Monday, December 28, 2015

Looking Ahead to 2016

Hey All! 

In case you don't subscribe to my newsletter, here's what the publishing schedule looks like for 2016:

Winter - In Deep Wish: Mayweather Genies Book 2 (currently with the editor, cover being created) - March release

Spring - Fertile Ground: SCIU Book 2 (currently pre-editing*) - May release

Summer - Up Wish Creek: Mayweather Genies Book 3 (written, waiting its turn in the editing phase) - August release

Fall - Natural Causes: Dennis Haggarty Book 2 (partially written) - November release

This may change a little, but I'm pretty sure that's how it'll turn out.  If I had more money and more time (and I wanted to beat my editor like a rented mule), I'd put out more books. 

Currently, there are no plans to make a series out of BloodFlow, but that could change, too.  I would like to publish one of my dystopian novels at some point, but the time and money thing has me wondering when I'll ever fit that in.

I love publishing books.  I love that my readers have asked when the next book is coming out.  I wish I could give everyone the timeframes they want.  But like Jo always says 'wishes don't work that way'.  I hope this schedule works for the majority of readers. 

Thanks for sticking with me this year.  Thanks for all your support and for your purchases.  Here's hoping we're all pleased with the way 2016 turns out.  

*pre-editing consists of me sitting with my Kindle, reading it through and making notes of things that need changing.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas morning and that you got everything you wanted from Santa.

To help in that endeavor, I decided to make all my books 99 cents each. From tomorrow through New Year's Eve.  Yep, every single one.  If Santa brought you a new Kindle, or an Amazon gift card, or you got them for someone else, now's the best time to pick up a copy of any of the four - Dying Embers, Accidental Death, BloodFlow, or Wish in One Hand.  Or if you've been given a Nook or some other ereader, and don't want to use the Kindle app, Wish in One Hand is also available through Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple.

(This special pricing on DE, AD, and BF is for US and UK residents both.  Sorry about everyone else, but Amazon only lets me do so much. WIOH should be low-priced everywhere.)

Oh, and if you're a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber,  Dying Embers, Accidental Death, and BloodFlow are available for you to read with your subscription.

So, enjoy today with your family.  Eat lots. Have fun. Read tomorrow while you're recovering.  ;o)

Merry Christmas, Everyone.  (Even if you don't celebrate, I wish you the merriest of days.  Because, hey, who doesn't want to have a merry day?)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sales Goal Giveaway

Sitting here this morning trying to figure out how to word this giveaway so people don't get the wrong impression...

1000 Books Giveaway?  Umm, not giving away 1000 books. No way, no how.
1K Giveaway? Umm, not giving away 1K of anything. 
Sales Goal Giveaway.  May not be exciting sounding but at least it's accurate. 

I reached a sales goal I didn't know I would have at the beginning of the year.  As of this morning, people paid for 1000 of my books - in one form or another. 

795 ebooks
183 KU books
22 hardcopy books

And so I thought a giveaway would be a good idea.  Soooo, comment on this post before the end of the year (11:59pm CST on 12/31/15 - which is the end of my year) and you'll be entered to win a hardcopy of any one of my books - if you live in the US.  If you're outside the US and I draw your name, you'll win a PDF copy of any one of my books and I'll mail you a postcard from that book. 

That's about as equitable as I can make it.  I lurve all my fans worldwide, but shipping rates are killer for non-US bound packages. And Amazon won't let me buy ebooks for other countries.

So come celebrate with me.  Leave a comment.  Tell your friends.  Have friends leave a comment. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Because It's Christmas Week

Because it's the days leading up to Christmas, I'm going to take a break from talking about work - which means no informational posts, no marketing posts, and no mayhem posts.  Just quiet enjoyment of life in general. 

I will say to look for a special post on Christmas that will be kinda markety, but fun.  (At least, I think it'll be fun.  But I'm not a typical person, so your mileage may vary.)

Today, tell me something you have that you would want under your tree if you didn't already have it.  For me, last year, my husband gave me the gift of supporting me in my decision to self-publish.  He's giving it to me again this year.  Yay.  But if I didn't have that gift, I sure would be happy to see it under the tree.  With a pretty bow.

How about you?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

One Track Mind

Yeah, I know when people say someone has a 'one track mind', they usually mean the person is thinking about sex.  That ain't this. 

I have a one track mind right now.  It's books.  All books all the time.  Writing, editing, cover art, marketing.  It probably makes me pretty boring to some.  But I can't help it.  I don't really do anything else.  Unless you want to hear about my trip to the grocery store or what I saw in the woods today.  I'd talk about what I'm reading, but right now, I'm reading my own book because I'm editing. 

Yeah, 'cleat-covered shoes' ain't really a thing.

But you see, to me, all of this is interesting and exciting.  I sat down with my Kindle last night.  And a notebook.  And a red pen.  I dove into Fertile Ground.  And I saw how much I I believe in this book and, while it needs work, I can make this something awesome.  I'm 16% in and I have three pages worth of notes - tweaks and fixes and plot holes to fill and things that need clarification.  But it's GOOD stuff.  Meanwhile, In Deep Wish is with the editor and I got another view of my cover this morning.  (SQUEE!) 

I guess what it boils down to is this: I have a one track mind.  It's books.  Which, for my readers, is a good thing because it means they'll have more books to read as quickly as I (and my budget) can get them out.  For everyone else?  I'll try to come up for air every once in a while and have something else to talk about.  But I can't promise anything.  ;o)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Making the World a Safer Place One Story at a Time

Years ago, a writing acquaintance and I were talking about something or other with regards to writing crime and how other people might view us.  I pointed out that crime writers are probably the safest people in the world to be around.  We get all our violence and frustrations out on the page rather than acting on them in real life. 

Think about it.  We get pissed at someone, we write furiously and end up with a scene where a person gets horribly murdered.  (And if we're really good, the dead person in the book in no way resembles its real life counterpart - except in our minds.)  We don't rush out and kill someone, or even rush out and assault someone.  Fictional people die and the world is a safer place. 

Sure, there have been instances where a writer has gone off the rails and actually committed the crime.  But it's rare.  And I'd venture those whackos weren't very good writers anyway. Or at least not very smart criminals because when the story you wrote mirrors the crime you committed, it's a trail of breadcrumbs that leads the police right to your door.  Duh. 

I know I've managed to put a lot of my frustrations to bed by banging it out on the keyboard.  Sometimes even when I'm not writing a murder scene, just the act of writing keeps me from going postal*.

So, like I said, I figure crime writers - and writers in general - are probably the safest people to be around.  Unless you somehow happen to get in between us and our coffee.  Then all bets are off.  ;o)

*Obviously, it's not the only thing that keeps me from going postal.  There's this thing called knowing right from wrong.  And personality responsibility. And believing in the sanctity of life.  You know, simple stuff murderers forget or ignore.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Goodreads Contest, Etc.

For those of you who don't follow me elsewhere, I had a Goodreads contest start this morning for a paperback copy of BloodFlow.  It's so pretty in paperback form.  All shiny and new.  Well, not shiny, since it has a matte cover.  But it's definitely pet-able. 

452 pages of thrillery goodness.  Signed by me.  Natch.  And although the contest doesn't say so, it'll have a postcard and a bookmark along with it.  (Not mentioned because I didn't have those in hand when I set up the contest.  But I have them now.  Yay.) 

The postcards are basically the cover on one side with the blurb on the other and plenty of space if you want to send it to someone.  The bookmarks highlight all four of my books this time.  Basically, the image is the same as my FB Page header:

With contact info on the back. 

Anyway, that's about it today.  Oh, wait, I did get In Deep Wish to the Awesome Wonderful Editor last night.  So, I've got that going for me.

Thanks for stopping by.  If you're interested in receiving a postcard or a bookmark, say so in the comments and I'll do some kind of drawing.  I'll send out five.  If I get less than five comments, everyone wins.  More than five, I'll draw names out of a hat or something. 

Have a great day!  Me, I'm going to take the day off.  Read something, maybe.  Veg in front of the TV.  I'll still be around the computer, but no workie for me.  (Okay, probably some marketing because I can't help it.) 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Inexpensive Marketing Venues

Hey all.  I just wanted to leave what I hope is a helpful post for writers looking for inexpensive ways to advertise.  And for readers, who might be looking for new places to locate reading material.  These, of course, are my opinions and experiences, and your mileage may vary.

And, of course, verify all this with their sites.  I may have gotten stuff screwed up in my head, so any mistakes in this are entirely mine.

Authors' Billboard - $5 - they accept only .99, free, or new release titles.  You fill out the form and pay before Tuesday and the ad will go in the newsletter for Friday of the following week.  (I assume.  I misread it last week and thought my ad would be in the newsletter following that Tuesday.  Since it wasn't in Friday's newsletter, I'm guessing this coming Friday.  If it's not there, I'll contact the newsletter owner.)  You can submit an ad every thirty days per book.  No data on this one yet.  Seems legit.  Newsletter looks good. Updated 12/18/15: They never put my ad in their newsletter and never replied to either my email or my completion of their contact form.  $5 lesson learned.
Updated 1/5/16: I finally received an email apology.  Due to a glitch in the system somewhere along the way, my payment for an ad never got registered, and therefore, no ad was set up.  They have offered to put an ad up for me.  I'll update again when the ad goes live.
Update 1/5/16:  The problem has been figured out.  If you place an ad and pay the $5 thru Paypal, you have to click OK on the redirect message that warns you about sending data over an unsecured line or whatever.  Once you do that, you get the confirmation email and the ad should show up on the date you selected.  My ad should be live on 1/15/16.  All is forgiven.

ReadCheaply - Free (for now) - they accept only .99 or free titles.  Fill out the form and they'll let you know which date you'll be on.  (Usually, I get first available within my chosen timeframe.)  You get one ad every thirty days - regardless of titles.  With this one, though, they only take blurbs of less than 300 characters (with spaces), so you might have to tighten that up a bit.  I did this one back in October for Dying Embers' .99 countdown and saw no measurable jump in sales.  I did this again last week for Wish in One Hand and saw a nice little jump.  Newsletter looks good.
Updated 1/5/16:  They're count of 30 days is off somewhere. I had an ad on 11/24.  Tried to place another ad on 12/26 and their system wouldn't let me, saying I was within the 30 day timeframe.  Then my KCD deals expired, so I'll have to wait until I have discount books again.

eBook Deals Daily - $5 for each target (i.e. $5 for Kindle, $5 for Nook, $5 for UK) - only accepts .99 or Free titles.  I haven't tried this one yet, but I've got it on my to-do list.  The newsletter, etc. looks fair.  A lot of links, but not many covers.
Updated 1/5/16:  Ran an ad through them for WIOH.  Not sure if I saw any sales from it, but it looked nice.

Omnimystery News - pricing depends on what you want to do (a month long ad is $49, but there are free options, too) - not really caring what price your book is, but it needs to have a suspense, thriller, or mystery element.  I've done cover reveals and book excerpts here (free) and those seem to do okay.  I've also done the $49 thing and haven't seen much uptick.  Newsletter is link heavy, but informative.

Goodkindles - $19.95 or less - doesn't really care about pricing, but obviously needs to be available for Kindle.  For the $19.95 option, I got my book on their site permanently, a listing in their newsletter, and the option to bump my ad to the top after 30 days.  Everything looks good.  Not sure of the sales gain here.

Indie Author News - a lot of options so contact them for their rate sheet.  I did this once, but I can't remember which option I chose.  I think I ended up with a sidebar ad and didn't see any sales from it. 

Every Writer's Resource - $10.  Permanent. They say their ads are free, but then you have to wait for a spot and there's no guarantee.  You pay them $10 and they pay attention. Professional looking full page for your book. Not sure what sales this has brought me, but the listing is there forever, so who knows. 

Kboards - different options for different things (the link goes to their 'bargain book' promo page - $20)  I did the 'book discovery' promotion ($15) twice.  Once for Dying Embers back in February.  Crickets.  And again for Wish in One Hand.  Again with the crickets.  But I have heard Kboards can be an amazing place to advertise.  Not sure why my experiences haven't been amazing.  Maybe you need to be active on the Kboards forum.  Maybe it's not the target market for my books.  :shrug:

Ereader News Today - check out their rate sheet. It's dependent on your genre and the cost of your book.  The books have to be discounted in some way, and they're more favorable to free or .99 books.  I did a Suspense ad for Dying Embers and a Mystery ad for Accidental Death.  Both gained me upwards of 100 sales each, so it was worth the cost.  However, ENT is extremely picky about who gets to advertise with them, and it's not always clear exactly what they want.  Dying Embers had more reviews when they accepted the ad than Accidental Death, but AD only had 3 reviews when they accepted it.  However, I can't beg an ad for Wish in One Hand, which has 5 Amazon reviews.  Even after I changed the cover. So who knows?

There are, of course, way more places to advertise and their pricing varies widely.  If you know of any inexpensive advertising venues, help a fellow indie out and leave a link.  And if I discover any others or find more information about any of the above, I'll let you know.

Good luck.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wicked Wednesday!

No matter what other things get in the way, the wicked continues.  Today, we have the story of Carl "Charlie" Brandt

In 1971, a 13-yr old Charlie took a gun, shot his father in the back, and slaughtered his mother.  He beat his sister severely, but she escaped.  He spent a year in a psych hospital and for some reason, was released into the custody of his father who promptly moved the kids to Florida. They were never to speak of it again.

Flash forward to 2004.  Charlie and his wife, Teri, lived in the FL keys, but a hurricane was approaching, so Teri's Niece, Michelle, invited them to hunker down at her home in Orlando.  They were only supposed to stay a couple days.  When no one could reach the couple or the niece, a friend was sent over to check on them.  The front door was locked, so she went around to the side.  And through the garage door windows, she saw good ol' Charlie hanging from the rafters with a bed sheet around his neck.

She called police.  Thank goodness for her, she did not go inside.

The police found Teri first.  She'd been stabbed multiple times in the chest.  Further inside the house, they found Michelle.  She'd been stabbed, decapitated and her heart had been cut out.

Every considered Charlie a quiet but quirky man.  They never envisioned the kinds of horrible things he was capable of.  But once they knew what he could do, the authorities looked for other things he might've done.  And they found similar crimes elsewhere.  Apparently, the head cutting off and heart removal thing was his MO.  Twenty-six unsolved murders have been attributed to this one man.

And it all could've been halted with the death of his mother in 1971.  If only someone had been paying attention.  If only someone had realized that a psychotic teen is not going to grow up to be a well-adjusted member of society. 

Indications are Teri, at the very least, knew what her husband had done all those years ago.  Whether she thought she could change him or he convinced her he was 'cured', no one will ever know.  Perhaps the night he came home covered in blood - he claimed to have been 'fishing' - if she had reported him to the police, more women wouldn't have died at his hands. 

There's a registry for sex offenders in the United States.  Why isn't there one for murderers?

Just wondering.