Jerks & Irks LVIII: I Failed My 2013 Goodreads Challenge

2012 was The Year of the Kindle. Having received a Kindle Fire for Christmas 2011, I devoured books the following year, reading over 75 altogether. I realize that number is subjective: impressive to some, a drop in the bucket to even more voracious readers than myself. But I was excited to have so many books at my fingertips.

In 2013, I set my first Goodreads Challenge for 75 books. I figured since I had done it the year before, I could do it again, right? Wrong. I failed to realize how much more I’d be writing in 2013 than the previous year (3 books and a couple of short stories), or how many hours would be spent marketing and maintaining a presence on social media. December rolled around and, with the end of the year in sight, I was forced to cheat amend my Challenge total to 60 books. I had read 59 and was reading the 60th with more than enough time to spare. I even fantasized about reading a 61st book for good measure.

Then the library–the LIBRARY of all places–took me down, guys. You see, some of the traditional publishers still insist on charging $10 or more for an e-book, which is irksome in and of itself. Therefore, if I want to read one of these books, I usually see if my local library network has a digital copy first. Thus was my process when I downloaded Night Film, by Marisha Pessl (EXCELLENT book so far, by the way).

I was 57% through it when my lending period was about to expire. I renewed it, as I had done before with other borrowed books, but THE LIBRARY took it away anyway. Just electronically snatched it off my Kindle and placed me on a waiting list (1 of 1). I was devastated. I’m not the type of person who can read multiple books at once; I have the short-term memory of a pill bug. I whined a lot, trudging through short stories and trolling Facebook instead of reading myself awake in the morning and to sleep at night.

The new year came and went and I was stuck on 59 books. I failed my Goodreads Challenge.

The library sabotaged me. CURSES! *waves fist in the air*

How about you? How did you fare with your own Goodreads Challenges?

Name My Series! Win Stuff!

In January 2012 I picked up writing my unfinished novel again. I gave myself a self-imposed deadline to have it finished by the end of the year. I know what you’re thinking: A whole year? To finish a novel you already had nine chapters of? What are you, chiseling it into a cave wall?

Gimme a break, guys. I was a newbie. Still am. Didn’t know how long it would take. Regardless, I still didn’t finish. I have a problem with over-editing before moving on. I might seek professional help as one of my New Year’s Resolutions. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’m FINISHED NOW!!!!!

The aforementioned novel, Blood in the Paint, is done. First draft, at least. The prequel, Blood in the Past, is all typed up and ready for the first round of revisions before it goes to the editor. Eeek!

So, this is a series, guys. I’ll be needing a series name. I can’t decide so I’m asking you all to help me pick one. The winner recieves a swag bag. (I probably shouldn’t call it a swag bag because swag stands for Stuff We All Get and, well, frankly, you all can’t be winners. But I’m going to continue to call it a swag bag because swag bag is fun to say and it rhymes and stuff.) Specifically, the winner will receive a Jordanna East tote bag with all kinds of goodies inside based on the suggestions you provided last week. Journals. Pens. A calendar magnet. A T-shirt. Chocolate! Goodies galore! Enter the contest below!

So, to recap: Click this link for a Rafflecopter giveaway. See the examples of suitable series choices. Click I Commented to enter the contest. Return to my blog and comment with your series title choice. If you need more info, go to the My Books page. Bite your nails until February 9th when a winner will be selected to win a Jordanna East ‘Tote Bag Full of Swag’ (Journals, pens, a calendar magnet, a tshirt, and CHOCOLATE!).



2012 in Review. Brought to You By the WordPress Monkeys

I know I already did a “Round-Up of My Year in 2012” post, but the WordPress monkeys (their word, not mine) put together these little summaries for everyone. And seeing as how today, January 4th, is the One Year Anniversary of this blog, I thought I would post it for all to see. Plus, I really need to get some writing done and can’t be bothered don’t have time to write a real post. Teehee.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

High Five for Top Fives

Up top, guys! This year is freaking over! Whoo hooo! Let the champagne flow! Pass the jello shots! Because nothing says classy like champagne and jello shots!

And no end-of-the-year blog post is complete without the requisite Top Blah Blah Blah List. Here are several of mine:

Top Five JJE Posts (based on Views, Comments, & Likes)

  1. Getting Arrested for the Greater Good
  2. Murder & Mother-In-Laws
  3. What Not to Do on the Train…
  4. The Typos Aren’t Your Fault?
  5. Location, Location, Location

Top Five JJE Posts I Liked But No One Saw

  1. Research or Get Besmirched
  2. Like Reading a Schizophrenic’s Notes
  3. This “Sux!”
  4. Who Wears Short Shorts?
  5. The Next Big Thing (Ok, this one’s a shameless plug. Don’t judge me, my books come out in 2013. TeeHee)

Top Five Weird-A$$ Search Terms That Brought People Here

  1. “baster brain” & “bald slavegirl fantasy” (That’s a tie, sorry)
  2. “fiction stories don’t beat me”
  3. “wave bum”
  4. “you’re welcome, it was a pleasure, hope you didn’t destroy your keyboard”
  5. “I’m not the same person please go away”
  6. BONUS *anytime someone searched for “jordanna east” or any derivative thereof* (That happened ELEVEN times!)

Top Five Books I Read This Year

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Duh)
  2. The Pine Deep Trilogy by Jonathan Maberry
  3. The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
  4. The King’s X by Stephen T. Harper
  5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Top Five Things I Look Forward to in 2013

  1. Typing up my Prequel, Blood in the Past, and submitting it to beta readers, editor, etc. Publishing it via Blood Read Press
  2. Getting my finished book covers from the amazingly talented Kit Foster
  3. Revising my full-length novel, Blood in the Paint, and submitting it to beta readers, editor, etc. Publishing it via Blood Read Press
  4. Starting the second full-length novel in the series (and the research for it!)
  5. A much deserved SPA DAY and a VACATION!

I just want to get all sappy for a moment and thank everyone for following me here, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. For being interested in me and my silly dream. For asking about my books. For laughing at my bookstore horror stories. I value your encouragement in same way I value cute kittens, funny-looking chickens, and anything made of chocolate. Happy New Year!

Everything I Do Should Come With a Disclaimer

I write psychological thrillers. Some might even call them Crime Thrillers. Do you know what that means? It means I have to look stuff up. Even though I was a Biology major with minors in Psychology and Criminology, I still have to Look. Stuff. Up.

Recently I needed to know a little something about heroin. I needed to know about its different forms, what it looked like, and how to prepare it for injection. Some of this was accomplished through asking certain friends and acquaintances with some knowledge on the subject (Second-hand knowledge, of course). The rest was done via numerous web searches. Oy, the internet thinks I’m a dope fiend…

You know what else I had to look up? Under what circumstances an individual could survive a self-inflicted gunshot to the temple. Oy, the internet thinks I’m a suicidal dope fiend…

Tis my life, ladies and gentleman. Oh, and I can’t even fall back on my charitable donations to the Purple Heart as a testament of my good character. These are some of the titles I donated the other day:

  • The Death Penalty in America
  • Murder 2
  • A Scream in the Dark
  • Killers at Large
  • Murderers Row
  • Female Serial Killers
  • Manhunt
  • Serial Killer Files
  • Born Evil
  • The Creation of a Serial Killer
  • Without Conscience
  • The Sociopath Next Door (Those last four titles are probably the creepiest.)

And this was all within the last month or so…

Sometimes I think I should write about puppies…

Or add a disclaimer to everything I do so I don’t come across as a sociopathic, suicidal, dope fiend…

What does the internet think of YOU?

What My Wedding Has to do With Self-Publishing

The Hubby-pants and I have been married for almost a year. When we were planning our wedding every single vendor adored us. Except maybe the head of the ceremony musicians. She was kind of a snot. But everyone else loved us. A few months after the wedding our caterer (Summit Catering, if you’re in the market) asked us if we would be interested in having our wedding featured in a local wedding magazine.

Awesome-sauce, right? Not really. More like Mediocre-sauce.

We FINALLY received copies of the magazine last month and  both of us were gravely disappointed. The blurb at the top of the feature contained several typos. From the spelling of the place where we met to how long we were together before he proposed. Then there were the pictures. Our photographers (ART WORK Photography, if you’re in the market) were phenomenal. We have well over a thousand photos. The editor from the magazine picked some lovely photos, but a couple of them ended up darkened. Some of her other choices I just didn’t agree with. But the darkened ones really burned my tush because they were of items that I personally made for the wedding. (I’m crafty like that.)

Now here’s where it get’s interesting.

Something I created was not shown correctly.

And just like that I knew -really knew- why I wanted to self-publish. We met with the editor of this magazine in person. Her and I must have exchanged over two dozen emails. And yet, she still found a way to muck it all up. We trusted her with showcasing our special day and were disappointed with the end result. I can’t do that to my novel. I can’t pour so many hours of blood (sometimes I bash my head against stuff), sweat (it’s been a hot summer), and tears (I cry when it’s hot and I bash my head against stuff) into my literary baby then hand it off to someone and be absolutely, 139%, without a doubt, SURE that the finished product will be exactly how I wanted it. So, in conclusion, that’s why I’m gonna kick it with the Indie Authors next year. 😉

By the way, the ceremony musician lady didn’t like me because I wanted too much say in what pieces were played during our wedding and when. She was used to working with brides that let them play whatever the wind blew their way. Another inidicator that I have control issues, huh?

Oh, and if you want to see the train wreck of a wedding feature, click here, and don’t judge.

A Dose of Friendly Deja Vu

Good day all! Just logged into WordPress to discover that the wonderful Whitney Rains over at A Serendipitous Happenstance (I’m always so scared I’m gonna spell that incorrectly one of these days) nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award and also tagged me with the Lucky 7 Meme. Since I’ve recently participated in both of these (and I’m running out of things to say about myself and other bloggers to nominate), I’ll just ping back to my previous responses. I hope y’all don’t mind! (That was said in a country drawl, irregardless of the fact that I’m from New York. I don’t know…) Again, I would like to thank Whitney for thinking of me not once, but twice. Everyone should go visit her page right now and stuff.

You can find my response to this award here. I strongly urge you to check out the bloggers nominated there. I also strongly urge you to drink more tea, it’s good for you.

You can find what I did with the Lucky 7 Meme here. Enjoy.

A Beautiful Day to Be Beautiful

Someone thinks I’m a beautiful blogger and that someone is Bill over at This Page Intentionally Blank. Even though I’m the beautiful one, he’s pretty nifty himself so go ahead and spend some time on his page.

Here are seven other beautiful blogger peeps:

1. Catherine, Caffeinated

2. SBibb’s Photo Illustration

3. Jill of All Trades…Expert of None!

4. Kate Policani

5. Cult of Racewood

6. yawattahosby

7. Lynn Reynolds

At the risk of being cliche, all of these bloggers are beautiful in one way or another. So follow them dammit. And when you’re done, follow me on Twitter and Facebook because we all know you can’t get enough of me! 😉





Evvvvvverybody’s a Critic…

Writers need to read and readers need to write reviews for writers. It’s a lovely little symbiotic relationship. It also means everybody’s a critic. Even me! But I’m not that bad, I promise. So check out the newest addition to my blog, the review page entitled Books I’ve Read In Bed. I’ve added about the half of the books I’ve read so far this year, with the rest to be added later this week. Let me know what you think of my rating system and be sure to leave book recommendations in the comments section.

With that, I’ll leave you with this comic that made me chuckle because I often say I read something quickly, overnight, in 24 hours, etc.


ASJA 2012 Recap the Magic: Part 1

I know what you’re thinking, “Recap the Magic? Really?” Yes! It was indeed magical! It was my first writer’s conference! I got a swag bag! I learned stuff! I met people! And no one laughed at me!

(Yes, one of my biggest fears was that when I met people and informed them that I was “pre-published” they would laugh me out of the borough of Manhattan. That’s right. They would laugh so hard I would magically be whisked away to Queens and all of the Mets fans. Oh the horror! But, alas, this was not the kind of magic I encountered. And also, Go Yankees.)

The first session I attended was entitled: Books2Go:DIY Publishing. It was about -yep, you guessed it- self publishing. I got to the room early to get a seat up front. Not because I’m a nerd (although I am a nerd, that’s just not why I sat up front), but because I need a new contact prescription and wanted to be able to frickin’ see. Anyway, the first person I met was Echo Garrett who greeted everyone with a smile as they arrived. She was a friend of the moderator, Mickey Goodman (co-author of the self-published title “Nine Lives of Marriage”). I asked her about her unusual first name and she was sweet enough to explain that her father was good friends with Buddy Holly, whose girlfriend’s name was Echo. When Buddy died, her father was either going to name her Holly or Echo, and obviously decided on Echo. Good move, Buddy’s friend; Echo is an awesome name. While we were waiting for the session to start, she showed us her self-published book that was just recently picked up by a publisher:

First of all, I thought it was just about the coolest thing ever. It’s actually made out of an orange, canvas material and a zipper encloses the pages. I cracked it open and the inside is filled with collage-like pages and excerpts from the subject of the book, Sam Bracken. Basically, the book is about his terrible childhood, how he persevered through all that chaos, and became a pretty awesome college football player. He was injured twice and worked hard to return to football. Now he is a speaker and religious missionary of some sort. I’m not of a religious nature, but I was intrigued. When Echo said she had a few copies downstairs for sale, I immediately counted the cash in my wallet. I read it on the train ride home…eventually…after the distractions passed.

This all happened in the first five minutes people! Are you feeling the magic yet?

The panelists were as follows:

  • Jon Fine: Director of Author and Publisher Relations for He was my favorite. He was very gregarious and always had a sophisticated response to everything. And he had long hair. Way to stick it to the proverbial corporate man, Mr Fine. He spoke about Amazon’s print process via CreateSpace, which allows authors to make their book available by printing on demand. This service is offered with no money down and ensures that stock of your book is always available. The print process and the ebook process via KDP are virtually the same. Amazon also has its own traditional publishing house that is gaining momentum. Apparently they sometimes turn to self-published works on Amazon as a sort of “annotated slush pile.” Good to know. I also have a bunch of stars in my notes around the words Author Central. I had to google it because I forgot why it was important. Oops. But the address is and aims to increase the “discoverability” of your book. It allows you to update your bio and info about your book, making it “stand out among the tidal wave of content.” He offered another tip: meta data. These are key words/phrases/categories that are designed to exponentially increase the probability your book will pop up in online searches. The best way to do this is to utilize the “Search Inside” feature on amazon, which allows the entire book to be cross-referenced with web searches, not just the key words/phrases/categories. His las tip of the day for building your platform (which is important nowadays), was to note the habitual reviewers of similar books on Amazon (as in, those within your genre). Some of these reviewers even have blogs and websites. Track them down and ask them for reviews and interviews. Genius!
  • Michael Heath: Book Coach for Self-Publishing, Inc and author of “Garlic Bread for Eugene.” Mr Heath was the quietest of the bunch, rarely grabbing for the microphone at all. I could barely hear him when he did speak, so I don’t even know what his book is about. I googled it and still didn’t come up with much. Oh well. His company is based in NYC and offers book printing, formatting, cover art, editing, isbn, etc all under one roof. They will even set you up on Amazon. They have a 100 book minimum though, and that is kind of a bummer. They also don’t offer any marketing services…which brings me to…
  • Don Seitz: Senior Vice President of business development at Author Solutions, Inc and builder of partnerships with leading publishing and media companies, including IUniverse. Author Solutions is currently working with 16 different genre-specific imprints with traditional publishers who can potentially “discover” you. This is outside of their truly awesome set of services. They obviously offer book cover art, formatting, and print and ebook versions of your work, but they don’t stop there. They provide advice and counsel regarding pricing related to your genre and content. But the best part is they offer a variety of a la carte MARKETING AND PUBLICITY SERVICES! Virtual book signings! Book trailers! Simultaneous distribution of both the print and ebook versions to various sellers. And my absolute favorite: The Almighty Book Stub. A book stub looks like a credit card with your book cover art on one side and on the reverse side is a QR code (that black and white squiggly square you’re starting to see everyone, for my technologically unsavvy friends). When you are chatting it up about your book with someone and they seem interested, you whip out your book stub, they scan the QR code, and voila! Your book is on their phone or tablet! It doesn’t even have to be your whole book. It could be just a teaser or a first chapter. I love this idea. I would absolutely have the babies of this idea. (Not to be confused with having the babies of the person who came up with the idea. I’m a married woman, afterall)

And that’s where I will end it today. The DIY info was great. I can’t wait to finish my WIP and inquire some more about Author Solutions and its holy grail of a book stub. Sorry for the exceptionally long post, I know that’s not usually my style. I did learn a lot though, and I wanted to share it with you fine folks. Enjoy!