Friday, February 27, 2015

Sam Cheever's Ideas Never Stop!

The talented Sam Cheever had an interesting blog yesterday on a subject I’ve heard about, but know very little—Kindle Worlds. Today I’ll share some Sam’s blog, and also we’ll have an excerpt from her fun book  Bayou Bubba.

Sam Cheever's Suggestion

Do any of the following apply to you?

  • You’ve always been an avid reader. You love books of all shapes, genres and sizes. You’ve even thought you’d like to write your own book someday.

  • You’re already a writer but you’d like to branch out into an area you’ve never written in before.

  • You have a favorite series but the author of the series can’t write books fast enough. You’d love to read more in that author’s world.

  • You wish you could write a book, but you’re not sure you have what it takes to do it. It would be fun to see what other aspiring authors have done.

All of these are great reasons to check out Kindle Worlds. Amazon has formed contractual agreements with a bunch of really great Authors so that fans can step into their worlds and create their own stories, or read more stories from the worlds they love. It’s a fun concept and its popularity seems to be growing in leaps and bounds.

Fan fiction (fan fic) has been around for a long time. It’s been the genesis for a lot of aspiring authors breaking in with their own works. Think Fifty Shades if you doubt that’s true. Apparently the popular BDSM romance series started as fan fic for the paranormal romance series, Twilight. Yeah, that doesn’t make sense to me either. But it proves that fan fic can create a path for success to a hopeful future author.

I’ve known all this for a while. What I didn’t realize until recently was that many well-established authors were taking advantage of fan fic to write in genres they’ve always wanted to try, reaching audiences they might never have reached on their own. That’s what I did. When I wrote Bayou Bubba, it was to stretch my wings into a type of genre I’d always enjoyed but didn’t think I could sell to my readers. By writing in Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune World, I’m able to introduce myself and my writing to a large, existing base of readers who are already eager fans of the cozy mystery genre.

I had a ton of fun writing for Kindle Worlds. I’m really glad I did it. Will I write another book for the Miss Fortune series? It could happen. I’ll wait and see how things play out. Or, like some of my author buddies, will I stretch into new worlds, try out other genres? That’s conceivable too. The possibilities are endless. And that’s just what makes the whole thing so much fun!

Excerpt from Bayou Bubba                         


By Sam Cheever    

By the time we drove into Sinful, Louisiana, I’d reconsidered the wonderfulness of spending time with the once sexy Cal Amity. A more judgmental, stick-up-the-ass person I’d never met. I realized as he scoured me with a look that said “you’re an idiot aren’t you?” for about the hundredth time since we’d met at the airport in Indy, that the gulf between him and me just might be too wide to leap…or cross with a 747.
“I made us reservations at the Backwater Inn,” he told me as he turned left off Sinful’s wide, main street and headed for the dirty brown strip of water in the distance.

“Of course you did,” I murmured.
“I heard that.”

“Of course you did,” I murmured more softly.
“I heard that too.”

I glared over at him. “What’s the deal with the muddy puddle up ahead? Has there been a flood?”
“That would be the Bayou and I might need to use a boat for part of my investigation.”

I didn’t miss the “I” in his declaration. I would have argued, telling him there was no “I” in “me too” but the other part of his statement iced my bowels. My eyes widened as we turned into a pockmarked gravel parking lot, adjacent to a long building with fake logs for walls. “We’re going out there?” I jabbed a finger toward the muddy ribbon cutting a swath along the edge of Sinful. “Why ever would we do that?”
“Because that’s where I believe your father is.” Cal cut the engine and climbed out of the black Jeep he’d rented for us. He unfolded his long, lean length and stood, stretching enthusiastically before closing the door.

Yes, god help me, I did stare at his fine, round behind as he stretched. He might be a pain in my ass, but his was finer than hundred-year-old Scotch in front of a roaring fire.
Or as the people of Sinful would probably say…finer than frog hair. If frogs had hair.

Shaking my head on the question I climbed out too, groaning and clasping my back as pain zig-zagged down my leg. “I don’t want to sit down for a week.”
Cal focused his Caribbean blue gaze fringed with thick black lashes on me and, despite the “you’re an idiot aren’t you?” look on his chiseled features, my knee ligaments melted a little. “It was a long trip,” he offered in only a slightly disgusted tone.

I blinked, nearly toppling to the muddy gravel with surprise. “Um. Yeah. It was.”
I followed the intrepid Cal toward a door marked “Office” at the center of the long building.

A ten foot long concrete alligator adorned the narrow strip of grass alongside the door, his painted surface chipped and the flower hat on his head faded from the sun.
Cal’s assessing gaze slid right over the gator, seeing no entertainment value in it at all. But I just couldn’t resist a quick selfie. Crouching down next to the silly critter, I made my eyes go wide and my lips form a terrorized “O” and clicked a picture to send to my BFFs back in Indy. I chuckled as I hit Send and turned, squeaking a little as I almost ran into a man with a thin, graying ponytail and a tattoo of a gator running up his enormous biceps. “Oh, sorry.”

The man fixed me with a glacial gray gaze. He didn’t speak, his too-small mouth pursing a little inside the boundaries of a mustache and scraggly beard.
“Well.” I felt like a complete fool for my selfie antics so I laughed self-consciously and stepped around him, imagining I could feel the sting of his gaze on my back as I hurried inside.

Cal was talking to a man I assumed to be the manager.
“Yeah, I know him,” the manager said. “That’s Bayou Bubba. Sinful’s most interesting homeless guy. He don’t look like that no more though.” The manager grinned, showing jagged teeth the color of the Bayou.

Cal slipped the picture he carried of my father back into his shirt pocket. “Can you tell me where we can find him?”
The man’s mud-colored smile slipped away. He glanced at me…probably noting, too late, the shell-shocked aspect of my face. He inclined his head in my direction. “Ma’am.”

The man I assumed was the manager of the Backwater Inn reached beneath the counter and pulled out a key, handing it to Cal.

One key. Oh oh. I opened my mouth to object when Cal handed it to me. “Do you know where Bayou Bubba is living?” he asked the motel manager.
The man skimmed me another look.

Cal glanced my way. “Miss Chance, will you go to the room, please? I’ll join you in a couple of minutes.” Remembering my close call with the frigid-eyed guy outside, I considered digging in my heels and insisting that I stay, but something on Cal’s handsome face made me nod and exit the stifling office. Despite the thick, overheated air outside, I was thankful to leave the stale ashtray scent of the office behind me. I looked at the key, which had a grinning alligator key chain, and noted the number nine on the gator’s yellow belly.
Room number nine wasn’t far from the Jeep. Recoiling at the sour, coolish air that met me at the door, I shielded my nose with one hand. “Ugh!” The room was dark and noisy, with a portable air conditioner toiling loudly from its hole in the wall.

There were two beds, both covered in dark green cotton spreads, and one small table between them.
The carpet was also dark green, making the whole room depressingly dark. I went over and yanked the heavy drapes back, sneezing as dust bloomed on the air. Sunlight speared the room with light and heat.

The door snapped open and the delectable Cal was suddenly backlit by the blazing sun. He stared at me for a moment and I held my breath. My gaze followed him as he closed the door and crossed the room. He scanned a look over the bathroom before coming back.
“Do we have enough towels?”

He didn’t even crack a smile.
“Soap?” Okay, there was a slightly desperate sounding squeak in my voice. I twined my fingers together and swallowed. “Just hit me with it. Rip it right off like a Band-Aid.”

Cal’s dark eyebrows peaked. “Rip what off?”
Good god! “What did the manager tell you that he didn’t want to say in front of me?”

“Oh.” Scrubbing a big, square hand over his chin, Cal looked me right in the eye. “He told me your father’s in the morgue.”
My knees buckled and, to his credit, Cal proved he had excellent reflexes as well as a truly fine ass. Thank god he caught me. I’d have hated to land on the filthy carpet.

The sun streaming across it had illuminated something that looked a lot like dried blood.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Number 10 on the Top 10 List

My Top 10 has changed a number of times over the past couple of weeks, but I’m finally came up with a list, at least for now. Of course, as I travel more there will be other changes. It's hard after traveling to 50+ countries because so many captivated.

Number 10 is Victoria, British Columbia. There is a lot of Canada and I’ve been fortunate to have visited several areas, but city of Victoria on Vancouver Island is a favorite. Pulling into the dock on the fairy from Washington State is fun and beautiful. One sees an adventure ahead.

Walking along the path winding along the water, there are flowers to enjoy, the great architecture of the old buildings and entertainment by buskers.

If you’re in the mood for tea, the Fairmont Empress is good, though not inexpensive. Plus, you need to make reservations, usually well in advance.
 The pictures I used are from the internet because it has been so long since I’ve been there that mine are buried in boxes in the basement, but the beauty is still etched in my mind.
What are some of your favorite travel destinations?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Another Sad Day for Publishing

As some already know, the loss of another small publishing house was announced on Friday. The closing of Musa Publishing on February 28th brings sadness to my heart. Not only because they have quite a few of my novellas, but I’m sad for the people behind the creation of a publisher that worked to treat authors fairly. They paid on time and always ready to answer questions or direct one where they might find the answer.

Now, they are stepping up to accept the fact they can’t continue with the decline of sales the past few month. This was a publisher who started on a shoestring budget and the directors concluded the string has frayed. Instead of continuing to go forward and start holding back author royalties as so many publishers have before they cried “uncle,” Musa is once again showing dignity.

After February 28, 2015, Musa will no longer sell books and letters will go out to their authors returning all rights. Then, the directors will keep the bookkeeping open until all royalties from 3rd party vendors have come in and authors have received any monies due to them.

Class act, ladies! But, then you always have been in my dealings with each of you.

For readers, this is a good time to snap up on great deals and explore new authors. All books are 80% off through 11:59 EST February, 28th.

If you enjoy fantasy/paranormal with humor, check out the DEAD collection…all 6 books in the series can be purchased for $1.00 on the Musa site.

Between now and the 28th, I need decide what I want to do with the another publisher, self-publish, or let these books set for awhile. And with the DEAD series, should I combine them into a set instead of individually publishing. So over the next few days I'll be doing lots of thinking :)
Have you ever been faced with a decision that you took time to consider the options, or do you go for it when an idea occurs?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sharon Ledwith is Celebrating Her Birthday with Giveaways!

Celebrate with Sharon for a chance to win!!!

As an author I had to ask myself this question: do we sell a product (book) or an experience (memory)? I recently read a marketing post where there was a study conducted in which people were asked if they would prefer to purchase a product (car, couch, etc.) or an experience (holiday, concert, etc.), and guess what most said? Yup. You guessed it. An experience.
 So this got me to thinking that authors have it pretty good. Yes, we sell a product whether it’s a book or an ebook or an audio-book or all three. We still have to market and promote these ‘products’ in order for our consumers (readers) to find them. But once our books are in the hands of readers, magic happens and they’re whisked away into another place, and another time. We authors create an experience for each of our readers. And that’s the payoff. Experiences tend to have a lasting effect on people. Sure, buy a car and you’ve got that new car smell for about a year. But I bet you remember going to your first concert, don’t you? Or maybe your first trip to Disneyland? I certainly do.
 If you purchase a book, true you may lose it, but I guarantee you that story will stay with you for years to come if the tale hits an emotional cord. And isn’t that why we authors are in this vocation to begin with?
 And since February is my birthday month, I’m hoping to generate lasting memories for readers by offering two Goodreads Giveways. One for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and one for the prequel to my time travel series, Legend of the Timekeepers. BTW—both giveaways are international so no one is left out in the cold! Happy Birthday to me!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith
Giveaway ends February 25, 2015.
  See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.
 Goodreads Book Giveaway

Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith
Giveaway ends February 25, 2015.
 See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog.  Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Top 10 Fun Starts Next Week!

For a gal who never left the Carolinas from the time she was a bouncing 6 weeks old bundle of joy until she was an old lady of 21, I’ve managed to see quite a bit of the world in the years since then.

Starting next week the countdown beings for my 10 Favorite spots around the world I've been. Next Wednesday kicks off with number 10!

Everyone has their own places that have appealed to them, and yes, it was hard for me to narrow down to ten. And of course, that’s open for change because who knows where the next stop will rank on the list. Come join the fun and share your favorites!!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Growing Up Southern!

As a child growing up in North Carolina, I didn’t realize there were sayings the rest of the country didn’t understand. They were the normal everyday expressions we lived with. When I left the South to live up North among the Yankees, I was teased and questioned about how I talked and some of the things I said.
Quite a few years and lots of travel later, the accent is pretty much gone, but the sayings sometimes pop out. I grew up hearing, “you can take a boy/girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy/girl,” so I thought I’d share some of the terms I grew up hearing and using—with translations and/or comments.

Definitely not the house I grew up in!

Round the bend - Directions. “It’s over yonder round the bend.”
Get my switch - (boy did I hear that! “Keep that up and I’m gonna git my switch,” or at times, “you go get me a switch.”)

Cut the lights out – turn off the lights.
Slower than a 7 year itch - (I grew up hearing that one a lot. “That boy’s slower than the 7 year itch.”)

Whatcha doing? – A shorter way of asking “What are you doing?”
Fixin’ to – Going to do something. “I’m fixin’ to cook some dinner.”

Buggy – items that have bugs - things, even food, could get buggy. That word was also used to describe a mode of transportation pulled by a horse.
A mind to – Thinking about doing. “I’ve a mind to whip your butt for that.”

Bless your heart – a kind of way of telling someone to go ‘f***’ themselves.
Hosepipe – garden hose.

Y’all – don’t think this needs translation.
About to pop – Someone ate too much, or in some cases, “I need to pee so bad I’m about to pop.”

Yankee – Those folks from the north.
Ain’t got no – A good use of double negatives when one doesn’t have something.

I declare! – Response to something amazing…good or bad. “I declare, you ain’t got the brains God gave a mule.”
Right over yonder, or over yonder – A location.  “The bus stop is right over yonder.”

Right smart – “now ain’t you right smart figurin’ that out”
Tickled pink – In a very happy state.

Pocketbook - Purse
Pert near - Nearly.  "I'm pert near ready to go."

Cut off the spicket – Turn off the water faucet.
Rightcheer – Here. “That fence post needs to go rightcheer.”

About fed up or fed up – Had enough. The person ‘fed up’ has reached the end of their rope with whatever the circumstances.
Knee high to a grasshopper – Often used when talking about someone (especially kids) that are small.

Raining pitch forks – A heavy rainstorm.

There are a lot others that I didn’t include here, and in other parts of the South (or North Carolina) some of the local sayings are different than the ones included here. But, when I make it back to my area and listen to some of the conversations, my childhood (and according to my children, may accent) comes flooding back.

Do you have ‘sayings’ that are local to your area that come to mind? If so, please share a few.