Monday, September 16, 2013

New plans. Again. What's next?

I was tempted to start off by saying that writing sometimes doesn't go where you expect it to. But, truly, writing never goes where you expect it to. For the last several months, my plan was to write a new Small Town short story every month for the rest of this year--until the third novel, Secrets in Small Towns, comes out. The story for September, "Wonderful Town," was the subject of my last post. But something happened on the way to finishing "Crow Fair," the projected story for October.

First of all, the original title, "Crow Fair" had to be changed to "Indian Summer," for a bunch of reasons that you'll understand when you read it. Second, the story turned into a novella with major developments. And third, it goes into facets of Sue-Ann's relationship with Gina that I don't feel I can give away before Secrets comes out in January.

In the beginning, the stories were just interjections between one novel and another--fun snippets to keep the small town of Pine Oak, Florida, alive. I had not really planned on sequencing them. In other words, "A Question of Breeding" or "Sensei" contain no anachronisms; they could easily have taken place between the second novel and the third, which was when they were published. But then the stories began to demand their own block of time. The action in "Grand Theft" and "Wonderful Town" both take place after the time of the third novel; in fact they might actually make more sense if you read all three novels first. But I wasn't too concerned about this because any anachronisms are insignificant.

But chronology becomes super-important in the current novella, which takes place six or seven years after "Wonderful Town." For me to release it this year would make some of the many surprises in Secrets in Small Towns less effective. In fact, the story itself would be less effective.

So here is my latest decision. The rest of the short stories will be released, as singles, after Secrets in Small Towns has been out for a while. As a collection, they will be released in 2015. They will be shaped into a kind of novel-in-stories, with many different mysteries to solve, but with Sue-Ann and Gina continuing to develop as a couple, with their town and their friends developing around them. There are many surprises in store, believe me. It's just that you're going to have to wait just a little longer for them.

Writing "Indian Summer" has been exhausting. Even if I had decided to publish it as planned in October, I doubt if I could have finished new stories for November and December anyway. The ideas I have for the future need more research and development than I have time for right now. Hopefully you all can bear with me and stick it out another couple of months until Secrets is finally here.

What's that? Why don't I just publish Secrets in Small Towns today and get it over with? Two reasons, both of them pretty major. First, it needs another go-through. I know that when I finished the latest draft I liked it a lot, but I don't know what I'll think of it in November or December. Second, I want to be able to compete in the annual Indie book awards for several years to come.  I was fortunate to get two top-5 finalist mentions last year for The News in Small Towns. This year I want to win the top prize. And if not this year, then next year or the year after. But I'll only enter one book a year.

In the meantime, please check out the existing stories and novels in the Small Town series. Tell your friends. Rate them on Amazon and Goodreads. Start up your own reading groups featuring novels about female LGBT detectives. The Small Town series is unique. Talk it up.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sue-Ann and Gina in The Big City.

Hey, folks. I've just posted the latest short story in my Small Town Series. As I may have mentioned before, the first novel in this series, The News in Small Towns, was a top 5 finalist in the national Next Generation Indie Book Awards. I actually traveled to New York for the awards ceremony, which was nice and all, but what's even nicer was that the experience gave me an idea. What if it had been Sue-Ann who had won a similar award and if what if she and Gina had visited the Big Apple instead of me? And what if the two more-than-friends met up with two hotties, Michael and Chuck, who volunteer to help catch someone that seems to have it in for Sue-Ann in the worst way? Check it out here.
And as always, if you like it, review it on Goodreads and on the site you downloaded it from. In this case, Amazon.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Update on the move.

In July, I mentioned that I would be moving my entire e-book and e-story catalog to Amazon Kindle Select, who requires that it not be available elsewhere. I was prompted to do this by less-than-sterling sales and by an acquaintance who found that the Select program was bringing him fame and fortune. The first month is now over and I can report that, although I'm not yet rich and famous, my sales on Amazon doubled. There are all kinds of reasons why that figure has to be looked at with a grain or two or salt, but I certainly see no reason to be discouraged or to backtrack. My information was that it would take six months or more to establish the kind of fan base that would result in more significant sales.

So I say, so far so good. As many of you know, I have two full-length novels and four short stories (Amazon calls these "singles") currently in the program. Although Amazon allows up to five free promotion days for each title every 90 days--which would give me 30 free promos--I used only 4 in August, two for a novel and two for a story. But those free days resulted in over 350 downloads for these titles. And a free download can often result in a paid download if the interested reader likes what they read. That's the point, I think: to get the books and stories into as many hands and reading devices as possible. This month I'll use more promo days and see how it affects sales.

At the same time that my publisher, Black Bay Books, moved my titles to Amazon Kindle Select, they also moved another of their titles: Still Waters by Sara Warner. Percentage wise, her sales results were similar to mine despite Still Waters being her only title. The fact that it is the first book in a series says good things for it at present and bodes even better when Sara has other books to go with it.

For this month, Black Bay Books has just added another series to the Kindle Select list. Hell and High Water and Museum Piece, both collaborative efforts by P. V. LeForge and Anne Petty, are the first two books in their North Florida Series. Fun and well-written, these books, which I have read with enthusiasm, not only tell a good story with interesting characters, but the authors tackle many of north Florida's urban legends, such as the Wakulla Volcano, the legend of Tate's Hell, and Panfilo Narvaez's expedition to Florida. Seeing how these books fare under the Kindle Select program will be interesting, and may result in increased sales of other Black Bay Books, like my own.

In September, look for my latest Small Town short story, "Wonderful Town," in which Sue-Ann and Gina travel to the Big Apple.