Monday, April 30, 2018

The Numbers

I said I'd give you the numbers from last week's extravaganza, and here they are, as of 8pm CDT Sunday night...

Dying Embers was free, and I moved just over a thousand copies of that.  I also saw a few page reads, but not much yet.  I'm hoping to see more of those as the days go by.

Fertile Ground was (and is thru the end of today) 99c or .99p.  I sold 16 copies of that.

Early Grave was and is $2.99.  Through the course of the sale, I sold 2.

I paid $18 in advertising.  One ad for each book, $6 per ad.  All with Authors' Billboard - they have a newsletter that only comes out on Fridays, so you have to make sure your ad is in before Monday.  But that's way better than needing to plan weeks in advance.  (Which I suck at.)

The hope, as always, is that I will see additional sales and pages read over the course of the next week or so.  It doesn't always happen, but the hope is there.

During this, I also saw an additional rating for DE over at Goodreads.  And one new 5-star review at both Amazon and Goodreads.

DE made a ranking as high as #20 in the Free Mystery/Thriller - Crime section.  And into the top 300-something in all books.

The biggest day for all of this was the 25th - the day it all started.  The day the ads came out did not show me the uptick I was hoping for, but them's the breaks.  As I said before, though, it was just one ad at a minor advertising venue.  If I'd been on the ball, I would've had more ads with better placement.  Maybe next time.

The final day, yesterday, I blitzkrieged FB groups with the 'last day for free' thing on DE. I saw a slight uptick from what I expected the last day to look like and one more FG sale.

All in all, I'm happy with the results.  Any questions?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Early Grave - Snippet

It occurred to me this morning that I have not shared a snippet of Early Grave here.  (Not that I remember.  If I already did, forgive me.)  Here are the first two chapter for your reading enjoyment.


Tess Volker’s nose wrinkled as the smell of old skin and adult diapers permeated her world. Another day of work at Juniper Grove Extended Care Facility, tending to the needs of the elderly and waiting for the right time to strike.
What a bunch of disgusting old farts.
“Tess, dear?” The wavering voice came from a desiccated old lady in a wheelchair. “I’ve dropped my quilt. Could you get it for me? My legs are cold.”
Tess grabbed the tattered cloth from the floor and pasted a stupid, cheery grin on her face. Behind the smile, her teeth gritted hard enough to make her jaws ache. Stupid bitch, it’s not like you’ve felt anything below the waist in decades.
Tucking it around the woman’s boney appendages, she said, “There now, dear. Is that better?”
The woman’s bony hand reached out and patted at Tess’ arm. It took everything Tess had not to flinch away. The liver spots alone were making her skin crawl. The chipped cherry red nail polish grossed her out, too.
“You always take such good care of me,” the old lady said, a fine mist of spittle accompanying her every word.
Oh, I’ll take good care of you. You wait and see.
“Then again, that’s your job.” The woman tittered like a schoolgirl. “You’d walk away in a heartbeat if they weren’t paying you, wouldn’t you, dear?”
If you only knew.
“It’s more than a job, sweetie.” Tess’ grin widened but didn’t quite warm her inside. Only one thing could do that, and this wasn’t the time. Even if it was the place. “It’s a calling.”
“Tess?” A wrinkled, old fart across the common room wiggled his fingers to get her attention. “Can you push me closer to the television? I can’t see to read the clues on Jeopardy!”
She rolled her eyes. Every day Mr. Harpton asked to be rolled next to the window. Then he wanted to be by the door. Then wanted to be closer to the TV. It’s not like he actually cares where we park him. Dirty old man only ever has one thing on his mind..
As she leaned to remove the parking brake on his chair, one gnarled hand reached up and groped her ass. Every damn day. “Mr. Harpton? We agreed you wouldn’t do that, didn’t we?”
He laughed at her and gave her a jaunty wink, like she was someone he could’ve picked up in a bar or something. As if.
A dark-skinned man slouched into the room and winked at her. He could’ve been a bum living under a bridge, but someone was paying his way at Juniper. Why they couldn’t dress him better and make him look presentable was gross enough. Until he presented her with his toothless grin, which took gross to a whole new level. One look at the pink orifice rimmed with shiny, wet gums made Tess remember why she no longer ate lunch before she went to her second shift job. Any food on her stomach would end up all over these slobs.
I can’t take this anymore. Tonight. One of them has to go tonight.
“Young lady! Young lady! I demand you get over here, now!”
Her teeth ground together until she was certain this time she’d break a molar. “What can I do for you today, Mrs. Brown?”
“I need my medicine. You were supposed to bring me my medicine an hour ago.”
“I brought your pills to you.” As if you’d remember, you raging bitch.
“You most certainly did not!”
“I brought them and watched while you took them. And then we made a little mark on your calendar. Remember?” She reached past the senile bat to the date book. “See? Right there?”
The woman grabbed the soft flesh under Tess’ arm in a chunk and pinched hard. “You marked that there when I wasn’t looking so I wouldn’t get my meds. You want me to die, don’t you?”
If you only knew. “No, ma’am. I want you to live to see your great-grandchildren’s grandchildren. Wouldn’t that be lovely?” She grinned again. The time was right for Mrs. Brown to go visiting but her ancestors, not her progeny. And it would be lovely.
Every day Tess Volker came to work, pasted on a smile and did the job they paid her twelve-fifty an hour for. She hadn’t lied when she said it was her calling. Only it wasn’t paychecks calling to her since she’d found this job three years ago. Not like the paychecks at her first job in a nursing home had called to her twenty years before. She’d needed those. These paychecks were a part of the damn job, sure, but not a part she cared too much about.
Tess had other means of support. This work paid her in other ways.
She realized a long time ago how much additional satisfaction she could receive from her occupation. A faked checkmark like the one in Mrs. Brown’s book amounted to a little payback. But those little things weren’t nearly enough to cover the bill of what Tess had suffered through. And when Mrs. Brown’s eyes grew dull and glassy, when they plugged her brittle bag of bones into a dirt hole, it wouldn’t begin to reduce the balance of hate.
After lights-out, Tess would make sure Mrs. Brown got the meds she’d been withholding, along with some of Mr. Harpton’s heart medication. And perhaps a few other meds, too. Lord knew she had stashed a sufficient amount of stolen pharmaceuticals from every patient to kill off one old bitch without making it look suspicious.
And she’d get away with the next one as easily as this one. As easily as the ones before.
She gave Mrs. Brown her best fake smile and went on about her work. All she had to do was wait a little longer for another morsel of delicious payback.


Agent Ned Washington walked out of the staff meeting at the Detroit branch of the Serial Crimes Investigation Unit trying desperately not to shake his head. Dealing with his supervisor, Rick Jensen, and the man’s overwhelming obsession had been hard enough over the past couple months. Director Graham sending this new gal into the mix could only make it worse. And, to make matters crappier, she was someone who’d turned pasty-gray at the idea of dealing with the kind of cases their boss was fixated on at the time.
Ned was glad he was beating feet out of Detroit to deal with this assignment in Toledo. Whether he would have any backup from the S.C.I.U.—either at his assigned branch or from the headquarters in Dallas—was anyone’s guess.
Hell, he didn’t have much more to go on with this Toledo case than Rick did with the whole suspected serial rapist thing. But Ned had a gut feeling the detective down there was correct. Too many people were dying of ‘natural causes’ for it to be natural, even if they had all been old. The local higher-ups in the police department hadn’t wanted to deal with one detective’s mission, so they’d used the label of ‘serial murder’ and shunted it up to the feds. Where it landed on his desk.
Sure, one local cop down there gave a shit. From what he’d heard, she had tried her damnedest to hang onto the case, keep it local and win herself the collar. He couldn’t blame her. She had done some major legwork. She’d compiled at least a baker’s dozen worth of deaths that fit the M.O. If there was an M.O. to fit.
Old people. Thirteen old people at three separate assisted-living facilities. All dead. But old people died all the time. The coroner down there had listed the causes as natural in every case but one. And that one had been reported as ‘undetermined’.
Outside his cubicle, he caught Rick ushering the new girl into an office. Any other agent would be pissed as hell. Ned didn’t care because he didn’t actually give a shit about office politics. He didn’t need an actual room with a door to do his job. He had a computer and a flat space to put it on. He had a chair that suited his ass for the long periods of time it spent there pouring over data. In the parking lot sat a government-owned sedan where he did the majority of his real work. Today, the car would carry him south into Ohio. He wouldn’t see his cubicle again for however long it took to wrap up this case.
Ned thought about his houseplants and sent a quick email to the one neighbor he trusted with a key, asking the guy to water things while he was out of town. If he came back to a jungle of dead, brown things, he’d make a run to the home improvement place and buy more. Thank goodness he’d never succumbed to the need to adopt a pet.
Going through a mental checklist, he prepped his workspace for an extended absence. The laptop went into its bag. He glanced toward the reception desk. The lady who sat there was nice enough but not the most competent or efficient person. He opted to do an end-around on her. His voicemail message would instruct everyone not to leave a message, but to instead call his cell phone. If she screwed that up, he’d deal with it then. Most of his contacts already had his cell on speed dial anyway.
A glance toward the back told him Rick was ensconced in the new girl’s office. What was her name? Buckman… Buchanan… She seemed on the ball, and he sent her mental good wishes. Whether she figured out what their boss’s major maladjustment was in time to save her own ass was out of his hands.
Nodding to the few others in the office, Ned made his way outside without another word. They had their jobs to do. He had his. It wasn’t like they were going to miss him at the nightly after-hours dinner thing. Even when he was in town, he didn’t bother. Socializing with the other agents wasn’t his thing. Hell, socializing with anyone wasn’t really his thing. Work was his thing, and he couldn’t wait to get back to it. Sitting around holding Rick’s hand through this potential serial rapist thing had worn pretty thin.
Truth be told, the whole idea made him nauseous. Give me a cold-hearted killer any day and twice on Sundays.
Other than the thoughts swirling in Ned’s brain, the drive to Toledo was uneventful. Crossing into Ohio wasn’t that big a deal. Like crossing into Canada had been in the old days. Now, a man needed a passport to go a half-hour east. With a soft chuckle to himself, he wondered when the country would stoop to such a level they’d need border guards between the states. The way things were looking, Ned didn’t think the bizarre idea was as far off as people liked to think.
The idea had his mind wandering toward other far-fetched things, like the conversation he’d had with his father the day he declared he’d be entering service to the government as a Federal agent. The day he’d forgotten that his hopes and dreams weren’t exactly in keeping with his old man’s.
“No son of mine is going to work for the man.”
He shook his head. Dad hadn’t exactly been part of the militant movement. He hadn’t joined the Black Panthers, but he’d supported them with his words and his ideas. Maybe even with his money—when Dad had extra money to throw around. Ned had another path in mind, and lucky for him, his grandmother had raised him to think for himself. Even when his thoughts and hers were headed in different directions.
Too bad Gran hadn’t been around to see him fulfill his dreams. Of course, Dad disowned him. His Mom? She hadn’t been happy, but she also hadn’t been quite as final.
“If this is what you really want for yourself, Neddy, then I support you.” Her words then had filled him with hope. But that had been twenty years ago. He’d been fresh out of high school and on his way to college on a football scholarship. Football had been the means to his end. He played hard enough to stay on the team and keep his scholarship, but his heart hadn’t been in it. When he graduated cum laude with a degree in Criminal Justice, his mother had seen the path of gold laid before him by offers from the NFL. He’d seen it all as pyrite and applied to Quantico.
“And that has made all the difference,” he said aloud, winking at himself in the rearview mirror.
The trip down I-75 south from Detroit didn’t take more than a couple hours, thanks to midday traffic. He couldn’t imagine what the snarl would be like at rush hour. He’d deal with it if and when the time came. Using the map in his head, he located police headquarters in Toledo easily enough. If only finding Detective Britney Matthews had come off as cleanly.
“She’s out of the office at the moment. If you leave your name and number, I’ll let her know you stopped by.”
Ned had already given his name and his reason for being there. Maybe the guy hadn’t been listening. He pulled out his credentials and laid them on the counter in front of the uniformed officer. “Agent Ned Washington. Serial Crimes Investigation Unit. She knows I’m coming.”
The guy blinked twice. He gazed at the ID and back at Ned. “Yes, sir. I’m sorry, sir. A lot of nuts around these days. Have to be extra—”
“I understand. If you could let Matthews know I’m here?”
Within minutes, a tall blonde strode into the foyer. He tried not to let the surprise show on his face, but he figured he failed when her first words came flying out.
“What’s your major maladjustment?” She practically barked the question, and he hadn’t even introduced himself yet.
“Detective Matthews?”
“Who wants to know?”
Taking a deep breath, he tried to center himself before her abrasiveness rubbed him raw. “Agent Washington.”
“Ah, the fed. I bet you were expecting a female version of Barney Miller or some shit.”
“Actually, I—”
“Yeah, yeah. I know. I don’t look like I belong in Homicide.” She cocked her hip to one side and stared at him like he wasn’t actually there, as though she was seeing a parade of stereotypical assholes instead. “So, I’m blonde, my name is Britney, and I’m built like a brick shithouse. You got a problem with that? I did my time. I spent five years in Vice pretending to be a hooker because someone higher up thought I was a dead ringer for a hooker. I think I’m more useful here, but a lot of people have other ideas. You’re not going to be one of them, I hope.”
Ned raised his hands in surrender as her verbal waterfall washed over him and threatened to sweep him out the door. This chick had a chip on her shoulder and the big bowl of dip to match. “You’ll have no problems with me unless you got me all the way down here for nothing.”
Her eyes narrowed. “That’s what the others think, and why they bumped this up to you instead of letting me handle it.”
The uniform at the desk stared off into space, but Ned knew the guy was mentally recording everything they said. Grist for the rumor mill he did not want to be. Holding his hand out, he ushered the both of them deeper into the station and hopefully, away from prying ears. Once they’d stepped into the hall beyond the door, he addressed her previous assertion the only way he knew how. “Let’s go over what you’ve got and let me be the judge of whether this is nothing. Deal?”
 “Sorry. It’s just...” She reddened and then dropped her hands to her sides.
“You feel like you have something to prove? I get that. Tell you what, you hold off on judging me, and I’ll hold off on judging you until all the evidence is in.” He smiled, but the line between her eyebrows deepened and the hands she’d lowered clenched into fists.
“I don’t need you to tell me how to do my job.”
Great. A pissing contest in the first ten minutes. He opened his mouth to tell her off but a calmer part of his head prevailed. He nodded and once again encouraged her deeper into the station. She took the hint this time and took the lead deeper into the station.
When they reached a conference room, he could tell she’d been preparing for his arrival. Boxes of files were stacked against the walls. A whiteboard was covered in neatly marked areas of individual information. Papers were painstakingly arranged on the table, each with multi-colored tabs and highlighted in a rainbow of fluorescent ink.
“For a gal who doesn’t want me here, you sure laid out the welcome mat.”
“This isn’t for you. It’s for me, so I can get it all straight in my head.”
If that’s what she needed to tell herself, he was fine with it. Whatever made this interaction smoother. If this was the serial case she thought it was, then they needed to find some common ground so they could work together.
“Show me what you’ve got.”

If you enjoyed what you've read, you can buy the whole thing and read the rest.  Early Grave is only $2.99, so it's not a budget buster.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

3 Books for under $4

Remember how I said I would be having a sale on the SCIU books?  Well, now's the time. 

Dying Embers is free through Sunday.
Fertile Ground is 99c through the end of the month. 
Early Grave is still $2.99.

Which means you could get all three books for less than $4.  And that's worldwide, folks.  (Or whatever the equivalent price is wherever you live.)

For some reason, Amazon hasn't caught up and put Early Grave in the series with the other two, but trust me, it's the third book in the series.  I'd know.  ;o)

Anyway, I love this series.  I hope you will, too.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Schedules and Panicking

Not to beat a dead horse, but self-publishing isn't just about sitting at your desk, happily plunking away as the stories flow freely from your fingertips.  It's a business.  And, as such, it requires scheduling.

You need to find time to write, of course.  And to edit.  That is all part of the job.  But it's not all of the job.  You need to find time to market.  You need to find time to network.  You need to find time to sell.  And then there's the paperwork and the accounting and the...  :collapses under the weight of the to-do list:

And that's just what's on you.  But like any good business, you have to coordinate with others as well.  You have to figure when your editor can schedule you in, because you're most likely not their only client.  And they have lives.  (Imagine.  The nerve.  LOL)  Like I know my editor takes a break in May.  Not the whole month, mind you, but it's usually a good idea to not have a lot going on in that month.  She gets a break, too, so I try to leave her alone to recharge her batteries.  (Lord knows she probably needs it after editing for me.  Heh.)

You also have to find a place to squeeze into your cover artist's schedule.  Because, like the editor, she has other clients and a life.  I totally brainfarted out on this one and then I saw my artist post to FB that she was full up for work until July.  I emailed her straight off and we worked it out so I can still have an August release, but those harrowing hours between wouldn't have been necessary if I had planned better.

Another thing you need to remember is scheduling for marketing.  Most marketing venues fill up fast and you'd better get in touch with them around three weeks in advance (at least) or you'll find they're full up for the dates you want an ad to go out.  I run afoul of this more often than not because I am such a bad marketer and planner.

The point of all this is that planning and scheduling can leave you with less to panic about.  If I'd thought to shoot my artist an email at the beginning of the year when I knew what my publishing schedule was going to be, I would've saved myself from panic now.  If I'd taken time last month to schedule marketing for Early Grave, the release might've been a bang instead of a whimper.

This is all a learning experience, but we shouldn't all have to learn things the hard way.  I would've been a little screwed if my artist hadn't posted to FB and then been able to work with me to get me what I need when I need it.  Don't be me.  When you have a publishing schedule in place, think about all the other people who will need to contribute to that and plan accordingly.  Jus' sayin'.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Early Grave is Available Now

Hey, Everyone!

Remember how I said Early Grave would be released on the 20th, or earlier if I could swing it?  Well, it went live yesterday.  Early Grave released day early.  Which is kind of funny when you think about it.  Or maybe that's just me.  I might be a little loopy.

Anyway, it's available at Amazon wherever you live, but here are the links for the English-speaking countries (because those are the only ones I can read):

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Amazon CA

It's only $2.99 here in the states (and whatever price Amazon thinks that equates to in other countries) - because I'm still keeping that promise I made to maintain a reasonable price on all my books.  Or it's free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. 

I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I Suck at This

Monday I wrote the following status update on my personal FB page: "If you've read any of my books, it would be really helpful if you could drop a review for the ones you've read. Doesn't have to be a long review. Just something like "I enjoyed this book" works. Of course, if the spirit moves you to talk about what you liked and how it made you squee with excitement, that would be awesome, too. ;o) "

And afterwards, it occurred to me that it is REALLY hard to ask people for reviews.  And then it occurred to me that it is REALLY hard to promote anything having to do with my writing, because, in a way, I'm promoting myself.  And I stink at that.

In my view, I either come off as pathetic or big-headed.  Look at that status update up there.  First part, pathetic.  Second part, big-headed.  

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.  I dunno. 

But I need reviews.  I was thinking about marketing again and I'm once again faced with the quandary of needing to have reviews to market books.  I'd love to splash around some ads for Fertile Ground, for instance, but it only has two Amazon reviews.  Most places require at least five.  The big places that garner more sales definitely require at least five reviews, unless it's a new release and then they require at least five for previous books.  Which might have worked if I'd advertised when FG first came out, but it's been out now for a while, so that's flat out.

The reviews I do have are pretty good, so I'm kinda sure it's not the books.  I mean, I do have the occasional not-so-good review, but those are par for the course.  Not every reader will like any given book.  But overall, it's not like the books stink enough to make people not want to even bother reviewing them.

Of course, once I posted a requested for reviews on Twitter and someone hopped over to give me a low-star review that seemed like she hadn't actually read the book. The nature of the beast, I guess. 

And then there's the whole 'Amazon won't let certain people review your books because they might actually be friends with you and they cannot possibly be objective', which I think is BS.  But I get that other people have played the system that way and now we all have to suffer for it.  Also, the nature of the beast.  Bleh.

Okay, that's probably quite enough whining for today.  If you have reviewed my books, thanks bunches.  You rock.  If you've read any of my books and haven't reviewed them yet, drop a review - if Amazon will let you.  I'll be eternally grateful. 

And if I've read your books and haven't posted an Amazon review for them yet, let me know.  Sometimes I forget to migrate my Goodreads reviews over to Amazon.  (And a few times I have, but Amazon rejected the review because I knew you.  Again, BAH.)

Monday, April 16, 2018


With my other work project finally finished, for now at least, I can focus on my actual work stuff again.  Having said this, though, I realize I am playing catch-up.  I do have a book releasing this week - Early Grave (Book three of my Serial Crimes Investigation Unit series).  Over the weekend, I made a Goodreads listing for it, so that's something.

I know some of you weren't keen on the blurb, but I went with it.  It's in line with the blurbs from the other two.  (I changed the blurb for Fertile Ground, so it's more in line, too.  And creepier.  Can't help the creepy.)

I'm also hip deep in the final edits of Early Grave.  I should have those done over the next couple days and then I'll format.  And THEN I'll upload it to Amazon and make it live so all y'all can finally snag a copy.  So, Friday's still a good day for release and it'll be live earlier if I can swing it.  It's going into the world at $2.99.

BTW, if you missed it, FG is on sale all month worldwide.  It's 99c here in the US and all other prices are adjusted accordingly.  Dying Embers will be free sometime next week (I have to wait until my KDP 90 days is over on Wednesday and after EG is live to set that up.)

I have ideas for three more Dennis Haggarty mysteries.  I still have to write them, so don't look for those any time soon.  Next year maybe.

The way Sleeping Ugly is currently written, it will be a new series.  Which means I'd better get some ideas for subsequent books soon or rewrite SU so it's a standalone.

And I'm still planning on putting Unequal into the world either late this year or early next.  Another dystopian.  Weeee.

So much in my head and so little time to get it all done.  I need a clone.  Or a way to work more hours without going batshit crazy. 

Any questions? 

Friday, April 13, 2018

I Miss Libraries

When I was a mid-sized lass, I would spend hours in the library.  I would've lived in my elementary school library if they'd allowed it.  What a place of joy and wonder.  Then I discovered the public library.  I would've happily lived there, too.  Surrounded by my friends, the books.  I could walk in there and wander through, picking out any books I wanted without interruption or distraction. 

For me, it was mostly the paperback section I was interested in.  Science fiction and fantasy, for the most part, and romance or suspense or mystery.  Anything I wanted, there it was.  I'd even occasionally pick up a non-fiction, although my selections there tended more toward nature than anything else.  Books, though.  And quiet.

That's what a library is to me.  And I miss that.

The last several times I was in a library, there was a big bank of computers taking up valuable book space.  And at the screens, people who could really have cared less about books.  They were playing games or searching the web or writing resumes. There were also kids running around or playing with toys.  Books forgotten.

That makes me sad.

When I was young, all I had to do was give them my name and address, and they presented me with a card so that I could check out any book I wanted.  I tried to get a card at the local library here.  They wanted physical proof I lived here in the form of a utility bill - my driver's license with a local address and checks with a local address were apparently insufficient proof.  Why all hullabaloo?  So I didn't make off with any of their books permanently.  As if.

That also makes me sad.

There's a meme going around FB.  Something about sharing to prove libraries are still relevant.  Except they aren't.  The libraries I loved are gone.  People can get books anywhere they want - for free or for cheap.  I can go to Amazon right now and download a dozen in less time than it would take me to warm up my car for the half-hour trip to the library.  And no one harasses me while I'm doing it.

The libraries of today?  They're social gathering places and internet cafes, with books on the side as decoration. 

One of the last times I was in a library, at least a couple years ago, they were having a book sale.  The entire basement was filled with books for sale.  And I would venture that there were more books on the shelves in the basement than were on the shelves for patrons upstairs.  But the sale was to raise money to build a newer and bigger library, which will probably have more space for computers and social things.  :heavy sigh:  I rescued a huge box full of the titles.  Not to help them build a new library but to rescue the tomes from people who didn't appreciate them.

When I first published my own books, I took copies to the local libraries.  I was so full of joy and naivete, waiting for them to show up on the shelves and in their catalog system.  They never did.  One of my library donated books made it into the paper in their 'new on the shelves' article.  They spelled my name wrong.  I never went back.

I have my own library now.  Shelves and shelves of my friends.  It's not the same as the old library I used to love, but it's better than the libraries of today.  Quiet, solitude, and books. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

PSA - Back Up Your Work

It's time again for another public service announcement about making sure you back up your work.  Why this morning?  Because I walked into the office this morning to Hubs computer in Safe Mode.  And while I was trying figure out WTF pre caffeine and nicotine, he realized that if his hard drive was toast, he'd lost a whole bunch of stuff. 

Now, understand something.  I am IT here at Sanderson Industries, Inc. LLC, so it's basically my job to take care of the computers.  And I dropped the ball.  I hadn't backed up either of the computers recently.  A fact that became clear as we were talking - while I was waiting for System Restore to do its job - about what he may have lost, it occurred to me that I hadn't backed up any of the spreadsheet stuff I've been doing that I hadn't already emailed to the office.  So, like 25 spreadsheets I created over the weekend had no backup.  Argh.  That would've sucked if a crash had happened to MY computer last night.

So, I got out the thumb drives and began backing up.  (System Restore fixed Hubs computer,. btw.  Whew.)  And I saw that I hadn't backed up my picture files since last June.  Derp. 

One would think I would've learned during The Great Computer Crash of 2006, wherein I lost all my picture files in one fell swoop of the dead hard drive. 

I don't lose manuscript files.  I back up my books every night I've worked on them by emailing them to my gmail acct.  Blurbs, cover art, etc.?  That stuff would've been toast. 

It's all backed up to a thumb drive now.  Later today, I'll take this thumb drive to the bank and put it in our safe deposit box, retrieve the one already there and back up to that, too. 

Always have one full backup with you and one offsite - in case of flood, fire, tornado, etc.

Anyway, let this be a reminder to you, too.  If you haven't backed up lately, make time to do it today.  If your computer crashes overnight, you'll be so glad you did.  And if it doesn't?  Then you can breathe a sigh of relief that you're safe for another day.

Peace out.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Watch Your Fonts

Every book cover has a title and usually the author's name.  These should be clear at every size from thumbnail up to full sized.  But that's not always the case...

The other day I was scrolling down my FB feed, which is always chock full of ads for books, when I saw a romance novel with Raped in the title.  At least that's what I thought it said.  Since I figured that couldn't be right, cuz rape and romance don't go together, I looked closer.  The word was Roped.  But the font was so stylized the O looked like a A. 

This morning, I saw a title with the first three words so stylized all I could make out was the fourth word, which was in a different font. I think it was a romantic suspense novel, but you couldn't tell that from the cover.  It took me a couple minutes to understand what the author was actually going for there. 

Unfortunately, authors don't have a couple minutes to grab a reader.  If they can't read the title, they're moving on to the next book within a few seconds.  Bam.  The only reason I stopped to ferret out the real answers is because I'm a writer. 

Yeah, I know.  There are only so many fonts and we all want our books to stand out as different.  We all want to get noticed so readers snag our books instead of the next author's.  But we really need to pay attention to what the reader might actually be seeing instead of what we think they ought to be seeing.

(Heh, perhaps I should take my own advice there on some of my actual cover images, but I'm not changing any other covers right now)

Anyway, when you're designing a cover, take a step back.  Look at it through someone else's eyes.  Or have someone else look at it without telling them what it says.  See if they're reading what you wrote.  Stuff like that.

And if you ever can't tell what my cover is supposed to say, let me know.  Sometimes I trip, too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Hey All.

I'm hip deep in a project for the other job, so pretty much everything else is on hold until this is done.  Which is kind of good since nothing else is expected of me for a little while yet.  Early Grave isn't due back from the editor until the 12th and release day isn't until probably the 23rd.  (Shooting for the 20th, but we'll see how it goes, ya know?) 

I got the proof copy for the printed version of Project Hermes (formerly Blood Flow) back from Createspace.  It isn't perfect, but it's pretty good, so I approved it for sale.  It'll be $12.99.  I'll work on getting the old print version of BF to go away, but right now, it's not for sale anywhere (I deselected all the sales channels), so it's not that big a deal.

I redid the blurb for Fertile Ground and put that on sale for the month of April because April is National Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.  If you've read FG, you'll understand why it's on sale now.  If you know me, you know the bad guy gets what's coming to him. 

Once I release EG, Dying Embers will go on the Free bandwagon for 5 days. 

Well, that's about it for the stuffs right now.  Time to get back to the spreadsheets.  After some more coffee.  Loads more coffee.  With extra coffee added. 


Monday, April 2, 2018

The Monkey was Framed

In this morning's news, there's a story about how a monkey supposedly snatched a newborn baby from beside its sleeping mother in some village in India.  They found the baby dead a day or so later in a well just outside the family home.  The baby, of course, showed signs of injury.  They are proposing that the baby was injury because the monkey dropped it and then it ended up in the well. 

As if that didn't send my crime sensors tingling, now the village is protesting to get compensation from the park service because it's their fault the baby died because it's their fault the monkeys are so out of control.

Now, it is not outside the realm of possibility that a monkey did, in fact, kill this baby.  Monkeys are assholes.  

But the more I read, the more suspicious I got that the monkey was framed.

First, monkeys are not known for being quiet.  Mothers, on the other hand, are known for being hypersensitive to any noise generating from or around their newborn babies.  But this mom supposedly slept through the abduction, awaking just in time to see said monkey making off with her child.  Hmm.

Second, they said they searched frantically for this baby, but only noticed it was in the well 24 hours after it had been abducted.  The well, as I noted, was right outside the family home.  And apparently an open-air well so anyone could just look down it and see the baby floating there.  (Which is apparently what finally happened.) 

So, here's what I think actually occurred...  The mother or the father for some reason or other accidentally or on purpose kills the baby.  The villagers don't want to see the parent arrested by the police, so they come up with this monkey story.  Who better to frame than the asshole monkeys, right?  Plus, now the village can sue the park department for compensation. And maybe finally get rid of the furry little buggers who have been plaguing their village.

The Indian authorities are conducting an investigation, but right now, the only suspects they have are the monkeys.  :eyeroll:  We'll see if the truth ever comes out.