06 March 2018

I Didn't Even Last 6 Weeks

I have just deactivated my Facebook account after less than 2 months. I only ever wanted an Author's Page, but could only do that if I first had a personal page.

It turned out to be as unpleasant an experience as I had anticipated. The voyeuristic aspect of Facebook is one of the main reasons I quit.  I would find myself looking up people I hadn't been in contact with for years. I'd scroll through their life and pictures and then feel like taking a shower. I'd never make it as a stalker.

Then there are the privacy concerns. I have just handed over a slew of information to the folks at Facebook. Even though I deleted every Facebook search, and even though I clear and clean my laptop every single evening, Facebook keeps all that information. For example, ads kept popping up for an eyeglass company that I had contacted a month before. Names of People I Might Know continually showed up on the side of my Facebook page even though I had cleared them from my search box.

I will stick to Goodreads where it feels warm and caring. I will stay with my Amazon page. And I will continue writing here and on my other site.Kate's Travel Site  No doubt Goodreads and Amazon have amassed a bunch of info about me, but at least they do not throw it in my face. Perhaps it is a false sense of privacy, but it sure beats Facebook's attempts to control what I do, as well as their preachy attitude.

Back to flogging my books on the street corners. I only ever did that once, but it seems like it might be something I should get back to.

26 February 2018

I Didn't Win the PHC Sweepstakes

I could write a few good books from this spot.
I did not win the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. I did not win the $5K a week for life. I am back to square one on my quest to become financially independent.

My mother used to enter the PCH sweepstakes back in the day when one submitted an entry by mail, not that she never won anything. When the contest comes up every year I always think about her, and so a few years ago I entered. But then I started getting the daily emails and quickly unsubscribed. For some reason I decided to try again this year and in mid-February, entered the sweepstakes. The following day the emails started to arrive. This time, before unsubscribing, I actually read one and was surprised to find the warning that if I did not reply in a timely fashion I would not be eligible for the Big Bucks.

I began to respond; for $5K a week, there are a lot worse things I might be willing to do. It often meant scrolling through pages of sales offers to finally get to the Submit button. I got rather fast at that, and cleanly avoided the purchase of even one item. As the contest clearly states, No Purchase Necessary. Unbeknownst to me, the PHC barrage of correspondence did not stop there. I received daily emails form the PCH Lotto and PHC Keno, PHC Play&Win, PHC Games, PHC Search, and PHC Front Page; as many as ten a day. There was no clear indication which ones I had to click through and which ones I could immediately delete without being in jeopardy of missing out on the $5K a week sweepstakes. So I responded to all of them, which often meant playing silly bingo games.

As it turned out, the lady who won the contest this year had actually submitted her entry by mail. It must be less annoying than by email, but I bet she got on a lot of unwanted mailing lists. Not that she would mind. I am sure she can now afford to hire someone to sort through her mail.

If I ever again decide to enter, it will be on the last day possible, which might be the day before the drawing. One day of finding my inbox with ten notifications to Reply or Give Up my Chance to Win, might be worth it.

Meanwhile, it’s back to the writing board. Honest, I am more than willing to work to make a living. It’s just that I would much prefer to write books than engage in the limited, low-wage jobs that I can do at this point in my life

I don’t need $5K a week for life. $1K or $2K a month would do me fine. Maybe the publishers at Publishers Clearing House will take a look at my work and give me a leg up. One has to dream big!

14 February 2018

Spring Break Books

                          Spring Break is Just Around the Corner

Tel Aviv...Cairo...Brazil...California...Mexico...Bali?
If you can't go, you can always travel there through one of these books.

EBooks available for only $2.99 on Amazon. 

14 December 2017

Goodreads Giveaways....not the best for this author

I ran my first Goodreads giveaway five years ago. Initially, I was thrilled with the response. Of the two books I listed, I received over 600 requests on one of the titles, and nearly 500 on the other. When the winners were chosen, I sat down the following day to write notes to each of the 10 winners, pack up their books, and head down to the post office.  And then I waited.

Not too long after my books had been sent out, I got a 4 star rating and review of Murder, Jaz, & Tel Aviv. I was off to a good start. As the weeks, and then months rolled by, I began to realize that maybe I wasn't going to get any more feedback from the winners of my giveaways. 

True, it is clearly stated in the Giveaway guidelines that one cannot request reviews. Other authors have written that one should give their books away and not expect to get a review. On that, I have to disagree.

I have run giveaways as a way to promote my books. I do not expect readers to give me 5 star ratings or glorious reviews. But I did expect that people who requested my books had an actual interest in reading them. That does not seem to be the case. 

It wasn't until September of this year that I decided to once again run a few Giveaways. This time, I only offered two books at a time. I ran one for Broadsided in Bali, in September. One for Bad Accounts, in October. And one for The Many Wonders of Costa Contente, in November. To date, I have received no ratings or reviews.

There seem to be lots of folks who enter giveaways on a daily basis. I am sure many of those really do want to read the books. But when I check on the readers that have won copies of mine, there are very few reviews - or even none. 

I am happy to give a copy of any of my books to anyone who wants to read them. I am more than a little disappointed in people who enter a giveaway only to add a book to their library that they do not intend to read. Possibly these people have actually read one of my books. I understand that some people do not like to write reviews, but clicking on a star rating takes very little effort. 

Even if I wanted to chance it again, Goodreads is soon to change their Giveaway policy and it will now cost authors to do so. I, for one, can not afford it. 

I am not giving up on my belief that I can make a living as an author, no matter the odds against me. But it is quite disheartening to believe that there are people out there eager to read your books, only to find out that it was more likely their desire to win something.

08 November 2017

NaNoWriMo & The Office of Light and Letters

NaNoWriMo  HQ

The National Writing Month is in full swing, so what better time to visit their corporate headquarters? 
Although I personally have never entered into the NaNoWriMo fray of writing a novel in one month, I know several people who have participated. Friends from Canada, the UK, and Australia, have sung its praises for years. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of yearly participants.
Like many people, I assumed that the whole deal was run out of someone’s breakfast nook. Or at least that’s the impression I got when looking at their website. And I do believe that it did start out of Chris Baty’s apartment back in 1999. Then last year, while looking into NaNoWriMo, I stumbled upon the fact that they had a physical presence a short drive from my present home. I knew I had to go.

The Office of Letters and Light, (NaNoWriMo HQ), is located on that last little smidgen of South Berkeley, CA, before it turns into Oakland. One hundred years ago, their office had been a small store – a tailor’s…. a grocery store…hardware & horse tackle? The glass windowed store front now showcases an old school desk on one side, and a typewriter on the other. The front door opens into a long, narrow shop, bright and gleaming, and quite a contrast to the grey day outdoors.  

I was greeted by Chris Angotti, their Chief Operating Officer, who welcomed me to look around and take pictures. Even though everyone was in the middle of all-out-craziness – this being November, all were pleasant and smiling and happy to answer my questions.
The poster on the wall for The Night of Writing Dangerously, caught my eye. It’s a fabulous night of dining and drinking and writing at the beautiful Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. When I mentioned that it sounded like a blast, but that I would not get one word written at a party, another staffer said I should just come to enjoy the atmosphere. It does sound rather enticing.
A block from HQ in 1946 (Bay Area News Group.)
For those who participate, I have nothing but admiration. For those who actually achieve 50,000 words in one month…I am astounded. On their website it states that  "Our experiences since 1999 show that 50,000 words is a challenging but achievable goal, even for people with full-times jobs and children." 
Oh dear....where have I gone wrong? In the past year I have written at least 50,000 words, but that is a combination of three different books that I started. Nonetheless, the efforts of the tens of thousands who are currently banging away at their typewriters, is quite inspirational. Maybe I'll hammer out another few chapters over the weekend.


06 November 2017

The Many Wonders of Costa Contente - GIVEAWAY

Goodreads Giveaway for The Many Wonders of Costa Contente
10 Nov - 20 Nov
Latin American Fiction - Magical Realism


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        The Many Wonders of Costa Contente by Kate McVaugh


          The Many Wonders of Costa Contente


          by Kate McVaugh


            Giveaway ends November 20, 2017.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




From the back cover:
"There’s a small town on the South American coast where the sweet sea air mixes with fragrant tropical blossoms. It’s a place where the neighbors are kind, the parrots are helpful, and wonders abound in everyday life.

It’s in this town of Costa Contente that you’ll find Dona Gloria and her husband Berto, proprietors of the Casa de Everything & Anything. It’s in their home that you’ll meet Solange, the young traveler they’ve welcomed into their lives. Just across the way is the Taverna Amore and its owner Gilberto. And Dona Immaculada is not far away, ready with a potion or bit of insight to soothe a broken heart or ease a sore back.

When the drought lasts longer than anyone expected, the citizens of Costa Contente rally together to save their parched town. When the ghost of Don Mateo becomes restless after outsiders attempt to decimate his family’s land, a meeting is called at the tavern. Working together, the townspeople always come up with a plan to overcome any obstacle, large or small. Careful thought, hard work, and just that little bit of the magical assure that Costa Contente will continue to thrive for its people and the land on which it rests

01 October 2017

Bad Accounts Giveaway : 4 Oct - 21 Oct

I am running a Giveaway of Goodreads for Bad Accounts.

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. That is until she finds out her employers might be involved in the drug trade, and jumps in put a stop to it all.
From Monterey, California all the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, aging gangsters, bungling rent-a-cops, and an out-of-his-element hitman, get in on the action.

I had so many entrants for my last giveaway for Broadsided in Bali, that I am offering 2 free copies of that book to anyone who would like to read it in exchange for a review. I can be contacted through the form on this page, or through Goodreads messaging.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Bad Accounts by Kate McVaugh


          Bad Accounts


          by Kate McVaugh


            Giveaway ends October 21, 2017.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




14 September 2017

Quiet Before the Storm

Tonight, at 7pm, Ben Shapiro will speak at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. I would have liked to have been in Sproul Plaza to document the Antifa thugs that I am sure will be there. However, I don’t want to be out there at night so I went down to see what was happening this afternoon.
Where Free Speech Started: Sproul Hall

They have already blocked traffic to Bancroft Avenue, which runs by Zellerbach Hall, and the crowd barriers are already up. At 3:30, they will start to restrict entrance into the heart of the Free Speech Area, Sproul Hall Plaza.

For now, there are a few people out with the requisite tables and flyers protesting the right of anyone with a conservative viewpoint to speak, and referring to them with vile labels. I had no intention of getting into a discussion with any of these folks, but my inner flower-child took over.

Crowd Blockers
One non-student, surrounded by Cal students, was getting quite worked up about an Yiannopolous poster announcing his coming speech. He had ripped it off a wall, insisting that it was offensive. The students he was addressing were adamant that Yiannopolous had the right to speak. Granted, “Yiannololous is cumming” is rather crude, but not compared to what was scrawled in chalk on lower Sproul Plaza in front of Zellerbach. At this point, I could no longer keep my mouth shut. I said to him, “Sir, what is offensive to me is the Fuck the Police that is written on the ground.”  And then I walked away.

Next, I stopped by the big table and big posters set up on the Northside entrance to Sproul Plaza. I certainly did not want to get in any sort of conversation with them. But then I walked around the other side and started to listen in to a conversation that an older man and woman, most likely UC profs, were having with the Resistance table-minders.

They kept asking the resistance folks to clarify what exactly was a fascist and why they thought all conservatives were fascists. One young man started to spout something nonsensical that was so convoluted I can’t recall anything other than it was not a definition of the word. They only thing that did come across is that the likes of Ben Shapiro, Steve Bannon, and Anne Coulter did not have the right to speak at CAL.

Bancroft Ave 

Once more, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I said that I had grown up in Berkeley, that I had protested in the 60’s, and that back then we respected the right to have differing views. I said I was sad seeing what had happened to my city, that tolerance for differing views was no longer acceptable.
The woman explained that she followed Shapiro, and that he was not all the ugly names the resistance people called him. To which she got the response, “You’re wrong so I’m not even going to talk to you.”  To which I added, “She is not wrong, she just has a different opinion.”  The guy walked away.
Zellerbach Hall 

I turned to the man and woman – both had accents so I assume they had grown up in another country. I said, “These kids have no idea what it is to live in a country where you do not have rights. They do not realize how lucky they are and do not understand the freedom of speech.”

I said a few other things to the resistence-ers regarding the error in labeling people with different opinions as white supremacists, and left after one of them was getting into why Antifa had a right to bash heads. …They all really have drunk the Kool-Aid.

While walking through the area, I made sure to thank every police officer I saw for protecting the people and the city. They were truly appreciative of my words, especially when there were anti-police sentiments chalked into the ground where they stood.

There will be trouble tonight. I only hope it is nothing too serious.

02 September 2017

Broadsided in Bali Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Broadsided in Bali by Kate McVaugh

Broadsided in Bali

by Kate McVaugh

Giveaway ends October 08, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

25 August 2017

BROADSIDED in BALI has a New Cover

I plan to write a more lengthy                                                                   post about how I produced a 
a new book cover using Word. For now, I will just attach said cover.

Look for my upcoming book giveaway on Goodreads.