Switched at Birth & Writing for Children

Have you considered writing for children?


That is a question I have heard more than once and the answer is always yes. Yes indeed I have considered it but considering is a far cry from accomplishing.

I wrote a poem last year for my grandson when our fancy goldfish died because (as I explained to him) this sort of thing gets the creative juices flowing and writing can be very therapeutic.


(From Interior Verse PLUS Pose Prose & Poems)

Little shubunkin all silver and pumpkin

with calico dotted on scales

You streak through the water

no teeter or totter fanning your cute tiny tale

You race and you turn but the water don’t churn

never so much as a swish

I’ll miss you shubunkin, your dashin’ and dunkin’

but oh what a sweet taco dish

I thought he would find it entertaining instead he cried and said “that’s not funny Nana and I don’t feel better.” Oops, my bad.

This same grandson loves the Skippyjon books by Judith Schachner so when he had finished mourning the goldfish he asked, “Can you write something like Skippyjon Jones and make him be a pirate?” I of course wanted to rectify the damage I had done so I quickly penned him another little poem.

Skippy Red

(From Short Stories& Such)

In the house where he lived void of laughter and kisses

In the room where he smoked and the little dog pisses

Where the ghost of a bloke stirs a foul reminiscence

Lies the frame of a maimed Skippy Red

Go down, go down poor Skippy Red

Alas, alas no water to tread

No ropes, no planks, no breaking of bread

In your world of endless abysses

Go on, go on let sleeping dogs lie

A new crib for you, twas a good day to die

Hoist a fresh cup, here’s spit in your eye

Abaddon is better off dead

Farewell, farewell Skippy Red

Well… Dang it!! I struck out again! Being scolded by a seven year old for saying piss is a shameful experience but at least he didn’t cry.

I wanted to impress him with my literary accomplishments be a good grandmother so I scribbled a few more verses. Judging from the look on his face each one was worse than the one before so after a few hours I untied him. He rubbed his little wrists, shook his head and walked away. At that point I had to be honest with myself and admit …

My grandson may have been switched at birth.

Of Poetry (Resident of Insanity)

Of Poetry

Be it good, bad or indifferent I suppose I will always be a poet at heart.

One might think “real” writing (you know things like novels, short stories and blogs) would dissuade poetic tendencies but it doesn’t… and it shouldn’t.

Someone once said of poetry, “I honestly don’t know why it flies through my head but it’s like an energy that must be loosed and the only way I know to let it go is to jot it down.” Okay that someone was me but we’ve already established that authors and poets are insane a peculiar lot. At least that’s what I keep hearing from the voices living outside of my head.

Admittedly I tend to write disturbing prose. Why? I have no freaking idea other than the above explanation and this one just flew in.

Resident of Insanity


He gnashed and smashed his teeth to bits

Hissing shards of peppermint

On face and lace chipped molars lit

While gums and tongue did chide


The air like mud was thick with scent

Red with dread and white with grit

Dentin mixed with blood and spit

Where insanity did reside


He snatched and scratched at lights not lit

Held cries in eyes seen through slits

Pleading, “Someone give a shit

And plump this crumpled pride”


But none could hear his broken mouth

Or see the lights had all gone out

With hand on heart he faced the south

And they say that’s where he died


*Here’s this year’s first reminder that April is National Poetry Month so you have plenty of time to be thinking about it. Whether you read my poetry or that of someone else plan on expanding your horizons.

P.S. My works are not always of such unsettling nature. They’re worse when I’m happy 😉

How Do They Do That?!

More Indie Adventuring

Amazon is the all-seeing eye! Seriously I put my housecoat on before I sat down to write this and if you’re naked you should grab a cover too, unless you’re into that sort of thing.

I know now they see everything or I see now they know everything…  Either way I am aware of their stealthy little spies and spiders, that they are constantly surveying the World Wide Web. How? I don’t know the how’s of such spyjectory but I do know that if you have a title with KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing) and you publish it elsewhere they will hunt you down and bring it to your attention. They may go so far as to kill your stuffed bobcat, lord I hope not.

In all fairness the KDP Select agreement states digital books will remain exclusive to Amazon. Well…

A few months ago I decided to combine a series into one e-book The Rage Trilogy. It just so happened one of the books in the series was still signed with Amazon’s KDP Select. I know! I thought I un-checked the box for automatic renewal but apparently I didn’t. The Rage Trilogy was never in KDP Select but it includes a title that was.

Lesson(s) learned: 1) Next time make certain! 2) OCD might come in handy. 3)  Amazon is bigger than the CIA and IRS combined. 4) Spyjectory is my favorite new word. (Call me Merriam and I’ll define it for you)

So now I’m all nervous and a bit paranoid because I received this e-mail from The Eye Amazon where they named the [one] book and included a link to the trilogy @ Barnes and Noble.

How do they do that?!

Here’s a copy of the e-mail:

We found the following book(s) you’ve published doesn’t meet the KDP Select content guidelines. Books enrolled in KDP Select must be exclusive to Amazon in digital format while enrolled in the program.
Unjustified Favor (Between the Rage and Grace) (ID: B008D94WHM) is available on:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rage-trilogy-janna-hill/1113580485?ean=2940015523058
Please copy and paste the entire URL above into your web browser to see where we found your book. You can also do an online search for your book to discover where else it may be available.
In order for your book to remain in the KDP Select program, we’ll need you to ensure that it is exclusive to Amazon within 5 days from the date of this email. If, after this 5-day period, your book is still not exclusive to Amazon, it will remain for sale in the Kindle Store, but will be removed from KDP Select. Upon its removal, it will no longer be eligible to earn a share of the KDP Select fund.
Please note that repeated violations of the program’s exclusivity requirement may result in loss of KDP Select benefits for all books you have enrolled in the program, such as participation in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL) and the usage of free promotion days, as well as KDP account termination.

Book Trailers and the 80’s

What do Book Trailers have in common with the 80’s?  Apparently not much.

Book trailers are not a new thing, they’re just fairly new to me. But then so is the world I wake up in everyday.

Faith, aka helpy-helper recently introduced me to book trailers. By introduced I mean she gave me a tongue lashing that ended in, “Good lord woman get with the program.1982 is long gone.”

You don’t have to keep reminding me of that.” I whimpered.

I am not one to pine for my prime it’s just that my mind often resides in yesterday. Okay the yesterday of three decades ago. [sigh] Anywho…

Book trailers? I totally did not understand the concept. Books made into movies, sure. I’m down with that – but book TRAILERS? Really?

I said, “Faith you must be trippin.” She assured me that was not possible as she was planted firmly in her chair. “No one really looks at those things, do they?” I asked. I honestly didn’t think they did until she directed me to a few sites all the while explaining view counts.

Well f*ck me runnin!” I giggled, then helpy-helper smacked me. She will not abide my cursing. Good for her.

After 90 minutes of browsing I admitted I liked quite a few of them, especially the talking paper-dolls. I couldn’t tell you what book was being promoted but those little paper people were sooo cute! There were several animations that were entertaining as well, you know where the drawing occurs along with the narration? What do you call that? Idk. There were a lot of really good slide shows too. I call them slide shows, someone can correct me later. I do not care much for the cinema effects except for one or two trailers. One being Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was really good. No, I do not know the creator or the author.

Did it make me want to buy the book? Heck no, it made me want him to finish telling the bloody story!

I am by no means an expert, on the contrary my knowledge of what goes into making an effective trailer can be stored in a thimble. But I do have an opinion and this is mine – which if added to a ten dollar bill will get you a bagel and small latte.

Thank you Faith.

What Faith accomplished was getting me past my prior prejudice. My assumption that audio and actors were not to be interbred with reading. That imposing visuals onto a book would hinder the imaginative experience. Yeah, I know. Faith is younger, prettier and hipper smarter than me. We have completed six slide-shows now and two of them I actually like. When I figure out how to work youtube (other than how to click on view) I plan to do a couple on my own. Maybe I’ll make my own movie.

Yes! I’ll brush the dust off of my rabbit coat (carefully so the fur doesn’t fall out in clumps), get my big hair going with maybe some hotdog bangs – no, scratch the bangs. Pump up the jam and dance, oh yes it ladies night and the feelings right, oh yes it’s ladies night oh what a night -ohh what a ni-i-ight.

I’m kidding, I lost my rabbit fur coat a long time ago. 🙂

But I am curious. What do others really think of book trailers? Do they convince you to buy the book? Do you watch them strictly for entertainment? Can anyone recommend a great one?



No Authors Allowed (Here’s Your Sign)

No Authors Allowed (Here’s Your Sign)

That is sort of a contradictory title because I made this sign just for you 🙂

This is really about reader feedback and what NOT to do.

I enjoy reHere's Your Signader feedback. What writer doesn’t? I encourage it and welcome even the antagonistic.

Negative reviews don’t tend to bother me either, keeping in mind negative is not always a bad thing.

Those reviews can actually be quite beneficial. A negative review might alert the author or their representative to unknown errors, loose ends or confusing plots.

Readers are a good thing and many have a wealth of expertise to offer, so writer don’t get hoity toity and remember this:

Authors are expected to overlook bad reviews as part of this chosen profession. It is considered taboo and unprofessional for an author to respond to any review. Reviews are for readers.

I truly believe in that philosophy and for the most part have upheld that belief.

I said for the most part. However…

First in my own defense let me say (that means I know I screwed up)

I have deleted many emails without replying that were riddled with crude remarks. I have even laughed at a few. Especially those that have nothing to do with my writing. Some people are way too comfortable sitting in their boxers behind a computer screen and a screen name.

A lot of them are rather funny and a few are just… heck. Take Rita Fay for example. She (if that is her real name and she is really a she) was kind enough to send me an email that said “You have a big Irish head.”


I don’t know what that has to do with anything I’ve written, but okay.

Honestly I thought it was one of my sisters pulling a prank. Sadly, it was not. Even sadder, it is true – I do have a big Irish head. Rita was only making an observation. 😦 I know. My response?  Delete.

Do I get a brownie point to offset what followed? No.

A few days ago I received an email that read:

Dear Janet Hill,

In reading your book I have made the following observances: you are unlearned, unladylike, your vocabulary is foul and you are grammatically challenged to say the least. I suggest you return to your nursing vocation where less cognitive thought is required.

Mr. xxxxxxxx

Boing! Ouch! I’m not sure why that stung more than the remark about my over-sized cranium but it did. It really REALLY struck a nerve. I had typed as much as “bite me you hateful bastard. You don’t have any idea what it takes to be a nurse and by the way my name is Janna, not Janet you dumb ass!” before catching myself. Delete. That would have certainly proved his point, wouldn’t it? So I took a deep breath and a long walk. Occasionally I paused to smell the flowers kick-box the air and walked farther until I had re-composed my normally genteel demeanor. When I was completely calm I walked back to my desk and replied.

Dear Mr. X,

It was quiet generous of you to spare a moment of your time and share your thoughts on my authoring abilities. Please accept my utmost apology if I have offended you, that was not my intention. You may also rest assured I have given much consideration to your observances while reflecting upon my personal faults and have come to this conclusion: you sir, are not qualified to read my book.

I know! That was a totally self-saboteur smart alack response. But que sera, sera y’all. There was no looking back; it was too late to detour. I had hit send, spilled the milk, broke the glass and lit the match. In the ashes of after thoughts I knew I’d messed up and wondered is this another bridge burned? “Time will tell” I assured myself.

Well I am delighted to tell you I have found a fan and a friend in Mr. X. He promptly replied with an apology and an obvious chuckle. I could almost hear him laughing at his own mischief when I read:

Dear Janna,

My sincerest apologies for ruffling your lovely feathers. I enjoyed your book. Actually I have enjoyed several of your books and wondered which persona might be closest to your personality. Every author breathes their own life into the cast; whether or not an author will admit that is a different topic. I was curious as well to know if you were truly southern or merely using that as a selling point. I am satisfied that you are genuine. Please forgive an ornery old man for having a wicked laugh at your expense.


P.S. A thing you must learn for your own well being is this: commentators have individual motives, some write simply for the sport of it.

Whew! I dodged my own bullet.

So, have I changed my belief that authors should not reply? No! This turnout was a rare example. A short note saying thank you to a compliment? Sure, for me that is considered polite. But to respond to ridicule (in a public forum or private e mail) is bad practice. My retaliation could have had dire consequences especially for an unknown indie trying to build a fan base. Word spreads quickly among reader communities, especially if you anger someone who has 4899 followers. I was wrong to reply.

What was I thinking when I said “you sir are not qualified to read my book.”? I wasn’t! Even though I thought I had calmed down, I hadn’t. If I had been calm and rational I would have never hit that send button.

Pomegranates, Publicity & Prosperity

Ancient Egyptians reportedly considered the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity. I haven’t researched the information yet to know if one must eat the fruit, own the tree or simply hold one in their possession to be prosperous. Surely worship of the seedy little crop is not required…. if so I shall have to remain not so prosperous. On the other hand I would consume as many as need be. Honestly, I don’t have much faith in pomegranates other than their health benefits.

I do however have some faith in publicity which is the sole purpose of this post, to make readers aware of the current promotions.

Perpetual Spring, a short little twisted story is free via Kindle through Sunday June 17th.

Interior Verse Plus Pose Prose and Poems, a diverse collection of “wicked poetry” is also free via Kindle through Sunday June 17th 2012.

The Goodreads giveaway of Between the Rage and Grace has started and will end July 15th 2012. The promotion is open to multiple countries.

P.S. I’m sorry for the late notification on the Kindle freebies that started Friday. I was out of town and quiet bummed by the passing of a dear family member. I’ll try to improve on the publicity aspect and keep a pomegranate on hand. Maybe we’ll all prosper 🙂

The Wild Pomegranate photo by Janna Hill