Payday!

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My first royalties from my books were deposited into my account today. A whopping $21.73 from Amazon. I’m excited!

I published Sunshine Hunter on May 10. Big Apple Hunter was published on May 26. My royalties today are from May only.

Ten copies of Sunshine Hunter sold in 21 days, and three of Big Apple Hunter in six days. Five of the sales weren’t in the U.S., so the royalties were less. None of my early sales were from family or friends, and I didn’t have my blog then, so I’m tickled pink I had any sales at all.

It’s a start! 🙂

Six Sentence Sunday

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My six are, once again, from Sin City Hunter, the third book in the Susan Hunter Mystery series.

Susan plays a game of racquetball with a man she believes is behind a murder. Showing no mercy, she wins the game 15-0. My six are from the final few minutes of the game:

I set for the serve and blasted the ball hard down the left side. Carl lunged for the ball, missed, and fell onto the court. I heard a cheer go up from the other side of the glass, but it was quickly quelled by someone, probably Mr. Diamond.

Carl scrambled to his feet, and with his back to the glass so no one would see what he was saying, he hissed, “You’re going to be sorry you did this in front of all of these people.”

Rather than to cower and be frightened, he had snapped my last nerve, and I had more anger than fear. I stood close to him so no one would see what I was saying, and I hissed back at him, “I know what you did.”

~~~~~

Anyone can join in. To participate and/or check out some other great sets of six, check out the site:  http://www.sixsunday.com/

Twitter – #sixsunday

To Behave or Not To Behave, That is the Question

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Writers create a brand, yes? Do you work on your brand?

For some authors, their brand has become them, plain and simple. You see their name or their face, and there is nothing else you need to know. The emotional attachment from the reader to the writer is wrapped up in personal recognition. When I see a favorite author’s name or headshot on a book, I don’t need to read the blurb before I buy. I know the brand, and I know what I’ll get.

I suppose I’ve started working on a brand. My brand is pink. My brand is breezy. Wow. That’s impressive. /sarcasm

My brand is blonde. She runs amuck, as opposed to amok, but I think I should stop using that word/phrase. The connotation is messy. Things go haywire for Susan in every book, but I need a better catchphrase or line. The books don’t specifically revolve around the racquetball club or the weight loss center, so there isn’t anything to draw from either location.

I know from reading all of Janet Evanovich’s books that Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter with attitude. Janet, of course, has name and face recognition with her brand, but any fan also knows the name Stephanie Plum is synonymous with bounty hunter (and Ranger and Morelli!).

Who is Susan Hunter? In every book, she does something innocuous, ultimately putting her life in danger. Susan Hunter, Unintentional Blonde. That doesn’t work. Susan Hunter, Blonde Impulsive. Yikes! Susan Hunter, Trying to Get Killed One Book at a Time. … Susan doesn’t swear outside of one or two uses of the word crap in the books. Her exclamation phrase is always, “Oh my gosh!” … Susan Hunter, Oh My Gosh! … I admit, I have nothing.

Then we come to me personally. I’ve allowed enough of my personality to show that I think followers of my blog already know we’re a silly family. Humor brightens our days.

Yesterday was a lightning and thunder day. My husband rode his motorcycle to work. I won’t share my email messages to him throughout the day, but the final one was in all caps and expressed my enjoyment at his certain soaking to come. He was sure he would make the half hour ride home without running into rain. When he came through the door, I was delighted to see his shirt was soaked. “Five minutes!” he whined while laughing. “If I would have left five minutes sooner, I would have made it.” It was a fun moment for us, and my competitive nature chalked up a win for me.

That story is fine. I don’t mind some personal branding showing the silly side of my life. But how far would be too far before it hurt?

I wrote a blog post earlier in the week, and I liked it; it made me laugh. It was about playing a computer game, how maddening it was, and my continual reaction to the game. The game is, after all, what I choose to do when I don’t want to write. The post would have fit in with my blog theme.

I ran the idea for the post by my husband and asked, “What if some day my books take off. (Don’t laugh! Stranger things have happened.) What if someday Susan Hunter is known to an audience? Do I really want someone coming back through my blog and reading this type of post?”

We both agreed it needed to hit the trash can. Just as I don’t share the negative, depressing things that might creep into our lives at times, I don’t want to share the more crass side that raises its head every now and then – no matter how funny it may be. There are certain aspects of our lives that aren’t necessary to my developing brand, and I realize I don’t want them creeping in.

Are you cautious while developing your brand? Do you behave – or not?

Blogging Freaks Me Out (Part Two)

I used to attend book sales at public libraries. It was my main inventory source for selling used children’s books. When I first started going, even though I was friendly and outgoing, the other book dealers wouldn’t talk to me and only tolerated my existence. I was a mom with a child in tow, and I didn’t fit in with their highbrow, snotty circle of knowledge of expensive books and ephemera. It took almost TWO YEARS of being at the same sales with all of them before a bookseller finally asked what I was doing. He was surprised at the success I was enjoying.

To make a long story short, most of the other dealers did eventually become friendly, and over the course of ten years, we had some good times waiting in line and chatting. I never forgot how the snubbing felt though, and I always made sure I talked with anyone who was near me in the book line – no matter why they were there. I met a lot of interesting people by not discriminating.

At first, I was wary here at WordPress. My feelings of the book snubbing surfaced again – especially since I had just written three books in three months and published them myself. I hadn’t paid my dues in the writer’s world.

I was afraid to comment on anyone’s blog for fear they wouldn’t answer because I didn’t fit in with their circle of friends. I was afraid to follow – especially another author – for fear they would chastise me for what I had done.

None of that has happened. I’ve met some wonderful people, I’m learning a lot, and most of the time, blogging is fun.

But I was freaked out again a couple of days ago. I was looking around Freshly Pressed and read the blog post about making your likes mean something. Yikes! What if other bloggers think my likes aren’t heartfelt? What if other bloggers think I’m only liking their posts to induce them to come to my blog? What if I’m intruding on someone’s blog who intended it for a select circle of family and friends?

I’ve had fun rolling around WordPress and finding blogs to read, follow, and like. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I always read a post before I push like. Why wouldn’t you?

I was following a lot of blogs and dropping a lot of likes out there, but I wasn’t trolling for likes or followers in return. I don’t have enough to say to bring people here. In my panic of feeling I wasn’t blogging correctly, I unfollowed a load of people, and hoped I would no longer be intruding.

The fact that other bloggers show up to read my blog still kind of freaks me out. Now I’m paranoid, too.

Seven Things about Me, a.k.a. I Received the Sunshine Award

Since I started blogging almost two months ago, I’ve been nominated for two awards, and I’d like to humbly accept one of them today.

I was nominated by Tessa Sheppard for the Sunshine Award. Thank you so much, Tessa!

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The rules for receiving this award are:

1.  List 7 things about yourself
2.  Nominate bloggers worthy of this award.
3.  Thank the person who nominated you
4.  Put the image in your entry.

7 Things About Me:

1. I love dogs. All dogs.

2. I enjoy my husband. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and he makes me laugh every day. (However, dogs #1, husband #2.)

3. I buy a lottery ticket every day. I read somewhere that writers should also play the lottery, because their chances of making money with both are the same. I doubled my chances when I became a writer.

4. I used to be fearless. (Embarrassing examples withheld.)

5. I wish I could turn back the clock. Even after two blown disks in my back and nerve damage to my shoulder, I wish I could go back and play racquetball one more time. I loved it like no other sport. I could play a mean game of h-o-r-s-e with a basketball. I won bowling trophies. I could even make the throw from third to first base for the out. But there was nothing like smokin’ the competition on the racquetball court. Maybe I should have titled number 5: I’m very competitive.

6. I keep slipping things that I did, or things that happened to me, in my Susan Hunter books. My family keeps trying to figure out the fact from the fiction. My mother is sometimes mortified.

7. In case you haven’t read much of my blog, I sat down one evening in February of this year and decided to write a book. Three books are finished and self-published. A fourth is in the editing stage, and I have notes compiled for a fifth. … I’ve already pleaded ignorance. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do it like this.

Nominate Bloggers for the Sunshine Award

My awards are in keeping with the theme of Sunshine. These bloggers are witty and bring a ray of sunshine into my day when they blog:

Neither Dempsey Nor Darcy – I love this blog! Humorous and great writing, too. “Our basic formula: go on date, come home from date, give men a rating of up to 5 Dempseys (for attractiveness and hair perfection) and up to 5 Darcys (for being a perfect gentleman) and then tell everyone why these ratings were warranted. – Be sure to look at their Meet the Gang page; it’s a fun surprise.

2. Christopher De Voss on Life, Humor, and Zombies – Funny stuff! He’s “One of the founding members of the now defunked Left Of Center Comedy Group.” I always look forward to his posts, and in our house, the Fiverr site will forever be known as the “fivver” site, because I was mispronouncing it.

3. Dumb Fear of the Day – A new blogger/writer who has elicited more than a few smiles from me. Even his blog titles are funny: “Bad Grammar Haunts My Nightmares. Seriously, I Wake Up Screaming “Oh Shit, I Wrote Your instead or You’re.” I’m looking forward to reading more from him.

Thank the person who nominated you:

Thank you, Tessa for nominating me. I haven’t been blogging long enough to feel worthy of any type of award, but appreciate your kindness.  I enjoy your blog posts and your willingness to share so much of what you learn on your writing journey. It’s been helpful!

Hubby Helps Brainstorm My Next Book

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Saturday, July 14, 2012. A true story  …

Me, sitting at kitchen table with notebook and pen: “Help me with my ideas for my next book. Susan’s going to Chicago to enter a cooking contest.”

Hubby, rummaging in kitchen cupboards for a chips and salsa snack: “Ok.”

Me: “Well, I have an idea for a sub-plot in the condo where they’ll be staying, but I need a doorman. What kind of doorman should I have?”

Hubby, setting bowls and snacks on the table: “It’s just a doorman.”

Me: “Ooh, maybe a female doorman, and she’ll get all snappy on Darby’s fine ass.”

Hubby: -blank stare in my direction-

Me: “Ok. Maybe not. I’ll think about that later. I don’t think they should do a lot of sightseeing, do you? They’ll only be there for a weekend, so there won’t be much time for sightseeing.”

Hubby: “When I’m out of town at trade shows, the last thing I want to do is sightsee before the show. They should have their thoughts on the cooking contest.”

Me, slightly whining: “But it will be a few weeks before Christmas, and Susan has to go shopping in Chicago. Ooh, I have to work a Santa into the story. And they have to go out to eat, and they should go to the top of the Hancock Building.”

Hubby: -blank stare in my direction-

Me: “I think I know how this can go. The Santa will be a detective in disguise watching and following my criminal. I need the criminal’s crime. What’s he into?

Hubby: “He’s a pedophile.”

Me, shocked: “Absolutely not. I’m not going there.”

Hubby: “Well, if you’re going to have a detective following him, it needs to be a felony.”

Me: “Yes, but it doesn’t have to be so serious. My books are fluffy. I need something easier.”

Hubby: “There are no fluffy felonies. He runs illegal weapons.”

Me: <sigh> “No, that’s not it.”

Hubby: “He sells body parts on the black market.”

Me, disgusted: “Oh my gosh! What is wrong with you?”

Hubby, gathering up snack to take to the den: “Have you got a better idea?”

Me, smiling: “He’s an art thief. Thank you so much for your help. I think I have the whole story now.”