Monday, July 15, 2013

Re-Introducing Hagatha Kittridge Must Die

Writing is a process.

So too, apparently, is publishing.

Especially when one has never done it before.

My books have been out on Amazon for ten days, and during that time, I've learned some things. First, nothing is so broken it can't be fixed in the ebook world.

I discovered that my edits never appeared in my final product. It was embarrassing, because I know I made those corrections already. I have corrected what I can as soon as I can. Fortunately, my sales are slim and seem to only be affecting friends and family. And friends and family are SUPER forgiving. Yea!

The staff at KDP/Amazon are beyond helpful and quick and supportive. If you find the forums confusing, bypass it and go straight to the customer service button.

Let me tell you, what I have walked away with at the end of these two business weeks is solid, foundation-building knowledge. Knowledge that I feel pretty confident I can help others with now. From obtaining your own ISBN numbers to formatting in Word. Yes, Word isn't perfect, but there are ways around everything if you know what you're doing. After two months of wrangling, I'm confident I can do it. I will soon be offering basic formatting services to them what want them.

And I found an awesome cover-art guy. He's inexpensive, quick, and friendly. And his premade stuff even blows some of traditional published titles out of the water. And so Hagatha Kittridge Must Die has an awesome cover, and additional markets. It is available from the Kindle Bookstore, Smashwords in almost all formats, and today it should be appearing in the Nook Bookstore. 32k words for $2.99 across the ebook-universe.

The Trouble With Henry is still only available through Kindle. But I've commissioned my cover-design guy and we will soon see a less frustrated release across the other formats as well.

So far, I will say, the most disappointing experience I have had has been with Kobo. The site is basic and extremely user-friendly, but that wasn't the issue. The issue I had came from my unrecognizable American bank. Kobo being a Canadian company, I expected to have to do a little finagling. I didn't expect for it to refuse to cooperate. Now, as with all of my other frustrations, it could just be user error. But I decided that this was my match and I had met it. I call it a draw for now.

Soooo there's the update. Introducing Hagatha Kittridge, again.

When Adam Bingham’s grandfather dies, the family gathers at the farm for the reading of the will and a proper wake. Unfortunately, that means the deceased’s sister Agatha – called Hagatha behind her back - will also be in attendance. While Hagatha proceeds to torment everyone she comes in contact with, it becomes clear that drastic measures are needed to put a stop to her. So as Adam plots Hagatha’s demise with his cousins, he finds an unexpected ally in Grandpa Lum’s peculiar neighbor, December Ashby, and brokers a tenuous peace with Sauerkraut, the feral barn cat.
Hell breaks loose when Hagatha is discovered dead in the cellar and Adam’s dysfunctional family falls under the scrutiny of local law enforcement, which is convinced that Hagatha died under suspicious circumstances. Adam soon learns that he and December are top of the suspect list, and that when such unspeakable evil comes a-calling, murder is best kept a family affair.

Parental Control Assessment: The author would like to make it known that this story contains material that might be considered PG13 in nature. Some mild language is used in "everyday expression" situations. Illicit drug use is implied of some minor characters, as a "mentioned in passing" situation. Alcohol is prevalent, used only by legal drinking age characters in casual situations. Firearms are present, and discussion of firearms takes place between characters. Violence exists, it is after all a murder-mystery, but it is kept to minimum and should not be too graphic. A bedroom scene is implied, but otherwise the romantic elements are of the clean, fade-to-black variety.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Bell Is A Cup (WoE week 28)

Write At The Merge this week challenged us with a photo of some artistic statuary from a park and the following quote:

"A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck." - Colin Meloy

I went after the bell is a cup. Reminds me of "the hotter the fire, the stronger the steel".

I'm returning to Patience and her quest to rescue her youngest sister Charity from the clutches of the Lassiers. Jeb Grayson aims to teach Patience a much needed lesson about survival in the west.

I offer the following in response: A Lesson

“Y’ever fire one of these before, girl?” Jeb held a rifle out, his look hard to read.

Patience shook her head as he placed it in her hands. The weight of the rifle took her by surprise, and the weight of its power took her by the heart. Did she really believe that she could get her sister back without firing one? She swallowed hard, feeling unsteady. “I’ve never had much need to, back in Boston.”

She prepared for a cutting retort. And you think that place is civilized, or Figures were two possibilities that floated through her mind. He said neither. “Well, now’s a good time as any to learn,” he touched her elbow, positioning her arms with gentile force. “Tuck the stock against yer shoulder…”

Her palms sweaty, she lowered the rifle. “I don’t know…Couldn’t I just…”

His sigh carried more weight than the rifle in her hands. “Look, girl, there’s somethin’ y’need to understand about this little excursion.” His eyes darkened. “Now I tol’ you when you tried stealin’ my horse that the Lassiers ain’t for messin’ with. Make no mistake, that twisted family’s got the devil in their veins.”

Patience thought of her sister and tears fell from her eyes like a flash flood.

He paused. “You wanna know why no one back in Brasher was keen to help you get yer sister back? They’re relieved it wasn’t their sister that got took. Understand? When the Lassiers take somethin’, ain’t no one ever gonna see ‘em again.”

“You’re saying Charity’s dead?” Patience whispered.

“No, I’m sayin’ Charity’s gone. Brasher townsfolk tried to tell ya to let ‘er stay that way.”

“I can’t just let her go like that!” It hurt. Her throat cut off her air while her lungs waged war to breathe. “She’s my baby sister. She was my responsibility while my parents were at the fort…”

“That’s it, girl. That’s the fire I need you to have.” He squeezed her shoulder. “Y’had the stomach to git this far when all o’ Brasher cowered in their homes. But I’m tellin’ ya, this is gonna take more out of ya, a lot more. It’s not just the Lassiers. We gotta cross more open wilderness before we git there. There’s grizzly and wolves and rattlers, and ain’t none of them critters gonna be happy we’re there. An iffn we come across someone that don’t wanna be found, and iffn they decide they want a woman-“

“You can’t mean-”

“Girl, the West is good for two kind o’ people, them livin’ life, and them escapin’ life. Y’can’t predict what them escapin’ life are capable of.”

“What kind are you?” Patience asked.

He spit. “Most days, I’m livin’. The real question is: what kind are you?”

She tucked the rifle against her shoulder and focused through the sight to the split-log a few yards out and squeezed the trigger.

Over the ringing in her ears she heard Jeb say, “I guess yer livin’.”

Monday, July 8, 2013

No Writer Is An Island

Duck On The Water, Heritage Park, Cerritos California

If there's anything I have learned these few days since uploading my books onto, it's that I am part of a community. I am not alone in this universe.

My parents have emailed everyone they know: family, friends, maybe even the billing department at Southern California Edison. I don't have regular interactions with most of these people, even the ones I'm related to. It's a humbling circumstance to hear congratulations and other positive feedback from loved ones, even more from pseudo-strangers I respect.

And my HUSBAND! I loved the man before, but wow! He's been the anchor of my network for a long time socially, but again, wow! I want to marry him all over again, except we can't afford to.

My good friend and editor has gone above and beyond the call of duty with support. She was the one who made me think I could do this anyway. So OMG! (sorry, I had a girly-girly moment there. I'll get better soon)

And all the wonderful, wonderful people at Write On Edge. I am speechless. Truly.

I don't know what to say, except that I appreciate you all. I love you all. And a giant thank you to everyone who took the time to investigate my book, and a more gianter (yes I know that's not a word) thank you to everyone who has purchased the books so far, or who are planning to in the future. There are a lot of wonderful authors out there, and a great many worthwhile books to read, I'm glad my books have room on your shelves.

I don't think the butterflies in my stomach will ever disappear. You have all been so DAMNED PERFECT!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

My New Books!

Hey everyone!

This is a shameless plug. Actually, it's probably more of a twisted pats-self-on-back.

Let me explain.

I have been slow to post on my site, and I have been noticeably absent from Write On Edge and Terrible Minds both. Why, the crickets ask? Well, I've been holed up researching and re-researching and tweaking (not the drugs, the words) to bring The Trouble With Henry to published.

And in the meantime, I unexpectedly finished a short story I was working on titled Hagatha Kittridge Must Die.

While I'm still in desperate need of decent cover art, I finally bit the bullet and uploaded BOTH stories up to Amazon yesterday.

The Trouble With Henry and Hagatha Kittridge Must Die are both available for purchase now for Kindles around the world.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday America!

Freedom isn't free.

I remember, and keep very faithfully, the vigil for those who have spilled their blood so that I wouldn't have to live by another's leave.

Thank you.

Photo courtesy SKD albums: Paul Revere statue at Heritage Park