Monday, June 27, 2022

Who doesn't like free samples?


When I got my rights back from my publisher in November, 2021, the edited audio files for A Wider World were also returned. I had done the original edits when the audiobook was recorded, but it still needed mastering so it could be uploaded to ACX (the company behind Audible) and Findaway Voices (the other big audiobook company, which supplies every vendor except Audible). 

I meant to tackle those files before now. I did. But I didn't.

I thought mastering them would be too hard, and I bookmarked blog posts and YouTube videos about how to master audio files but never got around to watching/reading them.

Then, about a week and a half ago, I got annoyed with myself. This is not only a book that I love, and an audiobook that the actor and I worked very hard to produce, but it's a viable source of income that I've just allowed to sit on my computer for months. 

Enough, already.

I won't say it was easy, but it also wasn't anywhere as difficult as I expected. ACX has very specific standards for upload quality, but if something's wrong, they're also very specific about what it is and how to fix it. I did the entire book in four days, got it uploaded, and it cleared quality control in a day. Now it's up on Audible and Findaway is distributing it to all the other vendors as I write this (it's not so much that they take their time, but each separate vendor takes its time, and it's cumulative).

I've attached an audio sample here of the first chapter. Let me know what you think, and if it would intrigue you enough to listen to more!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Don't rain on my parade

Yes, I still sew and do craft shows! It's just not as big a part of my life as it used to be.

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of vending at a local Pride Fest. The day started out chilly and rainy, and I almost canceled because I hate having to pull all my work into the center of the tent so it doesn't get wet, but I sucked it up and set up anyway.

And I had a blast. Usually, when I'm located near the stage at an event, I want to crawl under my table, but this festival had the best music and I had a stellar view of the drag show which concluded the festival.

I've been lucky to find a lot of rainbow fabric at thrift stores lately, so I had a nice selection of merchandise and business was pretty good, but the day was as much about people watching for me as selling. It was such a positive, uplifting event - it made my heart happy to see so many people feeling safe to be themselves and walking proudly with the people they love, displaying a veritable rainbow of different Pride flags.

And the little kids especially loved the drag queens. How could they resist the hair, the makeup, the colors? The joy? I haven't seen that many happy kids since Santa wrote a fire engine through town throwing candy canes.

The weather cleared in time for the show. As the emcee said, "we wouldn't allow it to rain on our parade." 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

From This Day Forward


Just a reminder that From This Day Forward is available to newsletter subscribers. 

Subscribe here to get acquainted with Ava and Claire, and have some important back story to read Coming Apart.

Miss the link? It's here!

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Value of Libraries


This is the Lawncrest branch of the Philadelphia Free Library.

This was my childhood happy place. We went every other week, up until junior high school, when we moved to an area with a less interesting library. Tragic, but I was also old enough to be able to buy books and my school had a good library, so I survived.

Kids had the same borrowing rules as adults: twelve books at a time. Twelve was never enough, so I nagged my mom until she let me have six of her borrows. Once I got older, I made it easy for the librarian and borrowed a dozen books from the kids' library and six from the adults. 

Mom didn't care what I read, so long as I was reading, and the older I get, the more I appreciate that. I read some horribly inappropriate things - some of which have stayed with me to this day - but overall, it was a good thing.

But, I digress. Libraries are good things. And they're one of the last places on earth where we can go and not be expected to spend money. It's rare, that is. Unless you want to make copies, they don't want your money.

Do you frequent your local library? Have you ever asked your library to order a book you wanted to read? Did you know that all of my books - ebooks and paperbacks - are available for your library to order? 

You can just ask your local librarian to order anything you want to read. Just give them the title and my name and they can look it up and order from their catalog. Often with ebooks, libraries don't even have to buy them, they can just make them available through library services like Hoopla or Libby and as the author, I will make a percentage every time the book is checked out. Win/win, right?

So that's it - that's how you can support authors you like without having to spend personal cash, which, we all know, is getting tighter and tighter these days. You might spend your book budget on gas for the car, so why not drive it to the library?

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Coming Apart: Free Prequel

A few days ago, I showed off the covet for Coming Apart. Thank you for the messages and comments - I'm absolutely in love with it and I'm glad you like it - and are looking forward to reading the pages inside that cover.

What I've got for you today is the blurb for the book, introducing my two sisters and their situations in life.

Pre-orders for the book won't be up until August or September (I usually do a 30-day pre-order, but I could be convinced to lengthen it if you want to order in August), but you can read a free prequel novella right now if you sign up for my mailing list.

From This Day Forward is set a dozen years prior to Coming Apart, and it tells the story of Claire's wedding and the beginning of the break in the sisters' relationship.

If you subscribe, I promise not to spam you, and I will never share your email address. I check in generally on the 30th of each month, and occasionally I'll pop in at the middle of the month if there's big news or a sale that I think you should know about.

When you sign up here, you'll receive an email welcoming you to the list and giving you a link to BookFunnel, which is the website that holds the files. They're an excellent site and can walk you through the download process to your Kindle or other device if you haven't done it before.

If you're already a subscriber, your last newsletter had that same link and you can head on over to download From This Day Forward.

It's a gift to my readers, and a promise of more story to come. Enjoy!

Friday, June 3, 2022

May Roundup


Well, May 2022 has been my best sales month ever that didn't include a new book being released, so I'm a little over the moon.

This month has been a busy one, too. I did final tweaks on Coming Apart, and worked with my cover designer to complete covers for all three books in the series (you've just seen the first one). 

I also wrote and edited a prequel novella for Coming Apart, which is intended as a free gift for newsletter subscribers - of which I hope you are one. 

You're not? Subscribe here and get your freebie.

I've also been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, working on the website, planning the October launch for Coming Apart, formatting the paperback files, and ordering advance paperback copies for a few reviewers.

There's also been much scheduling of social media to promote the newsletter/prequel and the cover reveal. I'm writing book two of the series, Coming Closer, and making notes about the third book because my characters won't shut up. They should, but they won't.

Another fun thing - nerve-wracking, but actually kind of fun - is that I've started pitching book podcasts to talk about either the Tudor Court books or the upcoming ones. Fingers crossed it comes to something. I've done a few podcasts before and I find them really fun once I relax and remind myself that listeners actually want you to do well. It's not junior high, where everyone in class is secretly hoping you fall on your face during public speaking so that they feel better about themselves.

Lastly, I've been working with a graphically-inclined neighbor to tweak the covers for the Tudor Court books so that I now have hardcovers listed on Amazon. I'm sure I won't sell a ton of them, but since I had to buy those 100 ISBN numbers, I'm going to use them with reckless abandon.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Cover Reveal: Coming Apart

Here it is! 

I was trying to hold off sharing this for a while longer, but I've been talking about this book for so long, that I just can't. And I love this cover too much to keep it to myself.

Coming Apart is the first book in my Sisters series, of which there will be at least three books. That's what they've informed me, so far, anyway.

When I first talked to the cover designer, I said I wanted something that looked like an old photo album, the kind with black paper and stick-on corners. Alas, the designer is too young to be familiar with such things, but the direction she went in, which I think of more as a scrapbook, is even better. I love the pressed flowers, the tape on the corners, the creasing of the paper under the photo.

And the PHOTO. That's my great-aunt Margaret, holding my Uncle Dick, her brother's second-youngest child. It's perfect. We were originally looking at vintage stock photos of babies or women holding babies when I realized that I had albums of photos to which I hold exclusive rights.

Albums full of photos. So what did I do? I went through them all, after I'd picked out the cover photo for this book, and chose photos for books two and three. I don't know everything about those books yet, and won't really know until after the first drafts are done, but I know the titles and the overall theme of each book, and that was enough.

Also, my cover designer in this case is also a writer, and she's doing well enough with words these days that she's retiring from custom cover designs and I wanted to get these done before I lost access to her. (She'll still be available for tweaks when the books are finished, but I didn't want to risk not getting a matched set, not when I loved the first cover so much). 

I'll be back soon to share the back cover blurb and an opportunity to get a free prequel novella to Coming Apart.