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First Quarter List Building Results

April 5, 2023 by in category Writing

Happy Spring.

This is a special week for me. It’s Easter and my birthday. 

Let’s get to this month’s post. I just finished the first quarter of my newsletter building project. As of this post, my efforts have netted 2365 new subscribers. I am beyond excited about this number. As I mentioned before, whenever I send an email, I lose a few. My current loss number is 65…less than 3% of the new subs. I can live with that. Right now, I’m averaging approximately 17 new subs per day. I can live with that as well. If I stay on tract, I’ll reach my goal of 10,000 subscribers.

If you’re looking to build your newsletter list, I highly recommend using Book Funnel group promotions. They’re free, easy to set up, offer multiple genres with minimal effort.

The only thing I haven’t done, is check for duplicate email subscribers. I know that’s a possibility, because each download requires an email sign up. Once I export all the lists, I’ll get the answer to the question of possible duplicates.

While the email sign up promos are doing well, the sales promotions aren’t going as well. I’m not sure why, but once I do I think it will be good for sales. I’ve read a few articles or posts about the success authors are having direct selling ebooks. Direct sales don’t allow refunds. YEAH!. I don’t about you, but I’m tired of readers binge reading and then returning the books. I’ve gotten to the point when I see a series has been ordered, I cringe waiting to see if the books will be returned or not. 

In a nutshell, I’m about to join the ranks of authors direct selling ebooks. I believe this is the answer to dealing with Amazon’s read and return game. Sure, I can’t stop Amazon from allowing people to read and return, but I can offer another ebook option that will work to my benefit. It may take me a little while to set up my books and get readers used to this option, but I believe it will work. 

One of the reasons why I think I’m tanking on direct sales at Book Funnel, is incorrect sign up. Once I get that fixed, I expect see a vast difference in my direct sales numbers. As well as studying authors who are doing this successfully.

Speaking of new sales options, I was reviewing my Kobo sales and discovered I’ve been earning sales with Kobo Plus. I completely forgot I had put some of my books in this lending program. So while I was a little disappointed in my sales, I’d actually been earning money. The reason I didn’t know about the Kobo sales is because Kobo Plus sales don’t show up on the Kobo sales dashboard.

Have a wonderful Easter and see you next month.

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1950s Life & Times of the Rich and Famous in Los Angeles

April 3, 2023 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Writing tagged as , , , ,

1950s Evening outWhile researching the 1950s, we came across memoirs of Los Angeles. Since our Private Eye character, Skylar Drake, moonlights as a stuntman for the movie industry, the Hollywood scene during that time is an intricate part of each book.

The regular family life of the rich and famous was not at all typical of everyday life. In fact, it was pretty exhausting! The executives were in constant fear of making the wrong decisions and losing their position (lots of backbiting). There were endless days of being “on” for the public. They were forever giving lunches, dinners, and cocktail parties at their homes for celebrities or visiting dignitaries. Their dinners were lavish and beautiful, as were their homes. Entertaining was constant with little private time.

The regular family life of the rich and famous was not at all typical of everyday life. In fact, it was pretty exhaustin1950s Goetz Dining roomg! The executives were in constant fear of making the wrong decisions and losing their position (lots of backbiting). There were endless days of being “on” for the public. They were forever giving lunches, dinners and cocktail parties at their homes for celebrities or visiting dignitaries. Their dinners were lavish and beautiful, as well as their homes. Entertaining was constant with little private time.

I found stories of lunch with Barbara Hutton (heiress of the Woolworth’s chain) at the lavish garden of Merle Oberon, or a candle light dinner at the home of Edie Goetz, (daughter of Louis B. Mayer, co-founder of MGM.) And don’t forget entertaining royalty, moguls, and titans of the day. You couldn’t just throw hamburgers on the BBQ, Merle Oberson 1950swhip up a potato salad and lounge by the pool!Tent parties in which the pool was covered to create a dance floor were a regular Saturday night event in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  On Sundays,

Tent parties in which the pool was covered to create a dance floor were a regular Saturday night event in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  On Sundays, church was not like your typical worship services. The Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills was nicknamed Our Lady of the Cadillacs duBill and Edie Goetz 1950se to the expensive cars that filled the parking lot for 10 am Mass.

Incorporating Skylar Drake’s assigned visits by his agent or the studio or working security into the stories has been fun. We’ve enjoyed dressing the characters, describing the gardens and homes, and the food served by the rich and famous of Los Angeles, 1950s.

 

 

 

The Skylar Drake Series

DESERT ICE

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DESERT ICE

SLIVERS OF GLASS

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SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

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STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

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SLICK DEAL

GAME TOWN

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GAME TOWN
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Author Laura Drake Debuts her new Women’s Fiction Amazing Gracie!!

April 2, 2023 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Laura Drake is a New York published and self-published author of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 13 more books. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn. and Writers in the Storm blog.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Today I have the privilege of doing a Q&A with author and friend Laura Drake. She’s an award-winning author of Romance and Women’s Fiction. Her books will hook you from the first page and take you on a heartfelt and emotional ride.

Jann: You have published books in several genres—small town romance, Western Romance, and Women’s Fiction. When you start to write, do you approach a small town romance differently than a Women’s Fiction?

Laura: Very differently. In romance, the focus is ultimately on the couple, and their story. In Women’s Fiction, the story is about a woman’s emotional journey. I love romance, but I’m reveling in the freedom of Women’s Fiction! A double-edged sword I didn’t know until I tackled it—I didn’t realize how much I relied on the structure of romance (tropes, etc). There are no walls in WF, which is freeing, but also, harder!

Jann: You have tackled some heavy issues in your books. Is there any subject you don’t want to write about?

Laura: Wow, interesting question—I never thought about that. The idea I’m playing with now involves a serial killer, so . . . I’d have to say the answer is no! 😉

Jann: This month on the 25th, Amazing Gracie makes its debut. What challenges and conflicts do your characters CJ and Mazey have to overcome?

Jann: If you’ve ever read one of my books, you know there are a LOT! CJ is an Army vet who is returning from the desert with a ton of guilt, having been partially responsible for her friend’s deaths. They were planning a cross-country motorcycle ride together, which has now become a Memorial ride.

Mazey, her half-sister, is nine, precocious, but very innocent. CJ takes Mazey on the trip with her to rescue her from the attentions of her mother’s boyfriend. Mazey highjacks the ride to search for the father she’s never met.

There’s more, but you’ll have to read to find out!

Jann: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Amazing Gracie?

Laura: Respect for those who serve, and empathy for the fact that they don’t always leave war behind when they come home. Also, for anyone who is struggling with guilt, no matter how grievous—to know that you can heal.

Jann: Have you ever had your characters take you in a different direction while writing the story?

Laura: Not really, but only because I don’t have a plan to begin with. I’m an almost total pantser. I start with a character, a flaw, and throw them into a situation and see where it takes us.

Jann: You have a collection of amazing characters in your books. Charla Rae in The Sweet Spot, Jacqueline Oliver in The Road to Me and Samantha Crozer in Her Road Home. Are there parts of yourself in your characters?

Laura: Every single one. I aspire to being Nellie; the outrageous octogenarian hippie with a storied past. I want to be the grandma you shudder to take out to eat, because you never know what she’ll say!

Jann: Has your writing process changed since your first book, The Sweet Spot, which sold in 2013 and won the 2014 Romance Writers of America RITA for Best First Book ?

Laura: Not much – I thought when I began, I’d be as organized as I am in the rest of my life. I actually enjoy outlining! But I tried that, and by the time I got done, I was bored, and couldn’t write the story – because I already knew what happened!

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about it?

Laura: Just starting another Women’s Fiction, about the wife of a serial killer. I’ve always been fascinated by stories of men’s secret lives, and the poor women who had no idea….

Jann: Do you have any writing rituals? Schedule?

Laura: Oh yes—that’s the organized part of me. I get up at 3 am (yes, every day), do social media until I get enough coffee onboard to think, then begin my writing day by reading over what I’ve written the day before, then write new pages. I’m usually in my office doing writing related things (I teach, marketing, etc) until I have to start dinner. I only write about 500 words a day, but I write every day, so they add up.

 Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Laura: This is a worry for me. I envy those writers who have a folder full of story ideas they’re dying to get to. I only get one idea at a time, and since I don’t know where ideas come from, I’m terrified that each idea will be my last! Hey, we’re all neurotic here, right?

Jann: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Laura: Oh wow, THIS could fill a book the choices are many: skydiving, riding a motorcycle over 200k miles, marrying a guy after knowing him less than a week (do not recommend), rappelling off a 20-story building at 63…

Jann: What’s the funniest (or sweetest or best or nicest) thing a fan ever said to you?

Laura: My husband is a fan, right? I was in the driveway, washing my car, and he asked why. I told him I got to pick up DEBBIE MACCOMBER (yes, I said it just like that) and take her to speak at one of our meetings. He said, ‘Someday, some aspiring writer is going wash her car, because she’s picking up LAURA DRAKE. He doesn’t say sweet things often, but when he does, they’re memorable.

Laura, my friend, thank you for spending time with us here on A Slice of Orange. I believe you have another fantastic book that will reach the heart of the reader. Best of luck with Amazing Gracie!!

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SWEET ON YOU

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SWEET ON YOU

NOTHING SWEETER

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NOTHING SWEETER

THE SWEET SPOT

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THE SWEET SPOT

DAYS MADE OF GLASS

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DAYS MADE OF GLASS

COWBOY KARMA

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COWBOY KARMA

AGAINST THE ODDS

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AGAINST THE ODDS

TWICE IN A BLUE MOON

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TWICE IN A BLUE MOON

THE REASONS TO STAY

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THE REASONS TO STAY

HER ROAD HOME

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HER ROAD HOME

AMAZING GRACIE

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AMAZING GRACIE
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Flight Pattern by Dianna Sinovic

March 30, 2023 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , ,
Photo by Marcelo Irigoyen @lu3fmm on Unsplash

Dianna has had a very busy month, so we’re rerunning a flash fiction piece from several years ago. She’ll return next month with a new post.

Flight Pattern

Joe cradled the cockatiel in his hands, then extended one of the bird’s wings to trim the flight feathers. His flock of birds now numbered eight, and one pair had three eggs incubating. The birds shrieked and twittered around him as the morning sun though the skylights lit up the aviary. 

            “Easy there,” he said softly, gently turning the bird and trimming the other wing. The bird’s mate was preening on a nearby branch.

            After releasing the cockatiel, he surveyed the aviary. Carey was coming by in twenty minutes, expecting a tour. Would she like it? It was important to him that she understand his passion. These birds were precious to him—they kept him sane. He walked with effort to the doorway and looked back one more time. 

            He had met Carey a month ago, when she sat next to him at a township meeting. He had come to make a statement about the pending municipal budget. She was there to see her friend’s grandson get a community award. They got to talking and discovered that they had both lost spouses. They both read voraciously, he about the Civil War and she about women’s history. And she loved birds. Joe had vowed to himself that no one would ever replaced Amelia, but he was drawn to Carey’s joie de vivre. She wasn’t pretentious, and she seemed genuinely interested in him. 

 Joe’s arthritic hip wouldn’t let him go birding with her, but she said she was intrigued by his cockatiels.

            But now he was nervous. Twice he checked his reflection in the hall mirror, smoothing his thinning hair. When he saw her drive up, he felt as he had all those years ago, when he and Amelia were on their first date. Could love happen twice in one life? 

            “Joe, you look pale. Are feeling alright?” Carey wore a peach scoop-necked shirt and tan capris. She looked lovely.

            “I’m fine, fine.” He ushered her in the door and accepted her gift of freshly baked bread.

            “I thought we might have a slice or two after we look at the birds.” She looked around at the modest living room, and Joe was pleased to see her nod in approval. 

            The aviary was at the back of the house, in a room that had once been the den. He had built a screened foyer that allowed him to look into the aviary before entering it. Most guests got only that far—a chance to see the birds but not handle them. Joe took Carey into the room itself. When a bird landed on his shoulder, he transferred it to her hand. He pointed out the markings that made cockatiels unique. He told her about building his flock after Amelia’s death. He showed her the nest with the three perfect eggs. 

            “Would you like one of the hatchlings?” 

            Carey shook her head. “Thank you, Joe, but I think the baby birds belong here, with your flock.” She seemed to sense his disappointment. “Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the offer.” Her eyes twinkled. “In fact, I will take one of the hatchlings—as long as it stays in the aviary. That will give me an excuse to come here as often as you’ll have me.”

Some of Dianna’s short stories are in the following anthologies.

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Kitty Bucholtz, March Featured Author

March 29, 2023 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

March featured author Kitty Bucholtz is a writer, podcaster, and a book coach. She has combined her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher turned coach.

She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. She loves to teach and offer advice to writers through her WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast.

Kitty has also created the Finish Your Books Coaching Program. Find out more about either 1:1 Coaching or Group Coaching on Kitty’s website. http://kittybucholtz.com/

Besides Kitty’s Coaching Program and WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast, you will find her here at A Slice of Orange on the 9th of each month writing It’s Worth It.


Books by Kitty Bucholtz

ROMANCING THE PAGES

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ROMANCING THE PAGES

SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE

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SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE
MY BULLHEADED SUPERHERO VALENTINE

UNEXPECTED SUPERHERO

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UNEXPECTED SUPERHERO

A VERY MERRY SUPERHERO WEDDING

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A VERY MERRY SUPERHERO WEDDING

LITTLE MISS LOVESICK

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LITTLE MISS LOVESICK

LOVE AT THE FLUFF AND FOLD

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LOVE AT THE FLUFF AND FOLD

WELCOME TO LOON LAKE

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WELCOME TO LOON LAKE
ADVENTURES OF LEWIS AND CLARK BOXED SET

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