The Ad Game

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.

Peace, people!

Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P76RBRD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_TP3VS136D2NK2NG2D65G

Camping Wishes

For a while now I’ve had a fantasy about buying a camper van and touring the country by myself. I’d go places. I’d drive to see my kids and grandkids in Texas and Illinois. I’d drive to California and see my Aunt Betty. I’d visit the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and every other National Park I’ve dreamed of seeing my whole life.

I could write from anywhere. Chalk my trips up to research. Maybe I’d visit Hemphill, Texas, where Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort is set, and visit my Aunt Nedra while I’m there. And I’d take some time to drive through Amarillo, the setting for The Cowboy and the Executive, making a side trip to see my mother-in-law, Saint Helen, in Hereford.

Studly Doright could accompany me anytime he chose to, but camping isn’t his thing. Heck, I’m not sure it’s my thing, but I’d like to find out.

I won’t be able to buy a camper—unless of course my book sales take off. Maybe I could print up bumper stickers and sell them: Support a Camper—Buy a Book!

Something like this!

So, it’s all a pie in the sky dream, but who knows? Maybe I can make it happen. Who wants a bumper sticker?

Peace, people!

And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor

Later today, I’m getting a lesson on creating a Facebook ad for my books from my friend, author, Lori Roberts Herbst. Lori has, so far, published the first two books in her Callie Cassidy Mystery Series: Suitable for Framing and Double Exposure. (Links below). Both books are a lot of fun with believable, likable characters and plots with enough twists and turns to keep a reader guessing until the very end.

I hope Lori knows what she’s getting into, I’m fairly obtuse when it comes to all things related to technology and marketing. My efforts at marketing my own books have teetered between annoying and really annoying. Hopefully, Lori can guide me into the realm of ‘much less annoying.’

Wish us luck. And consider investing in anti-anxiety meds. Demand may rise exponentially during today’s tutoring session.

Peace, people!

Check out Lori’s books. Both are available from Amazon and on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

http://Suitable for Framing (Callie Cassidy Mysteries) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1736259318/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_K87038Y3QF8CQM40ZJ1X

http://Double Exposure (Callie Cassidy Mysteries) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1736259334/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_WNB0MWV8NFXJ37CDV0JS

Revising isn’t for Wussies

A couple of weeks ago I sent my novel, Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, off to trusted beta readers. It was an extremely raw version of the novel, and it came as no surprise that my readers discovered the book was chock full of blunders and bewildering plot holes.

So now I’m engaged in righting all the wrongs. It’s a tedious process, but I’m going to confess that there’s something satisfying about solving the problems I put into play in the first place.

Some issues are fairly easy to work through thanks to the Search feature on my computer program. Apparently my characters like to say “roust” way too often and if head ducking was a crime, all of my characters would be in jail by the end of the book.

Other problems are structural in nature and require a delicate touch, so I’m treading lightly. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m taking a sledgehammer to that stuff. Chop, chop baby.

Look for my books on Amazon and on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PDRH2Q9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_T8SXRR2G0J32FFXVTR6W

The Cowboy and the Executive: A West Texas Romance https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095BVSF3L/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_CJYF0023HS4DEEE6HZXJ

Peace, people!

Kindle Unlimited

I’m not the savviest author on the planet. I seem to do everything upside down and backwards. It took me months after publishing my first novel to build author pages on Amazon and Facebook. And I have yet to figure out the intricacies of creating a Facebook ad. I’ve begun to believe I’m not the brightest crayon in the box.

But today, with the help of my editor and cover artist, Rachel Carrera, I made my books available on Kindle Unlimited. Now, you may ask, what exactly is Kindle Limited?

Q: What is Kindle Unlimited? (I’m so glad you asked)

A: Kindle Unlimited is a service that allows you to read as much as you want, choosing from over 2 million titles, thousands of audiobooks, and up to three select magazine subscriptions. Explore new authors, books, and genres from mysteries and romance to sci-fi and more. You can read on any device. It’s available for $9.99 a month and you can cancel anytime.

Pretty cool, eh? As much as I read I definitely should invest in this service. Studly Doright would approve.

The Cowboy and the Executive: A West Texas Romance https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095BVSF3L/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_WTH1957550AR4JZGE521

Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PDRH2Q9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_4VT8N5DJSEZ6EB57193K.

Peace, people!

How to Make a Writer Happy in Five Easy Steps

1. Buy their book(s). (Links below)

2. Read their book(s).

3. Tell others about their book(s).

4. Review their book(s).

5. Sing “Soft Kitty” to them.

https://youtu.be/N-qra604RbU

Peace, people!

Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P76RBRD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_3NNTMDZEHP0G0HVEMZ17
The Cowboy and the Executive: A West Texas Romance https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095F6VW2C/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_KXKAC7DV9XAR6YXAWC8F

The End or Something Like It

On Monday afternoon I typed the words “The End” on the first draft of Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. The denouement came with little fanfare. I was sitting on the sofa drinking a glass of water when I realized the book’s ending had been written for several days—it was just buried in the middle of a bunch of other stuff. I grabbed my laptop, searched for a specific phrase, and voila!

Not for the first time did I thank the powers that be for word processing programs. A bit of copy, a smidge of pasting, and a big fat dollop of deletion, and I had something that closely resembled a book. Well, the roughest, rawest version of a book. If I were laying it out in cooking terms I’d say that the ingredients are all there and they’ve been mixed into a batter, but before it’s ready for consumption it’ll need to be baked and frosted. Sprinkles are optional.

I gathered all my gumption and sent the batter, er manuscript off to trusted beta readers. That’s such a scary feeling. One would think it would be easier now that I’ve published two books, but it’s not. I’ll be a mess until I hear something from my readers.

Now what? Well, while I’m waiting to revise Wedding, I have a sequel to The Cowboy and the Executive running around in my head, and I’m almost certain there will be at least one more story in the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort chronicles. It’s a scary thing, this creation of characters. They take on lives of their own and they depend on me to tell their tales. I wonder if I’d have even begun writing if I’d known how that worked. Deep thoughts for a Monday evening. I believe I’ll have some wine.

Peace, people!

Sci-fi Recommendations from a Master

I’m a huge fan of author Gareth Powell. His Embers of War series is one of my favorites, featuring unforgettable characters and a fast-paced narrative.

I follow Gareth on Twitter and have found him to be kind and funny and generous. He makes himself available to answer all sorts of questions from fledgling authors, and as one such author, I am extremely grateful.

So when Gareth posts a list of his favorite science fiction books, I pay attention. I’ve read quite a few of the ones listed in the link attached below, but not even close to all of them. I’m in for some wonderful reading adventures. I feel it in my bones.

https://www.garethlpowell.com/40-recommended-sff-books/

Peace, people!

Why Are Endings So Hard?

I wrote 1,000 words today. Correction—I wrote 1,000 really crummy words today. Oh, maybe there were a couple of good sentences thrown in for good measure, but everything else was crap.

Endings are tough. When I set out to write Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort I had an ending in mind. But that was before my characters developed other ideas and now my preconceived notions no longer apply.

As usual, Studly Doright is no help. Along with his stock answer—have a tornado blow everything away and type THE END, he now suggests the (to him) clever use of ellipsis. “Just write a sentence and end it with …“ he says.

Oh yes. Great idea.

I’ve tried distancing myself from the story. I’ve tried drinking too much wine. I’ve explored the idea of throwing the whole thing in the garbage. But those two okay sentences give me hope. Yes, endings are hard, but not impossible. I shall prevail.

Another possible ending…

Peace, people!

Tarot Reading

Yesterday afternoon I took part in my first tarot card reading. It was fun and interesting and totally unlike what I’d imagined. The young woman who conducted the reading was lovely. She sensed my nervousness and put me at ease.

I’m not going to share what was revealed at the reading. For some reason I feel like that would be akin to telling folks what one wished for when blowing out candies on a birthday cake or when making a wish on the first star of the evening. It just isn’t done.

But I will tell you the question I wanted answered—“Am I on the right track?” The answers were enlightening, and taken with a large grain of salt.

At her reading, my protagonist in Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort wants to know if it’s time to move on—if it’s okay for her to begin actively living again after the death of her beloved husband. Like me, she’s a skeptic, but still considers some of the advice she receives practical.

Have you ever had a reading done? If so, what were your thoughts on the outcome? If not, what might you ask of the cards?

Peace, people!