Category Archives: Books and Publishing

Seems like it takes forever…

Today, I’m celebrating the  release of my newest book, THE CATTLEMAN. And I’m happy to report it has one 5-star review! Yay!

This book is #2 in the “Sons of Texas” series and a sequel to last year’s release, THE TYCOON. You don’t have to read THE TYCOON, but the story arc over three books is a family saga, so you might like to read it to get the total picture.  🙂 The third book in the series will be THE HORSEMAN, which will be Troy’s story. If I write really fast, I might get it done within the next 6 months.

So far, THE CATTLEMAN is available only at Amazon, but I’ll be loading it onto other sites this week.  I hope to have the print edition available by the end of the month. Following are the cover and the blurb. AnnaJeffrey_TheCattleman800

     Ever since a disastrous marriage and divorce at a young age, Pickett Lockhart has kept his emotions under control. He’s preoccupied anyway with learning to be the general manager of the vast Double-Barrel Ranch outside of Drinkwell, Texas. Still, his older brother’s marriage and looming fatherhood have aroused an envy within him to have a wife, kids and home of his own. But he can’t get married, even to a woman he loves who also loves him. His divorce cost him and his family a bundle, leaving him with an overwhelming fear of stepping into another financial trap.

     Amanda Breckenridge, winning swim team coach and English teacher in Drinkwell High School, has been in love with Pic for as long as she can remember. They were high school sweethearts. After he eloped with someone he met in college, Amanda left Drinkwell. Her father’s illness brought her back to town and a revived relationship with Pic. But Pic’s mother has never thought Amanda was good enough for him. She intends to destroy their relationship by sending a friend’s beautiful daughter to the ranch to tempt Pic. Can Amanda and Pic’s bond survive his mother’s meddling schemes? Or the unexpected career opportunity that falls into Amanda’s lap?

I don’t know about other authors, but the release of a new book is an anxious time for me. I’ve never felt so naked and vulnerable as I do when a book goes on the market for the first time. I can’t explain it. I just know that I won’t relax until after it’s out there and those who are going to praise it have had an opportunity to do so and those who are going to pan it have also had the opportunity.

Since my books are a little different from most typical romance novels, I’ve gotten a lot of criticism over the years. Probably a lot more than I would get if I followed the more conventional path.

In any event, it’s packaged and gone.

If you haven’t read my Anna Jeffrey books and like a love story with a little different twist, you might give it a try. And drop me a note and let me know what you think. Or post a review on Amazon or GoodReads. I can’t express enough how important reader reviews are.

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IT’S OUT!…

IT’S OUT! The audio edition of THE LOVE OF A COWBOY.

I’m excited to report this news. It went live yesterday.

Making COWBOY into an audio book was a labor of love for me. It was my first published book. And its’ still my best-selling book. Now it’s available in print, digital and audio.

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I was lucky to find a very good narrator. I’ve listened to a few audio books where the narrator was so bad, she actually did harm to the book. I’m grateful to say that didn’t happen to me when I searched for someone. Finding a good one is a challenge. The requirement is that they read a 5-7 minute sample and you listen. From that, you choose one. It’s scary because that really isn’t much of a sample and it isn’t cheap to produce an audio book. When you make your choice, you’re sort of stepping out there on a wing and a prayer.

If you’ve never listened to a book, you should give it a try even if you’ve already read it. Audio brings a different perspective, especially to the characters. Hearing the dialogue voiced might change you imagined the hero or the heroine.

THE LOVE OF A COWBOY is available at Amazon, Audible and iTunes. You can listen on an MP3 player, your phone, your tablet or any other device that has audio.

If you haven’t signed up to receive my newsletter, between now and July 15th, I’ll be collecting names of new subscribers. On the 15th, I’ll draw a couple of names from the new subscribers to whom I’ll give MP3 players.  Just go to my website, www.annajeffrey.com and follow the prompts.

Meanwhile, here’s the blurb for THE LOVE OF A COWBOY:

“When Texas beauty, Dahlia Montgomery and her best friend journey to Idaho for a change of scenery for the summer, the last thing she expects to encounter is Luke McRae, a lean cowboy intent on sweeping her off her feet and into his bed. Dahlia can’t resist his rugged cowboy swagger and his sky blue eyes, even though she knows he can break her heart.

Luke is part owner and manager of the legendary Double Deuce Ranch in the Idaho mountains. With the ranch, an alcoholic ex-wife, a shrewish mother and three kids to worry about, he has no interest in romance. But that doesn’t mean he has given up casual sex with beautiful women….But is either he or Dahlia prepared for the consequences of a sexy summer romp?”

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COUNTERFEIT HONEY? WTF?…

A few days back, I caught a headline about one of the largest food frauds in the history of the country. (See link at the bottom of this post to read about it.)

A headline like that just naturally catches my eye since one of my concerns in life has become the safety of the food we are forced to buy because none other is available to us.

And lo and behold, when I read further, the subject product is one of my favorites: HONEY!

Honey in honeycombs

Honey in honeycombs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A German company with offices in Chicago has been marketing all over the world honey that is imported from China and contains chemicals banned in the US. (Big surprise, huh?) Who knew honey was imported?

The company figured out how to avoid USDA red tape by routing it through other countries and bringing it into the US as a product of some different country. Also there’s honey that has been diluted with syrup or water, honey that is contaminated with various other chemicals and the list goes on. This product might not make it to our dinner tables, but it might show up in other manufactured foods that have honey as an ingredient, i.e., cereals, baking goods, etc.

A couple of people have gone to jail over this, a relief, I guess.

I’ve been worried for a while about honey bees dying off for some unknown reason. Despite the environmentalist groups proclaiming that bees are dying from various chemicals that are applied to plants, that isn’t the biggest reason the bees are disappearing. It has finally been concluded that the bees have been attacked by a virus and no one knows what to do about it.

Not good news. Honey is good for everything. And it tastes good. But even if you are not a honey-lover, you have to be concerned about the disappearance of the bees because without them, pollination necessary for growing plants that produce food becomes an issue.

For a while now, because I understand there’s a shortage, I’ve been clenching my jaw and paying $9.00 for a quart bottle of honey. And that is by no means the most expensive. Like everything we eat, the price of just keep going up.

I’ve taken comfort in the labels that boast “Product of the USA” and “U.S. Grade A 100% Pure Honey” and “Source Verified.”  ….. But what do those labels mean, really? Marketing itself is so fraudulent, I can’t help but wonder what kind of gyrations someone has gone through to be able to make those claims. I’m sure all of the honey is combined in one big pot before it’s bottled, so is it possible that a bad batch gets combined with the good batches?

You won’t have any trouble convincing me that it is. What I mourn is that even if says it’s 100% pure and safe, I will never be able to consume honey again without wondering about it. All I can say is, if you buy honey, folks, check the label.

And now, on to books news. AnnaJeffrey_OurRedHotRomance_Audio3

OUR RED HOT ROMANCE IS LEAVING ME BLUE by Dixie Cash is now available as an audio book at www.audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes at a reasonable price. The narrator—her name is Holly Adams—does a great job. You can listen on your MP3 player, your tablet or your phone. Of course, you can still buy the print book at Amazon. Here’s the blurb:

“Ghost busting! Not the usual gig for the Domestic Equalizers, Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin. Their forte is cheating husbands and wives and significant others. “Don’t get mad, get even” is their motto.

That is, until they meet Justin Sadler. He’s trying to come to terms with the passing of his dearly beloved Rachel. Except that now he’s not sure she has passed. Either she’s trying to communicate with him from the other side or somebody is trying to drive him crazy. Who else to find the answer to an off-beat question than the offbeat detectives, The Domestic Equalizers?

Knowing little about ghostly activities, their solution is to recommend that Justin hire an out-of-town psychic. He skeptically agrees and the fun begins. No one expected the medium from El Paso to be young and beautiful and sweet as pecan pie. No one expected her to call up a few ghosts from Edwina’s past. But it all turns out in the end. Justin and the El Paso mentalist live happily ever after ad the Domestic Equalizers add the solution to another off-the-wall mystery to their resume.”

It’s funny, I don’t care who you are. 🙂

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“Lone Star Woman,” for Sale at Last…

LONE STAR WOMAN is now for sale online at Amazon. I’ll soon have it uploaded to Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. I’ve posted the cover in several places because I think it’s beautiful. Kim Killion, the graphic designer who has designed all my covers since I’ve been self-publishing, did it. She’s just an awesome designer.

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I’ve made a few revisions and tried to strengthen the ending. Here’s a blurb:

“Jude Strayhorn, the only child of the vast Circle C Ranch’s CEO, is in constant conflict with her father and grandfather. Her greatest desire is to exert her education and influence on the ranch’s operation, but the two men thwart her at every turn. Giving up, she goes outside the Circle C intending to use her trust fund to buy a small spread from a deceased widow’s estate where she can put her ideas into practice. That is, until she runs headlong into the widow’s heir, Brady Fallon, who has his own plans for the 6-0 Ranch.

Brady Fallon is no stranger to Willard County, though he hasn’t been around since childhood. His inheritance needs a lot of work and he needs money to put it back into shape and revive it as a cattle operation. He hires on as a hand at the Circle C Ranch, a move that leads to unexpected benefits for his future as well as unwanted conflict with his boss’s daughter. Can he set his attraction to her aside for his own good?”

This book was originally published under the pseudonym, Sadie Callahan. I never did like changing names, but my editor thought it was a good idea to boost sales. I also wrote “Man of the West” as the 2nd book in this series. It’s still in print as a Sadie Callahan book and a lot of readers hate the ending. Hopefully, at some point, I’ll get the rights back and be able to make some revisions I want to make to it, too. ….. The proposal for Book #3 is still sitting in my computer. One of these days, I’ll get around to writing that book.

The setting for LONE STAR WOMAN is a sprawling fictitious ranch, the Circle C, located in a fictitious county in the Texas Panhandle. Though the town and county aren’t real, I sort of loosely drew on information from the historical old ranches located in West Texas. There were a dozen or so, founded back in the days when beef was first discovered by Easterners and in high demand.

The ranching industry became an integral part of civilizing the West. It created its own culture that exists to this day. The boom might have lasted only about 10 years, but it left a lasting legacy.

If you haven’t read LONE STAR WOMAN, hope you enjoy it.

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TIME TO CATCH MY BREATH…

March was a busy month, fellow bloggers. Despite my vow to be more conscious of posting regularly on this blog, I fell by the wayside. I started the month with cataract surgery on my left eye, which I wrote about. That kept me preoccupied for a week. I had the surgery on the right eye on the 25th, which kept me preoccupied for another week. The results were great. I now have 20-25 vision and I can actually see what I’m doing. I didn’t realize how blind I had gotten.

I attended the Dallas Area Romance Authors’ conference. And to prove it, here’s my picture. I really do not photograph well.  …..  First writers’ conference I’ve been to in several years. I had a great time. I love being with other authors. There’s always so much to talk about. In my everyday life, I know no one I can chat with about writing and about what’s going on in the publishing industry. DARA(2)_2013

 

I did some giveaways of THE TYCOON on GoodReads. I was surprised by how many signed up for a free copy. It’s gotten 5-star reviews on GoodReads, Amazon and AnnaJeffrey_TheTycoon_200pxBarnes & Noble all three. Those reviews on Amazon are so important to a book’s rank on that website. A high rank on Amazon translates into sales. Now that Amazon has bought GoodReads, perhaps the GoodReads reviews will show up on Amazon’s pages. I can hope.  …  If you’ve read it and if you enjoyed it, and if you have the time and inclination, I would so appreciate your posting a review on Amazon. Or on Barnes & Noble or GoodReads. If you don’t want to write something, just “Like” it or rate it.

 

I made progress on THE CATTLEMAN, which is Book #2 of the Sons of Texas trilogy. THE CATTLEMAN is Pic’s story. It’s a love triangle and it’s coming together. It’s always a good feeling when a story starts to gel in my mind.

AnnaJeffrey_SalvationTexas_800The awesome Kim Killion designed a new cover for SALVATION, TEXAS. As soon as I do some editing in it, I’ll be re-submitting it with the new cover. Meanwhile, I’m letting you look at it here. I think it’s sexy, but let me know what *you* think.  …..  She also designed a new cover for LONE STAR WOMAN, which I’ll soon be re-releasing as an Anna Jeffrey book. It was originally printed by NAL under my Sadie Callahan pen name. Let me know what you think of its cover, too. Same cute guy on both covers. Cool, huh?AnnaJeffrey_LoneStarWoman_800

 

Well, I’ve done it, fellow readers. I’ve read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” But I haven’t decided if I’m going to comment on it. I’m reluctant to post reviews of romance novels. I’ll let you know later. However, if you’ve read it and want to comment here, please feel free to do so.

Meanwhile, check out the 5-star reviews of THE TYCOON!

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FREE BOOK!

Hi, everyone,

I’m giving away 3 copies of THE TYCOON at The Good, The Bad and The Unread. http://goodbadandunread.com/ in either e-book or print format. Stop by and leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

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In case you’ve forgotten (as if I haven’t inundated everyone with this information), here’s a short blurb:

When wealthy Texas ranching scion and business tycoon, DRAKE LOCKHART, encounters stunning SHANNON PIPER at a fancy ball, the last thing he expects is a tryst he can’t forget with a woman who disappears in the middle of the night. Once he finds her, he recognizes his bachelor days are over, but she isn’t ready. She doesn’t trust him. She wants to restrict their relationship to “just sex.” Surmounting the barriers she erects isn’t easy, especially when without his knowledge, an associate in his powerful company yanks a coveted real estate buy out from under her. How will he ever restore her faith in him?

 

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SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION…

Happy Holidays, everyone. As for me, I’m just glad it’s almost over. When you work in retail, the Christmas season calls for a huge amount of work and the patience of Job. And it’s hard to find fun in all of the chaos.

North Texas actually had snow on Christmas Day this year. In my entire life, except in the Panhandle, I don’t think I’ve ever known of it snowing on Christmas in this part of the world.

A lot of other things were going on besides work at my real job. First and foremost, (And I don’t want to forget a trumpet blare here), I finally got THE TYCOON uploaded into the Kindle Store on Amazon. But it didn’t happen until Christmas week. And here’s the cover one more time.

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I ran into a few snags, like a copyeditor who dropped the ball. Consequently, I ended up hurrying through it and formatting it myself. The result of that was a whole lot of errors in the formatting. I hate that, but I had to upload it. I had copyrighted in in 2012 and I wanted it to be a 2012 release. Now I’m in the process of going back and correcting the errors. I can’t move on get into Book #2 because I can’t seem to get free of Book #1.

My intention was to get it uploaded the first week of December, then follow up with the promotion of SWEET WATER free in the Kindle Store, thus expose it to more traffic. Not getting the copyedit back threw my schedule all off and nothing came off as I had planned.

One of the things I’m learning in self-publishing is that there are a lot of unqualified, unreliable folks out there. I knew that about other endeavors in which I’ve been involved through the years, but I was hoping for better from the writing world.

I put a price of $4.99 on THE TYCOON because it’s a long book and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. It’s my usual character-driven soap opera. As I think I’ve said before, it’s Book #1 of a trilogy called SONS OF TEXAS. The books will be romance novels, but overarching the trilogy and threading through it is the story of a wealthy, dysfunctional Texas family. The true ending will not come until the end of the 3rd book.

Besides that, I got SWEET RETURN uploaded into the Amazon Kindle Store. Kim Killion designed an awesome cover. It might be my most favorite cover. Let me know what *you* think.

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The female model on the cover wrote me a Facebook message and told me how happy she was to be on the cover. I thought that was cool. Actually, it’s kind of surreal how much these two models look like I imagined Dalton Parker and Joanna Walsh, the hero and heroine in that book.

SWEET RETURN is a reprint of my 2008 book. It won the Aspen Gold contest held by an RWA chapter in Denver and placed in several other contests. It will also be available as a print book from Amazon. It was a fun book to write and I hope it’s a fun book to read.

So that’s what’s been keeping me busy writing-wise and publishing-wise.

Prior to that, my daughter came and stayed ten days with me. We beaded and cooked and shopped and did all of the things we usually do. Had a great time. I enjoy her company so much and miss her a lot. One of these days, I’m going to have to move to Oregon to be near her. She hates Texas and only comes here because I’m here.

I didn’t do a lot of holiday cooking this year, but I did make biscotti to take to work. Turned out to be delicious. I had never made it before, but it’s fairly easy and almost foolproof. And tomorrow, I go back to my real job, which ends the holiday for me.

One of my resolution for the coming year is to try to be more attentive to this blog. For me, its purpose it to promote my books, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about other things. A lot is going on in the world and most of it bears discussing. So please hang in there with me.

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TIDBITS OF NEW OLD NEWS . . .

I’ve hired someone to format THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN for the digital bookstores, so I won’t be taking six months to do it myself and get it uploaded. If all goes well, I’ll be able to upload it by the end of this month and hopefully, it will be error-free.

I have a cover ready and waiting. It was designed by miracle worker Kim Killion. I love this woman.

I’m weary of seeing half-naked men on book covers, so I decided to go a different direction. Seems like every other book these days has a picture of bare chests and abs. Hope I haven’t made the wrong decision. This guy looks pretty good, doesn’t he? Even if he is fully clothed. Let me know what you think. One nice thing about self-publishing: If the cover is wrong, you can take a mulligan.

This book was originally released in 2005. The original cover designed by my print publisher won the Cover Cafe award for cover of the year.

Like all of my books, it’s kind of a soap opera. The “What If?” question I asked when developing this story was, what if beautiful gutsy woman who has been abandoned by the guy she ran away from home with years back, returns to her hometown, bringing her brainy daughter, searching for her roots and starting her life anew, only to encounter and be distracted by the man who has been in love with her since they were teenagers?

What if a handsome ex-ProRodeo champion, who is divorced and starting over, takes on the job of sheriff in his tiny crime-free hometown just to while away a few months before he does something else, then a murder occurs under his watch? And what if, at the same time, he runs into the beautiful woman he had a crush on in high school?

If you’ve read my books, you know that all of my heroines are beautiful and all of my heroes are handsome. Romance novels are, after all, fantasies. So if you haven’t read this one, it will soon be available through Kindle and Nook and other online venues.

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The second occurrence is I had a conversation with Amazon about publishing a print edition of THE TYCOON. According to them, I’m wrong in thinking I should publish it as an e-book first. They recommend I publish it as a POD book first. I’m still deciding. In any event, God willing, I’ll get this book on the market this year. I started the year thinking I would get it out there in February. Then I moved the date to May, then September. Now I’ve lowered my sights and I’m just shooting for 2012. So much for best-laid plans.

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My newly designed Web site is up and functioning. Check it out. www.annajeffrey.com. Let me know if you have any problems navigating it. It can be fixed.

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FINISHED!! … AT LAST!

I’m back, fellow bloggers and readers! I hope none of you thought I had died.

Two things have been going on that have kept me from blogging. I just had to get THE TYCOON finished, which I did. Unfortunately, my *real* job consumes so much of my energy and time, I just don’t get anything done during the four days I work, so I had to dedicate my three days off to nothing but the book.

I already have the cover. I’ve just applied for a copyright and now I’m on a quest for a couple of beta readers and a copyeditor. One thing I’ve learned is copyeditors are expensive!

I’m going to release it as an e-book, but soon I will put it into print as a paperback.

Finishing a book is a weird letdown. All of a sudden I feel like I’ve got nothing to do, though in fact, I do have plenty to do to launch the book. But I’ve lived with this particular one and its characters for more than two years now. So giving them up is almost like abandoning the family pet. I know from the past that for a few days, it will just feel like something important is missing from my life.

I’ve posted the blurb for THE TYCOON before, but it’s been a while, so here it is again.

“When DRAKE LOCKHART, wealthy Texas ranching scion and business tycoon, meets a stunning redhead at a fancy ball, the last thing he expects is a tryst he can’t forget, followed by her disappearing in the middle of the night. Every minute spent with the vulnerable beauty has left him hungering for more.

“SHANNON PIPER was out of place at the ball. And an intimate encounter with a man so far removed from her social hemisphere wasn’t on her agenda, especially when he has a reputation for ruthlessness and is one of Texas Monthly’s most eligible bachelors known for his history with women. Is a relationship based on just sex the way to protect her heart? Or is it the beginning of the most enduring love a girl with a sketchy past could ever know?”

So what do you think? Does the blurb make you want to read it?

I also have a new Web site being designed. Hopefully, it and the new book will launch at about the same time.

Now I’m on to working on THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN, which was originally released in 2005, getting it ready to upload. Too bad I can’t use the same cover because that cover won an award.

The second thing that has been going on is I put my 2003 release, THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, in the Amazon Kindle Select program. Since it’s a nine-year-old book, I was amazed and humbled by the number of readers who downloaded it when it was free and and bought it after the free promotion ended.  It stayed at #1 on the Top 100 Free Downloads in the Kindle store all five days and remained on the top twenty list for nearly several weeks. That was more than I had hoped for when I started the promotion.

That kind of reception lessens some of the trepidation I have about releasing THE TYCOON. Since I haven’t self-published an original book before, obviously, I’m a little nervous. I’ll keep you posted.

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THE PROMOTION…AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The 5-day free book promotion in Amazon Kindle’s store on THE LOVE OF A COWBOY is over. It garnered a huuuge number of downloads. Or at least, I thought it was huge.  If I were earning Amazon’s standard rate for each download, today I would be an exceedingly happy woman.

I’m happy anyway to have had so many download the book and get the Anna Jeffrey brand out there to the reading public. Getting the book out there was something at which my print publisher did a very poor job. When the Anna Jeffrey books were all in print, I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, “I’d love to read your book, but I can’t find it anywhere.”

Now I have to try to figure out what it all means. The number of downloads was 3 times as large as the number for THE LOVE OF A STRANGER. Was that because the word “cowboy” is in the title? Was it because it had a lot of 5-star reader reviews on Amazon? Was it because of the cover? ….. If you have an opinion, please let me know.

Apparently I’m still not on top of the formatting. A couple of readers made negative comment on Amazon about the formatting and proofreading. I thought I had all of that under control, but perhaps I do not. Either that, or something weird happens between the Word document and the upload to Amazon.

Eventually, I’ll promote something else, but at the moment, I’m trying to get THE TYCOON finished so I can publish it. That has taken me a whole lot longer than I intended for it to. Just not enough hours in the day.

So that’s the report. With far more downloads than I ever expected, I’m calling the promotion on the COWBOY book successful.

Would love to hear your comments.

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