Thursday, November 29, 2012

Good Bye Outlander, hello really fast car...

Thanksgiving, check. Leftovers gone, check. Christmas decorations, still in attic. Christmas shopping, hopelessly behind. Why?

It's all because of Mitsubishi. The Japanese car company, not department stores. I owned one. An Outlander. Well, two actually, if you count the daughter's car. Discovered last week that the local Mitsubishi dealership, Pearson, was shutting down the operation on December 14, and service for my 60,000 mile, 5 year warranty would have to be done at a dealer located from one to two hours away. So much for my wonderful Outlander SUV, a dream car with so many cool features I hadn't even gotten to them all in the one year I've owned it. I began car shopping immediately, knowing I wouldn't take the Outlander an hour down the road for service. Took a huge hit on a trade in. At least in the end, five days of shopping brought a new car home to the garage, a car I'd never have imagined I'd drive. I'm a van/SUV kind of girl, right? I like to sit up high. Like a big car body around me. Don't want to have to crawl into the seats. HA! So much for the past twenty years of my driving life.

I have left it all behind for a BMW sports sedan. Yep, I look wicked fast in that baby, and I love it. Who says women of a certain age have to own staid cars? I'm going to have to be careful, or I'll lose my license. So if you see this woman with a big grin on her face, flying by you on the road, pedal to the metal, wave. That'll be me.

Nothing like buying yourself a Christmas present. I'll get around to the rest of the list, eventually. If I manage to hit the brakes and actually park the Beemer.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Brad Keselowski Nascar Champion!

Had to share this photo once again, since my guy, Bad Brad, just took the 2012 Nascar Championship away from Jimmie Johnson. It may not have been pretty, but he got the job done. Congrats to Roger Penske for finally getting his elusive Sprint Cup!

No more Nascar for 98 days. I just may get more done on Sunday afternoons.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Writers and the Media and Kurt Busch

I'm sure the way my mind works drives my family batty. At least they're used to it. So stick with me. Hopefully, this will make sense.

I was watching the Speed channel's program "Kurt Busch: Outlaw."  For those unfortunate few  who have no idea what Nascar is, Kurt Busch is a former Winston Cup Champion (in the days before it became the Sprint Cup) and a very good driver. But he's had his problems with his temper (or as Jimmie Johnson, a five time champ himself describes it, the "red mist in the helmet"), and it's gotten him into trouble. He's probably no worse than any other driver, he's just more eloquent about his displeasure.  (And why, I ask you, wasn't Jeff Burton fined for shoving Danica Patrick into the wall last week?)

Kurt freely admits he drops his own anvil on his feet. He knows he's a marked man. Yet he still shoots his mouth off, and the media takes it and runs full force with it. Matt Clark, in a brief aside, said to KB, "you just don't know how to talk to the media," or words to that effect.

This led my pointy little head into thinking about how writers interact with media. Short interviews with print media, TV, anyone who wants to write about you and your books, we all preen like peacocks and think, GOODY!  Then, lo and behold, you get a stupid question, or at least one that makes it clear the interviewer has no idea who you are and what you write, and you really have to count to ten. Or twenty. Or a hundred. It's like, Why on earth are you here interviewing me if you don't give a rat's patooty about what I write?

Some writers have lovely stock answers that charm everyone. Some are witty enough to work around the stupid questions. And some of us open our mouths and out spills the first thing that comes to you. Yes, the latter tack isn't pretty and I don't recommend it.

My point is, figure out ahead of an interview what you want said about your books and you, and a tactful way to rephrase any question so it's a positive. Learn how to be a media darling, not a Kurt Busch.

I still like Kurt Busch's passion for his sport no matter how much of a dufus he appears to be in the media. But I don't think many writers can survive bad press.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fios, Win 8, and Bond

It's been too long between posts, and I apologize. But Fios and I had a major bump in the road of our relationship last week, and it wasn't pretty. It all started with an ever-slowing internet connection and ended up with the whole shebang crashing like a disaster scene in a post- end-of-the -world movie.  Between phone calls that lasted hours to tech support and tearing my hair out, last week was pretty much a horror show until late Sunday evening when my personal hero, Darryl, left well after dark. When he did, the Internet was back and smooth as glass.

To assuage my anxiety, I bought a new laptop and wireless printer. Because that's all there is, I ended up with Windows 8, and it's been a lesson in corporate insanity. Instead of perfecting what it had, Microsoft decided to go down the Apple path. Caveat here- I love my iPad. Apple does some stuff really well. But the MS knockoff is just annoying. Three steps to shut the laptop off? Really? All those big funky pictures cluttering the screen, brightly colored like toys for a four year old, are just silly. It's not intuitive, after the first steps, like Apple is. I know I sound like a cranky old lady, and I am. So there. Huge sigh. I hate all learning curves.

On a happier note, saw SKYFALL. Loved it. Truly one of the best Bond movies. Daniel Craig is looking a bit haggard, and the etched lines in his face match this aging Bond perfectly. And Judi Dench! I swear, she's channeling Madeline Albright. With better hair. And gorgeous Tahitian pearls.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

More from the Self Publishing Conference

As I said before, any mistakes are totally mine. My handwritten notes are pretty scratchy - writing with a pen on paper has become one of my lost arts, I fear.  To continue, I've included here a few notes from the legal section as well as Mark Coker's comments. (Smashwords)


The Copyright Permission Handbook by Lloyd Jassin.


Copyright is dead. Trademark is the new protection. You can trademark a series title for a series (like Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series). Trademark is about the brand and is earned, not acquired. Federal registration can be a name, a look, and a feel to the book. It lives forever if you use it.

Register a title and common misspellings as domain names. Protect them.

Mark Coker of Smashwords.

Secrets to ebook publishing success: free download from mark Coker.

1.      Write a great book. Have a great cover with an image that resonates with your target audience and looks as good big as it does in a thumbnail. Make it bright, not dim. Great covers make a promise to the reader. Put your name up there in BIG letters, because it says you’re a Big name author to the reader.

2.      Readers will find you by accident. The cover pulls them in because they start with a keyword search.  Publish another great book after the first one. Build trust in your readers. Put in a blurb leading readers to your other books.

3.      Give away some of your books freegoodreads guy suggests 100) if you have a deep backlist.

4.      Generate reviews at the different retailers. Use those blurbs, if good.

a.       Have your books available everywhere. Avoid exclusivity. Don’t worry about piracy and copyright protection.
b.   Trust your supply chain partner, and don’t limit yourself.


Architect for Virability – Your readers determine your success.

Understand the power of your first readers. Eliminate friction. Leverage viral catalysts, everything you do to increase virality. Enable sampling, multiple formats, social media enabled, have it in the right categories. Make sure it’s fairly priced.

Price points:

            Free books are downloaded 102% more than priced ones, and can lead new readers to find you. Price points between .99 and $1.99 underperform by 60% .  $5.99 sells the best, with 3.00-3.99 coming in second.


Practice positivity. Don’t post anything negative online. Never say anything mean.

Think globally. Markets outside the US will soon be larger than in the US. 46% of Smashwords sales thru Apple were outside the US, and Apple just added New Zealand, South and Central
American markets.

Styleguide by Mark Coker, free on smashwords for downloading. Tells you how to format for SW.

Ibook author, guide for Apple.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

New covers!

Taking what I learned at the Self Publishing Conference this past weekend to heart, I have now uploaded two new covers on Kindle. The Seekers and Murder on the Mattaponi are revamped, in one case quite a bit, and only a smidge in the other.  Hopefully, I'll get to the others soon, and well as getting the next in the Mythmaker western series up.  This doing the writing and the business part is a real job!
 As always, Thanks to Jessie Gemmer for a great job. Couldnt' do it without you, babe.