Category Archives: Books

Get it While it’s Hot!

Last weekend was nice here is Charlotte.  I spent the day working in the yard and got the vegetable garden planted.

2018 Garden

My wife is especially excited about the spinach.  I can’t let her have too much of it though or she might go Popeye on my butt.

Spinach

Of course, a nice day outside isn’t complete without a fire.

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I’m not stirring up that fire for my health.  The pan on the bench in the background is the smores fixings.  They’re not quite Reese’s Cups, but they’ll do in a pinch.

Speaking of fire, this is the last day of my red hot book sale on Amazon.  Head on over and get my Kingdom of Haven series for a great discount price.  The Order of the Wolf is still free until the end of the day and the rest of the series is discounted.  Free is good, but a discount isn’t bad either.

Ahem, after last weekend, I need to buy some more marshmallows.

 

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Here’s a Treat

 

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Check out my new strawberry pot!  There’s nothing better than a freshly picked strawberry.  We’ve harvested about 10 berries so far.  Most of them didn’t make it into the house, but that’s the point.  You gotta have something to snack on while you’re out in the yard.

If you’re not into strawberries, check out my Amazon promotion going on right now for the Kingdom of Haven Series. . . Delicious.

Kingdom of Haven

 

 

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Check out my Stuff!

I will be running an Amazon promotion on the Kingdom of Haven series for the next 5 days.  The Order of the Wolf is free, Stenson Blues is $.99, and The Eastern Factor is $1.99.

I tend to write towards the dark and gritty.  If you’re not quite sure if they’re your cup of tea, check out my quick book descriptions:

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Having a mid-life crisis, shit happens, and people die.

 

 

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Coming of age, more shit happens, and more people die.

 

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Life’s a bitch, then you marry one, and then you die.

 

If you like gritty mercenaries, strong women, and dirty politics give them a read.

What was I thinking?  That sounds pretty light and cheery.

 

 

 

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It Takes a Village?

I’ve heard the expression: “It takes a village to raise a child.”  This isn’t entirely correct.  Children are raised every day by single parents or a set of parents with no external support.  Some of those children turn out fine, and some children who grow up with a huge support network have major issues.  While the adage isn’t totally correct in all instances, I believe it is a good concept.  Basically, we all need help at some point or another to succeed.

But when should we ask for help?

For me, the “It takes a Village” concept is hard to put into practice because it appears to be in direct opposition to another important concept: the Work Ethic.

Work Ethic:  a belief in work as a moral good: a set of values centered on the importance of doing work and reflected especially in a desire or determination to work hard.

While the definition of Work Ethic does not say “do it alone,” it does imply a person should work hard as a moral obligation.  The way many of us interpret the idea of Work Ethic is that if only I work harder, I can attain my goal.  I do believe this can be the case in many instances, but there are times when hard work alone will not get you there.  Sometimes you need help.  Unfortunately, a person with a strong work ethic equates asking for help as weakness.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

I’ve seen this expression thrown around by people who advocate for the “It takes a Village” concept.  It doesn’t quite ring true for me.  In order to ask for help, you must first recognize your weakness, acknowledge it, and then seek help to overcome it.  Because of this, I prefer the following quote:

Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.

I have a hard time asking for help, because of that Work Ethic thing (Yes, I will drive around the block as many times as it takes before I’ll ask for directions, but that’s a different issue).  I do normally recognize when I need help, but I get stuck in that “if I only work harder” line of thinking.

Writing is one of those areas where you can’t do it alone.  Of course, you can sit alone at your desk or in a coffee shop to write, but you cannot learn to write a great novel alone.  It takes the help of fellow writers either through critique partners or some similar means.

I’ve recently come to realize that I cannot promote my books alone either.  Yes, I can hire someone to run a blog tour, and give away free books, but that only goes so far.  In order to truly promote my writing, It Takes a Village.

So this is my request.  If I am to reach my goal and make writing a full-time adventure, I need your help.

Friends, neighbors, and (dare I hope) fans, if you haven’t yet purchased any of my books you can find them here.

Hey, I’m a bit on the frugal side. If you’re anything like me, you probably wait for the sale before you buy.  Well, it just so happens that I have a 5-day promotion on Amazon starting on April 15th.  The Order of the Wolf will be Free, Stenson Blues on sale for .99, and The Eastern Factor for 1.99.

 

Kingdom of Haven

If you are one of the few who has bought a book of mine or the not so few who have received a free copy, please leave me a review on Amazon or Goodreads. (or anywhere else where I can find it)  Reviews are worth more than gold in the writing world.

If you are looking to join a village, you can join my newsletter mailing list here.

Also, my next book, Half-hand will be published in time for Christmas and I am currently seeking Beta Readers.  You can sign up here.

Writing is my passion, if reading is yours, give my books a try.

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What’s Wrong with Playing Ostrich?

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I’ve been practicing my ostrich impression for the last week or so — burying my head in the sand to avoid writing and other people.  It’s not that I’m unsociable,  it’s more like I needed time to recharge.

I don’t really get extroverts.  Supposedly they feel recharged when interacting with people.  How is that even possible?  Wait a minute!  So that’s where all my energy goes when I’m around other people.  It’s you extroverts that are sucking it all away.  So that means that introverts are actually powering the world of human endeavor.  We go off on our own, recharge our energy, and then run across an extrovert that takes it all away.  Where would the extroverts be without us?  I feel a story coming on.

Anyway, It’s been really nice here in Charlotte for the past week — good weather to recharge.  Also, the kind of weather that gets me thinking about springtime and the garden.

I mowed the lawn for the first time, and put out the citrus trees:

Lime Tree 2018

Went hiking on a greenway and saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after they filled up on pizza:

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And hung out in the yard:

Pear Tree

Marvelling over the daffodils:

Daffodils

And the first stalk of asparagus of the season:

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Wow, I feel refreshed.  Maybe it’s time to peek my head back out of the sand and see what’s been going on.  Anyone want to buy a book?

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Filed under Books, Citrus Trees, Gardening, Lime Trees, musings, Nature, Pictures

Free Book Marketing?

Deciding how to spend your marketing dollars on your indie book is tough.  After paying for an editor and book cover, now you have to decide how much to spend on marketing.  You’re already in the hole, and you wonder if your book will ever earn enough to recoup what you already have in it.  So how much more money do you spend on marketing, and will it make a difference in sales?

Well then, it’s time for some free marketing, right?

Unfortunately, nothing in life is free (Somebody famous said that I’m sure).  The majority of the free marketing sites I’ve run across require you to give your book away for free to join.  Most of them want you to have your book free on Amazon.  Basically, you have to be in KDP Select to really take advantage of these opportunities.  So it’s more like: If you want something for free, don’t write a book.  Yes, these sites are free for the reader but lost revenue for you.

The philosophy is that you need to get your name out there in order to build a following and eventually sell books.  Another philosophy I’ve heard is to price your book higher so that readers feel it has value and will buy it.  So like every other aspect of writing, there is no one path to success in marketing.

I’ve had my books on Amazon and Kobo and recently entered a few giveaways on Goodreads and Instafreebie (I also did an Amazon ad campaign).  I’ve been giving away book one of my series for several months to build readership.  I’ve given away about 600 copies of The Order of the Wolf.  I’ve also sponsored a Blog tour for my series and a book blitz for my new book release.

The net result of my efforts is three new book ratings/reviews on Goodreads, one on Amazon, and one on a review website.  I have sold a few copies of The Eastern Factor that just released, but not enough to get excited about.

My take away from all this is that people are more than willing to download a free book.  In fact, I think a lot of people are grabbing all the free e-books they can get their hands on.  Whether they read them is another matter.  I’ve actually heard people brag about how many books they have on their e-reader—more than they’ll read in their lifetime. If they read your book, they have to like it in order to rate it or buy the next book.  Finding readers to take your book isn’t so hard when you’re giving it away, but finding the right readers that will want to read more is the key.

Takeaway number two: I need to do more with ARC reviews and pre-order sales.  Much of the marketing is targeted for this period vs. after the release.

Another takeaway is that I need to have my giveaways on Amazon to harness the power of, well, Amazon.  I’ve resisted KDP Select for awhile, but I recognize that it is the best marketing platform to use when you’re trying to get established.  So this week I’m taking my books down from other sites and switching my series over to KDP Select and I am going to use their marketing features going forward.  Well, at least for the next 90 days.

I’ll admit, I’m a slow processor.  I have to mull over a problem for a while before deciding which way to go.  My wife says I’m hard-headed and will argue with a wall (I am not!), but I do eventually work out a path forward.  Let’s see where this one leads.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to get your copy of The Eastern Factor.    You’ll find it on Amazon.  And you can buy the complete Kingdom of Haven series there as well if you’re so inclined.

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Fred on the Head

Tomorrow my wife is going to have her head examined.  I don’t know what took the doctors so long.  I’ve been telling her she needs to have her head examined for years.  Of course, this is a CT scan to check her sinuses (or so they say).  I’m thinking I’ll go along and slip them a fiver to look a little deeper.  No one in their right mind chooses cleaning over cooking, or eats Brussels sprouts voluntarily (Or lives with me for as long as she has).  I’m guessing they’ll find a few screws loose.

Of course, I wouldn’t dare let them look inside my head.  I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t let me back out of the hospital.  Luckily, if you really want to know what’s floating around up in my noggin it’s easier and cheaper than a CT scan.  Just head over to Amazon where The Eastern Factor is being released today.

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Words are so interesting.  Why do we “release” a book?  Is it a wild slavering thing that must be tamed before we dare release it into the wider world?  Actually, that does make sense.

So if you want a peek inside my head, go get yourself a copy.  I can’t guarantee the book is completely tame, but I’ve tried my best to housebreak it (Sort of).

Also, you can still get a free copy of The Order of the Wolf as part of the Secret Worlds— Fantasy Giveaway.

Also also, I’m giving away 5 copies as part of my Book Blitz today.

 

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