Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Real-Life Scary Story for Halloween


From Buster & Tess...

Now go read my real-life, scary ghost story at Confessions of a Bookaholic. She said it was one of the scariest ones they posted all month and there were some pretty creepy stories. So check it out and tell me what you think. While you're there, enter to win a Purpose ARC.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Six for Saturday

I totally missed Five for Friday. WAY too much going on yesterday. And I've actually missed quite a few FFFs, so I'll make it up with Six for Saturday.

Six things you should know for this weekend:
  1. You can now pre-order signed copies of Purpose!!! Do it right here with our fancy new shopping cart.
  2. You have extra time to enter my contest and giveaway to win a Purpose ARC, other books, a gift card or a Kindle. We've extended the deadline for the contest and giveaway. Details here.
  3. You can read my scary ghost story for #HauntedHalloween and win a signed copy of Promise on Jessica's blog over at Confessions of a Bookaholic on Halloween (Sunday).
  4. NaNoWriMo starts Monday, so if you haven't decided whether to do it or probably ought to this weekend. We writers are known for procrastinating, but this is getting a little ridiculous, don't you think? (Do you think I've made a definitive decision? I keep thinking I have, but...)
  5. Be sure to (re)stock your candy bowl before Sunday. Because it is Halloween, ya know? Please tell me this is not the only house that goes through all the candy before the day even arrives. All. Five. Bags.
  6. Be sure your pets are inside and safe Halloween night - there are some sick people out there! And speaking of pets...I can't even pull together a costume for myself these days and look at these beastly get-ups.

Have a Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For the Writers of the World: Live YOUR Purpose

Just wanted to share this video with my lovelies. Even if you're not a writer, I know you've overcome adversity at some point in your life. Keep picking yourself up. Keep going. Live your purpose!

The title to my second book, which was originally the first book, is more than just about my MC discovering her life's purpose. While writing it, I realized my own. This is what I'm supposed to do. So even when things get tough - rejections, obstacles and less-than-stellar reviews - I persevere. How about you? What is YOUR purpose? Are you living it? What keeps you motivated when life tries to drag you down?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ongoing Question: Why Do We Do It?

This business of writing and publishing can sometimes - often - be frustrating. From plotting the story to getting it into readers' hands, the path is lined with every possible obstacle you can think of...and many you never did imagine. Sometimes it seems like everyone and everything is working against you.

The voices in your head - your characters - go off and do something that screws up all your plans. A great plot twist dwindles into a sorry excuse for tension because it just won't work. And once you've got the story as awesome as it can be, the industry itself seems to erect a thousand locked doors and each time you finally find the key to one, there stand another thousand behind it.

Why do we do it? Are we into self-abuse? Do we not feel alive unless we're constantly being pummeled from all sides? Do we enjoy frustration and misery so much that we feel the need to seek them out?

I highly doubt it. After all, we're all intelligent, hopeful, hard-working, dedicated and (mostly) functional beings. We do it because we can't help it. We have to! There's some inner fire that just can't be extinguished, regardless of how many people - including ourselves - pour buckets of water over it, trying to douse the flames. In fact, this only fuels the fire for many of us.

With all the great events going on in my life right now, there are still many obstacles in my path. I can't say that it gets easier or harder once you have a book or two under your belt. You just have to deal with new frustrations...while many of the old ones never do go away. It's definitely exciting, but they are still challenges that need to be dealt with. And sometimes it all gets overwhelming.

And I still wonder, Why am I doing this? Taking the route of self-publishing takes you out of the rat-race of competing for agents and publishers and plunges you right into the big marathon of winning over readers. In some ways, it's a lot easier than dealing with all those industry peeps. But in other ways, it's a lot harder. So you can't help but ask yourself, Is it worth it?

Then my bloggy friend Heather posts this, which eventually led me to this. Brenda has researched and compiled some telling numbers about advances and royalties from many publishers. And I realized that I'm not doing so badly after all. In fact, my earn-out so far is more than many of those on there...with less than three months on the market. If authors with publisher backing do that and keep on truckin', then I definitely need to. So check it out. It's eye-opening, that's for sure.

And it makes us go back to that question: Why do we do it? Again...because we have to. We can't not do it. The money, the rewards, the enthusiasm from readers...those are just icing on the cake.

Agree? Disagree? What do you think about those numbers?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stuff...and Ramblings...and Some Official, um, Stuff

As I mentioned last week, this week is absolutely crazy. But all good crazy. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Orlando, here until Friday morning for day-job stuff. Then I move to another hotel on the other side of Orlando for the Florida Writers Association conference and Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet this weekend. Promise is a finalist for an award. I try not to think about it too much, because when I do, my stomach gets that feeling like when you're going over that first hill of a roller coaster.

I also announced last week that Purpose has a release date. In case you missed it, because I know you really want to be sure you mark your calendar ;-), it's December 15. It's officially off to the printers for a proof and ARCs. It's also officially on Goodreads! Woohoo!! So, you know, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if you go mark it "to-read" or, better yet, "can't-think-about-anything-else-dying-to-read". Haha! Sheesh. Just kidding, guys.

And now it has an official "blurb" (it doesn't have a jacket, not even a sweater, so how can I call it "jacket copy"?'s a blurb, not to be confused with blob). Which you can find on its official website, It's still under construction, but I'm working on it. Cuz that's also my job.

Finally, in case you missed it (because there aren't many entries and if I don't get some people to sign up and enter, I may be forced to call it off)...I'm having a contest. I mean, contestS. Yes, TWO contests. Purpose ARCs, other books, swag and possibly a Kindle are all up for grabs. Please at least enter the Birthday Bash, where all you have to do is fill out a form. And if you're still working on your Halloween Hop entry, please at least sign up by typing your blog or website URL into the little linky thingy. I just need to know that people are actually planning to play along. Kthnxluvu

In other news...I'm still planning to separate this blog. This one is supposed to be my official author's website, which is why it's used to promote my books. But it was originally more related to writing stuff - you know the voices in our heads, first-draft-brain-dump-pukes, the horrors of editing and revising, blogfests and other craziness only other writers understand.

It used to be called A Mused Writer. Well, that blog is back up, right here. If you're a writer, please go follow it. It's not being used right now, but I'll soon be moving all my writing-related posts over there. And then this one will be used for communicating about my books, other books and authors I know and adore, and...whatever else pops up. As well as contests...and giveaways...and maybe guy-candy shots for your viewing pleasure. :-)

That's all for now. What? Isn't that enough? Thought so. Have a Happy Hump Day!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Harleys, Books, Kindle & Other Ramblings

Starting tomorrow, life gets even crazier than it has been for the next 10 days. Tomorrow I'm taking off with The Man and some friends to Biketoberfest in Daytona. Anyone familiar with the world of Harley-Davidson and motorcycles knows that Daytona Bike Week and Sturgis Bike Week are the two BIG rallies of the year. But Daytona has a smaller one, called Biketoberfest that's supposed to be more fun because it's not as huge. I'm excited for a real break...and possibly a beer or two. ;-)

I've been trying to figure out how to take advantage of this trip because, you see, Tristan (aka Mr. Beautiful up there in that picture) rides motorcycles. He has a crotch-rocket (well, um, two, if you think about, sorry, as you can tell I'm ready for a break!) and a Harley, which he and Alexis ride on throughout Promise. But I just can't see myself walking up to biker dudes and chicks, asking if they'd like to read my book. So, the idea of how to do a tie-in is still germinating and will have to wait for the next rally.

But while writing this, I had a great idea for the Halloween Hop contest. Too bad I can't enter my own contest, though. Maybe one of you lovely readers will take the hint of Tristan and motorcycles and run with it... Remember, a Kindle is up for grabs!

Speaking of the contests, I've seen many tweets, FB and blog posts about them. I'm eternally grateful, but not all of you who have spread the word have entered the Birthday Bash giveaway. The one where you get entries for tweeting and posting! If you're going to do it, you may as well enter the contest for books and swag! Don't forget, you can enter that one as many times as you want by filling out the form each time you tweet or post about the contests.

As for the Halloween Hop, just put the link of where you'll be posting your entry in the linky-thingy. The more people who sign up there, the better the prize (like that Kindle).

Okay, real quick, other things going on next week, in case I'm somewhat absent:
  • My usual bi-monthly trip to Orlando for the day-job will keep me up there through the end of the week. Because I have to be back there for...
  • Florida Writers Association Conference! Next weekend. I'm so excited for my first big conference. PLUS, Promise is a finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Award. I find out next Saturday night if it won.
  • While I'm sitting in my hotel next week, I'll be Skyping for the first time with a book club. They're all the way in Minnesota! I'm chewing my nails about this. I hope they're nice. I think they will be, based on the hostesses.

So, yeah, lots of ramblings of my chaos. But it's all exciting stuff. more thing. Twitter Party tonight!! Hosted by Jess at Confessions of a Bookaholic and Lisa at A Life Bound by Books. Starts at 9 p.m. ET, at #HauntedHalloween. They're giving away books, swag and Halloween goodies. I'll be there. I wonder what other authors will be. Follow @TotalBookaholic and @BoundbyBooks

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Marketing - Part 9: Place

Today we talk about the third P or C in the Marketing Mix - Place or for customers, Convenience.

"Place" actually refers to three different Places:

  • Where you produce your Product - If your Product is a blog, what hosting service will you use (e.g., Blogger, Wordpress, your own site, etc.)? If your Product is a book and you're self-publishing, where will your book be printed? On demand? By which service? There are many possibilities to choose from. If you're not self-publishing, your publisher already has this Place. When your Product is yourself, where are you available? Physical location? Virtual?

  • Where you sell your Product - Where do customers find your Product? Customers equate "Place" as "Convenience" (or lack thereof). You want your Product to be convenient to find and buy, so you must identify all the Places your customers should be able to find it. Where do they buy similar and complementary Products? Where do they expect to find your Product? For self-publishers, this is one of the hardest challenges to overcome - getting your book in as many sales channels as possible. It usually means taking a much lower royalty per book, but Convenience for your customers is important. After all, if they can't buy your book where they want to, they probably won't buy it at all. A lower royalty is better than none.

  • Where you reach your customers to promote your Product - Where will customers find out about your Product? Where will you advertise? Where do they "hang out"? Do they read magazines? Blogs? Hang out on Facebook and other social media sites? Do they tweet? Or are they more traditional, visiting brick-and-mortar establishments? Do they support their local mom-and-pops? Or do they like modern, big-box stores? Where can you find them to reach them with your ads and promotions? If you have a blog, where do you find followers? On other blogs? Which ones? If it's a book review blog, think about where readers hang out. Posting your reviews on Amazon, B&, Goodreads, etc., will reach your target audience and draw them to your blog.

Deciding on "Place" for your Product requires that you know as much as possible about your Target Customer. You must know where they are, where you can reach them, in order to provide Convenience for them. You must know what kinds of publications they read and if they read mostly online or offline. You must know where they're physically located and be convenient for their locale. For example, if you're looking for a job in Seattle - your Target Customer is a business located in Seattle - then you are not very convenient if you live in Atlanta. Unless they're pursuing you, don't expect them to relocate you. You must be convenient for them (i.e., make the move yourself).

Poor decisions and execution of Place can make a huge difference in sales. So know your market, research your options and make these decisions carefully. If your Places don't seem to be working for you, don't be afraid to make adjustments. After all, customers must know where to find you and your product to be able to use or buy it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Five for Friday

Five reasons you must enter my new contests!

1. Two contests - one fun and one easy-peasy
2. THREE winners!!!
3. Prizes include books and swag and either a $25 B&N gift card, an iPod Shuffle or a Kindle 3 or Nook!
4. It's the weekend, giving you lots of time to think about and do all those things with Tristan.
5. Because you love me...or Tristan...or Promise...and want to help a new author and fellow blogger out. :) Even if it's just because you feel bad for me and my crappy week (to which I must add that my oldest is 18 today, a horrible reminder that I am no longer 18!).

Yes, I'm begging. Please help me spread the word this weekend and throughout the month. I soooo want to give away an awesome prize like a K3! Kthnxluvyabai! And have a fantabulous weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Life Happens & TWO Contests Coming!!

Have you missed me this week, lovely followers? I apologize for being absent, but I suppose it's better than being boring. LOL Not that life has been boring. Not. At. All. So here's the deal...

This week:
  • Craziness in the day job. It's GOOD craziness, but it's meant lots of focus there and break-up in the routine.
  • What little time left over has been used wrapping up Purpose edits so I can get ARCs ordered by next week, which means next step is formatting and finalizing the cover.
  • Add on top of that - a call yesterday afternoon from son #2's football coach...from the ER...son broke his arm in practice. :( Everything drops to take care of him.
  • And to really top it off - my grandmother has been in the hospital for a week and it's not looking good. She's being going through chemo and has complications. She's fought various forms of cancer for over a decade, but my heart and soul are sad because I fear that she's tiring of the battle.

I ask for your prayers, thoughts, good vibes, etc., for my son, my grandmother and my own sanity. Thank you in advance!!

Now onto the fun stuff... I had hoped to post this today, but focus has been fleeting with everything going on. So the official post will go up tomorrow.

TWO Major Contests!!!

What's up for grabs? Let's see...books...swag...maybe an iPod Shuffle...maybe even a Kindle 3 or a Nook. A K3?!? A Nook?!? Yep, that's right. So stay tuned, pay attention and come back tomorrow to get the deets on how you can be a winner. (Hint: For an eReader, you'll need to put a little thought and creativity into it, but I "Promise" it will be fun!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Five for Friday

It's October!! Which means Halloween-y fun! Halloween also happens to be Tristan's birthday, but, shhh, he doesn't like to acknowledge it. We might just have to anyway...but more of that later.

There are tons of things happening all over the blog-o-sphere this month, including giveaways, blogfests, scary stories from your favorite authors and more. Here are just 5 to get you started:

1. Haunted Halloween by Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic & Lisa at A Life Bound By Books - I will have a scary story posted there later this month, including a giveaway!!

2. Book or Treat to support UNICEF!

3. Halloween at the Haven (Paranormal Haven)

Witch Button

4. Halloween Giveaways at From the Shadows

5.Not-Really-Southern Vamp Chick's Countdown to Halloween