It’s Alive!

My Kindle Scout campaign for Teatime of the Living Dead is live!


What is it?

Kindle Scout is an awesome program where people nominate books they would like to see published. Nominations won’t guarantee success, the editors have final say in who gets published by Kindle Press and who doesn’t. However, nominations can help get their attention.

What can you do?

Head to my campaign page here, and nominate Teatime of the Living Dead. Make sure you check out the excerpt for a sneak peek of the book! Anyone with an Amazon account can nominate. Each person gets three nominations at a time, but you can only nominate each book once. If you want to help further, share this post to help spread the word!

What’s in it for you?

Anytime you nominate a book on Kindle Scout, and it gets selected for publication, you get a free advance copy of the book. I’ve gotten 19 so far! Because the books are vetted and edited by Kindle Press, you can expect a certain level of quality. All of the books I’ve read so far have been worth reading, and some have been amazingly good.


A little about Teatime:

Andrew Hamilton believes in friendship, good theatre, and that Twizzlers are an underrated member of the candy family. He does not believe in magic. His current play is going great, until the actors playing the zombie horde turn homicidal. Zombie madness spreads through the city and the creepers have one thing in common: they all want to kill Andrew. Magic not only exists, it has rules and deadlines. If he can keep ahead of his stumbling and drooling fan club until teatime, he might survive.
They’re coming for you, Andrew.

I think of Teatime as a Horror/farce, though Paranormal Suspense is also a good description.  The tale focuses on Andrew and his journey.  While there is a little gore, that is not the focus of the book.  There’s quite a bit of light humor throughout, which is my standard writing voice.


Posted in Ebooks, Kindle, Kindle Scout, reading, Teatime of the Living Dead, writing, Writing News- Plots and Plans | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wyrd House News

My paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, was not selected for publication by Kindle Press.  Not to worry, I have Teatime all ready for it’s Scout Run, and I have good feelings about it.

Wyrd House has already been formatted for paperback, I just need to format for Kindle and then I will be ready to publish it.  For those of you who nominated it, you should get an email when it’s available for purchase.  Thank you all for your support.  Selected or not, it means the world to me!

Now, Teatime of the Living Dead is going to give them something to think about. 🙂


Posted in Kindle Scout, writing, Wyrd House | Leave a comment

Two words…or not two words? That is the question.

I’m in the middle of formatting a book for my mom so she can print it on CreateSpace. It’s her second book and she’s very excited about it. I’m not proofreading it (because I suck at proofing) but inevitably when you look at something long enough, you find a few things that need adjusting. Even when you aren’t looking for them.

One of the errors  I think is particularly difficult for a writer to catch in their own work is when you have two words and it should really be one. Heart broken, in tact, and the like, are sneaky errors that someone too close to the story will read right over because they know what’s intended. It’s one of the dangers of using yourself as your primary proofreader.

The grammar checker in Word or Grammarly will usually catch these errors, if you keep your eyes open. However, make sure you study each instance, because no grammar checker will be correct in every situation.

Then there are little ninja words in the English language whose only mission is to trick you into using the wrong one.


Pictured: lurking ninjas.

Everyday vs Every Day

“I wear my everyday jeans during the workweek and my fancy ones on the weekend.”
“I wear jeans every day.”

Don’t be fooled by this one. ‘Everyday’ is an adjective, so it goes before a noun, but something you do on a daily basis is working as an adverb so it’s ‘every day.’


This is not my friend Elizabeth’s everyday look.

Everyone vs Every One

“Everyone hates rabid wombats.”
“Every one must decide if they hate rabid wombats.”

‘Everyone’ means everybody, or all the people in a group. ‘Every one’ emphasizes each individual in a group. In our first example we are assuming all the peoples of the world hate our little water-phobic critters. In the second, we acknowledge that each individual must decide for themselves if rabid wombats are to be hated.


Everyone loves Mickey. Look at that face!

Awhile vs A While

“Go walk awhile.”
“I’m going to walk for a while.”

Tricky little bugger. ‘Awhile’ is an adverb, and you could replace it with another adverb. “Go walk energetically.” ‘A while’ denotes a period of time. Yeah, I know, they both are periods of time, but you use the two-word version when it’s working as a noun. Big clue, if you are using a preposition (for, after, in, etc.) then ‘a while’ is two words.


I haven’t seen a lake loon in a while.

In writing news, I’m ironing out the last little bits of Teatime’s Kindle Scout campaign before I start it up. I’m excited about this one. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. Still no news on Wyrd House’s KS campaign. Fingers crossed!

I heard that Amazon has hired more folks for the KS program, so it’s good to know they are expanding and moving forward with the program. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. I’ve gotten something like six free books so far from nominating KS books that were selected for publication. A couple of them were awesome reads. Free books! And they are free books that have been selected by publisher and gone through a round of professional editing, so you can expect a certain level of quality from them.

As I mentioned in my last post, my newsletter is live and ready for you to sign up. Just click on the shiny button towards the top right of this blog. You get a free book of my short stories for subscribing. In the newsletter you will find writing news, a free short story, and a book rec. Subscribe now! Everyone’s doing it! It’s been live for a while. Every one of you should check it out! 🙂

Posted in Grammar, Kindle Scout, Newsletter, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

My New Newsletter is Live

My newsletter is live and you get a free eBook of short stories for signing up.

OMG! I’ve set up my author newsletter, and it ate my brain!

All the things I read about the process made it seem easy easy. Get an emailer like Mailerlite. Combine that with InstaFreebie, and it will be a piece of cake to get some folks signed up to your newsletter. I even have a nice Gmail set up to use to communicate with folks reading my newsletter.

Then I tried to set it up, and my brain hurt.


Have you seen my brain?

Now, for a 50-something gal who spent most of her life in the theatre, I’m fairly tech savvy. The rare times I’ve gotten a virus on my computer, I’ve fixed it myself. I’ve even swapped out a hard drive on my computer before. I’ve taught myself to use programs over the years like Paint Shop Pro and Frontpage. Over the years, I’ve learned tons from Brian, who is a computer whiz.

So, I’m fairly techy, especially for a woman my age.

Then I run into something like setting up my Mailerlite, and I feel like a noob again. I have a website through WordPress and I have a Gmail, but Mailerlite wants an email from my domain. Poopyheads!

I end up having to upgrade my WordPress blog, which is fine. I probably needed to upgrade it at this point anyway. It’s been a free account for years, but it will be much easier to point people towards than it was for I simply wasn’t counting on that bill today, but it’s only 18 bucks, so why am I even complaining?

Next step was to go over to Zoho where I could set up an email attached to my domain. That involved some changing of the webpage’s DNS. I managed it, though I still don’t really even understand what DNS is. I guess I don’t need to understand it. the Zoho is free for a little user like me, so that is super cool.

My Bike

The best things in life are free, after all.  Okay, so my cute bike was not free, but all the awesome rides I’ve taken are.

Then I have to verify everything with Mailerlite, which was fairly easy. Then I waited for my account to be reviewed and cleared for takeoff.

All in all, I ended up with not one, but 2 new emails, an updated fancy blog address with my own domain name, a Mailerlite account, and a slight headache. But I did it!

The fun part of my day was writing the content for my introduction email. It has some upcoming events, a book rec, and a freebie short story. It is now live, and has Magic and Mayhem, a free eBook with 5 short stories as an incentive for signing up for the newsletter.

The KS campaign for my novel Wyrd House is now over. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting to hear if it got selected, as well as preparing for launch if it has not.

To join my fancy new newsletter and get your free copy of Magic and Mayhem: Click Here!

You should get a confirmation email, and then Newsletter #1 with links to download Magic and Mayhem and a free short story.  If anyone has any trouble signing up or getting their content, let me know.  I signed up myself and did a test run, so I hope everything is working properly.

Posted in Magic and Mayhem, Newsletter, Short Stories, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Teatime of the Living Dead- Cover Process

As I’ve mentioned before, this early in my self-publishing journey, I’m creating my own covers for my books. To be clear, it’s not usually a good idea to make your own covers. Cover designers have design experience that can’t be faked and a good looking cover sells books. However, for folks just starting out, this simply might not be an option.

That said, with every cover I create, I’m getting better. For an amateur, I’m doing all right. I do have some background in art and some basic experience manipulating images digitally. I’m also taking serious advantage of free fonts and online programs which offer filters to manipulate photographs.

For Teatime of the Living Dead, the next book I’m going to publish, I started by taking a photograph of a little scene I set up myself, complete with a broken plate and homemade stage blood.


It ended up looking too fussy for me. And the cover itself looked both a little too amateurish and a little too cozy mystery. I consider Teatime a farce. It’s not a comedy, but there is a hint of madcap lightheartedness to the book, and I really needed the cover to reflect that. I needed an image with a little playfulness. The first image was painstakingly set up, photographed, sent through some filters and digitally hand painted.


I scrapped it completely.

For my second–and more successful– attempt, this is the picture I took. My hand holding a teacup. Easy Peasy. Doesn’t look like much, but huzzah for the magic of filters!

img_4575     kmp4fi9qzc2obwue

My second cover is so much more what I wanted. Less fussy, more playful. It has an old horror movie poster vibe around it that I adore.   The filtered pic of my hand is layered over a manipulated bit of free clip art. A horizon filter darkens the top and bottom, then I added the text. So here it is– the new cover for Teatime!


I love this cover!


It’s not too late to nominate my book, Wyrd House at Kindle Scout. My campaign ends March 3rd, and I could use a little help. All you need is an Amazon account and a spare minute. If you nominate a book on Kindle Scout, and it gets selected, you get a free advance copy of the eBook. It’s a great way to pick up free reads. You will find my campaign here.

Posted in Book Covers, Kindle, Kindle Scout, Self Publishing, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Writing Plots and Plans

I am busy as a bee! Wyrd House’s Kindle Scout campaign is nearing its end, and I have tons to do. Here’s what I’ve been working on:

-Did a re-write to fix typos on Descending, made it a shiny new cover (cause the old one wasn’t good enough) and uploaded new version to Kindle and Amazon. If you have purchased an eBook, make sure you update it.

-Did a minor rewrite of Wyrd House, due to friend’s awesome proofreading. I still need to format it for paperback and Kindle. I must be ready to roll if it is not picked up by Kindle Publishing.

-Redid the cover for Teatime. Teatime is fast approaching its own Kindle Scout campaign, and I was not happy with my previous cover attempt. New cover is much improved.


So much better!

-Did a re-read and first re-write of my current work in progress, Nick of Time. Now I need to finish it. It’s so close to done!

-Starting to prepare to make a newsletter. I still need to get a PO Box, but I’m getting my ducks in a row. Today, I put together an eBook of short stories to offer as a freebie to everyone who signs up for the future newsletter. From everything I’ve heard, Instafreebie is the way to go, and the most success comes from having a book or story to offer for free. Magic and Mayhem is a collection of five short stories, and clocks in at just over 10k words. I think that will be perfect for a free offering. It has the short story that inspired the novel, Descending, and a short story that will end up being a prologue for my upcoming book, Ghost in the Park. Made a quick cover, figured out how to format so I’d get a table of contents, and Magic and Mayhem is ready to go when the time comes.


Short story book!

-Plans for now:
Finish Nick in Time.
Get newsletter going and do an Instafreebie thingy to get my mailing list going.
Get Teatime completely ready for its KS campaign.
Do a re-write on Ghost in the Park.

So much to do!


Don’t forget to nominate Wyrd House on Kindle Scout! Click the picture above to go to the webpage for Wyrd House.

What it means:
Kindle Scout is an Amazon program where anyone can enter a novel and have a chance to get it published by Kindle Press. A successful campaign helps get the Kindle Press editor’s attention, but doesn’t guarantee selection; they have to like the book for it to get published.

Why Kindle Scout is cool for readers:
Any book you nominate that gets selected by Kindle Press for publication gets you a free advance copy. I’ve gotten around ten free books so far just from nominating. And the books selected have been vetted by the KP editors, so you can count on a certain level of professional writing from the books you win. If you love a nominee that is not selected, KS will alert you when the author publishes it.

What you can do:
If you have an Amazon account, head over to Kindle Scout and nominate Wyrd House! The link is here. If it gets selected, you get a free copy and a chance to read before anyone else. Help me get this campaign going and get the editor’s attention. My campaign ends February 3rd.

How you can help:
Spread the word! If you can, reblog this post, or share my campaign on social media. The more eyes I get on it, the better off Wyrd House will be.

Posted in Book Covers, Kindle Scout, writing, Writing News- Plots and Plans | Tagged | 2 Comments

Grammarly- Help or Hindrance?

Grammarly is a grammar checking program for writers. There are several forms of the program, but today I’m here to talk about the plug-in for Microsoft Office. This plug-in also works for Microsoft Word, you don’t have to actually own Office to use it.

If you want to check this plug-in out, you can find it here.

I tried a version of Grammarly many years ago and was not impressed with it. At that time, it cost money, and what the program did was not especially useful. It would point out many things that were not issues, and ignore actual issues.

While there are still paid versions of Grammarly that do additional things, the plug-in for Word is free.


Grammarly is kind of like this giant chair.  Most of the suggestions won’t be useful, but the part that is useful will really support your writing.

What it does:

The free version of Grammarly catches what it calls “critical grammar mistakes.” It catches possible punctuation errors, misspelled or wrong words, and various grammar mistakes. It will catch wordy sentences and things like incorrect pronouns. It will point each one out and give you an opportunity to take the advice given or ignore it.

What it does not do:

The paid version catches further grammar mistakes, makes vocabulary suggestions, makes genre specific checks, and searches other WebPages for plagiarism issues.

My experience with Grammarly:

I tried Grammarly again yesterday on two projects that are finished, been beta read, and had multiple re-writes. The program has been greatly improved from what it was the first time I tried it. It catches those pesky punctuation mistakes I simply do not see no matter how many times I re-read. Commas after introductory phrases, for example. And those times when you accidently use a period instead of a comma before a dialogue tag. It also caught some British spellings I seem to be in the habit of using, and the fact that I often use “grey” instead of “gray.”

Gold star catch of the day: Yes, Grammarly, I did mean ‘assess’ instead of ‘asses.’ How embarrassing!


Look!  Asses!

But wait, there’s a warning!

Grammarly is a useful tool, and I do think you should try it out. However, all such programs are going to have difficulties. You have to check each correction suggestion carefully. Never assume Grammarly is correct. That “ignore” option is there for a reason.

No mechanical grammar checker will be correct 100% of the time.  Mine asked me constantly if I really meant to use the word “potion.”  Yes, Grammarly, I really meant it.  it also hated that I use the spelling “Theatre” instead of “Theater” and would not give me an option to ignore.

I can’t stress this enough, every suggestion must be considered carefully before you make the change. Grammarly was truly helpful to me yesterday. It caught enough typos in Descending that I did a re-write to fix them, and that’s a book I’ve re-read a million times. Now, the new version of Descending is live on Kindle. (If you already have a copy, be sure to update it.)  Of the ‘issues’ Grammarly found, more than 70% were not issues at all.  However, the issues it did find, I was very happy to get corrected.


Descending also got a shiny new cover.  I was never happy with the first one and I finally made a new one that I am very pleased with.

Grammarly does not take the place of a real editor.

Nothing takes the place of having your work professionally edited. If you can afford editing service, you should do it. Period. Grammarly is a helpful tool, but it is only a tool. Give your work the best chance you can to be its shiny best.


If you haven’t already done so, my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, is in the middle of a Kindle Scout campaign and could use your nomination. Anyone with an Amazon account can nominate it, and if it’s chosen for publication, you get an advance free copy of the eBook. Free books rock! You can find the campaign here.

Posted in Descending, Grammarly, Kindle, Kindle Scout, writing, Writing Advice, Wyrd House | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

The Many Dangers of Publishing Too Soon.

The Many Dangers of Publishing Too Soon.

This is a subject I’ve touched on before, but a recent experience has convinced me to devote an entire blog post to it.

I bought an e-book, the first of a series, because it was on sale for 99 cents. This is a common marketing strategy. You have a series of books, you make the first one cheap or free to bring in readers. The hope is that readers will enjoy the offering enough that they will decide to read further, and purchase more in the series. It’s a smart plan, and often works quite well.

Unless the first book is bad. Then this strategy might backfire on you.


I think today’s picture theme will be bridges, featuring some of the many historical bridges of Indiana.  

Let’s say you’ve written your first book. You are proud of yourself, as well you should be. It’s a unique concept and an interesting story. You are planning on making it into a series, and you think it’s a good plan, because e-book series do very well. You’ve had a couple re-writes, and a couple beta readers, and you are all set to hit that “publish” button.


No matter how much you’ve studied, no matter how great your passion, the first book you ever write is going to have problems. It takes time to develop writing style and voice, it takes experience and a willingness to get honest critique to find the issues in your writing and address them. This isn’t going to happen with your first book.

But so-and-so wrote a first book and it got published and it was a best seller and made millions and–

Yeah. So-and-so got lucky. So-and-so is a rock star. Do you want to give your books the best chance they have, or do you want to hit that “publish” button and hope you get to be a rock star too? Stephen King’s Carrie was the first book he got published, but it wasn’t the first book he wrote. It was his forth.


Do you know why bridges are the theme?  Because you should think of the first book you publish as the bridge to the rest of your work.

Publishing a book that isn’t your best as a first offering, or as the first in a series, is a great way to shoot your literary dreams in the foot.

Let me give you an example based on the book I tried to read recently. It was the first in a series, and I got it cheap due to a tried and true marketing ploy. No title or author names here. I’m not trying to shame anyone; I’m just illustrating through example.

Now, Babs the author has a series out. It has an interesting premise, and deals with subject matter you don’t see every day. I was all set to dive into Bab’ series and I imagined that I would enjoy the heck out of it. And the first book of the series was cheap to boot. What a great time to check Babs’ series out.

Then I tried to read it.

It has all the markers of a writer’s first book, and some very basic issues. I have no idea if Babs wrote any novels before this one, but my best guess is she didn’t, based on what I read. The story begins with three chapters of backstory mixed with character study all done with a close third narrative style that jumps from past to present, sometimes so quickly that I got lost. It’s all tell, no show at all. Descriptive passages are quirky and a bit heavy handed. Now, I like quirky, but I don’t want to be thrown out of the story. Descriptive passages are almost completely visual, with little from the other senses.

I love to read. I read less now that I spend much of my time writing, but I still love to read. My more limited reading time has made me choosier as to what I spend my time reading. I used to be one of those people who finished every book they started, but I have to be more discerning now. I gave up on Babs’ book at the end of chapter three.


If your bridge is broken, readers will never make it to book two.

The first book you publish is going to have a real effect on everything else you publish. If a reader checks out the “look inside” feature, and is turned off by a writing style that simply isn’t there yet, they are not going to look at anything else you have published, no matter how much better it is. If that first book is the beginning of a series, no marketing plan is going to help you. Instead of being a book that leads readers to purchase more, it will be a book that steers readers away from your work.

I can’t stress this enough. If you have completed your first book, don’t rush to click that “publish” button. Write the next book, and maybe the third, and perhaps even the forth.

It’s not wasted time. I currently am preparing to publish my second novel, and I have two more completed manuscripts to publish after that. Conventional wisdom is that to get attention in the self-published e-book market, one needs to be ready to put a new book out every sixty days, tops. I don’t write that fast, but my four completed books are giving me a great jump-start, and I have two more manuscripts that are 75% completed. By the time I publish book four, both of those should be ready to go. Having six books to publish my first year self-publishing will be awesome. It does not guarantee success, but it gives me a better chance.

That first book, it’s not going anywhere. After writing more books and growing into your style and voice, you can go back to number one and do a re-write, incorporating all you’ve learned. If you found out you had a backstory problem, or used the words “that” and “seemed” too much, you can dive right in there and fix it. Then, when you do publish it, it’s not going to read like a first effort and it’s not going to torpedo the rest of your body of work.


If your bridge is awesome, it will lead readers to the rest of your work.

The rest of Babs’ body of work might be awesome. Babs is a smart cookie, and I’m sure her writing style grew and improved from the first book to the last. Unfortunately for Babs, most readers will never make it to the awesome books because they got burned by the first one.

Don’t be like Babs. Take your time and don’t publish until you have at least three books worth of experience under your belt. In the long run, you’ll sell more books and you won’t be left wondering why you are hemorrhaging readers or why your promotions simply aren’t bringing in the traffic you expected.

Will my books be successful because I took my time to make them the best they can be? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is for certain, I will know I have given them the time and attention to make them the best books I can. I can live with that.


Just a reminder that my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, is in the middle of a Kindle Scout campaign.  Click on the above banner to check it out.  Anyone with an Amazon account can nominate Wyrd House for publication, and if it’s selected, you get a free advance copy of the e-book.  Free books rock!

Posted in Fiction, Kindle, Kindle Scout, reading, Self Publishing, writing, Writing Advice, Wyrd House | Tagged , | Leave a comment

99 cent Valentine’s Romance Sale

My action/ adventure romance, Descending is part of a 99 cent romance eBook sale.  There are over 50 books on sale, and even some paperbacks and audio books as well.  To check it out, click the banner below. February 12th and 13th only.  Once you are at the site, you must click on a retailer to see links to the books.  Descending, for example, is under the Amazon books. Go see all the books on sale!



Don’t forget to nominate my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, on Kindle Scout to get a free copy if it’s selected.  Just click the banner below to check it out!




Posted in Kindle, reading, romance novels, writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day Romance Sale!

If you’re looking for a new romance read, here’s a bunch for your perusal. Some are new releases, and some (including my Descending) are on sale for $.99 from now until the 14th. Check them out!


1) Marilyn Vix
Genre: Time Travel Romance NEW RELEASE
Everything For Love: Time Rogues Book 1 ($3.99)

Genre: Erotic Romantic Novella
Thankful In Vegas ($0.99)

2) Holly Dodd
Genre: New Adult Erotic Romance
Giving It Up ($0.99)

3) Elena Bryce
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Guardian of the Grail (Immortal Blood Book 1) ($0.99)

Guardian of the Spear (Immortal Blood Book 2)(NEW RELEASE) ($3.99)

4) Laura Greenwood
Genre: Paranormal Romance NEW RELEASE
The Dryad’s Pawprint (Paranormal Council Book 1) ($0.99)

5) Lisa Maliga
Genre: Cozy Mystery Romance
Macrons of Love (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series Book 4) ($0.99)

6) Mari Oliver
Genre: Historical Romance (20th Century) NEW RELEASE
Kiss Me Again ($0.99)

7) Grace Risata
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Comedy Romance NEW RELEASE
Ungranted Wishes: An Erotic Paranormal BBW Comedy Romance ($0.99)

10) Julianne Q. Johnson
Genre: Romance Action/Adventure NEW RELEASE
Descending ($0.99)

9) Paige Hammonds
Genre: Parnormal Wolf Shifter Romance NEW RELEASE
You’re Mine, Valentine (A BBW Paranormal Wolf Shifter Novelette) ($0.99)

10) Marianne Sciucco
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Blue Hydrangeoas, an Alzheimer’s love story ($0.99)

11) Celeste Wells
Genre: Contemporary Military Romance
The Touch of a Navy Seal: A Military Romance Novella ($0.99)

12) E. Jones
Genre: Romantic Suspense
The Secret Affair ($0.99)

13) H.L. Miller
Genre: Sports Romance
Off The Playbook (A Novella) ($0.99)

14) Ally Decker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
By Your Rules (NYC Fixers Book 1) ($0.99)

15) Jesse G. Talbot
Genre: Sweet YA Holiday Romance NEW RELEASE
The Kid’s Table ($0.99)


Don’t forget to nominate my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, on Kindle Scout.

Posted in E-books, Ebooks, Fiction, Kindle, reading, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment