Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Holiday Helping Hand

This time of year can be tough for many under normal circumstances. But for others, times are extraordinarily bad. These two families are facing the extraordinary. One family I know personally, the other is new to the neighborhood. Both need a helping hand...if enough donate $5, it will add up. Please consider reading their stories and helping if you can. Regardless, please share their tales.

Thank you...

Imagine losing your job of fifteen years just before the holidays. But that's okay, you think, you have a home paid for in another state. A home that was planned for retirement. Not ready to retire, but now a place for a new start. You pack up your family and move from New Jersey to Tennessee, ready for a thankful Thanksgiving with plans for a joyous Christmas. But it was not to be....your dream house had been vandalized beyond recognition.

Then toss in ending up in the hospital for several days due to issues with her diabetes. If that's not enough, one contractor has stopped work until he is paid - paid for something that isn't' passing inspection. All your credit cards are maxed between hotel bills and sheetrock & drywall that is slowing going in to help make the house a home again. You're heating up lunch, soup in cans on top of the kerosene heater you're running - remember, no electricity in the house.

And don't forget, Christmas is just around the corner.

I visited Sunday and took them groceries, a couple of Christmas things for their eight year old daughter and dog food. Please read their story and possibly help...
 Please read their story and maybe help...
The second family's story started several months ago and unfortunately today, it's an all too common one. Cancer strikes, once again. She's forty-one years old. Married. Has a teenage son. And, as you now know, is battling cancer. Her family recently moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina, so they don't have a strong connection to the community. Ellen's parents live on the west coast and fly back and forth, staying with Ellen as long as possible.

Ellen's son, Tyler, is a champion high school wrestler and I've been a long distance supporter of him for several years. Ellen's father, Lee Lofland, is a personal friend, a former police officer, a writer and the founder of the Writer's Police Academy (which I attended in 2014). He has spent his life helping others, now we have the chance to return just a small portion of that help. Even with insurance, the medical bills mount. And they don't begin to cover the costs of driving back and forth for treatments and other appointments. The financial toll is staggering (and I know this from personal experience with my late husband). Please read Ellen's story and all the updates and maybe you can help.

 Please read Ellen's story and see if you can help
Ellen and her husband at one of Tyler's winning wrestling meets.
Thank you again....and Merry Christmas!


Saturday, November 25, 2017

HOLIDAY SALE on Signed Paperback Books

Buy NOW for the Holidays!


Order a signed copy
of any or all of my three Klondike Mystery books
at the sale price of only $10 per book, normally $15 each.
PLUS, if you enter the discount code of "applejack", you get FREE shipping!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

WEP Contest Winner

If you missed my little DARK PLACES tale, Taxi Ride, for the October WEP (Write-Edit-Publish) challenge, you might want to take a minute to read it. I won Runner-Up! I'm so thrilled. There were some amazing stories in the challenge. Click the links below to read them all. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read and comment.

 WEP Runner Up Winner





Thursday, October 26, 2017

NEW RELEASE: Book #3 in the John Lee Quarrels Series by Nick Russell

Many of my readers are also followers of Nick Russell, a good friend and a great author. He started with his Big Lake series and in the last year he started a new series and book three is now available. The John Lee Quarrels books - a grittier series that will keep you wanting more. I hope you'll give it a try!
As sultry as a Florida back road in August, as mysterious as the South's live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and as deadly as a copperhead strike, the second book in New York Times bestselling author Nick Russell's new John Lee Quarrels series is sure to hook you from the first page and keep you reading late into the night!
   

*May contain strong language and adult situations some readers might be uncomfortable with.*

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Klondike Mysteries - Now in Paperback!


All three of my Klondike Mystery "whodunit" novels are now available from Amazon.
BUT, if you would like a signed copy, you need to order the books direct from my website. You can even ask for a personal inscription! Please note, Almost a Touch will be mailed after November 1st.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG for October 2017: Book Releases


Once again, it's the first Wednesday in the month and time for a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It never fails to amaze me how quickly the month passes by. Faster every month, it seems.

So this month, I'm stressed about book releases. Did I do enough pre-release marketing? Am I doing enough on release day? Will I do enough post-release?
Book Launches

Marketing is the part of publishing a book that I dread. I use Facebook. I use Twitter. I use this and two other blogs. But it never seems to be enough anymore. Each release gets a little worse and I wonder why I am still writing? People tell me they love my books, but my sales sure don't reflect it.
  • My one romance novel, Home Again, sold 100 books in the first five months. Not bad.
  • The first book in my Klondike Mystery series, Not a Whisper, sold 321 books in the first five months. Happy camper!
  • The second book in my Klondike Mystery series, Barely a Spark, sold 130 books in the first five months. Sigh....
Graph Crash clip art

So how are sales this year? Here are my YTD sales so far:
Sigh...of course, Kindle Unlimited is a factor but even the sales there don't make much of a splash.

Book three in my Klondike Mystery series, Almost a Touch, was put on pre-order September 23rd. Five days in, I had 10 pre-sales. Just prior to going live, it had made it all the way to 22 pre-sales.

Book one, Not a Whisper, was free from 9/28 through 9/30 with almost 4100 downloads. Will that translate into sales of Barely a Spark and Almost a Touch? Only time will tell. 

I've got a contest going and so far have four - FOUR - entries over the last two days. I even listed it with half a dozen contest/sweepstakes sites.

Yes...it's discouraging. At this point, I plan to write the third in my Lei Crime Kindle World Trilogy, Paradise Drift. I have no further writing plans after that...at least in the near future. So this will be my final IWSG post. It's been a fun ride!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

WEP Oct 2017: DARK PLACES


Physical or psychological.
It’s Halloween.
This has any number of possibilities!
Let your imagination run riot!


This little piece of flash fiction was featured as part of the May 2012 National Flash Flood. It's darker than my normal writing and I thought this month's WEP challenge was a good time to share it again. Below is my entry consisting of a mere 388 words, NCCO (no critique, comment only please).


The Taxi Ride

"I hate night shift, gives me heebie-jeebies," I whispered, looking in the rearview mirror at my latest passenger. "So where can I take you tonight?"

"The Pit," a voice rumbled from the back.

"The Pit, huh. I hear stuff about that place."

He grunted.

"All kinds of weird things. People go in and freaks come out."

"Don't believe what you hear, believe what you see."

"Well, I'd rather not see those kinda things." I sought his face but it was obscured by his hood.

The Pit was an old mansion about 10 miles outside the city. For the last dozen years, it had become a gathering spot for the fringes of society. Kids conforming in their nonconformity for the most part but it was the elders who gave me the creeps; tonight's passenger was one.

I slowed as I approached the gate. "Um, I usually stop at the gate." My voice betrayed me and I shook with fear.

"Drive!" 

I hesitated, "Okay. But I'm stopping on the other side of the gate."

"Keep driving." 

A shiver ran up my spine and ended with a tingling at the base of my skull as I passed through the gate, "It's a higher fare..."

"Just drive," he boomed.

"Yeah, okay." The mansion hovered in the mist that suddenly appeared. Lit only by candlelight strange shadows danced on the walls inside. I shuddered, whispering, "Could this place get any creepier?" 

He paid his fare, slid out of the cab and glided towards the house. 

"Thanks. Have a good evening," I shouted as I spun the taxi around and raced toward the gate. Strange laughter erupted behind me and I looked in the rear view mirror. 

Slamming the brakes, I screamed. 

The face in the mirror wasn't mine and it wasn't human.

His words echoed back, "Believe what you see."






Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Almost a Touch" New Release Giveaway

I've decided to celebrate the launch of my latest book, Almost a Touch (book #3 in the Klondike Mystery series), with a giveaway. It's easy to participate. Just buy the book, either now, as a pre-order, or after October 1st when it goes live.
    How do you enter? Just email me your proof of purchase (the purchase email from Amazon or a screenshot of the Thank You page from Amazon). You'll get one entry per book purchase.

    Kindle Unlimited Subscriber? You can still participate by sharing the book announcement on your Facebook page, Twitter Account or Blog. Just send me an email with links to your posts and you'll get one entry per share!

    When does the contest end? Entries emailed by midnight (ET) on October 5th will be entered into a random drawing to choose the winners. Entries received after that date will not be accepted.

    What can you win? Here are the prizes:
    • Amazon Gift Card for $10 
    • Author Classic Tote Bag, signed if desired {14" x 14" x 3"}
    • Signed paperback copy of Not a Whisper, book #1 in the Klondike Mystery series.
    • Signed paperback copy of Barely a Spark, book #2 in the Klondike Mystery series.

    BONUS Entries: Once the book goes live on 10/1, you can enter reviews. If you get a chance to read it and write a short review, send me the link for an extra bonus chance to win!

    How do I find the link to my Facebook post or the link to my Twitter tweet? From your computer, find the post in question. Hover the mouse over the date/time stamp. Right-click and choose "Copy Link Address". Paste the link into your email and send it to me.


    I hope you'll join in the fun and who knows, you just might be a winner!
    Be sure to share this blog post with your friends, too.

    Don't forget to download the first book in the series,
    "Not a Whisper" - free through 9/30!



    "Not a Whisper" - Klondike Mysteries, Book 1 (FREE)

    No Kindle e-reader? Download a free reader app for your smartphone, tablet or computer!


    Wednesday, September 6, 2017

    Blog Awards & and a Thank You



    When I started this blog in 2012, things were hot and new in the Indie world and authors were connecting via both Twitter and their blogs. Blogger provided easy ways to follow blogs and events like the April A-Z Blog Challenge brought even more followers.

    I was fortunate to have a lot of readers, albeit mostly other authors, but an active group. I received several different blog awards and have them posted on my Awards page.

    In 2013, I think, I decided to move my blog to one based on WordPress and hosted on my own domain. What a disaster! Way too many updates to keep up with, I kept losing my customizations, and hackings were rampant. But the worst thing was losing most of my followers.

    I eventually moved back to Blogger.com and chalked it up to a bad decision - at least for me. But I have never recouped my reader following and have often considered dropping this blog completely.

    And yet, I still plug away at it.

    Why am I telling you this? Well, it appears bloggers are reactivating some of the old blog awards and I've found myself the recipient, again, of the Leibster Award, thanks to Emily in Ecuador (please be sure to check out her great blog, My Life in Ecuador).

    Liebster Award
    "Liebster" is a German word meaning beloved or dearest. It is an online recognition in form of virtual award which started in 2011 passed on by bloggers to fellow bloggers for enjoying and valuing their work. The idea is to recognize the effort and give credit.

    The Liebster Award is interesting in that anyone nominated for it receives it by writing an acceptance post. The rules for accepting the award are straightforward:
    • Thank the person who nominated you.
    • Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
    • Nominate 11 people and ask them 11 questions.
    • Notify each of the nominees on their blog.
    Through the years, the logo has changed as well as the suggested requirements to participate. Here is the LINK to my old acceptance, with its requirements and here is the new logo...

    ...and here are the new requirements.

    Nominees, should you choose to accept your award, here are your questions:
    1. What prompted you to begin blogging?
    2. Which language would you like to learn?
    3. What was your favorite experience in the past six months?
    4. What one location in the world you would like to visit? Why?
    5. Do you have pets? If yes, please introduce them.
    6. What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
    7. What is your biggest struggle while writing?
    8. Who would you like to receive a week of training/mentorship from?
    9. What is the first thing you drink in the morning?
    10. How many books do you read per month?
    11. What was your favorite time of year when you were growing up? 
    Because I've been given this award no less than four times, I'm going to pass on answering the questions, but I will nominate several other blogs.
    1. Denise Covey
    2. Yolanda Renee
    3. Donna/Dolorah
    4. Louise Barbour/Fundy Blue
    5. Talon Windwalker/1Dad1Kid
    6. Olga Godim
    7. D.A. Cairns
    8. Joan/SharkBytes
    9. Tamara Gerber
    10. Doug Bittinger
    11. Sue Ann Jaffarian
    So again, thank you Emily, now I'm off to notify my nominees!

    #IWSG for September 2017: Writing Surprises


    Once again, it's the first Wednesday in the month and time for a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I rarely remember to check for the question prompt, but this time I did! So.....

    This month the prompt question is....

    Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?


    This is an easy one...I always assumed I'd be an outliner. After all, I came from an accounting and computer background. I love organization! I envisioned myself compiling a detailed outline, scene by scene, plus full character profile sheets for all the people in my book. I tried that...I still have the trilogy outlined, waiting to be written.

    But I made the mistake of writing a book by pantsing. I loved it and it worked for me. I have now written three Klondike mysteries, two Lei Crime Kindle World novellas, and one romance novel - all written by the seat of my pants.

    The upside is I love writing this way. I love discovering characters as they pop into the story, I love finding romance where I hadn't expected any, and I especially love letting the characters evolve and tell their own stories - not mine.

    The downside is remembering to record the timeline as I write it - otherwise, you can end up with some strange happenings. Yup, been there, done that, rewrote it to fit. Same for recording details about the characters as I write them. I've ended with two names for the same character (thank you beta readers), not remembering what color hair/eyes, etc. a character has or what vehicle they are driving.

    But in the end...it's all worth it!

    Sunday, August 20, 2017

    Past, Present, Future


    PAST: Two books published and a successful launch party for Paradise Dead. It got as high as #3 on Amazon's Kindle World HOT New Releases. During the launch party I sold copies my first Lei Crime novella, Paradise Down, plus copies of 7 Days of Seven and both Not a Whisper and Barely a Spark, the first two books in my Klondike Mystery Series.

    PRESENT: After taking the weekend off to do a few things around the house, I will be attending a RAD Eclipse Party being sponsored by our favorite local microbrewer, Calf Killer Brewing. Starting Tuesday, I will be editing book three in my Klondike Mystery Series, Almost a Touch. It picks up during the same time frame as book two and then moves forward - but set in the Kalispell, MT area. My hope is to have the ebook version published by the end of September, not sure of the print version.

    FUTURE: Once I get Almost a Touch published, I have to quickly move into the last of my Lei Crime KW novellas, completing the trilogy. It will be titled Paradise Drift. It will be much darker than the first two, concentrating on a current issue - human trafficking. I have a November 1st deadline for publication for the next big launch. Phew!
     

    I suspect I will take December off, after doing all the marketing needed for Paradise Drift. 2018? Not sure. I still have my Lia Rules, PI Series on the backburner. I hope to keep those books shorter and thus be able to get them to market quickly. This is the cover for the first book - if I ever write it.


    But then again, I might take the first three months of 2018 off. After all, I do have a two-week cruise to enjoy.

    Well, here's to a busy fall season, hopefully, interspersed with some local sightseeing. Oh, and if you are in the SC/NC/TN/GA area, check out my new EVENTS tab. You might find something of interest scheduled for Oct 7th.

    Saturday, August 19, 2017

    Tui Snider: Launch Party TODAY (8/19)

    Tui Snider's New Release Launch Party


    News from Tui:
    The paperback is now slowly working it's way up the bestseller charts! Right now, it's at #11 for Landmarks and Monuments. 
    Meanwhile, the ebook remains #1 in US Architecture! 

    Hope to see you on my FB Author Page
    I really hope you can drop my my Online Book Launch Party sometime this weekend. It may seem silly, but after working so hard on this book, this little virtual party is a big deal to me.

    Launch Party: Trivia Q's & Prizes
    Every hour from 10am 'til 7pm, I'll be posting cemetery symbols trivia questions. I'll use random.org
     to pick winners from those who post the right answer, and/or share the post. 

    Prizes!
    Prizes include: my hubby's skull & crossbones soap, my books (including the as-yet-unreleased Graveyard Journal), and even my music CD.  

    Invite your friends
    If you know someone who might be interested in my book, or maybe you belong to an FB group that might be interested in cemetery symbols (genealogy? ghost hunters? history?) perhaps you could share my party invitation there.  Or just TAG the people you think would enjoy coming. 

    Latecomers welcome!
    I'm sure some folks won't see the party or questions until tomorrow orMonday. That's why I am waiting to choose winners until Monday night. 

    Thanks again! And I hope to see you at the party this weekend.

    BONUS!
    Celebrate with Me on Rogue Talk Radio tonight!

    Tonight, from 8-10 pm Central Time, I'll be celebrating my book release with hosts, Sheila Gay and Kerby Dewbre on their fun show, Rogue Talk Radio! We will even be doing a live giveaway, so if you're feeling brave, call in during the show at: 323-870-3877

    Tune into the show (live or replay) by clicking this link: 

    One last thing: My book is still 1/2 price!
    After this weekend, the price of my book will double, so:  



    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Don't forget - today is LAUNCH PARTY day!


    Join our launch of 8 more mystery titles in the Lei Crime Kindle World
    Based on the best selling series by Toby Neal

    Join the launch day party and enter to win amazing prizes! 

    Grab her first book in the series free! 
    Blood Orchids


    ***From award-winning, bestselling author Toby Neal, whose writing Kirkus Reviews calls “persistently riveting,” comes the Lei Crime Series!***

    Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.

    Overcoming a past filled with scars, Lei makes a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. When a routine patrol turns up two murdered teens, Lei’s world is rocked: she knows one of the girls. Even as Lei is drawn into the case, the killer’s attention fixes on her. Despite the strain of being toyed with by a murderer, Lei’s attracted to the lead detective, Michael Stevens--but she can’t afford distractions. Amidst an enchanting backdrop of Hawaii’s black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests, a killer’s closing in on her.

          
                                      Mercury Blues                        Simmering Illusions                  Pay the Price
                                      A.J. Llewellyn                        Amy Allen                                 Corinne O'Flynn
                                   http://amzn.to/2vEEibL         http://amzn.to/2vEYHxH             http://amzn.to/2i6S7v5

       
                                        Paradise Dead                           Angel's Poison                             Sunflower
                                        D.B. McNicol                            Dylan Keefer                              Fiona Manning
                                  http://amzn.to/2vK3Umh         http://amzn.to/2wRAHGa             http://amzn.to/2fN7s2Y

     
                                                              Broken Beginnings                       Deadly Treasure
                                                              Kayla Dawn Thomas                    N Kuhn
                                                          http://amzn.to/2i6S02D              http://amzn.to/2fLF9SK