Meet Main Street Author Kelly Rae

This week I'm featuring the Authors of Main Street who have a box set, Christmas on Main Street, which should be available on or about Nov. 1, at a bargain price that won't wreck your budget.

Each day I'll feature one of the eleven authors of Christmas on Main Street. Today's spotlight is shining on talented Contemporary Romance author Kelly Rae. Kelly writes books that prove Love really is all there is!

Good morning, Kelly! Welcome to SlingWords. I'll pour the coffee while you tell us about your book that's in the Box Set: What if...this Christmas.

What if...this Christmas

Marriage is a wonderful institution for some people, other people. Katie Wright doesn't see it as a necessary step in her life, or her relationship. Unfortunately her boyfriend, Chris Staller, doesn't see things the same. Because of this divide, this Christmas could be the first of many or the last of too few.

Joan: What inspired you to write this particular holiday story?

Kelly: This holiday story was a way for my readers (ok, and me too) to touch base with characters from my book, What if....

In the book, Katie and Chris find that they've both settled back in their home town, a town they thought they left for good after senior year. Only to find that their emotions, both good and bad, still reside there as well. I loved this couple so much I wanted to see what they were up to and if the word marriage would create as much havoc as I thought.

Joan: What is your favorite holiday memory?

Kelly: I think my favorite memory is when I was about six years old and my step mom dressed up like Santa Claus and made just enough noise to wake me on Christmas Eve. I knew I wasn't supposed to see him, it was against the rules and I knew for sure I wasn't supposed to talk to him. So, when Santa put his fingers to his lips and shhhh'd I didn't make a single noise. I was memorized! And even when I found out the truth, it still remained a precious memory!

Joan: Just about everyone has a holiday horror story. What's the worst Christmas you ever spent?

Kelly: I would say the worst Christmas was the one where I finally broke the news to my son there was no "real" Santa, only the spirit of Santa. To which he said, "You mean you've been lying to me for my WHOLE life?" Boy did I feel like a big Grinch!

Joan: What's the title of your next individual book?

Kelly: My next book is titled I do, But I Can't.

Visit Kelly Rae Online

Twitter: @kellyraebooks

Takeaway Truth

Stretch your holiday budget. Buy Christmas on Main Street and receive 11 romances ranging from sweet to spicy at a bargain price.

Meet Main Street Author Susan R. Hughes

This week I'm featuring the Authors of Main Street who have a box set, Christmas on Main Street, which should be available on or about Nov. 1, at a bargain price that won't ruin your budget.

Each day I'll feature one of the eleven authors of Christmas on Main Street. Today's spotlight is shining on talented Contemporary and Historical Romance author Susan R. Hughes. Susan writes books that are Sweet with a touch of heat.

Good morning, Susan. Welcome to SlingWords. Please tell us more about your book A Baby for Christmas.

A Baby for Christmas

Paige is pregnant, single and homeless. Ryan can’t resist opening his home to the beautiful stranger who needs his help. The last thing he intends to do is get involved. The last thing Paige needs is another man in her life when she can’t seem to untangle herself from her controlling former lover. Will it take a Christmas miracle to make Paige and Ryan realize where their hearts truly belong?

Joan: What inspired you to write this particular holiday story?

Susan: For a while I’d wanted to write a Christmas romance but couldn’t think of a plot, until it occurred to me that an idea I’d had about a pregnant woman in need of a place to stay would make a perfect Christmas story.

Joan: What is your favorite holiday memory?

Susan: When I was a kid, I’d sneak into the living room early Christmas morning to turn on the tree lights and marvel at the colours reflected on the walls and all the presents from Santa stacked under the tree. I couldn’t wait to open the presents, but the patterned paper decorated with ribbons and bows looked so wonderful it was almost a shame to tear them open.

Joan: Just about everyone has a holiday horror story. What's the worst Christmas you ever spent?

Susan: I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad Christmas, but a few times I’ve had a cold and that put a damper on things.

Joan: What's the title of your next individual book?

Susan: I don't have titles yet, but I’m working on two sequels for my Music Box series.

Visit Susan Online

Amazon Author Page:

Takeaway Truth

Stretch your holiday budget. Buy Christmas on Main Street and receive 11 romances ranging from sweet to spicy at a bargain price.

Meet Main Street Author Jill James

This week I'm featuring the Authors of Main Street who have a box set, Christmas on Main Street, available for the holidays.

Each day I'll feature one of the eleven authors of Christmas on Main Street which should be available on or about Nov. 1. Today's spotlight is shining on talented Contemporary Romance author Jill James. Jill writes books that are A little sweet. A little sexy. A lot happily-ever-after. The cover you see on the left is for Jill's Christmas book.

Good morning, Jill, and welcome to SlingWords. Why don't you tell us more about your book The Christmas Con?

The Christmas Con

The Christmas Con is a short romance, a retelling of the Robin Hood legend with two jewel thieves, the Christmas Rose necklace, and Santa’s plans for the two ex-loves: Robin Cappington and Ian Marr.

Joan: What inspired you to write this particular holiday story?

Jill: A while back I belonged to another group blog, Truly, Madly, Deeply, with 52 authors. We each wrote a short story, and it was highlighted for our week. The first one was Weekend in New England, a free read on my website.

For the next one we were supposed to write a story based on a myth or legend. I had about 800 words of the story when that group folded. When the call went out for the Authors of Main Street to do a Christmas box set, I knew I could use the Robin Hood story. My inspiration for the tale was a wonderful book I read this year, Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye.

Joan: What is your favorite holiday memory?

Jill: Making butter cookies with my mom. No matter how hard she tried, she always had black pants on when we started making the cookies. Before you knew it, she was wearing flour-dusted pants.

Joan: Just about everyone has a holiday horror story. What's the worst Christmas you ever spent?

Jill: The year my brother and I found our presents before Christmas. We spilled the beans and didn’t get our presents until March.

Joan: What's the title of your next individual book?

Jill: Love in the Time of Zombies.

Visit Jill Online


Takeaway Truth

Stretch your holiday budget. Buy Christmas on Main Street and receive 11 romances ranging from sweet to spicy at a bargain price.

Meet Main Street Author Tori Scott

Authors of Main Street is a group blog with a dozen or more popular authors, including me, sharing the blogging duties.

As a special Christmas present to readers, eleven of the Authors of Main Street have put together Christmas on Main Street, a Box Set of romances which should be available on or about Nov. 1. Sadly, this doesn't include me since I had way too many writing and personal projects under way to tackle another.

Spotlight on Christmas on Main Street

Starting today, I'm shining a spotlight on one of the Authors of Main Street who has contributed a romance to the Christmas on Main Street Box Set.

I'm happy to welcome talented Contemporary Western Romance author Tori Scott to SlingWords this morning. Tori writes Page-turning stories from the heart of Texas. Just looking at all that snow on her lovely book cover makes me grateful for my mug of hot coffee.

Tori, please tell us about The Christmas Wish, your book in the Authors of Main Street box set.

The Christmas Wish

When Merry found out at the age of 8 that her parents had lied to her about Santa, the whole holiday thing lost its magic. Now she's a long way from home, alone, and missing her family. And then she falls right into Santa's lap.

Joan: What inspired you to write this particular holiday story?

Tori: The Christmas Wish began as a short romance for Woman's World magazine and was published as their featured Christmas story in 2005. I loved the premise, so I expanded it to a Christmas novella in 2012.

Joan: What is your favorite holiday memory?

Tori: Spending the Christmas holiday with my husband's family when all of our kids were young. So much excitement, so much was a wonderful time.

Joan: Just about everyone has a holiday horror story. What's the worst Christmas you ever spent?

Tori: The year my husband and I were totally alone. It wasn't bad, just quiet and lonely.

Joan: What's the title of your next individual book?

Tori: I'm working on the final book of the Lone Star Cowboys Series (Book 5), due out in November. It's tentatively titled Take Me Back to Texas.

Visit Tori Online

Amazon Author Page:

Takeaway Truth

Stretch your holiday budget. Buy Christmas on Main Street and receive 11 romances ranging from sweet to spicy at a bargain price.

Celebrating Halloween

In a few days it will be Halloween so let's eat, drink, and be scary! Do you have your costume ready?

Actually, just about all the adults I know celebrated Halloween with costume parties last night.

On the actual day of Halloween, the kids will be the ones celebrating as they scamper from house to house in their quest for candy.

3 Groups Who Observe Halloween

I think there are 3 groups of people who love to celebrate Halloween:
  • adults looking to party
  • kids looking for candy
  • believers in the paranormal looking for a reason to believe.
Here are 3 quotations for each of those groups.

Adults Looking to Party

"Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story." ~ Mason Cooley

Kids Looking for Candy

"Nothing on Earth is so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night." ~ Steve Almond

Paranormal Believers

"'Tis now the very witching time of night,/ When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out / Contagion to this world." ~ Shakespeare

What kind of Halloween observer are you?

Takeaway Truth

Have fun. Be safe.

Review: Death Legacy by Jacqueline Seewald

If you are looking for a solid mystery featuring a female sleuth who is more than capable of fending for herself, grab a copy of Death Legacy by Jacqueline Seewald.

I read a hot-off-the-presses paperback copy of Death Legacy. The paperback edition is not yet showing on Amazon, but you can probably find it at your local bookstore. Just jot down the book details below or keep checking back with Amazon or your favorite online bookstore.

However, if you like to buy your mysteries in hardback -- many do -- then you'll find Death Legacy on Amazon.

Book Details

Title: Death Legacy
Author: Jacqueline Seewald
Paperback: 301 pages
Publisher: Worldwide Suspense
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-06287-4
Copyright: 2012
Price: $7.99 U.S./$8.99 Canada

Blurb It

Consultant -- read private investigator -- Michelle Hallam meets Dr. Daniel Reiner, a handsome young psychiatrist, at a hotel on the French Riviera. Although their attraction is mutual, Michelle is wary of becoming involved with him -- or any man for that matter.

Michelle is a different kind of P.I. with different kinds of cases and with too many enemies in high places. She is restrained, conservative, and firmly tries to repress her softer side. Daniel is just the opposite. He's warm and friendly and has no problem expressing his emotions or the tenderness he feels for Michelle. In other words, these two are polar opposites and there's nothing that suggests they will end up together.

Yet Daniel's warmth and wit and positive attitude in the face of a bleak and dangerous situation makes Michelle's respect for him grow even as she refuses to entertain the thought of seeing him again.

Fate lends a hand, and Michelle and Daniel are brought together again over their respective connections to one of Daniel's patients. What seems to be a cut-and-dried case for Michelle turns out to be anything but that.

Michelle's case has more layers than an onion. Determined to find the truth for her client, Michelle peels away each layer of deception, revealing more lies and secrets. With every revelation, the threat to Michelle and those around her increases. The bodies start dropping, and there seems to be no answer to the larger mystery of who killed her client's husband. But, is he really dead?

My Take

This book will make you flip pages to the very end as Michelle and Daniel unravel the mystery, layer upon layer, finally revealing a murderer you least expect.

Death Legacy has it all: a beautiful private detective, a handsome would-be hero, glamorous setting, espionage, intrigue, and murder.

Usually it's the man who is the capable hero riding to the rescue. It's rather refreshing to see a woman in that role.

Takeaway Truth

Death Legacy is well-plotted and will keep you guessing to the end.

Sell Online: Part 3, Accepting Payment

Why sell online? That's easy. It's a way to create another profit center. I've been exploring this subject so I thought I'd share each Friday what I'm learning.

Here are the previously-published parts of this series.

Sell Online: Part 1, Need To Know Basics

Sell Online: Part 2, Where To Sell

This week, we're going to talk about Part 3. . .

Accepting Payment

If you sell online under the umbrella of another domain, for example, a CafePress shop and others of that type, then 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 online. I've been operating my CafePress shop, The WRITE Way, since 2005 and have never had a problem.

Your financial reports for CafePress 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 you earned.

Sales Tax is handled by the domain, not you, which is another plus.

As I've previously said, there are many websites where you can set up "shop" and sell whatever you wish as long as that is not prohibited by their specific Terms of Service.

Selling Directly

Selling directly to your buyer is more complicated but by no means is it impossible. 

1. If you have hard copies of your self-published books that you want to see in bookstores, read this ABA article reprinted by GalleyCat. It 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.

2. Sell directly to the public. I talked about how to accept credit cards in Book Sales Outside The Box. If you want to read only the part about accepting credit cards, scroll down to How To Accept Credit Cards.

This is for people 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 this way also.

3. Set up your own storefront using a service.

Shopify which offers a starter site for $14.00 a month.

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 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.

4. Sell from your own website. Chances are you already have a website. You'll have to do your own fulfillment, but if that isn't an issue, for instance, you're selling reports or books in PDF or digital ebook format, then the only thing you need is a way to accept payment. Of course, you'll have to have a policy in place that explains payment, refunds, fulfillment, etc.

What you need to sell and receive payment is called a hosted shopping cart. Here are some free hosted shopping cart providers. To use it for free, payments are usually accepted via PayPal. Usually, if you want the ability for buyers to use credit cards not through PayPal, you have to upgrade your account.

Mal's E-commerce has been around a while and is well-established. Badging on the site indicates it is secure.

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.

E-junkie offers 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.

This is probably enough information to get you started in your quest to sell your products online. By the way, I started this series because I'd been thinking about selling from my website but also because of a friend who lost her job in the economic downturn.

My friend had emailed me asking for advice. She wanted to know how people went about selling things online. She'd heard about making money online, but she didn't know how to go about it. So I did this research to help her and me and to pass it on to you.

When I have the blog set up for selling, I'll blog again about this subject.

Takeaway Truth

So now you know the basics of how to sell online. If you have identified what you want to sell, where you want to sell, and how to accept payment, then the next thing you need to do is to get started.

Reinventing Yourself by Anna Markland

This morning, I'm having coffee with Anna Markland who has an interesting story to tell about her writing journey.

Anna is giving away a free Kindle book so be sure and leave your email address with your comment to be eligible to win. All the details are given below.

Anna, tell us more!

Reinventing Yourself
by Anna Markland

I spent most of my professional life as an educator. It was a rewarding career, both financially and emotionally, but after 25 years I burned out. After that I worked with my husband in the management of his business. My final “career” was as Director of Administration of a global disaster relief organization.

About 20 years ago, my cousin wrote a historical romance and became an overnight success — NY Times bestseller among her accomplishments. She has since authored many wonderful books. The thought niggled at the back of my mind for years — I could write a book, too. Many people have that ambition and do nothing about it, put off in part, I believe, by the prospect of trying to sell their idea to a large publisher.

I Began

Not content to fade away into retirement gracefully, I embarked upon writing a romance, essentially for my own satisfaction. I chose the medieval period because, as an amateur genealogist, I cherished a dream of tracing my own English roots back to the Norman Conquest — an impossibility since I am not descended from nobility!

So I made up a family. I based the plot on an incident that actually happened to a Norman noblewoman, and before I knew it I had written over 200,000 words.

Publishing Revolution

In the meantime, I gradually became aware of the revolution taking place in the publishing world, thanks to the Amazon kindle device.

I decided my novel was too long, had too many heroes and heroines, and too much you know what. (Did I mention it was a romance?) I reworked it into four books, and published them as a series in quick succession on Amazon. What was there to lose?

My dream was to sell 100 books in a year. As of today I have written 15 novels, all revolving around or branching off from the original family in the first series. I’ve sold over 34000 copies. It’s a thrill to receive emails from readers telling me how much they enjoy following my families.

Life Has Changed

It used to be that people had one lifelong career, retiring with a pat on the back and a gold watch, or something similar. I think those days are long gone. Technology and changes in societal expectations have made it possible for people to reinvent themselves over and over if they wish.

By taking a chance, I discovered a talent I did not recognize I had! I can tell a good story! Sometimes when I re-read my own work I am wonderstruck at where the ideas came from!

If you’re thinking of writing and publishing a book — go for it. Just make sure you get it edited and critiqued by a few people whose opinion you trust before you take the plunge.

I often joke that if only my heroes and heroines had revealed their stories to me in chronological order, it would have made life easier for my readers. I have a handy list on my blog.

Adopting New Persona

You’ll see from my blog that I am well immersed in the Middle Ages, but — hold the phone! I have recently morphed once again, this time into a writer of erotic contemporary romance! This aspect of my career required a new pen name.

I published Boom! Listen To Your Heart as Roxanne Rogerson.

Roxy has certainly added excitement and a new challenge to my life, which is why I believe many people are motivated to reinvent themselves. People are living longer and the same old same old doesn’t cut it any more.

Blurb: Boom! Listen To Your Heart

A near-fatal heart attack changed Michael Atherton’s life. He learned from it, changing his lifestyle. Healthier and in great physical shape, Michael tries to come to terms with long-buried cravings and desires unleashed by his near-death experience. His wife does not share his inclination to the erotic so they divorce. Alone, he explores the emerging Dominant side of his personality. But a Dom needs a Submissive. Enter Jessie Halliwell, bestselling author of a novel about submission, created from research not experience.

Set in the intimate city of Victoria, Canada’s garden paradise, and the lush country of Panama, the story takes Michael and Jessie on a roller coaster ride of emotions as Michael’s work as a private investigator unwittingly puts Jessie’s life in jeopardy.

If you enjoy contemporary erotic romantic suspense with a touch of humor, give Boom! Listen To Your Heart a chance.

My Original Love: Medieval Romance

If you’re more interested in the medieval side of my work, and you’re in a Halloween mood, you might enjoy Haunted Knights (Montbryce~The Next Generation Historical Romance).

Two loyal brothers must cope with afflictions that render them unmarriageable and, in their minds, unfit for love. Two sisters, also afflicted and locked in the attic of a manor home their entire lives, cope with freedom and the love offered them by these noble men.

Haunted Knights takes an unusual and heart-touching approach to the stories of these four people, then weaves it with a tale of court intrigue and malicious intentions that place the lives of these endearing characters in jeopardy.


Anna is giving away 1 Kindle copy of Haunted Knights and 1 Kindle copy of Boom! To be eligible to win one of these copies, do this:
  • make a comment
  • with your comment, leave your email address (write out at for @ and dot com for .com or whatever it might be)
  • specify which book you'd like to receive which you would prefer
A winner will be chosen at random. Anna will notify the winner by email.

Takeaway Truth

Thanks, Anna Markland, for visiting today.

Funniest Book Titles

When I was working in the garden the other day, bending over with my behind in the air as I pulled the rebellious coastal Bermuda grass from the yellow iris bed I was trying to establish, I remembered the title of one of Lewis Grizzard's books: Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes.

I just about fell over laughing, right there in the middle of the yard. If you haven't read Grizzard, allow me to introduce you to him.

Died Too Soon

Unfortunately, the talented author who was a long-time columnist for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution died too young. Lewis McDonald Grizzard Jr. was only forty-seven when he passed away in 1994. He was the label he coined: a SAWB. That's Smart Ass White Boy for those who don't know.

Art of the One-Liner

Lewis is often quoted. Here are some of his best lines.

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house."

"The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life's most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum or bourbon in it."

"Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes."

"If soccer was an American soft drink, it would be Diet Pepsi."

His Funniest Titles

These are all available on Kindle I believe. Here are what I think are his funniest book titles.

1. Chili Dawgs Always Bark At Night

2. Don't Bend Over In The Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes

3. If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet To The Ground

4. Shoot Low, Boys--They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies

5. I Took A Lickin' And Kept On Tickin' (And Now I Believe In Miracles)

6. They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat

7. If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About a Quart Low

8. Elvis Is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself

9. My Daddy Was a Pistol and I'm a Son of a Gun

10. I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962, and Other Nekkid Truths

Takeaway Truth

Lewis Grizzard, gone, but not forgotten.

Trad Publishers' Books Aren't Perfect

This morning I was reading my latest issue of Indie Reader and came across this item: Trad Pubbed Book F**k-Up.

Now that's a headline that will make you click a link!

The Indie Reader item was a lead-in to GoodEreader who published the full article: Lack of Editing Is Only for Self-Published Authors? Think Again.

If you're an indie author/publisher who has been scourged because maybe you omitted a period at the end of 1 sentence in the entire manuscript, the article will do your poor writer's wounded pride a world of good.

In the last 5 books I've read from major NY publishers, there have been typos. I'm asked frequently to review ARCs or published books by publishers' representatives. A few months ago, I declined to review a book after having read it because it was so poorly written.

Moral of this lesson? There are wonderful books with good production values from indie authors/publishers and also from major traditional publishers. There are inferior books from major traditional publishers as well as from indie publishers.

I always say in my books, "I want my book to be as polished as a book from a major NY publisher." Perhaps I should re-think that statement.

Takeaway Truth

One cannot, and should not, judge the value of a book by how it was published. Nor should a review use the manner in which it was published as justification for its inferiority or superiority.

Joy of Reading

I've had a quiet weekend. The weather was very cool compared to recent weeks, and the wind was straight out of the north. That made snuggling on the couch with a book the perfect way to spend a lazy weekend.

What perfect weather to read. While hubby caught up on DVRd programs and sporting events, I read a new book by Caroline Clemmons -- western historical romance -- and a well-plotted mystery by Jacqueline Seewald. I'll be reviewing both in a few days.

Naturally, today's bit of wisdom is about the joy of reading.

W. Somerset Maugham said: "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life."

Takeaway Truth

I love reading. I completely agree with Groucho Marx: "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." *LOL* Have a wonderful week.

Sell Online: Where To Sell

Why sell online? That's easy. It's a way to create another profit center. I've been exploring this subject so I thought I'd share each Friday what I'm learning.

Last week, I published Sell Online: Part 1, Need To Know Basics. This week, we're going to talk about. . .

Where To Sell

Basically, there are 3 ways to go about having an online store. These are self-explanatory. In a later article, I'll give you information about how to set up a shopping cart, receive payment, make delivery, and the other aspects involved in retail sales.

1. Set it up as part of your website.

2. Set it up as a website all its own.

3. Set it up as part of a larger retail site.

Know Your Product

First, know what you want to sell. Is it collectibles and clutter cleaned from your attic and picked up at garage sales? Is it handmade items like knitted scarves and caps or cut-lace tablecloths? Is it some form of books? Is it a graphic design you want to see on tote bags and tee shirts? Is it a report on some specialized area that people want to know about?

So, first, identify your product. That will help you identify where to sell it.

Know Your Options

For every product, there are several options for getting it to the buying public. There are many so do your homework. Do a search string, i.e., websites to sell books or websites to sell knitted tea cozies. You can also do a search for "websites like eBay" or "websites like CafePress."

Make a list of your search results. Investigate each thoroughly. Read the Terms of Service. Know not just how you get paid but also your obligations as an account user. On all these sites, turorials are offered to help you make the most of your retail account. Here are a few websites to consider.


Everyone has heard of eBay. There are similar websites.  This is where you can sell virtually anything from old encyclopedias to close-outs of cosmetics, handcrafts, clothes, shoes, etc.


This website and others like it offer products that you can place your own designs on, add a markup, and sell to the public. All the payment collecting, product production, shipping, and accounting is done by CafePress. You can have a free shop or a Premium shop. Again, tutorials are offered and templates for design purposes.


This website and others like it allow you to buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies. They bill themselves as the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace.


Micro photography websites are many and varied, but they all offer the chance to sell your photography.


This site caters to freelancers with a service to provide clients. There are many similar sites like Odesk, Guru, etc. Service providers set up a profile and bid on clients' jobs.

eBook Publishers

Most writers know they can sell their ebooks directly through All Romance eBooks, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Nook, Smashwords, and XinXii. Smaller outlets like Diesel Ebooks and Sony Ebooks can be accessed via an aggregator like Smashwords or something similar.

Print Publishers

If you want to publish in print, then there are also many choices: CreateSpace, Lightning Source, Lulu, and other POD publishers.

Takeaway Truth

So if you know what you want to sell and how you want to sell it, then the next thing you need to know is how to set that up and get rolling.

Stop by next Friday for Sell Online: Part 3, Accepting Payment.

Get Free Images Legally

Most of the major stock photography sites that I use offer a free image each week. It costs nothing to register as a user at these sites and sign up for the email that alerts you to a free image to download.

Here are 3 of my favorite microstock photography sites that you might want to visit to set up an account:


Free images can be obtained at StockExchange just about any time, and they're not limited to once a week. I use them a lot and have corresponded with many of their photographers. Just make sure you check the requirements that accompany each image because some photographers require you to notify them if you use their image. That's a small price to pay for a quality image.




I use a lot of images for this blog, my book covers, and promotional materials so I'm always shopping for good photographs. In fact, I have a regular membership to BigStockPhoto wherein I can download 5 images per day with no restrictions on size. This is a great bargain.

Takeaway Truth

Free is definitely a good thing.

Sell Online: Need To Know Basics

Why sell online? That's easy. It's a way to create another profit center. I've been exploring this subject so I thought I'd share each Friday what I'm learning. Consider this post as Part 1: Need To Know Basics

Past Experience

I've always had an online shop for products I design for writers. My shop through CafePress offers tee shirts, coffee mugs, bags, and a lot more with designs dear to a writer's heart.

I've maintained The WRITE Way, Gifts and Promotion Items for Writers, since 2004. Sales there are a nice additional income for me each year. Lately, I've seen that sales of my Writer's Christmas Ornaments have already begun. (Get yours today -- and one for a writing friend.)

My CafePress shop is a free one and requires no maintenance other than updating the designs or adding a design to their ever-increasing inventory of products. (Tell a friend about my shop!)

Benefits to Online Selling

We are in the era of increasing ecommerce sales. Online selling is growing exponentially because there are so many benefits and few disadvantages. Anyone with a product to sell and some common sense as well as the ability to follow directions can sell online.

You can tap markets all over the world, not just in your neighborhood. You can sell anything from quilted tea cozies to books and just about anything in between. By the way, the books you sell can be ebooks, print books, or audio books. In fact, you are only limited by your imagination and ability to produce when it comes to selling products online.

Some authors I know are selling their books directly from their websites now which is why I became interested in the process.

In this series, I'll explore how to go about doing this as well as offering links to some of the websites I've found that are easiest and least expensive to help you make this happen.

Let's Talk Taxes

One of the first things you need to know is that if you sell online, you are responsible to your various taxation authorities for the appropriate taxes that may apply.

At the very least, this includes, but may not be limited to, sales tax on the items sold and income tax on the revenue.

Sales Tax

Do an online search for your state / province / country, to discover:
  • what your obligations are
  • how to set up a sales tax account/obtain a sales tax license
  • how and when to file sales tax returns
  • how and when to pay the collected tax.
Income Tax

In the United States, you have 2 taxing authorities if you live in a state that demands payment of state income tax. Since I live in Texas, which, thank God, doesn't have state income tax, I know nothing about this. Ignorance is no excuse if you live in a state that does require payment of state income tax so do an online search for your state's requirements. (Or move to Texas. *g*)

On a national level, you have the Internal Revenue Service. If you are already a selling author or other  small business person, you should already have your self-employment tax situation well in hand. In other words, you're already filing quarterly self-employment tax returns and paying quarterly. If you're not doing this, then visit the IRS website to learn what your tax responsibilities are.

If you're in another country, do online research to learn about your tax liabilities and responsibilities for your home country where your base of operations will be.

Takeaway Truth

Join me next Friday to learn How To Set Up Your Online Store.

Review: His Wife and Daughters by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

This past weekend I indulged in a Women's Fiction novel: His Wife and Daughters by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga.

Too Familiar

In our world, a political sex scandal seems as frequent as a monthly full moon. How many times have we seen the good wife standing poker straight and silent next to her husband as he makes a public mea culpa?

Tokunaga's book is a behind-the-headlines look at the emotional disintegration of those affected most deeply by a public figure's indiscretions -- his wife and children as well as the weak-willed politician himself who just can't keep it zipped.

Blurb It

In 1988, California Congressman Dan Brath's wife Trina and her teenage daughters, Jill and Phoebe, lead a Norman Rockwell life of affluence and public service. Then a beautiful young Congressional intern disappears.

Brath, suspected of having an affair with the young woman, is questioned. Although he is never arrested, the media has a field day with him. Trina stands by her man even though she knows he has cheated countless times before. Convicted by the court of public opinion, Brath's career is over. Even when the intern surfaces again, the damage has been done.

Brath and Trina -- and daughters Lesley and Phoebe -- cannot return to the blissful life of privilege they once took for granted. Even worse, the happiness and emotional security they once shared have been shattered into so many pieces, that, like Humpty Dumpty, cannot be put together again.

The next 2 decades find the disparate members of the family struggling against their demons. Only when they face the past -- and each other -- can they heal and embrace what the future may hold.

Book Details

His Wife and Daughters
Author: Wendy Nelson Tokunaga
Price: $3.99
Length: 246 pages
Publisher: Indie Published

Takeaway Truth

I've never been disappointed when reading a novel by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, and His Wife and Daughters is no exception. I give this a definite 2 thumbs up.

Nice Side of Country

Since I've told everyone about my run-ins with the country critters that have made my life miserable up here. Thank goodness the resident skunk that lives in the wildflower meadow below the house has kept is distance. I see him at night when I'm out with the giant flashlight looking for the armadillo.

Not All Is Bad

Today I want to tell you about some of the redeeming aspects of country life. Everything that is planted here grows like crazy. A small sprig of lantana, taken from my yard at home and planted a year ago, has grown as big as an elephant. Or it would be if darling hubby didn't keep cutting it back. I've taken cuttings from it and planted it next to the big fake rock that covers the water well, and lantana has taken over that area too.

The orange blossoms of the lantana attract all kinds of butterflies. It must be mecca for monarch butterflies and hummingbirds because they're all over it.

The deer are always fun to watch. We've tried to plant things that deer do not like to eat so we enjoy them rather than be aggravated by them. Baby deer have napped on the back porch. In the spring, momma deer hide their fawns in the fields of wildflower around the house. Last night, hubby went outside to enjoy the north wind blowing in masses of cold air. He heard snorting at the edge of the porch. He walked over and a big buck stood there, staring back at him.

Last winter there was a fox den down in the field. The den was a hole in the ground that looked kind of like a giant anthill except the dirt around the hole was grayish. We would catch glimpses of the fox running through the tall weeds, with its fiery red tail waving like a flag.

I love the serenity and peacefulness here. It should be the perfect writing hideaway, and it would be, if I didn't have to keep running to the city every few days to deal with various problems. 

Takeaway Truth

All in all, there are more benefits to country living than negatives. No noise. The air smells clean and fresh. The sky is bigger -- the blue more brilliant -- and at night, the deep black velvet above is sprinkled with brilliant stars and a silver moon. Yes, this kind of beauty is worth dealing with the few annoyances.

How To Send Smashwords Book To Your Kindle

Smashwords offers a lot of free ebooks, and authors often give away Smashwords Coupons for free books. Some of you Kindle users may not know how to get a Smashwords book onto your Kindle.

Smashwords offers eBooks in multiple formats. One of these is usually the .mobi file format used for Kindle. It's very easy to download the .mobi files and transfer them to your Kindle. Here are step by step instructions for you.

How To Transfer a Smashwords Book to Your Kindle

1. Set up an account with Smashwords so you can purchase an eBook or download a free book with a Smashwords coupon. Then when you buy an eBook from Smashwords, the book is automatically placed in your Smashwords library. You can download the eBook in any offered format immediately or at a later date.

2. Even though you have Manage Your Kindle set up for buying and managing your Kindle books from Amazon, you will need to download the Kindle for PC app to your computer. When you do this, the download installation will set up a My Kindle Content folder, listed under My Documents on your computer. Then, when you download an ebook from Smashwords in a .mobi file, the file will automatically be saved in your My Kindle Content folder.

3. Download your selected book from Smashwords. The book will be placed in your Smashwords Library, and Smashwords will save the book as 2 files on your computer. The first file will be the My Kindle Content .mobi file, and the second file is a .mbp file. Once those 2 Smashwords files are saved on your computer, the Kindle for PC app you already installed on your computer will be able to open the eBook. You can read it immediately on your computer.

Most of us with Kindles though want to read on the Kindle. So let's continue.

Transfer Book from Kindle for PC to Your Kindle Reader

There are 2 ways to do this.

1. Connect the USB end of your Kindle cable to your PC. Open the Kindle drive, copy the Kindle Content .mobi file into the Documents folder on your Kindle drive. (It’s just like transferring a file to an external hard drive or a thumb drive, etc.)

2. If your Kindle device has a WiFi connection, you can use the free email address set up with your Amazon Kindle account and email your .mobi file to your Kindle via that email address. If in doubt as to what that email address is, login to your account / Manage Your Kindle. In Left sidebar, you'll see Your Kindle Account and below that, a number of choices, one of which is Personal Document Settings. Click that. A window opens, and you'll see at the top Send To Kindle Email Settings.

3. Click Learn More to read the instructions given by Amazon on how to set up the free Send-to-Kindle Email Settings under “Personal Document Settings” in your Amazon account. It's easy to understand.

4. Once you have your Kindle email address set up, just open your email app, create a message sending the email to your Kindle Email that you plan to use, attach the Kindle Content .mobi file, and click Send.

5. When you email a .mobi file to your Kindle account, you'll find the eBook listed in your Kindle Library under All Items. Just use the Actions button to select where you want to deliver the eBook. (This is for those of us who have multiple Kindle reading options, i.e., smartphone, Kindle, Kindle Fire, etc.)

6. Turn on your Kindle reader device so that it will receive the eBook just as if you'd bought it from the Kindle Shop. The book will download just like any other eBook purchase.

Actually, it takes less time to buy the book from Smashwords, download it to your PC, send it to Your Kindle Account, and download onto your device than it takes to read this.

Takeaway Truth

Now you can shop on Smashwords more often, knowing you can easily transfer the books you obtain to your Kindle.

Fax: No Machine Required

I have a great tip for you today about how to receive faxes, with a toll-free phone number, with no fax machine required.


FaxBetter has clients including Office Depot, Progressive Insurance, Allstate Insurance, and a host of other corporations and individuals. They offer a 30day Free Account and Paid accounts. The Free account allows you to receive faxes only for 30 days. The Paid account is needed if you want to send as well as receive.

Free Account Features
  • Dedicated toll-free fax number that is yours for life as long as you receive a fax every 7 days
  • No credit card required to sign up
  • Fax notification emails. When a fax arrives, you receive an email notification immediately
  • Searchable fax notifications with a PDF attachment for your first 30 days
  • Enough storage space for about 1,000 pages
  • Faxes always available online at FaxBetter
At the end of 30 days -- or any time -- you can upgrade to a full FaxBetter Account to get more  features, including the ability to send, for only $9.95 per month unless you pay for an annual plan which can be as low as $5.95. See all the features and plans on the website.

Takeaway Truth

A toll-free fax line is great for small business people -- like authors.

Musical Background For Cold Front

Yesterday afternoon we were in College Station -- Aggie Land -- and the temperature was 92 degrees F. By the time we arrived home, the wind was blowing straight out of the north.

We went out to the porch, and we felt the temperature of the air on our skin changing as the cold front crept in.

A line from Icy Blue Heart by John Hiatt ran through my head -- particularly the words: "She came onto him like a slow-moving cold front."

The song is a bluesy great with memorable lyrics from one of America's best songwriters. Give it a try. You'll like it.

Takeaway Truth

Enjoy the cooler weather!

Adorable Heroes by Marie Higgins

I arrived back at the ranch yesterday after 2 weeks of Sturm und Drang in Houston. Enough of the storm and stress. Let's talk about heroes, the staple of romance novels -- actually, of any genre novel -- that keeps the reader coming back for more.

My guest today is Marie Higgins, a best-selling, multi-published author of sweet romance. Marie describes her books as: More than just a stories are an adventure!

Marie writes "refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults."

Find Marie on Facebook. Follow Marie on Twitter: @MarieHigginsXOX -- and visit her blog/website too. Now, take it away, Marie!

Adorable Heroes
by Marie Higgins

What makes a hero adorable? Is it because he’s good looking? Built like a body-builder? Or is it because he has a funny personality?

Well… I happen to think it’s all the above plus more! If the hero doesn’t know how to treat the heroine — he’s rude to her, doesn’t respect her, doesn’t want to do special things for her – then he isn’t a very good hero, in my opinion. Heroes can start out with faults in the beginning of a story. They can even be a little bit immature. Let’s face it — nobody is perfect. Right? Stories are about character development. It’s not fun to read about a perfect hero all the way through the story. At least not for me.

In The Beginning

When I write a story, I want to make my hero physically attractive, but usually there’s something about him the heroine doesn’t like. Usually it’s because they’re a rogue and the heroines are after a family man. Regardless, slowly and surely, the hero becomes more adorable in the heroine’s eyes by their actions — by the way they make my heroines laugh, by the way they enjoy a flirtatious conversation. It may be the little things he does to help his family — or hers — or strangers in town.

In all of my books, my heroes have faults. In my newest release, Waiting For You, my hero, Nick Marshall, has a reputation for being a womanizer. He messed around with one of his clients, and one of Hollywood’s famous scandals was created. Now he’s cleaning up his act and doesn’t want to do that again. So when he meets his next client — a beautiful ghost from 1912 — he figures he has it made. There’s no way he could fall for this client because she’s already dead. Little does he know things won’t work out that way. My heroine wants to trust him, but she’s also afraid to love him. But gosh darn it Nick Marshall is so dang adorable, she just can’t help but like — even love him.

What's That Special Something

So what made him adorable to my heroine? His personality and his manners. He made her laugh, and she enjoyed herself with him. And, he had the manners of a gentlemen … the kind she remembered back in 1912.

Waiting For You Blurb

When a beautiful woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal’s new office and begs for help in solving her murder, he’s intrigued enough to consider her plea. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice, so taking on a client who insists she’s dead seems a good way to refresh his career. The more history he uncovers, the deeper he falls for the ghost.

Abigail Carlisle believes Nick is her heart’s true desire, but how can happily ever after happen when she’s already dead?

Buy Waiting For You from Amazon.

Tell me what kind of hero do you love to read about? Leave a comment with your email address to win a PDF or PRINT copy of Waiting For You.

Takeaway Truth

Readers, don't forget to leave your email address with your comment, and you might win a PDF or a Print copy of Marie's book Waiting For You.