Unknown and Unown

We’re headed to Vegas the first week in April. It’s all research for Book Two in the Naked Eye series. I’m learning more about gambling as an industry than I ever thought I would need to know. I’m hoping this trip will get me out of my stuck place.

I knew how I wanted to start the book, but I’ve rewritten Chapter Two twice and just not happy with either direction it went. I have a plot, a couple of sub plots, characters, motives, some conflicts, but haven’t quite figured out the action scenes to pull it all off. I’ve also revamped my outline twice. Fear of the unknown…my anxieties are off the charts.

Sadly, I thought I would have the first draft finished by April, but unless something really sparks soon that’s not going to happen.

Admittedly, I’m distracted by Pokemon Go and other life activities…grandkids/birthdays. It will be good to get away for a little while. I have two FB groups I started and admin for in Pokemon Go and just got another admin so things should ease up there. We have 350 people in our battle group. There are about 30 hardcore players in my neighborhood and we play together daily in one capacity or another.

I’m failing miserably with RRBC. I thought I could be on the Tweet Team, but Sleuthfest last week and all the other activities of my life this week resulted in me forgetting to do my job there. I must get three or four emails a week from them and I can’t keep up with all the things they want us to participate in. I almost always see the emails long after the event they want me to attend is over. I’ve read a couple of books and still haven’t written the review for the last one. Plan to do that today. I joined some contest and sent in the required materials, but have no real clue what it’s for….lmao. Seriously, I can’t keep up.

When I get excited enough to start new projects and I can’t give them 110%, I fall into a melancholy place. That’s sort of where I am right now.

Sometimes I don’t even get my emails read for days, which explains why I’m often posting comments on your three day old blog posts. I haven’t been able to get around the internet like I used to either.

I’m doing my first countdown deal on Naked Alliances Book One, so it would be a good time to grab it if you missed the earlier promos. I would love to get some reviews on the audio book. Thirty people have bought it so far, but not one review that specifically focuses  on the audio book. 😦 And I thought Steven Barnett did such a fine job, I was certain he would have been praised for that. Actually, I’m stuck at 21 reviews and haven’t had one since Feb 23rd. That is likely affecting me also. I so wanted at least fifty before the next book comes out, hopefully this fall. It might be delayed until after Christmas if I can’t swing into high gear.

But this made my day:

Trophy Pokemon

It’s an exceptionally rare pokemon, more rare than ultra-rare. Me and about fourteen other people chased it down this morning. Unown is an extremely rare Pokémon that lives in its own dimension and rarely ventures outside. There are 28 of them representing the alphabet and the question mark and exclamation mark.

I’ve figured out how to have Brandi playing Pokemon Go in my next book and how that plays into catching the bad guy. I’m hoping I can execute it in a way that is not alienating to people who don’t play the game. It’s interesting to try and find the right words to convey activities taking place in an augmented reality game. My Beam Team helps me out there. They’re mostly in their thirties. I’m the only grandparent on the team. I figure if I stick to the basics and don’t go too deep with game lingo it’ll work out fine.

Do you play any video games? If so, what’s your favorite, and do you play online or multiplayer games?

Also, is anyone having trouble with the WordPress notifications pages? Mine errors me out every time I try to use it.

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?

verified-purchase

verified-purchase-part-two

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.

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,

Steven in his studio

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?

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:

NakedAlliances_JPEG
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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

 

Seeing Stars on Amazon

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I was piddling around between editing bouts last evening reading and commenting on a few blogs I follow. One of my blogger friends and I got into a discussion about my book, “Red Clay and Roses”, which she just read.

It thrills me to no end when someone thinks deeply over the issues presented in the book and engages me in discussion, and we moved from comments to email.

After our discussion, I clicked on a link in her comments to discover that it took me to my paperback page. Now this blogger is one of two people who have bought the paperback online. (Yeah, that’s right, two. I have sold a couple of dozen paperbacks to Central Florida independent bookstores but only two online. And the paperback has special features the digital copy doesn’t have.)

I’ve sold hundreds of digital copies. (Was hoping to hit a thousand by year’s end, but that may not happen with only one more promo planned for this year. Anyway, I digress.)

Amazon defaults to my digital page. I never even visit my own paperback page. I just don’t go there.

But while I was there I noticed it shows not only my written reviews, but also star ratings left when a review wasn’t posted. My digital page doesn’t show those. It just shows the number of written reviews.

Does anybody know why? Most of my sales are on my digital page, so it would be really cool for me if these star ratings showed up there also. Do you have to special request it?

On my digital page reviews show as follows:

24 – 5 star

5 – 4 star

4 – 3 star

1 -2 star

0 – 1 star

On my paperback page it shows:

31 – 5 star

7 – 4 star

6 – 3 star

1 – 2 star

0 – 1 star

I jumped for joy over this. That’s 7 more 5 stars, 2 more 4 stars, and 2 more 3 stars. So, see, it would be in my best interest, I think, to have the starred reviews appear in addition to the written reviews. But I don’t know if it’s just select pages that Amazon posts these stars on or if mine was just overlooked. Should I email them or is this how it is for everybody? I can’t tell by looking at other people’s pages. Some people don’t have paperback books. Is this just a trial thing Amazon is testing on certain pages? Are they looking to see if this helps sell more paperbacks?

Just curious. Drop me a comment if you know anything at all about this. And readers…do write those reviews…even if it’s just a few words. There is no word limit now. (It used to be twenty.)

We authors live and breathe for reviews. We check our pages ten times a day. Maybe you posted something between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and snack. Perhaps you dropped a few lines after dinner, or just before bedtime.

A great review carries us through weeks, even months, of hearing nothing at all. It reinforces our strengths. We smile for hours after reading…like a Cheshire cat…really we do. We even cry happy tears of joy.

And even a critical review gives us a reason for a good cathartic cry. It helps us understand our weaknesses. Also, we can blame you for our bad day, for pulling out our hair, or for our writer’s block and lack of confidence. Justify our need for additional medication.

UPDATE: Well this sucks. I just checked it again and it’s gone. 😦

Sunday Synopsis

This is going to be brief. I got nothing accomplished this week except rewriting one chapter in my WIP.

I completed a couple of interviews, and posted a Goodreads Giveaway that continues through the month of February!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

Red Clay and Roses

by S.K. Nicholls

Giveaway ends March 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

My oil didn’t get changed. I still have not scheduled my sensory deprivation experience. My paperback books are waiting to be distributed. This all sounds so terrible. I have a lazy streak these days. I did not even do the laundry. My husband did his own.

I did some serious soul searching this week. Some of you already know this.

To write, not to write.

I decided to write.

I have four five star reviews from Reader’s Favorite and one four star review. I am debating whether or not to use them individually as editorials. Or whether to just pick out a few sentences and make one. I am told either way is acceptable. The girl who wrote about slaves submitted a new one.

I’m iffy about using these, but we paid for them. They refunded my money in full, because of the one book review all about slaves, when there is NOT ONE slave in the book, but I didn’t feel comfortable with the refund, so I had them re-bill me. I would not want to use a service that I did not pay for.

3stooges003

Honey, Daisy and Captain

The picture of the dogs is for cuteness, because I have nothing much else to say, and they look like I feel.

Profound Appreciation for Your Time

Time2-150x150First, I would like to offer my most sincere appreciation for all of the people who have taken the time to read and review “Red Clay and Roses”. As busy as life is, to know that these 23 people took time out of their hectic schedules to read the book and write thoughtful reviews warms my heart and highly motivates me to continue to write passionately.

There are 20 five star reviews and 3 four star reviews and I can’t even begin to describe the joy found in pleasing a reader with my literary work. I won’t reprint them here, but you can find them here at Amazon.

I don’t know how Amazon decides what should be on page one, but you can go to the bottom and see Newest First. The most current reviews may reflect better the work effort of the edit and revision made in October, 2013.

On Goodreads, the ratings fall from 4.9 to 4.3 and there are 2 three star reviews with the remaining ones being four and five.

Today; however, two things or three things occurred that were most disappointing, but I am not taking it personal.

1) A reader returned a book. I know that it could have been an accidental purchase or a dissatisfied reader. Either way, I was sad to see it.

2) A Goodreads person left a 1 star review. There were no words, just a rating, so I do not know why this reader was dissatisfied. There are sensitive issues in the book from the very start, so it could have been not to her liking. There may have been issues with the negro speak in the three chapters about Moses Grier, that bothered her, as I have read many reviews on other books that spoke to this as an issue. I am speculating and probably don’t need to go there. I am most grateful, that although she was dissatisfied, she did not trash talk the book and I know that she is most certainly entitled to her opinion. I can appreciate that she was honest. I also don’t know if she was able to read the entire book, and for that, I am sorry. I am also disturbed that she is from my home state, as I thought being a regional piece, it might be better received there. Reflecting a brutal past in that area may have been disconcerting. Still, I am grateful, and feel I have been slightly anointed with the realities of authorship.

3) A couple of weeks ago I was turned down for a promo on BookBub. They would like to see more editorial reviews and more reviews in general.  I have encouraged people who have read the book to write reviews. That is as much as I can do about that. I have eight copies out to people that have indicated that they would like to read the book in exchange for an honest review, so those are coming.

Now, on to editorial reviews. Unless you have an in with a famous author, or traditionally publish and get recognized by a worthy newspaper or periodical, you have to PAY for these editorial reviews.  You do expect for them to be honest and professional. I broke down and submitted to Kirkus, although the expense of doing so appalls me. They do have a stellar reputation and I suppose, even though people have told me that they mostly read the reader reviews not the editorial reviews to make up their minds about purchasing books, this was an inevitable necessity if I want to continue to promote in broad reaching venues.

I also submitted to Awesome Indies: an additional expense. I am concerned about that one in as much as I have read their criteria and knowing that I don’t have a, “Clear and Concise” protagonist, and may not meet other points on their check off list, this list being quite long and IMHO, not necessarily “all telling” about the quality of a read…well, it is a risk to take.

Finally, I submitted to Reader’s Favorite. Less expensive at $200.00 for five reviews. This one really sent me to a place that I did not need to go. The first three that have come back have been five star and one has been a four star. I should be happy and quite satisfied. It was disturbing to read one of the five star reviews though and I will tell you why:

For those of you who have read the book, you know that the beginning is set in 1992-93, and the bulk of the story takes place in the 1950s-60s.

I took extra care to provide citations to dates of historical events that affected the everyday people…both in their personal lives and from the larger historical/political events of the times, and described how those were interrelated. They were a significant part of the plot and storyline. Dates clearly marked dozens of passages.

************Possible SPOILER ALERT************

In the bulk of the story that takes place in the 1950s-60s, which is mentioned in the book description, the effects of WW II and the Korean War were explained. Also, these modern people were riding around in convertibles and fancy automobiles and trucks, listening to record players, radios, watching T.V. and going to skating rinks and drive-in movie theaters, they were reading Playboy, Sybil opens a hair salon, Nathan graduates from medical school, Trent has a pawn, radio, bicycle repair shop. Women were just being introduced to the birth control pill. Sybil goes into a treatment facility for alcohol and depression. Her husband is jailed after an encounter with the FBI and the IRS.

These are hardly things anyone would encounter a hundred years earlier, in the 1850-60s. I am thinking pre-Civil War, horse and buggy days.

But one of the reviewers, whose review I had to question through customer service, wrote the following:

“Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls is a story based on Southern America during the time of slavery.”… and went on to say … “It all takes place during a time when blacks were slaves, the Jim Crow Law was in place, women were often seen as the inferior gender, and racism was very strong.”

The 2 paragraph five star review was very beautiful and eloquently written. When I contacted customer service about the very obvious issues here, they contacted the reviewer, who apologized and said she, “Thought it was about 18*50s-60s”…………………PLEASE…………………….and offered to correct the review. She insists she read the book.

Now I know that people read and put a book down and pick it up again. I know that people are reading with their own experiences and education supporting their thoughts while reading. But there was no mention of slavery, except when Moses was telling of his father’s birth as a free man on the same farm his grandfather had been a slave on. Moses is 86 years old when he is telling this, and there is NOT ONE slave in this book.

The book is about the issues that propelled the Civil Rights Movement, and touched on women’s reproductive rights and responsibilities in the 1960s.

Needless to say, I have lost my faith in editorial reviews. Most of them appeared to be synopses of the book blurb.  Maybe I need to work some more on the book description so editorial reviewers will have a better grasp on what to include in their very flattering reviews. Perhaps NOT ALL editorial reviews are of this nature, but this one was shameful. I do hope the young lady learned something.

And to think,

Advertisers are insisting on these!

I am feeling like I should have just stayed in my comfortable little place of having sold a few hundred books and called it quits on the extensive promo attempts.

They offered to refund me and give me the reviews anyway and I declined.  I was not looking for free, just honest. So I will take her correction, and post the reviews that I feel most positively and accurately reflect the material in the book. GEEZ.

What a journey. Please be aware that I am writing this, not out of spite, but to share my experiences as a writer/author in hopes that my experiences can help others. I am sure other authors have had better experiences with editorial reviews.

Welcome to my bipolar moment.

Perhaps I was just a wee tad overzealous.