Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This blog is a response to Rachelle Gardner’s blogs and comments on self-publishing.

If I were her, I’d be ripping my hair out at the roots. Why can’t we all just agree to disagree?

Can a self-published author find an agent and publisher? Yes and no.
The question is: Is the writing good enough? The answer: That depends upon the author. For example: I have three POD suspense novels available through my website: http://www.mj-macie-mysterybooks.com. I have painstakingly edited each novel and put my heart into every sentence. Some self-published authors have not. Some have slapped words on a page, or worse yet, stream-of-conscientiousness and called that a book.

Recently, an author published by Simon & Schuster sent an email asking why I had chosen to go with POD. She stated that my work had been edited, I have a natural talent and that I had captured her from the beginning. My answer: I listened to God and my husband. “Get the work out there and they will respond,” my husband said. So, I did and I am getting responses.

So, can a self-published author find an agent and publisher? Absolutely! Will it happen? Well, that depends upon the author.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your responses.

M.J. Macie

Thursday, November 19, 2009


It never ceases to amaze me where and when encouragement comes. We all have those times and days, when we want to throw in the towel. Sometimes, we don’t feel like doing the work when we have no promise of publication. We all need a light at the end of our tunnel and encouragement from others is a definite light.

This morning my light came via email. I received the most flattering and encouraging compliments on my first novel, THE DEVIL’S PAWN, and they came from a published author (I didn’t think to ask permission to use her name so I won’t, however, if she allows me, I will name her and add her links).

Do you agree we all need a light at the end of our tunnel? What are some of the ways encouragement has come to you? Have you been to the point of quitting, or have quit, only to have someone encourage you, giving you the determination to get back to work?

I can’t wait to read your responses!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Any Elizabeth George fans out there? If so, add your review, critique and insight on Elizabeth George’s mystery novels.

I’ll begin with her first novel, A Great Deliverance in which George introduces her two detectives, characters so real readers come to care about them quickly.

First, I’ll write about the efficient, physically fit and attractive, Detective Inspector Thomas Linley. He is moody, broody and temperamental. Sound like a character you’d despise? Not once you get to know him. Thomas is not the typical spoiled rich boy, but instead is uncomfortable with his wealth and never flaunts it or his heritage. In fact, he has become an officer of the law to help people. The reader finds it easy to accept his moods when considering his sincere humility.

Thomas excels as a man of appropriate actions. When the reader expects him to react as any other character would in a similar situation, he doesn’t. In fact, his reactions have surprised and delighted me many times. Not only is he highly intelligent, he’s also clever and exceptionally polite. Thomas not only is the perfect gentleman, but is also the perfect character.

Next is Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, the total opposite of Thomas Lindley, and his partner. In fact, Lindley is the only officer willing to work with her. Barbara has alienated herself from the other officers by her offensive mannerism. She is disheveled, plump, and unattractive. Like Thomas, Barbara is moody; however her personality is more hostile. Until you get to know her and realize her aggression is a self-preservation mechanism to hide her feelings of inadequacy. George brings this character to life in a way that helps readers understand her vulnerability and to love the character’s humanity. Beneath the rough exterior, Barbara is caring and sensitive.

No redundancy in George’s dialogue or narrative. How refreshing!

Have you read the book? If so, please add your comments, critique, review, insight and/or opinions on these characters. If you haven’t, now may be a good time to read mystery writer, Elizabeth George.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Just entered The Gate House contest at: http://everexpandinglibrary.blogspot. Check out the page and give it a try.

How To Make Your First Five Pages Grab an Agent or Editor by the B----

I've attached a link to an article by novelist, Stacy-Deanne titled: How To Make Your First Five Pages Grab an Agent or Editor by the B----
I found the article interesting and extremely helpful. Even when our work is complete, we must go over the beginning to make sure it literally grabs the reader. Let me know what you think of the article.

Don’t Be Discouraged

I used to question why I was even writing.I’ve read a great deal of what published authors had to say about ‘making it’ in the publishing industry. While I found their stories inspiring, none of them mentioned going through the anguish I was, and am still, going through. Many times I've come to the point of believing I would never become a published author. I felt that what I was doing would have no value to anyone and that no one was the least bit interested in what I had to say. I had developed the 'How Dare You Assume You Can Become A Writer' syndrome.

Then I bought a book titled, Write Away by Elizabeth George, one of the greatest authors of our time. You can only imagine the encouragement I received from this great author when I found she began each chapter by sharing a brief passage from her private journal? This literary genius had faced all the same demons with which I am dealing.

How wonderful to know that I am not the only writer to struggle with such turmoil. I needed to share this because I believe there are other writers going through the same ordeal.

If you are, please respond and help other writers to know we are not alone and that we must never give up. I so look forward to hearing from all of you.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Inspired You To Become A Writer?

As a child, I watched my father read a thick novel each evening and wondered what he found so intriguing about it that he could finish the book in a day or two. I, still reading children’s books, was curious and had to know the secret of the thick novel. I decided I'd give one a try. I found a novel titled MAN-CHILD IN THE PROMISE LAND and couldn't put it down.

This book was something my mother wouldn't have approved of for my age, so I read it in secret. I loved that book and I was hooked!

At fifteen, my family drove from Buffalo to El Paso for my sister’s wedding. For the many long days and hours in the car I read GONE WITH THE WIND. I really loved that book and became a Civil War fan because of it.

Many years and hundreds of books later, I came to the realization that I too could write a book. And so the long journey began. . .

I’d love to know what inspired you to become a writer. I find people’s lives so interesting and would be honored if you’d share your beginning as a writer with me.

Where Does Your Plot Inspiration Come From?

Where does the inspiration for the plot of your stories come from? Do you pull it from the headlines, television shows, movies or books you’ve read?

I watched a commentary where Helen Fielding, the author of BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY, confessed that she drew her inspiration from, and based her book upon, Jane Austin’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. The end result? Two separate stories with the same powerful emotions. Not only did we viewers of Bridge Jones find ourselves comparing classical to contemporary fiction, but also drama to comedy. And it worked!

I’ve been moved by powerful scenes in movies. We all have. I took one emotionally charged situation from a movie and saw how I could portray those same emotions with the protagonist of my story. Two different stories with uncommon situations, yet both characters struggled with the crippling emotions of guilt and fear. And yes, it worked.

What about you? Have you taken plots or emotions from movies or novels and adapted them to your characters personalities?

Do You Use People You Know In Your Stories?

I like to use traits from people I know but only traits. I want my characters to be unique individuals. What happens is I observe a specific character trait in someone I know and find that the trait would be perfect for one of my characters.

In fact, I put a bit of myself in all of my characters. Understanding many of my own strengths and weaknesses makes it easier to create characters that are more believable. Yes, even the villains. After all, isn’t there a bit of villain in all of us? Don’t we all sometimes wish we could do what our villains do?

What about you? Do you use yourself or people you know to create your characters?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How Do You Begin Writing Your Story?

I begin my novels with a question: Who killed whom and why? I’m not sure why I begin this way, but so far it’s worked for me. Once I have the killer and his/her motive established, the story logically wraps itself around the murder with all the clues and actions leading to the discovery of who killed whom and why.

Does this take away from the main character and her dilemma? Absolutely not. In fact, the solving of the murder becomes directly related to the main character's plight.

I understand many writers prefer to begin their stories with a main character or a specific setting. I suppose the best way to begin is the way that feels most natural to the writer.

What do you think? What is your preferred way to begin writing a story?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What's Your Opinion?

Several years ago, my husband was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. He found that not more that thirty minutes after eating a meal, he would suffer in and out of the restroom for hours. He had finally come to the point where he told me would refuse to eat because to do so caused so much pain and suffering.

During our struggle and research to find answers we discovered a book titled: Breaking The Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall, B.A., M.Sc. and it changed his life. Literally, it saved his life.

By helping children with this disease, she found it also helps those with Crohn's Disease, Celiac Disease and Diabetes. In a nutshell, what you eat effects your digestive system and in turn effects your body. True, food does not cause these diseases, but what you eat will definitely effect how your body reacts to the food.

She found avoiding: refined sugar, starch, lactose and grain to be the most beneficial to those suffering from these diseases. I had a friend whose son has Crohn's. She said she gave him milk because he needs his vitamin D. However, after drinking the milk the child threw it up. Now, had her son had one of the more dangerous food allergies such as to cheese or peanuts, would she have given it to him to make sure he received the dietary benefits? Absolutely not! It would've killed him. So, if lactose makes the child throw up, why insist he drink the lactose? Is there an alternative way to eat? Yes.

I would highly recommend this book if you or someone you know has any of these digestive disorders. If you have any questions, I or my husband would be happy to answer them.