Moose Tracks – a BIG Sale

MooseTracks_CoverPSA: For the merry month of May, Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is going to be priced at 40% off its original price for Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook. That means you can get it from either of those eBook sources for only $2.99 (which is a whopping 79% off its print price)!

Here are the links for Amazon or Nook

If you like a good book deal as much as I do, please feel free to share this info via re-blogging or anywhere else that strikes your fancy. 🙂

Happy shopping…and reading!

How Do You Act When…?

two things define youThis really resonates with me. I’ve run into people who exemplify this in a good way and other who do not.

Sadly, in the writing business, it seems to lean toward the negative. I saw it occasionally when I was traditionally published, but I realize now that my Big Five publisher served as a kind of buffer; once I took a step out on my own into self-publishing (partly by necessity, partly by choice), that little cushion of professional courtesy vanished.

Lately I have run into some who are in the camp of “having everything” figuratively (whether fellow authors, publishers, reviewers, book sellers, and larger review sites etc) who often do not handle themselves well in this regard. I’ve noticed it in the past few months when I’ve reached out with a request or a submission of my newest book for possible review.

I’m not talking about the need for time-intensive interaction, but rather just simple gestures such as a 30 second email acknowledging a query or receipt of the $14 autographed book with professional cover letter I mailed to those with open submission policies (I did my research!) – even if the answer is a “no thank you”.  A polite reply declining what I’ve queried about is far preferable than resounding silence that drags on, leaving me wondering what, if anything, will happen.

I continue to remain very patient in my relative obscurity…however, I hope I will handle myself better when (not if…when) I attain a level of greater notoriety.

Fortunately, I have encountered several authors, bloggers, and reviewers who have been courteous and gracious, whether or not they felt willing or able to meet any request I made. Those few will serve as my own role models in the future.

Professional courtesy seems to be going out of style. Life is indeed busy and packed full for most of us, but to me, good manners, even in a professional sense, are the lubrication that makes the grinding gears of life grind us down far less.

What do you think about this? Does anyone here have similar experiences (or a different take on the matter)?

“Writerly” Perks

signing twoedited

First Moose Tracks book signing, 2/21/15, with a few of my older titles off to the side

One of the perks of being a published author – for me at least – has always been book signings.

I know it’s kind of a dying form; large, multi-author signings are still popular at annual writing/readers conferences and the like, but there are less and less bookstores to host individual signings. Also, I know many authors who dislike them (and I must admit I’ve had a few “interesting” experiences as well –  I remember one notable occasion at a Barnes & Noble many years ago, where the only person to stop at the table and chat was someone who wanted directions to the rest room!)  🙂

But I generally enjoy them because it gives me a chance to meet people and talk about books – and not always my books, either, but books in general. Sometimes people who stop by want to know about writing itself, or how to do it, or they want tips for how to get published. I try my best to address all questions and inquiries to the best of my ability – and I’ve met some really interesting people along the way.

Because Moose Tracks isn’t put out by a traditional publisher, the opportunities for book signings this time around will likely be limited. Chain bookstores won’t carry print copies of it, and only independent book stores who have a reason to carry it would likely go through the process to order (if they have an account with Baker and Taylor, I understand they can get copies through the print publisher, Create Space).

mysteries on main streetI was happy to have a signing last weekend, therefore, in nearby bookstore: a great little shop called Mysteries on Main Street.  It was a lot of fun and I met some new readers, in addition to getting to chat and visit with some I already knew. A photographer from the local paper even stopped by and snapped a few pics.

booksigning oneedited

Signing a book for a friend who stopped by while the news photographer sets up shot

I think if I hadn’t been an English teacher and writer, I would have/should have been a bookstore owner, employee, or a librarian. I love books! I love being around them. And the two hours I spent at this signing flew by, not only because of the activity of people coming in to buy and have me sign a book, but also because the atmosphere of the bookstore just soothes and delights me.

If you’re an author, how do you feel about book signings?  If you’re a reader, have you ever been to one – or would you ever attend one?  Why or why not?

Moose Tracks Makes a List!

Although my re-published historical romance novels Secret Vows and The Templar’s Seduction have made sales lists recently at amazon.com US (in the “Medieval” or “Scottish” categories), my newest release, the Women’s Fiction novel Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven, has not done so in the US as of yet. But as of this morning, the same can’t be said of amazon.com Australia, LOL!

Moose Tracks listing in Australia

Moose Tracks listing in Australia!

 

 

 

Take a look at this screen shot from this morning.

 

Pretty cool.

imageWho would have thought?  I’ve been international with many of my historical romances for quite a few years (they’ve been published – with really neat and very different covers – in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, French, Slovakian, Dutch, etc.), as you can see here.

But making an international sales list is a first for Moose Tracks.  Many thanks to readers in Australia for this happy little perk to my day! 🙂

Price Drop!

MooseTracks_CoverIt seems there’s been a slight price drop over at amazon for the kindle edition of Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven! It’s not a huge drop, but, hey, as a reader, I always go by the mantra that every little bit counts, especially for a long book (104,000 words or 347 print pages) like this one.

When you consider that HarperCollins/Avon used to sell my little mass market-sized paperbacks for $5.99 more than a decade ago – and they’re still selling the titles they maintain rights over for that price, with the kindle editions at $5.69 – this is a veritable bargain by comparison. 🙂

PS: if you want to go right to the book at amazon to read more about it/get the deal, then click on the cover or the title link above. Or follow this link to get the same info/back cover blurb/excerpt right here on my website-blog.

And that concludes my PSA for the weekend!

About Fishing With Pa…and Surprises

I’ve come to understand a few things in the almost half century I’ve lived, and one of those is the realization that sometimes, people can surprise you.

Sometimes those surprises can be unpleasant, but since I try to focus on the positive, I’d like to share a moment from nearly 20 years ago that surprised me in the best of ways. I remember it so clearly, and it has stuck with me so well, that I even wrote one of the “past” scenes in Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven around it.

trout

Adirondacks Rainbow Trout Fisherman Wall Art by Paul A Lanquist

It involves a fishing trip I took with my father on a beautiful, sunny summer day when I was in my early 30’s, and Pa was nearing 70.

Now you have to understand that my father was a dedicated, lifelong trout fisherman. Some of my fondest memories involve Pa helping me learn how to bait my line with an earthworm, cast, “feel” the fish mouthing the bait, and setting the hook to reel in a beauty. We often released the fish we caught back into the river, lake, or stream, but never before admiring their beautiful markings and color.

On this particular day, we hadn’t gone fishing together in more than a year. Real life had intervened for me…I was married, living more than an hour from the Homestead, teaching full time, and had a young child, so opportunities to get away and spend an afternoon together fishing or even just visiting by ourselves didn’t happen too often. My husband had offered to watch our young daughter on this Saturday, and my father and I agreed to meet up at a fishing spot about halfway between each of us. It was a kind of dam with a running stream below it – perfect for active and hungry fish.

Pa and fishing favorite memory 2The bank of the stream was formed by a combination of large rocks and tall flowering weeds. The sun beat down hot and bright on us as we fished, and the sky was a perfect blue with puffy white clouds. Here’s a picture I took of Pa during some of the quiet time…we stood farther apart as we fished, so as not to tangle our lines in the gently moving water.

The surprise came at lunch time. We’d reeled in our lines and were sitting up on the bank; I thought we were going to decide where to head for a quick lunch, but Pa walked up to his vehicle, pulled out a small cooler, and proceeded to take out cups, napkins, two cold orange sodas (one of his favorite flavors of soda back then), some chips…and two submarine sandwiches of mixed cold cuts – salami, turkey, ham – dressed with mayonnaise, cheese, lettuce, tomato – the works.

When I realized that Pa had made the entire lunch himself, I was shocked to the core. My father had always been very self-sufficient (he was a US Marine after all), but my mother was such a good cook that, except for the occasional turn at the grill or undertaking a project like making homemade sauerkraut, my father had never “cooked” or prepared anything to my knowledge.  And this was the best sandwich I’d ever eaten, without a doubt in my mind.

Pa and fishing favorite memory

Another picture I took of Pa, smiling on the banks of the stream, just after our wonderful lunch

Pa got a good chuckle out of my astonishment, and we enjoyed the nicest lunch I’d ever had, not because of fancy food or ambience (though the setting WAS right up my alley and the food, as I mentioned, was delicious), but because of the moment. Because of the beauty of sharing that peaceful time and place together, sprinkled with the magic of learning something new about a man I’d thought (in my youthful arrogance and ignorance) I knew pretty much everything there was to know.

I learned much more about my father in the years to come, all interesting and some amazing, including talents I didn’t discover he’d had until finding some papers after his death.

However that day of fishing on the sunny banks of that little stream provided me with one of the first of those kinds of happy surprises. I guess I needed to be an adult to experience it – to start becoming aware that people often posses depth and complexity far beyond the surface we tend to assume. It’s an experience I’ve never forgotten…another important lesson learned, thanks to Pa, and one that has never left my heart. ❤

Some Bone Deep Memories that led to Writing “Moose Tracks”

Now that Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is published, I’ve been thinking about some of the “behind the scenes” and inspirational  kinds of things I enjoy reading about/seeing when it comes to novels I’ve read by other authors – and so I decided to do a post of this sort today, for anyone who might be interested.

Mary on threadbare chairWe were pretty materially poor when I was little. So much so that when my father married my mother (it was a second marriage for them both, and she already had my five older sisters) there was a carpet pad instead of a carpet for quite a few years, and some furniture that was extremely threadbare (like in this picture, taken from inside our living room, in our little house near the lake).

Pa took this picture, I’m certain, as he was the camera-expert in the house, and I only found it recently, on a slide he’d given me years ago. I love it, actually, because of the ragged carpet pad and chair. I felt so much love and nurturing in my young life that I have no memory or distress at having so little in a material sense. My parents ensured that we had plentiful, wholesome, homemade food (with one of Ma’s delicious desserts every night!) and plenty of sturdy, warm clothing and shoes; we were living on my father’s salary alone with many mouths to feed, and we didn’t have a lot of frills, but we always had more than enough in that regard. I felt then and still feel I wanted for nothing.

Mary cyI’m sitting in the pic above with my hands uncharacteristically folded and a solemn expression on my face. Here’s another one on the left of my more usual, energetic demeanor, and on the right, from a professional photographer about six months earlier. Mary at 22 monthsI was two years old in the picture on the right and about three in both of the pictures taken at home – a happy, exuberant kid. However, my parents often told me that I was also a child who would sometimes retreat into a profound stillness and deep thoughts. When I had the kind of expression I’m wearing in the pic above – the one with my hands folded – my mother said she always wondered what I was thinking, and people often said I spoke and seemed far older than my years. I wasn’t so still and quiet very often, but I had the makings of a bookworm/thinker even then.

I’ll finish this post with some final, visual examples of the kind of happiness and love I experienced as a young child – the foundation of the life and family atmosphere that would inspire my writings so many years later. These pics are from my first birthday and were taken in the Homestead’s kitchen, next to my father’s chair (empty in these shots, as he was taking the photos), back in the winter of 1967. I am the sixth of seven daughters, but my parents ensured that each daughter was recognized in her own right, with attention, conversations, and of course recognition of us as individuals on our birthdays. Pa was at the ready with his camera, and we always had a cake baked for us lovingly by my mother (who is a wonderful cook, even today, though she is in her 80’s now).

Birthday 17 Birthday 16 Birthday 14 Birthday 13 Birthday 10

Life was good in the purest and best sense…filled with ups and downs, conflict and struggle, but also filled with the kind of warmth and nurturing that helped a little girl understand what’s really important, far above and beyond material goods.

 

Release Day!

Actual Final copy with endorsementIt’s finally here…and after five + years in the writing, another six months in editing and production, and two months in pre-sale mode, it feel very good to say that Moose Tracks on the Road To Heaven is now available for purchase in eBook or print TODAY! 🙂

You can purchase the eBook in these places:

Amazon B&N iBooks Kobo AllRomance GooglePlay

PLEASE NOTE: If you’d prefer a PRINT copy of the book, at this point it can be purchased here, from: Amazon

It will be available in print from Barnes and Noble and other sellers within a few days (there is a lag in terms of publisher availability).

It will also be available from some independent book stores, either in stock or upon request, including Mysteries on Main Street, in Johnstown, NY.

(Un)Happy Endings?

hulsebus-unhappy-ending-thumb-250x386-33965I’m a bit stumped. I admit it…and so I’m reaching out to any of you in the blogosphere who might want to comment, to get your opinion on this.

Here’s the short version of what caused the controversy that has erupted in my mind:

I had a conversation with a colleague today. She is someone who loves books and is well-read. We were discussing my upcoming Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven, and I was telling her about how it was a different genre from what I’d written before – Women’s/General Fiction rather than Historical Romance – and that is would therefore be appropriate for most age groups, as it has no explicit content, unlike my historical romances.

Here’s where the turn of the conversation kind of made my mind bend.

She says (and I’m paraphrasing, but it’s pretty close): “Oh, I read your first two books. I like historical fiction, so I liked the history in them.”

I think I see where she’s going here, and so I interject, admitting, “I know the love scenes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.”

But she shakes her head, adding, “No, I didn’t mind the romance – I can skip over some of those parts if I want.” She looks vaguely uncomfortable. “It’s just…the happy endings! You know, at the end, everyone goes off happy…” She makes a wry face. “I read historical fiction.” (which I’m surmising she added to try to make it clear that historical fiction books DON’T have happy endings and therefore are her preference).

I was floored, I admit it.

I’ve had people tell me they don’t like historical romances because they’re not “historical enough”.

I’ve had people tell me they don’t like historical romances because of the focus on the romantic relationship, which often includes some explicit love scenes between the hero and heroine (who BTW are monogamous, according to the traditions of the genre).

I’ve had people tell me they don’t read “those” kinds of books (which basically means they won’t read romances because of the stigma attached to romance, as books that are somehow less worthy/well-written/complex/”real”…you can supply your own negative adjective).

But this is the first time anyone has ever said to me that they basically objected to/disliked historical romances because they ended happily.

So…what’s your take on happy endings? Please enlighten me, as I really, really want to hear from everyone, regardless of your perspective. Of course I’m a reader before I’m a writer, and I have my own opinions, but I’m interested in hearing about this issue from other readers’ point of view.  So please, chime in! 🙂