All I want to do is write. Stories fill my head. Characters
whisper in my ears. My computer screen glares at me, as though asking “What are
you waiting for? You’ve stories to tell, books to write, places to visit,
worlds to create. So what are you doing for hours every day?”
“I’m blogging, tweeting, and all the other promotion things
I can think of,” I say. And the truth hits me, right between the eyeballs. I’m
spending more time promoting my novels than I am writing new ones. This is not
what I want to do. I’m a writer. I create books for children, teens, and the
young at heart to read. Yes, it is important to promote them because everyone
says “Beverly Who?” when they see my name on Amazon or other places that talk
about books. Without promotion, no one will ever recognize me as an author. I
don’t write for fame or for money. (Good thing there, huh?) I write because
writing brings me joy, and I hope my novels encourage, inspire, and touch young
readers’ lives in a positive way. So, to solve my dilemma, hopefully, I’ve
given myself a schedule, and I plan to stick to it as closely as possible.
Writing first, then promotion.
Mornings, from 9 to 11:30 AM, after I’ve answered a few
emails, and my brain is alert and can think, I write. At the moment, I’m on the
final revisions of a YA contemporary novel. Some days I switch to the rough
draft of a YA historical novel, and it is coming along slowly. My critique
partner is reading the sequel to one of my books to help me revise it. Also,
another Chicken Soup for the Soul story is playing around in my mind. With this
many manuscripts waiting for my attention, I must stay busy writing.
Promoting my books that are published is also a necessity.
The afternoons work good for me. I answer more emails, check out Facebook and
my blogs (I usually pre-post them a few days ahead of time, in case my Internet
service goes down, which it has been known to do). I also read other authors’
blogs and leave comments then trot back to Facebook again to see what’s
happening with my friends there. I might post a few tweets and retweet others
that I like. I review books for authors, too, and spend a couple hours each day
reading their novels. I make my to-do list and check off each task as I accomplish
it. Some items are always left for tomorrow. My promotion still takes up a
greater chunk of my day than my writing does, so I’m searching for other ways
to use my time wisely and do both, writing and promo.
For those writers of you that have children at home and/or
work at a job outside the home, how do you do it? I’m retired from teaching.
It’s just the cats and me, and my days are way too short. I’d love to write in
the afternoons, too. What is your secret? How do you balance your creative side
with your business side? I bet other readers would like to know. I sure
About the book:
Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove
compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from
being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No
Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and
her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.
Just when Erik
thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he
and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. The only problem is
the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Stranger still, a ship materializes
in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and
discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls
Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest.
A former nonbeliever in the existence of ghosts, Erik
cannot deny the proof before him. And he has a revelation: The ghosts may be
the answer to his desire to return home. Erik soon makes a deal with the
ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest
in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the
next flight back to Texas. Star thinks his plan stinks, but Erik wants his life
back, even at the cost of his mother’s sanity.
“Have you seen the lights?” Star
On the day we met she told me to call
her Star or Starry. Either way she was from outer space. I glanced over my
shoulder at the football field length of tall grass separating the beach from
the nearest houses.
“You mean those?” I pointed at the
hazy glow around a street lamp. “What’s the big deal?”
“Not those. Over there.” Star
tipped her head in the direction of the water. “Look.”
“I’m looking. I’m looking.” Why
was she so excited? All I saw was a faint beam of light floating across the
inlet. “So? It’s a reflection of the moon.”
Star shook her head. “No moon
She was right. Yet stars (the heavenly
kind, not the girl) glittered between the layers of gathering clouds. “Okay,
it’s only the starlight.”
“The light comes from the lighthouse,”
“You can see it blink on and off,”
Island Lighthouse stood several hundred yards into the water. According to Mom,
who was big on history, the water was land during the Civil War. Over the years
the sea had eroded the shore and water now surrounded the lighthouse. I
couldn’t deny the yellow glow flowing from the top of the building. I couldn’t
explain it either.
said the lighthouse has been out of commission for years. The lantern was
removed. Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse across Charleston Harbor replaced it.”
“Then tell us what it is, Erik,” Star
said. “You see it. Storm and I see it. This isn’t the first time, either. On
cloudy, rainy nights the light flashes on.”
“It’s not raining,” I said.
“It is raining.”
Star had barely said the words when a
gust of wind whipped across the beach. Sand spiraled like a Texas dust devil.
Something wet slapped me on the nose. Several somethings wet—raindrops. The
space girl predicted the weather. So what? Dark clouds usually brought rain.
“Yeah, it’s raining.” Under my breath I mumbled, “And I’m getting wet.”
In a lame
attempt to pep me up about my new home, Mom had promised many adventures waited
for me in Charleston. Adventures? Yeah. If you called ocean waves slurping
against the shore and neighbors with two grains of sand each for brains
adventures, I was up to my wet nose in adventures.
The twins stared into the gloomy
night, watching the light fading into a dim sliver.
The rain seeped into my T-shirt, gluing it to my skin. Lightning
raced across the sky. I shivered. I’d had enough. I shook Stormy’s shoulder. He
kept his eyes focused across the inlet. Star didn’t budge. They could drown if
they wanted. I was outta there. I jumped to my feet, turned, and took one step,
before Star snagged my ankle.
“Wait. Where are you going?”
“Home, before I turn into a duck with
webbed feet,” I yelled above the whistling wind and growling thunder.
She freed my ankle and stood.
Raindrops plastered her carrot-red hair against her face.
light, we’ve seen a ship, Erik. It always comes during bad weather.”
Stormy sprang up. “We think someone in
the lighthouse is warning the ships.”
“Who? How? They can’t.”
About the author:
Beverly Stowe McClure, a former teacher,
is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but
in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and
science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines
liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty,
Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others.
Nine of her stories have been published as books, the latest one a MG/Tween
eBook: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a
Cat. She also has two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.
discovering her ancestors in her genealogy research. She plays the piano.
(Thank you, Mom, for
making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long
walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads,
usually two books at a time. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class. Watching
baseball (Go Rangers) is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is fun.
A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat VBT Schedule