Fractured Facade


"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $3.99 and available everywhere e-books are sold including Amazon, iTunes, Kobo Books, and Barnes & Noble

FREE!!!

THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, is Free on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, Page Foundry and Tolino

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Roanoke River in Salem

It's a beautiful day in Roanoke...a good one to grab a fishing pole. Some recent shots along the Roanoke River in Salem...
















Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rebel Yell


When I was living in Brooklyn, I can honestly say the Civil War never, ever came up in conversation. Here in Roanoke, Virginia, I am reminded of it practically every day in some way. With some of the derogatory comments I've experienced being a "Damn Yankee" and an "Eyetalian" at that, I think some folks feel like they're still fighting it. In New York, I can't remember ever hearing about Civil War re-enactments, but down here there's a whole cottage industry surrounding it.

Recently I was at Appomattox National Park, which houses the spot where Lee surrendered to Grant. Of course down here in the South, many don't like to call it "surrendering." I've had some folks tell me Lee just asked Grant to hold his sword. I laughed thinking it was a joke, but apparently to them it wasn't. I find it best to ignore those type of folks.

Anyway, during this visit to the South's surrender spot, ooops, I mean to "where the country was brought together" spot, they were having a Civil War re-enactment. Well, really more of an encampment, since there wasn't any battle waging going on, but a small demonstration.


The guys I spoke with were all pretty cool, although I think they could have stayed in character like the annoying people do at those Renassaince Festivals do. There was one little boy, but there weren't any women to be found, not even a wench. Oh wait, wrong time period.


The guys showed us where they slept, and what they ate, although I seriously doubted they held the hard biscuit in a ziplock bag. They showed us the ways they carried their guns and they even let us hold them...very heavy!


I found out some of these re-enactors travel all over the state and beyond participating in Civil War events with their "authentic" replica uniforms, equipment and rifles. I don't think there's a union, but there probably is some sort of organization you can contact if you're interested in participating. They did mention they are always looking for Union soldiers since no one wants to be one. Funny thing...no matter how many times they re-enact the war, the outcome is still the same.










That last shot was the Rebel Yell. Here's the Rebel Yell I prefer...



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank You "Agent X" for the Rejection

I'd like to take a moment to thank "Agent X" for rejecting Fractured Facade and "Agents Y & Z" for totally disregarding my query letter I sent to them last June. Had any of the three of them accepted my book I'd probably still be in revision hell. Even if I wasn't, I doubt it highly that I would have been accepted by one the Big 6 publishing houses as my tale is not "commercial" enough. I know I wouldn't be on any bookshelves anywhere by now.

Because of their decision, I made the decision not to bother wasting any more of my time tweaking my query letter and/or grovel at the feet of some unknown agent to even take a peek at my book. Instead, I chose to have complete control over my book -- the title, editing, cover design, promotion, and finally publishing.

After reviewing my stats, I took the chance in pulling my book from every outlet so I could enroll it exclusively in Amazon's KDP Select program. If I hadn't, 10,000 folks would not have Fractured Facade on their Kindles. Most of that 10,000 number were freebies, but the number of paid sales has been steadily increasing. When I awoke this morning I found Fractured Facade had arrived on Amazon's Best Selling Kindle Family Saga list at the #41 position, as well as Amazon's Best Selling Books Family Saga list at #53.


I just checked again before hitting the "post" button and found it had moved up to #40. If I can get to #39 that means I will be on the second page of Amazon's Best Selling list and that will give the book an even wider audience. From what I understand, most people look at the first two pages of best sellers, unless you're an author. We like to see who else is in our category. Some authors who are behind me include Danielle Steel, Anne Rice and V.C. Andrews -- not too shabby company!

If this keeps up maybe my local paper will change its mind and actually review Fractured Facade. Probably not, they wouldn't even post info on their Book Blog regarding the free promotion I had run. At least I know I do have supporters, and I thank each and every one of you. Without your recommendations, tweets, Facebook postings, reviews I would not have gotten this far.

Monday, April 23, 2012

48 Hours Later

When I woke up this cold, dreary Monday morning I turned on the computer and found something that immediately warmed my soul. It was an email informing me someone had left a comment on my last post. It was from a 68-year-old woman, originally from Brooklyn who now lived in Florida. Although the comment did not show up on my post, grrrr! Blogger! I want to share it with you here, and I hope she doesn't mind...

"Well I just finished your book, as my late Italian Brooklyn Taxis Cab driver father would have said you have Moxie! I grow up in Brooklyn too, love Brennan and Carr's, your story had me rooting for you. Your dad and mom are touching Jersus shoulder, and saying "look at our Daughter, fight for us!"
You have shown your children that it is possible to fight evil and win. I am 68 years old and live near Orlando, it the Evil one sent you mail from here, I would gladly track her down send her you love. Only kidding. God bless you and your beautiful family."


At first I smiled, then I called my daughter over and as I read it to her, I choked up. That one little email validated for me that giving away thousands of copies of Fractured Facade was worth it. A complete stranger "got it" and she took the time to tell me. I reached someone and that's what any writer really wants to do.

I decided to check my Amazon stats just for kicks. I was happy to see that overnight, people had actually purchased and even borrowed the book. I checked the rankings and beheld this sight...


Yes, that's #78 in Paid Family Saga! Even though it's not burning up the charts, I'm still thrilled to have cracked the top 100. Frankly, I didn't think that would happen as my sales were almost non-existent immediately following the promotion. I figured there's no way anyone could "find" me. I think I may be getting noticed by the "also bought" icons that pop up on Amazon's page when you buy a book. My author friends told me to be patient, and suggested I lower the price. I do not want to "rock-bottom" my book. I put years into it and feel $4.99 is still a good deal. Heck, Snooki gets $11.99 for her eBook, and she "wrote" that in a couple of months. I believe after people read the sample they'll know whether or not they feel it's "worth" the money. If they do, great, if not, no harm, no foul.

Based on the number of times it's being shelved on Safari, as well as the recent paid sales, I think people are beginning to read it, before it gets buried and forgotten on their Kindle. And after they finish, hopefully they'll like it enough to not only recommend it to a friend, but also take the time to write a review on Amazon. Time will tell...

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Wonderful/Miserable Success

I'm happy/sad to report that the 2 free KDP Select days for Fractured Facade was a wonderful/miserable success! Huh? How could it be both you ask?

Almost 10,000 people downloaded Fractured Facade for free...yes, you read that right, 10,000! At one point it was #1 on Suspense, #1 on Family Saga and #19 in Amazon's Top 100.


I'd be lying if I said it wasn't exciting watching the ticker flick into the hundreds per minute, catapulting me to the head of the charts. Of course, it was the head of the free charts.

When I woke up this morning I checked to see if I had experienced what many authors have after giving their book away for free...sales! Yes, yes, I did. One! That's right you read that right, one sale. I checked my rankings and sure enough back down, down, down. Not quite in the netherlands where I began, but still low enough that I'm not on any potential customer's screens. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

On the positive side, for the last two days I stopped crying. Those that know me, know Max, my dog, died last Saturday. The grief had consumed me and having this distraction was what I needed. I am also humbled by how many friends, as well as people I hardly know, rallied around me to support this promotion. I thank you all!

On Fractured Facade's page I received 64 likes and folks have placed it on their shelves in Shelfari. I heard from strangers telling me they look forward to reading it and expressing how they knew someone that sounded like they were in a similar situation regarding a golddigging abuser as the "character" in my book. I believe in my heart that people that "needed" to get this book, have. And that's why I wrote this book. So if I can help even one person, this promotion was a wonderful success.

My biggest fear is that a lot of folks won't even read it. Too many people just download free books and forget about them. My hope is that even if 10% read it, they will like it, rank it, write a review, and finally recommend it to someone. Hey, my family likes to eat too.

I've always been a gambler. I bet on the longshots. I only play the progressive slots. I wait until the lottery hits over $100 million before I part with a buck. For the most part I can say, I always lose. And that's okay. I only bet with what I know I can lose. It's the excitement of the potential win that keeps me going. And one day, I know I will hit. Today's just not that day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fractured Facade Freebie



One thing I've learned is to never say never. When I first read about Amazon's KDP Select Program I said I'd never put my novel, Fractured Facade in it. Since it had to be exclusive for 90 days, I didn't want to alienate any potential Nook readers. Well, after much consideration, noticing Nook sales have dried up after all my friends and family had purchased the book, as well as seeing the success of the KDP Select Program for my short story, The Valentine's Day Curse, I have taken never out of the equation.

So, today, Friday, April 20th and tomorrow, Saturday, April 21st I am finally able to offer Fractured Facade for free everywhere Amazon carries it. Click here for the US link. Click here for the UK link.

"Marie's peaceful life in Virginia is shattered the moment she receives word from her brother: “I just got a call from a detective. Daddy’s dead.” Rushing to her family home in Brooklyn, New York, Marie seeks answers to her father’s mysterious death only to discover disturbing occurrences and encounter acts of betrayal.

After her questions are amplified and suspicions confirmed surrounding her father’s ex-girlfriend, Marie becomes frustrated by how oblivious so many had been, and continue to be, to the wily con-artist.

Inheriting her father’s scheming ex-girlfriend becomes a journey Marie never imagined she’d be forced to travel.

Written as memoir, “Fractured Facade” is a cautionary tale for anyone concerned about a parent after the loss of their spouse. The survivor, often thrust into an unfamiliar world, finds it quite different from the dating scene of their youth; one where some create facades to mask their true intentions. Sadly, loneliness can cause an otherwise intelligent person to behave foolishly.

“Fractured Facade” is the tale of a father’s death, a daughter’s life, and a sociopath’s vendetta."


I hope that after reading the description and reviews many of you will download it. But then, what I hope even more, is that you'll read it! Many people have said it's a quick read, so I would hate to see it fall into the netherlands of your Kindle or Ipad or whatever, forgotten. To me that's the worst part of giving away books...too many folks just "forget" about them.

My last hope is that after you read it, you rate it, review it, and most importantly, recommend it. We writers are a needy bunch. Thanks for all your support!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Creatures of Habit

We always said Max was a creature of habit. With him gone, we've come to realize we were the creatures of habit.

Sitting on the couch, my legs extended I find myself moving my feet back and forth to rub the back of the dog that's not there. As my husband goes to putter in the yard, he waits a moment holding the screen door open for his little buddy, who's no longer here to follow him. As I ride my bike in the basement, I keep looking toward the basement stairs awaiting the sound of Max barrelling down them. Next to me the rug with the half-eaten chew remains empty, and my hand reaches to pet the air.

When my husband comes home I say, "I didn't even hear you come in," and with a long face he replies, "I know." He no longer says, "Go ahead, tell them I'm here," and I no longer reply, "Okay, okay, I got it, Daddy's home."

That's the saddest phrases we no longer say, but not the only ones...

"Did the dog eat?"
"Feed the dog."
"Ya gotta go outside?"
"Ohhh, you got your baby?"
"Leave your baby inside?"
"Gimme that baby."
"You want to come to the patio?"
"C'mon Boo, inside."
"Frankie, go clean the dog's yard."
"Did you clean the yard?"
"When are you gonna clean the yard?"
"Didn't I tell you to clean the yard?"
"Go put down a towel, Max wants to eat his chewie." "How do you know?" "He's mind-probing me." "You were right." "He's a dignified dog. He doesn't eat on bare floors. He needs a tablecloth."
"Max wants water." "How do you know?" "He's mind-probing me." "You're right, his bowl is empty."
"Don't give him table food. He's getting too fat."
"Okay, stop mind-probing me...you can have my pizza crust."
"Where's Max?"
"Is Max outside?"
"Someone let the dog in."
"Did you give him a treat?"
"He's waiting for a treat."
"He won't be denied his treat."

And the one that I still say before going to sleep...

"It's bedtime, Boo..."

I've decided the best way for me to handle his absence is to be places where Max wasn't with me. And when I have to be home, I pretend he's at the groomer, or sleeping on the floor by the side of my bed. Sometimes I can even hear him snore.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Max is Gone



And just like that, my best friend, Max, is gone.

In the end it wasn't the ruptured disc that did him in. He survived another three weeks since he was first diagnosed. During that time, he figured out how to overcome the semi-paralysis of his front and back left legs. When he'd see that he couldn't get up the step with his left leg leading, he'd stop, think, and switch legs. Corgis are smart and I felt the vet hadn't taken that into consideration when she suggested I put him down right there, right then. I cursed the vet that gave him the death sentence when one morning, I turned around and there he was next to me in the laundry room in the basement. How could a dog on death's doorstep make his way down a flight of stairs?

Sure, he wasn't 100% and needed a little more tender care, but so do many elderly people as well. Just because he wasn't the sprite, little puppy that leaped and bounced easily as he once did, and he reminded me more of an arthritic old man, that wasn't enough reason to kill him. His mind still functioned. He let me know when the phone was ringing. He let me know when Daddy was home. He let me know when danger lurked. He let me know when he wanted that piece of pizza crust. He didn't seem to be in pain, and when he looked at me I knew he wasn't ready to go. That changed a couple of days ago.

On Thursday he seemed to have a hard time breathing, sorta like he couldn't catch his breath due to an allergy attack. It lasted for a couple of seconds and then it developed into a full fledged lie-on-the-side-with-legs-rowing attack. It seemed like he was drowning without being in the water. I got down on all fours and placed my hands on him. Soothing words stopped the attack. As he lapped up water, I knew it wouldn't be long. The next day he shadowed me, and I indulged him with whatever treats I could. As I sat on the patio, he lay by my side as he chewed a twig. He struggled a bit to get up the stairs, but he seemed to rebound again, and my worry ceased. Then we went out to dinner Friday night.

As soon as we opened the door, he bolted into the sun room to be let out. I noticed his water bowl was empty, yet there was water everywhere. I wondered if he had spilled it. We watched him throw up his dinner, and when he came inside he snuggled in the crevice near my side of the bed...the side where he went when he thought he was in trouble, or danger. I tried giving him a treat, but he wanted no part of it. I thought that was odd as that had never happened before. After a bit of cajoling he came out and went for more water. He lapped it up as if he hadn't drunk in days. As soon as he finished, he threw it all up. I knew this wasn't good. He went back for more water and it happened again. He still wouldn't eat a treat, and then began trembling. We searched for a 24-hour vet, but the only one we could find was one that helped birds.

Exhausted, Max lay down in the living room. My son lay down with him and stayed with him all night. This morning Max got up, wobbly, and made his way outside. He assumed the position to relieve himself, but nothing came out. When he came back in we tried giving him water, treats & food, but he was done. He crawled onto my side of the bed and looked up at me with his puppy dog eyes. I knew this was it. He didn't know what was happening, but knew it wasn't good. He didn't even want to be pet, and he made his way back outside again. He settled into the furthest part of the yard in the ivy and lay down. He wouldn't come in. Every once in a while he would walk a couple of steps in a circle. His eyes begged for answers. I had one, but didn't want to tell him. I couldn't bear to watch him like this, so my husband carried him inside, and I made the phone call.

And then I left town. That's right. I left town. My husband did what had to be done. While he waited for the appointment, he dug the hole and gathered Max's babies and chewies. I picked a spot under the apple tree. I wasn't falling for the "here's your dog's ashes" again like I did with Alex. I wanted Max here with me.

Far away from the agony, I awaited the call I knew would come. The new vet diagnosed him as having congenital heart failure. He said only one side of the heart was working, Max couldn't breathe, and circulation had ceased. His liver was full of blood and his lungs full of water. He was suffering. We couldn't allow our love for him and our desire to keep him with us take precedent over his pain. It was our love for him that allowed us to make the decision to let him go. My baby died from a bad heart, and I feel like I'm dying from a broken one. Max is gone, but never will be forgotten...



Max -- August 30, 2001 - April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Secret Hammock

I'm lucky there's a place I can go to right here in Roanoke County when I need to rejuvenate...my secret garden.



The trees leading to it have created a canopy making me feel like I'm walking through a wooded wonderland.



If I'm really lucky, the only sounds I'll hear are the birds and the waterfall in the pond. Between the trees my hammock awaits me.



This is the best time of the year to cocoon myself in it. The mosquitoes have not yet arrived. The only company I have is my Kindle, allowing me to travel the world without leaving Roanoke. This past week I have visited Brooklyn in 1975, and China in the 1930's.



Scary sounds sometimes startle me, but I feel safe -- the broken angel watches over me...



Everyone should have a secret garden with a swinging hammock to retreat to...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Azaleas

The wicked wind wasted all the cherry blossoms. For a couple of hours pink petals blanketed the lawn. The wind returned and the flowery hosts landed in your mouth when speaking. Green limbs look undressed. As I was lamenting the loss, the sun waved behind me, beckoning me to photograph the next vibrant display of Roanoke spring -- The azaleas...








Monday, April 9, 2012

My Third KDP Select Experiment

It's funny how jaded a writer can become after hitting a number one slot on Amazon. If I hadn't arrived at the top spot during my March promotion of The Valentine's Day Curse, I probably would have been ecstatic that I hit number five in short stories this past Saturday. This shows six, but I did make it to five before I went to bed.



And although I was happy about that, I never made it into the top 100 of all Kindle books like I had back in March. Actually, I was in the top ten then. Rising to the 500's from the 200,000's shouldn't be scoffed at, however by not arriving into the magical 100, and top ten spots, means you face the prospect of plunging right back where you started from once the promotion is over. I haven't yet, but it's only a matter of time. Your book is no longer on every one's screen and has little chance of shifting into the best selling paid column.

Frankly, I had my doubts that Saturday was a good day to hold my last freebie promotion. I figured with Passover and Easter there would probably be a lot less people on the computer. Heck, I didn't even want to be on the computer, but I really had no choice because promotion is one of those necessary evils when you're running a freebie. I was bummed as well since I knew I couldn't submit to ENT because I already had run there within 30 days. I gave POI my info, but they didn't choose my book to run. Clearly, getting on one of those two sites is the best/only? way to get your book downloaded thousands of times.

Even though my intuition told me not to, I decided I give it a go after one of the author Facebook groups I am part of suggested authors giving away freebies this past weekend pool together to promote each other. I'm not going to get into the details, or finger-pointing, but will say it was a dismal disappointment, epic fail! By the time I realized I had made a boo-boo by jumping aboard, it was way too late, at least for me, to change my free date. I had already notified certain sites, people, groups, of the date and even if there was no guarantee that they would "highlight" my book, the last thing I'd want to do is piss off people when they find out my book wasn't free when I said it would be. When I say I'm going to do something, I do it. It was a valuable lesson learned.

Luckily, there are many other authors, groups, friends, and even strangers out there who want to help others achieve success, and they stepped up to the plate for me. In the end, I had over 400 downloads (last time was in the thousands, due I'm sure to being on ENT) yet only 3 sales afterwards, a far, far cry from last time.

At least more folks have placed it on Shelfari and in their to-be-read shelf in Goodreads. Now, for the best part...someone actually bought Fractured Facade. My hope is that they read The Valentine's Day Curse and said, "This story rocked...I wonder if this author wrote anything else?" and then discovered that I had, and bought the novel. I don't know. Maybe I'll find out via a review some time. And although the hope is that other readers will feel the same way, I have to wait until they actually read the short story. As I've stated numerous times, the problem with downloading a free book is that it could quickly get buried by other free books. I think people read books they pay for first and eventually, maybe, get around to the free ones. Heck, I'm the same way. And although I loved a book I also have a hard time writing a review. So I'm just as guilty as many of the folks I hound to write one for my books!

So now that I'm approaching the end of the KDP Select in a couple of weeks I have to decide if I want to keep The Valentine's Day Curse exclusive in Amazon or not. So far, I am leaning to yes. Believe it or not I have gotten some borrows, which pay me 6 times the royalty I would receive on the 99 cent book. And people have been leaving really nice reviews too.

So now it's time for Fractured Facade to get some exposure. I haven't decided the freebie dates yet, but do know I will run at least two days in a row and make sure I give enough time for ENT and POI submissions. And, this time, I won't allow my decisions to be swayed, or put my trust in anyone else's hands, except my own.

A big thank you to all of you who continue to support this crazy journey of mine! Once I get this last promotion out of the way, I can finally get back to what I prefer doing...writing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter

"Easter Sunday, we were walking.
Easter Sunday, we were talking.
Isabel, my little one, take my hand. Time has come.

Isabella, all is glowing.
Isabella, all is knowing.
And my heart, Isabella.
And my head, Isabella.

Frederick and Vitalie, savior dwells inside of thee.
Oh, the path leads to the sun. Brother, sister, time has come.

Isabella, all is glowing.
Isabella, all is knowing.
Isabella, we are dying.
Isabella, we are rising.

I am the spring, the holy ground,
the endless seed of mystery,
the thorn, the veil, the face of grace,
the brazen image, the thief of sleep,
the ambassador of dreams, the prince of peace.
I am the sword, the wound, the stain.
Scorned transfigured child of Cain.
I rend, I end, I return.
Again I am the salt, the bitter laugh.
I am the gas in a womb of light, the evening star,
the ball of sight that leads that sheds the tears of Christ
dying and drying as I rise tonight.

Isabella, we are rising.
Isabella, we are rising . . ."

-- Patti Smith

For my cousin...I miss hanging with you, especially today...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Freebies For Your Easter Kindle



So what does The Valentine's Day Curse -- A short story have to do with Easter? Absolutely nothing!!! However, I am offering it free today so you can put it in your Easter Kindle.

Here's the latest 5-star review on Amazon -- "This is a great short story, a tale with a twist. The author has a strong voice and smooth style. I look forward to future works from her. Great story for Valentine's Day...great story for ANY DAY! Recommended read...Enjoy"

I hope you do enjoy it enough that maybe you'll leave a review and then check out my novel, "Fractured Facade", which by the way, not only has some great reviews, but is also enrolled in the KDP Select Program so Prime Members can borrow it for free. What? You don't have a Kindle? You don't need one...check out these free apps!

And after you finish downloading my books why don't you check out these other freebies...There's got to be something to your liking!

Valerie Douglas -Dirty Politics - Song of the Fairy Queen - and Nike's Wings Thurs 5th - Sat 7th

Stephen H. King - Cataclysm: Return of the Gods - Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7. Blog: http://theotherstephenkingonwriting.blogspot.com

Candy Ann Little - The Unwilling Bride - April 7th

Kelly Rimmer - Suspending Reality - Thursday 5th - Sunday 8th

Sarah Barnard - Earthlink: Impact (UK) http://www.amazon.com/Earthlink-Impact-ebook/dp/B006YR4BIK/ (US) Free from Friday 6th April through Monday 9th April. Blog: http://sarahbarnard.co.uk

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Free Tomorrow



Just a quick heads up to let you know I plan on using my last free day tomorrow, Saturday, April 7th for The Valentine's Day Curse -- A short story

Check back here tomorrow for a listing of other free books from the Independent Authors Group...there's bound to be something that you can put in your Easter Kindle.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dogwoods in Roanoke

Besides the beautiful cherry trees, it was the dogwood trees that attracted me to my house in Roanoke. You can see why...