Blog

Re-release, sales

My Poor Bookshelves

I’m starting to feel sorry for my books. They’ve been battered in the last few months. I tore them off comfy shelves, reformatted them to make them look all pretty, gave them new ISBNs, placed them nicely back on the lovely shelves of Pronoun, a book distributor, only to have that bookcase come crashing to the ground.

pexels-photo-415078.jpegJust a few months after moving everything and loving it there (seriously, it was great!), Pronoun announced they are closing their doors in January. So the process had to start all over again. I debated going back to Smashwords for all distribution, but their system is clunky and not user-friendly at all. So, yesterday I moved everything I could over to the individual stores I could (B&N and Kobo) and will use Draft2Digital as my distributor. I’ll now only use Smashwords to get to a few bookstores I can’t get my books in any other way and have my books there for direct sales, which gets me a higher royalty.

That was a lot of info in a very small space. What does it really mean? Well, that my books are going to have different URLs, so old URLs won’t work. Links will be broken until I can get everything up and running again. It also means my books may be in different stores than before.

And that brings me to Books2Read. It’s a book landing page with store links, something I tried to make my portfolio. All links in the backmatter of my ebooks land on my portfolio pages. Well, Books2Read does that too but with a wider range of stores. Here’s a sample; this one is for Spark, and as you can see, it’s available at several stores.

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Apparently if readers click on their fave store (say you always buy your books at Kobo), every time you use a B2R link, it will take you to your preferred store. I have the option of putting this in the backmatter of ebooks as well, though I didn’t do that yesterday while uploading Naked Origins, Farm Fresh, Picked Fresh, or Silver Scars.

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Screenshot from Backmatter

And there’s also an option of including a sign up to follow an author page to get notified of new releases, again with a preferred store. I’m not sure how I feel about that considering some books are released exclusively on Amazon to take advantage of KU’s boost on the charts, which translates to visibility and, therefore, more sales. So readers being forced to pick only one store won’t know a book has been released—unless that store is Amazon—until it goes wide. That may work for some, but not all.

I’d still rather readers sign up for my newsletter. 😉

I only wish they’d create an author landing page and the ability to put up some of the book details as well.

Do any of you already take advantage of these Book2Read features? How do they work for you? Do you like having the option of signing up for notifications? Do you like seeing all the stores in one spot?

 

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Uncategorized

Halloween Romance

Halloween is a big deal at our house, as are Halloween costumes, parties, and candy. Bigger than Christmas some years. So last year after I got in a car accident outside of Goodwill while searching for Halloween costumes, a story started brewing. I wrote it, published it, but wanted to know more of what happened to these guys.

So last month I decided to go back and revisit Cas and Marc. I ended up adding an epilogue to their story rather than writing a sequel. I wanted to see where they ended up after the Halloween party.

If you bought this off Amazon before, you can get the revised copy w/o rebuying by deleting the story from your device and then uploading it again. The new version would come to you then. How will you know if you have the new version? It has a mask on the header.

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In my head, Cas and Marc already had their happily ever after, but now they have an even happier ever after! So did Cas’s bestie.

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Oh, it comes in paperback too!

Amazon

Public Appearances, Thanks

GRL 2017

Over the years I’ve discovered I’m not good at taking photos while socializing. I’m too focused on talking to the people and getting to know them to bring out my camera. When I get home to see all the memories I’ve made, my camera is sadly quite empty. But my memories are not. GRL 2017 was no exception.

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GayRomLit is a conference for authors and readers of Male/Male Romance, aka Gay Romance, and it’s held each October. This year I attended my fourth GRL and my third as a featured author. I’ve driven to two conferences and flown to two since the location varies from year to year. This year we were in Denver, so I flew.

GRL starts for me months in advance with planning, organizing, attempting to get books written and released around the same time as the conference, and then helping other authors get their books edited and formatted as well. And there’s swag to plan for, preorders to gather, and paperbacks to stock up on. So I’ve been living GRL for months before I even pull out my suitcase.

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This year packing meant more than in past years because I flew and sold books, which I’ve never done before. When I flew to San Diego a few years back, I didn’t sell paperbacks. Last year I drove to Kansas City, so this year was a totally new experience. I also had to contend with my sweet Olive insisting on sleeping on what I’d already packed. I shipped boxes of books for the Indie Pub Authors selling table, and thankfully they all arrived undamaged. Even so, I had a lot of luggage, and for a woman who doesn’t do well with carrying heavy loads, I was weighed down! Thankfully, I checked my luggage. And after a huge delay, airplane repairs, and an eventual airplane change, we were in the air!

I was lucky enough to fly out with a friend, room with another friend, and meet up with several more friends I’ve met at previous GRL events. And I got to see people from all over the world! I also made many new friends, as always seems to happen. It’s why I keep going back.

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I was on a panel with N.R. Walker and Jay Northcote and we talked about the symbiotic relationship between reader and author. For years we’ve heard people say, “But I’m only a reader…” and we wanted to address this. Without readers, we wouldn’t be signing books or going to conventions like this. We might still be writing, but it wouldn’t be nearly as fun a job as it is. Readers, you are important! You are necessary to our craft.

Honestly, you are the reason I write, and here’s a little example of that. I started out writing fanfiction and expected nothing from that than to get words out of my head. Instead, I discovered a supportive community of readers who encouraged me so much that I decided to take a leap of faith and move over to writing original fiction.

After our panel, I had two friends from way back in my fanfiction days approach me. One I’ve seen at each GRL, as she travels from England each fall for this. The other I have never met but I remember her leaving me the more wonderful reviews back in my fanfiction days. She would have me cracking up with each review, and I couldn’t wait to see what she’d say about the next chapter I posted. They ended up gifting me with this amazing cup that had each of the titles I’ve written on it, including the fanfiction story that brought us all together. What a fantastic gift. Thank you, Terri and Pauline! Withouth you, I’d likely not be writing today.

A friend who couldn’t attend sent a charm bracelet with another friend. Each charm represents a book of mine, and I got a little misty when I opened it. Thank you, Melissa! The moon for Feather From the Sky, the star for the North Star trilogy, arrow for Bent Arrow, treble clef for Fall Into You, and peace for the Naked Organics series. 🙂

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IMG_4454And MtSnow gave me this beautiful tree of life pendant on Chalcedony (I probably got that wrong. I know it started with a C). I’ve admired her beautiful pendants from afar, and not only did I get to meet her, but she gifted me with this. I feel so loved.

I also got to meet Marc Fleischhauer, who came all the way from Germany. I wrote Forever Under a Rainbow based on his prompt, and he gave me German chocolate and the best hugs. I don’t have a photo of the chocolate because it was German chocolate! I ate it! Savored it! But yeah, I totally forgot to take a photo of it.

I met so many new friends, finally connected facebook avatars with real-life faces, and best of all, we all connected over books, books, books! GRL is truly one of the few places where I can openly talk about what I write and share my love of this genre, the advocacy so many of us are passionate about, and connect with people I’ve known online, sometimes for years.

Next year I hope to remember to pull out my camera more often because I didn’t get pics of so many of the special people in my life that I’ve met through our mutual love of MM Romance. Luckily, many of them took photos, so if you want to see some, go check out some of the photos of GRL posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

When all was said and done and I finally got home, I was exhausted. Happy but exhausted. But Olive refused to get off my lap and has barely left my side since I got home. I have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks, so I’m glad to be home too.

Thank you, GRL organizers, for making this retreat a highlight of my year yet again.

 

Me Being Me

Do You Want an Olive With That?

Why yes, I guess I do!

My life has been taken over by an adorable creature with so much charisma, I can only do one thing: say yes. Okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit far. I do say no, or at least I redirect said creature to a more productive or healthier option … like not chewing my fingers!

I do need my fingers to type, after all, though lately, I’ve been having to stretch very far to even reach my keyboard because … well, she‘s in the way.

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This is Olive, our new pup, and an addition to our family I was initially reluctant about considering because of the special needs our last dog had. That was Sophie, and she crossed the IMG_3028.JPGrainbow bridge in the sky last December, after living 16 years, the last few with problems. While we missed Soph like crazy, it was nice to have a dog-free home for a half a year, to be able to pop out of town whenever we wanted without thinking about where the dog was going to go. That was lovely. But home could also get to be a very lonely place, especially when I was alone working in my house.

A new dog was going to mean a big change, and if we got a puppy as we hoped, we had to consider house breaking, behavior training, loss of property to chewing (it happens), and the overall energy raising a new puppy requires.

Kiddo was all aboard, hubby chimed in with a “hell no,” and I was teetering on the fence because I knew from raising two dogs, not to mention the dogs I had growing up.

JanuaryAd_Elisa_NorthStarKiddo worked on me for day after day, and the next thing I knew, I was peeking around at websites to see if the breed I wanted was available in our area. This was the same dog that Kevin bought Hugo in Fusion, by the way, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. I wrote that pup, Lulu, into the book in hopes of getting the desire for one out of my system. Apparently it didn’t work!

Well, after a few days looking for well-respected breeders nearby, I found a handful and emailed them all. One lived less than an hour from me, and a litter had been born on July Fourth. I hemmed and hawed, despite the chiding I got from my teenager, because I needed to be sure of this.

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And then we went to visit the pups.

There were 8 in the litter, which was large, but the mama was very good to her pups. There she is, letting them all cuddle with her. She was so patient!

As you can guess, my kid was sold the moment that little girl pup fell asleep belly up in her lap.

IMG_3222.jpg I still was unsure, but the more I considered it, I realized how much I missed having a companion in the house. Working at home can quickly get lonely, and while I love my alone time, it gets old.

So after careful consideration, a lot of juggling of funds, and taking on extra work, we decided to invite this little pup to come live with us. As I expected, hubby fell in love the moment he met her.We have the moment the two met on video, and it’s adorable.

All he remembers of the last days with Sophie were dementia, anxiety, and suffering she went through as well as the loss we felt when he had to make the horrible choice to put her down, so I forgive him his reluctance, and kiddo and I made it very clear we were going to be the caregivers, not him. That was our ticket in. She was the ticket to his heart.

So, Olive Hazel joined our family on August 29th. She’s a cuddler and enjoys curling up right on top of my feet as I work at my desk. She sleeps a bunch, but when she’s awake, she’s got that manic puppy power. She loves walks but isn’t so sure of her leash yet, however, one night, she ran and I nearly lost her in the dark. A leash will be on during night time potty stops. I hope to start puppy socialization classes with her by the end of the month, we are clicker training her, and I hope to teach her how to ring a bell to tell us she needs to go outside.

Wish me luck on all the above. 🙂

But I’m so glad we decided to become a dog home again. I forgot how lovely it is to cuddle and pet and just be close to a dog. And the puppy breath smell… I love it!

 

Posy Around the Web

Episode 101 – GRL Blog Tour with Posy Roberts, “Where the Bears Are” & More | Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast

I’m on the Big Gay Fiction Podcast today! Check it out!

Jeff interviews author Posy Roberts as part of the 2017 GRL Blog Tour. Posy discusses what’s coming up for her and offers a giveaway. Will reviews “Taming Teddy” by Lucy Lennox. The guys discuss “Where the Bears Are” season six, “The Last Tycoon” from Amazon, and “Outlander” from Starz.

Source: Episode 101 – GRL Blog Tour with Posy Roberts, “Where the Bears Are” & More | Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast

Posy Around the Web

GRL Retreat Blog Tour – Alpha Book Club

I’m sitting in a hotel pool area watching my daughter toss a ball around with a few boys her age that she just met. It’s April as I’m writing this, spring break. While I watch her slowly approaching these new acquaintances and trying to figure out the rules of their game, I can’t help but think of my first time at GRL. … Continue reading →

Source: Posy Roberts – GRL Retreat Blog Tour – Alpha Book Club

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Me Being Me

A Truly Relaxing Vacation

I spent a week at the lake. The cabin has been in my hubby’s family since the 1950s and inspired Summer’s cabin in North Star, the one in Spark. This is the lake where Hugo and Kevin fall in love again, years after drifting apart. It was fantastic to spend a week in this place where Kevin and Hugo’s story was literally spun as I floated on the waves. Scenes came so vividly to me here on the water. I often couldn’t get to shore fast enough to type them into my laptop. It’s been a special place where many stories have been either conceived, written, or polished.

IMG_2939There is very limited access to the internet at the lake due to cellular service just not getting through. I can send out images on Instagram if I leave my phone alone for 15 mins in the exact right spot, but email won’t load, I can’t access social media to read, and forget about news sites. Heck, I can’t even get weather radar unless I stand in the driveway, balance on one foot, stick a spit-slicked finger in the air, and sing Zippideedoodah while I wrinkle up my nose.

So it’s the perfect getaway from a too-connected life. Characters talk to me up there. I truly relax. I let my mind go to places I simply can’t back at home. And I laugh like a loon with my family.

When we arrived, the whole clan was at the cabin. That was eighteen people in a 2 bedroom cabin. There are 2 hide-a-beds in the living room too, but we needed more beds. Thankfully there was a hotel across the highway for some, and we made use of our tent, which we have only used once since we bought it a few years ago.

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I LOVED hanging out in the tent. I edited out there, wrote a little, and was lulled to sleep by the waves for the first few nights. I think I might set it up in the backyard this summer, just for a little escape from my office. But I’m not going to lie, getting a bed in the cabin after a few nights on the ground was lovely, and eventually, it was only John, Poppy, and me at the cabin.

On Friday, I had to send a formatted epub file to an editing client, so we went into town and ate a restaurant where I could access a reliable internet connection. After my work was done, we laughed so hard about ridiculous inside jokes, I was crying. That’s exactly what I needed after months of working 12 hour days, rarely taking weekends off, and always working toward a deadline. It’s also a great place to reboot and rediscover what’s important because work and politics and social media are not always butting in to demand attention. Instead, I get to swim with my kid, sift for treasures in the sand with my husband, and bike on beautiful trails. And I get to talk with the most important people in my life about anything we want.

As I floated, I tried to get into Charlie’s head. Charlie is a character from Naked Organics, and his book, Fresh Earth, was supposed to be written last year. He’s not been talking to me. Despite that, I have nearly 20,000 words written. Some of that is good and will be kept, but very little moves me. I’m not driven enough yet.

I’m one of those writers who often struggles to keep up with super chatty characters, essentially dictating what they tell me in my head. Yeah, I know that makes me sound crazy, but what can I do about that? Charlie has been quite mute, so instead, I’ve examined his motivations, stakes, desires, upbringing, past, fears, and anything else I can. That’s gotten me where I am today, but it’s not enough.

I want Fresh Earth to be released sometime in October, but at this rate, it’s not happening. I needed this week at the lake to really let go of whatever is holding me back. I know some of that is me taking editing jobs, which help pay the bills. I need those so I don’t freak out that my writing will never help me pay for my kid’s braces or my medical bills. Once the car is paid off in October, life will get easier financially. I bet you anything that Charlie will suddenly start getting chatty then. Haha! I swear financial worries tie up my writing brain.

IMG_2855.jpgSo sitting on the dock and staring at scenes like this are essential. The water always moves, even when it seems glass smooth. It reminds me that, even if I don’t see word counts going up on Fresh Earth, the sands underneath are shifting. I’m getting to know Charlie every day, and soon, he will demand his story be told. He might be like a clam in the middle of the lake right now, but eventually he’ll drift toward shore.

Or so I’ve told myself. 😉

Just in case he didn’t, I read Farm Fresh and Picked Fresh this week to get a feel of who Charlie is again. He’s more flippant that I was trying to write him, so that knowledge might help me get back into his head. He’s sorta cocky like me, using humor to deflect and derail when things get too serious.

So after what felt like a perfect week where I got some work done, played with my family, and finally rode my bike outside in the fresh air rather than on my indoor bike trainer, we headed home. We stayed until the last possible minute, and because of our crappy internet, we didn’t check the weather before leaving.

And a few miles south of the lake, we encountered this:

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John freaked out a bit, especially because it was attached to a Tornado Watch. But we headed south and thought we’d outrun the beast. We actually outran most of it until we got about an hour from home. Accuweather was telling us to expect damaging hail in 3 minutes when I pulled off the highway and searched for shelter. The last thing I wanted was to be driving at 65 MPH with large hail coming at my windshield.

We took shelter under a bank drive-thru awning, and despite the Nexus* Ribbon of Thundersquall trying to kill us for miles, we were protected. So haha, WTForecast, we barely got sprinkled on because we hid and waited this monster out and then drove slowly through a break in the storm until we got home.

The thunder was the loudest I’ve ever heard. That’s saying something considering I’m used to Southern Minnesota thunderstorms, which can be wicked. This practically made my heart stutter, it was that strong. I’m also grateful we didn’t stop at my BIL’s house on the way home because that’s where the tornado was spotted. All are well, but it was scary!

Despite the booming finish, I’d still say I had a pefect week off. My bed felt amazing last night. My desktop computer is the most beautiful thing in the world to me this morning. And internet, oh, I have missed thee! But I don’t want to fall into the trap of always needing to be connected to news and social media. I need my mind to drift like I did on those waves.

This was likely the last full week I get to spend at the lake. My husband’s family is having to make the tough choice of letting the beloved cabin go. Maybe we can work out a way to keep it in the family, but having a place on Green Lake to call home may very well be a thing of the past.

I’m glad we got to spend a fantastic week there. I’m grateful my daughter got to spend summers on the water, living the lake life. It truly is a way of life up here in Minnesota. It’s a whole cultural shift, and I’m lucky to have been invited to live it with my husband.

*Kudos to those of you who got the Star Trek reference.

Free, Giveaways

Hudson’s Backstory

To celebrate Pride month, Naked Origins ~ Hudson will be available on InstaFreebie through the month of June. All you need to do is sign up for my newsletter and it’s yours. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge into my Naked Organics series, this is a great place to start.

*Naked Organics #0.5, Gay Fiction, New Adult, Coming of Age, Runaway

InstaFreebie


Naked Origins - HudsonHudson Oliva didn’t expect the world to end with the new millennium, but his life did change forever on that New Year’s Eve. After his religious parents walk in on him with Zac in his bed, Hudson is sent to conversion therapy. The parents he returns home to after being cured aren’t the same people he’s known his entire life. They’re cold and withdrawn.

In order to survive, Hudson becomes an expert at lying while working hard to be the perfect son, yet his parents remain emotionally distant. He’s sure the pray-away-the-gay camp broke something inside him along with tearing his family apart. When his parents discover Hudson has continued seeing Zac for years, they demand he go back to the camp. Hudson has no choice but to run. Somehow he has to find a safe place, but he has to get out of Florida first.

*This is not a romance. This is a character study looking deeper into who Hudson is, what shaped him, why he escaped home, and how he ended up at Kaleidoscope Gardens.


The story continues with Farm Fresh and Picked Fresh.

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