The Year of the Ram is off to a good start. For reasons unknown to me, my books are selling. Not only my Kindle editions, but also paperback copies. It's not quite enough to pay the bills, but it's more than I've ever made in any previous month. The books are being bought in the US and the UK, so now I can really say that I am an internationally known author.
Tet 2011 HCMC
It's hard to really appreciate the Lunar New Year when you live outside of Asia, but if my sales keep increasing, I might just be celebrating the Year of the Monkey in Vietnam or Malaysia.
I hear my books are great for reading while traveling on trains, planes, boats and buses. With this in mind, I thought that maybe that is how I should promote my work. Instead of Mystery, Paranormal, or Literary Fiction, I should simply list my books as "Commute Reading".
My latest, Bad Accounts, and my two Jaz mysteries, would be good choices for a tedious ride. Easy, fast, funny, and if the bus bounces or the train screeches, you can easily climb right back into the story.
I'm not so sure that my paranormal romances would fall into the category of public reading. Or maybe it would be for some, but I personally would not feel comfortable reading hot and heavy romance scenes in public. Although one reader did report reading Nha Trang Haunted while running on a treadmill in a war zone.
If anyone knows of place to list Great Commute Reads, please let me know.
Now that BAD ACCOUNTS has been published, it's time to get on to writing something new.
I dream of living among the iguanas
I always have story ideas floating around in my head, but I also have a couple of projects that I simply can't decide about. One, a dark paranormal/sci-fi-ish tale, got put in a box over a year ago. After all the work I put into it, I can't see tossing it out. I've spent the past month re-reading and editing. I go between thinking it's good to thinking it's garbage. I have no idea why I can't get a real feel about this this one. I can't decide if I really like it or not.
So I went back to a novella that will be part of my Vietnam trilogy.....can't decide about that one either.
Therefore, I started the third novella.
I never, ever have more than one writing project going at the same time, so am very surprised by this. I'll work on one, then flip to the other, then think maybe I should simply start something brand new.
I suppose it has something to do with putting out a new book. Every time I have published a new work I say to myself, THIS is the one that will get noticed! .....and then it doesn't.....and then I think, OK, maybe the next one will do the trick. It's only been a month since Bad Accounts came out, so perhaps I should give it some more time. Or perhaps I should follow the advice of a friend who, noting that the story takes place in the Carmel/Monterey area of California, suggested I contact Clint Eastwood about using it for his next film project.
Time to get back to whatever it is I'm working on this hour.
My latest book, BAD ACCOUNTS was available for free download 30 Dec - Jan 2. I had some takers, but not nearly as many as I have had with my other books in the past. I do think it has to do with genre. People look for Paranormal Romance, or Mystery, or Chic lit. The only category I could figure out for my new book was "humor".
In my experience, number of downloads has nothing whatsoever with actual readers or ratings or reviews. Maybe it is a good thing that I had less people interested in Bad Accounts. Maybe the folks who download humor might just read it.
I still think it is a good way to publicize my work....possibly the only way. Once again, I singed up for a Facebook account, and once again I deleted it in under 5 minutes. All I did was submit my name and suddenly there was a list of very, very, scary looking folks who I "might know" and would I like to add them as friends? Where did they get these people from? Why might I know them? I know people swear by Facebook but it still scares the dickens out of me. So I will stick to my blogs, Goodreads, and the kindness of strangers.
notch accountant Pia might have suspected her bosses of cooking the books, but
when you’re fifty-two and jobs are scarce, it’s easy to look the other way. Or
it is until you find out that your employers might be managing the finances of
a drug cartel, right there in your hometown. Stealing a few files to implicate
her bosses seemed like a good idea… until Pia finds a gun in her front yard, apparently
dropped by an inept hitman.
she should have listened to Brad and quit her job instead of absconding with the
incriminating documents. But it’s too late for regrets now, and she’s a marked
woman. Luckily for Pia, Brad puts his surfing on hold long enough to help get
her out of town and down to Ocean Beach. Unfortunately, that might not be
enough. Crossing the border into Mexico may be the only answer.
Monterey, California all the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, aging gangsters,
bungling rent-a-cops, and an out-of-his-element hitman, thwart Pia’s every
move. But with the help of a few surfers and their friends, she’s determined to
not only stay alive, but to see the drug cartel shut down once and for all.
I'll be running a free download from 30 December - 2 January.
Nha Trang Haunted, an adult, paranormal romance, is available for free download on Amazon July 28 - Aug 1.
Nha Trang, Vietnam: home to splendid beaches, tropical winds, and remnants of the Vietnam War. How could two strangers who meet on a plane know that the odd, psychic incidents they have both been experiencing will soon forge a connection between them? Tony’s on his way to search for his father who was listed as MIA during the Vietnam War. Gabriella simply wants a few days at the beach. Can Tony find the father he has never known? Will Gabriella be able to quell the disturbing, ghostly visions from the past? Will their physical attraction help or hinder their circumstances?
I believe it was in 1994 that I purchased my Eagle Creek Travel Wallet. Or maybe it was as late as 2000 - but surely not past then. It is the only wallet I used while living and
working in Israel, Egypt, Malaysia, and Vietnam. It traveled with me to Mexico
and is the only wallet I use when in California.
Even with all the travels and years of banging around inside
my purse, it still looks reasonably new. And up until a few months ago, all the
zippers and clasps worked perfectly. And then the main zipper of the billfold wouldn't stay closed.
I tried all my fix-it tricks for zippers; nothing worked.
Being rather handy with a sewing machine, I figured I could probably replace it,
even if it would be a less than perfect job. Then I came up with the bright
idea of simply replacing the entire wallet with a new one. After all, I had
gotten my money’s worth out of it.
I looked up their website and was disappointed to see that
the 20 year old model I had was no longer available. I scoured over the specs
on all the latest editions and didn't like any of them, mostly because of the
fabric used but also because they just didn't seem as functional as the one I
Then I remembered the “Lifetime Guarantee”. I honestly did
not expect it to cover something purchased fifteen or twenty years ago, and I
was correct. It covers the expected lifetime of the item, not the owner’s lifetime.
Still, Eagle Creek was right here in California, they had the industrial sewing
machines and the folks who knew how to use them. Try to do it myself, or send
if off and pay for a repair? I chose the latter.
Before mailing it off, I called their service center to find
out if they would in fact repair my vintage wallet. The lovely rep told me to
send it in and if they couldn't fix it, it would be sent back. She wasn’t sure
if I would be charged.
About two weeks after mailing my wallet to the repair
facility in Carlsbad, California, I got it back with a beautiful new zipper,
perfectly stitched into place. And they didn't even charge me!
Maybe it will last me another decade – maybe Eagle Creek
will produce the same style again and I’ll buy a new one. For now, I am
thrilled that I was able to head back down to Puerto Vallarta knowing that my
Pesos would not be flying out of my wallet.
You just don’t get this type of quality and service anymore.
As a seasoned traveler, it certainly is good to know that Eagle Creek is around
and that their products are 100% reliable.
I love the Russian national anthem. I’ve loved it since I first heard it played at
a medals ceremony in the Olympics sometime back in the USSR era. The awarding
of medals has always been one of my favorite parts of the Olympics. Not only
for seeing the pride on the athletes faces and the tears running down their cheeks,
but for hearing the national anthem of so many other countries. And nothing
made me quite so happy as when a Soviet athlete won and I knew I would hear
that gorgeous bit of music. I have also always loved figure skating events. Back in the
day, you didn’t have to be an expert to recognize the classic quality of
Russian skaters. For years I watched their country’s skaters and coaches, whom
I came to know by name. What they were like as people, what they sounded like -
no one knew because they were not allowed to give interviews. And then the USSR fell and everything changed. Suddenly I
heard, for the first time, the voice of Tatiana Tarasova who I had been
watching for years. I remember the odd feeling it gave me to finally have a
voice to go with the image. Unfortunately, along with the downfall of the government,
out went that beautiful national anthem. I clearly remember the feeling of sadness
when I realized I would never again hear it on a podium. And then they brought
the anthem back! How thrilled was I when, the other night, the Russians took
gold and silver in pairs skating. Unbelievably, the entire final round had been
broadcast live, and after the final skate I readied myself for the medals
ceremony. I stared at the screen in disbelief as NBC cut away and did not
broadcast the event. For those in the US who have never watched an international
sporting event from Europe, or probably any other continent, you have no idea
what you are missing. For some reason, NBC thinks Americans only want to watch
Americans, and only want to watch the top ten in any sport, and only late at
night as a highlight reel. That’s not the way they do it elsewhere around the
world. Events are shown live, beginning to end, including medals ceremonies. It’s hard to understand how in 2014 the Olympic coverage seems
inferior to what I watched as a kid. Sure, the images are now in color and of a
far better quality, but I miss seeing things like medals ceremonies and hearing
other countries national anthems. One would think that all those parts missing
on the broadcast would be available on NBC’s massive Olympic site, but they are
not. I’m still working out how to Google in Russian to see if I can find a
video of the pair’s medal ceremony.