draft of the fourth book in my “Pine Mountain Estates” series. (Insert canned applause and cheering here.) The title is Finding Dalia, and as I typed out the last few paragraphs, I realized something.

I’ve learned to craft a beautiful ending.

I don’t meant to sound bragadocious. But for this recovering perfectionist, writing a satisfactory ending has been a struggle. Every novelist wants to end their book in a way that will help their readers remember the book, and this can often be more difficult than crafting clever dialogue or producing an unexpected plot twist. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’ve grown in my craft to the extent that I can write a beautiful ending without pulling my hair out.

I’m not saying that I’m totally unhappy with how any of my other novels end. I’m saying that this time, it was easier to write, and I was totally happy with it. Which, up until now, has been a rare occurrence.

Now, on to the first edit and proofreading of Pine Mountain Dreams, the third book in the series.

A writer’s work is never done, but it can be oh so much fun.

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Pretty Spring Things

Today was a beautiful spring day, mostly sunny (at least by afternoon) and in the mid-sixties. And on our five-acre property, many signs of spring have emerged, sparking the hope that this past cold, wet winter might be over at least.

So I thought I’d do something different on my blog. I thought I’d share some of the pretty spring things we’ve been seeing. The first two are more like tasty spring things. And the first photo reminds me that as soon as I finish this post, I need to run out and pick some asparagus for supper.

When I saw what you see in the next photo, I thought, “I shall know soon if I have mice in the garden.” How? Because that strawberry, at least half-ripe (and the first one of the season) will disappear or get nibbled on within the next couple of days if I do.

The next is some kind of small purple wildflower. The photo’s not as good as it could be because the wind was blowing.

Overnight, our rosebushes have bloomed. There’s another bush on the other side, and it’s heavenly to walk between them! They are heirlooms, so the roses give off a lovely fragrance.

Here is a single rose.

Some sort of small, white wildflower that the butterflies and hummingbird moths love.

Case in point.

Yellow wildflowers mixed in with a few of the purple ones like the one I shared above.

What kind of beauty are seeing right now, where you live?

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In a recent post, I admitted to being all over the idea of increasing my daily word count. I lamented about how lo-ong it takes to write a novel unless you’re churning out 3,000+ words per day.

So I discovered that if I don’t edit while I type, I can type 900 words every thirty minutes. I tried that for three days, blocking out four thirty-minute periods. Here’s what happened.

First, I couldn’t reach that word count in every thirty minute period that I sat down to write. But I’d convinced myself that if I was going to be a career novelist, I needed to buckle down and spend whatever time was necessary cranking out 3600 words a day. Thus, the “whatever time was necessary” often meant spending more than four thirty-minute periods to write – or sitting down for more than thirty minutes at a time.

Have I ever told you I can’t stand sitting? Not for long periods of time, anyway.

By the end of the third day, I was burned out. Burned out on my latest project, burned out on writing in general.

Here’s the other thing that happened. Because I wasn’t editing as I was going, I was spending an extra hour a day (or more) to fix the millions of mistakes I’d made. I had almost no leisure time left, no time to do housework.

After that third day, had to ask myself this question: Who are you racing?

I was racing the self-published authors who can crank out a book a month because they pay someone to do their editing and proofreading (I do my own, with help from J). I was racing them because supposedly, if you publish frequently your name gets out more often and you make more money.

I was racing my attitude of “slow is boring.” My mindset that “I hate writing a novel if it takes longer than three weeks.”

I was racing, racing, racing…and I fell down, exhausted, before I’d barely passed the starting line.

So, I extricated myself from the rat race of self-publishing, deciding that if I couldn’t have fun writing, I wouldn’t do it.

I’ve gone back to aiming for 600 words per half hour. Edited and revised. Because when I type “THE END”, I want to be at least 75% through to a final draft.

And I’m not tied to sitting down four times a day for thirty minutes. Usually, my first two writing periods are each thirty minutes long, but often, the rest of the word count comes in fifteen to twenty minute bursts.

My goal now is an easy 2400 words per day, and I hit it almost every day. On days when I don’t have much non-writing work to do, and my creative energy keeps flowing, I can get another three to six hundred words in. Edited words, edited. Meaning, some days I can write 3,000 good words without feeling like I’m killing myself.

I have plenty of leisure time, I’m having fun writing, and the burn-out is a distant memory.

I even have time to resume blogging.

Happy reading.

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Emily Josephine’s Latest Publication

Available now!

I have just published the second book in my latest series, “Pine Mountain Estates.” The title is Grace On The Mountain. Click the book cover image above to visit its product page on Amazon. (It is not available anywhere else.)

In a couple of weeks I will also have a boxed set available for purchase for those who’d like to buy the first four books in the series at a discounted price.

Click here for information about all four books in the series.

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