Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guest Sarah Renee

Today's guest is Sarah Renee, a young author who has joined the SC Author Connection for events and such. Sarah Renee not only writes her own books but she illustrates and does some graphic design work too (reminds me of another young person, Heather). She has designed the banner for the SC Author Connection and it is pretty awesome. i can't wait to see it in person. I had a chance to catch up with Sarah Renee and ask her a few questions about her writing and here's what she had to say:

EE: Sarah, tell us a little bit about yourself, your likes, dislikes - who you are.
SR: My name is Sarah Renee, I'm currently fifteen years old, and I am the author of three fantasy adventure books called The Tiger Princess, Dash, and Hunted Home. I currently go to an online school called Connections Academy, and I have two sweet kitties named China and Frost. I am currently working on writing my eighth book in the Saderia Series, editing the fourth book, and learning a few basics about animation to create an animated book trailer for The Tiger Princess.. Some of the things I love the most are tigers, animals, reading, drawing, playing violin, learning new things, and of course, writing! My only real dislikes are bugs and bad weather.

EE: You are a young writer. How old were you when you started writing? What inspired you to write a series? Tell us a little bit about the series you are writing and how many books you plan to publish in the series?
SR: I had been writing for as long as I can remember. I finished my first novel, The Tiger Princess, at age 12 and later published it at age 13. When I came up with the idea for The Tiger Princess, I loved tigers and I had always been interested in royalty, so the two ideas sort of combined. Before I came up with the idea, I had written other stories, but when I began writing The Tiger Princess, I fell in love with the story and the characters. I grew so attached to the story that it motivated me to continue writing the next books in the series to continue Saderia's story and eventually publish it. A mysterious power Saderia learns about in The Tiger Princess also inspired me to continue writing more books in the series to unravel the mystery of her past and her ancestors.

The Saderia Series is a series of middle grade fantasy adventure books. The first book, The Tiger Princess, tells the story of a young tiger Princess named Saderia searching desperately for clues as to what happened to her royal parents, the King and Queen, after they mysteriously disappeared in a fire ten years ago. Living with her aunt and uncle who treat her like a 'prissy Princess' instead of the sassy tomboy she really is, Saderia tries to figure out who started the fire and why. On her path to discover the truth, she is helped by a dark lion named Dastarius that she is hesitant to trust. While she is searching for clues as to who started the fire, she accidentally stumbles onto an ancient secret of her royal ancestors and discovers a mysterious power hidden in her family for ages, one that has the power to change her life forever. The Tiger Princess has a lot of mystery and suspense as she starts finding more clues that build up to finally make her suspect some of the animals that are closest to her.

The second book, Dash, introduces a dark lion named Dash who is hiding a dark secret from Princess Saderia. He meets her when Saderia starts a new school, and although he at first tries to avoid her, they start to form a shaky, secretive friendship. Even though Dash tries to hide his dark past, Saderia starts to realize he might be hiding something from her. At the same time, a dark enemy from their past lurks somewhere inside the school, trying to break them apart. The third book, Hunted Home, describes the journey of a canine named Dingo who lives out in a harsh desert with a cruel pack of dingoes. Hated by his older brother, Bone, and the canines that control the pack, Dingo has to fight to survive. Meanwhile, a new enemy stalks Saderia's forest, making her realize that the only way to survive is to leave the forest forever. When Dingo discovers her lost in the desert, he has to decide which is more important--saving Saderia or his own survival.

The Tiger Princess, Dash, and Hunted Home are the first three books I have out in the series. I currently have seven books in the series written, and I am hoping to release my fourth book, Enchanted Home, sometime around March. I have planned for there to be fifteen books in the Saderia Series.

EE: What's your favorite genre to read? to write?
SR: My favorite genre to read and to write are fantasy adventure books with tons of suspense and a hint of mystery.

EE: What are your writing aspirations? aspirations in general?
SR: My writing aspirations are to finish writing all the books in my series within the next few years and release one book each year. My general aspirations are to eventually go to college and study to become a teacher or a lawyer.

(EE: Very commendable aspirations. keep at it and you will go far.)

EE: What's a typical day in your life like - do you have a set schedule or do you just play it by ear?
SR: I don't usually have a set schedule. I try to write every day for several hours and try to finish a certain amount of pages each day. Sometimes I work on drawing the cover art for my next books or the characters that are in my books or sometimes I take a break and read a book, go out for a bike ride, or play with my cats.

EE: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
SR: If I could live anywhere, I would probably still choose to live where I am right now, but my second choice would probably be Canada, since my Mom went there a long time ago and really enjoyed it there, and because it snows!"

(EE: I think it's funny that both my guests this week said they would like to live in Canada - for different reasons and that I've got a French-Canadian background in my father and I've not been to Canada that I can remember.)

Sarah Renee, thank you so much for being my guest today and I can't wait to meet you in a couple of weeks.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Sarah Renee has loved writing from an early age. She has been writing short stories since the age of four, and at the age of ten, she came up with the idea for The Tiger Princess. She wrote the novel when she was twelve. She is fascinated with wild animals and the wild world outside her home, and has an obvious great love of tigers. She enjoys spending time with her cats, reading, drawing, and playing her violin when she is not writing. In her free time, she is constantly daydreaming about her many characters, creating new ones, and coming up with interesting adventure story ideas. She is fifteen years old. For more on Sarah Renee, her books and events, visit Sarah's website.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Leslie Dubois

Today, my guest is Leslie Dubois. I first met Leslie under her other name, Sybil Nelson, via email. I met Sybil/Leslie at the Savannah Children's Book Festival in November. I caught up with Leslie in her busy life and asked her a few questions.

Leslie, thanks for being on my blog today. I must say I've really enjoyed your books so far (both as Sybil and Leslie and still have a few to read). I also apologize as I owe you a couple of book reviews (they are semi-drafted but not completed and I will work hard to get them completed and posted by the end of the week). I love the twists you put in your YA novels. Here are the questions I asked Leslie and her responses:

EE: Leslie, tell us a little bit about yourself, your likes, dislikes - who you are.
LD: Well, I’m a hard working mother of two who is also married and working on her PhD. I’m a mathematician but I also love to read and write and do so at every given opportunity. I also love Pop music which my husband finds completely embarrassing. But hey, listening to Pop music actually helps me write!

(EE: If your husband finds pop music embarrassing, what does he listen to? And I guess it's a good thing he tolerates you listening to whatever it is that helps you write because you are putting out some pretty awesome stories.)

EE: What's your favorite genre to read? to write?
LD: I’m a sucker for historical fiction. For some reason, I love reading about people from other centuries. My favorite genre to write, however, is Young Adult Romance. I think we can all remember a crush we had when we were teenagers and how it was the most important thing in the world and how it was so passionate. I think that kind of raw emotion is so beautiful. But I never write simple love stories. There is always some sort of twist in my books.

(EE: You hit that nail on the head - twists abound and I think that is what really keeps a reader interested.)

EE: What are your writing aspirations? aspirations in general?
LD: I’m hoping to be able to be a full time writer one day and be able to support myself and my family simply on royalties. That would be a dream come true. On a slightly higher scale of goals, I hope to become famous enough to be able to go on Dancing with the Stars!

EE: What's a typical day in your life like - do you have a set schedule or do you just play it by ear?
LD: I don’t have a set schedule outside of my class schedule, but I am a definite list maker. The first thing I do every day is make my To-Do list. Then I spend the rest of the day trying to scratch things off. Sadly, some days I end up scratching one thing off and adding two more. If I have a day where I get more than half the things on the list done, I consider it a success.

EE: You write under different names. How do you keep your identities separate and how do you manage to write totally different genres?
LD: Because I use different names for completely different genres, it’s pretty easy to keep them separate. I know immediately when I have an idea for a book whether it is going to be a Leslie or a Sybil book.

EE: How do you keep straight what you are working on at any given moment?
LD: Once again, I can tell by the voice of the characters and the subject matter whether it is a Leslie book or a Sybil book. I never get confused in that regard. The hard part is actually finding time to write down all the ideas I have for stories!

EE: What inspires you to write semi controversial stories as Leslie and fun, middle grade stories as Sybil?
LD: I wanted to keep my identities separate for just that reason. I didn’t want young middle school aged kids reading about topics that were above them. I use my pen name, Leslie, as a way to be a bit more edgy and take more chances than my Sybil brand name can do. I don’t think I set out to write controversial topics, I think the ideas just come to me and I can’t help but write it the way the characters want it. Several times I’ve wanted to change certain things in my book to make them more “acceptable” but it just didn’t feel right.

EE: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
LD: Oddly enough, Canada. I have a slight obsession with that country. Especially Vancouver and Victoria. We’ve been there on vacation twice and I think it would be a great place to live.

(EE: Funny thing is my father's family is from Canada but in my life, I've never even visited the area. My father, of course, has been back several times, and my oldest son has even traveled with my parents to Maine (where my dad's family makes their home now) and to Canada but I have yet to go there; it's too cold for me - lol.)

Again, Leslie, thank you for being on my blog today and happy writing.

Leslie makes her home in Charleston, SC, along with her husband and two small children. She is also working on her PhD in biostatistics.

Leslie can be found on the following pages:

her website
her facebook page
her twitter page
her Amazon author page

Sunday, February 26, 2012

This and That

Since the KDP reports for the week ending don't show up before I shut down, I'll have to do my this and that report on Sundays - lol. Not that I think it makes much difference to my readers - but just saying.

Anyway, For the week ending 02/25 - I had 3 sales of "Bride-and-Seek" in the USA and 1 sale of the same title in the UK. No other sales to report. Not stellar numbers but at least I have a few trickling in. I'd love to see more but time will tell. I think the biggest thing hurting me is the lack of reviews on my stories overall. So, if you are reading my blog and have downloaded any of my stories and would like to share your review of them, I'd really, really appreciate it.

On the JGDS side of things - the red/white/blue afghan is for all intents and purposes finished save four more rows on the border. I've gotten all the rows sewn together and have put the red border. One row plus 3 squares' worth on a short side for the second row of border took me almost 2 hours last night/early this morning and the remaining second row took me a bit of time but I also was juggling reading emails, answering plurks and whatever.

Work has been kicking my heiney but I think I'm finally back to getting in the groove. I hope.

Not much else new to report except I did start making some new bookworms and am preparing my presentation for the SCASL conference coming up March 14-16. I will presenting at 3:15 on March 15. More on that next week.

I will be featured on Darcia Helle's blog on March 8 and on Susanne Drazic's blog sometime over the next couple of months (reviews of my books).

Tomorrow my guest is Leslie Dubois, 1/3 of the SC Author Connection and Wednesday my guest will be Sarah Renee, another 1/3 of the SC Author Connection. We are sharing the cost of booths at several events over the course of the year including the SCASL conference in a couple of weeks. I can't wait to meet Sarah Renee as she is only 15. Stay tuned to learn more about these young ladies. See ya'll in the postings - E :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crocheted bookworms pattern

I posted the pictures of the latest colors on my plurk network which also goes to my FB page and my twitter account. I've had two comments on my FB page requesting the pattern to make these. Although I cannot take credit for this pattern and for the life of me cannot find it online, I'll just give you the instructions that I've memorized (after doing well over 100 or more of these cuties, I definitely have no need to use a pattern). This is a very easy and quick to make up pattern. There are only two stitches used (if you don't count the slip knot to start and the finish off stitch) and can be done in solid colors and varigated yarns. I love doing the varigated colors because it pretty much guarantees that no two worms come out the same.

Scrap yarn or if you are making a bunch for gifts - a 5 ounce skein will yield about 15 worms and 7 ounce skein will probably yield about 20 worms.
Hook (sized to your yarn - I use a G hook for mine)
Wiggly eyes

Slip stitch
Double crochet (DC)

Chain 20.
2 DC in the 4th chain from hook
3 DC in each chain to the end.
Chain as many as you want the marker part to be (sized to the books you are using them for) and add 15 more chains.
2 DC in the 4th chain from the hook
3 DC in the next 9 chains.
Finish off.

Glue some wiggly eyes on the "head" part which is the bigger of the two twisty parts. Let dry and use to mark your place when reading.

Have fun with them - make them with whatever scrap yarn you have lying around or use varigated yarns to make some fun and unique worms.

E :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

New bookworm colors

As promised, here are the pictures of the new bookworm colors. They will go up on my websites soon but for now, the revealing of "Earthworm", "Cotton Candy" and Easter or spring bookworms:

The bookworms are $1.50 each plus shipping and if you order in bulk (20 or more, the cost is $1.25 each) - I'm trying to build up my cache so will be getting more yarn every trip to town, just to make sure I have a large collection of bookworms for in-person events and to sell on the websites. Thanks - E :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Another witness to how well someone did by listing their book for free in the KDP select. It amazes me that I had very few downloads and still ended up in the top 20 by the end of the two free days I offered "Bride-and-Seek" for free. I just hope the momentum will pick up and folks will start downloading my stories - E :)


Shopping and New items

Yesterday was payday along with taxes coming back. I took the kids shopping for clothes. Daughter did well getting what she needed - 3 jean capris, 4 tops, a pair of shoes, socks, underwear; son not so well in my opinion since he spent $60 on shoes which he probably could have gotten for half the cost at Walmart, 2 pair of jeans, a jacket that he needed and it was a great price (Old Navy - was originally priced at $90 and marked down to $22 - so that is his only sound purchase of the day), a pack of V-necked T-shirts. Me I did okay - got a pair of shoes that were on sale but because I bought daughter's shoes and they were running a BOGO50$ sale in the store, I got my tennis shoes for half off the sale price; I know that sounds petty but for a pair of Keds originally markd at $35, down to $25, and then to get them for $12.50 in the end - I'm a happy camper. I did pick up a top at Ross's and two nightgowns. The things I didn't get included some pants and more tops but they will have to wait as I spent way too much on other things.

What I did pick up at Walmart, and color me sticker shocked, was some new yarn for bookworms to sell at my events. Why sticker shocked? just a month and a half ago, the yarn was $2.33/skein and yesterday it was $2.58/skein (yeah, I know that's only a 25 cent increase but it was still shocking but I guess everything is going up relative to the price of gas/gallon). If I had about $20 I would have bought a bunch of the Christmas yarn for the end of this year since that was a popular item in November. Maybe in a week or so I can run in there and pick up several skeins to have on hand for the next season.

One of the colors I did pick up was what I already make what I call my "autumn" bookworms because that color scheme did very well. One of the others I'd been looking at for a whle and been thinking of getting is called "Monet" and it's very Easter-y or maybe this will be my new "spring" one. I did pick up two more skeins (four in total) of yarn - one called "bonbon print" and it could be a "spring" color scheme as well except it reminds me of cotton candy sort of - so not sure what I'll call that one. The last one, I think, is going to be one of my new favorites. The skein coloring is called "woodsy", so it's a lot of browns, tans and earthy colors. That bookworm is being "earthworm" - lol. I did one of each of the three new colors last night and went to take pictures of them (without their eyes right now) and my camera battery was dead, so the pictures will have to wait until I get my camera charged up (and by that time, the worms will all have their eyes - lol).

I'm running out of topics to write about, so I'm now turning this back into a family blog - lol (not really - just in that kind of mood today). If you all have any suggestions of things you'd like me to post about, please don't hesitate to leave a comment -

Update on Imogene: I wrote about 2 pages on the story Sunday - set the timer and all - and had a line or two that I really liked: People were always telling Jacob he could Imogene's twin, and they could as they had similar features - the dark hair, the Asian complexion, the eyes, and they shared more than just the same parents. They also shared the same date of birth seven years apart.

Does it give you an idea of what the story is about? Not really. Does it come into play later in the story? Maybe. Imogene went missing at the age of 5 while her family was vacationing in Asia. It is now 10 years later, the approaching 15th birthday; the few months before passports for children were individualized, and her mother, Sarah Beth is making the final quest to find her daughter to bring her home. A lot can happen in ten years and a lot did happen to Imogene, which I hope to bring out in the story as it develops. After writing what little I did Sunday afternoon, I told my editor that this story may be written piecemeal and pieced together to make it a novel (or at least novella length) as I have all these disjointed scenes floating around in my head that I know I need to sit down and write but there are no flowing ideas to move the story from point A to point B. Mini sections that somehow have to have some filler to make it a story.

What about my readers out there? Have you ever written a story in a disjointed manner (one scene/section at a time) and then tried to piece the story together in an orderly fashion? Let me know - it will be interesting to compare notes - E :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Today's question comes from Mr. Hughes' student, L.M.

Question: Mrs. E, is it okay to make up words in your story?
(explained that her characters are calling other characters names and they were like combinations of words or jumbled words).

Answer: Absolutely. This is your story and you can make up words, especially if you are writing sci-fi or fantasy.

But be careful not to overload your story with made up words as your reader will get frustrated and stop reading because they can't pronounce the words in their head. So, yes do make up words for your story but limit the amount of made up words you are using.

In one of my stories, I didn't make up words but have used some foreign phrases (I know, not the same as making up words) since my story is set in France, but my readers shouldn't have a problem figuring out what the meaning of the phrases are based on content and they are pretty common phrases - Je'taime (I love you) and things like terms of endearment, Mon Cherie, ma cherie and a few other fitting phrases in the story.

Thanks for the question, L.M. and keep on writing - Mrs. E ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Writers On The Move: Designing Customized Facebook Fan Pages Webinar

The next Writers on the Move workshop - I can't attend but if any of my readers are interested, please sign up. See you all in the postings - E :)

Writers On The Move: Designing Customized Facebook Fan Pages Webinar: Writers on the Move took a workshop break in February, but we have a great webinar scheduled for March 12th. Due to popular demand, Maggie B...

What to do with your books (if not self-published and are part of your package)

Previously, I talked about a chapter from the "Self Publishing Checklist" book that I had requested just for ending up on website which had an ad for the book as a freebie.

Obviously, this book is geared toward folks who use Bookstand Publishing as their publisher. In the paperwork that was included with the book, the cost to self publish includes 48 copies of your book. So there is a chapter titled "Promoting Your Book What Do I Do with 48 Books?" and so I thought I would share what they recommend doing with these books as a followup on the marketing plan postings.

For me, I don't have 48 books lying around to use for promotion but that is my choice. I order books when I can to keep on hand for any upcoming events. The most I've had of any one title at a time was 50 but technically there were some copies already sold from that 50 and I had to purchase those from my publisher at a very high cost to me. I'm trying to keep about 15 to 25 of each title on hand at any given time which all depends on the events coming up and the title itself. I don't have any of my Passport Across America book on hand but will probably order a few for the SCASL coming in March, just to have a few available. I will only keep 5 or less of this title on hand. "Train of Clues" will be used as a giveaway and what I read from at school visits and other events where a reading is required. The JGDS state books and Finally Home are slowly building to have a nice supply available. What I do, when I can, is order 5 or so copies of several titles at once.

So if I weren't paying for my 48 copies of books (okay, yes I'd have paid for those copies on the publishing end by way of whatever the cost of the package was) and needed ways to promote my books, this is what "The Self Publishing Checklist" suggests:

15 copies - for family and friends in exchange for reviews

13 copies - to send out for reviews to various places
(,, and; local newspapers w/press release, targeted magazines with press release; targeted websites with press release)

5 copies - distribution to local bookstores or gift shops (on a consignment basis)

15 copies - for sales at signings or speaking engagements

I've not sent books to the review sites and this may be my next project, after the fact of course - since the books are already published and have sold a few copies.

Personally, I'd rather my family and friends purchase a copy and when the expense of book promotion is all on your shoulders, you tend to be very picky about who gets free copies, because either way you have to pay for those copies some how.

Hope you all have many reviews on your books and that in turn is bringing the sales to you. Keep on writing and see you all in the postings. Until next time - E :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This and That

It's Saturday night again and I'm making my reports. Figured I needed to get this posting up before we lose power as my internet is flaking in and out.

You saw my 1st day KDP select posting - by the end of the 48 hours, I had a total of 361 downloads, which included 52 from the UK and 1 from Denmark as well as 1 sale of "The Proposal" in the USA.

Since the freebies have gone back to regular price, I have picked up 2 or 3 sales of "Bride-and-Seek" and no other sales.

I think I had 2 sales already of "Bride-and-Seek" so I had been subtracting those from the total numbers. I'll know for sure next week when i can check the prior 6-weeks sales.

Last night I posted on when my other stories will go up for free. The only story I'm not putting in the KDP program, but it is still available on kindle, is Finally Home. If sales pick up throughout the year on the kindle for that story, I may consider putting it in the program when I'm about to release my next novel, Imogene: Innocense Lost.

I've also been thinking about the titles of my stories and wondering if the titles have anything to do with the lack of sales. I can't really say it is the covers because I really do think my covers are pretty awesome and that Heather does a great job. So I'll put it out there to my readers, and please leave a comment here so I know you are actually reading my blog, do you think my titles are appropriate to the story? If not, what would you title "The Proposal", "The Tulip Kiss" and "Bride-and-Seek" or even Finally Home?

I try to find appropriate titles for all my stories and usually don't even write my stories to titles. Case in point, Imogene's story is taking shape and the title keeps tumbling around like it's not the right one and who knows, when I'm through writing it and start the editing process, the title may change. I'll leave that up to my editor to decide whether or not it should be left as is or changed, although at this point, I'm not really sure what new title I could give it. I'm not even sure I can give a brief description of the story yet. This will all take place as the story develops.

I think that is everything I have to report - internet is flakng due to weather so I'll sign off for now and see you all lin the postings - E :)


Here is a cautionary tale for all you folks who order anything from a company online. DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING FROM MCBUB - I ordered two tablets in November and received them a few days before Christmas. Daughter and I opened the package and started checking out the tablets to see if we could get my Square app to download on the tablet (that was the whole reason for ordering the tablet in the first place, it is android based and should have been compatible with the app). Daughter's tablet turned on and worked well for the most part. Mine did not - showed a green light like it was on but the screen never would come on. I tried charging it and when I had it on the charger, the light was red and then went to blue but still no screen - couldn't see anything but black. After a couple of hours trying to get it to work, I gave up. I was instructed to send it back. (according to their website, you have three days to return a faulty item.) I did get the instructions and shipping address and whatever was needed to send the package back (it only took a day to get the info in email). Package was received on December 20th; return info received on the 21st and printed out return form and address immediately; went to the post office on December 22(payday for me) to send the package. They told me that it should take about 2 or 3 weeks for the company to receive the package, had to send it air mail ($15) and I did not put a signed receipt or insurance or anything on the package (would have cost me a bunch more than I could afford for all that). I filled out the customs form as instructed, wrapped the package in extremely high amounts of bubble wrap and the post office worker liked the package I had received it in originally so we put my bubble wrapped pcakge inside the original bubble wrapped package and sealed it up and put the label on the package. It left my town that afternoon. Grant it a couple of days before the Christmas Holiday, I knew to give it a couple of days to get to its destination of wherever the United States Customs was.

About three weeks after sending the package, I hadn't heard anything so emailed the company trying to find out where my refund was. They informed me they had not received the package in their warehouse at the time. Fine, I waited another week and sent another email. I was informed to track it and find out where it was held up on my end - like it really would be hung up for 3 weeks on my end especially when I was told it had to be returned within 3 days in order to receive my refund.

So, I did track it from the customs form number and it showed that my package went through the usual stops before getting to customs in Jamaica, NY and was sent out on the 28th of December from customs. I sent the information to the company and got an email back saying it still was not in China - now near the end of January (over 3-1/2 weeks from leaving NY) or in their warehouse and had not been checked in their computer system. Of course that email had to sit and wait for a response since it was the Chinese New Year and they take a whole week off for their New Year - literally - the automated response said they closed their offices for a whole week.

So I resent that email the week after just to make sure they had gotten the first email (we are now talking about the very end of January/first part of February). Again, I was told they had not received the package and that as soon as they did I would receive my refund. Every week I've sent an email asking where my refund is. I keep explaining to them that once it leaves the United States customs there is no way to track it on my end. They need to go to their customs workers and find the stupid package. Each week I get the same response - it is not in our warehouse, nor has it been checked into our database or it's still in NY - it is almost 7-1/2 weeks since it actually left NY and made its trek overseas. So where is my $84 refund? - Still not in my account as it should be. Where is my package? no telling.

All I can say is if you are thinking of ordering anything from McBub think twice just in case you have to return it for a refund. I will never order anything from an overseas company again especially now with this headache of waiting for them to receive a returned package and holding up my money. Honestly, I believe it's there but they keep saying it's not so they don't have to refund my money. I've no other course of action but to blacklist the company for poor business dealings.

WARNING - DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING FROM MCBUB ONLINE. If you do, expect poor materials and poor business dealings.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ebook descriptions and freebies calendar

I've decided to take all my short stories and put them in the KDP select program to see if I can generate some sales for all my stories. I will leave Finally Home available for Nook and through smashwords (available for all ereaders and PCs) but have just put "The Proposal" and "The Tulip Kiss" in the KDP select program. What this means is that I'm going to run some freebie days for each of the stories and see what I can generate interest wise. All these stories have placed in various contests or been selected for anthology inclusion, so I don't understand why the stories really aren't selling at 99 cents.

Remember that when these stories are offered for free on amazon, you don't need an actual kindle to download them; you can download the free kindle app for your phone, tablet, computer, et cetera. This will allow you to download the stories for free during the time they are offered for free or purchase them when they are regular price.

Here's the setup on the stories:

"Bride-and-Seek" was a selected piece in the SC Writers Workshop anthology, the Petigru Review, which was published for the annual conference in 2008. The selection process is blind and not everyone who submitted a piece gets selected. This story was written as a challenge back a few years ago when my friend sent me a "Haunted Realms" Calendar and Covington Manor was one of the featured places (all the haunted places are based in the UK and overseas). The story goes that the Lord of Covington Manor and his new bride had come back to the manor (they got married around Christmastime or on Christmas) and the bride had the wedding party engage in a game of hide-and-seek. She went off to hide and they all looked for her but no one found her. Rumors were said that she ran away. The groom continued his search for her but to no avail and finally gave into his broken heart, dying some months or years later, still searching for her. It is said that some years after his death a servant was cleaning the manor either to put it for sale or spring cleaning or whatever and stumbled upon a locked trunk in the attic. When he opened the trunk, he found the remains of a woman in a wedding dress. This is presumed to be the bride who went missing all those years ago. I've taken that description of what supposedly happened and rewrote the story with the same ending. I'm listing this story as a paranormal romance (love story with a ghostly twist to it) "Bride-and-Seek" is currently 99 cents and is available for kindle download only. It was just offered as a Valentine's Day freebie with a resultant 360 (maybe 361) downloads over the 48-hour period. It will be "free" again in March and April.

"The Tulip Kiss" is a first place winner in Echelon Press's fast and frigid themed contest (January 2007). We were given the theme frigid for January and had to write a short story based on the theme. My award was ebook publication for six months as the first place winner. The cover depicts a winter scene on an icy, back road where tragedy has just struck a young couple. The tulips come in from my husband's family being dutch and at one point, the Elderings were known for their tulips. This is a love story with a ghostly twist. "The Tulip Kiss" is currently 99 cents and will be offered for free the end of February, a couple of days in March and again in May.

"The Proposal" is the second place winner in Armchair Interviews April Fools Day contest. The basis for this story was that we were given a list of eight words and to incorporate several of them into the story and had to write a humorous romance short story. To date, other than the current free downloads on "Bride-and-Seek", "The Proposal" has been one of my bestselling stories. Even during my freebie days for "Bride-and-Seek", I gained 1 or 2 downloads of this story. I also had it on Smashwords and Nook but took it off both those sites and listed exclusively on kindle this week. "The Proposal" is currently 99 cents and will be run for free the end of March/first part of April as I want to see how well a "holiday" themed story does when it is offered for free during said "holiday" (yes, I know that April Fools Day is not a holiday but it's a fun-filled, practical joke day and that's exactly what you will find in "The Proposal").

"Butterfly Halves" (coming soon) will be added to the calendar once it is published. This story is a runner up in Echelon Press's fast and fanciful themed contest (March 2007) and is about two sisters who both want a butterfly necklace but when they fight over the necklace and it breaks, they find themselves in a different dimension in the future in their lives as they have dreamed of them being. This was a bit whimsical and fun to write. Once it is published, it will be listed for 99 cents and I'll determine free days at a later time.

I have two more stories, "Zombies Amuck" (a second place winning story for a local writing group) and "La Cave" (or "The Cellar" - still am undecided whether to list it in the French title or the English title - but will have to decide when Heather tells me yes she will do a cover for it and whichever she chooses for the cover will be what I go with). More on these two stories when it gets closer time to publishing them (if I get them published - lol). They will both sell for 99 cents when they are published.

Here is the calendar of upcoming free days for the stories:

February 29/March 1 - "The Tulip Kiss"
March 21 - "Bride-and-Seek"
March 21/March 22 - "The Tulip Kiss"
March 31/April 2 - "The Proposal"
April 25/April 26 - "Bride-and-Seek"
May 16 - "The Tulip Kiss"

I've only scheduled 3 days for "The Proposal" for now but will play that by ear as to when the next two free days will be scheduled.

I hope you all enjoy my stories and will tell all your friends and promote the free days as much as you can. I appreciate your support and following. Still looking for followers to receive a free ebook version of my YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home. When I reach 150 followers on this blog, you will be contacted with a coupon code for you to download the story. Please pass the word.

Also, the red/white/blue afghan drawing is still opened. The chances are only $1.50 per one chance or you can purchase 10 for $12 (that's a $3 savings over the individual chance). The drawing will be December 1 with the afghan being mailed out around the 7th of December. For more details on the drawing and purchase links, visit either The JGDS website or my main website and check the events pages.

My work in progress, Imogene: Innocense Lost is still that - a work in progress but there are some things in my head about the story. I hope to publish this story sometime at the beginning of 2013. It will be available in print as an ebook (all places - kindle, smashwords and nook). I need to really sit down and work on it so that I will be ready to publish next year. See you all in the postings - E :)

Book Review Friday - Guardian of Eden by Leslie Dubois

I'll continue my review of Leslie's books leading up to her guest appearance on the 27th. Guardian of Eden is very poignant and dramatic to say the least. I emailed Leslie after reading it and all I could say was WOW to her - lol.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Write From the Heart: SPEAK WITH YOUR VOICE

Another good article on voice and style - this should help the WWYWWQ #4 some too - Mrs. E :)

Write From the Heart: SPEAK WITH YOUR VOICE: What distinguishes one's writing from someone else's writing? Voice.  One of the most important things you can give your story is your voice...

Promoting Marilyn Levinson

I just updated two of my out-of-print children's books and put them up on Kindle. RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK was an International Reading Association-Children's Book Council Children's Choice. Fourth-grader Rufus Breckenridge discovers he has magical powers like the women in his family, but keeps it a secret. Once his mother learns he's an "Empowered One," she'll make him take lessons so he can use his powers to do good deeds. Where's the fun in that? Suddenly Rufus is no longer afraid of Big Douggie. He can perform all sorts of tricks. His powers grow stronger and stronger and get him into more and more trouble. Soon his magic is out of control.

NO BOYS ALLOWED was in print for eighteen years, and has been translated into Swedish and Dutch. Eleven-year-old Cassie Landouer is devastated when her father divorces her mother to marry a young lawyer and moves out of state. She handles her pain by boycotting all the males in her life, including her best friend, Bobby. Then Uncle Harry moves in and she can't very well ignore him. Even worse, he discovers her secret. What's a girl to do?

RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK is $2.99 on Kindle. You can download it for free on February 16 and 17th. NO BOYS ALLOWED is $3.99 and can be found here. Both will soon be available in paperback.

AUTHOR BIO: Marilyn Levinson is a former Spanish teacher and the author of several books for children and young adults. Her first, AND DON'T BRING JEREMY, was a nominee for six state awards. NO BOYS ALLOWED has sold over 200,000 copies.

More recently, Marilyn has been writing mysteries for adults. Suspense Magazine awarded A MURDERER AMONG US a Best Indie of 2011. The book has been featured on the Five Star Books site these last three months. The sequel, MURDER IN THE AIR, will be out later this month. Her ghost mystery, GIVING UP THE GHOST, is coming out in April with Uncial Press.

Marilyn is a member of The Authors Guild, RWA, The Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and the Guppies. She co-founded and is President of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writers On The Move: "The Difference between Style and Voice," by Mayra...

This is an excellent answer to the question I tried to answer from a student in Mr. Hughes' class last week. For the question and my answer see my posting WWYWWQ #4 - and then refer back to this explanation of style and voice to help you figure it out - Thank you, Mayra for showing the difference between the two and help me answer the question correctly - Mrs. E :)

Writers On The Move: "The Difference between Style and Voice," by Mayra...: What is the difference between style and voice? Style is the particular manner of writing individual to an author, the unique way an autho...

Day 1 of "Bride-and-Seek" freebie download

Here are the results of day 1, February 14, for my story "Bride-and-Seek" being free to all kindle users (this includes those who don't have a kindle but do have a kindle app either on an ipad, iphone, or even your computer).

Yesterday was my first freebie day for "Bride-and-Seek". When I got to checking at about 8:15 AM yesterday morning, I had 30 something downloads and was ranked at the bestsellers ranking of #41 in the ghost stories category. Throughout the day, the rankings dropped (good thing) and by 3 PM, I had made it to the #9 bestselling spot in ghost stories. This is really amazing considering I had only had about 135 downloads (USA) since the book went up for free. I hovered at the #9 spot in freebie ghost stories throughout the rest of the evening/night - jumping up to #10 one time and then back to #9 the rest of the time I checked my stats and downloads. At the end of the day, when last checked for me at 11 PM, I was still at #9 bestselling freebie ghost stories but had 237 downloads and picked up 22 from the UK which I didn't really gain those UK downloads until late in the day. So from 3 PM to 11 PM, I picked up roughly 100 downloads but remained at the same spot on the bestsellers top 100 freebie ghost stories list.

This morning, the second day of my freebie promotion, when checked at roughly 8 AM, I had only gained about 30 downloads in the US from the night before up to 272 US downloads, and only 6 UK downloads up to 28, but I also picked up one download from Denmark. This put "Bride-and-Seek" at the #7 bestsellers freebie ghost stories list. And the last check at about 11:15 AM was 277 USA downloads, 37 UK downloads and 1 Denmark downloads, which put back to the #9 spot on the bestsellers list. (the final results will be posted tomorrow night but there will be a short posting at the end of my day tonight to show where I ended up, at least on the east coast time zone when I get to posting it; and my sales and downloads will also be posted in Saturday's posting, This and That).

I'm pleased and disappointed but also have realised that when looking at other's who have reported their kindle downloads during free promotions really have no comparison. One person I know who ran her free days the middle of January posted something like 5,000 downloads but then again, her book is a suspense or mystery or thriller where as mine is a ghostly romance story - way different stories. My other friend who did three days of freebie downloads last week, Faye Tollison, had over 1700 downloads over the course of three days but then again, her book, To Tell The Truth, is a romantic suspense and mine is a ghostly romance story - big difference in genres. I think I'm a little disappointed in the just barely over 300 downloads on my story more than anything but I'm also happy that I'm still in the top 10 (that was my original goal to be there at the end of the two days, not expecting to be there at the end of the first day).

So here is what I'm thinking of doing, even though my story "The Proposal" is doing well on smashwords or has done well on smashwords, I'm thinking of unpublishing it from Nook and smashwords and listing it in the KDP program and run it for free the day before and after and including April 1 - forthree days basically - since it is an April Fools Day story and see how a humorous romance does compared to a ghostly romance.

Do I think the promotion is working? In a way yes, because I did pick up a sale on another story, "The Proposal" in addition to the downloads. Do I think I could have done better, at this point I wish I had done better with the number of downloads, but overall I can't complain as there are folks looking at my books and I'm in the top 10 bestsellers free downloads (at the moment) and that was my ultimate goal. Do I think this program is for everyone? Hard to say right now as I don't have enough experience with the program and I've only seen stats on other stories that aren't even similar to mine, and we all know comparing apples and oranges just doesn't work; other than the similarity that they are both fruits - lol.

If you are thnking of self-pubbing and using the KDP select program to promote your books, I would suggest do it on a trial basis - nothing says you have to sign back up for another 90 days after the original; but if you are doing well enough to take away a good portion of the downloads and the money that is available, then definitely continue in the program. Each author's results will depend on a lot of variances - the type of story they have, the promotion they do, and of course name recognition (I'm still building mine). I think it is helpful being on the top 10 list, if even for a day or two because in the end, it is exposure that we are looking for.

If you have downloaded any of my stories and haven't done so yet, I'd really appreciate it if you did a short review for them. This helps folks in deciding whether or not to spend any money on a story and helps the rankings. I know I won't be in the #1 spot but I can get closer by having reviews. This is very much appreciated by every author. - E :)


This week, I sought out one of the classes I've worked with on Skype to see if they might have some questions for me to post on my WWYWWQ. Ms. Jurkowski has been very kind to send me a list of class questions. I will post several of the questions at the same time since they are basically the same question but phrased slightly different.

I would like to address one question on its own first, since it was already answered.

K.B. asks - What do you do when you get stuck in the middle of a story?

The simple answer is walk away. The more complicated answer is to do another writing activity that takes you out of the story but still keeps you writing; do some random writing - have someone give you a random word and write a paragraph or page and hope that maybe that will spark something in your story. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is totally scrap the story and start something different. This really happens more often than we authors want to admit. (I've personally started many short stories that I've never finished. At the time I've started the story, I felt it had merit or that it would be a good story, but would get less than a fourth of the way into the story and decide that it wasn't really happening - and this can happen due to lack of facts or evidence to back up your story (if based on a historical event - I started a Civil War story based on something my grandmother "confessed" on her deathbed, but after retelling the story to several people, the conclusion I had to come to was that I couldn't really research it nor could I verify what she said since my grandmother wasn't born until 1898 - yep over 30 years after the end of the Civil War, and what she was telling was something that had been passed on to her from her mother or women related to her who were alive during the Civil War; so basically I have several versions of the story started but haven't really taken them any further. I have a small collection of said stories, so if you really get stuck in the middle of a story and feel that it can't continue, it's okay; you can start a new story and work on that. You might come back to the first story and sometimes you may never come back to it; just save all those started stories because you never know when you may take parts of what you've already written and turn out something totally awesome.)

Now for the really similar questions:

R.P. asks - What do you do when you are writing an new story and you can't get it out of your head onto the paper?

E.N. asks - What do you do if you don't know what story to write?

A.M. asks - How do you get ideas for how to write a book?

K.L. asks - How do you think what to write about?

A.P. asks - What should I write for my next story?

G.V. asks - How do you get your ideas?

T.F. asks - How do you think when you write?

N.M. asks - How do you plan your writing? as does D.J.

As Mrs. Jurkowski pointed out, she felt that all of the students were struggling to come up with ideas for their stories for the Lunchtime Writing Club.

Okay kiddos, here is the simple answer - Ideas for your stories are all around you. Just keep your mind and eyes opened and you will see you have lots of stories to write. I can't tell you what to write about but keep those little notebooks handy and everytime something catches your interest, jot it down and viola, you have an idea for a story. Those little jots are to remind you of possible stories, and remember, they don't always lead to a story. A lot of what happens in our everyday lives really makes good fodder for our stories. We take something simple and turn it into a story, and sometimes we turn several of those small ideas into one story. So don't get discouraged and keep jotting little reminders and keep on writing. If one doesn't turn into a story, something else will -

Thanks for your questions; keep writing and who knows - one of these days, you may make it with your stories - Mrs. E :)

PS - If I've left anyone out with a similar question to the ones above, I apologize and your initials will be added to a future posting. Mrs. E :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's here - "Bride-and-Seek" free days

Today starts the free download days for "Bride-and-Seek" (you can pick it p here). You have through the end of day Wednesday to snatch up this book based on the legend of Covington Manor in the UK (newly married couple, come back to the Manor for wedding festivities; she wants to play a game of hide-and-seek; she hides and no one can find her; he dies of a broken heart and years later she is found in a locked trunk in the attic).

"Bride-and-Seek" is a twist - a love story that still ends in the same tragedy but different characters.

While you are checking out the story for free, take a look at my other downloads and see what might interest you. If you like romantic ghost stories, "The Tulip Kiss" is another tragic story of love at its peak with everything taken away in a flash. If you like humorous romance, then "The Proposal" will have you laughing and feeling sorry for Stella on her birthday which is riddled with practical jokes at a time when she thinks her man is being the most serious of all. Finally Home, my YA novel about Kelly trying to figure out why the house across the street is so important to her and her family, is also available. This novel is being compared to Nancy Drew mysteries and that it reminded the reader of the trouble Nancy Drew got into. The paranormal in this story is help from the grave by way of a mirror.

All my other books are available in print (JGDS state mystery series) with Finally Home also being in print.

Still available any of the state stories and everything else except "Bride-and-Seek" as a freebie offer in exchange for a review on any of the stories, as well as your choice of Finally Home or the two short stories "The Tulip Kiss"/"The Proposal" for following and reading this blog when I reach 150 followers.

Within the next month, I should have one more short story going up, "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy story which will only be available as a download for 99 cents and I may put that one in the program and offer some free days shortly after it goes up but I will have to play that by ear when I have the cover. Two more short stories are awaiting input from Heather as far as if she wants to take me on for more covers and then there is Imogene: Innocense Lost waiting to be written, so there will be more stories coming out but the state stories really do need to come first and foremost since I'm targeting teachers and librarians and homeschoolers now. Keep watching out for more stories and special deals. See you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Promoting your book: A 10-step marketing plan Part 3

Steps 8 through 10 are featured in today's posting. Reading through these, I already will fail since these require being outside the home job wise, et cetera and having access to places that would possibly carry your book.

8. Business Tie-Ins. The summary of this is that if you have an existing business and your book ties in with the business that you can use your business to sell your books. The other way to do a tie-in is requiring customers to purchase your book when they register for whatever service you offer (the example the book gives is white water rafting and if you offer classes on white water rafting, you could have the book tied in to the course or you could raise the cost of the course and give a copy of book for "free" (that is the hidden fee of the cost of the course)).

For me, this step isn't very doable because I work at home and the business I'm associated with, medical transcription, has nothing to do with my books. I would love for someone like NatGeo Kids to pick up my state books either as a sponsor fund wise (to cover expenses associated with publishing the books) or by ordering several hundred copies (okay thousands would be super great) to place in schools around the United States. I don't see either of these happening. So, yes, if you can tie your book into your business or if you are an instructor, then this would be something to help boost sales.

9. Sell to local bookstores, gift shops, and other local vendors. Easier said than done when you live in a small town.

I did have my books in the local bookstore for a time but after a while with no sales and with me running out of certain titles and having to take them out of the bookstore to sell at whatever event I was doing at the moment, the bookstore owner and I decided it wasn't worth it for me to put books in the store, keep taking them back and replacing them after the fact. So I no longer have my books sitting in a bookstore. Getting to other stores and places that would possibly carry my books is not doable either since I basically don't go to many towns or cities unless I'm doing an event. I also don't feel my state stories have much use in the bookstores since they really were written as a supplement to a social studies curriculum in upper elementary schools. So, this is a fail for me - something that doesn't work for or fit my books or something that I can't really do as part of the marketing plan.

10. Advertising. Recommended to start with on-line advertising, specialized print publications, and book trade catalogs.

This is the most costly of the marketing plan, but then again, no one said everything would be free or inexpensive in the book business. Again, that old adage "you've got to spend money to make money" comes to mind in that I totally agree that advertising has huge advantages. I've been contemplating a FB ad and may do a trial run when I have some funds, but for now most of my money has to go to cover upcoming events - the SCASL conference, the SC Book Festival, the Decatur Book Festival and several others along the way.

Do I think this is the only marketing plan available? Of course not. Do I believe these steps are tried and true methods and results are readily apparent? In a way, yes. Not every step will work for everyone and from my previous postings, you can see that I've been trying several of these steps and haven't seen mega results yet. But that is the name of the game, perseverance. I'll keep trying different methods and see what is working and what isn't. When I hit a decent monthly sales, I'll definitely be doing the happy dance and posting about it. I reposted J.A. Konrath's posting about him doing $100,000 in earnings in a 3-week period of time not too long ago. I would be very happy to see between $1000 and $2500 earnings a month every month. That would be a turn around for me.

So I ask my readers who are authors, what is working for you? What kind of marketing plan do you have and are you staying pretty close to what you laid out? Have you seen a spike in sales from one method or another or have sales been pretty even regardless of which method you use? Leave a comment and let us know what's working for you. - E :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

This and That

It's the end of the week and here we go again - not as dismal as the previous two or three weeks, so let's start with sales:

"Bride-and-Seek" went live Sunday morning and by the end of the day there was 1 borrow (this story is listed exclusively on kindle and prime members can "borrow" books with no return dates) and 1 sale. Monday not much was going on. Tuesday, I was out and about most of the morning and upon returning and checking stats, I found another copy of "Bride-and-Seek" had sold and a copy of "The Proposal" had sold. I'll take 3 sales in a week considering I've had 0 sales for several weeks in a row. I'd really love to see 5 or so sales per title every week but I don't see me reaching that goal this year, but I'm not going to give up hope on achieving that.

Tuesday, February 14th, "Bride-and-Seek" goes up as a free download (this is for everyone who has a kindle or kindle app on any device who can download ebooks from the kindle store) and will run from 12:01 PST the 14th through 11:59 PST the 15th (you have two days to grab up this paranormal romance based on the Covington Manor (UK) legend of a husband who loses his wife to a deadly game of hide-and-seek; he never did find her and died of a broken heart.) I'll do a late night posting each day to show my rankings and bestseller's ranking throughout the week (this will be for all my books so I can see if having one book for free really does drive folks to purchase other titles and I'm hoping to pick up the foreign market for both "Bride-and-Seek" and "The Tulip Kiss" - this being that the Eldering name used to be very big with tulips in Holland and with a title like "The Tulip Kiss" with an Eldering as an author, you'd think I'd have that market already cornered but so far not; I even sent a downloadable version to my father-in-law for him to pass the word to relatives still in Holland and around other places to tell them about it but still nothing there - one of these days hopefully).

I've been keeping track of Faye Tollison's rankings this week (well the latter part of the week) as she had put her book To Tell The Truth as a free download Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. Surprisingly her rankings did well over the 3 days but her downloads/sales weren't as high as we expected, and it certainly wasn't due to lack of promoting it as free download.

Tuesday night she started 611,000 (some odd numbers there) and when I checked Wednesday morning early - 7:30 AM - she was at the seller's ranking of 3306 with her book being bestseller's ranking of #33 in the romantic suspense category. Her seller's rankings dropped throughout the day from #33 to #26 to #19 to #16 to #15 to #14 (seller's ranking of 250 at close of day). She made it into the top 20. All day Thursday she stayed in the top 20 with a start to her day at #12 bestsellers ranking to a rise to #19 by the end of the day. Friday was even worse with a drop to starting at #17 and going to #29 near the end of the day. Her downloads over the 3 days (and this was reported from her to me) were right at 1750 in all the kindle areas (UK, DE, FR, ES, IT and USA). She is scheduling one of her next free days on March 29th when she appears on Your Carolina with Jack Roper (a local celebrity here in the Carolinas) and hopefully with the appearance of her on TV and promoting her book, among other things - Heather's cover designs, my book (which I'm thankful to her for doing that but really I do a lot of promoting myself so I wish she'd just promote herself) and Sisters in Crime - her downloads will skyrocket. I keep telling her she needs to get some short stories of hers polished and put them up for 99 cents and see how sales will change (like I'm one to talk - lol; I have four stories available as ebooks and haven't really had any sales to speak of since the first of the year) because people really do look for more by an author if they like the one book they try out. No one must really like my books as stated by the sales I've had this year - lol. Maybe when I get Imogene: Innocense Lost people will like that book and start buying books, but that is a ways off.

I also did a price reduction for Finally Home from $12.99 to $11.99 print and from $3.99 to $2.99 ebook. I was thinking of reducing the state stories a bit but don't really see how I can since I still need those in-person sales and usually do discount the price at events.

Stop by Monday for the third part in my series of promoting your books from Bookstand Publishing's booklet I got from free. Am still in need of new questions from students related to writing so teachers, please send any writing questions your students may have to eeldering (at) gmail (dot) com with subject WWYWWQ; in the body, please put the student's initials (like E.E.) from (your name - like Mr Hughes') class asks question? I will respond to you/your class/your student before posting my answer on my blog. Once I have the posting ready to go, I'll send you an emailed copy of the post before it goes up to share with your class so they can see they made it on my blog - thanks everyone for participating in my weekly project of mentoring students to help them become better writers. - see you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review Friday - The Queen Bee of Bridgeton by Leslie Dubois

The next few weeks we will see books by Leslie Dubois who will be my guest on the 27th of this month. All the books I've read so far are written with interracial relationships as the main theme but the storylines are very different. The Queen Bee of Bridgeton is the first in the Dance Dream series.

Product Description
When fifteen-year-old Sonya Garrison is accepted into the prestigious Bridgeton Academy, she soon discovers that rich girls are just as dangerous as the thugs in her home of Venton Heights. Maybe more so. After catching the eye of the star, white basketball player and unwittingly becoming the most popular girl in school, she earns the hatred of the three most ruthless and vindictive girls at Bridgeton. Can she defeat the reigning high school royalty? Or will they succeed in ruining her lifelong dream of becoming a world class dancer?

Review by Elysabeth Eldering

Rating: 4-3/4 stars (I hardly ever give a 5 star rating)

In Queen Bee we find Sonya who wants nothing more than to dance. She gets accepted to a private "white high school" and works at the dance studio to help cover the expenses of her training. She tries not to get involved in the politics of the school and lets her older sister take care of that part. Sonya somehow attracts the attention of the star basketball player who wants to play on foreign teams or pro. Romance blossoms, scams abound and Sonya's dreams are shattered albeit briefly. This book is very well written and takes you on a wild journey through high school dreams and beyond.

I've read several books by Leslie as well as her other persona and I have to say that Leslie/Sybil is an excellent writer. I will continue to recommend her books.

Product Details
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 360 KB
Publisher: Little Prince Publishing (March 9, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Lending: Enabled

Also available in print and if you get any of Leslie's/Sybil's books, you can request a kindlegraph for them, just go here

AUTHOR BIO: Leslie Dubois lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband and two children and also writes children's books under the name Sybil Nelson.


What's coming up for Elysabeth's blog: Saturday will be the This and That (sales report and announcement of free days for "Bride-and-Seek" as well as some ranking numbers for Faye Tollison who just had three of her free days for To Tell The Truth)

Monday will be the third part in my 3-part series of promoting your book; Tuesday will be a late update of sales/downloads on stories; Wednesday is supposed to be WWYWWQ but I've not received any questions from students from any of the classes I've worked with, so I will have to find something); Thursday will be two postings - one on what to do with the copies you receive (if you used Bookstand Publishing and had received the 48 copies of books) as well as a promotion of a friend's books; and Friday will be a review of Leslie's book Guardian of Eden.

Friday, Ma America and the JGDS will be traveling to Columbia, SC for the Geofest held at USC-Columia and hope that having the ability to now take credit cards will be a help in her sales. The This and That posting will be very late once Ma America has had a chance to get home and sort through emails and what not from the day being away from her computer. See you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Promoting your book: A 10-step marketing plan Part 2

As previously noted, these steps are from "The Self-Publishing Checklist" book that I received after clicking a link on a website I was visiting a few weeks ago. This book is published by bookstandpublishing and a lot of the information is geared toward using them as your publisher. The promotion of your book should be pretty straight forward and work for any book regardless of who is publishing it. I use createspace to print my books and have been very satisfied with them, especially since I don't have the several hundred dollars requiredto publish through another company. Createspace is free and the expanded distribution package cost has been reduced now, so I'm better off sticking with using createspace until I've completely published all my books.

Part 2: Steps 4 through 7

4. On-line promotion. This is what it says - using online sites to drive traffic to your books.

This is a given for me since I publish using createspace as my printer. I have a "store" or page for each title I publish through createspace and all my books are listed with amazon and B&N, even though createspace is affiliated with amazon. They suggest creating a "listmania" which would list books similar to yours plus your book or creating a "Find Similar Books" list. This may be an area I need to look into, but with my state stories, I'm not really sure there are any books out there that are similar. I'll have to do some searching.

The other suggestions include creating a blog, email, social networking, cross linking, YouTube, all free or fairly inexpensive.

As for the blog, that is a given. You want to keep your blog active but not "in your face" forcing folks to buy. You definitely shouldn't intimidate others into buying your book either. Again, I think this should be done before you are even published simply because you are building up your name and your book and can post anything and everything related to your book, especially if you know you are going to self-publish and use a site like createspace to print the copies up. This is a rather quick process from the time you submit your print-ready files to ordering the proof copy and approving for sale. Barring any errors found on the interior reviewer that need fixing (but nobody is perfect and it seems there will always be catches that createspace's reviewer finds that you don't see), the process is a matter of days to a week from submitting files to being reviewed to ordering proof copy and accepting proof copy as printed and releasing your book. For me, everything is about 3 or so week cycle unless there are many fixes needed secondary to my paydays. I am still using my hard-earned funds from my day job to cover expenses on my books. This is par for the course unless you are already rich when you pursue writing as a career. The old adage "You've got to spend money to make money" is very true in this business. What I like about using createspace is that their print facility is based in South Carolina and I've not once had a reason to pay for expedited shipping. Unless there is a holiday between the time I place an order for one or 15 or however many books I'm ordering, I usually get the books within two days. I've even had orders ship the same day and received the next but two or three days is pretty standard for me to receive them. I also know others who are not in South Carolina and have used createspace and have commented on how quickly they receive their orders.

As far as the other suggestions, the email one is basically creating a newsletter and to always reference your book in your signature (yep, that's a given for me). I used to do my own newsletter and had started a yahoo group for posting the newsletters but let that go due to the fact that I wasn't generating enough interest on the site; fifteen members may be reading my newsletters did not really seem worth the effort. I've been thinking of starting my newsletter again (I would use a site like constantcontact or one of the others but I like the look of my newsletter and am pretty sure I can't use my layout on those sites and I'm not good at creating such things) and posting on my website or on the side bar on my JGDS blog, since I haven't created a newsletter for my other writing stuff yet. This may take a while to show up if I decide to go that route again.

5. Book signings. Another Duh!

Yes, you need to do book signings but getting the right place interested in having you is the tricky part. I've done regular bookstore book signings. I also do book signings at what I call "events" that I participate in as either an exhibitor/vendor or a presenter.

6. Special events. This covers things like Topic Related events and book fairs or conferences.

Have participated in several book fairs along the way starting with my first in Decatur when State of Wilderness was first published in 2008. This book fair led me to homeschool conferences and other events along the way. So check. I'm doing something right but the sales are still not being generated that I really need to see a change in me spending my job earnings on my books to the royalties from the books covering expenses of my books.

7. Speaking engagements. The most coveted part of the marketing plan.

These are harder to come by than this book really lets on. When doing speaking engagements, you need to be paid whether it be an actual honorarium or taking pre-orders and having the place purchase a set amount of books prior to the engagement. Schools used to be the biggest place to get speaking engagements but with all the budget cuts and the terrible economy we live in right now, schools aren't able to bring in guest speakers too often or pay big bucks to have them there. This is also dependent on the area and the schools themselves. Sometimes you can get library engagements but selling your books at a library event is trickier still. If you decide to have a workshop using the facilities at your local library, you will not be able to sell your books. If you are invited to participate in a library-sponsored event, then you can sell your books. Or at least that is how it is here in our counties and several others in close proximity.

In part 3 of the 10-step plan, steps 8 through 10 will be covered and most of these tend to be geared toward specific types of books or require large investments.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Write From the Heart: LINE UP THE TIMELINE

apparently I posted this on the wrong blog but it's not all bad as her overall ranking from yesterday was 611,831 and this morning when I checked it she was down to 3740 and was ranked #33 in the romantic suspense category - this is an interesting article my friend, Faye, wrote concerning keeping up with the timeline in your story for the reader's sake. Stop on over and leave a comment.

Faye's book To Tell The Truth is available on Kindle to download for free today (February 8) through Friday (February 10). If you like a little bit of romance with your suspense, this is the book for you. You can find her book here (and an update is that she went from #33 to #26 since 9 AM this morning in just 3 hours; her sellers rank from 3740 to 1302 - woohooo - she will do well this week).

An aside - "Bride-and-Seek" went up Sunday morning as a kindle only download and is doing okay so far. I'll post the results the end of the week during my This and That posting - E :)

Write From the Heart: LINE UP THE TIMELINE: When writing my book, To Tell the Truth, there was one of many elements I forgot to include. It was the hardest for me to correct, my effort...


Today's question is a general question from several students.

The question is - How would you write ---? this way or a different way?

The generalized answer is - write it the way you feel sounds right to you. This is your story and your voice. I may write the same sentence or fragments in a different way than you do. This is a subjective topic and I can't guide you on how to write your voice. What I can guide you on is the craft of writing stories - grammar, POV, and other aspects on the writing itself.

When you write, you yourself are part of the writing. Your voice is unique regardless of the story you are writing since theoretically every story you write or have an idea to write has already been written. What makes your story different than all the other stories is your voice. So decisions about how to write something that is distinctly your take are up to the writer.

Stay true to your voice in all that you write and keep on writing. - Mrs. E :)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Promoting your book: A 10-step marketing plan Part !

A few weeks ago I was on a website and there were some ads there. One of them said get this free "Self-publishing checklist" book. I clicked on the link and was taken to Bookstand Publishings's site but decided it can't hurt to request the free book.

Although I have now been self-publishing for almost two years now, it doesn't hurt to make sure I'm really doing all I can to get the most benefit from self-publishing, especially if some new ideas are there to market and promote my books.

A quick preview of the chapter contents made me realize that they advice they are offering seems to be pretty much where I am in my self-publishing endeavor. There is one chapter dedicated strictly to promoting your book, the 10-step marketing plan. So a glance through and I'm trying to figure out where I'm going totally wrong or took the left turn when I should have taken the right turn, because it seems everything suggested here is where I seem to be promotion wise. The problem with some of these suggestions is getting the readers' responses to some of them in order to make sales.

Part 1: Steps 1 through 3 in the marketing plan as outlined in "The Self-Publishing Checklist":

1. Always be selling: In a nutshell, you should be talking your book up, displaying your book and offering free copies in exchange for reviews. Common sense. There are some mini steps suggested in #1 to include creating or getting business cards and/or bookmarks, tell everyone you know that you have a published a book, create excitement (see above statement about giving books out in exchange for reviews), and creating an effective sell sheet. I've done all this except creating sell sheets. I did have sell sheets when I was first published for the first two books in my series which were part of the media kit put together. Not much came from the sell sheets at all.

In January, I offered 100 ebook copies to anyone who would request them from me in exchange for reviews. Did I receive 100 requests for any of the nine titles available at the time? No. I received two requests, one person in England whom I met in an online class and who is familiar with my state stories requested a copy of Finally Home, "The Proposal" and "The Tulip Kiss". I know he is busy and as of this posting, I have not heard back from him regarding reviews on any of the titles. I did have another lady who requested a copy of "The Proposal"; she has posted her review on her blog and amazon, B&N, and Goodreads. She also does reviews for children's books on another blog and so I asked her if she would take a copy of one of my state stories and do a review on it. She agreed to do so. She also informed me that it would take a bit longer to read and review that story since she had a few books in front of me. No problem. At least, as far as I'm aware, she will post a review when she gets a chance.

Maybe I need to go back to the drawing board on coming up with creative ways to "sell" my books since apparently no one wants free ebooks to read in exchange for reviews.

2. Get Book Reviews. The book says that Reviews sells books. Duh!

I can't afford to pay people to post reviews and was hoping by offering free ebook copies of the titles available ("The Proposal" and "The Tulip Kiss" are only available as an ebook, and all the state books are only available in print but I do have PDF files for them that can be used for review copies) that I would gain a handful of reviews. Two, in my opinion, does not equal a handful of reviews and thereby does not sell books. Although looking through the list, it may be a good idea for me to consider sending print copies to several of the review places that are not a fee-based entity.

3. Your website.

In my opinion, this actually should be something created long before your book is published whether you get a "website" from the publisher like bookstandpublishing offers or not. There are several free or low cost sites out there. is one of them; is another. I advise upgrading to the pro side since this will allow you to do more with your website. With, by paying the yearly fee (I think I'm paying like $42 and some change a year - or maybe less; I think it works out to about $2.95/month when I renew my upgrade), you can add videos and have more the ability to upload more files on a page. This is a big advantage for me since I've got a whole page dedicated to the accompanying study guides for my books and I'll have 50 when the series is completed. I think before I upgraded to pro I could only upload like 10 files on the page, which would have been 1/5 of my study guides being on the page. Now, I can upload all 50 and not have to decide which few I'll keep up or how to switch them out. I also think with the pro upgrade you get more pages; with the freebie side on I think you are limited to only five pages, but if you don't have a lot going on, five pages may be just right for you.

You can create your website and add, take away, change as you progress in your publishing endeavor, but I highly suggest you start a website before you are even published.

I have two websites, both through and both have been upgraded. You can find all my non-state related book information here and my JGDS, 50-state series here. I try to make them look as professional as possibly and have included buy now buttons on the book pages as well as the necessary information. I created my JGDS site first and then created my non-JGDS site but didn't really publish it until last year when I started thinking of my other stories that had won contests and could be republished and about the time I finished Finally Home.

Heather, my illustrator uses for her graphic design business. You can check her out here.

Tune in Thursday for part 2 where I'll cover steps 4 through 7, which all seem to be related to in-person or online promotion. See you in the postings - E :)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

This and That

Okay not much to report this week - sales = 0 across the board - no sales on Kindle, none on Nook or smashwords - so much for meeting my sales of 15/title/month. I can't even give away free copies so not sure what else to do.

On the bright side, I did get my final cover for "Bride-and-Seek" and have published the story in the KDP select program. What this means is that for the next 90 days, "Bride-and-Seek" will be available only on Kindle and I'll be able to offer it for free five days during that 90 days. I'm hoping this will at least work for getting my name out there. Next weekend will be a report on my KDP select numbers - downloads and sales (hopefully - lol). I will offer "Bride-and-Seek" for free on the 14th and 15th of February which means you can receive the story for $0.00 on those two days. I'm hoping to pick up a large readership in the UK for this story since it is based on one of their ghostly legends (Covington Manor). Anyway - here is the cover - enjoy. I've got one more story in the next month or so to republish and then maybe in April/May I'll publish two short stories that haven't been published before but one is a 2nd place winner. (I'll nudge Heather on covers for those two later this month).

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Dropping Followers

I just went through my followers listing and dropped 11 as their information was foreign and if I can't read or follow their blog, no reason to keep them on my list. Sorry but all you folks from Asia aren't doing me any good following me.

Now I need 70 more followers to reach the 150 mark, so come on folks - the free ebooks are still up for grabs. Just follow my blog but please make sure you have a valid blog and that I can contact you to find out which ebook you are interested in - E :)

Sybil Nelson's blog posting/KDP select

If you pop over to Sybil's blog, you'll see another take on the KDP select program.

This program is making headlines and waves in the indie published authors' realms. Just Thursday night we had a panel discussion from members of our local Sisters in Crime chapter on self-publishing and the talk turned to the program.

I agree with Sybil's statement about exclusivity, but my feeling is this right now, I'm not making any sales across the board - Kindle, Nook, Smashwords - so by listing one of my stories at a time exclusively with the program, I'm not losing anything. I have an almost finished cover (I'm tempted to go ahead and go with the cover I have but still feel it needs the one last suggestion I've given Heather) for "Bride-and-Seek" and as soon as I have the next cover (hoping by tonight, and if not, I'll go with the 6th version of the cover) the story will go up in the program and I'm thinking of putting it for free the 14th and 15th of this month - it is a love story, after all. Anyway - I'm hoping that I get a lot of downloads from the UK market since this story is based on one of their haunted places - Lovell Hall, and we all know how much they love and believe in their haunted places.

There are several people that I'm following who have reported on their experience with the program, so as soon as I start seeing results after getting my story up, I'll also do a report (may do a weekly on Saturday report in addition to my This and That posting or may include it on my This and That posting - just have to see how things go. See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Book Review Friday - Priscilla the Great series by Sybil Nelson

In this review, I'll be reviewing all three books in the Priscilla the Great series - Priscilla the Great (book 1), Priscilla the Great: The Kiss of Life (book 2) and Priscilla the Great: Too Little Too Late (book 3). Sybil is busy going through edits for the Priscilla the Great book 4, so that will be another to add to my growing list of TBR, albeit they are all on my kindle and not stacked up next to the bed.

When I read Priscilla the Great, I was thinking "interesting concept" and then when she talked about her twin brothers I totally was like "whoa, wait a minute is Priscilla the Great the same author of something I read earlier?" I had to search through my finished collection on my kindle to find the other book and sure enough, same author. I read Priscilla the Great unknowingly that I had read something else by this author. I totally enjoyed it and finding out more about Priscilla and what made her "great" was fun.

Each book is a look into how Priscilla, her family and other kids help save the world, one little corner at a time, from an evil doctor who was doing genetic experiments and created these not so much human like "people". Priscilla and her newfound friends go to different parts of the world to battle other mutants and save whatever is in need of saving. It's fun to follow the group, which includes other family members and these young people who were rescued in the first book. Sybil writes with a flare that makes you believe that you are right there with the characters.

Experience the trials and tribulations of a seemingly normal teenager who has spectular adventures. This reader is looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Priscilla the Great books are available everywhere and are available in both print and ebook format. Check out her blog for contests and giveaways galore.

Next week's review will be Leslie Dubois's Ain't No Sunshine, the beginning of the lead up to Leslie's appearance on my blog. Monday will be the beginning of a 3-part marketing plan. WWYWWQ will be an improvised posting since I don't have any questions from students. See you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Motivation and Inspiration

Kim Baccellia over at the YA Authors You've Never Heard Of posted last Sunday (the 22nd) a posting on what is motivating her to write. She posted a video of the song "Unwritten" and then an episode of "Roswell".

I too have been lacking motivational wise to write. I have a ton of stories to complete (okay a few state stories) and am not motivated to get them written. I don't know what is up with that but I really need to get them written, edited and published since I have 44 more to get done over the course of the next 8 years.

Also, sometime the week before reading Kim's posting, daughter and I were chatting and I was reading her a bit of my new novel, Imogene: Innocense Lost and she asked me, "Where do you come up with your characters' names?"... "You have Sarah Beth in this one and Mary Beth in the other one, and Matt, and what's the other girl's name? and Matt's friend - oh yeah Guy" at which point she decided Guy for a name was funny. My answer was that the names kind of come to me when I write a little bit of a story. Somtimes I may have a name in mind and sometimes the names take a while to come up with. I have to do some research through baby name sites and sometimes look up what the meaning of the name is before deciding whether it is the name I need to be using.

Imogene came to me while I was writing the first scene of the story (and this may or may not really show up in the story because I think the story really starts with the next part) and Sarah Beth was the other name that came to me. I wrote the first couple of paragraphs with Sarah Beth being the daughter and Imogene being the mother, but as I wrote a few more sentences, I suddenly changed the names around. Imogene became the daughter. I can't explain what inspired me to do that but it happened. Now I have a very clear picture of who Imogene was and who she has become over the 10 years the story occurs; the story actually will be over a short period of time - a month or less but really starts ten years prior to the actual story that will be told when Imogene goes missing while the family is abroad.

How do we go from the inspiration to the motivation to get the stories written? It really isn't an easy task but if we are serious enough to take on writing stories and want to make this our chosen profession, we must keep at it.

I've had students ask similar questions - what is your inspiration for this? or what motivates you to write? - and I'm sure the answers they are looking for are something on the lines of fame and fortune but that isn't why we become writers. The money would be nice but I only would like to earn enough from my books to support me or to have all my events and book related expenses covered as well as travel funds and enough left over that I can pay my bills.

I'd be happy if someone were to contact me and say, "We really like your books and think you have a wonderful concept here; We'd like to sponsor your state books" and put money down to cover all my expenses with no worries of how events will be paid for, hotels, travel, et cetera; but for now, I will have to keep plugging away, taking my inspirations and going with the flow and keep myself motivated to write whatever it is that needs to be written (and right now it looks like Imogene is begging to be written). No more back burners; now is the time to write (this week will be an especially good one for me as all the hand clinic doctors will be out of the office and what little bit of work we have won't amount to much for any of us).

So if you are an author, what keeps you motivated to write your stories? What inspires you or inspired you in the first place to write your stories? Comments welcome on the topic. E :)

PS - don't forget I'm doing ebook giveaways for followers. When I reach 150 followers on this blog, I'll send you a code to download either Finally Home or both "The Tulip Kiss" and "The Proposal"; just for being a follower. Basically 150 downloads will be given away. I only need 59 more folks to follow the blog to start contacting you all to get your download to you.

Keep on writing and see you all in the postings - E :)