Tag Archives: blog tour

Mountain Laurel Christmas

Let’s all welcome Jan Sikes to Entertaining Stories. She’s one of my longest term author friends, and a partner at Story Empire. She’s here to tell us about her new Christmas novella. Let’s make sure to use those sharing buttons for her today.

Failure and disappointment are two horrible feelings for anyone to handle. My character in Mountain Laurel Music struggles to deal with those feelings, most of the time attempting to drown them in alcohol. But when the effects of the alcohol wear off, he is left with the same hollow disappointment in himself.

My character had made a promise.

Excerpt:

I’ll never forget Papa placing his hand on my shoulder a few days before he died, making me promise on everything holy and sacred, to take care of Mama, April and Timmy if anything ever happened to him. Perhaps he knew.

It sticks in the back of my throat now like a bitter quinine pill.

I failed him.

I failed Mama.

And now I’ve failed myself.

I think sometimes the greatest disappointments we can experience in life are in ourselves. I have certainly been there, and even now, after many years, if I allow myself to think about it, I can conjure up the same horrible, disgusting feeling.

What about you? Have you found ways to deal with disappointment or failure? Please share.

Mountain Laurel Christmas Blurb:

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.

Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.

It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.

It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?

PURCHASE LINK:

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Some statistics for you

Hi, everyone. I’ve neglected this site again, but there were tour posts all over the place. Thanks to the group of you that followed along. This post is for my fellow writers out there, and you might find it interesting.

The tour ended prematurely, but one of my potential hosts is quite ill. I have her in my thoughts, and you didn’t miss a lot. If you feel like you missed something, check out Lunar Boogie in the sidebar. It was the book of the day.

To recap, I toured each book in The Hat Series for one week during October. Books one & three had free days, and to support those, I hired Fussy Librarian for some extra push. Let’s look at a visual.

I doubt you can read that, but it’s the image that helps anyway. The blue graph above shows my free promotion days. You can see the pattern is almost identical. Day one hit nearly a thousand free copies, after that it trailed off.

If I turn off the freebies, the graph shows book sales, but at best there were ten one day. That’s why they don’t show up with the freebies turned on.

The lower graphic is pages read via Kindle Unlimited. To me it’s more important. Most of my book earnings have been via this platform for a couple of years now. The patterns are similar, and not different enough to determine why. The better days were around 500 pages per day, with one that broke 1000. I’m not getting rich here, but I’m calling the promo a success. Nearly all of those pages were in the The Hat Series. In fact you can see a small bit of action on the far left before the promotion started. That’s what my graph normally looks like.

So far, I’ve gained two star-reviews where they rated the book worthy of five stars, and one actual review. I love both of those formats, so thank you whoever you are.

This also happened.

Yup, that’s Mrs. Molony in the #1 spot. It held onto the top ten throughout the free period.

There’s one post left that relates to the promotion. It’s my annual visit at Colleen Chesebro’s place on Halloween. It’s about the series, but it’s also about what comes next for Lizzie and the hat. I’ll be checking in on Sunday, so make sure to visit me.

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The best month of the year

It’s October, and I love it. Things are cooling off after the outrageous summer we had. Leaves are starting to turn, and everything feels right again.

I was an October baby, so maybe that’s part of it. Old What’s Her Face made me some pumpkin cinnamon rolls for breakfasts. They’re nothing fancy, just the Pop & Fresh kind, but it was sweet of her.

I’ve been working my way through a variety pack of pumpkin beers from Elysian brewing. The Dark ‘O the Moon Pumpkin Stout is really good.

Pumpkin isn’t the only Fall flavor in my world. Mom sent up some of her homemade chokecherry jelly. I would have preferred syrup, but I had it on a pancake this morning anyway. It’s a taste of Fall from my childhood.

We’ve been fiddling with Halloween themed shows to watch. RL Stein has a more adult themed series of films on Netflix. Old What’s Her Face loved the first one, but I had a tough time getting into it. It’s a long month, so there could be something good coming up.

She used her birthday money and bought a Traeger Grill. She loves her gadgets and had to have the one that connects to her phone via wifi. She likes the idea of adjusting the temps while out doing other things. This meant she had to name it. She called it “The Chamber of Barbecue Secrets.” I figured you guys would get a chuckle out of that, I did.

Things are going to get busy at Entertaining Stories, too. I’m taking the entire Hat Series out on tour. This involves having written a bunch of unique posts, so they’re all worth reading. I’ll reblog everything here in an attempt to drive traffic to my hosts. There are going to be some free days, so if you’ve wanted to get into this series, this is a good month to dive in. One volume per week, and it all kicks off at Teri’s Bad Moon Rising event. Promoting a paranormal series in October feels like the right thing to do.

It’s important to support your hosts. If any of you feel so inclined, share the posts from their sites. This could boost their traffic and net them some new followers.

I’ll be watching the comments all month, so let me hear from you along the route.

I sent the second to last chapter of Good Liniment out to my critique group, and Lanternfish is in the hands of my formatter. This means starting all over again when I publish Lanternfish, and getting ready for Good Liniment in the late winter sometime.

Are any of you excited for Fall, October in general, or Halloween? Let me hear from you.

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The Party’s Over

Lunar Boogie has been published. The blog tour has ended, and it’s time to forge ahead. We had a lot of fun on the tour, and I got some wonderful comments.

Some people have read it already, and the early reviews are awesome. Maybe consider clicking on that cover in the sidebar and checking it out.

This week was crazy. Not only did I have a book tour going on, I also had to make a quick road trip to Sandpoint for my real job. Responding to comments on a cell phone with dicey wifi is a treat.

Sandpoint is a beautiful town up close to Canada. It sits on the shores of Lake Pend Orielle. It’s frequented by bald eagles, so I kept my eyes open.

I saw a lot of ospreys on the way into town. As cool as they are, they aren’t the same. I heard an eagle scream from my hotel, but couldn’t spot the bugger through the trees.

I drove the rental car for our group, and when we drove home from supper, I spotted one. It was twilight, and I was watching the geese in a grain field. The closest bird to me raised his head and wasn’t a goose at all.

This seemed like my luck lately. I spotted the dumbest, outcast eagle of all time. He was out past bedtime and appeared to be grubbing for worms in the mud not twenty feet from the car. Not very majestic, but I’m counting him.

I know eagles don’t spend all their time posting selfies. I’ve seen swarms of them crawling around a beached whale carcass like maggots. They aren’t anything more that what they need to be. People like me put the image on them.

When we left town, I had a glorious sighting of another one. This one swirled around on thermals above the lake, then landed on a pole just as I drove past.

Bald eagles are a rare sight around here. I watched the Boise River all winter, but never saw one this year. I always felt like they foretold luck for me. By sighting two, I’m kind of artificially excited.

Never got to see the famous lake monster. Maybe next time. I should have placed out some cookies or something.

I’m considering doing a series blog tour this fall for The Hat Series. I have enough books now to make it a thing. I can take advantage of some free days as part of the promo. I’m curious what you folks think of this approach.

Lanternfish beckons now. I have three days to myself, and need to hack out some new material so I can get this one out in 2021. If you include Serang, I could tour this series around in a similar fashion.

Procrastination is part of the game. This week was brutal, I’m telling you. I’ll write at some point, but I kind of want to vegetate for a day.

Let me hear from you. Do you have a connection with a specific animal? Do you know any fresh new promotional tricks? Have you ever seen a lake monster?

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Remember me?

Okay, it’s not quite that dismal. I just haven’t written anything specifically for this blog in a while. All of the book tour posts are original and there are more of them to come.

Honestly, my life hasn’t been that interesting lately. Things are stressful both personally and professionally. Those are difficult to post about, so thank God for original content in the tour posts.

I’m off tomorrow, but have a medical appointment that will screw up any writing plans. As such, I did a bit of writing today.

Lanternfish is plugging along. Even though it’s slowed down on the creation front, it’s good stuff when I can get to it. I decided to write today, just to remind myself I still can. It came to about a chapter in total, but that’s split between two chapters. Hope you understand what I mean.

I’m back to James and his family, who are with the Prelonian Army waging war. I designed a big battle involving mostly root monsters as the main characters. I elected to watch it play out with James and a newer character, Field Marshal Garret at an observation station.

Anyone who’s read any portion of Lanternfish knows how the root monsters operate by now. I felt it would be more interesting to watch from a distance for this event, rather than get on the ground with the monsters.

That’s about it, honestly. Work is going to be crazy this week, but I have tour posts to keep everyone engaged. I’ll check on those whenever I have the chance.

Comments and early reviews for Lunar Boogie are wonderful. I’d like to see more action on the sales front, but that’s the case with every book.

Hope all of you are safe, happy, and doing something fun today. Drop me a line in the comments.

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Wrapping up my long weekend

I already posted about all the family things and the Kentucky Derby. I didn’t get a mountain of stuff accomplished, but there is some.

I decided to put Lunar Boogie through Amazon’s machine. I like the way I can save a draft, review things, but not actually publish it. Stories in the hat series always have some last minute formatting issues. This is due to all the little graphics that go along with the stories. I even tried to use emojis at one point, but they didn’t translate.

I sent a message off to my formatter, and we’ll see what she can do about it. A few of the standard graphics moved around, too. That’s normal, and it’s nice to have a week or two to address everything.

I like to keep doing corny things in this series, because it’s part of the charm. Readers expect it, and it’s nice to change it up from time to time. I have plans to photograph a text thread eventually, then include it in a future book. Adding a photo should be just like adding a drawing.

I turned my attention to blog tour posts. Whenever I take a book on tour, I like to make every post unique. That way, I never feel bad about reblogging them all. They are more than a cover and blurb type post, and eventually I might snag a reader along the way. I have six written so far, but need a few more.

This morning, I turned my attention back to Lanternfish. It was moderately successful and involved Diego Palumbo doing some advance scouting and spying for Serang’s army. I created an unplanned situation that I like, but now I have to figure out what to do with it.

Diego tried to sell information to the Crier’s Guild about the new Royal Governor of Prelonia. He didn’t know whether the story was true or not, but hoped their reaction would either confirm or deny the rumor for him. He wound up being offered a position as a town crier in Hollish territory.

Diego accepted just to get the free gold. Of course he was always going to return to Serang. However, he now has the trappings of a town crier. Since Diego and Camila are cons, he could use these to spread false news that could wind up benefiting the Prelonian war effort.

Honestly, this happened on the fly, and I need some time to think about it. It could add a fun aspect to the story. Oh, and I actually used the word “miasma” in a sentence. It’s a good old-fashioned word that seems to fit the era of a Lanternfish tale. I like it.

All told, it only amounted to about half a chapter. No word count to post, because it wasn’t that big. I think it was a good section, and now I have to put the results of his spying into action. That’s a project for a different weekend.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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Rambles from the real world

I get a three day weekend once more. This is the end of my fun shift, then I get a short weekend in the middle before it starts all over again. This weekend wasn’t earmarked for writing, but it could still happen. Monday is probably my best chance.

Our daughter came overnight, and I wanted to spend any available time with her. She didn’t get to come on her birthday, so Old What’s Her Face wanted to take her out. Even this wound up being a compromise. She had to go home this afternoon to work Sunday.

When you write a series about a twenty-something female, it’s nice to compare notes with my daughter. She helps with some of Lizzie’s outfits, and knows some things I wouldn’t even think of. I’m good with monsters, freaky things, and even old-school music. When it comes to wrap dresses, nail art, and some of those things I appreciate the help.

We settled for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. We’re both so full, it will serve as dinner and lunch. Still ordered dessert to go, so that will suffice this evening. I had mine early, maybe I won’t have heartburn all night by doing that.

Saw a cool whale-tale Porsche in the mall parking lot. This one had custom paint. It was pink, but so dark it was nearly purple. Doesn’t mean anything, really, I just thought it was cool. It was obviously well loved.

Came home and caught the Derby. There might have been some future book research involved, but not to the extent that I failed to enjoy the event. He never stood a chance, but I liked the name of one horse, Soup & Sandwich. He actually started strong, but finished dead last. He was also a pretty blue roan. Also, lots of pretty girls in hats. That could play into a future story after I give it some thought.

As far as accomplishing anything, after our daughter left, I wrote one blog tour post. This one involves Lisa visiting someone and handing out a poster. I don’t have the poster yet, but feel like I am a step ahead. I don’t even have a blurb yet, so I’ll have to tag that onto any posts I get written after the fact.

We had an awesome thunderstorm this afternoon. Lots of lightning and a downpour the likes of something we haven’t seen in a year. The dogs were hilarious, running out in the rain to bark, then racing inside because it was raining so hard.

Sundays usually aren’t good writing days. I call my parents, mess with bulldogs and other important things. There should be time to pre-write more blog tour posts. That will be my goal.

When it comes to Monday, I’m off, will have the house to myself, might score some quality writing time then.

Hope all of you are having great weekends. I am.

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Weekend at last

I’m starting of with a big old bomber sized bottle of my favorite pumpkin beer. Just look at that cool label.

We recently acquired a small deep freeze that we placed in the garage. It’s holding a goodly supply of meat, but the rack up top needed something. I used a mister bottle and frosted my beer mugs. I’m in heaven right now.

I really want to start writing again. I won’t, but I want to. I need to keep this blog tour moving. I’m moving a few copies here and there, and there are a few reviews showing up. Amazon seems to be the hold out. I’m finding some nice things on BookBub and Goodreads, so there’s that. The good news is people seem to be enjoying it. Don’t forget to grab your copy while it’s still 99¢.

The next Hat story is screaming at me, and I’m feeling the call of the sea and Lanternfish once more. I have a little conundrum in that some of my critique members have commitments coming up. Let’s be honest here, nobody is going to freak out if I don’t start drafting material until later this winter. Just because I want to, doesn’t mean have to.

I have next week all lined out for the blog tour. I’ll probably spend some time this weekend writing posts for the last week of October and contacting hosts. There is some reading I want to catch up with, too. I’ve done without my flex day for three weeks, due to work conflicts. Weekends just don’t allow for much more than that. My regular schedule will resume in November and might allow me to take on a bit more.

Wishing all of you a great weekend. Hopefully, with your own favorite beverage.

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Running out of steam

Old What’s Her Face went to Nevada again. It’s just me and the dogs this weekend. My brother-in-law and his wife moved into their new house, and they’re throwing sod this weekend.

Dog sitting duty hasn’t been that hard, so I tried to use my time wisely. I’ve been mostly blogging all day.

That means sending out letters with proposed dates for tour hosts, then writing their posts as they respond. I still have one more to prepare and will try to do that before I call it a night.

I also marked up a critique sample for one of my group members and sent it out. I like to turn them around fast whenever possible. I only have weekends to work on things and others might be in that boat, too.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. I spent far too much time monkeying around with the block editor, but I need to do that. It looks like it’s here to stay and being curmudgeonly about it isn’t going to help me.

I know the original editor wasn’t exactly self explanatory either and I messed with it for a long time before I found the things I actually use. I never did figure out what that tool that looks like a highway stripe actually does.

Somewhere between waiting on email, and writing posts, I snitched a little reading time. I’m not the proficient reader I was as a youngster, and take frequent breaks. I’m enjoying some quality time to dive into a good book, but I have to do it my way. Eye fatigue is part of the issue.

It got cold here overnight and I actually ran the gas fireplace to take the edge off. I spent about two hours watching the temperature parked at 58 degrees, then decided it wasn’t actually going to warm up. They promised us some rain today, but it only drizzled for a short while. I hope it was enough to settle some of this smoke. It feels like it helped.

Old What’s Her Face comes home tomorrow, and Monday is a holiday. It’s smart for me to accomplish all I can today. It’s relatively calm, but I’m starting to burn out. Maybe, after that last post is sent off, I’ll try to find something on television. I’m in the mood for something Halloween related, but not a slasher.

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Saturday goings on

I bounced around a lot today. I wrote one blog tour post, and need one more. My schedule is all taken care of next week, but I want to get ahead of the following one. If I can get one more written, then I will ask a couple of folks about their availability.

Honestly, doing it this way is less stressful than trying to pre-write everything. A couple of stops per week is also easier to keep up with. I enjoy chatting with everyone along the way and it isn’t like trying to cover too many bases at once.

I pulled down my portable generators and am running them in the garage. They haven’t been started for a long time and it’s good for them. It’s also better than learning in the field if I’m not going to have air conditioning in the camper. Bulldog lives are at stake here. One of them only seems to work if I use the choke. That’s not a good sign. I’m thinking maybe a bit of STP or something might help. Open to suggestions if you have a trick.

Speaking of bulldogs, it’s pumpkin ball season again. This has always been Otto’s favorite toy of all time. They seem cheaper this year than previous years. The old ones used to have a flasher in them and were made from a more durable plastic. They’d squeak and flash as he played with them.

Here’s a photo of him with one of the older kinds.

He and Frankie went ballistic when they came out of the bag today. They were both bouncing off the walls. We’ll probably play with them again after supper. It appears she likes pumpkin ball too.

Can pumpkin beer season be far off?

I have all my corny graphics inserted into The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I’m one title page and some Copyright data away from sending it to my formatter. Shooting for an October 1st release on this one.

Then I spent some time with the Muse. For some reason she’s sent me some great ideas for a Space Opera. I don’t think I write them particularly well, but I’m keeping notes at this stage. I’ve matured over the years and it might be time to try it again. It hasn’t earned a storyboard yet, but it has me thinking.

I already have a bunch of storyboards I can start writing on when winter rolls around. Sometimes a board takes years to mature, and this concept could be one of those.

Hope all of you are having a good weekend. Tell me what you’re up to, and stay safe.

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