I fancy myself a writer.

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If you’re ever driving through Blytheville, AR and need a hotel…

Avoid the Days Inn like the plague. Literally. There is a good chance you’ll catch the plague (or at least bring cockroaches home with you when you leave) if you stay here:

The Days Inn logo used from 2007 to the present

The Days Inn logo used from 2007 to the present (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Days Inn Blytheville
102 South Porter Drive
Blytheville, AR 72315
(800) 329-1073

Check out my Yelp review to find out why I will be skipping over Blytheville, Arkansas completely based on this single bad experience: Read the rest of this page »

How to buy and read eBooks from Smashwords

English: A variety of laptops, smartphones, ta...

English: A variety of laptops, smartphones, tablets and ebook readers arranged. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few of my readers have been confused about how to purchase and read eBooks from Smashwords, and I can understand why. How can you know which book format to choose if you don’t know that your Kindle reads .mobi files? One aspect of eBook marketing that I believe Smashwords has failed to recognize is that not all readers are as familiar with our publishing jargon as we publishers are. So, I’ve decided to provide my readers with a quick Smashwords buying guide to help you download and read mine and other indie books with as little frustration as possible.

Formats

The first thing you need to know when downloading eBooks from Smashwords is what format your particular device uses. Of course, you can choose to read online, but a dedicated eReader often offers a more seamless reading experience. The following are a few eBook formats that are available for most Smashwords books. I have listed each of them with their corresponding device/app. Read the rest of this page »

New cover design & website reveal

Today, I am excited to reveal the official, professional cover design of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 and also announce that Valley of the Bees has its very own website!

Cover Design by Jennifer DeWeese at jendy.threadless.com.

Cover Design by Jennifer DeWeese at jendy.threadless.com.

Early this month, I learned that Smashwords was having a giant, sitewide sale that sounded like the perfect opportunity to market my new novel. If only I had my book set up for pre-order, I would be able to add links to the end of all of my other books and offer those books for free for the entire month. But I didn’t yet have my pre-order set up.

What to do? Get my pre-order set up already and get to work, of course! Read the rest of this page »

Now available for pre-order: With Envy Stung | Valley of the Bees #1

It’s official! I just set up my novel, With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 for pre-order on Smashwords! I completed the first draft of the third and final book of this trilogy, and I finally feel confident that Book One will be ready for publication by its September 1st release date!

With Envy Stung cover with white border

With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 is now available for download on iTunes and Kobo. It will soon be available on your Nook as well! See the links within this blog post for more info.

This is such a huge milestone for me. I have been working on this trilogy for about three years now. With Envy Stung has been critiqued and revised until I can’t imagine what else I might possibly do to make it shine any brighter. That is, until I sit down to read through it again and find a few more lines that I could write *just a little bit better.*

Update: I now have direct links where you can pre-order your copy of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 from the retailer of your choice:

As with any work in progress, I will probably always be able to find something else that I could tweak a bit more. But, as with any other work in progress, the time always comes when it’s time for the author to let it go as it is. I feel confident that With Envy Stung has reached that stage in the writing process. The time has finally come to complete my final line edits and format the book for publishing! Read the rest of this page »

Planning the final book in a series

A friend of mine is sketching out some ideas for the cover of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1. What do you think?

A friend of mine is sketching out some ideas for the cover of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1. What do you think?

I don’t remember having this much trouble writing the outlines for books one and two. I’ve made a list of all of the loose ends that need tied up, and now I am trying to figure out how to tie them together. It’s getting very complicated!

I thought I was ready to publish book one, but as I play with all of these loose ends, I think maybe I’m not ready after all. What if I need something to happen in book three that won’t work due to something I wrote in book one? I won’t be able to go back and revise it once it’s published!

Maybe I need to at least have a first draft of book three before I publish book one. I want to start my pre-launch of book one, but what if I don’t have it ready in time? What if I think it’s done, but it’s not? I have thought it was done many times throughout the process, only to find that it still needed more work.

What if, what if, what if? Sometimes – a lot of times – writing is just a whole lot of “what ifs!” Read the rest of this page »

You have a right to privacy. Now, take your clothes off. In front of everyone.

Does this confuse anyone else? Teachers are supposed to protect their students’ privacy by not sharing their personal information. A teacher can’t post grades publicly or leave a gradebook open on a desk because students might see each other’s grades. Yet, we have no problem with forcing students to get undressed in front of each other in gym class.

Privacy in the classroom, but not in the locker room?

Privacy in the classroom, but not in the locker room?

We don’t want any of our kids to know what any of the other kids got on their math test because that might make someone feel bad. But, we’re ok with them knowing what color underwear everyone else wears. We see nothing wrong with making sure our children all know who has the biggest breasts or the smallest penis.  Read the rest of this page »

Who here has a #blog?

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello, readers! I am in the process of planning out a marketing campaign for my upcoming novel, With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1, and I was wondering if any of you who have blogs would be interested in helping out.

My goal is to set up a pre-order of the book and then plan one promotional activity per week for several weeks in order to build some buzz around my novel. One such activity that I would like to engage in – if I can find bloggers who would be interested in helping out – is a blog tour.

The blog stops on my tour could consist of an author interview or Q&A, or you could read my novel in advance of the launch and write a book review: whatever works best for you! Read the rest of this page »

Why varying word choice should not extend to #dialog tags

As writers, we all know the importance of varying our word choices. However, regardless of what your middle school language arts teacher might have taught you, this concept should not extend to dialog tags.

writing meme

Your dialog tags should never be more interesting than your story!

If you’re like me, you have probably had at least one English teacher admonish you for overusing the word, “said” when writing narrative. That teacher probably asked that you instead switch it up and use dialog tags such as, “he replied,” “she moaned,” “he argued,” and “she admonished.” While this might have been appropriate for a middle school English class, it is absolutely incorrect for a novel. Read the rest of this page »

How to help a fellow #indie author by reading her books for #free

Rain at three, short story

“Rain at Three” is now available at Smashwords for FREE.

I just finished reading the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide in an effort to find more ways to market my books. One of the topics this book discusses is how reviews help improve a book’s discoverability. Additionally, when an author offers at least one of his or her titles for free, it increases the likelihood that readers will 1) discover that book, 2) review that book, thus improving its discoverability, and 3) purchase another book from the same author (if the reader enjoyed the free book). The guide also stresses the point that we, as indie authors, have to help each other out with this.

Anyone who has browsed the free books at Smashwords and other book distributors will know that there are a lot of garbage eBooks out there. However, if you browse long enough, you are bound to strike gold eventually. Most of the time, I know whether or not I want to read a book after reviewing the first page or two. Personally, I wouldn’t mind being the person who discovered the next big author. I definitely wouldn’t mind being discovered in this same way!

Having mulled over this information for the past two days, I have come up with a plan that I think will help both me and other as-of-yet undiscovered authors. Read the rest of this page »

How to expand your audience with Smashwords

Like many indie publishers, I began my publishing journey with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Since learning to publish an eBook was more than enough knowledge to digest on its own without learning to publish on multiple platforms at once, I decided to stick with KDP for a while until I had a better idea of what I was doing. However, with the launch of my latest book project, I decided it was time to finally expand beyond Kindle and Nook and learn how to use Smashwords.

Capture

The leap from Kindle to Nook eBook publishing was a no-brainer. I wanted my print books to be available in brick and mortar bookstores like Barnes and Noble, and I wanted my B&N customers to also be able to access my books on their eReaders. But I knew there was still a vast audience that had no access to my books. Read the rest of this page »

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