Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies III

Women are rarely at a loss for words. The Midnight Sisters certainly never are. 
Join the triplets and Lady Janela as they reveal secrets about themselves and their history. When the triplets are on the scene, someone is bound to be injured and/or maimed. For the first part of Janela's scene, read about her adventure with Daniela in Midnight Sisters: Meet the Sisters II.

* * *
Ladies Gisella, Hayla, & Isella
“It’s mine!” Gisella snatched the toy horse from Hayla and bopped her on the head with it. Hard. Hayla began crying at the top of her lungs.

“Meanie!” Isella screeched, grabbing at the horse. Gisella yanked back. Isella let go of the toy and it smashed into her sister’s cheek. Gisella erupted into tears.

Poor toy horse. Stubby bits hung from its hind end where the tail should be. Did I imagine the pained look on its wooden face?

“Markus!” From the sharp edge in her voice, I could tell it wasn’t the first time Mrs. Jenkins had called my name.

“Yes, Mrs. Jenkins?”

She cradled a blubbering Gisella in her arms. The girl sported a goose egg on her forehead and the beginnings of a nasty bruise on her cheek. The look on Mrs. Jenkins’s face said, When will they hire a proper nanny? “I’m taking Lady Gisella inside to have her seen to. Will you mind the other two, Markus?”

My spine went rigid. The thought of being alone with the miniature monsters terrified me to my core. My wooden lips formed the words anyway, “Of course, Mrs. Jenkins.” 

* * *
Ladies Hayla & Isella
The two small girls blinked up at me, their eyes round and brimming with innocence.

“Ladies,” I nodded down at them, forcing my lips into a smile. I straightened my livery and tucked my hands behind my back. They could probably smell fear.

“Want to play?” Isella shook the toy horse. I could have sworn the horse leered at me.

I swallowed. “Of course, Lady Isella.” I dropped into a squat before her. Isella trotted the horse over my knees, making various snorting noises.

“No!” Hayla snatched the toy from her sister. “Horsey say, ‘niegh, neigh!’” She pranced Horsey in the air to demonstrate.

Rage glimmered in Isella’s eyes and her rosebud mouth tightened into a dot. Dread pooled in my stomach. “He’s mine!” she screamed and grabbed for the toy. Was it just my imagination or did Horsey flinch? Hayla kept a tight hold on the toy. Back and forth Horsey went. Then with a mighty heave, Isella yanked the horse from her sister’s grasp and let out a cry of triumph. 

But it was too soon. She had pulled too hard. The toy arced through the air, flying out of her grasp. It fell impossibly slow.

My first instinct was to protect the girls. I covered each of their heads with an arm. I tipped my head upward.

“Owwwww!” I howled, clapping a hand to my eye. Tears poured down my face. “I can’t see! I can’t see!” Small people scurried off. At the same moment a larger form shuffled up to me. 

Mrs. Jenkins sighed. “Oh, Markus. Will you never learn?” 

* * *
Lady Janela
My younger sisters tootled over. Their matching pink frocks made them look sweet, I thought. But their cranky expressions and smelly diapers did not. Daniela had gone inside, leaving me to clean up the mud pie mess. And deal with the triplets.

“Hello, girls,” I said brightly, trying not to frown at the smell they brought with them.

“Jani?” one of the tiny terrors said. She reached a grubby hand into the mud-caked can and drew forth a brown-speckled palm.

“No!” I grabbed the hand before she popped it in her mouth. I wiped it on my muddy apron.

Her lip quivered and her large eyes filled with tears. Her mouth opened and a loud waaaah came out. The other two girls picked up the cue and began crying too. I clapped my hands to my ears and squeezed my eyes shut. Why did Dani have to leave? I’d have to do something myself.

“Want a tweat, girls?” I pointed toward the pan containing our mud pie. It looked good enough to eat.

“Ooh,” another of the terrors cooed, shuffling over to where the pie sat baking in the sun. The other two left off crying to investigate.

I swiped a finger over the mud pie and popped it into my mouth. “Mmmm . . .” Dirt clung to my tongue. I tried not to choke on it.

The first sister thrust a fat hand into the mixture. One of the other triplets grabbed her by the hair and pulled her backwards. More crying followed as the first sister landed flat on her bottom. The third triplet shoved both of them out of the way to get to the pie. She planted her face in it. The other two attacked, wailing as they dragged at her pink frock to get a taste of pie.

Engrossed in the treat and resulting tussle, they didn’t see me sneak off. Their wailing grew quieter as they gorged themselves on our latest creation. I smothered my grin with one hand. I couldn’t wait to tell Dani. 
* * * 
Learn more about the Midnight Sisters' adventures in Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies I and Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies II

Read the whole story in Midnight Sisters, now available on Amazon. Please contact me directly if you'd like a signed copy!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies II

No matter how long the book may be, there is always more story to tell. Midnight Sisters is no different. 
We've already read about Ari, Bree, and Cinnamon and the romance, sorrow, and high jinks of their past, today Lady Daniela and the twins, Estella and Frizella, take the stage. Whenever the twins are on the scene, mischief is sure to follow, but studious, mild-mannered Daniela may surprise you as well. 

* * *
Lady Daniela
“The recipe says to add more.”

Janela turned wide eyes on me.

“Don’t worry. It will be fine,” I reassured her.

With one dimpled hand, she dropped another handful of powder into the can.

“Now mix until well combined,” I directed.

Janela inserted the long-handled spoon into the can and began to stir. The ingredients clanked disconcertingly against the sides. Janela stopped and peered into the can. Her eyebrows scrunched together. “Mo’ wata?”

I peered into the can. “You’re right, it does need more water.” I dumped a cupful of water into the can.

Janela continued to stir, stopping only occasionally to make sure the mixture was coming together. “Weaves?” she asked.

“Yes, I’ve prepared the leaves,” I said, motioning to the herbs I’ll filched from the kitchen gardens. “Let’s place it in the pan first.”

Janela nodded. She pulled out the tin pan Cook had given us and proceeded to dump the batter into it. The mixture glooped and clunked into the pan. Janela’s nose crinkled up. “Gwoss.”

“It just needs to be smoothed out.” I applied the long-handled spoon to the mixture and worked away at it until no lumps remained. “Better?”

“Yeth,” Janela lisped. At four-years-old, she still hadn’t mastered s. “Weaves now?”

I passed her the leaves. Together we placed them atop the batter in a pleasing pattern. “Now it looks like a proper pie.”

“Bake it?” Janela asked.

I consulted the directions scrawled on the page. “It says, ‘leave in the sun for four days or until firm.’”

Janela nodded again. “Tathte it?”

I shook my head, my own nose crinkling up. “We don’t eat mud pies, Jani, no matter now pretty they are.”

A mischievous look crossed her round face. “The girls?”

“The triplets?” I thought of the tiny menaces in their matching outfits. From the whining, crying, and screaming issued from nearby, someone was pulling someone’s hair and someone else needed a diaper change.

I grinned back at Jani. “I think they’d love a taste.”

Jani’s burbling giggle filled the air, so infectious I had to join in.

* * *
Lady Estella
We bent our heads together. “There has to be one someplace,” I whispered. “This place is too big.” We had been in the manor for one month. One whole month and we still couldn’t find any secret passageways.

“It’s like a fairy tale, Essie.” She patted a well-worn book fondly, her eyes twinkling at me. “Or a mystery.”

“And we love mysteries.” We said together, sharing identical grins.

“If only we had a fairy godmother . . .” I mused.

Fritz spread the handmade map between us. “We’ve looked here.” She pointed at the attic.

“And there.” I motioned toward the servants’ staircase.

“And in the ballroom.”

“Remember how we almost got caught?” Her shoulders shook with silent giggles, just as they had when we ducked behind the curtains before Father strode by.

I clapped a hand over my mouth to muffle my own laughter. 

Fritz’s grin faded as she turned back to the map. “Hmmm . . . maybe in the kitchens?”

“Then we’d have to talk to Cook,” I replied. “She’s no fairy godmother.”

“And we probably couldn’t talk her out of a treat.” She propped her chin on her fist. “It’s not fair. She makes the best cookies.”

“Mmmm . . .” we said in unison. “Cookies.”

I grinned. “The pantry would be the perfect spot for a secret passageway!”

Essie’s eyes grew wide. “Or a cookie jar!”

“Let’s do it!” I rolled up the map and hurried after my sister. Hand in hand, we tiptoed down the servants’ stairs and toward the kitchen. We paused outside to listen and peep in the door. Kitchen girls and servants scuttled in all directions. We waited until they were all distracted. At the same moment, we looked at one another and mouthed, “Now!” Together we crept into the kitchens.

* * *
Lady Frizella
Minutes later we rushed outdoors, our hands full of cookies and our bellies full of laughter. We ran over the grounds and climbed up our favorite tree, the one directly in front of our rooms. We stuffed our mouths with Cook’s delicious cookies and laughed in triumph.

“Cook must have magical powers,” Essie said, licking the crumbs off of her fingertips.

“Maybe. But it’s not enough to keep her treats safe from us,” I replied, stuffing the last cookie in my mouth.

Essie took the map from me, shook off the crumbs, and spread it across her lap. “It just doesn’t make sense. We’ve looked everywhere.”

I looked over at the bank of windows before us, trying to piece the puzzle together. Then I squinted at the map. “Wait a minute . . . does that look wrong to you?”

Essie huffed. “Fritz, you know the map’s not to scale. Father wouldn’t allow us to use his tools. ‘What use would nine-year-olds have with cartography instruments?’”

“It isn’t that,” I hurried to explain. “Look at the outside wall. Doesn’t it seem too . . . wide?”

She followed my gaze. “I never noticed that before. Let’s go investigate!”

We scrambled down the tree and flew over the lawns. The unrolled map flapped behind us. A quick trip up the stairs brought us to our rooms. Luckily all our sisters and maidservants were out.

The air whooshed out of me when I faced the wall. It looked the same as all the rest. “I guess I was wrong, Es.”

“Just a minute.” Essie ran her hands over the wall, then began tapping. She turned wide eyes to me when the sound changed.

“It’s hollow!” we crowed.

I joined my sister, tapping until I found something else. “Essie, it’s colder!” She placed her hand where mine had been, on the place where the outside wall joined the back wall and moved her palms up and down slowly. After a moment, a gentle click sounded. Part of the wall moved, opening outward onto a dim chamber.

Our eyes met. Together we whispered, “The secret passageway!” 

Maybe we had a fairy godmother after all.

* * *
Revisit Lord Bromhurst's eldest daughters in Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies I. And as always, you can claim your own copy of Midnight Sisters on Amazon or you can contact me for a signed copy.

Thanks for reading! More sister adventures are on the way!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies I

Each of Lord Bromhurst's twelve daughters has her own chapter in Midnight Sisters. However, that's barely enough to express who she is or to explain the unique role she fills in her family.

That's why I crafted mini scenes featuring each of the main characters for Midnight Sisters' blog tour. Each scene reveals something new about each of the three of the sisters. Today, Ladies Ariela, Brisella, and Canela are on display.
* * *
Lady Ariela
I clutched her hand between mine and blinked to hold back the tears. She shifted on her pillows, a tiny sigh escaping. The angel smile lit her face but pain nestled in the fine wrinkles about her eyes.

“Ari.” The word was barely more than a breath. “I’m so sorry, my darling. I wish I could stay.”

I bit my lip to hold the sob in. She reached a shaking hand out to tuck an errant lock of hair behind my ear.

“But you are stronger than you think.” She cupped my chin in her palm and stroked a cool finger over my cheek.

A fat tear squeezed out and trickled down my cheek. She wiped it away.

“You are strong enough for your sisters and your father, my dear.”

A deluge of tears poured down my face. I choked out the words, “I can’t do it without you.”

Pain dragged at her features as she leaned forward to place a kiss on my forehead. Her lips were cool against my brow. “You have a strong heart, Ari. Follow its call. It will not lead you amiss.”

She sank back into her pillows and her eyelids flitted shut. The angel expression settled over her face, banishing any hint of pain. The grip on my hand faltered.

“Mother . . .” The word, laced with sorrow, fell from my lips. With Father already grieving her loss and twelve daughters, the youngest still an infant, how would we survive without her?

* * *
Lady Brisella
The carriage drew up the drive, pulling to a stop in front of the entryway. My father’s chest puffed out the way it always did when someone of higher rank appeared. I had seen it before. The “parade of noblemen” as Ari referred to it, had begun in my teenage years. It had been exciting and wonderful to meet gentlemen who’d come with the express purpose of wooing. It took far too long to realize that they hadn’t come to woo me. They wooed my father and the dowry attached to my name. Today would be no different.

The elderly gentlemen stepped out first, a broad smile spanning his round face. At least he seemed friendly.

Father’s voice boomed with pride. “Ladies, the Earl of Gillingham. Lord Gillingham, I present my daughters.”

His voice droned on. My attention snagged on the carriage as the next occupant stepped down. My breath hitched in my throat. Fine clothes hung on an even finer frame. Dark hair. Dark eyes. What was it about deep brown eyes that stripped me down to nothing? I forced all the air out of my lungs to dispel the warmth wrapping fingers around my heart.

“And this is my son, Lord Richard Comstock.” The Earl’s eyes crinkled. His son smiled, the same crinkles ringed his eyes and warmed his expression.

My heart thudded in my chest. Between Ariela, who overflowed with mystery and intellect, and Canela who overflowed with passion and charm, what hope did I have? He would never look at me.
Before I was ready, his hand closed over mine. A zing ran up my arm as he pressed a kiss to my hand. A tiny gasp slipped from my lips. Those brown eyes, reflecting the same surprise I felt, flicked up to my face. For two heartbeats we shared a look.

“A pleasure to meet you, Lady Brisella.” A crooked smile twisted his mouth.

My father hustled him along. Lord Richard watched me from the corner of his eye as he bent over the hand of my sister Canela.

“Are you all right?” Ariela whispered.

I watched Lord Richard’s progress down the line of my sisters. “I hardly know.”

“What happened?”

Nothing. Everything. I shook my head slowly. How could I explain what I didn’t understand?

She squeezed my arm until I looked at her. Her eyes brimmed with excitement. “It's him, isn't it?”

My gaze was drawn back to Lord Richard, who had nearly reached Frizella. He still watched me from the corner of his eye. The word slipped out in a whisper. “Yes.”
* * *
 Lady Canela
“Cinnamon,” my younger sister, Estella, whined. “You cheated! Again!”

I sniffed and tipped my chin upward. “It’s only cheating if you get caught.”

Estella shared a look with Frizella.

“Besides,” I continued, “it’s my game. I make the rules.” I flicked a red lock of hair over my shoulder.

Frizella shared a look with Estella. Together they said, “But you agreed to the bet.”

I pursed my lips. “Then naturally I’d do anything to win.”

“Including flirting with the stable boys,” Frizella accused.

“And bribing our ladies’ maids with sweets,” Estella added.

“It’s not my fault they’ve no loyalty to you.” I replied, examining my nails.

They turned identical glares on me. “You cheated,” they said in unison. “Now you owe us ribbon money.”

I don’t care what anyone said, it was creepy when they did that. “I owe you nothing. Johnny brought me flowers, didn’t he? Just like I said he would. I won the bet fair and square.”

“But he was our boyfriend!” they wailed.

I folded my arms over my chest. “It’s time you learn something, girls. If something belongs to you, you don’t let go of it. Ever.”

The sounds of blubbering began. “Now, if you don’t mind, I believe Johnny is waiting for me in the woods. Good afternoon, girls.”
* * *
Stay tuned to meet the next three sisters! Daniela, Estella, and Frizella are sure to get up to some type of mischief. 

For the whole story, grab your copy of Midnight Sisters on Amazon today. Contact me if you'd like a signed copy!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Featured: Take Two

Setting up a blog tour is a tricky business.

In doing so, a few things might happen.
  • Some bloggers are so popular that they won't fit into your blog tour schedule.
  • The format of your tour might not mesh with the style of some authors' websites or blogs. 
  • People you hadn't contacted previously will invite you to guest post for them as well.
If busy bloggers or stylistically different authors love you enough, they'll offer to feature you at a later date. Unless you're on your deathbed, agree to guest post with a BIG smile. If they suggest content that doesn't mesh with your style, do your research and find a way to make it your own.

That's where I've been since January. I've been a-guest posting! I've covered a number of different topics from humorous to serious, as well as earning a few more book reviews.

Winter through Spring I was hosted by:

Midnight Sisters, wherein PrairieWife invites me back to share Midnight Sisters with her readers as part of We Love Our Readers Month of Giveaways. (Don't worry, it's an annual event! They'll do giveaway month again next year!)

Sacha Black
5 Obnoxious Questions People Ask Writers, because non-writerly folks just don't get it. But we won't get offended, will we, my darlings? Nope. We'll get even.

Carol J. Hedges: 
10 Ways I'm Crazy Enough to be an Indie Author, where I reveal just how crazy I am and how it works in my favor in the indie publishing world. Certifiable and proud, my dears!

Getting Your Read On: 
Midnight Sisters, a lovely review of Midnight Sisters from book blogger Aimee. She was initially unsure about reading another version of Twelve Dancing Princesses, until she sank her teeth into this one! Here's to romance and quirky plots!

OTV Magazine: 
A Call to Arms. A Call to Love, explores the power of women, kindness and love in the battle for equality. Having a loud voice and a list of grievances isn't enough, we must work together effectively instead of assigning of blame.
* * *
During my blog tour, Midnight Sisters was accepted for review by Rosie Amber's Review Team. 

Author PicBarb Taub: Barb discusses the history of and universal appeal of fairy tales. Then she shares her thoughts about Midnight Sisters in a beautiful and thoughtful out review.

Shelley Wilson: Shelley, who is a fellow Young Adult author, discusses the ins and out of the characters and twists in Midnight Sisters and how much she enjoyed this original version of Twelve Dancing Sisters.

* * *
This Spring I was hosted by:

Denise Derrico: Explore my deepest author secrets (and a whole lot of nerdiness) along with author Denise Derrico.

Lisette's Writers' Chateau: Published authors have been lying to you for years. Want to know the Dirty Dark Secrets of publishing no one talks about? I'm spilling the beans!

* * *
There are some amazing posts in there! After last year, I feel like I'm finding my voice as a blogger. And guess what? I'm not done yet!

Coming soon:

On Writing & Wellness, I share my battle with carpal tunnel syndrome, severe allergies, and traditional publishing and how I came out the other side with improved health and another published book. Hear the full story on June 15, 2017.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Call to Arms. A Call to Love.

I believe in the power of good women united by common goals. 
I also believe in the power of kindness and love to reach those goals. Recently, Open Thought Vortex Magazine invited me to share my thoughts on feminism during Women's Empowerment Month. I was pleased to share the following:
* * *
Feminism gets a bad rap. The term has been twisted to convey something far different than its original definition:

1.  the theory of political, economic, & social equality of the sexes
2.  organized activity on behalf of women's rights & interests

Basic. Elegant. Yet somehow feminism has become associated with radical behavior, extremely liberal opinions, and pointing the finger of blame at men, politicians, society, etc.

I’m a 40-year-old woman from rural Utah who teaches kindergarten and writes Young Adult novels. I refuse to support action that harms, demeans, or degrades others whose sex, age, political views, or religion differ from mine. And since today’s predominant strategy for promoting women’s rights is shouting your grievances at the top of your lungs, I tend to distance myself from it. The kindergarten teacher in me can’t see the difference between that strategy and the kid who declares himself (or herself) King of the Jungle Gym and enforces his (or her) claim through a series of playground scuffles.

I’ve seen my fair share of intolerance. I live in a particularly diverse area in Northern Utah where there is often tension resulting from differing political standpoints, religious beliefs, and even warring gangs. Local Pastor Monica Hall stated, “[There is] a natural tendency to draw distinctions and define each other. Definitions such as: she is Muslim, he is black, she is Presbyterian, he is Latino, they are Mormon, etc. . . . Such definitions can draw boundaries of who WE are and who THEY are. These boundaries can be dangerous. They can be dangerous when we use the boundary of division to ignore human needs.”

That’s my main issue with feminism. When we paint ourselves as victims and everyone else as aggressors, there’s no one left to explore solutions to the common problems we face.

Actress Emma Watson had plenty to say on the subject. “If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can be much freer.”

In my classroom alone, I encounter bias, misconceptions, and intolerance. Kids already have a lot of baggage by the time they step into my room.  I do my best to employ a practice that reaches hearts, souls, and minds. It’s called Love. Love and Listen.

If all we do is scream about the world’s injustices, nothing will ever change. But if we take on our noble role as women who lead, nurture, teach, inspire, and uplift, we can effect change.

Author Norah Ephron summed it up beautifully. “Above all, be the heroine of your own life.”

That’s what I want. That’s MY prime goal as a feminist, to be the best me I can be and to bring as many women, girls, mothers, and sisters along with me as possible.

Author Francesca Lia Block said, “Just like any woman . . . we weave our stories out of our bodies, some of us through our children, or our art; some do it just by living. It’s all the same.”

I effect change in my classroom and in my novels, with my students, friends, and family. I stand up for what I believe and I refuse to hide who I am. I am a woman and I am powerful. And I believe in the power of love and kindness.
* * *
Thanks for dropping by, my dears! If you'd like to read more women's empowerment, revisit The Making of a Woman or pop over to OTV Magazine and peruse the March 2017 posts. And please leave me your thoughts on womanhood and feminism in a comment below. Go forth and be awesome, my friends!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Failing at Life 2017

Yup. It's that time of year again. I feel like I'm failing at everything.
Point 1: My classroom is a mess. My students have spring fever and Spring Break taunts from weeks away.

Point 2: I haven't made any headway on my current manuscript. (Quite frankly, I haven't even had the head space to attempt it. #ShameSpiral)

Point 3: Marketing? Yeah, let's not talk about marketing. I just wish my book were capable of selling themselves. (Every author dreams of self-marketing books, don't they?)

I don't know about you, but The Writer Suckfest is at least a yearly event for me. And no matter whether you have a full-time career or a full-time family (or both) you'll feel like you're failing at that too. Should we give up and consume copious amounts of chocolate while binge-watching an entire season of mediocre television?

I say NO. No way. Let's be proactive! (If that doesn't work, we can always resort to chocolate later, right?)

Five Tips for Surviving Failing at Life

Runaway Don't worry. It's not an act of cowardice. A change of pace and/or location helps you see things as less fatal than before. It may be as simple as disappearing into a really great book or movie but it also might require a beach-side cottage and the calming shush of the ocean.
This weekend I ran way to Comic Con. As weird as it sounds, there's nothing like hobnobbing with a hoard of geeks, dweeds, and super cool nerds to make you feel human again.

Regroup A chat with a friend, writing it out, or just talking to yourself until life makes sense again helps straighten things out. Think of soldiers in battle. Sometimes they have to retreat, assess the threat, and determine the best plan of attack. I don't know about your brain, but mine works in a similar fashion. That's why we have support groups, people!

Recognize Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Freaking Albert Einstein . . . As irritating as that quote is, there is something to be said for recognizing what's failed you in the past and what has resulted in success and correcting accordingly.

For instance, when I mentioned marketing earlier I really wanted to confess something. I haven't been using my past marketing experience to inform today's decisions. How dumb is that? Time to fix it and sell some more books!

Reconnect The longer I walk this planet, the more I see the importance of forging connections. We connect with ourselves, we connect with others, and we connect with the universe (whether you call it God or destiny or fate). We also connect with our own characters and stories. Whenever I'm floating aimlessly or bumbling about, usually it's because one or more lines of connection are down. Reassess, my dears, find the downed lines and pop them back in place. (BTW genuinely connecting with readers, followers, fellow writers, and reviewers is my number one marketing tip!)

Recommit Once a game plan has been developed, we need to recommit ourselves to it. Make it achievable and then jump right in! Does that mean we go down in flames if it doesn't work out? Nope. We live and learn and move on.

Here's my game plan:
1) writing two more guest posts
2) running promotions on my books
3) preparing for this summer's author events 
4) continuing to work on my current project
5) not freaking out about the pitfalls of March

After my weekend runaway, I can recognize that my students are coming along nicely and only require a little help. No group of kindergartners advanced to first graders without a certain amount of drama. In a similar manner, no first draft was ever completed without a certain amount of hair loss and swearing.

That's my plan and I'm sticking to it! (But I'm keeping the chocolate on hand, just in case!)

So my dears, what's gone horribly wrong in your life lately? And more importantly, what are you going to do about it? Leave me a comment! You're not alone, my dears. I'm here to support and inspire.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Midnight Sisters Shops Local!

I know you've heard it. Print books are dying out.

It's not encouraging to those of us who want to sell books to hear that buyers aren't buying. Or if they are buying, they're buying eBooks for under $1.
My crazy family. I can't take them anywhere...
Well, my dears, here's the truth. My author events in bookstores have always been successful. I don't make enough to move out of my two-bedroom condo or quit my day job, but I do make enough to keep writing. 

And occasionally pay for a pedicure. Or a green polka dot dress.
When your book launch is at a retro dress shop...
I've had a blast promoting my books in local shops this year. Friends, family, and perfect strangers strolled in and snatched up copies of my newest release, Midnight Sisters. And many of them snagged Becoming Beauty as well.
Crazy friends. Oh how I love them.
How does that happen if print books are a dying breed? Here's what I've seen:
  • Local shops run by individuals who understand local culture and stock their shelves accordingly will be successful.
  • Authors who carefully plan public events, put in the leg work (i.e. traditional and online promotion), and genuinely connect with potential readers will also be successful.
Trust me, simply showing up with a smile and 900 copies of your newest novel will not be enough. There needs to be a solid plan in place. Chat with shop owners and librarians, build good rapport, borrow tips and techniques from other writers, and get busy promoting on your end.

And yes, please take your smile and pile of books. You're going to need those.

Like any author, I've had several nominally successful author events too. Instead of becoming discouraged, I choose to learn from those experiences.
  • Did I fail to promoted the event sufficiently? 
  • Did I fail to include effective strategies that have worked before?
  • Is my sales pitch (i.e. book blurb) enough to hook potential readers?
  • Did I make some valuable connections that I can use later on?
  • Did I leave a good impression with my host?
As a second-time author, I've been much better at playing to my strengths this time around. For me, that includes playing to the local crowd and being warm, friendly, and visible. Let me tell you, it's exhausting, but so much fun!

That's what we do, isn't it? Take the awesome, learn from the not-so-awesome, and keep on improving. So writerly and non-writerly friends, go forth and conquer!

Then come back and tell me how it went.