Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blah day

I'm feeling rather blah, dealing with emotional stuff from my trip. Grandpa's not going to get better, and that's making me sad, of course.

Life goes on, so I spent the morning brightening up the covers for The Other Woman and The Woman Inside. They weren't great sellers (due to the gloomy grey, no doubt), so we'll see if sales perk up. Either way, they look better.


I also took the time to see why my daughter's book wasn't showing up in the Blurb bookstore like it should be. Turns out they have a not-so-obvious button you're supposed to click to make the book "public".

Wonder how many other things I can untangle on a blah day?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

SD rising on Amazon

I though SD had peeked, but it's rising on Amazon UK and they've listed it free. I assume that once you're in the system they keep a closer tab on price matching, because it didn't take them long to match Smashwords this time. I looked but couldn't see what it was doing in the US Amazon, but it's discounted to $.99 and selling well.

UK stats: Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#2 in Kindle Store> Books > Fiction> Science Fiction
 
Meanwhile, I'm deciding what I want to work on next. I'll be back in the office on Monday and can't wait to be home :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New book coming soon.Under the Bridge



A toll, a troll and a damsel.

A troll who recites Poe and looks like a handsome serial killer. He’s decided that Billy looks like the perfect mate…if he can just keep from eating her. Can Ash claim her heart before the banshee assassin rips it out?

SD rising

B&N Sales Rank: 322
#17 fantasy romance
#71 paranormal romance
# 67 sci-fi

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Scent of Danger spiked since yesterday

Current B&N rank:  524
#73 in fantasy and futuristic
#98 in paranormal
#76 in sci-fi

Amazon didn't change much, but the cover, not the price, was the only change there. Looking at this, I'd say that the price change was part of the big jump in sales, though new artwork doesn't hurt. The real profit happens when it pulls the rest of my books up the ladder with it. Other than this blog, I'm not doing any promo. I've decided I don't care for facebook, that it's a time suck that I'd rather spend writing.

What is a hymen, anyway? Does the hero really have a clue?

The writer's loop I'm on is having a discussion of words that kill the mood in romance novels. I think "cave of contentment" and "bald-headed avenger of love" (I kid you not) had to be two of the wackiest for me. Of course, one person's turn off...

Anyway, it brought me back to the first romance novels I snuck as a teen and how they comprised the bulk of my sex ed. You know what I'm talking about, when the hero had to reach deep inside to feel if the chick was a virgin? How one last deep thrust took care of the matter? I went into adulthood thinking that's what a hymen was, a solid disk of tissue deep inside. Why not? It's not like they covered it in school.

Considering the extensive lovemaking that goes on in romance, a writer needs to be careful not to make these mistakes. Someone, somewhere, knows better and will snort their coffee out their nose as they read, completely ruining the mood. So, from wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hymen

The hymen is a membrane that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia.[1][2][3] The size of the hymenal opening increases with age. It is not possible to confirm with certainty that a woman is a virgin by examining her hymen.[2][3] In cases of suspected rape or sexual abuse, a detailed examination of the hymen may be performed; but the condition of the hymen alone is often inconclusive. In younger children a torn hymen will typically heal very fast, in adolescents the hymenal opening does extend from natural causes and variation in shape and appearance increases.[1] In children, although a common appearance of the hymen is crescent-shaped, many variations are possible.[1] After a woman gives birth, she may be left with remnants of the hymen, called carunculae myrtiformes, or the hymen may be completely absent.[4]

Past neonatal stage, the diameter of the hymenal opening (measured within the hymenal ring) has been proposed to be approximately 1 mm for each year of age.[7] In children, to make this measurement, a doctor may place a Foley catheter into the vagina and inflate the balloon behind the hymen to stretch the hymenal margin and allow for a better examination. In the normal course of life, the hymenal opening can also be enlarged by tampon use, pelvic examinations with a speculum, regular physical activity or sexual intercourse.[1] Once a girl reaches puberty, the hymen tends to become so elastic that it is not possible to determine whether a woman uses tampons or not by examining her hymen. In one survey, only 43% of women reported bleeding the first time they had intercourse, indicating that the hymens of a majority of women are sufficiently opened.[1][5]

Hear that girls? Tampons do not affect virginity. Oh, the relief! Now we can all sleep better.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New cover for Scent of Danger

Okay, have finished the edits for Scent of Danger and picked up new cover art. I've set the price at $.99 at B&N and Smashwords. I'm not doing that at Amazon, because they're already giving away The Charmer for free (24,000 downloaded so far).

Here are the base numbers so I can track what happens next:

Current B&N rank: 2,901
#63 in fantasy and futuristic
#340 in paranomal
#293 in sci-fi

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,879 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#61 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction
#82 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction

Monday, May 16, 2011

A husband's view of living with a writer

My husband John wants to weigh in on what it’s like living with a writer. After snapping at him for asking me what’s wrong over the 18 years and hearing that I’m just making up a story, he deserves it. (Funny, he doesn't even mention the mood swings).


John says:

I knew I’d done something wrong when I saw her eyebrows sink and forehead slightly wrinkle. This happened a couple of times, alternating with a happy face. I couldn’t stand it any longer and finally asked, “What did I do?”

The reply, “Nothing, just thinking of another story.”

“Man, you need to stop that. You’re freaking me out. I always think I’ve done something wrong.”

This happened in the car, the boat, the house, the kitchen, everywhere. It was very hard to get used to. I wanted to be inside her head and watch the action. It’s hard for me to get, because my imagination doesn’t work that way. Thankfully, after all these years of her telling me, “It’s not you! I’m plotting again,” I’ve learned to ignore it a little, and I only ask half as much.

Thankfully, her office is in the bedroom and she works while I’m at work, so it’s not so distracting.

The other amazing part is how fast she can read. If I have an interest in the page, I can read about five lines and she’s ready to flip the page. Just watching her eyes bat back and forth makes me dizzy.

I do love that she’s so imaginative, which makes day to day stuff pretty interesting. The kids love it a lot, too. They think it’s cool to be strange now. The income is a blessing, and she is definitely one in a billion…even if murder plots are rolling around in her brain J

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Audiobooks

I've never enjoyed talk radio, so it surprised me when I accidental downloaded an audiobook from my library (thought I was getting an ebook for my nook) and enjoyed it. Obviously, the story matters. In fact, it reminds me of this story my parents had on tape called, "The Shadow." I don't recall all the details, but I remember finding it interesting as a child.

The audiobook is extremely helpful right now, because I can listen to it while doing housework. My grandfather is in ICU for renal failure, so writing is like pushing a bike up a steep hill. I'm nearly done with my troll story, but every sentence is a fight. As long as my hands are busy, the audiobook keeps my brain from running in a useless worry loop.

I'd like to set my books up as audiobooks, but it's a project that will have to happen another day. Overdrive looks like a great thing to sign up for too, but not sure what it entails yet. Konrath mentioned he'd blog on it soon, so I'm looking forward to the info.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Snippet: Ugly things come in pretty packages

Billy leaned against the wall the next day and contemplated the bottom of her travel mug as she listened to Nickleback do their thing. She wasn’t worried about missing Carrie’s arrival; her shiny red mustang had been known to make grown men quiver like pointers on a scent. If that wasn’t enough, Carrie’s micro miniskirts had a way of making them stand to attention. When the natives got restless, she’d know Carrie was here.

The troll was another problem. She hoped she’d smell him. He should have a unique scent, even in human glamour. If she found a good candidate, she could always risk the drain and try to see beneath his disguise. Since that would be a waste of energy that she might need in a fight, however, she figured she’d just watch Carrie. If any new guys started orbiting her, it would make them a good suspect for the troll.

Though given Carrie’s usual taste in men, a stalking troll might not be that obvious. Her circle of friends included several guys Billy wouldn’t like to be in a locked car with.

Once she knew who he was, it didn’t matter what he truly looked like. She’d still have to deal with his supernatural strength, and she hadn’t decided on the best way to kill him yet.

She wasn’t sure what approach she should use, either. A direct challenge didn’t seem too bright. Maybe she could just watch him, see what he did. He wouldn’t do anything obvious in a crowd—fae weren’t big on exposing themselves to humans. Even something as powerful as a troll would probably have difficulty with a stomach full of bullets. Cops and guns and searchlights did not a party make.

Better yet, he might get shot in the eye. Now that had possibilities. She lost a few moments in a happy daydream about a posse taking care of her problem before reluctantly acknowledging reality. Like cleaning the bathroom, this was a dirty job that nobody was going to do for her.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spoken from experience

Stage one of new writer receiving first ever edits (not from Mom): "Oh, no! This person is sooo mean!" Curl up and cry.

Stage 2: Sniff. "Maybe she might have one or two points. But look at all this! How can I ever go through this mess?" More sniffles.

Stage 3 can go one of two ways: "Fine! I'll show that witch. I'll make this book the best ever." Or, "She's right. This book totally sucks and it's not worth the time to overhaul it." Writer moves on to book 2 and knocks it out of the park. Goes on to have a successful career in a demanding field, develops thick skin. Looks back on first book years later and cringes. "Geez, this chick did me a favor." Tosses it back in dusty box under the bed and goes on with current WIP.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Guest post by Judy Stone

Judy is totally type A, and thank God! I've been burning my eyes out today going over edits she sent me. No one can edit their own stuff; someone needs to proof it. I recommend giving her a try.

From Judy:

I support your endeavor to create truly noteworthy literature by scrutinizing the “nuts and bolts” basics of your manuscript – as sole creative genius you will decide whether to accept or reject any suggestions. As an author your goal is the creative expression of your vision and original concepts. As an objective reviewer I expose grammatical and punctuation errors. I highlight any unnecessary, meaningless scenes that do not contribute to your storyline. If your novel is part of a series and would like me to verify its consistency, please provide a cheat sheet. Manuscripts promoting or encouraging violence or cruelty of any kind, especially bigotry, genocide, and violence against women and children, will be rejected.

I’m a life-long reader; literacy and the written word are my passions. I’ve been an administrative support professional for over ten years: my duties included creating, editing, and proofreading corporate correspondence and minutes. I've also prepared management reports, and approved the final publisher draft of documents and directories. All these things require strict attention to both content accuracy and typical spelling, punctuation, grammar, and homonym errors. In addition to years of hands-on experience, I’ve taken courses in grammar, editing, and writing. I'm a detailed-oriented introvert with an innate ability to single-mindedly focus on a project and am happiest in the background seeing to all the endless details of epic novels. I have an excellent memory and I'm rabid about consistency! I strive for excellence.

Definition of terms:

· Revision: addresses large-scale issues like general focus, purpose, content, audience and organization. Author should make revisions early in the writing process while the ideas and style are still taking shape.

· Editing: addresses smaller-scale issues like word choice, style, tone and the effectiveness of the document's transitions. Editing should happen later in the writing process, after larger-scale revisions have been made.

· Proofreading: concerns the appearance of a document. Proofreading corrects errors in punctuation, spelling and usage; corrects typos and formatting errors. Proofreading is the final step in any writing project.

Editing/Proofreading procedure:

Email a copy of your novel or short story to me as a RTF or word document attachment. I critically read the manuscript with attention to detail and list my suggestions as a separate "edit notes" document with the chapter, page number, and sentence to be corrected. My suggestions frequently include recommending a more appropriate word, questioning continuity, correcting sentence fragments, or highlighting an overused word or phrase.

I have an eclectic taste in literature: classics, erotica, history, mystery and detective fiction, SF/fantasy and paranormal, and women's fiction. I find a novel of substance with succinct dialogue (I’m a sucker for witty repartee) profoundly satisfying. I appreciate believable, three-dimensional characters; wonderful world building; complex storylines with plot twists – it’s difficult to confound me.

I charge $30/hour for editing/proofreading within a reasonable timeframe. We’ll discuss the implications if you have a killer deadline and require immediate results requiring me reprioritize other works-in-progress. As a comparison, LuckyBatBooks.com charges $50/hour (as of 4/14/11) for editing and proofreading.

I will happily edit/proofread five sample pages at no cost or obligation.

Judy Stone, editor/proofreader
judy.stonewright@gmail.com

“Ankylosaurus! That's what I meant. Do you know how many times I've used Stegosaurus? Who checks these things? Judy, that's who.” Autumn Dawn

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Charmer #2 in Kindle Romance

Amazon is hopping this month. The Charmer is listed at #2 for romance for the US. It's doing well at UK, too, Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29 Free in Kindle Store and #2 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Science Fiction.

Bella Andre


Bella Andre asked a while back for me to take down her post, because she'd promised an exclusive to someone else. Here's a link to her detailing her awesome earnings: HERE

"Here’s what her first quarter looked like: 56,008 books sold; income, $116,264."

She made $19,315 in December, according to the Washington Post. Her office doubles as a playroom for her kids. How cool is that?


Burned by self-pubbed books

I self-pub and I admit it: I'm leery of buying self-pubbed books. I've been burned by them, too, and rarely see any that look good. Exceptions are published authors that I know and like. Illona Andrews comes to mind. I also look to see who the publisher is, then I check the number of stars and scroll through reviews. If it passes those tests, I download a sample. Samples on my Nook are the best thing ever, my new TBR pile. You can see right away if the story is going to grab you or not.

In the past I'd go to the bookstore and load up, often without the time to read more than the blurb and a couple of starter pages. I've been much happier with my purchases since free samples became available.

Will I check out a self-pubbed book? Sure, if it looks compelling enough. Like all books, a writer/publisher has to work hard to get my attention.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Took care of myself

I was getting to the point that I got wigged out just looking at the computer, so I took yesterday off and played housewife. Incredibly relaxing. Listened to an audio book, cooked, even scrubbed the kitchen window. Today I went to the gym with the neighbor and will go to the chiro later. I'm going to eat cheesecake and watch Top Chef. I might even garden.

Yes, there are lots of books to edit, lots of things to do, but I need this. Down time is my friend.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Books sold in April

Barnes & Noble, books sold: 12179
B&N profit: $11,122

Amazon US, books sold: 1219
Amazon UK, books sold: 955

Amazon profit: about $2000

I think Solar Flare has peaked. Finishing edits on Scent of Danger, buying new cover art. Will relaunch soon.