24 March 2015

The Many Wonders of Costa Contente

I have been thinking about running a free download promo of my book, The Many Wonders of Costa Contente.

One reviewer on Amazon had this to say:

"This is a book of stories, woven into the tapestry of a different community, but one similar to where I once lived in and called home. This theme should be familiar to anyone who lived somewhere outside of their community or familiarity where they where raised. I loved reading this. The author paints with her words the folklore of a small town. As I read the stories, I saw the community that had been there for generations, rich in its history. It took me back to when I lived in a small village in Brazil, every one knew a common but embellished history. But in this book you see history as it happens, it becomes real. One line I could particularly relate to was about some past experiences of a character named Zequinho, relating to memories, "that was so long ago that it now felt like something he had read in a book, not really experienced". I was caught in that place, between reality and imagination, and had the feeling of "yes"... it did happened. I could feel, see, and smell it as if it was only yesterday. Beautifully written, words painting new, but somewhat familiar images, giving life to faded memories."
I really want more people to read it, and am happy to give away copies. This time, however, I think I should put the word out and see if anyone really is interested in reading it rather than simply downloading a copy because it is there.
Any takers?

26 February 2015

Happy Year of the Ram

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.

11 February 2015

Great Reads for the Commute

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.

27 January 2015

Back to Shevled Projects

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.

19 January 2015

Reviews are Coming In

Pia often visits the Monterey Bay Aquarium
I released my latest book, Bad Accounts, at the end of December. Soon after, I ran a five day giveaway.

And then the waiting began....maybe someone will really read my book and then maybe they will rate or review it.

I am thrilled that in less than a month since it was put up on Amazon, I have both. Even better, both readers gave Bad Accounts 5 stars. What a wonderful start to 2015.

10 January 2015

Free Download Update

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.

27 December 2014

'Bad Accounts' - New Book-Free Download

 Bad Accounts    My latest book, is now available on Amazon. 

Top 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.
Maybe 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.
From 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.
Happy New Year to all!

28 July 2014

Nha Trang Haunted - free ebook download this week

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?

All reviews/ratings are welcome.

14 July 2014

Eagle Creek Travel Gear

     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 had.
     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. 
     A huge Thank You to Eagle Creek!

14 February 2014

Where are the Medals Ceremonies?

     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.