What are you reading?

I get asked this all the time, but this week, the question came up more often than usual…because, I as I learned, it was READ ACROSS AMERICA Day on Wednesday.

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Who knew?

So…what are you reading?

I’m finishing up the last of my six RITA books, which are top secret so I can’t discuss the titles or my opinion of them. But I can tell you that for the first time EVER, all of the books were from Indie publishers. Not a single title from a New York traditional publishing house. Wow.

On my Kindle, I’m reading:

Exposed by C.J.Carmichael             AMAZON

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This is the third book in the trilogy, but BURIED, the first in the series, is FREE. I highly suggest you give it a try if you like mysteries. I am really enjoying the series and will be sad when it’s done. (But I’m also looking forward to some answers. ;-) )

Speaking of FREE books, MONTANA COWGIRL, Book I in my Big Sky Mavericks series is free for a few more days. Here’s how BookBub described it:

A heart-tugging Montana love story! Fifteen years after leaving for rodeo stardom, Bailey returns home to rebuild her shattered life. Can she find a second chance with Paul — the man who cursed her for leaving him behind? 

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$4.99 Free!

Available for a limited time

The Merry-Go-Round called “Free”

Who gets dizzy on a Merry-Go-Round?

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Me? Not usually. But when I think about the sensation of going around and around, doing the same thing over and over, I get a little queasy.

Probably because I’ve been riding the promo merry-go-round all week.

First, one of my books was included in Tule’s 10-author Father’s Day Romance Collection. It opened at 99¢ for a short time, so the authors involved got on the bandwagon to share the news. Here’s my contribution to the hoopla.

Father's Day Tule

This is exciting–and good business, believe it or not. For a low investment, a reader can buy 10 full-length books, which can be a great introduction to a new-to-you author. (At least, that’s the standard school of thought.)

Personally, I love the cover and the other super-accomplished authors, and was thrilled to be invited to the party.

My second big deal this week started yesterday when my second Big Sky Mavericks book, MONTANA COWBOY, went Free.

Montana Cowboy FREE

Free, you say? What’s in it for the author?

Very good question. General wisdom suggests free is only beneficial when you have a connected series to take up the slack. If a reader reads your free book and likes your characters and setting and style, she might buy the rest of the books, so the cost of free is spread across 3-4 titles. One hopes.

But to make the most of FREE, you need to get the word out to the general masses beyond your usual circle of influence–and that’s where the merry-go-round speeds up and life gets a little crazy. There are literally hundreds of online sites, newsletters, blogs, and Facebook groups willing to hawk your book for you…for a price.

So, you set a budget, ask for advice even knowing what worked last week might be a bust this week, and you cross all fingers and toes…and wait for your sales numbers and ranking to come in.

Can I be honest? My head feels like it’s going to explode. And, the worst part? It’s damn hard to write when your fingers, toes and eyes are crossed. I’m seriously thinking about pulling an Ernest Hemingway. ;-)

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So, anyway, that’s been my week. We know what I’ll be doing all weekend…not drinking so I can make my deadline. Wish me luck.

Deb

PS: In case you’re interested in grabbing the bundle while it’s cheap, here’s the link: FATHER.

And my FREEBIE is available on all platforms. If you already read it, but want to see the new ending (Subject of a future blog), I suggest you grab it on another platform. GooglePlay is super easy, I’ve heard. Here are the links:

Smashwords- http://bit.ly/1QrfILY
iTunes - http://apple.co/1cEUsFp
GooglePlay - http://bit.ly/MtCowboyGP
KOBO - http://bit.ly/MyCowboyKOBO
Kindle - http://bit.ly/MtCowboy
and BN coming soon!

Deb

Amazon

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Breaking News!

In case you missed my exciting news in an earlier blog: For the first time in my writing career, I am self-publishing my latest series!

This is fun and exciting. I can put out books as often as I like, rather than waiting for a publisher to set a schedule, and write what I want, instead of what the publisher expects. A very freeing experience, but also a ton of work. I would never self-publish a novel without first hiring a cover designer and a veteran editor to critique and help me craft each book into my best work yet. I also hire someone to correct spelling and punctuation errors.

The series is set in the fictitious town of Guff’s Lake, Oregon, in the heart of the Rogue Valley. Twelve month and 12 of the hottest firefighters ever, each appearing  on a different month on a firefighter calendar. This is why I call this series,  Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys.

All books will be stand-alone books, which means you can read them in any order.

Now for the breaking news:

drum-roll-please

The first two books of the series are out now!!

Meet Mr. January, the first hero featured in my Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys series. Now available in print and ebook format! I loved writing this book and am having so much fun with the series.

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Senior Firefighter Adam Healey is a man with a mission: get promoted to lieutenant at the Guff’s Lake Fire Department. It’s time, but more important, the promotion will finally earn him the respect of his dying father. Single mom Samantha Everett’s deadbeat ex has left her to fend for herself, and she’s working hard to support her young son with her baking business. Neither Adam nor Samantha is looking for a relationship. But love has a way of surprising people…

Meet Mr. February,  starring in book two of Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys Available in print and ebook format!

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Rafe Donato is a senior firefighter well aware that loving a woman can destroy a man. He will never trust any female with his heart. Jillian Metzger is a talented potter whose biological clock is ticking. Ready to fall in love, get married and start a family, Jillian wants what Rafe cannot give.

Mr. January and Mr. February are available from Kindle in print and ebook formats, and from Nook, iBooks and Kobo . For links to buy, visit http://www.annroth.net/ebooks.html. To stay in the know on future breaking news, sign up for my newsletter: "</p

Currently, I am hard at work on Mr. March. I’m not the fastest writer on the block, but I’m making good progress.

Happy reading, and thanks for letting me share this exciting news.

Until next time,
Ann
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Spring: It’s Everywhere!

Spring is full-fledged now. Mother Nature is in her element, strutting her stuff and perfuming the air. Here are two photos from our front yard.

One of our pear trees with tulips.

One of our pear trees with tulips.

 Remember those orchard mason bees I talked about a few posts ago? They’ve been busy little, well, bees… We hope they pollinated both pear trees. I’ll let you know.

Partial view of the front yard, showing one of the rhodies, beginning to bloom.

Partial view of the front yard, showing one of the rhodies, beginning to bloom.

 Between or front and back yards, we have some 8 to 10 rhododendron bushes in several colors. This is one of the first to bloom. So lovely!

On a different note, I have just published Mr. January, the first book in my Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys series. I loved writing this book and am having so much fun with the series.

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Senior Firefighter Adam Healey is a man with a mission: get promoted to lieutenant at the Guff’s Lake Fire Department. It’s time, but more important, the promotion will finally earn him the respect of his dying father. Single mom Samantha Everett’s deadbeat ex has left her to fend for herself, and she’s working hard to support her young son with her baking business. Neither Adam nor Samantha is looking for a relationship. But love has a way of surprising people…

Mr. January is available from Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo. For links to buy, visit http://www.annroth.net/ebooks.html.

Until next time,
Ann
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Stop by my website:
www.annroth.net

ALMOST THERE (Anne Stuart)

It’s almost time.  Finally, finally I got to write another ICE book, and it’ll be out in the next week or so.  I’ve loved this series so much, and frankly, I couldn’t let go of it.  I’d left poor Finn MacGowan a captive of South American rebels, and while some people languished for more than seven years when kidnapped in Colombia,  I just couldn’t do that to Finn.

So I just wrote the damned book, for love, not for money.  And my agent loved it, and Amazon loved it, and it’s going to be available by the end of the month, perhaps even next week.  And I’m so happy.

It’s odd, when you’ve been writing as long as I have, supporting myself and my family with my writing, to suddenly get back to writing simply because my heart cried out for it.  Of course, even with massive contracts that’s usually what’s going on.  I’d be writing those books whether I got a six figure advance or nothing at all.  But writing blind, simply because I love to, is a good reminder of why I got started in the first place.

I love story, I love my characters.  I wanted to get back to the world of the Committee, to make sure Bastien and Chloe, Peter and Genny, Taka and Summer, Reno and Jenny, and most of all Killian and Isobel, were alive and well.  I wanted new adventures of Committee operatives.  And I got to do that.  I have a fabulous heroine, great supporting characters, wicked villains.  But I’ll tell you more about it next week.

I know it’s hard for people without e-readers or smart phones.  (And believe it or not, the Kindle app on an iPhone works fine if you’re stuck in the airport and your Kindle ran out of power and you forgot to bring the power cord.)   People like to curl up with a good book, and even though you can download and read this on your computer (again, there’s a Kindle app for Macs and PCs) it’s not as cozy.  You could print it off, I expect, but I know what it’s like to deal with 400 pages of paper and it’s no fun.

For me, this was a good, solid chance to write from my heart.  Even though the last book was number 21 on the NYTimes list, my publisher didn’t think another ICE book was cost effective.  They wanted serial killers instead.  Publishers have a lot of people to feed, I only have four.  Publishers can’t do things for love.  Writers can.

So keep your eyes peeled on Amazon (it’s a Kindle exclusive for the first year — sorry to all you Nook users).  I’m proud and excited and can’t effing wait!

So here’s your obligatory question of the day.  Do you have an ereader or smart phone you’d use as an ereader?  If not, would you be willing to read a book on your computer or absolutely not?  (I won’t take it personally).

As for me, it’s a Brave New World, and I’m standing on the prow of the boat announcing I’m queen of it.  I dare the icebergs to come near me.

More Excuses (Anne Stuart)

Seems to me I’m always coming here telling you guys why I can’t blog.  Understandable — I’m juggling so damned many things it’s a wonder I’m still standing.  You don’t care about my almost 97 year old mother getting frailer, or my tax troubles, or my darling grandson (well, maybe you do, but I’m not talking about them today).  Today I’ll tell you about work.

I have a book due in 15 days and I’m not quite halfway through it.  Which is insane, but do-able, if I didn’t have all these other book-type things to do.  Like approve the glorious covers Mollie’s come up with, and find blurbs and reviews from back in the day to go with these books.  Like get the two people to finish copy-editing ON THIN ICE so I can clean it up, turn it in and get it available on Kindle, along with 6 choice backlist books.

And the stuff that I’m not talking about (mother, taxes, happy family stuff) keeps stealing time from me that I can’t afford to lose.  I want to beat my head against a wall and weep.

I have a friend who’s having a terrible time writing.  The book isn’t jelling (which is something that happens) and the more she tries to force it the more frustrated she gets.  At least I’m not in that position (been there, done that).  If everything would just happily fade away I could write.  But no matter what I do, something else starts clawing at me, demanding my attention.  I go to bed at night and start panicking about the new book that’s so far behind.  Panic about the book after that, and the one after that.

Panic is no way to live.  I want to get in my bathing suit and go float in my little blow-up swimming pool and not think about anything.  I just want everything to go away so I can write my books.

Sigh.  Life isn’t like that.

But here’s some good news.  I’m betting my books will be out within two weeks.  And in the meantime, Judith Arnold’s delightful CRY UNCLE is available for free (yup, nada, nothing, zippo) at all your major e-tailers  It would be a lovely way to spend an afternoon if you don’t have copy-edits and 50,000 words to write and the tax lady and an ancient mother.

So go enjoy yourself for me.

Apps (Tara Taylor Quinn)

With all of the new technology exploding around us I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Like life was passing me by.  There was so much I didn’t know…so many things I didn’t have time to figure out.  I was running as fast as I could and I wasn’t keeping up!  This thing called Droid.  What in the hell was that?  And what did it have to do with Android?  Everytime I saw it mentioned – on billboards while I was driving mostly as I don’t watch a lot of TV – there was this little green alien thing attached to it.  I seriously thought Android was some new science fiction character, like R2D2 from Star Wars and that I’d missed any mention of the movie!

And then I set out to get some people that I love E-readers for Christmas.  Books are my business.  I know about e-readers.  I’ve studied all of the different kinds.  I thought.  I wanted each bookseller to have their own and that was all.  I could grasp that.  Associate name of e-reader with store, and move on. You know, Amazon with Kindle, Border’s with Kobo etc.  But no, then there was Sony with their e-reader.  And there’s the Nook.  And…when I actually got out into the stores to shop for Christmas (two days were all we had – for all shopping – don’t try it) I was slapped in the face by my own ignorance. 

I’m not one to settle for ignorance.  And when I see it right there, with my name on it, I am compelled to seek out any knowledge I can find.  I found the Pandigital e-reader.  But it was more.  It was a tablet, too.  And it was Android based.  A tablet?  What was a tablet?  And when had they come around?  I’d heard about the I-Pad – I wasn’t so lost in book tour space that I missed that biggee.  Although, had I not been on planes and in airports, I might well have! 

Tim and I went straight to Best Buy.  I studied every single tablet, e-reader, netbook, smart phone they had.  We went to Costco.  Talked to Verizon.  We shopped every electronics store we could find.  And here’s the scoop as I see it…

The tablets currently on the market, other than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, are pretty much hurried up affairs that say they offer the world, but it’s a very limited world and you have to be a very patient person with a lot of time to get into the world.  I think manufacturers were rushed to compete with the IPAD and haven’t yet perfected their products to make them user friendly.  IPAD has some problems, too.  They don’t allow expandable memory, for one.  And they’re too big for a lot of purposes – like making them truly mobile.  Unless you carry a very large purse, they don’t fit.

The perfect tablet is coming though.  I suspect it will be seven inches, like an e-reader, rather than nine inches, like the IPAD.  They are going to be little computers, that allow you to do all that you do on your computer.  Or at least most of it.  They’ll look and feel like an e-reader.  They’ll have wi-fi connectivity, but also have phone type fixings so that you can buy a service and be on-line even when you aren’t in a location with wi-fi.  (They call this the mobile hotspot, from what I’ve gathered.)

And there’s more.  There are now phones that also have the tablet capabilities – phones that are mobile hotspots.  Phones with larger screens so that you can actually read your email without squinting.  Phones that allow you to connect to the internet and get to websites exactly as you would on your computer.

And Android?  It’s an operating system.  Like Windows.  Or Apple.  Or Blackberry.  Or Palm.  And it’s very very cool.  Android operating system comes to us from Lucasfilm, LTD.  (Which might explain the little green guy who has become my friend.)  It’s the friendliest operating system I’ve ever encountered – once I got used to it.  That little green guy seems to know what I want and all I have to do is click once to get it.  No matter what it is! 

And with all of this great new technology comes Apps.  Now this is where I fell in love.  Apps.  Who’d have thought it?  There is an App (application) for just about every need.  I have to warn you right off, though, before you get your hopes up, I have not yet found an app that does laundry.  There isn’t one that actually cooks dinner, though there are plenty that remind you what to cook, that give you step by step directions on what to cook, that will order your dinner for you and have it delivered and even pay for it if you register your credit card.  There is no app that dusts or vacuums but for a fee, there is one that will send someone to your home to do it for you.

I’d have to write thousands of blogs to tell you about all of the apps out there.  Apps that organize, catergorize, and anesththetize.  And a huge number of them are free. I get lost in the game apps.  Angry Birds was first.  I play the game.  I analyze the experience, trying to figure out why I like it, why I keep going back to it.  I can’t figure it out.  But I’ve managed to figure out many levels of the game.

The app of the week, though, is keyring.  I imagine there are other variations, but keyring is the one I found.  It’s available for Android based devices.  With one click you download the free app.   And then you sit down with that key ring filled with reward/loyalty cards that you are forced to carry around.  You point your device at the card.  The card scans it.  You name it.  Repeat the process for all cards.  And then rid yourself of the clutter.  Next time you go to the store, you simply click the icon on the home screen of your phone, choose the store, and hold out your device for the cashier to scan.  And there’s more.  If you’re lucky enough to be shopping at Kroger (Fry’s in the southwest) you call up the Kroger App (also free) on your device while you’re walking up and down the aisles.  You choose which coupons you want to use (all available coupons are listed there) and when you get to the check out the cashier not only scans your reward card, but he/she scans all of your coupons, too.  (Before you get too impressed with my abundance of knowledge, I have to admit that my brother is the Kroger exec. who was involved with writing the coupon software!)

There are apps that turn your device into a GPS system.  Ones that, upon voice command, will search google for you.  Another that allows you, upon voice command, to send a text message.  (This in answer to the state laws that are being passed to prohibit texting while driving.)  There’s an app that allows you to view the person you’re calling, assuming you both have the technology and the app.  My mother’s response to that one – ‘I might not want people to see me while I’m talking on the phone.’

And this is only the very very beginning.  I have an entire universe of apps waiting out there for me to find them.  But first, I have a new trilogy to write.  And revisions to do.  And a book to promote.  And here I go, sinking right back into book world ignorance.  There’s no telling what might have been invented by the time I re-surface.

Anyone else get a new e-reader for Christmas??