Janet's Jargon

Fun lifestyles, charitable acts, great fiction, author support, Patrick and Grace Mysteries, Keith clan trilogy,

Friday, December 30, 2005

Starting the Year with my Sanity Intact

Have you ever wondered if you are really among the "sane ones" in the land, or are you as far out in left field as the rest of the Universe?

Many years ago, through some events that occurred with our children when they were in school, we (and several other families) were required to have a psychological examination. We weren't sure exactly what they hoped to uncover in the life of a couple of former missionaries and their kids, but we agreed to the exam, although somewhat reluctantly. The plus side of it was that when the psychologist completed the tests, we were all five given a slip of paper decreeing that we were indeed "of sound mind." When I think about it now, I wonder how many families can say that, and even have the paper to prove it.

A couple of days ago I had an e-mail from a woman who said she is a psychiatrist. She said that after she has had a particularly stressful day and patients who are really upset or difficult, she comes home and clicks on my website (http://www.janetelainesmith.com) for some fun. Now I have many different purposes I hope to achieve with my website: educating and encouraging other authors, selling my books, letting people see "the real me" behind my books, but above all, I want people to have fun while they are there. From the responses I get, both by e-mails and in my guestbook, I think it is working. Anyway, the psychiatrist said that she has shared my website url with her fellow "shrinks," and they now refer to me as "the psychiatrist's psychiatrist." She was also asking for a copy of my Sampler (which includes the first chapter of each of my published books, as well as a teaser to a couple of upcoming ones). I gladly sent it to her, and suggested that she might want to print a couple of copies of it off and leave it out on the coffee tables in her waiting room, as it would probably be more interesting to her patients than old magazines. She also asked if she could pass along the advice I have up currently on my homepage on what to do with your New Year's Resolutions to her patients.

On another front, Cate Cavanagh is an online friend I have known for several years. She is currently working on a new book, Quantum Spirituality. Here is an excerpt from that book:
"When I define the passive mind in terms of Quantum Spirituality, I am talking about a mind that in peaceful repose. Peaceful repose frees us of anxiety, guilt, remorse, sorrow and self-denigration.

With this aspect of Quantum Spirituality, I suggest the following books. (See below.)
For pleasure: Any book by author Janet Elaine Smith. Select a book from her numerous offerings at http://www.janetelainesmith.com/"

For more information on Cate Cavanagh and her books, visit her website at http://members.tripod.com/cate_cavanagh/catecavanagh/id29.html

If you would like a free copy of my Sampler, either leave a comment here requesting it or send me an e-mail at janetelainesmith@yahoo.com and put "Sampler" in the subject line.

On this eve of the eve of New Year's Day, may you have all your heart's desires in the coming year. Remember to be happy and have fun!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My Life as a Book

I have heard arguments both for and against the practice of selling used books. As an author, of course we would rather have everybody buy our books new, but if a person can't afford that, personally, I'd much rather have a person buy a used copy of one of my books than to not read them at all.

A while back, I decided to check out a used copy of Dunnottar that showed up on Amazon. It was at a very reasonable price. That pleased me. I hate the idea of one of my used books being sold for more than you can get a new copy for. I decided to contact the seller. He was located in California.

The man very graciously replied, explaining that the book was personally autographed by me. He described my signature, and I knew it was mine. I have a certain little squiggly thing I always put under my name. It's the same thing my mother always did under her name. He also said the insignia was "To Sally."

Now I don't claim to remember everybody's name I sign in one of my books, but I don't know a lot of Sally's. I do know one here in Grand Forks, ND, and she had purchased a copy of Dunnottar from me when it first came out.

I called our local Sally and asked her about it, and she was a bit embarrassed that she didn't have the copy any longer. She had let her daughter take it to the east coast when she left for college.

So, I contacted her daughter. Yes, she had read the book--and loved it! She had then loaned it to her roommate, who had read it and then taken it to her home in--you guessed it--California! She left it with her mother in California.

After they contacted her mother in California, we discovered that she had taken it to a local thrift shop "because she couldn't bear to let it just sit there without letting somebody else read it."

And that is where the man who was selling it on Amazon had found it. He read it, and then decided that he wanted to pass it on "because it was too good a book to just die."

So, from one single copy of Dunnottar, I have hopefully gained at least six devoted readers. I have heard from three of them, that they purchased (new copies) of the other two books of the Keith trilogy.

Next time you see a used book, stop a minute and consider where it might have been. I have a line on my website that says "A great book is like a great mind; it keeps on giving,
over and over and over again!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Let's play tag

10 Reading Secrets

I received the following message in my e-mail box this afternoon. It came to me from Mary E. Tyler. I had fun contemplating this subject. I hope you will, too. At the bottom you will see the three people I meme'd. Please see their blogs for their responses, as well as Mary's (aka "dej") by clicking on the link to her blog.
I'd love to hear your comments here on what you consider important in your own reading practices. Now, it's lousy weather in most of the country, so it's a perfect time to put your feet up, cuddle up in your favorite afghan, sip on a cup of hot chocolate and read a good book.

Meme Tag is apparently when one blogs on a certain topic and then tags, via email, another blogger to write on the same subject. The topic is "10 reading secrets." I bet you have interesting reading secrets. Read more about it at my blog, http://www.figure-skating-blog.com/ dej

1. Read with two things in mind: entertainment and education.
2. Don't throw a book out just because something isn't "right." A long time ago I started to read a book called "The Irishman." It was set on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, and the two states were divided by a river, which the author identified as the Red River. My mother was raised there; that river was the Mighty Mississippi. Hard to miss that on a map! I almost didn't read the book because of that, and I would have missed a terrific book.
3. Don't be afraid to try something new. I am an author, as well as a reader, and a woman wrote to me and asked, "Why should I read your new book? I have never read a timetravel. The whole idea seems stupid to me." I wrote back to her and told her if she would try it and didn't like it, I would buy it back from her. She read it, and wrote to me asking when my next timetravel would be out.
4. Don't get so high-and-mighty that you overlook some of the "good stuff." Both in research and in reading, I enjoy kids' books. I had great fun writing "My Dear Phebe," a young adult book. My next Christmas book, which will be out in Oct. 2006, will be a young adult. You won't want to miss sharing the exciting adventures of Carmen and Molly Mouse.
5. You can't always judge a book by its cover. However, most people do. If you see a book that intrigues you, because of its author, the title, whatever, give it a chance, even if you think it's the ugliest cover you've ever seen. Many authors have no say in what goes on their covers, so don't blame them!
6. Don't always opt for the library for your reading material. Granted, most of us don't have unlimited cash that we can spend on books, and reading library copies is better than not reading them at all. However, remember that the authors are trying to make at least a little bit of money, so your purchases mean a lot to them.
7. Don't be intimidated by an author, even if it is a very famous one. Authors love to hear from their readers. Check on google to see if the author has a website with a "Contact me" spot. If so, email them. If not, contact their publisher and ask them to forward your comments to the author.
8. If you read a book that you really like, make it your first choice of gift-giving. If you liked it, chances are somebody else will, too.
9. Encourage our kids to read. Whether or not you like the Harry Potter books (and I admit that I haven't read them), they have accomplished one thing: they have gotten our kids reading again. For that, I say "Brava, J.K. Rowling!" My parents instilled a love of books in me from the time I can remember. For this, I owe them a great big "thank you."
10. If you know an author, or if you meet one, don't be afraid to declare the next time you meet them "Hug your favorite author day." As an author, I love the recognition by my "fans." When I hoped and prayed daily for one of my books to be published, the idea of actually having a "fan" never entered my head! I thought it was only people like Dear Abby and Ann Landers who had fans. Now I have fans of my own, and one of the famous advice column twins is dead. I figure I'm winning this game--little by little.

I have meme'd the following three people:
Joyce Anthony - http://kaleidosouls.info/Blog.html
Dorothy Thompson - http://www.overthehill.blogspot.com
Myriam Maytorena - http://www.myriamsmuse.blogspot.com