Saying Goodbye and Thank You!

I have decided to let this domain go. So, after a couple of months, it will cease to be. I will keep Novels By Neenah going. It was my first site and my favorite one. I just don’t have enough content to keep them both going. I’ve had a lot of health issues over the years, combined with discouragement and depression which affected my motivation to write. As is readily apparent here, there is nothing new. Nothing new in Novels either, but I’m going to be working on it.

Thanks for stopping by. Please visit

Review of VideoBuddy

Well, my stint with VideoBuddy lasted about six days. Unfortunately, it isn’t for anyone who wants to do more ambitious projects like an audio book. It’s more for ads and shorter projects.

It also seemed as if they had been too eager to launch as many features just weren’t there as promised. I had bought Pro version, which didn’t deliver all that was advertised. The unlimited text promise turned out to be a 3000 word limit, which you made unlimited by stitching a bunch of audio clips together. Which is way more work than their claim of “no hard work involved” led me to believe. Except for those little projects, of course. Moreover, that 3000 word limit is eaten up quickly by the HTML tweaks used to make your voice choice sound more human. You end up with 200 -300 words of real text. So imagine trying to get a novel done tweaking 300 words at a time of a 50,000 word story. And stitching all that audio together.

The limits were due to the fact this program operates using the tech of Google Wavelength and Amazon Polly. Apparently they only allow for a 3000 word limit if you were to just go use their software. So, this limitation extends to this software program. And we’re expected to accept that, understand it, and move on.

My novels are more than 50K words. Thomi’s over 250K. And my third novel, a work still in progress, will be that and more, I think. Yeah, when I write a story, I write a story! Since Thomi’s been termed a saga, I guess Stormi’s story will continue that saga.

There was a cute little boy’s voice that would be perfect for any kids’ story, unless you needed a little girl. No little girls were forthcoming. With just a bit of tweaking, he sounded pretty lifelike. Unfortunately, I could only generate two little clips a day using Amazon’s Polly where this boy’s voice resides. I figure it would’ve done the same no matter what voice I tried to use. So . . . imagine if I had to deal with that while trying to get an audio book out. Or any other project, for that matter.

Wavelength let me do as many clips as I wanted to do, but I wasn’t impressed by the choices I had there. Had I the 200+ choice of voices promised in the Pro level, I might have found one I liked. I might even have kept the program a bit longer to see if I could learn to use it for something. But so much of it wasn’t there as advertised, so I put in for a refund. Which was promptly done, I’m happy to say.

I wish the program as worked as claimed. It would’ve been a wonderful piece of software I would’ve been happy to have owned. Paid their monthly fee, which was nominal, and which they claimed was more for maintaining the software than for making a profit. The basic level had no such fee. Lots of limitations at the basic level. Like a 400 word limit and limited to those few voices and audio clips. Probably couldn’t stitch anything together at that level either.

So, I’m back to either doing the audio myself or hiring it out for hundreds or thousands which I don’t have. And, of the two choices, I will attempt it myself. I’ve checked out the voices at the various sites where you can hire a person, still looking for the right one. But, as I say, I really can’t afford that at the moment, so I shall experiment with this aspect of publishing and see how it turns out. I’ll likely start with something short and then try out the novels.

So, folks, that in a nutshell, is my experience with VideoBuddy. I will spare you the rants some dissatisfied customers raged in the FB group. But, maybe, sometime in the future, a better system can be worked out, and then we’ll all be in happy audio creation heaven!

Audio Books and Other Projects

Today I bought a bunch of new software that could potentially help me produce my novels as audio books. I’m super excited to start using this tool. I’m going to first try it out on my short stories to see just how much work it’s going to be on a bigger scale. It uses the tech of Google Wavelength and Amazon Polly . . . think Alexa.

I’ll review this product called VoiceBuddy once I’ve had enough time to do it. I’ll have a page for that instead of a post. I’m also taking too many courses all at once, trying to find the one that’s a good fit for me. I’ll review those as well. I’ll have some experience with three, newest being Mark Dawson’s SPF 101. Really excited to get into his course. I’m also enrolled in his Ads for Authors course. A little mind boggling at times if you’re not good at this sort of thing.

I took a course with Mark’s cover designer, Stuart Blache, which was a lot of fun. I suck at Photoshop, but if I stick with it, maybe I’ll finally get it. Who knows? I favor a program called RealDraw Pro 5 by Mediachance. I haven’t tapped a tenth of what the program does, but I can create my covers with it, and get decent results. I also use PaintShop Pro 2018. PSP 2019 stopped working for me a few months back. I’ll see about upgrading later on when they offer giant discounts for the holidays and end of year specials. I like picking up these great programs at such a hefty discount!

Also use PhotoScissors and InPaint which are great for getting rid of backgrounds and unwanted items in your photos.

Derek Murphy is another one of my go to people for help on things. I am enrolled in his Global Publishing course as well as some of his free or lower cost courses.

Then there’s Carla King’s Self Publishing Boot Camp. In her course, she has a module called Set up your Self Publishing Business. Which is what drew me to that course. 

Where do I find the time for all of this and write too? Well, it’s pretty much a What Shall I Work on Today sort of thing. Especially now that I have VideoBuddy. But if it works as well as advertised and reviewed, it’ll motivate me to finish more books and get them into ebook and audio books. Not sure I’ll ever get into print. But we’ll see. I’ll likely go through Draft2Digital’s new program for that. They’re so easy to work with whatever your book project is.

All right, then! Thanks for stopping by. See you soon!


What should I do with this site?

I could do a lot of things with this site. But will I? I have been struggling just to get up and fake being in the world everyday. And this post is just a musing on the subject. I’ve no doubt said something similar in other posts. Bear with me. I’m trying to rekindle my former passion.

I need to get back to writing my stories. Stories that should have been written years ago, but Life robbed me of my motivation. I went from being so passionate about writing that it was all I wanted to do or thought of doing, to producing little to nothing in the way of words. Coming into my little office, checking email, doing a little research -usually for someone else- and going off again. Recently, since we’ve moved, I’ve had more motivation for cleaning house than for creating stories.

Yet, I still have so many worlds and people in my head wanting to get out. Wanting other people to be introduced to them. Okay, not fantasy or sci fi kind of worlds, but, you know, worlds or lives of everyday people. I feel as though there are tons of writers out there that are into the fantasy worlds. What could I do differently? Maybe if I actually thought about it, I could think of something. But, really, I’m happy just to write about present day people and their issues. Maybe because I feel I’ve had enough experiences in a life of 69 years to have plenty to write about! So, today that’s what this post is about. Boosting my confidence and motivation to get back into it and creating those worlds. If you’re a writer, you’ve likely hit those walls at one point or other. If we don’t give up, we eventually find our voice again and go on.

If you’re new at the game, you might be wondering how to start. Just jump in. Don’t focus on the mechanics like grammar and such. Save that for the editing. Unless, of course, you’re like me and can’t help yourself and must do it as you go. Still, just focus on the story. I’ll expand on this on another post.

I have another site that’s sort of an older sister to this one. which is all about the stories I’ve written so far. Not as many as there should have been by now, as I say. The focus there is more about the books themselves, complete with a section for the characters in them. The third book is in the first draft. Stalled because it took directions I hadn’t intended it to, and now I can’t decide whether to go on as it is, or go back and follow the original path. Both have possibilities. Decisions, decisions . . .! I’ve wondered whether I ought to combine the two into one . . . but which one?

So, as I’ve rambled on in this post, I’ve decided to focus here on musing on the writing life, WIP reports, some every day life news including recipes, publishing insights, especially independent publishing as it’s what I do, find resources that might be of interest to other writers, review courses I’ve taken, books I’ve read, and other things of the sort. Who knows? It might even inspire an aspiring writer to keep on keeping on! And the two sites won’t be mirrors of each other.

Thanks for stopping by and visit again soon!

My Semi Annual Update

I really meant to make this site a bit more special than it is. It’s been a rough winter, recuperating from a broken ankle, computer woes, and endless bouts of bronchitis and other ailments . . . which are still going on. Also, we’re in the middle of trying to buy a place and that’s had its hitches along the way.

Needless to say, some depression has set in and when I finally got my laptop fixed and WIFI to work, I’d lost a lot of the motivation I’d gained back over the last year. Projects are stalled. And I really need to get them done. Can’t get sales without the stories.

Well, actually, on the plus side, I’ve had a few sales this past month. Nothing earth shattering, but still, nice to see. Since I put my short stories permafree on Amazon last month, those have been doing quite well. The favorite still is Ride ‘Em Tough with Thanks to Eustace trailing along, but still getting enough attention to make me happy. It needs a better cover, although I have updated it with another nice scenery image,   I haven’t hit upon exactly what I should be doing for it. Probably should ask for some feedback and see where that takes me.

Maybe the free stories is why I finally got a couple of sales for the novels. It’s what I’ve been hoping for all along.

I have a couple side projects I need to finish, then I’m going to get back to Stormi’s story so I can finally bundle the three together; Thomi, Joleigh, and Stormi. I do want to write Rikki’s and Halleigh’s stories as well, and one for Nick and Anetra that will include that of Stephan’s parents, Greggory and Irina. Oh, and one for a friend who asked to have one written for her. She’ll be a candidate for one of the twins, likely Tristen, but we’ll see.

I also changed the title of Thomi’s story back to what I had it some time ago with modifications. That will be for another post.

Hope you’re enjoying good weather where you are! And for those of you who aren’t, especially in those areas of storms and tornadoes, my thoughts and prayers are with you! May you have a speedy recovery!



It’s Another New Year!

Hello all! It’s a snowy Sunday afternoon here. And for the first time in years, I can sit at my desk and watch it snow! It’s really coming down. We have about a foot or so now, which is making going out for my little Rat terrier mix, Kai Cei, really an adventure. She had to swim through the drifts to find her spot this morning, but then couldn’t get turned around to come back, so my son waded out to rescue her – in his bare feet, no coat. Kai Cei’s going to be 13 in a couple of months and isn’t quite as spry as she used to be. She and I have a lot of walking to do to shed our extra pounds.

It’s coming down in big flakes right now, and no sign of stopping. I’m loving it. But my poor husband is a nervous wreck imaging our power going down for days. It’s happened before, and we got through it just fine.

I am sadly behind in all the things I had wanted to get done in the past two years. I’ve also had some issues with the site, which I thought were taken care of, but I see they aren’t fully yet. Couldn’t get into my dashboard until today when I finally asked for help. I know . . . very sad.

Also, I’ve been trying to decide what I should actually do with this site as I have which I’ve been able to post to more frequently, but not as much as I should. I have seven sites and they all need some TLC! Can’t grow a readership if they all quit coming for lack of something new to read!

In my defense, I’ve been trying to finish some writing projects. I write under other aliases in other genre, so have a pile of stories to finish. And many others to start! I’m also learning more about cover design as I have been doing my own covers from the beginning. They may not be perfect yet, but they are 100% better than they were in the beginning! I’ve kept some of them in a special folder to remind myself of just how far I’ve come.

I’m presently taking two courses. One given by Stuart Bache who is a British cover designer to many famous authors including Mark Dawson and Stephan King. The other course, I just enrolled in yesterday. It’s one of Derek Murphy’s courses. Why two courses? Each guy has a different way of presenting things. Derek has a way of talking fast and repeating himself, but he’s a fount of wisdom on many levels. So, I’ve enrolled in three of his classes. I’ll be checking those out later today. I’ll post here what I am learning and what I think of the courses.

I’ve gone through Stuart’s cover design course a couple of times – you get lifetime access in both cases – and now just have to practice the techniques. They both work in Photoshop. I work in RealDraw Pro V and Paint5hop Pro 2019. RD V is the easiest of them to create a cover in. But there are things it can’t do, or I haven’t figured out how to do in it, that PaintShop does better. Actually, I use a lot of different tools in my cover creation process. In another post, I’ll talk more about them.

I’m also taking some courses in self publishing and figuring out ads for authors, as well as other means of getting my stuff out there. Would be nice to see more reviews going up in all the places a review could go. So, I need to figure this stuff out.

I may try doing Kindle Select with Stormi’s story at least for the first three months and this time, make use of all the tools. I’ve gone wide with Thomi and Joleigh, and I don’t want to unpublish them from all the avenues I have them in. So, from this time forth, I will go exclusive with Amazon for a few months with anything new that I publish, and then go wide. Wide, meaning that I’ll publish them in all the other places an author can publish. Right now, my short story Ride ‘Em Tough is the most downloaded story I have out there. It’s free everywhere except Amazon, where it’s .99 as Amazon doesn’t let you go permafree without a fight. It’s also free on my other site if you wished to check it out.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you next time. Hoping much sooner than last time!

To Be Formal or Not To Be . . .

To Be Formal or not to be . . . That is often the question, or issue.

Me, I’m inclined to be an informal kind of gal. I use contractions at every opportunity, and I break rules pretty often too. Mostly when I’m writing in first person POV. Why’s that? Because the average person speaks like that. And I’m writing for the average person, not the college professors or other such personages.

Formal speech sounds pompous, often self righteous, and arrogant.

There. I said it and I’m glad.

So, unless my main guy or gal is such a personage, no formality will be present. Moreover, small children often people my stories, and they don’t speak as if they’re 30, or 40. Unless, of course, that’s the kind of kid I want to portray. Which, so far, I have never included such a child in any story.  So, there is toddler speak in those stories. I spell the words as I hear them. And use the baby words my sons used then, and my granddaughters used. I’ve used words from kids I’ve overheard in public places. So cute, and so amusing! How can I not use them?

Having said that, one must learn all those tedious rules in order to know when one can break them. And so I told one fourth grade class I visited years back. Not sure what the teacher thought, but I felt I’d made a fair point. Learn all that good grammar stuff, punctuation, and even how to diagram a sentence – which I did, better than anyone in any of my English classes from eighth grade to graduation. I loved it all. Loved it! Embrace it! Excel at it!

Only then can you understand when you can cast it aside for the freedom of informality. You’ll know it. Trust me. It’ll sound sincere and chatty, and just right for the piece.

Now, if you’re into nonfiction, different story. Stick to the rules, most of the time. I just can’t be a writer of formalities, so I don’t do much of any nonfiction. I have learned to write in the APA style, and have done well with it on the occasions I’ve had to use it. But, it’s not me. I often use fragments of sentences. People talk that way. I guess I just like to be conversational. Kind of like we’ve been friends for years.

I’ll be working up a page on which to post tips, musings, and rants about all things grammar and the general mechanics of writing. I know almost every writer has a page about these things, but I feel I have to defend my take on these issues. I frankly don’t give a hoot about what the “experts” want. Let them write their papers, stories, and articles their way.

I, for my part, will write mine to the scribble of a different pencil.


I will post when I have launched my page or pages, as my whim wishes. Please visit again! See if you agree or don’t.


Welcome to My New Author Site

Hello, Friends, Family, and Readers!

Welcome to my new author site,!

I’m working hard at getting this site defined and up. Some of you may know that I have another site called Novels By Neenah, where I have my books up for sale, sample chapters, videos, and other stuff. I’m going to do more bookish stuff there, and focus on me the writer here.

I am still working out the details of all this, so you might see changes in the look of the place. I’ve changed the look of Novels as this site mirrored it to some extent. I’m still not quite happy with either, but that’s how it is. Tweaking is ongoing always!

With this place, I will feature more personal stuff along with the writerly stuff, guest articles, muses, videos, and links to my favorite places and interesting authors, resources, etc.

Making this post short so I can get on with the rest of the customizing and get those new pages up!

I hope to make both places as successful as my first site was back in the nineties. Wish I had not abandoned that one!

Hope to see you here often!