Saturday, April 21, 2018

New Facelift for Daniel's Fork!




The Daniel's Fork series has been re-edited and given fresh new covers. Each book has also been retitled. Why the extreme actions?

It has been not only an immense amount of work, but it has also been rather emotionally painful to do the changes. Strongheart's Woman and Daniel's Fork are my first novels and dear to me. They are also what I consider my best work as they are truly original in theme and genre: so much so, that they have been hard to place in popular genres and difficult to market. 

As a new author, I had difficulty choosing their titles. It seems now that the old titles were not evocative of the proper images in the minds of contemporary readers. When someone thinks of the word "fork" now-a-days, the image that comes to mind is the eating type of fork- and not a fork (branching) in a road or a river. 

The old covers were also not properly evocative either. The new covers address the actual themes more effectively. The Hunter's Snare (previously Daniel's Fork) cover pulls its theme from the hunt for the killer and emphasizes the male protagonist rather than the healer. 

The old cover for Strongheart's Woman (now Fire Dance) gave an erotica vibe that was misleading. The Fire Dance cover is darker and mysterious as well as romantic. 

The short prequel to the series, "Edge of the World," has disappeared as a stand-alone story. It has been incorporated as the first four chapters of Hunter's Snare. This change provides a tighter background to the novel and strengthens the characterization. 

I hope that readers like and embrace the changes in the series. A new book in the now titled Future Past series is close on the works and due to be released in the next few months.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

How Do Best-Selling Lists Differ?

These are listings for Bestsellers (ebooks) as of today at four major sellers: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. Silly of me to expect that best sellers would reflect across the board on all sites. Not true. Every list is different.


Barnes & Noble Top-Selling Nook Books Today

1. The Key to Rebecca- Ken Follett
2. After Anna- Lisa Scottoline
3. A Higher Loyalty- James Comey
4. The Sixth Day- Catherine Coulter
5. Wicked in His Arms- Stacy Reid
6. A History of God- Karen Armstrong
7. The Night Child- Anna Quinn
8. The Thief- J.R. Ward
9. I've Got My Eyes on You- Mary Higgins Clark
10. Shoot First- Stuart Woods


Amazon's Top "Paid" Kindle Books Today

1. A Higher Loyalty- James Comey
2. Switch on Your Brain- Dr. Carolyn Leaf
3. Say You're Sorry- Melinda Leigh
4. The Key to Rebecca- Ken Follett
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People- Stephen R. Covey
6. The Coaching Habit- Michael Bungay
7. The Winter Over- Mathew Iden
8. When Never Comes- Barbara Davis
9. It Ends With Her- Brianna Labuskes
10. The Hiding Place- Corrie Ten Boom


iBooks Top Paid Books Today.

1. A Higher Loyalty- James Comey
2. The Disappeared- C.J. Box
3. Shoot First- Stuart Woods
4. After Anna- Lisa Scottoline
5. Devil's Waltz- Jonathan Kellerman
6. Red Alert- James Patterson
7. Socrates- Paul Johnson
8. Great Alone- Kristin Hannah
9. The Glass Forrest- Cynthia Swanson
10. Little Fires- Celeste Ng

Kobo (I could only get "Now Trending.") All are eBooks. 

1. The Key to Rebecca- Ken follet
2. The Next Girl- Carla Kovach
3. A Higher Loyalty- James Comey
4. A History of God- Karen Armstrong
5. The Night Child- Anna Quinn
6. With This Ring- Amanda Quick
7. The King's Deception- Steve Berry
8. Fluent Forever- Gabriel Wyner
9. The Last Good Man- Linda Nagata
10. Contemporary Songwriting- Toby Koeningsberg
11. The Thief- J.R. Ward

Points to Ponder:
1. Only One book was on all four lists and it is a non-fiction book- A Higher Loyalty by James Comey.

2. The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follet was on 3 lists.

3. The Night Child, After Anna, and A History of God were on two common lists.

4. Other than those books, the sites  all differed in their bestsellers' titles. The few titles in common also differed in placement. For example, A Higher Loyalty was   #3 in B&N, #1 in Amazon, #1 in iBooks, and #3 in Kobo.

5. There are very few romances. The lists are heavy on suspense and mysteries.

6. Every site has at least two nonfiction books on its top ten sellers. Amazon actually has four: A Higher Loyalty, Switch On Your Brain, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and The Coaching Habit.  

Interesting, right? 



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

My Picks from Today's 100 Top Free in Kindle.

On today's Kindle Top 100 Free books, there are several books PROBABLY worth reading. Emphasis on the word "probably" because I chose by considering the number of ratings, the average rating, the blurb, and the genre. I have not yet read any of these. 

There are many books other than these that are probably great reads but don't have as many ratings. Reviews, in today's reading market, are not easy to get.  As an author, I refuse to beg for reviews or give away free books in exchange for them. Many authors feel as I do. 

I also tend to stay away from the abundant crop of free shifter, billionare, Taming xxx, and end-of-the-world themes. 



#9 This book comes in with 633 reviews and a 4.6 stars average. The setting is Dublin, Ireland, 1925.







#1 in Free List today with  4.4 stars average on 540 reviews. This is the story of a missing child and the investigator trying to find her before it's too late. 







#37  This one comes in with 4.6 stars average on 721 reviews. This is a Time-travel romance set in 14th-century Italy.








#60 This is a fast-paced action thriller with an aver 4.4 out of 456 reviews.








I picked #79 because the blurb sounds fascinating. A 4.3 stars average on 139 reviews. This is a paranormal suspense thriller that takes place in 16th-century Germany.








Mmmm.... A book not fiction with 1,446 reviews? This is a bargain for those struggling with weight problems.







With 1,214 reviews and a 4.4 aver, comes #86. This is a suspense thriller with White House connections!







There are plenty of Free reads today with excellent ratings. As usual, I tried to select a variety of genres, and those I thought would appeal to a wide range of reading interests. 








Monday, April 2, 2018

Interested in Paranormal Romance? Wonder how it became so popular? I am happy to share the following article written by paranormal author Kiersten Fay. I love the genre and have my own Angel's Guardian and the brand new Once Chosen paranormal romance reads. I agree that we are now experiencing the golden age of paranormal romance.
Paranormal

Monday, March 5, 2018

Serials are Back!

Serials are back. No, not cereals. No, not serial killers. I am talking about the novella-length or short-story-length writings that present an extended story in episodes or volumes.

Some writers of serial stories have begun to group them into "seasons," imitating the TV shows. Some serial titles may be only four or five volumes, while others may have dozens of volumes. Serials are now available in just about every genre of fiction. Decades ago, serials were very popular. They followed the same formula as the soap operas of early radio and TV.

How are they different from a regular book series? In several aspects.

  1. The entire collection of volumes develops one main story with its central characters.
  2. Each episode leaves you waiting for the next one. There are often cliff-hangers that motivate you to get the next volume. Not all serial authors use cliff-hangers.
  3. Each volume is usually readable in one sitting, although this also depends on your reading speed. A serial volume that has thirty pages may be read in one sitting, while one that is eighty pages will definitely take longer.
  4. Serials, because of their length, are usually cheaper than regular novels. At Amazon, they usually range between $0.99 and $2.99, with the shorter ones being the cheapest.

Serials are wonderful for readers who like to sit down and relax for an hour or so with a short read that leaves them excited for the next installment. Because the volumes are cheap, they're a good option for those readers on budget.  Serials tend to be packed with action and drama, as the author must keep you coming back for more. Also, because the project is on-going, readers can give the author input as to what they'd like to see in future volumes.



I have chosen a number of serials from Amazon to show you the variety of topics available. Some of these are very good and some have mediocre ratings. There is something for everyone:  historical romance, suspense, fantasy, Christian faith, paranormal romance, contemporary suspense, science fiction, and even dark erotica.



































































I am so intrigued by the idea of serials that I'm publishing my own paranormal romance serial. It's titled Vampires in the Mist serial. The first volume is already available at your seller of choice. I promise, it will be worth reading and there's No Cliff-Hanger in volume one!













Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Thicker Than Blood is presently on Kindle Unlimited. If you have a KU account, you may read it for FREE! This novel is exclusive to Amazon for a limited time. 


Click HERE to read (on KU) or buy for $4.99


ROMANCE, SUSPENSE, ACTION, HUMOR, & EROTICISM are all packed into another FAST-PACED READ that will leave you once again hungry for more!


This is NOT Twilight! Not Vampire Girl! Not another YA read. Definitely not Sookie!


The vampire Maxim haunts the heights of NYC. He is different. He is flawed. He’ll suck your blood. He’ll steal your heart! 


Maxim, heir to the vampire throne, is recalled home after a long, self-imposed exile. With his human mate, Angel, at his side, he hopes to settle matters quickly and return as soon as possible to his idyllic life in New York City. But soon after their arrival, things go horribly wrong. Angel is taken by his enemy, one that will use her as a pawn and stop at nothing to destroy Maxim and wrest the vampire throne from him. Now, the vampire is in a race against time to rescue his beloved from an enemy who knows no bounds. 

Angelica is thrilled to accompany her beloved vampire to his homeland. She hopes that visit will help him come to terms with his family, and settle once and for all, the problems that plague them. Hours after they arrive, she discovers that the world she has entered is full of danger and intrigue. A trap has been set, and she falls into the hands of Maxim's evil enemy. She watches in horror as she becomes the lure used to bring her lover to his death. 

Full of romance, suspense, action, humor, and eroticism, this is a fast-paced, riveting read that will leave you wanting more of the same! After reading Thicker than Blood, you will surely want to go back and read Angel's Guardian, book 1. NOTE: Not suitable for younger readers.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Free on Amazon for February 9, 2018.

Today, there are many excellent offerings on Amazon's Top 100 Free list. If you love romance, there are a number of promising titles such as The Pawn by Skye Warren and Something in the Way by Jessica Hawkins. There are quite a few interesting mysteries too such as Sign Off by Patricia McLinn and Bed of Bones by Cheryl Bradshaw. I tried to limit my picks to books that seemed unusual in some way.



A mystery set in London, 1889. This is one of my favorite dark-period settings! If you like Anne Perry's books, you'll like this one.



These caught my eye not only because of the number of reviews, but the amazing things written by reviewers. Intense, heart-wrenching story set in a world of rabbits! I must give these a try. These are adult reading but also suitable for older children.


This is Book 2 of the two-book series. It comes  with 345 reviews and a 4.9 average, which is nearly incredible. 



Book 1 comes in at 1,010 reviews with a 4.8 average. Really, this type of quality for free is a deal you can't miss.





This romance/adventure set in an alternate-reality India is perfect for those looking for something different, yet romantic. With 310 reviews and a 4.3 average, it promises adventure and excitement.






For lovers of the Post-Apocalyptic genre, here is a novel with 530 reviews and a 3.7 average. The twist in this tale? It's set on a ship! 







A Christian suspense-thriller? Apparently, there is such a thing and with 710 reviews at a 4.6 average, it must be good! I'm reading it.




Thursday, January 25, 2018

What to Read for Free on Jan. 25th, 2018


Today I tried to pick a variety of books from Amazon's Top 100 Free list, including a couple of nonfiction titles. 



Today at #16 with  4.5 stars on 311 reviews. This is a time-travel romance.





Who says it all has to be fiction? I am pleasantly surprised to find a book on Linux on our list. I happen to be an Ubuntu enthusiast. I think this book will be of interest to anyone interested in learning a little about an alternative to Windows. At number 46 today, 4.4 stars on 129 reviews.






Lately, Amazon has been including little jewels of literature, usually classics, as Free offerings in the Top 100 Free. This one listing is a real gem. It includes Franz Kafka's greatest works. Don't know who Franz Kafka was? This book is a great way to find out!








This is a YA read with lots of dragons in it. I love dragons, so I could not pass on it. 4.3 stars on 435 reviews. It sits at #76.







With 311 reviews at an average of 4.7 stars, this cozy mystery is a winner.








This one has been sitting in the top of the list for a while. To be fair, there are many readers out there who like Christian literature and would love this offering. At a 4.7 stars on 176 reviews, this must be good.







Thursday, January 18, 2018

What to Read for Free Today: Jan 18th, 2018

With the exception of the first pick, a mystery, the other books are all different types of romance novels. Sorry, guys!

There is plenty to choose from today as the two-dozen or so tawdry titles I recently highlighted miraculously disappeared from the list yesterday. No fault of mine, I assure you. Maybe Amazon finally caught on to the bad grammar.




This is impressive; a book with a 4.9 stars average in 65 reviews! I could not pass it. I'm not a lover of the serial killer vs FBI agent genre, but such high scores can't lie.






Historical romantic suspense with 558 reviews. Love dark Gothic!






I have been a lover of time-travel romance since my first reading of Outlander. This one has 464 reviews for a 4.4 stars average. I love the title.





For those who love contemporary romance, here is a promising one with 4.5 stars average out of 95 reviews. Set in Alaska, a place I'd love to visit someday.





For those who like shifter romances but are tired or wolf and bear shifters, this one promises a difference. At 4.3 out of 120 customer reviews, it attracted my eye. 






Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review




As I promised yesterday, I read Owned by the Dark Dragon  by Hollie Hutchins. This is a title that placed in the Kindle Top 100 Free, and part of a genre that emphasizes suggestive titles and lurid covers. The prospective reader will expect highly erotic content. In this case, the reader would be totally disappointed unless he is maybe a high-school student.

I will do my best to be fair to the author while remaining honest for the reader's sake. A reviewer's duty is to the reader.

First, this novella (really a long, short story) is in first-draft condition. It seems to be a first writing; it lacks even the most minimal editing. The following are examples from the first few pages.

...hoping to further herself from the chaos.
A correct usage would be ...hoping to distance herself from the chaos

Sinome spoke as he titled his head towards her,...
I hope he "tilted" rather than titled.

...regardless of how bazzar it all must be for her.
I think the author meant to use the word "bizarre."

It would take me hours to correct all the subject/verb disagreements, changes in verb tense, passive voice use, etc. This author should have gotten at least a few beta readers to go over her draft and corrected the most glaring errors.

Next, The story runs like the proverbial bat out of hell. There is absolutely no scene development and less character development. This could have been a much longer and better tale if it was not told in first-person, marathon style. It has a very good premise. I like the Central Park initial setting, and for the genre of fantasy, the storyline has potential.

Probably the most important aspect needing criticism is what the story promises but does not deliver. It's clear that the cover and title are implicitly promising an erotic read (not to mention the blurb). This is significant in the light that people buying this genre may not be looking for great grammar, but they do want significant erotic content. In this book, there is none.

There is a scene where a dragon (the dark one) does a little light lapping of breasts. Later, the rescuing hero has some very confusing (to the reader) sex with the protagonist. There is something about a "bright pink star," and a lot of confusion about what exactly he is doing. If you are looking for a titillating, erotic read, this is not it.

All having been said, I must say that the author has potential. She obviously likes to write, and with some time spent developing scenes, fleshing out characters, some proof-reading help, she could put out a good manuscript.

It seems to me that the author may be a  young college student trying out her wings as a writer or hoping to make a quick buck. She definitely handles the sex scenes without insight or finesse.

She could make money writing in the erotica genre even with bad grammar, but she must provide the intense, descriptive, well-written content that erotica readers seek. By failing to provide that, she will not get her customers to come back. I think she would be better served by writing just pure fantasy and using covers that reflect that.

On the Amazon scale, I will give her two stars. Readers looking for erotic content will be far less generous. I do wish she'd get editing help and emphasize the fantasy part of her work. In the future, I'd love to read something by her that showed such growth. Authors are not born. We are made through hard work and the learning of the craft just as other artists are made.




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What to Read for Free on Jan 16, 2018


For those readers who may find fault, this is obviously written with tongue-in-cheek.

Kindle's Top 100 Free is the place to go if you want to read free, tawdry titles with truly hilarious covers. In Smashwords, you also get the free, tawdry titles but without the hillarious covers. 


Judging by the rankings, there are plenty of readers out there downloading these free books.

First, let me tell you that it's not easy making the list. There are at least 100,000 free offerings not placing in the top 100 free, including my excellent Vampire, Not Monster.

Remember that the placings change constantly according to how many downloads take place each hour. After a while, I stopped writing down the numbers.

There are authors who have multiple listings in the Top 100 Free. Elena Davinski, Daniella Wright, Malcolm Bryant, and Holly Hutchins all have multiple books in today's list.


Elena Davinski has two books in the Top 100 Free today.

This book has no reviews. It comes in at #42 on the list.






This one comes in at #96. It also has no reviews. I love those crowns. Perfect outfit: a towel and a crown! 
Can you see the author's name on the book? I can't.









Next in line is Daniella Wright. She has four books placing in the list. Her Triple Dominated

rates at #94. Are those men green or turquoise? I can't decide.







This comes in at #95.




This comes in at #90. No reviews.







This one comes in at #93. No reviews for this one either.








While the authors above have six of the Top 100 Free, they are not the winners! Author Malcom Bryant has eight books, his first coming in at #44.














I especially love this title. There is a certain "je ne sais quoi" about it. I am shocked it has no reviews. Maybe I'll write the first.






































It is noteworthy that most of Malcolm Bryant's offerings fall in the middle of the list between #44-#52. That is not shabby.


Still, the undisputed winner is author Hollie Hutchins with a whopping twelve titles placing in Kindle's Top Free 100.




Starting at #41, this cover really speaks to me. I love dragons. Again, no reviews. I'd like to hear what readers have to say about character development in this book.







At #43, The Dragon's Servant.







This seems to be a boxed series.


Coming in at #60, this title is special. It comes with 2 customers reviews at an average of 1 star. I say it can't be that bad as it rates in at #60.








The Dragon's Property at #61







At #63, Unfortunate Brides. Love the bridal veil topping the cover. It absolutely screams romance.





At #64, Owned by the Beasts




At #66, Slaved: The Dragon and the Bear.  (As opposed to "Enslaved?"








At #68, I Want it All: Dragons









At #69, Double the Dragon





Coming in at #70, The Dragon's Slave.









This one is called Destined for Royalty and it comes in at #74.






If you're confused by the covers, it's not you. It seems that the author re-uses the covers of boxed sets for individual titles included in the set.

I hate to sound like sour grapes because I am a little miffed that I'm not in the list, but I've always been told by other authors that I need to get as many reviews as possible if I want readers to read my books. That seems not to be the case here. These are twenty-nine books with two reviews (1 star each) and they are topping charts!

Interesting too that I can't find a thing about the authors. Not one of those authors has an author profile. It seems to me that if I was selling books like hotcakes, I'd want my best-selling mug out there for the world to see. Fame and all that, you know.

I, personally, am a lover of a good sex scene. I have a few of them in my novels, although I must admit that they're probably not as good as the ones we'll find in these books. 


Being that there are over two dozen of these very popular books on the list, I think I should pick at least one and write a review.

Now, how do I choose? Well, since the non-existent reviews are no help, I must think about using what there is. First, Malcolm Bryant's books seem to be all about M/M sex written for males by a male. I hold the prejudice that men write sex scenes for other men, with little romance or finesse. I know, I know. I am wrong and prejudiced. No one's perfect.

I am very curious about the author who has fifteen titles on this list. I also love dragons, and she writes about them a great deal. I will read and review one of Hollie Hutchins's books. Owned by the Dark Dragon (with blond hair) seems appealing.



Here is the Amazon Blurb.

A Dragon Shifter Paranormal Romance




Content Note: This is a 15,000 words novella—Perfect to relax before bed or by the pool!

For a limited time, this book may include extra bonus stories for your enjoyment!




Anne only had one focus in life for the last two years: completing her law degree in New York City and landing a position at a prestigious law firm. But when she takes the same route she always uses through Central Park to her apartment from school, Anne is blinded by a bright light that will change her destiny forever.

Soon Anne is whisked away by brute warriors to a different realm where dragons exist in the form of humans. She’ll be thrown into a war between a Dark Lord and a rebellious group that aims to see his destruction. But when both sides of this war fight for both her claim and body, she will have to decide for herself what is rule and what her body is truly wants.

This is a stand-alone story with a HEA, so no cliff-hangers! This story contains explicit love scenes and is intended for 18+ readers only.

I will read and post my review in the next few days.