Tag Archives: Harrow

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.

A Great Read

A huge welcome and thank you to all the Pearland folks I had the privilege and meet or get re-acquainted with yesterday at the Kroger on 518 and Berry Rose. I graduated Pearland High School, class of ’73. Thank you all for a great sales day. I hope you read my book(s) and give me a review. I love reviews. I do reviews of books myself because I know how important they are to each author. A review can be a few words or it can be wordy. Most of my reviews are not as extensive as the one below. But on my blog I like to recommend books to you, kind reader, for you enjoyment in future. So here is the latest:

513W3b5Ne+L__SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I don’t think I’ve read such a great book in a while, which means, though I’ve read several good books in the last few weeks, this one stands above the rest.

The White Devil by Justin Evans is told from the point of view of a seventeen year old American boy who has been sent to one of the most prestigious public (means private) schools in England. His fears and his goal are laid out immediately. He fears his parents have given him an ultimatum that if he can’t complete this last year of school before college they will kick him out, as in “to the curb’. His goal is to complete his year at this new school without incident. So now he is in a foreign country in a foreign environment where English – though English – is like a foreign language. English public schools are like this apparently. Not to worry, kind reader, he makes up a list of strange words with definitions at the beginning. You won’t get lost.

This boy, Andrew, was haunted by something that had happened at the last expensive private school, his parents had sent him to. Now at this new school Andrew experiences a strange heavy pall descending upon him. After the death of his friend, he recalls this experience and together with the horrible “sighting” of his friend being murdered (though it couldn’t possibly have happened that way) decides that he is being haunted. But by whom and why? All remains a mystery until he is declared the spitting image of Lord Byron who had attended the school – Harrow- over a century preciously. Andrew is cast in a play about Lord Byron put on by a headmaster who is himself being hounded by other faculty at the college for his ineptitude and drunkenness.

You know, I love a good story within a story within a story told in such a way that I understand everything. There is a story about Lord Byron in all this. And The White Devil is an old and obscure play by John Webster. The research that the author must have put into this is astounding. So much real history interwoven with a fictional story that is as fantastical as it is beautiful. Except for the ghost. The ghost is horrifying. I found myself choking for breath near the end of the story. I can’t say more because I don’t want to spoil it for you. I found this book cheap (or maybe it was free) on bookbub’s email they send me every day. The Kindle version is 9.99 at the moment. (It’s bookbub.com) I’ve made a policy of free books only this year but I don’t know how long I’ve had this book on my Kindle. I have to say that it is worth it to read. All the better if you can find it at your library. You can always ask your librarian to order it. (As you can with my books, too, by the way. Just saying.)

You want to know the real kicker? Here’s the kicker. At the end, in the author acknowledgments, he says that as he was writing he was recalling not only his own days at Harrow but that of another boy’s experience as well. Yikes! Spooky stuff.