Entries are posted from Jan - Dec and excludes giveaways/contests/special events posts


Glancing Back [Jan 2, 2011]

I decided to do my quick glance back at 2010, today, after the newness of the new year had sank in. Writing-wise it was a major triumph for me.

I finally got published and it was the most wonderful feeling. After struggling for six years, it was a thrill to have something to show for it.

I then decided to travel down the road of e-publishing and have been rewarded in that department as well. In fact, according to my final rank for 2010 for Amazon (US): Werelove is in #52,889 and Jewels is #63,035 in the Kindle store. I had a nice pleasant shock when I visited Amazon UK. Werelove is #7,432 in the Kindle store. Not bad for a newbie indie author.

My final word count for 2010 was a nice 47,534 words for the year. I count this as a coup considering I spent most of 2010 promoting Jewels and Werelove: Dusk Conspiracy.

Of course, for 2011 my word count will be significantly higher, something I'm greatly looking forward to. As for releases, there are 3 planned so far:

March 2011: Moonbeams
April 2011: Werelove: Midnight Revelations
May 2011: The Tempo
Click on the titles and visit the respective websites, as well as read excerpts from the novels. That's my quick glance back. Here's to 2011 and even more adventures.


Moonbeams: Countdown to March 2011 [Jan 22, 2011]

It's finished! That's right, the first draft is completed and revisions (which were already in progress) are ongoing. I'm proud to announce that Moonbeams, my first fantasy novel will be released March 19, 2011.

You can enter The Veil and learn about Moonbeams heroine, half-elf, Shayleah D'athmoon, and her crew.

Release Date: March 19, 2011

Blurb:

A Veil Recipe

3 clueless college students

1 magical dimension

1 Warrior Princess

A pinch of danger

Take three clueless college students, mix in a tobacco field. Combine one magical dimension and stir in a defiant Warrior Princess. Throw in a pinch of danger and slow cook until steaming.

Invite five angry deities. Open and serve your new heap of trouble.


Inverness Festival of Books (Jan. 29) [Feb 1, 2011]

Have you ever wanted to meet someone so bad that you thought you might actually make a fool of yourself if you met that person in the flesh?

I had that moment last summer when I found out that the Women's Historical Society wanted to have a book festival in January 2011 and that the special guest was going to be Piers Anthony.

You have to understand, I read my first Xanth when I was 14 and because of that novel, I branched out to read authors Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey. My favorite series of his, though, is his Mode series. There are four books in it, yet that series helped me to appreciate mathematical concepts as well as a solid adventure.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to the book festival in January. This past Saturday, I got my wish. After nervously practicing what I would say (so as to not make a fool of myself), I eagerly waited for his arrival. I had to do this in between manning my author table and I have to take a moment and say thanks to my oldest child, who gallantly watched the table when I would make forays to other tables to network.

I didn't get my chance to meet Piers and his wife until the afternoon and by then my nerves had settled. I have to say that I acquitted myself rather well and had the honor of his autographed on the two novels I had with me as well as the photo op. I'll post the pictures as soon as I can get my hands on them.

I enjoyed the event greatly and look forward to next year.


Even Writers Need Some Down Time [Feb 16, 2011]

After hearing for the umpteenth time, "I thought you were a writer, how come you're reading instead of writing", I thought I'd take a moment and address this statement.

I'll admit it does cause a wee bit of frustration for me, but then after taking a calming breath and reminding myself that everyone is human, I'm able to look at the intent behind the words. I went from being an unknown to being known, and with that comes a small measure of responsibility as well as scrutiny.

When you tell people that you are a writer, that is what they expect you to be doing 24/7. I know this isn't practical, but that is the view of writers. I think, that sometimes in the rush of hearing the words "writer", "author", "novelist", the listeners and readers forget that we are human too. That we have families and other jobs.

I know that I personally couldn't write 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and not stay sane. Even I have to come up for air. And the way I chose to relax and give myself, as well as my characters, a break from me, is by reading, which was always my first love.

So please, if you see me reading, just remember that even a writer needs some down time too. I won't stop writing, but I needed a tiny rest break.


Book Review: Shadow Walkers [May 15, 2011]

Shadow WalkersShadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was a recommend and so I checked it out. I finished it in a few hours (it's under 200 pages) and was left feeling conflicted on what to rate it. It wasn't horrible by any means, it was okay.

I think my main problem was that I didn't really feel invested in the characters. I don't know if it was because of the short length of the book or if maybe they were not fleshed out more.

The one fascinating thing I did like was about astral projection. It's not an ability/superpower that you run across often in science-fiction/fantasy works. I do like the approach that was taken in describing the astral plane as well as going a little bit into some theories about it.

All in all, it was an okay read.

View all my reviews


100,000 Words - I'm Still in Shock [May 16, 2011]

When I first decided I wanted to become a published writer, terms such as "word count" and "WIP [works-in-progress]" meant little to me. I was more focused on writing a decent story than worrying about how many words or pages my story was going to be. That was back in 2004.

Now it's 2011 and I've learned much over the last seven years. I learned that understanding a story's length determines what it is. Short story, novelette, novella and novel-length, all became terms that meant something. And in case you're wondering, here is a breakdown I found on Wikipedia. Just remember that each publisher has its own ideas of the number of words that constitute what type of writing/book you've written.  

Classification

Word count

Novel

over 40,000 words

(most would like 50,000)

Novella

17,500 to 40,000 words

Novelette

7,500 to 17,500 words

Short story

under 7,500 words

  It took several years for me to actually write a novel and when I did, my word count at the end of the first draft was, to me at least, a staggering 86,500 words for Werelove Dusk Conspiracy. I didn't think I'd be able to get 50,000, let alone anything higher than that. When I wrote my second novel, Jewels, it was smaller at 56,250 (first draft). Moonbeams came in at 76,000+ words.

It was a little bit after the writing of the first two books that I met a fantasy author, Paul Genessee. Paul was lovely to work with and had lots of information about writing. What impressed me the most and staggered my mind at the same time was his word counts. He said that he averaged between 100,000 to 150,000 words per book. I personally knew only one other author at the time who had written over 100,000 words. One of Elissa Malcohn's Deviation novels was over that 100,000 mark.

I never thought I'd write anything that long. That's the honest truth. So imagine my surprise when I did it. And what a shock it was. When I started writing on Werelove Midnight Revelations, I was aiming for around the same word count as book 1. But my characters had other plans. Not that I'm complaining.

I suppose the moral of this little rambling piece is this: you can accomplish anything and everything if you don't overthink it.

Oh, and a nice funny sidenote: I no longer have an excuse for not hit 50,000 words during NaNo. Why? Because I wrote 76,000+ words during April. If I can do that, I can do anything.


Book Reviews: "The Water Wars" & "The Lost Saint" [June 3, 2011]

The Water WarsThe Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I don't like giving up the fight when I start reading a book but I've come to realize that time is precious to me and if a book doesn't catch my interest, then I'm not going to struggle through it.

I took a chance on this dystopian novel (a genre I normally shy away from) because I liked the premise. What would the world be like if water was scarce and had to be rationed?

What did me in was the flatness of the characters. From the get-go I had trouble relating. They didn't feel real to me.

Will I try another dystopian novel? I've got one more in my TBR that I'm going to give a shot. We'll see.

View all my reviews  


  The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine,  #2)The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

*sighs* Maybe it's my mental state. Or maybe I'm being too picky and not allowing myself to suspend my disbelief. I read the first novel, "The Dark Divine", at a fairly decent pace and rated it accordingly. I started on this one and was put off by the main character's behavior. I hate whining, especially when you ask someone for help and they are trying to assist you. And you repay their kindness by complaining and/or not even trying.

Blame my lack of finishing this book on a personal pet peeve but I just couldn't get past it.

View all my reviews


Bumper Sticker Entertainment [Jun 4, 2011]

Maybe my creativity is in overdrive. Or maybe I'm just bored because I keep having to sit at red lights that seem to take FOREVER, but lately I've been making note of bumper stickers. And I've seen some pretty amusing ones as well. Just thought I'd share some.

"God is Great. Beer is Good. People are Crazy." - Enough said.

"Silence is golden but duct tape is silver." - This has become my new catchphrase any time my children can't be quiet fast enough.

"God doesn't send people to hell. He just honors their choices." - I don't see too many religious bumper stickers so this one caught my eye and gave me a good laugh (not that I'm anti-religion). I just found it amusing because it shifts the blame back to the person in the wrong. And consider how many refuse to accept that it's their fault, I thought this bumper sticker appropriate.

"My cat is smarter than your honor roll student." - This one made me laugh because I'm a huge feline fanatic. Do I believe that statement? Well...


Too much noise with no definition [June 19, 2011]

It's days like this when I hate having insomania. My mind is so full of noise from various characters and storylines that no particular one is defined.

In other words, no one is standing out. Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. Yes because when you are supposed to be writing and you can't "hear" the characters it can lead to a case of writer's block.

No, it's not necessarily a bad thing if you've been writing nonstop and need to take a break from yourself and your characters.

Lots of chaos and so little time. Yep, it's one of those days.


Ebooks - Figures and Insights [July 1, 2011]

I finally decided to take the plunge and post my book sales for both the Kindle and Smashwords.com. Why? Well, because I hope it will help those that are unpublished and newly published indie authors get an idea of ways they can market their own works.

First, I want to start off with some of the lessons I learned since putting out my first ebook back in February 2010.

  1. When an ebook is priced higher than $2.99 by a virtual unknown, you will make some sales (especially if you're marketing aggressively) but not as many as you would like. It's a simple piece of logic: people don't like to spend money on an unproven thing.
  2. The lower the price the more sales. Why? Because people will take a chance on something cheaper. However, if you're trying to profit, you have to sell more because the royalty rate for $2.98 and under is 35%, whereas the royalty rate for $2.99 and up is 70%.
  3. To make any type of sales you have to market yourself. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, review sites, newspaper, etc., you won't be noticed if you don't let yourself be seen.

Now, with that being said, I noticed that once I dropped my prices, my sales did increase. I'm still continuing to experiment with pricing but I've settled on a formula that works for me. I'll let you know how it all pans out next year.

Below are my figures for 2010 and for Jan - Jun 2011. Thank you to everyone who took a chance on me and my work. I hope I continue to make you proud. =========================================

Overview

Pricing Notes Total Overall Kindle Sales Kindle UK Sales Kindle DE Sales Smashwords 2010 Smashwords 2011 Smashwords 2011 Coupon Sales Smashwords 2011 UK

Sheet 1: Pricing Notes

Sheet 2: Total Overall

Sheet 3: Kindle Sales

Sheet 4: Kindle UK Sales

Sheet 5: Kindle DE Sales

Sheet 6: Smashwords 2010

Sheet 6: Smashwords 2011

Sheet 7: Smashwords 2011 Coupon Sales

Sheet 8: Smashwords 2011 UK


Review: "Hit List" by Laurell K. Hamilton [July 11, 2011]

Hit List (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #20)Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, it took me a few days to organize my thoughts but here goes.

First I want to say, "Kudos, Hamilton, for going back to action and plot." I truly have missed them in your previous novels.

With Hit List, the Anita Blake that enthralled me and kept me turning page after page when I should've been resting, came back. The focus wasn't on her personal life and her "honeys" as it was on her skills and efficiency as a Federal Marshall working on preternatural cases.

It was enjoyable to see more of Edward, Olaf (that man truly creeps me out) and the return of others from previous novels. I won't say who, but it was a nice surprise.

It was nice not to get smacked in the face with Anita's sex life and for that I was grateful. I hope that the next Merry Gentry book will also be a great read.

View all my reviews

End of the Tour Reflections [Aug 15, 2011]

Wow, four weeks sure goes by fast. I can't believe it's the end of my first blog tour. I want to thank all the tour attendees, the bloggers who let me stop by, and the radio show hosts who graciously gave me a chance to come on their shows.

As an indie author, one has to constantly be on the ball about marketing and promoting. You have to budget your time, money and energy to get the word out about yourself, while, at the same time, making sure not to spam and annoy everyone about your novel(s).

It's a fine line to walk, and sometimes, it can be stressful. But a few things I learned from this tour are

  1. Pick a date and then make sure to get yourself booked at least two-three months in advance. I have to admit that I had considered doing the tour but waited until almost the last moment (try 3 weeks before the tour start date) to ask around. I was grateful that I had a good response, but next time, I will start earlier.
  2. It's never too late to add more stops to the tour. I was contacted by several of the tour stops after the tour had begun, asking if they could be included. My answer: Yes!
  3. Don't be afraid to try new ways of interviewing and writing guest posts. I did an interview, but it was done through the eyes of my characters. [READ IT HERE]. I also did a special vlog for one of the tour stops. [WATCH IT HERE]
  4. I also made use of my profile page on Goodreads.com to advertise my blog tour.
At the end of the day, I have to say that the work and the time were well worth the effort and the fun I had while touring. I'm looking forward to doing another one soon.


"Werelove #3: Night Betrayals" Cover is Here [Aug 17, 2011]

When JD, my cover artist, called and said he had my new cover art for Werelove: Night Betrayals, book 3 in the Werelove Series, I was excited. I had seen the rough draft and was pretty happy with the direction he was going. I was not planning on being so shocked and overjoyed that my first reaction was tears. That's right, tears. I cried in shock and happiness all at once.

I've always had a variety of emotions when JD lets me see my covers, but this was the first time I cried. Something about this one, struck a chord deep in my heart.  

All three covers so far in the Werelove Series

Please feel free to leave comments. I really would like to hear them.


"The Rising": Cover is Here [Aug 18, 2011]

My cover artist is on a roll. Oh yes, and I'm loving the creativity that is flowing so well this week. Check out the cover for Book 1: The Rising in the "Annals of the Las Armas" series. It's a YA Sci-Fi story that I'm having fun writing. Feel free to comment.  


Character Takeover [Aug 24, 2011]

*This is a repost of the Guest Blog I did for Good Choice Reading during the Moonbeams-Werelove Blog Tour. For those who always wondered what my characters really think of me...this is for you. *


The meeting place was in a less than stellar part of town. The cloaked traveler hurried along, being sure to avoid groups of chatting people. The figure slowed as it neared the meeting place. Casting an assessing glance about, the visitor rapped the required coded knocks and slipped inside when the door opened.

Inside, the low murmur of voices filled the air as customers struck bargains, negotiated contracts and conversed merrily as the drinks flowed. The traveler nodded to the petite raven-haired tavern owner who led the way to the very back of the building. The traveler stood and said nothing, waiting on the people seated at the crowded table to notice.

A young woman with red hair and emerald green eyes threw the visitor a startled glance before frowning. “You're late, you know.”

All talk at the table ceased as the three men and four women gazed at the traveler.

“Well, what are you waiting for Uncle Stefan? Stop being weird and ditch the cloak.”

The man chuckled and unclasped the buckle at his throat. He neatly caught the cloak as it fell and folded it. “No need to get upset, Laylah. Remember it's all about presentation.”

“Presentation? I thought it was about the story?” demanded the young man to the left of Laylah.

“Sometimes, Cory, it is. But our esteemed creator likes to be a difficult,” explained the young half-elf with the giant sword strapped to her back.

“Hey, now, don't talk about people who aren't here. It's rude.”

“Aw, Britta, c'mon. We can gossip. I promise you, Lakisha has gone to bed. I think her kids left her exhausted. Now if it were me, I'd still be up. After all, it's the weekend and it's time to p-a-r-t-y!”

“Yeah, you would,” smirked the man to the left of Laylah.

“And just what, Donil, do you mean by that?”

“Exactly what you thought he did, Girl.”

“Nobody asked you, Shayleah!”

“Children, children. No fighting or I'll separate you.”

“Yes, Gerton!” The table's occupants replied and obediently quieted.

Stefan rolled his eyes and sat. “We came here to talk about our chaotic writer so that others can learn about her.”

“Yeah, but just what should we tell them? I personally have a complaint. She keeps letting that ONE over there do things to me!” Megan wailed.

Shayleah smirked and caressed her sword. “Would you like me to demonstrate for the visitors?”

“See!” Megan screeched.

Cory covered his ears and mumbled, “If Shayleah doesn't kill you, I'll ask Lakisha for permission to tape your mouth shut.”

“How about we get back to business?” Donil interrupted.

“Good idea. Let's start with the series our stories are in,” suggested Britta.

“All in agreement?” Laylah asked and counted the raised hands. “Uncle Stefan?”

“Don't worry. I have the questions right here.” He pulled a few sheets of paper and set them on the table. “Let's begin.”

Question #1: What can you tell us about the books on this blog tour?

Britta: “Ours, Werelove Midnight Revelations, continues Laylah's story, especially her Senior year at the Academy. She's got LOVE on the brain but Daddy Dearest is being a pain in the butt about it.”

Donil: * growls * “I swear I'm going to do something about that overbearing, overgrown, arrogant...”

Laylah: “Um hm. Let's talk about something else. Please?”

Cory: “All right. We can talk about Moonbeams. It's about how Megan, Rob and myself end up in this crazy, fantasy place with all these different races like elves, Trolgres, dwarves and others that are magical in nature.”

Megan: “Don't forget to mention the bad décor, the lack of color, the rudeness of the people and the lack of proper acknowledgment of my status as Diva.”

Gerton: “If you don't quiet down, you will be walking the rest of the journey through the Veil.”

Megan: * pouts *

Shayleah: “Don't forget to the mention the battles, rubbing elbows with royalty and the good eating you can find in the Veil.”

Question #2: How would you describe Lakisha?

Stefan: “Very chaotic. But when she does buckle down and tell our stories, she is very dedicated.”

Laylah: “She really digs deep. She wants you to know us and feel us.”

Megan: “I personally think she likes to torture me, but I don't know why. I mean, I'm the one with all the common sense here.”

Cory: * chokes on his drink and starts laughing*

Donil: “Did she just say common sense? I think I need to get my hearing checked.”

Britta: “Fellows, focus. Remember, inquiring minds want to know. Let's see. I would have to say that her mind is always playing the “what if” game as she's writing. Which is fun because when we decide to deviate, she rolls with the punches.”

Shayleah: “She's not afraid to take a chance on a subject. Which is good because some of our stories are dark.”

Question #3: What are some things readers can look forward to in the upcoming novels in the different series?

Gerton: “For us in the Veil, more battles.”

Laylah: “My powers activating and learning to control them.”

Stefan: “More face time for me.” *waves to Wanda* “Lakisha promised!”

Cory: “Visiting new places in the Veil and meeting more friends and enemies.”

Megan: “More respect for my common sense.”

Everyone groans and glares at her.

Megan: “What? It's true and you know it!”

Donil: “You know it's not all about you, Megan. Anyway, a lot of us have to make tough choices that will affect our relationships past and present and even some future ones.”

Shayleah: “Secrets about the position of Peacekeeper and what it means for me and my relationships with my friends and traveling companions. Oh, and maybe if I can convince her, a cliff to throw a certain aggravating fiance off.”

Britta: *doubles over laughing* “Whew! That's why I love hanging out with you guys! Hm, it means more reflection on my friendship and being true to myself and ideals when put into certain situations.”

Stefan rustles the papers, getting them in order before putting them away. “I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm outta here. Don't want to wake the sleeping writer. You know how grouchy she is when she's had no sleep.”

Everyone laughed and stood. A quick round of hugs and good-byes followed before the group dispersed to return to their homes.

Necronomicon 2011 - Schedule Insanity [Aug 31, 2011]

I jokingly refer to Necronomicon as my one true vacation during the year. It's the only time that I get to be childless for more than five hours and it's a great feeling.

Last year was my coming out party in a way. It was my first time being on panels and I managed to land on four:

I was expecting around the same number this year because there is always a nice turn out at Necro with authors and artists as well as the convention-goers. Imagine my surprise when I got the tentative schedule for this year. At first It thought I was seeing things so I went back to the beginning and wrote down the name of each panel that I found my name listed on.

My head reeled at the final count of 9. That's right 9 panels spread across three wonderful days. I was amazed, shocked and a little terrified. I want to do my best and I hope I do each panel topic justice. I can't say which ones yet until the final schedule is released but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

If you like science fiction/fantasy/horror/anime/gaming, then this convention held in St. Petersburg, Florida is one to consider. Just visit their main website HERE for more information. I hope to see you all there.


Bring Back That Loving Feeling [Sept 18, 2011]

Sometimes after going all out, full steam ahead, a person needs to slow down and take stock of what they want in life and where they plan to go.

I used to confuse writer's block with lack of motivation but now I've learned the difference. Writer's block means you can't come up with anything creatively. Being unmotivated means you don't have the energy to even try to do anything.

I've been suffering from lack of motivation. It's not that I don't have stories and deadlines to meet. No, it means that I haven't had the energy to even get focused to do one of the things I love to do: write.

This week I'm going to try change some things in my day-to-day life that should alleviate my lack of energy, get me some much needed sleep, and provide the boost I need to get back into my writing groove. We'll see how it goes.

On a positive note: Jewels, my science fiction novel, has been doing some serious hangtime in the US Kindle store Family Saga category Top 100 since September 9. The position fluctuates but so far the highest the rank it has had is #55. Can't wait to see how the rest of this month goes.


Review: Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress [Oct 1, 2011]

Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress (The Amielian Legacy: The Stregony Sequence #1)Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress by Christine E. Schulze

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First I would like to say that the reason this novel stayed in my currently reading shelf forever is because of my eReader deciding to have a software malfunction. And since I had it in epub, I had to hunt down something to read it with.

Needless to say, I did find something and finished the story. Now on to the review.

My rating is 3.5 stars (I don't think you can give half stars on here and if you can, I haven't figured it out yet).

There were some grammatical/punctuation errors that distracted me a little from the storyline.

The overall flow was pretty smooth though occasionally I was left wondering if I had missed something after scene shift. I then went back and reread the previous section and realized, nope, I hadn't missed anything.

The characters were not flat by any means, which is a good thing, since I tend to favor character-driven stories. I did feel that they could have used a little more to make them fully relatable. I was vested enough to want to finish it but not enough to emotionally attached to the main characters' plight.

I liked the concept of vampires being what they are because of a curse.

Would I read something else by this author? Yes, I would.

View all my reviews


Seeing is Believing, Maybe [Oct 6, 2011]

Everyone has heard the saying, "seeing is believing," which usually refers to some extraordinary or over-the-top tale that has been spoken that leads one to a general sense of disbelief until the truth of the matter is proven.

If someone had told me a couple of years ago that I would make a Kindle bestsellers list or any bestsellers list for that matter, I would have laughed. Mostly because I didn't think I would ever gain that kind of popularity, not without having the backing of a publishing house behind me.

Yet, what I thought was impossible has come to pass. During the month of September, I was rewarded with a nice shock: my science fiction space opera novel, Jewels, had made its way onto the US Kindle top 100 Bestsellers list. This was not the first time that this novel had made it onto a list. When the German Kindle store opened in May/June 2011, Jewels made it to the top 100 in the eBooks > eBooks Foreign Language > English > Fiction > Popular Fiction > Family announcements category, before falling off that list.

Yes, I was thrilled, even though it took meant get that first top 100 in a newly opened Kindle store, I was still happy. Little was I to know that everything was going to change during the summer.

The next milestone was that Jewels hit the triple digits for the first time in June with 109 ebooks sold. July followed with 121 ebooks sold. I did a lot of hyperventilating and walking about in a daze at the figures. I racked my brains trying to figure out what was going on.

When the figures dropped slightly in August, with 88 sold, I thought the two previous months were a fluke. Not that I was complaining, but hey, it made sense, right?

September came and I thought I'd make around the same number of sales as August. I was about to get a major wake-up call and several happy firsts that I wasn't going to know how to handle and that left me shaking my head in and my mouth silent. For once, I had nothing to say except, "I can't believe what I'm seeing."

It was on September 11 that Jewels broke into one of the US Kindle top 100 Bestseller lists at #78. Once again it turned out to be a category that I wasn't familiar with: Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Family Saga, but I didn't care. I had made it.

Yet I was baffled by this sudden surge in popularity. I decided to track this amazing thing and spent every day after that in dazed delight as Jewels hit 3 more top 100 lists: 2 in the US Kindle Store and Books categories and returned to the same top 100 list in the German Kindle Store that it had landed on back in June.

So the breakdown looked something like this:

[Categories]

[Highest: #38 | Lowest: #97 ] [Highest: #74 | Lowest: #99 ] [Highest: #86 | Lowest: #100 ] [Highest: #52 | Lowest: #76] Jewels also sold an amazing 187 ebooks in the US Kindle store for the month.

Yet, the surprises during September didn't stop there.

On September 25, as I was checking all my other ebooks to see if they had made it to any lists, I discovered that my YA novel, Werelove Dusk Conspiracy, had made its first appearance in a top 100 list courtesy of the German Kindle store.

[Category]

I guess seeing is really believing and if this keeps up, I'll have to take that saying as my catchphrase.


Off to Necronomicon [Oct 21, 2011]

The day has finally arrived and, as usual, I'm rushing about doing last minute things. Some unexpected babysitting has changed what I have to do but not by much. I'll be on the road by 2:30 at the latest.

I hope to get lots of vid for my Kishaz Talks show as well as pics of the costumes this year. I'm also planning on posting a report about each days news.

Necro here I come!


Necronomicon 2011 Recap [Oct 26, 2011]

After a very hectic, but fun weekend, I thought it prudent to take a moment and do a recap of my adventures during this year's Necronomicon. I learned a lot and I thought I'd share them with you.

1) Some people are more fashion-challenged than others when it comes to costuming. I'm game for most things but there are times when doing a second check before leaving one's house would be a good idea.

2) With the approaching Twilight movie on the horizon, the amount of love/hate for the series is amazing. There were plenty of panels where the discussion at some point of another had the series mentioned.

3) Being friendly and approachable is a great thing. Thank you to all the guests who came up and talked with me, especially those who remembered me from my first con appearance last year. It surprised me and made me feel pretty good.

4) Judging a book by it's cover can lead to confusion.

5) Being a girly girl isn't always a bad thing. ;)

I'm definitely looking forward to next year and all the new authors and guests I get to meet.

If you're curious about Necronomicon, you visit their website HERE.


NaNo Thoughts [Nov 1, 2011]

It's 9:58 am and after having an insane weekend and even crazier Monday evening, I'm trying to pull my sanity back in so that I can I can get down to the business of writing. This year I'm on a mission. I will reach my goal, no matter what.

After several months of depression and having a personal life that has been driving me constantly to edge of insanity, I'm trying to get back to that writing zone that I had discovered back in August 2008. That last jaunt spanned 2 1/2 years of writing and gave me four novels [Jewels, Werelove Dusk Conspiracy & Midnight Revelations, Moonbeams].

I miss those days and the joy of writing and jumping into the fascinating worlds of my characters. And my characters reassured me that they miss me, too.

So I'm taking time for me. This month I'm going to be a little selfish and do what I want and I'm not anyone or anything stop me.


"Dream Miner" Cover [Nov 5, 2011]

Thinking outside the box is always fun and working with an artist who gets that concept is even better. Once again JD has traveled an intriguing path to give me the cover for my paranormal thriller. I have to thank my editor Courtney Slagle for helping us come up with the cover.

Here it is as well as the blurb. The tentative release date is December 2011.   Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Blurb:

West CBI agent, Verity Sanchez, is tracking a killer who leaves no clues and invades her dreams. On edge and nearing a mental breakdown, she gets help from an unexpected source.

East CBI agent, Arik Salem, has come out west to solve the unsolvable. He doesn't count on landing in the middle of an investigation nor the talented agent who is assigned to assist him. He can't let her get close or risk his secret destroying the trust they've built..

As the body count and dreams increase, Verity must find a way to end both, or be consumed by the twisted desires of a killer.


NaNoWriMo Weeks 1 & 2 Recap [Nov 14, 2011]

Wow, I can't believe that two weeks have flown by. Where did all the time go? Wait, I know! It was all spent writing!

Well mostly. I'm taking a step back and analyzing how my past two weeks have gone and how I hope my next two will go.  

WEEK #1

Day 1 started off extremely slow. I only managed 103 words and I worried if I was doomed to fail like last year. Days 2 & 3 were slightly better, though still under the 1,700 word goal I had set for each day.

Day 4 saw a change of pace and motivation. My best friend and fellow NaNoer, Angela Markham, whipped out the NaNo stick and began beating me into shape. Because of her, I started getting 2,000+ words over the next three days. Was I still lagging behind where I should be?

Yep, but I was closer and so I ended week one being only 5,000 words below where I needed to be. Not bad after having such a slow start.  

WEEK #2

Now that week 2 is ending, I have to say I've closed the gap on my goal. If I had stuck to the 1,700 words a day then my word count would be: 22,100. As of 11:59 pm my total word count for days 1 -13 is 19,303. That means I'm 2,797 behind the project count, but that's better than being over 10,000 behind like last year.

I'm feeling good about my chances for the rest of the month and I'm determined to win this year after failing to do so last year. Wish me success. I know I'll be aiming for it.


NaNoWriMo Week #3 Recap [Nov 22, 2011]

It's the end of week 3 for me. And I think I should explain how I'm doing my weeks *winks*.

Every 7 days I consider a week as having passed. So, now that it's the been 21 days, another week has gone by. Just thought I'd explain in case some are thinking of the calendar weeks.

Anywho, I've been on fire this week and I'm grateful. I think a big part of it was the fact that I finally got some much needed sleep after suffering a few months of insomania. Actually resting while sleeping was wonderful, too.

I plan to keep up the pace as we trudge into the last few days of this month. I will hit that 50,000, just you wait and see.


NaNoWriMo: I did it! [Nov 30, 2011]

I DID IT!

After many sleepless nights and countless beatings from Ang's "NaNo stick", I reached my goal. Yes I cut it close, but you know what, that's how I do it best.

Now to take a breath, bask in the glow of meeting the goal and then back to the grind. Man, has this been a fun year!


Just How Do They Figure Royalty Anyway? [Dec 7, 2011]

Today, I thought I'd write about how Createspace/Amazon figure out the pricing and royalties for indie authors who use their publishing platforms. I want to make a note that this post is dealing with the paperback (Createspace) end and not the digital (Kindle) publishing platform.

I know that when I first signed up with Createspace in January 2010, I spent over three hours reading every thread, forum and FAQ on how to publish with them. I've also learned over the last two years some things through experimentation. For newbie indie authors, the whole process can be rather daunting, especially the pricing and royalty aspects.

So here is, I hope, a more simplified version of the FAQ article that explains how they get royalty which should also give you an idea of how to do your pricing.


The example we're going to use today is

Createspace offers two plans: Standard (free) and Pro Plan ($39). Let's begin with the Standard Plan first. Depending on the number of pages and type of paper, the fixed charge as well as the per page charge will vary. For our example the following is true:

1) The base price of the book is calculated as follows: fixed charge + 0.02 x total pages.

In other words: 1.50 + 0.02(total pages)

Here is what the cost would be:
1.50 + 0.02(204)
1.50 + 4.08
5.58

2) Next you figure the percentage that the various sales outlets are taking:

So, if you make your book $10.00, the respective price cut looks like this:

3) You then add the base price of the book to the respective sales outlet cut:

Basis Price + Sales Outlet

4) To figure out your royalty, subtract the sales outlet price cut from your list price:

List Price - Sales Outlet Total Cut


Continuing with the example from above, the following is true for the Pro Plan:

1) The base price of the book is calculated as follows: fixed charge + 0.02 x total pages.

In other words: 0.85 + 0.012(total pages)

Here is what the cost would be:
0.85 + 0.012(total pages)
0.85 + 0.012(204)
0.85 + 2.44 [please note that numbers are rounded down instead of up]
3.29

2) Next you figure the percentage that the various sales outlets are taking:

So, if you make your book $10.00, the respective price cut looks like this:

3) You then add the base price of the book to the respective sales outlet cut:

Basis Price + Sales Outlet

4) To figure out your royalty, subtract the sales outlet price cut from your list price:

List Price - Sales Outlet Total Cut

In your Createspace dashboard, when you are going to set the price, below the box is a sentence that will tell you the minimum price you can sell your book for. Ideally, you want to go a little above that, but not so high that you'll give yourself and your potential readers a nosebleed at the price.

Tomorrow, I will do a breakdown for the digital (Kindle) pricing and royalty.


Just How Do They Figure Royalty Anyway? Part 2 [Dec 8, 2011]

Yesterday I talked about how pricing and royalty can be calculated for Createspace. Today we are going to talk about pricing and royalty for digital (Kindle) publishing.

Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP for short) offers two types of royalty options: 35% and 70%.

For your book to qualify for the 35% option it must be priced between $0.99 up to $200.00. Not too hard, right?

~The 70% option requires a little more~

As long as you follow the guidelines set out by KDP, you should have no problems.


New KDP Select & Indie Publishing [Dec 19, 2011]

I've been contemplating this for several days now as I tried to weigh all angles of this rather interesting program being offered by Amazon.

Here's what the Kindle Digital Publishing newsletter had to say about the program:

"KDP Select is a new option dedicated to KDP authors and publishers worldwide, featuring a fund of $500,000 in December 2011 and at least $6 million in total for 2012, giving you a new way to earn royalties, reach a broader audience, and use a new set of promotional tools.

Here’s how it works: When you make any of your titles exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, those with US rights will automatically be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and can earn a share of a monthly fund. The monthly fund for December 2011 is $500,000 and will total at least $6 million in 2012. You’ll also have access to a new set of promotional tools, starting with the option to promote your KDP Select-enrolled titles for FREE for up to 5 days every 90 days.

You can immediately enroll books in KDP Select by visiting the KDP website, where you can also access detailed reporting on the number of borrows for each enrolled title. KDP Select is available for titles participating in both the 70% and 35% royalty programs."

At first, this seems like a good thing, right? I mean, who doesn't want a piece of that pie. However, when you visit the KDP site and read through the FAQ section, you learn that it's not as easy as all that. I decided to break it down for my fellow indie authors and unpublished authors who are considering using the program.

#1) You have to enroll into the program. It is not an automatic thing. If you are a current KDP member, you have to go through your dashboard and select ENROLL. However, there is a catch which leads us to...

#2) If you have your title(s) selling anywhere else (PubIt, Google Books, Smashwords, I-store, etc), you have to remove them for the 90 days that you are enrolled with KDP Select. Why? Simply put, KDP Select has an "exclusivity" clause that mandates your title remain for 90 days and not be sold anywhere else, INCLUDING your website/blog. This is for DIGITAL(EBOOK) format only. If you have your title(s) in paperback or audiobook format, you can still sell that way.

#3) While your title(s) is/are enrolled, readers can still buy via Amazon's websites. That means you are still making royalty on your Kindle sales.

#4) The most eye catching part of the above KDP Select offer is your chance to get a piece of the rather large monthly fund. Now, if you visit the website, this is the example they use to show you how much you might make in one month:

"Your share of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library Fund is calculated based on a share of the total number of qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles. For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000 and the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000 in December and if your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 in December."

What does that mean? Simply put, unless your book is borrowed a lot, you won't see such a high return during a month. The other downside is the more titles enrolled in the program that month that are borrowed, the less percentage you'll earn.

As an indie author you have to weigh this against what you could potentially make having your title(s) in all the other ebook retailer stores.

I'm personally still debating about whether to enroll some of my future works. I'm not going to do it for any that I have published and available right now. Only time will tell if this idea is a good one or not.


2011: Year in Review [Dec 31, 2011]

I'm sitting here, staring at the clock and, for once, I'm content to watch another year end. This year has been even more of a wild ride than when I debuted last year.

I've watched indie publishing grow in leaps and bounds and I've had the honor of meeting debuting indie authors and indies who have been around for a while.

To my surprise and delight I managed to publish three books of the five I had hoped to get out with the remaining two halfway completed. I'm looking forward to next year and my goals of getting more of my adventures published for readers to enjoy.

I spent much of this year with my mouth hanging open in shock, my friends telling me, "we told you so," and my emotions raging as I watched Jewels sudden surge in popularity which then culminated in a 15 - week run on the US Kindle Top 100 Bestseller's List in the Family Saga category. Jewels repeated that success of making it to top 100 lists in the German and France Kindle Stores as well. Adding to my giddiness was Werelove Dusk Conspiracy making it to a top 100 list in the German Kindle Store.

Along with this great news, I watched the large jump in sales that saw me hit first 100 ebooks sold in a month, then 200, and finally in November, 292 sold, the highest yet for any of my ebooks. The book with the mojo: Jewels. Maybe it's the eyeball. Maybe it's the color purple. Whatever it is, I hope other readers will take a chance.

This year was a sad one as well. Anne McCaffrey, one of my all-time favorite sci-fi/fantasy authors, passed away this year. It is a huge loss and I will always remember and treasure the books and the adventures she shared with all her readers.

My entrepreneurial spirit kicked it up a notice and I decided to branch out, try new things and do my favorite thing: networking. I met a film production company owner, a newbie with a unique vision, and plenty of bloggers and readers. I started my own talk show, The Indie Author How-to, and it's blog (visit here).

I felt it was time to pay it forward and I hope to continue to help other indies.

Without the constant support of people in my life: children, family, Dianne Dykstra, Elissa Malcohn, Lyn Ehley, Allan Baker, JD Hollyfield, Courtney Slagle, Jay Hurd, Sonny, E Rose Sabin, Flossie Benton, the Citrus County Librarians and my readers, I would have despaired and given up a long time ago. So thank you. All of you. You are all the motivation I need.

May 2012 be as interesting as this year.



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