Monday, December 31, 2018

Twenty-Eighteen in Retrospect

What can I say about 2018?  It's a blur?  It was busy?  :shrug:  It was what it was.  And now it's time to wrap it up.

I'm still plugging along out here in Self-Publishing Land.  And I met my publication goal.  This past year saw 4 new books published, which brings me to a grand total of 13.  The books in 2018 were Blink of an I, Early Grave, Sleeping Ugly, and Unequal.  One suspense, one paranormal, and two dystopians.

Sales this year were better than last year, but I threw a lot more money at advertising.  I spent $330 on ads in 2018 and made about $470 directly linkable to those ads.  Sales overall went over $600 for the year.  (Yeah, that's the right amount of zeroes.) That was about $300 more than I made in 2017, so I'm calling it a win.  I also went over $3K total sales for the whole shebang and have sold over 2500 books in the four years I've been publishing.  No clue how many books I've given away.  I don't track that.  It depresses me.

Of course, with all the discounts I had this year, my average $ per book went down to $1.12 from my overall average of $1.22.  I didn't hand sell a single book in 2018, though, so I don't have those tugging my averages up.  Gave away a few, but didn't sell any.

A while back, I raised the prices on a majority of my books to make them more in line with other books of the same genres and quality.  It didn't really make a difference in how many books I was selling but when a book did sell at regular price, I made a bit more scratch.

The books didn't gain that many more reviews this year.  I treasure the ones I did get, but I wish there were more.  Then again, who doesn't?

If you're interested, here are the 'copies sold' numbers as of last night:

DE - Overall: 1003.82 / 2018: 152.15
AD - Overall: 572.63 / 2018: 87.12
WIOH - Overall: 363.89 / 2018: 100.76
PH - Overall: 88.06 / 2018: 15.46
IDW - Overall: 124.14 / 2018: 25.54
FG - Overall: 136.89 / 2018: 54.60
UWC - Overall: 81.69 / 15.89
NC - Overall: 28.22 / 2018: 14.57
WHTF - Overall: 53.04 / 2018: 14.87
BOIA - Overall/2018: 11.36
EG - Overall/2018: 49.23
SU - Overall/2018: 12.19
UEQ - Overall/2018: 4.40

Umm, yeah.  Kind of depressing.  Makes my brain hurt.

But I'm still plugging away.  They haven't beaten me into submission yet.  However, I'm at a loss to figure out what I'll be doing in the year to come.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Something has to change, I guess.  Not sure what.  With the slow start I'm looking at, I can be fairly certain I won't be publishing 4 books again.  If I can get two or three out, I'll be pleased. 

On the upside, my books are out there and people are reading them.  Not as many people as I had envisioned when I started this mad ride, but more than it could've been.

All in all, 2018 wasn't horrible.  Still, here's to a better 2019 for us all.

Friday, December 28, 2018


As the new year approaches, and I am faced with the fact I need to figure out a game plan for it, I'm sitting here pondering what the hell is wrong with me.

I wonder if I could be burned out.  I did publish 4 books last year, after all.  But that feels like an excuse to me.  I published 4 books, but none of them were actually written in 2018. So I can's see how I could possibly be burned out on writing.

It could be sales.  When sales are slow, especially of new releases, I can fall into the 'why bother' mindset.  You know, why bother publishing more books when the books I've already published aren't exactly selling like hotcakes?  But December sales were up and I hit some sales goals and junk, so I'm not sure if it's that this time.

Possibly it's the money angle.  I did some accounting of income versus outgo, and you do not want to see how that turned out.  The ROI for this publishing thing has been pathetic.  I might as well have just gotten the money in cash and flushed it down the toilet.  There are so many other things that money could've been used for.  I've been driving the same car for over 15 years, for petesakes.  Not that I've spent 'new car' amounts of money, but definitely 'used car' amounts.

Might be that I have too many books waiting to be written.  I really should get those sequels to Sleeping Ugly written.  I already have the cover done for #2 and I'm scheduled to have the cover for #3 in March.  But I also have another SCIU waiting to be written and another Dennis Haggarty.  And then there's that dark urban fantasy I've been wanting to finish.  And that first book I still believe it but that needs a shit-ton of editing before I can even think about sending it to the editor.  Gah.

Could it be that I'm putting too much pressure on myself?  Just writing that last paragraph gave me the panics.  But why?  I mean, there are people out there waiting for more books, but it's not like they'll die if I don't put them out.  My sales might die of neglect, but the actual reader won't.  This isn't brain surgery.  Although, in a way, the patient will bleed out if I don't do something...

I don't know.  I know a few of you out there are in the same boat.  I'm just pondering and trying to figure this out.  And maybe my pondering will help others figure their glitches out.  :shrug:  Some good has got to come out of this. 

Eh, one way or the other I'll figure this out.  The sooner the better, but I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself.  If it weren't so damn cold and/or windy, I'd go fishing and blow the gunk out of my pipes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Meet The Three Wise Agents

The Three Wise Agents...

Jace Douglas in Dying Embers.  After losing her family to a blaze when she was a teen, she's terrified of fire.  But she won't let her fears stop her from catching the Car-B-Que Killer.

Teri Buchanan in Fertile Ground.  With a serial rapist/killer hunting Southeast Michigan, she fights against the trauma of her own attack to bring a sick bastard to justice.

Ned Washington of Early Grave.  Haunted by the memories of his own grandmother's mistreatment and death, Ned will find and stop the psycho responsible for ending the lives of the elderly before their times have come.

These guys aren't carrying gifts, but they are on a mission.  To see justice done.

Get the whole SCIU series for under $5 today. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Yet Another Reason to Never Have an Agent

I know I live in a hole, but I totally missed the hullabaloo surrounding a literary agency, their bookkeeper, and a bunch of authors earlier this year. 

Go here, read this and follow the links.  It's quite an education.

If you're disinclined to do all that, here it is in a nutshell.

Literary agency has bookkeeper to take care of all the financial stuff, including dispersing author royalties.  Bookkeeper has side business slash charitable foundation.  Bookkeeper's side thing is tanking, so he 'borrows' money from the literary agency.  Over the course of 7 years, bookkeeper steals over $3 MILLION dollars. 

Author who was hit the hardest assumes his money is drying up because of piracy and slow sales. 


I'm filing this one under 'Yet Another Reason to Never Have an Agent'.

Also, it should be filed under 'Never Trust Anyone Else With Your Money'.  There should've been a dozen sets of eyes watching everything the bookkeeper did, the agency did, etc.  And with the millions of dollars we're talking, a bit of it should've been set aside to pay for a yearly audit.  But no one thought of it and now the agency is bankrupt and the hardest hit author is nearly broke. 

Think about that.  Broke after having several best selling novels and a freakin' hit movie people quote on a regular basis.

So, please, if you're selling enough books to warrant having someone else touch your money, watch them like a freakin' hawk.  If you're not selling that many books, but you have an agent, watch them like a freakin' hawk.  Doesn't matter how awesome and nice and trustworthy you think they are.  Money like that is awfully tempting to a certain type of person.  And there are times when you can't tell if the person you're trusting is that 'certain type of person' until it's too damn late to do anything about it.

I know it's a pain in the ass, and in a rational world, it wouldn't be this way.  But we don't live in a rational world these days.  Not sure if it was ever rational in my lifetime.  =o\

And, yes, despite all the effort and headaches of being an independent author, I'm so glad I don't have an agent.  Now, if there were just a way to audit Amazon...  but that's a post for another time.  At some point, though, you just have to trust and hope the Big A isn't quietly screwing its authors.  Because it would be so easy for them to do...  :shudder:

Friday, December 21, 2018

On the Charger

Okay, I told myself that, once I finished Unequal and sent it out into the world,  I would take time off of writing for the rest of the year.  No writing.  No editing.  Just time to gel and get myself back into a writerly place. 

Of course, there's no rest for the weary... or the wicked, if you will... so I'm not totally taking time off.  I have marketing stuff to do and writerly business stuff to do.  Year end stuff and coming year stuff.  (Plus, pay-job stuff.)  The non-creative half still needs to work.

This past week, I got the 2019 Sales and Book Sales Data spreadsheets done, so when 1/1/19 hits and the sales start rolling... err, trickling in, I'll be ready.

The creative half is storing energy.  Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket.  Storing energy.  Like a squirrel.  Yeah.  Cuz, let's face it - my battery is dead.  Look at this time as me putting the battery on a charger and letting it sit until it's full.  Then maybe when 2019 rolls around, I'll be able to sit down and churn out the words. 

And it's not like the creative half isn't trying.  Like the dead battery in your car, it's trying to turn over, but it just doesn't have the energy to actually start.  Little snips of story ideas wander through my brain.  Nothing worth writing down.  No gumption to actually sit here and write anything yet.  Just Rrr Rrr Rrr clickclickclick :silence: Can't even get the freakin' dome light to flicker.

So, that's where I am right now.  Sitting on the charger, waiting. 

Meanwhile, I have a sale coming up.  Starting Monday, the entire SCIU series will be discounted through the end of the 30th.  $3 off on DE, $2 off on FG and EG.  With ads.  And I'll be out there hawking my wares on FB and Twitter.  :fingers crossed:

How's you battery here at the end of the year?  Are you busy busy or taking some time off? 

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Post-Publication Checklist

Once upon a time, I could keep all the stuff I had to do to get a book out there up in my head.  These are not those days.  Somewhere here I've already posted my checklist for actually publishing a book.  This is my new checklist for all the things I have to do immediately AFTER a book is published.

  1. Goodreads listing – add ASIN before the book goes live
  2. Add book to your Amazon author page.
  3. Verify book is on Amazon UK author page.
  4. Update FB header.
  5. Add book to all blog sidebars.
  6. Update internal links inside book to Amazon
  7. Post to the blogs
  8. Post to FB pages
  9. Post to Twitter
  10. Post to MEWE
  11. Add book to appropriate Outside the Box book page
  12. Update links on book page – US, UK, CA, AU
  13. Bookmark Amazon pages – US, UK, CA, AU
  14. Update back matter of all other books
  15. Post to FB groups
  16. Fall apart.

Anyway, I've gotten most everything done except the back matter thing.  Six books down, seven to go.  It's not hard, it's just tedious.  Oh, I haven't done MEWE yet - forgot the password and am too lazy at the moment to look it up.  And FB group thing will be an ongoing thing.  The falling apart began before I started the list.  ;o)

I'm sure I'm forgetting something...  Ugh.

Well, I guess those are the most import things.  Unless you can think of something important I should be doing...

What's on your list?  Do you have a list? 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Unequal is LIVE.

Despite my certainty this book would not be out on time, Unequal actually went live yesterday.  It was the full-on, blitz attack I did on Saturday that put me over the finish line.  Big thanks to Hubs for putting up with me through it. 

Actually, I uploaded it in the morning and it was live a couple hours later, but I didn't receive my email notification until last night.

For a limited time, it's $2.99.  After the first of the year, the price will go up and stay at $4.99. 

I thought about doing a sale on Blink of an I - because it's also dystopian - but I don't have the energy or the brain power to focus on that right now.  And I've got that other sale starting Christmas Eve. 

Anyway, today should be all about Unequal, so let the party begin.  Woohoo!

As you probably know, this one was a bear for me to edit.  But I got it done and it's out in the world.  I hope readers enjoy it.  It's one of those books where I can only hope I was a good enough writer to convey what I wanted it to convey while still making it a suspenseful, entertaining read.

I have PDF copies available for a limited amount of people.  If you want one, tell me in the comments.  If we get more asks than copies, I'll do a drawing.  Fair enough?  I know I'm not supposed to ask for reviews in exchange, so don't worry about it.  But it you do happen to want to post a review, I would be eternally grateful.

Reviews are like prezzies you don't have to wrap.  ;o)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Crutch Words

Or should I say, welcome once more? 

This time around, since Unequal was a book I'd written a while ago - you know, before I became totally awesome* - I have additional words to add to my usual words and my usual words were worse than usual.

It took me off and on about 4 hours to go through all the THAT.  Started out with 413 instances.  Ended up at 124 instances.  The next day, I tackled LIKE.  Went from 322 to 106.  Then I did JUST. 

Funny thing about JUST, though.  I did my usual search for JUST and Word told me I had 434 instances of it.  Ack!  But I forgot to allow for the fact that one of my central characters is named JUSTIN (of which there were 328 instances... he talks and people talk about him a lot).  JUST is also inside ADJUST.  In the end, after all the weeding was done and the other instances were tossed out, I wound up with only 32 instances of JUST all by itself.

Yesterday was a bear of a day between a 90 minute power outage and doing Christmas cards, but I did manage to tackle SAID.  Only got about halfway on that, but I managed to eradicate it 88 times so far.

Those four are my worst offenders.  Today, I'll finish SAID, then tackle KNEW/KNOW and THINK/THOUGHT.  And WHEN.  Then there'll be NOW and STILL.  Then we have EVEN. 

There are others, but those aren't as bad this time, so I will probably leave those alone.  Unless on my read-through they become irritating.  Then I'll go back and scrub those out, too.

After dinner last night, I told Hubs I needed to get back to work. Here's how that went...

Hubs:  But you've been working all day.
Me: This is supposed to release on Monday.
Hubs:  Call your publisher and ask for an extension.
Me: :laughing: I am the publisher.
Hubs: :laughing:  Exactly.
Me:  I called her and she said no.:more laughing:

Anyway, there's a lot of work still to be done, so I'm not sure I'll have this out on Monday like I promised.  Sorry about that.  On the bright side, it'll be better than it would be if I didn't bother doing this.

And now, back to work...

*That was a joke, folks.  If I was totally awesome, I wouldn't need to scrub crutch words out of every manuscript.  Derp.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Bother?

As I was laying in bed last night, trying to fall asleep and failing miserably, a thought occurred to me.  Why do I bother?

I'm in the middle of final edits for Unequal, you see, and I always reach a point where I am sick to death of scrubbing a manuscript and wonder why I bother to do all this work.  It's not like everyone else is bothering.  There are writers who are selling more books than I am who obviously didn't work as hard as I do cleaning up my manuscripts.  (Not all of them, lest ye think I am trashing people who don't deserve it.  I'd venture a greater percentage of authors bust their asses than don't.)  And I wondered if maybe I could get away with doing less, too.

Then I remembered something from my past...

Back in college, I was in the work-study program.  I got a placement in the library - my dream job - but it was in the Governmental Documents Department.  It was just me and this other gal, so we had a lot of work to do between us.  (We never got a lot of patrons to help, but the GPO puts out a LOT of documents that need shelving, etc.)  But we did it and we had fun with it.  There were busy times and slow times, like any other job, but we stayed on top of it all.  The only problem was she was a graduating senior.  The next year, it was me and this new gal.  I was still busting my hump, but she couldn't be bothered.  So, basically it was me doing everything the two of us did the year before.  I tried talking to her.  Nope.  I tried talking to the supervisor.  Nothing.  And then I began to wonder why I was working my ass off to make the same pay as the chick who did nothing.  And I thought, well, maybe I could do nothing, too.  But I couldn't.  It wasn't in me. 

That wasn't the first time in my life I ran across something like that.  It wasn't the last either.  When things need doing, I do them - whether others around me are inclined to put in the same effort or not.  The amount of effort others put in should have no bearing on how much effort I put it.  And it doesn't.

So, despite my 'why bother' thoughts, I will continue to bust through this edit.  And I'll make it the best book I can.  I have 40 pages left and then the last bits and pieces, then the formatting.  I can do it.  I will do it.  Might be a crispy writer by the time I'm done, but I'll have the rest of the year to recover. 

Ever been in a similar position - where you were working hard but your co-workers weren't?  What did you do about it?  In the case of the library, I eventually quit and moved on to another job where I wouldn't be carrying the full load and getting super frustrated all day.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Unequal Chapter One

With the expected publication date only one week away... so much to do... :panics a lot:'s the first chapter to tide you over until you can have the whole thing.

Chapter One
Rue Logan’s work boots squelched in the sticky, red mess.  The puddle had grown from a few drops trickled off the edge of a gurney to a pool the size of an area rug.  Moments before, those liters of blood had been pumping through the body of a healthy young man.  At least, he’d been healthy until someone’s knife sunk into his flesh.
Once they wheeled his corpse away, Rue stepped forward to clean up the mess made both by his leaking life and by the incompetence of the ones who were supposed to save him.  As she pushed her bucket through the puddle, she hated the fact that this was the only part of the mess she was allowed do anything about.
 As she stood impotent, mop in hand, those supposed doctors and nurses attempted to staunch the blood flow to no avail.  She longed to push them all aside.  She knew how to create a simple tourniquet.  She knew how to hold a blood vessel silent while hands worked to repair damage.  Her hands itched to do the work she had trained herself to do.  Her fingers itched to save a life. 
She had tried once.  A woman in the throes of a complicated birth.  She’d pushed the doctor aside and began the work she knew how to do. 
He’d called security.
After hours in a tiny room, playing dumb and weaving a skein of lies, they threatened to disappear her if she attempted to do any job but her own again.  If the DOE thought she should’ve been a doctor, they would’ve made her one, they said.  The DOE certainly knew better than some janitor about who was best suited to administer treatment to the sick and needy. 
After she had been released, she learned both mother and child died.
Jamming her mop into the bucket with more force than was necessary, Rue began the job she was assigned to do.  With each slap of the mop, the floor became a shade lighter.  As she removed liters of stained water from the floor, the blood filled her up to overflowing.  She wouldn’t have been surprised to find her face flushed and her eyes red with someone else’s life.
“Why do you put yourself through this?” Kyle asked her one day as he snuck her leftovers from the cafeteria.  “Go home.  Eat your rations.  Accept this life as the one you were meant to live.”
But she couldn’t.  Accepting that life was as good as it ever would be horrified her more than the idea of what would happen if she ever got caught. 
Uncle Howard had hidden himself well, but they caught him.  No one knew about the hours he’d spent tinkering in the basement, designing an entire city out of discarded bits.  Until the day her father went downstairs. 
Rue never found proof her father turned Uncle Howard in.  All she’s been told was the time had come for her poor uncle to live on his own.  After that, it would’ve been only a matter of time before the DOE caught up with him and discovered his inequality.  Whether a week from then or a month or later, Rue never knew. 
Father told her the DOE knew best and he was happy about it.  Clearly, she was Unequal enough without her uncle’s influence.  They were  saving her from…  Well, no one knew for sure what the fate of the Unequal was.  Everyone just knew they didn’t want to be disappeared. 
From that point on, Rue’s father watched her for any sign she was becoming increasingly Unequal.  He held her in front of the videoset for hours on end.  When she grew too large to hold, he taped her in place with long strips of sticky gray. 
“It’s for your own good.” 
Hours later, when Rue and her mother were alone, her mother would tell her, “He’s afraid.”  Mother didn’t need to say of what.  Rue knew.  She was afraid of the same things.  She was simply more afraid of becoming like her peers.
She would march off every morning to be educated, falling into step beside children who were far more Equal than she’d ever be.  Their slack jaws and dull eyes gave her greater nightmares than reading Dr. Jekyll before bed.  But nothing sent terror through her faster than the idea she would turn into one of them.  When grades came in, her papers would bleed red—marked not where her answers were wrong but where her answers differed from everyone else’s.  It wasn’t that Rue couldn’t mimic what the teachers wanted.  She simply couldn’t force herself flow into the mold they’d cast for her.
“Citizen Janitor?” said a stern voice beside her.  “Are you ill?”
Rue was, but not for the reason the nurse thought.  She was sick to death of pretending she was the same.  She was tired of hiding her light under a bushel, as she’d once read. 
“No, Citizen Nurse.”
“Then get back to work before someone calls the DOE.”
The Department of Equalization was too busy to worry about one daydreaming janitor, but Rue couldn’t take the chance that this, combined with her previous infractions, could amount to enough of a reason to come under their eternal vigilance. 
She slapped her mop onto the already wet floor, raining pink droplets across the nurse’s shoes.  “Sorry,” she mumbled, but the woman was already headed off to torment some other person—most likely a patient.  Rue watched the thin figure stride along the hall, focused on something ahead of her and nothing at all. 
After three changes of water and two replaced mop heads, the floor was as clean as it ever would be—the white tiles tinged slightly pink, the grout tinged faintly brown.  Eventually, the pink would turn brown, too.  In Rue’s world, the absence of light wasn’t blackness.  It was a dim shade of dingy brown.
The emergency doors opened several times throughout her shift.  Another ambulance bringing more carnage. Another of the walking wounded seeking help.  Each wrecked body shoveled into the hospital’s gullet.  Each person swallowed whole.  Most who came through the emergency doors were carried out the back of the building.  Where the unfortunate dead went from there, Rue didn’t want to think about.  Those who survived the excellent treatment they received staggered home, only to return another day with a different malady.
While she continued to slap her mop on the grimy floor and grind her teeth in utter impotence.
At the end of the day, after hours of cleaning while she ignored the screams around her, Rue slunk out the employee exit and around to the side of the hospital.  She slipped through an impossibly narrow crevice between two oddly shaped brick additions into a courtyard, long overgrown.  Some nights, she lay on the ground and looked up at the starless sky.  Tonight, she was too tired to partake in even that small wonder. 
As the residents of her world were safe at their assigned homes, eating their assigned rations and slumbering in their assigned housing, Rue popped open one loose basement window and squirmed back inside the building she hated during the day.  As impotent as she was from daybreak to nightfall, she was twice as effective in the dark.  In the dark, no one saw the janitor from dayshift.  No one wondered why she slipped into patients’ rooms, adjusting the charts with a deft hand.  No one knew how many small mercies she accomplished in the hours before exhaustion overtook her.  No one would even think about it, because the general populace wouldn’t consider the possibility any Citizen might risk everything the way she did.  Being caught out as Unequal was the ultimate terror.
Rue pulled on a pair of scrubs she’d stolen from the hospital laundry, smiling for the first time all day.  Tonight, she would check on a mother on the third floor and her baby on the fifth.  Neither one had been expected to live through their first night.  This night made their fourth since they were admitted.  If everything went well, they would be released before another evening passed.
Clipping on the false identification she’d created in a different corner of the basement, she stepped toward the elevator she didn’t dare use during the day.  No more ‘Citizen Janitor Logan’.  Now, Rue was Citizen Doctor Mason and, despite the DOE’s insistence that all men were to be treated as Equals, she would now receive a measure of respect not afforded to a janitor.
She rode the elevator up to the lobby floor as always.  And as always, she expected to step forth and blend into the crowd.  Every other night, she would leave the elevator, cross to the cafeteria, and buy a coffee.  Beverage in hand, she would take the elevator once more, but this time heading upwards like any respected Citizen would expect. 
The doors opened and she took a step forward.  The chest she ran into was a surprise, but nothing she couldn’t overcome.  She mumbled an apology and pretended to look at her watch.  Nothing out of the ordinary.
“Slumming, Citizen Doctor?” said a voice she recognized.  “I didn’t know patients could be found in the basement.”
Rue kept her eyes focused on a point behind the nurse’s head, but the woman may have already recognized her from earlier.   “Pressed the wrong floor,” she said, letting the words slip out as tersely as she heard any other doctor speak.  “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have rounds.”
The nurse cleared her throat.  “I was only making a jest,” she said as she stepped aside.  “Run along if you think you’re so much better.”
She was so much better, but Rue didn’t speak another word.  She simply brushed past the offensive, little person and went on her carefully orchestrated way.  Too bad she couldn’t manage the people around her as easily.
“Citizen Doctor Mason,” the young girl on nightshift said as Rue entered the third floor station. 
“Citizen Nurse,” she answered.  Actual doctors, she had learned, never addressed anyone beneath them by their names.  Occupation mattered.  Names did not.  “The chart for Citizen Mother Houston.”
The redhead’s pale skin grew pink.  “She’s no longer with us.”
“On the floor or in the hospital?” Rue didn’t want to think about the obvious answer. 
“She passed onto the next existence this morning.”
“And her baby?”  Rue’s voice shook.  She shouldn’t be asking questions.  She should just accept the death of the woman and hope the premature infant lived long enough without his mother to be placed into some kind of home.  She shouldn’t care. But she couldn’t help herself.  They were her patients, and she wasn’t ready to accept whatever fate chose for them. 
“How would I know?” the nurse said.  “We don’t have babies on this floor.”
Rue sucked in one deep breath and held it.  Raising her voice to this person wouldn’t do anyone a damn bit of good.  She reminded herself the girl was a product of her environment, of this world they all lived in.  She let out her breath in a long, slow whoosh.  “I realize that, but the charts are connected for a reason, Citizen Nurse.  The child’s welfare is directly tied to its mother’s.”
“You’ll have to call up to five.  They would know more…”
She didn’t bother listening to the rest.  Her feet were already dragging her toward the elevator again.  Lingering there was wasted time when she could be up two floors in less than a minute.
“Citizen Doctor… Mason, is it?” said the pudgy woman at the fifth floor station.  “Who are you inquiring after?”
“Citizen Baby Houston.  He was in intensive infant care.  His mother…  She died this morning…”
“He died,” the duty nurse said without a trace of regret.
“Died?  How?  He was improving when I left—”  Except Rue, even as Citizen Doctor Mason, wasn’t supposed to be on this floor.  Not that it mattered.  She wasn’t really supposed to be anywhere.
“I don’t know anything about that.”  The nurse pulled a clipboard from the wall and scanned down a list of the recently deceased.  “Says here he was blue when the night nurse tried to give him his morning feeding.”  She shrugged.  “Nothing to be done, so we sent him off to the body room.”
“Let me see the chart,” Rue said, snatching the offensive thing away before the woman could react.  Everything in it was exactly as the nurse had said, with one exception.  The name on the chart wasn’t Houston.  “You must really need a time off interval.”
The woman didn’t look up from her work, which amounted to checking boxes on forms Rue suspected had never been read. “I don’t see how my work schedule has any bearing—” 
“The name on this chart.  It isn’t Houston.  Either you are lax in your work,” she said, slapping the chart down in front of the nurse, “or you are unable to read.  In either case, the DOE might be interested in your performance tonight.”  Rue hated using the DOE to put fear in others, especially when she was so afraid of them herself, but she was so disgusted with the woman’s uncaring laziness, she couldn’t help herself. 
“Report me if you have to,” said the nurse.  “Lord knows disappeared can’t be worse than this godforsaken place.”
Rue’s hands clenched at her sides where the nurse couldn’t see.  Showing any emotion right then would get her in trouble.  She’d already escaped one near miss at the elevator, she didn’t need another unfortunate encounter.  It wouldn’t do that poor baby any good, and it wouldn’t help the dozens of other patients who needed her.
“Thank you,” she said, trying to keep the frustration from her voice.  She must not have succeeded because the infant care nurse raised one eyebrow.
“Babies are born every day.  Mothers die every day,” the woman said.  “Why should these two be more important that the others?  We’re all Equal.”
Which meant none of them were important enough to care about or mourn.  Hell, she didn’t even know if the poor mother had been allowed to hold her own child.  She did know the child would never be allowed to mourn his mother.  Birth, death, illness, health.  In the eyes of the Equality Laws, they were all the same.  Equal.

Hope you enjoyed it.  Won't be long now, good lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Looking Ahead

I may have said before that I am horrible at looking ahead.  Always have been, as far as I can tell.  Being with Hubs has gone a long way toward getting me to plan for the future, but I still find it really hard to think about next year or next month.  Hell, even next week is too far away.  Making an appointment months in advance sends me into spasms.  Ahem...

Anyway, I'm trying to look ahead.  I actually got off my butt and planned a sale for the end of the month.  AND I set up advertising.  (Already paid for advertising that's 3 weeks off.  :shudder:)  All the SCIU books will be discounted from the 24th thru the night of the 30th and the ads will go out for DE on the 26th.  The ads are with Bargain Booksy (again) and Book Adrenaline (new to me).  Fingers crossed.

I've got to plan ahead for releases and junk.  Get covers and editing way in advance, which I've been pretty good about.  Plan the time it will take me to edit a book and how much time it'll take AWE to do her part, etc. 

As I said earlier this week, I need to start thinking about spreadsheets for 2019.  Which really should be completed before 2018 ends.

Doing stuff in 2019?  Not a friggin' clue.  I have no idea what the publication schedule will look like.  And every time I think about it the spasms begin.  It's like, for some reason, 2019 is a void to me.  And thus, I am avoiding it.  Hehe.

At the beginning of 2018, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to accomplish in the year.  Publish 4 books.  With the release of Unequal in a couple weeks, I will have done that.  I even had a good idea of which books would go out.  This coming year?  No clue.  I know I should probably publish the next two Sleeping Ugly books, but I can't wrap my brain around either of those at the moment.  I have ideas for another SCIU and another Dennis Haggarty.  But I would need to write those before I could even begin to think about publishing them.  I have two other older manuscripts I'd like to see in print, but they need a lot of work before I inflict them upon my AWE.

So, the question becomes, do I bust my ass and write four books so I can publish them in 2019?  Or do I cut back and only do a couple?  Do I go back to edit older books that are already written?  Gah.

Anyway, you see my quandary.  Things will happen in 2019.  What those things will be?  :shrug:  You got me.

But first... Finish editing Unequal and get it out there.  The rest will handle itself somewhere along the way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Oh, For the Love of Pete.

Once again, I was scrolling down my FB newsfeed, looking for interesting books to download.  And I found several to investigate further.  I one-clicked a cute holiday romance.  Then I went over to what appeared to be an interesting suspense.  Except it was only available in paperback.  That's right, folks, no ebook version.

Yep, jaw dropper right there.  But it wasn't over.  Saw a non-fiction, true-crime I wanted.  Clicked over to Amazon... No ebook version for that one either.  Derp.


Ebook is the easiest and cheapest version to create - even if you pay someone else to do your formatting.  Now, I can certainly understand if you have a book that's full of graphics that might not translate well to an ereader.  But, as far as I could tell, neither of those books fit the description. 

Maybe the author is anti-ebook.  Maybe they don't own an ereader.  But either of those instances still seem to me to be 'cutting off your nose to spite your face'. 

Maybe it was the publisher.  I don't remember where the fiction was published, but the NF was out of University of Michigan.  Umm.  If your publisher won't do ebooks, maybe you should find another publisher or do it your own damn self, because you're cutting out a huge... HUGE... section of the marketplace.

My point?  Both of those books lost a sale and a possible review.  Probably not a huge amount of money, but hey, every little bit helps.  And my reviews are good reviews - unless I don't review because I didn't like the book. 

For the love of Pete, don't do this.  Get your books out there in electronic versions. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Unequal Blurb Draft

It's Monday.  And my brain is wrapped up with getting Unequal ready for you all to read it.  On that note, here's a rough blurb I came up with over the weekend.  Not sure if this is the one I'll use, but it should give you an idea of what the book is about.

In a world where any little difference makes you a target, Rue Logan lives in fear of getting branded Unequal and disappeared like so many others.  But it doesn’t stop her from fulfilling her life’s mission.  She always dreamed of being a doctor, but the Department of Equalization had other plans.  Now, she works her assigned job as a janitor by day and skulks the hospital corridors at night, saving lives.  

Until the DOE catches her.

On the run, Rue finds others like her, working in secret to achieve their goals and live their lives.  But their leader has a mission of his own.  War may be brewing.  And even though Rue’s taken an oath to do no harm, she may end up in the middle of the battle.

Meh.  It works, but it's not good.  Meanwhile, let's look at the pretty cover again: