Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amazon Best Seller! Has a Nice Ring! #TBSU


Wow! What a day this has been, what a rare mood I'm in!  ♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪

No wait, it's not love, it's Amazon rankings!!

Thanks to YOU, my wonderful friends and readers, Twelve Nights climbed to the #3 ranking on Amazon Kindle Erotica today.

And in Germany? #1!! Danke sehr sehr sehr viel!

Two days ago, Twelve Nights was a relative unknown in the Amazon Erotica World, lowly enough that it wasn't even ranked. I actually thought of the free days promo as a lead in to the launch of Beauty of the Beast. Today? Well, the words stunned, gob smacked, elated, thrilled, and GRATEFUL all have new meaning.

Gratitude and Appreciation!

The greatest of these freshly defined words is Grateful! I'd like to publicly thank some mentors and friends, without whom... wait a minute... this isn't an Oscar speech. Okay, huge thank yous (buy their books, read their blogs, everyone!) to

  • Molly Ann Wishlade, one of my first Twitter friends who makes every day brighter and is a tremendous RTer!
  • Nathalie Thompson, who suggested we mentor each other back before any of this started for either of us and has been a steady friend ever since
  • Seumas Gallacher, whose support and enthusiasm make all things possible. #TBSU!

Greatest thanks of all goes to the people that I've met and become friends with through the energy waves of the Internet, and especially to the amazing readers of this blog. 

Beauty of the Beast

The fun isn't over, folks! Twelve Nights is still FREE on Amazon through Thursday. And in just seven days, Mary Jane Andrews of Beauty of the Beast makes her bow as the newest Carole Remy heroine. Like Aggie, Angela, and Lucy, Mary Jane is smoking hot, smart, and independent, more than a match for the man of her dreams. Especially when it turns out that she's been the woman of his sexy dreams for quite awhile!

Mark your calendar! Mary Jane is about to unleash the Beauty of the Beast!

If you have a blog and would like to participate in the Release Day Blitz, let me know and I'll send you a press kit with everything you need. The Blitz has been organized by Roxanne Rhoads, owner of Bewitching Book Tours and another great supporter of my novels! Everyone, feel free to download, copy, and distribute this badge (created by the ever amazing Marissa) in any way you wish!

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments! Once things settle a little, I'll think about how all this relates to the Law of Attraction. What do you think? Best manifestation ever, right! Happy dance!

Check out these related posts:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

KDP Free Days Wedding Night Jitters! He Said, She Said, He Said! #TBSU

Just to get the message right up front, Twelve Nights is going for a free spree on Amazon!

Marissa created this beautiful badge! Please copy and share it!

To make it easy for everyone to download a copy of the book, the worldwide links are at the bottom of this post.

On to the Co-Post!

Seumas Gallacher and I decided to try a little co-blogging. Turns out it's almost as much fun as some other co-activities we all enjoy! You can find this same post on Seumas's blog too! While you're there, give yourself a treat and read some more of his posts. He's unique and a treat to read!

Take it away, Seumas!

… literary promiscuity works... the well-baited fishing line thrown out in yesterday’s post by Master Gallacher has snared its first success… here’s yer maiden offering of a JOINT BLOG... from a fair maiden in her own right… my friend AUTHOR CAROLE REMY... she of the prolific noveling ilk… about to dip her prosaic toe into the enticing waters of the Kindle Select Program Free Promo… allows her post to be wrapped by commentary from this old spider lurking in his own tentacles of the WEB… Ms REMY encapsulates so well the angst, the trepidation, the JITTERS… oh bluudy hell, the absolutely mind-freezing scariness of letting yer wee baby into the clutches of the KGB...no, strike that, I meant the KDP… being of a more capricious bent than my ally, Ms REMY, when I first linked up with KDP, I harboured no doubts as I entered yet another one-night stand with the femme fatale of the indie publishing world… or was that a five-day stand?… and I must ‘fess up … I have not LUVVED ‘EM and LEFT ‘EM… I’ve LUVVED ‘EM and LINGERED. KDP has been gentle with me… let’s find out what Ms REMY thinks of it all… here she is:

She Said...

My first marriage was to Royalty. The wedding was lovely, posh and all. I even received a small dowry. At the time, I was young and naive, and didn’t know enough to have wedding night jitters. Besides, there was no performance evaluation for six months! What more could a first time bride want.

The marriage went the way so many marriages do these days. The first six month’s Royalty Statement was stellar! Our baby was a grand success! We immediately had another, also a winning performer! And then Royalty’s interest began to wain. He didn’t show up for our child’s starring role in the school play, missed soccer matches, you know the story. Royalty just wasn’t interested in promoting our children. We eventually divorced when I declined to have a third child with a disinterested parent, and that was that.

Now, I find myself on the eve of another wedding night, this time to Kindle Direct Publishing Free Days, filled with the jitters my first wedding never provoked. Of course, I have the reassurance that this marriage is forever. KDP can’t divorce me and my darling offspring Twelve Nights without also canceling all it’s other two million partners. Publishing is a polygamous, but equal, enterprise these days. And I know that this wedding night is but the first of many occasions for free-spirited bliss.

The Law of Attraction tells me to feel successful and abundant, and really, I do! I love my life, and book sales are the icing on an already delicious cake. Mmmm, wedding cake. Did I remember to call the caterers? I put in twelve orders for company Tweets, and invited all my friends to celebratweet with me. The Facebook invitations are in the mail. The wedding is even being filmed by my other new partner, T. N. Mohan, the producer who just optioned my Twelve Nights baby for her own movie!

And yet, I have the jitters. The problem is that tomorrow morning when I wake up, my new partner is going to give me a by-the-numbers evaluation of my performance. I don’t know if I can stand it! 

Seumas, I need a hug!

He Said....

…Seumas here, Carole… settle down, m’Lady.. it’ll be all right on the night… mega-hugs aplenty to you… just don’t wanna make your new KDP beau jealous…
…to all you wunnerful Lads and Lassies of the Blog Land out there, your support for Carole’s virgin traipse into Freebie territory will be much appreciated…
…the promo starts on Monday morning, April 29th,  00.01 am Pacific Time and here’s the links… 
Given the international audience for this blog—thank you! thank you!—I've expanded the list with links to all the Amazon pages.
If you'd like to chat with me or Seumas, drop us a comment! We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Twelve Nights Optioned as Independent Romantic Comedy Feature Film! #TBSU

Wow! What a day! This morning we finalized the deal, and Twelve Nights is now officially optioned as a feature length romantic comedy film!

Producer T. N. Mohan is best known for his film Hanged on a Twisted Cross, "a gripping documentary, narrated by Ed Asner, that captures the life, times, and thought of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer." Eight feature films directed and/or produced by Mohan are displayed on his Amazon page.

Mohan has been teaching for the last three years, and has chosen Twelve Nights as the vehicle to jump start his return to active film making.

Here are Mohan's words on why he selected Twelve Nights.

I've had my eye on Twelve Nights since it was originally published. When I found it again on Amazon, I was thrilled. Perfect project, perfect timing for me. I see the movie as Shakespeare meets Bollywood meets Valentine's Day.  The novel is mainly in dialogue, which makes it easier to translate to the screen. The story is lively and the characters are well-developed. As Carole Remy says, Twelve Nights is a sexy fun romance. For our film, we're taking out the graphic part, but the movie is going to be a solid hour and a half of sexy fun.

An International Movie!

The production of Twelve Nights (BTW the title may change) will be truly an international effort. The screenwriter and director will probably be Canadian. Then again, Jimmy's home location may move to Scotland! I could see him as Scottish, couldn't you? Who knows? The movie could be set in Toronto or Montreal, or even London, Frankfurt, New York, or Madrid! As you can see from his previous movies, Mohan has produced and directed all over North America and Europe. What an adventure!

Yesterday was a day of amazing, emotional, super-charged positive energy. The Law of Attraction says that you attract more of what you already have, and boy, has that proven true today! I am filled to the brim with gratitude, and you can imagine how eager I am for tomorrow!

Join us for a conversation in the comments. Who do you see as Jimmy and Richard? How do you imagine them? Who should play Aggie and Angela? One actress or two? What about Danny, and Monica? So many actors! So many choices! Names, people, names! 

If you have questions, suggestions, or comments for T. N. Mohan, he'll be stopping by to chat too. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask a movie producer all the behind the scenes questions you've been curious about for years!

It's a party! Join the happy dance!

Check out these related posts:

Two great blogs, presented here in the grand tradition of The Blog Scratchers' Union! #TBSU 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

One Global Tweet, One Earth

The smallest thing happened today, and yet it altered my life. The tiny thing was that a friend was signing books at a book fair. Without giving it much thought, I tweeted a message, "If you're in Abu Dhabi, visit my friend Seumas Gallacher's book signing at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair."

It didn't hit me until a couple of hours later, when Seumas and I were chatting about the book fair on Twitter. We might has well have been chatting over coffee at a local cafe. Our conversation felt that casual and comfortable. We signed off with hugs and sleep well's that felt like the real thing.

Earlier in the afternoon I'd been chatting with my friend Molly Wishlade. We joked about eating peanuts for dinner, peanut butter for me and peanut satay chicken for her. She was savoring a piece of cheesecake that I wanted a bite of. Thing is, Molly lives in Wales, and I live in Mexico. We were chatting on Twitter.

What struck me, and I know it isn't news, but my heart's community, the people I interact with on a real, daily, and personal level, is now global.

I'm used to the idea of a long-distance family. My children live thousands of miles away, and we talk on the phone and Skype several times a week. Same with my sisters and some cousins. About a year ago I started following Melody Fletcher's blog, Deliberate Receiving, where I learned about the Law of Attraction. We email and Skype often, and she's become a third daughter. Melody lives in Barcelona. Close connection with family at a distance isn't a rarity for me.

It's not that I'm isolated. I live on an ordinary family street in Mexico, and have conversations daily in Spanish with neighbors ranging from young children to great-grandparents. Friends invite me to dinner and we go to the movies. Volunteering in animal rescue is a social as well as a spiritual activity. I love salsa dancing! In person community isn't lacking from my life.

Today felt like something different. What struck me today is that my life has been enriched a thousandfold by my global friendships. I'm deliberately avoiding the adjective 'virtual,' because the friendships aren't virtual, they're real.

Nathalie Thompson in Ottawa is as real, alive, and vibrant a friend as my amiga Sara here in Colima. Melody in Spain, Seumas in Abu Dhabi, Molly in Wales, Lori Gosselin in New Brunswick, and many other lovely people ALL OVER THE WORLD are now an integral part of my life.

Readers come to this blog from across the globe as well, and though I don't know all your names, I feel your presence. Welcome to, at last count, 9071 readers from China, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Romania, Brazil, Greece, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, Canada, Maldives, France, and many other countries!

Shamans say that global energy is rising. That our vibration as humanity is lifting us into a new level of consciousness. Today, I felt it. With one little tweet, I realized that my heart has expanded and a whole new One-Earth has flooded in!

I wish for every one of you the same joy that I feel. I wish for you more hugs than you could have imagined for a lifetime. I wish for you sunshine and rain and green and volcanoes puffing in the background.

Thank you every single person on the planet, thank you every animal and plant, thank you every rock and every molecule of water, thank you for existing! And thank you, dear and lovely readers, for sharing the journey!

Please share your thoughts, your musings, your questions, and your hugs. I look forward to a wonderful conversation!

And if you're in Abu Dhabi, drop by and visit Seumas. He'll be at the book fair all week.

This doesn't feel like a regular post, so I'm skipping, at least for now, the usual add-ons of other posts to visit and blogs to follow. Do click the links in the post and meet some fantastic new friends!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Synopsis Day at the Novel Writers Workshop #TBSU

Back in a previous incarnation as Mary Carol Moran, I originated and taught the Novel Writers' Workshop for the Auburn University Outreach Program and at conferences and workshops around the United States. In five years, students produced around 15 published novels, not a bad record!

Yesterday, looking for a phantom synopsis, I came across a large file of lessons and worksheets from the NWW. Smacking the side of my head for not thinking of it before, I realized that it's time to share! Since I and a friend, Seumas Gallacher, have recently been working on synopses, that seems like a good place to begin.

Thirteen Suggestions for an Easy Breezy Synopsis Process

Writing a synopsis doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore, though I admit I used to say I’d rather write another whole novel! Here are thirteen ideas for an easier synopsis process. [Okay, I'm a Pollyanna, but really, it can be fun!]

Tip #1

Convince a friend to help you. Sit down in a quiet place with a tape recorder. Tell your friend the story of your book, trying to include everything important. Then let your friend ask questions, and you answer them, still on tape. Later go back and build your synopsis as a continuous narrative from the information (even the exact sentences) you used in talking to your friend. You may well capture the enthusiasm you are trying to convey.

Tip #2

Buy at least two different colors of 3x5 cards. Write the basic plot of your book onto one color of 3x5 cards, each scene (in one sentence) on its own card. If you’re selling the book as a romance, write the romance plot only. If it’s a mystery, write the mystery plot only. Ignore subplots, minor characters, nuances, etc. This is your basic synopsis. 

Now using the other color cards, go back and write down subplots, characters, whatever you think is interesting and adds to the book. Again, write one scene or thought per card. Put all the cards of both colors in order, and write the synopsis. This technique will help you focus on the main plot of your book. If the synopsis is too long, cut parts from the second set of cards.

Tip #3

Keep your plot outline up-to-date as you write. If you don’t outline, write a three or four sentence summary of the contents of a chapter before you go on to the next one. Use the revised outline as the basis for the first draft of the synopsis.

Tip #4

Write the synopsis itself as series of chapter summaries rather than a single narrative. This form isn’t quite as popular with agents and editors, but still works better for some novels.

Tip #5

Whatever method you use, consider putting a teaser at the top of your synopsis. This could be a possible book jacket advertising blurb. Or it could be a bit of background on the main character(s). Another opener might be a 50 word summary of the whole plot. If you have a great jacket quote from a known writer, put it here. Use one of these ideas, not all four!

Tip #6

A rule of thumb is to write about 1 page of synopsis for every 25 pages of manuscript. However, many agents and editors specify a maximum length. You may need a five page synopsis for one agent, a ten page for another, and a twenty page for someone else. The 3x5 cards can help you expand and contract as needed.

Tip #7

Here’s a hint I learned from one of my students: Don’t be afraid to use generous portions verbatim from the opening of your novel. The student ‘wastes’ a whole page of the synopsis on the first few pages of the novel (slightly abbreviated), then summarizes the rest in the remaining four pages. The first page pulls the reader into the story better than any other synopsis I’ve read.

Tip #8

As with the query letter, tell the story in simple language. If you’re sending a synopsis, you are also sending sample chapters. Nobody asks for one without the other. The sample chapters will convince the editor that you write beautifully. The point of the synopsis is to demonstrate that you plot beautifully, that the structure of the book works from beginning to end.

Tip #9

Always tell the ending of your novel. This is not the time to be coy. One of the main reasons for requesting a synopsis is to make sure the climax of the book will be as satisfying as the first few chapters. Lots of people can write fifty good pages. Convince the editor that you’ve written an excellent, complete book. Remember that your reader right now is a business person, not a literary critic.

Tip #10

Proofread! Perfection is everything. One typo can sink a sale. This is one situation where perfection IS required!

Tip #11

A one-page synopsis can be single spaced. Don’t send a one-page synopsis unless specifically requested. One great page is the hardest to write. On a longer synopsis, you can single space the teaser, but always double space the synopsis itself.

Tip #12

Don’t leave the synopsis to the last minute. Once you’ve finished the book, draft the synopsis right away, long before you begin to think about sending the manuscript out to agents and editors. Allow yourself lots of time to rework and revise; the synopsis can be the hardest few pages of the book to write, and it can also be the most important for marketing to royalty publishers.

Tip #13

Even if you are self-publishing, consider putting in the effort to craft a strong synopsis. It may help you to identify and correct a plot weakness or inconsistency. And you never know when a movie producer is going to call! Better to have that killer synopsis all polished up!

Call for Suggestions

So there you have it. Not all tips will work for all writers. Pick and choose what works for you. The only one that's essential is Tip #10. Please, proofread your synopsis over and over and over...

If there's a topic you'd like to see in a post, leave me a request in the comments. I'll be happy to share the information if I have it, or to research and write it up if it's a subject I didn't cover in the live workshops.

Writers, please weigh in with your own synopsis suggestions. Do you find writing a synopsis easy or not so easy? How do you shift hats from creative genius to business-savvy marketer? As always, I'm eager to hear your thoughts, and look forward to a great conversation!

Check out these related posts:

Some great blogs, presented here in the grand tradition of The Blog Scratchers' Union! #TBSU

  • Seumas Gallacher (link to his post on writing a synopsis!)
  • Knight Agency (not a blog but a link to an agent's submission guidelines—worth a look to see what top agencies are looking for)
  • David Lender's Blog (a lovely, literate blog that's always a pleasure to read)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Taoism and Erotica, Not as Strange a Mix as You Might Think #TBSU

Note: The words here are PG, 

but the overall topic of the post isn't!

This post first appeared on the blog 4 the LUV of Sanity, along with a steamy excerpt from Who Is Candid?—definitely not PG! Head on over and take a look at this excellent blog!

Taoism, from a Slightly Different Perspective...

If I were to describe Taoism in erotic terms, I would say that it’s a philosophy of topping from below. The hand that holds the whip isn’t the hand that’s really in charge. It’s an odd concept for those unfamiliar with SM, but maybe makes sense to some of you.

Taoism is all about influencing from the sidelines, guiding from beneath, surrendering in order to lead.

“Superior leaders are those whose existence is merely known.” (17)

“Those who use the Tao to guide leaders 

do not use forceful strategies in the world.

Such matters tend to recoil.” (30)

[quotes are from R L Wing’s translation of the Tao Te Ching.]

Taoism is about having the patience and stamina to wait for the right moment. It’s about honoring the female, the stream, the flow, the creation. It’s about emptiness and the value of the vessel. Yeah, it’s erotic.

How has being a Taoist influenced me as a writer of erotica?

Thinking in practical terms, I think Taoism has had the most influence on my male characters. I like men with strength and gentleness. I like men who respect and have the urge to protect the feminine. I’ve always thought of the men in my erotica as updated Regency heroes, but writing this article makes me see that they are all Taoists at heart.

I confess to falling in love with the hero of each novel as I write it. If I don’t love them, why should the heroine, and why should you the readers?

Dick, the Hot Hunk Nerd Taoist God!

Dick, the hero of Who Is Candid?, is just about perfect. Yeah, he’s a little dorky, in a gorgeous hot hunk, not taking advantage of his sexiness kind of dork. Imagine Zachary Levi, on the TV show Chuck. Don't you just love Chuck!

got this photo from TV Guide
Yeah... Hot! 

In the novel, Dick is sweet and protective and secure enough to let Lucy leave and find her own way back. Now, that’s sexy! And the ultimate Taoist!

There’s a Taoist fable that a farmer has a strong young son. The neighbors say, “How lucky you are.” The farmer shrugs. The son breaks his leg and can’t work. The neighbors say, “How unlucky you are.” The farmer shrugs. The army comes and takes all the young men off to war, except the farmer’s son. The neighbors say, “How lucky you are.” The farmer shrugs.  And so on, and so on... 

The point of the story is that we can’t see a big enough picture to judge how something will ultimately turn out.

Dick could be that farmer. He trusts Lucy; he trusts the future. He’s the ultimate in non-judgmental! And when the time comes to act, trust me, Dick knows EXACTLY what to do!

Would you like to read Dick and Lucy's story? Buy it now on Amazon!

So how about you? Readers, can you sometimes see the philosophical underpinnings of characters in novels? Is there a certain type of character that you just love? Writers, does your philosophy of life reflect in your writing? Please comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts, and look forward to a lively discussion!

Check out these related posts:

Some great book tour blogs who have featured my novels, presented here in the grand tradition of The Blog Scratchers' Union! #TBSU

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    Jimmy Buko on EBook Marketing 101 #TBSU

    Hello Readers,

    This is Jimmy Buko. You may know me as the half-billionaire from Twelve Nights. Well, a little more than a half-billion now, but who's counting. If you're trying to picture me, think of a young Harvey Keitel. Here's a candid shot that's floating around the Internet of Harv that looks a lot like me. If you know who took it, let me know and I'll give them credit.

    On to the point of this post, marketing Ebooks. Carole is a good friend, and she and I were having a coffee a couple of days ago and she asked me for help. The way she described it was that she feels like she's sitting in a boat in the middle of the lake (nice lake, beautiful view, BTW) and has just now figured out that maybe she could use a paddle. I'm the paddle.

    Brand Name

    First step to marketing widgets, er books, is the brand name. People buy Kellogg's cereal automatically because they trust the name Kellogg. Rightly or wrongly, but that's not the point. Your brand identity as an author is your NAME.

    To back up that brand name, you must have the second element of success, quality.


    The first component of brand quality is the books themselves. All I'll say here, not being a writer myself, is... EDIT! Don't rush to print just to be in print. Sticking with Kellogg's as an example, they started with a quality product, Corn Flakes, about 100 years ago. Still on every supermarket shelf today. Make sure your first book is top notch. Hire an editor if you need to. Since Carole is an editor, with twenty or so proteges' books in print, I'll let her add a few sentences here.

    My advice to first time novelists is the same as Stephen King's: CUT! 
    and Agatha Christie's: MURDER YOUR DARLINGS! (If you looove it, 
    delete it!) Try to eliminate one third of the words in your manuscript. 
    Much weak writing is simply overwritten, and would be improved
    by cutting unessential words!

    This blog post by Wm. Luke Everest has a succinct 
    summary of Stephen King's advice.

    The second component of quality is in every other scrap of writing that goes out with your name behind it! Yes, that includes Tweets (keep it real and personal), Facebook postings, and most especially blog posts.

    Google Love

    So, now you have your brand and your product. The next step is to get it out there. Carole gets points here. (Don't worry, the demerit points are coming...) Type Carole Remy in Google Search and you get five pages of listings. Go ahead and try it. Impressive, eh?

    How do you get love from search engines? You can find tons of articles out there about SEO, Search Engine Optimization. Read them all if you want, but I'll tell you the key in a single word, and it's the same key word. Quality. Write interesting, durable blog posts, not just advertising and what you ate for breakfast. Write interesting, durable guest posts on other blogs. Going on a book blog tour can get you started on the guest posting circuit. What's durable? That's an article that the reader opens up five months after it was originally written, because it says something that she's now interested in reading.

    Now It's Time to Sell Books!

    I told you there were demerit points coming, right? Carole has the platform down solid. If you want to pursue the first metaphor, she's built herself a sturdy little boat! But in terms of actual book sales, she's still one oar shy of a pair. Here's the next step.

    Understand the Market

    Amazon Kindle is a very specific market. It obeys different rules from a grocery store, and different rules from a brick and mortar bookstore. Here are the basics for Kindle:  
    • a great cover that fits the type of book, but perhaps isn't totally stereotypical (think cereal box), 
    • a catchy blurb that pulls readers into the story,
    • correct placement (don't put your cereal in the canned veggies aisle).

    Keep Your Book Visible

    Amazon determines what books show up where in the listings. You want your book to at least be visible on the first page when someone types your title! Amazon uses a complicated formula that nobody understands (probably not even Amazon), but there are three aspects you can manipulate: likes, sales and reviews.

    • Ask everyone you can think of to LIKE your book! It costs them nothing, and it helps your rankng.
    • When sales dip, GIFT the book yourself. Make a list of people you could give your book to, people who would actually enjoy receiving it!, and GIFT through Amazon a few copies a week. Up front, it costs you a few dollars per book, but you get back 70%, right? So a $2.99 gift book only really costs you $1. Your friends think you're generous, you feel generous (Law of Attraction, anyone?), and it actually costs almost nothing.
    • If you want REVIEWS, you want to think up some way to reward reviewers. Free books is the traditional route. It works, so give away all the advance reader copies you can. But there are other forms of rewards. Reviewers want publicity. That's why they review in the first place. So give them all the publicity you can. Tweet and FB your little heart out, not just for your own but for friends' reviews. Create and advertise a Pinterest board with excerpts and links to every good review. Use your imagination, and find ways to entice reviewers to wait in line review your books!

    Free Days

    Another marketing tool that's if not unique, then is certainly identified with Kindle, is free book days. Carole hasn't tried this yet, but I'm urging her to.

    Okay, Jimmy! Stop twisting! 
    Twelve Nights is going on a free promotion soon! Promise!

    Giveaways are an age-old marketing tactic. The basic marketing principle is to elevate the perceived value of your product ahead of the giveaway. I read a couple of articles about Kindle free days, so I could advise Carole how to proceed. You can read the same articles and learn how to actually set up the days. I'll just summarize a few key marketing points.
    • Raise the price a day or two before the free days. Make people think they're getting an even bigger bargain. Leave the price higher for a few days after the sale, to reap the maximum benefit from sales.
    • The day before you raise the price, GIFT a bunch of copies, say ten or twenty. You want to go into the freebie days with as high an Amazon ranking as possible. Don't wait until after you raise the price, or you've just cost yourself some extra cash!
    • Write a post on your blog a day or two before the free days. Be creative. Maybe a couple of your characters are super excited about the sale. Maybe they have a funny conversation about buying shoes on sale at DSW. (Stop giving away all my ideas, Jimmy! Don't you just love DSW, ladies!)
    • Scramble to get as many reviews as possible posted. Wait until your novel has at least six solid reviews before you do a giveaway. More is better.
    • Contact the media outlets, now known as Twitter, Facebook, etc, and let them know about your upcoming freebie days. Click the articles link for lists of who to contact.

    During the Freebie Days

    Now your book is free on Amazon Kindle. Relax and watch the downloads flow in? Not quite.

    • Without being obnoxious or a spammer, let people know your book is now free for a limited time.
    • All the great contacts you've nurtured on Twitter and Facebook? Count on them to help you spread the word!
    • Ask your friends who haven't already bought the book to download a copy, even if they received a free non-Amazon copy earlier directly from you. Ask your friends who have already bought the book to download copies and give them as gifts. 
    • Write a post on your blog on the first freebie day. Again, something fun. Not a blatant ad. Something that a reader will enjoy reading even after the free days are over.
    Okay, NOW you can relax and watch the downloads mount!

    Whew! Enough for Now!

    Thank you so much, Jimmy! My brain is on overload.

    You're welcome, Carole. I'll come back after the first set of Kindle Free days for Twelve Nights and we can do a postmortem. In the meantime, readers, if you have any questions or comments, I'll stick around for awhile. What marketing strategies have you tried? How have they worked out? I'd say Carole needs all the help she can get, but then she's punch me.

    Darn right, Jimmy!


    Bye for now!

    Check out these related posts:

    Some great blogs, courtesy of The Blog Scratchers' Union! #TBSU

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Colima, Mexico, a Leader in Animal Protection! #TBSU

    This Spring, eleven local animal rights groups have been working with Diputado (Representative) Mariano Trillo Quiroz on legislation to criminalize animal abuse in our state of Colima, Mexico. Today, the vote was taken, and we won! Colima is now the fourth state in Mexico with strict anti-abuse laws, including penalties of up to a year in jail for owners that do not properly care for their pets, as well as for persons who abuse stray or neighborhood animals.

    Strong stuff, and I'm so proud of Mexico and of Colima that I could cry. Well, I am.

    Here are a few photos of our amazing, wonderful day!

    The packed legislative chamber!

    Diputado (Representative) Mariano Trillo Quiroz, 
    who shepherded the legislation expertly through to success. 

    The moment of the yes vote! Even we were surprised
    that the final vote was unanimous!

    Thank you for being here, lovely readers! We've shared many moments together, and this is one of the best! As always, I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

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    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    Blogging, the Law of Attraction, a Union, and Bats! What??? #TBSU #BAT

    Last night I finished Seumas Gallacher's The Blogger's Guide to Absolutely Nothing. This isn't exactly a book review, though I do urge you to buy the book and enjoy a few hours of fun with an upbeat message. The Blogger's Guide is a humorously presented appeal to be our better selves, and all in a Scottish accent that I love and won't even try to duplicate.

    Whether you go to Amazon and buy the book or not, do yourself a favor and subscribe to Seumas's entertaining blog. It's joined my very short list of daily reads.

    What I want to write about though today, is something a little different. Seumas' philosophy of life and blogging got me thinking. I had been moving in the same direction, but reading his words pulled it all together for me. And it all ties in with the Law of Attraction, wouldn't you know.

    The Money Bugbear

    A few days ago, Nathalie Thompson at Vibe Shifting generously published a guest post I wrote. You can read all about my slightly twisted relationship with money, and how I recently got clarity on a little piece of the bigger issue. Letting go of the need to be the rich American who funds the Mexican dog rescue is a huge step for me. Huge! My ears are popping all the time, which is my own little personal sign from the Universe that energy is shifting. Pop, pop. There it goes.

    Now, I am not, have never been, and probably will never be a rich American. I live in Mexico because I love it, with the giant added benefit that I live nicely on a relatively small pension. The urge to fund a rescue shelter had led me to release my novels on the Kindle market in the first place, to hit the jackpot of sales for a good cause.

    The first day I 'met' Seumas, and I can't even remember who introduced us, I was in the middle of a partial meltdown. If I wasn't promoting my books because I needed lots of money for the dogs, why was I putting in twelve hour days tweeting, blogging, and Facebooking, not to mention trying to figure out Goodreads and now Google+? Arggg!

    Here's the Law of Attraction part.

    When I was ready to realize that the pressure to fund dog rescue was a purely self-imposed strain, the Universe put the lovely Nathalie in my path, to invite me to write a guest post, which gave me the opportunity to wrestle through to a happier emotion.

    That's how the LoA works. Even when you're not ready, the opportunities are all there. You just can't see them. When you finally drop the blinders, the resolution is so clear and simple it makes you weep, or jump around doing a happy dance!

    And here comes the Law of Attraction again. Just when I'm struggling with the next layer of the onion, I meet someone who can articulate a clear vision of where I'm going and why I'm going there. Thank you, Universe! Thank you, Seumas! I didn't even wallow for very long—just a day or two. When you open yourself to change, it comes roaring through.

    The Evolution of a Blogger/Human Being

    By now I hope you're really curious about what this message is that I've learned, or reaffirmed, from reading The Blogger's Guide. It's simple really, and it's more like a booster shot for things I was already doing. We can blog from a spirit of generosity, nothing more, pure generosity. Seumas does, and I can too. Just share. Joy, bounty, encouragement, kind words. Just share it all.

    Tweet this, okay? I have no idea how to set it up as a link. Maybe you can figure it out.

    Just share. Joy, bounty, encouragement, kind words. 

    Just share it all.

    What Seumas communicates effortlessly, and what he reminded me of in The Blogger's Guide, is the sheer joy of touching lives and being touched. He writes about how he stumbled into the fun of blogging after starting his blog as a purely promotional tool. Me too! I realized about a month ago that what I really enjoy about blogging is not the promoting, but the writing about all the amazing things in my life. If you happen to see a book cover and want to buy a book, Woohoo! But it's kind of secondary to the other fun.

    Right now, last night, today, I needed that reminder and I was ready to listen. And there were Seumas and The Blogger's Guide, ready to nudge me in the right direction!


    Seumas has a group called #TBSU, the (arrg, I can never remember what the letters stand for!), okay, The Blog Scratcher's Union. It's a hashtag for bloggers who support each other's writing: You scratch my back, I scratch yours. As of today, please consider me a member.

    If you are a blogger and reading this, consider putting #TBSU on your posts and Tweets. It's like a secret (but it's not a secret) handshake to other bloggers. You help me. I'll help you. Go to Seumas blog for a complete explanation of how it all works, or read the book! (Woohoo! A plug!)

    My minor addition takes the idea a baby step further.

    #BAT (We could have a bat signal, or something!)

    When I meet a blogger that I like, I want to read their posts. Not just the new ones, but all of them or at least most. Sifting through a whole blog full of archives is way too much. So what I propose is that the #TBSU adopt the additional hashtag of #BAT to identify a Blog Archive Tweet! There are some bloggers out there who are brilliant at tweeting me into reading their archives, and I really appreciate it! Check out




    to name just a very few master archive tweeters. What makes this tactic work is that every single one of the archives they tweet is well worth reading! I search the Twitterverse for posts from them to read and RT.

    Tweet Your Best Archives with the Hashtag #BAT

    How about if we make it a little easier, folks? Tweet your best archives, the ones that don't lose their timeliness, with the hashtag #BAT, Blog Archive Tweet. You'll make my Twitter searching easier, and maybe the idea will catch on through the #TBSU world! We can tweet and share and spread the joy not only across space but across time! 

    I don't want to imply that I have any kind of endorsement from Seumas for #BAT. He has never heard of it before reading this post. And I hope I'm not shamelessly hanging my hat onto an already hugely successful hashtag. It just seems to me that maybe we could all have a little more fun, and make our blogs just a little more alive.

    So what do you think? Are you already using #TBSU? If not, why not start? When you discover a wonderful blog, do you like to read archived posts, like me? Would you look for the hashtag #BAT? Will you start using it? As always, I'm eager to read your comments! How about a lively discussion of the joys of blogging? Thank you again for starting the conversation, Seumas. And y'all—buy his book!

    Oh yeah, oh yeah. And buy my books too, okay? The links are on the right side of the page. Whew! Marketing done. Check.

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      Saturday, April 13, 2013

      How to Evict a Gecko from the Toilet

      Today was a pretty normal Saturday, except for the gecko in the toilet. When I woke up this morning, there he was in the ensuite. Not a teensy little gecko either.

      BTW, many bathrooms in Mexico don't use toilet seats. My guest bath has one, if you come to visit! And yes, I have another bathroom, so was able to leave the little guy in peace until help arrived.

      Marissa came early to help set up the Dog Agility Club equipment. Ha ha. Little did she know there was a gecko to evict. Luckily she's a vet student, and I was hopeful she could help. She did help, sort of, eventually. She also said that if it had been a frog, she'd have run screaming. Evidently, Marissa is not going to be a frog vet.

      We had a large empty yogurt container ready, but the little guy took one look at us and high tailed it up into the air pocket in the turn in the tubing.


      Now, if you grab a gecko by the tail, it breaks off. No harm, no foul; he grows a new one. But you aren't going to get him out of a toilet by grabbing his tail. Flushing would be cruel, and he was big enough to block the pipes even if I was a mean gecko-flushing person. And by the way, geckos bite.

      We decided to turn out the light, close the door, and hope he was gone by the time the Agility Club was over. Avoid and conquer!

      The Club was totally fun, as always. One little amiguita even brought me flowers. 

      She's a sweetheart, and did more than her share of putting away the equipment when we were done.

      Two hours later, back to the gecko. Luckily, when we returned to the bathroom (tiptoeing) he had had enough of the pipes and was again basking in the toilet bowl.

      Whew! Marissa donned gloves and made a preemptive strike!


      You can't squeeze a gecko too tightly, but at the same time he's a wiggly little sucker. We raced to the front yard, battling three very interested leaping dogs. No way would the gecko have survived in the backyard.

      The little guy was happier outside, and we were able to get a better look. Our own little reptile! Then Marissa put him down.

      We weren't sure at this point how well he had survived the ordeal. My house is fumigated every three months  (I'm not a bug person), and we didn't know if the residual poison would have harmed him. Luckily, he was fine.

      He immediately took off and ran a few meters to the edge of the grass. Whew! Mission accomplished.

      I wish I could come up with some lovely Law of Attraction moral to this story. If there is one, it hasn't occurred to me. It was just a fun morning adventure that I thought you might enjoy sharing.

      We're getting pretty good at this photo essay thing, eh? (I lived for 27 years in Canada, y'all!). First, how to make a practically free dog agility jump, and now how to rescue a gecko from your toilet bowl. We're the how-to gals of blogdom. And such practical stuff too!

      Wishing you all a fun and gecko-free rest of the weekend! If you'd like to chat, I'm here. Any gecko adventures to share?