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!

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.

 

 

REAP THE BEAUTY

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Today I’m thankful for people who read. Thank God for each and every one of you. For a writer, the sun rises and sets on readers, but for the world, well… you’ve spent time with people who don’t have time to read. You know.

I guess reading verses watching tv or listening to radio is like the difference between fast food and a home-cooked meal, or between watching a video about a topic versus attending a class, buying tomatoes at the store or picking your own from the garden. Time and effort and a desire to make life happen, instead of letting life happen to you, makes the difference.

Is it obvious? Can you put them side by side and tell the difference like a taste test between Pepsi and Coke? I’m not sure. Well, wait… yes I am. The gardener has dirt beneath their nails and a smile of pride on their face. The cook beams when company tastes the food and rewards him or her with compliments. The person who attends the class doesn’t only come away with knowledge but an experience, friends, and memories. There is a discernible difference if you’re looking for it.

If you’re looking for it is the key. Do you see the pinks and golds in the sunset? Are you looking for the slow closing of a cat’s eyes when he relaxes and gives you his full trust? Do you glory in the beauty of dew on the grass, beading up and sparkling in the morning light? Is your heart warmed by the wrinkles around the eyes of a person who smiles at you?

Or do you just see the day end, the cat sleep, the wet grass, and the old woman in the grocery store giving you a false-toothed grin?

Choose how you see the world today. Look deeper. Plant your own garden of sights and sounds in your mind and reap the beauty it will grow.

 

BOOKBUB PROMOTION RESULTS

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Thorns of Rosewood Amazon Review

If you click the link above, it takes you to the Amazon page where a reader gives me a 5-star review and says this about my book, Thorns of Rosewood:

“This woman can write!! And tell a great story too. I wish I could give it more stars. The characters all come across as very real people with their own joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies. Great reading.”

The person who left the review, I only know as, Kindle Customer. It could be a guy or a gal, an older person or a younger person, someone from the little Nebraska town next to mine, or someone from across the world. I don’t know, and I probably never will. It’s exciting to get reviews from complete strangers. Especially positive ones. So far, since the ad for my book, Thorns of Rosewood, ran last week on BookBub, I’ve received eighteen new reviews, and all but one were four and five stars.

To everyone who picked up Thorns of Rosewood free (59,978 of you!), I say THANK YOU SO MUCH!! To those who after the free day was over, bought the book (216 of you!) I say THANK YOU EVEN MORE!! To the 594 people who bought Book 2 in the Rosewood series, Flames of Rosewood, I am ever so grateful!! And my reader stats show that 97,224 pages of Thorns have been read since the promotion. Wow.

To all the writers out there who are thinking about buying a BookBub ad, I’d encourage you to keep trying until they accept you. I’ve earned three times what I paid for it. But, oh, for the new readers—that is the true benefit! What a joy. My thoughts are running through their minds as they read. That’s quite a connection, now, isn’t it?!

Oh, and just for the fun of it, here is a screen shot of my ranking on Amazon during the promotion. For a little moment in time, I was number 1!

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THORNS OF ROSEWOOD ON BOOKBUB

TODAY’S THE DAY!! I’m trying a new form of promotion. So far, so good. I’ve sold around 100 books so far and given away 37,000. That number keeps climbing. More readers are a wonderful thing!

Thorns-smallerThere is a book promotion site called BookBub. Check out the link. Join. It’s free. I love it because depending on how you set it up, you’ll be notified about discounted books, and not books just anyone can put up there, either. I’ve tried three times to get a BookBub ad and was just now accepted for it. If you’re a reader, sign up so you can learn about good discounted ebooks. If you’re an author, read the rules and apply knowing it may take a year before they accept you.Oh, and it’s not just unknown authors using BookBub for promos. I just picked up Stephan Cobert’s book, Beyond Truthiness, from a BookBub ad.

BookBub is promoting my book, Thorns of Rosewood, today, Thursday, September 17th. I am offering Thorns of Rosewood FREE. It’s normally priced at $2.99. If you happen to pick up Thorns on Thursday for free, I hope you’ll go on to buy Flames of Rosewood at it’s already low price of $1.99. (Hey, you just saved $2.99… you can afford it now!)

So go. Join BookBub. Get Thorns free on Thursday. Buy Flames with the money you saved on Thorns. You’ll thank me later. And authors, check into BookBub. It might be a new way for you to promote your book. I’ll let you know if I find it to be a good business decision.

Oh, and if you want to help me out, you can forward the link for this blog to any readers you know. I’d appreciate the support.

Great Blog Posts

Scatter brained seems to be my mental state as of late. I really don’t know how I juggled life when I was young. I never even had to think about it. Just like I never had to think about dieting or being in shape, or how I would ever get everything done. Nope. Never crossed my mind. I just did it. Now, ooh, la, la… I need lists, and then notes to remind me of where I put my lists!

This leads me to my blog posts. At least 20 times a day I think of awesome ideas for blog posts! Do I remember them when I sit down to actually write the blog? Heavens no. It’s a totally blank page up there in my noggin. Not a clue what that amazing idea I had in the shower was. No recollection of the epiphany I had in church or during a session at conference. So, you, my poor readers, get a half-assed jumble of shinola. Woe is you.

I decided to do some blog reading today in hopes of either remembering or getting a fresh idea for a blog post. I found that other people must still be able to think, so I’m going to share their posts with you. They did a bang up job! I think all of their ideas are well worth reading.

Brian Crouse wrote a wonderful blog about gratitude today. I love to practice gratitude. The older I get, the more lucky I know I am. I like that he considers gratitude a super power.  Suspending Belief

Then I read a post by Charrissa Stastny.  She always sees the bright side and shows us the beauty in the world. She’s the kind of person I want to always be around. I’ve never met her in person, but just reading her blog makes me happy every time! Joy in the Moments

My friend Becky Breed took me back to childhood with this article about road trips. Boy, it was just like being there. Everyone has these kinds of memories. And aren’t memories a kind of trip in themselves?! Write in Community

Carrie Reuben and I have been following each other’s blogs for a few years now. Today she wrote about when writers use big words. She makes me laugh, and think. Both of which do me good. The Write Transition

The other blog post I read this morning was Faith Colbourn’s. She talks about how nurturing each other can actually affect our DNA. I believe it. Kindness is key. Prairie Wind Press

I hope you’ll check out all of these blogs. I read them because I respect these people and I find what they have to say to be intelligent and of value. I think you will, too.

The BLUE LADY

My mom encouraged my creativity. She recognized my need to draw. Not my desire to, but my need. I drew constantly—hours and hours scribbling on any piece of paper I could find. Mother kept every envelope and letter that had a blank backside for me to draw on. The top left drawer of our hutch cabinet had paper and the top right drawer had pens and pencils. She called me an artist, and I believed her.

In lower grades I enjoyed writing poems. I knew they had value because I took a poem to school to read for show and tell and one of my classmates stole it! Right from my desk! People only steal things of value, so although I wasn’t happy about the theft, I certainly felt important to have written something good enough to be pilfered.

In high school I wrote an essay for Mr. Rose, my peculiar English teacher. He gave me an A+, a grade I didn’t get very often, and in the margins of the essay, he wrote in red ink, “This is either prose, or drivel!” For whatever reason, I decided he was complimenting me and I knew then and there, I wanted to write. This led me to journalism class, where I learned how to take pictures and write articles, but I frustrated my teacher, as the convergent thinking required in fact-based news articles was far too restrictive for me. I wanted to add my own opinions. I didn’t realize then, but know now, I simply needed to write fiction.

I made up fictional stories and created worlds and scenes since I was little.

Someone gave me a present of paper dolls—pretty girls and boys with little outfits to cut out. I played and enjoyed them, but the true fun was making my own paper dolls and clothes. I became obsessed with finding the perfect piece of cardboard to make the dolls out of. It couldn’t be too thick, but had to be thick enough to hold up. One day I came across a medium blue file divider—just the right weight. I drew and cut out a woman from the blue board and she became the infamous BLUE LADY!

Even as a child I knew every story had to have conflict. It’s one of the first things we learn when we start to write fiction… stories must have tension. No one wants to read a story about the happy people in the happy village. From the Bible, to nursery rhymes, to any movie or TV show you’ve ever watched, you will find conflict. Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall. Little Bo Peep loses her sheep. Little Red Riding Hood must contend with the wolf. And in my paper doll world, The Blue Lady ruined my little people’s days.

Creativity has always been the path I’ve taken. I tried very hard to be a secretary, and a bookkeeper, but I always found myself staring out the windows. But when I could be a photographer, the world opened up for me. When I could promote the Opera House or the community; ideas abounded. And now that I write, I can create worlds and scenes and characters to my hearts content. Maybe you are a lot like me?

 

 

New Vistas

Those of us who write know momentary glimpses into clear thinking come when least expected. We find ourselves typing along, wondering when the next perfect line will spill out, or what twist our plot might take. Then as if by some stroke of magic, our fingers tap out a sentence even we didn’t know we had in us—one of those lines we are amazed to have created. Those moments, for writers, remind me of other times in life when I realize a new vista has been put before me. Such as the time I took a helicopter ride over Kauai. We came up and over a cliff and the ocean appeared before us. My breath caught in my chest as I attempted to mentally grasp how fortunate I was to see something so magnificent. Those big vistas are easy to see, but there are smaller vistas, too, which we also need to be thankful for.

I spent last weekend at a writing retreat in a monastery. I know. That sounds peculiar, but reality is this beautiful peaceful and well equipped facility lets groups of any kind hold conferences or retreats, or even allows individuals to stay and rejuvenate or contemplate, whichever it is they need to do. It’s a wonderful place to be. There is a reflecting pool with fountains and walking paths. It’s a haven and very peaceful. The vistas are lovely, whether it be the ones you see or the ones you experience emotionally.

I am not an old hand at writing, but I do have six books under my belt and a decent understanding of indie publishing and the writing craft. It’s easy for me to think of writing like I now think of driving, or any other thing I am used to doing. But I mustn’t forget I can always reach a new epiphany and see a new vista. And I hope I will. New energy helps me keep creative vistas coming.

The St. Benedictine Center is nestled in the hills, and when I left for home I drove out of the long driveway, on to the highway. Just over the hill, the vista of the Platte Valley spread out before me. Breathtaking. Every time I go over that hill, or any hill where a valley appears like an epiphany below it, I’m always reminded how common my view of the world can be at one moment, and how amazing it can be at the next. I hope my books can provide vistas just like that for my readers, and for me. It is the joy of writing.