Best Laid Plans

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Did some house cleaning and renovations on the blog to kick off the New Year. That Orlando cityscape was more than I could continue to look at being faced with the daily compromises of city life. Yes, it has its conveniences, but I am soooo ready to be inconvenienced.

To that ends, once Irma passed by, we rallied to get some actual home renovations started in an effort to prepare to sell this house. We started with one bathroom, which led to two bathrooms and one bedroom. And then a sliding door, which led to a dining room that we use as a den. Right now, there are walls torn down and furniture placed everywhere except where it is supposed to be.

Access to my computer has been limited, and I cannot get much accomplished on my “slow as Christmas” laptop or phone. I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I do have plans.

  1. Get the house ready to put on the market.
  2. Get the house appraised.
  3. Get rid of the 50-60 years’ worth of junk in the house.
  4. Stage the house.
  5. Sell the house.
  6. Move to an island.

OH, YES!

I’m back to writing book two in the Naked Eye series, which used to be book three.

(A little update on book one. It got a one star review from a lady who once was a blogger friend. Apparently, she feels the word “fuck” is sensational, and not used in the “real world”. Not sure what world she lives in, but it’s a pretty common word…especially in crime circles. I was okay with that. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even tho I felt it was retaliation for a comment left on her blog wherein I called her out on some racist comments she had made on her post, as well as derogatory statements regarding those who are not afforded the socio-economic status she enjoys. Just to be spiteful, she couldn’t stop there. She went back to her review on my previously published book and changed it from 5-star to 2-star and rewrote it. Really? These so-called “Christians” appall me. Honestly, it’s laughable. What an ass she is making of herself.

Progress on book two has been slower than expected. My trip to Vegas, while informative and exciting, basically let me know that I am ill-prepared to write the book two that I was planning to put to pen. There are far too many layers of depth to the gambling community that I do not understand well enough to make that story as authentic as it should be. Maybe later, when I have more time for research.

But I have to write, so book three has become book two. A case of mistaken identity leads Richard and Brandi into a much more sinister plot. I’m working on my character profiles to add to Scrivener now, and will post those soon.

I would like to have the first draft of this book completed by April, but writing for fun, I refuse to force myself onto deadlines that stress me too much. I want my work to reflect that it was well thought out and not forced.

There is something else I want to add on that note. We did away with our Kindle Unlimited subscription. I am ashamed to have to admit this, but the truth should be told. Most of the books were independently published and unreadable. I’m sorry if people find that offensive. We spent two years picking thru the rubbish piles trying to find decent books to read. We gave it a chance, but seriously…the poorly edited and sloppily written novels to choose from weren’t worth the time we spent sorting through the dribble. Quite an embarrassment. People need to do better.

If you cannot afford an editor, for developmental assistance and proofing, you cannot afford to publish. Your story isn’t worth shit if we have to struggle to read it. It certainly won’t be recommended, and that is how we sell books.

Enough on that.

Recently, I stepped down as team leader and admin for our local Pokemon GO group. We have about 10,000 members in our PoGo community and planning activities and hosting events for large crowds was wearing me thin. I hit level 40 (max) and now have a huge collection of 100% ers that are max combat power. Other than Raiding the Legendaries, I have pretty much gotten off the road with that game.

Brandi, however, has my addiction, which you will see comes in quite handy in the end.

Cheers!

Here’s to spending more time in your company this year.

Peace and good will to you and yours throughout the coming year!

What are your plans for the New Year?

Last Day Naked Alliances 99 cents #RRBC and Plight of Getting Reviews Seen

Trouble With Reviews

I was checking on the possibility of any new reviews on Naked Alliances today and was quite surprised at what I found. Maybe you all have spoken about this before and I just missed it. All 19 of my reviews are there, but when you first arrive at the page, you can only see the 13 “Verified Purchase” reviews. At first, I thought Amazon had removed some of my reviews. Ionia Froment, a TOP 1000 Amazon reviewer, had reviewed my first book, as well as this one, and I suspected Amazon struck her review.

However, on further inspection, with TWO MORE (obscure) CLICKS, one to get to an all in order first to last page, that shows all 13 verified purchase reviews, and another (even more obscure) click to get to “See all 19 Reviews” that show the non-verified purchase reviews. WTF?

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Why is Amazon making it harder to see our reviews? Many people don’t know to continue clicking on to get the other reviews and many authors sell more books by hand from a box they carry in the trunk of their car from place to place than they do online. There is no way to prove they are purchases. One would think Amazon would want all reviews to show, especially from their own top reviewers.

Enough about that.

Last Day 99 Cent Sale:

I’m letting you know that today is the last day of the Naked Alliances 99 cents sale, so if you’d like a copy and haven’t grabbed one yet, now is the time to do it. And by all means, be sure to write a “Verified Purchase” review if you do, and help us get the word out.

99 Cent Sale–Naked Alliances by S.K. Nicholls #RRBC

This sale was supposed to start yesterday, but there was a snafu with pricing that’s been resolved.

The eBook is 99 cents. Paperback and Audible are also available. 

Use your holiday to take a Florida vacation, unravel a murder mystery and help bring down a crime boss. What could be more fun than sipping margaritas with a couple of sexy nudists while your at it?

Sunny and clear skies here at 77 degrees…allow us to warm you up!

It’s Monday and you have the day off. Turn on my favorite musical artist, Jimmy Buffett, pour yourself a tall one, grab a good book, and join the fruitcakes.

Update on Naked Alliances by S.K. Nicholls

Rant: Don’t expect me to follow you back if you don’t have a “Follow me by Email” option on your blog. I read my email several times a day. I never go into my Reader. I love engaging with my audience. Make it easy for me. Rant Over. (Notice the new message in the side bar.)

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…I have news:

Naked Alliances is going on sale for $0.99 on January 15th. This is coinciding with an ENT promo which will start the same day.

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I’ve never promoted a book in this genre. The historic fiction did well with ENT. I understand that FaceBook, where ENT gets most of its traffic from, has a high population of females 35-55 years of age. I’m curious to see how Naked Alliances does there.

Don’t despair if you miss that sale. I tried to get the Fussy Librarian to run their promo at the same time to no avail. The dates were already taken. So there will be another sale February 12th.

I’ve never run two promos so close together, and yet so far apart. Good to see ROI this way, I suppose. Though many people subscribe to both, I may be able to reach a broader audience in this way.

However, if you want a real treat and have the money to buy the audiobook, I implore you to get your copy of that when it goes on sale this week. I won’t be able to set or alter the price of the audiobook for promos. That’s set by the retailers, but it will be available on Amazon, iTunes and Audible.

If you really want to support an author…go out there online and purchase your copy at the whopping price of $2.99 for the digital copy or $14.50 for the paperback.

As his pulse-quickening quest for answers leads from the dark corners of Orlando’s Little Saigon to the sunny exposure of the Leisure Lagoon, Richard Noggin, P.I. will be put to the test. Just how much will this Naked Eye have to bear…or bare?

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That will also improve our rankings so the people coming along for the sales will see what a great seller it is and perhaps be influenced to buy.

Stay warm. Peace.

Snippet of Naked Alliances Audio Book

I’m so excited to have the audio book of Naked Alliances well underway. Steven Barnett has a fabulous knack for voice-overs. Working with Steven on the audio book is great fun. I finally figured out a way to share a sample with you.

Each character has their own unique voice and Steven has just the right amount of animation and enthusiasm for reading to make the book hard to stop listening to. It’s interesting, entertaining, and holds the attention. I’ve bought some audio books that nearly put me to sleep with monotone reading.

Naked Alliances will not do that…I promise.

Through ACX, the audition piece was uploaded. Eight people auditioned and it was interesting to hear the different voices reading. Steven’s audition stayed on the top at all times. This took only a couple of weeks. After my husband listened to a few of the best, he was in full agreement that Steven’s narration had won, hands down.

I made him an offer. I was willing to give him to mid-February, as ACX recommends three to six weeks to complete edits. Steven was confident that he would have the book ready before the end of the year. He declined the offer, not wanting it to drag on that long. After listening to a couple more chapters with varying voices, I felt assured that he could pull this off and made him another offer, which he accepted. I’m delighted to be able to report that this project is working out exceptionally well, and can’t wait to get this audio book on the shelf.

Steven is most professional. He’s uploaded the first four chapters of the book to ACX along with the Intro and Acknowledgments, as well as placed it onto Google Drive to assure we have back-up in case the unexpected happens. I’m also keeping the downloaded files on my computer.

While fiddling around with some software I purchased today to make book trailers, I created a little YouTube video of the first chapter and posted it below. Please bear in mind that I am no expert with this new software and was only able to figure out how to post the cover and sound.

If you’ve any interest in the book, you have probably already read the first chapter. You may want to give it a listen to see how the narrator sounds. Or you may be intrigued enough with his reading to purchase the audio book when it becomes available. I’ll keep you posted.

The audiobook download should be ready for sale on Amazon by December 30th as a digital download. My daughter is also helping me make CD copies through CDBaby. I had to give up my 40% royalties via ACX in order to go non-exclusive with ACX, instead taking 25%. That seems like very little, but the whole point is to get the books out there in as many formats as possible.

For me, it’s not so much about raking in big bucks as it is about becoming a known author, and reaching all possible audiences is a huge part of that. The digital download file will be available on Amazon, but the CDs will not. I’ll have those in hand to sell at book signings and events.

Of course, if you’d like a copy when they become available, I’d be happy to mail you one. I don’t know what the price will be yet. ACX sets that for the digital download. I’ll know more about the cost of the CDs once I get that project underway.

Hope you are having a happy time preparing for the upcoming Holiday Season. My shopping is all done and I’ve got to finish up the tree and snow village. I’m doing a mini blog tour via some very kind author friends who have allowed me space on their sites to promote. I am most grateful to each and every one of you. The guest posts are all out now and I still have some interviews to email out.

Look for some book reviews to pop up here soon. I’ve finally got some time to read while prepping the audio book. I’ve decided not to begin writing again until after the New Year. The outline for Book Two in the Naked Eye Series is uploaded to Scrivener, I’m waiting until after our Vegas trip in April to get the first draft completed.

Do you like listening to audio books?

My husband listens to them on the way to and from work. They keep him from getting too frustrated in the Orlando traffic.

Have you worked with anyone to produce an audio book? What was your experience?

The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful

Good news and bad news. First the bad news, so I can end on a happy note. Naked Alliances had an awesome launch, but sales have come to a screeching halt. I’m really puzzled by this as the publicist’s blog tour just came to an end about a week ago. I talked with her about the fact that she “outsources” all blog tours and all of my posts were posted by the same person, Mayra Calvani, on different sites. Sites she apparently owns, which leads me to believe that the posts had only as far of a reach as her social media platform allows…which isn’t good.

I seriously need to do my own blog tour. I have ten interviews and five guest post waiting in the wings. Anyone willing to post any one of these? I had a list of people who invited me to do guest posts or interviews on their sites, and for the life of me, I can’t find it.

A gentleman the publicist connected me with, Gary Roen, a reviewer with MidWest reviews posted a nice review on his shelf at their site. He’s also a local guy and we met for lunch at the Cork and Fork. He’s an amusing gentleman who wears a straw hat and tropical shirts, like me. I wish we had gotten a picture together, but I forgot. I learned that his father was one of the founding fathers of the Parliament House when it was solely an entertainment venue on Colonial and not a gay resort. His parents were both in the publishing business many years ago. We had a few laughs and I was quite impressed with his character. He’s sending reviews out to a few more sources.

Another lady at “BookLoon” the publicist connected me with wasn’t so receptive. Apparently she only reviews cozy mysteries. I have no clue why she agreed to read and review a book called Naked-something about a sex-trafficking scheme, but she did. Although there was only one chapter with a sex scene in it…purely recreational sex, which she cannot fathom, she was so appalled by it she had to issue a warning with her review. Imagine that! Otherwise, the review was not so bad, and certainly directs the book more toward its target audience. I understand the name of her review blog better now.

On a brighter note, I’m having Naked Alliances made into an audiobook, narrated by the awesome Steven Barnett,

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Steven in his studio

another local Orlandonite who has a stellar reputation with ACX, an audio book making company. I had eight auditions to choose from and his was so good I didn’t want to stop listening at the end of the fifteen minute audition. Looking forward to having that up before Christmas and can’t wait to meet him. He lives about fifteen minutes from me and we’re planning a tour of Cypress Cove, the nudist resort my family owns that the fictional Leisure Lagoon was fashioned after.

I’m in the process of getting Book Two set up into Scrivener. Barring no major Holiday crisis, the way I write I should have the first draft by April. Would be sooner but we set April for our visit to Vegas. Vegas plays a part in the resolution and I want to people watch and see how things operate there. I’ve never been. I’ve been to casinos in Florida, but it’s not the same. I’d like to see the lay out of the strip, too.

If you enjoyed the book, tell somebody about it!

Tell me how you’re doing.

Have you ever made an audio book?

S.K. Nicholls’ Naked Alliances Blog Tour in Full Swing

Blog tour is underway. It’s been going on since October 24th. Lots of fun touring around the blogosphere in places I’ve never been before. I’ve been sharing the posts on FaceBook and Twitter. For those that don’t follow my other sites, but know about this blog, I’ve put together a list of these posts so you can maybe go by and show the hosts some blogger/comment love.

The blog tour kicked off with the Press Release posted on Florida Book News and My Bookish Pleasures.

One of my favorites is a guest post that was posted on The Writer’s Life eMagazine: “Writing Humor into Your Work”. It will tickle your funny bone and maybe teach you a little something. It was a fun one to write.

My cover artist received some much deserved attention in a post for Book Cover Junkie: “Guest Post by S.K. Nicholls Author of Naked Alliances”.

I had opportunity to share my publishing journey on BOOK PUBLISHING SECRETS: HOW TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK! Authors’ candid tales into the land of publication…: “Book Publishing Secrets with S.K. Nicholls”.

There are a couple of guest posts yet to be released…but my list was getting long and it’s already a bit overwhelming.

As the Pages Turn, Plug Your Book, and Read My First Chapter all posted the first chapter of the book, which you may have already read here, but they deserve a mention for helping to spread the word.

The interviews are always fun, too. So many questions that made me think both deeply and lightly on how and why this book came about, my writing process, and some fun facts about myself I wasn’t even aware of until asked.

The first interview is on Straight From The Author’s Mouth. There are many more to come.

It’s been a fun ride, but it’s not over yet…it’s only just begun! Stay tuned for more about Naked Alliances and the crazy lady who wrote it 😉

Please join me at SleuthFest 2017, February 23-26, 2017 in Boca Raton, Florida. Meet tons of great authors and industry personalities, and have a chance to win my FANtastic Florida Fun Raffle Basket.

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I promise to have the Jose Cuervo taquila, mixer, Grand Marnier and margarita salt restocked by February…but, you know,…there have been quite a few reasons to toast around here lately 🙂

End of Summer and Getting Ready for the New Year

In August I wrote a little post about how Pokemon Go was helping me with grief therapy after a series of tragic events involving family, friends, and community. The story was picked up on Twitter and the editor of Fanreads, Keith McArthur sent me a request to use the story in an anthology of The Greatest Pokemon Go Stories Ever Told. Fanreads puts together books on sports, music and gaming. The cover was created by “Inspired Cover Designs.” See, that’s my name on the cover. 🙂

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You can go to their page and download a few of the stories for free by subscribing to their site, or you can purchase a copy from Amazon, Kobo, or Apple.

I completed my pokedex, finding all 142 available U.S. pokemon, thanks to a lovely park here that spawns all the rare pokemon and has always been a magical, mystical place, Kissimmee Lakefront Park. It’s a gorgeous park on Lake Toho where I once owned a waterfront home. I would walk to the park daily and attend the Renaissance Fair events. The Medieval Times characters practiced their fighting moves for their shows there.  Sometimes the Disney and Universal characters practiced skits there, also.

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They’ve spent thirty million dollars on renovating the park since I lived there and it is a stunning, grassy waterfront park with cobbled walking paths, a fishing pier, picnic pavilions, a splash pad & two shaded playgrounds. A very nice place for me to take a break from my writing and step aside from my grandmotherly duties and just relax a while, watch the wildlife, and soak up sunshine in the daytime and enjoy cool breezes in the evening.

There is a blog tour for Naked Alliances scheduled to begin on October 24th. It’s a big crunch to get all of the documents prepared by the deadline, but we’re well on our way. I’m still feeling like this work should have been done months ago, not AFTER the release of the book. I’ve never worked with a publicist before, but some of her advice conflicts with what I have learned about successful marketing and promotions. We’ll see how this all turns out.

Sales started out very well and I have sold more books in the first month than I did in the first year of Red Clay and Roses.

Things have slowed down a bit, but my blog audience and author platform only reach so far. There are radio interviews scheduled for October and book tours coming up. I’ll post those as they are scheduled.

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I’ll be attending Sleuthfest again next year and invite all crime/mystery writers and readers to join me. I had a blast there this year and gained a tremendous amount of confidence in reading the first chapter of my manuscript aloud. I won’t have a finished manuscript to work with next year, but I do have a new book on the market. Hopefully, Naked Alliances will be available at Murder on the Beach Bookstore, owned and operated by co-chair Joanne Sinchuk.

We also have a trip to Vegas lined up for next year. This is research for the next book in the Naked Eye Series. More about that later.

If you’re not going to make the Sleuthfest event, but would like a copy of the book, you can get a downloadable or paperback copy from Amazon. As the weather turns, it will make a nice addition to your morning weekend coffee.

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Naked Alliances up for Eversion Pre-Order and Paperback is Published

As you may have noticed, I’ve been off social media for a while. There were too many things on my mind and loads of work to get done. I’m packing to go to Michigan to see my new grandbaby…my first born’s first born. Really excited about that.

We also have a book. Naked Alliances is now available in paperback only and the eversion is up for pre-order. Yay!!!

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Had to go this route this time. The publicist package we won at Sleuthfest came with a publicist who insists we have a book before she begins her marketing campaign. (I personally believe in a lot of pre-marketing, but she needed ARCs for reviewers and this is the only way to get them with CreateSpace.)

Mayglenn McCombs, the publicist, will be doing a blog tour, but I’d also like to set one up on my own. Anyone willing to help, let me know in comments. I’ll be writing up some posts while I’m in Michigan to use when I return on the 14th. From the 14th-23rd, I know I’ll be slamming the marketing campaign.

For those who haven’t seen the full cover, here it is:

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I love what the artist did with the back cover. The small print for the blurb is a little tough to read online, but it’s my book blurb along with a few endorsements we have for the book. Thanks to all who read and were willing to help out: Tim Baker, Ionia Froment, Mark Paxon, and C.S. Boyack…you totally rock!

Endorsements:

“Richard Noggin and his trusty sidekick, expose the bare truth about a ten-year-old murder and get to the bottom of an ugly human trafficking scheme. With tight prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, Naked Alliances doesn’t let up until you’ve seen it all!” ~ Tim Baker, author of Eyewitness Blues.

“Interesting settings, believable characters, and a wonderful plot earn this one five stars from me.” ~ C.S. Boyack, author of Will O’ the Wisp.

 “Naked Alliances offers a rollicking good time, a dose of evil, a murder to solve, and characters you want to get to know better.  All in a well-written package that begs for more stories to come.” ~ Mark Paxson, author of One Night in Bridgeport

“Gritty, heart pounding and wickedly amusing!” ~ Ionia Froment, Top Amazon Reviewer

About Naked Alliances:

A riveting romp through Central Florida, Naked Alliances air-drops you into the seedier side of Orlando that the amusement park industry tries to keep under wraps.

 

When a young immigrant woman and an exotic dancer are fleeing men with guns and have no place to hide, Richard Noggin, P.I., can’t turn his back on them, even if helping them makes him a target.

 

Richard plans to impress an aspiring politician by taking on a big white-collar case with the potential of getting him off the streets and into air-conditioned offices. Instead, he’s handed a cold case and quickly finds himself sucked into a shadowy world of sex, secrets and…murder.

 

Marked for a bullet and stretched thin by his investigations, he reluctantly teams up with the unlikely, brassy custodian of the young woman on the run. With bodies piling up, they go undercover in a nudist resort, determined to catch the killer and bring down the mastermind of the Alliance before someone else dies.

 

From the dark corners of Orlando’s Little Saigon, to the sunny exposure of Leisure Lagoon, the Naked Eye juggles to keep his balls in the air.

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I have a few books I’m going to try to get read while in Michigan, as well. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come back with some reviews. Again, let me know if you’d be willing to be a host for the blog tour. I have a standard post, and am putting together a few more so they won’t bore people with the same info, as many of you share.

Sharing is greatly appreciated 🙂

If you have a full review to post on Amazon, you can do that now on the paperback page which will be merged with the eversion page after the 23rd. Please make sure to note that you recieved an advanced reader copy from the author.

A handy link to the pre-order page is right Here.

And a handy link to the paperback page is right Here.

 

Book Two in the Naked Eye Series Sprouts Wings

Being introduced to Social Services at a very early age as a result of entering the foster care program, I have always had an interest in social issues.

With my debut novel, Red Clay and Roses, I focused on the inequalities of people living in the Deep South during the 1950s-60s, Women’s Rights, and Civil Rights as I told the stories of a black family and an independent, high-spirited white woman and her relationship with an African-American man who was in medical school and became very active in the Civil Rights Movement.

For a long time, I pondered over how my social issues of interest could be written into genre specific novels. Historical fiction was not conducive to current issues, except by virtue of how it is that current issues came to be issues at all.

I read across many genres and have always loved a good crime novel. But what is “good” to me may differ from what is “good” to you. I enjoy the witty comedy of crime that is characteristic of Serge and Coleman in Tim Dorsey’s work. I love the way Carl Hiaasen integrates current issues and history into his eco-thrillers and crime stories along with humor. Randy Wayne White fascinates me with the historical elements of place and time and contemporary elements of technology and current events. Tim Baker keeps me amused with his iconic justice for Florida weirdo criminals. They are more than crime novels, they are adventure stories. Not gritty noir, not hardcore city streets…but regional crime fiction that illuminates the unique culture that is Florida.

With this in mind, I set out to write my first crime novel, Naked Alliances. My goal was to write a Florida regional crime fiction novel that addressed the social issue and crime of sex-trafficking. I chose a private investigator as a protagonist because they have the unique ability to sometimes skirt the law to accomplish their goals, yet have boundaries they are governed by. (Though, sometimes, my P.I. oversteps these.) Richard Noggin is a bit naive, and a bit scattered, but both brave and intelligent, in his own way. I wanted him to have a female co-protagonist who was strong, smart, and skilled…but not necessarily traditionally feminine. Brandi, a transsexual exotic dancer, who was a cop briefly, and served time in the military as an E.O.D. Specialist, became his sidekick.

I’m not a comedian, but wanted there to be opportunity for subtle humor, while keeping the social issues and crimes serious. To that ends, I’m quite satisfied with book one in the Naked Eye Series.

Naked Alliances should be released this September, if all goes well.

In keeping with Florida themed social issues and crime, I have completed the outline of my next book, titled Naked Malice.

Richard Noggin, P.I., a gambler, sets out to investigate the suspicious death of his investment partner and friend, Milton Rexrode, in Vegas, but another death at the Reedy Creek Kennel Club and Card Room raises his suspicions that another investment partner is guilty of murder. But when a string of young Seminole men in the 3320 member Seminole Nation die under suspicious circumstances, and the Federal agents investigating rule the deaths accidents, Council Elders fear these are crimes against humanity in a conspiracy to commit genocide.

Each and every Seminole man, woman and child receives a check of from $7000. to $150,000 per year from the tribes’ gaming industry and non-gaming enterprises. The tribes have quickly gone from poverty to immense wealth over the past three decades. With a new generation that has never lived in the thatched roof chickees of their ancestors, or suffered the deplorable conditions of reservation life in the sixties and seventies, new problems arise as they receive distributions that lead the young people to believe they do not need to go to school or work for a living. Crime, excessive gambling, financial irresponsibility, and drug and alcohol problems threaten the existence of their culture. This is the skeleton that forms the basis of my next crime novel.

Huge efforts are being made to bring the youth back into the fold and keep the nation and its culture intact.

The Seminoles were not originally a single tribe. They were an alliance of Northern Florida and Southern Georgia natives that banded together in the 1700’s to fight the European invaders, including people from the Creek, Miccosukee, Hitchiti and Oconee tribes. Later the alliance became even closer, and today the Seminoles are a united sovereign nation, even though their people speak two languages and have different cultural backgrounds.

I really want to shine a good light on the Seminoles. In recent years, they’ve taken a lot of heat for irresponsible fiscal management, and I’m trying to use the story to demonstrate the positives that are coming out of their progress.