I’m a Reader’s Favorite!

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Blood in the Past is a reader’s favorite, not me. At least, according to ReadersFavorite.com. I submitted my little psychological thriller for review last summer, shortly after its release. I never opted to pay for the expedited review, choosing instead to just wait patiently and forget all about it. My review is finally here, folks! And it’s a FIVE STAR REVIEW! Eek! Here’s what they had to say about my novella:

BITPP-5star-LoRes

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers’ Favorite

Actions have consequences that can sometimes go beyond what we think. Blood in the Past demonstrates exactly how tragic those consequences can become in this thriller by Jordanna East. When a handsome Philadelphia cop, Calvin Kyle, takes notice of Jillian, she can’t help falling for him even though he is married. Though he promises that he is about to leave his wife, Jillian continues to hang in limbo, while still hoping for the home and family that she has never had. When Lyla Kyle found her dead mother, the victim of what had officially been ruled as a suicide, she is certain that her womanizing father is somehow to blame and she decides that she must find a way to avenge her mother’s death. When Jason Brighthouse Sr. rushes into a burning building to save a police colleague trapped in the flames of his home, he does not return alive and the devastation is immediately felt by his son. Along with his devastation came a decision that his life was no longer worth living and using his father’s pistol, he ends his life. As one tragedy turns to another, it is hard not to miss the chain of events that lead from one action to a series of consequences.

This hard hitting, yet honest look at how something as innocuous as wandering eyes can lead to so much tragedy makes Jordanna East’s thriller a novel to remember. With the turning of each page, the plot thickens into a pool of blood that just continues to spread from one seemingly innocent little affair. Truthful, hard-hitting and tragic, Blood in the Past is an excellent start to the Blood for Blood Series which is certain to leave cold chills running down your spine.

 

What I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2014

I know, I know. Another list. I’m such a hypocrite.

I didn’t reach my Goodreads goal last year, but I’m determined to reach my more modest goal of 50 books this year. No, I’m not gonna list 50 specific books I plan on reading (I’m not that OCD, I promise), yet I do have several titles that have recently been bumped up on my eight-mile-long TBR list.

  • Night Film by Marisha Pessl – Okay, technically I started reading this at the tail end of 2013, but the library ruined my life (see failed Goodreads challenge above) and ended my lending period, ignoring my renewal request. Oh, and technically, I’ve already finished this novel this year (last week, to be precise). That just means I’m well on my way to completing this list!
  • Maze Runner by James Dashner – Yeah, um, technically, I’m reading this right now…and halfway done. But it’s on this list because the movie adaptation releases this year and I’m one of those annoying people who MUST read the book first so I can tell everyone who will listen, and even those that won’t, how much better the book was than the movie.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – See above obnoxious reason for wanting to read Maze Runner because it applies here: Starz will debut its Outlander television adaptation this summer. Plus, my mother-in-law has recommended it about eleven times.
  • Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling (under some dude pen name) – I didn’t read The Casual Vacancy because, though I respect JK tremendously, the genre just wasn’t my cuppa. But this crime fiction novel is right up my alley.
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth – I started reading this during the Night Film library-thievery-fiasco of 2013. I got about 35% in before Night Film was returned to my Kindle. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember enough about the first two books to feel comfortable finishing Allegiant. (Plus, I really wanted to get back to the amazeballs Night Film.) So it looks like I’ll be reading Divergent and Insurgent all over again before I can dive back into the final installment. :-/
  • Sand (Omnibus) by Hugh Howey – If you guys don’t know by now, I developed a serious literary crush on Hugh Howey after reading Wool. He just released this bundle of 5 episodes and I downloaded it the same day. I’ve never downloaded a book on release day. Ever.
  • EVERYTHING BY HUGH HOWEY – In continuation of the fan-girl moment I’m having, I want to read everything else written by Howey. The Molly Fyde Series, Half Way Home, I, Zombie. All of it. Where can I get his high school essays? Gimme, gimme, gimme.
  • Yesterday’s Gone by Sean Platt – I’ve heard great things about this serialized post-apocalyptic novel and I wanna see what all the fuss is about. Especially since I’ve had the first season on my Kindle FOREVER.
  • The Bat et al in the Harry Hole Series by Jo Nesbo – Last year I read his standalone, Headhunters (because I hadn’t yet gotten my hands on the first Harry Hole novel) and loved it. I’m ready to jump two-feet-first into more of his writing.
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight – Amazon keeps recommending this one to me. Amazon is a little scary. They’re gonna have drones soon. I’m gonna do what Amazon tells me…
  • Have You Seen Her by Rich Silvers – One of time times my own novella, Blood in the Past, did really well and jumped up the ranks of Amazon’s subcategories, specifically psychological fiction, Have You Seen Her was always one spot above me. Call this a recon read. I wanna check out the competition. 😉
  • The Shining by Stephen King – I know, this is an “oldie but goodie” in the book world. I may have read it as preteen (I started reading King when I was ten. That’s not creepy or anything, right?), but I’m sure I don’t remember enough of it to read…
  • Doctor Sleep by Stephen King – …so I’m gonna check out The Shining (again?) so I can enjoy Stephen King’s new release all proper like.
  • Identical by Scott Turow – I keep a journal of ideas for future novels and short stories. One of these said ideas was very similar to Identical…before Identical was released. Scott Turow and I aren’t bar buddies on the weekends or anything, so I’m curious to see just how similar his story is to mine and whether or not I have to rip out a page from my journal and set it on fire.
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – This novel won the Man Booker Prize and Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award last year. As you can imagine, it received a bit of publicity, which sparked my interest. It’s supposed to be a thrilling historical novel, but it’s a bit of a long read. I should probably get on that soon…before I find myself rushing around to complete this year’s Goodreads Challenge.
  • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty– This is another title Amazon keeps recommending. Have I mentioned I’m intimidated by them? (Amazon, if you’re reading this, I’m gonna read all your recommendations. Don’t send drones to my house unless I order something via Prime Shipping.)
  • N0S4A2 by Joe Hill – I read Horns last year. Why? Because there’s a movie coming out, of course. Anyway, I really enjoyed it. Hill has a much different writing style than his father (Stephen King), but you can tell by the crazy creepiness that he didn’t fall too far from the tree.
  • Room by Emma Donoghue – I’ve heard good things about this one, but have kept my distance because it’s written from the POV of a small child. I don’t really do kids, so you can understand my hesitation. However, I think I’m gonna suck it up and see what happens.
  • Lexicon by Maxx Barry – Hugh Howey posted a list books that changed his life on Facebook. This is one of them. It was already on my TBR list, but an endorsement from Howey shot it way up to the top. All hail Hugh Howey.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I’ve been curious about this Tim Burton-ish-sounding novel for a while now. And with a sequel out (and a movie adaptation on the way!), it’s about time I give it a whirl.

Wow, I just rattled off twenty books without breaking a sweat. Color me impressed with myself (I was only aiming for ten). Anyway, do you guys have any books you’re dying to read this year? New releases? Oldies but goodies? Tell me! I have thirty more spots to fill!

Jerks & Irks LVII: I Wish I Had Time To Make Lists

It’s that time of year when blogs and websites are rolling out their “Best of” and “Worst of” lists like so many enumerated red carpets. I want so badly to participate as more than a spectator, but I’m a bit busy at the moment. First, I cooked my annual Christmas dinner for the in-laws. That took several days of preparation, followed by several days of decompression. Not to mention I’m doing that whole writing thing I do. I know I’ve been relatively quiet on that front, but I swear I’m still doing it. Blood in the Paint is currently with my editor and I’m working on two short stories for two separate anthologies due out in 2014. But if I had the time to TP the internet with fluffy, bouncing rolls of lists, here’s where I would start:

  • Ten things I learned about publishing. Notice I didn’t say self-publishing or independent publishing or traditional publishing exclusively. As an author, I feel it’s my duty to research all the facets of my industry to make the best possible informed decisions. I learned a lot. Most of it I’ve already blogged about along the way, but I wish I could put it one central location for my readers. Perhaps when I publish Blood in the Paint, I’ll do a Then and Now post, defining the differences between when I published Blood in the Past and what I know now.
  • Ten bizarre real-life crimes I wish I would have thought of first. We’ve all heard that truth is often stranger than fiction. It really is when it comes to crime. And sometimes I get so JEALOUS that I didn’t write about said crimes first in one of my books or stories. Grrr! (Although, I won’t be writing this list, I’ll still be composing it for a local appearance I have scheduled this spring. Be sure to check the events page often!)
  • Ten songs that made my brain bleed and ooze out of my ears. I don’t listen to the radio much anymore because of this, which means, I probably don’t even know the titles of the songs I would include on this list, if I had the time to write it. However, I’m pretty sure I could look up recent songs by Kanye West and be half there.
  • Ten books I didn’t have a chance to read in 2013. According to Goodreads, I’ve only read 59 books this year. I’m finishing up my 60th now. My original goal was 75, but that wasn’t gonna happen unless I downloaded 15 short stories, so I updated the damn goal. Don’t judge me. I might still create and post this list if I can find the time this week. Fingers crossed.
  • Ten things I hope to do in 2014. This one would be fun, because if I phrase it like this, I can take “hopeful” liberties and not worry about actually being able to do them. I hope to make the best sellers list. I hope to go back to Tahiti. I hope to wake up 30 pounds lighter. You get the idea…
  • Ten movie characters I absolutely loved/loathed. This one would be so much fun! Hubby-pants and I go to the movies quite often. The only problem is I tend to completely forget a movie the moment I leave the theater. Like, I can’t even hold an intelligent conversation about it during the car ride home. It’s scary. Even if I had the time, I’d need quite a bit of memory-jogging for this one. Yikes.
  • Ten television series of 2013. I know I seem to be an anomaly–an author who watches quite a bit of TV–so I wish I had the time to let everyone in on the types of television shows I indulge in. How I used to love Homeland, but I thought it was a letdown this year. How I also felt Scandal was a letdown this season until the very last episodes. Or how much I enjoyed The Walking Dead. Or how I had no idea how many people watched Duck Dynasty until very recently…
  • Ten nifty writing tools I hope to acquire in 2014. There’s that word “hope” again. I don’t necessary need anything, but who doesn’t love new gadgets? This is another list that would take a bit of poking around on the internet, so it’s probably not gonna happen. Maybe I can live vicariously through someone else’s list.
  • Ten non-writing projects to complete in 2014. Of course I’d have to come up with ten projects first, but sometimes it’s nice to do something outside of writing. Last summer I acquired a jug-like vase from the in-laws’ shore house before they put it in on the market and I’ve been drawing Picasso-inspired images on it. I intend to paint them and coat the vase in a protective gloss. This is the only such project I have going on right now, but I’m sure if I trolled my Pinterest boards I could find a few things.
  • Top ten favorite reads of 2013. This one goes without saying. All of us writerly/bookworm types do one. I did one last year. And I’ll be doing one this year. I’ll find the time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find the time for all of the above ideas and pepper your January with Top Ten lists! Be afraid. Be very afraid…

*Disclaimer: No, the irony is not lost on me that this is a list and I made time to write it and post it. 😉

What I Learned About Author Events: Part 3

Many of you will remember that Blood in the Past was originally available in e-book only. Then something strange happened. Friends and family and acquaintances and random people from high school were asking for a print version. I started to realize that even though my own Kindle is never more than seven inches from me and much of the population has embraced digital reading, there’s still a substantial chunk of readers that prefer holding actual dead trees in their hands. And I was neglecting them. And that wasn’t all. I belong to two local writing groups and they often organize signings and author panels. Not having a print version of my books to sell at those events put me at a disadvantage.

So in September I made Blood in the Past available in paperback and in October I had three, count ’em THREE, author events. Two weeks ago I discussed my very first event. Last week, I discussed protecting your display from the elements. Today I’ll discuss my third event and what I learned from it. (This will be the final piece in the three-part series. Thank you for joining me as I shared my experiences.)

My third event was the Autumn Authors Fair at A Novel Idea. A Novel Idea is an adorable little bookstore within an Amish Marketplace in Vineland, NJ. The South Jersey Authors Group was there promoting its anthology, Tall Tales and Short Stories, and there were probably a dozen other authors selling their books and merchandise. We weren’t actually set up inside A Novel Idea, but rather our tables were arranged in a rectangle in the lobby of the marketplace so us authors could attack approach shoppers from all sides. I had my own space for this one and I pulled out all the stops. The day before I worked tirelessly to create an eye-catching excerpt from Blood in the Past and had it printed out on a standing 11×17″ board. Coupled with the marbles I’d bought to weigh down my tablecloths at future outdoor events (but they were too pretty not to use ASAP) and my little corner was hard to miss! I sold six books, my last three charm bookmarks, and SO many syringe pens (over a dozen definitely, but I lost count)! I had learned a lot during the previous two events, so I was pretty prepared. Let’s see how I did:

  • It was a bit chilly, so I wore a tight, black turtleneck, but I made sure I could push the sleeves up if the temperature warmed up. I also brought a large bottle of water and something to nibble on. I took care of myself. Yay!
  • I finally got to an event early enough to really set up my display nicely. I now have three standing signs. The one I discussed above, with the excerpt from Blood in the Past, was a big hit. I choose a particularly eerie passage and the black, red, and white hues were attention-grabbing. The other sign is actually a flyer with a bio that specifies I’m a local author which is important for these events. Even though all the authors there are usually local, when people spot that in writing, they seem more interested. The third is a smaller sign, simple. It spins, oscillating between Blood in the Past‘s front and back cover. When Blood in the Paint‘s cover is ready (by the way, did you see the release date countdown over there on the right!), I’ll change it to a COMING SOON display. I also spread out the syringe pens that I bought wholesale from Amazon and the bookmarks that I purchased custom from two different vendors on Facebook. After I added the marbles and the other fancy weights I’d purchased, my area was downright snazzy!
  • You’ll recall I had been terrible at talking to customers. Well, at this event, I rocked. When people showed interest in the syringes, I made sure they knew they were pens that wrote in red ink. Then I let them know the other items were bookmarks. (Apparently that wasn’t obvious to ANYONE. The next time I order some I’ll have to remember to take one out of the package and actually place it inside of a book and put that on display.) And I quickly realized that saying my books were “Psychological Thrillers” wasn’t enough. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what the hell that means. So, I would start with that, then ask if they’ve read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or if they’ve read/seen Dexter. I even threw in a few other popular television shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order: SVU. It definitely worked. Once one of those things struck a chord of recognition, I went on to tie it in with my book. Twisted female protagonist/antagonist (Gone Girl), told from the POV of the serial killer as they deal with their demons (Dexter), etc. Toward the end of the day, I had an iron-clad pitch that worked well with customers. All I need to do now is work on a quick one-sentence tagline that applies directly to my book. The author seated next to me had one (she was a children’s author), and I envied her a little. Teehee.
  • So what did I learn? As you can see, I didn’t really learn much from this outing. Technically, I applied what I’d learned previously and did quite well. I’m so proud of myself!

autumnauthors

What I Learned About Author Events: Part 2

Many of you will remember that Blood in the Past was originally available in e-book only. Then something strange happened. Friends and family and acquaintances and Hubby-pants’ coworkers were asking for a print version. I started to realize that even though my own Kindle is never more than seven inches from me and much of the population has embraced digital reading, there’s still a substantial chunk of readers that prefer holding actual dead trees in their hands. And I was neglecting them. And that wasn’t all. I belong to two local writing groups and they often organize signings and author panels. Not having a print version of my books to sell at those events put me at a disadvantage.

So in September I made Blood in the Past available in paperback and in October I had three, count ’em THREE, author events. Last week I discussed my very first event. Today I’ll discuss the second event, what a train wreck it was, and what I learned from it. (This will be a three-part series as I share my experiences regarding each event.)

My second event, the week after the Collingswood Book Festival, was the Witches Ball. You may remember my experience with the Witches Ball from a recent Jerks & Irks post. If you missed that post, you can go back and read all about the minutiae of that annoying ass day. Be my guest. But don’t get me wrong–the opportunity itself was great and I’d love to do it again next year. The Witches Ball is a Halloween-themed Festival, geared toward adults, with musicians, a beer garden, and vendors of all kinds. It’s an event designed for people drawn to the macabre, so writers of thrillers and horror fit right in. The best part about it is that it is NOT an author event. Let me explain…As an author, you have to think outside the box and think of yourself as a craftsman, as a vendor. The author I shared space with sold vampire fiction and between her books and my own psychological thrillers, we had a lot of people stop by our tables. And I’m pretty sure we were the only authors there. Unfortunately the weather was just shy of awful and I was only there about two hours and only sold two books. But let’s see what I learned:

  • The Witches Ball is an outdoor event and the weather looked unfavorable. There was talk it would be postponed to the following weekend, so I dragged my feet preparing my box of wares and printing out my vendor instructions and parking pass until the last possible moment. FYI the turnout for postponed events is usually far less than that of the original date, so event hosts will hardly ever postpone if they can help it. I learned this later, so plan on the event taking place. Also, print out any relevant information the moment you receive it because I accidentally deleted the email with the vendor instructions and parking pass (see the aforementioned Jerks & Irks post) and it kind of ruined my life.
  • Last week, I said to remember to take care of yourself in terms of the weather? This week I learned you have to prepare to take care of your merchandise in terms of the weather. It was very windy and after a while it started to mist and drizzle. This was the first event where I had to provide my own table and display. I brought a card table and a cheap plastic tablecloth, but as soon as I got there, the wind prevented me from even laying the tablecloth down. So that’s one thing I learned: spring for a heavier tablecloth and/or bring tape. Hubby-pants suggested buying clamps of some kind. I don’t have any more outdoor events until next year, but that’s something to look into.
  • After I managed to tame my tablecloth, the wind disrupted everything on top of the table. My standing signs, my business cards, the decorative throw cloth I bought to disguise the cheap plastic tablecloth. Even my stacks of books, since they’re so lightweight. It was a mess. When I managed to steal a few peeks at the author I was with, her table was adorned with decorated paperweights and those marbles fancy people put in vases. I’ve already bought some of those and they look really nice even at indoor events where they’re not needed. I might also invest in a banner that lays flat on the table to take the place of my standing signs, in the event of another windy day.
  • Did I mentioned that it rained? I need a tent. ‘Nuff said. (I’m saving for one.)
  • One other thing I forgot to mention was that the Witches Ball was held at night. Halloween, geared toward adults and the macabre…you might have guessed that. But if you’re selling BOOKS at night, and people need to READ the back covers, and SEE your other merchandise, you should probably have some artificial light on your table. Again, I was forced to check out my fellow author’s table. She’d been to the event before and had several battery-operated lanterns and tiny-tap-lights she’d bought at the dollar store. I don’t know when I’ll have another outdoor event at night, but I’ll definitely keep my eye out for something that matches my current display.
  • Finally, I want to talk about interaction. Last week I spoke about how terrified I was to talk to anyone about my book, which probably hurt my sales. At the Witches Ball, Kristen, my fellow author and vendor-space-mate, helped bring me out of my shell a little bit. Her table was quite elaborate and attracted a lot of attention (as did her costume and candy), and she was always kind enough to mention me and my books, the genre, etc, while ushering people to my table. She would even ask me questions to get me talking in front of the potential readers, even if they were the same questions over and over in front of each new group of people. Once people got to my table, I felt a little more comfortable talking to them, since I had been “introduced.”
  • So what did I learn? Always prepare for the show to go on. Always print out any relevant documents right away. Always prepare for the weather and time of day in every way imaginable. And just like last week, customer interaction is key. The people I spoke the most to, bought books, even though I was cold, wet, and my wig was crooked. Refer to the picture below. 😛

Witches.Ball

Jerks & Irks LIV: The Perils of Piracy & How to Prevail

You never think it will happen to you…

I was riding the high of Blood in the Past‘s most recent free day. It had done well during free days past (900+ and 800+ downloads, respectively), but this time I had submitted to several promotional websites, hoping to be picked up without paying for a guaranteed spot. To my surprise, I was featured on both Free Booksy and eReader Perks! I had over 1800 downloads that day and Blood in the Past made it to #133 in the Kindle Free Store and #2 in the Kindle Free Crime Thrillers. That was a Sunday (also my birthday, if you’ll recall). The next day, I was enjoying my bump in sales (the only reason to do these free days in the first place), when I opened my email to a Google Alert that ruined my day. Like I said, you never think it will happen to you.

You see, I set up Google Alerts for my name and the title of my book to stay abreast of cheerier situations, such as unsolicited reviews, Twitter chatter about me and my events, etc. I never expected to click on the link and see Blood in the Past available for download for FREE on some shady-ass website. But there it was. And I wanted to cry. One of the 1800 people who had downloaded it the day before–SOME JERK–had uploaded to mobilsm.org, a tech website that offers free apps, programs, ebooks, etc.

After I stopped shaking and I got a hold of myself, I remembered all the advice I’d ever read about book piracy, mostly everyone says not to sweat being on a piracy site. It means you made it, consider it extra exposure, etc. Well, with all due respect to those talking heads, screw that noise. I worked hard on Blood in the Past, it only costs a couple of bucks, and for heaven’s sake, I run a free promotion once a damn month! I decided then I wasn’t going to just bend over my desk and take this piracy crap quietly (excuse the visual). So I did what everyone does when they’re lost for answers: I Googled it. And I got an answer. And I acted on it. And less than one week later I received an email that my book had been removed. Hurrah!

I bet you’re wondering how I managed that. Here’s how:

  • My Google search led me to this link. God bless anything that begins with the prefix Wiki.
  • Before I consulted the steps on the WikiHow page however, I made sure the site where my book was pirated had a copyright policy, which it did. You want to make sure that you comply with the offending site’s procedures, if they have their own. For example, mobilism.org had a specific clause that had to be included within your complaint for it to even be considered.
  • Next, I went back to the WikiHow page and basically followed the steps. There is actually a nifty little script for you to adhere to that makes it easier for you. FYI, when I sent my email to mobilism.org, I added an extra paragraph that went a little more in-depth in terms of proving my identity. In addition, I attached a couple of documents. You can choose whatever works best for you, but I went with the New Jersey Certificate of Trade for my publishing company, Blood Read Press, and the Copyright Page taken straight from Blood in the Past. I chose those two documents because the mailing address is the same, which tied my legal name to my pen name. Ta da!
  • Now, I’d like to say that I pressed send on my polite, yet firm, email and bing-bang-boom, Blood in the Past was rescued for mobilism.org’s  slimy grasp, but that’s not how it happened. Their website claims copyright infringement complaints will be addressed within 48 hours of being received. Lord knows when my little email would be received so, after 56 hours had passed, I returned to the website. Closer inspection revealed that if you became a member and directly messaged the head of the thread where the infringement took place (i.e. apps, ebooks, software, etc.), the response time would be shorter. So, after much reticence and downright nausea, I joined the site (promptly showering after) and messaged the screen name “Phex”. Sure enough, within 48 hours, Blood in the Past was free. Well, not free. For sale, on Amazon. If it were free, that would mean it was still on the piracy site…oh never mind…you know what I mean.

I must confess: this is my first brush with piracy and this only one website. I can’t promise that these steps will work in every situation with every website. But it can’t hurt to have somewhere to start, right? My advice? Start with setting up Google Alerts for your name and book title(s). If it wasn’t for that email, I would never have had the day after my birthday ruined and I would have never sprung into action, thus saving my book from being held hostage by pirates.

What I Learned About Author Events: Part 1

Many of you will remember that Blood in the Past was originally available in ebook only. Then something strange happened. Friends and family and acquaintances and random people on Twitter (okay, that was only one person) were asking for a print version. I started to realize that even though my own Kindle is never more than seven inches from me and much of the population has embraced digital reading, there’s still a substantial chunk of readers that prefer holding actual dead trees in their hands. And I was neglecting them. And that wasn’t all. I belong to two local writing groups and they often organize signings and author panels. Not having a print version of my books to sell at those events put me at a disadvantage.

So in September I made Blood in the Past available in paperback and in October I had three, count ’em THREE, author events. Today I’ll discuss the first event, how I handled myself, and what I learned from it. (This will be a three-part series as I share my experiences regarding each event.)

The first event was my town’s Book Festival. My town is small and cute and quaint and they often shut down the main street for fairs and stuff. From what I’m told, the Book Festival started off as a very pitiful affair and has grown to be the big deal that it’s been in recent years, so I was excited to take part. The South Jersey Writers Group bought a space to recruit new members as well as promote their anthology, Small Tales and Short Stories (written by members), and they were generous enough to open up their space up to members who had their own works to promote. Here’s the run down:

  • I got there a few minutes before the festival started, thinking I was early. All I had to do was put a sign and a stack of books on a table, right? Wrong. Everyone was already there and all the good seats under the tent were taken. Bummer.
  • I sat in the sun, not under the tent. I wasn’t prepared for the unseasonably hot autumn day. I should have brought a hat, worn sunblock, had sunglasses, etc. I even had to borrow a scrunchie from my Hubby-pants (he has long, flowing hair now) because I wore my stupid, curly hair down. I had been so busy worrying about my books and my business cards before I left the house, that I forgot to take care of myself. I can’t let that happen again.
  • The SJWG had two tables. The one under the tent was where their anthology and the members’ books were displayed. The other table was where the sign-up sheet for new members was laid out. I spent most of my time there, as those were the seats that were most frequently rotated. I suppose this is advice for the group, but I think the anthology would have been more useful on the table with the sign-ups, as a recruiting tool. At least a few of them. Also, SJWG had a couple of members out in front of the tables to try to flag people down and draw them to the tables. My husband was out across the way and he said that those members were actually blocking the tables from view and when passersby couldn’t see what the table was about (be it ours or the ones on either side of us), they kept it moving. The “hype man” concept may have seemed like a good idea (it certainly did to me from behind the table), but it actually ended up hurting us. I’ll remember that for next year when I have my own table.
  • This was the event where I learned just how terrified I am of talking to strangers about my book. I eventually worked up the nerve to talk to people about joining the group (and I got very good at that), but when a spot opened up to sit behind MY OWN BOOKS at the other table, I balked. Pathetic, I know. But I did watch as one author in particular would engage people when they picked up his book. All he would say was, “It’s a political thriller.” Not much. Simple, did the trick. I made a note of it.
  • I sold fifteen books at this event (some were after the fact, after we’d broken the tables down, on my way home), but only three to strangers. A lot of my friends and a few of Hubby-pants’ coworkers purchased books which was awesome, but one of the other authors, a professor at Rutgers University, outsold me (he was the only one to do so). Granted a lot of his students visited, but he stood up, he interacted, and he was generally a likable character. (He also had an affable British accent that I couldn’t compete with.) Who knows how many strangers he sold to.
  • So what did I learn? I need to get there early if I’m sharing a table. To prepare not only my box of wares, but to prepare myself for the day ahead. I learned a little about how to set up the display and how to run the table. And most importantly, I learned that interaction with the customer is key.

Did you enjoy this post? Be sure to check out Part 2 and Part 3 of the series!

Is There A String on Your Finger? #Giveaway

I don’t know about your grandmother, but mine used to tie a small string around one of her fingers when she needed to remember something. It was strange. It was quirky. It was useless. Especially since, most of the time, it only reminded her that she needed to remember something, not what specific thing she needed to remember.

But I digress…

Consider this post the string around your finger reminding you to visit Lori Verni-Fogarsi’s blog, read the feature about yours truly, and enter the giveaway for a prize pack that includes her custom Find Yourself in a Good Book tote bag and mouse pad and two hand-crafted, metal, Blood in the Past bookmarks (that I recently sold out of at author events).

After reading the downloadable 7-page excerpt available on the giveaway, someone had this to say about me and Blood in the Past:
“I like how this story has so many layers. It will be interesting to see how each of the characters become intertwined in each others lives and what the outcome of each one will be. I think that this author is going to become one of the best authors of our time.”
It’s not too late to Try Before You Buy OR to Enter the Giveaway! ****************Today is the LAST DAY!***************

5 Question Feature on A Knife & A Quill

Guys, I’m really excited about this one. A Knife & A Quill is one of my favorite blogs here on WordPress and though they have been deluged with review requests and haven’t gotten a chance to review Blood in the Past yet, they did grant me one of their 5 Questions features! Yay!

If you visit the A Knife & A Quill blog, I chat about how the Blood for Blood Series got started, the Indie Publishing scene, and my writerly crush on Hugh Howey.

Here’s an excerpt:

Do you find your work getting better with time and practice?

Absolutely! Even though I wrote Blood in the Paint, a full-length novel, first, I doubled back and wrote a prequel novella to introduce the series, Blood in the Past, which I released first. Now that I’m in the throes of revising Blood in the Paint, I can fully appreciate how much I have learned, not only from other writers (I have always been a reader, but I have increased my fiction reading by leaps and bounds since receiving a Kindle), but from bloggers, my betas, and my editor. I’m am really quite proud of the knowledge I’ve been able to absorb in so little time and I look forward to improving with each new release.

Read the rest HERE!

 

Hey You! Giving Away Stuff Over Here!

Okay, maybe I’m not technically giving away stuff over here per se, but if you travel through the vast lands of the internets, via a very insignificant click of your mouse/touchpad, you’ll find the blog of Lori Verni-Fogarsi. When I first released Blood in the Past back in June, I reached out to her, having helped her with her own new releases, and offered her a review copy. If you don’t know Lori, she pens some pretty popular chick-lit and women’s fiction, so I didn’t really expect her to read my little thriller, let alone enjoy it.

Well, enjoy it she did. When she finished reading it, she posted all over Facebook and Twitter and I was beaming like a proud mama bear that had just watched her cub snatch its first salmon out of the stream. Then she emailed me about hosting a giveaway…on HER blog! Holy salmon snatching bear cubs!

Today, folks, is the day of that giveaway. Lori has graciously donated a tote bag and a mouse pad from her own “Find Yourself in a Good Book” collection (images of which are on the official giveaway page), and I have, of course, donated two hand-crafted, customized bookmarks, to celebrate the recent paperback release. One bears a “Keep Calm” charm and the last line from Blood in the Past, the other bears an actual Blood in the Past cover art charm. The contest will run until Tuesday, October 15th, so you have plenty of time to enter. There are also about a dozen different ways you can enter on the Rafflecopter entry form, so what are you waiting for??? CLICK HERE!!!

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