Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Reading Update and I’m Self-Quarantining

Last Tuesday, Hubby and I drove to Savannah. We came home Sunday. Now we’re doing the self-quarantining thing. If all goes well, I’ll be able to go out again right around the time I’m supposed to have jury duty (provided the trial is a go). Perfect timing, huh?

But you’re probably wondering what I went to Savannah for. Well, I went to the Literary Love Book convention. There were about 100 of us, masks were required for EVERYTHING, and we did our best to keep our distance from one another. Of course, that wasn’t possible all the time, but that’s why we wore masks.

I had a good time. It was nice to interact with people (authors and readers) again. I’m hoping all the safety measures that we took were enough. I’d hate to think they weren’t. I may never go to another convention if that’s the case.

Frankly, I’m more afraid of attending jury duty than I was attending the convention. I just can’t see how I’ll be able to social distance in a court room, and I can’t imagine the room is all that big, either. So I’m crossing my fingers that the trial is cancelled or postponed.

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book #29

Dates read: July 20-31
Title: Fallen
Year of publication: 2019
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Deep Ops #3
# of Pages: 347
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book:. A talented hacker who got caught, Brigid Banaghan is now forced to work with a secret Deep Ops unit. But she won’t reveal any more to these renegade Feds than she has to. Especially not to Raider Tanaka, her control freak of a bodyguard and handler. It’s enough that his body is tensed for action and his heated gaze is always on her…
    Raider knows there’s more to his new assignment than he’s been told. Why send a deadly agent of his experience to guard a computer genius—even a gorgeous, unpredictable, undisciplined one? But when Brigid’s estranged father is named in an investigation into Boston’s organized crime, Raider’s mind switches onto high alert, just like his senses…
    To clear her father’s name, Brigid needs Raider’s help. The Unit’s idea that she bring a straight-laced Fed in as her “fiancĂ©” won’t fly, though—not unless Raider can release his inner bad boy and become the rebel Brigid can’t resist…
My thoughts: I liked this book—the suspense, the romance—but I can see which couples will be featured in future books. I don’t know if I like that part or not. Raider did tend to be a bit more of an alpha man than I like, but he wasn’t mean, so that helped. For me.

Book #30

Dates read: August 1-2
Title: Storm Warning
Year of publication: 2019
Author: Allison Brennan
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Lucy Kincaid #14.5 (novella)
# of Pages: 108
Paper or plastic: e-book for Nook
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads:. FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid and her colleague Nate are racing a hurricane, but the storm is the least of their worries...
    Lucy and Nate head to rural Texas in order to take an FBI Most Wanted armed robber into custody. When they reach the jail hours from San Antonio, the local cops ask them to transport another prisoner, too, since the transfer location is on their way. With the hurricane keeping everyone busy, Lucy and Nate don’t have much of a choice but to help out.
    When the two prisoners stage an escape and take a child hostage on their way, Lucy and Nate must try to rescue the boy and survive the storm, without letting these violent criminals get away
My thoughts: Nice, quick read with characters I enjoy reading about. Nice little suspense, too.

So… have you had to self-quarantine during this pandemic? I really hope neither of us get this dreaded disease. My daughter is apt to kill us if we do! Okay, not kill. But she’ll definitely scorn us or something evil like that.

And if we manage to not get COVID, I’ll be a lot less nervous going to a restaurant. They really are doing their best to keep everything sanitized. Their business depends on it.

Happy Reading!

Stacy


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Reading Update and Publishing Decisions


What do you do when a series isn’t selling? I have six books in my vampire series. The latest was released on April 1 to lackluster sales. I started advertising on Amazon (took a class in April that showed me how to create low bid ads). Sales have increased on book 1 (yay!), but unfortunately I’m spending more than I’m bringing in. It’s not a huge loss ($20-30/month), but not exactly the profit I had hoped for.

I was told that my series is probably perfect for Kindle Unlimited (vampire romance does well there, I guess). But I would make less per book based on what they pay for pages read vs the royalties I get on the selling price. Of course, I have to SELL the books, right?

I’m really wondering whether I should even bother writing more books in this series. If I decide to stop, then it might not matter if they’re sold wide. Right? Luckily, this isn’t a decision I need to make anytime soon. And I may wait at least until the last book has been out a year. If my advertising loss becomes too pricy, I can always stop the ads. Right now I’m still acting on hope. Hope that the series takes off. Thing is, it takes time to get recognized. And I have to advertise to get recognized.

This publishing business sure can be frustrating.

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book #28
Dates read: July 12-19
Title: Cut and Run
Year of publication: 2020
Author: Allison Brennan
Genre: Suspense
Series: Lucy Kincaid #16
# of Pages: 432
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book:. FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid is dead-set on solving a cold case—even if the original investigators stonewall her every step of the way. A violent storm has uncovered the remains of a family that authorities assumed fled the country years ago to avoid prosecution. But the boy of the youngest Albright son never turned up. If the child is dead, why wasn’t his body found with his parents? If he’s alive, where has he been…and what does he know? Now Lucy and her partner Nate must reconstruct an old crime to find a missing child in the present day.
    Meanwhile, investigative reporter Maxine Revere is called to San Antonio. A confessed killer of a young woman named Victoria has recanted his statement, which opens the door to a whole new world of secrets and betrayal. Max hires Sean Rogan, Lucy’s husband and seasoned PI, to help. The discovery that Victoria might be connected to the Albright family leads Max, Sean, and Lucy to the darkest corridors of corporate crime. But how can they untangle their complex web to find justice for the victims…and the killer in their midst?
My thoughts: This series is beyond being romantic suspense (but it is how Lucy and Sean started). Doesn’t matter much to me, though. I enjoy these characters so much.

It’s probably a good thing I stalled on writing the 7th book in the vampire series. But I really need to work on something new (besides revising the next ghost book). Yesterday I might have gotten an idea for another ghost book. But I really need to get book 3 in the ghost series done and published. Apparently my ghost series is selling better than my vampire series. See? There’s still hope I’ll make a profit at this gig!

So... What are you reading? Anything good?

Happy Reading!
Stacy

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Reading Update, an Injury, and an Online Class


Well… my walking came to a stand-still (haha, see what I did there?). I apparently pushed myself too far and pulled something in my hip area. I’m resting it and using Arnica cream to help with the pain (it’s working). Of course, the last couple of mornings have been wonderfully cool and dry and I couldn’t go out and enjoy it. Not the way I wanted to, anyway.

I wish I knew what I did. I don’t walk THAT fast! And I stretch after every walk, too (have to or I’ll get cramps and that’s no fun!). So hopefully later this week I’ll give walking another try (slowly and not as far). But then the humidity is due back, too. Figures, huh?

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book #27
Dates read: July 6 – 12
Title: Inherit Truth
Year of publication: 2019
Author: Alicia Anthony
Genre: Psychic Suspense
Series: Blood Secrets #1
# of Pages: 302
Paper or plastic: Nook
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book:. When Liv Sullivan’s dead grandmother beckons for help from beyond the grave, the reluctant psychic is forced back to her small Ohio hometown. Scrambling to make sense of her grandmother’s legacy, Liv finds herself face to face with undercover Agent Ridge McCaffrey.
     Assigned to protect the woman whose gifts unnerve him, all for a covert psychic intelligence operation he doesn’t understand, Ridge struggles to place duty over desire. But when a body is found at Sullivan Farm and Liv’s allegiance is called into question, Ridge’s mission becomes clear.
    Can Liv unearth family secrets that are best left buried before the ghosts of her past destroy her dreams of a normal future?
My thoughts: I really thought my issue with this book would be because her point of view was written in first person and his was written in third (I really don’t like it when authors do that). Instead, my mistake was thinking this was a romantic suspense (I had to look up categories on Amazon after I read it to see where it fit). If I had gone into reading this with that information, maybe I wouldn’t have any problems. So if you’re looking for a romantic suspense, you won’t find it here because there is no HEA (happy ever after) or even a HFN (happy for now) at the end of this book. The story isn’t over, either. Yep. Cliffhanger. Big time, too. I’m not happy. So while I can’t recommend it to romance readers, suspense readers may enjoy this kind of series. Just make sure you have all three books to read before you start on the first because I’m guessing the second will also end with a cliffhanger.

For all you writers out there: My RWA chapter, COFW (Central Ohio Fiction Writers), is offering the following online class for the month of August (it’s all done in groups.io). You don’t have to write romance or belong to RWA to benefit.


This August, COFW is offering a class from Linnea Sinclair! CHARACTERIZATION: MAKING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES WORK FOR YOU (or No More Mary Sues!)

Down with one-dimensional cartoon-like characters! Down with the two-dimensional ones, while we’re at it. Embrace your characters—warts and all—in this lively workshop with Bantam author Linnea Sinclair. Reviewers note that: “Her characters are intelligent, no-nonsense and have a depth that gives me an instant mental picture...” (Road to Romance Reviews) and “The author's sure hand with characterization makes each twist of this emotionally laden storyline as suspenseful as any well-wrought battle scene.” (Science Fiction Weekly)

Sinclair will help writers dialogue with their characters to bring out information that builds depth and uniqueness. She’ll also discuss the pros and cons of using archetypes, astrology and tarot to build story people.

About the instructor: Winner of the prestigious national book award, the RITA®, science fiction romance author Linnea Sinclair has become a name synonymous for high-action, emotionally intense, character-driven novels.

Sign up at cofwevents.org/classes. Price as follows: COFW Members, $25; RWA Members, $30; Non-members, $35.

This is a great deal and I can attest that Linnea’s classes are AWESOME. I’ve learned so much from her.

My birthday is Saturday (Happy Birthday to me!!!) and we’re meeting friends and family at a park for a picnic (keeping our distance and ordering takeout). We found a covered picnic area with plenty of seating, but with the temps forecasted for the low 90s, I hope we don’t melt. Although, if I melted off some fat, maybe I wouldn’t complain.

Happy Reading!
Stacy

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Reading Update and it’s HOT

Yesterday was the 7th straight day of 90+ degree weather. We’re expected to be in the 90s for the next three days, too. I like summer, but this is ridiculous!

Walking in the morning is almost unbearable. Thankfully there are shaded streets I can walk on. If not for that, I don’t know if I’d be able to walk as much. I’m back up to 3+ miles a day, now, too!

Shocker, huh?

Today I might not walk as far, though. I think my poor bones need a rest. But I hate breaking a streak (I’m up to 9 days), thus I’ll stick to 2 miles. Or less. We’ll see. Or rather, my bones will tell me when it’s enough.

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book #26

Dates read: June 26 – July 5
Title: Angels’ Blood
Year of publication: 2009
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Series: Guild Hunter #1
# of Pages: 339
Paper or plastic: Paperback
How obtained: Free from a convention.
Blurb from Book:. Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best—but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option—even if the task is impossible.
    Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.
    The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break…
My thoughts: This is not the type of paranormal romance I enjoy. The “hero” has too much power and control over the “heroine” for me to accept they could ever be equals (or that her love wasn’t being coerced). I’ve enjoyed other books by this author, but I won’t be reading any more of this series.

So… Dragon Con has officially cancelled this year. When the hotel offered to roll our reservation (and payment) to next year, we took it and figured we’d just lose out on our tickets to Dragon Con. But last week we were able to roll our tickets, too. So we did that before they cancelled, but I’m glad they were able to cancel. I can’t imagine what celebrities would have been there anyway.

Have any of your plans been cancelled or postponed? Kind of depressing, isn’t it? This year really sucks.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Reading Update and a Set Back

I was doing so well. Last Wednesday I walked almost 4 miles that day. I was on another walking streak. I was looking to blast my FitBit numbers something big! Then Wednesday night hit me.

I got sick.

I first thought dinner just didn’t agree with me. Hubby had eaten the same thing I did and he felt fine, though. Turned out to be much worse than that. I caught some kind of stomach bug (which is crazy since I don’t go anywhere). By 2am on Thursday I was exhausted and couldn’t take the trips to the bathroom anymore so I had Hubby take me to the ER on base. I was dehydrated, still nauseous and cramping, but they got some fluid in me and I was able to actually sleep (and keep water down and in!). But man, that bug really did a number on me. I’m still recovering!

At least it wasn’t COVID. On Monday and Tuesday I was able to go out and walk again. Not as far (only a little over a mile), but it’s a start…again. And I’m finally getting back to my revisions. Funny how you don’t feel like writing when your stomach is flipping and flopping and your head is hurting.

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book #25

Dates read: June 17-26
Title: Low Pressure
Year of publication: 2012
Author: Sandra Brown
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: N/A
# of Pages: 500
Paper or plastic: Paperback
How obtained: I don’t remember. Could have been free.
Blurb from Book:. Bellamy Lyston was only twelve years old when her older sister, Susan, was killed on a stormy Memorial Day. A tornado destroyed the crime scene—along with Bellamy’s memory of what really happened. Now, eighteen years later, Bellamy has penned a bestselling novel based on Susan’s murder, and to protect her family, she published it under a pseudonym. But when Bellamy’s identity is exposed, she becomes the target of an unnamed assailant who is out for vengeance. In order to identify her stalker, Bellamy must confront the ghosts of her past, including Dent Carter, Susan’s wayward boyfriend—and an original suspect in the murder case. As Bellamy delves deeper into the mystery, she discovers elements of the crime that call into question the people she holds most dear. Though haunted by partial memories and conflicted over her feelings for Dent, she won’t stop until she reveals Susan’s killer. That is, unless her killer strikes first…
My thoughts: This was the first Sandra Brown book I’ve read and I enjoyed it very much. I’ll definitely read more of her books.

So… Does it sometimes feel like the recovery from an illness lasts longer than the illness? I sure hope I stay healthy the rest of the year. I’d like to stay active for more than a few weeks! It’s HARD to start a routine as it is. At least for me.

Happy Reading!

Stacy