Monthly Archives: September 2012

Amazon logarithms and being a ‘best seller’

As of right now, Solomon’s Throne is #5 on Amazon’s Action/Adventure list! That’s super exciting, obviously, and it’s happening because I put it as a free download on Amazon over the weekend.

Now, what that means in practical terms is that KDP Select, which is Amazon’s lending library for Amazon Prime members, allows authors to have 5 “giveaway” days during each 90 day enrollment period. When you borrow it from KDP Select, of course it’s free, but you don’t get to keep it — they whisk it away from your device when you indicate you’re done, so you can borrow another book. But with the giveaway days, you can download it to own, and it doesn’t cost you anything.

I don’t get any royalties from the free downloads, so from a purely financial standpoint, it’s a loss. (With KDP Select, Amazon has a set amount of money for the month, and divides that by the total number of “borrows” across the whole program, and then multiplies that by the number you had for your royalty.) But what it does is get my book in people’s hands. And hopefully they’ll like what they read, and want to read more. Conveniently (okay, it was planned), the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, The Hoard of the Doges, will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. What that potentially means is that all (or a percentage) of the people who download the first Quinn book for free will like it enough to want to read the next book, for which they will be happy to pay.

I have 3 more free days, and I’m planning a second free weekend either just as, or just before, I release the sequel. The sum total of the KDP borrows, the regular purchases, and the 5 free days will be in the thousands. And my marketing strategy is to have a place to point them… I’ll let you know if it works!

One of the problems of writing in different genres is the backlist. I wanted to get the 2 Quinn books out close together, so that readers who enjoy the treasure hunt/adventure would have a second book to read. But my other published novel, Undaunted Love, is a Christian historical romance.

Some of the people who read Solomon’s Throne will also like Undaunted Love – Solomon’s Throne has had great appeal to women because of the strong female main character, the marital relationship between the Quinns, and the fact that, while there’s excitement, body parts aren’t flying around. So some of those reader will like Undaunted Love. Probably more readers of Undaunted Love will like the Quinn books, truth be told. My current work in progress is a Young Adult dystopian low fantasy… It might appeal to the Quinn lovers, and probably won’t to the romance lovers. I have an idea for my NaNoWriMo book, which, if it works out, would be published next spring. It will be a Christian historical romance/suspense set in WWII. Again – those readers will like the Quinn books, and certainly Undaunted Love… But vice versa, probably not.

You see how complicated it is? I could make it easier by writing in one genre, but I can’t seem to do that. I couldn’t write another Quinn book right now – I don’t even want to think of a plot – although people have already asked me when the next one is coming. I wrote a dystopian screenplay in April, and now this dystopian YA, but I don’t want to write another dystopian for awhile. I was leaving the genre open for my NaNo idea (and also leaving open the fact that I might not have a NaNo idea!), but I think this one could have legs.

What this means is two-fold:  I have a lot more marketing cut out for me than a lot of authors who only write in one genre, get a following, and can pretty much guarantee to sell their next books to those wonderful readers. And even with that knowledge, I still like to cross genres, and will continue to do so.

What my books all have in common is good research, interesting plots, language that’s clean (even the Quinn books have only a little swearing, and nothing “bad”), and I leave the sex to your imagination. I want my kids to be able to read my books and be proud to recommend them to their friends. I want them to be entertaining, and for the reader to enjoy the plot and maybe learn something about history they didn’t know, and not feel like they have to take a shower afterwards. When someone says, “Is your book okay for a 9th grader?” I want to be able to say, “Yes” confidently.

I hope you’ll find something in my work that you like. My goal is to entertain, not write the next great American novel, but I work hard at them and try to present a great story and characters for you to fall in love with. Let me know how I’m doing!


Filed under NaNoWriMo, Publishing, Self publishing, Writing

Oh, the joy of writing!

As many of you know, especially if we’re friends on Facebook or Twitter, I have been in an editing frenzy. What that means is that I’ve edited four full length books since early July, from first draft edit to super edit to final edit and all steps in between. And I edited my first book a second time! Let me be clear – I am not an editor…

So why the furious editing? Well, I had three books done or almost done, and really wanted to get them all published close together. There were several reasons for this. First, as a new author amongst the billions out there, having multiple books (a larger backlist) is good. If someone likes one of your books, you have somewhere else to send them, without making them wait months. Second, I’m kind of obsessive. Once I decided to go the indie route and didn’t have to wait around for queries and all that, I wanted those babies to be born! Finally, due to several calendar items, not the least of which is NaNoWriMo in November, but also holidays, a vacation and a surgery, being done by Sept 23 was kind of a big deal.

So now… I’m done! Editing, that is. For now. Editing, like teeth brushing and laundry and thank you notes, never goes away. BUT, for now, and probably (barring a first-draft edit of the Young Adult novel I’m writing) til the end of 2012, I’m done. Okay, my husband will have another book in November. But mostly, I’m done.

What that means is, I’m writing again! As you know, my August Camp NaNo was a mess. I did “win” by 37 words, barely squeaking over the finish line on the last day, because I had to take 9 days off from writing in August to edit my husband’s book. After I got the win, I took off until yesterday. And then, the magical moment came… I added 3000 words to my little stickie note “goal” list, and I wrote. 3318 words, in fact. My palms were sweating a little, and my heart was beating a little fast, and I know I had a goofy grin on my face. Because I was writing! Finally!

I am pretty new to this whole writing-books thing. I wrote my first book back in May of 2011, and it was a 50,000 word non-fiction that I still haven’t done anything with. After that, I decided I’d try NaNoWriMo in November, fully expecting to write crap, and being okay with that. But thanks in large part to the treasure hunt aspect of the story, it moved along, I didn’t get sidetracked, and I wrote over 88,000 words in November, finishing Solomon’s Throne. And most importantly, I had a blast doing it — which was even more surprising.

In February, I started the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, but didn’t get that one finished before it was time to do Script Frenzy in April. I finished in mid-April, but went to Uganda on May 3 for a few weeks, so no writing, just research. Then I did June’s Camp NaNo (Undaunted Love), finished The Hoard of the Doges in July, and did August’s Camp NaNo (Where the Ducks Went). In the midst of all that I’ve edited and gotten two books to publication.

And all that is to say… I LOVE WRITING! I may not write at this pace over the next year. It’s hard to see doing that again. But that doesn’t mean I won’t keep writing, and keep exploring other genres. I told another blogger that I’m a bit ADD, I guess – I just love changing genres, and get bored trying to think of another storyline that is in the same genre as the one I just finished. I don’t know if that’s good or bad – it might be good, if they all develop a readership; it might be bad if readers who like one genre don’t like another.  But for better or worse, it’s how my brain works…

Here’s the breakdown – I’d love to hear your thoughts on them if you get a chance:

  • SOLOMON’S THRONE – action/adventure, treasure hunt, thriller (published)
  • UNDAUNTED LOVE – Christian historical romance, Civil War (published)
  • THE HOARD OF THE DOGES – action/adventure, treasure hunt, thriller (Oct 2012)
  • WHERE THE DUCKS WENT – YA dystopian low fantary (TBA)
  • LAID WASTE – screenplay, dystopian drama


Filed under Writing

From a B to an A

Great childhood!

I am a type-B personality. Not a marginal type-B, either. I’m a full-fledged, dyed-in-the-wool, fifth generation Floridian, sailor, relaxed homeschooler type-B. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

“People with Type B personality by definition generally live at a lower stress level and typically work steadily, enjoying achievements but not becoming stressed when they are not achieved. When faced with competition, they do not mind losing and either enjoy the game or back down. They may be creative and enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They are often reflective, thinking about the outer and inner worlds. Furthermore, Type B personalities may have a poor sense of time schedule and can be predominately right brained thinkers.”

Now, other than the “poor sense of time schedule” (I’m kind of anal retentive about schedules when there actually is one), this is me. Lower stress (in the words of my teen, I’m “chill”). Work steadily. Creative. Reflective. What that translates to, usually, is a few hours of work a day, four or five days a week, with reading, walking, painting, journaling, sitting on the deck enjoying tea, spending time on the boat or at the beach, traveling with my kids, and thinking about stuff.

My husband is mostly a type-A, as was my father (neither are “rigidly organized” or “obsessed with time management”, ironically). Here’s good old Wikipedia again:

“The theory describes a Type A individual as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.”

I have, over the last six months, somehow morphed from my nice, calm type-B to an unable-to-relax, to-do list obsessed type-A. And, to be honest, I’m not completely sure what’s happened… But I do know I’m tired!

Starting with NaNoWriMo in November of 2011 (my first NaNo), I’ve written 4 full length works of fiction in 3 genres; a 130 page (so slightly over 2 hour) screenplay; taken a 3 week intensive trip to Uganda for work; published 2 novels, with a 3rd coming out next month; edited not only my own novels but also my husband’s new political commentary/satire; and weathered 4 crazy medical issues. Not to mention regular life. This is so not like me that it kind of hurts my head… I’m not sure what happened, and I’m pretty sure that, in another couple of weeks, I’m going to collapse into a puddle of uselessness that will last for at least a month. (Unless someone puts me on a plane to St. Thomas, and then I might get over it faster…)

On the one hand, all this frenetic activity has produced a lot, shown me a passion and direction inside myself I didn’t have before, made me excited for what’s to come, given me energy (even in the midst of the aforementioned medical issues), and been a blast. On the other hand, I feel kind of jittery all the time and my brain won’t slow down; I have trouble sleeping; I’m mentally exhausted; and I’m ready for it to be over!

It’s amazing that I’ve made it this far at such a high level of productivity – and I’m only a week from my self-imposed deadline. Maybe that’s why I’m tired – I’m twenty yards out from the winners’ tape and I know I just have to drag myself over that finish line. All that’s left to do is finish editing The Hoard of the Doges (final edit, thank God); get all the information to my graphics/formatting people; and finish the first draft of Where the Ducks Went, which should only be about 15,000 words. By the 23rd. One week from today. Then… That’s it for awhile, other than the publication/uploading stuff.

This morning while I was journaling, I gave myself permission to not do NaNo in November. I think I probably will, but as of right now, I have no story at all, and nothing’s coming to me. If I don’t have something by about October 15th, I’m sitting this one out. And that’s okay. (If I start it, I’m going to “win”… but it’s okay not to start.) It’s okay to take a break and read all those great indie books that I’ve emailed to myself but haven’t had time to buy yet. In other words, it’s okay to revert to the type-B person I really am, and have been for 46 of my 47 years. I’m looking forward to getting to know her again!

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Publishing, Self publishing, Writing

Undaunted Love is finally on its way!

Once again, Glendon at Streetlight Graphics has done a fabulous job! My latest novel, UNDAUNTED LOVE, is just about ready for publication (4 very minor edits to do and then we’re on our way). I’m hoping it’ll be downloaded on CreateSpace, Amazon and Barnes & Noble by the end of today, so live in a day or two.

Here’s the print cover, which I LOVE!

We have added two endorsements on the back cover, but for some reason I can’t upload that one – you’ll have to buy the print copy to see them (hint hint).

Thanks again to my beta readers and my daughter, who helped so much. I’m excited that this is finally ready to publish… Andother child born!

About the book:  UNDAUNTED LOVE is Christian romance set in the South during the Civil War. My goal was to have a strong love story, a story of faith and redeption, and a bit of a mystery, too. I hope I have succeeded. Do let me know!

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Filed under Publishing, Self publishing, Writing

An award! Can I get a new dress?

Thanks to Zoe at the wonderful Just English blog for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award! Before I go shopping for my new dress, let me answer the questions required and nominate my seven choices.

1.  Name a book you would read over and over again?

I am currently reading The Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. I used to read it once a year, but I haven’t read it in several. I’m really enjoying it afresh.

2. If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?

Wow, this is hard… OK, first, I don’t care about being rich, but it would be great for my husband and I to both be able to pursue our dreams without having to worry about future finances. Second, I’d like a house in St. Thomas, overlooking the water (of course). Third, a long-haul boat with a captain (and, I guess, free fuel). Doesn’t have to be big – 45-50′ is fine. :o)
3.  Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Martha Higgenbotham in high school. She made everything fun and interesting, and also took a real interest in her students.

4.  Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Vacation spot would be anywhere in the Caribbean: Keys, Bahamas, Virgins, Caymans, etc.

5.  What chore do you absolutely hate doing?


6.  What is your favorite dessert?

Good key lime pie.

7.  What is your least favorite mode of transportation?

Definitely a bus.

8.  When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Marine biologist and/or a charter boat captain.

9.  If money was no object where would you live and why?

That’s hard. I would live in Uganda in a heartbeat, because I love it there, have friends, etc. I would live in Jinja, not Kampala. But since my husband wouldn’t go with me, then my next best would be either the Keys or St. Thomas or the Bahamas. Since I couldn’t live in the Bahamas though (you can only stay 90 days at a time), I guess that’s out!

10.  What is your dream career?

Being a writer. And I have recently begun!

11. What movie do you flat-out refuse to watch, no matter how good people say it is?

There’s a lot of movies I won’t watch, since I don’t watch any horror movies, or gross movies, and very few chick flicks. It would be hard to pick just one! I wouldn’t watch “Saving Private Ryan” again, although I saw it at the theater – not because it’s not a good movie, but because it upset me for days.

My nominations:


Terms and conditions:

Please answer the questions below. Nominate 11 people and use the same questions or write your own.

  1. Name a book you would read over and over again?
  2. If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?
  3. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
  4. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
  5. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
  6. What is your favorite dessert?
  7. What is your least favorite mode of transportation?
  8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  9. If money was no object where would you live and why?
  10. What is your dream career?
  11. What movie do you flat-out refuse to watch, no matter how good people say it is?


Filed under Writing