Pricing your e-book

This post is the forty-fifth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Your novel is written and formatted. You have a cover and the book blurb written. But before you can upload your book to whatever e-book retailer you choose, there are a few more things you need to decide. The first is price (today’s post) and then there is genre and keywords (next week’s post).

You have spent months, even years, toiling over this book. You, of course, think it is worth just as much as any New York bestseller. The problem is you aren’t Stephen King or John Grisham. No one – or very few people – recognizes your name.

While bestsellers can sell for $10-18 (prices based on hard cover and paperbacks NY Times Bestsellers on Amazon), should you expect your book to sell for the same amount? To be quite honest with you the answer is no. Yes, your novel may be well-written, but people don’t know you, and many will not be willing to shell out that type of money for a novel by an unknown.

You are free to price your book however you desire. If you feel your e-book should be priced comparably to a best-selling hard cover, go right ahead. But realize that many readers may not share your opinion, and your sales will reflect that.

A lot of authors, myself included, price their books at $2.99 since this allows them the higher royalty rate on Amazon but is still low enough to entice readers to give an unknown author a chance. Some authors price their novels $4.99 or higher. However, I will say as a reader myself, I rarely spend that on a well-known author, so I am not spending that on someone I have never heard of and may not like.

And of course, some people try 99 cents because at that rate people might be willing to try your book on a lark. As a reader, worst-case scenario you are out a buck and some time. Of course, there are some readers like my mom who never pay for a book because so many authors offer free books. (See below.)

When deciding on the price of your book, you should consider the book’s length. Is it a 10,000-word short story? A 30,000-word novella? Or a 100,000+ word novel?

Now you can come up with your own pricing but in my opinion, you should consider the amounts below.

Short Stories – 99 cents – as a reader I can’t imagine paying more for anything under 15,000 words.

Novels – $2.99 – $4.99 (If you are an unknown, I would aim for the lower end.)

In the end, we have to experiment and see what the market will bear. For an established author with a league of fans, a higher price may be fine. However, for a new author, without any fans, even getting $2.99 for a novel may be hard. Thankfully, changing the price of your novels takes just a few seconds so you can try out different rates to see what works for you.

***Also note that Amazon does have List Price Requirements for minimums (and maximums) of what you required to set. Check out their list here.

A note about Free Book Promotions

We will be covering this later, but since we are talking about pricing I wanted to quickly address if you should offer your book for free – whether it is when it comes out, on a promotion or to make it permanently free.

Well, that depends…

If you are a new author and this is your first book, I would say no, do not offer your book for free. If you have other published books, then you may want to consider it. Remember the long answer comes later. But either way, I don’t suggest you start your book out for free.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#NewRelease BLOOD BOND by Susan Leigh Noble

Today, I am releasing my fifth full-length novel – Blood Bond. If you like fantasy, dragons, or just a good book, I recommend you check it out for just $2.99.

It is available exclusively on Amazon.

(Don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can still read Blood Bond. Simply download the Kindle for PC or Kindle for MAC software for free.)

Book Blurb

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

Chapter One

Branches tore at his face and arms. Soren’s feet quickly crossed the uneven ground as he ran with his arm outstretched to ward off the blows of the forest underbrush. He could hear the deep voice of one of the men chasing him and the sharp bark of a dog. He didn’t dare slow down as he tried to get his mind to focus. It was hard. His mind felt as if it was in a dense sludge.

He fought to recall what had happened. Soft warm skin came to mind. His lips had traveled over the smooth white skin. The woman’s breath had been hard and fast. He recalled her hand running through his hair, but her face eluded his memory.

Slowly, images of last night drifted through his mind. He lay beside her as his eyes slid closed. He felt warm and content as sleep overcame him. A loud banging at the door jolted him awake. His mind still befuddled with sleep and the effects of the ale from the previous evening, he leapt from the bed. As he rushed to get dressed, the woman bolted for the door. She leaned against it, shrieking for him to hurry. Still her face eluded his memory, though he supposed, it didn’t matter. He would never see her again anyway.

He had been halfway out the window when the door swung open. A huge man roared through it. His eyes bulged as he stormed forward.

The loud voices behind Soren brought his mind back to the present as he ducked under a branch. His head felt ready to explode. He wondered briefly how many men chased him and how far they would take it. Usually once he was out of sight, he was safe. But that point had already come and gone, and this group was still on his trail.

He burst out of the forest, skidding to a stop a foot from the gorge’s edge. He eyed the Thane River flowing forty feet below before glancing to the other side. It was easily a hundred feet away. A crashing sound caused him to swing around. A large black dog barreled toward him. It stopped a few feet away. With his ears laid back, the dog growled. Drool dripped from its sharp teeth.

Soren took a step backwards. He heard pebbles fall and glanced back. His stomach tightened as he stared down the sheer drop. Suddenly, the ground crumbled. He gasped as it gave way. Frantically, he grabbed the cliff side as the dog lurched forward. He let go of the edge, sliding down the almost vertical incline. Rocks dug into his hands as he sought something to grab. He spotted a small tree growing on a thin ledge. Soren grabbed it, holding on for dear life. His feet dangled as the tree bowed under his weight.

Crack!

It snapped. He fell a few feet before pain exploded in his back as he hit another small tree. He twisted, grabbing it. He hung there for a moment as the rough bark dug into his hands. He swung his leg over a branch and pulled himself up until he straddled it.

“Where is he?” a deep growl came from above.

Soren inched closer to the cliff wall, thankful an indention near the tree’s base would provide him cover from the prying eyes of those above.

“Good boy, Bruno,” another voice said, and the dog stopped growling. “I bet he didn’t know the cliff was here and couldn’t stop.” The man’s voice got louder as he neared the cliff’s edge. “Look. Part of the edge has crumbled.”

“I won’t rest until I see his dead body,” the deep voiced declared.

“He couldn’t have survived the fall.”

Soren breathed a sigh of relief as the man with the deep voice was persuaded to return home and not waste their time patrolling the river bank. After a few minutes, when he was sure they would have retreated into the forest, he inched out on the branch and eyed the side of the cliff. He scanned for a way to climb it but didn’t see any hand or foot holds. His gaze fell to the turbulent water below. His hands tightened around the branch.

He heard a whooshing sound as something grabbed his shoulders and yanked him upward. Splinters dug into his hands as he tried to hold on to the branch. The force was too strong, and he was ripped from the tree. He dangled twenty feet above the rushing river. Twisting, he caught sight of a large red wing. He looked up. His eyes widened as took in the golden and red scales of the long neck and the triangular underside of the beast’s head. His mind whirled as his mouth dropped open. A dragon. It couldn’t be. He blinked. But what else could it be? He shook his head. What was a dragon doing this far from the mountains? The beast tilted its wings, gliding lower and closer to the river. Soren squirmed. He pulled at the dragon’s large claws to no avail.

Dragons don’t eat humans, he frantically reassured himself. Or at least not as far as he recalled. But with his pounding head, he could barely recall his own name let alone what history he had learned about dragons.

The claws released him. He fell onto the gravelly river bank. Tiny rocks ground into his hands and knees as the creature landed before him. Scrambling to his feet, Soren reached for his dagger only to remember he had lost the blade in a card game a few days ago. He turned to the dragon. The creature towered over him. Soren estimated it was three times as tall as he was as he craned his neck upwards to see the beast’s narrow face. Red scales gleamed in the sun as the dragon tucked its huge wings to its side. Its underbelly was golden. The dragon sat back on its hind legs and wrapped its long tail around its front legs as it regarded Soren.

He stepped back, water sloshing into his boot as he entered the river.

The dragon leaned closer. Its head was slim and nearly the size of Soren’s body. Large golden eyes stared into Soren’s as the dragon sniffed him. Its mouth fell open slightly, showing off rows of sharp teeth. Soren scrambled backwards. He tripped over a rock, falling into the river as the dragon leapt forward with more speed than Soren thought possible for a creature so large. The creature’s claws wrapped around his shoulders, and the beast took off, dragging Soren backwards. The beast flew low over the river, dunking Soren into the cold water. Sputtering, he tried to keep his head clear, but it didn’t work. Water rushed over his face and into his mouth. He coughed and gasped for breath as he was lifted out of the water. The next thing he knew he was back on the shore, a few feet from the river. He lay there, coughing. He saw something red sticking out of the sole of his boot. Reaching down, he pulled it free. It was a scale from the dragon. He clutched it as he stared at the beast. The dragon crouched down, putting his muzzle to Soren’s chest. It breathed in, ruffling his clothes.

“Better but not much.”

The voice reverberated inside Soren’s head. He scurried backwards. “W…what? Was that you?”

His mind whirled. What was the dragon doing here? And had it really just spoken to him? Wait. Could dragons even speak? He pushed that question aside. He was sure the voice had to belong to the creature, but he couldn’t concentrate. His head felt ready to split open. He pressed one hand to his forehead, regretting last night’s drinking binge.

With his other hand, he fingered the scale. Glancing up, he saw the dragon watching him with its mouth slightly open. Soren shook as he gaped at the sharp teeth. He had no desire to be anyone’s meal. He scrambled to his feet, wishing he had his dagger. He eyed the forest a good twenty paces from the river. And the dragon lay between him and his freedom. Soren decided to chance it and ran for the trees. He barely made it a few feet when the dragon slammed its tail on the ground before him.

“That’s not nice after I rescued you.”

“Rescued me?” Soren turned, his mouth gaping open. “What? You tried to drown me.”

The dragon reared back slightly, exposing the lighter golden scales of his underside. “You were dangling from that tree. I saved you.”

“And nearly drowned me in the river.”

“You stank.”

“What?”

“I didn’t mutter. You stank. Still do. Maybe all humans smell this bad.”

Soren lifted his shirt and took a whiff. The stench of his clothes turned his stomach. The dragon was right. Then the absurdity of the situation hit him. He couldn’t be here talking to a dragon. Dragons never came this far south. They stayed in their home in the northern mountains. He recalled the time he and his brother had set off to see them. Two days into the trip they had decided to return home but not before spotting the flying creatures in the distance. He recalled staring at them in awe.

The dragons had been banished before his birth. He had never known one to come this far south or to interact with any human since their banishment fifty years ago. And, he reminded himself, they didn’t eat humans. They had at one time been an ally. He felt a little braver and a bit more curious.

“How is it you can talk to me?”

“Dragons speak to whoever they chose. You don’t have to speak aloud. Just concentrate and you can send your thoughts to me.”

“You can read my mind?”

“No. It isn’t so much knowing what you are thinking as it is communicating silently. I am sorry. I am not explaining it right. Give it a try.”

“No.”

“It is easy.”

“I don’t want to try. I want to go home.” He slipped the scale in his pocket and walked around the dragon’s tail. “Thank you for saving me from the tree,” he said over his shoulder.

“Wait. You must help me.”

Soren stopped, turning to face the dragon. “What do you mean help you?”

The dragon huffed. “I am not handling this well.” The beast flipped his tail to the other side of Soren and used it to pull him closer. “My name is Reddex. You may call me Dex. And you are?”

“Ready to go home.”

The dragon’s golden eyes bore into him. The creature lowered his head until it was even with Soren’s. His warm breath ruffled Soren’s hair. He tried to step back. The dragon’s tail blocked his movement. He sighed.

“Soren. Soren Blackfist.”

“An army from the south invades Walencroft. We must alert the King.”

“No one would dare to attack the Northern Alliance.” He shook his head, unable to believe someone would attack Walencroft or either of the two neighboring countries. It had been over fifty years, right around the time when the Kings severed relations with the dragons, that there had even been a war.

“I saw this army myself.”

Soren shook his head, instantly regretting the movement as his head pounded. “King Bristol wouldn’t do that.”

“I don’t think it is Bristol of Sholar. Whoever it is has Southern dragons with them.”

“What?” Soren paced away before turning back to face Dex. “This makes no sense.” He glanced at the forest. If he moved quick enough, he might be able to use the trees to help him escape. “You saw dragons with this army?”

“Southern dragons. They attacked my squad, killing them all. I was lucky to escape and report back to Warnox. He bid me to tell your King, but you know a dragon cannot land safely at the palace.”

Soren nodded, his mind only half on what the dragon said. He took another step backward toward the forest. “And who is Warnox?”

“He is our leader.”

“This is crazy. I can’t help you.”

As the dragon settled back on his haunches, he looked briefly to the river as Soren supposed he was composing his argument for Soren’s help in his head. Soren took this momentary distraction and bolted for the forest. He held out his hand, protecting his face from the sting of the branches.

“Wait!”

Soren heard the snapping of branches behind him. He didn’t dare look back. The ground shook, and he imagined the dragon shoving his way into the forest. But he had to believe the thick trees would protect him and sure enough the crashing sounds stopped. Soren ran a little farther before stopping. He bent over, pressing his hand to his throbbing head. His mind reeled. The whole thing seemed surreal. All he wanted to do was forget everything that happened today. He knew just what to do. An hour later, he pushed open the pub’s door.

***

The dish crashed to the floor, shattering into four pieces. Soren cursed softly. That noise was sure to wake his brother. Stumbling, he made it out of the kitchen and to the stairs. His foot missed the second step, and he fell forward, whacking his knee hard on the step. He muttered a couple choice words.

He hadn’t meant to be out so late. But it had taken more than a few mugs of ale to rid him of the memory of the red dragon. And now through his muddled thoughts, he wondered if any of it had even been real.

“Soren?” The hushed voice of his brother came from the hallway above.

He shielded his eyes as the light from Jerrick’s lantern cut into them.

“You haven’t been home in two days,” his brother said as Soren climbed the last few stairs. “Ugh. You stink. I don’t need to ask what you have been doing.”

“Flying,” Soren said.

“Really?” Jerrick asked without any true curiosity.

He guided Soren up the remaining stairs and into his room. He led him to his bed. Soren tumbled onto it.

“I was.” It seemed important for Jerrick to believe him. “I was flying with a dragon.”

Jerrick sighed. “You can’t keep doing this, Soren. You haven’t shown been to the smithy in two days. I am sure Master Smith Ferin will dismiss you.” He shook his head. “I can’t keep finding you jobs if you refuse to work.”

Soren wanted to reply but sleep pulled at him. He mumbled something about the dragon as sleep over took him. It was a restlessly sleep. His dream was filled with the wind upon his face and his feet dangling above the river.

The next morning, the bright sunlight woke him. He sat up, his hands swiftly clutching his head as it reeled from the sudden movement. His eyes focused on the bucket on the table by the door. A bar of soap and a cloth lay beside it. Dimly he recalled his brother saying something about him stinking or had someone else told him that?

Moving slowly, he rose. He shed his clothes and used the tepid water and soap to clean his face and arms before running the damp cloth over the rest of him. He pulled on clean clothes, and with a glance out the window decided he should head to the smithy. He was half-way down the stairs when he heard Lyla, his brother’s wife, in the kitchen below.

“No, I mean it this time.”

Soren couldn’t hear Jerrick’s low reply. He crept closer.

“I know he is your brother, but you can’t, no, we can’t keep doing this. With the baby coming, we will need the room and…”

Soren’s mind reeled. Lyla was pregnant. He should be happy for his brother but couldn’t muster any excitement.

“I don’t trust him,” Lyla continued. “He is out half the time drinking and the other half sleeping it off. He stumbles in at all hours, can’t keep a job. I don’t want him around our child, not like that.”

“Lyla, Soren…you know how hard his life has been since Addie died.”

She sighed. “You are a good man, Jerrick, but you can’t make excuses for him forever. One day, he needs to grow up. Both of you can’t keep using Addie as an excuse.”

Soren crept down the stairs. Instead of using the back door that would take him by Jerrick and Lyla, he stumbled out the front door and onto the cobblestone street. His eyes traveled over the nearby houses lining the narrow road. Clean. Neat. Perfect for families. He didn’t belong here.

The thought of family caused Lyla’s last words to echo in his mind. Her mention of Addie brought the image of her face, so happy and eager, to the forefront of his mind. He pushed away those thoughts, but the image of her bright brown eyes didn’t fade.

With a glance at the sky, he realized the sun was higher than he originally thought. He was late. Again. His feet turned toward the path that led from his village to the city of Ballinger. He covered the distance to the city without even thinking. He barely noticed as the city guard half-heartedly waved at him as he entered the city gates and headed to the royal stables.

As he pushed open the stable door, the smell of hay and manure washed over him. A long row of stalls ran the length of the stable. The first few doors were open, and he knew the horses had been moved outside for grooming. He cut across the paddock to the smithy.

The loud clang of the blacksmiths working made his head hurt. He slipped into the darkened area, his eyes immediately checking the piles of wood and coal the blacksmiths and their apprentices used on the fires. Deciding the piles were significantly stocked, he went to his worktable. He picked up a dagger he had been working on last.

“Soren!” Ferin, the head blacksmith, hurried toward him. “You’re late! Again.”

“I’m sorry, Master Smith,” he began, holding up one hand as if to ward off the blacksmith.

“No. No excuses. You are done.”

Soren put down the dagger. “Master Smith, I need this job. Jerrick will kill me if I lose it.”

“Then start praying to the Gods. It is because of Jerrick, I hired you. Let him find someone else willing to take you.”

The way he spat out the last word, Soren had no problem understanding Ferin didn’t think anyone would be willing to offer him a job. He glanced at his worktable. He didn’t dare take anything with the Master Smith standing beside him. The blacksmith’s apprentices had stopped working and now watched as he left. He stood in the street for a moment wondering what to do. He couldn’t go home. Losing this latest job would only prove Lyla correct. He was a louse and needed to be away from their precious family. He couldn’t face her or Jerrick right now.

Without another thought, he ambled into the closest tavern. It was nearly deserted except for a few royal guards having a drink after the night shift. He leaned against the bar, pulling out a coin from his pocket. Setting it on the counter, he ordered an ale. The grizzled old man behind the bar grunted as he dipped a mug into the open barrel.

“Little early even for you.” He banged down the mug. The contents sloshed, almost spilling.

“Careful!” Soren lifted the mug and gulped the warm ale.

He heard the door behind him open and close.

The old man frowned. “Nina, I told you not to come here anymore.”

Soren swung around to face the door. Nina wore a low-cut dress that hugged her ample curves. Her blonde hair was pulled away from her face. Her half-hearted smile didn’t reach her blue eyes.

“I’m not working, Milton.” Her eyes settled on Soren. “I was on my way to the market and thought I saw you come in.”

He lifted his mug in greeting and took a sip. “Nina,” he said as his eyes traveled over her body. “You are looking as fine as ever.”

She crossed the room, her hips swaying seductively. She leaned a hip against the bar. “I thought you might be interested in having a little fun.” She ran her finger down his forearm. “And I’m bored.” She grabbed his hand, squeezing it. “For old time’s sake.”

His eyes traveled from her bosom to her soft lips. Even after all these years he could remember the first time he kissed them. He and Nina had been thirteen. It was his first kiss. Two years later, he would lose his virginity to her. Their hot, passionate relationship had died after two months but still on occasion they would take a tumble for old time’s sake as Nina called it.

She leaned forward, her hand slipping to his inner thigh. His body tightened. He never liked Nina’s chosen line of work. But at the moment, he didn’t care. He wanted to forget about facing Jerrick for a while, and he knew Nina could accomplish that. He grabbed her hand and led her out of the tavern.

Click here buy and read the rest…

 

 

Today’s Featured Author – Cheryl Robinson

Please welcome author Cheryl Robinson to my blog. Cheryl is on a virtual book tour promoting her new book, Ex-Ray, which came out January 26th.

Guest Post

To Curse or Not to Curse in Fiction

Most of us know someone who can’t get through a full sentence without using a four-letter word. And even though I don’t curse, I cannot say that I never have.

Every time I start writing a new book, at some point I find myself Googling using profanity in fiction, knowing full well that at least one of my characters will curse, Isn’t that one of the benefits of writing—freedom of expression? Why should I deny my characters that same right?

Maybe I’m thinking about my mother’s Red Hatter group and don’t want to embarrass her. After all, for years whenever I finished a book, my mother’s first question was always the same: “Will the Red Hatters be able to read it?” After my sixth book, I started saying no.

Cursing is a part of my DNA. My father openly cursed without a problem and regularly listened to comedian Richard Pryor. Although he always waited until his children went to bed. One night, however, I didn’t go to sleep. I was nine at the time and listened from the stairway. I had to hold in my laughter. I didn’t know who that man was whose voice was coming through the speakers, but everything he said was funny to me. Richard Pryor soon became someone I snuck and listened to. I even memorized the set he did that dealt with the Patty Hearst kidnapping.

The four-letter words that Richard Pryor used saved my play cousin and me from being beat up after school. Actually, the hit was placed on her, but I couldn’t let anyone beat up my play cousin. I loved her, and she had already saved my life by pushing me out of the way of a moving car as we were walking home from school, so I owed her, too.

It had circulated all day that two girls were planning to beat up my play cousin. I had never been in a fight, then or now, but I was determined to defend her. So, what did I do as the large crowd descended upon us? I cursed those two girls out, and they were visibly scared. Words truly do have power. I watched as their eyes enlarged and their mouths dropped. I was a very quiet child, so I know they weren’t expecting that. Clad in my plaid uniform and loafers, I had transformed into Richard Pryor in front of Gesu Catholic School. And that’s when my love for comedy and my affinity for four-letter words first started.

Being around comedians when I was in my early twenties and hosted a weekly comedy show that featured Faizon Love, Downtown Tony Brown, and Mike Bonner, to name a few, fostered my affinity for profanity.

I never want to use unnecessary profanity in my writing. I never want to have a character curse if it doesn’t add to the dialogue. I only want my characters to use profanity if that’s really what they’d say at the time.

So, now, instead of Googling using profanity in fiction, I read the dialogue the way I originally wrote it, leaving the profanity in and then removing it. Then I ask myself if having that word adds anything to the character’s dialogue—the only thing it would add is realism. If the answer is no, I try to remove it. It’s in my DNA, so sometimes I do have to wrestle with myself.

How do you as the reader feel when you read profanity in fiction?

Book Blurb

In this journey into second-chance love, author Cheryl Robinson invites us to ponder whether we would rekindle a romance with someone who had broken a promise to forsake all others.

Meet Ray and Sarita Saint. In 1987, they pledged to love, honor, and cherish each other until death. When Ray goes missing a year later, Sarita wonders whether he’s dead or alive. While she was dreaming of their happily ever after, Ray was exploring greener pastures, a new relationship. Sarita—a virgin until marriage—took her vows seriously and believed Ray did, too. Instead, he left their marriage and their life in Detroit to reinvent himself. Sarita always held out hope that he would return one day. And he does. It’s twenty-seven years later, and Ray is determined to find his one true love. What he discovers has him question everything he thought he knew about Sarita, as well as himself.

About the Author

Cheryl Robinson has the Until Ray trilogy set in her beloved hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Cheryl currently resides in Central Florida. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University. This is her eleventh book.

You can find out more about Cheryl on her website or follow her on Facebook.

You can purchase Ex-Ray on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Jo Carey

Today, author Jo Carey visits my blog. Her book, Winter, the first in her Seasons de Santa Fe series, came out in July.

Interview

Where you were born and where do you call home?

I was born and raised in Ohio, but have lived in 7 states. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to live and work in Ireland for 3 years. That was a great experience. My husband and I now call Texas home.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

My husband started writing to relieve stress. I read and edited his books so that we could discuss them. It was something we could share. We found that my editing took a lot less time than his writing, so he suggested I try writing. With one story under my belt, I was hooked.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I write in a number of different genres and many of my books are set in the League of Planetary Systems—a universe Frank created, and we now share, but when I write non-scifi I often set my stories in locations I’m familiar with. The first book in my Cassie Carter Cryptid Hunter Series—The Thunderbird Op, is set in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I lived for a few years. Book two in that series, The Black Fly Op, is set in the Connecticut Lakes of northern New Hampshire, a place I visited often when living in New England.

What do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I have a full-time job in government compliance.  After self-publishing our first few books, Frank and I decided to dedicate all our free time to writing and self-publishing. We still make time for family and friends, but we’ve given up all our other hobbies to ensure that we have time to write. I usually get an hour or two of time to work on writing or publishing each night and then several hours on the weekend.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Since starting our author journeys Frank and I have tried various methods for planning our books. I don’t outline. When I get close to finishing the rough draft of a book, I decide what I’m going to write next. I usually make a few notes about the main story line and list the major characters, then start writing.

Please tell us about your current release.

I recently published the final book in a traditional romance series called Seasons de Santa Fe. There are four books in the series—Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, each based around the staff and guests who stay at the Seasons de Santa Fe Hotel in New Mexico.  Now I’m working on a new YA scifi mystery series called ORBS. It follows four young people as they find their own paths in life while solving mysteries in the League of Planetary Systems.

How do you select the names of your characters?

We have a lot of whiteboards in our living space. One of them we use to write character names. We hear names or words and think it would make a good character name. Sports on television provides a lot of ideas. We sometimes change a letter or two or use a last name as a first name or vice versa.

Which of your characters is your favorite?   Do you dislike any of them?

That’s an interesting question.  Each of the books in my Snapdragon Ladies series focus on one particular woman. The main characters of the first two books Ciara and Nebulon are both characters my husband, Frank, created in his books. I liked them so much that I used them, but the third book in that series is Melicity—featuring a character I created for a scifi holiday book. Melicity is my favorite, though it’s hard to choose.

 If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I think it would be Cassie Carter from the Cassie Carter Cryptid Hunter series. She’s smart, strong, and unique.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Definitely my Galactic Cruise Lines Series. It’s a traditional cozy mystery series set in the League of Planetary Systems.  There’s an elf who is the Chief Sleuthhound (detective), a sexy Venlanten ship’s security officer, and they both are vying to win the heart of Kat, the cruise director. There are exotic ports, interesting characters, and lots of fun on board.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you right?

There’s always a small bowl of Coffee Nut M&Ms on my desk beside my glass of water. At least with a small bowl, I have to get up often to refill it.

 Book Blurb

Ellie’s life hasn’t gone the way she expected. Forty something, divorced, she’s moving to Santa Fe to help her dad run the family’s art gallery on Canyon Road. It’s another big change in a series of changes that has Ellie doubting herself at every turn. Right now the only two men she wants to focus on are her son, Tristan, and her dad, Gene. Romance is the furthest things from her mind.

Rod has enjoyed the time he’s spent in Santa Fe overseeing the building of his family’s newest boutique hotel, the Seasons de Santa Fe. He’s finally found a place in the family business that suits him. If he could just get his mom to stop fixing him up with women, his life would be darn near perfect.

When fate throws Ellie and Rod together, neither of them is ready for what happens next.

About the Author

Jo Carey grew up in the Midwest but her curiosity and gypsy-spirit has kept her on the move. She’s lived in eight US states and spent three years living in Ireland. She has always loved creature movies, so creatures and bugs often show up in her books.

Jo, a former information security compliance guru, writes fast-paced, character-driven stories in a variety of genres from medical thrillers to space operas and cozy mysteries. Her novels are filled with humor, romance, and sometimes creatures or aliens, or maybe even all of the above. She often builds her stories around a strong female lead character surrounded by plenty of hunky male heroes.

Jo’s been under fire on a golf course and climbed out the roof of an elevator in the Netherlands. Life hasn’t been boring. Now residing in Texas, setting often plays a huge role in her stories. Jo was intrigued by the League of Planetary Systems, a world her husband, Frank, created for his science fiction books, and she now writes mysteries and other types of tales sets in that world. Jo was bitten by a cat, a fire ant, and a snake, before succumbing to the bite of the writing bug.

Jo is currently working on a romance series set in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The four-book series has a story set in each of the four seasons. Jo hasn’t had personal contact with a cryptid or an alien, but it’s never too late. Jo and her husband, Frank, produce a podcast—Xtreme Self-Publishing—which details their self-publishing efforts.

You can purchase Winter on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Diana Rubino

Today, I welcome author Diana Rubino to my blog. Her time-traveling novel, Dark Brew, was released in July 2016.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books, and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaisance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. I live on Cape Cod with my husband Chris. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

Born in Jersey City, NJ, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, and now call Cape Cod home with my husband.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I am now writing bio novels with no fictional characters, and have written 4 so far. I just began my next, which will be about Susan B. Anthony. I enjoy writing about strong women who shook things up, and call my books The Sassy Ladies Series.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I outline very thoroughly. I still use Donald Maass’s Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook, because it makes me explore every aspect of the storyline and characters, getting right down to minute details.

Please tell us about your current release.

My last book to be released is Dark Brew, a time travel romance.

What inspired you to write this book?

The story took 12 years from start to finish. I’m a longtime member of the Richard III Society, and in the spring of 2004, I read an article in The Ricardian Register by Pamela Butler, about Alice Kyteler, who lived in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1324, and faced witchcraft charges. After her trial and acquittal, she vanished from the annals of history. I couldn’t resist writing a book about her.

How did you come up with the title?

I originally called it Strange Brew, but thought Dark Brew was more dramatic and compelling. It refers to the herbal brews Kylah, the modern heroine, mixes and drinks to transport her to 14th century Ireland, to solve the mystery that consumes her life today, and her past life then.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I thoroughly researched Druids, because Kylah is a practicing Druid. I also researched Alice Kyteler…I found a book about her trial that explained all the details about how the church influenced the court in 14th century Ireland.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Alice actually lived, along with the judge, her lawyer, her husband and stepsons who lived in 14th century Ireland, but all my characters in modern times are fictional, not based on anyone.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I’d say Kylah is my favorite, as she’s determined to travel to her past life to right an injustice, and she’s very brave to attempt living in those times, which were very dangerous.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

The black moment occurs when Kylah is accused of murdering her husband Ted and arrested. I don’t want to give anything else away.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

Time travels (I’ve written 3) are difficult in general, and since Kylah is the reincarnation of Alice, I found it difficult to describe what she experienced emotionally and physically as she traveled back in time. I also found it difficult to write the scenes in which she’s accused of murdering her husband, because she was innocent. It made me realize how much injustice is in the world.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I would like to be Eliza Jumel Burr, who became the richest woman in New York City, a very astute businesswoman, and solved two murders. She led a fascinating life.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

I’ve always wanted to spend a few days in the court of Richard III, and see what life was like in 1483-5.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I always have a jar of nuts at my side to munch when I get peckish. And always a glass of water in reach.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Oh, so many….but one of my faves is THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII by Margaret George. She puts you right there in Henry’s world. A CROWN FOR ELIZABETH, which I read in high school, is also another favorite.
I read a trilogy of novels when I lived in London, which are set in London, the first is THE L-SHAPED ROOM by Lynne Reid Banks. I read these over and over, never grow tired of them.

What book are you reading right now?

I usually read two or three at the same time, so I’m reading THE ROGUE LAWYER by John Grisham and
George Washington A Life in Books by Kevin Hayes, about the books Washington had, combined with a timeline of what was going on in his life as he acquired each book.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Neither are alive–Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I’m a big believer in the paranormal and have gone on many paranormal investigations, though I have no psychic ability.

Book Blurb

DARK BREW

A time travel romance
Learn from the past or forever be doomed to repeat it.


Accused of her husband’s murder, Kylah McKinley, a practicing Druid, travels back through time to her past life in 1324 Ireland and brings the true killer to justice.

Two months of hell change Kylah’s life forever. On her many past life regressions, she returns to 14th century Ireland as Alice Kyteler, a druid moneylender falsely accused of murdering her husband. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another­ she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate­ they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or forever be doomed to repeat it.

About the Author

My passion for history has taken me to every setting of my historicals. The “Yorkist Saga” and two time travels are set in England. My contemporary fantasy “Fakin’ It”, set in Manhattan, won a Romantic Times Top Pick award. My Italian vampire romance “A Bloody Good Cruise” is set on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean.

When I’m not writing, I’m running my engineering business, CostPro Inc., with my husband Chris. I’m a golfer, racquetballer, work out with weights, enjoy bicycling and playing my piano.

I spend as much time as possible just livin’ the dream on my beloved Cape Cod.

You can find out more about Diana on her website or her blog. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Dark Brew for the Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.

Virtual Book Tour – Nicole Benoit-Roy

Today, author Nicole Benoit-Roy stops by my blog as part of her What I Gain Through His Pain Virtual Book Tour. This Christian non-fiction came out in July.

Excerpt

Something Fishy

Daddy practiced Voodoo, but even as a child I considered it foolish. During summer vacations in Haiti, the family expected my sister, my next younger brother and me to go to Lèogane. As the summer months drew to a close, my father lined up every child in the house to bathe us with a special Voodoo water made with crushed leaves.

As I got older (though not much older), I grew to detest the act and so I decided not to go on vacation anymore. I thought it ridiculous to allow myself to be bathed with stinky water. I never believed in the Voodoo stuff either. I had a good sense of who I was since early childhood. I knew God made me, and no evil could harm me (Now I know evil can’t touch me without His permission). That knowledge made me very bold and never afraid of any Voodoo stuff. My father had a special table with a white small washbasin and other Voodoo items on it. No one was supposed to touch them. However, on many occasions, I pretended to be cleaning just to touch and rearrange everything on that table. I held no fear. I just knew they lacked any authority over me. It’s weird though, no one told me that Voodoo held no potency. It was always a gut feeling. I was always very bold about expressing my belief every chance I got.

My father use to hold Voodoo ceremonies where kids in the house were expected to eat out of special wooden bowls. All that I shunned eventually. Because my brother Kesnel and sister Carol were twins, the ceremony held every year honored the twins (a Voodoo ritual) even though Carol died as a baby. Those were the kinds of things that made no sense to me, leading me to refuse to take part in them as soon as I grew old enough to say no. With me so hardheaded and strong-willed, no one in my family could force me to take part once I said no. Not even my father.

On one occasion, something terrible happened in my family, causing my father to be the focus of suspicion. I felt his pain afterward. He needed so much to have someone on his side. Unfortunately, not even his favorite little girl was willing to be that someone.

In desperation, one evening in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, he pulled me aside. In a private conversation, he explained his own version of the incident after he visited my mother in the U.S. in 1982 for the first time.

He said, “Nicole, I know you’re getting older. You can understand what I’m about to tell you.”

I was 14 years old then.

“When I went to New York,” he continued, “I swear I did not take your mother’s soiled panties. It’s only after I came back to Haiti I saw them in my suitcase. I swear I did not take them.”

I listened attentively, but my eyes stared at the cement floor as we sat on the edge of my bed.

“You believe me, don’t you, my girl.” He held onto my left arm as if begging me to say yes.

I’d heard the rumor that he wanted to use her underpants to hurt my mother through witchcraft so often that I’d already made up my mind of his guilt.

My father returned to Haiti finding himself in an awkward predicament. At that age, I was naïve and awfully honest.

“Well, I can’t say whether you did it or not. I wasn’t there. You’re the only one who knows if you did it or not,” I said.

Suddenly, the look he gave me told me he wanted another answer. His eyes turned red. His pain turned into hatred.

I knew then I was not his favorite little girl anymore and I would pay.

In retrospect, I realized I could have answered differently had I known better. I still feel his pain even now as I write about it.

As soon as my mother found out her panties were missing, she demanded that my father purchase a plane ticket and return them to her.

When he did, she burned them in his presence.

My father continued to make his regular weekly visits from Lèogâne bringing us fresh produce every time. Our relationship was never the same, however. At times, I’d purposely stayed away to avoid seeing him altogether, not showing up until after he left. He was the enemy of the family. He knew it. That made him very uncomfortable and angry.

During one of his visits, he threatened to beat me because I did not greet him. Of course I put up a fight. He tried to pin me to the ground. I escaped from his grip and ran to a nearby stony hill. I picked up a stone and made the motion to throw it at him, but an invisible power stopped me. I knew Who kept me from flinging the stone, and I’m glad He did. Deep down inside I really loved my father. I believed that he gave me so much love and attention that he made it possible to never feel insecure about myself.

During my college years at Stony Brook University in New York, our father-daughter relationship remained broken. I recall lying on the bed in my dorm room reminiscing about my childhood. My entire family lived in the U.S. by then. My mom and dad separated shortly after the panties incident, although they waited to divorce until eleven years later. I finally realized the pain my father must have gone through to have his whole family against him, and the pain he continued to feel every time he and I met.

“Look at Nicole, the daughter I loved so much. Now, she can’t even talk to me,” he sometimes said.

At that time, we were on greeting terms. As I empathized with my father, I decided to put an end to our broken relationship. I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi, daddy, how are you?” It felt uncomfortable saying “daddy” but I also realized that doing the right thing was never easy.

“Who’s this?” he asked.

“This is Nicole,” I said. “I just call to tell you that I love you. Bye.”

“Ok,” he said.

I hung up the phone, feeling a burden lift from my chest.

For the first time I began to understand the power of forgiveness. I still had a long way to go.

Our relationship continued to improve after that phone call. My father is now ninety-two years old, and I love him as if nothing ever happened between us.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you.” (NLT). I desire to obey God’s Word. Through this experience, I learned that making mistakes is what we (humans) specialize in the most. What’s essential is that we learn from them.

Book Blurb

In a society filled with easy Christianity and cheap grace, Nicole Benoit-Roy takes her relationship with Christ to a much deeper level. Since becoming a Christian, she has been learning about her newfound Savior, Jesus Christ. She is an educator who vows to be a student for as long as she lives. The more she learns about the cross of Christ, the more she realizes the importance of it in her life. As she meditates on His suffering, she concludes that His pain is the reason for every blessing in her life. In this book, “What I Gain Through His Pain,” she shares her story about the benefit of the cross as she expresses gratefulness for His pain.

About the Author

Nicole is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Andrews University. She directs the Children Ministries Department at her church. She works as a special education teacher by day, a literature evangelist by night, and writes during the wee hours of the night. She enjoys reading and playing the piano (beginner). Nicole struggled with college writing, which lead her to eventually drop out. For this reason, one of her many goals in life is to become a best-selling author to the glory of God. Nicole and her husband, Roosevelt Roy, have been married since 1994, and are the proud parents of a handsome brown-eyed son, Nolan. They currently live in Brooklyn, New York.

You can find out more about Nicole on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase What I Gain Through His Pain on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Today’s Featured Author – Danyelle Scroggins

Today I welcome author Danyelle Scroggins to my blog. She is currently on a book tour promoting her book, Put it in Ink, which came out last year.

Interview

Please tell the readers who are the main characters?

Put It In Ink is definitely the story that shines a light on Nikiya Barnett a top of the line salon owner and Raja Abrams (businessman). These two were once madly in love with one another until things drastically changed.

Sappora Ink the new talk show host of a syndicated blog talk show (owned by Raja) is a woman with a plan and enough wisdom and knowledge to make the world pay attention. She skillfully sheds light on some situations that causes the women in Salon Select to pay attention.

Monica Abrams is Raja’s wife who has some undercover things going on outside of her marriage.

Michelle and Leslie are both co-workers of Nikiya who are more like sisters. They help in every way they can, even as they experience their own situations in life.

What or is there conflict in the story?

No one could have never imagined that Nikiya and Raja would not be married, and to one another. Just when their storybook romance was blossoming into something great and worth lasting a lifetime, something happens.

Getting over heartache is one of the hardest things but both Nikiya and Leslie lean on one another and God steps in as they learn to trust Him.

Take us inside “your book.” What are two major events taking place?

Raja is caught in a compromising situation that changes the course of not only his life but Nikiya’s life.

Which characters are most like you?

I am a whole lot like Nikiya and she is actually me in my twenties.

Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?

My characters are fiction characters but they are based upon the reality of Christian living.

Describe each character in three words?

Nikiya- Saved, Considerate, Lonely

Raja- Wise, Sad, Productive

Monica- Selfish, Sneaky, Liar

Sappora Ink- Wise, Saved, Knowledgeable

Michelle- Witty, Understanding, Loveable

Leslie- Nosey, Funny, Secretive

If your book became a movie who would play the characters?

Nikiya- Sanaa Lathan

Raja- Lamman Rucker

Monica- Gabrielle Union

Sappora Ink- Debbie Allen

Michelle- Regina Hall

Leslie- Queen Latifah

Your lead characters have “baggage” that keeps them from wanting to pursue a new relationship. Do you think sometimes we let our past get in the way of what God has planned for our futures?

Not sometimes but all the time. We often allow our past baggage to get in the way of our future (what God has in store for us) trying to prevent what has happened in our past. We will never fully move on from the past until we forgive the people that we feel caused the things that has happen and we accept our problems as our process (the avenues to our purpose).

How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all?

Nikiya is a lot like me because I experienced the same type of heartbreak with someone whom I just knew I would marry. Like her, I poured all of my energy into something greater and I expected God to move. I wanted to be sure that when God did move, I would know that it so I prayed for discernment.

Book Blurb

Nikiya Barnett aka Nikki, is still secretly suffering in silence concerning losing the love of her life, Raja Abrams. She desires total healing from God, but somehow seems to be stuck in her heart and mind. She alongside her two best friends who happens to be her coworkers, are trying to make Salon Select the new ‘it’ spot but this does not happen until they invite God in, by way of Sappora Ink.

Sappora Ink is the new blog talk show host with a show entitled, RFRT~Real Folks, Real Truths. Sister Ink is a straight to the point, raw, doctrinaire Christian girl trying to help her friends in this sinful world. She is changing the world one show at a time, and taking Shreveport by storm with the help of Nikiya Barnett, the owner of Salon Select, who has opened her salon as a hosting spot. Little does Nikki know, Sappora is closer to Raja than she thinks?

Raja is stuck in a world wind of adversity that he seems to have created for himself. Through R.A.B.~ Raja Abrams Broadcasting, he is trying to secretly for Nikiya and Raja, or is the plan that has been laid before them all a part of God’s plan?make Nikki aware that their time together was not a waste, but will his method be the same method used to change his life forever?

Things happen when we choose to let God in. Whether we appreciate His ways or not, we must remember, His ways are not our ways. Will life change for the better?

About the Author

Pastor/ Author Danyelle is the Senior Pastor of New Vessels Ministries North in Shreveport, Louisiana. She studied Theology at Louisiana Baptist University, has a Psychology Degree from the University of Phoenix, an Interdisciplinary Degree in Psychology /Biblical Studies from Liberty University, and is presently working on a Master’s in Religious Education from the Liberty University. Pastor Danyelle owns Divinely Sown Publishing LLC and is the author of “His Mistress or God’s Daughter, Not Too Far Gone, Destiny’s Decision, Evonta’s Revenge, & The Power Series: Pain, Restoration, Love, & Forgiving”. She is the wife of Pastor Reynard Scroggins, the mother of three by birth and two by marriage.

You can find out more about Danyelle on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Put it in Ink on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.