Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An Exciting Day!

Today is an exciting day for me! 

Although I typically focus (pun intended) on landscape photography, I do occasionally take portraits. Last year, I had the opportunity to do a 'back of the book' photo for a New York Times Bestselling author

Her newest book, Thoughtful, just came out today and I'm excited to say that the picture I took, along with my name is inside the back cover! There is a good chance this book will be an international bestseller. So I want to thank author S.C. Stephens for giving me the opportunity to work with her, and my friend that made it happen!

It is already sitting at #30 over-all on Amazon, and still climbing! :)
Amazon link to Thoughtful

Yesterday, I was finally able to capture an image of some trumpeter swans that have been hanging out in a flooded field near my home. Skagit Valley can be a breath taking place! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Bane of My Existence...

I've always loved that saying. Ever since I was a young girl and read Anne of Green Gables. I've had several 'banes'(or constant annoyances) over the course of my life, but at present it involves a fifth-wheel, a microphone and a little mouse who has it in for me.

Let me explain. A few months back I decided, at the urging of other authors, to have my YA trilogy made into audiobooks. Although I have never enjoyed being read to, I understand why others do, and are therefore making the audiobooks quite popular.

After spending sometime on ACX (the equivelant of a self-publishing platform for audio), and having several people audition for Bloodline, I went ahead and recorded myself reading the same script. I then had some random people compare and it was determined that I was just as good. (I have done a bit of theater so it comes naturally) After more research, I purchased a good, quality microphone with a built-in mixer, downloaded free audio software and got to it.

My next big hurdle was where to record. I needed my own sound room. This simply wasn't possible anywhere in my house. BUT...we have a big fifth-wheel with a 'bunk house', or separate room in the back for kids with a bunk bed. What I've ended up doing is draping 4" thick foam pads from the top bunk to make a foam wall on the lower bunk and then lined the inner walls with more foam. It's actually quite cozy and works surprisingly well, with a few drawbacks.

We have railroad tracks about a mile from our house. That may not seem too close, but we are in the middle of a valley and with my ever-so-sensitive mic, it picks it up a town away on either side, so I end up having to pause for a good ten minutes every time one goes by. On Thursday nights, (I have to record late at night, otherwise there is too much neighborhood noise) they are especially active and I can have three in one hour. SO, that was the first bane of my existence.

This brings my to my current situation: a little mouse. In between recording my last book (The Mystery of Hollow Inn) and my current one (The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines) a little mouse found his way inside. How do I know? Well, because the one and ONLY place he chose to leave a few precious gifts behind, was all around the base of my microphone. Not kidding.

I was appalled and immediately cleaned and washed everything associated with the space, and my husband diligently sprayed foam sealant in every crevice he could find. To no avail. Three more times I have discovered small packages of...mouse happiness, on my microphone stand.

That is...until a couple of days ago. This little micky mouse has taken things to a whole new level. While I am recording, I have to turn all of the lights off, to prevent the noise associated with the electronics (noisy to my sensitive recordings). So to offset the darkness, I light a couple of candles. I am a bit of a candle addict and I take them very seriously, so my candles are nice ones.

Well...I was pleased to find NO mouse turds in my recording space, but when I went to light my candle, I discovered the candle itself had scratch and bite marks all around the top of it, as well a nice whole dug into the center. The little villain destroyed my candle. Not only that, but he then deposited his sign of appreciation right in the middle of it, next to wick, and pee'd around the base of it. (which I discovered after I picked it up to light it. Have you ever smelled mouse pee? It is not pleasant.)

I wish I were making this up, but it really is the bane of my existence right now. I have decided to laugh about it, and imagine the little twerp out there rubbing his tiny paws together, wondering how best to get to me next. A mouse trap, you say? Now, that wouldn't be very sporting, would it? :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Month of Reflection - and Bloodline is FREE

February has ended up being a bit of a non-productive month for me, as far as my writing goes, but my body has been clearly telling me (yelling at me) to take a break. Even if it's just for two or three weeks.

I have basically been writing or narrating for going on 2 1/2 years now. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE it. That's why I do it. Sometimes though, I think a little reprieve can improve the thought process and is much needed.

I have still been working on narrating The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines. After getting part way through however, I determined that the recording quality wasn't quite to my standard due to background noise caused by the on-going bad weather we were having. So...I started over. I took the last week off from that, too, though. With our dog passing and some other things happening at the same time, the MS (multiple sclerosis) started acting up. Nothing too bad, but enough for me to take notice.

I've spent a lot of time just thinking about which project I want to work on next. I have several options. I've got an older, nearly completed adult thriller manuscript that I could rewrite and finish. I could write the next book in my MG series (The Beach House Mystery). I have a story idea for a serial (ten novelettes that would work like a season installment of a tv series), that I am quite excited about. Then...I am still being pulled back to the world created in The Forgotten Origins Trilogy. I also need to complete the audiobooks for Heritage and Descent.

I believe that I will first go ahead and do the Beach House Mystery, since it will be the easiest one and then see how I feel about the rest, but I plan on getting them all done this year!

I just finished The Atlantis Gene, by author A.G. Riddle. A GREAT read! Be sure to check my review.

I've made Bloodline free for the next three days, in an attempt (again) to spur some interest in the trilogy. Sales have once again dropped off to nearly nothing. So...if you haven't gotten your copy yet, follow the links!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Believe in the Rainbow Bridge

It took me a day before I was able to write this post. Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to our good friend, Scooter. He was with us for about ten years and was a loyal friend and companion to us all.

It was a difficult decision to make, but he was suffering and the vet agreed that it wouldn't make sense to just prolong his suffering. As my husband and I were sitting with him, he asked me what I thought about dogs and if they went to heaven. My response, is without hesitation. 

I believe that anyone (animal or otherwise) that has such a gentle, caring and loving nature MUST have a soul and will therefore absolutely continue on after death. Anyone who has had the pleasure of having a dog as a part of their life, knows of the unconditional love they share. They experience joy, sorrow, envy and anger. The LOVE. 

Scooter loved us and our other dogs, and we, in turn, loved him. He will be greatly missed but I know, without a doubt, that we will see him again.

His favorite thing to do was to go down in the slough!

Rest in peace Scooter, we love you.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

FREE Books this Weekend!

I'm going to pre-empt this entry with the announcement that I have made TWO of my books FREE this weekend!

First: Heritage; Book #2 in the Forgotten Origins Trilogy  LINK to Amazon

This is the second book in my young adult, sci-fi trilogy. Don't worry, you don't have to be a teen to enjoy this story! You don't even have to be a girl. (some of my biggest fans are adult men!) It's even a clean read, so if you DO want your younger teen to read this....don't stress about it. There isn't anything in there you wouldn't want them to read!

Second: The Mystery of Hollow Inn   LINK to Amazon
This is the first book in the Samantha Wolf Mysteries series. (I just released the 2nd book) unlike the trilogy, these books stand on their own. (also available as an audiobook!)

WHY have I made these free? Honestly, it's because sales are stalling again. Even though I just released a new book last week (The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines) I haven't sold more than two copies of all of my books combined in the past week. This is in spite of having ALL positive reviews, winning a couple of awards and sacrificing myself to the social media gods. Yes...such is the life of an indie author. :)

I don't really mean for that to sound like a complaint, though. I realize that this road is not an easy one. I know that in the scope of things, I am still a very new author and it takes patience, perseverance and commitment. I am thankful for the two sales I had this week, because that's more than I had in a whole month not that long ago! 

So, I am making these two free this weekend for the very simple reason of marketing. There are TOO many ebooks out there for them to be seen on good luck alone. Even good covers and lots of social media platforms will only take you so far. There's just too much for a reader to chose from. There's a lot of GOOD stuff for them to chose from. So, I am giving a sampling. Hopefully, there will be a few people that will take the offer, eventually read it and perhaps like it enough to read more, or share it with a friend. 

At this point, it still isn't about sales, but about exposure. Are people reading my books? 

I was thinking quite a bit about this yesterday. Every  once in awhile, when I begin to feel a bit defeated, I have to stop and analyze things. WHY do I write? My answer: Because I have to. Because it's a part of who I am and I couldn't stop, even if I wanted to. I share the stories, because I want to entertain people, to give them that escapism that meant so much to me growing up. If my answer ever changes to: "Because I want to make money", then it's time to stop publishing.

So, that is what helped me decide to go ahead and make these free this weekend. I just want people to read my stories and hopefully enjoy them. If, I am ever what's considered a 'success' someday, so be it. But for now...I just want to entertain!! :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

LIVE author chat/interview TODAY!

I am still trying to grasp all of the ropes holding the web of social media together, and my latest attempt is a LIVE chat!

Join me TODAY (one hour from now) at 1:00 PST, 4:00 EST HERE
to get in on the discussion. Now is the time to ask any questions, get to know me or the characters of The Forgotten Origins Trilogy better....and maybe get some exclusive, new info!!

You can also follow on #Yalitchat, or on twitter... HERE

Hopefully I'm getting this right! ;)