Scents and Sensuality On Sale for Book Lovers Buffet

Tomorrow, May 1, the big Book Lovers Buffet blowout sale kicks off. From May 1-3, you'll find hundreds of books on sale for only $.99. These are not books that are always offered at that price.

My new book SCENTS and SENSUALITY has been reduced to only 99 cents for this sale. So stock up today. You'll find books in these categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy/SciFi/Time Travel, Historical, Inspiration, Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal, and Young Adult.

What's even better is that you can enter to win up to $400 in gift cards to the online retailer of your choice, generously donated by the authors in the 99-cent sale! Just click the Contests tab to find out all the details.

Hope you'll grab my book at the sale price. Don't wait. The sale ends on May 3!

Takeaway Truth

See you at the Book Lovers Buffet!

Paint and Painters

Ah, the joy of paint. I've been inhaling paint fumes for the last few days as my wonderful crew of painters transforms my lovely Tuscan-inspired wall colors to realtor-loving neutrals.

One of my favorite comedians Steven Wright said: "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it."

That thought took my fancy today. I guess because it made me think about the size of the rooms that are being painted. To me, they don't seem excessively large, but looking at them from the perspective of painting them, they seem humongous. Thus, the pros we contracted.

Fascinating People

The leader of our painting crew is a very nice gentleman who told us that he's been painting houses for 36 years -- since he was a 14-year-old boy in the Dominican Republic. He's very good at his job and can do just about anything with paint.

I've always liked talking to the people who work around my home. It's amazing how many countries are represented by the craftsmen in the Houston area. A few years ago, a trio of brothers from Serbia did our wood flooring, and a group of young men from Mexico did our tile floors. The painting crew whom I suspect are all from the Dominican Republic are the best painters I've seen.

Takeaway Truth

Talking to people from all walks of life is a pleasure. You never know who may have the most fascinating story to tell.

BIG Book Blowout Sale Coming

Mark your calendar for May 1-3 for the annual Book Lovers Buffet.

I'll be joining a group of wonderful authors in offering a selected title at a rock-bottom sale price. Early on the morning of May 1, I'll post the website link where you'll find the Book Lovers Buffet.

In my case, I'm offering my newest romance novel SCENTS and SENSUALITY which normally sells for $2.99 for only $.99.

Takeaway Truth

Be sure and check back on Wednesday, May 1, for the Book Lovers Buffet website URL where you'll find my book listed along with many, many more.

Why Create A Print Book

This year I intend to publish print editions of all my ebooks. When I announced this to a couple of ebook author friends, they asked why I would take the time to do this. Here are my reasons.

(This article previously appeared in Writing Hacks, my subscription newsletter for writers. Subscribe today if you want to read articles like this as soon as they are published.)

1. Print books still represent the majority of book sales. I think we, as ebook authors, tend to dismiss the dead tree world as a dying market. It may be declining, but it hasn't died yet. There are a great many readers who may have heard of you, but who will never be able to buy your book unless it's in print. I want to reach those readers too. Remember, the majority of the people in the US -- and abroad -- still don't read ebooks.

2. Fans ask for print books. I receive emails from fans who really love my books. Even though they have read them as an ebook, many have asked for a print book for their keeper shelves.

3. A print book doesn't cost anything to create, but time, if you do all the production work yourself. If you contract it out, then you'll have to budget for that. Many POD -- Print On Demand -- publishers "give" you the ISBN much as Smashwords gives you an ISBN. POD publishers offer templates on their websites that you can "plug" your manuscript into. They also offer cover templates. All the instructions, for every step of the way, are fairly easy to understand. If you want to DIY, and can follow instructions, then you can produce your print edition with a minimum of expense.

4. If you have print books, you can always carry one with you to show. When someone asks what you do, and you say you write, you can pull a copy out of your purse for an impromptu show and tell. Keep a stack at home on the coffee table. When someone visits, they'll want to know about it. That's handselling at its most basic. A print book is much more "real" as evidence than telling someone to go look for your ebooks online. Of course, you'll still tell them you can get ebook, audio, etc. (Better yet, hand out a print card of some kind that you always carry with your URLs on it -- website, blog, amazon author page, whatever gives you the most exposure.)

5. You can submit a print book for contests. Now that indie published can become PAN members on RWA (have you applied yet?), you'll see the contests being opened to indie books. Lots of contests everywhere. You can submit an actual book if they require that or you want to do it.

6. There's just something about seeing your book on your own bookshelf with a cover and your art and your name on that cover! Sometimes, when I'm feeling down, I look at the print books on my shelf. They are the symbol of all the hard work I've put into my career. If nothing else, I want a print book of my ebooks now to add to that bookshelf because my ebooks represent a heck of a lot of hard work.

With most POD publishers, you don't pay a dime -- if you do all the format yourself -- until you order a book. That's what separates them from the so-called vanity publishers who require you to pay enormous fees and "give" you X number of books in exchange.

I published Memory Lane, my Mom's memoir, with CreateSpace. I did it as a birthday present for her two years before she died. The book was for family, but each book gets a webpage when you publish with CreateSpace. Since they're owned by Amazon, you also get your book on Amazon, and it shows up on your Amazon Author Page. To my surprise, about 100 copies of this book have sold since it was published. Not a huge profit center, but surprising.

I'll provide a list of the most credible POD publishers the next time I write about Print Book Production for Writing Hacks.

Takeaway Truth

More points of sale mean more sales.

How To Recognize An Author

After I published my latest book SCENTS and SENSUALITY, I blogged on Authors of Main Street about how to recognize an author. The post, inspired by the general messiness of my office and home after I'd focused solely on writing for several weeks, elicited a lot of feedback from authors.

No good deed goes unpunished, right? So I thought I'd take part of the post and turn it into a video. (The self-punishment is the amount of work that goes into a video. Still, producing a video is a lot of fun so maybe it's not much punishment after all.)

Yesterday, I premiered the video, How To Recognize An Author, on YouTube. (Direct Link: -- feel free to pass it on. (I appreciate any Comments, Facebook Likes, Tweets, etc.)

Here's my video: How To Recognize An Author. Hope it gives you a chuckle today.

Takeaway Truth

Unfortunately, too much of this video is true. *LOL*

Earth: Our Home Planet

Days set aside to celebrate specialness -- like Mothers Day and Fathers Day -- should serve as inspiration to honor that specialness every day, not just one day on a calendar.

Today is Earth Day, an annual event, celebrated worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This holiday is actually 43 years old, having first been celebrated in 1970. Today, the even is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 192 countries. (Want to read more?)

Today, resolve to do something good every day of the year for old Mother Earth. It's the only planet we have, and there are too many ecological signs that she's tired of taking abuse.

At The Very Least
  • Choose reusable water bottles rather than those single-use disposable bottles of water.
  • Carry your own bags to the store in which to pack your groceries.
  • Walk more and drive less.
  • Never litter.
  • Dispose of hazardous chemicals and petroleum products properly.
  • Start composting.
  • Most of all, teach your children all of the above -- and more.
Everything Old Is New Again

My grandparents' generation had a saying: Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.

There's a lot of truth in that.

In today's world, that old saying has been repackaged for a new generation: Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose.

Takeaway Truth

Rejoice in doing your part for the planet.

Wacky Weather

I don't know about you, but I'm really tired of the capriciousness of Mother Nature this spring.

In Texas, they always say if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes, and it will change. That certainly seems true lately. I've started the day in warm fleece to chase away the chill, only to change to tee shirt and shorts in the afternoon.

Then there's the wind. Lately, it seems as if we have our own version of mistral, the bitter wind that nearly blows you away in Provence.

This rapidly-changing weather gets blamed by allergy sufferers and those with upper respiratory ailments that seem to hang on forever. I agree with those sufferers. If the weather would stabilize, those maladies would go away.

Takeaway Truth

Mark Twain said, "In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."

He must have been visiting Texas at the time.

The Pelican State

We're traveling to Louisiana today on a research trip. This state is where I was born and spent the first 20 years of my life. The picture to the left is of the Atchafalaya Basin, but it looks pretty much like every place my dad took us fishing when we were kids. (By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Louisiana has been a state since 1812. With all the giant magnolia trees in the state, it's no wonder that the large, white, fragrant bloom is the state flower.

The state is the 25th most populous of the 50 United States with its capital, Baton Rouge, being the home of LSU (Louisiana State University). Just about everyone knows that the largest city in the state is New Orleans.

There aren't too many large cities. According to population, these are ranked from largest: New Orleans (360,740), Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Metairie, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Kenner, Bossier City, Monroe, and Alexandria (47,723).

In fact, that's pretty much all the cities that could be considered sizable. There are so many rivers and bayous in the state that a lot of cities are set up across the river from each other. All of the ones above have a corresponding city across a river.

For instance, Bossier City is across the Red River from Shreveport. Metairie is a sister to New Orleans. West Monroe is across the Ouachita River from Monroe. Alexandria is across the Red River from Pineville, and so on.


My research is for a book I plan to publish next year. The book is a mystery/romance with a strong element of humor. I would give my title, but I've had the misfortune of my titles being "taken" before I can get my book published. Suffice it to say that the title is perfect for this mystery/romance.

I've created a fictional parish that's a stand-in for the one where I lived during high school. I'm going to take pictures of some of the 1930's architecture and some old main streets in the small towns in the parish. I'll probably end up shooting a couple hundred photos.

I'm also going to visit with a group of fans there and talk about books and writing. Should be fun.

Takeaway Truth

When I was in college, one of my professors told about a friend from up North who thought that alligators crawled alongside the highways in the state. Wouldn't you know it? When I was driving that night, I had to slam on the brakes and wait for a big alligator to cross the road. True story. First time and the last time I ever saw that.

Digital Dead Zone

When we're up here in the Texas Hill Country, cell service is often "iffy" and WiFi can be about the same not to mention expensive. This is my "digital dead zone."

That phrase -- digital dead zone -- was used in this article about the major providers vs. the rest of the populace.

According to the article in Huffington Post, AT&T, Verizon, et al, "have a plan to establish new digital dead zones and remove a consumer's right to communicate. (Of course they don't claim that will happen.)"

Personally, I don't understand how Internet connectivity and cell service can be so cheap in Europe and so expensive here.

Read the Huff Post article and click to see what you can do about it.

Between the U.S. Postal Service wanting to shut down post offices in small towns and the phone/internet service providers wanting to limit access, I guess all of us who choose country places for the peace and quiet will actually get a lot of that if these corporations have their way. Of course that puts a crimp in my life since I must be online regularly.

Takeaway Truth

Am I the only one who is beginning to think that what corporations call progress is just a way of saying BOHICA?

Meet Mystery Author Maryann Miller

Maryann Miller is another mystery author published by the noted hardcover press Five Star Mystery.

The Seasons Series, which debuted in 2010 with Open Season, now available for Kindle, has garnered wonderful reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus, as well as readers.

Publisher's Weekly said: "Miller spins a tight tale that's a cut above the average police procedural in this first of a new series introducing Dallas police detective Sarah Kingsly."

Library Journal said: "Try this debut mystery for its open treatment of current urban problems, clean prose, and realistic depiction of women working together. For readers who enjoy Robin Burcell and fans of police procedurals."

Maryann said that one reader review compared the writing to that of Lee Child, an amazing compliment as he is one of her favorite authors.

Stalking Season is the second book in the Seasons Series and features Dallas Homicide Detectives, Sarah Kingsley and Angel Johnson. Think "Lethal Weapon" with female leads. Kinsgly and Johnson are pitted against an uncanny killer while still struggling to feel like real partners. Neither wanted the pairing in the first place, and it isn't getting any better.

In this high-profile case, it isn't easy to work under the thumb of the mayor and the police commissioner, and it doesn't help that their Lieutenant has his own issues with the brass. The investigation takes the detectives inside an exclusive gentleman's club, a prestigious private school, and leads to a killer that surprises them all.

Ask for it at your local library or use the buy link above to order from Amazon.

But Wait, There's More

Maryann is on a hot streak. She also has a historical mystery Boxes For Beds. I think if you like Vegas, the TV series starring Dennis Quaid and Jason Omara, you'll like this mystery set in Arkansas in 1961 when the mob still ruled Hot Springs. In this mystery, babies are being kidnapped and the local sheriff must put this case to bed before the bosses come down from Chicago because they don't want the heat.

Newcomer Leslie Richards is definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time when she rolls into town.


As you read this, Maryann is busy on the third book in the Seasons Series, but she frequently takes time to play on stage -- literally. She's currently rehearsing for a production of "Our Town" in which she'll play Mrs. Gibbs. She's also directing the show for the community theater in her small town.

Find Maryann Miller on her Facebook Author Page.

Takeaway Truth

Discover Maryann Miller and her gripping mysteries today.

Move Carefully To Nook Publishing

If you publish through B&N Pubit, you probably received the email yesterday with their big announcement for self-publishers.

Who Is Target Audience

B&N is replacing the Pubit program with Nook Publishing. To me, this seems designed to attract self-publishers who currently do not publish through B&N, but use an aggregator or intermediary like Smashwords.

Most of the touted features involve editing, formatting, and publishing while directly on the site rather than creating the pub file and uploading it.


The new publishing system is supposed to migrate all your existing Pubit books to the new program without losing rank, reviews, sales stats, etc. They also promise special promotion for selected books as well as author support. (Perhaps I'll file that under "believe it when I see it.")


If you already have books you published through Pubit, be cautious since this is a new program. Some authors have been beta testers for several months. They sent in suggestions for changes, but I don't think those changes have been made yet.

Biggest Problem

The biggest problem is for those with books already in the Pubit system. Anecdotal evidence from those who jumped in as soon as they received the email says that once you migrate a project from Pubit to Nook Publishing, you can no longer upload a replacement manuscript file or make changes to the manuscript, even if you remove the project from sale.

To make changes to a manuscript that you have already put on sale -- that was originally published with Pubit and migrated to Nook Publishing -- you must download the ePub file, create a New Project, and upload it as a Manuscript File. Then you need to provide the Book Details again.

Takeaway Truth

With existing books in the Pubit program, you might want to wait and let others test Nook Publishing first.

Hay Fever

I take allergy meds every day of my life, but this spring, my allergic reaction to the joyous world of leafing trees and multicolored wildflowers is about to do me in. My eyes look as if I've been weeping for a week, and my stuffy nose makes me feel oxygen deprived.

Two Conclusions

One, spring breezes -- which abound in Texas -- bring allergy sneezes, watering eyes, and runny noses. All of us who are tired of dreary winter are lured into the fresh spring air and end up inhaling all that pollen that's blowing through the air. From dreary winter we go to spring misery.

Takeaway Truth

Oh, the second conclusion is that you must stay the heck away from fresh air.

Until everything finishes pollinating, you'll find me trapped indoors.

Review: Darkness on the Edge of Town by J.Carson Black

This past week, I finished reading Darkness on the Edge of Town by J. Carson Black.

Just The Facts, Ma'am

Price: $3.97
File Size: 511 KB * Print Length: 368 pages * Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Breakaway Media (June 14, 2010) * Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled * X-Ray: Enabled * Lending: Enabled

Blurb It

"Laura Cardinal, a detective with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, troubleshoots homicide investigations in small towns where resources are scarce. When Laura investigates the murder of a fourteen-year-old girl found in a town’s park bandshell, she knows immediately what she’s up against: a cunning sexual predator. But why is she plagued by the abduction of a schoolmate eighteen years earlier?

In a runaway case that propels Laura from a lavish Tucson estate to the secretive heart of a north Florida town, she must confront the ghosts of her own past. Then another child goes missing--and Laura must race the clock to find her."

My Take

Darkness on the Edge of Town by J. Carson Black is the first book in the Laura Cardinal series, and it's a great introduction to a compelling, multilayered character. The mystery is well-plotted, and the characters are intriguing. I recommend this as a good read for any mystery lovers out there.

Many dub this book a thriller, but I don't agree with that. It's got the puzzle of a really good mystery more so than the creeping anxiety of a thriller.


I really have only 3 quibbles with the book, and I wouldn't let any of these deter you from reading the book. It's worth the price of admission even with my minor quibbles.

First, the book begins with a paranormal event which, it would seem, is to be taken at face value. That it really is a true event and not the result of the heroine's imagination. If that is the case, then that element needs to be fleshed out a bit more. That hook embedded in the third paragraph of the opening is what made me think this was a mystery beyond the ordinary.

Second, coincidence plays a rather large part in the story from several threads of the active plot line and to the backstory too. This is always tricky to pull off and make believable in any book. Most non-writer readers probably won't have a problem with this.

Third, the ending comes out of left field. In a way, that's good because authors want to surprise readers. However, in a puzzle-mystery, readers are always trying to figure out the answers. I cut my teeth, so to speak, on every mystery in my parish library when I was a kid -- Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, John D. Macdonald, Rex Stout, and all the other greats.

By the end of a book that is any kind of mystery or puzzle, readers want to say, "Wow. That's shocking, BUT I totally see how it's true." Again, non-writer readers may not have a problem with the ending.

I guess you'll just have to read the book for yourself to see how you feel about it. I do know that I'll get the next Laura Cardinal book by J. Carson Black. He hit paydirt with his heroine in Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Takeaway Truth

Try a new author today -- J. Carson Black is a good choice.

Sell Books Or Anything Online

Are you an author looking for another point of sale? Or, maybe you have needlepoint, photographs, or other handiwork to sell. May I introduce YooOffer, another website that lets you sell something -- anything.

How It Works

When you have something to sell, think internet first. YooOffer gives you the opportunity to sell whatever you want, simply and easily. They help you create a product page to showcase your merchandise. Within 60 seconds, you can have something offered for sale.

Buyers can use the search engine on YooOffer to browse through products in real-time to see what is up for sale. If they see something they want, they can buy it instantly using PayPal.

After the transaction is complete, the seller receives an email with the buyer's contact info so that the physical product can then be mailed to the buyer. A digital purchase will be sent directly to the buyer by YooOffer. Everything is managed through your Dashboard.

YooOffer connects with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. That helps sellers promote their items for sale, and there's also a buy now button you can place on your blog or website.
Read How It Works, About YooOffer, and Terms of Service.

Takeaway Truth

As an entrepreneur -- author, artist, etc. -- the more points of sale you have, the better.

Meet Mystery Author Janis Patterson

Today I'd like to introduce you to Janis Patterson, an amazing woman who has lived a life that has given her more than enough material for all the different kinds of books she writes.

"I write in so many genres because I bore very easily," Janis, a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith said. "Variety keeps me and my writing fresh."

Amazingly, Janis Susan May Patterson writes -- and is successful in all these genres:

mysteries as Janis Patterson
romances and other things as Janis Susan May
children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson
scholarly works as J.S.M. Patterson.

Wow! Impressive, huh? Like the commercials say, "But, wait! There's more!"


Janis has been:

an actress * a singer * a talent agent

Supervisor of Accessioning for a bio-genetic DNA testing lab

Editor-in-Chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups

Founder/original Editor of The Newsletter of the North Texas Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), which for the nine years of her reign was the international organization’s only monthly publication

Founder of North Texas Chapter and closing speaker for (ARCE) International Conference, Boston, 2005.

Janis married for the first time when most of her contemporaries were becoming grandmothers. Her husband, a handsome Naval Reserve Captain several years younger than she, even proposed in a moonlit garden in Egypt. Now, Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued fur babies.

Let's Talk Mystery

Mystery readers will be delighted to know that Janis maintains a website -- Janis Patterson Mysteries -- just for mystery fans. Her mystery publisher is Five Star, a noted hardcover publisher.

Her latest Five Star release is Exercise is Murder by Janis Patterson, a cozy mystery set in an exclusive condo building. The book is available from Amazon and other major retailers.

Follow Janis on Twitter: @JanisSusanMay.

(By the way, if you are a romance and a horror fan, Janis is well-known to readers of those genres too. Check out her website for info on that: Janis Susan May.)

Takeaway Truth

You don't have to live an adventurous, amazing life to be a writer -- but it helps! Read Exercise is Murder and discover Janis Patterson today.

Book Consumer Data: A Must-Read For Authors

If you're an author, you need to know statistics about the book-buying public. I blogged with some of the statistics last month, but the report is a must-read for authors.

Bowker, the company that handles ISBN assignment among other matters, compiles such data. Fortunately, The Book Consumer in 2012: Digital Book World 2013 Presentation, published January 16, 2013, is offered free.

Sharon Lubrano of Bowker presented the report/presentation, ISBN: 978-1-941808-07-8, at Digital Book World 2013.

Download the report and you'll get information like this: "In 2012: 60% of book buyers were female. 60% were educated to degree level. A third were earning more than $75k. 51% were married, 32% had children in the household and 28% were aged 55+.

Takeaway Truth

If you are a writing professional, you need to know this information about the print and ebook consumer.

Kindle eBook Return Policy

If you think Amazon's Kindle Return Policy is NOT fair, here's your chance to possibly change it. There's a petition on the Internet.

I learned of it early Monday. The petition started at

Current Policy Needs Update

If this policy has bothered you, now is the time to take action and pass the word on. I know it has bothered me. If I buy software, I forfeit a refund if the package has been opened. With Kindle ebooks though, someone can buy the book and get a refund up to 7 days -- sometimes even longer -- just by asking for it.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who will buy, read, and ask for a refund then move on to the next book. Since anyone can get a free sample of an ebook -- usually 10-15% of the book -- that's more than enough of the content to tell if they'll like the book. So it's not as if they are forced to buy the book first to read and see if they like it.

Sure, there are legitimate reasons to get a refund: hit the Buy button by mistake or the book file is screwed up for some reason and doesn't display properly. Amazon should keep track of people who are racking up refunds. If they do that, then there should be something in the policy that addresses that situation.

Read and Sign the Petition To Stop Allowing Refunds on eBooks After They Have Been Read.

Takeaway Truth

I know a lot of you have griped about this. Take action now!

Make A Living On The Internet

Everyone -- not just authors watching book sales decline -- is concerned about the economy, increased taxes, and cash flow growth. I've heard more than one person speculate about how to become an Internet entrepreneur.

We all hear that the Internet makes it possible to make a living if you can get online, but exactly how do people do that? They use their knowledge, skills, and passion to create a product or service that people will want to buy.

Earning On The Internet

Primarily, you sell Products -- real goods or services -- or you sell ad space through hosting ads and monetization. Or, you sell a combination of both. You can sell virtually anything from an oil painting or photograph or your service as a Virtual Assistant or as a book format specialist.

You can use many different points of sale to offer your products/services, for example eBay, websites that are themed marketplaces like Etsy for handcrafted goods, Elance for freelance anything, or CafePress for products incorporating your own design. The ones I just mentioned are the most well-known. There are many others. Of course, you can also use your own website or blog as an online storefront.

What To Sell

I'll talk about ads and monetization another time. For now, let's talk about goods and services. The sky is the limit. The most popular products are photographs, art, handcrafts, collectibles, and books (print copies that are new or used as well as ebooks). If you're an author, you already know about the indie publishing movement with ebooks, print books, and audiobooks.

Other Resources

For some of the most popular products or services, consider these websites.

Art -- Artbreak

Books, music, or other digital content -- UploadNSell and the stockphoto sites and stock music sites

Designs -- Redbubble

Niche specific -- like TaskRabbit that match consumers needing a specific task with someone who can do it

Photographs as Fine Art -- Fine Art America among others

Photographs, Graphic Designs, Video -- iStockPhoto, BigStockPhoto, Dreamstime, Shutterstock, etc.

Print Books -- CreateSpace, Lulu, Blurb, BookTango.

Services -- many freelance sites like Elance

Shopping Assistance -- Beso, etc.

Tutoring -- Smarthinking or Tutor

Virtual Assistant -- Elance, etc.

Takeaway Truth

Chances are there's a demand for just about any goods and services. Use the suggestions above and/or your favorite search engine to find those websites that assist you in selling what you have or what you know.