ENTER A SHORT STORY CONTEST

short-story

 

ABOUT THE CONTEST

  • This is a competition to promote Nebraska Writers Guild authors.
  • This competition is NOT sponsored or run by The Nebraska Writers Guild.
  • Stories must be at least 1,000, but no longer than 5,000 words.
  • Stories will be fictional, original, and can only be submitted by the author.
  • Stories must be set in a Nebraska town and reflect the feel of a Nebraska town.
  • There is no fee for this competition. It is FREE, privately run, and specifically for Nebraska Writers Guild Members.
  • Your story may be dark, light, humorous, sci-fi, mystery, romance, horror, fantasy… whatever, as long as it’s set in a Nebraska town (small town, big town, real or fictional town, etc.)
  • Enter stories written for an adult audience. No children’s stories for this competition. (Maybe in the future.)
  • Only twenty-five entries accepted, first come, first serve.

ELIGIBILITY:

  • To enter this writing competition, you must be a current member of the Nebraska Writers Guild.
  • If you are not a member of the Guild, you are welcome to join the Guild and then enter this competition. Guild membership is $35 and you can join on the NWG Website: Nebraskawriters.org
  • I am a member of the Guild and wish to promote my fellow members. I’m putting on this competition on my own as a private effort. There is no fee and I set the rules for this competition. NWG will take no blame or responsibility or credit.

DEADLINES:

  • The deadline for submission to this competition is January 1st.
  • The award for the winner of this competition will be March 1st.

JUDGING:

  • There will be three judges, myself, Victorine E. Lieske, and Kim Stokely.
  • I will announce the winner here on this website and on other social media outlets.

PRIZE:

  • I will publish the winning entry here on my blog, as well as on my Facebook Author Site.
  • The winner will receive a Winner Badge to put on their website or social media pages.
  • All entrants will receive feedback about their story from the judges.
  • The winner will own all gloating rights for winning this competition and can brag as loudly as tolerated by their friends and neighbors.

TO SUBMIT:

  • Fill out the form below to enter the competition, and enter by copying and pasting, your entire story in the box for story. The story will go directly to my email and I will forward it to the other two judges via a word document.
  • You must be able to understand and use your computer and the internet to participate in this competition. I will not accept mailed entries.
  • As the main judge of this competition, I can tell you that stories which include explicit sex (erotica) or any descriptive scenes of abuse of women, children, or animals, will possibly be excluded. If I turn a story away, I will give the author my reasons, but let it be known this is my business website and I do monitor explicit content on behalf of my readers. I’m no prude, but I am careful of what content I associate my writing career with. IF your story does include romantic scenes or excessive or harsh swearing and wins, I will add a notice for readers when I publish the winning story.
  • I and the other judges agree not to use any part of any of the entrants’ stories for our own personal or business use. By entering your story, we do not own the rights to it, and cannot publish any portion or full extent of it, except for the winner’s here on this blog one time.

SUBMISSION FORM:

 

My Newest Book!

It’s out! Bad Blood of Rosewood, my newest book. I’m doing the happy dance!!

badbloodThe Rosewood series is now complete… or is it? Never say never, right? I may write more about the Thorns and Gloria Larson in the small town of Rosewood. I have quite a cast of characters just hanging out, waiting for me to put them in motion. Ronnie, Doug, Hank, Betty, Josie, Tanya and Debbie. Don’t forget Officer Connors and all the guys at the Old Man Table at the Last Stop Diner. And you know how it is. Small towns have characters around every corner. I’m guessing at some point in the future something mysterious is bound to happen.

Until then, I have written six books for you to read. You can find all of my books on my book table here on this website, or on Amazon.

And if you haven’t read the entire series yet, Please start with Thorns of Rosewood, then read Flames of Rosewood, and finally, Bad Blood of Rosewood

Just a note. I sell exclusively on Amazon for Kindle e-readers and print books. If you own a Nook or other reading device, this may irritate you! I understand. But, over the years since I’ve started selling books, I’ve found by being a Kindle Select author, I sell exponentially more books via Amazon than I do any other channel. To be a Select author on Amazon, I must enter a contract agreeing to only sell through Amazon. Now, of course, I’d like all readers to enjoy my books on their Nooks or Kindles, but earning a living is important, too. (Certainly, my husband thinks so!) So, until I become rich and famous, I’m going to use this tool available to me as an Indie Author so I can get my product out to as many readers all over the world as possible.

Having said that, there are apps you can download for your computers or Androids to read Kindle books. Here is the download, and it’s free. Kindle App

All of the highlighted words, as well as the picture of my book, will take you directly to Amazon to purchase the books, or download the App.

Please share this blog post on your social media, or forward it to your reading friends!

An Interview With Charissa Stastny

cover-between-hope-and-the-highwayAuthor Charissa Stastny has a new book. I’ve read it and can tell you that even though I’m not a romance reader, this one entertained the likes of even this cynic. Between Hope & the Highway is a delightful read with great, unique characters. I’m a fan of Charissa’s writing and Between Hope & the Highway did not disappoint. Today I’m asking her a few questions so you can get to know this joyful and fun-loving author.

Charissa, how did you get started as an author?

C: I’d always wanted to write a book, but never seemed to have time between being a mother, a caregiver, and then a preschool and art teacher. As my children matured, I suddenly found myself spending lots of time waiting for them at sports practices. That’s when I started bringing notebooks and hashing out a story (which ended up being my Bending Willow Trilogy). That hooked me on the writing process…and now I don’t want to stop.

Most writers are readers. What are some of your favorite books?

C: I love The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, any of the Harry Potter books, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, and anything by C.S. Lewis. Contemporary romance authors I can’t get enough of are Jennifer Peel, Taylor Dean, and Amy Harmon. I can reread their stories and not tire of them.

What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer?

C: There are so many great writing books out there. Read as many of them as you can, and apply new techniques as you learn them. Go to a writing conference each year if you can, and learn how to plot. I’ve done the pantser method for my first three books, and it’s fun…but very inefficient. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks has been the most helpful writing book I’ve found for me.

Who is your favorite author and why?

C: Probably C.S. Lewis. His words are amazing; his thoughts so clear and inspiring. Everything he wrote deserves a place on my shelf and his quotes on my fridge.

author-photoAny special talents?

C: I’m not super good at any one thing, but am proficient at lots of stuff. I’ve tried my hand at painting, crafting, photography, piano, organ, teaching, crocheting, gardening, scrapbooking, basketball, mountain biking, triathlon, and now writing.

If you could have lunch with any character from a book (other than your own), who would it be, where would you eat, and what would you discuss?

C: I would dine with Dumbledore from Harry Potter. We’d eat sushi at Sakana’s (my favorite eating joint) and talk about anything he liked. Seriously, I can’t even think of a good enough question to ask the most powerful wizard ever. If he wanted to discuss Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans…then so be it.

Tell us a little about your family.

C: My husband and I are high school sweethearts and married after his mission. We have four children—3 daughters (one married who is an interior designer/architect, one who served a mission in S. Korea and is now in school for dental hygiene, and one who’s leaving on a mission to Armenia/Georgia and speaking Georgian for the next year and a half before studying to become a P.A.) and one incredible son in high school. We love being together and our favorite activities include biking, hiking, camping, and going to Disneyland.

What got you started on your writing journey?

C: I’ve dabbled with writing since I was a kid. I loved reading clean romance as a teen and wrote many cheesy scenes between handsome cowboys and milkmaids in my journal. The world will NEVER see these! They are cheesier than a Walmart tuxedo.

Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?

C: After my husband read my first book, he commented, “It would have been better with a zombie in it.” Since then, the Search and Find feature on Word has become my best friend. I always use it before I send out drafts to readers, because unfortunately, my husband is skilled at sneaking zombies into files. There is nothing worse than when the masculine hunk in my story tells the girl of his dreams that ‘he wants to eat her brains.’ Ugh!

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

C: Quite a lot. There is always one character I identify with—usually the shy, awkward one with a good heart who doesn’t know how to accessorize. My cool characters are my dreams of how I wish I could be. It’s fun as a writer to live vicariously through our characters.

Do you have a favorite character?

C: I love Suvi and wish I could meet her in real life. Austan’s pretty cool too (he’s a hoot to write), but I don’t know if I’d be brave or confident enough to meet him in person. I wouldn’t be able to come up with witty comebacks fast enough. Bentley is the cutest character I write (he’s 13) and I love him to pieces.

What does your family think about your writing?

C: They think I’m crazy to sit and play with imaginary characters all day. And I am! My 2nd daughter laughed hysterically when she read my early draft of Eyes of Light. She highlighted sections and wrote: “Cheesy! Please Mom, don’t ever publish this. I will be embarrassed for you!” My husband also gave me advice: “Before you publish, you might want to do a search for the word ZOMBIE.” Their tips saved me. Also, my oldest daughter designs my covers and keeps me looking presentable.

If you were stranded on a deserted tropical island with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?

C: Since I can’t build a fire or catch fish, I’d need someone who could be responsible and take care of me. In my mind, that would be James Hinton (from the Bending Willow Trilogy). I imagine he was a Boy Scout when he was young, so he’s very handy, self-reliant, kind, creative, and honorable. I’d feel safe with him.

What kind of trials do your main characters in your newest book have to endure?

C: Liz’s hen-pecking mother has always belittled her because her dreams didn’t align with hers. This has caused internal strife with regards to her self-esteem that she has to overcome (once she realizes it’s there). Liz has also just lost her fiancé in a terrible automobile accident. That’s why she leaves home to escape painful memories. Rawson and Bentley Law are dealing with survivor’s guilt from an accident they were involved in five years ago as well. They each have secrets that have the power to destroy their present happiness.

Why should we read your books?

C: Two reasons: 1) there is a powerful message of forgiveness and redemption woven into the pages that will make you appreciate life more fully, and 2) the characters are witty, vulnerable, charming, and just plain awesome! If you’re like me, you will fall in love with them.

What is one silly fact about you?

C: I can do a ‘mean’ monkey imitation. When I did this at Biblical zoo in Jerusalem, the monkeys spit at me though. I don’t know what that means.

If you could have plastic surgery, what would you change?

C: Nothing. I think wrinkles are earned and are a sign of wisdom. I’ve worked and lived too hard to let some doctor take that away from me.

Now that you know her a little better, I hope you’ll follow her on her website: http://www.charissastastny.com/

I also hope you’ll buy her book, Between Hope & the Highway. You can find all of Charissa’s books at:

https://www.amazon.com/Charissa-Stastny/e/B00847JD1I/

 

THE MAGIC OF PLACE

Edisto Beach, South Carolina

Today’s blog is written by C. Hope Clark, an author friend of mine from South Carolina. I’m so proud to know her and call her friend. She’s a smart, strong woman and a fiercely good writer who is both Traditionally and independently published. I asked her to tell my readers about her Edisto book series. This is what she has to say…

Echoes of Edisto

I love a strong sense of place in my stories, as writer or reader, so when given the opportunity for a new mystery series, I leaped onto the chance to place my mysteries on Edisto Beach in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

The hardest of hearts and the saddest of souls can find peace on the sand, waves lapping at their toes. How many stories have been written and movies made about the ocean, and how people have used that ebb and flow, soft breezy environment to get away, seek answers, and let go of life’s burdens if even for a few days?

In my Edisto Mystery Series, I take a broken main character running from an eroded law enforcement career, and help her escape to the beach where she hopes to heal. But of course I do not let that happen, and what was supposed to be a long-term retreat for Callie Jean Morgan turns into death, injury, mental anguish, and a vicious cycle of life-threatening events. Amidst the waves, gulls, swaying palmettos and salty balmy wind, danger abounds. And in the newest in the series, Echoes of Edisto, just when Callie thinks her life is finding a new norm in the island paradise, death rears its head as she loses someone close. And the deeper she delves, the nastier the facts she learns about people she trusted.

Callie is often her own worst enemy, and since she operated in Boston for years, she views the beach from a detective’s eye, so even where island residents don’t see danger, she does. Without that juxtaposition of locations – big city rubbing against beach village – the magic wouldn’t happen nearly as well.

From another angle, she is Southern, reared in a political family in a mid-sized town about forty miles from the coast. Forever clashing with her socialist mother and ladder-climbing father, she graduates from a South Carolina college and takes a job up North, a smack in the face of any deep Southern family. She marries a Bostonian, but then I kill him off, forcing her to almost lose her mind and retreat to her roots. The class of place appears here as well. I make her life a yoyo, with setting often holding the string.

Setting can often assume the role of a character. When a tale can’t be told better anywhere else, setting has morphed into a player. Frankly, that’s my preference in reading material – those stories where even the very ground the character stands on has an impact on the plot.

But the beach . . . especially one as secluded as the real Edisto Beach . . . is romantic, magnetic, and beckoning. Who doesn’t enjoy the salt and surf. Add to it the signature marsh, oak trees dripping with moss, loggerhead turtles and pelican vees gliding two feet above the wave crests at dusk. It’s relaxation clashing with melancholy, peace going up against crime, the joy of endless waves versus the pain of no one to share it with.

Imagine Sherlock Holmes in other than England. Or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum in other than New Jersey. Or Tony Hillerman’s western mysteries without the Navajo west? There are many mysteries that could happen in any urban setting, or any rural setting, or any country, for that matter. But doesn’t it enrich the storytelling so much more to know that where the players fight, love, live and die impacts how the tale all turns out?

Edisto March 3BIO

  1. Hope Clark inserts strong setting in both her award-winning Carolina Slade Mysteries and Edisto Island Mysteries, all set in rural South Carolina. Her newest release is Echoes of Edisto, book three in the Edisto series, available August 5 wherever books are sold. When she isn’t writing mysteries, she is editor of FundsforWriters.com, an award-winning site to aid professional writers in their careers. She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central SC when she isn’t walking the coast of Edisto Beach. www.chopeclark.com

ARE YOU ADVENTUROUS?

 

shop-mom-and-pop-02bag

I am an advocate of Mom & Pop Shops. Small business. Joe’s Shoe Repair. Sally’s Nail Haven. Johnson Jewelers. They keep a town alive, give it charm, provide essential needs.

But wait… big businesses provide needs. Walmart. Target. Arby’s. Menards. Costco.

Why support small businesses? Why care about mom and pop and their little old shop? Let’s use restaurants as an example. Think about chain restaurants like TGI Fridays, Applebee’s, Chili’s, Olive Garden, etc. I know exactly what I’m going to have when I go there. It’s almost like home cooking in that I know what it will taste like, and I crave the flavors. Chain sit-down style restaurants provide a nice meal and familiar food. People like familiarity. We’re not always up for an adventure.

But, if we are looking for an adventure, and want to try something new or cultural to an area, it’s fun to check out little family owned restaurants. The local bar and grills, diners, bakeries, and steak houses. This is where you get a real feel for the locals. And more fun yet is, when you find great food at a little eatery, you then get to tell people about it like it’s your own personal discovery. You sort of claim it… own it in a sense. You bring your friends from out-of-town. You say, “I know about this little off the map place!”

Now let’s compare this idea to books.

There are big name authors who write under traditional publishing labels. These publishing houses have big marketing capabilities, just like the Applebee’s or Cheesecake Factory Restaurants. They have market research professionals who can say, “No… people don’t want to read about vampires anymore.” Kind of like Applebee’s chain restaurants follow the trends and provide health conscious meals on their menus now. The marketing experts ask the question, “What do the people want?” The answer they give is, “Whatever it is, let’s give it to them so we can make money.”

But does everyone really want the same thing? Don’t we appreciate innovative new business? We like authenticity, don’t we? We applaud creativity, right? After all, before KFC was a chain of restaurants across the globe, it was first an old dude with a good chicken recipe. First, McDonald’s had one store. These places were all originally Mom & Pop Shops. They didn’t start out with big marketing divisions behind them. They just started out with a passion to do something they loved.

I can walk through the art section of every Hobby Lobby or Home Goods and find very similar paintings for sale at affordable prices. Splashy floral scenes, or cityscapes, images of Paris life. And they usually have a few of each kind, so you know… at least a few other people will have the same picture on their walls, too. That’s safe, right? Everyone likes that picture, that’s why they sell so many. It must be acceptable. It must be cool. The cool kids are always who we want to follow. We’ll all just do what they do, and that will make us cool, too.

Right? Scratches head. Wait a minute. Is that right? Do we really just want to mimic what’s trending? Apparently so, for a great many, or we wouldn’t have Hobby Lobby with shelves and shelves of look-alike art and decor items. We wouldn’t have chain eateries so we could make sure we were going to the same place everyone else likes.

But truthfully, I’ve never been cool. I love to see people out there just doing their own thing. I’ve been a lemming most of my life. Following everyone else, trying not to step too far out of boundaries, but deep inside, I really want to get a tattoo, color my hair hot pink and wear crazy fashions. I’ve just never had the guts. But when I see that person, I think, wow… that’s confidence.

Back to books. So yeah, we have the big publishers and big names and that’s cool. It really is. Agents and editors and marketers all wave the big flags and the fans come running. But then there are us little Indie Authors. I suppose the arguments could be the same as restaurants. There will always be those who prefer to eat somewhere that’s cool, proven, accepted; just like there will always be those who prefer to read whatever the literary powers that be tell them is good. No thinking involved. Set your free will aside, folks. THIS is what we are all gaga about this year. Whole towns read the same book. Whatever Oprah tells us. And no doubt! These will be good meals to feast on. (Some better than others, but probably all quite digestible.)

But then there are those of us who like to discover things on our own. We liked the B side of the album better than the hits. (remember records?) Not everyone knew how awesome those songs were. When you could find that other person who also loved the B side, then you knew you’d found someone else who didn’t necessarily follow the beaten path.

I think there are definitely people out there who enjoy discovering new authors. And with Indie’s, like diners, not every diner wants to become a national chain. Some just want to do what they love and make a living. I guess that’s the kind of Indie I am. I don’t need to have the whole world looking my direction and throwing money at me, but I’d like to make a decent living and I get closer to it every year.

So, I hope you’ll take a chance and adventure into Indie books. I’ll tell you right now that it’s just like with any new restaurant. There may be some places you like okay, some you won’t revisit, but maybe you’ll find that hidden gem. You’ll be like the Magellan of Indie books. A discoverer. And when you find it, spread the news. Help a Mom & Pop out. They’ll appreciate it.

WHERE DID I PUT MY GLASSES?!!

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Oatmeal. It’s what’s for breakfast for this girl. After all, I’m 53 now. Yup. Today’s the anniversary of my escape from the womb.
My body seems to be rebelling the aging process. More days than not, I walk around wondering why my hips hurt? Where did I put my glasses? Why is everyone around me mumbling? Is this some kind of gas-light situation? Are they trying to make me cranky? What in the hell did I eat that gave me this heartburn? Then I stand up or sit down and my knee pops so loudly it wakes my dog. “Sorry,” I mumble. He can’t hear me. He’s old, too.
I know getting older is a gift, but it’s like the gift you got from that one aunt when you were five. You really wanted a cool toy, but she gave you a new pillow. It was good to have a new pillow, but shoot, you’d sure rather have had a toy!!! Nonetheless, you still have to say thanks for the pillow.
So, I’ll give my thanks today. I’m thankful for having a body to complain about. Hearing enough my whole life to know it’s getting weaker. I’m grateful for being born with good eyesight, and now I’m glad for reading glasses. I’ll get a magnifying glass if I have to, because dog gone it, I’m not going to stop reading! And boy I’ve seen some awesome things with these eyes. My children’s birth, my husband’s love, my family’s smiles and support, so many friends, so many beautiful skies and sunsets, rivers, oceans, lakes, mountains, desserts and worldly things, too. I am blessed.
Beneath my complaints, I really do have a thankful heart.
What a gift life is. The good and the bad. Maybe I’ll get another year for which to be thankful. But for now, I’m pretty fond of today—oatmeal and all.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

I will have the opportunity to see Paul Simon in concert this Thursday evening.

Simon and Garfunkel weren’t really my era of music. But I’m a fan of music from many genres and time periods. Good music is good music. Just because I cut my teeth on Bob Seger and John Cougar Mellencamp doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate The Moody Blues, Cheap Trick, or Twenty One Pilots.

It would be hard to be any kind of connoisseur of music and not know who Paul Simon is. So many of his songs are classics. Don’t most of us, when we think of herbs, think, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme? Thank you, Paul Simon!

I was young when I first heard his music. It blasted from my teenage sister’s record player and vibrated the walls of my bedroom next to hers. I remember sitting outside her bedroom just waiting for the door to open so I could see whatever nirvana existed in there. Being almost ten years younger than her, I wasn’t often allowed into her inner-sanctum. But the music seeped through. Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for sounds from the sixties.

When I was a kid, my favorite form of entertainment was drawing. Mom could not keep enough scrap paper and pencils in the house. And thanks to Simon & Garfunkel, one of my favorite scenes to draw was a bridge over troubled waters. Who knows why that spoke to me so, but I still pause to listen whenever I have an opportunity to hear it.

I have a feeling I won’t hear it at the concert because although it’s written by Simon, it’s almost entirely sun by Garfunkel. The research I’ve done says Simon was motivated to write the song because of a song by Carl Jeter in the Swan Silvertones called Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep. The line is at the end: I’ll be your bridge over deep water and of course, it is what Jesus tells us. Maybe that’s why I liked the song; it really did speak to my heart.

I’ve listened to this Gospel group video twice now and love the song! Once again, we see Gospel influencing rock in the best of ways. Oh, and wish me luck at the concert. It’s going to be outside and the temperature will be in the 50s. But I’m sure I’ll be standing and clapping in my row.

Beanie Baby Meetings

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In the picture above you see a treasure trove of Beanie Babies I found a couple days ago. When I opened a box in the garage, they were all looking up at me. They’d been sitting there for years, frozen in time, just waiting.
When our kids were little, if they were well behaved when we went shopping, they would each get to pick out a Beanie Baby. These little stuffed animals made by a company called Ty, were popular then, and always near the check-out counter. The notion was that they’d be collectible some day. Right. They’re worth about what we paid for them, I suspect.
So, what were the boxed up Beanie Babies waiting for? Well, when we bought our kids a new Beanie Baby, the second they arrived home they ran to the bedroom and had a Beanie Baby Meeting to introduce the new ones to the old ones.
My daughter ran these meetings like the little drill sergeant she was, is, and always will be. I will have to ask her if there was a hierarchy among the babies. Probably. I’m really mad at myself for not taking a picture of these meetings. That would be a treasure, too. A video of them would be like gold to me now. I’m pretty sure my son, a few years younger than his sister, was probably only there because he was at my daughter’s mercy. Bless his heart, he did what she told him to do like the good soul he was, is, and ever shall be.
It makes me smile to think that my daughter is still running meetings, and I suspect my son is still going to them because someone makes him. And me? I’m just enjoying a memory, frozen in time, waiting for me to open the lid, like the box of Beanie Babies in the garage.

Casting Stones

cross coverBack in 2009 I decided I’d try my hand at writing. This is how addictions begin, folks. Some things dare not be tasted.
My first book, like a first love, is a wonderful memory. I dove into it like a wild child into a dark blue lake, without a worry if the water was deep enough, or even if I could swim. There’s something to be said for that kind of naïveté. It’s a thrill ride—a new discovery at every turn; every sentence surprised and delighted me. Commas be damned.
I’ve now written eight books and my writing has become a whole different animal. It’s no longer a kitten, springing from couch to chair, pouncing on every loose speck of fuzz. It’s now a cat who saunters into a room and sits down in a pool of sunshine to groom.
And it’s this constant grooming that takes a little something away from the sparkle of writing. Still addictive, yet now it comes with a hangover, perhaps. The sentence, first written with relish, is then dissected and fussed over until it’s finally cut completely from the page. Those ideas, first thought to be golden, ultimately deemed useless.
But it’s all good. Casting Stones began as a wild fling. After I’d had my way with it, I shoved it out the door like we’d broken up. Not everyone loved the story and I began to second guess my desire to write about emotions and ideas. Who did I think I was, playing with literary fiction? A novelist?
I slipped on something more comfortable. Thrillers and mysteries. Some say anyone can write these, but I disagree. A good story can’t be yesterday’s supper regurgitated. The line cook who griddles a great burger is just as knowing about creating that meal as a skilled French chef who makes a fine Coq au Vin.
I made Coq au Vin once. Took two days. My husband and son picked at it. They’d have rather had a burger.
Having said that, Casting Stones is still my favorite book. I like what it has to say. I like that it offers the reader something to think about. Although the message is simple… don’t judge… it’s also complicated… if you loathe me for being judgmental, which of us is standing in the deeper mud? And, of course, the underlying theme asks who is the real sinner? The character who is so easy to hate—the obvious villain? Are you sure? Could it be you?
It’s for the reader to decide. The book provokes thoughts, but doesn’t hand out answers. I’ve always liked that kind of story. I’m not one who enjoys being spoon fed. So, although it was the first book I wrote, it’s still my favorite.
Have you read it? Would you please? I’d love to know what you think.

Heads Up, Indie Authors!

Are you an Author? An Indie Author? Then this blog post may interest you.

At the lower end of your Amazon Author Page, you’ll see an offer saying, “Set up an Amazon Giveaway.” You click the tab and it takes you to this page: Amazon Giveaway Details. You can, by following the steps provided, create a book giveaway.

The reason for doing this is to create buzz, reward your audience, and grow your followers and customers. From what I can tell, you can give away anything sold on Amazon. A free Kindle. A gourmet food basket. Whatever you want to give your customers. For me, I want to give away my book in hopes of more sales, more reviews, and more readers knowing who I am.

CoverThe process walks you through setting up your giveaway. You get to choose how many books you want to give away (I chose 20). You get to choose how the winners are selected (every 3rd, or every 20th). Then, Amazon takes care of everything. They put the deal up. They monitor the entrants. They pick the winners. They notify the winners. They give the winners the prize. They notify you. And you say, “WOW. That was easy!!” You may also say, “Wow, that was fast!” My book giveaway had 100 entrants within a half an hour. I didn’t even finish writing the email to go out to notify my email list! So, congratulations to anyone who snagged the free book.

When I do this promotion again, there are a couple of things I’ll think through a bit more. First of all, I will drop the price of my book, or even set it to go free. No reason I should have paid for it! That was silly, and I should have done some more reading before I jumped in the pool. But, my mistake can be your lesson. It still only cost my $39, and I’ve spent that much on a mediocre meal.

The next thing I’ll do differently is to put URLs for my website and Facebook pages on the ad. I’m not sure any of these things will really make a difference, but I will try it and let you know if I see any positive results. I do know the giveaways did show up as purchases on my sales charts. It’s not enough to change rankings on my books, though, so that fact may not be significant.

I decided to offer Dark Works free starting tomorrow through KDP Select since the people who won the book were not people I know and came to the giveaway from the far reaches of Amazon. (which is cool.) But I also wanted to make the book available to friends, family and followers. So, starting tomorrow, anyone can snag the book for free. Click this link tomorrow.

In a delightfully perfect world, everyone who picks up the book for free, including the twenty out of one hundred who picked it up from the Amazon Giveaway today, will consider leaving a positive review. Maybe even checking out my other books and buying one. We’ll see. Advertising is just another form of gambling, I guess. They key is not to play more than you can pay.

Have you done this promotion with Amazon? What were your results? Share the knowledge if you’ve got it.