A Funny Thing Happened…@oddlynn3 #LynnCrain

Last month I talked about us getting into our new home and the things we’d have to do. But a funny thing happened on the way to that event and I didn’t give you an inkling or a clue about it. I just kept mum.

And it wasn’t as if I was really trying to do so. No, I just had so much on my mind. The house closed late, not until July 12, and that was nearly two weeks past the date we had planned. My Dear Husband decided, he wasn’t going to say anything to the movers because it might change again. While that strategy worked, here we all nearly two weeks late on getting any furniture and are ‘camping’ in our new home.

We’ve got a lovely blowup bed and everything we could carry from our Nevada home in two cars. We also brought two of our pets with us, both dogs, Pup Harry and Jasper because it was time. Jasper was so down trodden every time Harry got to go somewhere with us, I told the DH, no way this time. We had to stay in the hotel for 3 days, then moved everything into the house.

I took the time to set things up the best I could, then off to the store for supplies. While I was gone, the dogs took exception being alone in a strange place and proceeded to tear up a few things to tell me how angsty they were. And the stories go on from there.

However, one exciting thing happened during all of this and I had worked my tail off trying to make it happen since I ended up being a formatter for this endeavor. You know about my story, Sealed With A Kiss, that was for presale at the end of June. I was, and am, really excited about it because of a couple of things: it’s the first story I’ve had out in three years and it’s the start of a new series call Time Travel Bureau. But more on that one at a later time.

My story is in an anthology called Letterbox Love Stories and it’s with an amazing set of authors that somehow found me or maybe I answered an invite. We released our story to as much fanfare as we could, doing Thunderclap and HeadTalker campaigns, putting ourselves out there on blogs, on Facebook and Twitter. We also purchase ads at many, many places. After all, there are nine of us and each of us has a slightly different audience as well as a different take on advertising.

About the middle of the month, we reached an Amazon ranking of #298 or so in our category and we were happy but wanted more. Another round of advertising, appearances and a Facebook party. And we were still dropping like a rock. So, this week after much thought, I decided to splurge 2 months’ worth of my promo budget on seeing if we could get a higher ranking. I picked some high profile places and got dates for this past week.

First ad hit, and we rose a little, then started falling again. Second ad hit and again, we rose a little more but this time, we hovered around the same number for a couple of days. Third ad hit, and nothing but we didn’t move then we dropped, once again, like a rock. Today was our last ad and I had already decided not to watch today as we were doing reno stuff. Something told me to brace myself for the fact we might not make the goal we’d started with: make it into the top #100 Amazon ranking in our category.

After all, this was the first time this group of authors had ever been together. We didn’t know each other that well when we started but do now. We were all very happy that we’d made in down to the #200s. We were already talking about the possibility of a second anthology and again, the goal of getting into the top #100. We know we can do it because we’ll just take the lessons learned and apply them to the next time but only better.

I informed my colleagues that we had the special ad all day and to tweet it or share it sometime throughout the day. I didn’t mention I would not be looking very much, if any during the day, but I did sneak a peek before I started the reno today. Our rank was somewhere in the #1300s. I had a sad moment then decided not to worry about it, there was work to do and other books to write.

I decided not to check the rankings again but when I did, my eyes nearly flew out of the socket. We were ranked at #114 in our category! I let everyone else know but found that they’d been watching it plummet for most of the afternoon. Now, while I was really jazzed, I still thought again that maybe we were at the lowest ranking we could achieve.

We started to have dinner with a chip and dip appetizer and I decided to look one last time. And I’m glad I did otherwise, I might have missed it. We were ranked at #99 in our category! OMG! OMG! I was jumping around like a kid and the DH wondered if I had won the lotto or something. I then explained the whole thing to him and he just smiled and said, “About darn time.” I’m sure my frown carried no weight as he went back to cooking. Here’s our moment in time:

07242016 Amazon Rankings at Approx 2130 MST

And the book that made it happen:

LetterboxLoveStories400x600

I can now officially claim that I am a bestselling Amazon Author. It only took nearly ten years. LOL! Boy and I am jazzed as this was unexpected. It is just what I needed in a sea of projects and things that take me away from writing. The excitement will carry me for days.

Anything exciting happen this month to you? Any new books ~ reading or writing? Drop me a line and I’ll enter you in my monthly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift certificate and one ebook from my backlist. Don’t forget to include your email.

See you all next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Not quite Three Weeks Left

School. School is what’s on my mind. The Rhodes family has spent the entire summer in upheaval. We are finally in our new home, and the kids are looking at me and complaining they are bored. BORED! After all we’ve done!

I want a little bit to knock some heads together and say, just sit and do nothing! See how nice that is? But, it doesn’t quite work that way, does it?

Luckily for my kids, school starts in 2.5 weeks. August 8th.

But really, it will be a very long two and a half weeks. Too late to sign them up for stuff… And me, the queen of content while sitting at home. Ack!

So, tell me what you do when you’re at the end of your rope. Do you give in and spend money where you wouldn’t normally? Do you add one last visit to a friends or family’s home?

But, this is just a quick break for me… now I’m off to do some grocery shopping for our dinners for the week!! 😀

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New Office Space!! It’s so filled with light. 😀 I’m happy and looking forward to lots of time in here while I edit and write this fall.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Happy Reading

I know there have been a couple summer reads posts on the blog already this month, and this is another one, but hear me out. A Facebook friend posted a “must read” list the other day, and every one of the books was intense–about mental illness, or cancer, or the Holocaust, betrayal, murder, suicide. I asked if anyone read happy books any more, and the answer was no. Really?

I will say that I don’t always read happy books, and I definitely don’t watch happy TV–I’m binge watching Bitten and Penny Dreadful at the moment–whoa. The books I write, although they have happy endings–a requirement in romance, of course–tend to be on the dark side. But every once in awhile, I need something light-hearted–the literary equivalent of an ice cream cone. And when I want to read happy, I’ll usually pick up a romance.

But the Facebook exchange got me thinking. I can’t remember the last time I read a happy book that wasn’t a romance, although cozy mysteries come very close–my faves are the Aunt Dimity books by Nancy Atherton, and the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. Browsing through Goodreads, it’s hard to find one–every description seems to contain the words “poignant,” “deeply affecting,” “deeply moving,” “haunting,” yadda yadda, which are usually code for “will make you bawl until snot comes out of your eyes.” I’m sure they’re great books, but they’re not for me.

So my challenge for you, friends, is to help me come up with a list of feel good books for the summer. Happy, but not happy-ever-after. I found a few that look promising, and they’re on my TBR list for an upcoming road trip to Massachusetts and Maine:

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. The title alone is enough. I actually read and finished this book after I drafted this post. Read it. You must, must read it.

 

 

The Whistling Season. Aptly demonstrating the power of a good blurb.

 

 

 

My Lady Jane. I’m not entirely sure how happy this will be–Lady Jane Grey didn’t exactly have a happy ending–but I am intrigued nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

What books do you recommend, or have on your TBR list?

About Marin McGinnis

About Marin McGinnis Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. When she’s not chasing after big dogs or watching tweens skate around hockey rinks, she is immersing herself in Victorian era romance. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Conference Time

Writing by its very nature is a solitary activity. So it’s really nice to be able to get out and spend time with other writers face to face. Although for some, the larger gatherings can be overwhelming.Red Hearts Blank Small It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a writer’s conference. I’ve been before, as a participant, a speaker, and a volunteer. So the drill is familiar. Comfy shoes, business casual, and a little extra room for books.

As you are reading this, I’m in San Diego, at the RWA conference. I know people have mixed feelings about this organization, and I respect that. I have mixed feelings as well. But I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends, making some new friends, and talking with other like-minded folks about the state of the publishing industry.

It looks like there will be some interesting workshops, and some fun. My goal is to come away from this experience having found those nuggets of information about writing that ring true for me. We’ll see. I’ll let you know how it goes next month!

Do you enjoy conferences, or do you prefer a small group setting?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Binging

binge, v. binj/

gerund or present participle: binging
indulge in an activity, to excess.
context: “I’m binging on a new show.”
synonyms: to overindulge, to gorge

Yep. It’s true. I’m binging.

It used to be that if you told someone you were “binging”, they’d ask you why you were overeating. But now, “to binge” has a new meaning–specifically, “to watch too much television”. Or–even more specifically–“to watch back to back episodes of a particular show”.

My husband and I are binging on The Great Food Truck Race. imagesWe started watching it on Saturday; today is Tuesday, and just a few hours ago, he said, “Oh! There are five seasons. Only one left!” So…seven episodes per season, each one about forty-nine minutes long, that means we’ve actually consumed about…well…many hours of tv. Too many hours.

Other things we’ve binged on are Blue Bloods (Tom Selleck only improves with age), and Kitchen Nightmares, download (1)with Gordon Ramsey. Ordinarily, watching cooking shows results in my husband wanting to become a chef; this means he starts making dinner every night and going to the market in search of “quality” and “whole” foods. (I’m not complaining. He’s actually a really good cook.) Unfortunately, binging on Kitchen Nightmares before bed after a day of binging on Rue Paul’s Drag Race also results in some rather strange dreams which include Gordon Ramsey dressed in drag and wearing a basket of fruit on his head. (No offense, Chef, but you make a horrific-looking woman, especially when you wear fruit, bright red lipstick and gold hoop earrings.)

One of the shows my kids and I enjoy binging on is images (1)Supernatural. Part of this is because it’s got a compelling story line, great and frequently unexpected dialogue and situations, wonderful characters and a close-knit group of actors and fans. It’s also got a shiny black car and an excellent soundtrack. But binging on this particular show is hazardous to one’s life–it’s run for eleven seasons; ten of which are available to watch. Twenty-one episodes per season (except for one season, which was cut short by a writers’ strike), forty-nine minutes per episode–it’s a show that can consume you whole for days. (Though to be honest, any one of this particular cast could probably get away with dressing like a woman and wearing fruit on their heads in dreams or real life.)

Once upon a time, books would absorb you into their worlds–now it’s television shows. As a writer, this makes me somewhat sad, but on the other hand, I appreciate the fact that I can share the experience of characters I love with family members in a shared watching of a show. Or, we can appreciate lessons learned, like running a food truck and using quality ingredients. In the end, when it comes to binging, I’d rather consume chunks of all absorbing worlds than actual food. At least, there are a lot less calories.

Do you binge? What are some of your favorite shows to consume whole?

About Jenna Jared

Jenna Jared is addicted to love. And caffeine. She lives with her husband (of 20+) years, three children, two dogs and one cat, and she knows that nothing eases the difficulties of life more than a little humor.

Self-Styled Writers Retreats, Part Two

writer retreat 2This is the second part of last month’s post, in which I describe the outcome of our writing get-together. I’m writing this blog post in June because I wanted our “results” to be fresh in my mind.

Please note that while I’m dividing up what we completed, a great deal of it was things we accomplished together.

I:

  • Did a complete read-through of a 96k manuscript without some of the other POV scenes in it for consistency and pacing.
  • Finished plotting a full-length novel from the mid-point to the end.
  • Came up with my catchy new tagline.
  • Edited my manuscripts blurb and tagline.
  • Got through one half of my first-round of big edits on my manuscript.

Our friend:

  • Added over 20k words to a story she was taking from novella-length to full-length.
  • Plotted a series of fantasy novels.
  • Worked on her secret project. I’m not sure of all the details, but I know she was happy with the amount she accomplished.

Landra:

  • Finished the final seven chapters on a full-length contemporary romance she’s been writing.
  • Outlined and plotted not one, but two stories.
  • Edited the entire second 50k novella in her Alternate History series.

Together, we all accomplished far more than we would have alone. Not only were we there to brainstorm with one another, but when you’re the only one in the room not working, you pick up your notebook or your laptop, and you start again.

We went out for dinner, there was an afternoon in the hot tup (with a writing notebook, to be fair), there was happy hour at the hotel (or in our room) every evening–but we still managed to accomplish an amazing amount of work in four days.

I will (and hope to) do it again in a heartbeat.

Have you had a similar experience? What’s your best tip for working in tandem?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.