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11 posts categorized "Other Stuff"


Mid-Mo Writing Expo: Immortal Words

It's not too late.

The Mid-Mo Writing Expo: Immortal Words is tomorrow September 17th at The Mueller Student Center at Westminster College in Fulton, MO.

You can still sign up. $15 gets the conference and lunch.

If you're looking for how to put a little romance in your mystery, stop by my breakout session at 1:40 Romancing the Mystery.

Y'all should come. I have cookies. IMG_0554



Killer Nashville Notes

Killer Nashville is over for another year. This was my first trip and I really enjoyed it. I met some great people and if I managed to make it home with all my business cards and swag, I hope to connect with them online so we can get better acquainted. Coral, if you're reading this email me. I lost you after the Jeffrey Deaver interview. Anyone that I met up with, that doesn't hear from me should stalk me on facebook or twitter because I suck at keeping track of all the cool cards that I pick up.

I did my first author panel. I didn't embarrass myself. I didn't fall out of my chair or trip on my way to the front of the room. I didn't spill my beverage or knock anyone's books off the table. For me, I call that a rousing success. The guys on the panel, J Michael Orunduff, Alan Ansorge, Bill Moody, A. Scott Pearson and our moderator, Don Bruns, didn't have any idea what kind of danger they were in. I'm glad to be able to report that we all survived. We had a great crowd. I'm sorry it wasn't bigger, but our room was about three miles away from the rest of the conference. There may still be some attendees wandering aimlessly through the halls of the Marriott looking for us. I hope someone finds them before they run out of food or water.

I had a really good time. Hope to meet up with some of my new acquaintances at Bouchercon by the Bay in San Francisco.

Here are some random thoughts on my first trip to Killer Nashville.

Random thought #1--With a look, wink, smile or simple tip of the hat, Southern men have the ability to make a woman feel beautiful. This is a talent that should be cultivated worldwide.

Random thought #2-- Clay Stafford, Beth Terrell-Hicks and all of the volunteers that make Killer Nashville happen are some of the nicest people ever and do a great job with their writing conference.

Random thought #3-- Killer Nashville is suffering from a few growing pains. The volunteers did a great job of making things work anyway. It's a great problem to have.

Random thought #4--Booksellers are some of my very favorite people

Random thought #5--Jeffrey Deaver is a very funny guy. Really enjoyed hearing him speak.

Random thought #6--Don Bruns has a lovely singing voice.

Random thought #7--Sperry's where we had the conference dinner serves fantastic food, but the room was way to small for our group. Just another sign of growing pains.

Random thought #8--I love sitting around visiting with other writers. Published, self published or unpublished, it's all great.

Random thought #9--Graham Brown is very entertaining, will have to try and get him to guest blog.

Random thought #10--I can't believe how tired sitting, talking, listening and buy books can make you. Maybe I'm getting too old for writing conferences. 



Atla-091108-junk  Everybody has a junk drawer. Some people might even have two. I inherited a junk house. My mom was a bit of a pack rat. I started decrapifying her house almost five years ago. It wasn't easy, as every time I tried to throw something out, she'd grimace and sigh, or stalk off in a snit. She passed away a little over a year ago, and the decrapifying has gotten easier, but it's still an enormous undertaking trying to remove 45 years worth of accumulated stuff.

I'm not into stuff. I'm a minimalist. If I have a place to put my computer, a comfortable chair to read in, and my camera to record my infrequent trips away from my keyboard, I'm pretty happy. I have a few basic black pieces of clothing, enough construction clothes to get me through a week's work and a couple of pieces of formal attire. Living in a house with a piece of furniture against every single bit of wall space, and each piece of furniture, or cabinet filled to the brim with stuff, drive's me insane. Add in a basement with so much stuff there are only a few paths to walk through and an attic that's in the same condition, and I am overwhelmed. This marks my sixth summer of removing crap from this house and I can finally see the basement floor. With luck, the basement may be complete this year, then it's on to the attic. With every bit of junk that leaves the house I feel better, lighter and less encumbered. I can not wait until this project is done.

What makes people accumulate so much stuff? Why do we find it so hard to get rid of things?


Contemplating Change

I had a dream the other night that I was pregnant with twins and I was quietly pleased about that turn of events. I'm forty-six years old. My children are grown. I love them to death, but I'm ready to be a grandma. I have no desire to be a mother again. I also no longer have the equipment necessary to make that fantasy a reality. Anyone that knows me is giggling right now, because quietly pleased is diametrically opposed to how I would really be feeling. Psychotically hysterical would probably be closer to the mark. So, I did a little research on dream interpretation. Really, a writer doesn't need much of an excuse to get on the internet and do research. But, I digress. Here's what I found.

A dream of pregnancy, if in the dream you are happy about it, generally means you are contemplating or considering changes in your life. Or that you've decided to move forward with something spiritual or artistic in your life. Okay then, let's take a look at that.

I am a carpenter by trade. I work as a scaffold builder in nuclear power plants. It's a job I love. I travel six or nine months a year and the rest of the time I'm home, writing or messing about in my garden. The work is physically demanding, but not stressful. The money's pretty good, and the people I meet and work with are a lot of fun. It's the best job I have ever had. But. Yes, there's always a but.

One of the things I love most about my job is the travel. I love living in other places for weeks or months at a time. It's fun to stay somewhere long enough to find the gems that only the locals know about. But the travel is the problem.

My father is no longer in great health, and for him to be alone for weeks or months at a time is troublesome at best and downright dangerous at worst. It's time I made a decision. I've been chewing over this for a while. Trying to figure out how to keep my career and still take care of family. See, there's no one else, I'm an only child. It's my responsibility. The only conclusion I've come to is that my days of spending weeks and months on the road have come to an end, but I still need money. So I guess my writing is going to have to support me. EEEK. Do you have any idea of the number of writers that actually make their living off their writing? It's appallingly small. Most writers have jobs if they like to eat. 

Scary, but I've figured out that if I can sell just a hundred and fifty books a week, I can bring in close to what I make as a carpenter. Half that many and I could still live comfortably. Can I do it? Well, not sitting behind my computer in my jammies all day, but yeah, I think I could. Actually, I don't think I have a choice. Family has to come first. And that situation isn't going to change in the next year or two. 

So, I think that's what my pregnancy dream was all about. My spiritual journey inside myself to see if this change is possible. An investment in my craft to make it workable. Now, I need to get out of my PJs and go sell some books.

If you'd like to jump start this mission, click here to purchase a signed copy of one of my mysteries.

If you'd like to just show your support, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. To tell the truth, it's kind of a scary prospect and honestly, I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge.


The Call to Action

I mentioned to my son last night that my blog had gotten a lot of hits over the last couple of days. Then as sort of afterthought, I said. "but not selling any more books". Son, being a man, immediately piped up with a solution. "You know, Mom. "Every post should have something at the end inviting people to buy your book. You're not giving the call to action. Without that you can't make the sale."

Okay, fair enough. I don't and I haven't. But, here it is from my prospective. I have a website and a blog and a facebook and a twitter account. I maintain a good web presence. If I take the time to google my name or my books, the first page or page and a half of results all have to do with my books or my web page. I'm pretty tickled with that. I was under the impression that's what I was working toward. Now, I'm finding out that I need to close the sale, get the yes, make the call to action. And well, that makes me feel all creepy inside.

Over the course of my life, I've sold a lot of things: Avon, Tupperware, Christmas Around the World, Pampered Chef, water filtration systems, Amway, car parts, and automotive service. I suck at it. Pampered chef wasn't too bad, I actually made some money at that because I'm a good cook. I didn't have to sell, I just cooked with the product and made people's tummy happy. The product did the selling. Books, not so much. You have to sell them; to bookstores, to reviewers, to strangers on the street. Um, yeah, that creepy feeling, it's almost a physical illness.

I hate selling. At least, I hate selling myself. Much easier to sell other people's stuff. Selling me, well, ick. So my answer to my son about his call to action comment was, "well between my blog and my website there are about fifteen different ways to click yourself into position to buy the book. Throwing a call to action into every blog post seems like overkill."

"Yeah, but you're not selling that many books. It's not working."


So I'm really hoping to get some dialogue going here with authors or salespeople of things other than books. How to make a call to action without looking like a car salesman, or one of those window people that just keep showing up at your house and pestering you over and over even after you say no. I want to know what the general consensus is on the use of blogs and websites for book sales. Should it be passive, or active?

Oh, and click here if you'd like to own a signed copy of a KD Easley mystery.


Pay it Forward

I got an email yesterday from HotelsCombined about a program called Spread the Word for Charity. It explained how I could get five, ten or twenty dollars donated to the charity of my choice just by mentioning the program on my blog. First I was excited that someone I didn't know had found my blog and was compelled to email me because of it. Chalk one up to internet marketing. Then, I did some research to make sure it wasn't some sort of fraud like that poetry book I almost got published in, but I digress and that is a blog post for another day. Anyway, I found that Spread the Word for Charity is real. HotelsCombined has donated over ten thousand dollars already this year. Awesome.

Spread the Word for Charity is a very simple program. You mention the program on Twitter, Facebook or your Blog, mention in the same post what charity you would like the money donated too, and they in turn donate, five, ten or twenty dollars to the charity in your name. Easy and painless.

The email I received mentioned that they had found my blog and noticed that I was a supporter of The American Cancer Society. I am, and I am happy to use this small space to announce it and send twenty dollars to the American Cancer Society to help further their research. I lost my mother to cancer last year. Her memorial service was a year ago yesterday. I still miss her everyday and my hope is that the research that the American Cancer Society is doing today may mean that in the future another daughter might not lose her mother so many many years too early. 

If you have a blog, facebook or Twitter account, click the HotelsCombined leak above, check out the program and send a small gift to the charity of your choice. In that small way, we can all pay a little bit forward.

I recommend and sent $20 to The American Cancer Society!

You can shout and help too.



Writer's Serenity Prayer

I've been reading Joe Konrath's blog almost since he started it. I admire the way he's created his web presence, and the tenacity he's used to create a readership. Today, I admire this...the Writer's Serenity Prayer.

Thanks, Joe for helping me keep things in perspective.


Guest Blog Disaster or How I managed to screw up my own plan with no outside help

I have dropped the ball several times since I started Tuesdays with Friends. I think the Tuesday part is what hurts me the worst, so I'm going to get rid of it. This week's Tuesdays with Friends guest was supposed to be Rob Walker. He sent his post to me along with all the information I needed to get it set up and I dropped the ball, so his post will appear on Wednesday instead. To Rob I apologize. All I can say is I'm just not organized enough to keep up with my own ideas. In the future, I'll find a better way to set up my blog guests. One that isn't quite so restrictive and lends itself a little more to my abilities to keep up with my ideas. So if anyone has stuck it out with KdBlog over the last few weeks of chaos, hang in there. I'm gathering it back up and tomorrow, Blog Guest Rob Walker will appear, only a day late.

Thanks for hanging in here with me.



Now Available in Multiple epub Formats

Where the Dreams End is now available in multiple epub formats. Just go to Smashwords and use coupon number VS52W and get $1.00 off on your purchase now through March 31st.


RIP Dick Francis

51WJBFPAM0L._SL500_AA240_  When asked who my favorite mystery author is, my answer for the last dozen years has always been Dick Francis. That hasn't changed, and I doubt if it ever will, but Dick Francis has passed away, so a light has gone out in in the mystery world. For fans of his books, we can look forward to more stories from his son Felix, but it will never be quite the same. Rest in Peace Dick Francis. We have enjoyed your stories and you will be missed.


I Miss Wide World of Sports

Every four years when the winter games roll around, I miss ABC's Wild World of Sports. Back in the day before everyone on the planet had cable and sports had their own channel, Sunday afternoons we had ABC Wild World of Sports. We saw downhill, slalom, ice skating, ski jumping, pretty much all the winter game sports. What was the result of this exposure? Well, when the games rolled around, I knew who the best skiers in the world were. I knew who the best skaters in the world were because I'd heard all those names before and had seen them compete. I knew who to watch and consequently, I enjoyed the games more. 

Don't get me wrong, I like sports channels, but I miss those little glimpses into the oddball sports that I used to get back in the day when Wide World of Sports was on right before Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and The Wonderful World of Disney.