Boost Your Book-Buying Budget

Hey Everyone!

I’m probably lounging on/snorkeling at a beach on Maui right about now…or being eaten by a shark. Either way, there’s little time for a full post this week. However, while I ogle pretty fish and sea turtles (see photos below), or get my leg surgically reattached (hopefully no photos of that), I wanted to let you know there’s a super simple way to boost your book-buying budget:

Sign up for my newsletter!

Seriously, all you have to do is fill in a couple boxes (see form below) and over the next couple months you’ll get some excellent bargains on books. Okay, they’re only bargains on MY books, but easy money is easy money, am I right?

Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, moorish idol

Maui fish!

There will, of course, be a few deals for my blog followers and social media subscribers (more on that starting next week), but the deals will be even better (including easy-to-win giveaways!) for my newsletters subscribers.

Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, green sea turtle

Part of Maui’s Flying Turtle brigade

Just so you know, I can be a bit lazy about my newsletters especially when I don’t have a book launch or art show to promote, but even during those please-please-please-buy-my-stuff times I promise to keep your inbox tidy by sending no more than a couple emails a month. And, unless a really good bribe comes my way, I pinky swear not to share your info with anyone.

So, are you ready to save a little cash and to keep up-to-date on my creative world? Then just fill out this super easy form….*

Thanks everyone! Type at you soon…assuming I still have all my fingers when I return.

Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, reef shark

Nibbler of appendages!

*Once you’ve submitted the form, I’ll send you a welcome email within a few days (keep in mind that I am very busy spending time on that beach in the picture below so I may be a little slow on getting to this task). If you don’t hear from me, please do submit again (you may also want to check your spam/junk folder)

Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii

Kapalua Bay in Maui


Finn McSpool Is Giving Away My Books!

Although it normally throws him into a pit of despair when I try to get rid of some of his books, Finn McSpool apparently has no problem when it comes to giving away my books….and hacking into my Goodreads account to do so.

Still, the little monster is right. I have far too many copies of The Trials of Hercules: Book One of the Osteria Chronicles lurking in a cabinet in the garage and really should part with some of them.

Luckily, Finn and I have recently been listening to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast and learning how to wisely market an existing  series when you have a new book in that series coming out. One of those wise tips is to lure readers into the series by promoting the first book as much as possible. Since The Maze (aka “book three”) is coming out in November, Finn thought I should start baiting my fishing pole by giving away a couple copies of my overstock of The Trials of Hercules.

Long story short…via a Goodreads Giveaway, I’m giving away two print copies of The Trials of Hercules.

Finn, that’s not what I meant by, “Let’s take a couple books into the garden.”

Unfortunately, there is a caveat. Since these are books I already have on hand, and since it costs a ridiculous amount of money for me to personally ship my books from my home to anywhere outside of the U.S., this giveaway is only available to Goodreads members in the U.S.


  1. A post is coming up very soon (the 27th of September to be exact) with some special offers on e-book versions of The Trials of Hercules, as well as pre-order bargains on The Maze), and
  2. A Goodreads Giveaway of The Maze begins on the 23rd that will be open to readers in the U.S., E.U., and U.K. (these books will ship directly from my publisher, which – due to their postal magic – saves me oodles on shipping).

So be sure to follow this blog to keep up with all the book launch bargains, and (if you’re in the U.S.) head over to Goodreads for a chance to dip into the series for free. Finn will be back next week to show off some of the hula-dancing skills he’s picking up during his time in Maui! 




orvieto, italy, italia, orvieto duomo

A Little Makeover for Super Simple Book Marketing

As you learned last week, it was a loooooong process to get The Maze: Book Three of The Osteria Chronicles complete, but now that Release Day is looming it’s time to set the book launch plans into motion.

But before the book launch push (aka “be warned, there will be heavy marketing going on in this area very soon”) fully kicks into gear, I’ve been heeding the simplest book marketing ploy ever, trying something that makes me feel dirty, and getting ready for a pre-book launch vacation.

A Little Redesign = No-Brainer Marketing

As I was formatting the print and electronic versions of The Maze (aka “Book Three”), I knew I needed to get into the files for The Trials of Hercules (Book One) and The Voyage (Book Two) and do a little work.

One of the tasks was to give the first two books an overall tidying up since (in trying to be fancy) I had put in some graphics I no longer liked and some information was way out of date. My goal was to give the interior of all three books a very similar look and I have to say, the first two books look much cleaner now.

Another task was updating the front and back matter to include the upcoming book*, give less emphasis to my non-fiction books (which I’m slowly phasing out because some of them are just embarrassing to admit I’ve written), and to update my author bio**.

I had thought of designing new covers for the first two books, but since the cover you helped me pick for book three (thank you, everyone!!) matched the style of the first two, I decided to put that task on hold for now. I did however, make a little color change to The Voyage to give it that same super-saturated warm tone as the other two books.

I’m still not sure about the change since I do like the ominous darkness of the old cover, but I thought the color-boosted cover might be more eye-catching. Any thoughts?

*By the way, to other self-published writers out there, updating your front and back matter to include your list of current books and your updated bio is the simplest way to market yourself and your books. Your readers have one of your books in hand and, if they liked that book, making it as easy as possible for them to find your other work is just smart business sense.

**This need to make updates is why you MUST MUST MUST double check your publisher’s rules about making changes to your manuscript. Some print publishers charge for ANY change (even fixing a single typo); others charge nothing. Keep this in mind when selecting a publisher for your print books.

I Feel So Dirty

Another task made me grit my teeth, but I thought I’d give it a try. A recent book marketing blog post from Written Word Media gave some tips on how to make your books more searchable on Amazon. One tip, a rather painless one, was to include your genre in your book’s title, but to make that genre something more specific than just “fantasy fiction” or “romance novel.” So, I scanned my little brain and decided to add “Greek Gods Epic Fantasy Series” the the title of books one and three to test this idea out. I also followed their advice to update my keywords…something I’m glad I did because my old keywords were terribly generic!

Another tip was far more painful because it feels so “market-y.” The tip said to include a comparison to a popular book or author in your book’s description. I guess the idea is that if someone is searching for “Stephen King” and you put his name in your description you’ll show up in the search and – even though the person is obviously looking for Stephen King – they’ll somehow end up buying your book instead (drunk shopping, perhaps?).

Since I’m not really sure what books/authors my series is comparable to, I opted for Game of Thrones since it’s an epic historical fantasy and my dad mentioned that the book reminded him of Game of Thrones (but with a Greek-type setting instead of a medieval-type setting). So, grudgingly, I worked up a sentence that included “Game of Thrones.” I know, I’m such a whore.

To see if this does anything but make me feel dirty, I’m trying three different tactics: I tacked it onto the intro description for The Trials of Hercules, put it at the very end of the description for The Maze, and left it off The Voyage‘s description altogether. Then I took a shower to wash away some of my shame.

Speaking of Game of Thrones…

Marketing Plans I Hope to Stick With

Another bit of prep work is filling pages and pages of scrap paper with marketing plans including a behind-the-scenes peek at the series, pre-order specials (coming VERY soon), and book giveaways which you’ll be hearing about over the next couple months (hopefully not to the point that I drive you away).

As for me, in about 48 hours Mr. Husband, Finn McSpool, and I are heading off to Hawaii for (almost) two weeks of snorkeling and swimming and sweating in the tropics. But don’t worry, I won’t leave you blog-less. I’ve got several posts waiting in a WordPress holding pattern – posts that…

  • will give you a big hint on how you can boost your book-buying budget,
  • will clarify how to order print books in a way that gets you the best deal,
  • and a very exciting announcement is coming on the 27th!!

Oh, and I’m sure Finn will want to share a picture of himself sipping a tropical cocktail or doing the hula or riding a sea turtle. Hopefully not all at the same time, but you never know with him.

Have a great rest of the week everyone and, as always, I thrive on comments so be sure to leave one!!

Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii


trials of hercules, books,

Preparing to Prepare for Launch

So, just in case you hadn’t gotten the hint over the past few months, I’ve got a book coming out soon — 7 November to be exact, I’ll give you a moment to mark your calendars. One of the questions that may have been gnawing at your brains like a ravenous zombie (is there any other kind of zombie?) is….

This book took a long time to come out. What in the world happened?

Basically, I got spoiled and from that spoiling, I got lazy.

To start, I got spoiled with the first two books – The Trials of Hercules and The Voyage. Although there were some stumbling blocks getting Hercules going, once I did, the two books just tumbled together rather easily and were released within about a year of each other.

trials of hercules, books,

The main problem was that I never started this project with the intention of creating a series. Even though the start of The Voyage‘s story line fit in quite nicely with the end of The Trials of Hercules, and even though I knew what other Greek myths I wanted to cover once I did decide to make the series, I didn’t know what needed to happen in each book to make everything tie in smoothly and logically.

But that didn’t stop me from just jumping right into Book Three (The Maze). I knew the main story would focus on the minotaur, on Theseus, and I knew a few characters from The Voyage would play key parts. I figured this was good enough and threw together a slipshod outline (the lazy part) and jumped right into drafting.

And into a quagmire of writing horrors. Continue reading

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Ooh, doesn’t that sound like an introspective blog title!? Don’t worry, I haven’t started taking myself too seriously (NEVER!), but over the past few weeks I have been having a good think about how things have been going and how I want to proceed based on that thinking.

Geez, that does sound introspective doesn’t it? I better throw in a funny meme now and then just so you don’t start thinking I’m going all maudlin or anything.

There. Better? Now, on with the thought processes, or as I call it…

The Art Vs. Writing Relationship Smackdown!!

When I first started working on my art as a second job to my writing, I was super frustrated with writing. This was back when I was trapped in The Maze (who knew that title would be so appropriate) and drafting had hit a major roadblock. A road block as in, you would have thought I’d never read a book before and wouldn’t know a plot line if someone threw one at me.

At the same time, I was feeling all super confident with my art skills and said, “Well, at least with painting, I’ll have only wasted a few weeks on something no one will buy, as opposed to a spending a year on a book no one will buy.”

With that cynical view on the creative world, I turned writing into a part time (VERY part time) job and focused on my art. I really enjoyed it and since everyone oohed and ahhed over my art, I thought surely I could sell some of these things. I got a few quick confidence boosts straight out of the gate with a couple art show awards and an acceptance for a solo show.

Yeah, it was kind of like that!

As those who have been with me a while know, I played around with Etsy shops and Fine Art America and even eBay. All of which resulted in a grand total of zero sales (granted, I’ve been horribly inconsistent in my marketing efforts). This year I’ve had five art shows with only one, count ’em, ONE sale…of my least expensive piece.

To put that in perspective, every couple months, the royalties from my books bring in about as much as that one piece of art. So, to say I’m starting to feel my art time is a bit wasted is putting it mildly. Speaking of, time to lighten things up…

Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t switch over to spending my work days mostly doing art with the thought that I would become an instant success and sell every single painting. But this is two years in, my work has been in about ten venues, and I’ve sold one thing. One.

On the flip side. Once I got The Maze untangled, the story fell together quite well. I won’t say it’s my best book because as I’ve been giving it the final couple read overs, I can detect some odd passages from Before the Meltdown (BM? ew), but I’m quite proud of the parts that were written in the drafts After the Meltdown (AM?) and I think (hope) the good AM bits outweigh the less-than-stellar BMs. But more on that in a different post….or with your proctologist.

During my downtime between drafts of The Maze, I’ve also been writing some short stories and as I’ve been doing these, I’ve discovered (okay, re-discovered) how much I really really really enjoy writing. I love getting completely lost in a story as I’m creating it, I love having my brain go so fast with ideas that my pen can’t keep up and having to jot down notes in the margin of my paper just to keep track of it all, I love playing with dialogue (my favorite part), I love having just a single sentence of an idea and watching it turn into several pages of story.

In other words, I’m getting back together with Writing. I’m bursting (not literally) with ideas for new books, new series, and short stories. The only trouble is finding time for them all.

Which means it’s time to “have a little talk” with Art.

Don’t worry (since I know you were really sweating over this), I’m not giving up on Art entirely, but I am going to limit our time together so I can work on my relationship with Writing. Right now, I’m considering giving one work day over to Art and the rest to Writing. Lately things have been too crazy busy to set out any real schedule, but after I return from a little vacation in late September, I’ll be back to work and back to a more regular schedule.

Finn (hoping for a new book or two) is ready to schedule my writing time for the rest of the year!

Phew, that was a long-winded break up letter, but it’s always good to know where you stand in a relationship and to understand why things just aren’t working out, right? Right.

Any thoughts on this? Any big decisions in your world lately? As always, I’d love to hear from you! I’ll be back Saturday with another of Finn McSpool’s close-to-home adventures. See you then!!

And one final giggle before you go…