Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Proposal - Free today

My second place winning story, "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), is free today and tomorrow for the kindle only. You can find the story here. Remember you don't need a kindle to download the stories - all you need is the free app available from Amazon and then you can download the stories.

Also, my stories "Bride-and-Seek" (selected anthology pick) and "The Tulip Kiss" (first place winning story) are available for only 99 cents. So if you haven't already picked up these stories you may enjoy reading a couple of short, paranormal (ghost) romance stories, these are for you.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

First draft from heart/rewrites from head

I was watching "Finding Forrester" the other night with Sean Connery (a recluse author). I've seen it before but it's been a long time since I last saw the movie. I missed the beginning so don't remember how Jamal (the black boy) comes to find Forrester (Sean Connery). The scene where they are typing away on those old manual typewriters had a very poignant line in it and so I thought I'd share my thoughts about that.

Sean is just typing away and Jamal (don't remember the actor's name) is kind of sitting at his typewriter really not sure what to do with himself at this point. So Sean goes, "You write your draft from the heart and your rewrites from the head." He also goes on to say your first draft is for getting the words down on paper, and your rewrites are for making it better, stronger (this isn't the direct quote but something similar to what he said).

This is pretty much how I've learned to write my stories, and so this is a philosophy that I do believe in. The object when you first start writing is to get the story down. When you go back through it and read, edit, mark it, et cetera, you make it stronger, you make it correct.

A lot of folks try to edit while they write, which I'm sure works for some folks but in the long run, it will save you a lot of headaches if you don't think about what you are writing and just let the words flow and get them down on paper. When you edit while writing, you tend to spend so much time making it right and every time you change something in one place you end up having to make changes in several places. Personally, I couldn't do that, especially if the story already has a strong hold in my mind and it just needs to be told.

I know some authors who are constantly working on writing the first draft and editing a different manuscript. They have noted that this requires both sides of their brains so it is a break from one to do the other. This is very true as writing the story allows your creative side to come out and play and editing requires you to think and be logical and follow the rules of the language and writing.

My WIP should be almost completely written by now but I have too many unknowns and they require a lot of research before I really can write the story. I'm sure once I have a chance to do some very serious research (I'd love to travel and explore and have first hand experience but that isn't going to happen for a long while, so my research will be online for the time being) and the unknowns are dealt with that the characters will speak to me more strongly and they will tell their story.

So the next time you have a story that is just wanting to get told, remember to draft from your heart (write that story and not worry about the semantics of it) and then rewrite from your head.

Keep writing. See you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


If you live in the Carolinas or possibly even Georgia (not sure how far the viewing area reaches really), tune in to Channel 7 (or CBC) tomorrow morning for Faye Tollison's, author of To Tell The Truth, TV Debut with Jack Roper on "Your Carolina". I'll be watching and hope you do as well.

Tomorrow, Susanne Drazic will be posting a review of "The Tulip Kiss" on her blog, Putting Words Down on Paper. I'm looking forward to a review on one of my stories. Thank you, Susanne, for posting a review.

Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1, my short story, "The Proposal" will go up for free for kindle only. This will be the only time this story is offered for free and there will be no more free kindle offers for any of the stories unless, of coursee, Amazon does a price match (if I do a free offering elsewhere) in the future. I have decided not to sign back up for the KDP select program, so come May (at least by the middle of May), my stories will be available everywhere again.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Guest Shelley Stout

Today, Shelley Stout, author of Radium Halos, was supposed to be my guest. She has been very busy with work and totally forgot about getting her article to me. I had asked her to write a short article on creating her study guides for her book and the fact that she has developed two different level study guides. She has them geared for 8th and 11th grade. Now I know you are thinking that there isn't much difference between 8th and 11th grade but there is a world of difference in what they cover and how they utilize novels for study. Shelley's study guides are available here if you are interested in using her book during your history class or science class or even art. There are many ways Radium Halos can be used throughout different curricula. Hope you at least get to check it out and I highly recommend reading the book even if you don't use the study guides.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams

Today my guest is Elizabeth Spann Craig (aka Riley Adams). I met Elizabeth when she was a guest speaker at one of our Sisters in Crime meetings. She spoke about her writing career and how she went from being a journalist to writing mystery novels. She is currently working on three different series under both names. I caught up with Elizabeth to ask a few questions and this is what she had to say:

First, Elizabeth, thank you for being my guest today. I really appreciate you taking time out of your very busy schedule for this interview.

EE: How long have you been writing? When did you first realize you wanted to write novels for the masses?

ESC: I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was ten. I wrote like crazy when I was a kid, filling notebook after notebook. Then, when I was an older teen, I started looking at writing from a job standpoint and worried about making a living. That's when I took a detour into journalism. When I started having children, I finally made a decision to return to fiction. I loved creative writing and wanted to share my stories with other people.

EE: What's a typical writing day for you like? Are you most productive in the mornings or late at night? I know you juggle family and other things, so how do you fit your writing in if you don't have a set schedule to write? What do you consider the most time consuming aspect of your writing?

ESC: Right now, I'm getting up at 4:50 a.m. and jumping right into my manuscript as soon as I pour my coffee (about 5 a.m.) I write until 5:30, which usually means I've written several pages. Then I get the kids up and get them ready for school, drive the carpool, etc. I try to write again around 9:15...some days that doesn't happen. I always have a Plan B and frequently that means squeezing writing in when I'm waiting for my children to leave an after-school activity. And I *always* write in the afternoon carpool line outside the high school. I usually get another couple of pages then, at least. I write on the go, at a moment's notice and I'm always looking for scraps of time when I can fit it in.

The most time-consuming part of the writing business is definitely the promo. I spend more time on promo than I do on my writing (unless I'm under a tight deadline.)

EE: Elizabeth, You are writing several different series. You also write under another name. How do you keep the series separated and not get confused which one you are working at the moment and how do you keep Riley Adams from sneaking in as the author when you are not writing on her books? What are the different series you are working on at the moment? How often are your books being published in the series?

ESC: I'll admit that I've gotten a little confused in the past! I've got two books for two different series due by July. What I'm currently doing is writing the second book of the Southern Quilting mystery series...that first draft should be done in the next week. Then I'm planning on letting it sit a day or two while I jump right into the fourth Memphis Barbeque mystery (a Riley Adams book). Then I'll edit the first book and draft the second. That should tap into two different parts of my brain, which will hopefully help me out a little and keep me from being either confused or burned out. I've tried to make the characters in the two series really different from each other to help keep one series from bleeding into the other. Fortunately, my two protagonists are very different from each other, so that helps.

The publishing schedules for my series haven't collided...until now! I had a November 2011 release of the 3rd Memphis Barbeque mystery, and I'll have a June release of the first Southern Quilting mystery, Quilt or Innocence. But next year, it looks as if my fourth Memphis book and my second Southern Quilting book will probably have similar release dates.

EE: What was your inspiration to start writing mysteries?

ESC: I absolutely love mysteries. They're my favorite genre to read, so they were natural for me to write. To me they're almost an interactive experience--I feel as if I'm solving the mystery alongside the sleuth.

EE: Elizabeth, we met at a Sisters in Crime meeting not too long ago. How long have you been involved with Sisters in Crime? What do you enjoy most about being a member of Sisters in Crime?

ESC: I think I've been a SinC member since about 2007ish. I like the comraderie and information that I get from other writers. The SinC newsletter is also a great resource for writers. And I've heard that the Guppies are an incredibly supportive group for writers.

EE: Do you listen to music or other outside noise when you write or do you write in silence?

ESC: If I'm writing at home, I listen to jazz, new age, classical or other non-lyrical music in the background. If I'm out in public, I just tune all the noise out and focus on my manuscript.

EE: Who is your favorite author or who do you think you write most like?

ESC: I have a lot of respect for M.C. Beaton as a modern mystery writer. And Agatha Christie is the writer who made me want to write mysteries. I'd love to write at the level of Anne George...that's my aspiration.

EE: If you could live anywhere in the world, where and why?

ESC: This is going to sound unimaginative, but I'd want to stay right here in the Carolinas. The weather is just about perfect, the people are friendly, the beach and mountains are both easily accessible. I'd just stay put and call myself lucky. :)

Elizabeth, thanks for being a guest on my blog today and I wish much success in this endeavor. E :)

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Elysabeth! It's been a pleasure. :)

Elizabeth’s latest book, Hickory Smoked Homicide, was released November 1. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (June 2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently.

She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder.

Writer's Knowledge Base--the Search Engine for Writers
Twitter: @elizabethscraig

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Paypal Here

A month or so ago, I posted about the Square card reader. I was supposed to do an event in Columbia in February and be able to use my card reader then but I had to cancel doing that event. I did, however, get to use my Square at the SCASL a couple of weeks ago - more or less. I had daughter's phone but we couldn't get the wifi to work on her phone so Sybil put all of us on her phone (we each had to sign in on our own accounts) and she was nice enough to let us use her phone to scan credit cards for purchases. I had one sale via credit card.

This morning I accidentally opened paypal (was trying to go to a different website but clicked on paypal instead) and there on the front page before signing in is a big advertisement for Paypal Here card reader. It isn't available yet but you sign up and as soon as it is available, you will be notified how to acquire your reader and how to download the app. Both are free and they are pretty much in line with Square's fees (2.75% per swipe or 3.75% + 0.15 for manual transactions). The only difference is that it looks like the Paypal Here reader accepts American Express where the Square does not and your funds are transferred immediately into your paypal account. Since I'm upgrading my phone in April (gettin a Samsung Precedent which is android based and will allow me to download apps), I figure it can't hurt to sign up for another card reader. I will have both on my phone for the SC Book Festival in case Sarah doesn't have her tablet by then in order to take credit cards and will let her do the same thing as Sybil did - sign in and swipe the cards to her account. I'll use whichever works for me (if the Paypal Here is available by then). More than likely, the Square will just stay connected to the phone for both of us to use.

I also checked the FAQ on the Paypal Here page and it seems that the device will be available in Canada, Australia and Hong Kong (which several people have complained that the Square was not available to them), so really it sounds like Paypal Here will be available to more people and I hope they will take advantage of signing up so that as soon as the device is available, they will be able to start taking credit cards, especially authors who do live events where they are selling their own books.

I love the convenience of being able to take credit cards now and the quick payout (Square pays out the next day and Paypal Here will pay the same day of transaction). I can't wait to upgrade my phone and not have to borrow my daughter's phone for events now - lol. See you all in the postings - E :)

This and That

Week ending March 24 - no sales. I don't have much to report this week since it's been a slow week. I have had lots of hits on my websites over the last few days - 52 one day on one site; 30 on the same day on the other; 40 something one day on one of them. I keep hoping those are hits from the SCASL and that they will turn into sales or that I'll go to the post office and find some orders there but alas, none so far.

Tomorrow, my guest will be Elizabeth Craig Spann/Riley Adams, author of at least three different mystery series, and Wednesday Shelley Stout, author of Radium Halos will be making an appearance. I think I have something scheduled for Thursday and will resume my normal schedule next week. This cold/cough has been hanging on for almost a month now although it has gotten better and of course now that spring is here, my allergies are acting up. See you all in the postings - E :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Writers On The Move: Reading is for Life

Come see what Anne's thoughts are on the reading evolution and how it impacts elderly folks.  Chime in with your thoughts on the matter - E :)

Writers On The Move: Reading is for Life: Many studies document the importance of social eating to help combat malnutrition in the elderly, especially those who live alone with few...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Duct tape, anyone?

My daughter is embarking on a new business - making wallets and small items (hair bows, keychains, bracelets, et cetera) out of duct tape. I thought I'd take a minute and highlight her items.

She has an array of colors and decorated looking duct tape (Duck brand has so much to offer in the way of duct tape these days) and she has been busy making up wallets and other sample items that it's so much fun to see what combinations she comes up with next. If you get a chance, stop by her site and check out what she has to offer. Don't forget mother's day and father's day are right around the corner.

Little fact about duct tape: It floats. It doesn't sink and these wallets are secure enough that when immersed in water, the money stays pretty dry. So if you ever drop your wallet in a puddle, you can rest assure that your money will stay pretty dry. And clean up is easy too.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Today's question comes from A.C. in Ms. Jurkowski's class. A.C. asks: Why do you need to have a book published before you can sell it?

Answer: Now, some of you might think this is a no-brainer - you need a product to sell; something the people want, but honestly, it is a bit more complicated than that. As authors, we have to promote our books long before they are published and sometimes that means "pre-selling" our books. Amazon does it all the time, especially if it is listed as a coming soon title.

The selling of your books is monetary. The promoting of your books goes deeper. You need to have a near finished product to start the promotion process and sometimes we start promoting a year or more in advance. We have to get our covers out there so people will be anxious to get the book when it is finally published; we have to have websites and blogs in place several months to a year before hand so that we can talk about our wips (that's works in progress for you students) and keep the desire up. We want people ready to purchase our books as soon as they are published. Of course, the promotion doesn't stop once the book is published. There are events and other things that go into promoting a book.

Right now, I'm working on a piece (non-YA or children's novel) that I will start promoting probably around September of this year, depending on how my research goes and how the story goes. I have plans to publish it by February of 2013. That may not happen if I don't get my research done and write the story. I hope by October to have a cover to show off and start really promoting the story. I've mentioned it in passing on this blog but haven't really talked about it much. I would love to see more copies of my YA novel sell but again, I've been in a non-promoting mood since December. Since it is now the conference and book festival season, I am back to promoting my state stories and my YA novel, Finally Home.

In essence, A.C., an author is really selling her books before they are published by promoting them up to a year before publication. Sometimes a shorter period of time for promotion happens but usually by time you get a cover, an ARC (advanced reader's copy) and publishing the book, a good bit of time has passed.

Thanks for the thought provoking question, A.C., and ya'll keep on writing and sending in those questions. Mrs. E :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This and That

I kind of did a this and that posting the other day when I talked about the KDP select program and my report for February. But, today's this and that is about sales and what's coming up.

Sales for the week ending 03/17/2012 - as far as downloads go for kindle, no one purchased anything - no sales across the board. In-person sales at the SCASL is a bit better. Being that this was the SC school librarians, I had anticipated a surge in one particular state book, and I was correct. State of Successes sold 10 copies. None of the other state books sold but I did sell 2 copies of Finally Home. So not a bad couple of days. I would have liked to seen about 10 or 15 more sales but there is always the SC Book Festival coming up. I didn't even sell any of the booklets of the three ebook stories that I had made up and printed just in case the librarians wanted a quick read. Such is life.

I don't have anything scheduled for Monday or Thursday but will have my WWYWWQ on Wednesday. I'll try to figure out something to post since I've not had much to post lately. I'm open to suggestions. If you would like me to talk about something in particular, please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to write a post about it.

I had promoted my interview on Darcia Helle's site a week and a half ago but only had one person come over and leave a comment. This tells me folks aren't really reading my blog too regularly and it is a bit disheartening. I do hope to see some traffic next week when my guest bloggers will be Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams and Shelley Stout. We will just have to see.

Until next week for my regular this and that column - E :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Write From the Heart: Purposeful Paragraphing

Faye offers some sound advice on paragraphing your stories - stop on over and leave a comment.

Write From the Heart: Purposeful Paragraphing: Have you ever read a book where the paragraphs seem to go on and on? Or a book with paragraphs so short you look around to see where they di...

Misled and disappointed

I'm talking about the KDP select program and my February report - after looking it over and seeing my royalties (not mind blowing and not enough to even buy a meal anywhere).

The KDP select program allows authors/publishers to reach the prime members (only in the US, those folks who pay the $79/year to get free shipping on all their amazon orders, free streaming videos and one free "borrow" a month (you guessed it - out of hundreds of thousands of ebooks available, they only can borrow one book a month).

This is the first paragraph of the terms and conditions for the KDP select program: KDP Select is an option for KDP publishers. Through KDP Select, for an initial period of 90 days your Digital Book is exclusive to Kindle and is included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program where it will earn a share of a monthly cash fund when readers borrow it. Also, you can promote your Digital Book as free for up to 5 days during these 90 days. Before including your book in KDP Select, please read these terms and conditions carefully.

Now, let's look at it sentence by sentence:

KDP Select is an option for KDP publishers. - yes it is an option and no one says we have to participate in the program.

Through KDP Select, for an initial period of 90 days your Digital Book is exclusive to Kindle and is included in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library Program where it will earn a share of a monthly cash fund when readers borrow it. The lending library is for those folks who pay their $79/year to get a few benefits from Amazon. So I ask you this, why would someone want to only borrow one book a month? Especially when there are hundreds of thousands of ebooks available. What is going to make all those prime members want to borrow a ghostly romance story over say a thriller or a different type of ghost story? After they borrow their one book (and just to let you know when they borrow a book it is for an indefinite amount of time - they don't have to return it like in a regular library where you borrow a book for 2 weeks or 3 weeks (depending on the library's lending time) and can either renew your borrow time or you have to return the book or if you return it late, you are charged a fee on a daily basis), then if they want ebooks do they have to pay for them just like everyone else does? And why is the prime membership only opened to the United States since Amazon has kindle and ebooks available in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK? Basically if readers don't borrow your book you make no money other than your regular sales royalties.

Also, you can promote your Digital Book as free for up to 5 days during these 90 days. So if we can promote our book as free for these 5 days and the book is available in the lending library, what happens if a prime member downloads the book during that free ptomotion? We have downloads but we are no longer earning money on those downloads, even if a prime member is the one downloading the book, because when it is offered for free, everyone who has a kindle or a free app that Amazon offers can now download the book. It is not considered a borrow even though those prime members are probably downloading the book. It becomes a sale now.

This to me is the misleading statement. If you are allowed to promote your book as free during this 90-day exclusivity term with Amazon in this particular program, why not pay out on those downloads too? Your book is still in the lending library; you are giving everyone a chance to get your book for free and allowing prime members to be able to download more than one book in a month.

The other part of the disappointment for me is that I've seen many authors who blog about their actual "sales" after their free promotion days and the numbers are running in the hundreds to thousands afterwards. Grant it I have only short stories to offer but even after reaching #7 on the Amazon best selling free list during my free promotion time, I saw maybe 2 or 3 sales. How does an author garner those hundreds of sales after running a story for free?

My stories aren't written poorly and aren't bad stories by any means. And I'm not just bragging on my stories but the merits of winning first, second, third place or runner up and being selected in a very exclusive anthology. If the stories weren't written well or up to the judging persons' or contest persons' standards and/or requirements, they wouldn't have placed anywhere. "The Tulip Kiss" is my first place story. "The Proposal" is a second place winning story. "Bride-and-Seek" was selected (this is a blind selection as the judges only get the stories; they don't know who writes the stories as the editor of the anthology has the cover sheets so it makes the playing field even. There is no chance a judge would select their friends' stories or only the people with whom they are familiar with their writing or their style of writing) and published in the SCWW anthology. By being selected for that anthology, we are paid a small amount for the story, plus 2 copies of the anthology.

So by other people's decisions, I've been told my stories are good and written well. So why are my sales not reflecting the word of mouth advertisement or the places they have taken in various contests? Why did I not really see a difference in pre-free day offerings' sales and post-free day offerings' sales? Did I gain about 350 readers who are anxiously awaiting my next free promotion? Maybe, but if I truly gained those readers, they would have bought my other stories in addition to downloading the free offering at the time, or, on the other hand, they would have told their friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers that I had a short story being offered for free. They would have been my promotion, because we all know that word of mouth is what sells anything - books, movies, restaurants, and the list goes on and on. Person A likes such and such movie and tells Person B and Person C who then tell two people, et cetera. (That reminds me of the old Farrah Fawcett commercial for Breck Shampoo - I told two friends and they told two friends and the image keeps multiplying for the two friends each two friends tells. That is how word of mouth advertising works.)

So how am I to compete with all these people who are bragging about their actual sales after their free offerings? What do I have to do? I've added several titles and more are coming. I know I don't offer novels other than my YA paranormal mystery because I only write short stories. I do well writing short stories. Finally Home was a challenge because at that time I hadn't written anything over 10,000 words and probably nothing over about 8,000 words. I'd only known contests and most contests are looking for under 5,000 word stories, and many are a lot less than that.

I know reviews aren't super reliable but they are a way of expressing your thoughts and feelings about a book or story and they do help garner sales in the long run. The buying public looks to see how many reviews you have and then how the reviewers are ranking the stories. They tend to look at stories that have received 4 and 5 star reviews. My take on the rating system is this - no one in my opinion deserves a 5 star review because no one is perfect. Yes there are some excellent stories out there and yes I do think there are stories that are deserving of 5 star reviews; as a matter of fact, I know one I would definitely rate as a 5 star because it was THAT good. I would love if it the reviews reflected more options - because I've felt that many stories are 4-1/2 star worthy because they aren't quite at the 5 star place; but then again, this is my opinion. I would love to see some of those 350 people who downloaded my two stories ("Bride-and-Seek" and "The Tulip Kiss") post reviews. It may boost my sales or it may not but it's worth a try.

What does all this mean for my stories? Basically in a nutshell - I tried the select program; was disappointed and will move on. Come May when all my stories come out of the select program, they will once again go up all the other avenues available for ebook downloads. Does this mean I may never go back to the select program? Not really, but I'll consider it very carefully before doing it again.

There will be more stories coming out but they will not be exclusive to kindle from here on out. I also have removed the remaining free promotion days for "The Tulip Kiss" and "Bride-and-Seek" but am leaving the free promotion days for "The Proposal", although I'm only going to offer it for free for 2 days instead of the original 3 days mentioned in an earlier post. March 31 and April 1 is when I'll offer "The Proposal" for free. There won't be any more free offerings of the other stories. Until next time, see ya'll in the postings

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Today's question comes from Mr. Hughes' class (I believe from many students, although it was just stated "they" want to know).


The question is when is it okay to use parentheses in writing?

A: Parentheses are used for asides, afterthoughts, series that are not listed down the page (in a paragraph), and a few other places.

This website has some great examples of when to use parenthesis and some very good advice about using them in a numbered or lettered series in a paragraph. Pick one of the examples that best matches your style of writing.

In my transcription job, the dictators are constantly listing series of items and they shouldn't be numbered down the page like this:

1. Whatever.
2. However.
3. Somewhere.

They are in need of staying in the paragraph. I usually type them like this: 1) whatever; 2) however; 3) somewhere.

This doesn't mean that this is the only way to do parentheses or that my way is better than your way, but definitely when listing a series of items you want to be consistent. If you use double parentheses (1), consistently do that throughout.

I can't think of an example right off hand in my writing where I've used parentheses but that doesn't mean I haven't; just that I can't think of somewhere I've done so.

The general rule of thumb is that what's inside the parentheses is basically nonessential "stuff" (yeah, Mr. Hughes' favorite writing word - lol) in the story and basically could be left out and the story would still be the same. I would recommend using them sparingly and try not to sidetrack your reader too often throughout the story. Of course, if you are writing something like historical fiction or using lots of references in your writing, then you will probably need more parentheses. If you want to keep the asides or afterthoughts, commas work just as well as parentheses do. Check out the website and see how many different ways you use parentheses in your writing.

Thanks for the question everyone and keep on writing. See you all in the postings (and for Mr. Hughes' students, I'll chat with you all in class) - Mrs. E :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

100 Years and still going strong

Today was/is Juliette Gordon Lowe's birthday. For those who haven't heard her name, shame on you. She is the founder of Girl Scouts of America. The organization is 100 years old today.

What does Girl Scouts have to do with writing or anything for that matter? A lot. Girl Scouts nuture young girls and allows them to explore so many different options for careers or whatever they want to do.

I also got my sticker this weekend that says "once a girl scout always a girl scout" for filling out a form when I bought some cookies. Love those thin mints.

Since it's cookie season, support your girl scouts, buy a box of cookies and nuture a young lady's future to become the future President or an Astronaut or even a world famous writer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

This and That

i'd love to say it was a killer or stellar sales week with my ebooks but alas I can only report 2 sales of "The Tulip Kiss" this week. The past six weeks have yielded royalties of $4.55 of non-free downloadable stories. That's enough to buy a McDouble, order of fries, a large sweet tea and a sundae at McDonalds. Amazon only pays royalties once you have reached $10 (I think; could be $20) so I still won't see any royalties from these sales until May 1; Thursday evening my February monthly report will go up - showing all my downloads and what my actual royalties earned on those over 600 downloads of "Bride-and-Seek" and "The Tulip Kiss" ended up being since those are figured differently than actual sales.

I received an email this past week inviting us to the new office building for the "The Writer's Plot" (a place where we grow authors; formerly AnAuthorWorld) for an open house party and we were also invited to bring a piece to read if we wanted. As you all know I've been fighting a cold the last couple of weeks and the cough has affected my voice. Nonetheless, I invited Andi (a writer in my town who is blind (blindness due to a blood disorder she has and she lost her sight in a short period of time - less than a month's time)) and she was going to go but at the last minute responded that she better not since she was swamped with school stuff. This is understandable with mid terms coming up and tons of things to read and write about. I also invited Faye to come to the party but then found out the building doesn't have an elevator and Faye would have had no way to get to the second floor (which is where The Writer's Plot is located) since she uses a walker to get around. So with no one to go with me, I invited Anita, a good friend and although she isn't a writer, I knew she would enjoy herself and I would have good company - lol.

So we arrive to the building and mingle with a few folks that I already knew and met a few new folks. We had some excellent refreshments and then started the readings. Since my voice is going by the wayside and I really need to try to save it for my presentation Thursday (thankfully I won't have to talk too much at the SCASL conference as I'm doing a hands on presentation - yeah right, me not talk too much? - that's going to be one for the history books), I decided to be the first reader. I took in the first three pages of Imogene's story to read. Now I've read it out loud, it's in the universe and I have to finish the story sometime. Before going to the party, I called Faye and talked to her a bit and we talked about my story. Brainstorming is mostly what we did - shooting ideas of directions to take Sarah Beth's secret that I recently discovered that she doesn't even know about (yet).

After the party, arriving back to Anita's house, we just sat in the car and talked and brainstormed. Anita really helped give me some ideas that have put a few more pieces in the puzzle and I know have a prologue and have found that the story is no longer just about saving Imogene but it is also about Sarah Beth saving herself.

On the plus side of last night, I did sell a copy of Finally Home and a copy of State of Successes and I had sold a copy of Finally Home to a girl scout yesterday morning when I was out and about town. Overall, a fairly good day for physical sales.

I can't wait to get caught up with work and get some researching done to work on Imogene's and Sarah Beth's story, and I thank Anita and Faye for helping me brainstorm some directions for the story. I'm forever in your debt, ladies.

What's coming up this week: I've readied my WWYWWQ for Wednesday but am running short on topics to post on Mondays and Thursdays. I will try to get my Friday book reviews caught up before heading over to the SCASL conference Wednesday. I'm still open to topics - if anyone has an idea of things they would like me to talk about on the blog or a question they would like answered, just leave a comment and I'll do my best to try to come up with something.

So I'm off to do some work and will report back next week on the happenings in my corner of the world. See you all in the postings - E :)

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

This is a dissection of Author Guild's President Scott Turow's public announcement concerning the Department of Justice and the big publishing houses getting into a tiff about collusion and other things (I don't understand all the info);  Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler (man has the sexiest eyes I've ever seen in my life) break down the whole posting and make their comments in easy to understand language that really shows what's going on isn't benefitting the authors at all.  It is a bit of a lengthy read but well worth it - so stop over and see what Barry and Joe have to say about what Scott Turow had to say publically. - E :)

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Come visit me at Darcia Helle's place

I'm the guest on Darcia Helle's blog today and it was a doozy of an interview - lol. Fun, but some of those questions had me thinking. Click on the title of this posting and stop by and see what kind of probing questions Darcia asked. See you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Today's question comes from C.Q. from Mrs. Jurkowski's class.

Q; If my story was about Valentine's Day, how should I start it?
A: Although this is a little late for the holiday, but it can go for any holiday themed story. Simple answer: As an author, I can only guide you in the craft of writing. I can't tell you how to specifically start your story.

Longer answer: It is recommended to start your story one of three ways, which was answered on a previous question - start in the middle of the story, start with action. Most of my stories start with dialogue. I drop the reader right into the middle of things. You basically want to give your reader a starting point to develop his or her own images about what the story is about as quickly as possible. Hook your reader.

Think of your story as a movie. When you watch a movie, the screenwriter has picked you up out of your chair and dropped into the action. That's what you should do with your story.

An example of just dropping the reader into the story is in my story Finally Home. My first page is pretty much dialogue. This is how it starts:

"I hate your job. I hate this car." Kelly grumbled in the back seat of the family station wagon. "Why do we even have to go to some stinking town in South Carolina anyway?"

"Kelly, that is no way to talk to your father." Mrs. Watson looked back at Kelly with a pleading look to apologize.

Kelly knew that look all too well, the one where her mother expected ...

From this, you can tell they are moving and are in the car. I've just put the reader right into the middle of it.

For more, please find the WWYWWQ posting that addresses the three ways to start a story. Thanks for your question, C.Q., and ya'll keep them coming - Mrs. E :)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

This and That

Today starts "read an ebook week" - so go out and get a copy of your favorite author's books or download someone new and start reading those ebooks or dust off your "TBR" folders. Either way - read an ebook, support your favorite authors.


Colds - you gotta love them, right? - Not really. They mess with your head, your breathing and your sleeping. Right now, I'm on the tail end of a cold to which I can say good riddance. I don't like being sick. This has been a rollercoaster week for me as far as being on game or accomplishing anything. One day I feel okay and can sit and concentrate for a few hours and the next I feel okay but can't concentrate on anything since I wasn't able to sleep the night before. The worst part of my cold is that I've never really felt bad enough to not do anything at all, just that in between stage. Last night was the first night in a week that I actually slept in the bed all night for what it's worth (not that it really was a restful sleep or cough-free one either, just that I wasn't pulling my computer chair over to the bed to use like a recliner to sleep sitting up and I didn't have to have a made up inclination of something to prop up on either).

Last night was the annual Anderson County Library's spelling bee and I participated again this year. We were a person down (someone was sicker than I am/was) but we did pretty good considering. We should have gone for a level 3 word right out the gate so we would have ended up in a tie-breaker situation and possibly could have taken the trophy. Our team got two words that I actually knew that the others didn't (thank you work) and one of them they wanted to mulligan (this is a lifeline to throw the word away and get a new one in the same level - the word being oligotrophic) and the other just happened to be something very common in the hand clinic fracture world so that one (comminution) came to me immediately. I've been asked to join the team again next year. So next March, I'll be spelling up a storm. The winning team had 24 points and we had 23 points - very close (if only we had started with a level 3 word, we would have ended with 24 - lol). The other teams weren't too close from there (three teams with 17 and then I don't remember from there on down).

So rollercoaster ride week, let's look at sales this week.

My friend, Faye (author of To Tell The Truth) emailed me Wednesday and said something to the effect that she wasn't doing as well this go round for her free download days. I had totally forgotten that she was offering her book for free the end of the month so didn't promote it as much as I did the first time. After receiving her email, I was curious as to how my sales were going. Imagine my surprise when I opened my reports page and saw that my month-to-date sales showed 78 sales for "The Tulip Kiss". Mind you this wasn't even early morning when I checked the report. I thought surely there was a mistake since I didn't remember scheduling a free day. So naturally, I had to go look at my bookshelf listing and check my scheduled days, and you guessed it, I had scheduled "The Tulip Kiss" for February 29 and March 1.

I did some quick advertising of the free listing and sent out an email but not very much promoting (nothing compared to what I did when "Bride-and-Seek" was first released and offered for free).

This morning, the results look like this:

Week ending 03/03/2012 (there are two sets of numbers for some because some of the downloads are counted on February and the rest on March for accounting purposes).

In the USA: downloads sales
"Bride-and-Seek" 0 1
"The Tulip Kiss" 220 (02/29) 0
89 (03/01)
in the UK:
"The Tulip Kiss" 56 (02/29)
12 (03/01)
In Germany (DE):
"The Tulip Kiss" 2 (02/29)

So my calculations show 380 downloads over 2 days of "The Tulip Kiss" and 1 sale of "Bride-and-Seek". This exceeded "Bride-and-Seek" by 20 when it was offered for free. Yay me! lol

My guests this week were Leslie Dubois and Sarah Renee. Leslie stopped by and offered a free ebook to the first ten commenters, of any of her books - what a generous offer. I think she only had five people comment not counting my one comment and hers. So if you visited her posting and missed the comment about a free ebook and haven't contacted Leslie (aka Sybil Nelson) for your free ebook, please do so. Sarah Renee had a few visitors but I didn't see any comments from Sarah herself, so maybe she'll poke in and leave a comment too.

I thought I'd offer free ebooks as well for those who left comments on either of their postings. So if you haven't already downloaded a copy of "The Tulip Kiss" or "The Proposal" and would like a copy, please email with your choice and whether you prefer a nook or kindle version or the PDF file.

There is a lot going on in the next couple of weeks, so I'll try to have my postings up and ready to go. Tomorrow I'll be talking about the Paypal censorship thing going (this will probably be a 2-parter because it is a pretty lengthy discussion); Wednesday will be another set of similar or maybe just one question from Mrs. Jurkowski's class and I'm going to work hard on gettting my Friday book reviews back on track (have a lot of them scheduled already but just haven't written them). Next week will be a whirlwind week as I will be in and out of the office (home), but more on that next Sunday.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Read an E-book Week

Have you read a good ebook lately?

Sunday, March 4, begins read an ebook week. This is the first year I've actually promoted it and participated. I'm offering Finally Home at a 25% discount on smashwords for the week. This promotion will be only available through smashwords, even though the book is available on kindle and nook. If you are taking advantage of the 25% off for Finally Home, you will need to enter REW25 on checking out. Here is the direct link to the page for Finally Home.

So, I'll offer a copy of either "The Proposal" or "The Tulip Kiss" for nook or kindle if you purchase a copy at the regular price for either the nook or kindle. All you have to do is email me (eeldering (at) gmail (dot) com) your receipt as proof of purchase at the $2.99 price and I'll email you your choice. Please make sure you indicate which title you would like to receive when you forward your proof of purchase (only if you purchase from B&N or Amazon).

Happy reading - E :)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Another freebie offering

I totally forgot that I had a free offering of one my stories for Wednesday the 29th and Thursday the 1st of March. So you have until midnight PST March 1st to get your free download of "The Tulip Kiss". This is my first place winning story from the Fast and Frigid contest a few years ago - same title, same story, new cover and only available on kindle.

If you don't have a kindle, it's okay - you can download the free app to your computer or phone or tablet and still download the free stories.

"The Tulip Kiss" is another ghostly romance story, like "Bride-and-Seek" except it's a modern setting and shows what happens a young love is turned upside down.

If you like romantic suspense and didn't get your free copy the first go round, my friend, Faye Tollison, is offering her book To Tell The Truth until midnight PST March 1st as well. Stop over on amazon and download both stories.

(a few stats from today - just checked the reports a little before 1 AM EST and in the USA I've had 251 downloads, in the UK 53 and in Germany (that is DE on our listing and I thought that was Denmark - lol) I've had 2. The UK and DE downloads haven't changed over the course the day (probably since about noon or before), but that's okay. My goal is to get close to our exceed what I did with "Bride-and-Seek" which was 360 downloads over a 2-day period. As you can see from the numbers, I'm pretty close - at 306 right now.

I do ask all of you who have downloaded the story to please post a review somewhere - your blog, amazon, goodreads, anywhere else you can and let me know so I can lead folks to your reviews. Thank you in advance for that - E :)