Phrases that Pay By Jennifer J. Chow

 

mystery book headshotI love collecting phrases. That’s probably why I start every Monday blog post with a fortune cookie saying. My adoration of expressions also works well with understanding book marketing. Here are my top three picks for authors:

 

  1. “The best things in life are free.” = Give away stuff.
  • Free books:

I enrolled my new cozy mystery in KDP Select and used their Free Book Promotion tool. By placing announcements in bargain newsletters like Awesomegang, Ebookasauraus, and Readcheaply (for free), I gave away thousands of copies. Although I didn’t earn a dime on those downloads, my Amazon ranking shot up and resulted in increased sales, Kindle Unlimited borrows, and reader reviews. If you’re not interested in KDP Select, you can use Goodreads or Amazon Giveaway to create book buzz.

 

  • Free swag:

Everybody enjoys freebies. I like creating literary souvenirs (e.g. bookmarks) and wrapping gift baskets. These physical promotional items have brought me increased exposure at author readings, writing conventions, and on book blogs.

 

  • Free content:

I enjoy learning new things. On my blog, I attempt to incorporate both educational and entertaining tidbits. I do likewise with my monthly e-newsletter, and I think it’s helped me retain and attract new subscribers. (Hint: Those email lists are priceless when it comes to informing readers about a new book release.)

 

  1. “Birds of a feather flock together.” = Join a group.
  • Genre groups:

It’s helpful to connect with authors who write in your genre. I’m really happy to be a part of Sisters in Crime. The group has given me insight into the mystery industry and provided connections to fellow writers, who have offered invaluable marketing tips and support.

 

  • Author groups:

I’ve been involved with smaller publishers who’ve taken the time to build up a community for their authors. These fellow scribes often offer cross-promotional activities.

 

  • Online groups:

I’m proud to be a part of Binders and Wordsmith Studio. Online writing buddies are masters of social media and spread the word in the virtual realm. They’re also quick to offer feedback on writing questions and provide a great venue for crowdsourcing.

 

  1. “Jack of all trades, master of none.” = Show your uniqueness.

 

  • Specialized Media:

Since I’m an Asian-American writer, I like to find press opportunities that offer cultural coverage. Reporters at these newspapers and magazines are more likely to follow up with me. For example, I’ve been featured in Asian American Press, World Journal, Pacific Times, and Northwest Asian Weekly.

 

  • Targeted Organizations:

My debut novel featured a Taiwanese-American family. As such, I’m able to connect with groups like Taiwanese American Professionals and North America Taiwanese Women’s Association and go to their special events. I’ve sold many copies at these outings.

 

  • Distinctive Theme:

My first book was inspired by Taiwan’s history—specifically, The 228 Massacre. I’ve been invited to speak at annual memorial events every year since my book has been published.

 

I hope you find something useful from these reflections. Now “go the whole nine yards” with your marketing efforts.

 

 

Jennifer J. Chow, an Asian-American writer, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA. Her geriatric work experience influences her stories. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Her debut novel, The 228 Legacy, won Honorable Mention in the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival and was a 2013 Finalist for Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Award. She also writes the Winston Wong mysteries under the name of J.J. Chow. The first in the series, Seniors Sleuth, won Runner-Up in the 2015 Beach Book Festival.

Seniors Sleuth summary:

Runner-Up, 2015 Beach Book Festival  Front Cover of Seniors Sleuth

 

 

Winston Wong used to test video games but has left his downward spiraling career to follow in the footsteps of Encyclopedia Brown, his favorite childhood detective. When the Pennysaver misprints his new job title, adding an extra “s” to his listing, Winston becomes a “Seniors Sleuth.” He gets an easy first case, confirming the natural death of a ninety-year-old man. However, under the surface of the bingo-loving senior home is a seedier world where a genuine homicide actually occurred. Winston finds himself surrounded by suspects on all sides: a slacker administrator, a kind-hearted nurse, and a motley crew of eccentric residents. To validate his new career choice (and maybe win the girl), he must unravel the truth from a tangle of lies.

 

Links:

Author website: www.jenniferjchow.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenJChow

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenJChow

From quill to social media – what a leap! by Triss Stein

JPGphoto SteinSocial media finally caught up with me in 2013, when Poisoned Pen Press published Brooklyn Bones. While it is a rumor started by my nearest and dearest that I would prefer to write with a quill pen, it is true that I am not excited by technology. Now I had to deal with it and the way it has changed book marketing.  I wrote a blog about my experiences then. With another book, Brooklyn Graves out, and Brooklyn  Secrets scheduled for December, I thought it was time to update with what I have – I hope! – learned.

(The italicized sentences are from 2013.)

 

Our bookish world is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. While I feel as if I have achieved something with Facebook, my own website and madly guest blogging, whooshing right past me are Twitter, Pinterest and other sites and activities yet to be named.  (By me. I know they are already out there and have names.)

 

I actually used this idea in the forthcoming book, Brooklyn Secrets (Dec, 2015.) My protagonist’s daughter finds some crucial information out on the Web and doesn’t bother explaining how.  She just says, “Leave it to me. You wouldn’t understand.”   That is how I finessed the likelihood that by the time the book comes out, there will be even newer modes of social media, and I could never be really up to date.

 

I hired someone to set up a web site for me. And I kind of liked creating and updating it.

 

That website is overdue for an update and this time I have hired someone with real experience designing author sites. The first result was what I wanted at the time, but even I can see it is not doing the job I need it to do.  Plus, the marketing person at my publisher says it needs to be more interactive.

 

 Then I joined FaceBook after years of refusing to consider it. And I kind of like it, too.  I understand  what  it is: it takes the place  of water cooler conversations at work. 

 

In fact, it takes that place much too well for me as the only thing I miss about having a day job is the social interaction. My new rule needs to be FaceBook after productive  writing – after!-  and not instead of .  (Anyone else noticed this issue?)

 

Well, that hasn’t changed. Facebook continues to be a way-too-attractive nuisance, perfect for purposes of procrastination. 

 

It culminated by promoting Brooklyn Bones the old-fashioned way. In person! I had a launch party at Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan.

 

I had another book launch party at Mysterious Bookshop for the next book, Brooklyn Graves. We had cookies with the book cover on them. They looked terrific and tasted pretty good, too.  The party was definitely fun and we sold some books.

 

What else?  I am going to some of the fan conventions. This year at Malice Domestic, a number of people – not friends or family! – had my books and wanted me to sign them. So maybe this is all working.

 

Brooklyn Secrets  will be not quite out in time for Bouchercon 2015 in October.  I am hoping that if I go, speak on a panel, talk to lots of people – Brooklyn Secrets Coverwith giveaways in hand – it will generate some interest anyway.

 

What else have I learned?

 

  • remember to cross promote. Post regular and guest blog info on Facebook, DorothyL.and other listservs. I probably need to put this reminder right on my computer screen!
  • SAVE all pr information. I had a computer meltdown, and the pr folder for Brooklyn Graves, handy on my screen desk,  disappeared forever
  • Finally, the scariest task. I made an appointment to get a new photo taken. After twenty years, that too needs an update. Wish me luck.

 

Perhaps I can come back in two years and report on the new lessons learned.

 

 

Triss Stein is a small–town girl from New York farm country who has spent most of her adult life in New York, the city. This gives her the useful double vision of a stranger and a resident for writing mysteries about Brooklyn, her ever-fascinating, ever-changing, ever-challenging adopted home. Brooklyn Graves is the most recent, and Brooklyn Secrets will be out from Poisoned Pen Press in December, 2015. It is available for pre-order now.

 

Find me on Facebook or my web page: http://trissstein.com/

 

Brooklyn Graves 2A brutally murdered friend who was a family man with not an enemy in the world. A box full of charming letters home, written a century ago by an unknown young woman working at the famed Tiffany studios. Historic Green-Wood cemetery, where a decrepit mausoleum with stunning stained glass windows is now off limits, even to a famed art historian.

 

Suddenly, all of this, from the tragic to the merely eccentric, becomes part of Erica Donato’s life. She is a close friend of the murdered man’s family and feels compelled to help them. She is arbitrarily assigned to catalogue the valuable letters for an arrogant expert visiting the history museum where she works. She is the person who took that same expert to see the mausoleum windows.

 

Her life is full enough. She is a youngish single mother of a teen, an oldish history grad student, lowest person on the museum’s totem pole. She doesn’t need more responsibility, but she gets it anyway as secrets start emerging in the most unexpected places: an admirable life was not what it seemed, confiding letters conceal their most important story and too many people have hidden agendas.

 

In Brooklyn Graves a story of old families, old loves and hidden ties merges with new crimes and the true value of art, against the background of the splendid old cemetery and the life of modern Brooklyn.

Using Kindle Scout for Promotion by Jim Jackson

james-m-jacksonWhen Kindle Scout first appeared in October 2014, it was dissed by many publication professionals as an inexpensive way for Amazon to make more money from authors. Many authors, including me, disagreed that authors could not benefit from the new program.

The Kindle Scout program provides authors who planned to self-publish a hybrid alternative.

If Kindle Press accepts your book, they provide a $1,500 advance for worldwide electronic rights and digital audio rights. [If you are interested in the particulars you can find out more about the Kindle Scout program here and the specifics of the contract here.] Skeptics point out Amazon was cherry-picking and that authors were shackling themselves to all the disadvantages of limiting ebook distribution to Amazon without the higher royalties of the KDP program.

These are valid points; however, critics almost uniformly missed one of the huge positives of the program: increased exposure.

I believe my writing is sufficiently strong that if I can get people to read my novels, they will become series fans. The problem, of course, is how to get people to read my book rather than some other equally talented unknown? One approach that worked in the past was to self-publish a book whose primary purpose is to attract attention—a loss leader. Giving free ebooks to thousands of people recognizes that if even a small percentage become fans and buy others of the author’s works, it can produce long-term positive readership increases and financial rewards.

Organizations such as Bookbub have been so successful building their lists of readers that they have been able to increase prices authors (or their publishers) must pay ($400 for a free mystery). They have also become very selective. Anecdotally, I hear Bookbub is now rejecting the vast majority of Indie authors; the deals are going to mainline publishers and Indie authors who have already made it.

A tried-and-true path to increasing readership has suffered a rockslide. Some can get past, but many are stymied.

Kindle Scout appeared to me as a hybrid approach to self-publishing. On the downside, I would give up pricing control, timing control, access to other electronic outlets besides Kindle, and control over digital audio. Royalty rates are lower than through KDP. Balancing that, if I won a contract I would receive a $1,500 advance and benefit from Amazon marketing.

The kicker for me was that regardless of whether I won or not, I would receive thirty days of free publicity as part of the Kindle Scout nomination process, which works like this: You must have a complete, copyedited, novel of at least 50,000 words, and you must have a well-designed book cover. (All of which you need anyway to self-publish.) If the Kindle Press folks accept your book, it is displayed for a thirty-day nomination period. Readers (“Scouts”) can see your cover, read your logline, your bio and a few Q&As, and are provided the beginning of your novel (about 5,000 words).

If they like what they see (or like you), they can nominate the book. If Kindle Press decides to publish the book, they will then receive your novel as a free Kindle ebook.

From a marketing standpoint I thought this has a number of advantages.

  1. During the 30-day nomination period, I could reach out to all my connections and be able to talk about Ant Farm, my Kindle Scout nominated book.
  2. Those interactions were partial self-promotion, but also provided a potential benefit for the readers—a free ebook from someone they knew, or had at least heard of. That made it easier to promote the book.
  3. I printed color handouts (to show off my great book cover) with pertinent information that I could hand to people I met (church, bridge club, neighborhood gatherings, etc.). The personal touch allowed me to find out if they read mysteries, who their favorite authors were, maybe even provide them suggestions of other folks they might like. And of course, when they asked, I could tell them about my novels.
  4. Friends forwarded my emails or social media posts to their friends, extending my networking.
  5. The Amazon Scout display has a category “Hot and Trending” (see here for the current list) that includes roughly the top 20% of the current batch of candidates. Many Scouts check out these books first. By spreading out my promotions, I remained in the “Hot and Trending” about 95% of the time, and Ant Farm gained exposure to a group of people I could never have reached on my own.
  6. It wasn’t in place when I participated, but now, even if a book does not win, those people who nominated it are offered the option to learn when the book is self-published.

Ant Farm did earn a Kindle Press contract with a June 2015 publication date. The print version is also available.AntFarmCoversmall

 

James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree novels. ANT FARM (June 2015), a prequel to BAD POLICY (2013) and CABIN FEVER (2014), recently won a Kindle Scout nomination. Ebook published by Kindle Press; print from Wolf’s Echo Press. Find more information about Jim and his writing at http://jamesmjackson.com.

Ant Farm Blurb:

Financial crimes consultant Seamus McCree combats the evil behind the botulism murders of thirty-eight retirees at their picnic outside Chillicothe, OH. He also worms his way into the Cincinnati murder investigation of a church friend’s fiancé and finds police speculate the killing may have been the mistake of a dyslexic hit man.

Seamus uncovers disturbing information of financial chicanery, and in the process makes himself and his son targets of those who have already killed to keep their secrets.

My Favorite Promotion Strategy is to Write Every Day by Kathleen Heady

KinScotlandFor a new writer starting out in the business, the biggest hurdle is undoubtedly promoting the books. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have our first novel picked up by a major publisher who sets up a book tour and makes sure that novel is prominently displayed to customers walking into major bookstores. Do any publishers do that anymore?

So you tell yourself, and maybe your mother or husband and a couple of your friends that your book is being published. “Great!” they say, and kindly go out and buy a few copies for their friends. Now what? You have a few sales on that first book, but how do you keep the momentum going?

My best strategy after a book is released, and so far I have been lucky enough to have three novels that have been published, is to get back to the laptop and write some more. I know it sounds trite to say to write every day, but an hour of writing a day does much more than produce the rough draft of another novel. Writing every day means that you can say to yourself before you go to sleep at night, “I am a writer. I wrote today.” It changes your attitude and builds your confidence. When someone asks you what you are working on, you can give them an honest answer, although you don’t have to give away all your secrets and tell them the details. I carry my journal with me always, and have filled many spare minutes and hours in airports and coffee shops around the world by writing my thoughts and observations. I love writing descriptions of people I see and snippets of conversation that I might use in the future.

My second strategy for promotion is to join a writers’ group. My first three novels are in the mystery/suspense genre, so I am a member of Sisters in Crime, which is a national organization with local chapters all over the country. The company of other writers is stimulating and motivating, and as a group, I have found promotion opportunities that I would never have been able to pull off on my own. I have appeared with other members at book stores and libraries, and on panel discussions about mystery novels.

Little by little I am building a reputation as a writer, and my personal contacts along with the huge world of social media both help create a base of readers that I continually work to expand.

 

 

Kathleen Heady is a native of rural Illinois, but has lived and traveled many places, including numerous trips to Great Britain and seven years HotelSaintClarecoverliving in Costa Rica. Her third novel, Hotel Saint Clare, was released in June, 2014. She is also the author of Lydia’s Story and The Gate House, which was a finalist for an EPIC award in 2011.

Buy links:

 

ARE YOU LAZY OR JUST CLUELESS? by Sunny Frazier

Profile 2012I constantly hear authors say they don’t know how to grow a fan base. They tweet, blog, Face Book, email, subscribe to promotional services, blog-hop, all the tried and true methods recommended by the “experts.” They have built it—why isn’t anyone coming?

 

First, let me point out that if “everybody” is doing it, why be the same as everyone? The whole point is to stand out. I’ve heard it said that authors have imagination, yet it seems to me they turn creativity off when it comes time to promote.

 

I love promotion. Probably more than I like writing. I remember BI (before Internet) when it was hard to reach readers. We sent postcards and made the post office rich off all those stamps. Now the opportunities are endless. To me, it’s like throwing out a fishing line and see who bites. I love the challenge.

 

Now we get to the brass tacks and a few of my tricky tactics to build a fan base. First, identify what you don’t like with the promotion of others. Do you really have time to run over to every blog because the author begs you to read it? Unless they are a friend and you feel obligated, I’m going to guess the answer is no. Even if you do, how many times is it a waste, either stuff you’ve read before, thinly disguised self-promotion or just their boring personal musings. If you decide to blog-hop ask yourself “Do I have enough interesting material to keep people following me?” Is another free e-book going to make you rush to buy? I’m guessing you already have too many books on your Kindle that you’ll never read.

 

Now ask yourself what promotions grab your interest. I’m always drawn to great headlines. Maybe that comes from my past career as a journalist. If it makes me smile, I’m in. But, it has to be followed up by content. You have to have a fresh take so I can feel it was worth the 5 minutes to read the blog. I’ll sign up to follow, I’ll spread the word. You also have to have a personality and it can’t be boring. I tend to be plain-spoken and challenging. I want to poke the dragon and get a little fire.

 

I’ve done two smart things in my career and they have paid off. I realized early on that new authors were lost in the maze of the Internet. I blatantly promised that I could cut 5 years off their career path if they would just blindly follow my lead. I already monitored many sites and by sifting through them I saved new authors the work. I named this group “The Posse” and even made paper badges to wear. I taught them to support each other by running over to the blogs of other members and making comments. It was definitely noticed by blog hosts. Now we’re talking about having a Face Book page. What I created was a group that was very supportive of me.

 

The other thing I did was revive my Coming Attractions column. BI I did this column for my Sisters In Crime newsletter. I found out who was coming out with a book, announced and did a quippy blurb and gained the gratitude of authors. Now I do it over at Kings River Life and I have a much wider readership. I could leave it there, but that would be lazy. The editor offers a drawing for free books just by making a comment. I monitor who makes comments and contact them on Face Book to thank them for their comment. I also take notes on what sort of book they want to win. The next time that sort of book becomes available, I give them a heads up. An offer for a cozy cookbook garnered over 100 comments. Next time there’s a foodie mystery, I will make personal contact and let them know.

 

Let me ask you: if an author took the time to pay attention to you and your preferences, wouldn’t you be flattered? If that person remembers your feline’s name is Kit-Kat and asks after her health, wouldn’t it warm your heart? If someone made the effort to give you free publicity, wouldn’t you be grateful? It really takes no extra time to be aware. Aside from the fact that I enjoy doing this, I’m rewarded ten times over. I get reviews, interviews and meet fans at conferences. They want to thank me. And yes, they buy my books.

 

We’re all on social media but most think of it as a one-way street. I have no time or interest in listening to your pleas to buy your book.. But make the effort to get to know me as a person and I am more than willing to fork over a few dollars to support you.

 

Navy Veteran Sunny Frazier trained as a journalist and wrote for a city newspaper, military and law enforcement publications. After working 17 years with the Fresno Sheriff’s Department, 11 spent as Girl Friday with an undercover narcotics team, it dawned on her that mystery writing was her real calling. Her Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries are based on actual cases with a bit of astrology added, a habit Frazier has developed over the past 42 years.

For more, go to http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

front cover (2)A Snitch in Time

When sheriff’s department office assistant Christy Bristol Is visiting her friend Lennie in the Sierra Nevada foothills when a murder is committed. Christy is conscripted by the homicide team to handle the reports and the detectives put her up in an empty forest ranger’s cabin. As the body count grows it becomes apparent the killer is targeting undesirables in the town of Burlap. When a snitch calls Christy and accuses a deputy of the murders, Christy doesn’t know whether to believe the allegation. Could a killer be hiding behind his badge? Christy decides to solve the case her own way by using astrology to profile the killer but putting her own future at risk.

And time is running out.

 

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion by Marilyn (aka F.M.) Meredith

MarilynoncruiseThat’s what has been occupying a lot of my time lately.

I just finished a blog tour which everyone knows is time-consuming. I’ve been doing them for a long time, and my tips for a successful tour is this:

Ask your host if there is anything special they’d like you to write in your post. If they don’t have any ideas, come up with something different from what you’ve done for others.

If possible, send the post along with the bio, book blurb and attachments of the cover and yourself in the same email.

Change up the photos of yourself. If someone is following your tour, it’s fun for them to see different pictures of you. I like to include photos of me at different events like book fairs, speaking engagements, and on panels.

You could add other photos that have something to do with your book.

On the day your post is to appear on someone’s blog, be sure to leave a comment thanking them for hosting you.

Promote the blog everywhere, Facebook, Facebook groups. Twitter, and all the listserves you belong to.

Be sure to put the tour schedule with clickable links on your own blog.

Return to each blog several times a day that it appears and reply to comments left by others. Check it once or twice in the days to follow.

Do blog tours work? I wouldn’t do them if I didn’t think so. When I’m on a tour, I always get an uptick of sales. It’s also a way to get your name out there. On the tour I just finished, besides my loyal followers, I had many unique commenters—unfamiliar names who expressed interest in my latest book.  (I also think tours are fun.)

This is the book I was promoting, the latest in my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series: Violent Departures.ViolentDepartures

Blurb:

College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.

Bio:

 

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.

FinalRespects.best

One last bit of news, starting May 1 and on, the first book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series, Final Respects, will be free on Kindle. Why am I doing that? In hopes that after reading it, people will want to read the rest of the books in the series. I’ll come back to P.J. Nunn’s blog and let you know how it worked out.

 

Is Facebook of any use? by Judy Alter

darkerbackgroundMy teenage granddaughters never use Facebook. They’re constantly texting, and I think they’re on Instagram, though, Luddite that I am, I have only a vague idea about Instagram and what it does. One of my youngest daughter’s friends tried earnestly to explain it to me one night but it went in one ear and out the other.

I hear authors say that they no longer think Facebook is effective, it doesn’t boost sales, it’s a time suck, etc. I’m here to say that I’m a big fan of Facebook, even after more years than I care to count. I try to comment on several posts each day, to leave a post on my personal page and author page, and to post my daily blog. Yeah, I really do try to blog daily, though I miss some days when the well runs dry.

Here’s what I think Facebook can do for us as authors: give us a chance to connect with fans and to enlarge our pool of potential readers.

The wrong way to post on Facebook, to my mind, is to push your books constantly, to make your posts repetitive sales pitches or, should you get a good review or an award, endless BSP (blatant self-promotion). I rarely mention my books, although more often on my author page. My goal on Facebook is to present myself as a likeable person, someone people want to be friends with, someone they might go to lunch with. So I post about my dog, about a day at an antique mall, about something clever my local grandson said to me. Sometimes I post deep thoughts about things that concern me, from spiritual matters to economic and political.

I know both religion and politics are no-no for a lot of Facebook people and on a lot of blogs. But I feel it’s important, personally, to express my point of view. It doesn’t quite come to the evangelical tradition of witnessing, but it’s along the same vein. I have a friend who is vocal on Facebook about women’s rights, liberal politics (and the folly of conservatives), and matters of the Episcopal Church, in which she is deeply involved. But she also posts pictures and comments about her wonderful and extensive gardens, which include a chapel; pictures of her grandsons and dogs and cats; pictures of especially beautiful plants. She explained to me once that she didn’t want people to see her as just a harsh liberal but also as a nice person with a soft side. I’ve adopted her stance.

One of the nicest things I ever read in a review of one of my Kelly O’Connell mysteries was that the characters were comfortable, friendly, like people Desperate-for-Death-JAlter-MDyou’d meet in the grocery store. That’s the image I aim for on Facebook—friendly, casual, so that readers might say to themselves, “I like her. I think I’ll try one of her books.”

My blog is particularly important, and I’m pretty sure almost all my blog readers (150-200 a day) link to it through Facebook. People I know only casually stop me and say, “I enjoy your blog so much.” It took a long time to build to the point that I got comments but now I almost always get comments and likes. I do think that’s a great marketing tool, although I also hear some say blogs are as outdated as Facebook.

Some people say an author page is not worth the effort. I maintain one, though I suspect there is much audience overlap with my personal page. But I try to post on it several times a week, and I’m pleased with the statistics (if they can be trusted—many people claim they cannot, citing click farms in Asia, etc.). I get enough comments that I think it’s worth maintaining, and my comments there tend to be more about books, reading, etc. and less about my last trip to the grocery store. Do you really care?

As authors, most of us lead a fairly reclusive life, but I think it’s important to us and to our writing to stay in touch with world events. That’s another advantage of Facebook. It is a source of information for me. I once told my son-in-law that I wouldn’t buy pre-grated cheese because it has wood slivers in it. “And where did you hear that?” he asked. When I said Facebook, his sarcastic reply was, “Oh, of course. That makes it gospel.” I realize you have to take things on Facebook with a grain of salt and a huge dose of skepticism, but it’s sometimes the place where I first learn about major news events—such as the conviction of the Boston Marathon bomber or the horrendous doings in Ferguson, Missouri or the recent tragedy in South Carolina.

Facebook also provides moments of amusement and chances to catch up with friends. Some of the stuff on Facebook is silly, but a lot of it is downright funny, and I enjoy sharing posts, cartoons, and the like with individual friends that I think will enjoy them. I first got on Facebook as a way to keep in touch with my children—they’ve abandoned it, all except a couple, but I’m still there. Yes, it’s a time suck—but we all need self-discipline.

‘Scuse me now, I have to check Facebook before I go to sleep.

 

Coming May 5, 2015! Desperate for Death

Just when Kelly’s life has calmed, she faces yet another of life’s puzzles. Except the pieces in this one don’t fit. First the apartment behind her house is torched, then a string of bizzare “accidents” occur to set her off-balance. Who is stalking her? Where does the disappearance of a young girl and her disreputable boyfriend fit in? And why are two men using the same name? Is the surprise inheritance another part of the puzzle? At a time when she is most vulnerable, Kelly can’t make the pieces fit, but she knows she must protect her daughters. Before Kelly can get the whole picture, she helps the family of a hostage, rescues a kidnap victim and attends a wild and wonderful wedding.