Tag Archives: Amazon

Guest Author – ALLYSON CHARLES

Allyson Charles

Allyson Charles is my guest author today. She lives in Northern California and is the author of the “Pineville Romance” series, small-town, contemporary romances published by Lyrical Press. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest disappointments is living in a state that doesn’t have any Cracker Barrels in it.

Following is the blurb for her new Christmas book. Sounds like fun!

SOMETIMES YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED . . . 

Allison Stuart has always been the odd-woman-out of her family. She wears her jeans a little too tight, BookCover_TheChristmasWeddingSwapcolors her hair a little too blonde, and instead of going into medicine and law like her sisters, she runs a diner. She’s also the only single sibling left. And while she won’t change her style, and her meatloaf is to die for, thank you very much, she wouldn’t mind her share of wedded bliss. So she makes an early New Year’s resolution: No more meaningless flings.

 

Drop-dead sexy Luke Hamilton is everything Allison has sworn off. His only serious relationship has been with his five-star restaurant, Le Cygne Noir, in Chicago. When he’s threatened by a lawsuit, Luke decides to hide out in Pineville, Michigan, until the statute of limitations runs out. The small town is filled with Christmas charm, but he can’t imagine living there. Heating things up with the hottie who owns the local diner would make his exile bearable—if he can convince her to give up her ridiculous resolution . . .


AND HERE’S AN EXCERPT FOR YOU TO ENJOY!

“This is a small-town diner. Your stock isn’t going to drop if you have a bit of fun with your newest employee.” His eyes raked her body, taking in every curve.

She swallowed and rose to her feet. Staying seated while he stared down at her looking like he wanted to…well, eat her up, wasn’t a strong authority position. Since this man now worked for her, he was off-limits. Her stomach quivered.

No. No, making him the forbidden fruit. He might be sexy, but he was also an arrogant know-it-all. At this stage in her life, she wanted someone she could settle down with, not tear up the sheets. She thrust her shoulders back, realizing too late it could look like she was shoving her D cups in his face. Fighting the heat crawling up her neck, she said, “If you want a tour, my advice would be to visit the tourist bureau. They have information on the sights to see. The holidays are a busy season for me, more so with Sadie’s wedding. I don’t have time for anything else. Got it?”

He nodded slowly, but Allison didn’t believe him. The tilt to his full lips was impish, as if she was a challenge he couldn’t wait to take on. The moment he spoke, she knew she was right. “I get it. You own a restaurant; you’re busy.” Sauntering to the door, he waited until he was just outside before hitting her with his parting shot.

“But a month is a long time. You won’t always be busy. And I’ll be waiting.”


DON’T FORGET…..

Allyson is giving away a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card

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HTML:  <a href=” http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2464″>Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>


STAY IN TOUCH!

Sign up for Allyson’s newsletter at http://www.allysoncharles.com/newsletter

You can find her at http://www.allysoncharles.com, on Twitter @1allysoncharles, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAllysonCharles.


Buy links for THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING SWAP:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=9781601836090
IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-christmas-wedding-swap/id1209823636?mt=11
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-wedding-swap-allyson-charles/1125489708;jsessionid=7895472FF3C5A0BDE501E6AB0E760A87.prodny_store02-atgap02?ean=9781601836090
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-christmas-wedding-swap
Google: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781601836090&c=books

 

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Re-Reading Old Books…

Lately, I’ve been re-reading books I’ve already read.

GONE WITH THE WIND

I started thinking about this a few months ago as I embarked on listening to “Gone with GWTWthe Wind” on audio. I read it the first time a long, long time ago. Then I read it again after I saw the movie. Now I’ve listened to it as an audio book. The audio of this dramatic book is over 40 hours long and it’s just as  wonderful to hear it as it was to read it. The woman who narrates it does a great job.

I only hope the book and the movie survive what is going on in our society now. I fully expect to never see the movie on TV again.


HEART OF THE WEST

My next re-read was “Heart of the West” by Penelope Williamson. I’ve now re-read this book at least four times. This is what I call a “big” book. It’s a saga that spans years. The author captured the essence of the three main characters perfectly—oneHeart of the West  anti-hero who violates every rule there is, one a foundation-of- American-life hero who built the West and a a starchy Easterner heroine whose true grit makes her a more than worthy heroine. One of the things I often find in romance novels is that the heroines don’t live up to the magnitude of the heroes. Not true with this book. Maybe that’s why I like it. It’s a book to love with characters to root for whether you like Westerns or not.

Penelope Williamson is a great author. She wrote another book that is on my list of keepers, too, “The Outsider.” I haven’t re-read that one this year, but I might yet.


THE CROSSFIRE SERIES

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Now, I’m re-reading the 5-book Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day. Another book has been added since the picture on the left entitled “One with You.”

The hero Gideon and heroine Ava are the ultimate modern, hip, wealthy characters who meet an erotic relationship head-on. Again, Ava is a heroine worthy of the sexy, controlling and dynamic billionaire businessman, Gideon Cross.

This author was not one of my faves until I read this series. This story is sort of an offshoot of the notorious “Fifty Shades” series, but so much better written. I’m surprised a movie hasn’t been made of this story of obsession and lust.

I also re-read a shorter duet by this author. “Afterburn” and “Aftershock.” Good reads. Now that I’ve become a fan, I wish she wrote more in the contemporary genre.


THE STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES

I’ve gone back and started listening to the audio versions of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. The narrator is perfect for these books. You definitely get the New Jersey flavor from her voice.

The early books were so much better than the later ones, IMHO. I can’t fault Janet Evanovich too much for this though. I  can only imagine the challenge to keep a series that now has grown to more than 20 books fresh and interesting  I have a hard time writing a trilogy.


 So why re-read books you might ask…

For the same reason I add some books to my keeper shelf and don’t add others. Sometimes, something about a story or the writing  just catches me and I decide it’s worth a second read. If you’re a writer, a clever turn of phrase is like catnip. I always discover new things I passed over before and I sometimes find that I’ve forgotten something about it.

How about you? Do you re-read books? Feel free to add your comments about the books you give a second read and why. I’d love to read your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Author

Today, my guest is Caroline Clemmons, spinner of western tales of romance and adventure. Her newest and last book of her Bride Brigade series sounds great!

Thank you, Anna, for inviting me to be your guest today. Most readers enjoy series, and that includes me. I also love writing them. Watching the characters recur as the series progresses enhances them in my mind.

I just completed writing PRUDENCE, book 7 of the Bride Brigade Series, a historical western romance. I’ve loved each of the main characters of this series. Finishing was bittersweet because I’ve been with these people for a while now. Saying goodbye has been difficult. But, I have many more books to write, so I’ve begun my next work.


Here’s the synopsis of PRUDENCE:

Prudence Lynch’s beloved grandmother trained her in midwifery and in folk medicine. Wild desert landscapeAlways ostracized because they’re different—until someone needs their help—they live in poverty at the edge of a tiny Virginia backwoods village where rumors plague them. After Granny’s death, Prudence leaves for Richmond. There, Prudence is fortunate to be chosen to accompany Lydia Harrison to Tarnation, Texas. She believes she’s left trouble and gossip behind to establish her healing business and begin a new life. But, trouble follows Prudence.

Doctor Riley Gaston wants a wife and children. He’s threatened to move from Tarnation to seek a wife, but he would never actually leave the community he loves. One of the young women Lydia brings home mesmerizes Riley. That is, until he learns her so-called profession is folk healing, which he views as dangerous as it is worthless.

Prudence is as stubborn as Riley. Danger causes them to reconsider their opinions. Is their change of heart too late?


I came up with the idea of the Bride Brigade as a twist on mail-order brides. These seven women came as guests of a wealthy widow and lived in her home until they found the man they wished to marry. Except for their hostess, the town of Tarnation, Texas had no unmarried women except elderly widows. If they hadn’t found a groom, they could have stayed as long as they wished—or until they established themselves in business and chose to move out on their own.

Six of the women came from Virginia and one from Missouri. Each had a different back story, and so did the grooms. The town name of Tarnation makes me smile. I hope it does the same for readers. Texas does have numerous towns with odd names—such as Cut and Shoot, Lick Skillet, and Dime Box.

PRUDENCE, was released a week ago. Here are some of the reviews:

Caroline Clemmons never fails to deliver quality stories, and Prudence , Bride Brigade #7, is no exception…As this is the final Bride Brigade novel, I was both thrilled and sad to see it available. This entire series was extremely enjoyable.”

“It’s sad to think we will miss Tarnation but I hope we can visit in future. Amazing story of two individuals who have to overcome their beliefs and accept each other and love in the end!”

 “Couldn’t put it down. Loved it as much as I have enjoyed the whole series.” 

“The whole series has been wonderful. Please keep writing, you write so well and I have enjoyed all your books.”


Here’s an excerpt from PRUDENCE:

     “He walked slowly, hoping to read the sign, but it was covered by bunting. Soon enough, he’d be back and by then he could meet his new neighbor. Wait—there was no one new in town except the seven women who’d accompanied           Lydia.

He froze in his spot.

No, she couldn’t, not across the street from his office. He turned and hurried across the road. Disregarding the superstition of walking under a ladder causing bad luck, he walked into the office. Sure enough, there was Prudence setting out bottles and packets of this and that.

He walked up to her. “What do you think you’re doing?”

She barely glanced up. “I’m organizing my herbs and tinctures and salves for my grand opening on Saturday.”

He edged closer. “What are you playing at? Are you setting out to deliberately cause trouble with me?”

She continued arranging things on shelves. “Certainly not. Why would you even say that? In your opinion, which you’ve made known to me and probably most of the townspeople, you don’t believe we’re in the same business. Having me here shouldn’t have anything to do with you.”

He fought for calm but it wouldn’t come. “It’s as if you’re. . . you’re saying you’re in the medical profession the same as I am.”

She stopped messing about with the dratted shelves and faced him. “Dr. Gaston, I’ve never said that. I’m interested in helping people in any way I can. If that alarms you, that’s your problem.”

He leaned in so they were nose to nose. “You’re setting yourself up as a medical authority. That’s a big problem. You can do untold harm with your so-called healing.”

Sparks shot from her blue eyes. “So can you. Do I tell you how to run your office and treat your patients? No.” She poked him in the chest. “So, Doctor Gaston. Butt. Out.”

Fuming, Riley turned on his heel and strode from the building. He rushed toward Mrs. Eppes’ home. Where did Prudence get off thinking she could do this to him?

He’d come close to kissing her. Thank heavens he’d resisted.

Who was he fooling? If he were being truthful, only her anger stopped him. What was he going to do about Prudence?

More importantly, what was he going to do about what being near her did to him?”

The buy link at Amazon is http://a.co/3AZ9c6d and it’s also in Kindle Unlimited.


Caroline’s Bio

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

She loves to hear from her readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com

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New Old Books…..

Getting the rights to a book back from a large publishing house can be a challenge. I spent at least three years trying to get the rights back on my last traditionally published book, MAN OF THE WEST, written under the pseudonym Sadie Callahan.

Last year, I finally got that letter returning all rights to me. I’m now in the process of doing some revising and preparing that book for re-release as an Anna Jeffrey book.

I had to have a new cover designed. First, you aren’t allowed to use the publishing house’s original cover because they own it. Second, it had Sadie Callahan’s name on it, a pen name that I will probably never use again. So I called on the fabulous Kim Killion (as I always do) to design the new cover.

COMING SOON!

AnnaJeffrey_ManOfTheWest_200px

This book is a sequel to LONE STAR WOMAN. The hero is the second Strayhorn cousin who is still trying to live down his father’s disgrace.

“Sheriff of a small, remote town in the Texas Panhandle, Jake Strayhorn’s calm and uncomplicated life changes when he meets the Circle C Ranch’s new cook. He’s drawn instantly to her wholesome beauty, different from any other woman he’s ever known. As a career cop, his honed instincts detect that she’s running from something, but she refuses to reveal her past. How can he protect her if he doesn’t know what’s making her so skittish?

Escaping an abusive, drug-addicted husband in the dead of night, Jolie Jensen found the perfect hiding place on the Circle C Ranch, working as a cook. This seems to be the safest place she’s found in years, yet fear lingers. Billy Jensen’s bound to find her and their daughter, and with no family, the only person she knows she can lean on is the too-attractive sheriff. He’s shown himself willing to be her protector, but can she protect her heart from the quiet, strong Jake Strayhorn?”

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 I love writing sagas about big families and all of the drama that can be associated with them. And here’s the blurb to LONE STAR WOMAN, Book #1 of this trilogy that was also originally released as a Sadie Callahan book.

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“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 AnnaJeffrey_LoneStarWoman_800education 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?”

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The Strayhorns was always supposed to be a trilogy, so I’ve planned a third book. It will be Cable Strayhorn’s story. Cable is the third Strayhorn cousin who returns to the Circle C Ranch after living away most of his adult life. So far, the title of that book is SON OF THE PLAINS.

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AnnaJeffrey_TheHorseman_200px (2)I’m still working on THE HORSEMAN. Almost finished. I’ve had some distractions and writing it has taken much longer than I thought it would. It’s a complex story. I have to wind up the loose ends left in THE TYCOON and THE CATTLEMAN as well as solve the mystery of who is harassing the Lockhart family and try to keep the word count as low as possible. However, I can finally see the top of the mountain. Please hang in there with me. I’ll have it on the market soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Readers (and Writers) Beware!

The world of electronic publishing and reading has been a blessing to many people. My DH for instance. On his Kindle reader he can enlarge the font and enjoy reading without his glasses. I, too, like reading on my Kindle and getting ebooks at a cheaper price than print books most of the time. It certainly has eliminated a storage problem for me in that even before Kindle, I already had rooms full of books that I didn’t know what to do with and didn’t have room for more. Still the case, I might add.51nk+aSvOFL._AC_US327_QL65_

Electronic publishing has enabled me to publish my own books instead of going through the crap-shoot of trying to sell them to New York publishers, which is like wading through Saran Wrap. It has brought me income that I wouldn’t have received from traditional publishing, for which I’m grateful.

A couple of years ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle Unlimited program that was immediately recognized as a boon to readers, but an unknown quotient to authors. Nevertheless, authors embraced it and put their books in the program exclusively for 90 days, shutting down their listings in other retail venues such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc.


Around the end of last year or the first of this year, my book sales at Amazon started tanking and I couldn’t figure out why. I wasn’t doing anything different from what I’ve always done. Sales got steadily worse every month. Admittedly, I’m not one of those prolific authors who rolls out a new book every 2 or 3 months, but still, the books I had on Amazon had always moved steadily along.

Eventually, I started seeing comments on social media from other authors about the same dearth of sales. I was still scratching my head, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. (And I haven’t figured it out entirely.)

I  already had faced that my self-published books were competing with books being   published directly and heavily marketed by Amazon under its own imprints. Amazon now has several imprints in several genres. They work the  same way as the traditional publishers in New York, i.e., paid advances to authors for acquisition of a work, contracts and deadlines and editors.

In addition, they have created the Kindle World program in which some of their paid authors they have made into bestsellers now have their own Kindle Worlds and are bringing ebooks to the market at lower prices. These are books written by authors who haven’t quite made those bestseller lists, but are riding the coattails of an Amazon-made bestseller. Sort of a modified pyramid scheme.

Still, though common sense told me Amazon’s own products got preferential treatment in terms of rankings and publicity, I accepted that as just one of those challenges with which all entrepreneurs no matter what they’re selling have to contend.

Little by little, bits and pieces of another problem started to eke out.

Can you say CLICK FARM?

Click farms have existed for quite a while for all kinds of products, but the fraud hadn’t 5hf8bU3kJM0QRK6dreally leaked into book publishing except through weird book pirating sites. That has changed.  In the last year or so, Amazon book sales has been invaded by click farmers. Self-publishing authors in particular are competing with fraud and plagiarism on a scale not seen before. It’s insane. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/05/selling-social-media-clicks-becomes-big-business/4327905/

What is a Click Farm? Wikipedia says a click farm is a form of click fraud, where a large group of low-paid workers are hired to click on paid advertising links for the click fraudster (click farm master or click farmer). The workers click the links, surf the target website for a period of time, and possibly sign up for newsletters prior to clicking another link. http://www.businessinsider.com/silicon-valley-are-click-farms-real-2016-6

Here’s the definition from Google: A click farm is a business that pays employees to click on website elements to artificially boost the status of a client’s website or a product. Click farms are usually based in developing countries, where wages are extremely low by Western standards. https://kotaku.com/inside-chinese-click-farms-1795287821

Somewhere in China or Bangladesh or the Philippines or even Russia, a person beingwnus15o6tm4ekewlelgn paid a pittance is sitting at a computer that might be connected to 100 or a 1,000 phones or tablets or even more. All day and all night, they generate phony likes on Facebook, Instagram and other social media, to the tune of billions of “likes” in a year. When you look at a Facebook post that has many, many “likes,” you don’t know if they’re real or counterfeit.

The social media sites don’t really care as long as they’re getting traffic that, in turn, generates advertising dollars. The chances of someone, anyone, doing anything about this are pretty close to zero.

So what is happening with books listed for sale or borrow at Amazon? If you’re a Kindle Unlimited  member, you might find this article interesting: https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/scammers-break-the-kindle-store/  I couldn’t possibly explain the problem any better than the author of this article explains it.

THE IMPORTANCE OF RANKINGS

In other instances, fraudsters go into Amazon book listings under phony names and post reviews that affect a book’s Amazon ranking. Enough 1-star reviews will sink a book to the bottom of the list.

At the same time, if the click farmers post enough 4 or 5-star reviews on their own books, those books zoom to the top of the bestseller lists, thereby eliminating legitimate authors from competition and the opportunity to earn royalties. I’m not sure why, but apparently, Amazon’s bots do not know the difference between the artificial reviews and real ones.

The Amazon rankings are so important to authors. Sad to say, if you as an author have a book for sale and its ranking gets close to or drops below 500,000, you can bet that unless you can come up with a magic marketing formula that gets you back in the running, your book selling days at Amazon are over. Readers will simply never find your books, thus never buy them.

COUNTERFEITING

Then there’s the guy conducting seminars on how to hire some third world person to write a book for $200.  By this method, he “writes” at least a dozen books in a month, puts his name on them, lists them to borrow by Amazon KU members and collects a royalty. Because he’s successful, others are now doing the same thing. This isn’t exactly plagiarism. I don’t know if it even rises to level of fraud, but it might.

Here in the states, the same thing is happening, but probably not for as little as $200. It’s called “freelance writing” and there are several web sites promoting this service. For an agreed on fee, a ghost writer, by contract, gives away any rights he has to what he writes for someone who has hired him. He gets not a penny more than the agreed-on fee no matter if the book is a bestseller. In the end, he might or might not get paid the agreed-on fee. Plenty of instances exist where an author agreed to be a ghost writer, then got stiffed by the non-author who hired him or her.

VICTIMS OF PLAGIARISM

Real plagiarism is even more sinister and an even greater threat to legitimate authors. In some cases, somebody in a third-world country (or maybe somebody in the good old USA) copies a book’s content, changes words here or there, changes a few paragraphs, puts on a new cover showing a different title and a phony author’s name and markets it as his or her own book through Amazon for 99-cents. Much of copying of the books is done by software, so enough changes are made to prevent Amazon’s bots from catching the duplication and calling it plagiarism.

The fraudulent author then follows up by buying “likes” and/or phony reviews from a click farmer, which drives the book to the top of the bestseller lists. The click farmer, because he runs a sweatshop, puts up book after book and dominates the bestseller lists with several books, which qualifies him to receive substantial “bonuses” over and above royalties from Amazon.

With more exposure at the top of the lists, the click farmers sell more books, which forces legitimate authors whose books might be listed for more than 99-cents farther down the list. The only legitimate authors who can compete with them are the ones who have books for sale for 99-cents, but I don’t know how much competition they really present. No one who is really writing a book can do it that fast.

AMAZON’S ATTITUDE

Amazon doesn’t appear to care very much about who they’re paying royalties to. Their #1 interest is keeping the monthly KU subscription fee coming in from readers and or selling books to customers. If Amazon can somehow persuade authors to keep the inventory supplied for little or no money, so much the better for Amazon’s bottom line. Their payout is the same whether the recipient is a *real* author or a third-world-country fraudster.

Multiplied by tens of thousands, this tallies up to a lot of money.

This is fraud. This is plagiarism. This is crime.


THE FUTURE

What will happen eventually is that real books by real authors will have no more distinction and won’t be worth wasting your time reading. A lot of authors will probably bail. What is the point of continuing to write books if they can’t make any money?

I’m a good example. I spend many hours of a day in front of the computer trying to produce a quality, professional product. Do you think I or anybody else is going to keep doing that if something out of my control prevents my making a decent amount of money? ….. Writing a book is hard. If I’m going to work for nothing, I can find something easier to do.

When you start to buy a book that’s for sale for 99-cents, look at it closely. If it has an author’s name on it who released several titles just last week and has waaay too many reviews to have been on the market for only a week, maybe it’s been stolen from a legitimate author who spent a year of hard work writing it. Complain about it to Amazon.

Or if you buy a book in which the syntax, the editing, the grammar, etc., are awful, you might be reading a book produced by a third-world person who doesn’t know English very well.

Just recently, on a book at Amazon I was thinking about buying, I read some reviews. Every reviewer spoke about how bad the spelling, the grammar and the editing were. The listing said the book was published by a real publisher, so my first thought was if a professional publisher released this book, why is it full of errors that could have been easily corrected? My next thought was some kind of fraud. I didn’t buy the book and the author lost that royalty. This is an example of what I’m talking about.

Royalties are the same thing as commissions. They are the only pay an author receives. If someone takes them away by fraudulent means, a real author can’t continue to exist.

Amazon knows this is going on and what have they done? Instead of meeting the fraud head-on, they’ve tightened their requirements for *real* authors who try to put up new books for sale by demanding that they prove they have legitimate copyrights, for one thing. That might be a good first step, but it causes real authors a lot of headaches and delays their book releases, while the click farmers go happily along collecting royalties on a book they didn’t write. So far, defense against this has proved to about as effective as that old needle in a haystack cliche.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

As far as I can tell, authors can’t do a damn thing about it. It’s up to readers to sort this out and complain. And complain. And complain. And return books you believe to be fraudulent to Amazon. Amazon responds only to customers. Believe me, they’ve already heard plenty from authors.

And bear in mind, Amazon now uses overseas call centers for customer service. If you have a complaint, don’t give up and pull your hair. If the individual you complain to sounds like he’s out to lunch, hang up or ask for a different person.


On a final note, I would add, if you read a book by an author whose name you’ve never heard, if the “voice” sounds like *my* voice, let me know. I can tell you in an instant if I’m the one who wrote it. I don’t know what I can do about it, but I can let you know you’ve been cheated.

Having said all of the above,  I’m painfully aware that a reader, at 99-cents, might not care if he’s reading something that has been stolen or counterfeited and that he or she might not care if an author gets cheated out of a royalty. And that is the most hurtful, scariest scenario of all.

SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS. CALL OUT FRAUD AND PLAGIARISM.

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A Rocky Journey…

At last, I’m sneaking up on the end of THE HORSEMAN, Book #3 of the Sons of Texas trilogy and below is the blurb. I hope to release the e-book in July or August at the latest. I think the cover, designed by the wonderful Kim Killion, is awesome.

AnnaJeffrey_TheHorseman_200px (2)     Troy Rattigan devotes most of his time and energy to horses— rescuing them, training them, understanding them. Some might say he has a spiritual connection to the equine species. Because of a brutal schedule and an escalating series of attacks on his family, his own connections haven’t gone beyond meaningless hookups….His current workshop a week before Christmas, which is an inconvenient favor for an old friend, introduces him to a   fractious, blood-bay horse in his current workshop that raises all kinds of red flags. There’s something about that horse and something about the crippled, unassuming beauty on the other end of his lead rope that ignites his instinct to fix what’s broken—in both woman and horse.

     Single mom Samantha Karol is barely back on her feet after almost losing her life and her leg to a rattlesnake bite. One wrong step could cripple her for life. The worst step she could make? Accepting the too-rich, too-handsome, too-sweet-talking horse whisperer’s offer to teach her horse-crazy young son to work with her best friend’s problem horse….Having seen the worst of life, Samantha is too old and too jaded for her years. Yet, she can’t resist giving her son his wildest dream. ….. Is the deep, instant fit she feels with Troy simply a mutual understanding of loss and grief? Or is it a solid foundation upon which to build a lifetime of happiness? Is becoming connected to the wealthy and dynamic Lockhart family another risk to her own life as well as her young son’s?

THE TRILOGY

Those of you who might have read THE TYCOON and THE CATTLEMAN, Books 1 & 2 of the Sons of Texas trilogy, might recognize Troy Rattigan who is the hero in THE HORSEMAN. Troy, the bastard son of the Lockhart family’s current patriarch, William Drake Lockhart, Jr, (or, as he is referred to in the books, Bill Junior) is less than a heroic character in Books 1 & 2. In THE HORSEMAN, he strikes down the demonic forces that are affecting his life and comes to terms with the good man that has always resided within him.https://www.books2read.com/u/3kZrgW

https://amzn.com/B00N24Z2R2THIS TRILOGY MAKES up a family saga at the same time they are romance novels. Click on each picture on the left for more information. ….. THE HORSEMAN will bring the story to an end. It will complete the arc that has continued through the 3 books, which is the resolution of the rocky relationship between Bill Junior and his wife Betty, the parents of the 3 heroes. The villain who has been harassing the family and why will also be revealed.


THE IDEA

The basic idea for the story as I first imagined it was triggered by a conversation I read between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway that went as follows:     Fitzgerald: The rich are different from you and me.     Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.    

The premise of the story is to show that the rich really are not different in fundamental ways. They experience triumphs and joys, suffer weaknesses and tragedies just like everyone else. Hemingway, a master of irony, a student of human nature and the expert at saying the most with the fewest words, nailed it in 5 words.


IN CLOSING…

Writing THE LOVE OF A COWBOY was a writing journey for me. A dozen romance novels later, writing the 3 books  of the Sons of Texas trilogy has been no different. I’ve tried to show strengths and weaknesses of the main characters, be they heroic and laudable or less than admirable.  I hope I’ve succeeded. I hope readers will enjoy the characters and the story and will recognize the premise. After you read it, let me know…..

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YIKES! IT’S HERE AGAIN…

christmas04

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, fellow readers. Hope you had a hale and healthy year and are looking forward to another one.

What better time for good wishes than Christmas Eve? I cannot believe how fast this past year has gone. I’m hoping Santa put ointment and Band-Aids under the tree for all of the cuts and bruises the past year has visited on me.

Still, DH and I have been lucky. No major health issues. When you get down to basics, that is the most important part of our lives. From what I’ve seen of life in general, without good health, nothing else is much good either.

One major event for us this past year was an automobile upgrade. My 10-year-old car was badly battered after years of sitting in the parking lot where I work at my real job. DH’s old pickup had gone beyond reasonable repair. So we donated the pickup to charity and traded the car in on an SUV. Now we’re a one-car outfit. Silly me, I thought scaling back to one vehicle would save money on insurance. Wrong. The insurance premium on the new rig is higher than it was on both older vehicles. <Sigh>

AnnaJeffrey_TheCattleman800I released Book #2 of the “Sons of Texas” trilogy, THE CATTLEMAN. It’s now for sale at all of the online retailers as an e-book. If you would prefer a print copy, one is available from Amazon.

I did a blog tour to kick it off and raffled a new Kindle Fire for people who visited the various blogs. I was unfamiliar with any of the book blogs where I was a guest. I had no idea there were so many. I felt like I had been living under a rock!

The ever-changing publishing landscape is just that—ever-changing. Amazon sort of yanked the rug from under self-publishing authors with its new subscription service. It’s like Netflix for books. Good deal for readers, not quite as good for authors. I don’t know how many readers have joined, but authors are grumbling and some are starting to bail. Hopefully, it will sort itself out soon.

I put only one book into it, mostly as an experiment. Given the experience I’m having, I’m glad one book is all that’s there. AnnaJeffrey_CallisterBundle3D_200When its term expires, I’ll be taking it out. So if you’ve joined Kindle Unlimited, it’s part of their monthly package. Or if you are not a member of KU and want to read three of my Anna Jeffrey books for a discounted price, check out THE CALLISTER BOOKS. It’s a bundle that includes THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, THE LOVE OF A STRANGER and THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN….

The bundle is $6.99 at Amazon. That’s $2.33 per book. After its term in KU expires, I’ll be putting it for sale with other online retailers as well.

I have a steamy novella underway. MIRANDA’S MAN. AnnaJeffrey_MirandasMan_200 I hope to be releasing it within the next few months. Here’s the cover. Let me know what you think.

And I will soon be starting Book #3 of the “Sons of Texas” trilogy, THE HORSEMAN. No cover yet. This book will be about Troy and the woman who finally captures his heart, Chloe. I will also wind up the Lockhart family story. I have the last chapter in my head, but I haven’t come up with the first chapters yet. Oh, well. I suppose backward is good as long as you come out at the right place in the end.

Enjoy the holiday, everyone.

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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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CAN AN OLD DOG LEARN NEW TRICKS?

Or to be more specific, can someone who has been doing something in one way for a very long time learn to do the same thing a different way?

qThis is a question that looms before me as I embark on a mission to learn Scrivener. I’m starting a class in how to use this program in a couple of weeks. The author who wrote “Scrivener for Dummies” is teaching the class, so she sounds like the perfect teacher for someone like me.

I bought Scrivener months ago. I didn’t even take the “30-day free trial” offer. I was so confident I could use it I just bought it. Because I had more pressing things going on, I let its icon sit on my desktop for a couple of months before I opened it. I’m not an expert at the computer, but I’m reasonably savvy. After an hour with Scrivener, I was ready to pull out my thinning hair.

Since then, I’ve gone back to it. Even tried to fit my WIP (THE CATTLEMAN) into it, but haven’t advanced one iota. So it’s time for a class.

For those of you who have never heard of Scrivener, it’s writing software designed to replace or enhance Microsoft Word. For novelists and screenwriters, it’s supposedly more intuitive and more organized, with authors in mind, than Word.

And why am I trying to do this? Because I want to be faster and more efficient in my writing. I need to be turning out more than one book a year.

I wrote my first book, THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, as a pantster. A pantster is someone who writes organically. Stream of consciousness. Whatever pops into one’s head goes on the page. But being a pantster wastes a lot of time as you can probably imagine. You write stuff, then throw it out and replace it with something new. I don’t know about others, but by that method, I’ve ended up with stories that didn’t resemble the ones I had imagined in the first place.

After I became published by two of the Big Six publishing houses under two different pseudonyms, I no longer had the luxury of being a pantster. Time became precious. I *had* to become an outliner and a planner because I had to present new stories for the editor to consider before she would renew a contract and I had to meet deadlines. Consequently, over time, I developed a clumsy way of outlining in Word and in Excel. And that’s how I’ve written the last few books, with not much time for a story to “gel” in my mind.

But now I want to try something I hope will be better. So here I go into yet another class. <sigh> I’ve taken so many. :-/

“And speaking of THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, it will soon be available in print from Amazon.AnnaJeffrey_TheLoveofaCowboy_200px Hopefully before the end of the month.Amazon has a new feature for authors to offer those who want to hold a printed book in their hands. If you buy the printed edition, you can buy the same book in e-book format for a reduced price. Of course, the author has to opt for this feature. I’ve added this to the books I’ve got in print, THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN and SWEET RETURN. And I will soon be adding it to THE TYCOON.”

Meanwhile, wish me luck as this old dog sets out to learn a new trick.

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The Most Important Element, Part II

Hi, Fellow Readers:

Today, my guest is Texas author Kathy Ivan and her story of how she came to writing. As you’ll see,  she’s an avid reader, as are most writers. I don’t know a single successful author is isn’t also a dedicated reader. Kathy’s story is testimony that it must be in the genes.

So check out the short synopses of her books. And take a good look at her delicious covers designed by the awesome Kim Killion. Don’t they speak to you? Don’t you just know that a great read resides behind these covers?

Anna kindly asked me to participate in her blog and tell you a bit about myself, my writing, and the lovely covers the amazing Kim Killion has created for two of my books.Headshots_001 

I’ve always loved reading.  I was one of those kids in school who would finish the entire year’s reading list in the first five or six weeks.  Getting lost in books, those wonderful stories, was the best part of my school day.  Plus I was gifted with an absolutely amazing mother who instilled in me a love of reading from a very early age.  She was a voracious reader herself, especially of romances.  Most of my fondest memories are of my mom with her nose buried in a romance book.  Genre did matter to her as long as there was a happy ending.

So, I’ve always been a big reader.  I dabbled with writing some in high school, took creative writing classes and did very well in them, but put all that aside when I graduated and moved on to the 9 to 5, Monday through Friday world of sit-your-backside-in-the-chair-and-work life.  It wasn’t until early 2005 when I was invited to a book signing by a co-worker (the lovely and talented Jane Graves) that the writing bug struck again.  Shortly after that book signing I joined DARA (Dallas Area Romance Authors and RWA.  And I’ve been writing ever since.  J

My first published book was Desperate Choices, a romantic suspense that won the International Digital Award for Long Suspense.

 

Following are blurbs about my newest books.

Second_Changes_800SECOND CHANCES:  Can Dreams and Destiny . . . Lead to a Second Chance?

Welcome to Destiny’s Desire Lodge, where The Fates can manipulate the threads of life at their whim and the Fate-Keeper battles to unite the predestined souls of true love. 

Wracked with guilt, Denver firefighter Ryan Jackson is haunted by dreams of his dead brother, asking for something . . . impossible. 

Unwilling to let the love of her life slip away, Rose Jackson will do anything to discover why her husband has become distant and withdrawn — no matter the cost.

Will an early gift, an unexpected trip, and Rose and Ryan’s love add a spark of magic to destined souls wanting a second chance?

Buy:  http://amzn.to/GIx1uB Losing_Cassie_800

LOSING CASSIE: 

Welcome to Destiny’s Desire Lodge, where The Fates can manipulate the threads of life at their whim and the Fate-Keeper battles to unite the predestined souls of true love. 

Firefighter Jake Stone lost the love of his life when his high school sweetheart disappeared. The arrival of a mysterious letter promising answers draws Jake to Destiny’s Desire. Cassie Daniels has been running for seven long years. At Destiny’s Desire she might finally have a chance for a happy future, if she can face the evil from her past. When Fate and Destiny Collide . . . Can Love Survive?

Buy:  http://amzn.to/19kbELh

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://amzn.to/1ateyzt

 

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