Sunday, December 30, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Welcome back to Six Sentence Sunday, where lots of great authors post six sentences from one of their works.  Just click the link to find all the other sites.

This week's snippet comes from Special Rewards, book two of the Coursodon Dimension series.  This bit doesn't really require any setup.  Anyone who loves coffee can relate.

~~~~****~~~~

After the wildlife sighting, I continued off to purchase the accoutrements to maintain my caffeine habit. An hour later, with twelve new, inexpensive mugs and a pound of Guatemalan Oriflama, I was ready to return home. I admit, I felt a little like an addict when, at each stoplight, I jammed the bag of beans into my face and deeply inhaled the heady aroma. That I managed to make it back without hyperventilating from breathing in the scent of Arabica was truly nothing short of miraculous. I imagined being pulled over and the cops yelling, "Drop the bag, lady. Drop it, the beans aren’t worth it."


~~~~****~~~~


Thanks for dropping by.  
Have a great New Years and remember to return here for the New Years Blog Hop, January 1 - 6.  There will be 225 sites to visit and 225 chances to win one of three grand prizes (a Kindle Fire, a $300 Amazon gift card and a huge swag pack).  In addition, every site will have its own giveaway.  I'll be giving away this lovely pair of lampwork glass earrings made by me especially for this hop!  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday!

This Sunday's snippet comes from Special Rewards, Book 2 of the Coursodon Dimension Series.  I cheated a little and added an extra sentence, so it's really seven sentence Sunday this time.

Here's the setup:  In the first book, Special Offers, Sebastian's soul inhabited Hailey through most of the story.  And for a short time, Alex's soul was stuck inside Angelica, another Coursodon enforcer.  In this scene, Hailey overhears Alex and Sebastian as they discuss what it was like to really experience what it is to be a woman.

~~~~****~~~~


As I eavesdropped, I heard Alex remark, “If nothing else, it gave me a new level of appreciation for what it’s like to be female.”

Sebastian nodded in agreement.  “I experienced it only second hand, but I cannot fathom how they tolerate PMS.”

“At least Hailey is relatively even-keeled to begin with.  Try going through it in the body of a temperamental maniac like Angelica.”  

Then, they both became quiet and stared blankly into space.  I decided that must be the extent of the male bonding encounter.  

~~~~****~~~~

Thanks for stopping by.  Check out all the other great sixes at Six Sentence Sunday.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome sixers!  Today's snippet comes from my recent blogpost series, Vampires and That Time of the Month.  The premise is that I've never read about a vampire that prefers his/her blood source to be somewhat south of the border during their food source's monthlies.  

I know, the concept is kind of gross and a bit twisted.  When my husband read it, he looked as if he had serious doubts about my sanity (like I've ever been completely normal, honey!).  Regardless of my spouse's misgivings, this seems like a great idea.  The vamp gets his/her nutrition and the human donor gets what is usually the requisite sexual side effects without any biting. Not to mention the added benefit to the human of less cleanup on aisle one once a month as well as what they might save on feminine hygiene products. 

~~~~****~~~~

In all his four hundred years as a vampire, Constantine was tortured by his insatiable need for human blood.  Sometimes, the hunger was so fierce, he tended to inadvertently kill his food sources.  And when he did, he wallowed in guilt. Then, one night he had an epiphany of sorts.  He was about combine his two favorite pass times - feeding and fucking - with a particularly luscious woman when he was momentarily distracted by the trickle of blood between her legs.  

Yum, he thought.  Now I can eat and eat at the same time.  

~~~~****~~~~

If you enjoyed this, there are five installments of Vampires and that Time of the Month on this blog.  Check them out!  And check out all the other sixes at Six Sentence Sunday.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Vampires and That Time of the Month, Part 5


Being a thoughtful vampire, Constantine didn’t want to evict anyone, but the possibility of having all in residence available only on the same day each month was disconcerting.  And being an intelligent vampire, he didn’t panic.  Instead, he came up with a solution.  

The mansion was built somewhat like a “T” –  a central section where all the common areas were located  –  with three attached wings.  The women would be divided into three groups, with each group living exclusively in one of the wings.  The separation should prevent the mass-cycling, and even if each group synched, it was statistically unlikely that they would be on exactly the same schedule.  Immensely satisfied with his plan, Constantine studied the blueprints to determine which rooms would require remodeling into bedroom suites to accommodate the sequestration.  It would be expensive, but well worth the price, he reasoned.

He spent the better part of the night toiling over the details when Madge came by his study.  She glanced silently over his shoulder as he calculated costs, compiled lists and jotted down copious notes.  After a few moments, she cautiously inquired about the details of his ministrations.  

As Constantine began to describe his ingenious strategy with enthusiastic aplomb, he noticed a slight furrow of Madge’s brow.  Thinking she must not understand, he added more detail and spoke more slowly.  By the time he had laid out the entire scheme, Madge’s furrow had morphed into a full-out frown.

“You’d think someone as old as you would have more common sense” she sighed.  “You don’t need to renovate the house!  All we need to do is get them all on the pill and stagger their cycles.”  She mentally added “dumb-ass” to the end of her statement.  She figured as good a boss as Constantine was, there was no sense pissing off your employer when he could forgo contacting human resources about your insolence and just rip your throat out.

Human or vampire , men are  all the same, she thought, shaking her and looking skyward, as if the ceiling might give her the answers she wanted.  Why do they always go with their first idea, no matter how unbelievably convoluted and stupid it is

Candy Cane Kink Blog Hop!!!

Candy Kane KinkAhhh.  The holidays and kink.  

Who among us hasn’t had a fantasy about a three-way with a couple of elves?  Or wondered what kind of bondage tricks Mrs. Claus might recommend (I can just imagine what she could do with that thick, shiny belt of Santa’s).  And don’t get me started with the whole whip-lashing scenario.  Santa didn’t get that good cracking that thing from one night a year.

But I digress.  The reason you are here is to participate in the Candy Cane Kink Blog Hop.


To enter the giveaway, leave the answer to this question (along with your email address) in the comment section of my blog:

Who is the kinkiest reindeer?


And what can you win?  A lovely candy cane inspired  necklace of freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystal and  lampwork glass beads designed and created by me!  I know, it's not the best photo.  But the necklace is beautiful!

You can also use the Rafflecopter contest below to submit extra entries to increase your chances of winning.  Be sure to add your email to the comments or we won’t know where to send the gift!

The winner will be selected at random.  However, the necklace can only be sent to a winner in the US or Canada (sorry, but shipping is expensive!).  If you are selected and you are not from the US, you will still win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, and I will pick another person to receive the necklace.

While you are here, check out my paranormal romance novels 
Special Offers and Special Rewards.  
At $2.99 each in eBook format, they make a great holiday gift!


Meet Hailey - possessed by an otherworldly being who was trapped in her Kindle.  Hailey Parrish is quick-witted, irreverent, and hasn’t had a date in three years. She only wanted an eBook reader because her collection of paperbacks threatened to take over her small living space. Little did she know that the "special offers" that prompted the purchase included much more than a reduced price in exchange for a few ads. The device came pre-loaded with the essence of Sebastian Kess, an erudite womanizer with magical abilities from a parallel dimension. When she inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined. And soon her predicament introduces her to yet another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland. Can Alex and Hailey find a way to return Sebastian to his own body, stay one step ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is, and not lose their sense of humor?                                                                                                                    




What would you do if you discovered there was a parallel dimension?                                        

Hailey Parrish used to be an average, everyday human. Boring, in fact. After being possessed by Sebastian Kess, a magically inclined enforcer from the parallel dimension Coursodon, her life took a decidedly less mundane turn. Besides coming to grips with the existence of supernatural beings, she risked her life helping Sebastian and her heart falling for his protégé, Alex Sunderland. Now, Hailey has to deal with the bit of arcane power that Sebastian left behind when he returned to his own body and try to stay out of the crossfire when an unknown assailant seeks revenge against Alex.

Buy Special Rewards 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other hop sites at the 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vampires and That Time of the Month, Part 4


Of course, Constantine preferred to think of himself as a pimp and Madge as the Madame, but deep down he knew that wasn’t really true. 

One evening, just after Constantine woke from his daytime sleep, Madge burst into his chamber.  It was unusual for Madge to disturb him so early, and he waited with trepidation while she caught her breath.

“Sir,” she finally managed to sputter.  “We have a developing problem.”

Knowing that nothing positive ever came after that kind of declaration and Madge was not one to exaggerate, he let out a resigned sigh and asked her to continue.

“You know how a couple of months ago we started letting women reside here permanently instead of just when they were dinner?”

He remembered quite well.  As additional compensation for their monthly donations, Constantine let some of his favorites take up rent-free residence in the mansion.  They came and went as they pleased, and he was thrilled that the usually empty mansion was better utilized. 

“Well,” Madge continued, “the close proximity has made them start to cycle together.  They all have their periods at the same time.”

Constantine frowned.  “I suppose that is what is meant by ‘either feast or famine’.” 




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vampires and That Time of the Month, Part 3

Here's the next installment of my WIP.  If you missed the first two, go down.  It's Constantine's favorite was to scroll....

As time went by, his friends told their trustworthy friends.  In a matter of months, Constantine had a new, ever expanding waiting list for vampires that shared his culinary proclivities.  This was no problem for Madge; she developed her own software to keep everything flowing smoothly.  When the demand inevitably exceeded the supply, she implemented a clever - and successful - marketing strategy to recruit more women to the fold.  Constantine was skeptical when she pitched him the idea of advertising on Facebook, but apparently social media was perfect for introducing the concept.  

Soon, it wasn't only local women who participated.  Menstruating females from around the country started coming.  In response to the new influx of ladies without local accommodations, Constantine opened the extra twenty bedrooms of his sprawling mansion not being used as feeding stations for the out-of-towners.  The whole enterprise had become wildly successful as the vampires thought nothing of paying exorbitant fees to join the exclusive "club."  


What began as a simple solution to an age-old dilemma had blossomed into something bigger.  This was Constantine's legacy, his calling.  Never in his long, undead life had he imagined such a future, and while it pained him to admit it, he had become something stranger than a vampire.


Constantine was a Madame.


Keep checking in for more installments, or sign up for email notifications (in the right side bar) when new posts are published.  And tell your friends!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vampires and That Time of the Month, Part 2

In fact, Constantine was so thrilled with this new way of feeding, he eventually had to hire someone to keep track of who was ready and who wasn't.  

Madge was a nondescript but pleasant middle-aged woman who excelled at keeping the scheduling on track.  This was no easy task.  Constantine preferred first-day blood; it was almost as tasty as fresh-from-the-vein.  He had found that later in the cycle, the blood developed a flavor that reminded him of bagged blood, nourishing but flat and vaguely unpleasant.  As long as he had a trove of willing women, he reasoned, he didn't have to settle for Three-Buck Chuck when he could drink Chateau Lafite Rothschild. 

Despite his plethora of bitches - as Madge jokingly called them - Constantine was truly amazed at his good fortune.  When he took the time to investigate why so many females flocked to him, he discovered that most human men found their bleeding so off-putting, the women endured intense sexual frustration one week per month.  Constantine couldn't understand this reluctance, but then again, he was a blood-sucking creature by nature.  Nevertheless, his cache of willing ladies was ever increasing as his "services" spread by word of mouth - theirs, not his ironically.  Eventually, Constantine recruited a few of his closest vampire friends to join in, for no other reason than to whittle down the long waiting list.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vampires and That Time of Month

I've read a lot of books about vampires.  And to some degree or another, they all need blood.  Usually human blood.  I've never, however, read about a vampire that prefers his/her blood source to be somewhat south of the border during their food source's monthlies.  

I know, the thought is kind of gross.  But bear with me. What a great compromise.  The vamp gets his/her nutrition and the human donor gets what is usually the requisite sexual side effects without any biting. Not to mention the added benefit to the human of less cleanup on aisle one once a month as well as what they might save on feminine hygiene products.

Obviously, some vampires probably enjoy the biting part.  But, really. They'd probably get a lot more takers if they didn't have to sink fang.  Maybe I'll try and work that into one of my books if I write one with vampires....  

In all his four hundred years as a vampire, Constantine was tortured by his insatiable need for human blood.  Sometimes, the hunger was so fierce, he tended to inadvertently kill his food sources.  And when he did, he wallowed in guilt. Then, one night he had an epiphany of sorts.  He was about combine his two favorite pass times - feeding and fucking - with a particularly luscious woman when he was momentarily distracted by the trickle of blood between her legs.  

Yum, he thought.  Now I can eat and eat at the same time.  

The lass was so overcome by the event, she insisted that each month she would allow him to feed from her. Constantine generally didn't reuse his meals, preferring to wipe their minds and then moving on to another.  But this arrangement satisfied his gastronomical requirements without even the slightest possibility of going too far.  

Soon, he had enough women that on any given night, there was at least one who was ready, willing and able.

Check back for tomorrow's episode of Vampires and That Time of the Month....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Welcome to another Six Sentence Sunday!

Today's snippet comes from Special Rewards, the second book in the Coursodon Dimension Series.  Here's the setup:  Hailey is displeased that Sebastian is hitting on her best friend and in voicing her consternation, gets an idea of just how old her former body-mate really is....


~~~~****~~~~

"I can’t help it if women find me irresistible.”

“Well, try to be less appealing, Casanova.”

“Ah, Giacomo,” he remarked with a wry curve of his lips. “Nice fellow, eager student. But I must take some exception to your comparison. While his name has become synonymous with the art of seduction, in truth, it was I who taught him everything he knew.”

~~~~****~~~~

To read six sentences from out author's work, go to Six Sentence Sunday for all the links!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Money Not Well Spent

I tried a paid book promotion today.  My book was the "sponsor" for the free books mentioned for that day.  There are two words to describe the marketing experiment:

EPIC FAILURE!

I sold...get ready to be astonished...3, that's right, 3 books today!!!  That's what I normally sell WITHOUT having a pricey promotion.  (To be precise, I sold four books, but one was returned.)  I know, it was silly to think promotion of a non-free book on a free book page would result in a lot of sales.  After all, people are looking for FREE BOOKS!   I'm pretty sure the person that bought and then returned the book was someone who thought it was free and was horrified to find it actually cost $2.99.

What was I thinking?  I should have just flushed the frickin' money down the toilet for all the good it did.  It would have been better to use the money to just buy my own book.  At least that way my popularity numbers would look better.  

But, to look on the bright side, it was a learning experience.  A phenomenally wretched one, but one learns best from one's mistakes, right?  That's what I get for making marketing decisions at 2:30 am when suffering from insomnia.  

Next time I can't sleep, I'll just download porn like a normal person.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday!

Welcome back to another Six Sentence Sunday!  Today I have another snippet from Special Rewards, Book Two of the Coursodon Dimension Series.  This one doesn't really require much set up....

~~~~****~~~~
After divorcing my cheating husband, I began a three-year period of celibacy.   It really wasn’t that difficult to remain chaste; I had no interest even in dating.  Now that Alex and I were together, though, I was definitely making up for lost time.  I had been afraid that I might have completely lost my sex drive, but it was like the libido switch that had been turned off all those years was flipped on when Alex’s penis first entered my vagina.  There wasn’t one piece of furniture in my tiny, rented guest house upon which we hadn’t done the lust and thrust.  At least during the first week of our official couple-hood. 

~~~~****~~~~

Hope you enjoyed today's offering.  Check out other great sixes from a bevy to great authors at 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Help an Author

The best way, of course, is to buy their books.

The second best way is to review their books.

Goodreads is one of the easiest places to leave a review.  You don't even have to write anything, you can just rate the book.

On Amazon, you have to leave a short review along with your "star" rating, but it only has to be 20 words  (which is two less than the last sentence).  You can leave something like:

★★★★★ I really loved this book.  I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end.  Can't wait for the next.

Or, perhaps:

★★★★A great book.  Not once while I was reading it did I feel as though I was going to hurl.

The point is, a few moments of your time after you've read something you liked can be a huge boon to the author, particularly one who has chosen to self-publish.  They put lots of time into their work so you would have something to enjoy.  Please take a few moments to give a little something extra back.

Think of it as an incredibly inexpensive holiday gift for an author.  We are so easy to buy for....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday November 25

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by for another 6.  This week's snippet is from Special Rewards, Book Two of the Coursodon Dimension Series.

In the first book -- Special Offers -- Hailey was possessed by the spiritual essence a magically inclined enforcer from Coursodon, a parallel dimension.  Sebastian (or Sebastard, as she frequently calls him), had been trapped in her Kindle and was transferred into Hailey when she first used the eBook reader.  But sharing your body with a supernatural being can have its downside....

~~~~***~~~~


In the end, Sebastian was returned to his own body and, much like a paranormal hostess gift, I was left with a tiny bit of his power.  So far, my only magical talent was the unsettling habit of destroying things when I got really pissed off.  The object of these grueling exercises was to make sure I didn’t accidentally blast someone into oblivion just because they cut in front of me in traffic.  Okay, I only did that once, and I didn’t zap them, just their car.  Magical prowess really brought a new level of nastiness to road rage.  If not for my new Courso friends’ abilities to alter human recollection, a bunch of unsuspecting people would be wondering why the bumper on someone’s F-150 pickup randomly exploded. 

~~~~***~~~~

Thanks again for checking out my post-Black Friday 6.  While you are here, spend some time looking at some of my other posts. Then check out more Six Sentence Sunday snippets.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop!

I’ve never been a big fan of shopping.  I don’t particularly like crowds and I despise waking up when it’s dark out.  All of which make the whole Black Friday thing my equivalent to having a root canal procedure without any Novocain.  There’s no way in hell I’d ever wait in line in the middle of the night so at the appointed hour I and my line-mates can all behave like barbarians as we trample our fellow man (woman or child) to snag some deal.  How is that fun?  And now, Black Friday begins at some retailers on Thursday.  You are supposed to be pretending to have a wonderful time with relatives you can't stand on Thanksgiving, not skipping out early to check out Target. Why don’t we just have jousting matches outside Best Buy to figure out who will be able to purchase a 36” flat-screen TV made by some unknown company (that can’t be programmed on any Universal remote) for half price?

It’s all a big scam by retailers to get people into the stores anyway. They only have a limited number of the “big deals” at each store so, more than likely - unless you are willing to camp out in line for a few days - you’re not going to bag the bargain anyway.  But you’re there, and you’ve fritted away hours waiting for the doors to open.  You have to justify your time expenditure somehow, and what better way (in the eyes of the retailer, of course), than to buy some other stuff that you could have just as easily waited to purchase when you didn’t have to get up at the butt-crack of whenever. 

I know, I know.  It’s a byproduct of our hunter-and-gatherer roots.  You can’t come back empty handed.   You’ll appear weak.  Your husband will frown and say, “What, you waited for five hours in the cold and you came back without the X-Box Mega 8000 that’s only slightly different than the Mega 7000 that you bought last year?” 

No one wants to have to answer that. 

Instead, you find anything to make your loved ones believe you braved the Black Friday hoards and came back with the modern equivalent of a mastodon to nourish your family through the long winter to come.  Even if that means bringing home a life-sized Justin Beiber Chia Pet.

At least everyone can munch on the sprouts…


~~~~****~~~~





Instead of waiting in line to shop on this, the first official shopping day of the 2012 Holiday shopping season, why not check out my books Special Offers and Special Rewards.


I'm giving away a FREE copy of Special Rewards!

Don't forget to leave your email in your comments so you will be eligible for the prizes!

(The comment section is after the list of bloggers)

And the winner is:  CatFire!
Thanks to all who participated.





Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday November 18


I planned to sign up early for this week's Six Second Sunday, but I had a complete brain fart and forgot! So I am very excited if you made your way here from there (and my #87).

Today's 6 comes from Book 2 of the Coursodon Dimension Series - Special Rewards.  Hailey seems to be in a spot of trouble...

~~~~~~

“Get up.  Now.”

I couldn’t see his face because my head was now buried between my knees, but I knew from the tone in his voice that he meant business. “This is beyond cruel and inhumane.  Don’t you extra-dimensionals have some form of the Geneva Convention?  Can’t you just water-board me instead?” 


~~~~~~ 

Thanks again for stopping by.  Check out the other Six Sentences and also check out Special Rewards, just released this week!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book 2 is Released!

Special Rewards - Book 2 of the Coursodon Dimension Series - is now available on Amazon and Smashwords!


What would you do if you discovered there was a parallel dimension?

Hailey Parrish used to be an average, everyday human.  Boring, in fact.   After being possessed by Sebastian Kess, a magically-inclined enforcer from the parallel dimension Coursodon, her life took a decidedly less mundane turn.  Besides coming to grips with the existence of supernatural beings, she risked her life helping Sebastian and her heart falling for his protégé, Alex Sunderland.  Now, Hailey has to deal with the bit of arcane power that Sebastian left behind when he returned to his own body and try to stay out of the crossfire when an unknown assailant seeks revenge against Alex.




Black Friday Blog Hop


While the rest of the US is out handling the crowds, fighting for their holiday gifts, some of us like to stay in, shop online, or just ignore Black Friday all to together. This year, join us in our second annual Black Friday Blog Hop! It's a ONE DAY hop where we're giving away prizes, talking about books we love, and most likely eating left over turkey. :-)

The hop is November 23rd and is ONE DAY only.

And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!


Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!


I'll be giving away a free copy of my newest book - Special Rewards.

All you have to do is hop around and leave your email address in the comments box!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 11/11/12



Today's Six comes from Special Offers.  Hailey has become inhabited by the spiritual essence of Sebastian Kess, an arrogant womanizer from another dimension who was trapped in her Kindle. She can hear Sebastian in her head, and he isn't the type to keep quiet.  

In this snippet, Hailey wakes up aroused. While she has previously experienced erotic dreams, she's certain Sebastian is responsible for the uncharacteristic self-gratification in which she finds herself engaged. Sebastian swears he  isn't forcing her to feel herself up, and insists she is just responding to his insatiable sexual needs. Needs that haven't been met in the months he's been either stuck in the Kindle or Hailey.

~~~~~~

Why, pray tell, is this problematic, it’s no different than if you had an erotic dream and this way we both get the benefits.”

“Except I don’t have to deal with my fantasies once I wake up. I won’t be able to look you, uh, myself in the eye afterwards.”

“You could have sex with someone else; that would satisfy my cravings.”

“I am not going to sleep with some guy just so you can get your rocks off.”

While I am not theoretically opposed to sexual liaisons with members of the same sex, I was thinking more along the lines of you sleeping with a woman. That friend of yours, Rachel, she would be perfect. Her breasts are sublime.”

~~~~~~

Thanks for stopping by.  Check out all the other authors' Six Sentences at Six Sentence Sunday.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Free is Good, Right?

Tomorrow and Saturday Special Offers will be free on Amazon.

I know, I sold my author's soul to the corporate devil by making the book exclusive in order to be able to offer it for free.  I've read a lot about the topic and I concluded that this promotion will be a potential boost not only for future sales of the book, but also for the 2nd in the series (which will be out in another week or two).  And I hate to admit it, but Smashwords, B&N, etc didn't get me a lot of sales.  People downloaded about 130 copies from Smashwords when Special Offers was free, but over the last 9 months, there were only about 10 copies paid for.  B&N?  Two sales. Total.  Smashwords is great for sending copies (for free) to reviewers, but most folks apparently buy from Amazon.

Now that I have made myself feel better about succumbing to Amazon's diabolic Select program, I will add that I've done more than just set up the days for the freebie.  I upped the price of Special Offers to make "free" seem like a better deal.  Tomorrow there will be various sites that will post, tweet and/or generally shout out that the book is free.  Like ten or twelve.  I'm anxious to see how many books are downloaded.  Hopefully, lots.  Even if only a small percent actually end up reading Special Offers, a small percent of lots is better than selling a book or two a day.  And I've set up some additional promos for when the book isn't free.  That's called "layered" marketing.  It's supposed to be the thing to do. So I'm doing it.

I'll let you know how it goes.  Wish me luck!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday November 4


SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY

This is my first Six Sentence Sunday, where authors blog six sentences from one of their masterpieces.  Thanks to Thianna D. for giving me a heads up on this creative opportunity!

Today’s six comes from Special Offers, the first book in the Coursodon Dimension Series.  It’s about Hailey, a 30 year-old, chinchilla-milking book fanatic who bites the bullet and buys a Kindle when her ever-expanding collection of paperbacks threatens to take over her living space.  Unbeknownst to her, it comes pre-loaded with a magically-inclined guy from a parallel dimension and Sebastian’s spiritual essence takes up residence inside of Hailey the first time she turns on the eBook reader.  Believe me, it’s not easy sharing your body with an arrogant, opinionated womanizer, particularly when you still have some unresolved trust issues courtesy of your cheating ex-husband.

~~~~~

After negotiating a payment plan with the restaurant owner - which involved allowing him to indulge his foot fetish with my pinkie toes and some flavored whipped cream - I left the place and got into my car, which was really weird, because my date drove.  There in the parking lot were dine-and-dash and the hostess, groping each other with utter abandon.  I revved up the engine, threw the car into drive and peeled out towards them.  The headlights illuminated their stunned faces as I spun the car sharply, rolled down the window and chucked a lit Molotov cocktail made from the empty wine bottle from dinner at them and sped off humming the theme to “The Lion King.”

I woke up thinking I must be making progress.  Usually in my dreams I ran them over after I set them on fire.

~~~~~

Hope you enjoyed the six sentences.  As long as you’re here, check out the rest of the blog.  Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Updated New Cover



I decided to tweak the cover a bit.

It was suggested that I add something that screamed "PARANORMAL!!".  And nothing screams paranormal like a creepy man-face hovering in thunderstorm.

I might move the coyote.  There's no rational justification for him to be sitting there, out in the open in the pouring rain.  The same holds true for the bobcat - what self-respecting feline would allow themselves to become wet when there is a perfectly good covered patio right there for the taking - but she looks good hanging out on the roof.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Facebook Ad Experiment: A Success?


I have been running continuous FB ads for a while.  For the most part, my sales have been slow but steady, and I attributed any upswings to when reviews were posted.  I've been extraordinarily swamped at my day job for the last two weeks, and I let the FB ad expire.  Of course, I was too busy to realize this.  I was aware, however, that even though 2 very favorable reviews were posted in this time frame, there were no sales in the last two weeks.  None.  Zippo.  Zilch.  Yesterday, I finally noticed that the ad wasn't running, so I created a new one.  In less than 24 hours, I sold five books.  

I will cautiously conclude that the FB ads can be very helpful when it comes to upping sales.  It's not helpful for making money, as I've paid out more for the ads than what's come in for sales.  That said, I'm not all that concerned about the money at this point.  I'm more interested in getting more people to read the book.

Here's what I've learned about FB ads: 

1. Cast a large net.  You want your "reach" to be big, but not too big.  My first ad targeted women who like paranormal romance in the US,UK and Canada.  It wasn't that successful.  I've expanded the targeted audience to include both men and women who like paranormal romance OR the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, and added Australia, NZ, India, France, Spain and Germany.  (Yesterday, I sold my very first book in España!) 

2. Make the ad pop.  The visual that people see is a small thing on the side of their FB page.  A little image and a few words of text.  The one that's worked best for me so far is a spooky looking guy, coupled with the header "Like Paranormal Romance?" and short bit about the book that I think would intrigue people.  At least enough to click on the ad and get more information.  Apparently, creepy faces get more clicks than other visuals (including the cover art, which isn't particularly creepy).  Next time, I might try the ubiquitous shirtless hunk and see how that goes.

3. Change it up if it's not working.  If you create an ad and it doesn't seem to be doing what you hoped, you can alter it or halt it and create a whole new one.  A lot of this, unfortunately, is trial and error (and error, and error).

Is it worth the cost?  Hard to say, but I suspect it is.  A cheap paid ad on a well-viewed appropriate web site can cost a fair chunk of change, and they are usually only for a couple of days.  The ad is targeted to people likely to buy the book, but your reach can be way bigger using FB.  The bottom line is, I don't think an indie author can rely solely on free marketing strategies.  Blogs and word-of-mouth are great, but to reach the most folks, I think you have to be willing to shell out some cash.  You don't have to spend thousands, but if you want the best bang-for-your-buck, you have to be willing to spend at least some bucks or you're unlikely to get banged.
           

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Can't Tell My Book By Its Cover


Yesterday, I finished the first draft of my second book; now for edits and rewrites.  But while the book is being edited for both content and my usual flagrant misuse of hyphens, I have to get rolling on the cover.  For the first book, I lovingly tinkered with the cover for a couple of weeks, using everything I have ever learned in Photoshop.  I ended up with a sort of comic-book looking depiction, and it turned out a lot of people really hated it (see it still at Goodreads, along with other nominees for “Worst Cover Art”).  So, about three weeks after publication, I did some alterations and that is the current cover (Special Offers).  Since the new version went up, at least no one has said it’s the worst cover they’ve ever seen - an improvement for sure.

Now, I am confronted with designing the cover for the still-untitled sequel.  Below are two early-stage versions of potential cover art.  The first sort of depicts a scene from the book:


The other really doesn’t have much to do with the book but I think it looks cool:  


Such a dilemma.  Plus, I keep thinking that I should just cough up some money and get a “pro” to do it instead.  My only hesitation – well, not really the only one, but the most pressing – is that the covers from artists I can afford don’t look better than what I can come up with, and most of them kind of look the same. 
I really don’t want the ubiquitous kick-ass heroine with midriff-baring /skin-tight black leather/ rear-view…you know what I’m talking about (check out this U-Tube video; it sums up the problem better than I can).  A significant percent of urban fantasy/paranormal romance books have pretty much the same image gracing the covers.  Hell, my first book's cover is a tame variation on the theme.

I guess I'll continue trying to come up with a cover that I'm happy with, and if I can't, I'll bite the bullet and fork out some dough.  Any feedback is appreciated!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Keep Your Daily Word Counts to Yourselves


Maybe it’s just me, but I hate it when writers tweet how many words they wrote that day.  I understand they are excited to be so productive, but do they need to share that information?  No one ever posts, “I wrote 10 words today, and each one was like pulling a botfly worm out of a cat’s nose”.  It’s always a perky, “I just finished writing 3,021 words, all before breakfast”.  

I’m happy for them, I really am.  But I don’t want to be bombarded with their ability to spit out words onto paper like that Duggar woman spits out babies.  The conspiracy theorist in me suspects it is part of their nefarious plan to psychologically undermine all the other writers out in the Tweetasphere.  Because, let’s face it, who knows if they are even telling the truth?  There’s no way of checking their progress.  And even if they did type all those words, how do we know it wasn’t the same word typed 3,021 times?  

So please, I beg of you, stop making me feel inadequate and keep your word counts to yourselves.  I spend enough money on my therapist as it is.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This Self-Publishing Gig is No Day at the Beach


I am almost finished with the first draft of the second book in the Coursodon Dimension Series.  While I’m pleased with both the progress and the content, I find myself dawdling a bit.  When I was close to the end of the first book, I relentlessly plowed ahead, sometimes writing for 8 hours straight without a break.  And when I was finished, I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment.  I had done it, I wrote a complete novel!  With the current book, however, I feel much less inclined to forge ahead with the same tenacity.  I haven’t quite figured out why, but I suspect it is because I don’t want this story to end.  Oh, I am already planning the third in the series, so it isn’t angst over the end of the characters.

Maybe I’ve enjoyed writing this one more than the first?  I don’t think so, I’m just as excited about this plot as the first, perhaps more so.

It’s more likely I’m dreading the not-so-pleasant tasks of edits, re-writes, cover design, formatting and marketing associated with self-publishing.  I was blissfully unaware of the amount of time I would spend on what’s required after the book was done when I gleefully completed Special Offers.  Now, I know in excruciating detail what I’m in for.  Days and days trying to design and implement a cover that illustrates what the book is about, captures the feel of the plot and characters and doesn’t look like it was done by an amateur.  Then, dithering over if a professional cover artist is worth the cost.  Hours sending out review requests, most of which will go unanswered.  And on and on.

People may think that self-publishing is easy; you write some stuff, you put it out there, and that’s it.  WRONG!  To me, that’s more what traditionally published authors do.  Sure, they have to get someone to agree to publish their work in the first place, but after that, the decision making is mostly out of their hands.  They may not always like what the publishing house decides, but they don’t have to use time they could be writing on marketing and cover design.  I guess the difference is traditionally published authors may spend more up-front time convincing someone their work is worthy of being published, while self-pubs make up for that on the back-end of the process.

In any case, I’ll have to suck it up and finish writing.  Only a couple of chapters to go, and then the real craziness begins.  Time to refill that prescription for Xanax.  Or maybe I'll just take a trip to the beach...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is There Such Thing as a Good Bad Review?


Today I got an email from a blogger who agreed to review Special Offers.  Her review will be posted in a couple of days, and she sent a copy in case there were any errors (which I appreciate, and there weren’t any).  I’m not sure, however, what to make of the review.  She gave it 3 stars  –  an “Eh, Whatever”  on their scale -  mostly because it didn’t have enough action.  On the other hand, she also says, “While creating memorable, quirky characters, Special Offers leaves a little more action to be desired. Watch out, though, because this series has the real potential to go places.”  (Here’s the link, but it won’t work until it goes live on August 23)

So, I guess it’s a good bad review?   I agree that Special Offers wasn’t action packed, but the nature of the story dictated when the havoc was introduced.  And I can use the comments to improve the next book (which is a work in progress and definitely has more action already).   The reviewer did seem to enjoy other aspects enough to add the positive comment at the end.

Seriously though, a 3.5 star garners a "Worth a Look".  Just a half a star takes the recommendation from "Eh, Whatever" to "Worth a Look"?  And really, it seems from the comments that the reviewer was not entirely not recommending it.  Regardless of my biased opinion, "Eh, Whatever" it is.  I’m just happy she didn’t hate it; if 3 stars gets you an “Eh, Whatever”, what’s a 2 star rating, “Better than Having a Sharp Stick Shoved in Your Eye”?

Added note:  2 stars is not "Better than a Sharp Stick in your Eye", it is "Not Recommended".  Which initially made me feel better in the sense that the reviewer wasn't not recommending it.  However, upon further investigation, I discovered that even though ratings go from 1 - 5 (one being "Burn It" and 5 being "A Golden Fave", with half-points in between) the lowest rating actually given is a 3.0.  Consequently, in reality, Special Offers was given the lowest rating used by the reviewers.  I am, therefore, officially calling this my first bad review.  Which is good, because it isn't really that bad.  That's my story, and I'm sticking with it...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kinky Sex

Warning:  This post doesn't really have anything to do with kinky sex.  I'm just doing a little experiment.  I'm pretty sure that if a blog post has a title with any of the following words - sex, kinky, throbbing , you get the idea - it gets way more views regardless of its content than any other entitled tome.

Anyway, today's post has to do with reviews and marketing.  (Admit it, if the title was Reviews and Marketing, would never would have checked this out, right?)  Now that I think about it, having kinky sex with a reviewer could, in fact, be a marketing tool.  There.  I feel better.  I did mention kinky sex.  Now I can't be accused of bait and switch.  Bait and Switch...that could have something to do with kinky sex as well.  Probably something Christian Grey would be into.

So back to reviews and marketing.  Laurie, at Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews has graciously invited me to do an author interview on her blog on September 8th.  I'm very excited; this will be my first time.  Her blog readers should enjoy that; isn't it always a bonus with a virgin? (Oops, there's a sexual comment again.)  Seriously, thanks for the invitation, Laurie.  But along with the invite, she added some incredibly useful "bonus" information, the best of which was an absolutely fantastic link to a list of potential review sites.  The long and informative list was compiled by Pippa Jay and Lauri Owen.  Using it, the last couple of days I sent out 48 new review requests.  I have already received positive responses from six sites!    I had previously used another list for names of potential reviewers, from which I sent out about the same number of requests.  Most of the listings weren't accepting new requests, and of the 52 I contacted, I only got six reviews. So, I'm pretty happy with Pippa and Lauri's list; most of the sites were ones of which I was unaware.

I am encouraged by the response so far, and I hope to have more agree to review soon.  My loins are throbbing just thinking about the possibilities...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Facebook Ad Experiment Update: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

My Facebook ad finished its run yesterday, and frankly, I'd have to say it was a partial success. The ad directed people who already expressed interest in paranormal romance to a post on Special Offers' FB page, describing the book and detailing where to buy it.  I was charged - I think - every time someone clicked on the ad.

The Good: I got over a hundred "likes" on my FB page.  And along with the likes, I got some good feedback from some people on a variety of topics related to Special Offers.

The Bad:  I didn't get that many sales.  About 10% of those who liked the page actually bought the book. Which is a little confusing to me; I would have thought when someone liked the book's page, they would be somewhat inclined to shell out the 0.99 to read it.  At first, I wondered if many of those who liked but didn't buy were people that didn't own an eReader, or didn't realize that they could download the Kindle app for free for their computer.  I posted asking if the lack of an actual print version was preventing some from purchasing, but only three people said they'd buy it if it existed as a paperback.

The Ugly:  I still don't completely understand the FB ad stuff.  You get a whole crap-load of "statistics" about how many people your ad has reached, how often people click, etc, but I never got to see what the ad actually looked like.  And I have no idea if my goal of getting more sales would have been better accomplished by directing the ad to the book's Amazon page rather than its FB page.  Because whether I like it or not, the vast majority of sales are through Amazon.  Sure, a few have bought the Nook or iPad versions.  But 99% of my "sales" through Smashwords have occurred during various free promotions.

In an attempt to make some sense from the bewildering world of the FB ad, I started a new, smaller ad campaign.  This ad directs people who are interested in romance books (presumably a wider audience than before) to a new post on the book's FB page.  This time, I should only be charged - I think - when someone actually goes to the book's Amazon page.  Or maybe not.  Which brings me back to the ugly part. It is unbelievably difficult to figure out what has to happen to be charged.  So what I think I'm paying for might not be anywhere close to what I'm actually getting.  And the forums are no help at all.  I think it is because everyone is as confused as am, but too embarrassed to admit they are clueless.  Seriously, I have a Ph.D., albeit not in advertising or marketing, and I'm pretty much flying by the seat of my pants here.  So much for higher education.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Facebook Ad Experiment

I decided to try a small Facebook ad campaign to try and boost sales of Special Offers.  Setting up the ad was not particularly intuitive, and I'm still not certain I did what I intended.  I wanted an ad that, when clicked on, went to a post on the M.L. Ryan author page that described the book and gave info on where to buy it on Amazon or Smashwords.  But when I created the ad, there wasn't a preview available so I could see exactly what it would look like.  I never actually finalized the ad, so I tried again but still got no preview. This created a snafu that eventually resulted in my ad manager being shut down.  It took a couple of days to get it up and running, and then I re-did the ad and "created" it.

The ad went live, but I still never saw a preview.  Yesterday, I happened to be on my personal FB page, and my ad came up.  When I clicked on it, instead of going to my author page, it sent me directly to Special Offers' Amazon page.  Which isn't terrible, I suppose, but I'm confused nonetheless.  In four days, the campaign has reached almost 6,000.  I assume that means the ad was posted on 6,000 peoples FB page.  And apparently 40 of those people clicked on the ad.  And in that time frame, a bunch of people have "liked" my author page.  Which makes me think their click took them to my page, not the Amazon site.  So what's with that?

And with all that clicking - which isn't a great ratio, 40/6000 - I've only sold 1 book!  And I don't even know if that sale was a result of the ad or not.  This is all getting quite frustrating.  The book has 13 great reviews on Amazon, 10 of which are from people I don't know at all.  But still, my sales are pretty dismal; around 100 since it was published on February 12.

To add to my angst, a review that was supposed to be posted on June 4th wasn't (don't know if it is just postponed, or if the reviewer hated it so much, she decided not to post a review - hope to clarify that soon), and another reviewer emailed me to say that, while she found the book well-written, she just couldn't connect with the story, so she would not be reviewing it. Does that translate to "I hated it, but I'm a nice person so I thought I would spare you the trauma of having me rake your tome over the coals in print" or "I'm just not that into it so I have neither good nor bad things to say"?  Either way, I've gotten sale's boosts every time a new review comes out, and now there's going to be two less than I thought.  Of course, if the reviews sucked, there wouldn't be a sales bump, so I suppose it's all a wash anyway.

But I digress. I'll let the FB ad go a while longer and see what happens.  If sales don't pick up, I'll probably stop the campaign and try to re-work it in a way that will be more successful.  Problem is, FB doesn't give much help with exactly how to create a successful ad.  There's a lot of "try something and see how it works for you" rather than any usable hints or guidelines.

If that's the best they can do, I can see why the whole IPO thing was such a debacle.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where and Why Ellicott City, Maryland?

I just realized that sometimes, when I log into my blog, the live traffic feed from Feedjit Now thinks that I am in Ellicott City, Maryland.  Or sometimes, Colorado Springs. And Iowa City. In any case, I do not live in either city, and I thought I blocked my IP address from registering on the feed.  So what's up with that?  I've been to Colorado Springs; it is quite nice, particularly if you like Air Force pilots.  Ellicott City, MD?  Never been there, never heard of it.  But apparently, my computer hangs out there in some virtual networky way. Note to laptop:  If you are going to travel, why not go somewhere really cool, like Tegucigalpa?

Anyone have any idea why this happens?


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Publisher's Ultimatum: Yet Another Reason to Self-Publish

I read a lot of Urban Fantasy-Paranormal Romance.  I can't help it, I like vampires, werewolves and such. Zombies?  Not so much.  All that mindless brain eating gets old fast.  In any event, there's a lot of  UF-PR out there, and most of it is really good.

One of my favs is a new-ish series by J.A. Saare, Rhiannon's Law.  It's gritty and the main character, Rhiannon, is a kick-ass smart-ass (my kinda gal).  Great plots, definitely page turners.  The third book will drop soon, and I can't wait to see what happens.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be that publish the series think not enough books have been sold, and if things don't pick up, they might cancel.  I understand their business aims to make money from the sales of books.  However, this series is fantastic!  Why don't they try to do something radical and innovative to help sales. Like, I don't know, maybe promote it more vigorously?

I assume that the author signed one of those contracts that would prevent her from continuing the story on her own if it was cancelled.  Maybe not, but maybe she won't continue it anyway because the time spent on Rhiannon, Disco and Payne sans traditional publishing would not be time well spent in terms of her bank account. And I can understand that, too.  But it seems wrong that a great story would fizzle out and readers might never know what delectable twists the author had in mind.

Such is the way of traditional publishing (TP).  How many great reads have been rejected by TP houses because the first sentence didn't have enough punch, or they were tired of that particular genre, or the person doing the initial read had a fight with her significant other?  Which is why self publishing rocks.

This is reminiscent of publishing research in scientific journals in a way.  You do a crap-load of experiments, some have exciting, positive results and some that don't show anything.  But sometimes, the data that shows nothing happened can be incredibly illuminating.  Unfortunately, no one wants to publish "negative" data.  So other scientists may, at some point, ask the same questions you did, not realize you found out your hypothesis was null, and repeat what you did because they never knew you tried it.  It's all quite silly, really.

Just because the PTB think a novel doesn't fit the narrow parameters that define what TPs think constitutes a money-maker doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile tome.  But in the meantime, buy Dead, Undead and Somewhere In Between and The Renfield Syndrome.  You (and I, when they decide to continue the series) will be happy you did.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hot Firemen on a 100 Degree Day

This afternoon, I stopped by a Tucson firehouse to do some research for the book.  There were only two guys there at the time, which was a little disappointing.  Firefighters tend to be in great shape, and I kind of hoped the place would be crawling with hotties, shirtless and glistening with sweat from a recent workout.  And there was no pole - the firehouse was a converted one-story ranch house with an over-sized garage for the trucks. But the firefighters that were there were more than helpful, and they didn't seem at all annoyed at my questions.  Or concerned when I asked about the ins and outs of arson investigations. On the contrary, they seemed happy to talk to someone other than each other, and kept asking if I had any other questions.  They were probably bored.  This time of year most of their time is spent removing rattlesnakes from people's yards (they do it for free here), and they usually send more guys than needed to extract the offending reptiles.  They only need one to hold the box and one to grab the snake with the long pole.  But there is always at least one superfluous dude who just stands around and watches the other guys snag the rattler.  So I assume that ennui compels the extra man to come, because, honestly, it's not all that exciting to watch someone catch a snake.  Although it might be if the firemen were shirtless...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's hard to write when you're with 16,000 gastroenterologists

From Friday until Tuesday, I am in San Diego for a conference (for my day job).  At this conference are thousands of gastroenterologists from the U.S. and around the world.  And let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've spent a weekend with a bunch of people that, in most cases, spend their professional lives sticking things up people's butts (At least I hope it extends only to their professional life, because I don't even want to imagine them doing that in a non-professional setting).

These meetings used to be more fun when the "vendors" that flock to these things like flies on shit (I had to use that; it is a GI conference after all) were allowed to woo the attendees with awesome giveaways.  Like fancy backpacks and full sized fleece blankets.  For a awhile, the Fleet Company had a person dress up like a super-hero enema, called "Eneman".  They even gave away plush stuffed enemen, because who wouldn't want a stuffed dude with a phallic appendage sticking out of its head?  Now, you're lucky if you can scam a free pen.  I know it's better for these companies to not influence the M.D.'s, but us scientists are poor.  We can use the free swag.



Anyway, I haven't had a chance to get much novel writing done while I'm here.  During the day, of course, I have a multitude of scientific sessions to go to.  Today, I even gave a talk, which required a certain amount of advanced preparation.  Like I had to put on makeup.  In the evening, these party-animal GI people always want to get together - mostly to eat, although drinking comes in a close second.  And I'm supposed to be here not only to disseminate important scientific facts (and learn some, too) but also to make connections with other scientists.  So I kind of have to go out with these folks, even if I'd rather hole up in my hotel room (which, BTW, overlooks Petco Park where the Padres play baseball) and write another chapter.

But I think the real problem is I'm in my scientist mode throughout the day AND evening, and it's hard to switch over to author mode.  I'm really writing this hoping it will stimulate the other side of my brain so I can get back to Hailey and Alex and the parallel dimension.  Maybe I should have brought eneman for inspiration...