Sunday, December 30, 2012

Twas the day before New Year's Eve...


...and I wanted to wish everyone a Happy 2013!

In the meantime, I've been kind of off the grid, puppy-sitting our Boston terrier.  And might I stress TERRIER?  I finally sent my husband and two older kids to Petsmart to 'get dog food' with the puppy.  We could've lasted a few extra days without the dog food, but it gives me a break from the harassment.

Anyway, I finally got back to editing one of my mysteries, by Andie Alexander (another pen name of mine).  Now, my family has this hilarious (NOT) type of practical joke they play on me all the time.  When I'm editing and walk away from the document, they type things into the story that could never happen.  Sometimes I don't find the thing they typed until I go through the thing for the last time, and sometimes, I've written the stupid comment myself.

In this case, the main character is arguing with a reporter, telling him to get off her property.  What does he reply?  "I have to eat."  HUH?  Did I really type that or was it one of my jokester family members?  It doesn't fit the plot at all.

Has that ever happened to you?  Have you ever read something that just doesn't fit?  The next time that happens, consider that someone, somewhere, thought they were being funny.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Lists...

So what do you want for Christmas?  I asked my kids that every year, and this year, I was handed a few 'questionable' items for the list.

My son wants an island so he can be isolated from the weird kids at college, as well as a million bucks.  Good luck with that, I say.  LOL!

My middle kid has given me more than one list, and wants to buy presents for fifty of her closest friends at college (oh my!).  I told her to get a job.  LOL!

My youngest just wanted cash...no presents.  Cracked me up.  What's she going to open on Christmas morning?  She's seventeen...and knowing her, she'll be disappointed.

And my husband, a Doctor Who fan, wants lots of Doctor Who items.  Amazon, here I come!

Anyway, I was watching 'The Christmas List' the other day.  It's about this woman who writes out a Christmas list and puts it into a special mailbox in a department store for Christmas lists.  It's a magical mailbox, and every wish on the list is granted.

What if that were true?  What would you want for yourself?  Granted, we all want world peace, but for yourself, what would you wish for?  Post your wildest dreams for what you'd like for Christmas, the funnier the better.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day!





Happy Veteran's Day to all those who fought for our freedom. :) May God bless you all!

Now, here's a question for you...why do we formally celebrate Veteran's Day on November 11 (even though today's the 12th)?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog Hop 18--and a new book: A Guardian Angel's Kiss

I’ve been tagged by the talented Diane Craver for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. In this Blog Hop, the goal is to find out about new books we haven't heard of or that are still works in progress. The rules state that I have to answer ten questions, and then at the bottom of my post, I've listed the author(s) who will come after me for next Wednesday.

Here are my ten questions, with answers:

1. What is the working title of your book?
Book #30 is out! 'A Guardian Angel's Kiss' was just indie published. See www.eryngrace.com/aguardianangelskiss.html for details.



2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
This book came from the idea of an imperfect heroine, saved by a guardian angel. The heroine is contemplating suicide, after being raped and finding out she's pregnant from the rape.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Christian romance

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For the heroine, I'd like someone sassy but knows her place and is classy. For the hero, he has to be able to play the part of an E.R. doctor who cares. I'm not sure which actors would fit these days, but they'd have to be young.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Gina Russell thinks the only way out of her situation is death, but by an unusual circumstance, an E.R. doctor gives her hope and convinces her she's worthy to do a lot more in her life.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It usually takes me about a week or so to do a first draft. I wrote this one so long ago, I forget how long it took me.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any Christian book about hope.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I've known so many people who have been touched by the suicide of a loved one, I wanted people who are considering such a drastic measure to rethink their actions. Sometimes it just takes the touch of one other person or some change in someone's situation to give a person hope for their future. There's so much to live for, and so many lives to change for the better.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
This story is also about family, and how being accepted into a family, even if it's just a group of people, can mean a lot to someone who's down and out.


I had a tough time getting five people to follow me, because most of the people I know are either doing this blog hop for someone else, or didn't know five people who would follow them, so they opted out.  However, I did get one wonderful author to follow me  next week, on Halloween:  L.M. Boeltz.  Her blog is here (http://www.weaverofshadows.com/weavers_blog.html).  She writes scary books, which is perfect for Halloween.  Her Amazon author's page is here (http://www.amazon.com/L-M-Boelz/e/B008D5QUYY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'Into' vs. 'in to'

So I'm still editing those old published manuscripts, and am now looking at 'into' vs. 'in to.' I found this:

Use 'in to' if you can generally replace it with 'in order to.' Use 'into' if it means or can answer the question 'where' or indicates some sort of action.

Personally, I think of 'in to' as 'inside to'. I think of 'into' as just 'inside.'

I walked into the room. (where? the room. OR I walked inside the room. Use into.)
I went in to put the book away. (I went, in order to put the book away, OR I went inside to put the book away. Use 'in to'.)

Easy, peasy. YAY!

Here are a few references:

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/into.html
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/into-vs-in-to

Smiles,
Markee

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Magazine with 'Meet Nancy O'Berry' and Treasures!

My latest magazine is out: www.sweettalebooks.com. Go check it out.




I have a posting from Nancy O'Berry about her Christmas novella, 'A Cordial Christmas.' (The cover is listed above.)  It's a wonderful feel-good story. I just love it!

Hint: There's a free book (Touchdowns and Potions) coupon, and TWO $10 gift certificates for Amazon if you solve a cryptogram. First come, first served on those gift certificates.

These hidden treasures expire at the end of the month.

Smiles!
Markee

On to vs. Onto

So, I'm editing this manuscript of a book that had been previously published by an epub. One of the editors kept changing 'onto' to 'on to' in this manuscript. He was from the U.K. I didn't really understand why he did it, but let it go. But now, I'm running into 'on to' words that I think should be 'onto.' I seem to use it a lot in the phrase 'hold on to' with various forms of 'hold' (held, holding, etc.).

I had to go look it up because it was bugging me. Turns out, the guy from the U.K. was right. It's not considered to be 'standard' in the U.K. to use 'onto' much at all, actually, but is more standard here in the U.S.

So that's the rule? Use 'onto' if you can replace it with 'on' or if you can put 'up' before the onto. Otherwise, use 'on to.'

Here's an example:

I'm going to climb onto my bed.
--I can put the word 'up' before onto. I can also replace 'onto' with on. Either rule can work.

I'm going to hold on to my money.
--'up' and 'on' don't work here.

Cool rule! Now if I can just remember it. LOL!

Smiles!
Markee

Friday, August 31, 2012

Flip Book!!! Cool stuff and free treasures!


Check out my new flip-book magazine, on the first page of one of my websites!

It's a magazine...about e-books! Hidden inside are some free treasures, as well as a short story and part of a bigger book (given out over time). Enjoy and tell your friends!

http://sweettalebooks.com/

Smiles,
Markee

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I met Aaron Rodgers...in my dreams!

OK...I'm not a groupie, and definitely not into younger men.  I'm happily married with three kids, ages 20 (a son in college), 18 (a redheaded daughter with spunk, starting college this fall), and almost 17 (a laid back brunette daughter in high school).  I want to put this disclaimer up front, so you know I'm not just drooling over Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.  I'm old enough to be the guy's mother, for Pete's sake, dontcha know (that's a northern Midwestern thing...don't ask).

I live in the Green Bay area now (in a 'burb, across the street from the famous city) and live about five miles from Lambeau field, where the Packers play.  Their logos are everywhere, but it's rare to get a sighting of a player.  I've seen Donald Driver (at a restaurant with his family), and I THINK I saw Brett Favre when he was up here, driving a small pickup truck.  But I've never truly met any of the players.

However, I always told my kids if I ever met Aaron Rodgers, I'd give him a few tips on his love life, because he's not dating women who would be good for him but only good for his career.  They're not the type of women he'd want his kids to have as a mother.

So this morning I had this dream where I got to MEET Aaron Rodgers.  He was a great guy...amazing and very nice.  I know...it's crazy, but it was my dream and who knows what can happen in those things.  And no, I wasn't star struck after initially meeting him at a cookout (yeah...weird dream) where he was cooking steaks.  We struck up a conversation and while I tried to learn to cook (I'm terrible at it), he was just flipping steaks with his buddies.  Very odd.

He came to my house with his friends, including Clay Matthews.  My writing friend, Sandy Wolters, just LOVES Clay, so in my dream, I gave him her email address so he could contact her.  Cracked me up that even in my dreams, I would think of something like that.  Aaron and his buddies sat down at our kitchen table while our dogs plied them with kisses and tail wags, and we discussed business.  Aaron decided I'd become his pet project, to get my marketing up and running so I actually made money, and he'd fix up my house (which has a LOT to be done to it) so he could hide out here.  In return, he wanted me to write a book centered around him.  I talked him out of it being nonfiction, and considering I write romantic fiction, basically, he'd have to settle for what I wrote.  I'd fix him up with a NICE girl in my book.

Then the dream progressed into the weird (like it wasn't already weird).  Aaron wanted to meet our redheaded daughter in college with her friends, for a photo op.  His younger brother wanted to meet our youngest daughter (his brother is the quarterback for the Vanderbilt Commodores, in TN).  And Aaron's female cousin wanted to meet our son, because she's quirky like he is (our son has Asperger's syndrome and is very bright...scary bright).  And no, I don't even know if he has a cousin, but it seems that in my dream world, everyone gets a happy ending.

It was just weird.  Aaron married our redheaded daughter, Jordan wanted to marry our other daughter, and the cousin had our son move to Texas to be happily married there.  I'm such a romance writer, even in my dreams.  So the book I was writing about his love life came true in my dreams.

Welcome to my head.  It's a scary place to be, even when I'm asleep.  But Aaron, if you read this, send me an email.  I'm always happy to have you meet my kids...or fix up my house...or have me write a book about you.  LOL!

Smiles and happy dreams,
Markee

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NEW BOOK! 'A Trail of Rose Petals'--Christian Romance based on Hansel & Gretel



Blurb:

*** NOTE: Based on Christian morals--Christian Romance ***

Christian Romances Based on Timeless Tales—'Hansel and Gretel'

When Gretchen Blake saves famous lawyer Dean Hanselman from a bear in the Olympic National Forest, she's sure she'll never see him again. But her wealthy brother hires Dean to watch over Gretchen, since the press seems to consider them a couple. Gretchen just wants to take care of the family business, but Dean and her family have other ideas. Can Dean's college pact with his buddies save both families from superficial thoughts and material gain? The clock's ticking because Gretchen doesn't think it will.


Excerpt:


Chapter 1

Just as the forest ranger's door opened about twenty feet away, Gretchen Blake heard a noise to the right of the building. A huge black bear ran toward her from way out in the woods at the same time a good-looking man exited the building, looking down at his cell phone.

Gretchen froze in place. "Bear!" she finally yelled.

The man glanced back as he pocketed his phone, and then ran toward Gretchen and grabbed her hand.

"Run!" he shouted, not letting go of her hand.

As they ran into the woods, the bear was on their heels, snorting and growling behind them.

She gasped for air, the cold in her head making her cough slightly. "Don't let me go. I don't want to be bear food!" Once she glanced back, the bear had narrowed the distance between them. It let out a fierce growl. Gretchen ran even faster, pulling the man with her. They must've run for another hundred yards before they came to a river.

Gretchen stopped short, shaking on the inside from the thought of the bear getting closer. She stared downward at the slight rapids, not sure she wanted to keep running. "That's cold water."

"It's either that or you'll be mauled." The man looked over his shoulder, and in one pull, dragged them both into the river. Fish hit her legs as she tried to move faster, the water getting deeper and deeper with her feet sticking in the murk at the bottom. She didn't want to think what was down there.

Considering she'd had a head cold for a few days, this was horrible. The cold water was getting deeper, and she lifted her chin in anticipation of going under water. Goosebumps covered her skin, but she had to survive.

"He's coming." The man pulled her farther into the water, up to her neck. "Swim for it!"

Gretchen wasn't a good swimmer, but took off for the other side of the river, which seemed to be very wide and deep.

The man swam ahead and crawled out of the other side. If he could do it, she could do this, swimming as fast as she could with her head under the cold water. When her hands hit rocks in front of her, she lifted her head and climbed out beside the man, the water dripping off her clothes and hair, giving her a chill. It was the worst possible combination with her cold, which wasn't getting any better.

She turned, staring at the other bank. "Where is he?"

"There," the man said, pointing.

And sure enough, the bear paced the other side of the river, looking as if he was ready to swim for it.

They ran farther into the woods, until the river was out of sight.

As soon as they stopped, Gretchen looked down over her clothes. "I'm soaked." She wrung out her long hair, feeling the slime cover her hand. "Yuck."

"Quit whining. At least we're not hurt." He turned away from her and headed farther into the forest. The day was overcast and threatened rain.

He didn't sound like a very nice man, but she had to state the obvious. "Shouldn't we head back over there? That should be the way back to the forest ranger's building."

The man stuck his hands in his front pockets and pulled it out. "I have a cell phone." He pushed a few buttons. "It's wet and dead."

Gretchen had nothing—not her purse or cell phone. No, that was back in her car. "I think we're stuck." She turned back toward the wide river. "Help! We need help!"

The man moved closer. "Lady. Quit it. You'll alert the bears to dinner if you don't be quiet. I'm sure we'll find a way back. Just follow me."

She was surprised at how nasty this man was, realizing she'd gotten stuck in the forest with a jerk. Of all the people to get lost with, it seemed to go with her bad luck.

She followed the man to the northwest, the opposite direction in which they'd come. It wasn't the way she'd go. Considering he didn't seem too happy with her, she kept her mouth shut. He probably knew the area better than she did—at least she hoped he did.

They walked for a long time, but she kept silent. This man, whoever he was, didn't seem like the type of person she wanted to get to know.

Instead of talking, she went into her own thoughts while shivering in the cool breeze of the Olympic National Forest, west of Puget Sound in the Seattle, Washington area.

Two days earlier, she'd cried all day, but now, she had to be tough to pick up the pieces. This was do or die out here in the wild, and no matter how much her heart felt empty, she had to concentrate on the here and now.

"We're lost," the man finally said, breaking the silence. "There has to be a way back to the ranger's station."

"Maybe there's another ranger's station that way?" she asked, pointing farther into the forest.

"Doubtful. We've been walking for a long time and I don't see any type of civilization."

"I should've left a trail," she muttered. "I'm sorry."

"A trail?"

She studied his drying short brown hair and blue eyes, realizing this man was very attractive, but had a temper. Nope, not her type, but he did look a little familiar.

"You know," she said. "A trail? Like they used in the story of Hansel and Gretel? Because of the mean stepmother, the father took them into the woods and they left a trail so they could find their way back."

"That would've been useful." He stopped walking and looked back toward where they'd come. "We might have to go back through the river, if we can find it."

She shivered, wrapped her arms across herself and rubbed her arms, trying to keep warm while he turned to watch her. She hated him watching her, wondering if he was some type of masher or something.

"You look really cold," he said. "I wish I had a jacket for you."

Like he was nice or chivalrous to do such a thing. No way. "I'll be fine."

"Yeah. You don't look fine. Your lips are blue, almost matching your eyes." He moved beside her and put his arm over her shoulder, rubbing her upper arm on the other side. "I think we're going to try your idea and hunt for another forest ranger's building on the other side of this forest, since we're close to the northern tip." He raked his eyes down over her. "You're skinny, too. I bet you're really cold."

"That's an understatement." Her teeth chattered so she closed her lips, trying to keep quiet. She didn't need him angry with her again.

"Let's hurry up, then. I don't want you dying of pneumonia because of a bear."

Pneumonia. The word made her so sad from what had happened, but she couldn't appear weak.

She tried to keep up with him as they walked in silence through the forest. It got darker and darker until finally, bright lightning filled the sky. A clap of thunder made Gretchen hold onto her ears. She was terrified, willing tears to stop before filling her eyes. The rain started as a trickle, making Gretchen lower her head to keep the water out of her eyes.

"Scared?" he asked.

"I'll survive."

Another thunderclap made her jump, and he moved closer to her. "If it's any consolation, I'm scared, too. Let's find some sort of shelter. Keep your eyes opened."

"Yes, sir."

The rain fell a bit harder.

"Are you afraid of me?" he asked, almost surprised.

"Yes, sir."

"Why?"

"You yelled at me. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I don't like being yelled at." She wanted to tell him who she was, that her family could make his life miserable if they wanted to, but this wasn't the time. So she kept her mouth shut.

The rain fell harder, pounding a steady beat while pouring through the leaves and branches onto Gretchen's head, the ground turning muddier.

"Let's find some place to get warm then we'll talk about this," he said. "I'm really sorry. I've never had anyone scared of me before." He chuckled. "That almost makes me laugh. Women usually have me on a pedestal, clamoring to go out with me."

She didn't see the humor. She was out in the rain with a stranger who terrified her, with no way out. This was a nightmare, and he was laughing, thinking about his status among women?

He pointed to a big rock with a few tree branches hanging overhead. "There. We can at least get dry over there."

She followed him to the rock and sat down, and then leaned up against it.

"You okay?" he asked, sitting beside her.

"Sure." She shivered, wishing she could just get dry. She pulled her knees up to her chest and put her filthy shoes on the muddy ground, wrapping her arms around her very wet pant legs.

"Someone will find us," he said. "I'm sure of it."

"How can you be so sure?"

His face turned annoyed. "Don't you know who I am?"

She shook her head, trying to keep her teeth from chattering.

"I'm Dean Hanselman."

Her mouth fell open. Sitting beside her was the most famous criminal lawyer in the United States—and a playboy trying to climb the corporate and social ladder. No wonder he looked a little familiar and he was angry. He got paid to be angry every day of his life.


Enjoy and Bless You!
Eryn

Thursday, June 21, 2012

'Kiss of Fashion' is out on Front Row Lit!

My book, 'Kiss of Fashion' is on Front Row Lit today at http://frontrowlit.com/?p=1969.  It was so much fun to write, because I had to do a bit of research on a lot of different things.  Go check it out!  :)

Smiles,
Markee

Monday, June 11, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Excerpt for 'Justiceman' on Frontrowlit!

Woohoo! I'm on FrontRowLit today, for my book (by Andie Alexander) 'Justiceman.' Come on over and check it out: http://frontrowlit.com/?p=1953. I'm so excited!

Thank you, FrontRowLit! :)


Andie Alexander

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Think Amazon Hates Me...

Yes, I do think this is true. I wonder what I ever did for them to hate me, but here are the facts:


  • My sales are WAY down, even though I have 28 titles out there and WAS selling 50 books a day, just two short months ago. 
  • Last night, my Kindle Keyboard's WiFi stopped working. It can find no networks now at all, even though we live in the burbs and usually even our neighbor's WiFi networks pop up (we have a connection, too). I called Amazon and since my warranty's up (my Kindle Keyboard is 1.5 years old), they can offer me the same product at 1/2 price. That's the good thing. But do I want to get the SAME product if it's prone to break and reboots periodically on me?  Or do I want to get a Nook Color and get the N2A SD card to make it an android so I can read Kindle books on the Nook?  My son has one of those and they're COOL, but doesn't have a 'real' keyboard (I edit on my Kindle).
Does anyone have the same feeling that Amazon doesn't like you, either? Or is it just me? LOL!

Thanks,
Markee

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Article Info: e-Book Prices

 In this article: www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/thomas-deprima-over-140000-indie-books-sold-at-a-price-that-might-surprise-you/, Thomas DePrima is interviewed. There were some very interesting comments. These two stuck out for me:
"Like most people, I’m playing it one day at a time right now as we try to determine what’s going to happen in this industry. I’m also working to expand my distribution channels. Amazon has struck a serious blow to Kindle fiction book sales for the immediate future and beyond, so I have to find other outlets for my books."
I'm seeing this in Amazon sales. I used to sell between 20 and 50 books a day on Amazon. Now, I'm lucky to sell 7 on Amazon, even with 27 different titles. Why should readers buy my books when there are so many freebies every day? Thanks to KDP Select, the Amazon market has changed for Indies, and not for the better.
And let us not forget the immortal words of Thomas Paine, a self-pubber who wrote in 1776, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value."
This is so true. I see more trolls harassing books that are free or 99 cents. They have no respect for such books. I get emails from people selling books all the time and have seen books that are around 2,000 words (about ten pages) selling for $2.99. So why do my books, that are all over 70,000 words, selling for $2.99 considered too expensive? And yes, I've had one review like that on one of my books on Amazon. The reader was upset that I raised my book prices from 99 cents to $2.99. It's all about respect. Some of my books are more than a hundred thousand words (around 400 pages). If I followed the industry, those books would be more than $5.99. But I keep them around $2.99-$3.99. I look at a Vente Latte at Starbucks, for about $4. My books last longer than that latte, and I put a LOT more effort into the product and have to pay out a LOT more to publish that book (the cover, the ISBN, the software to create the book, the laptop, etc.). So why do readers think my books should be free? I'd love to hear your comments on this topic. Smiles, Markee

New Book Release! 'Touching the Love of a Texas Sunset'



Blurb:

*** BASED ON CHRISTIAN MORALS--CHRISTIAN ROMANCE ***

Book 2 in the Three Cross Faith series: Jaimee Sherman has to leave her job in Seattle to sell her brother's house in the Three Cross, Texas area. Christian recording artist Austin Cole lives on the ranch beside the home. Since his wife, Niki, is pregnant, they ask Jaimee to help them. In exchange, they'll fix up her brother's house and sell it for her. Jaimee loves her job and falls for one of the ranch hands who's also a member of Austin's band, Mac Cooper.

Jaimee realizes she's in over her head trying to keep the secret of her past non-Christian life while taking care of Austin's home and dating Mac. It's not until her ex-boyfriend shows up on Austin's doorstep and takes her hostage that she has to come clean and tell the group about being held in an evil cult growing up.

This full-length book contains about 104,900 words.



Excerpt:
Chapter 1


"Llamas! I hate llamas. Who'd ever want to buy a llama farm in the middle of Texas? I mean, it's hot here, and to sell it in August?" Jaimee Sherman wiped her brow, bent down, and hammered the 'for sale' sign into the ground in front of the ranch as she talked to herself. "And where is this place called Deerlick, Texas? I can just see it now, 'Oh, I'd like a ranch, but I can't find the town. I've lived all over Texas, but there is no town called Deerlick.' So, I'd say to them, 'it's near the cosmopolitan city of Three Cross, south of Midland.'" She rolled her eyes. "'It has a church, a grocery store, and a gas station. Oh, and don't forget the four-way stop.' The people would just walk away and laugh at me, making me broke within a week."

She hit the sign again, sinking it well into the ground. At least no one from her past would find her in this town, because no one could find this town. So she did feel safe, which was a good thing.

If she could just get this ranch to sell, she could return to her life where she did feel safe. She'd already legally listed the place when she was in Seattle, and decided it should sell 'as is' so she wouldn't have to put any work into it. Granted, she'd have to stay here until it sold, but it couldn't be that bad, since it had been her brother's house, right? Yeah. It would sell. Jaimee just hoped it would be fast, because every moment she spent in Texas, she was losing money.

As soon as the motor from a car sounded behind her, she turned to see a dark blue minivan coming toward her from the north. "Great. A soccer mom. A hick soccer mom. That has to be the worst combination there is."

She really had to stop talking to herself or people would think she was crazy.

The car stopped near her driveway, pulling to the side of the road. A tall brown-haired man wearing a Stetson hat got out of the driver's seat first, followed by a pregnant blonde woman from the passenger's seat. The woman helped a young blonde girl from behind the passenger's seat, while a really good-looking man sporting a big smile, stepped out from the seat behind the driver. The smiling man was also wearing a Stetson, but she could see a hint of light brown hair and blue eyes under the hat. She nicknamed him 'Smiley' in her mind.

"Howdy," the tall brown-haired man said in a strong Texas accent. He pulled the pregnant woman to his side while holding the hand of the little girl. "Are you new in these parts?"

Jaimee pushed back her hair that had fallen from her ponytail. "Sort of. I'm selling this farm. My brother had to 'find' himself and bought all these llamas, then told me to sell it after he eloped and ran off to Maine or some other place I never want to visit." She studied their stunned stares. "I'm rambling, aren't I?"

"No." The woman glanced toward the man. "I'm Niki Cole, this is my husband Austin, and our daughter, Sarah." She turned toward the lighter-haired man. "And this is Mac Cooper."

Jaimee shook Austin's hand and bent to shake Sarah's hand as well. "And how old are you?"

"I'm four. My momma's having another baby soon, but it won't be on my birthday." Her accent was adorable and very Texan.

"When's your birthday?"

"The same day as Momma's." She looked over at Niki. "Christmas day."

"That's cool." Jaimee straightened up and faced Niki. "So you gave birth on your birthday?"

"No, I'm really her stepmom. Her real mom died when she was less than a year old. But I've adopted her and now she can call me Mom."

"You're not from Texas," Jaimee said.

"No, I'm originally from Pennsylvania. We're your neighbors." Niki pointed back down the road.

"Well, I won't be living here long—just until I get a buyer. My name's Jaimee Sherman, by the way."

Smiley, also known as Mac, looked confused. "You're Ned Sherman's sister?" His accent was also southern, sounding a lot like Austin.

"Yes, I am." She reached over and shook his hand, feeling the warmth and strength of his grip. From the roughness of his hands, he was a hard worker. She wondered if she could make a sale. "He called me right after he bought this place and told me to get a real estate license in Texas, so I could sell it for him."

"I knew Ned. So he's not living here any longer?"

"No, not pathetic Ned." Jaimee rolled her eyes. "He came to visit me in Seattle and met my roommate. That's all it took and they were off in three days, getting married in Vegas. I think he had someone helping him here, but now they're gone. I'm stuck feeding animals I don't trust or like."

Mac chuckled. "That's hilarious. You look nothing like him. He had dark hair and dark eyes, but your hair's red with bright green eyes. I never would've guessed you were his brother. Why would he ever ask you to sell the place for him? We have people here who sell ranches."

"I'm a real estate agent in Seattle, and he thinks I can find someone to buy this place." She turned toward the huge farmhouse with a sigh. "I don't know why they would, unless they're as stupid as my brother and have a death wish to be eaten by llamas." Jaimee covered her mouth as she spun toward their laughter. "Sorry about that. I have a tendency to speak my mind."

"Don't worry about it," Niki said. "Would you like to come to our house for dinner?"

"Well, I don't know what's in the refrigerator or freezer here. I just got into town, and my first job was to put up this sign. I guess I have to figure out how to feed llamas. What does a llama look like, anyway?"

Mac and Austin both chuckled, biting their lips.

Mac walked closer, his blue eyes very striking. She was impressed with his appearance, almost looking like a model in a magazine, but very rugged. "Tell you what," he said. "I'll help you then we can go to their ranch for dinner."

"Are you invited, too? Is this some sort of meeting of hot manly men?" she asked, then covered her eyes. "Sorry about that. I'm so embarrassed."

As she uncovered her eyes, she saw Mac shake his head while he laughed, glancing toward Austin.

"Yes, he's invited," Niki said, chuckling. "He works at our place, and all the workers are invited tonight. They're working hard on the ranch and they'll probably be working late, practicing. We were just headed to see Austin's brother down the street, but that can wait."

"Practicing? Practicing what? Feeding animals?" Jaimee laughed at her own joke. Mac finally let out a low laugh, the sound filling her heart.

"No," Austin said with a grin. "We have a band and we're practicing tonight. Want to listen to the band, too?"

She felt the confusion cover her face. "A band? What type of band?"

"Christian band," Mac said. His hands flew to his hips as if he was ready for a fight.

"Cool," Jaimee said. "What's the name of the band?"

"Three Cross Faith," Austin said. "We're known nationwide, and they can't keep up with sales. They've had to keep making the CDs because they're flying off the shelves." He chuckled and glanced toward his wife. "Our manager, here, is doing a great job."

"Three Cross Faith," Jaimee said. "Wait. I know that group. I've heard of you guys. You're the Stetson guys, with the hot smiling guitarist." She spun toward Mac. "You! You're the good-looking guitarist with the big smile. I've seen your CD cover."

Mac laughed, shaking his head. "Yeah, I'm the only one who was smiling on that cover. We're practicing tonight at Austin's house."

Jaimee lowered her eyes and kicked at a pebble, putting her hands behind her back. "Um, I have a confession. I've never actually heard your group, but I've seen the cover." She looked up and faced them. "Does that count?"

"Honesty gets you everywhere," Mac said. "Where did you see the cover?'

"This guy I know has it, and we were sort of dating and he still thinks we're dating, but I'm not sure any more. He got it for a gag gift." She covered her face with her hand. "I tell too much all the time."

All three of the adults laughed as Jaimee removed her hand. She'd never been more embarrassed, but they didn't seem to mind at all.

"Well, you'll hear it and I promise it's no gag," Austin said. "I think you'll like it."

"I did go to church, sort of," she said, but winced. "I'm rambling again, aren't I?"

Niki nodded. "I'll help you, because I understand it." She glanced toward Mac. "Just come on over when you're done. Want us to bring you a car?"

"Uh…" He looked over at Jaimee. "Want to walk less than a mile to their house?"

"No way. I have a rental and I can drive."

"Nope," Mac said. "I'll be back as soon as we get home. I can't let a woman drive me around." He tipped his Stetson with a grin. "Ma'am, I'll be back in a jiffy to help with your llamas."

Niki reached out and shook Jaimee's hand. "Welcome to Deerlick, even if it's just temporary."

Austin lifted Sarah into his arms and she shook Jaimee's hand, too. "Nice to meet you, ma'am," the young girl said in a sweet southern drawl.

After Austin shook her hand, they all got back into the van, made a u-turn, and drove off.

Jaimee straightened her ponytail and headed back into the house, the August heat making the sweat roll down her skin.

As soon as she opened the door, she wrinkled her nose, grimacing at all the weird new-age furniture inside. She really had to get everything out of the place. Her brother had issues and she couldn't wait to get back to her life in Seattle.

At least the original house had character, with a beautiful big stone fireplace in the living room and a potbelly stove in the dining room. But the downstairs was very cut up and dark because of all the walls.

The sound of the doorbell made her run toward the door. As soon as she opened it, her eyebrows flew upward. Mac stood in front of her. "You came back?"

"Of course. I can't let you deal with the llamas alone." He walked inside, staring into the living room on the left and the dining room on the right. "What interesting furniture."

She shook her head. "Lime green and pink plastic is interesting? It's downright ugly. I think my brother's insane or brain damaged. Want something to drink?"

"Sure. Do you have any soda? Austin doesn't like us drinking soda during the day, because it makes us thirstier."

"I honestly don't know, but let's find out." She headed into the kitchen as he followed behind. But when she opened the refrigerator door, it was completely empty. "Well, it's not there." She tried the freezer, which was also empty, then opened the pantry. Six cases of cola sat on the floor with nothing else inside.

"I think this is a magic door," she said. "I wonder if there would be ice inside if I'd close it and open it again."

Mac chuckled and picked up two colas from the floor. "These are really hot. Do you have air conditioning in this place? It's hot in here."

She shrugged. "Beats me. I'll find out some day, probably in the winter."

He walked around the corner and she followed. "Here's the thermostat," he said. "It's set to seventy-five and heat. No wonder it's hot in here." He reset the thermostat, headed back to the kitchen, and put the drinks in the freezer.

"I'm not very good at domestic things," she said. "I think I might need to do some work on this house to make it sell."

"If you don't have buyers who like lime or pink, then yes, you're right." He touched the wall. "This Chinese-looking wallpaper won't make it down here."

"You're hired," Jaimee said, heading toward the back door. "I need someone to tell me about the local culture."

"I don't know if I'm good at that, either. You need to talk to Niki. She's good at everything."

"Everything?" Jaimee turned toward him, staring into his eyes. "What does that mean?"

"She cooks, she cleans, she plays with Sarah, and she helps with the band. She even helped on the farm when she could. Austin's a lucky man, because she loves him and loves her life. She keeps a smile on her face all day long."

"Do you want her?"

"No," he said. "I don't want any married women. I only date single women, if I decide to ever date again."

"Oh, so you want someone just like her?" Jaimee asked, nodding. That made more sense. He didn't seem to be the type to take other men's wives.

"Nope. I think any man would want a woman who can be independent and take care of herself, yet has a fun personality." His eyebrows lowered. "Why are you asking me this?"

"I'm curious. I'm doing research for local culture." She spun around and opened the back door with a chuckle.

He followed, shutting the door behind him.

"He has four llamas, I think." She turned toward him. "Do you know what a llama is? Is it like an alpaca?"

He nodded and pointed. "I think you have more than four."

Once she turned, her mouth fell open at the sight. "That looks like at least twenty or thirty of those monsters. What now?"

"Pray," Mac said, chuckling. "I think that's your only option."

Even though she didn't know how to pray, he was so right.


Buy Links:
Smashwords All Romance eBooks OmniLit Amazon Amazon UK Amazon DE Amazon ES Amazon IT Barnes & Noble


Blessings,
Eryn Grace

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Article info: Expresso Book Machine

 Check this out. There are these 'expresso book machines' that'll print out your choice of book as you watch, bind it, and spit it out for you.

http://ondemandbooks.com/

For indie authors, you just email the book content and send it to the bookstore. They print it out for you.

Look at this page, and you'll see what it looks like, and the self-publishing program: http://ondemandbooks.com/self_publishing.php

Amazing. These types of places were predicted years ago, but it never came to fruition, or so I thought.


Smiles,
Markee

Another New Kindle?

 In an effort to compete against the Nook's new backlit e-reader, Amazon is coming out with another new Kindle. See here: Reuters.com 'Amazon aims to launch front-lit Kindle in July: source'.

Personally, I love the idea of competition. It brings out the best in a company, making the technology improve. But why just copy the competition and not make something better? This new Kindle also has a shorter battery life, which makes sense.

I'd like to see an e-reader with a USB port. That way, I can give out my book easier, just sending a jump drive containing the .mobi or .epub, or every possible format for any reader.

What would you like to see in a new type of e-reader?

Smiles,
Markee

Article Info: Book Marketing Ideas

 So a friend of mine sent me this link: 89 Book Marketing Ideas that will Change Your Life. I've been looking for a list of new ideas for a while, so this is a blessing.

There are some good ones on there. Take a look.

What works best for you?

Smiles,
Markee

Monday, May 14, 2012

Article Info: Are You Writing A Book a Month? Or is it more like a Book a Year?

 Wow. Check out this article: NY Times--'Writer’s Cramp: In the E-Reader Era, a Book a Year Is Slacking'.

Big authors are being told to write more, so they're not forgotten. Right before a big release, the big publishers also want the authors to put out a novella, so their name's out there for everyone to see.

So is more better? I'm not so sure, but it does help with marketing. However, most people have 'day jobs' and can't write as much as someone who's home all the time (and refuses to clean because of her 'writing job'--um...that's me). Is it possible to write a book a month, from scratch? I release around a book or so a month, but mine are already written and on my computer, so that doesn't count.

The market is evolving, for sure. This is a 'I want it now' society, however, if I wait for something, it seems so much sweeter than having it instantly.

What do you think?

Smiles, Markee

NEW BOOK! 'Do You Need a Doggie Bag?' by Andie Alexander



Blurb:

*** Book 3 in the Extreme Travel Series ***

To waylay Kes' fake PTSD, the CIA sends the group on a cruise to the west coast of Mexico. At a port, Kes and James buy a homeless boy a meal, endangering the entire cruise ship when the child's kidnappers want revenge. It's up to the team to keep all the passengers out of the hands of a slavery ring, while not tipping their hand that they're agents.

Book 1: 'Get Me Out of Africa'

Book 2: 'Voo Do Love Me!'

Book 3: 'Do You Need a Doggie Bag?'



Excerpt:

Someone was in my apartment. I knew it before I unlocked my door at the end of a long day of work. I always locked the deadbolt, and from past experience, I'd learned to wedge a small toothpick near the bottom of the door.

But now, the toothpick was gone and the deadbolt wasn't locked.

I reached into my purse and removed my brand new gun. After easing back the bottom lock, I turned the doorknob, peeked inside, and entered the apartment, trying not to make any noise.

No one was in the main room of the huge apartment that contained my living room, dining room, and kitchen. Even though I saw no one, I kept my gun in front of me.

The toilet flushed in the bathroom, which was off the bedroom to my right. The culprit must be waiting for me, even though he or she was noisy. I removed my coat and threw it on the back of a dining room chair. No one came out of the bathroom, so I hid around the corner from the door to my bedroom and peeked around the doorjamb. It was definitely a man, because he started to hum.

With my gun at arm's length, I inched my way into my bedroom. A tall, blond-haired man left the bathroom. This was my chance to take the guy down.

I lifted the gun up to the side of his head. "Freeze!"



To read more of the excerpt, go to www.andiealexander.com.


Ciao,
Andie

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What Would Your Mobster Nickname Be?

 If you're writing about mobsters, this article might just be what you need: Ever Wonder How Mobsters Got Their Nicknames?

Interesting information. I wonder what my 'mobster nickname' would be? Slug writer, since I sit at the computer all day? LOL! What's your mobster nickname?

Smiles, Markee

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Whew! I'm SO glad I didn't go the traditional publishing route!

 Check out this blog article: www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2012/kriss-post-spread-the-word/.

First, I'm sorry Kris Rusch's blog was hacked. That's just mean and nasty. She has a lot of good information.  I hate hackers, too.  Don't they have better things to do with their time?

Second, she's opened my eyes to a) shady, greedy agents, and b) nasty trad publishing tactics. Take a look at the article and see if some contract of yours (if you're in trad publishing) is shady. If so, your agent isn't on the up-and-up, because they should've found it. If you're like me, thank the lucky stars that you've gone indie.

Just amazing!

Smiles, Markee

Thursday, May 10, 2012

#buyindie...from bxretlind.com

 I think I love this guy. If you haven't read the blog about #buyindie, go here: http://bxwretlind.com/blog/buyindie/. It's all about supporting indie authors, making it easier to find each other on twitter. Take a look and help out a struggling indie author. :) Smiles, Markee

Monday, May 7, 2012

Promo site: FrontRow Lit

A really nice guy followed me on twitter this past week, and I followed up on his email. He works at FrontRow Lit. If you click on the submissions page, you can see what they expect:

Submission requests for published/self-published books:


  1. Synopsis of story
  2. Excerpt (preferably 1,500 to 2,000 words)
  3. Author bio
  4. Picture of cover art (preferably in JPG format)
  5. Links requested to be included in post (website, blog, Amazon page, etc.)
  6. Front Row Lit services are free of charge
  7. Every submission is also considered for publication in Front Row Monthly magazine, a digital, page-flip publication currently being read in more than 50 countries.

I tried it and man, I'm impressed!  I sent in one book, explaining that I have 25 published books right now.  He wanted all of them, eventually, but I initially sent him six (different pen names).  He's booked until June right now, but I figure it can't hurt!

So try them out.  Check out the web page and email Adam (the contact person).  I'll let you know when my books come up in June.  Very cool!  Thank you, FrontRow Lit!

Smiles,
Markee/Andie/Eryn/Kyra

Article Info: 'The Kindle Index: What City Buys the Most E-Readers?'

 I have a friend who sends me amazing articles and blog entries about writing and ebooks. This article is really cool. theatlantic.com.

It shows the most e-literate cities in America. What interested me the most is that many of these cities is in the north. They also have a graph that shows colder cities reading more by Kindles. It's a very interesting article.

Smiles, Markee

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Six Parts to Writing a Book: Part 1--Writing the Book of Your Dreams

 I write for Triond.com under the name 'Paige Ryter.' I've decided to share some of what I've learned about writing and publishing a book for Triond. The first in a series of six parts has been published, and can be found under: www.writinghood.com. Take a look and feel free to comment. My next part will be 'Editing the Book of Your Dreams.' Smiles, Markee

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What a Game Changer! Microsoft invests in Nook/Digital books...

 I woke up this morning to hear that Microsoft will be pumping $605 million into Barnes & Noble's Nook and college business market.

See reference here: (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp is jumping into the fast-growing e-books market by investing $605 million over five years in Barnes & Noble Inc's Nook e-reader and college business, as it looks to unlock Amazon.com and Apple Inc's grip on the exploding tablet computer market. From the article, "Microsoft's initial investment of $300 million, which will give it a 17.6 percent stake in the newly created Barnes & Noble subsidiary, values the new unit at $1.7 billion. Over the next five years, Microsoft has committed to invest another $305 million."

So what does that mean?

According to smartmoney.com, (Are the E-Reader’s Days Numbered?), Microsoft will up the ante, by shifting digital books toward "computers, cellphones, and tablets – not just traditional e-readers."

But for us, the authors, it's a huge game changer. Knowing Microsoft, they have a tendency to rule the market. That means all of those books I didn't put onto Amazon's KDP Select and left on Pubit as well, gathering sales and sales numbers will finally pay off.

My sales on Amazon have slowed to almost a stand-still. I suspect Amazon's KDP Select is to blame, since I didn't jump on the band wagon, but chose to keep my books at other outlets, to still give books away to the troops. I'm now selling most of my books on Nook.

Time will tell if this investment pays off for the indie writer, but I certainly hope it does. If Microsoft helps develop anything for Barnes & Noble, I figure it can only help sales.

Cross your fingers, we're in for a roller coaster ride!


Smiles, Markee

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NEW BOOK!!! 'Dead Men Don't Dust' by Andie Alexander (mystery/romance)




Blurb: A tiara-clad alligator, a dead feather duster salesman in the attic, and a handsome mob fugitive make Allison Brandt wonder if she made a mistake when she agreed to look after her aunt's plantation near New Orleans. When she finds out the place is haunted and there’s a treasure involved, Allison decides to dig in her heels and find the booty before the mob buries her six feet under.

Website link: http://www.andiealexander.com/deadmendontdust.html


Excerpt:

Chapter 1


"Clarence!" the male voice yelled. "Come back here. We haven't wedded you yet."

I stopped trudging toward the picturesque plantation and turned, seeing an alligator wearing a tiara heading right for me. It was odd, but even stranger was the man running behind the alligator. He wore a long white dress with a lace veil trailing to his waist.

While backing away as fast as I could with my suitcases, the duo got closer. I wanted to run, but it was magnetic, watching the couple heading in my direction.

What was going on in this area of Louisiana? Was it something in the water? Or was I nuts, waiting for an alligator to eat me?

The man finally grabbed the alligator's rhinestone-studded collar and leash, stopping both of them a few feet in front of me. He looked up at my face and tipped his head—and veil—surveying me from head to toe. "Morning."

My open mouth caught insects because I'd never seen such a thing before in my life. "Good morning?"

Should I run or just laugh?

Before I could decide, the man wiped his hand on his dress, took a step closer, and stuck it out for me to shake. The alligator stood still with its giant smile and one eye facing me. "My name's Tim," the man said.

Tim pushed his hand even closer, but I wasn't sure I wanted to touch this guy. The thought turned my stomach.

"I'm your neighbor," he said. "Is ya married?"

I did a double take of the scene, dropped my suitcase handle, and clasped both hands behind me so I wouldn't have to touch him. "Why are you asking?"

He moved his outstretched hand back to his dress, smoothing out the skirt. "I want to take you out. Get ready for dinner, because we're going to a fancy place. They even have a drive-up window."

A drive-up window? Fancy?

I didn't know what to say. It must've been a southern thing, with his accent, but I was surprised.

I pointed toward his outfit. "You're going out in a wedding dress?"

He looked down and lifted some of the lace. "Oh, this? It's just to get Clarence in the mood so he'll take a fancy to some of the girls." He pointed toward my right. "That there's my place and I raise alligators for a living. Your aunt and uncle sold off some of their land, and now it's mine."

I collected myself, still staring at the veil. How did he know I was related to the owners of the huge white plantation sitting in front of me?

I had to answer him. "Well, sir, I'm dating, so I can't go out with you, even to a place with a drive-up window."

Why he'd think that was classy was still beyond me. With him as my neighbor, it was going to be an interesting summer, to say the least.

"Ditch the guy and go out with me anyway." His grin was as slimy as his alligator's fake smile.

The door to the plantation flew open and an older black woman marched out, looking like she was on a mission. Her jaw clenched and her eyes narrowed, swinging her arms as she approached us. "Tim, don't you need to be somewhere with that animal?"

"Yes, ma'am." He nodded toward her, winked at me, then turned and pulled on the leash. He and his alligator strolled across the property toward his home while I watched, still surprised at the scene.

The older woman reached out and shook my hand. "Welcome, Miss Allison." She wore a red handkerchief tied over her hair with a streaked brown and red apron covering her old blue dress. "My name's Louise. I'm the caretaker of the kitchen here at the Lunviere Plantation. Missus Charmaine said to treat you right fine and we intend to do just that. I see you've already met one of our neighbors."

"Yes, I did, I think." I looked up at the white plantation with the giant pillared porch, sitting on a few acres of manicured land. Various trees such as weeping willows covered in Spanish moss surrounded the huge place. It was a setting no one should ever miss in their lifetime. And to think, I got to play owner of this Louisiana plantation for a whole month. "I'm sure Aunt Charmaine left me with instructions?"

Louise checked her watch and turned back toward the plantation. "Yes, and I'll give you the envelope at lunchtime, in three hours." She lifted her head and gasped aloud, taking a step backward, right in my eyesight. She studied the second floor as her mouth fell open and her eyes grew in size. While crossing herself, she said something in French and then looked up to the heavens and back to the house.

"What? Is something wrong?" I followed her eyes to see a curtain on the second floor move back to its natural place. "What did you see?"

She leaned closer and whispered, pulling her rosary beads out of her apron pocket. "The evil one." She moved the beads deftly through her fingers while whispering, then kissed the string. This woman was completely terrified of something.

If I were Catholic, I'd be doing more than kissing them once, from the way she spoke. I'd be tying them around my neck with a huge hunk of garlic, because it almost sounded like she'd seen a vampire. Maybe Uncle Leonard had a psycho relative locked upstairs? It would certainly fit his side of the family. They were rather odd, trying to be something they weren't. A crazy relative wouldn't be tolerated because it would hurt his family name.

I had to know more. "Evil one? Is someone upstairs who shouldn't be there?" Like a crazy relative from Leonard's side of the family, maybe?

"It's Jean Lunviere, here to get his treasure back. Ever since that newspaper article…" She stopped talking and covered her mouth. "I've said too much." She grabbed one of my suitcases and ran inside the house.

I lifted my other two suitcases and followed her, watching as she ran faster than a woman of her years should be able to move.

She dropped my suitcase by the staircase that swept up from the center of the downstairs, and then took off toward the back of the house, where I assumed the kitchen was located.

While still holding onto my other two suitcases, I scanned the gorgeous downstairs, painted in light tones with fans swirling on each ceiling. My eyes drifted off toward the back of the house, where people spoke in French. It was a shame I'd never learned the language because it would've been nice to know if they were talking about me, or reciting voodoo chants or something. I'd been a history major in college and taught history back home in Philadelphia, but didn't know French.

Who was Jean Lunviere, anyway? That must be the nutso relative, since this was the Lunviere Plantation, passed down through the generations in Uncle Leonard's family. But Jean wanted his treasure back? What treasure?

My cell phone rang, pulling me back to reality. I dropped my suitcases and yanked it out of my pocket. "Hello?"

"Allie, it's Liz. You've got to see this to-die-for date I've got."

I rolled my eyes. Liz didn't believe it, but she was straight as an arrow. However, she thought it was cool to be gay, so she hit on every woman she could find. "Yeah?"

"Her name's—get this—Isabel! We'd be Liz and Iz. Can you dig it?"

"No, but I could bury it," I muttered. "What are you doing? I told you before that women weren't your thing. From the way you stare at hot men in the bars—"

"Get with the program," she said. "You know I'm just waiting for you to figure yourself out."

"I already have and I'm dating Byron."

She huffed into the phone. "Allie, he's so not you. You don't get it. Now where I work—"

"At the Dish and Dive, the center of cultural hangouts," I deadpanned in a monotone while rolling my eyes.

"Quit it. If I weren't your friend since we started elementary school, I'd so be beating you up right now. Anyway, Isabel's this sweet thing that happened into our bar. She's young and really naïve."

"I bet." I looked up the stairs, thinking I'd heard something. "I'm here in Louisiana, by the way. Is there something major that you called me about?"

"Just Isabel."

"Good luck. Call me when she dumps you and you find a man." I ended the call and kept looking up the stairs. Nothing was there, I was sure, but it seemed odd.

"Hello," a man said from behind me, making me jump slightly. "You must be Miss Allison." I turned and saw an older black man who reminded me of a friend of my family.

"Hello." I shook the man's hand. "And what's your name?"

"I'm Missus Charmaine's butler, Henry. Leonard and I go way back. When he hit it rich on the stock market, he hired me for life and gives me whatever I need."

"Well, it's nice to meet you." My eyes kept going toward the staircase for some reason. "Is someone upstairs?"

"Only one way to find out." He grinned and took all three of my suitcases.

I tried to pry them from his hands. "I can carry them."

He stared at me with very dark eyes. "No, that's my job. You don't want to take me from my job, does ya?"

I smiled. "I like you, Henry. If there's anything I can ever do for you, let me know."

He nodded, in a courteous sort of way. He was a real gentleman. "Sure thing, Miss Allison. Sure thing."

He walked up the stairs while I followed closely behind. Even though it was early in the morning, I wasn't tired. I'd taken the redeye flight to the New Orleans airport, then a taxi north of Lake Ponchartrain to the town of Robertlee, where the plantation was located. It was warm, but with the constant flow of air from the ceiling fans, it was comfortable for the last day of June, especially when wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

"What time does the plantation open for tours?" I asked.

Henry stopped at the top of the stairs, turned, and faced me. "We stopped the tours over a month ago."

I kept ascending the staircase. "Why?"

"There were too many tourists." He spun back around, and before I could ask him why that would be a bad thing, he was out of earshot.

Something screwy was going on in this place and I couldn't blame Aunt Charmaine for leaving town for a European holiday with her husband, Leonard. They'd inherited the place from Leonard's family and seemed to be making a good living at the tourism trade, wearing authentic period clothing from the time before the civil war, and serving meals in the restaurant in the back.

Granted, the people I'd met so far were odd, including the cab driver who wouldn't get me closer than a hundred feet from the driveway. He kept mumbling something in what sounded like French and crossing himself. And then there was Tim in his wedding dress and veil, chasing that alligator wearing a tiara. Now I had to include strange facts, like stopping the tours because of too many tourists.

What was going on and what wasn't I being told?

I caught up with Henry, who'd put my things in the master bedroom.

"Annabelle will be up later to draw your bath," he said. "She's a maid for Missus Charmaine and I know she'll be very helpful."

"Uh-huh." I looked around at all the beautiful flowered wallpaper. If Liz saw this, she'd rip it off with her teeth. She hated girlie things. I thought it was nice, and wondered if Aunt Charmaine and Uncle Leonard would let my boyfriend, Byron, and me honeymoon in this place if we married. However, I doubted Byron would go south of the Mason-Dixon Line for a honeymoon. He might sweat or something.

"Good luck," Henry said, not even cracking a smile, and headed out of the room.

Before I could say a word, my cell phone rang. I pulled it out of my pocket and checked the caller id. "Byron," I said, answering it. "It's so good to hear your voice." He must've known I was thinking about him, even if it wasn't in the most pleasant light, thinking he'd be upset at sweating.

"Yes, Allison." I knew he was clenching his jaw. His mother had taught him that all upper class people clenched their jaw when they spoke. I could only imagine how I'd have to keep my children away from the evil woman until they were about thirty.

"When can you get here?" I asked.

"Well, Allison, something's come up and I can't join you. The stock market is all over the place and I can't get off the floor."

"Have someone help you up if you've fallen." I snorted my laughter but Byron wasn't amused.

"I haven't fallen. I was talking about the stock market floor in New York."

"I know. It was a pun. Get over it." He really needed help.

Byron worked at a stock market firm in New York City. We saw each other on weekends, mostly, since I taught high school in Philadelphia, where I grew up.

"Ha-ha," he finally said in a monotone. "You made a funny."

"Yes, I made a funny." I rolled my eyes. He had to lighten up. "So you're not coming to see me?"

"No. I just can't swing it."

Figured. Just like I'd predicted before I left. "Hey, are you near a computer?"

"Yes, my love, but I have a ton of things on my desk to finish and I have to schmooze a new client for lunch. I'm afraid I'm swamped."

I guessed schmoozing a client was more important than me. He had to make his money somehow, even though he never seemed to have any. "I was just going to ask if this place is haunted, because it's a little creepy. That's okay. I'm sure I'll make it through the night without being hacked to death by a poltergeist." I crossed my fingers and looked down at the floor, hoping the guilt would make him reconsider.

He covered the phone with his hand, ignoring me while he had a conversation with some woman who was giggling. It was probably his elderly secretary he'd told me about.

As I lifted my eyes, a black cat jumped up on the bed. I reached out to pet it, but it hissed, raised its back, and tried to claw me, making me pull away. "Nice kitty."

"You have a cat? I hate cats," Byron said, his attention back on the phone. "You know I'm allergic. Now you'll have to de-flea before you see me again. Ta-ta." He ended the call and I stared at the dead phone.

I looked down at the cat, which seemed to be staring right at me. "You think I should dump him, too, huh?"

As I was waiting for the cat to answer—like it would—the doorbell rang. I tore out of the room, wanting to see if someone normal lived in this town. I ran down the stairs just as a young woman opened the door. Because she was dressed in a contemporary maid's outfit, I assumed the woman was Annabelle. She was young, probably younger than my twenty-something years of age.

"I'll get it," I said. "I need to help out."

While ignoring me, she opened the door, staring at the person on the other side. "Yes?"

"Is the lady of the house home?" a man asked.

"I'm her." I always wanted to be a 'lady of the house.' It sounded better than bill payer or debt evader.

I ran in front of the door and opened the screen. A slight breeze blew the giant hanging swing as I stepped onto the huge porch. An older man stood in front of me, wearing a three-piece suit.

"What can I do for you?" I asked.

"I'd like to show you my line of vacuum cleaners. Do you have any old vacuums you'd like to trade in for a wonderful, top of the line, Sucker 2000?"

"Sucker 2000?"

It sounded like I'd be a sucker to buy it.

"Yes, ma'am." He reached into his pocket and removed a pink feather duster, lifting it close to his left ear. "If you'll let us clean your home to show you the quality of the Sucker 2000 and you buy the product, we'll give you a hundred dollar discount."

I had to put this situation into perspective. An older balding man stood on the plantation's front porch, wearing a suit with a vest in the early morning. It was over eighty degrees with about a hundred percent humidity, and he held a pink feather duster up near his face. I stared at him, wondering about his masculinity, and considered fixing him up with Liz. It was a start.

"Well, what'll it be?" he asked, grinning.

I crossed my arms, showing him I wasn't buying his spiel. "Who would help you clean? It's a huge home."

"I have a helper."

He pointed toward his van, where a teenage boy bopped his longhaired red head in time to the rap music he was listening to. It was so loud, the sound drifted to the porch, quite a distance away.

"He's a willing volunteer," Pink Feather-Duster man said, drawing my attention back to him.

"I just bet," I said. "He's what, in his teens?"

"Yes."

"Well, let me tell you something. I teach kids around that age, and they just want to do their thing. Cleaning would not be that boy's thing." I pointed to the kid. "And I bet he's not the type to sit around and play with your pink feather duster." As I got closer to the man, he inched off the porch, almost falling down the stairs. "No, I don't need help. I have a maid, a butler, and a chef. Do you really think I need my house cleaned?"

"No?" The guy looked terrified. What a pansy.

I pointed toward his chest, but he backed away before I could touch him. "That's right, buddy," I said. "Where I come from, I know a scam when I see one. If I didn't know better, I'd bet you were casing this joint for some night when I'm not home. If you have any ideas, I have alarms, so stay away. Got it?"

"Yes?"

"That's right, yes." I pointed toward the road. "Now get off my property!"

The man literally ran to his van, hopped inside, and backed away. I grinned and went back inside the house. Yep. I could take care of things for Aunt Charmaine. No problem. I loved my Philly attitude sometimes. Now to take on the looney upstairs.


Buy links:

Smashwords
Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon ES
Amazon IT
Barnes & Noble

Ciao,
Andie

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sales and Marketing

I'm not sure what's going on with the industry right now, but my sales are slumping.  It makes me wonder what the impact of the new Amazon KDP Select model is having on ebook sales, and if readers are just waiting for books to go free before they buy anything.  However, I've found that free or even cheap books have a tendency to draw in more trolls/sock puppets (those are people whose sole goal is to give a book a low rating, usually because they have a personal vendetta against the writer, or they don't want their own books/friends books to get worse rankings).

I need to know if there are any unusual marketing opportunities out there, and if anyone has any strange ideas for marketing (especially free ones).  Personally, I'm finding that marketing to other authors doesn't work well.  Any ideas?

Smiles,
Markee

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: Edit, Edit, Edit...


Because I'm trying to help you, as a writer, avoid the stupid mistakes I've made (and I've made PLENTY), I'm going to show you some of the errors I've made to make a point here.





  • On one sweet romance ('Touchdowns & Potions'), I made a HUGE mistake before it was published. I was in an RWA meeting where they requested secret (author not revealed) snippets to critique. I included the first part where Jenna was in Andy's home for the first time. She's a prude and doesn't sleep around. He wants to date her, and instead of clutching her blouse closed at the top, I wrote, 'she pulled her top up.' I MEANT to write clutched closed, but it now sounds like this sweet romance is all but sweet. The group laughed for at least a full minute, while I turned red and wanted to hide under the table.
  • In a recent release, 'Forever, Sweet Love,' Cheri was looking for a job. She talked to a potential employer, and the employer said, 'Don’t dress up and you don’t need to bring any clothes.' Um...wouldn't she be naked then? And this was a CHRISTIAN ROMANCE. It should've read, '...don't need to bring any EXTRA clothes.' Duh! I read that part to my husband and he laughed forever, I swear.
  • In my latest release, 'Kiss of Fashion,' a sweet romance, I wrote, 'She mouth fell open.' Yeah. Reminds me of those cat pictures 'can I haz cheeseburger' type of grammar.

So my point is this...don't just read over your next release once. Read it twice, at least. I read it on my computer, and then put it on the Kindle to see how it reads. I make even more changes, because for some reason, those errors seem to really jump out at me on the Kindle.

Have a great day!
Markee

New Book Out! 'Kiss of Fashion' by Markee Anderson



Blurb: When hypochondriac Megan Bell becomes the exclusive secretary to a handsome tyrant named Brendan Johnson at their upper end New York City fashion business, she finds out fast that he doesn't like her. Because he runs a tight ship, she keeps the fact that she has a night job as cab driver quiet. As time progresses and Brendan softens a bit, she falls for him. When Brendan finds out Meg has a second job and a killer cab burglar is loose, will he step up to the plate and save her?


Check out the buy links and an excerpt at http://markeeanderson.com/kissoffashion.html

Smiles,
Markee

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Book Out! 'Forever, Sweet Love' by Eryn Grace



Blurb:

*** NOTE: Based on Christian morals--Christian Romance ***

Pastry chef, Cheri Duncan, thinks her life ended when her fiancé was killed while in the Navy a year ago. While crying on the ferry on Puget Sound, she contemplates jumping overboard when an oral surgeon named Bryan Kirkwood approaches her. He lost his wife three years earlier on the same day and tells Cheri that she has to move on. Even though Cheri doesn't want to move on, Bryan teaches how to enjoy life, even though he's fighting his own battles with his mother while raising three young daughters. Cheri and Bryan both have an uphill climb, but faith and their growing love will help them succeed.

Check out buy links and an excerpt at http://eryngrace.com/foreversweetlove.html

Blessings,
Eryn Grace

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: Back Up That Data...TWICE!

 So what have I learned in the past week? If you think Geek Squad is going to take your laptop for TWO WEEKS, back up your data. TWICE.

Since my external hard drive is now corrupt and my laptop is in Kentucky, I've learned a lesson the hard way. Don't do as I did...back up your data twice, at least. And do it more than once in a while. I'd suggest backing it up every week at a certain time, and then taking that backup and backing it up again on another computer or another external hard drive.

Right now, I'm working on an old copy of an unpublished manuscript, which I had on my daughter's external hard drive. Granted, it was from 2010 and I'm sure things have changed on that document since then, but at least I'm not twiddling my thumbs. I really wish I'd have backed up my external hard drive more than once, so I'd have something more current to work on. I could start something new, but then I'd just have yet another partial manuscript to deal with later.

So take it from me...back up more than once. Save yourself the heartache that I'm now experiencing.

Oh, and I did get a call from Geek Squad yesterday, in Kentucky. They wanted more money to get my laptop out of hock (even though I already paid $84.95). It's like a ransom, if you ask me.

Smiles,
Markee

New Book: 'Kissing the Waves'



Since my computer's on the fritz at Geek Squad, I missed the Tuesday Teaser (I don't have my manuscripts). Thus, I'll announce my latest book, entitled 'Kissing the Waves.'

Blurb: Surfboard designer Kara O’Connor has to get her work to the boss, but the building is filled with enemy spies, or so she thinks. She dodges them, but soon realizes that the president of the United States and his son, Blake Maxwell, are meeting with her boss, ordering a new style of surfboard for the military. Ever since that fateful day, Kara’s life turns topsy-turvy with Blake trying to date her. Can she ignore the first lady’s accusations and let her love life rule?

To see the first chapter, go here: www.markeeanderson.com.

Smiles!
Markee

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bummer...

Last week, after fixing the furnace and replacing our garage door, my 'a' key on my laptop started to stick.  I'd type and get aaaaaaaaaaaa across the screen.

So I took the thing to Geek Squad.  Since it's a laptop, they have to replace the entire keyboard.  That means I'd be without a laptop for 2 weeks.  Bummer.  But I'd backed up all my data/books/etc., on an external hard drive.

My husband has a desktop computer and a net book.  I was using the net book this past weekend (I use his desktop when he's not there, because it's easier to type on), and for some reason, my entire external hard drive was suddenly corrupted.  No data.  No books.  Nothing.  I didn't back it up TWICE.

Now, if you know anything about Geek Squad, you'd know they send their repairs to the closest main headquarters.  Ours is in Louisville, KY...and it was sent out just before the big tornadoes in that area.

Thus, I have little to do now.  I'm thinking of writing a new book.  But just realize...I feel like one arm is tied behind my back.  I don't even have my passwords.  As soon as I get them, I'm printing them out and copying that page, placing it in various places around the house.  Now just to remember where I put those papers.  UGH!

Have a great week.  I'm off to (gasp) clean the house unless I find something better to do.

Smiles,
Markee

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: ISBNs

 I have over twenty indie books in print. To get ISBNs for those books, I had been going to Smashwords. Now, if you get a free ISBN from Smashwords, they become the publisher of record. I didn't want that, because it had 'indie' written all over it. At the time, indie was just beginning to ramp up and 'not very cool.' So after my first five books, I bought my ISBNs from Smashwords, at $9.95 a piece.

Little did I realize, they don't have you pay for those ISBNs up front. They take it out of your payment for your books. Since I went with Barnes & Noble and Amazon myself and didn't have Smashwords handle the distribution, I didn't really make a lot of money on Smashwords. Thus, I ended up having most of my pen name accounts there in the red (I don't consider Sweettale Books a publisher, because I don't want to get an LLC, thus, each of my pen names has its own Smashwords account).

I realized the more books I published, the more I'd owe Smashwords. At $9.95 an ISBN, there had to be a different way. And I found it, I think.

Bowker.com is the only ISBN seller in the U.S. It's not cheap, and if you buy the ISBNs in bulk, you pay a lot of money. A single ISBN is $125. Ten ISBNs are $250 ($25 an ISBN). 100 ISBNS are $575, which is $5.75 a piece. That's almost half what they cost on Smashwords. And, if I'm feeling very industrious, 1000 ISBNs are $1000 (a dollar a piece).

Considering I have a lot more unpublished books on my computer, paying a lot less for each ISBN is worthwhile to me. But I don't need 1000 ISBNs. So I opted for 100 of those things, which should last me quite a while (I have about 35 unpublished books which leaves me 65 more ISBNs for future books...and at four or five books a year, that'll take me over ten years to use up).

Now, the normal author writes a lot fewer books than I write and don't have unpublished books on their computer. I have three friends who pooled their money and formed a type of publisher, using that name to register their ISBNs. When they need an ISBN, they just pay for it, register it with Bowker, and they have it cheaper than Smashwords would give them.

When you purchase the ISBNs from Bowker, you register the book with them at that time. You have to upload the cover and the book, indicate the genre and rights, and just about anything else considered. It's a lot of work, but I consider it a type of copyright, since the date's attached. It's not a formal copyright (those are around $40 a piece with the Library of Congress), but at least it's recorded somewhere.

Now, when I uploaded a book to Smashwords, the dashes were moved around in the ISBN. I'm not sure why or what that means, so I've written to Smashwords to find out.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing, so I can publish my next book, Kissing the Waves, by Markee Anderson. It'll be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble within a few days.

Have a great day,
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Teaser: 'Love Means Nothin''




*~*~* Blurb *~*~*

Melody Gray visits New York City to attend her best friend's wedding, meeting tennis pro John Spencer at the train station, and stopping him from running away from his life. She loves spending time with him, finding herself wishing she could stay with him instead of returning to her abusive father in West Virginia. But she knows her father needs her to take care of him, and since John's famous mother and others surrounding John let her know she doesn't belong, she realizes she'll never be able to be near the man she loves again.


*~*~*~*


Excerpt from Chapter 3:

After arriving at Battery Park, they all got out of the car. While Chuck went to get tickets for the ferry, Melody looked out over the water, watching a ferry return to the lower end of Manhattan. She could see the Statue of Liberty fairly well in the distance, making her feel very fortunate to be at the site.

"Isn't that the girl?" someone asked from behind Melody.

She turned her head, and two big men with cameras headed toward her. "Yes! It's her! Get a shot!"

Dennis grabbed her and pulled her to his chest. "We have to get out of here," he said to everyone in the group.

"But my dad's not here yet," Elise said.

Other reporters started to run toward them, and Melody peeked out from under Dennis' arm.

A large man walked toward Elise, staring at the reporters. Behind him was a gangly man with red hair. "What's going on here?" His accent was pronounced, and Melody knew who he was. She hid her face in Dennis' chest.

"Are you okay?" Dennis whispered.

She could only nod, then turned and looked back at the huge man.

"Daddy! I'm so glad you're here," Elise said.

He thrust his hands on his hips. "Who are these people?"

"Reporters," Elise whispered.

The man faced the people gawking at Melody. "Look. My name is Hank Johnson and you'd better be leavin' my daughter alone, or you're going to have to answer to me."

"Who are you?" a reporter asked.

"I'm her dad," he said, pointing at Elise.

"And I'm her brother Bobby," the gangly man said.

"We don't care about her," a reporter answered. "It's the other redhead we want. Melody Gray." His cameraman took pictures of Melody, so she closed her eyes and buried her face in Dennis' chest. Tears filled her eyes as she covered the sides of her face with her hands so they couldn't get a good shot of her.

"Mel? Is that you?' Bobby asked. "Gosh, I've missed you a lot! We have to go out sometime."

"No, she's taken." Dennis leaned down to her while Elsie's father and Chuck argued with the cameraman. Melody could only glance out at the group, terrified of the reporters surrounding them and shouting questions.

"You are?" Bobby asked Melody, then pointed up at Dennis' face. "By him? I can beat him up if you want, to prove I'm the one for ya."

"No, Bobby," she said, turning her head. "Let it go. Please?"

"Is this a lover's quarrel?" a reporter yelled. "Where's John Spencer?"

Melody covered her face and hid in Dennis' chest again.

He leaned down to her ear. "Are you okay?"

She lifted her head and faced him. "Not really. I've never had anyone taking my picture like this. They're stalking me, aren't they?"

"Yes, they are and it's scary if you're not used to it."

A camera snapped and the reporters started yelling questions at her.

"Are you dating John Spencer?"

"Is this your boyfriend?"

"Are you carrying an alien's baby?"

She wasn't sure what they were talking about, especially the line about the alien's baby. She moved her head back to Dennis' chest, wishing they'd just all go away.

Dennis turned her to the side, put his arm on her shoulder, then walked her back toward the car.

"Let the lady alone," he said. "Party's over."

"Who are you?" one reporter asked.

Dennis stopped walking and faced the man. "No one you want to mess with. Now, go away." He walked with Melody to the car, joined by Elise's family and Chuck.


Buy Links:

Smashwords
All Romance eBooks
OmniLit
Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon ES
Amazon IT
Barnes & Noble
Sony e-book Store
Kobo
Apple Store
Diesel E-books

Smiles,
Markee