Take 5 With Liz Flaherty

Please welcome a long-time friend, Harlequin Heartwarming author Liz Flaherty.

About Liz Flaherty

Liz thinks one of the things that keeps you young when you quite obviously aren’t anymore is the constant chances you have to reinvent yourself. Her latest professional incarnation is as a Harlequin Heartwarming author, and she is enjoying every minute!

She’d love to hear from you at lizkflaherty at gmail.com, or find her online at: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Word Wranglers Blog * Gems In The Attic Blog

About Every Time We Say Goodbye

He had her at "hello again…"

After the prom night accident that had stolen the innocence of his small lakeside hometown, Jack Llewellyn had run. The guilt—especially facing his high school sweetheart, Arlie Gallagher—had been too much. Now he had no choice. He was back in town, and on Arlie's radar.

Arlie couldn't believe that after all these years, she still had him under her skin. He was such a changed man…a responsible business owner, a single parent. Would he understand the changes she'd gone through, the secrets she lived with? She was ready to forgive him but was he ready to forgive himself? And did they have to say goodbye this time?

Take 5 With Liz Flaherty

1. What kind of promotion do you enjoy the most?

I chose this question to answer because it’s so easy. My favorite promotion is guest blogging. I wrote a newspaper column for years, so my favorite way to write is still in a 400-word piece with a beginning, middle, and end. I’m not sure I’ve ever sold the first book this way, but it sure is fun.

2. What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to food and drink?

Pringles—and yes, I can eat a whole can if I’m not paying attention—and vanilla milkshakes from Steak and Shake. It’s easy to avoid the shakes, because the closest S & S is 35 miles away, but Pringles are everywhere.

3. What's the best review you ever received?

It’s on Goodreads for One More Summer. It starts with this: “This book had to be one of the most 'healing' books in my life. I related to it extremely, on a personal level. I had a lot of cleansing cries from it - that's for sure...” and goes uphill from there. Although I don’t read all my reviews, I have gone back and read this one more than once to give myself a “yes, I can” bump when I need it. (Click here to read the complete review.

4. What's the worst review you ever received?

I’m not sure it was the worst, but the most damaging was a 2 I received from RT for Back to McGuffey’s. I won’t offer a quote from it because as far as I could tell, the reviewer hadn’t read the book. I’m not one who thinks all reviews should be good (although I won’t leave a bad one), but I do think reviewers should be careful of what they say. I’ve never understood the need to be hurtful.

5. What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to books?

I had to think about this because I think guilt and books don’t belong in the same sentence, but then I realize sometimes they do. Because I will have a long list of TBR books on my Kindle and instead of delving into one of those shiny new choices on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I’ll read a Kristan Higgins or Mary Balogh or Kathleen Gilles Seidel that I’ve read before—more than once. (Not just them, but theirs are the names that jumped out first.) The reason I feel guilty is because when I choose a known quantity that I know will make me laugh, cry, and sigh with pleasure, I’m not giving a new author a chance.

Every Time We Say Goodbye is available at these booksellers: Amazon * B & N * Kobo * Harlequin

Takeaway Truth

Buy Liz's book now so you'll get it first on Friday when it releases.

Texas: The Black Bean Episode

A few years ago, the State of Texas had a publicity campaign with the trademarked slogan Texas: It's Like A Whole Other Country.

That slogan aptly described Texas. The loyalty and love this state inspires in their citizens is akin to the loyalty one feels toward a nation.

We've got beaches and mountains, plains and deserts, small picturesque towns and huge throbbing metropolises.

We've got an ocean, many rivers, lakes, and creeks with names like Woman Hollering. We've also got an amazing history that is the stuff of legends.

On March 25, 1843, one such event occurred that still stirs people's souls: The Black Bean Episode.

In February 1843, the Mier Expedition, mostly composed of men who were in political opposition to Sam Houston, mounted an ill-fated raid into Mexico. Most of the men were captured and were marched from Mier to Mexico City. At Salado, Tamaulipas, the prisoners escaped. Within a week, 176 were recaptured, and a decree was issued that all who participated in the escape were to be executed.

Shortly afterwards, the execution order was amended to killing every 10th man. The victims were chosen by lottery. 176 beans were placed in a clay jar with 17 beans being black. Each of the 176 men drew a bean. If it was black, it was a death sentence.

Commissioned officers drew first. Enlisted men were called according to the muster roll. Observers of the drawing later extolled the courage and resolve of the men who were forced to participate in the lottery. Some left messages for their families with the survivors. Then the men marked for death were unshackled from their companions and isolated in another courtyard. At dusk on March 25, they were shot.

Today the 17 executed that day are remembered: James Decatur Cocke, William Mosby Eastland, Patrick Mahan, James M. Ogden, James N. Torrey, Martin Carroll Wing, John L. Cash, Robert Holmes Dunham, Edward E. Este, Robert Harris, Thomas L. Jones, Christopher Roberts, William N. Rowan, James L. Shepherd, J. N. M. Thompson, James Turnbull, and Henry Walling.

Shepherd survived the firing squad by pretending to be dead. The guards left him in the courtyard, and he escaped into the darkness. Unfortunately, he was was recaptured and shot.

The rest of the men were imprisoned where many of them died from their wounds, disease, and starvation. Occasionally, a few were released. The last of the remaining Mier men were finally released by Santa Anna in September 1844.
Monument Hill State Park - La Grange, TX, United States. Monument Hill Tomb historical marker.
Monument Hill State Park Marker

Takeaway Truth

In 1848 the bodies of the executed were returned from Mexico to be buried at Monument Hill, near LaGrange, Fayette County.

You Are Invited to Christmas in March Party

Drop by and say hello to me at 1:15pm Eastern time. I have prizes to give away!

You are invited to a Christmas in March party! #Giveaways #Contests #mgtab

Help us celebrate our Christmas Event!

We have decided to have a wonderful Facebook event: 
 our coming 2016 Collection of 20 brand new novellas...

(One which will be written by Leanne Banks a #1 National Best-selling author!!)
All with Christmas Carols as titles...
Some with the same theme as the title...
and all dedicated to 20 lucky winners.
Come and celebrate with us!
Win lots of prizes - 
20 of us will be there waiting
 and... willing to share all kinds of giveaways.
 Thursday, March 24 at 1 PM - 6 PM in EDT

Host Schedule: All Times EST (Eastern)
1:00- Stacy Juba
1:15- Joan Reeves
1:30- Jennifer St. Giles
1:45- Ari Thatcher
2:00- Dani Haviland
2:15- Mona Risk
2:30- Taylor Lee
2:45- Rachelle Ayala
3:00- Mimi Barbour...
3:15- Donna Fasano
3:30- Jacquie Biggar
3:45- Alicia Street
4:00- Michele Hauf
4:15- Melinda Curtis
4:30- Stephanie Queen
4:45- Patricia Rosemoor
5:00- Rebecca York
5:15- Nancy Radke
5:30- Traci Hall
5:45- Nina Bruhns

Sell Books Directly Online: Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of Sell Ebooks Directly Online. You'll want to read Part 1 and Part 2. If you did that already, then you've realized that using an ecommerce website to sell directly to the public is much easier than going it alone.

Points to Consider

For ecommerce, you'll be looking for a website that allows your product description page, a shopping cart for online purchases, the processing of payments using several payment providers, and excellent record keeping at the very least. User-friendly code to paste onto your website so you can sell there is a plus.

There are other options you may want such as marketing services, support services, ability to offer free products for promotion, ability to change pricing tier easily, and other options. Investigate each site to find one that meets all your needs.

Accepting Payment

That's what Part 2 was about. It's easy with a shop set up under the umbrella of another domain. For example, for custom-designed products, a CafePress shop and others of that type make it easy. You don't have to worry about receiving payment, making refunds, fulfilling orders. It's all done for you. This is the easiest way to sell "real" products. I've been operating my CafePress shop, The WRITE Way, since 2005 and have never had a problem.

Your financial reports for CafePress and other ecommerce sites are always on your account. When you report income on your tax return at the end of the year, it's a simple matter of seeing how much revenue you earned.

Most ecommerce sites work the same way as CafePress. They collect payment, sales tax, VAT if applicable. The accounting, reporting, and payments handled by the ecommerce domain make it easy for you to do your due diligence.  

Your Ecommerce Storefront

Now, let's get back to setting up your own storefront using a service. The ones listed below offer a user-friendly interface that anyone can set up. A lot of authors use Shopify, E-junkie, and Gumroad. Read on for details.

Shopify offers a free trial and has different levels of pricing. Read the FAQ. With the click of a button, you can get your ecommerce site set up. They offer Point of Sale with their own card reader, a Shopify webpage for you to set up, and code for your existing websites or FB and Twitter.

E-junkie offers a free trial and 2 free shopping carts. When you visit the E-junkie website, you'll immediately notice there aren't any bells and whistles. You have to be a bit tech savvy to install the software, but they do have clear directions.They also have different levels of price and offer the tax/VAT handling you probably want.

Gumroad is used by writers, bloggers, artists, and other creative persons. They offer varying pricing, simple setup, in-depth analytics, customer management, tools to build your audience, and the ability to sell multiple versions of your product, i.e., PDF or mobi or epub versions of books.

PayPal also helps you set up a storefront -- they're not just for eBay.

Volusion which has a starter package for $15.00 a month.

3DCart offers a free trial and varying levels of service. It costs a bit more but they say they offer Premium services even for the lowest priced tier.

Miiduu offers a free Basic ecommerce site with limits set for customers, downloads, etc. Check their pricing structure. If you anticipate small sales each day, this may be the way to go.

Made Freshly is easy and free if you have only 10 products you want to sell. You can upgrade at any time since they also offer varying pricing levels.

Mal's E-commerce has been around a while and is well-established. They sell in 120 countries. You may not have heard of this site of the others that follow, but they're all secure and worth investigating.

CS Cart says it is totally free. Basically, they give you the software to install and everything else is up to you. I haven't used this, but I suspect that if you're not tech savvy, this might be challenging. They do have a Help Desk.

Mercantek offers a totally free shopping cart with credit cards accepted through PayPal, Google Checkout, Amazon Payments, and others.

Takeaway Truth

So now you know the basics as well as some reputable ecommerce sites to use. Good luck and happy selling.

10 Writing Truths for Tuesday

1. Know what kind of story YOU like and write that kind of story.

2. Know what your strengths are and work to capitalize on them.

3. Know your weaknesses and work to improve them.

4. When you finish a manuscript, start another immediately to keep the words flowing.

5. Write everyday even if it's only a paragraph or notes about the story.

6. Unless you write extremely fast, ignore the hot trends because by the time you get something written and ready to publish, the trend may have died.

7. Be a cheerleader for your fellow writers. They worked hard to get what they've got so applaud them, root out envy, and focus on your work and what you want to achieve.

8. Ignore advice that your gut tells you is wrong, but make sure your gut is fueled by sound instinct not fear.

9. Be open to new information and new ways of doing things.

10. Ignore people who tell you what you should be doing. You should be the best judge of what you should do. Design your own plan and follow it.

Takeaway Truth

Writer, know thyself.


Part 3 of Sell Books Directly Online publishes tomorrow.

Sell Books Directly Online: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Sell Books Directly Online. If you haven't read Part 1, be sure and check it out.

Today's article is short and deals with accepting payment when you sell directly from your own website.

Although this isn't about selling hard copies of your self-published books, I'll direct you to a resource to do that. Read this ABA article reprinted by GalleyCat which includes a list of bookstores across the country that will take your books on consignment. Don't forget to approach your local bookstores. In fact, that would be the first stop on your quest to sell your books in book stores.

Part 1 talks about the different ways to sell directly. You can either sell through your own webpage (website, blog, Facebook, etc.) or set up shop with a website service. Or do it the old-fashioned way by hand-selling to the public. Of those two options, using a website service may cost a bit more, but it makes direct selling much easier, but I'll discuss that in Part 3 next week.

Selling Directly: Getting Paid

Selling directly to buyers isn't terribly difficult. The money issue--receiving payment, sales tax and/or VAT tax accrual--is the important factor. If you want to do it from your own website without benefit of code from a domain that helps you  handle all the reporting, it can be done.

Be warned. It can be an accounting burden depending on where you live. Different states have different tax requirements. Even cities and counties might want a piece of your action which necessitates accruing tax for those entities, filing returns, sending in the collected funds.

Point of Sale Options

If you really want to take payments yourself, I talked about how to accept credit cards in Book Sales Outside The Box. I mention Square which I use. Just scroll down to How To Accept Credit Cards.

Handselling directly to the public is for those who are so extroverted that they carry products with them and sell at the drop of a hat. Authors may speak at a luncheon and sell copies of their book afterwards. Using Square, they can easily accept credit cards for those sales. Crafters at a fair or vendors in an antique mall can easily accept credit cards with Square or other venues that have sprung up. Just remember that you have to handle sales tax appropriately.

Other Point of Sale Payment Options

There have been other options, but many have folded. Of those currently available, these seem to be good options as well as Square and PayPal.

PayPal of course with PayPal Here as the mobile option for Point of Sale.

Spark Mobile Pay

iZettle is for those outside the U.S.

InnerFence, a credit card terminal for iPhone.

Point To Keep In Mind

Remember, do not sell for less than your book is listed on Amazon and other ebook retailers. You don't want to undercut your sales there or risk the wrath of Amazon by selling online at a lower price than you've listed with the ebook sellers.

Takeaway Truth

After reading this, you'll probably be thinking that it's a heck of a lot easier to just use an ecommerce domain--especially if you want to sell a lot. Next week, I'll give you a list of ecommerce websites to make that happen.

Thursday3Some: 3 Great Video Tips

I've been outlining some videos I want to produce--mostly book trailers and how to information for writers--so I've been surfing the web for some new tips.

That's one of my rules. Always try to up your game.

I found some websites with great tips that I'd like to pass on to you.

These first tips are from ReelSEO, Video Marketer's Guide. Yes, these are for those seriously into video production, but there are elements you can take away to improve your video book trailers or whatever kind of video you plan to do.

As it says on the ReelSEO website: "Learn video production tips and techniques for creating better videos for the web. Everything from pre-production to post-production and video editing: including information about the latest video cameras, video production techniques, video editing tips and more." ©ReelSEO.com

Tip 1: Recording Video With iPhone

The first article you'll want to read is How To Record Video on iPhone 6S. If you have a good smart phone, you have the means to make some awesome video. Check out their article for some great how-to info.

Tip 2: Reblogging

The second article from ReelSEO that you'll want to read is New Platforms Mean New Opportunities: Welcome to the Video Reblog! ©ReelSEO.com

If you're a YouTube user, as I am, you've probably noticed that YouTube offers reblogging. The article mentioned above talks about Wochit. The author of the article, Jim Louderback, is a consultant and advisor to Wochit.

Tip 3: General Video Recording Tips

If you're making home videos and they're not turning out as good as you wish, these dozen tips from Crutchfield: Seriously Into Audio will make your video recordings excellent.

Takeaway Truth

Video is a great way to brand yourself and your product. Hit the Beach: Sand, Surf, and 4 Romantic Comedies, one of my most popular videos, has received 4,231 views to date. If you're not using video, you may be missing out.

Review: Bosch, Season 2

My darling hubby and I binge watched season two of Bosch, one of the best cop shows on television.

(I saw it on Amazon Prime Video since I'm an Amazon Prime Subscriber as well as Netflix because both are a rich source of information documentaries that serve as research for me as a writer. They also allow me to keep up with pop culture trends which I review on the blog.)

We had eagerly awaited the release of the new season, and we weren't disappointed even though we think the ending could have been more of a cliffhanger rather than a finale. (That's the downfall of being a writer. I'm always in critic mode when watching anything.)

Seriously, the only real disappointment is that there are only 10 episodes! We want more Bosch!


The Storylines and Writing. There is so much that is superb about this intelligent series. Of course, Michael Connelly's books are the source material.

Even though the series is a mashup of several Bosch books, the screenwriters do a good job of making it make sense without alienating the readers who know the stories. So you get intelligent story lines with believable characters.

The Cast. Each member of the superb cast of Bosch breathes life into their respective characters. Titus Welliver was born to be Bosch. His portrayal of the police detective who is lousy at life but so very good at his job is so perfect that I can't imagine anyone else in this part.

The rest of the regular cast equals Welliver's performance, in particular, Lance Reddick as Irvin Irving, Jamie Hector as Jerry Edgar, Amy Aquino as Lt. Grace Billets, Madison Lintz as Maddie Bosch, and Sarah Clarke as Eleanor Wish. Character actors you've seen in countless other films and TV round out the cast who portray regulars in the cop shop and other characters in the story.

Side Note

I found it difficult to believe that Bosch was nominated for only 1 Emmy in 2015, its debut season: Outstanding Main Title Design. (Bosch, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Studios, Grant Lau, Creative Director; JJ Gerber, Creative Producer; Michael Radtke, Editor; and Rod Basham, Flame Artist.

Fortunately, Lance Reddick, a consummate professional in so many roles--I'm thinking of Fringe in particular--was recognized for his role by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA 2016, which nominated him for the Saturn Award for Best New Media Television Series/Best Supporting Actor on Television.

Madison Lintz who plays Bosch's daughter was also nominated by Young Artist Awards 2016, Best Performance in a TV Series, Recurring Young Actress (14 - 21).


Bosch should be nominated in every creative category. This series alone justifies the cost of Amazon Prime Membership.

Takeaway Truth

We'll be watching Season 2 again in its entirety. In fact, we may just host a Bosch film festival party and show Season 1 and 2 back to back.

Do You Ever Feel Really Dumb?

I do. I was going to publish Part 2 of Sell Books Online this past Saturday.

Guess what? I couldn't find the file. I looked off and on all day but never did find the file. I guess the problem is that I wrote it while I was waiting for 3 hours at one of my daughter's doctor's office. When I got home, I did the necessary stuff then after dinner finished the article with all the links. I clicked save and went to bed.

The problem is I didn't save it where it was supposed to go. In fact, I have no idea what file name I gave it because I can't pull it up anywhere.

Today, I'm still looking.

Takeaway Truth

Never work on anything important when you're mentally drained.

Let's Celebrate: Taxes Done

I'm ready to celebrate! I think Don Ramon's Saturday for lunch with one of their fabulous frozen margaritas is in order.

I finished our personal taxes. Have the materials for the LLC return and reports organized and ready to take to the CPA.

Now I can turn my attention to what I like best: writing.

Look for a blog post Saturday. I'll publish Part 2 of Sell Your Books Directly Online.

Takeaway Truth

I'm so glad that task can be crossed off my To Do List.

Thought for Today: Downloaders

If you're worried about pricing your ebooks higher than free or even higher than 99cents, here's a thought attributed to author Selena Kitt.

To paraphrase what she said: "You don't lose readers at a higher price point, you lose downloaders.

Downloaders are those who grab anything just because it's free. It's not that we authors don't like internet users who want something free. After all, most of us like something free too.

The problem is that downloaders (1) often don't like the genre of the downloaded book so they slam it in reviews or (2) they rarely buy anything because they're only interested in free downloads. So they may have every free book you offered, but they still won't buy your 99cent book because its, well, 99cents, not free.

Takeaway Truth

Free should be a carefully-used part of  your overall marketing plan, not an evergreen concept for your entire inventory. After all, an author can't make a living if the public is trained to expect ebooks to always be free.

Enter my Amazon Giveaway

I'm trying Amazon's new feature: the ebook giveaway. Just click here to enter. You'll find out immediately whether you've won or not.

No purchase necessary to be entered. Just click the link to enter. Winner chosen by random draw.

But Wait, There's More

If you leave a comment with your email address on this post, you'll also be entered to win an audio edition of one of my other books.

Winner chosen by random draw. No purchase necessary to enter this either. This giveaway closes at 4:00pm March 10.

Takeaway Truth

Giveaways or fun and hopefully allow new readers to sample authors they may not have read before. So click here to enter the April Fool Bride Giveaway.

Thursday3Some: Unstoppable by Lynn Crandall

Please welcome Lynn Crandall, a friend from the days when we both wrote for Kensington's Precious Gems Romance Line. (Visit with these authors at their new group blog Gems In The Attic.)

About Lynn Crandall

Lynn lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life.

Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift.

Visit Lynn Online at: Website * Facebook * Twitter *

About Unstoppable, Book 5 of Fierce Hearts

Reeling from Project Powering, the recent battle between the evil Nexus Group and her colony of were-cats, were-lynx Lara Monroe is struggling with not only thwarting the group’s plans to take over the world and eliminate her colony, but also her own traumatic past and aching heart. Through her work as a veterinarian equipped with a special healing touch, she can help animals. Animals she can trust not to tear open her heart. As the colony’s unofficial go-to for help with emotional issues, Lara is eager to use her healing touch to help colony cat Booker Chase process grief and his PTSD. But as the focus of her unrequited love, Booker unknowingly beckons her to ask for more than friendship.

A formidable were-lynx and a physician, Booker nonetheless has his hands full helping patients who were seriously injured in Project Powering. Though his healing touch is powerful in healing physical injuries in his patients, it’s useless to help him heal from the loss of his wife or the retriggered PTSD he incurred while serving in Afghanistan. Now that his good friend Lara is standing by him in his emotional struggles, he is finding there is more to his connection with her than he realized. But dare he open his heart to her?

In the epic conclusion of the Fierce Hearts series, while the colony faces constant threats in attempting to end TNG, will Lara and Booker survive to take their second chance at love?

At the bottom of this post, there is a free Kindle Live Preview of Unstoppable.

When did you write Unstoppable?

I completed Unstoppable in November 2015.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Unstoppable is book 5 in the Fierce Hearts series. The idea of featuring were-lynxes just dropped into my mind when I was brainstorming for the first book in the series, Secrets. I was doing characterization for the hero and the thought popped in my head, “What if he is a were-cat?” The colony took shape from that point.

Why do your readers buy Unstoppable?

We all admire survivors. I think one reason is because even the Polyannas among us understand that life, though beautiful, is hard. It’s unpredictable. Sometimes it feels as though there is no ground to stand on. No one to help us. Some of us cave under duress and some of us persevere. It’s what survivors do. I feel Unstoppable offers readers the whole deal – suspense, fast pacing, exploration of inner conflicts that we all can relate to, and grounded true love. The were-lynx characters also offer a perspective of appreciating nature in a deep and organic way.

Add Unstoppable to Your Library

Unstoppable by Lynn Crandall is available at: Crimson Romance * Amazon * Barnes and Noble * iBooks

Takeaway Truth

If you haven't selected your "vacation between the covers of a book" for the weekend, consider Unstoppable. A free Kindle Live Preview of Unstoppable follows. Just scroll down to the Buy/Share/Preview buttons and click your preference.

Love, Lust, and Civil War Medicine by Jina Bacarr

Today, my friend Jina Bacarr is blogging on SlingWords. Take it away, Jina!

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I'm Jina Bacarr, and I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve.

I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I’m proud to say my Civil War time travel romance, Love Me Forever, is a Kindle Scout winner.

I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris.

The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

About Love Me Forever

When Liberty Jordan travels back to Antietam in 1862 during a Civil War re-enactment, one stolen kiss with Union officer Major Flynt Stephens makes her wonder if she wasn’t sent here for a reason.
But Flynt is engaged to Pauletta Sue Buckingham, Liberty’s mirror image and a Confederate spy who lost her husband.

The war heats up when Pauletta Sue saves Liberty from rotting in a Yankee prison. Her price? Pretend to be her so she can fight for the cause. Can Liberty pull off the charade and find love with Flynt? But even if she does, would their love be able to stand the test of time?

Video: Women Soldiers in the Civil War

Here's a short video about the Women Soldiers in the Civil War from my book Love Me Forever. In case you didn't know, there were women on both sides of the conflict who disguised themselves as men in order to fight in the war.

(This video: Women Soldiers in the Civil War from "Love Me Forever" is from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.)

For a fun video excerpt from my book, here's Southern Belle and Spy: Excerpt from LOVE ME FOREVER

(This video: Southern Belle and Spy: Excerpt from LOVE ME FOREVER from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.)

If you'd like to see more of my videos, please visit my video page on Vimeo. Also, I quite often mention the PBS series Mercy Street so here's a link to this riveting series. Now, here's a post I wrote for today.

Love, Lust, and Civil War Medicine
by Jina Bacarr

Did you follow the recent PBS Civil War mini-series Mercy Street? I was glued to my TV every week watching the fascinating story of a Virginia hotel turned into a hospital for both Union and Confederate wounded in 1862.

I enjoyed watching the story unfold and how it paralleled my Civil War time travel romance, Love Me Forever, which also takes place in 1862 Virginia. It was like watching my pages come alive with Civil War medicine, a visit from Mr. Lincoln, hoop skirts, women's roles in both the North and the South, and of course, hot romance.

Like Mercy Street, I have two heroines:

Liberty Jordan, a time traveler from the future who goes back to Antietam dressed as a Confederate officer.

Pauletta Buckingham, a Tennessee belle and a spy bent on revenging the death of her beloved, a Texas Ranger.

An odd couple in every way. One is a strawberry-blonde, the other raven-haired. One believes in the Union; the other will do anything for the cause. One is in love with a man she can’t have…the other is engaged to a man she doesn’t love.

But these two women have one thing in common: believing in women’s equality. Here my time traveler, Liberty, questions her involvement in the war with belle Pauletta Sue.

“Liberty couldn’t stop questioning how she got mixed up with this crazy secesh woman and her insane scheme. She’d never seen a woman so passionate about a cause, so truly believing what she was doing was patriotism. The war had unleashed a fire in her, and the more Liberty understood about the protected, delicate lifestyle these women led, the more she knew a great movement was underway that went beyond their cause.

It wasn’t until 1866 that the American Equal Rights Association was founded, but this was the beginning of the movement leading to women’s freedom and that she could understand. What bothered her was that Pauletta Sue was on the losing side of the war and because of that, she might not benefit from the changes women embraced afterward. She worked so hard at her cause, Liberty believed she deserved better, but the belle wouldn’t listen to her.”

I love how these two women bond over the course of the story as did Union Army nurse Mary in Mercy Street with belle Emma. But as much as I enjoyed the series, I kept hoping they would touch on the role of women in the ranks. Brave women who fought and often died as soldiers because they believed in their cause. I’m hoping the series will be renewed and we’ll meet up with a female soldier in Season 2.
My hero, Major Flynt Stephens, a Union Army physician, ponders the idea of female soldiers when he finds out his Rebel prisoner is a beautiful woman (Liberty).

“The Rebel prisoner was a female.

Would his nurse give her away? Or was she waiting for him to say something? He couldn’t. He felt a stirring within him, something he didn’t want to admit, that brought a hardness between his loins. Did he dare imagine that a beautiful woman existed under all that blood and dirt? He’d heard stories about women enlisting in the army, both North and South, and fighting as men. A good set of teeth to rip open a bullet cartridge, a trigger finger that worked, and a firm handshake was all that was required to join up. It was no secret the promise of a steady paycheck was often the reason behind such reckless female behavior.

That didn’t solve his immediate problem.”

The stirring in the major’s groin brings up another subject. Sex. Which made me wonder: is sex better when you time travel? Hmm…here’s what I discovered.

5 Reasons Why Sex Is Better When You Time Travel

1. If you time travel back to the past before your first time, you won’t run into old boyfriends.

2. Time travel makes you lose weight. Honest. You always lose a few pounds going through that space-time continuum.

3. Sex was more romantic in the past…no cell phones, faxes, texting.

4. If you and your partner don’t hit it off in bed, you don’t have to worry about embarrassing pictures showing up on Instagram.

5. If you did like his performance in bed, you can go back in time and do it all over again…

Add Love Me Forever to Your Library: Amazon

Takeaway Truth

Jina: Thank you, Joan, for having me!

Joan: My pleasure. Readers, this sounds like a book you may want to grab!

Sell Books Directly Online: Part 1

I've been exploring the issue of selling books directly to readers via a website. I thought I'd pass on what I've learned. Then you can decide if this is something for you.

Several authors have begun selling directly to the reading public. Selling online is relatively easy, and there are many websites that offer you the means to do so. There are also ways you can use your own website to do this.

How Hard Is It

The setup is simple. You just need software that takes care of purchase and delivery. In the online world, this is a Shopping Cart.

You can sell directly via your own website if you have the code that sets up a Shopping Cart, or you can register with a website that helps you do it.  Some apps and/or websites can also help you with record keeping and tax remittance.

The shopping cart software you need to sell ebooks on your website in PDF and EPUB formats may also make it possible to sell tangible products too.

The Process

First, let's look at digital only sales using a website where you are a registered user. You just upload your file according to the website's instructions.

When a customer buys your ebook, he automatically receives a link to download your book. You want a site that lets you protect the download links so customers can't share the links with others.

Websites that offer shopping carts usually charge a flat monthly fee and possibly other fees such as transaction fees, bandwidth fees, etc. so shop around to find the website that fits your needs and budget.

How to Start

1. Decide what you want to sell: print books, ebooks, tangible items, or all of these.

2. Do a realistic forecast of how many sales you can expect because that may determine which shopping cart/website you use.

3. Analyze the various websites and select the one that fits your needs for cost, ease of use, record-keeping, customer service, sales tax handling, and any other options you may want. (I'll do a summary of the ones I've discovered in a later post.)

4. Open your account and follow the directions to either set up your "store" on their website or add their code to your existing websites.

5. Make sure you keep accurate records so you can generate any forms you may need and stay on top of your reporting obligations, i.e., remitting state sales tax on purchases made by residents of your state. (Easiest is to choose a website that does this for you.)

How to Choose Ecommerce Website

1. A website that allows your product description page, a shopping cart for online purchases, the processing of payments using several payment providers, and excellent record keeping.

2. User-friendly code with good instructions on how to paste it onto your website.

3. Marketing services if you are serious about making good sales.

4. Customer support services make it easy to get help in understanding how to get set up.

5. Ability to offer free products for promotion.

6. Ability to change pricing tier easily.

7. Ability to have them automatically handle your tax accruals and payments.

There are other options you may want, but those above are most important.

Investigate each site to find one that meets all your needs.

Takeaway Truth

Next week I'll publish Part 2. In the meantime, figure out what kind of ecommerce site you might need if you want to proceed.