Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

24 More Hours

I've been known to moan, "I need a couple of hours more per week!" Well, since today is February 29th, I've been granted my extra 24 hours.

So what to do, what to do with all those hours?

I've decided I will devote today to accomplishing all the tasks I've been putting off. Cleaning, organizing, re-designing, number-crunching, letter-writing, quitting one group, joining others, making Twitter lists, exercise, and whatever else I could fit in. Thankfully it's raining today, so window washing is out.

None of the above tasks appeal to me, but one must do what one must do. Time's a wasting...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Is KDP Select Creating a Wedge?

I don't know if planets were in retrograde this past weekend, or someone slipped something into the drinking water of independent authors, but after reading too many disgruntled and disturbing posts on various Facebook groups I was sure that had happened.

It seems people were up in arms over a couple of things, most notably Smashwords recent edict about pulling certain "erotica" books from their site mandated by Paypal and arguments over whether giving away thousands of free books makes you a best-selling author.

I don't have any, nor plan to write any books about incest, rape or bestiality so the erotica dilemma doesn't affect me at all. And as far as the best-selling free author argument, I have my opinion, that no, it doesn't make you a "best-selling" author, but if someone wants to call themselves one, go ahead. I really don't care, and I wouldn't dream of bursting someone's bubble by calling them out on it.

Unfortunately there were lots of ugly comments, chest-thumping, grand poobahing, "expert" opinions, sniping of people's accomplishments and denigrating their opinions to the point that I thought these groups are no longer worth reading. It saddened me because when I first discovered them in my early self-publishing dream, I found so many authors were helpful. They taught me, held my hand and helped me cross the busy boulevard. Even if I only read the comments and didn't always jump in, still feeling insecure, I loved the camaraderie I saw and the support of each other.

Then, over the last couple of weeks, I started noticing the wind began blowing jealousy. It's like Amazon's KDP Select program has created a wedge between indies. The program has worked wonders for some writers, and for others, like me, not so much. Just because I'm not enamored of it, it shouldn't make me a "loser" and those who are, shouldn't think because they are the "winners" that their opinions of it are any more valuable than others. Everyone has their own experiences and what works for one person, might not work for another. However, reporting on the results helps everyone to see what "might" work. But if anyone thinks they're an expert at anything, they're insane.

So on Sunday I was all prepared to leave certain Facebook groups when something happened. Someone suggested that instead of just promoting our own work that day we should all promote another author's on our wall. The idea immediately took off and suddenly the group got back to where it should be. Authors helping authors.

It's the Wild West out there in indie publishing land. There's gold in dem dar hills and although everyone can grab a pan, not everyone is going to find the nuggets. As independent authors, we face enough obstacles without having to knock the pan out of each others' hands.

gold panning Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, February 23, 2012

KDP Select Experiment Follow-Up

Last week I reported my results of putting my short story, The Valentine's Day Curse, in KDP Select. You can read all about it in this post. Since a week has passed I thought I would update what has transpired since then.

I have sold two, count them, two more copies of my short story. And someone has even purchased my novel, Fractured Facade, which I have discounted to $3.99 for the duration of this KDP Select experiment, ending May 2nd. By far the best thing about KDP was that I did get 11 "likes" and four five-star reviews for The Valentine's Day Curse. Here are two of them:

"This short story is proof that this gifted writer has a fantastic voice and wonderful storytelling chops. What a wonderful ending, too!"

"I loved this story, read it on Valentine's Day. The ending was just awesome. What an excellent twist in such a short story. Thank you author for showing us another side of our human frailties. I enjoyed this so much. A quick read with a punch."

Although by having my title in KDP Select it is eligible to be "borrowed" by Amazon Prime members I never thought anyone would "waste" their one borrow per month on a 99 cent short story. So, you could imagine my surprise when I checked my stats yesterday and found that someone did! Of course, I was honored as I figure someone who borrows the book will definitely read it. But then, the conspiracy monster began to rear its ugly head.

You see, yesterday I "unclicked" the automatic renewal button. If I hadn't, at the end of the 90 day period The Valentine's Day Curse would automatically be placed back into the KDP Select program. Now, since the beginning of the year I've seen one sale for Fractured Facade on Smashwords and one sale on Barnes & Noble. Worse than that there is still only one review on Barnes & Noble. At least my Amazon customers review the darn thing! And Barnes & Noble takes forever to report to Smashwords so I haven't seen a cent from them, so it's not like I feel I'm missing out by not having my short story listed there. I just prefer making the decision myself whether or not I want my title to be included in KDP Select so that's why I "unclicked" the auto renewal.

When I posted on Facebook my shock that someone had "borrowed" the book I wondered if it had anything to do with me stopping the auto renewal feature. A friend said he thought my 99 cent book wouldn't be on Amazon's radar, and that got me to thinking...What if Amazon has some sort of robotic feature that tells them when someone opts out of the auto renewal and that triggers Amazon to "borrow" the book? Frankly I did get a thrill out of seeing that "1" listed under borrows. What if the author thinks, "Wow, this program does work. I got a borrow! I'm going to keep it in KDP Select and hope I get even more." Amazon's mission accomplished. Am I crazy?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kudos to Daytime Blue Ridge

That's me in the middle with my beautiful daughter sitting next to me on the set of Daytime Blue Ridge. A friend of mine said I looked bored, but nervous is probably more the case. And, had I realized the producer was taking a wide shot of all of the guests, instead of one at a time, I probably would have at least attempted a smile!

Daytime Blue Ridge is a local news and entertainment show which runs on WSLS, the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, at noon. Yesterday was my first live television appearance being interviewed for my books. I have to say all the folks at DBR were great. They made me feel very comfortable. Natalie Faunce was a great interviewer and even prettier in person. And Jeff Haniwiech, who filled in for Mike Wilson, has a fun personality. No wonder my daughter wants to work there after graduation.

Those of you who are either friends or fans of my Facebook Author Page probably have already seen this interview, but for those who haven't here it is...

Four minutes goes very fast and I tried to get in as much as the time would allow, without speaking as fast as I normally do. I have to give props to Daytime Blue Ridge for being so supportive of the Roanoke community. They recognize there's talent in these dar hills and have graciously given us a place to introduce viewers to our various endeavors.

One of the main obstacles an independent author faces is that too many media outlets refuse to give credence to our work. Although I have received support and interviews in local publications, efforts to get my books reviewed have been thwarted. Our local newspaper, The Roanoke Times, refuses to not only review any self-published author, but also accept reviews from others for self-published books. As I have been a paid columnist, as well as a free contributor to a blog, the irony is not lost on me.

I think the local newspapers are making a huge mistake by following in the footsteps of the New York Times and other publications who shut out reviews of independent author books. More and more people are turning to eReaders and discovering authors they never would have if they just read who's on the best-selling list. Snooki was on the NYT bestselling list. Need I say more?

As local newspapers are losing more and more readers, it's my belief they need to focus more on the talents in the community, and not just by listing where and when a specific person is having a reading, etc. Tell them about the book. Let the readers tell us about a book they read. Get everyone involved. Frankly, I don't see the difference between a local author who publishes via a University Press and/or a small publishing company who sells a handful of "real" books, versus a self-published independent author who may even sell more books on-line than either of those. It's the story that matters, not the ISBN number, or if a book is in a brick and mortar store. The times, they are a changing, and newspapers need to change with them. My advice to them...Take a page from Daytime Blue Ridge...Stop following and start leading!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Show Must Go On

Well, so far, no call that I've been bumped because of weather from today's appearance at noon on WSLS' Daytime Blue Ridge. I come from a television background, and New York City winters, so a little snow isn't going to stop me from getting to the studio...The show must go on!!!!

Here's a couple of obligatory Roanoke snow shots...

Yesterday we did attend the benefit Bluegrass show, but with the way the snow was falling we didn't stay for the entire event. I was glad we made it in time to see the first band, who came all the way from Kentucky, Republik Steele. I was so impressed. Although everyone in the band knew their way around instruments I have to give additional props to the lead singer. Man, what a voice. He gave me chills, and it wasn't because of the snowy weather outside.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

60 to Snow

What a difference a day makes...

Saturday, Noon, Salem, Virginia

Sunday, Noon, Roanoke, VA

Just 24 little hours...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Made for Cable Series

I thought I scored yesterday when I saw the complete series of Spartacus on dvd at the Salem library. Since I don't have Starz, and have seen the ads for the series in Entertainment Weekly, I was glad to pick it up. That is until we watched it.

We were barely able to get through two episodes. I am glad my kids weren't home because I felt like I was watching soft porn instead of a mini series about gladiators. Actually I think pornos probably have better scripts than that show does. The favorite word of the writers seemed to be "cock." We turned it off after I said to my husband the next time I hear the word "cock" that's it. Not two minutes went by before it popped up again. That was it.

Not only did the script suck, what the hell is the story line?, but the actors were horrible (British accents???) and the "look" of the show did not convey Rome, but some CGI fantasy location. Big pass from me.

A lot of cable outlets have some really good original programming series running. This is my list of favorites in no particular order, that are on the air, or slated to return, one day...

HBO Pictures, Images and Photos

HBO - Rome - Loved it. Sure, it had some sex in it, but it wasn't porno, and it actually had a story line. Returning when?

HBO - True Blood - From the opening theme song I was hooked. Although the series has gotten a little "unbelievable" like vampires aren't "unbelievable" to begin with, I love this show. I think Eric and Bill are easy on the eyes and the characters are quite interesting. Returning when?

HBO - Boardwalk Empire - Steve Buscemi is enough for me to watch, but the script and feel of the era is captured perfectly too. Returning when?

HBO - Luck - A new series which has two of my favorite actors - Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina. Whenever I see Farina I think back to another great series that was cancelled too soon -- Crime Story. Luck has just begun so it's a little slow right now, but I love the horse racing aspect of it. Shot beautifully, you could feel the excitement as the horses thunder down the track. The show reminds me of my grandmother and her horse track stories.

Showtime - The Borgias - Every time I say I'm going to cancel Showtime it's like they read my mind and create something to make me stay. It happened with The Tudors and then The Borgias. Greed, corruption, Rome, what's not to like? Returning when?

Showtime - Shameless - William Macy is the father of a clan of Irish folks that make the Sopranos look like model citizens. There aren't any redeeming characters in this series, but that's okay. Sometimes there shouldn't be. After you watch this show you're thankful for the family you have.

AMC - The Killing - Not on right now but I liked the dreary setting and storyline, although I was disappointed with the last episode. It reminds me of Twin Peaks without David Lynch's heavy hand. Returning when?

AMC - Mad Men - Love it as it brings me back to my youth. I knew someone like Don Draper in the 60's and the series captures the time perfectly. The only complaint is that by the time it gets back on the air it might be the 70's and Draper will be a hippy. Returning when?

AMC - Walking Dead - A lot of people are into zombies. Frankly, I'm not. I don't think anyone has ever surpassed the original Night of the Living Dead when it comes to them. There aren't any characters on the Walking Dead that I can relate to, or even find interesting, so sometimes I will watch Hoarders instead. Now, those people are way more creepier to me than zombies!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My KDP Select Experiment

While some authors have been shouting from the rooftops about the thousands and thousands of free downloads of their books on Amazon, shooting them into the top ten of all categories, declaring the KDP Select Program is the best thing to happen since sliced bread, I am sitting in a corner chomping on the heel of a stale loaf of Italian bread.

If one is to simply go by the number of downloads and rankings to gauge success then my experiment has been a dismal failure. However, if one is to be happy to have gotten a couple of hundred books into readers' hands, garner positive reviews (hopefully more will come!) and glowing emails, as well as a comparison to O. Henry by two, count them, two people, than my experiment has been well worth it.

I knew going into KDP I shouldn't expect the great results many other authors have experienced mainly because I was using a short story, normally priced at only 99 cents as bait. Although I did drop the price from $4.99 to $3.99 for Fractured Facade to coincide with this promotion, I didn't want to make it exclusive to Amazon. So my plan all along was to write a short story (that's the only way I would price anything I wrote at 99 cents) specifically for KDP Select. As I've stated before, since part of Amazon's terms is to have sole rights for 90 days, it's easier to put in a new book at its inception than it is to remove a book from all the other eRetailers.

I had hoped that since it was a Valentine's Day story I could capitalize on the actual "holiday" so used up three of my five free promo days. I wouldn't run three days in a row again. The first day is the day when the book received the most downloads. Apparently I goofed by not letting a million websites know it would be free that day as they send out notices to millions of their readers advising them of the daily freebies. I still had a fairly decent amount of downloads on Day 2. By Day 3 there was barely a trickle.

One of my major problems is my genre. The most popular downloads are very specific genres like Christian Fiction, Romance, Horror, Paranormal, YA, Westerns, Science Fiction -- you get the picture. What's my genre? Crazy New Yorkers? Besides the obvious "short story" label, the closest I could come to a specific genre was Contemporary Women Fiction. Now when people see that they immediately think the book should only appeal to women. Truth is, some of the best feedback I've received on both books has come from men, so the "label" doesn't help my sales. I've never fit neatly into a box, so I guess it's only logical that my books wouldn't either. But that's a post for another day.

I've also never been invited to sit at the "cool kids" table so other than my loyal friends, and a handful of locals, I don't expect to have the type of support a lot of other authors receive. In fact, these last couple of months have really opened my eyes as to who are "in my corner" and who are not. I have to say the Roanoke local media have really been super supportive of my endeavors, and I thank them. I won't forget who sat with me and who threw stones from their corner. Silence can be just as hurtful as stones.

Anyhow, I hoped that by offering my short story free it would entice readers to seek out other books I've written. Depending upon how long it takes a reader to actually read a free book they downloaded, and from talking to people they download hundreds, if not thousands of free books weekly, it could take a while to see if that scenario does indeed happen. Unless hundreds of new readers "find me" on Amazon, at the end of the 90 day period I plan to pull The Valentine's Day Curse out of the exclusive program and publish with Smashwords Premium again.

I have no idea how Amazon comes up with its rankings but I did break through the top 100 in short stories in all three countries. The best ranking I had in the United States came in at 34. In England I got up to 17. And in Germany I was number 4 for a whole day! They must not read a lot of short stories in Germany. It was fun watching the numbers and I could only imagine how exciting it is for those independent authors that make it all the way to number 1. Way to go!

All I know is that at least I've put my money where my mouth is. I've always said I wanted to write and publish a book. Well, I did -- two in fact -- and both have had great reviews by very different people, and some of them not even close friends! And even if they're not "best-sellers" more people have read my published work since October than they would have had I wasted my time writing the perfect query letter.

I've been invited to be a guest on Daytime Blue Ridge on Monday at noon, so I'm looking forward to that. By my calculations I will have to sell 450 copies of The Valentine's Day Curse, or 54 copies of Fractured Facade to pay for the cost of having my hair cut and colored for my appearance. I doubt that will happen by Monday, but I don't even care. I'm just happy to be doing something I love...writing!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Last Day Free

Today's the last day to download for free The Valentine's Day Curse -- A short story. After my KDP Select experiment is over, I will report back as to my findings.

Meanwhile, I have been honored by two readers by being compared to O. Henry. The funny thing is that when I was about twelve my father introduced me to Henry by "making" me read The Ransom of Little Red Chief. He said I reminded him of the boy in the short story. I balked at reading it because my father was so insistent, but eventually did and loved Henry. My father was thrilled and then "made" me read Catcher in the Rye. From then on, any book my father recommended I read. I wish he was still around to read my books.

Unfortunately, the two readers who compared me to O. Henry did not write reviews for Amazon, but two others did and here they are:

"A Great Story!" - 5 stars by BillMac

I loved this story, read it on Valentine's Day. The ending was just awesome. What an excellent twist in such a short story. Thank you author for showing us another side of our human frailties. I enjoyed this so much. A quick read with a punch.

"Another great read from this author" - 5 stars by Nisey

I was thrilled to see something more from this author and was not disappointed. Another great read! A great short story leaving me wanting more!

Thank you readers for taking the time to write the appreciated!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Not That I Loathe Valentine's Day...

Although I don't loathe Valentine's Day as much as Lisa does from my short story, The Valentine's Day Curse, (which is still free today and tomorrow) I do agree with her statement that she expects to be loved and respected every day of the year, not just a day in February.

Putting aside the morbid origins of the day which involve Christian martyrs, the day has morphed into a Hallmark Holiday where retailers strive to make tons of money through guilt. I know many people disagree with me, but I refuse to do all the things associated with today:

There will be no dinner reservations. We go out to dinner a couple of nights a week. There's no way I'm going into a crowded restaurant tonight where the prices are jacked up, and quality and service down. I'll have my husband bring home a pizza and mussels fra diavolo from Mamma's Pizza and be very happy.

There will be no dozen roses which cost twice as much as they did last month. Instead, my husband has bought me a mini rose bush which we will transplant outdoors. That has worked well for us.

No jewelry. Don't need it. Don't want it.

No two pound boxes of Godiva chocolate. One mini bar accompanied the rose bush. I won't even eat that, but my daughter will.

No champagne. Can't drink, so will wait until Thursday when my medicine is out of my system and then I will have sangria or Lambrusco with my husband as I do every week.

Cards, yes, cards are allowed. Of course, I buy mine from the dollar store, but my husband doesn't, and since he spent $6.99, gasp!, on it I will post it here...

For My Wife,
Real Love understands what the simplest word or touch can mean
Real Love listens and shares, learns and grows through the good times and the bad
Real love dreams and hopes, and always believes in forever
Through all the changes life and love have brought us, one thing will always remain the same -- you mean the world to me.
Happy Valentine's Day.


Enjoy your Valentine's Day all you romantics, and remember, tomorrow's love is just as special as today's.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Valentine's Day Curse - FREE!

Ok kiddies, today February 13th through February 15th "The Valentine's Day Curse--A short story" is FREE FREE FREE!

Get thee to your Kindle, computer, Smartphone, Ipad, Iphone and save yourself a whopping 99cents by downloading it here:

I hope if you like it you will consider leaving a review, and/or a like on Amazon, and maybe even consider buying my other book, "Fractured Facade," which I have discounted to $3.99.

Feel free to spread the word about this freebie, and if you're looking for a warm, fuzzy Valentine's Day story, be forewarned, this short story isn't it! That is a noose on the groom's neck, heehee!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Valentine's Day Curse Facebook Event

As part of my promotional efforts for "The Valentine's Day Curse -- A short story" I decided to make it free on Amazon, in all six countries that carry it, (can't wait to get a sale abroad so I could call my self an international author Haha!) from February 13th - 15th. In order to get the word out I created an Event on Facebook.

In case you're not on my "friends" list, and you really should change that, here's the invite:

Just in time for Valentine's Day...for three days I'm offering for FREE a short story bound to appeal to guys and gals alike...The Valentine's Day Curse -- A short story.

"When Lisa’s Valentine’s Day ritual is interrupted by a phone call, she is surprised it’s from she hadn’t heard from in many years. What could her ex, Joey, possibly want from her on what could have been their 25th wedding anniversary?

The Valentine’s Day Curse…A short story about stirred memories of unrequited love, revealing Valentine’s Day is not always a bed of roses."

Ok, so not everyone is a fan of the day, but maybe you are and you bought your sweetheart something different this, ummm, a Kindle, and you really want to score points by having books already loaded onto it. Well, here you go. They don't have to know this one was free :)

Or, maybe instead of getting cheap chocolates, you were the recipient of an eReader (he/she's a keeper!) and you're looking for a quick free read. Well, here you go. You have until midnight on the 15th.

Oh, and just so you know, you definitely don't need to have a significant other to enjoy this tale. That is a noose around the groom's neck on the cover. By the way, you don't need to have a Kindle to read this freebie either. On the Amazon site, there's FREE Kindle reading apps which allow you to read this short story on your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, smartphone, etc.

By joining this event you're not obligated to download the book, but by doing so, I'll be able to send you a reminder notice and link.

You can also like my author page where I'll post the link as well.

This is the first time I've ever created an event, so hope I did this right, and by all means, feel free to share!!!


I hope you not only download the freebie, but like it so much you spread the word to all your friends, family, twitter followers, etc. to do the same. Gotta say, the "Maybes" that responded to the event intrigue me...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Author Page

I've come to the conclusion that writing my stories is less "work" than promoting them. Luckily I come from a marketing/promotion background BC (before children) so I have some sort of clue as to the best way to do it, however, it is still time consuming. Frankly, I can't wait to get back to reading some of the many books I have on my Kindle, that aren't mine!

When you release something new, updates to websites, pages, bios, etc. become imperative. Since I just released The Valentine's Day Curse I've been busy will all that "fun stuff" while still promoting Fractured Facade. My website is still a work in progress so bear with me.

I decided it would be wise to create an author page on Facebook rather than have individual pages for all my books. I learned that lesson from having more than one blog at one time. I found I was pulling myself in too many directions and not being productive. I figure I could use the author page to make announcements, run specials, share events, and hopefully dialogue with my readers and friends.

If you care to, I would greatly appreciate you liking my author page by clicking here.

If you do, you can read the first post and see how to save 99 cents!

While the rest of you are watching the SuperBowl I will be composing a press release, compiling a contact list, and coming up with topics to speak about on my upcoming appearance on the Daytime BlueRidge Show. Anyone know how to lose 20 pounds in two weeks??? Apparently WSLS does not have a magic camera...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Live on Amazon...The Valentine's Day Curse!

Live, in the Amazon's The Valentine's Day Curse -- A short story!

"When Lisa’s Valentine’s Day ritual is interrupted by a phone call, she is surprised it’s from someone she hadn’t heard from in many years. What could her ex, Joey, possibly want from her on what could have been their 25th wedding anniversary?

The Valentine’s Day Curse…A short story about stirred memories of unrequited love, revealing Valentine’s Day is not always a bed of roses."

Not everyone is a fan of Valentine's Day, and although I'm one of those as well, I just want to be clear that unlike my last book, Fractured Facade, this short story is not about me. Well, some "elements" of the tale are based on true life experiences, but not necessarily mine.

I think of this short story as the 99 cent KDP Select experiment before I begin working on the next full length novel. Since it's such a timely piece I thought it would behoove me to take advantage of Amazon's free promotion days around Valentine's Day. I will be curious to see if giving it away free will stir some folks to seek out my other book. The other possibility is what I fear most people do with free them and forget about it. However, my thinking is that if I release a short story maybe they will be more likely to actually read it quickly than have it fall into the cellar of their Kindle.

The other benefit of the KDP Select program is that Prime Members can check it out for free. I can't imagine anyone would use their check-out on a 99 cent short story, so I doubt I will see any income generated from that. The drawback as I've stated in the past, is that in order to use the KDP Select Program I have to list the book exclusively on Amazon for 90 days. Fret not, Amazon does have free applications that can be downloaded so anyone can read this book on other devices. I think being it's a short story it's more likely that will happen than if it was a full length novel.

It's much easier to put a book up on KDP Select at its inception than it is after it's been published on other sites. From what I understand it could take B&N 6 weeks to remove the book, and from my personal experience I know it takes months for them to even report to Smashwords that a sale was made! The other problem with B&N is that it's very difficult for folks to find one's book unless they are specifically searching for it. I think I pretty much tapped out this valley and my friends and family, so really Amazon and their promotions are my best bet to get my name out. Still, as of right now I have no intention of removing Fractured Facade from Smashwords. I still think it's going to be a "sleeper" and I want folks to be able to read it on any of their devices.

So...if you like a "love story" haha! check out The Valentine's Day Curse. Yes, that is a noose around the groom's neck...