Hindsight is Twenty Something

A few days ago I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. Sales for Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort have been good, but reviews were a little light. The reviews the book received were outstanding; there just weren’t that many of them.

So, I thought, why not have a drawing on my Facebook author page? When the number of reviews reached 40, I’d draw a reviewer’s name at random and give away either a Scout’s Honor coffee mug or a signed copy of Mayhem. Cool, huh?

Except I didn’t take into account that many reviewers on Amazon use nicknames or initials instead of their actual names, so for the last couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out who “Keek” is, and who among my readers might be “Amazon Customer.”

Also, and this is both a wonderful thing and an almost impossible impediment, I don’t personally know at least five of the reviewers! How would I contact them if they won?

Sometime this weekend the number of reviews not only reached, but exceeded the 40 mark. I was able to track down all but two reviewers through connections on Facebook and friends of friends, but those two were untraceable. I felt awful, but went ahead with the drawing as promised, and notified the winner.

So, any suggestions for future giveaways are welcome. I believe this was good for book sales and review numbers, but as Mayhem wanders away from my core group of friends and followers, it might be impossible to track down a winner. This one has given me a massive headache. But I’m also smiling!

Peace, people!

Innocent Bystanders

Folks, I promise I’ll try to keep my sales pitches to a minimum, but as many self-published authors have discovered, we really are our own best cheerleaders. And who knows? I get new followers on WordPress almost daily and perhaps they have yet to hear about my book. Honestly, it’s a public service I’m performing here.

You see my debut novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, is my baby, and I’m proud of her. Oh, I’m well aware that she has a few flaws, but those just make her more adorable. And everyone knows that only grandchildren can attain perfection.

If you have a moment today, I’d love for you to visit Amazon, look up Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort and take a moment to read the reviews. Yes, some of them were written by personal friends, but most are from innocent bystanders. Innocent. Bystanders. Who genuinely seem to have liked my story and my characters.

I know eventually there’ll be less than stellar reviews. I’m trying to prepare myself mentally for those. An author in one of my groups said her favorite bad review was along the lines of, “This story seems to have been written by a constipated rock. Just let it GO!”

Oh, if you have read Mayhem, THANK YOU! Please leave a review. A few words mean so much and reviews are the key to keeping one’s book in the spotlight on Amazon.

End of sales pitch. Carry on (to Amazon). And peace, people.

Almost a Review of “Children of Time”

Amazon periodically sends me suggestions for new books based on my reading history. Some of their book picks are hits; others are complete misses. My most recent purchase was a home run in the sci-fi genre.

Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky is riveting. The setting alternates between an ark ship from a dying planet earth and the green planet that the humans have targeted as their best hope for mankind’s survival.

Unbeknownst to the travelers, the planet has been seeded with a nanovirus by much earlier explorers from earth. Originally, the nanovirus was intended to mentally enhance a colony of monkeys from earth; however, the best laid plans of monkeys and men go awry and the nanovirus interacts with an entirely different species, several of them, in fact.

The trials and tribulations of the crew members on the ark ship, Gilgamesh, as they travel for thousands of years going in and out of suspension and awakening to new realities every few hundred years are fascinating. There are coups and crises, romances and disappointments among the humans trying to establish a new foothold on an alien world.

But even more intriguing is the nanovirus-triggered sentience in an unexpected alien species. I won’t give away the details, but I found myself rooting for these non-mammals in the epic, penultimate battle for survival. I want to go live on their extraordinary world.

If I had ten thumbs, I’d raise every one of them for this book. The author spins a great tale.

Peace, people!

Dark Tower End or Beginning

For the past few months I’ve been traveling through more intertwining worlds than I can name thanks to the genius and imagination of author Stephen King and his Dark Tower series. I’m not a rapid reader, and these books aren’t particularly easy reads, so perhaps it took me a little longer to travel the road of the Gunslinger than it would another reader. Now that I’ve completed the journey, I’m bereft. How will I go on without Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy? Especially Oy, the billy bumbler.

My son is to blame for insisting I read the series. As a long time Stephen King devotee, I had grimly resisted reading the Dark Tower books. I’m not sure why. I started book one years ago, and I only made it through a few chapters before putting it aside. It didn’t feel like a Stephen King book. I believe at that time I wanted another Carrie, Salem’s Lot, or Christine, and this didn’t fit the bill.

More recently I’d seen the film and wasn’t impressed, but I must tell you the film bears only scant resemblance to the enormous scope of the books. The film was akin to a dry saltine cracker, while the books are a magnificent feast.

In this past year our son, Jason, persisted in cajoling me into reading the series. He fed me little tidbits that he knew I couldn’t resist, such as “Stephen King writes himself into the books,” and “He includes characters from other novels he’s written,” and finally I succumbed. Thank goodness.

Most of my books nowadays are read on Kindle, and books 1-6 were readily available in e-reader format. When I completed book six in the middle of the night, though, and immediately went to the Kindle store to download book VII, it wasn’t available. I had a panic attack. Roland and his intrepid ka tet were in dire circumstances.

I made myself wait until morning to check again on its availability, but I tossed and turned all night. The book still wasn’t available. I called my son.

“Help! I can’t get book VII on my kindle.”

“It’s there,” he said. “I read it on mine.”

“Then why can’t I?” I whined.

He laughed evilly. Kids these days.

I even tweeted Stephen King. “WTF, man! Why can’t I download Dark Tower Book VII on my kindle?”

No response. Argh.

For a week I checked almost constantly on Amazon and finally gave up, broke down, and ordered the physical book. It was HUGE. Seldom do I think about the size of an electronic version book. The space one takes up in my hands never changes. A 35,000 word book feels exactly the same as a 200,000 word book. But this book. Whoa! I felt as though I might as well have begun reading Webster’s unabridged dictionary.

It’s also a first trade edition. Briefly I wondered if it might be worth something more than I paid for it, but knowledgeable friends assured me it was not.

Gamely I plowed through. Ah, the sacrifices I made for these characters: Cramping wrists, having to use a lamp to read by in bed, not being able to tuck the tome into my handbag. Agonizing. But rewarding.

When I finally reached the end I began to cry and couldn’t stop for many minutes, not necessarily because the series has a sad ending–it really doesn’t, but because it was over. No more Roland of Gilead. No more Susannah, or Eddie, or Jake. Mostly though, no more Oy, the billy bumbler. Oh good and faithful Oy. Dammit. I’m crying again.

Peace, people.

P.S. Guess what book is now available on kindle? You guessed it, book 7. Maybe the universe was trying to teach me a lesson in patience.

This Does Not Compute

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Your life without a computer, what does it look like?

I wake in the morning

Check the weather online

Google my teams’ scores

Cruise Amazon for a time

I log into WordPress

Along about seven

Peruse my statistics

I’m in hell or in heaven.

In the shower I ponder

Topics to write

Great ideas flock to me

Then fly, out of sight.

My house is a wreck,

But never you mind

I’m too busy Facebooking

And my Twitter feed’s unkind

Without my computer

And nowhere to post

I might go bonkers, you see

I’m more addicted than most.

  
Peace, people.
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