After the Blog Tour is over!

STONE_FALL_3x4Yes, I’m back to normal after last week’s huge Book Blast for Stone Fall hosted by The Killion Group Inc. It was fun but exhausting. And a big shout-out to their PR Danica Sorber. She’s fantastic.

Thanks Fresh Fiction; Archaeolibrarian–I Dig Good Books!; Jen’s Reading Obsession; HEA Romances with a Little Kick; Hart’s Romance Pulse; Yah Gotta Read This; United Indie Book Blog; OMGReads; Nicole’s Book Musings; T&L Book Reviews; BookSkater; Happily Ever Chapter; A British Bookworm’s Blog; EskieMama Reads; Brooke Blogs; Xtreme Delusions; The Book Quarry; Evermore Books; Romancing the Readers; Underneath the Covers and Charmed Reflections. These sites were so great to have me on. See why I’m so tired? That’s a lot of sites but Danica made it easy.

The reason I decided to go this route was discoverability. I’m writing away, almost finished on my 5th book, with books 6 and 7 pulling up to the final rail… and plotting all finished on book 8. But few out there in reader land know my name. Perhaps now they do.

I hear all the time this phrase ‘I’m not writing to sell books, I’m writing for myself (or my children) (or my family).’ Well, yes there’s that. But I’m writing so that all the stories that have been bouncing in my brain since I was a little girl don’t die with me before they get a chance to fly. If fame and money don’t find me, at least perhaps my stories will find a place in someone’s heart. And isn’t that a little like living forever?

I remember the first time one of my monographs found its way into print how proud I was. And when my Masters Thesis joined the other tomes of graduates in the library on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin (PCL) how I thought I was a star. This whole publishing thing is pretty heady. But really, who’s actually going to pick up “The Archaeology of 41NU11, the Kirchmeyer Site, Nueces County, Texas : long-term utilization of a coastal clay dune.” But it’s there for posterity if any of you want to read it. I’ve been told it’s a classic!

Now I have four novels forever residing in the bowels of Amazon: Stone Bay, Stone Cold, Stone Heart, and the latest Stone Fall. Heady indeed.

So thanks to all the blog sites and to The Killion Group, Inc. and Danica Sorber. You can’t know how much I appreciate your work on my behalf.

My first two days on a Virtual Blog Tour

MinEdwards_TourBadgeWow, thank goodness for The Killion Group!  I would never have been able to do this without them and their fantastic PR person, Danica.

The first day had a couple of glitches but by day 2, everything was running smoothly. And if you don’t know what a Virtual Blog Tour is… the preparation is grueling but Danica eased the way. Every day four or five… or more blogs agree to either highlight my current book… STONE FALL, Book Three in High Tide Suspense ser

ies… or ask me to do a guest blog. If I’m blogging, then sometimes I get a choice of topics, or am assigned a topic then try to wrangle my thoughts into a 300 to 700 word entry. For this campaign I had 26 blogs to visit, 4-6 per day, but thank goodness only 5 guest blogs to write.

Day 1: I visited with Archaeolibrarian — I Dig Good Books; Jen’s Reading Obsession; and HEA Romances with a Little Kick; all fun sites and I thank them enormously for having me.

Day 2: Fresh Fiction ( showcased me; Hart’s Romance Pulse; Yah Gotta Read This; United Indie Book Blog; and OMGReads. All fabulous blogs and again thanks so much for having me.

Now the reason for this particular Virtual Blog Tour is this. I have 4 novels published now, but my name is not a household item yet. Far from it actually. No one knows me. So by participating in a Blog Tour, it gets my name (and book) out to thousands of readers who follow these blogs and maybe… just maybe… I’ll be discovered. It’s the hope anyway.

At the end of the week, I’ll tell you how Days 3-5 went. Then in March STONE FALL will appear on NetGalley, a site for librarians, bookstores, reviewers and others. When I  had my bookstore, A Thirsty Mind Words and Wines, I haunted this site, getting review copies of books I thought looked interesting and then writing a short snippet about them. I can’t wait to see the response to STONE FALL!

So until weeks end, I’ll say adios!

Excerpt: The Ruby Eye

photo-5-640x372So… today, my writing in my WIP, The Ruby Eye, is going so well, the story is moving along nicely, that I thought I’d show you a peek. First a bit of background. The Ruby Eye is the first book in my new TARE: Talon Archaeological Research and Exploration series. It’s of course an archaeological adventure, thriller, romance. Well, it has to have a little romance, doesn’t it? The action takes place near a large bay on the northern coast of Luzon, the Philippines. I’ve patterned it after Dasol Bay, a place I’ve visited often although it’s been some years ago. It’s a huge bay with hundreds of islands scattered about, some tiny, some larger. All covered by jungle and critters. I’m talking rats, snakes, sea creatures in the water, lots of things to bite you, crawl over you, nip your toes. Fun times! So here’s a snippet with my heroine, Bryn Carmichael:

“I don’t know what you intend.” Bryn confronted who she assumed was the leader, Boy Chang. He looked nothing like a boy, but everything like the man in charge.

“Well, Ms. Bryn Carmichael,” he answered in excellent English with only the trace of an accent… either Filipino or perhaps Vietnamese, “I intend to take you all to one of my islands. There you await further orders. Now, no more questions.”

He turned to a heavily scarred man. “Raji, take them below. Put two guards on the door. I want no trouble. This merchandise must be presented to Lao Sung in the best condition possible. Understand?”

The crewman nodded with a leer.

Bryn and the girls were pushed and prodded down a companionway and into a small room with only one porthole to light it. At least they would have some kind of ventilation on this scow.

As soon as the door was closed and locked from the outside, the girls began to talk, moan, cry.

Stone Fall, Book 3 in the High Tide Suspense series

Fall-color-9-28-12-478x372I’m going to give you a peek at my up-coming book, Stone Fall. I think it’s going well. This is from Chapter 1… or maybe Chapter 2. Hey, it’s a Work in Progress (WIP) so nothing is written in stone.  Enjoy!

* * *

Back at the station, Nick calmly, or as calmly as he was able, led Al and the boy-criminals back to the empty office which they used as an interrogation room. Of course, there was rarely the opportunity to interrogate anyone, maybe four times in the last three years if his memory was correct. But anyway there were chairs and a table in the room and a lock on the door.

“Al, take the cuffs off them, please. Boys sit down.”

As soon as Al removed the plastic cuffs the boys bolted for the door, but Nick was faster.

“Hold on there, you little shits. Sit down. Now,” he bellowed.

They sat.

“Okay. So what’s the story? What were you doing behind Mrs. Carmody’s house? You first,” he said and pointed to the skinny kid. “Tim, isn’t it? Doesn’t your mother work at the market?”

Just the mention of the boy’s mother had him blushing and slumping. He mumbled, “Yes… sir.”

Smart kid, Nick thought. “So, you want to answer the question?”

“Which one?” The kid actually looked confused.

“Why were you behind Mrs. Carmody’s house?” Nick growled. The kid sat up a bit straighter and a little fear flashed across his face. Good, Nick thought. Maybe this won’t take all day.

“Um, nothin’?” the kid muttered.

“Nothin’, huh. Are you sure? You don’t seem sure.” Now Nick was getting a little angry, and of course Al seemed to be sleeping, his chair leaning back a bit against the wall. Why hadn’t he stayed in the military? Really, this town was going to be the death of him. Could someone actually die of frustration? Because he was fast getting there.

At that moment, the other kid, Jerry Scofield, if he remembered correctly, piped up. “We were going to throw mud on her laundry. She always hangs her laundry on the line on Wednesday morning. We see it every Wednesday. It was Tim’s idea,” he said, pointing at his partner in crime.

“Did you do it? Throw the mud? And why aren’t you two in school?”

“No, I saw the cruiser drive up and heard Mrs. Carmody yell, so we ran.”

“I see. And my other question? School?” This was like pulling teeth.

“School?” Jerry seemed a bit confused by this. Tim seemed to be taking a nap.

“Aren’t you two in school?” Nick was almost there, almost to the point of violence.

“Oh, yeah. Well, we got suspended yesterday.”

“For what?” Heaven help me. I’m going to suspend them both—from the ceiling—in a minute.

“Um,” Jerry muttered, looking to his pal for help, but Tim was still sleeping.

“Spit it out.”

“Um, uh, throwing mud at the girls’ pep squad.”

Jesus help me. Nick rubbed his forehead, the nape of his neck, the top of his head. All were pounding now. In fact, if he didn’t get these kids out of the room in ten seconds, his head would explode and instead of mud flung around the room, it would be brain matter. He bet that would thrill these two morons.

“Al,” he yelled which caused Al to jerk and the chair to tip over, Al falling to the side, adding a truly slap-stick side-bar to this incredibly stupid conversation. Of course the boys laughed.

“Shut up.” Nick growled which did indeed shut them up. “Al, drive the boys home. Jerry, is your mother home?”

“No… sir?”

“Where is she?” I’m gonna kill him in less than fifteen seconds, I swear.

“She works at the Quick Mart.”

“What!” How could this moment be any more farcical? “You mean your mother was in the store while you were going to mud Mrs. Carmody’s laundry right across the street?”

“I guess.”

“How did you get to the Quick Mart?”

“Um, my mom drove us.”

Get a gun. “Al, drive them to the market. I’ll call Tim’s mom. She can decide what to do with them. And don’t think you’re off the hook, Jerry. I’m callin’ your mom too.”

A few minutes later, Nick was back at his desk. The moms called—angry as hell. The boys wouldn’t be mudding anyone or anything for a long while, he was sure.

A soft knock on the door, and Nora, one of the dispatchers stuck her head in the office.

“Sheriff, did Tim and Jerry give you a hard time?”

“Oh, that’s funny… I didn’t think of them like that. You’re right, one skinny and one chubby… Tom and Jerry. Thanks.” Nick leaned back laughing like a loon.

Editing… Will it never end?

Bay-672x372I know my debut novel, Stone Bay, is already up and selling at Amazon, but there are some awkward sentences and a few explanatory phrases that I thought, as did my Editor and Critique Partner, necessary. Thankfully in this world of self-publishing and instant digital content, this is not a problem. And if there are sizable edits, Amazon will even send the new file directly to those who’ve already bought the eBook. Please remember to check in your ‘Manage Your Content and Devices’ section of your account at Amazon the box marked Automatic Book Update. I may make sure that Amazon knows that the new file has some new content by naming it Edition 2 or something like that.  Never fear though, the story is the same, the ending is the same, just some tweaked sentences.

Now that I have these edits I can finally finish the Print on Demand, too. That has been languishing on my desk in a proof copy for weeks, but I have a book signing coming up and need to have some books to sell and sign! My village now considers me a celebrity, but then my village consists of only about 1200 people (and that’s including the summer residents). So I’m a big fish in a small pond I guess.

Hopefully the next two books don’t have these barriers getting in the way of their production. I think I have the correct sequence now though. My Developmental Editor has the second book and is looking at it as we speak. My critique partner is looking over (in 4 chapter increments) the third book. When she finishes that one will go to the Developmental Editor, then to my line editor who’s expert in grammar, then to a proofreader, then to my publisher, A Thirsty Mind Book Design, to format and convert into an eBook and Print on Demand.  Oh, I forgot… the cover. I need a human image for the second book cover, and I haven’t even started looking for things for the third book.

Yikes! See, it will never end?

Newsletters, Blogs, Tweets, Facebook Pages… Oh, My!

Bay-672x372I’ve been taking webinars lately from Social Media gurus… most free, thank goodness! But I’m so confused. My Constant Contact Newsletter people had a fantastic webinar yesterday about the things you could do with your social media that most people aren’t doing. Even the Big Publishers who you think have little minions behind the scenes making sure your books are… and this is the word you want to remember… Discoverable… aren’t doing these things. Sigh! if you’re self-published, then all this stuff is on your shoulders which is probably a good thing, because who takes care of you better than yourself?

Did you know about Facebook–Open Graphs? Or Twitter cards? Rich Pins on Pinterest? Google+ Schemas? Facebook Groups? Hummingbird? Infographics? Podcasts? YouTube? Well, of course you know about some of these, but did you know as an author you can participate in all of them to your great advantage?

It takes a lot of work, but lucky me (and some of my author friends) I have a virtual assistant who researches these and can read HTML code! Now we just have to find the time to implement them. I’m really excited right now to start a Facebook Group with several of my friends helping me moderate. And a YouTube video (I’ll be narrating but you won’t see my face, thank goodness)… as well as something from with images from one of my books, maybe Precious Stone which takes place near the Caves of Lascaux in France.

Anyway, to do it all is mind-boggling. But I’m going to give it a try!

Where are some of the places where you’re showcasing your books?

Editors and Editing

Sunrise-672x372I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I have a fabulous editor and we’re becoming more in-synch, learning each others ways. But an editor is a long-term commitment. I have one book published and four more in the works, so I have a huge stake in this relationship. I’m still figuring out what to send and when… a couple chapters so she sees where I’m going, then the entire manuscript. Or maybe the whole thing at once. Does she need my book bible, the cast of characters and their background, timeline, locations in the book. Or would she just like to look at the story first, then go back and line edit, making sure I’ve got good continuity. I’m sure we’ll get it all straightened out before I’m ready with the second book.

And when do you know that the book you have is your best attempt? When do you stop editing? In my debut novel after publication, a friend pointed out two stupid mistakes, both names of well known people. Why did I… or any of the people reading this book before publication… not catch these? Well, I don’t know about the others, but after writing 17 versions of this story, my brain was just seeing what it wanted to see.  That’s why that last proofread by someone other than yourself is so important. One last look for that ‘a’ that should be ‘an’, the ‘he’ that should be ‘she’. Or in my case “Indian Jones’ who should have been Indiana Jones. Color me embarrassed.

This brings me to my current conundrum. I can’t stop editing the stupid book. After I took care of the two corrections in the digital book and uploaded a new file to Amazon, I went on to proofing the print edition that Create Space sent me. I loved the cover but when I opened to the copyright data page, I realized that I’d left the digital phrases in but had forgotten to include the wording specific to the print version. I also decided I hated the format and font of my chapter headings. Hey, they look different on a paper page than they do on a computer screen.  So this started me off on not just proofing but changes, a few awkward passages here, a few point of view changes there. Before too long I had pages of corrections. Now unfortunately I need to match the digital file back to the print pages. And then another file upload. Sorry Amazon. That’s where I am now. About 2/3 way through proofing and making notes on the print book.  Of course uploading the new digital text to Amazon is no problem, but I’m going to have to go back to square one for the print book now, formatting the pages, the headers, re-inserting the images… What was going to take me a couple of days, is now taking me more than a week. But I’m hoping the book, both digital and print comes out the other side, better… for Indiana Jones sake as well as my own.

Have any of you experienced this ‘stop me I need to get off this editing wheel’? Is it easy for you to say, ‘stick a fork in me, I’m done’?

Camp NaNoWriMo

SummerLane-672x372I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again as I did last November. But now they have an April Challenge. You get to choose which genre you’d like to follow, and you’re placed in a ‘cabin’ with other like-minded writers, in my case Romance of course. So far I’ve written 14500 words of my 50,000 word goal (the challenge lasts until April 30).

Some writers don’t like to be pushed, but I find a deadline helps me immensely. I love the anticipation of getting up in the morning, drinking my first cup of coffee and then diving right in. I’ve been averaging more than 2000 words a day; I have no idea how many pages that is. But the story is coming along nicely I think. Of course I’m having to sandwich this writing between the formatting tasks for clients of A Thirsty Mind Book Design. And just this week the work really started piling up. But I’ll soldier ahead. This is important to me.

Precious Stone, Book 3 in my High Tide Suspense series has a back story. I’m finding it so intriguing that I may go back to it later for a complete novel. I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything about the 300th Jubilee celebration in 1913 of the Romanov reign. Funny how one thing leads to another then to another…

Do you like books with back stories that are set up in the Prologue, or would you rather the story trickle in as musing by the main character, a little at a time? Let me know… I love feed-back.

Social Media

SummerLane-672x372So, are any of you completely ‘bumfuzzled’ as my character, Amanda Warner, would say about Goodreads? I think I have Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest beaten into submission, but Goodreads, now that’s a different story.

I’ve used Goodreads as my actual self, Pam Headrick, but I’m ashamed to say, not much. As a former bookstore owner, I should have been on the site touting books, giving reviews, talking to other readers. What can I say, life and work got in the way.

As an author, though, Goodreads needs to be my friend. My virtual assistant, Jon Stence, did most of the groundwork for my Author Page, but I needed to add a bio, things I like to do, you know personal stuff. However, Goodreads isn’t cooperating in the least. I’ve added a really nice, well-thought-out bio several times now, and it’s not showing up at all. And yes, I remembered to ‘save’ it. But the ‘edit my profile’ feature seems to get me back to a blank profile, no bio, actually no nothing. I know I’ve edited this profile at least twice. What’s the deal, Goodreads? You’re supposed to be my friend! I want to start doing things for my readers, quizes, give-a-ways, excerpts of new books. I’m ready now.

Well, I’ve spent all the time I can today on this… probably I should give the task to my poor overworked virtual assistant. Stone Heart needs to be tweaked, those point of view changes need to be kicked into shape, I need to find a background image as well as a sexy couple image for the cover. Hmmm, maybe just a hunky guy for this one. Sorry, Goodreads, I’ll have to get back to you another time.

My Working Life

2in96dpiMy working life as Min Edwards has been going along quite well for a while now. My debut novel, Stone Bay, was published at Amazon in mid-March, and in a week or so, the print version will be available at as well…. and in AmazonEurope and AmazonBritain! This is so exciting. We’re (A Thirsty Mind, my publisher) starting a campaign of cross-promotion soon with several other authors which will be fun.  Now I have more admiration for publishers… if they’re doing what we’re doing… they have a hard job indeed.

Just yesterday I sent the first book in my new High Tides Suspense series (romantic suspense, of course), Stone Cold, off to my developmental editor. And in the next few days I’ll be polishing up the second book in the series, Stone Heart.

Beginning on April 1st, I’ll be going off to “Camp”, actually virtual camp with NaNoWriMo organization. This year we’re divided into genres, so my cabinmates will all be writing romance of some kind. My book, Precious Stone, Book III in the High Tides Suspense Series, hopefully will have at least 50,000 words by the end of the month… that’s the goal. I’ve done it before, I can do it again!

So that’s my life as of today, March 28, 2015. Actually thinking back a few years when I first moved to my bucolic village on the edge of America, I never imagined that life would take this turn. But I’m certainly glad it did. And I hope ya’ll are, too.