Sunday, August 28, 2016

Excerpts from my Books- Open Book Blog Hop

This week we get to highlight our books in the firm of excerpts. I thought it might be fun to get acquainted with Tasha, a minor character in Wolves' Pawn, who ended up being the hero of her own story in Wolves' Knight. But first, for those of you who managed to stumble upon my blog and haven't read Wolves' Pawn yet, here's the blurb:

Dot McKenzie is a lone wolf-shifter on the run, using everything available to her to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. When she is offered a chance for friendship and safety with the Fairwood pack, she accepts.

Gavin Fairwood, reluctant heir to the Fairwood pack leadership, is content to let life happen while he waits. But old longings surface when he appoints himself Dot’s protector ... and becomes more than a friend.

But her presence puts the pack and her new friends at risk, and Dot must go into hiding again. When old enemies threaten the destruction of the Fairwood pack, it will take the combined efforts of Dot and Gavin to save it.

Can anything save their love and Dot’s life when she becomes a pawn in a pack leader’s deadly game?

And now here's our introduction to Tasha. She first shows up about a quarter of the way into the book, 

Outside the conference room, a number of men and women with guns stood at alert in the hallways. Dot shivered at the sight, and Gavin placed a comforting hand on the small of her back. One of the women, a tall blonde with two guns strapped across her back, a pistol stuck in the waistband of her pants, and a nasty looking knife strapped to her thigh, jumped out of the chair she’d been sitting in, and approached them.
“Hey, Gavin,” she said with a grin as she pulled one of the guns over her head and handed it to him. “The arms master sends his regards—said he remembered this was your favorite model rifle.” Nodding, he hefted the AK-47 then slung the band on his shoulder. She handed him a magazine. “He said to see him if you want more ammo,” she added. She turned to Dot and extended her hand. “I’m Tasha. One of your bodyguards for the night. Tanya will be the other one. She’s my twin sister. You won’t see much of her, she’ll be taking outside duty.

Tasha got written out of the story about halfway through it. Spoiler alert! No, she didn't die. But I guess she wasn't real happy with that, because about a year after Wolves' Pawn was released, she started bugging me. She wanted me to tell her story. I tried putting her off for awhile, but she wasn't listening. I finally gave in and Wolves' Knight was the result.

First, here's the description of the book:

Tasha Roeper knows what it means to protect your own. So when her friend, Dot Lapahie, CEO of Lapahie Enterprises, suspects that the Free Wolves are under attack, Tasha immediately signs on to lead the investigation and guard Dot.

But Tasha's not convinced it's the Free Wolves that are the target. She fears that her own pack—the Fairwood Pack—are the actual quarry and Dot is only a decoy.

The deeper Tasha digs, the more puzzles she uncovers.

Torn between tradition and a changing world, will Tasha risk everything to save a friend—including her own life—when old enemies arise?

In this excerpt, Tasha, after being gone for over a year, is meeting with the Fairwood's pack arms-master, Elder Fenner.

 “We weren’t sure you’d want to come back. The reports we got were that you fit in well with the pack in Maine. I half-expected you to find your mate.”
Tasha knew the pack leader had sent reports back. At first she felt like a kid in school again, but soon decided that it didn’t matter. It wasn’t like she was a prisoner. She had been free to leave anytime she wanted.
Have you been talking to my mother? Because she mentioned the same thing.” She grinned. “I bonded deeply with many members of the pack, both male and female, and I can count on them for help if I ever need it. But none of the males appealed to me as anything but friends. My mother is worried because I’m well past the typical mating age for females, and I’ve never been in a serious relationship.” Although Tanya hadn’t mated yet, she’d had several long-term boyfriends. The older she and her twin got, the more they developed their own personalities.
Your mother has mentioned her concerns to several of the elders. That’s why I brought it up. As much as people push the whole concept of mates, there always have been exceptions to the rule. For a while, we thought Elder Fairwood might be one of them, that he might never choose a mate. That would’ve been a disaster for the pack.”
And then he found Dot.”
Tasha smiled. “So the Elders gossip about the pack members’ love lives.”
It’s not gossiping,” Elder Fenner said sternly. “We're showing our concern for the future of the pack.” He grinned. “Don’t tell anyone. It’s a badly kept secret.”
Got it.” She watched an ant crawling up a stem of grass, wondering if she should breech protocol and ask a personal question. “You never mated.”
No.” He closed his eyes. “I came close once, but she was killed in a pack war. Since then, I’ve devoted myself to making the pack as secure as possible so the same fate doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
You’ve done a good job.”

A V of geese flew overhead. “Am I good enough?” she asked quietly.

So Tasha is responsible for turning Wolves. Pawn, which was intended as a stand-alone book, into a series. Yes, there will be more books in the Free Wolves' Saga.  If you haven't bought the books yet, the links follow.

I can't wait to see what all the other bloggers posted. You can find out by following the links below. And feel free to leave a comment!

Wolves' Pawn

Amazon  (Amazon world-wide)

Here are the links for Wolves' Knight, Tasha's Tale

August 29 - Excerpts from Your Novel. This is probably the easiest. It has the added advantage of allowing us, your potential readers, to “sample the brew.” Just write a paragraph to set up the excerpt. Oh, and be sure to link to your book, so we can buy it.

1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Visual Post-Open Book Blog Hop

When I saw the topic for this week's blog hop— a visual post—I thought it would be easy. Pictures! I have them! Lots of them! But it turned out not to be as easy as I thought. First, I wanted to make sure I didn't post things I've previously shared on here. Second, how the heck can I cut down all the beauty I've seen to one post? How many pictures can I get away with showing everyone without totally overwhelming the site? And last but not least, mountains or flowers? I never did make a decision on the last one, so I give you both. Oh, and I threw a few trees in there just because I could.

By the way, all these pictures were taken either by my husband or by me. So welcome to the Rocky Mountains (and a bonus pic!)

And here's the bonus picture I promised you ...


I'm looking forward to seeing what  everyone else has posted. I'm planning on following the links below, and I hope you are too. And if you want to leave me  a comment, please fell free to do do!

August 22 - Image/Graphics/Visual Post – Include a collection of images around a central topic or idea.
Rules: 1.
Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ‪#‎OpenBook‬ when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Quotes- Open Book Blog Hop

This week we're supposed to  gather notable quotes from influential people in hopes of inspiring our readers. But if you've followed my blog, you might realize that I don't always do things in the most conventional fashion. With that warning, I give you a list of things they NEVER said.

  • "Just the facts, ma'am."
    • This, the best known quote from the Jack Webb series Dragnet, was never said by Sgt. Friday in any of the Dragnet radio or television series. The quote was, however, adopted in the 1987 Dragnet pseudo-parody film starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks in which Aykroyd played Sgt. Joe Friday.
    • Correct versions:
"All we want are the facts, ma'am."
"All we know are the facts, ma'am."
Source: Urban Legends via Wikipedia

Elementary my dear Watson
The supposed explanation that Sherlock Holmes gave to his assistant, Dr. Watson,
when explaining deductions he had made.

In fact the line doesn't appear in the Conan Doyle books, only later in Sherlock Holmes' films.
He does come rather close at a few of points. Holmes says "Elementary" in 'The Crooked Man', and "It was very superficial, my dear Watson, I assure you" in 'The Cardboard Box'. He also says "Exactly, my dear Watson, in three different stories.

The phrase was first used by P. G. Wodehouse, in Psmith Journalist, 1915.

Source: The phrase Finder

Abraham Lincoln is frequently misquoted:

“There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. there is nothing good in war, except its ending.

In 2014, model Bar Refaeli posted this quote on her Instagram, attributing it to Lincoln.

Unfortunately, she’s more than a century off. In reality, it’s a “Star Trek” quote, according to the Times of Israel.

In a season three episode of the show, Spock, Kirk and Lincoln all end up in a battle with villains from history and, although the Lincoln character does utter those words, the real Lincoln did not. #oops

Source: New York Daily News

“Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Dr. Seuss

It certainly feels Seussian, doesn’t it? All topsy-turvy and self-affirming. But he never wrote it. It was something an extremely successful (remarkably non-childlike and whimsical) businessman and presidential adviser, Bernard Baruch, said to a newspaper columnist who asked him how he handled the seating of all the rich bigwigs at his dinner parties. “I never bother about that. Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” However, Baruch was probably quoting an already well known phrase from the 1930s coined by that great philosopher Anonymous. The first part of the quote, “Be who you are...” just attached itself over the years.

Source: Mental Floss

Here's another one, just for fun.

Have you ever been misquoted? Join the greats! 

Let's find out what the rest of the gang put together for us. Just follow the links below. And please leave a comment, if you feel so inclined. But don't quote me on that—or do, as the case may be! 

August 15 - Quote Post – Pull together multiple quotes from influential people (other writers, publishers, industry experts).
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ‪#‎OpenBook‬ when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Custom Blog:

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Survey Post—Open Book Blog Hop

This week we're doing a statistics post, so I decided to revisit an old post pf mine. 

I've not had much luck with paid advertising, and as a result. I'm always shy about doing it. My last book launch, I hired a company to arrange a blog tour for me. They warned me up front they wouldn't guarantee sales, I should look at it as a way to get my name out there. It was good they made the statement, because I didn't see a jump in sales on any day I was featured on a blog stop.

But I've been hearing good things about RobinReads in various groups I'm a part of, and decided to give it a try. The cost was withing my budget, and I wanted to see if it would increase sales.

First off, it was incredibly easy to sign up. Their criteria for accepting a book is posted and easy to understand. Here's what the sign-up page says is their criteria for a listing:

All the information they need is included in their short and simple sign up form. I got an email accepting my submission within a couple of days. Once I'd paid for my ad via PayPal, there was nothing else for me to do except to wait for the day it ran. (Saturday, May 3rd)

When I checked the web page early in the morning, I was disappointed to see my book was listed at the bottom of the page.I worried that the readers wouldn't see it. I was wrong.

I'd thought about tracking sales hour by hour, but that didn't work out. So here's the statistics I have. All times listed are Mountain Time.

           9:00 AM      3 books sold (All in the UK. The rest of the days sales were from the US)
        12:00  PM     19 total books sold
           2:00 PM     31 books
           5:00 PM     36 books
           6:00 PM     39 books
           7:00 PM     46 books
           8:00 PM     47 books
            9:00 PM    51 books

And that was the last sale I saw while I was up. One more copy was sold overnight, bringing the total to 52 books. The one thing I didn't do was track my Amazon sales rank from the beginning. The highest my book ranked 5755 in the overall paid books. 

So I made the cost of the ad back with some to spare. As the book I listed is the first in a series, I'm hoping that selling it cheaply will result in sales of the second book. So far, I haven't seen that happen, but I still have my fingers crossed.

So now to the important question—would I use RobinReads again? And the answer is yes, absolutely. It may not have propelled me into any top 100 lists, but it certainly introduced me to some new readers.

So that was the old post. Now for some updated information. RobinReads has upped their prices, and I'd have to sell a lot more books to break even. The sales of the collection Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea jumped when we advertised with RobinReads, putting us into the top 100 in Amazon sales in several categories, although not in the overall Amazon standings. I believe this is the right image of that day:

So would I still advertise with RobinReads? The answer is a big yes, even though I didn't see the hoped-for bleed over into sales of my other books. Maybe next time!

To find out what other authors are sharing this week, check out the links below.

August 8 - Survey Post/Statistics Post – Collect some data or do a bit of research and share the results. Highlight key takeaways, important findings, or ways to implement the new information.
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ‪#‎OpenBook‬ when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Research—Open Book Blog Hop

Based on the research I do, I bet I'm on a government watch list somewhere.

But, I suspect many writers of mysteries are. We write about things that are against the law and—hopefully—make them believable even if they only happened in our imaginations.

That means we have to learn a lot about topics that normally are untouchable in polite society. What's the best way to dispose of a body? Can you tell what caliper a bullet was by looking at the exit wound? What shape will a body be in if found two years after death in the desert?

Okay, I haven't used any of those in one of my books—yet.  I have, however, learned a lot about guns in general.

My heroines are not shrinking violets. In fact, they kick ass when its needed. Luckily, I have a husband who was an armorer in the military so he's my first source of information. If needed, I can turn to the several guys at work who are hunters and are willing to talk about ammo and shooting in general. There's also a email group that I am a member of where the participants discuss anything and everything crime related. If all else fails, I resort to a writer's best research friend—Google.

Although I'm still no expert, I know a lot more about guns than I used to. For example, a revolver and a pistol are not the same thing. Sure, they are both handguns, but the way ammunition is fed to the chamber is different. (Kind of like a square is always a rectangle but a rectangle is not always a square!)  Oh, and did you know cops always have a bullet in the chamber? And while an AK-15 is not a real gun, the AK-47 is.

As a writer, there are times when I need to take "liberty" with the facts to make a story work. and while some people may object to that, as long as it's done deliberately and with great care, I feel there's nothing wrong with it.

The problem with doing research on the internet is that's it easy to get lost. By that, I mean to wander from one interesting fact to another because it might be useful to your current writing. For example,I went looking for the handgun manufactures that have the best reputations. Glocks made the top ten, but barely. The Sig Sauer, which I'd never really known about, was #1. So that's what I gave my heroine in Wolves' Knight for her "personal" carry. (Plus a retired police officer recommended it.)

So far I haven't explored the topic of really big guns. Cannons. I could easily lose an hour or two in that topic. Ones that are so big they need their own railroad track to move on.  Guns that can hit targets 70 miles away. I don't know how I'd work one of those into my books, so I'll close that window on my computer and come back to all of you.

Now let's do a little research and find out what the other writers in this hop have to say. You can find them by following the links below. And, as always, feel free to leave me a comment! Who knows, you may lead me to an interesting topic to waste my time on the internet—I mean research!

Oh, and to whomever the poor soul is from the unnamed government agency that watches over me, thanks for reading!

August 1, 2016
Research Post. Post your interested, unusual or eye opening research. Or, in the alternative, you can post about how you research.
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ‪#‎OpenBook‬ when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Custom Blog:

Code for Link:

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