Okay, so “We’re Number One“ is a lot cooler and easier to chant, but for one brief shining moment on Sunday morning my first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, came in at number 384 on Amazon in the Women’s Action and Adventure Fiction category.
And I know what you’re probably thinking—“Leslie, dear, there are likely only 384 entries in that very narrow category…”
However, having tracked my book since it was first published I can assure you that’s not the case. I broke into the top 500 about a month ago after being well above 1,000 for the longest time. And even as I write this I’m back to #505, so it’s always changing. I can’t get too cocky.
I’m wondering if there’s a category in which Mayhem might be number one? How about Women’s Action and Adventure Fiction Featuring Quirky Jugglers? I’d almost bet I’d be in at least the top five.
There’s an ad for my first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, now running on Facebook. My Facebook friend and author, Lori Roberts Herbst, helped me set the ad up at extreme peril to her own sanity. Now that’s what I call a good friend.
So far the ad, in conjunction with my book now being listed on Kindle Unlimited, has increased my book’s visibility and its sales in a positive manner. I’ve been a bit obsessive in measuring the difference between ad costs and the number of pages read. According to my calculations I’ve either made a profit of around one million dollars or $15.65. Really, it’s too close to call.
Studly Doright, of course reminds me that there’s no profit until I’ve recouped the costs of editing, cover design, and the other bits that went into self-publishing a novel. Sure hoping that million dollars is closer to the right estimate.
I have two books on the market—now, that’s a phrase I thought I’d never type. I must admit, it feels pretty good. And with summer upon us, everyone needs at least one of them to read. Both would be better, right?
One is a romance set primarily in the Texas panhandle where I was born and raised. As I was writing The Cowboy and the Executive I fell in love with my male protagonist. Barton Young is good looking, he can sing, and he likes to dance. What more could a girl want? But does D’Aun Gilman dare fall for him when doing so might cost her the job she loves? This tale is definitely on the spicy side.
My first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, follows the adventures of newly widowed, Paula Jean Arnett, and her best friend, Cassie Campbell, as they attempt to get to the bottom of why Paula’s husband bought a rundown fishing resort in East Texas from a mysterious woman who might have been more than a business partner. Part cozy mystery, part road trip, Mayhem is a lot of fun, and definitely sweet.
So, take your pick. Or make me really happy and pick both. Now excuse me, I’m going to go drool over Barton—just don’t tell my husband, Studly Doright.
Last night’s book club meeting was great. I don’t think I said anything too embarrassing, and for the most part all the attendees seem to have liked my book, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort.
When the first question I fielded was, “Will there be a sequel” I knew it was going to be a fun evening. Then when participants offered suggestions as to what should happen in the sequel, I got tickled, since the sequel is about 90% finished. It was really tough to stay mum on the details, but I managed. Mostly. Keeping secrets is not my strong suit.
They also seemed pleased to learn that my romance is just days away from being published. If all goes well, The Cowboy and the Executive will be available for purchase next week.
I’m so excited! The Cowboy and the Executive is a fun and flirty story featuring a fantasy-worthy hero, and a not-so-typical heroine. I hope folks enjoy reading it even half as much as I enjoyed writing it. As soon as it’s available on Amazon I’ll post here.
This evening, Thursday, May 13, I’ll be attending a book club meeting in Tallahassee at which my book, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, will be the topic of discussion. This will be my second book club experience with Mayhem, but while the first one was via Zoom, this one will be held in a friend’s home with actual people in the room with me!
I’m no introvert, but having been fairly sequestered with Studly Doright for the past year, I’m going to confess to being a bit nervous. And when I get nervous, I’m liable to say just about anything.
“By the way, did you all know I lost my virginity back in….”
Remember Johnny Lee’s hit song, “Looking for Love (in All the Wrong Places)” from the movie Urban Cowboy? https://youtu.be/FAyDmJvjxbg. I two-stepped a time or two to that song back in the day.
Now that I have a book on the market, I’ve found renewed interest in the song. Indie authors like me are always looking for love in the form of new readers and reviewers. I’d say it’s a hard knock life, but that would be an exaggeration and a whole different movie/song reference.
I find myself touting my book to everyone: my esthetician, my physical therapist, my gynecologist during my annual exam, the checkout person at the grocery store, random folks in line for their vaccinations at CVS, etc.
Occasionally my marketing strategy pays off and I’ll gain a new reader, but often I run the risk of being an annoyance. So far I’ve not been chased away with torches and pitchforks, but it could happen.
On Saturday I celebrated a “first” (for me, anyway). Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort was the featured book for a Tallahassee book club meeting, and I was invited to say a few words and answer questions from those in attendance.
It was a virtual meeting, so there were no worries about masks or social distancing. But I did pour myself a glass of Merlot, because what’s a book club meeting without wine?
I was a bit nervous at first, but the experience was so much fun that I soon forgot about my nerves and just relaxed and enjoyed myself. The funniest thing was that some attendees knew my book as well as, and in one instance, slightly better than I did! That was humbling and a little scary. Now I need to reread Mayhem before any future book club adventures.
I’m currently working on the sequel to Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. Let me tell you, sequels are tricky. At least this one is for me. It’d sure save me a lot of time and consternation if everyone would just read book one.
How much backstory do I need to give? How do I tell folks what happened in book one without boring them to death in book two? I’ve considered writing a prologue, but I’m not a huge prologue fan. It’s not that I’m anti-prologue; I just become annoyed when I have to read one.
I’ve read a great many books that are parts of a series. Some authors do an incredible job of filling in backstory and others, even good authors, sometimes offer too much, assuming that readers haven’t read the previous books in the series. I’m hoping my editor helps me figure out the right combination.
Anyway, I titled this “Sneak Peak” for a reason. Here’s a little tidbit from Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. Let me know what you think—it’s still very much a work in progress.
Sneak Peak of Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort:
Mark walked Paula to her room. The tequila she’d imbibed at dinner emboldened her enough to rise up on her tiptoes to give him a hug.
He grinned. “What was that for?”
“Just because I wanted to,” she said. Then she wobbled and frowned. “I probly should’ve stopped at one margarita, though.”
Mark smiled down at her. “I’m glad you didn’t if it meant getting a hug. Goodnight. Sleep tight.”
She waved a hand in the air as Mark turned and began walking the few steps to his room “Don’t let the bug beds bite. Wait, the beg buds. That’s not it either. Just don’t let anything bite.”
Paula fumbled with her room key, and the old-fashioned plastic green fob slipped from her fingers where it clattered as it bounced off the porch. The noise brought Mark back to her side.
“Whoopsie!” She said.
“Here, let me.” He picked up the key and unlocked her door, his head nearly touching hers as he bent to the task. “I’d really like to kiss you right now.”
She put a finger to her lips. “Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but I’d really like to be kissed right now.”
“You’re a little drunk, though, and I’m not going to take advantage of that, but tomorrow, all bets are off.”
Paula grinned a silly grin and began humming the tune Tomorrow from the musical Annie.
He pecked her on the cheek and opened the door. “Goodnight, again. I’m right next door if you need me.”
“And I’m right next door if you need me,” she said, poking a finger in the general direction of his chest.
She thought she heard him chuckle as she locked the door behind her. The room seemed to be off-kilter, and she had to concentrate to make everything stay still. As Paula meandered to the bathroom she picked up the lyrics where she’d left off. “I,” she hiccuped. “Love ya’….”
My book, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, just garnered its 50th review on Amazon!
It’s been a really tough week for a variety of reasons, so I’m going to celebrate quietly.
If you haven’t yet ordered your own copy of Mayhem, it’s only $2.99 as an e-reader on Kindle and $11.99 for the paperback on Amazon. I know the author (me) would appreciate it. And if you have read it and enjoyed it, tell someone else.