Thursday, December 29, 2011

HEAVENLY HELL- Where All Serious Writers Go

Pearly Gates after Daily Polishing
Welcome to the New Year. Well, for you, maybe. I’m writing this several days before New Years’ Eve, knowing I'll have returned from a trip north to see family just in time to miss all the celebration. While the rest of you are out there whooping it up, I’ll be at home pounding the keyboard. But if you think I’m whining, you’re mistaken.

You can tell this is a serious writer
by his pride in the three words he got
onto the paper. Can't see them?
 Oh, he must have used White-Out.
I think the last time we ventured out on the wild year end spree was 1989 when we got as far as Plaid Pantry before the drunk drivers scared us off the road. Following the national tradition doesn’t appeal to me. It would mean actually dressing up and going out, and then eating too much and drinking things I don’t even want to remember in the morning. Not that I don’t like to dress up. I do it at least twice a year, and actually, I clean up pretty good. But there’s just nothing like hanging around the house in my faded muu muu, fuzzy comfy sox and new Christmas robe that so far doesn’t even have a bacon fat dribble on it while the guys are safely downstairs in front of the TV. I'll have a glass of wine, maybe, and some shrimp cocktail that still has frost lingering on the tails. I’m perfectly capable of getting fat without leaving the house.

The truth is, I’d just as soon stay home and write, curled up in said faded muu muu on my bed with my laptop, as do anything else in the world. I will spend the day working on the ending of my January release, BELOVED STRANGER, briefly hobbling on stiff legs down the stairs for supper, then return to my awkward Yoga-like position on my bed to work some more on it.  No doubt I'll find a rough spot on the last scene, but I'll simply do what always works: a whirlpool bath. Sure enough, in five minutes I'll have all the missing parts outlined in my little notepad, and I'll lean back to enjoy the soothing flow of the bubbly water. For maybe a minute.  I'll spend the last 25 minutes before the timer shuts off planning my next story. (No, I'm not providing any pictures of me in any of the above circumstances. Don't ask.)

Demon Deadline's Workplace
I know what you’re thinking. Couldn’t I just enjoy the whirlpool bath without turning it into some sort of workaholic marathon? Are you kidding? What kind of fun would that be? I’m a writer. I write.  People who don’t write, don’t.  And they don’t understand those who do.
Ever hear about the writer who died and walked up to the Pearly Gates, only to discover the Gates were temporarily closed for their daily polishing? While he waited around for things to open up, St. Peter offered the author a tour of Hell because, he said, authors get to choose whether they go to Heaven or Hell. 
Demon Deadline in action.
Down in Hell, all the writers were squatting before desks made from rocks, pounding on ancient typewriters, while behind them some joker whose name was Demon Deadline (I kid you not) cracked a whip and yelled, “Write, you fools! Write!” 
As soon as the gates were polished, St. Pete and the author returned to Heaven, and St Peter showed the author around the Heavenly Authors’ Chamber, located on a remote cloud, perched precariously at the very edge of Heaven. All the writers were sitting before rock desks pounding on ancient typewriters. And darned if that guy Deadline wasn’t right behind them, cracking his whip and yelling, “Write, you fools!  Write!” 
“I don’t get it,” said the author. “What’s the difference?” 
St. Peter beamed proudly and said, “Our Heavenly Authors get to be published in the Heavenly Times.”
Real authors understand that.  Of course any author who had a choice would clearly choose Heaven over Hell, but lacking that choice, he’d choose Hell over an ordinary life without writing. Writers know all about Hell anyway. Hell is a When as well as a Where. It'’s when you spent the entire night working out a fabulous scene in your mind until you know every single detail. Then you sit down at your computer the next day and discover you do indeed have every little detail in your mind. Everything, that is, except the words to describe it.
Jimmy and my favorite heroine

And Hell is when someone drags you off to a party to loosen up and have fun for a change, just when you’re champing at the bit to write that delicious love scene. (And yes, that’s champing at the bit, not chomping. All  Regency authors know horses do not chomp their bits because Regency authors love their research even as much as they do writing.)

Heaven is when your hero is Johnny Depp, Gerard Butler and Jimmy Thomas combined in just the right proportions, and you have no trouble at all picturing him or telling anyone all about him. Hell is when you’re a hundred pages into the book and still can’t get a mental picture of Hero, even though he ought to be the sexiest, most kissable guy you’ve ever written.

This ordinary world is very neatly divided into two kinds of people: Those who write, and those who know all writers are crazy. The second group would find no pleasure in running around all day in comfy sox and muu muus (or pajamas or sweats), but tying one on at a New Year’s party is something they find worthy of a year-long wait. They consider computers to be work tools and whirlpool baths a source for luxurious “aaaahhhhs”. Writers, on the other hand, derive incredible pleasure (or pain) from their computers. But whirlpool tubs, being the source of some of their greatest ideas, are clearly work tools.

So those of you who are not writers will not understand my New Years’ Eve wish. It is only for authors, who will have no trouble understanding. Here it is, my special wish for you, for now and all the years to come:

MAY YOU WRITE FOREVER.
And for the rest of you, who we love so much:
Buy our books! Live a Happily Ever After!

Love and hugs to all!
Delle


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Glass Eye Studio Winner!

Running behind again--as you know I sometimes do--
The WINNER of the $35 gift Certificate to The Glass Eye Studio is Diana Duncan! Diana, I'm being demonic. I'm waiting for you to find it so I can hear you scream...

I'm still collecting entries for the final drawing on New Years Day for:
A gift certificate for the tooled Leather e-reader cover- or $87 toward any other item in the Oberon Designs catalog.
One $10 gift certificate each to three winners to the winners' choice of Amazon, Glass Eye or Oberon Designs.

There are so many choices at Glass Eye and Oberon Designs that I can't even decide which ones for myself, so I wouldn't want to pick for you. The e-reader covers come in sizes and shapes to fit all Kindles and Nooks, and might fit other readers too, but I'd be very careful about that if you're the winner. Check your measurements carefully and then contact them directly to be sure. If not, there are many other beautiful products available.

The usual things will get you extra chances in the drawing.
Buy a 99 cent book on Amazon- (particularly HIS MAJESTY, THE PRINCE OF TOADS since it is climbing the charts right now).
Or give a copy to a friend if you've already bought one.
Comment on Face Book.
Comment on my blog.
Reply on Twitter.
Share or re-tweet  promo posts.
Write your own promo posts for me.

Each one will get you one more chance at the final prizes. Go on- help my TOAD reach the Big Time!


Friday, December 23, 2011

WHERE DID THE STORY COME FROM?

NEW COVER DESIGN!
First, before we get to our topic for today, because this it the book that always makes me think of those lightbulb creative moments:

FREE on Kindle Dec. 23rd and 24th ONLY: HIS MAJESTY, THE PRINCE OF TOADS

Downlload this free book, or buy another, and get a new chance at my drawing for the hand-tooled leather e-reader cover or handblown glass ornament. Or comment on my blog, re-tweet my tweets, comment on Face Book. Each one gets you one more opportunity. Be sure and let me know, though, so I don't accidentally miss you!

Now on with the show:

I'm convinced everyone has story ideas. But maybe they don't recognize them. And of course, a story idea doesn't come with a complete story- most of the time, anyway. It's a germ of an idea. Something that is a little, or a lot, different from the everyday thoughts that run through our heads.

Most authors will tell you they don't get story ideas from their dreams. I do, but only occasionally. SIREN popped into my head in a dream, and it wasn't just a concept. It was probably the first half of the story. And while I do remember my dreams, usually I don't get more than fragments. FAERIE, which will come out sometime, I promise, was a fragment, with the heroine's inner conflict but not too much else.

LOKI'S DAUGHTERS came about on a dreary Sunday afternoon when my daughter, son, and I were sitting around the table, watching the kids play. My daughter and I complained that we'd never found any Viking romances that didn't have that supposed "romantic rape" scene. We detest those. So the three of us got spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and composing a Viking plot where the Vikings were the good guys. I think it was probably more romantic comedy at the time, and in fact it sounded almost like a stage musical.

LADY WICKED came from a young male social work colleague, sweet thought he was, who absolutely refused to believe that barely a hundred years ago, in some places such as England, wives were considered the husband's chattel, and could not even make a will without their husband's permission.

FIRE DANCE was probably mostly the result of years of working with abuse survivors and learning so much from them in terms of human triumph and survival. I had to write a heroine who represented the amazing courage I had seen so often.

But HIS MAJESTY, THE PRINCE OF TOADS probably had the most unusual beginning:

Back in the ancient past of my writing career, a good friend and Regency-writing colleague named Shirley Karr sent me a joke about a very modern princess and her encounter with an egotistical  amphibian. You've probably seen it. It made the rounds of all e-groups lists the way jokes fly around the world on YouTube and Face Book today. I thought it was funny, but I thought it needed a more historical feel, so I re-framed it in a historical setting and sent it back to her:

Once upon a time, a beautiful, intelligent princess lived in a lovely kingdom by the sea.  One day as she strolled in her garden alongside her favorite fountain, a frog leaped to the fountain wall beside her, startling her."Good morning," said the frog as he strutted along the wall (no mean feat, considering the shape of his legs). "I have come to rescue you."The princess studied the frog quizzically, for she had never seen a talking, strutting frog before, and certainly could not imagine why she might need rescuing."I am not a really frog, you see, but an enchanted prince.  One kiss from you and I shall return to my former glorious state, whereupon I shall save you from spinsterhood and carry you off to my castle where you can cook my meals, do my laundry, and bear me dozens of sons who will all be as handsome as I am."That evening the princess sat down to supper at her table, set with the finest china and Waterford crystal, and smiled as she speared her Frog Legs ForestiĆ©re with her golden fork.

Of course, no heroine of mine would ever fry and skewer a hero, not to mention a frog. But it could happen metaphorically.. And you can tell by the epithet given him, "His Majesty, the Prince of Toads", that he is in dire need of a real lesson in loving. And there's nothing like a good romance to give it to him. And so the process began of finding said hero, and then, just the right heroine to deliver such a come-uppance. And, as is usual for me, I had to pay attention, for Lucas and Sophie did not have an ordinary story. It was truly their story, not mine!

Writers, the next time you find yourself struggling for a new story concept, the place to look is your own experiences. You don't have to stick with the details you experienced. How could you go to the core concept and expand to make a unique story?

And readers, if you wanted to write a story, what event in your life might trigger a story with a new twist?


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seriously? PopEye Muscles?

You know I've taken an interest in the new Kindle Fire. Okay, okay, so I love it. But I recognize it's not the perfect device for everyone. I'm taking an interest, in fact, to the opposition as well. And you know there has to be some. Some people hate everything Amazon. Some hate everything not iPad or Apple. Heck, there are even some people still living who hate e-books and are still predicting their imminent demise. I heard one just the other day. A used book seller.

Anyway, I came across a Kindle Fire review the other day  http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/06tech/gaming-gadgets/kindle-fire-panned-nielsen/index.html?iref=allsearch .I would have just read and dismissed it but by the time I finished reading, I was shaking with laughter. Read this:
"The Fire is a heavy object. It's unpleasant to hold for extended periods of time. Unless you have forearm muscles like Popeye, you can't comfortably sit and read an engaging novel all evening." 
Popeye, huh? Seriously? All I have to do is read a few hours a day and I'll get muscles in my arms? My PT will love that. Okay, let's drag out the old postal scale and do comparisons. It's not all that accurate but it ought to be close enough. This isn't even government work.
Kindle 3Gen, bare                           9 oz.
Kindle 3Gen w/neoprene sleeve    14 oz.
Kindle 3Gen w/lighted leather case 19 oz.
Kindle Fire, bare                           15 oz
Kindle Fire w/padded nylon case   20 oz
Kindle Fire w/ hardshell case         19 oz.
Apple iPad, bare (info from Apple's tech specs)  1.33 pounds (21.3 oz)
[Addendum 12-12-11: Trade paperback book, 320 pages   15 oz.] 
So Fire is not quite double the weight of 3Gen. About what I'd guessed. But almost all users I know both read and carry their e-readers and tablets in some kind of case or sleeve. My Fire in a nylon case is 1 oz. heavier than my hubby's 3Gen in its fancy leather case. And it's lighter than the iPad, bare (duh! the iPad is bigger!) Now, this guy is trying to tell this asthmatic over-the-hill flabby-muscled gal that the Fire is too heavy for him? That's after I read three books in two days? C'mon! Where are the muscles you promised??? My PT wants muscles!
"The lack of physical buttons for turning the page also impedes on the reading experience for fiction. On the older Kindles, it's easy to keep a finger on the button when all you use it for is to turn the page. In contrast, tapping an area of the screen disrupts reading enjoyment, is slightly error-prone, and leaves smudges on the screen."
Lack of buttons?  Isn't that the point of touch screens? Honestly, I didn't think I'd like a touch screen, and fingerprints? Yuck. But I started getting finger cramp with the old 3Gen. And for me the light tap on the screen, or eve a dramatic, flashy swipe of the finger across the screen is just plain easier. Fingerprints? Not any worse than my laptop screen, and better than my phone.
"The Fire screen also has more glare than the traditional Kindle."
Glare? Sorry, guy. I'm the world's best arbiter of glary screens. If you had my eye problems, you'd understand- I'm missing major parts of my eyes. One of them is almost bionic. I've returned laptops to the store in less than a day because the glare bothered me so much. This is not a glary screen. Think it's too bright? Dim it. It's very adjustable. Even better, use the sepia screen color. It's not depressing like gray is. It's soothing.

So is Fire better or worse than 3Gen? Depends on what you want! Entirely! Want long battery life? Low contrast screen? super light weight? Get the new Kindle Touch. Don't like touch screen? Get the old style with keys. Want bright colors? Flipping through covers at a touch? Fire is better. Need a bigger screen, computer competence? That's where you get into iPad.

The big thing is, these guys are looking for iPads at Fire cost. No, guys. Not gonna happen! Fire is not an iPad. REPEAT AFTER ME: FIRE IS NOT AN iPAD. You want an iPad? Suck it up and plunk down the big bucks because there is no substitute. But if one just wants to read books, why would he buy an iPad? (For that matter, if one wants to write books on the fly, the iPad is probably also not the best choice. Even jazzed up with a keyboard. But that's not its central purpose.)

What they just can't get is that not everybody wants an iPad. Fire is built to be an e-book reader. It's for media consumption. Videos, magazines, music (needs decent headphones), etc. The 3.9 -4 million buyers in November and December are buying it for media consumption, not its computer abilities.

What most of us are buying when we choose a reading/playing device is access to content. I'm not particularly interested in the content and stuff that attracts many people to iPads. And iPad, while perfect for what some people want, is too big to make a good reader to me, but too small to be the computer I want. Or more accurately, not built to be the computer I want. I could write books on one, but I can write more and faster on my little 3 pound MSI Wind. I can do digital art with Photoshop on it. I probably could on iPad, but ya know, sometimes learning a different way can be a pain. What's interesting to me is that suddenly I'm finding a whole lot of people looking at things the way I do, and I thought I was in a really tiny minority. Who would've thought, five years ago, that instead of books vanishing because people had become so jaded with video, millions of readers would re-discover the unique experience of reading a book?

But even though Fire should not be put in the same class as iPad, it looks like it's created problems for Apple. Word is, Apple is going to lower the price of iPad2 because it's lost so much market share to Kindle Fire. In less than a month, Fire has grabbed 13.9% of the tablet market, when it really shouldn't even be in that category, quickly passing second-place Samsung Galaxy, which at its best had 6.9%.  http://www.isuppli.com/Display-Materials-and-Systems/News/Pages/Red-Hot-Kindle-Fire-Blazes-its-Way-to-Second-Place-in-Media-Tablet-Market.aspx?cnn=yes

As far as those Popeye muscles go, well, I carried a large messenger bag with both mini Wind and Kindle, plus all those carry-on things from Portland through San Francisco to Maui in October. Didn't think a thing about it. Muscles? Nope, after a whole week in Hawaii, no bigger muscles. I just squeezed my arms again, just in case. Don't think it's gonna happen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My, How the World Has Changed...

In all fairness, I have to say this article by Dan Reisinger was published in April, 2008, almost four years ago. The Kindle he's talking about was one I found not quite satisfactory enough, and I decided to wait a little longer. It was two more years before I finally bought my first Kindle, the granddaughter, you might say, of the original.


"Although some people see a reason to buy a device just to read a book, I don't. Some have said that Amazon's Kindle is the savior of the e-book market. I don't believe it. Others say that e-book readers will kill the book publishing industry and bring it into the 21st century. I think that's rubbish. The fact of the matter is e-book readers will never have commercial relevance."


Here, go read it for yourself. 
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-9911511-17.html

Four Kindle Addicts Compare Devices and Accessories

It's a family thing with us. If we're readers, we read ebooks. And that means, for at least some of us, we own Kindles or have Kindle software on our computers. So it really wasn't a big deal when four of us sat down after Thanksgiving to compare our Kindles and accessories.

Andy (right) is holding his brand new Kindle Fire. Pam (center), Jeff (left) and I (taking photo) all have Kindle 3rd Generation. But we have all chosen different cases and accessories.

This was a day before my new Kindle Fire arrived, and what you see in front is my old Kindle. I had a hard time being patient, especially after seeing Andy's, which was his birthday present. (See previous post.)

Jeff has that classy leather cover in orange with an extendable light. http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Lighted-Leather-Cover-Keyboard/dp/B003DZ165W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323212758&sr=1-1 When he bought his cover, it was a lot more expensive than it is now- about $70, and he chose orange because he figured not many other people would choose that so it might make his Kindle a little less vulnerable to being stolen. Also he tends to mislay things and orange is hard to miss, especially in a household where the only other orange things are his shirts.

What he likes about Kindle 3: The e-ink screen is easy to read, and the pull-out light is handy if he's in a darker environment. He can read it outside, regardless of how bright the day is. And he likes the long battery life. Kindle books are so easy to download, he's starting to complain about impulse buying.

What he doesn't like: He loves science fiction, and his favorite authors are either expensive or not available in ebook format, but that has nothing to do with e-readers and accessories. The pull-out light can be annoying, with an odd glare on the screen. I wouldn't be surprised to see him up-grading to the Fire. But then again, he might not.

In this photo you can see he's reading with the Kindle propped on a small, lightweight plastic stand. He found holding the Kindle a little awkward so he found this little stand for something like $7. He even uses it in bed by propping it on his nightstand. He reads several books a week. The week we went to Hawaii in October, he actually ran out of Kindle books even though he'd stocked up well before leaving. We had trouble getting his Kindle to download new books so were forced to go to a real bookstore for a change.

Pam bought a silicone sleeve by Marware because the Kindle seemed vulnerable to being dropped.
http://www.amazon.com/Marware-SportGrip-Fitted-Silicone-Keyboard/dp/B0046A8YB2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323215904&sr=1-1
 It's easier to handle, she says, and she has a bright pink sleeve with a clear window, by M-Edge, so it can be read without removing from the sleeve.
http://www.amazon.com/M-Edge-Leisure-Kindle-Jacket-Keyboard/dp/B0045EOWMY/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323216209&sr=1-3

What Pam likes: She can't see any point in buying the Fire. Gray e-ink is easier on her eyes, and she likes the long battery life of the Kindle 3. She gets lots of cheap or free books, and she has no qualms at all about asking her favorite authors to get their books available in e-book format. She still reads lots of paper books, too, and often re-reads her favorite authors. Then there are audio books, to which she listens on her daily commute. She gets them mostly from her local library. So far she hasn't tried the Kindle audio feature, but says she might.

What she doesn't like: High book prices.

At this point, Andy hadn't yet bought a cover. He's thrilled with the Fire, which is actually his first e-reading device beyond his computer.

What he likes: At first he didn't like how easily the screen changes its orientation from portrait to landscape, but then he found the lock. He and I both though we would want the anti-glare screen protector. But the reviews aren't good, and we just aren't seeing any glare worth worrying about. He likes the sharp, bright screen and the ability to change screen text display to white lettering on black for night in-the-car reading.

The case he bought a few days later, by Inland, is lightweight and semi-rigid, with a zipper and an inner mesh pocket. He bought it at Fry's Electronics. He likes the extra protectiveness of the hard shell..
http://inlandproduct.com/prohttabletcasefitsmost7tablets02252.aspx
The mesh inner pocket would hold a USB cord, but not the charging cord one that comes with the Kindle.

What he doesn't like: He wishes he could have a longer battery life like the e-ink screen devices.The case doesn't have a strap, loop or lanyard and he had to add one of his own. He also thinks the pocket is too loose and prone to "fall-out".

That purple-encased e-reader in front, with no person attached to it, is mine, and I will be passing it on to a friend for Christmas. I just can't see letting a perfectly good e-book reader go to waste when it could enrich someone's life.

What I like: You know what I love about the new Fire. What I love about Kindle 3, though? It was the first e-book reader I could actually tolerate. My really crazy vision problems kept me from enjoying the older darker, dull-colored screens, but Kindle 3 was bright enough. And it was very lightweight and easy to hold. The long battery life means it will run for several days without re-charging. I did have to re-charge once while in Hawaii, and that charge lasted until long after I was back home. And I think I liked the old Kindle method of grouping books in lists, better than I do the flip-through color covers on "shelves". But the new more visual system is definitely growing on me.

As for the case: I didn't want the weight of a leather case, and I wanted one that could zip, thinking maybe it would offer better protection. This one was made by Tucano for the 7" Galaxy Tablet, bought at Fry's Electronics. It's sort of like this: http://www.tucano.com/IT/featured/radice?lang=eng&___store= 
It's a perfect fit, and is nicely padded but lightweight (also fits the Fire, which is essentially the same size). The outer pocket makes a great place for the cord when traveling. The case, possibly by adding some cushioned bulk without much weight, is actually more comfortable to hold than just the reader alone. So for now, I'm keeping this case for my new Fire.

What I don't like: The e-ink screen is not soothing to me. It's my eyes, I guess, and also something about the way I respond emotionally to color. Gray depresses me. The Fire is much more pleasurable for me to read. I had to find a separate light, and never did find one that was really satisfactory. I ended up with a Mighty Bright that folds. It does stay in place better than others, but none of them do a really good job. The Fire sure doesn't need a light!

Oh, the knitted lace tablecloth? Why yes, thank you, I did knit it myself.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kindle Fire Lights My Fire


Frankie Blue-Eyes checks out the Kindle Fire

Okay, so I wasn't the first person to get my Kindle Fire, even though I was surely one of the very first to order it. Impatient though I was, especially when the one I ordered for my son on Nov. 1 arrived several days before the one I ordered for myself on Sept. 28, I'm okay with the fact that it finally got here the day after Thanksgiving. I tracked its progress across the country, through Phoenix, then Los Angeles, where it took a long nap, then right past me on the freeway which runs only 2 miles from my house, all the way north to Kent, Washington, where it again got a nice, long rest before heading south again, reaching my "local" post office in time to spend a lonely Thanksgiving there. But my post person is pretty super. Even though it was after 5:00 p.m. when the truck came by my house, she made sure I got it before she quit for the day. Two weeks after it had been shipped.

Never mind all that. I'm now perfectly happy. It's pretty much what I expected- few surprises and minimal drawbacks. But they might be significant to other people so I'm not going to pull any punches when I tell you about it.

The first thing I noticed is that it's quite attractive- although it looks pretty much like all the other tablet type devices available now. The back is sort of rubberized- probably a silicone backing, that helps to make it feel more secure in my hands than other tablet type devices I've held. It probably helps to keep the ceramic glass face from breaking if dropped, but I'm going to do my best not to test that. At 7 inches, it's smaller than the 10 inch iPad, so it's lighter and more comfortable to hold. But it appears to be about 50-75% heavier than my old Kindle 3rd Generation.

The display has the shiny black border we've come to expect, and the display itself is sharp and clear, but also has some anti-reflective properties. I was worried about the possible glare, since I find the reflections from the glossy screens very annoying. I can still see some reflection from the black border, but not enough from the display itself to be noticed. At a resolution and size of 1024x600 @169pixels per inch, pictures are sharp enough for me, despite my vision problems. I have no trouble reading even when it's set at the smallest font. Brightness is fully adjustable, and the display can be set in any of three combinations: the usual black font against white background, as well as white font on black (great for night reading in a car), and my favorite, a classy brown font on sepia background. The display can rotate when the reader is rotated. I find it convenient to lock it when I'm reading because it shifts very easily. I've heard some people say they can't read on a backlit screen for long periods of time, so they believe they can't use the Fire. I'd be surprised, since everyone I know who has said that hasn't given the Fire a chance, but maybe it's so. I have severe visual distortion problems, and I find the gray-on-gray straining, but I do very well with the cheery color screen. I do dim it slightly, and I find the sepia background soothing.

Some e-readers I've tried recently almost require a stylus, pressed rather hard, to send commands, and I would not buy those devices for that reason (as well as blurry display which is extremely annoying). The Fire responds to a light touch. You have to spend a little time finding all the settings and learning to manipulate the bookshelves, but it's not hard. All my books from my older Kindle loaded quickly with no problem. And I'm sure it's no surprise to you that buying a book is a simple one click. Amazon would never give up that feature!

The battery does last a full ten hours. Not much compared to the e-ink devices, I know.That's with wi-fi turned off. You should do that anyway, for any of the Kindles. I wish it lasted longer, but until color e-ink screens become practical, that's going to continue to be a problem with backlit color readers. I understand the new color Nook battery life is slightly better, but that won't really matter until it becomes perhaps 50% better.

I don't really like the transformer type charging cord, which is probably minimal in size, but it's still clunky compared to the cord for the e-ink Kindle. I'm guessing the backlit screen requires current conversion that the older e-ink design didn't need. No USB cable is provided. The old Kindle cord is convertible to a USB cord, a very neat arrangement. I bought a retractable  USB-to-micro-USB cord because I will need to import my manuscripts to the Fire. Incidentally, I also picked up a very small AC/DC charger that works in either a car or airplane, and it will work for the Fire as well as netbook, camera, phone, etc.

I wish it had a SD card slot. I don't think the memory capacity is good enough to not have any way to supplement it. There's the Cloud, of course, but I'm mildly opposed to having Amazon store all my personal documents there. I admit, it will probably not become a problem for me, since I bought a reader for reading pleasure, and I have my mini-laptop for actual work when I'm away from home. But I can see how a lot of people won't be happy with this.

So overall, I totally love my Kindle Fire. I can easily forgive its shortcomings simply because I know most of them are limited by existing technology. It's sort of like, way back when I was a kid, black and white photos were "good enough"-- until color became practical and inexpensive enough to actually use. And I remember when black & white TV was "good enough" because color wasn't all that good, and cost too much anyway. But nobody clung to black and white TV, once it became reasonably affordable. E-ink is "good enough", sure. But now that I have a great color option, why would I want dull gray?

The first book I read with my Fire was GABBY, about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. I was completely absorbed in it and read till I conked out from exhaustion, then picked it up the next morning to finish. That's something I haven't been able to do for years. I have to say, the Kindle Fire made reading an entire book much more pleasurable, with no eye strain or headaches. I'm resolved now to not read or buy paper books again except for those reference books that can't adapt well to ereaders. And that will continue to be a problem for me because color pictures have to be limited in size to the screen size. So maybe someday screens will unfold to expand to the size of full page spreads.

I'll rate it 4 3/4 Stars because I think the next one will address some of the issues I have with this one, like the SD slot. Technology will eventually solve all the difficulties, I'm certain.

Coming Next: Four EBook Addicts Compare their Devices, Cases, Etc.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Anne McCaffrey- In Memory



I took this from my son's web comic, "Too Much Information":
Anne McCaffrey passed away this week. She gave us so much. Like Little Ace above, we ride the backs of the White Dragon whenever we read her "Dragonriders of Pern" series, and tasted rich imagination and the triumphs of right and courage. It's impossible to find enough words to describe her impact on us, the readers and the writers-- unless we read every word of all her stories.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

OVER THE HILL IN MAUI PART 2

THE BIG BOYS COME  IN AT NIGHT


The first thing we do in a trip is to check out local sources of information. That's where you can often find something you never thought of, or get a better price. Time share condos almost always have someone who does a presentation, and we went. Usually we don't because this is where they try to persuade you to buy into more time shares. In Orlando we did, because they gave us $150 which we happily used on the kids for goodies. Here, we learned about the Van trip to Hana, and we knew that was a much better deal than driving ourselves, because that's one windey-ass road. And after I'm home I'll give you a more detailed account of that trip, which was truly wonderful. I'm still mad about that battery on my brand new camera, because that trip should have been photographed the entire distance.

There's also insider information. The presenter told us all beaches on Maui close one our after sunset because
"The Big Boys come in at night". A shiver went up my spine. I knew instantly what she meant, and if you don't, just imagine what swims in the ocean and has a fin that sticks up out of the water. Most of the sharks in Hawaii are harmless to man, and I could easily see that at the aquarium tanks where small sharks swam through all the other fish and even a diver who was working in the pool. But there are also the  Tiger Sharks, in particular. I don't think even the professional divers go into the ocean at night.

I also was thinking of the other kind of "Big Boys", the sharks of the human kind. We're pretty good at avoiding them, but more and more, they are finding new ways to fleece tourists even in low traffic areas. We're learning we can enjoy those high traffic areas and just walk away from the sharks. Maybe I'll blog later on that subject, but not now.

Yesterday was perhaps one of our most favorite days. We just dinked around. A drive down to South Maui is short, intriguing. That's where the really rich Maui property owners live, and where some fantastic up-scale condo rentals are. I can see why. It's away from the really heavy tourist areas, and an excellent place to make a secluded retreat.

The beaches were not heavily populated because the surf was pretty high, and winds very gusty- about 20-30 miles per hour. Sand really stings when it hits your face at that speed. Wherever you are on the Islands, if there's a wind it's very nice. Because it's been mostly from the south, it's brought the vog (volcanic gases) up from the Big Island's volcano, Kilauea, over a hundred miles away. That worried me since I have lung problems, but I seem to have done all right.  Staying in an air-conditioned car is good in that case. But it's really not bad, not even enough to catch an odor in the air.

The aquarium is definitely worth a trip. Sure it's expensive, but really quite reasonable considering costs of maintaining the facility. Cheaper than Sea World, but then they don't have jumping dolphins or Orcas or any kind of show.

And the beach? Well maybe today. We haven't even planned anything yet. Maybe if I wrap a pareo around my body, no one will notice how odd my swin suit is...






Monday, October 3, 2011

OVER THE HILL IN MAUI PART 1

PART 1: THE SWIMSUIT STILL FITS IF I LEAVE ONE BOOB OUT

N Maui Beach (I'll get you the name later)
Funny thing how I've always thought of Maui as a place where only the young people came. I don't know why- perhaps I'd heard descriptions from other people who love the Valley Isle. From those impressions I have always pictured it as the Party Isle.  We've been to all the other major islands, though, so Maui had things that were on our Bucket List. Well, no, you know me, I'm not one to let a little age difference intimidate me. Just makes me wish I could still do some of those things I used to do. So we went to Maui.

Imagine my surprise then, when I saw more people with wrinkles and bags than taut physiques. More gray hair than blonde, and any woman who wanted to, wearing a Maui sundress. 


sunset over the harbor from the condo
Second impression: those aren't just the tourists. Maui-ites have no intention of hiding from the sun once they're over the hill. They're in paradise, and age has nothing to do with it.

clouds at 8,000 ft
We've actually been here several days. By the time I get in, my back aches like fire and my ankles have swelled like logs. And here we are, constantly meeting Young Things who would have put my hiking abilities to shame back when I was their current age. 

tiny flowers at 9,000 ft on Haleakala
Yesterday in our drive to the top of Haleakala- up the steepest highway in the world, we came up to a hiker pick-up area, and there stood a young couple not looking too hopeful. We never pick up hitch-hikers. We did anyway. What a joy they were! Manchesterians transplanted to California, eagerly hiking the very trail I had dreamed of doing fifteen years ago. We took them up to the trailhead just short of the crest, and they began their trek across the crater.

Today we took a helicopter over the crater and down on the rainy side, two other couples, both young, one from California, one from France. We all had a wonderful, exciting adventure. I've never done a helicopter ride before but even I knew the supposed scary sudden altitude drops were actually pretty wimpy. Don't care. It was thrilling.
one of hundreds of waterfalls in windward side
I'm getting brave in this Wild Over-the-Hill world called Maui. Still haven't stuck a toe in the water yet, though. Still wondering what I'm going to do with the other boob. And I finally got the pictures posted! Some of them anyway!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OVER THE HILL IN MAUI PART 1 Coming tonight

We're now in Maui and I'll start with the first post in a short series tonight after we get back to the condo. I'll be taking my camera and binocs as we get our bearings on the island. We've been all over Hawaii but this is the first time to Maui other than stop-overs. On today's agenda- the Maui Farmers and Crafts market, the beaches, etc.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

NEW ADDITIONS to Mercy Corps Sale

Just  a $25 donation to Mercy Corps can get you a book cover customized to your book.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

VISIT MY MERCY CORPS DONATION PAGE AND READ ABOUT HOW YOU CAN GET A BOOK COVER FOR ONLY $25.

So you probably think I'm not doing anything. Not so. In fact, working on books and covers has kept me pretty darn busy, and then there have been some personal things come up that have been a bit-- well, let's just say, emotionally and physically demanding.

But I did have time for another  whimsical cover design (hey, a person needs to have a little fun now and then). It doesn't belong to any book. But when I re-dressed her in yellow instead of white, I remembered the WISPS OF SUMMER design I did in August. What a great series this would make, based on seasons. It sounds sort of like a Victorian women's fiction, don't you think? Maybe Rumors of Autumn, and Remembrance of Winter. From that, I got a new idea:

Does anyone want these, maybe with your own title and author name? I'll make you a deal: $25 per cover but not to me. Paid as a donation to Mercy Corps, which is ranked as one of the best world-wide charitable organizations operating in the US. Over 90% of the funds donated make it to the people who need the help. And their programs are aimed not only at emergency relief but at helping people become self-sufficient.

Then one more step: a new promotion for Mercy Corps, using my inventory of experimental and speculative cover designs. So If you need a good deal on a cover, check out the ones I'm posting on my MERCY CORPS PAGE.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CELEBRATORY GUNFIRE CONTEST!

Well, one of those "secret projects" I've been working on has reached fruition. It's a promotion for Lady Wicked with a sharply reduced price.
99 CENTS!
This won't last long- but I don't know how long. The publisher, The wild Rose Press is evaluating the promotion and if it's successful in generating lots of sales, might continue using these 99 cent promos to help readers discover TWRP books. Some of my favorite authors are on their list, so I'm hoping for great success. For myself, I just want my Lady to find all the readers I feel she needs and deserves.

So to help encourage buyers, and reward the readers who have already bought the book at the much higher list price ($7! They deserve to be rewarded), I want to throw a big contest. The big celebratory gunfire contest type. What shall it be? Give me your best ideas by noon tomorrow (Pacific Daylight Time) and I'll reward the top five with a $5 Amazon Gift Certificate.  This means it HAS to be something I can launch immediately, before the price goes back up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

News in BRIEF!

So you've noticed I'm not posting much these days. The reasons for my dereliction of duty are below.

(Incidentally, this design for Wisps of Summer is just a mock cover, posted just for fun to show you that I often rebel against deadlines and obligations. And because I thought you might like it. There is no book planned for it, so I guess I might work it up for someone else who likes it.)

I have to get BELOVED STRANGER to an editor by August 14th. It's supposed to be 25,000 words or less. It's 32,000 and I haven'd reached The End.

An editor called, having read LOKI'S DAUGHTERS (which is not for sale as it's doing quite well where it is) and wants to know what else I have. Wow, that always feels good, and I'm very interested in this publisher, whereas traditional publishing is not where I want to go right now. So can I finish FAERIE and get it to her really really soon? No matter that I really had wanted to release it earlier this year, it is just not ready. And the idea of releasing a book before it's ready just appals me. So I'm working hard on that.

I have another project proposal which I can't discuss yet, but it's quite exciting. Right now it's at the "either sit and wait or go do something else" stage. I'd say it's a long shot.

And although  I've completed four consignment book covers, I still have five more due this month. September is full, and I have some scheduled here and there throughout the fall. It's a good thing some people are willing to wait, having books that won't be released until later this year or early next year.

And I didn't mention the new wood flooring going in upstairs to replace our really ancient carpet that is probably a major cause of my constant sinus and runny nose problem. That's where I work. I need a cleaner work environment, so somehow I have to sacrifice my work space plus numerous hours of packing, carrying out, moving and then returning my possessions to their rightful places once the job is done. I've dreamed of this for years. But I sure wish someone else would do it for me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LOKI'S DAUGHTERS is an Amazon Best Seller!

So, an update on the last post, when LOKI'S DAUGHTERS was free on Amazon. By the time it was finally removed from the Free Reads list, it had downloads just shy of 50,000 copies, in about 13 days. And then it moved to the Amazon and Kindle top Sellers list!

Its first re-listing, or the first I saw since I was out with the guys to see Harry Potter, was at #10,072. Really disappointing. But I should have realized that was just a starting point. It quickly moved to #1472, then #375, then up to #271. The next morning it started at #171 and moved rapidly up to #103, and then onto the Top 100 Sellers, getting as high as #90. Since then it's been lurking in the mid 100s range and gained some this morning to be at #140. But I'm pretty sure a lot of its potential market was sapped by staying on the Free Reads for so long,

All in all, that's fine. It's a book I always loved and so I love it when new readers find it and love it. And even more so when they let me know it caused them to go looking for my other books.

Right now, yes I'm still being a bad blogger (almost wrote blooger, which seems oddly fitting). There  's not enough time in the day. I barely make it to Face Book and forget Twitter regularly. It seem so me when I'm being very productive with writing and cover work, that's an inward thinking process, and it's hard to shift back out to the outer, more social networking process.

Here's what's happening:
1. Amazon kicked back The Mudlark for bad formatting. Duh, didn't we have it fixed exactly right yet again? I saw it and even read through on the Kindle again. It was fine. Then suddenly it has all those crazy double indents again. This time we got some hexa-digital software and went through it line by line, and there are NO hidden codes, no thing that could possibly be triggering those ugly nasty double indents. The book looks just perfect with every other format except Amazon's Kindle.

But this time someone wised me up, and pointed to html format. At first I gagged- you know, the whole eye-rollling head-pounding "No! Don't make me learn it!" thing. But it's easy to just save as an html web page. In Word, it's called "Web Page", and you do it exactly like saving in rtf format. Then you put it into the Kindle Generator in exactly the same way you would a Word doc file. You just choose the file from your computer files with an extension of .htm


I hope this works. It looks great in the preview, and I went through the whole thing. This isn't totally adequate, and now I'm finding that in spite of my desire to avoid learning html, it's what I'm going to have to learn next if I want my books to be really professional. Funny thing, that the tool I really needed was right there all along. But it took the really good explanations of Guido Henkel  for me to understand why and how to do it.  I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS! My brain says it hurts, just thinking about it! But I'm telling you, if you want a really professional book that looks great in any ebook format, this is what you have to do. Go check him out. I'll blog more about my learning experience as I go along.

2. I'm still not finished getting FAERIE in publishable state. I'm disappointed but I can't put it out until the last problems are resolved. While all books have problems, I've found those are the places where I have real opportunities to make a book great instead of just good. So it's best to keep looking for the things a book needs to be unique instead of taking the first reasonable way to finish it. I hate putting it down again, but other things now must be done first.

3. I have to finish BELOVED STRANGER (was IN THE ARMS OF A STRANGER), which is aimed at an invitation-only series of novellas through a publisher. I may still self-publish it instead if I think it would work better for me, but I'm still aiming to get this book done and sent off by August 14.

4. And cover art is really keeping me hopping. I'm going to have to cut back on that, even though I love doing it. I've been getting a lot of multiple requests from authors, and often they want to bring out several books at once. Sometimes I can't accommodate them. But it is fun to develop a series style for their books.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

LOKI'S DAUGHTERS is FREE!


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033WSKA4
Okay, you probably know by now I'm utterly indiscriminate when it comes to giving away books. Sure I want you to buy them. But I want you to read them too, and because (if) you love them, go buy the others. So when a book is FREE, I think it's a good thing. Right now- and not for long- LOKI'S DAUGHTERS is free on Amazon Kindle, and on Smashwords.

Since last night it's already had over 6,000 downloads and is ranked #10 in the Kindle Store Free Reads. Its the #2 Historical Romance and #7 Romance Yesterday its ranking was #1626 Kindle Store, so that's a long way up. Free Reads are really a different list from the general Kindle Store list. But the value to me will actually show when the book is no longer free and will appear (I hope) on the regular lists.

But I have no idea how long it will be free. So be my guest! Go get it!

Hugs to you all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Elegance of Simplicity

(WARNING: No, I haven't written this book. Yes, I might.)

The cover is the first page of your book. All authors know that, and they all want a title that will grab attention, hold it, intrigue- grasp the reader so hard she can't let go. They want the cover to somehow convey to the reader every emotion the author feels about her story. And sometimes they mis-understand that the cover should NOT tell the story.

Think about it. If you look at a cover and you quickly spin in your mind how the story will go, where it's set, how the characters will feel and change, then what will you do next? You'll put it down. You're satisfied. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and maybe in the case of a book cover, a hundred thousand words. And if your cover tells your whole story, the reader's done. No, a cover should be the first page, not the whole thing.

But it's hard. Authors who self-publish in digital form are really vulnerable to this "perfect cover" flaw. Artists, too, or I, at least, keep wanting to crowd in yet one more little element to make the cover so perfect. And the reality is, simplicity can be a far better seller. Simplicity can be incredibly elegant. Or stark. Or simply simple. The way ebook covers are viewed, in long, scrolling lists of small thumbnail images, or on pages crammed with other covers, means  covers have a hard time being the one cover the reader glimpses in a rapid scroll downward. But simple, in its many forms, usually does the job most authors crave. It stops the reader in her fast-paced scrolling tracks. 

I did this cover design for one reason. To demonstrate how compelling just a face can be. I've hinted that the story is medieval. But I could have put in a verbal hint that it was contemporary, and truly her heavily made up face suggests that. But that's a side issue because there is no story. The very simplicity, the stark sharpness of her makeup and the flowing folds of the dark purple scarf (chiffon, I can tell in close-up) meld into the background. If anything is fanciful, it's the lettering. But since the photo compelled me to call her Amethyste, a name I made up just for her, I felt it demanded to come out looking like a carved jewel. There's room for that because it has so little competition.

Not that I will do all covers in this fashion from now on- I'm incapable of doing that. But I think this will remind me, and perhaps other authors, that when it comes to ebook covers, simplicity is the best elegance.




Friday, June 17, 2011

A Design for an Upcoming Release

Just thought you'd like to see this. The book is not quite finished and I haven't really decided how I will publish it. I will actually probably submit it to a more traditional e-publisher since I have an invitation to submit a story that this one fits.

It's a novella length story told partially by letters, set in England, Portugal and Spain during the Peninsular War between Napoleon's French Empire and the British-Portuguese-Spanish Allies. It's a story that's roamed around my mind for years, but I've always been told it "would never sell".

Well, now what will sell depends on the readers, not the publishing industry, and I'm finding the readers want a much broader range of romances than legacy publishers can afford to give them. I understand that. If a story might sell well, but another one will likely sell extremely well, which one should a publisher, who is in business to make a profit, buy? And maybe they're right, maybe a story that's not entirely set in Regency England, especially one that takes the reader to the brink of the battlefield, won't have a good market.

but this story is too dear to my heart to leave un-published. I'll leave it to the readers to decide how valuable it is to them.

Hugs to all my wonderful readers, who share my tastes in love stories!

Delle

Monday, June 6, 2011

FAERIE will release July 20! (Updated to September-Sorry!)

Release delayed to September, 2011
for technical reasons

Blogger says it's having upload problems so I'm just dropping by right now to give you some updates. Oh hey, it worked! Never mind.

FAERIE will be releasing July 20. Yes, I know some of you have waited a long time for it, but that's one reason I decided I would bring it out myself. The wait for a regular pub date would be a year or more away. So now it's  going through a professional edit, and the cover is done. And I'm starting the process of finding reviewers and setting up promotions. No one can buy a book if they can't find it! You can  find out more about it in my "Books and WIPs" section.

And don't worry, historical romance lovers, I'm not abandoning my Regency Historicals. I'm finishing up two right now. One, I'll be submitting to a more traditional publisher, but I think I'll bring out the other myself. Why one and not the other? One is an invitation to  submit for a specific subject novella, and I just happened to have it already half written, so why not give it a shot? The other I think will suit my needs more if I produce it myself. I'll probably bring it out in the mid fall. (Another trip to Hawaii intervenes in September.)

So you're asking, is there really some kind of advantage in publishing my stories myself? Isn't that the horrible monster, Vanity Publishing? Well it could be, but you can be sure what I'm doing is a LOT OF HARD WORK, aimed at providing the best stories I can at a price the readers can easily afford, and that I've studied the situation carefully, and have about 18 months' very successful experience in independent publishing. In my traditionally published books you'll find a lot of excellent professional work, by wonderful editors and cover artists, along with technical people who know how to format a published book and have the means to distribute the books. But all that comes at a price, and sometimes readers have a hard time justifying buying a book that costs more than a few bucks.

But the thing is, I know how to do all of that, too. Yes, I do know better than to publish a book that only I have edited. Good grief, if you know me, you know my eyes are horrible anyway, and even the best sighted authors who viciously attack their books word by word will miss things. So yes, all my books will always go through at least one professional editor, not to mention eagle-eyed critique partners. I'll do a final edit on other authors' books, and it will be professional. But not my own. And of course, yes, I do my own covers.

So none of my indie-published books will ever be priced for more than $2.99. Most will be free, or 99 cents. And you get a book you'll love at a price that lets yo go buy another book too. And I, believe it or not, make a bit more money myself because so many more people can afford my books.

Hugs to all. And in the meantime, don't forget SIREN, a brand new story, not a re-tread, is now available. Only 99 cents. If you honestly can't afford it, email me. We'll work something out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

AND THE CONTEST WINNER IS...

1st, the $25 Amazon gift certificate: Samantha Fury. 
  • Because: she sent that luscious photo of one of my favorite models, making it the most helpful suggestion. At first I thought it was the one I'd already tried unsuccessfully, but this photo is a little different. The one I already had is black & white, which would be hard to color, but also the head positioning in the older one is straight forward, which wouldn't work. But this one is perfect, with his head turned as if he is listening to the Siren's song.
2nd, the $10 Amazon gift certificate: Amber Autry-Munnerlyn.

I will give a $1 Amazon gift certificate OR a coupon for a free download of Siren (99 cent value) to each of the other entrants. But since I don't have email addresses for all of you, I'll be contacting you through Face Book to ask your choice. The Amazon certificate requires an email address, but the Smashwords coupon is something I can simply give to you directly for you to use.

SIREN is now up and available on Smashwords, where the first copy sold within an hour. It's also up on Amazon UK, where at least one copy has sold within minutes. You can see the page for it on Amazon US already but I don't know if it can be bought yet since my bookshelf page says it isn't available yet. All the same, it'll be available sometime this evening, and here's the link:





Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SIREN COVER CONTEST! PRIZES! Updated


(Note 2: I've added two new designs to the contest, based largely on what you've had to say so far. So if you've got time, take a look and see what you think of #4 and #5.)

(NOTE 1: If you have to comment anonymously, pls include your FaceBook name of some other way I can reach you- probably not good to show your email address on the comment.)

I'm about to release my first totally independent novella, SIREN. This 25,000 word novella. It's gone through an outside editor, and is ready to go. Except for one thing. It has THREE covers. So I'd like you to help me decide which one is the best one for the story.  THERE WILL BE PRIZES.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
SIREN is a 24,000 word novella, a sensual historical sea fantasy romance set in 1851, during the time of the great Clipper Ships. From the beginning, Siren is a mystery to the hero, John Wall, so main story is told entirely in his point of view, to emphasize his inability to know or understand the mysterious being of the sea.

For seventeen years, John Wall has sailed the seas, braving storms and pirates to bring his cargo safely into port.

Sometimes he sees the Siren and hears her clarion voice above the crashing waves:
"Come to me, John Wall. Come to me."

But the Siren's song is death, so John resists its lure--
Until the night he meets the King of Storms.

Masts shattered, sheets ripped and sails torn, his men-- gone--
John clings fiercely to the wreckage, defying death.
And the Siren comes for him.
"Come to me," her beautiful voice sings.

Their lips locked in a kiss, John Wall slips beneath the sea.

What has he found? Heaven? Hell?
Or something beyond his wildest imagination?

WHAT TO DO:
Read the blurb and look at the three proposed covers, on this post. And comment. If all you want to say is "Great cover!", that's fine with me. But the commenters who give some helpful, insightful suggestions  (I get to decide) will be given an extra FIVE chances toward winning the prizes. Yes, you can say you don't like something, and yes, you can point out flaws. Remember, my crazy eyes often don't see something that's perfectly obvious to other people, so I don't take offense to such things if they're not rudely presented.

You MUST be willing to give me your actual email address if you are a winner because all prizes must be sent by email.

PRIZES:
1st: $25 Gift Certificate to Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, or other ebook retailer the winner chooses. This will be MY choice of the most helpful comment. no promises that I'll actually be able to use the best comment though.
2nd: $10 Gift Certificate to an ebook retailer of winner's choice, randomly drawn from all commenters. (Don't spam me with hundreds of "nice cover" type entries. I'll just delete all but one anyway.) Commenters with helpful suggestions or comments beyond "nice cover" remarks will be given five entries into the drawing.
3rd: Ten $1 Gift certificates to AMAZON ONLY. These will be randomly drawn in the above manner.
Bonus Prizes: Two Free copies of SIREN from Smashwords

Nobody gets more than one prize.

DEADLINE: You've got till NOON, Friday May 18, 2011, to enter. I have to cut it off then so I can get the book out. And I'll announce the winners on Friday night on this blog.

And look for SIREN's release on Amazon, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. I'll post precise links when I get them.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oh, the Treachery!

Temporarily FREE on Kindle!
Okay, so it's not really treachery. Maybe more of a slippery slope. But since I once broke my wrist by slipping on a flat, nearly level rock AFTER climbing down a cliff, I'm a little bit hyper-vigilant about slippery slopes.

It seems two of my books, FIRE DANCE and THE MUDLARK, are caught in a price war between Sony and Amazon. Sony marked them down to $0.00 (which as near as I can tell is a contract violation), and Amazon consequently matched the price (which is NOT a contract violation).

Temporarily FREE on Kindle!
I have no idea how this might have changed my sales numbers on Sony- and in fact I can't get any communication from either them or Smashwords, my distributor. But I can tell you Amazon reports that I've had over 35,000 downloads of my FOUR directly published books in less than a week.

So I should be excited about two huge bookstores giving away my book without my permission? You bet. Here's why:

At first sales of the other two, non-free directly published books as well as the three published by other publishers, dropped drastically. But within less than a day, they rose. They had been dragging after a four month run at the Top Seller lists on Amazon, and needed a little infusion of something. My plan had been to direct-publish a novella- my historical sea fantasy romance, SIREN, but formatting problems, three back-to-back conferences in April and a huge increase in cover art requests have slowed me down for anything that doesn't have a firm deadline. So Free Reads is just the boost I need right now to go along with the next release.

That's most likely about 20,000 new readers in the US and about 4,000 in UK, at least glancing at my books on their Kindles. And from my experience, a fair number of readers will go buy another book by me, once they've read one. I particularly like seeing my UK sales go up, tossing both HIS MAJESTY, THE PRINCE OF TOADS and LOKI'S DAUGHTERS into the UK Top Sellers lists. Before, they'd gone all but undiscovered.

So what am I going to do about Sony? Nothing, probably. Will they pay me? I don't know. But in the meantime, I'm issuing an open invitation to all readers. GO GET 'EM!

Monday, March 7, 2011

KINDLE SALES UPDATES

I haven't posted in awhile- I can't believe how busy I've become since the New Year, both with ebook sales and ebook covers. But the whole ebook worlds seems to be spinning so fast it's hard to see what is going on. So I thought I should drop by my own blog and tell you what I see.

The sales growth has been phenomenal in three months for my books, and a lot of other authors are reporting the same thing. It's clear, though, that sales growth is uneven, and a lot of authors are struggling, trying to get a toe hold in the market. I get asked a lot how to do that, and I really can't tell you how to do it. What worked for me began with a fabulous piece of luck, yet I have to say it's probably the only major piece of luck not directly related to hard work I've had in all my years in publishing. The rest was really a matter of working myself and my books into the right position at the right time, but without knowing ahead of time what that position and time would be. In other words, plain old perseverance.

But I'm happy to report that HIS MAJESTY, THE PRINCE OF TOADS has remained at the top of the Regency Romances for a solid month, and has been on the Top Selling Romances list for 48 days. How many sales does this take? Around 200 a day. Totals? For four books, in December I sold 1208 books, but January jumped to just under 6,000. And February, almost reached 10,000. With my other published books on Amazon, sales weren't as good, but they also have been rising. So I'm certain I sold well over the 10,000 last month. This month? Looking good but not nearly that kind of increase. And every day I have to sell more than before to keep my ranking. So some days I sell more books yet still drop in ranking. Some days the other way around. So, since I've been ranking between 29 and 46 in all Romances, I figure there are at least 50 other romance authors who are having the same kind of experience, or even better. I wonder how many books they're selling????

Friday, February 25, 2011

LADY WICKED is out!

I haven't been so excited about a book release since my first one back in 2000. But LADY WICKED is a very special book to me.

Available at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press,
 All Romance EBooks, etc.
http://tinyurl.com/4pvom2o
 It finalled in the Golden Heart twice, and won in 2005. It had a hard time in the post -9/11 era when few editors would buy historicals of any flavor, and particularly not those that weren't all light and fluffy. LADY WICKED isn't fluff. I do write fluff and love to do it, but although this book has lots of humor in it, it's definitely not the softest tissue in the box. But it's special because, as in all my books, love and justice triumph in the end. This time in a very memorable way. When karma comes around for my villains, it does a lot more than knock the wind out of them. I think this is the best ending I've ever written because, poetic justice really reigns.

Now, here it is! Launching with its first two reviews, both of them wonderful!

From RT Reviews:
RT Rating
Lady Wicked is not only a wonderful romance, it’s also a fantastic mystery. As this compelling novel goes from hysterical scenes to dramatic ones all while developing a captivating romance, readers may well wonder if Jacobs has created a Mr. Darcy for this generation.

 From Sizzling Hot Book Reviews:

Lady Wicked deals with what happens after all the balls and parties we so often read about in historical romances. We can all guess about the happy stories, but Lady Wicked gives us a look into what can happen when the other extreme happens. Delle Jacobs has done her research into the laws and social rules of the time, giving us a real feel for what was accepted and how it might have happened. While this is fiction and an extreme case, one understands that divorce seems to be a last step taken.


Lady Wicked is much more than a historical or even a divorce novel. We see Savoury grow as a person. He learns he has been wasting he life before now. He connects to his family home, to the ‘real’ people around him, and finds love for the first time. He may be in tarnished armor, but he is a true knight, rescuing not only Davina, but a couple other characters as well. Watching him become a man is so nice. Davina admits that she was not much of anything under her father, finding herself as she realized she was willing to give up all wealth and title just to get out from under her husband. She has to learn to overcome her own fear, especially of men, large men. This is not easy, and is to be expected after her abuse.


The twist to the mystery of Lady Wicked is great, and I really enjoyed it. There is some nice play on historical law, and the lead up to the romance works well. This is a definite read for historical lovers, and for those who like to see the underdog win as well. 


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I write write write. Sometimes I travel. Then I write some more. And I have a great family who understand that I write write write.