Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Spreadsheets for the New Year

As you all probably know, I'm a spreadsheet geek.  On the personal side, I have spreadsheets for the books I've acquired and for my weight and activity (where I also keep track of writerly things like word counts and pages edited).  I do spreadsheets for the payjob.  And I have spreadsheets to keep track of things for the writing business.  Those last ones are the ones I want to talk about today.

I have a whomping huge spreadsheet to keep track of my expenses and income.  All six years worth.  That one's particularly ugly this year, so we won't really talk about it much.  When I finish updating it, it will tell me how far in the hole I am and whether I made any progress anywhere.  The closest any of my books is to being out of the hole is Accidental Death.  It's only $102.51 in the negative.

My other two main spreadsheets are Book Sales Data and Sales Totals.  

Book Sales Data has a tab for each month of the year and on each tab, it has sales information for each book - color coded by book on the rows with columns for each possible sales item.  Each potential US price gets a column, other countries get columns (except the EU countries only have one column because they all use the euro), there are columns for KU and print and returns. This sheet is for quantities only.  I used to do quantities and amounts, but I deleted the amounts section several years ago because it wasn't necessary here.  I keep all that over in the Sales Totals spreadsheet.

The Sales Totals spreadsheet is another whomping huge one.  This sucker tells me everything - quantity, amounts, page reads, etc. on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis with comparisons and charts.  I use the Book Sales Data sheet to feed this one.  (I have to, or this one would be even huger and the weight of it would probably topple my computer.)

The first tab of the ST takes the data from the BSD.  It's a lot like the BSD in that there are color-coded lines and columns for each of the possible sales items. Rather than try to explain it, here's a screen capture of what I'm talking about.

Pretty, pretty rainbows.

I couldn't capture the whole sheet, so I just gave you a month and the quantity side.  The earnings side looks the same, except the numbers over there will have dollar signs, when I have numbers to put into it.  The colors are for more than just looks, too.  They help me keep track of things with a glance.  Dying Embers will always be that shade of blue.  If I'd thought this though way back when, series would all be the same color, but I didn't.  And it would've messed up my rainbows anyway.  

If you look beneath the rainbows, you can see the tabs to where all that information works.  The Daily is quantities of everything sold.  The Daily Pgs is for Kindle Unlimited.  Overall keeps track of everything over all the years.  Monthly breaks it down.  Pgs Read does the KU by month and book.  It's all pretty self-explanatory.  

Every time I publish another book, I have to update everything - adding rows and columns, etc. - but for the most part, this works for me all year long.  Sucking in data and presenting it in a format I can easily digest.  

Every month, I have to plug in formulas to make ST pull from BSD, but that's only because I'm too lazy to do it all ahead of time.  I used to populate the thing with formulas at the start of the year.  Then it got to be such a pain, I decided to do it month to month, as things sold.  Why put a formula into a cell if there will never be any information in that cell?  So, I stopped.

Anyway, you probably won't ever want or need anything like this.  It keeps me out of trouble and even when the sales are light, it gives me a clear outlook on where I've been and where I'm going. 

If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them as long as they aren't too involved like I'd be building your spreadsheet for you.  I've often thought about offering my services to make spreadsheets like these for other authors, but the sheer weight of these things and the data involved makes it less than ideal.  And the time it takes to create and maintain one would make the process costly for other writers. 

And besides, few writers are as geeky as I am.  I like knowing exactly what's going on with the business at any given time.  Even when the news is bad.  

Speaking of which, I will be doing at least one wrap-up post here sometime next week to talk about 2020 sales and junk.  See ya then.  I won't be here on Friday.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Once Upon a Djinn Sale Wrap-up

Gah I overslept.  And I didn't set this up beforehand, so bear with me.

I wanted to talk this morning about the sale that just wrapped up last night.  I'm not sure if any of this is interesting to anyone but me, but here goes...

The sale ran from 12/23 through 12/27.  Wish in One Hand was free and the other 3 genie books were 99c/99p each.  

Books moved:

WIOH - 82
IDW - 3
UWC - 3
WHTF - 3

No page reads yet. 

To achieve that, I posted to 16 different Facebook Groups, 2 MeWe groups, 3 FB pages I own, and my MeWe page.  I know of two different people who posted about my books as well.  

I made $5.82.

Now, before you think that's depressing news, it's actually not totally gloomy.  I mean, it isn't great, but looking on the bright side, that's pure profit there.  And it's more money than I made on books in five other months this year.  

(Yeah, I am blowing smoke up my own wahoo, but it's early and I don't feel like being bummed out, so there.  =op)

Anyway, there was a sale.  I moved some books.  There are 88 new chances out there in the world for people to read and enjoy my work.   Maybe the freebies will spark someone enough so they'll buy the rest of the series and then buy the model series and then the rest.  Fourteen other books for them to read.  Yay.

The rest of this week will be devoted to getting my 2021 spreadsheets up and running.  I might talk about that on Wednesday.  I'll also be writing on Duke Noble.  I rolled over 30K words last night.  Woohoo.

Now, on to more coffee before my brain implodes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Stuff and Junk

Since I totally spaced out yesterday, there's a post there and a post here this morning.  (Although, the post there isn't nearly as interesting.)

First off, the genie sale started this morning.  Now through the 27th, Wish in One Hand is free and all the other genie books are 99c each.  If you were looking for some fun reads to load your or someone else's Kindle with, there ya go.  Get the whole four-book series for less than $3.  It doesn't get much better than that.

In other news, I saw a post on FB this morning wherein a popular author I know was talking about a review wherein she go tagged for using curse words in her book.  She explained, quite rightly, that she can't take those curse words out because that's how her character talks.  If she took them out, she'd have to change the character which would change the book.  Bingo.  And exactly.  Would Jeni be Jeni without her dropping the f-bomb?  Probably not.  

Also, when writing my marketing post for FB, I started out with Merry Christmas.  Yeah, some people don't appreciate the phrase.  Well, all holiday feelings aside, screw them.  I celebrate Christmas.  I wouldn't get all up in anyone's grill for wishing readers a Happy Hannukah or Kwanzaa or whatever.  So I left it.  But I also added a bit for everyone to have the happiest of holidays, covering my bases, so to speak.  Whatever holiday you celebrate, make it a happy one, okay?  And don't get all down on people for wishing you a happy whatever holiday they celebrate.  Take the wishes in the spirit they were given.  Happiness and joy, people.  That's all that matters.  :hugs:

Eat good food, hang out with the ones you love, and read awesome books.  Enjoy yourself in whatever manner you choose.  Personally, I'll be over here trying to have a Merry Christmas.

Note: Since this blog usually posts on Fridays and this Friday is Christmas, this will be my last post here this week.  See ya over at The Writing Spectacle until next week.  :HUGS:

Monday, December 21, 2020

Friendly Ass Kicking

Okay, so Silver James yelled at me yesterday because I was whining about not writing (see Sunday Update and comments from The Writing Spectacle).  I thought about the book and how to get past where I was so I could move forward again.  Last night, I ended up with 1644 new words.  And I finished on a shocker I hadn't seen coming.  So... Thank you, Silver, for verbally kicking my ass.  I needed that.  

I also set up a sale for the genie books.  The first book is free from the 23rd to the 27th.  The others are all 99c for the same days.  Merry Christmas.

Anyway, as you can plainly see, sometimes I need my ass kicked.  Usually I kick my own ass.   This time, someone kicked it for me because I was, at that point, unable to.  That what friends are for.  

Maybe I need to do some friendly ass-kicking, too.  I have a couple of writer friends who aren't writing right now.  Both of them are awesome writers.  I've loved everything I've read from either of them.  I'd love to see more.  So...  If they're reading this, and I suspect they are, here's a message to them both:  Get your asses in gear and write me some more stories, dammit.  Don't make me thrash you soundly.  Your mothers were hamsters and your fathers smelt of elderberries*.  Write or I shall taunt you a second time.  

Not sure if that was sufficient to get either of them going again.  Maybe I'll sic Silver on both of them.  She's better at it than me.  

*If you haven't seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you really need to rent a copy**.  It's hilarious.

** do people even do that anymore?  Rent movies?  

Friday, December 18, 2020

Progress Report - Duke Noble 1

Ten days.  I've worked on this book for ten days straight.  Which is all Huzzah and Hurray for me.  I wrote every day but one and that day I deleted part of a scene that was bothering me.

In those ten days, I added 12143 words.  (12693 written, 550 deleted.)  Last night was my best night with 1928 words laid down.  And with those words, I rolled the book to over 20K words.

Right now, this morning - having gotten out of bed at roughly 3:30 again - I'm not sure if anything I wrote last night is any good.  And right now, I don't care.  If I still don't like it after I write THE END, I'll fix it in edits.  The point right now is to get the story out.  Blast through it all like blowing a hole through a mountain.  I'll clean up the rubble once I can walk out the other side.

I had a bunch of thoughts about the book as I lay not sleeping.  Some of them are still there this morning and I wrote those down.  I think I know who did it.  And why.  Now to get from here to there in another roughly 30K words.

I need a shower today.  And a boatload more coffee. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 12/12/20

Well, hello there.  Fancy meeting you here.  It's almost the end of the year, ya know, and we're coming to the end of these wrap-ups for 2020.  (I have a flare for stating the obvious, doncha know.)

I picked up four new ebooks this week - paranormal mystery, UF, paranormal romance, romance.  And I have one book left from before - a thriller.  No new hardcopies this week.

Books Read:

82) Drop Dead, Gorgeous by Mike Jastrzebski (12/6/20) - Supernatural Mystery*# - 5 stars.  New to me and while it does have loads of ratings, it doesn't have many reviews, which is too damn bad.  Free off the ENT newsletter.
Review: "Wow, that was a really fun story. I loved the characters and the premise was interesting. It was well-written with an intriguing plot. Plus, it hearkened back to the old noir crime novels I love. Supernatural mystery for the win."


12/11/20 - romance. Free.  I read this about 2/3rds of the way through and then I realized there was no way I was going to be able to give the book more than 3 stars, no matter how it finished.  So I stopped.  I mean, there was sooo much unnecessary stuff in there.  The author could've trimmed a lot and had a much better book with fewer pages.  One I probably would've read all the way through.  =o( 

Currently reading... the thriller left over from earlier in the month.  I'm not loving it, so I'm not sure if this will become a DNF today.  

How did your reading week go?  Anything awesome to report?

Friday, December 11, 2020

Telling Myself Stories

I'm not sure what's happening or why it's happening but I seem to be on a roll.  3700 words in the past three days.  I don't want to jinx it.  Putting words to a new story has been like pulling teeth this year.  Hell, I haven't even been able to put new words to old stories.  Blerg.

Anyway, I'm over 11K on the book now, so I should be able to finish this one.  :fingers crossed:

Duke Noble, Private Eye.  

"It can't be," said a voice near the diagonally parked cars to my left.  "Hank?  Is that you?"

I couldn't very well pretend I was someone else.  Howard Ellington Nobel, to be exact, as pretentious as that sounds.  What can I say?  Maybe my mother wanted a poodle and got me instead.  I hadn't heard the name Hank in decades.  Thankfully, Granddad Noble got one whiff of my middle name and christened me Duke.  Once my friends in college heard the story, they wouldn't call me anything else and I've been Duke Noble ever since.   

I wasn't surprised someone in this town would call me Hank.  I was only surprised anyone would recognize me after all this time.

I like Duke.  I'm enjoying the hell out of this story.  I have no clue who did it, which is part of the fun of writing the way I write.  I'm telling myself the story as I go along.

Even when I was a little girl, I was always telling myself stories.  I'd lay in bed at night, talking to myself, telling myself stories.  I'd be out in the fields doing the same thing during the day.

Now, the hope is that other people will enjoy the stories I tell myself, but I shouldn't let that change how I do things.  Maybe that's why this year writing has been so hard.  I've been letting everything interfere with the process.  Well, not this time. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

A Short Snippet

Since I shared this over on Silver James' blog, I thought I'd share it here, too.  This is the beginning of that noir crime thing I started a while back.  It's still pretty first-drafty, so be kind.

“My death serves no purpose,” she said.  “At least not yet.”

“Did you invite me here to ask me kill you?”  I wasn't sure how much Sara knew about the life I led or the jobs I had done over the years since I'd last seen her.  A lot of people seemed to have the idea that men in my line of work would be willing to do any job for the right price, murder included.

“Goodness, no.  I want to hire you so you will, at the right time, insure none of my heirs are arrested for my murder.”

I shook my head.  “You’ll pay someone else to kill you then?”

She giggled and I could picture the girl she might've been.  Once, she'd been a close friend of my parents.  She was as near to a mother as a woman could get to a boy without actually giving birth to him.  “Goodness no," she said again as she handed me a plate of Danish Windmill cookies.  They were my favorite.  When I was ten.  I took the plate and set it on the coffee table between us without taking one.  This wasn't the time for eating.  

"I am more than capable of doing it myself once the time comes.

I sat down with this story last night, read through it and tightened up some stuff, then wrote new words on it.  It's at 8690 words right now, with the 828 I added last night.  This might be the thing that gets my writing jumpstarted again.  Not promising anything.  It seems like every time I promise something (even to myself) lately, it falls apart.  For now, I'm going with the flow for as long as it lasts.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Talking Marketing Again

Okay, so I did the free thing for Dying Embers.  That ended yesterday and I saw 49 copies move out to readers.  Two more than the last time I did the freebie thing for DE.  Remember, this is sans paid advertising, so no huge numbers, but hey, it's something. 

Additionally, I have had Fertile Ground and Early Grave on sale for 99c each since Sunday and that sale is still on through Saturday.  (The logic behind Amazon letting you have a sale for 7 days but only free for 5 days escapes me.)  To date, I've sold 3 copies of FG and 2 copies of EG.  Plus there were some page reads for FG that I hope will continue.  

Facebook finally forced me to go with their new format, which makes advertising in FB groups a wee bit different.  Actually, it's a smidgen easier once you get the hang of it.  (The only good thing I've found about new FB, so far.)  Unfortunately, one of my go-to groups went to approving every post before it posts and the administrators aren't quick about approvals, so I won't be posting there anymore.  I get why they're doing it, but the delay harshes my game.  I also found and joined a new to me group I hope will find me some new readers.  :fingers crossed: 

If you want to sell through FB without giving FB money, posting in book groups is about the only way.  I mean, I've paid FB for ads and never saw a sale, so why pay them more?  That and I refuse to throw any more money their way.  I'd leave FB entirely if I could get the same return on posting at MeWe or elsewhere.  Hell, I'd pay MeWe if I thought I could make money there.  We'll see what it looks like in 2021.

In other news, I'll be doing another sale thing starting next week.  Not sure which book(s) I'll be doing.  Stay tuned.  Might be Accidental Death and Natural Causes.  We'll see.

I came across a potential new reader out and about in the world the other day.  But she only reads hardcopy books.  I stopped by and saw her this week, with books in the car, but I chickened out on actually trying to sell her any.  I'm so bad at hand-selling my books.  Thank goodness for Amazon.  (Although I rarely ever sell paperbacks even then.)

Okay, that's about it for me.  Any questions?  Anything to add? 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Cyber Monday? That Means Sale Time Again

 A lot of you will be doing some online shopping today, but I won't.  I'm doing the selling.  Well, kind of selling.  You see, DYING EMBERS is free worldwide today through the 3rd.  FERTILE GROUND and EARLY GRAVE are the ones on sale (US and UK only).  Get those two now thru the 5th for only 99c/99p each.

So, now's the time to pick up a copy of one or all of them.  Get them for yourself.  Gift them to your friends and family.  Spread the suspense and the justice around.  See the bad guys get what's coming to them.  It's good fun for everyone.  (Given the proper maturity level, of course.)

Read along while Jace tracks a serial killer bent on fiery revenge, Teri chases a serial rapist with a god complex, and Ned hunts down an Angel of Death who's no angel at all.  Agents who have to face their own fears and regrets to do their jobs and stop some nasty characters.

Like I said, good fun.  ;o)

Friday, November 27, 2020

My First Book

Last night, Hubs and I watched Armageddon again.  I love that movie so much.  And not just because it's action-packed and funny with characters I can root for who save the world.  It's part of the reason I wrote my first book.

January 2004.  I was sitting in my little apartment watching movies.  I don't remember exactly how it came about, but I'd watched both Armageddon and Deep Impact within a day or two of each other, and something hit me.  After whichever one I watched second was over, I sat down at my computer and wrote.  And wrote.  And wrote.  Into the night.  

That book took me nine months to complete, but it was the first book I ever finished.  (Lord knows, I'd started quite a few over the years.)  Eventually it would become Fear Itself.  And it's more about the fear of something than the actuality of it.  

Of course, not long after I started the book, I met and fell in love with Hubs.  2004 was a busy and eventful year for me.  After we got married, he encouraged me to finish the book and gave me the opportunity to do so. 

I still love that book.  I'd still like to see it polished and published.  Whether that ever actually happens?  :shrug:  It's a behemoth.  And I've learned so much since I first wrote it that turning it into something publishable may be a pipe dream.  But hey, pipe dreams can still come true.  Right?

If you're a writer, what spurred you to write your first book?  If you're a reader, what pipe dreams do you have? 

Monday, November 9, 2020

A Model Curse - Sale

Good morning, Everyone.  I promised a sale and it's finally arrived.  Starting today and running through Sunday, the first two books of the 'A Model Curse' series are on sale for 99c/99p each.

Unfortunately, my brain is not in a place for zippy marketing stuffs.  I really should've done stuffs like that over the weekend, but I forgot and then this morning arrived and I am oatmeal - bland and uninspiring.  And I don't feel like I can do these books justice, because they are definitely neither bland nor uninspiring.  

I mean, come on.  Jeni Braxxon, burgeoning supermodel, gets smacked with a curse that strips her beauty away every night.  Throughout the day, she gets better looking until WHAM, ugly, when midnight hits or she falls asleep, whichever comes first.  And she's got a lot to learn about herself, life, magic, etc. while trying to figure out who did this to her and how to stop them.

This review says it better than I can right now...  "Buy the whole series and enjoy Jeni's journey from shallow to swimming in the deep end of her emotions. Plus, talking cats and hellhounds. What's not to enjoy?!?!"

Anyway, these books were loads of fun to write and early results show they're loads of fun to read, so I hope you'll give them a whirl.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Updates and Junk

Okay, if you were waiting for the sale on the A Model Curse books, it starts Monday.  Yay.  SU and UatB will be 99c/99p each through 11:59pm on the 15th.  CU will sit at $3.99. 

If you click that link, you'll see they've put the books together in a series now.  Yay.  If you're so inclined and have read the books, I'd appreciate a series review.

Let's look at those beautiful covers again...

Pissed Jeni, Resigned Jeni, Determined Jeni.  Although, to be fair, Jeni isn't all that resigned in UatB, but it was a good look for the cover.  

Anyway, the books are fun and I hope you'll read them.  

As for other writing stuff, I've been kinda derailed by all this election crap.  I'm trying to maintain my happy, but it's not often easy.   What I need to do is channel all this into some murders or something.  Create some evil villains and kill them off.  Maybe now would be the time to hit the next book in SCIU.  

The idea there is someone is killing off the ones that got away from justice.  Same format at the others, so you know who the killer is and who the players are, and the suspense is in seeing the journeys of both the killer and the ones who hunt her.  I wrote the beginning years ago.  The rest?  We'll see if I can muster the gumption.  I guess, since it's November, now would be the perfect time to get my ass in gear.

We'll see.

How are you doing?  How are things going in your world?  If you're a writer, how's the writing going?  If you're not, are you struggling with gumption in your activities?


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Well, Wouldja Look at That

So, I've been trying to get Amazon to put the books for A Model Curse into a frickin' series, like they have with all my other books. Cuz, ya know, it's nice for readers to see that a book is part of a series and what order the books are in and junk.  Three days later, Amazon in its infinite wisdom presented me with this whole new thing they're doing.

Now, writers can manage their own series with this nifty new thingie-bob:

Umm... yeah.

Anyway, it was kinda buggy at first, but after several tries, I managed to create A Model Curse and add the three books to it.  It should be visible on the site within 72 hrs.  

Thank goodness all my other series books are still where they're supposed to be and I don't have to go through the trouble of creating and adding for them.  Whew.

One benefit I see is that this allows the author to come up with verbiage for the series, so when a reader goes to the series page, they can read about the series instead of getting the blurb for the first book in the series.  Unfortunately, this means some extra work for us - coming up with series blurbs and all that junk.  Goodreads had this ability for years, but I haven't really taken advantage of it.  Shame on me.  

I'll be working on this stuff over the next week or so.  Right now, I have four series available:

Serial Crimes Investigation Unit (Dying Embers, Fertile Ground, Early Grave)
A Dennis Haggarty Mystery (Accidental Death, Natural Causes)
Once Upon a Djinn (Wish in One Hand, In Deep Wish, Up Wish Creek, Wish Hits the Fan)
A Model Curse (Sleeping Ugly, Ugly and the Beast, Cinder Ugly)

Anyway, if you're writing in series and you need help with how to make those books be part of a series on Amazon, here's the linkie-loo to those instructions.

Good luck.  And may the sales be ever in your favor.  Or something. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

It's Alive!


Cinder Ugly went live last night while I was sleeping.  And now the trilogy is complete.  So, if you were waiting until you could get the whole series, it's available.  I will be having a sale on the first two books later this week - because reasons - so if you want to continue waiting until you can get those cheaper, I'll let you know when that's a go.

Otherwise, they're $3.99 each.  

Sleeping Ugly - Book 1
Ugly and the Beast - Book 2
Cinder Ugly - Book 3

Aren't they pretty?  I hope to have a link to the series as a whole eventually.  (Amazon says they're working on it.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Why the Pre-Order?

 In case you missed it on The Writing Spectacle yesterday, Cinder Ugly is now available for pre-order.  Why the pre-order?  Well, I'll try to explain my thinking...

First there's the whole brilliant idea I had a couple weeks ago to put all of the genie books on sale this week.  I honestly didn't think there.  Or maybe I was thinking that I wouldn't have CU ready to publish until after the sale and then when I did have it ready, I didn't want a release to interfere with a sale and vice versa.

Then there's the whole link thing.  This is the last book in the series.  In order to have links for the new book in the previous books in the series, I needed to have a link available.  Put it up for pre-order and there's a link available if someone should happen to buy and read the other two books. (Unfortunately, someone snagged a copy of Ugly and the Beast yesterday before I uploaded the updated version, so the line for Cinder Ugly still says 'Coming Soon'. :shrug:)  I also now have links to CU in all the genie books, so if anyone buys those, they'll be able to buy CU if they get the urge. 

This pre-order thing also gave me the opportunity to get clickable links on my blog sidebars and on my A Model Curse page.   And get my Goodreads listing all nice and stuffs. 

It's marketing.  I think.  I hope.  We'll see.

On the bright side, the book will be in your hot little hands on Monday.  So you really only have to wait a few days.  And if you haven't read Sleeping Ugly or Ugly and the Beast, you have time to read them before Cinder Ugly drops.  

And I hope you will.  This was a fun little series to write and from what I've heard, it's a fun little series to read.  This paranormal mystery follows supermodel Jeni Braxxon from the moment she's cursed and trying to figure out who did this to her, through a maze of murder and intrigue, to the end when it all wraps up.  There should be some 'laugh out loud' moments* in there along the way and a couple scenes that might tug your heart a little.  (I know mine were tugged.)  

*Best proofer comment was simply a long string of laughing.

Monday, October 26, 2020

It's Sale Time Again

Woohoo!  With Halloween fast approaching, what better time for a sale on the Once Upon a Djinn books?  They're full of paranormal awesomeness.  And snark.  And mystery.  All wrapped up in a four-book series.  

Wish in One Hand
In Deep Wish
Up Wish Creek
Wish Hits the Fan

99c/99p each.  Less than $4/£4 each.  If you haven't read them all, now's your chance to get them way cheaper than you would on any regular day - when they're $3.99 each.  Save yourself $12.

I love these books.  You can, too.  =o)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Another Update

After spending most of the week dragging my ass about doing the proofer notes for Cinder Ugly, I finally got them all input last night.  They really weren't that bad - which is what the proofers told me, but fear made me drag anyway.  That fear thing is a really pain in the buns.

Today, I have to do some search and replace on some crutch words.  Then I can do the formatting.  Like I said, I'm trying to have this done and uploaded for pre-order so it goes live on the 2nd.  We'll see how that goes.  If I can't get it up in time to do pre-order, then I'll just upload it for release on the 2nd.  Good lord willin' and the crick don't rise.

I also have to do a Goodreads listing.

And get both CU and UatB formatted for print.  Which I can then use for numbers to send to my cover artist so she can do the print covers (gah, I haven't talked to her in forever, I hope she has time to do those soonish... lucky the print covers are already paid for as part of the cover package).

I need to drag out my pre-publication checklist so I don't forget anything.  Blerg.

But soon, my fifteenth book will be out in the world.  It's the last in a trilogy, so maybe having it out there will boost sales for the other two.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Release Update and News of A Different Release

Yesterday was full enough of life stuff that by the time I had time to work, I was too tired to do anything but sit.  But that's okay.  

In an effort to be more 'marketing minded', I've decided to put the release of this book off until November 2nd anyway.  Since I already have a sale set up for the genie books starting on Monday and running through the 1st, that is.  I don't want to release right before the sale for another series and I don't want to release in the middle of that sale.  Hopefully, the genie sale will build interest for the model books.  You know - paranormal series sales leading to sales for the other paranormal series.  Or some such thing.

If I can get the 'A Model Curse' series finished and Cinder Ugly loaded for pre-order, then I could conceivably have links to the whole series in the 'Once Upon a Djinn' books.  Umm, I don't actually see that happening unless I get off my dead ass, but there's hope in there somewhere.

Anyway, if you're looking for something to read and you like spicy/sexy in your paranormal, my BIF (best internet friend) released her latest book last night - NIGHT WISH (Nightrider MC Book 5).  It's only $2.99 right now.  I scored mine this morning, so I haven't read it yet, but I know it'll be awesome.  Her books are always full of awesome.  (And I'm not just saying that because she's my friend.  I loved her books long before we became friends.)

As for my book, hang in there.  It'll be out soon.  And to that end, I will be having a sale for Sleeping Ugly and Ugly and the Beast once I know for sure when Cinder Ugly will be live.   If you haven't tried these books, they're fun and snarky paranormal mystery.  (And as a slight warning - if you're offended by swearing, they probably aren't for you.  Jeni swears a lot.)

Monday, October 19, 2020

People Don't Talk Like That

I started reading a book the other day and within a few pages, DNF'd that sucker.  The problem was the dialogue.  It was stilted and wooden with loads of 'as you know' stuff where the author used the characters to supply backstory without any reason for them to be talking about the past.  

People don't talk like that.  And they don't converse that way.

I realize sometimes it's hard to see where your dialogue might have gone wrong.  (And as such, I hope I never present dialogue to my readers that's anything like that.)  For me, though, writing and reading is like listening to someone talking in my head.  Basically, it's all dialogue up in there.  So, when the dialogue goes wrong, it really sticks out.

If you're not like this, a basic way to figure out if your dialogue has gone wrong is to read it out loud.  If you find yourself tripping over stuff, it's because the way you've written it isn't the way people generally talk.  If it sounds wooden and hollow, it is.

Your mileage may vary if you're writing high fantasy.  People don't talk like that anymore either.  Still, even then, there should be a flow to the words.  Read Shakespeare aloud.  (Which, imo, is the only way to really enjoy Shakespeare if you're not actually at a play.)  Shakespeare's old stuff, but he's still relevant because he had the ebb and flow of human conversation down.  If you're worried about reading Shakespeare, read the newer fantasies of Brooks, Butcher, Farland, etc.  They do good dialogue.

Of course, the book I was reading was YA.  I think that only made it worse.  People don't talk like that.  Teens definitely don't talk like that.  It's been a while since I was a teen or had a teen, but I don't think the general drift of teenage conversation is towards more formal and stilted.  (Would that it were sometimes.)  It was also paranormal, which made the stilted dialogue even worse.  Ebb and flow is key there, folks.  

Ebb and flow is key everywhere.  Any well-received book of any genre has an ebb and flow to the dialogue.  Hell, there's an ebb and flow to the whole damn thing.  If the reader is tripping and stumbling and trying to make the writing make sense in their heads, they're going to put the book down.  Or throw it against the wall.  And never pick up another one by that author.  None of wants that, now do we?

Anyway, I'm probably the last writer to go to for advice - since my sales are dismal - but since I'm also a prolific reader, you should probably take note.  A little.  Maybe.  Do yourself and the world a favor and make your dialogue sound more like the way people actually talk.  K?

If you're a writer, do you read your stuff out loud?  From a reader standpoint, can you think of any writers who do dialogue especially well? 

Friday, October 16, 2020


I'm not sure I know of any writer who enjoys writing the back cover copy (or blurb) for their own books.  If you're out there and reading this, raise your hand if you enjoy it.  Okay, you're dismissed.

Personally, I am not a fan.  I can't seem to muster any joy in taking a 63K word story and boiling into 150 clever words that will make people want to buy and read my book.  There's so much I want a potential reader to know about the story.  Add this?  Subtract that?  Oh, and they probably want to know X, but there isn't room for it.  

Of course, I was the kid in school who sucked at book reports.  Write about what's important?  Well, it's all important.  Duh.

Give me somebody else's blurb to edit?  I'm there, baby.  

In the end, it's kind of how I have to approach my own blurbs.  Write the damn thing, spew it out if I have to, and then set it aside.  Come back to it later and look at it like it's not MY blurb.  

Right now, I have 5 versions of the blurb for CU.  Since yesterday.  Here's the latest one:

This could get ugly.

Former supermodel Jeni Braxxon had been certain life couldn't get any more shit-tastic.  Due to the curse turning her, the hottie with a naughty body, into someone so gruesome Frankenstein's monster would run screaming, she's unemployed and soon-to-be homeless. 

As if that wasn't bad enough, the SSA is trying to snatch her birthright, steal the children, and force her into bankruptcy with their damn bureaucratic bullshit. Oh, and a lunatic sorcerer with world domination in mind might be running the show. 

But Jeni's not a gal who'll take this crap lying down.  Well, not for long anyway.  With the help of her weird friends and her bizarre pets, she needs to kick some ass, rescue the kids, and save the world.  A big task for a college dropout who thought she could get by on looks alone.

:shrug:  141 words.  It needs work.  I know I'm trying to stuff too much in there, but it all feels necessary.  I need to get over it and come up with something soon.  Or run with this thing.  Or one of the other versions. 

I'm drowning in blurbs.  Blurble.