Wednesday, March 31, 2021


Monday, I received the paperback proof of DUKE NOBLE, P.I.: RUMOR HAS IT and it's a beaut.  So, I approved it and yesterday morning I got the email letting me know it's now available for sale on Amazon.  I set it up at the price of $9.99.  It's the best price I can set and still make a little scratch for myself.  A little somethin' for the effort, eh?

I have 5 author copies due to arrive here April 14-17th.  One will be a gift to a friend.  One I've already got a buyer for.  

You know, I didn't realize it until now that I missed having paperbacks.  There's nothing quite like holding a physical copy of your books in your own hands.  Prior to this, the last book I published with a paperback version was Sleeping Ugly - which went live in August of 2018.  :sadface:

To rectify that, I will be creating paperbacks for the remaining books that don't have them - Ugly and the Beast, Cinder Ugly, Blink of an I, and Unequal.  Not sure of the time frames on those.  I have to format them for print and then I have to contact my cover artist for UatB and CU, to see what her schedule looks like.  And whether she'll want more money since it's been a couple years.  She shouldn't but I wouldn't blame her.  Then I have to create covers for Blink and Unequal.  Busy busy.  

If you've been waiting on these, I apologize.  Paperbacks cost money up front and I just haven't been able to part with it.  I'm going to try to do better this year.  

As to the paperbacks being only available on Amazon, well, you see, in order for me to make a paperback widely available, I have to jack the price.  If I made RHI a $10.99 book, I wouldn't make any money when it sold at any other vendor.  $0 to me, so what's the point of that.  I could raise it $11.99 and make a little money out there in the world, but I don't want to pay $12 for a paperback so you shouldn't have to either   So I took it out of wide distribution and set the price lower.  At $9.99, I'm making a little over a dollar per book at Amazon.  If you hate Amazon and still would like a copy of any of my books, contact me directly and we'll see what we can do.  

Of course, it's cheaper for you and more profitable to me if you buy ebooks, but I understand that sometimes you just have to hold a real book in your hands.  I do the best I can to make these books as cost effective for you as I can.  And still make money for me.  

Thoughts?  Opinions?  

Additional Note:  While I was checking to make sure all my paperback books had the proper pricing, etc.  I noticed a couple things that hadn't been moved over properly from Createspace all those years ago.  Total faceplant on my part, I assure you.  I assumed everything was fine, so I didn't bother to check.  Unfortunately, that meant I didn't have all the metadata and keywords I could've had.  AND it didn't have me listed as having 'worldwide rights', which I most definitely do.  AND when I scrolled through the pricing for other countries, I discovered I was making ZERO profit for any books I sold in Japan.  Derp.  I haven't actually sold any paperbacks in Japan, but it could happen and I would've gotten ZILCH for them.  If you were like me and assumed everything would be fine from the great Createspace migration, go check everything now.  Seriously.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Post Publication

With my sixteenth, self-published novel (Duke Noble: Rumor Has It) now out there and available for readers, I still have things to do.  I'm pretty sure I've shared this before, but here it is again...

The Post-Publication Checklist:

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) If in a series, add to series.

5) Update FB header.

6) Add book to all blog sidebars.

7) Update internal links inside book to Amazon 

8) Post to the blogs

9) Post to FB pages

10) Post to Pinterest

11) Post to Twitter*

12) Post to MEWE

13) Add book to appropriate Outside the Box book page

14) Update links on book page – US, UK, CA, AU

15) Bookmark Amazon pages – US, UK, CA, AU 

16) Update back matter of all other books

17) Post to FB groups

18) Fall apart.

I've completed 1-9, 11-13, and part of 16**.  I might've moved #18 to earlier in the schedule, but it's still there in case I want to fall apart again.

Additionally, and some of you will be happy to hear this, I'm working on the paperback for this book.  The proof should be here today.  If it's good, I'll set the book for sale and order copies to hand sell (or give away).  And if all goes well with Duke, I'll be doing paperbacks for the rest of the Model Curse books and for the dystopians.  In that order.

The only things I didn't put on the checklist are: 1) Marketing and 2) start the next book.  Both of those things will be coming along shortly.  

Anyway, I hope that list helps others to sort out what needs to be done after their book hits the markets.  I know it helps me keep things organized and helps me remember all the things I have to do.  In short, help keep my brain from being so scattered.  ;o)

Anything to add?  

*I don't actually log onto Twitter anymore, but my author FB page still updates to it, so there's that.

** Since I woke up at 3am, I figured I'd get some stuff off my to-do list - which included finishing #16 and doing #14&15.  Took me about 2 hours.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Rumor Has it is Live

I did it.  I finally sat myself down and did the formatting and did the uploading and RUMOR HAS IT is live.  It's $2.99 and it's available through Kindle Unlimited for those of you who might have a subscription.  I already sold a book to someone who wasn't me.  Yay.  (I always buy the first book, so I can check how it looks on my actual Kindle.)

Sara Hughes is Dead.

Sara had plans to take her own life. The coroner claims she died in her sleep.  Her daughter fears she was murdered.  Once Duke Noble, P.I. confirms his suspicions, he's hot on the trail of a killer. But with so many likely suspects, who will get nabbed for the crime?  The bully who expects to inherit everything?  The spineless toady with the grasping wife?  The outrageous divorcée?  Duke's a guy ready to tackle anything the world throws at him, but this time, he's facing something much harder to dodge than bullets and fists… His past.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.  :hugs:  You guys rock.

Now I have to update the back matter of all my books, which I'll do sometime today.  And I need to format this for paperback printing (and do all the other stuff involved in creating a paperback), which I'll do soon.

I've updated my blogs, including adding a new page to this blog for the series.  Which reminds me that I need to get to work on the next book.  (I'm already planning the cover.  Heh.)  

Anyway, I'm kind of excited right now, can ya tell?  I hope you'll all be excited when you read it, too. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Blurb Saga

I gave Hubs the first go at the blurb.  He was very diplomatic.  Which means it sucked*.  I knew it sucked, so it wasn't a big surprise.  I was just having a tough time discerning HOW it sucked and thus, make it not suck.  Pushing past his diplomacy, I got to the root of the problem - it wasn't tight and grabby.  (My words, not his.)  

I thought about how to fix it.  I sat down last night and wrote three slightly different versions.  And I gave them to him.  Poor man.  He read one and set it aside immediately.  The other two he looked over carefully and told me either one would work for him.  

I thought about the two he chose, considering the merits of both, and tweaked a bit.  Here's what I have...

Sara Hughes is dead.

Sara had plans to take her own life. The coroner claims she died in her sleep.  Her daughter fears she was murdered.  Once Duke Noble, P.I. confirms his suspicions, he's hot on the trail of a killer. But with so many likely suspects, who will get nabbed for the crime?  The bully who expects to inherit everything?  The spineless toady with the grasping wife?  The outrageous divorcée?  Duke is a man able to take on whatever the world throws at him, but this time, he's facing something much harder to dodge than bullets and fists… His past. 

Eh, it's not bad.  Obviously, I'm still not 100% satisfied, but I have to have something ready to go by the time I finish the proofing and the formatting.  

So, the question is: If you read that, would you be encouraged to buy the book?

*After nearly 17 years, I've learned Hubs only gets 'very diplomatic' when he's trying not to hurt my feelings.  I told him 'you can't hurt my feelings... I already think it sucks.  I just don't know how it sucks so I can fix it'.  At which point, he told me and I thanked him for his input.  He's so sweet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

It's That Other Time Again

It's that other time again... the time where I sit here and wonder if my writing sucks.  No worries.  It's a phase and part of the whole process.  It's one I'd like to get rid of, frankly, but I'm not sure what kind of writer I'd be if I didn't doubt myself from time to time.  

I mean, think about it.  If you always thought that everything you did was without flaw, why would you ever feel the need to make it better?  Why bother editing?  

Of course, there's the other side of the coin... if you never feel it's free from flaws, why stop editing?  Edit until it's perfect.  Except it's never perfect.

Is this perfect?  Oh, hell no.  I'm not sure any good writer sends his work out into the world feeling it's perfect.  Okay, maybe I can think of one, but she was a whole other level and she's dead, so I can't ask her if she was racked with doubt from time to time.

The key here is to balance the self-doubt with reality.  Are my feelings of total suckage true or is this just a phase?  

It's a phase.  I'll weather though it.  I'll resist the urge to make another edit pass at this.  At least until the notes come back from all the readers.  I'll fix what they suggest and then... Well, it doesn't make any sense to change up a bunch of stuff AFTER the readers have had it.  Then I'd need them to read it all again to make sure I didn't mess something up while I was fixing something else.  Derp.

I'll stuff these feelings of suckage into a sack and shove it to the back with the other sacks from all the other books.  And I'll send this out to fly and be free.

And I'll start on the next book.

Monday, March 15, 2021

It's Getting Closer

I had hoped to have a blurb ready to share with y'all this morning, but my attempts at one were lame and I gave up.  

In case you missed it yesterday on The Writing Spectacle, here's the final version of the cover:

without the Coming Soon banner across it.

:shrug:  I like it.  Sometimes.  Sometimes I want to fiddle with it some more until I'm 100% satisfied... but that'll never happen, so I'm not touching it again.

Anyway, it's getting closer.  I got my first bit of feedback since one of my readers inhaled the book, and she loved it.  With exclamation points.  Yay!  And she didn't figure out the whodunnit until it was revealed.  Double yay!

As always, I'll wait until all the feedback is in before I dive into those edits, but publication is so close I can taste it.  It's yummy and frightening.  Like a chocolate truffle that may or may not be laced with arsenic.  

I'm thinking about what to write next.  Part of me wants to dive right back into another Duke.  Another part of me remembers what happens when I don't take a mental break from my characters - they get boring and stale.  We'll see what happens.

Friday, March 12, 2021

It's That Time Again

I'm at the point in my editing where it's that time again.  What time is it?  It's Crutch Word time!  That glorious time when I search through my manuscript for specific words and then eradicate them.

This is not as simple as Find and delete, delete, delete.  No, no.  That would really screw things up.  This is Find, fix, Find Next, fix... on and on until you've gone through the whole thing and then repeat with the next word.

Actually the first thing I do is Find each word and then click Highlight All, so it gives me a total.  Then I write the number down on my handy-dandy list of words.  After I have all the numbers, I start fixing them.  After I complete each word, I get a new total, so I can see where I'm at and whether I need to scour for that word again.  

Yesterday, I did THAT and LIKE and about 2/3rds of SAID.  It took me about 5 hours - an hour in the morning and a couple hours each in the afternoon and evening.  I intended to keep going and stay up late, but I got to the point with SAID that I was skipping instances without really looking at them or changing anything.  It's time to stop when it's no longer working.  I'll hit it again today.  

And when I get it all done, I'll hit the manuscript with the spelling/grammar checker to make sure I didn't screw anything up while I was fixing things.  

I will have this ready to go out before bed tonight.  If it kills me.  Which it just might.  (Heh, not really.)

Once it goes out, I'll take some time to write the blurb.  And think about what's next on the writing schedule.  And maybe just chill out for a couple days.

What's up in your world?

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Making of a Cover

So yesterday morning I said I needed to work on the cover for Duke Noble P.I.: Rumor Has It.  Well, I had some free time and decided to use it to do just that.

I grabbed my camera and some props and went to work.  

Actually, the first thing I needed was a dust rag.  Man, that table was dusty.  So, I dusted and then moved some things off of it that are usually on it and started snapping away.  Just to get a sense if this would work.

Eh, needed to be darker and portrait instead of landscape.  So, I adjusted some things and lit the cigarette.

Looks kinda like a paining, doesn't it?  I was totally jazzed.  

And then I added words...

Good, but something still wasn't right.  I shifted the ashtray to the right, added another prop, and lit a new cigarette (cuz I smoked the first one*).  Huzzah.  

There you have it.  The cover for my upcoming release.  Might still need a tiny bit of tweaking.  The title banner needs to move a smidgen to the left, I think.  

Anyway, that table belonged to my parents.  It used to have Dad's beer stein collection on it.  And the vase once had flowers for my great-grandfather's funeral in 1957.  I got the ashtray at a thrift shop and it's mine.  The cigarette is Hubs' brand because my brand has white filters and I thought the brown filter would look better for this shot.  Threw in a couple of his spent butts, too.  Grabbed an old prescription and scattered the pills.  Voila!  The only thing I think might be an anachronism is the pill bottle itself, but I'm not going to worry about that at this point.  And the lamp is probably not of an age to be in the book.  Which is why I covered the base with a lacquer base filled with potpourri and the top of it is behind the title.

Cover creation magic, I say.

I still need to create cover copy, but that'll come along soon enough.  Excited yet?  I am.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Updates and Junk

The second pass of edit notes is done for Duke Noble P.I.: Rumor Has It.  This round, I ended up with 12 pages of notes.  And I've already entered 8 of those.  I'll enter those last 5 suckers and make one more pass for typos.  Then I can send it off to readers definitely by the end of the week.  The waiting is nearly over.  Yay.

I really need to get to work on a cover now.  Gah.  I actually have an idea in my head of how I want it to look.  The question now is whether I can pull it off.

And I need to do a blurb.  I have no ideas there.  

But I have an idea for the second book in this series.  Derp.

This book... which will hopefully be part of a series... is a throwback to the old noir crime novels.  It's set in a time before computers and to-go coffee.  When people still smoked without worrying about being harassed for it.  When men could still ogle a woman and she took it as a compliment.  

I hope I got it right.  

Anyway, I enjoyed writing it.  I hope people enjoy reading it.  

Last night, as a reward for finishing the edit pass, I started reading Uptown Blues: Herbert and Melancon #5 by Seth Pevey.  I'm kind of addicted to this series and Seth knows it, so he messages me when he's got a new book out.  Unfortunately, I was in the middle of the edit pass, so I couldn't start reading it immediately like I usually do.  But I sure as hell got my buns in gear to make that edit pass go quickly.  ;o)

So far, so awesome.  That boy can write.

And that's where I'm at.  How are things with you?

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Reading with My Editor's Eyes

Okay, so on Monday, I finally finished inputting the Round One edit notes and started the next phase of editing.  And the next phase is not going as smoothly as I'd hoped.  I'm only 6% in and I already have over a page of notes.  :shrug:  It is what it is.  On the upside, this will be a better book for it because I'm reading with my editor's eyes*.

As you might know, paying an outside editor hasn't been in the budget since 2019, which means I have to work harder to get this right.  No one is pointing out plot gaps and wording irregularities and timing issues.  I have to see those myself.  Basically, I'm channeling my editor.  If I see something I know she would thrash me soundly for, I make a note.  If I hear her in my head saying, 'that doesn't sound right', I make a note.  If I so much as feel weird about a word or a phrase, I re-read the sentence until I figure out what's making me squirmy and then make a note.   (Except for inserting 'whom' - a point we always had fun with.)  

Oh, I'm still sending my books off to readers for proofing.  But I don't expect them to do any deep edits.  I'm sure they'll let me know if they find anything deeply wrong, but it isn't their job.  They're doing it out of the kindness of their hearts and I don't want them to have to work any harder than someone reading for enjoyment.  Like when you're reading for enjoyment and find a flaw, but this time you actually get to point the flaw out to the author and have it fixed.  That kind of thing.

Doing it all myself is hard.  I have to be especially watchful that I don't slip my writer eyes back in and skip over stuff.  No one is walking behind me catching the things I drop.  For instance, Tori's eyes are GREEN.  And she's a blonde.  Eddie's also a blonde, but her eyes are blue.  Can't get that mixed up.  Fran is pleasingly plump, not willowy.  And she's a frickin' brunette.  Sara is the mother but also the granddaughter.  Have to make sure I don't refer to them both by name in the same scene or it's confusing.  (I could've made that last one easier by giving the kid a different name, but it's germane for her to have been named after her grandma.)

Anyway, I hope I'm getting this all right.  I'm sure someone will let me know if I'm not.  I just hope it's a beta-reader and not someone who paid for the book.  

Editing your own work is possible.  If you're really mindful of what you're doing and you read with your editor's eyes.  If you've never had an editor, scrape up the money and get one.  They're a valuable resource.  I wish I could simply say 'enough' and pass this off to mine.  It would be so much easier.  Damn, I miss her.  But I can't send this to her, so I'd better be damn sure I'm doing this right.  I have a feeling she'd kick my ass if I didn't.  ;o)

*Yeah, sounds kinda gross, but I'll wipe them off and ship them back to her when I'm done.  Promise.