Friday, December 20, 2019

More on My Latest Book Promotion

I gave away a bunch of  books during my recent promotion of ALIEN BONDS,  but interesly, this didn't have a lot of impact on sales afterwards. It did, however, noticeably increase my Kindle Unlimited borrows for the Wakanreo trilogy. All three books are still doing better, in fact,

I think this must relate to how sales (in this case, during the promotion) affect what is recommended to customers. I'm thinking that the buying history of anyone who bought my books during the promotion would prompt KU borrowers to see, "People who read this also read. . ." with ALIEN BONDS included on the list. And since the entire trilogy is in KU, all three of them have been doing better.

And with long books like this, I actually make more money on a borrow than a sale. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

My Latest Book Promotion

This one is for other authors, as it's about giving away books. Why would anyone give away their books? Well, if you write in a series, giving away the first book can yield good sales on the sequels.

 I recently made ALIEN BONDS, the first book in the Wakanreao trilogy, free for several days.The free period started on last Thursday, and I paid for a book slot in two mailing services that are free to readers and offer free or cheap ebooks: Book Gorilla and Ereader News Today. The entry for ALIEN BONDS ran in BG on the Friday, and in ENT on the Saturday. Both promotions did reasonably well., with almost identical numbers.

All together I gave away 1,353 Kindle copies of ALIEN BONDS in the 5 days it was free. The first day, before the promo ran, I tweeted and posted in FB about it. That yielded 21 copies given away. The next day the BG promo ran and I gave away 574 copies. Then on Saturday the ENT promo ran and yielded 578 copies. Some of that total could be from the influence of the earlier promo, because on Saturday with no promo I gave away 125 copies. 

By Friday evening, ALIEN BONDS had risen through the rankings to this.

And on Saturday it reached this:

So, being #2 in Kindle science fiction romances probably helped the giveaway, too. There were 55 copies given away on Monday, the last day it was free, and  also 4 copies on Tuesday that snuck in because any Amazon promotion to make the book free ends on Pacific Standard time so there were a few hours that it was still free in some places. 

It was also interesting to see where the copies were going.  Here's the country list:

Pretty  much as expected. Only Canada, the UK and Germany made double digits. It was interesting that Germany beat out English-speaking Australia. 

Now, of course, I have to wait and see how it goes for sales of ALIEN VOWS and ALIEN SKIES, books 2 and 3 of my Wakanreao series. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

ALIEN BONDS is free for a few days!

To celebrate the completion of the Wakanreo trilogy I  have made ALIEN BONDS, the first book in the trilogy, free for a few days. From Thursday, November 14, 2019, 12:00 AM PST to Monday, November 18, 2019, 11:59 PM PST the Kindle version will be free on Amazon.

If you don't already have it, get your copy now! And don't forget the whole trilogy is free in kindle unlimited, too1

A story of two very different people from two very different cultures, a sort of AVATAR combined with PRIDE & PREJUDICE. In ALIEN BONDS, two lives are changed in an instant. Industrial chemist Dina Bellaire travels all the way to the planet Wakanreo to advance her career. Her carefully planned life goes up in flames the second she meets Kuaron Du, a Wakanrean who makes his living singing ancient songs in a dead language. Both of them know they can’t go back to the way they were before they met. They just have to convince the rest of the universe that what happened to them is real.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

ALIEN SKIES is now available in paperback!

The paperback version of Alien Skies is now for sale on Amazon!  The Kindle version is still on pre-order with a release date of October 29. Amazon has not yet linked the two versions, so click here to buy the paperback.

This means the trilogy is now complete! As of October 29, all three book will be  free in Kindle Unlimited. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

ALIEN SKIES is available for pre-order!

It has taken much longer than anticipated to get Alien Skies ready to launch, but it's finally ready! The trilogy is complete! You can pre-order the Kindle version here. The Kindle version is, like the rest of the trilogy, free in Kindle Unlimited. The paperback will be out about the same time, but no link is available yet. because Amazon does not support pre-order for paperbacks. Also, at the moment they are having trouble displaying the cover image for pre-order Kindle books but they assured me they are working on it. The cover is below, in any event.

Alien Bonds was very much Dina's story, and Alien Vows was Yulayan's. All the characters are in the final book, but this story belongs mostly to Kamuhi,. Here's the back cover blurb:

 Wakanreo was not always a safe place for a half-Wakanrean—
Or for a human married to a half-Wakanrean. Unfortunately, it was where Kamuhi Hailoaka had been posted by ThreeCon. He and Yulayan work at being married and being parents on the only world in the galaxy where the dominant species mate for life. They deal with the usual obstacles to two strong-willed individuals making decisions together, but Wakanreo has some extra challenges, even dangers.  
Kamuhi finds this out the hard way when they attend Yulayan’s grandfather’s funeral. Their toddler daughter starts to fuss, so Kamuhi takes her outside for some air. He returns to find his father-in-law and his-brother-in-law lying unconscious on the steps. Worse than that, Yulayan has been abducted.
Now Kam has to figure out how to get her back!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Last Giveaway!

Amazon is shutting down their giveaway feature. so I am running one last giveaway. I have made 10 copies of ALIEN BONDS free!

Click here to enter!

Don't wait! They're going fast!  


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Another guest blog post

Today I am guest blogging on Vicki Bateman's blog.   My post is part of her Book & Bag series where writers discuss their favorite handbag and also their book. I wrote about my current purse and about the first Wakanreo novel,  ALIEN BONDS.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

A literary time machine!

No it's not science fiction!  It's not fiction at all. I recently read and enjoyed One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson.

This was like a literary time machine! I had read a couple of Bryson's books but they were not about a period of time. This was an amazing deep dive into life before television, computers, the internet, or so many other things we take for granted. Even radio was really just getting started.

Bryson focuses on the summer of 1927, especially on Charles Lindburgh's solo flight across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth's career, boxing, baseball, politics, and some events I had never heard of, such as a scandalous murder trial. I learned a lot, and I was entertained at the same time. 

The narrative jumps around a bit; I did wish the publisher had enabled the Kindle's X-Ray feature because people would be described in one chapter and reappear chapters later, and I didn't always remember their details. The X-Ray feature on the Kindle is great for this kind of thing but a lot of publishers just don't care about the ebook version. The footnotes were not formatted as links, ether, which made them much less helpful because you only read them when you got to the end of the chapter. If you read the ebook version, all the illustrations are at the end, so be sure you keep paging through as they are interesting. 

I don't generally read much nonfiction. I like a story, with a plot and characters I can relate to, but I loved this book! 

p.s. The Kindle version is really cheap right now! Only $1.99!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Guest blog post!

I have a guest post on Delilah Devlin's blog. The post is all about how I came to write Alien Bonds.

Delilah Devlin is a perfect name for  science fiction romance writer! Check our her blog if you like steamy SFR.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Smashwords Sale!

It's July, which means Smashwords summer sale is on. All my books for sale through Smashwords are either half price or free!

Check it out!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

Snippet from ALIEN VOWS

The Science Fiction Romance Brigade Facebook fanpage has a recurring feature called Snippets where members post a brief excerpt from a book. Below is an excerpt from Alien Vows.

To set the scene, Yulayan is a hybrid being. Her mother is human (Terran) and her father is Wakanrean. Wkanreans mate for life purely from biology. This has had a profound impact on their cultures, as sex is not seen as a matter or morality or even choice.. Yulayan has grown up on Wakanreo but has recently met a young Terran physicist named Kamuhi and has invited him to her family home for a two-day holiday. Everyone there is Wakanrean except for one other Terran guest named Shandrika. Kamuhi has just asked for a tour of the house.

 “Let’s start with my father’s rehearsal room,” Yulayan said.
 “Be sure to show him your room,” Juoam said. “We’re putting the two of you in there since the guest rooms are all full, and Hushi and his friend have your parents’ room.”
 “All right.” Yulayan turned to go and was surprised to see a look of astonishment cross Shandrika’s face. It was gone in a flash, but Yulayan was quite sure it had been there. She shot a quick glance at Kamuhi and noted that he, too, looked almost taken aback.
 She pondered this circumstance as she led the way through the main room and into the corridor to her parents’ wing. Kamuhi said nothing at all until he stepped through the doorway into the rehearsal room.
 “Neat,” he said, looking around at the oddly-textured walls. The whole room was built to balance sound. Even though there was very little furniture, there was no echo when he spoke. In the middle of the room, a gleaming sphere hung suspended almost two meters in the air. “What’s that for?”
 “It’s to provide a focus for my father’s mediation,” Yulayan said, with barely a glance at the sphere. “He mediates before every performance.”
 “Why did that woman look so strange when Juoam mentioned we were staying in my room?” Yulayan said, coming straight to the point.
 Kamuhi spoke matter-of-factly, but Yulayan could tell he wasn’t entirely at ease. “I expect she thought we’re sleeping together.”
 “We are. There’s only one bed.”
 “I don’t mean literally sleeping. Terrans sometimes use that phrase to mean . . . something more intimate.”
 Yulayan was astounded. “You mean she thought we were going to have sex?”
 A smile tugged at the corners of Kamuhi’s mouth, but he didn’t let it get out of hand. “I’m sure the thought crossed her mind.”
 “How about your mind?”
 “Not for an instant,” he said promptly.
 “You looked very surprised,” Yulayan said, not convinced.
 “I was very surprised. But not because I thought sex was in the picture. It’s just that Terrans don’t usually share a bed with a member of the opposite sex unless they’re very young or they’re lovers.”
 “When you say lovers, you mean people who have sex together?”
 “Yes.” The smile tugged at his mouth again, and won the fight this time.
 “So Terrans only have sex when they’re in love?”
 “No.” He shook his head. “It’s something of a euphemism to call having sex making love.”
 “Hmmm. It seems very restrictive to me to say people of the opposite sex can’t share a bed unless they’re currently having sex, also. What do you do at holidays and festivals?”
 “We don’t have that many times when extended families stay together. Usually, if you have out-of-town company, they go to a hotel.”
 Yulayan was shocked. “Even if there’s room for them at your house?”
 “Well, where I came from, there’s not often room. Terra is very crowded, you know, and housing is limited. Even with emigration, the Terran population is still in the billions.”
 “Good heavens. Why do you have so many people?”
 Kamuhi was examining the sound equipment on one wall. “What? Oh, I guess the answer is that Terrans are based on a different evolutionary model. Our species favored excessive fertility to ensure continuation of an individual’s genetic line, instead of ironclad monogamy to be sure all or most of the offspring survived.”
 Yulayan frowned. “Sometimes you talk like a professor giving a lecture.”
 He grinned, not exactly apologetic, but at least with some level of contrition. “I know, and I’m sorry. Can we see the next room?”

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

My book is a finalist!

I entered an unpublished manuscript for a book called Bag of Tricks in the Diamonds in the Dessert contest, and I was recently notified that my book is a finalist in the Fantasy Romance category.

The contest is sponsored by the Dessert Rose chapter of RWA. I liked that in addition to a score, you got to see actual comments from the judges. Feedback is always welcome.

I won't find out if I won until the middle of June, but making it to finalist is a nice ego boost regardless.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Guest blogging today on NO WASTED INK

I've got a guest blog post today on the No Wasted Ink site. It's about how easy—or how hard—it is to make money self-publishing. Note that it's written for folks who know little or nothing about publishing.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Technology and the writing process

This post on Tor's website about J.R.R. Tolkien and how he developed Éowyn of Rohan as a character made me think about how technology has changed the process of writing a novel.

For most of the twentieth century, writers wrote in long hand and then paid someone to type the work, or they typed it themselves. The resulting manuscript could only be changed (in any but the tiniest of ways) by rewriting or retyping it. You could mark it up and add notes in the margin, but eventually, if you wanted to make changes, you had to write or type it all out again. If, like Tolkien, you kept every version you typed (or possibly hand wrote), then you, in effect, created a sort of fossil record of how the book evolved.

I really wonder if any writers do that now. With word processing, you can constantly revise the same file over and over. Unless you make a point to copy your files in a different location or to a different name, you won't have the earlier versions. Personally, I only copy a file in that way if I want to revise a story it in a way I'm not sure about.

It used to be that I would have backup copies on floppy disks, but even that has gone the way of the dodo as I now rely on Dropbox for backup. Every now and then I might email a manuscript to someone, which creates a saved version in a sense, but there's no pattern to when I do that.

Actually, when I first started to write, decades ago, I typed a short novel on a typewriter. I think I have the pages somewhere, but I have no idea where they are. Probably just as well.

Besides the biggest impact of technology on writing and writers isn't the loss of a book's fossil record, but rather the sheer number of people who are writing. You no longer need to be so obsessed by the need to get a story down "on paper" that you're willing to churn out reams and reams of typescript pages. All you need is a computer and some spare time. Not a totally insignificant barrier but nowhere near as high as it was in 1973.

So, technology has opened the floodgates. It remains to be seen what the impact of the deluge will be.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

KDP Print versus Nook Press

One of my most popular blog posts is from 2016, when I compared using Amazon's CreateSpace to using Barnes & Noble's Nook Press Print. CreateSpace is gone now, replaced by KDP Print, but I recently published Tribes as a paperback on both KDP Print and on Nook Press, so below is a comparison of print publishing via Amazon and Barnes and Noble using the versions of those platforms in use today.

Both platforms have fully integrated print and ebook publication. Each title appears once in the author's list of Projects (B&N) or on the Bookshelf  (KDP), with the ability to add it in a second format and neither one makes you create the ebook first.. Basically, most of the features/options below apply to both ebook and print formats.


Nook Press offered the choice of putting the book on sale now or using pre-order but it didn't give me a chance to say when it would be available. After processing finished, I saw this message on my projects page.

  • Your pre-order print book Tribes has a publication date of March 26, 2019. You must upload your final files by March 11, 2019. If you’re unable to do so, you must push your publication date or your book will go off sale.

And that was that! So pre-ordering was available on B&N but without a lot of options.

With KDP, pre-ordering is an option only for Kindle books. It does let you set the date, though. In fact, the pre-order option is the only way you can launch the book with the X-Ray feature enabled from the start. 


KDP only allows two categories but it was very easy to add both.

Nook says it allows 5 categories but after I added the first, I could not figure out how to add more.  Also, selecting a category required me to specify three levels: category, subcategory, and sub-subcategory.


Both KDP Print and Nook Press provide free ISBNs for print books, but if you use their ISBN, it cannot be used anywhere else. I always buy my own ISBNs and register them to my imprint, Cracked Mirror Press. I want the paperback to have one single ISBN.

In the past, B&N has rejected the ISBN I used on Amazon KDP, but this time  I had not yet clicked publish on Amazon when I set up the Nook version. Also, I didn't select "expanded distribution" on KDP, which causes Amazon to make the book available on other online bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Consequently, I was able to use my own ISBN for the Nook Press version.


Both platforms offer paperback, but Nook Press can also do hardback. I have no idea of the requirements because I have never used that option, but it is there.

One advantage B&N has is the "Buy online, pick up in store" option that shows up on the product page. It's only really an advantage if a reader lives near a store with an Espresso Book Machine to print the book, but it's there.


Amazon stated my cost to print (which is the cost of author copies) as $4.44 and B&N estimated it as $5.00. This does not cover shipping, of course.

Proof copies:

Both platforms allow you to order a proof copy; the one from KDP had a "Not for resale" stripe on the front cover, but the Nook one did not.

Linking the print and ebook versions:

Both platforms allow you to create a new version of an existing title in a new format just by clicking a button on the entry for the existing format. I had, in fact, pulled the Nook Press version of Tribes from sale before I published the Nook press paperback, but it was still in the system (it was, in fact, still for sale, because before I published it to B&N directly, I made it available to B&N via Smashwords; this was years ago, well before I published it directly on Nook Press, I had quite a time getting that version pulled from sale). .Anyway, B&N automatically added the Nook book description and other details about the ebook when I clicked the link to create the print book .On the B&N product page, it showed one entry for Tribes but with two formats. So, linking product pages was no problem on the Nook end.

On Amazon, for some reason even though I created the paperback by clicking the "Create paperback" button on the Kindle version's entry, it did not link the product pages. If you searched Amazon for the title and author without specifying Kindle, it showed both formats but with two entries, like this:

If you limited the search to the Kindle store, you would see only the Kindle version, with no indication a paperback exists. Likewise, clicking one entry brings up that product page with no link to the other version. Amazon claims linking will happen automatically within 72 hours, but I have always had to ask them to link the books, which is what I had to do for Tribes. It didn't take them long and now it looks like this:


In terms of ease of use, the two platforms are actually pretty similar. Also of note is that the PDFs for the interior and the cover worked fine on both platforms. Of course, in both cases, I had selected white paper instead of cream, which I suspect is why the covers worked for both.

Monday, March 11, 2019

TRIBES is now available in paperback and through Kindle Unlmited!

My ThreeCon novel Tribes, which is set on Mariposa, a world started as a penal colony, is now available in paperback! The new cover emphasizes the romance at the core of the story, and as romance readers appear to be the bulk of Kindle Unlimited subscribers, I also pulled the ebook from other platforms so that I could add the book to Kindle Unlimited.

Also, if you buy the paperback from Amazon, the ebook is free through Kindle Matchbook  Here is the buy link for the paperback on Amazon.

I'm also publishing Tribes as a paperback via Nook Press from Barnes & Noble; Here is the pre-order link for B&N.

This makes the seventh title I have in print. When Alien Skies comes out, it will be my 12th ebook and my 8th paperback. It was interesting to use the two different platforms for paperback publishing.  I will soon be updating my blog post comparing the two. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Updated info on sending files to a Kindle

I've noticed that Amazon has changed some of their pages, so here are updated directions for how to email files to a Kindle. You can send an MS Word file, an ASCII text file, a PDF, or a *.mobi file to your Kindle if you first do this one-time set up procedure:
  1. Log on to Amazon and hover the cursor over Account & Lists
  2. This makes several lists appear. 
  3. About 2/3 of the way down on the far right column, click Your Content & Devices 
  4. On the Manage Your Content & Devices page, click the Preferences tab 
  5. Scroll down to Personal Document Settings and click that.
  6.  A list of your Kindle devices should appear with the email address for each shown. 
  7. Make a note of the address for the Kindle you plan to use.
  8. Next, scroll down to where it says Approved Personal Document E-mail List and add the email address you will use to send the file; if you don't add the address, then nothing will reach your Kindle via email
Now all you have to do any time you want to put a file on your Kindle is to create an email to the Kindle's email address, attach the file, and click Send. Note that if you attach a PDF it will arrive as a PDF, unless you put the word "convert" on the subject line of the email. This will convert it to reflowable text and you can then change the font size  on the Kindle, if needed. 

Important Notes: Unless the file is mobi, the file name will become the document name. Also, regardless of format, once the file is on the Kindle, it is considered a "personal document" and not a book. If you set your home screen to show only "books" you will only see those Kindle books you bought from Amazon. If you're sending a PDF, the subject line should be the the word "CONVERT," or the PDF file will end up as a PDF on the Kindle;  that is, it won't be a normal book, but rather a series of images. 

Very important note

There is no charge for emailing documents UNLESS you are using a 3G connection. Be sure you are using wifi when you email a file, to avoid per/MB charges to your account.

Addendum added February 2021

In response to Kindle-hacking, Amazon now sends an email asking you to verify that you sent the file. You have to click the blue box or the file will not be delivered. See below for an illustration.

Kindle Logo
Hi ,

We received a request to send the following document to your Kindle account:
* Drifters.docx

Click below within 48 hours to verify this request.

Verify Request

Thank you for reading with Kindle!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Do you have to buy champagne for a relaunch?

Because of a family medical situation, work on Alien Skies is behind schedule. The manuscript is with the copy editor now, so hopefully it won't be too much longer until it's ready to go.

However, in the meantime, I had decided to re-launch of one my ThreeCon novels, Tribes, as a science fiction romance. I didn't write it as one, but the love story in it starts on page 3,continues to the last page, and is central to the plot, so I think it will fly as a science fiction romance. In addition, I am issuing a paperback version at the same time. I commissioned a new cover for it, from the same studio that did Wakanreo books 2 and 3.

Here's the new cover! It will be available as a paperback as well as an ebook.


I'll post the paperback link as soon as it's available.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

It's Read an eBook Week! Half price ebooks!

Smashwords is having a sale celebrating Read an eBook Week! . All my books are either half price at $1.50 or free (click here for the list)! Lots of authors are participating, so check it out!

The main page has the participating books featured and you can filter them by genre, length, etc. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! Also, Smashwords sale is ending today!

Happy New Year everyone! We had something of a medical emergency in my family, which pretty much consumed December, but I am hoping to get back to Alien Skies and release the Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon in February.

Meanwhile, the Smashwords Winter Sale is ending today! All my books are either half price or free.