Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas from us!

Merry Christmas from us!
Larry still works hard, but plays a little less hard since his knee surgery. Although he's no longer tearing up the basketball court, he still rides his bike, drives the boat, and he's considering skiing again...soon. He teaches the gospel doctrine class Sunday School class.

I wear lots of different shoes...when I wear them. Since the girls left for college, I have little reason to leave the house. I threw myself into my writing and published 4 books this year. One has been an Amazon best seller for more than a month now. I also serve as the secretary in the stake relief society presidency (and when I do, I always wear shoes.)

Adam is an attorney for a firm specializing in international law. This means that he sometimes uses his Spanish for something other than reading the street signs in Rancho. He's the activities chairman in the singles ward.

Bethany wears mostly flip-flops to chase after her two boys, Chandler 6 and Sterling 3. They live in Las Vegas. I don't know what sort of shoes Brandon wears to work (he's a chiropractor.) Winston, the Westie, does not wear shoes, although he occasionally will wear sweaters.

Nathan and Shirley live work and play in Boulder, CO. Nathan graduated in Information Systems from BYU in the spring and started his own development company about a year ago. He's moving his rapidly growing business into an office in a few weeks, so his barefoot days are about over. They are expecting a baby boy in May.

Jared just returned from a study abroad program in China. He'll return to school in Provo in a few weeks where shoes will not be optional.

Natalie graduated from Tesoro last spring as a Valedictorian. She takes ridiculously hard classes and waffles between majoring in Diet and Nutrition and English Lit at BYU.

Miranda is no longer a thespian, but she did get a job working for the BYU broadcasting company so she's still in the industry. She's studying International Relations at BYU.

Although we're no longer all under the same roof, we are all following the same path and our Savior. We're so grateful for all the love in our lives and pray that all your days are holy, filled with love, laughter and glimpses of heaven.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ebook Boxed Sets—Bulk Buying and Selling

A little more than six weeks ago I collaborated with 10 authors and helped create Christmas on Main Street, an anthology of 11 Christmas stories. Most are novels. Some are novellas. There are a few short stories. We were each responsible for our own covers and editing, but one saintly author made our cover, another did all the formatting, one was responsible for running the ads, and two are handling the money. We are all promoting.
For the last month, our anthology has bounced around number one on three of Amazon’s lists and has pretty consistently hung around #50 on Amazon’s bestseller list over all. Here are the stats as of right now—December 18th, 3p.m.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Holidays
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Inspirational
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Collections & Anthologies

Why do I think our collection is rocking the lists?
It’s a bargain. 11 books for .99 cents. It’s hard to beat the economics.
It’s timely. (Hey, it’s Christmas. People like Christmas stories.)
It’s got a great cover.
Something that I didn't give much thought to, but in hindsight I think makes a huge difference is we didn't know each other when we started. We don't belong to the same (physical) writing groups. For the most part, we don't even live in the states. In fact, Susan lives in Canada. This means that we don't all drink out of the same reader pool.
And we’re all promoting. Last week when I was too sick to lift my head after an almost lethal confrontation with a dose of cold medicine (Nyquil is no longer invited into my house) my writer friends continued to work their marketing magic.

Why did I do this? It wasn't for money. I didn't know if I would make enough money to buy a doughnut. My goal was/is to gain readers. No one is going to read my books if they don't know I write books. Thousands of readers now have a copy of one of my novels on their ebook device. 

Six weeks and more than thirty thousand sales later, I can say:
I never could have done this on my own.  Even if I had 11 books to bundle, I wouldn’t want to. I don’t want to give all of my books away for 2.7 cents each.
I’ve seen a dramatic uptick in the sales of my other books, more than a 200% increase in sales. Which may sound bigger than it is considering my lackluster sales, but yeah—a 200% increase looks good on any spread sheet.
I have learned a lot from the flood of emails from the other writers in our set. They have marketing know-how and savvy that I’m still trying to grasp.

And I will definitely do this again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

When You Feel Stuck

Do you ever feel stuck?

I listened to a great Ted talk the other day by a doctor who was paralyzed and went on to do great things despite his condition. The take away message for me was : we're all paralyzed at one time or another.

Which made me think. Not only are we sometimes paralyzed--there are probably whole areas of our lives where we're paralyzed. There are places we won't go. Things we won't do. Foods we won't eat. People we won't speak to. Ideas we won't consider. And sometimes this is wise and sometimes it's stupid.

The other day I was stuck in an elevator. I accidentally leaned against the alarm button and the elevator froze. I tried to pull the button that said, pull in case of an emergency. I tried to call the number on the elevator wall, but I didn't have cell service. I tried not to go insane while the alarm wailed.

I kicked the door. I beat against the wall with a tea pot. (Who knew tea pots could be useful for something other than making tea?) I pulled on the emergency knob until I my hand turned blue (really, I bruised my hands.) Finally someone found me. And then they told it would take 40 minutes for the elevator person to come and rescue me.

After 45 minutes, I decided I couldn't wait any longer, and I broke a pair of wire rimmed glasses and used the arm to wedge under the emergency button. Using all my weight, I popped off the button and the elevator doors slid open.

While in the elevator, listening to the screaming alarm, I was fine. It wasn't until I was in my car and headed for home that I began shaking. It took a long time for me to feel "normal." (Whatever that is.)

The next day I received an email from a friend recounting her grandson's experience in the monster storm that devastated the Philippines. It made me stop and think about how I handled my adventure in the elevator and how this young missionary survived a deadly storm.

It made me think about fear and faith and patience. It gave me a great idea for a story.

What do you do when you feel stuck? Are there areas of your life where you refuse to budge? Old ideas that you refuse to let go? Relationships stuck in a rut? Habits and routines that could use some shaking up?

Monday, December 9, 2013

More About Beyond the Fortuneteller's Tent--a teen time travel romance

Beyond the Fortuneteller's Tent
I’m so excited about my new book! Although it’s actually not new to me, I wrote it about 5 years. I wrote it when I was working with a critique partner who assured me that Petra, my main character, didn’t sound like a teenager. Even though I lived in a house full of teenagers, I lost my confidence in being able to write for the YA market, until my teenage daughter stumbled across Beyond. She read it, loved it and wanted to know what happens next. She gave it to her friends, they loved it and wanted to know what happens next. With my confidence restored, I started the sequel.

This week I finished the first draft of Beyond the Sleepy Hollow, the sequel to Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent. I had to write the second one before I published the first so I could keep the storylines straight. I didn’t want to have a brilliant idea while writing the second book that would impact the first book.

Since I began the Beyond series with a trilogy in mind, maybe I should wait until I have the third book finished to publish. But I’m too excited to wait any longer.

Besides, I know how the book will go…unless, of course, I decide to write a fourth and fifth book. And then things could get messy.

But, honestly, sometimes I enjoy making a little mess. And I love writing these books.

My plan is to publish Beyond the Sleepy Hollow on my birthday in January. Beyond the River Styx, the maybe third and final book, will be published in the spring.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Congrats to Julia!

Julia won the Gratitude blog hop! But no worries, I'll be sending out the Losing Penny coupon to all who signed up for my newsletter. Please look for my newsletter in the next few days.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hooray! Beyond the Fortuneteller's Tent is Here!

And available on Amazon!
When Petra Baron goes into the fortuneteller’s tent at a Renaissance fair, she expects to leave with a date to prom. Instead, she walks out into Elizabethan England, where she meets gypsies, a demon dog and a kindred spirit in Emory Ravenswood.

Emory must thwart the plans of religious zealots. His mission is dangerous, his enemies are fanatical, and Petra Baron is a complication that Heaven only knows he does not need. Or does he? Although Emory is on Heaven’s errand, he learned long ago that Heaven does not always play fair.

As Petra slowly falls for Emory, she wonders if he really is who he seems, or if he is just as lost as she is. How can they have a future while trapped in the past? Or is anything possible Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Blog Hop

Welcome to my Gratitude Blog Hop! I’m offering a number of prizes and giveaways and all you have to do to enter is sign up for my newsletter! And you will want to do that because I only send newsletter when I have something remarkable to say. So, leave your contact info in the comment box and viola! You’re subscribed and entered. (If you wish to unsubscribe—after the contest, of course—that’s easy to do. Although I hope you won’t.)

Here are the prizes.

1st prize: A cupcake apron, cupcake cookbook and free coupons from my newly released novella, A LIGHT IN THE CHRISTMAS CAFÉ.

And for everyone who signs up: A coupon for my novel LOSING PENNY

And a bargain for everyone who comes by: You don’t want to miss the chance to buy this box set of 11 Christmas stories discounted to $0.99 for ONE WEEK ONLY. (My novella is #6)

And, just to whet your appetite, here’s a recipe from the Cupcake Cookbook:



* 1 2/3 cups sugar
* 5 tbsp vegetable shortening
* 1 large egg white
* 1 large egg
* 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
* 1 one-ounce bottle red food coloring
* 2 1/4 cups flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
* 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 tbsp white vinegar
* 1 tsp baking soda


First, beat your sugar and vegetable shortening for five minutes. You can do this by hand, but a mixer will help save some elbow grease. Next, add both the egg white and egg and beat them into the mix. In a different bowl, stir the cocoa and food coloring together and add it to the mixture. Alternately add a little bit of the flour and buttermilk until it’s all in there and mixed well. Stir in your vanilla, and then in another separate bowl combine the vinegar and baking soda. Stir it together well and add it to your mixture. The mix is finished now and ready to be poured into your cupcake pan or a lined muffin tin. Then bake it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes.

But wait--before you rush into your kitchen and get out the cupcake pans, please go and visit all my blog hopping friends to see what else is on the menu.