Category Archives: MY BOOKS

Missing Cats, and Best Sellers

comfortable-catHere I am. Me. Fallible. Ready to disappoint. It’s Friday February 5, 2016 (can you believe time has flown so quickly?) and I have decided that my YA novel, which is in the second draft stage is just toooo darn boring. Well, okay, I realize it’s just me saying that, but it is now on my proverbial shelf, being thought about but not worked on. I think of that shelf as the back burner of my stove, the one with the various degrees of “simmer” which may mean that spaghetti sauce could sit there all day getting better by the minute. Thing is I need to put conflict on every page as my friend Roger Paulding always says in critique group. He is so correct. Conflict on every page moves the reader to turn the pages. If there is no conflict the reader is just going to fall asleep. My YA has no conflict in it, or at least not enough to keep every reader involved. So say goodbye to the YA novel I’ve been working on for two years, and say HELLO to a new murder mystery set in London with Jon Graham as the hero. It’s true. I think it’s going to be a winner. And I don’t mean that in a Donald way. I mean, if you liked Deadly Thyme I think you might like the one I am now writing set just before Jon Graham goes to Cornwall.

But back to being a winner. You see, Deadly Thyme is a winner. I say that because for all of three nano-seconds in January, I was a true BEST-seller. I was #1 in mystery, thriller, detective series and in several other categories. I was so thrilled I think I couldn’t see straight. Yes, I may have actually made a bit of money there. And if the world’s idea of success is making money, then I won in the world’s opinion of best-selling author. Plus, I paid a few bills, or at least I will when the royalties hit the bank sometime in the next four weeks.

Most people don’t realize, and when I say most people I include myself here, because I never thought about what kind of money authors made before trying to become an author. I just figured authors made a lot of money. Best-seller doesn’t always translate into what you and I would consider rich. Last year I went in the hole only $665.00. That’s pretty fantastic! The year before my debt was over $3,000. That’s what I spent getting my books out in front of you versus what I made selling said books. But this whole book idea/plan needs further expose. Let me break it down for you in a super simplified way because I am a super simplified-thinking person. I put Deadly Thyme on sale for .99 for the month of January 2016. Bookbub, bless their hearts, accepted me into their daily deal campaign. I sold three thousand Deadly Thyme ebooks on Kindle alone in one day. For the month of January, between all the various e-book outlets I sold over 6 thousand ebooks at .99. On Kindle I made 35% of that .99. Amazon made the rest. I am not complaining. A penny is still a penny to me, as old-fashioned as that sounds, and 29 cents is still a lot times three thousand. Compare that to what happens when a traditionally published big-name author sells their e-book for $14.99 on Amazon. Check this out! The publisher makes 15%, the author’s agent makes 15%, and because it isn’t in the price range of 2.99 to 9.99 with Amazon (that’s the 70% profit range) the profit is only registering at 35%, Amazon is making the rest. The author is taking home 35% of that $14.99, less 15% less 15%. Oh bother, as Winnie-the-Pooh would say.

Deadly Haste. There, I’ve said the title of my new effort. I even found the most gorgeous Byron quote for it. “Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.” So apropos. Don’t be mad. I love really cool classical quotes. Morris would be pleased. My setting is Harrow a northwest borough of London. And there are missing cats involved here.

Full disclosure. This is a preliminary draft and I realize that as time goes by what I love won’t always get to “stick” because, though I love it, the “thing” no matter what it is doesn’t always move the plot forward. I am all about story. I want you, my precious readers, to enjoy my story. If my little beloved “thing” — like missing cats, doesn’t move the story forward it’s going to be kicked outside into the snow.

I know, it makes me sad, too.

So this is the news from my end. I hope you all are enjoying a little quiet and comfort wherever you are. Stay warm. It is cold out there.

Live: Streamed and Mean

2144b0e39d9cc6de978721e05b2818cdThis Thursday, January 21  at 5:45 p.m. There will be an interview, 20 mins. live on 90.1 fm, Houston. streamed and archived on kpft.org. The topic Deadly Thyme. The interviewer will be Michael Woodson. The interviewed will be R. L. Nolen.

An Interview with John Graham prior to his journey to Cornwall and Deadly Thyme

Interviewer (Michelle Smith-Greene) – I’m having a recorded conversation while taking notes as to his expression with Jon (no ‘H’) Graham, born in Bristol, he says, and now living in London. So Jon, tell me about yourself.

Jon – This is great. But why me?

M – We want to put a face to the job of policing, add a human element. So, tell me.

Jon – What is there to tell? What you see is what you get.

M – What do I see? My radio listeners want to know.

Jon – That’s easy. A thirty-two year old man with a nose that overtakes the rest of his face. He has good enough eyes (oh! – green). He has unruly brown hair, a day’s growth of beard -not his fault – forgot his shaver- and a propensity to slouch when thinking about something. Yes, and he has a true fear of failure in anything he attempts.

M – That’s interesting. First of all, I would not have said that your nose was large. And your hair has a wave to it with some blond streaks. Did you add those?

Jon – Not blond, I’m afraid, more like gray. Job stress, that’s why I took up surfing.

M – One doesn’t normally think of England as being a surfing hot-spot.

Jon – That’s where you’d be wrong. There are good waves if there’s any breeze at all.

M- It’s cold isn’t it?

Jon – Freezing. I have a wet suit.

M – How often do you surf?

Jon – I surf on my days off, two days a week. Year-round. If I catch three good waves, I’m happy. Besides, any more than that and I couldn’t feel my feet.

M – where did you learn to surf?

Jon – On holiday in Cornwall with my girlfriend. She was good at it. Much better than I’ll ever be. I’m a bit clumsy.

M – Was?

Jon – Excuse me?

M – You said your girlfriend was good at it?

Jon – That’s all due to the fact my girlfriend is presently past tense.

M – Ur . . . About your job.

Jon – Detective Sergeant with the London Met.

M – Sounds impressive. (Psst, to my listeners. This man is a total knock-out. I’m overwhelmed.) What is it you do exactly?

Jon – I work in the internal fraud division. We investigate crimes within the police department, those which are of a serious nature.

M – What does ‘of a serious nature’ mean?

Jon – Smuggling, drugs, you name it.

M – Murder?

Jon – Not since I’ve been in the department.

M – I’ve heard that your department is not the most well-liked department among other police.

Jon – They think we’re out to get them.

M – Are you?

Jon – Not unless they are doing something they shouldn’t.

M – You mention fear of failure. What does fear of failure mean to you?

Jon (shrugs) – I don’t like to be wrong.

M – Explain with an example.

Jon – I like to see a project through both at home or at work. I like it to be right, tied up, no loose ends. You get the picture?

M – You’re a perfectionist?

Jon – I’m too much of a slob. But yeah, maybe at the office. My desk is neat. But at home, nothing neat there. And it’s more . . . it’s just I hate to lose.

M – Competitive?

Jon – I am striving for a personal best at everything.

M – Sports?

Jon – Rock climbing. Surfing is a sport.

M – Be serious. (he gives me a searching look, lovely eyes.)

Jon – I am being serious. Hey! What are you saying, Michelle? Okay, I do like cricket but I’m no good at it. I love football. I used to play in a policeman’s league.

M – Why ‘used to?’

Jon – I joined Fraud and suddenly my “mates” were out to kill me. Besides, I discovered rock climbing, and surfing. Once you’ve surfed, there’s nothing else. I’ve even been tempted to chuck the job and pursue surfing full-time.

M – And why haven’t you?

Jon – The money, of course. It’s not just me I worry about.

M – Married? Children?

Jon – No and no. I help my mother out. My sister and I share care of her. But she also has Mrs. Fleet.

M  – Your mother? Is she old? Who is Mrs. Fleet?

Jon – She’s part of the family. A carer. My mother is a young fifty-five. But she’s in a wheelchair, car accident. A bad one. My father died. She’s very energetic and she paints. Acrylics. Her paintings are beginning to sell at a gallery close to her home.

M – I’m sorry. That’s so tragic.  Do you live with your mother?

Jon – No. But we aren’t far from each other. She actually lives with my sister when she’s in town.

M – Where do you live? Nice home?

Jon – On a policeman’s salary? Joking, right? My flat. It’s okay, very small. My bedroom is my living room is my kitchen, more of a bedsit really. A horrible mess at the moment. Hey – you’re taking notes? Don’t let me mum see.

M – So you see your mother when you aren’t working or surfing.

Jon – Three times a week, when I’m in London.

M – Your job is flexible then?

Jon  – No. The hours I put in are more regular hours. I used to be in Murders. My hours were never regular then. Never knew how much I’d be working on any given day. I think of the difference as what an emergency room doctor’s job is as compared to a dermatologist’s job. I’m the dermatologist of policemen.

M – What kind of crimes are you handling at the present time?

Jon – There’s a case come up in Cornwall. I’m going down there – today actually.

M – For how long?

Jon – Just a few days.

M – Then you already know what your errant police officer has done?

Jon – this is off the record right?

M – Yes.

Jon – It isn’t completely clear, that’s why I’m going down there. To wrap up the on-going investigation. Say, you won’t be putting this out yet, right? I mean, you’ll be holding it until I come back, right?

M – I said I would. But it does sound rather juicy. I could stand the ratings boost.

Jon – Would you like to go out sometime?

M – After the interview, lunch?

Jon – Sure. When I get back from Cornwall? Casual. We could discuss when you’ll air this then.

M – I’m up for a deeper discussion, yes.

Jon – Mmmm?

M – You’re a bit of a scoundrel. (Folks, he has such a smile, it would melt rocks.)

Jon – Putting a face to policing then?

M – the photos you’ve given me so far have done nothing for you.

Jon – How’s this one then? It’s me and my sister. She’s the good-looking one.

Happy joyful couple taking pictures with digital camera isolated on white background

So it was Christmas!

free-christmas-clipart-santa-vector[1]I know I’m a day or two late, but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We had a memorable one this year. We have a new grand boy and after a rough start, he’s doing great! Yesterday his great-grandparents saw him. The smiles were unending. What a joy that four generations were able to celebrate – all in relatively good health – in the same room.  I took lots of photos. They are on my phone. I don’t know how to get them to the computer yet. But I’ll update as soon as I’m able.

News of note for my career. I’ve tried to get my books on Bookbub for over a year. My publisher found out, and got me on bookbub. Thank you SkipJack publishing!  If you want Deadly Thyme for 0.99 January is your month. But I encourage you to sign up for Bookbub.com. This is a free sign-up thingy. It’s a service that sends you a daily email – to your inbox with free or seriously discounted books. Not just any books. Obviously it takes a lot of oomph to get a book on bookbub. I’ve gotten Charles Todd (a favorite author) books for $1.99 on Bookbub. It’s a wonderful service, you will never be disappointed. Consider my advice a Christmas gift. I couldn’t recommend them higher. Sign up and then recommend the service to your friends. They will thank you.

My book will be featured on January 4, so sign up NOW!

Another amazing thing to happen is that Deadly Thyme is part of a five book set to be released exclusively on Amazon January 1. Pamela Fagan Hutchins (Amazing Grace), Marcy McKay (Pennies from Burger Heaven), and Ken Oder (The Closing) have their wonderful books in this set also. Their books are incredible reads. Yes, there are four books listed but Pamela Fagan Hutchins has added a bonus book.

November 2015: News You Can Use

What happened?

I’ve been somewhat absent from my newsletter/blog for a month. Writing a new novel takes a lot of butt-in-chair time.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the "timeline" on the cork board.
The Work-in-Progress. You can see the “timeline” on the cork board.

I’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month for as long as it’s been around. I never thought I would actually do it. I did this time. NaNoWriMo was the impetus I needed to finally write a solid first draft of Token, that YA (Young Adult) work-in-progress that I’ve been telling you about for the last year. I went into the month with four chapters that were not good. I spent some time improving those. I had close to seven thousand words to start. I needed 50,000 words to win (or complete) NaNoWriMo. You see, it’s a national challenge. I probably should point out that now NaNoWriMo is an international challenge. Many people win. I’m not the only one. I have 53,000 words today. There will be more by December 1. I’m officially going to the big TGIF (thank God it’s finished) party at River Oaks Book Store. Yay!!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!
This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!

 

Now, the News:

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me
Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

November 8 was the Houston Writer’s Guild’s first mini-conference under the new leadership team. The team consists of Denise, Fern, and myself. Denise and Fern are the new owners of the Guild. I am honored they picked me to help them steer the course. Our mini-conference was a rocking success with a good showing of members and new folks anxious to learn the craft of writing. Sarah Cortez an esteemed speaker and winner of many writing awards for her poetry books, was our speaker. People said that the day went by so fast they couldn’t believe it. There was also lots of food with breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.

Now for the News You Can Use:

SAM_1233_edited-1March 28 of 2015 we will hold a one day pitch practice conference to help members of HWG get their pitches and presentations ready for the BIG CONFERENCE. At the pre-conference we will have actual agents for members to pitch their novels, and screenplays to. More details to come.

The next big thing is the Amazing 2015 HWG conference. There will be several agents from NYC there. We will have some Texas agents and editors and publishers there. Friends, this is Big Time! There will be agents looking for folks they want to represent to the big six publishers in NYC. There will also be a lot of break-out sessions about how to self-publish, the art of craft, the business of doing it, the “how to” market it. More details to come.

Down on The Farm

One of the things I did do this month besides have some amazing books signings around town was that I took Cora to visit my brother on his farm. We picked vegetables, Jon took us to visit the menagerie, we petted his AKC Siberians, and Jon gave us some eggs (nicer than any from the store). I want to show you some pictures from that day.SAM_1240

And I wanted to show you some artwork that my amazing sis-in-law did. She drew this from composite photos of her trips to Egypt. She painted it with coffee. Okay, you can say “wow” too.SAM_1243

Happy Thanksgiving!

SAM_1264It’s the end of the month and I want to thank you for sticking with me in reading my blog, especially when there are weeks between offerings. I appreciate every one of you. May God richly bless you in this holiday season.

I thank the Lord for His loving kindness, and mercy in keeping our family safe and well.

Don’t eat too much and watch out for the crazy drivers.

 

The Best of Both Worlds of Bookstores

grandma and coraYou’ve heard me expound on the virtues of independent bookstores (indie-bookstores) and how important they are in the world of book selling. They are gatekeepers to literacy, pushing good books out in front of our noses, and encouraging all ages to read. Each small bookstore has its specialty, and personality. My latest favorite is River Oaks Bookstore on Westheimer. I offered scones and creme fraiche at my book signing there. You know me, it’s really all about the food. I’ve been to a book signing at River Oaks where there was a full meal served. Now that’s a book signing to go to!

River Oaks is good about encouraging their authors to offer food that might be part of the world of the story. You’ll notice I didn’t have bug crackers, or chocolate covered earthworms on the menu, so the world of The Dry wasn’t on the menu. You’re welcome. I featured scones and clotted cream and cream fraiche and rough-cut marmalade because I was promoting the world in Deadly Thyme, a British thriller.

This past weekend I was signing books at Barnes & Noble on West Gray. There were other authors there. I believe that is how I will be signing books at bookstores from now on. Other authors mean more fans, and my fans get an opportunity to enjoy other authors, so it will be happy times all around. New model for book signing – going forward.

Actually this blog post is about Barnes & Noble. I’ve probably mentioned in earlier blogs how each Barnes & Noble is like a sovereign kingdom. In other words, each Barnes & Noble is unique because of their manager.

How can you as the reader appreciate this? Because your Barnes & Noble will cater to your needs, or not, depending on what their individual policies are regarding requests. For instance, if you want to hold a meeting for your book club on the second Tuesday of every month at your B & N, the manager either gives you a thumbs up or a thumbs down. I believe B & N’s live or die according to what the answer would be from that manager.

What does this mean for authors? How well are you loved by your B & N? Have you asked or been approached to have a signing? The answer is critical to the indie-published author especially. It’s hard enough to rock the stigma that is very real about indie-books (that’s another blog post). Here’s where the book leather scrapes the pavement. Listen up, I’ve even heard of traditionally published author’s being given the “brush-off” by their B & N in regards to a book signing. Seriously? Yes. Can you imagine the answer to an indie-published author? How about a huge, whopping no! What a shame.

On a more positive note I can now say I know of two Barnes & Nobles that readily offer book signing opportunities for indie-authors (indie-authors are independent authors who may be self-published but often are published through small press publishers. I am an indie-author.) My experience signing books yesterday at the Houston Barnes & Noble on West Gray was marvelous! I sold out of The Dry that they had ordered through Ingram and I had to call for reinforcement books from home and still, I kept selling. They told me I was the “best-selling” author of the day at the store. That means I sold more books that any other author, not just my friends who were signing their books but of all the author’s books across the store. What? It’s true. I’m sorry. There is always the part of me that wants to apologize for outselling friends. They are as earnest as I am. But I have to say – I bring a wasp.

So what say I of this Barnes & Noble? I love them. That store was humming with business yesterday or dare I say, buzzzzzzzing? Every one of those store workers were fresh-faced happy people wanting to do all and everything to make all of us successful. That’s a store that will still be there next year.

Barnes & Nobles as sovereign states? Yes. Will some of them fall away, widening the crevasse between the reader and brick and mortar stores and giving Amazon more of a foothold in their bid to take over the world? Yes.

Upper management at Barnes & Noble did an interesting thing when they allowed autonomous rule in their stores, because what they essentially created were independent bookstores (like indies) with a common name. Plus, they probably offer benefits. It’s an interesting business model.

What can you do? Find a B & N that you like. If you’re ever in the Barnes & Noble on West Gray say hi to Michelle. Also, if you are interested and I hope you are, go to your local B & N throughout the U.S. & where ever you are and please ask them to order my books. They are in the catalog. More interested in an e-book? My e-books are available on Nook, too.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Big hugs!

Keep reading great books.

Writers You Need to Meet

This blog hop introduces you to some writers you may not know, and gives a glimpse of their work and style. I was tagged HERE for this Blog Hop by writer Pamela Fagan Hutchins – here’s her introduction, and following Pamela I’ll introduce you to three other writers you need to know, after I answer a few questions.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes award-winning and bestselling romantic mysteries and hilarious nonfiction, and moonlights as a workplace investigator and employment attorney. She is passionate about great writing, smart authorpreneurship, and her two household hunks, husband Eric and one-eyed Boston terrier Petey. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

Saving-Grace-Cover-

Saving Grace, the lead book in the Katie & Annalise series (#7 Nook/#34 Kindle/#47 iBooks bestseller) is now free, FOREVER! You can get it free everywhere! The Jumbie House, a short story expanded outtake from Leaving Annalise, #2 in the Katie & Annalise series, is also free in ebooksaving harmoney form. Pamela’s NEWEST BESTSELLER is the second book in the  Katie & Annalise series, Leaving Annalise.  Leaving-Annalise-The third book in the award-winning and Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes best-selling Katie & Annalise series, Finding Harmony, is now an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist (Winner TBA 7-21-14) and bestseller itself!

Pamela has written numerous non-fiction books including “What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes? and how can I be one, too?

This is Rebecca again and now I will answer a few questions, which may have been answered in a previous blog. That’s okay, sometimes the content is constantly updating.

What am I working on?

Besides trying to keep up a steady marketing agenda for my two published novels, I am currently writing a lot of reviews, working on a Y/A (I’m typing up the outline), and a new short story: a prequel to The Dry. It’s so short that it should be called a prologue. I decided you needed to see how the key was stolen.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

 The Dry is a historical fantasy set in West Virginia. There aren’t a lot of those around. Deadly Thyme is a psychological suspense set in Cornwall, England. There are a few of those around, but I venture to say that you’ll still get a fantastic jolt reading this one. My Y/A is a fact-based fiction set in 1970 Houston. Is it about me? Not really. You would quickly be dulled to death if it were.

Why do I write what I write?

I have a compulsion to tell stories. I’ve done it all my life. When I was a child they were called lies. Okay, I’m kidding, I only lied when it was completely necessary, and the rest of the time I made up stories to entertain my friends or the cats – whoever would listen. Now I make up stories to entertain my friends: YOU!

How does my writing process work?

I have some time each morning to set up my work station. After running through my social media obligations (Okay, I read the funny stuff on Facebook), I set up my daily goal for writing. Sometimes my writing equals a blog post. That’s okay. It’s still writing. I write a synopsis first. A synopsis is like the story condensed to one page – or even one sentence. Writing the synopsis first is much easier than saving it until the end because there are always subplots that feel too important to leave out and subplots make for a long synopsis. Can a writer skip the synopsis? Absolutely not! It is probably the most important part of the process next to writing the first page and the last page.

Now to introduce you to some fantastic authors!

You really need to click on their links. They are amazing!!

Chris Rogers

A visual and literary creative, Chris Rogers began her journey as a graphic designer. Corporate and commercial promotions occupied most of her creative energy during those early years, but Roger’s adventurous spirit led her into diverse avenues where she designed personalized glassware, ceramic tile, and the launch issue of a national magazine.

With the advent of computerized graphics and an economic downturn, she was faced with a difficult choice: either learn this new electronic design tool or choose a new career. She began looking at what that new career might be – writing and illustrating children’s books? Travel writing and photography? She tried her hand at each, and sold her photo-illustrated articles to regional and national publications, but before she was fully committed in any direction, a fire gutted her studio.

After salvaging a single drawing table from the ruins, she continued creating marketing materials for clients while seeking a new path in the literary world. Many rejections later, her stories began to win awards. A major publisher produced her suspense novels in print, electronic, and audio formats. Lauded by fans and critics, the books were translated into three languages, and the series was optioned for film.

While continuing to explore the literary venue, Chris inevitably embraced the creative form of paint on canvas, which allows her narrative flair and graphic origins to unfold in unison. While creating new canvases, she also participates in the design of her book covers. Her paintings can be found in private and corporate collections.

“A lover of art and storytelling since grade school, I opened one of my favorite books one day and wondered if I could ever write half as well as Dean Koontz or Minette Walters or Steven King. How did they create such intricate plots? I started with children’s books – after all – I was a mother … I should understand kids, right?

Well, not so much. So I wrote a romance novel – I’d been married, so I should know a little about romance.

cover-BitchFactor-177x300A little was about it. A very nice rejection letter told me there was more mystery in my story than romance. So I owned up to my true calling and, when my suspense thriller Bitch Factor was published, Romantic Times magazine gave it four-and-a-half stars. Rage Factor and Chill Factor also earned high marks for the romantic thread.

The truth is, mystery and suspense novels have always intrigued me, but I also enjoy romance, science-fiction, horror and fantasy, as well as the occasional mainstream novel by such wonderful authors as E. Annie Proulx.

My literary niche, it turns out, is dark and gritty with an occasional humorous twist. If you like that sort of story, you’ll find my books and short stories thoroughly engaging.”

Megan LaFollet

Megan La Follett was born in Florence and went to college in Rome, but she’s never been to Italy; she’s looking forward to the day that isn’t true! She has loved books from before she could repeat the alphabet and has fond memories of devouring every story in the children’s and folklore sections in her hometown library.

She cut her teeth writing as both a Game Master and a player on the play-by-post forums of the publisher of the world’s most popular tabletop RPG, where she was happily surprised to find that her games were popular enough to draw spectators. Writing for game threads is like drafting a book you can’t revise, with characters you can’t control. In other words, a wild ride!

With three children ranging from a kindergartener down to a toddler (with a spitfire in between), and a freelance editing and book design business, she’s pretty sure she’s insane for getting serious about this whole writing thing. But if that’s insanity, she’s in good company and couldn’t be happier!

“I have been, at different stages of life and for varying lengths of time: a horse trainer, a gas station attendant (in Oregon and New Jersey, pumping gas is too hazardous for amateurs), a math tutor, an underpaid lab assistant, a sandwich artist (and a manager of teenage sandwich artists), and a scientist. Somehow or another, that all led to who I am now: mother, wife, freelance editor, writer. Which only makes sense when you understand that what I’ve always been, no matter what the job description said, is a book lover. Story, in all myriad forms, captivates me.”

Denise Saterfield

If you wish to be a writer; write!” – Epictetus the Greek philosopher

Promo Photo

I couldn’t agree more with Epictetus so in June 2011, after 25 + years at the same job, I decided to take a leap of faith, quit the safety of a “regular” job, and pursue a full-time career in writing.  You see, writing was a passion that I rediscovered after enrolling into college many, many, many years after graduating from highschool.  I’ve always heard, it’s never too late.  Well, it’s not!  So, after 10 years of studying, I reaped the rewards of hard work and determination and received a degree in Professional Writing.  Today, graduation day remains on my Top 10 List of Happiest Days of My Life.

When I think about writing, I get happy.  My brain kicks into overdrive and the ideas flow freely like Niagara Falls!  That’s what brings me here!

My main writing focus is Children’s Books – all categories of Children’s Books – Picture Books, Early Reader Chapter Books, and Middle Grade Books.  You can see what I’m working on by clicking the WORKS IN PROGRESS tab above.  I intend to publish for children under the name Denise Ditto so be on the look out for my new Children’s webpage and Facebook page coming soon.

I also write short stories, essays, and I blog.  I have a Writer’s Blog which you can click here or the above link to visit.  I p0st a variety of articles about things that interest me on this blog site.

In addition, I have several other blogs.  A movie blog called The Ditto Review, Play it Again Sam, and I recently launched The Ditto Book Review , a book review blog.

A Great Boost With A Review

booksHere is a link to a review for Deadly Thyme that you may be interested in. http://blogcritics.org/book-review-deadly-thyme-by-r-l-nolen/#respond

I was so excited to see this! Wow! Even though it is four stars it is a good one. It sounded as if the reviewer was stretched out of her comfort zone on this – reading a psychological suspense. There is a specific market for this book. It is a British murder/mystery/suspense. That is specific. The only character she did not fall in love with is Ruth. That’s the only negative. I’ll take it.

British writers in this genre tend to focus on the psychological aspects of a murder/and murderer. The gory stuff happens “off-stage”. You, the reader, see the results, a book that is sort of like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. He used shadow to the best advantage for spooky atmosphere. A British M/M or suspense is all about atmosphere, and drama, but there must also be a bit of humor.

Enjoy this review and please purchase Deadly Thyme from Amazon, Barnes & Noble (Nook), iStore books, and anywhere else. Deadly Thyme as an ebook is $4.99. And The Dry as an ebook is $2.99. Cheaper than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Now (TODAY) the second bit of good news is this: Both of my books are now in Ingram’s catalog so they can be ordered for any bookstore anywhere. Please do me a favor and ask your local bookstore to order them. Also, ask your library to order the books. They are available for libraries as ebooks or through the Ingram’s catalog.

And as always, if you pinky swear on your mother’s meatloaf that you will write a review on Amazon (only 20 words required, people!!!) you can apply to me for a FREE ebook. (ask) JUST SAYIN’ I’m looking for reviews and I’m not opposed to begging and sending chocolate.

Here’s something new on my Pinterest

 

from Silphidae
from Silphidae

I was challenged at the beginning of opening a Pinterest page to come up with an idea about how to make Pinterest interesting for authors to think of as a marketing tool.

The main goal of Pinterest appears to be sharing photos, recipes, how-to’s, and interests in one place so that friends can view them. I’ve found it fascinating to see what other people know how to do! People create boards about odd things also. I’ve been creating a Pinterest board for my husband, because he is opening up a dental practice in a few months on lower Westheimer, and he needed a board about Dental Health. Let me say here, there is some disgusting things on Pinterest having to do with Dental health. Ach! Ach! I wasn’t wanting to gag …couldn’t help it. You won’t gag if you view Nolen Dental’s Pinterest board http://www.pinterest.com/pbndds/

It hit me one day that both of my novels are visual. There are specific places on earth to pinpoint the location of each in a visual way. The Dry is also full of nature, especially insects. Deadly Thyme is set in one of the most visually amazing places on earth, Cornwall, England. How to evoke interest in my novels while serving the general public’s desire to be interested? If I post pictures of the places in my novels on my Pinterest, I may have discovered the one way to do that.

p.s. the photo above is of mole crickets. I used to hold them like that, too. Awesome, weird, creatures.

Here is my Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/rlnolen/

Support Your Local Indie Store

This is a note about independent book stores otherwise known as: Indie Book Stores. These stores have flourished recently with news articles about them, and a new surge of folks wanting to “buy local”. Despite the big box books stores, and mega-mouth-(that’s the name of a shark, too)-Amazon, indie bookstores are getting by. I predict they will do more than get by in the future.

A lot of the big-box book stores have bitten the proverbial dust with Barnes and Noble struggling to stay open all over the country. There are probably many reasons for this. One reason I believe B & N is struggling now is because I’m not sure most of the B & N’s have plans in place for coping with Amazon’s cut price sales tactics. I’ve heard it said that Amazon will continue to slash their prices on books until its competitors are gone and then they will raise prices. I don’t know, seems alarmist.

Some Barnes and Nobles do good things like run specials and encourage local authors, such as myself, to set up book signings in their stores. I say some. Apparently there are B & N stores that just don’t get it. Barnes & Nobles are often autonomous machines, run by machinist managers who perhaps don’t have a pulse on their local community. My local Barnes & Nobles is not one of these. The manager there is always looking for local authors to give presentations and signings. She is at present setting up a “meet & greet” for local authors. The Barnes & Nobles in Pasadena employs one of the most amazing people in the world. Shawna (the Zombie Queen) Stringer is a champion for writers. Kudos, Shawna!

IMG_0952This past week I had my first official book signing at a book store. River Oaks Bookstore has been in continuous business for   35  years. Jeanne Jard is one of the most knowledgeable book people around. If you walk into River Oaks Bookstore you’ll see cushiony couches and cookies. If you get there between 5 and 7 in the evening there is wine available. And look at all the books!! The store is classy, timeless, and has just the right touch of southern hospitality. Plus, if you go now you can get a signed copy of my book Deadly Thyme. It’s right there for you! (buy it. you know you want to)

My book signing was a huge success. I sold out of The Dry within the first hour and I have very few copies of Deadly Thyme left. That’s a good thing, no, that’s a fantastic thing! Go NOW and pick up a copy for you or for that hard-to-shop-for relative who just loves British murder mysteries.