Sunday, August 31, 2008

Let Your Light Shine By Morgan Mandel

They say a pregnant woman has a glow about her. So should an author. To get people hooked on you and your books, be sure to let your light shine.

Be enthusiastic.
Be friendly.
Be caring.
Be outgoing.
Be prepared.
Be everywhere.
Be smart.
Be everything.

Not easy, but only the uninitiated think it is!

Morgan Mandel

I'M SO SPOILED By Morgan Mandel

I'm so spoiled. I can type my manuscripts on a computer. If I make mistakes I can fix them. If I want to move sentences, paragraphs or pages, I can do that. If I want to print, I just connect a USB cord to a printer, press a button and get as many copies as I want.

Whatever did authors do before? Good grief, they had to write with pen or pencil on paper. Or type on a typewriter that didn't have the auto correct when spaced backwards. Then, if it was before the copy machines, they had to use carbons to make copies, or worse yet, type extra ones and hope they didn't make mistakes.

I've been complaining because lately on vacation I've had a hard time connecting with my network card to the Internet. Thank goodness, I finally got mine working right today. But whatever did authors do before the Internet? How did they ever get their names out there?

I'm so spoiled.

Morgan Mandel

Tweets for Today

  • 20:10 After dinner went to Hoggie Doggie's in Woodruff, WI. for chocolate covered soft serve ice cream.Why can't I eat like this all the time? #
  • 21:32 New author? Need promo ideas? Read my blog today at #
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

HABIT By Morgan Mandel

I'm a creature of habit. I've worked at the same law firm for over 36 years. I've been married to my husband for almost the same amount of time. I eat the same things for breakfast each day. I watch the same things on TV. Need I go on?

Readers are also creatures of habit. At stores, they gravitate toward books by authors they're familiar with, usually the ones on the NY Times Bestseller Lists. They've either read books by these authors or have seen so much advance publicity, the authors seem familiar to them.

How does an author not on the Bestseller List get sales? It's not easy, unless you're incredibly lucky. Most of us aren't.

So, to get those readers to buy your book, a fledgling author needs to follow through on a serious publicity campaign. You want your name known not only in book circles, but also with the general public.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started. There are many more out there.

First get a website and blog. Be sure to keep them updated. If you're not on the Internet these days, you're not considered a sourced to be reckoned with.

Get advertising material. Some suggestions are: bookmarks and business cards to leave everywhere you can think of; postcards to mail to libraries, bookstores and the people on your Christmas list; rack cards for bookstores; tee shirts, tote bags, caps with your cover art on them; pens with your name, website and book name; flyers and brochures containing your cover art and blurbs.

Whenever possible, get interviews so your name and book information appear in the newspaper. Also, get interviews online.

Arrange book signings. Participate in conference and library panels.

Join listservs and book sites where you can network with other authors or readers.

These are just a few ways to get noticed. I've done them all. Also, I've done far-fetched things like riding in a 4th of July parade hawking my book. You do whatever you feel comfortable with and more. Stretch the limits each time until you get more comfortable promoting your book. Don't just sit at a book signing. Get up and put your book in a person's hands and talk about it, or whatever else the reader wants to discuss.

By now, you've got the idea. Do everything you can to get noticed. It's the only hope you have to get readers to spend their dollars on your books instead of those on the NY Times Bestseller List.

What are you waiting for? Get to work.

Morgan Mandel

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Friday, August 29, 2008

FISH FRY SPOT By Morgan Mandel

Tonight we're heading out for a fish fry at Tula's, a small local restaurant. It's one of the places that's so popular if you don't get there early you have a long wait.

Something to think about when I'm writing. Make sure to include some special spot, not necessarily a real place, but an amalgam of actual places, like pieces in a puzzle that fit together. Sort of like the bar at Friends, where everyone knows your face. Including such a special spot can ground the reader in the story.

Gotta get ready for the fish fry!
Morgan Mandel

Tweets for Today

  • 23:39 Lost at the casino tonight. Got my blog up before I turned into a pumpkin. It was close this tme. - #
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Vacation From Writing? By Morgan Mandel

I'll be posting more while I'm on vacation, as time permits, but wanted to leave you with a few thoughts to ponder.

Writing is not always typing onto the computer or putting something down on paper. It's also gathering ideas and deciding which ones you wnat to accept in your manuscript or blog.

So, I may be on vacation right now, but here's no rest from my being a writer.

Morgan Mandel

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - Morgan Mandel

It's about 12:30 early Wednesday morning. We're leaving in about 4 hours for Wisconsin. I may be able to post something later today, but if not, that means I'm having too good a time eating and hopefully winning at Lake of the Torches Casino.

If you haven't done so, don't forget to check out the Rascal video on youtube. The link is:

You'll find some others of mine there as well.

Until later,

Morgan Mandel

Tweets for Today

  • 07:44 On train trying to think up something for blog. See Rascal if you haven't yet at #
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Being last out isn't fun.

My husband used to be the last one out the door in the morning. His work hours changed. Now I'm it and I hate it.

There are all sorts of things I need to do before leaving. I have to make sure all the lights are off. I need to check the stove and other appliances and make sure Rascal is put in her room. Lastly, I need to lock the door behind me. So being last one out, though a minor inconvenience, is irritating.

I don't like being the last one out of the train either. What if the door closes while I'm trying to leave or just before? It's never happened yet, but I still get uneasy.

I don't like being the last one out of an elevator either because sometimes the doors want to close right before or while I'm trying to get out.

So, being last out is no fun.

Same thing with books. I had a title all picked out for my debut mystery. I was going to call it Dead Wrong, but that name was already taken. It took me a while, but I figured out a new title and settled on Two Wrongs, which I like. Still, I wasn't happy at the time.

Then there's popular trends in books. I could go with what's hot now. Maybe I will, but I'm not sure. It could be the trends will change by the time my book is published and I'll be last out or maybe not.

Anyway, I'll just write what I want and take a chance. Whether it's first or last out, I'll deal with it like I always do.

Morgan Mandel

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Monday, August 25, 2008


I intend to finish my book about Rascal, our Amstaff/Dalmatian mix who was born without hearing, but for now I'm sharing some of her fun moments.

Yesterday, my husband and I followed her to her favorite hangout, Bentley's Corner Bakery. Lately every time we walk her she turns and pulls in that direction. Co-owner, Giovanni, says Bentley's has many such loyal customers who do the same thing!

Here's the YouTube link to my video, which is one in a series about Rascal's visit to Bentley's Corner Barkery. Hope you enjoy it!

Morgan Mandel

Tweets for Today

  • 12:58 @AngelaWilson - Yuck - Don't you remember how messy carbons were? I hated when I had to correct them. Copy machines are a blessing. #
  • 12:59 @AngelaWilson MaBell isn't half as bad as the cable companies. They run wild! #
  • 13:00 Hate packing? Read my post at Got it done early today for a change! #
  • 17:36 @AngelaWilson You need to get a new e-mail addie & pretend to be someone else when you log onto your computers. They don't like you. #
  • 17:38 Just taped Rascal at her favorite hangout - Bentley's Corner Barkery - Doing a video for youtube with the others there - click morganmandel #
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Sunday, August 24, 2008


Big Arbor Vitae Lake, WI

I hate packing. I'm supposed to leave for vacation Wednesday morning. Tomorrow night I have a Chicago-North RWA meeting and Tuesday night is loading-the-car night, since we want to leave at the crack of dawn of Wednesday. That means today I need to perform a miracle. I have to find the necessary items that are scattered around the house and organize them neatly so they're ready to go.

Some of the basics I usually haul with are my camera and film, walkie talkies with battery chargers (essential when the DH is out fishing on the lake so I can reach him if the cell phone won't connect), dog food and treats, people snacks, pills, sunglasses, books,magazines to read when I'm not at the casino or writing, cash, credit cards, more clothes than I usually need.

Then we have the long drive up to the cottage near Minocqua, which could take 6-7 hours, depending on traffic. Once we finally get there, it will all be worth it. I'll see my good friend, Jeanne. I'll go on long walks with Rascal. I'll have fun eating at great restaurants, going shopping, and playing slots at Lake of the Torches Casino. The weather even sounds like it will cooperate.

It's the getting ready that's hard. Kind of like getting a book done. I usually start with an idea and know how the book will end.

It's the rest that's a challenge. I need to round out my character, both physically and mentally. Are there inconsistencies in thinking? Have I provided the correct amount of backstory without administering an overdose? Is my character sympathetic at the beginning, or at least by the end of the book? Are the goals realistic? Have I created enough obstacles and conflict?

What about descriptions? When I wrote my romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, I did a lot of online research about Hollywood, Las Vegas, Venice and Paris, so I could depict them accurately. Some people love research. I hate it. I know it's necessary, but it slows me down.

There's lots of details to attend to when I'm getting ready for vacation, also in getting a book ready. Still, the rewards are worth it.

Morgan Mandel
Anyway, you kind of get the picture. There's more to writing a book than just having and idea.

Tweets for Today

  • 07:39 Retwitter MWA, RWA, EPIC, NY - #
  • 07:41 @AngelaWilson That's why it's surprising when anything arrives on time! I know how you feel. I was without my iphone for a day - awful! #
  • 10:34 @blogbooktours Thanks for the headsup on the Grammar Girl article. #
  • 10:37 @WritingSpirit Okay, I'll finish writing my book about Rascal. You talked me into it! #
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Saturday, August 23, 2008


I'm going out to listen to an oldies group called Retro Rockets tonight. In place of my blog, I'm leaving 2 links for you to check out. One is my interview. The other is my promotional site.

Please stop by them and learn more about what makes me tick as a writer.

Morgan Mandel

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Tweets for Today

  • 07:44 On the train, almost at work. Hoping people visit guest blogger, Tim Hallinan, - great mystery writer. #
  • 07:48 @EchelonPress - Missing socks - A very universally significant topic for a book. (LOL) #
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

BUSY NIGHT By Morgan Mandel

I've had quite a busy night because my new ning network, Sixty and Savvy, got a great influx of members during the day.

I like to welcome each member personally, so it took me a little while to respond to the new 20 members. I'm not complaining.

When I set up my now popular Book Place, , with at last count 1,318 members, I did it because I didn't see any free networks where all aspects of books and their promotion could be explored.

My new network, Sixty and Savvy, also fills a gap. People in the age group of almost Sixty and over need a good place to hang out and share memories, fads, photos, life experiences, plus offer tips to each other. So Sixty and Savvy, located at, is designed to answer that need. It's still in its infancy, but I have high hopes to reach out to more members and achieve my goal.

If you or someone you know would like to join either or both of my ning networks, you're most welcome to do so. You'll get your own free page, be able to post photos, videos, blogs, comment, private messages, list events, participate in forums, all kinds of opportunities.

Hope to see some of you over there.

Morgan Mandel.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I wonder how many people read newspapers any more.

We get the Daily Herald delivered to our doorstep every morning. I read the Neighbor Section, the front page, sometimes the Business Section, depending if I'm running late for work or not.

It used to be newspapers were our primary source for news, along with radio and TV. Now it seems most people find out what's happening faster on the Internet instead.
To accommodate this, the newspapers have set up web sites. Many columnists have their own blogs also. Often something that's just happened appears on a newspaper's website right away, which gets confusing.

Despite trying to keep up with the times, I've heard that newspapers like the Chicago Sun Times are hurting for readership and laying off people.

So, I wonder how many people are still faithful to the printed word? Also, how does this apply to books?

At the Frontier Days Festival when I was selling my mystery, Two Wrongs, and my romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, I had one woman ask if I had audio versions. It's the only way she can fit books into her busy schedules.

Since the Internet and everything associated with it is so popular, ebooks are gaining in popularity. What used to be the cache of small publishing companies has now become a marketplace for NY publishing houses. Let's face it, ebooks are very convenient. They fit on just about any gizmo, even the popular Iphone, plus you can loads scads of them and carry them around in your purse or pocket, unlike the printed books.

Still, there are many diehard readers out there who prefer the look of paper, the feel of turning actual pages, the satisfaction of physically opening a new book.

I'm glad to say both my books are in print and ebook forms. To me, they both have their merits.

Which do you prefer? I've got a small quiz here where you can show your preference.

Morgan Mandel

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A LONG WALK by Morgan Mandel

Just went for a long walk with my husband and Rascal. It was a perfect summer night with a gentle breeze. Something to remember when the cold winds blow this winter.

Labor Day happens way too soon. I thought I'd have more time this summer to finish all sorts of things, mainly, the new book I started writing, the e-mails that need pruning, the reorganization of my work space.

I don't think those things will happen soon. But, little by little, yes. I'm encouraged by the steps I'm taking. I received great feedback from my critique at the Chicago-North RWA meeting and have a better idea of where my Mr. Fix-It story is headed.

On the homefront, we received a good quote from Yardworks, Etcetera, Inc, who will soon proceed with trimming the evergreens and clearing out the deadwood, including the Rose of Sharon which refused to bloom this year. It's a shame since I really loved those flowers. The DH has even begun cleaning out the garage, in increments, but at least it's a start.

Everything is falling into place, but not as fast as I'd hoped. That's okay. I'll enjoy the weather, the company of my husband and Rascal, and finish my book a step at a time. It might be a long walk, but I've gone on ones before with Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams, so I know I can do it.

Morgan Mandel

Monday, August 18, 2008

DO YOU BLING? By Morgan Mandel


Which glasses have the bling? The ones on the right, obviously.

After four years of wearing the same frames, even after changing prescriptions, I broke down and added more bling to my life. What prompted the change was a small scratch, which I knew would get larger with time, also Sears had a good sale. For the heck of it I tried on some snazzier frames and decided I liked them.

I wear them a lot, but not always. They do have their disadvantages. For one thing, I can see the sides of the new frames in my peripheral vision, which is very distracting. The old frames were open. Because of safety factors, when I’m driving, I still wear the plain frames. Also, when I go to aerobics class, I use the oldies so the new ones won’t get all sweaty.

For a while I even kept the old ones on the nightstand because I was afraid I’d knock the new ones off, but decided I was being overprotective.

I’ve come to the conclusion there’s a time and place for bling, actually many times and places. Also, there’s a time and place for plain.

Even before I changed glasses, I already was into bling. If you take a look at my website at , you’ll find bling on the main page—banners, review site logos, photos, other doo-dads. At one time, it even had an electronic marquee advertising the release of Girl of My Dreams.
I try to make each page unique, depicting the flavor of my novel and the subject matter I’m presenting. You’ll find airplanes and landmark photos on the travelogue that tracks the rounds in Girl of My Dreams. You’ll find a projector on the page with the first chapter excerpt, plus other gimmicks throughout the website designed to grab the reader’s attention.

On my blogs, whenever I can I add some kind of graphic to catch the eye, like the photos of my glasses above.

I belong to a lot of networks on , also am a creator of a few, and, where you’ll find all kinds of bling in the form of photos, trailers, and other gimmicks.

Along with the glitz, I also belong to a great many no-frill listservs - bookblogtours,longandshortromancereviews, MurderMustAdvertise, and too many more to mention. I learned of these groups through networking and also by typing in and choosing topics I was interested in. From these message groups I’ve gained valuable information and valued friends. They are a necessary part of my education,marketing strategy and online social life.

So, which is better, bling or plain? I say they both have their merits.

What about you? Do you like bling? Or plain? Or both, like me?

Morgan Mandel

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  • 14:52 Just posted a blog at about 2 rock groups and the similarity to the Awe-Struck sale to Mundania Press #
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Sunday, August 17, 2008


The Meteors at Beacon Tap in Des Plaines

Last night was a perfect evening to sit outside and listen to great music. That's exactly what my husband and I did. We'd heard that The Meteors were playing at Beacon Tap in DesPlaines,Illinois, so we decided to drive over and listen to them. An outing to hear a local band play at a beer garden may not sound inspiring, but you need to hear the history of this band.

The Meteors, known as Johnny Star and the Meteors, were quite popular in this area as a cover band for about 30 years. With a powerful voice, the lead singer, Johnny Star, belted out songs by the Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Jay and the Americans. Then something wonderful happened for Johnny. About 3 months ago, Johnny was "discovered" and became an "overnight success." Jay from Jay and the Americans had left their group, they needed a replacement, and they wanted Johnny.

Johnny's big break left The Meteors without a lead singer. They could have given up, but instead reorganized and continued on. When we saw them last night, they didn't seem the same as when Johnny Star was their lead singer, yet they still had a great sound. Judging from the amount of people in the audience who got up to dance, we weren't the only ones who thought The Meteors still had it in them.

I'd have to say many of the authors from Awe-Struck right now probably feel like The Meteors did when they heard Johnny was leaving. The success of Awe-Struck became so daunting the owners, great as they were, couldn't keep up with the volume of tasks. So they did the sensible thing. They sold to another press that could better handle the load.

Now Awe-Struck authors are actually Mundania Press authors, though no outward signs are evident at this time and may not be for quite a while. The switch and all of its implications may seem a bit baffling for these authors, yet from what I understand, exciting days are ahead for them with new opportunities.

The main thin is, like The Meteors, the Awe-Struck authors will still be able to share their talents. Bottom line is that's what really matters.

Morgan Mandel

Saturday, August 16, 2008

SOCIAL NETWORKS by Morgan Mandel

These flowers have nothing to do with the blog subject, but they're pretty enough to share.

Thanks to Blogger, I've got some neat widgets here you can link to and take you to some great social networks. You may even find me on some of them. BOOK PLACE and SIXTY AND SAVVY at and are my own networks, but I belong to many others on ning. The array is endless and addictive.

I spend endless hours also at MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Shelfari, Youtube, Goodreads. I gave up on Second Life because it was too confusing for me. You'll find some of my links further down in the left column. There are quite a few. When in doubt, if you type morganmandel in the address, you usually can find me.

Does it help market my books, TWO WRONGS and GIRL OF MY DREAMS? I can't tell for sure now, but I do know I'm making lots of friends without leaving home!

Morgan Mandel