J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Same Old Story

medium_2252983146M:  I’ve been reading a lot

so many, I can put them in categories

big authors, YA/NA, romantic suspense, paranormal, m/m

J:  I’ve been reading a lot of sports romance

oh, and I read a Ruthie Knox holiday romance

cute cute cute

M:  which sports romances?

J:  mostly from Entangled

a cute football series, MMA, boxing

uh

Karen Erickson, Gina L Maxwell and Christine Bell

respectively

M:  I’ve liked everything I’ve read from Karen Erickson

oh, and Christine Bell’s Dirty Trick was on sale a while back. You read and liked, so I bought. Haven’t read that yet, though.

I’ve read a few YA/NA some I liked, most left me very eh

oh! Jeanette Grey’s new one got delivered to my Kindle last night

I plan on reading that tonight

J:  Oh, crap

what’s the name of her new one?

I had it marked somewhere and then promptly forgot

it looked cute

M:  When It’s Right

J:  thank you

Dirty Trick is cute

familiar trope

kind of “siiiiiiigh, really?” in places, but she made me not care

M:  I do have to talk about the NA/YA ones

J:  please do

M:  I read a couple really popular ones – they were free or on big sale, so I thought I’d try

J:  you know how I feel about most of them

M:  yeah

J:  I’ll try not to go all ranty on you again

M:  I feel pretty much the same, and most of the ones I read recently did nothing to change my opinion much

hoping Jeanette’s keeps my faith

So, I read The Edge of Never from JD Redmerski

so many raves about it, thought I’d give it a go

and…

eh

wasn’t bad, really, just very…

eh

have you read it?

J:  I haven’t, no

I think I’ve only vaguely heard of it

looking it up now

M:  it was a self pub that got picked up by a big six, I think

the writing wasn’t bad, but it had huge plot holes and did fall into the typical cliches of the genre

J:  oh nooooooo

M!

Dark Secrets

there are Dark Secrets in the flipping summary

M:  yeah. find me a NA without Dark Secrets

but in this one, oh, the plot holes

and Drama for drama’s sake

not entirely impressed

I fell into the “yada yada, let’s just get this over with” and didn’t take much away from the reading experience

J:  I’m so sorry you had to go through that

M:  well, it wasn’t worth being sorry for – I’ve read those I want some sympathy afterward for suffering through

this one was just a great big eh

but thanks

and that brings me to another NA that I read good things about, but was even more eh

and Oh, The Cliches

holy good giddyup

J:  do tell

I want to examine this summary, too

M:  The Secret of Ella and Micha

J:  ah jesus

Darkest Secrets

can someone write a summary without Dark Secrets?

M:  Depression, bipolar, suicide, goth, must change, must run away from those who care for heroine, alcoholism, don’t call or contact anyone for eight months and then casually return from college where she took refuge (with no explanation how she paid for it – that I recall, at least) and move back in next door to the guy she left and then get all flaily when she (GASP!) sees him

plus, let’s hit every YA hero characteristic that we can  – a hero who plays guitar in a band and races cars and climbs in her window every night to curl up around her

and…

wait for it…

has a Tattoo

J:  it’s the same book

M:  oh, and cancer

and parents who are conveniently absent

J:  over and over and over again

M:  this one was EVERY book over and over again

the hero doesn’t have cancer, sorry. another throwaway character does

J:  someone has to

M:  sigh

but, a couple YA/NA I did enjoy

Play With Me by Piper Shelly

cute

some holes, typical conveniently lax parenting, boy lives next door and they spend time sneaking in and out of windows

My mom and dad must have had supernatural hearing or something. I  never would have been able to sneak people in and out of my bedroom through the window like Grand Central Station when I was growing up

J:  I didn’t even try

M:  I mean, does that really happen? Maybe just because I didn’t do it, I don’t think anyone else realistically can?

I can’t imagine it was that commonplace or easy, but who knows

anyway, Play With Me was pretty cute

J:  NA or YA?

M:  more YA. I think they were juniors or seniors in HS

J:  I’ll put that one on my to-read list

M:  there was another one I read that wasn’t bad, but I can’t remember. They all ran together.

J:  well, I’m glad there were a couple that weren’t cringe-worthy

reading should be fun, not cringy

M:  it should

so, tell me about some you’ve read

J:  Well, I’ve read what’s published of those three sports romance series

the first is always adorable

then the second kind of goes overboard with the kick-ass heroine

I’m all for strength, but when it’s just a plot device…meh

the Entangled Brazen line is all a bit trope-y

but most of the time I don’t care

the story is cute enough to stand on its own

the cutest was Game for Marriage

the whole pretend marriage trope

M:  I read that one – I liked.

J:  the second cutest, I think, was maybe Seducing Cinderella

the MMA fighter and the mousy doctor-turned-sexpot

the Pygmalion trope

the third cutest was Down for the Count

I think

yeah

left-at-the-altar-by-cheating-fiance trope

boxer Galen

then all these heroines had fierce best friends who got their own story

which was often the old-flame trope

M:  I heard about Seducing Cinderella but didn’t buy because I heard the hero knew a little too much about girly stuff when trying to make over the heroine

that he thought and used expressions that an alpha-guy MMA fighter most likely wouldn’t use

J:  aw, but he was really a good hero

M:  yeah, but you like them a little more beta than I do sometimes o.O

J:  there were some times in all of them where I went O.o

usually in dialogue

M:  but you liked the Cinderella one?

I might give it a try if you did

J:  I did

I liked all of the first ones

you might like all of the second ones in the series

it would only make sense

M:  I read an Entangled Brazen by Tessa Bailey and really liked. I plan on reading the rest in the series and more of hers

J:  which one?

M:  Protecting What’s His

J:  I keep checking that one out

M:  I read another in the series, Officer Off Limits

liked that, too. I’ll read the rest for sure

J:  I’ll go for it, since you liked it

I read the Wilde ones

not bad for suspense

M:  In Protecting What’s His, he’s a dirty talking hero

and she did a good job with it. A lot of times, it sounds forced or just weird or totally out of character, but this was pretty darn good

J:  the second book in the MMA series had a dirty talker

M:  there were a couple of really good rawr lines

it’s hard to do good dirty talk

most times I just think, wow, you’re an idiot or an asswipe

but not this

a couple of Stupidgirl moments but nothing too terrible

having people ignore voicemail messages for days seems to be the new way to get around today’s technology to build suspense

it’s one thing not to notice you have voicemails – that can happen. I’m proof. I don’t see my cellphone for days sometimes

but to see a message waiting and know who it’s from and that it’s probably important but ignore and go on merrily risking your life when the knowledge could save you…

that plot device is getting old

J:  yeah

lose the phone, at the very least

drop it in the toilet or something

M:  I read another one that was semi sports related, but that’s kind of a big rant. Might be better for another day.

J:  heh

M:  heh. Just wait. Anyway. Off to read Jeanette’s When It’s Right.

brb

photo credit: Barka Fabianova via photopin cc

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Why Do I Jump Genres?

Guest Post by Barbara Edwards

medium_6338763999I’m Barbara Edwards and I wish I knew more than the excuse that it has to do with the way my mind works. I do love variety in my reading and have a penchant for history. That’s why my first two full-length novels were historical romances. Another Love is set in New England and Annie’s Heart in 1972 Kansas. Although I’m familiar with both locations I needed to do a ton of research. I wanted all the details right. Funny how my interest in history had me spending more time reading than writing before I was done.

I did reveal a tendency to write dark plots. The next turn was into paranormal. I don’t think my stories are scary, but my editor does. Readers do. So I guess they are. I’m in the process of writing a Series set in a small mythical, New England town. My editor and I had a hot discussion about my first title and she won with Ancient Awakening. I still don’t ‘like’ it, but stuck with Ancient Blood and next year’s Ancient Curse. I think after that I’ll pick another lead.  If you have any suggestions let me know. Then I can argue with you.

I tried writing a humorous contemporary romance that got rejected.

And in there I wrote a contemporary romantic suspense called Rachel’s Rescue. I recently pulled it to do major rewrites. It has technical references that are dated. Wow things have changes in ten years.

Last year another well-known writer suggested writing shorter books to fill in the gap between the longer novels and keep readers aware of your name. I tried it. Let me tell you, for an author who writes 90 to 100 thousand works to drop to less than 50 thousand is hard work. And it took me longer to learn the new skill. The only reason I hung on through three rejections was because I’m stubborn as heck. Maybe I’ll go back to that funny one after all. Why not? It’s written. It does need rewrites, but I only have time. And talent. Snicker.

My short holiday romance is available now on kindle and free on from October 8th to October 12th. Journey of the Magi is available here:  http://amzn.com/B00ES5DZEQ  I hope you take a free download.

I did start another short holiday romance, hoping to have it come out next year, but I may get side-tracked by another genre. A paranormal romance is already in the works with another werewolf. I’m not promising anything.

About the Author

  • Caribbean 12-23-2012 026I’m Barbara Edwards and a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.
  • I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.
  • When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends.
  • My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.
  • I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.
  • I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success.

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

Blog   Website   Facebook  Twitter  Amazon Author’s Page  GoodReads  Shelfari   LinkedIn   LibraryThing  Facebook like page  Google+

 
photo credit: Tau Zero via photopin cc

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

We’re Baaaaaaack!

poltergeist_theyre_back1-300x178J:  Yay, M got a new house! I’m so excited for you, I won’t even grumble about how much I missed you

(I missed you)

M:  I missed me, too. Sheesh.

hubs and I have had probably the most stressful weeks ever

and we’ve been through a lot

J:  I dunno… Things were pretty nutty here, too

funny how it all happened at once for both of us

My job loss, your lying sack of crap mortgage guy…

M:  but, we took everything they threw at us and made it work. We were not defeated!

and the new place is amazing, so…

J:  Exactly. We both came out on top. Your awesome house, my awesome list of clients that allow me to be self-employed once more… I have no more complaints. for now.

M:  now, no more excuses not to write

J:  ha!

M:  except for, you know, all the remodeling, the other job, life in general…

J:  life would be amazing

on the upside, we can now carve out some time for writing, reading, and FFYW

I know you didn’t go without books during your absence

I’ve got a list a mile long, so yours is probably twice that

M:  I read a bunch

not as much as usual, maybe

that tells you how stressed out I was – I couldn’t even read there for a couple weeks

J:  I picked up more novellas through my craziness

shorter=finished

M:  I did read a couple good ones. I just finished one I think you’d like – Betting on You by Jessie Evans

J:  that sounds familiar. I wonder if I looked at it already?

M:  hero left and hurt heroine, now he’s back to own up to his mistake and try to make it up to her

I think it’s still free

pretty good. I liked both characters. A little too much of “made him feel” and “making her feel,” but that’s pretty minor

other than that, writing was good, too

it’s a series, and I’ll definitely get the second

J:  oh, I have looked at that one

I’m glad you liked it

M:  I’d rec

and I won a copy of Skye Jordan’s Reckless on Michelle’s blog (MsRomanticReads). I’d had it on my to-read list after seeing the blurb

I really liked. The conflict had me wanting to shake the heroine a little bit, but the story was great and really sexy, and she made it all work.

I very much recommend. I may have to do a review of it for the blog

J:  as you mention, I’m going to goodreads to mark them

I’ve been on an Entangled Brazen kick, I think

I read a cute little series by Katee Robert

Two Wrongs, One Right

Chasing Mrs. Right

and Wrong Bed, Right Guy

all cute

and some stuff by Christine Bell

M:  I enjoyed the ones you rec’d – the two Delphine Dryden ones – How to Tell a Lie and Art of the Lie. I love her heroes. And Friday I’m in Love by Mari Carr

I’ve read a couple by Carr, and they’re good, light, fun reads

J:  I want to read the rest of that series by Carr

but I need to be rich

the Kindle versions are over $5

M:  ugh. I hate that.

oh, Riptide Publishing is having a birthday sale. If anyone is reading Anne Tenino’s m/m series, they’re on sale

I loved the first book – Frat Boy and Toppy, but the rest were pretty pricey

but I may have to sneak in a couple since they’re on sale

J:  Oh, you’ve mentioned those

I’m still not in an m/m mood

M:  those are fun, cute, and sexy when you are

oh, and the last in the CD Reiss series came out on Monday – the Songs of Submission series – called Sing

I was really looking forward, and…it was okay. not what I expected

went down the drama llama route, and I was hoping for the same intensity as the rest of them

so the characters and writing was still as good as the others, but the plot arc, eh

I’ll read more of hers. she’s starting a new series about the hero’s sisters, and the first one sounds good

J:  I did start the first one

M:  I liked. and I’m not usually a fan of the serial thing. I did start reading when 6 of the 7 were complete and only had a couple weeks to wait for the last

but I really did enjoy the characters and story

J:  it’s on my list to read tonight

I fell asleep just after starting.

not a comment on the book. it was 2:30 am

I should have been asleep anyway

M:  I read The Satyr’s Curse by Alexandrea Weis, and it was okay

J:  Okay, you read a lot more than I did

M:  I really wanted it to be really good – the plot was intriguing and the writing wasn’t bad, but…I probably won’t buy the rest in the series unless they’re free or on sale.

J:  Ooh, know what I’m excited about?

Elizabeth Hunter has a new one coming out soon called The Scribe: Irin Chronicles Book One

Not from the Elemental Mysteries

but it still looks pretty damn good

I think October 15

M:  I saw that a while back. I will definitely check it out

J:  impatiently waiting

Let’s see… Christine Bell, Down for the Count

read that one last night

liked it a lot. the heroine was a bit neurotic, but it actually made her cute

and jeebus, Galen

I’m a fan

I want more Galen books

she’s the author of Dirty Trick — sexy nickname for Patrick

M:  good hero?

J:  yeah. he managed to be sweet, hot, understanding, patient. you know. perfect.

it was a left-at-the-altar trope

M:  I do love a good hero

J:  oh, and he’s a boxer

ugh. he gets her a necklace with a boxing glove charm and asks her if she knows why. she says, “because you’re a fighter.” and he says, “No, because you are.”

M:  ooooh, good one

I like

what I don’t like is that it’s raining again. Weird for Seattle, I know.

good for staying in and writing, though. Gonna curl up in my corner and try to finish Rory.

brb

Read What You Love, Love What You Read (And Write)

Guest Post by Gloria Marlow

medium_8468101322I have a confession. My reading material is far from lofty. It always has been, and I would hazard a guess it always will be. I haven’t read most of the books considered “classics” and most certainly can’t discuss the ones I did read when I was in high school decades ago.

You see, in high school, I was quite busy devouring books by my favorite authors. Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart to name a few. I didn’t really have the time or interest to read Orwell, Salinger and Bradbury.

For many years after becoming an adult, I was rather ashamed of this fact. I wondered if I could really be a writer if I hadn’t at least attempted to read Hemmingway or Melville. After all, how could I possibly know anything about writing if I had never finished a book by those considered “masters of the craft”?

Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about the classics I did read. The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, Ethan Frome, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Rebecca (and du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn), The Great Gatsby, the plays of Shakespeare and some Dickens.

What I’ve come to realize is that all the required books I read had one thing in common with the books I chose to read on my own. Romance. Whether reading it or writing it, I love romance.

Judging from my reading list, I particularly love gothic romance. I love it when the dark brooding hero, innocent heroine, house filled with secrets and peril, and some hint of the paranormal come together to transport me to another place and time.

That leads me to another confession. My reasons for reading and writing aren’t any loftier than the books I choose.

I read to be transported, to become someone different, somewhere else, at some other time for just a little while. I write hoping to do the same for some other reader out there. A teenager, a housewife, a harried secretary reading on her lunch break, people just like me, who might not know much about the “masters” but know about their favorite authors.

One of the first pieces of advice we writers get is “write what you know”. I would add “read what you love”.  Know the kinds of books you read. Write the kinds of books you love.  If you write what you read, you’ll love what you write.

About The Author:

Gloria Davidson Marlow is the author of several romantic suspense novels, including Sweet Sacrifices and soon-to-be-released When Swallows Fall. She resides in Northeast Florida with her husband, works as a paralegal at a local law firm, and spends as much time as possible with her three grandsons. Visit her blog or her website to learn more. You can also follow her on Twitter.
photo credit:

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Reading as a Distraction from Real Life Shenanigans

medium_2832163100M:  distract me from wanting to throw up

J:  We can worry about writing and blog stuff when you’re back on track, if you want

unless you want to vent about how crazy stuff is

M:  I don’t wanna

I wanna go suck my thumb and rock in the corner

trying to buy this house has now reached the ridiculous. Giggle maniacally and then start crying ridiculous.

Due to lame mortgage guy being less than diligent performing his duties and weaver of not-so-true tales

But hey, I found a good new-to-me author

J:  oh, do tell

M:  Tamara Allen – she does m/m, but non-explicit. More fade to black

J:  interesting

M:  Amazing feels

great characters, detail, did I say all the feels?

J:  heh. you did

I am interested

M:  I read her novella (it’s free), If It Ain’t Love, and then one she had on sale, Downtime

Read them, and was “huh. that was good”

but now I can’t stop thinking about it and smiling

such good residual happy feels, so I just bought another – The Only Gold

J:  I am getting the free one as we type

M:  good feels in that one. Liked Downtime even better

Even more after I finished it, although that sounds a little weird

J:  it doesn’t at all

I love a book I can’t stop thinking about

M:  Huh. Downtime is not available on Amazon for kindle anymore. I just got it. Free on Smashwords, though

J:  it’s been so long since we really chatted that I can’t remember what I’ve read since then

I read the Kit Rocha you sent me, Beyond Pain

I did like that one the best so far

M:  the books in that series seem to get better as they go, which is unusual

J:  I’ve read a couple you rec’d

read the YA succubus one – Static

cute. I liked it.

M:  Yes, cute. easy read

J:  Read Eight Christmas Eves. Loved that one.

M:  I really liked that one

loved her character development in such a short story

J:  I knew where it was going, but I didn’t mind. in fact, I cheered because of it

M:  yes, yes

J:  oh! I read the latest Catherine Bybee, Fiance by Friday

M:  you said you liked

my mom read those and said they were cute

J:  I did. I think it’s my fave of that series so far

this hero was alpha and beta combined

very quiet, reserved, and ferocious

I  liked him a lot more than the others

Cute series. you’ll understand why I picked it up with the first story

heh

M:  I read part of another series – Songs of Submission by CD Reiss

it’s a serial/installment thing, though. Not a fan of novellas ending just to get you to pay 2 or 3.99 to see what happens next, but she had the first three of a seven book set bundled at a decent price

the first one – Beg – was free, so I tried.

J:  good?

M:  Yeah. I did go on to buy the first three bundle pack, and the fourth was free, as well

really pretty good for that kind of genre – erotica, rich hero, poor heroine

but well-written, sexy, and the heroine has a ton of backbone

J:  oh, that’s a nice change

M:  not the usual Mary Sue “oh my god, is that a penis? Ew, spank me with it.”

J:  hahahaha

I love you

I did read another cute trio in one book bundle

it’s an opposites attract thing

hang on…oh, heh

Opposites Attract by Cat Johnson

and I read Bit by the Bug by Michelle Pillow

cute but a little too long

M:  ooh, I haven’t heard of those

J:  the trio was really cute

short and satisfying

M:  I think you’d like the Downtime m/m book. the one guy is geeky sweet

I read a Lori Foster that was on sale, Run the Risk. I like her for good escapism reads. Like her heroes, and this was/is on sale for 1.99 kindle

I’ve read a shit ton

J:  I don’t know her stuff…

M:  another m/m by Josephine Myles that was good, Handle With Care

J:  you have been reading a lot

M:  Drawing the Line by Kimberly Kincaid – predictable, short, but easy read

J:  I like short. what’s that one about?

M:  A cop and witness he’s protecting

Read Kiss of Fire by Rebecca Ethington – YA paranormal, interesting first of a series. Writing eh but the story was compelling

another YA that was free. The writing was really only okay, way too Twilight-clone, but I read through the three books – bundled

Blood Like Poison or something like that

skimmed through, mostly. she did have me wanting to know what happened

a couple others that were DNF – boring or too repetitive

J:  YA is a little sad lately

everything looks the same

M:  ooh, a Sandra Brown that was good – Envy. Interesting structure. Also on sale for 1.99

ugh, so many of the YA and NA are so much the same

I read a review of one – on Dear Author, maybe? – that talked about how so many are about kids dealing with adult problems

which happens, of course

but what about kids having kid problems? Interesting thoughts

J:  well, you know how I feel about it

I like to write real kids

maybe not real problems *cough* psychics

I really worry Oracles will be soundly trounced when it starts making the rounds because they’re actual kids

M:  well, hopefully it’ll find those who want real kids

refreshing

Speaking of which, I need more coffee. I shall refrain from supplementing with Kahlua while I wait for today’s mortgage fire drill emergency. Sigh.

brb

photo credit: underminingme via photopin cc

On Writing: For Novels and for Screen

Guest Post by Sandra Perez Gluschankoff: Is it a movie or a book?

screenwriting tipsBeginning, end, middle. Set up, confrontation, resolution. Act one, act two, act three. Any which way these three examples are presented they define the structure of a story.  But what kind of story do they tell? Take your pick. A juicy gossip shared by friends over some elaborated and overpriced coffee drinks. Michael Angelo’s frescoes on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. A movie. A novel.

I wouldn’t know what to do with a brush, so I will not get into the artistic painting process. I would never admit in public of enjoying every once in a while a good piece of gossip. But, I would definitely get into the two storytelling forms I’m very familiar with: Screenwriting and novel writing.

Even though both writing forms can tell the same story; they are both driven by fear of death or loss, and the main character’s journey to attain redemption or validation of his or her existence, they do it differently.

How many times have we gone to the movies to experience a book we loved on the big screen only to walk away unfulfilled? It has happened to me and the reasons are simple. Screenwriting is subjected to rules that limit the characters’ abilities to cocoon themselves into the many feelings and thoughts that cannot be spoken or showed. Audiences are not mind readers.  A movie plagued with voice over narration becomes tedious, and too many flashbacks intended to show a character’s backstory only succeeds in confusing the moviegoer.  A screenplay must have a beginning, middle and end, filled with subplots, and it must maintain a balance of show and tell, of dialog and narrative. Pages and pages of narrative are translated into minutes and minutes of silent action on the screen. Pages and pages of long uninterrupted speeches turn the characters into chatterboxes.

Another important aspect to take in consideration when writing a screenplay is page count. Every page makes up for a minute of movie time, 90 pages, 90 minutes and so on and so forth. Unlike a book, which we can put down at any moment, go about our days and then pick it up again whenever we have the time, that is not the case with movies. The moviegoer’s time is precious. Screenwriters should take into account the audience’s attention span. They should treat the theater as a classroom and deliver their masterpiece in no more than 120 minutes.  Yes, there are some movies that tie the audience three hours to their seat, but that is a risky gamble done usually with highly successful adaptations of sci-fi novels.

Many of the characteristics attributed to screenwriting apply to the writing of a novel. However, in this form the writer has a different kind of freedom. Novel writing amounts to the author’s use of words aimed to create a visual image in the reader’s head. Characters can be explored deeply; the author can write their inner thoughts, describe their inner turmoil. Unlike screenwriting, the writing of a novel is not a small percentage or blueprint of the storytelling process, it is its all. A novelist owns his or her product and all of its creation without being subjected to changes necessary to appeal this or that audience, attract this or that actor. After the edits are done, a novel is ready for publication. After the edits are done, a screenplay is ready to undergo as many rewrites as necessary to satisfy the many other departments that make up for the production of a movie and the millions invested to make it happen.

Whether it is gossip, stick figures on a cave’s wall, a blog, a novel or a screenplay, we all contribute in our way to the most ancient tradition known to humankind; storytelling.

Keep the ball rolling and write!

About the Author

I was born and raised in Argentina. My mother, born in a refugee camp in Italy, my grandparents Romanians Jews, and World War Two survivors. From my father’s side the flavor of the Middle East. A mixture of the legendary traditions and art of Safed, Israel and Lebanon.

Different languages, colors and food were my everyday. So, was silence and fear. My childhood happened during the years of the dirty war, the military regime. I was extremely fortunate to have the best teachers, who would risk their lives by closing the classrooms doors and hush to us the truth of what was happening out there.

While my academic background is in psychoanalysis (a Freudian girl, gotta love the divan!), anthropology, Judaic studies, and Hebrew teaching, my interest turned to writing. I have written six feature screenplays, one original T.V pilot, and a reality show concept. My thriller “Voices From The Tomato Fields,” placed as a semifinalist in the Write Movies International Screenplay Contest in 2004, and placed in the top one hundred in Project Greenlight the same year.

For three consecutive years, I served as a Judge for the Brass Brad Screenwriting Mentorship Award and in 2012 I was honored to be part of the judging panel for the U.C.S.B. Student Screenwriting Competition.

A couple of years before writing my first novel The Last Fernandez, I kept busy as a freelance writer and script consultant.

Follow me: Twitter | Website | Amazon

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

J to tha M: On Marketing

Marketing Free or Free Marketing

medium_7869728560M:  You had a Release Day this past weekend – Yay!

that’s exciting-puking-scary-thrilling all at once

J:  well, it was part of an already crazy weekend, so I had no time for puking

mostly, I was nervous about formatting. that what I saw wasn’t what everyone else would see

but thank you. I’m so, so, so excited to finally get Going Under out there

now… marketing. (dun dun dunnnnn)

and, as you know, this is not much fun.

this is actually the scary pukey part for me

and I feel like I’m already failing

M:  Yes, not only a release day, which is exciting enough, but your first self-published release

J:  right

which may or may not have been a good idea. jury’s still out

M:  that’s got to be a little more like free-falling

still super exciting but super scary

J:  really, the whole publishing part was…cool. easier than I thought

but now… I sit and watch

will it catch on? will people like it? will I be crucified for not having a publisher?

it did well in its first few days. still in the top 100 for children’s urban fantasy

which is whoa

but the momentum is already slowing

and I’m thinking “too soon for free days?”

which seemed to do wonders for Wraith Enchanted

Miss Number One in Her Category

nice work

M:  Thank you! I was really pleased with the free days

J:  but there’s got to be a more…lucrative way to market

besides just giving away free things. Still, if all those people tell one person

it’s super worth it

M:  I’m still kind of not understanding how that’s not lucrative marketing

I mean, think about it

it doesn’t cost you one cent to give away kindle copies

and you reach thousands of people

isn’t that reaching beyond the goal of getting your name and work in the hands and minds of readers?

J:  oh no. I understand THAT part of it

it’s definitely lucrative in that way

M:  what way isn’t it lucrative?

J:  well, I guess that it’s thousands of people who won’t pay for that book

maybe your next one, yes

thousands who probably wouldn’t have found it otherwise

I’m on board with that

I see the marketing side of it

but the bank account side of it still stings a little

M:  but it doesn’t really

I look at it this way

My sales of both books were okay but not super stellar

and during the free days, and even after, I saw the best sales on my first book that I’ve seen since the first month it came out – even better for a few days

sales I would not have seen had the second book not been offered free

and it didn’t cost me anything

J:  now that I can see

M:  and now, I have a whole bunch of new people who have my books, who will hopefully like them and have some sort of name recognition for my next works

and not only did it not cost me anything, I gave something fun, and actually made something besides feeling good in sales on my first book, and hopefully through word of mouth on both books

J:  and I don’t want you to think I’m against free days

I’m NOT

I just try not to think about the royalties I might have earned if all those people actually paid for it and I can be hap-happy

M:  gonna be honest – you cannot think that way

J:  hahahaha

my husband makes me

i get dirty looks when I say “it’s not REALLY about the money”

M:  I’d venture a pure guess that probably most of those people who downloaded the book free would never have paid for it

so how can you count that as lost sales?

Count it as a huge positive, because now they have a chance to read your work, hopefully like it, buy more, and tell their friends

you didn’t lose sales

you gained a bunch

J:  and I know it’s not. It’s about getting it out there, getting some notice

I’m not arguing. Just lamenting. it’s a difficult balance

M:  it really is

here’s the other way I look at giving away free books or putting them on sale

I have a huge list of book and authors I want to read. I can’t afford to buy them all – no way

so I get excited when a book I find intriguing goes free or on sale

and I snatch it up, and I read it

and then, if I liked it, I go and buy all of their backlist I can afford and tell everyone I know to try them out

How many sales did they make there?

when before, I never would have had the chance to find them and try the stories and recommend

that’s a loss to everyone

I mean, some of my new fave authors I discovered that way

Kate SeRine, Kit Rocha, Kristen Ashley

J:  I’m afraid I sound whiny

M:  no, you just sound like the other side of the debate

a lot of people feel that way

J:  it’s not my intention to sound whiny

M:  probably more than feel my side

J:  because I fully understand the benefit

and can’t wait until it’s time to do free days for Oracles

M:  I think a lot of authors fall into only seeing lost sales on those thousands of downloads

but you can’t see them as lost sales – most of those people would never have paid full price in the first place

sure, some of them, maybe, but the few that might have are made up by the word of mouth and sales resulting from those reads that never otherwise would have happened

J:  another benefit to self-publishing is setting my own price

M:  yes, price setting is a huge benefit

and being able to make changes at any time, when those pesky errors pop up

that’s probably not as big of a deal to you – heh

J:  I could have asked a lot more, but I thought the lowest possible price was still really fair

M:  yeah. I just want to get my stories into as many hands as possible. I’d love for everyone to be able to afford all the books they find interesting

and still allow the authors to make some sort of living

J:  now, I know how you feel about the Goodreads giveaways

like maybe you don’t see as much of a benefit

but since mine went live this morning, more people have added to the to-read lists

maybe they will, maybe they won’t buy it

but the giveaway at least put it on their radar

M:  that’s true. anything that gets the info out there is good

J:  but it gets the book in front of even more people

because those people who put it on their to-read lists are then seen by their friends

who might also find it interesting

does it translate to more sales?

no clue

but people know my name and my book

oh

do know what has helped me find books to buy?

the lists on goodreads

when I’m on my geeky hero kick, I search the lists

I’ve bought at least five that I found on those lists

it’s how I found Ruthie Knox and Delphine Dryden

M:  I find books by word of mouth or blog and publishers sites and reviewers I trust

J:  word of mouth is still definitely the most powerful

Tiff’s reading Red

and LOVING it

I feel accomplished

M:  see

I might still not have purchased Red off my want-to-read list if Kate hadn’t offered it for free, and then never rec’d to you or everyone else

J:  but Tiff wouldn’t have read it if we hadn’t talked about it

and I know two other people who bought the series after reading my rec on twitter

M:  right. but we wouldn’t have talked about it if I hadn’t read it

and I might not have read it if it hadn’t been free

J:  nope

but you can see how both worked

M:  so that whole chain reaction goes back to her offering the ebook free for a couple days

J:  perhaps, but if I hadn’t tweeted it, it would have stopped with me

M:  but I wouldn’t have started if it hadn’t been free. And boy, did I rec it after I was finished reading.

J:  and I discovered Charlotte Stein because Ruthie Knox told me on twitter to check her out

M:  and I only bought both Knox and Stein because they were on sale or free, no matter your rec

so it’s all intertwined

J:  one to spark, the other to fan the flame

M:  the best thing in the world is to get people talking

and offering your book on sale or free is a very lucrative way to do that

J:  Talking is good. I’ll start my plan for the Oracles free days

brb

photo credit: <a