#99cents Seasoned Romances on Sale – Marsha R West

Do you like stories with older characters? Like 40s on up? Well, I do, and that’s what I write. Like minded authors have formed a Facebook group called Seasoned Romance and for Dec. 7, 8, & 9, you can find one or more of our books for 99 Cents. Please check out the link and stock up on some great books for little dough.

My book is the first in the Second Chances Series, SECOND ACT. Book

second-act-1600x2400

Here’s the blurb:

When a member of the board of a non-profit arts agency in Fort Worth turns up dead, the homicide detective assigned to the case looks at everyone involved in the organization, including the Executive Director.
Addison Jones Greer, divorced mother of two teens, is the Executive Director of Cowtown Theatre. When a board member is found in the costume room murdered, suspicion rests on everyone involved with the theatre, including Addie. She has angered some board members because she wants to fire the Artistic Director. Although she’s warned him several times, he continues to go over budget for productions.
Mike Riley, Fort Worth homicide detective, hates that he caught this case. His sister-in-law dragged him to a theatre fundraiser where he met Addison, the first woman he’s wanted to pursue a relationship with in a long time. Not about to happen now.
Addison hasn’t ventured into romance since she caught her now ex-husband in their bed with his secretary. As a result, she doesn’t do trust. How could she trust someone who seems determined to think she’s capable of murder? Or worse, thinks her kids might be involved.
SECOND ACT is Book 1 of the Second Chances Series. We meet four women, now in middle age, who’ve been friends since they met at summer camp. Whether they realize it or not, they all need a second chance.


I hope you’ll check out at least a few of the other authors. Let me know if you do and what you liked about these books.
There’s a FB Hop going on for the 3 days, too, and here’s the link.

FB Hop Link

If you haven’t already liked my FB author page, I hope you’ll will now.

Marsha’s FB Author Page

A big thank you, Jo-Ann, for hosting me and the Seasoned Romance authors.

10 Favorite Craft Books on Writing

Joanne Guidoccio hosted me on her beautiful blog today!

Joanne Guidoccio

I’m happy to welcome back author Jo-Ann Carson. Today, Jo-Ann is sharing her top ten craft books and her latest release, A Highland Ghost for Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this delightful novella.

Here’s Jo-Ann!

I love craft books on writing, so today I thought I would share with you my ten favorites. Easier said than done!

Whittling my list down to ten, seemed impossible. I went to my shelf and made a stack of ten tossing one aside for another, shuffling them, and starting over again and again as the list didn’t seem quite right.

It was difficult to choose only ten.

Finally, I decided to look at it differently. I’ll be teaching a course on self-publishing soon and I want to have a basic list of ten books I would recommend to a new writer. That helped a bit.

Here’s my ten, ranked by the…

View original post 779 more words

My Shortbread Recipe is on You Tube! #MondayBlogs

Mary Martinez is featuring my shortbread recipe and book on her blog,

The After Work Cook.

She even made a video from my photos, to show you how to do it.

highlandghost_cvr_medThis recipe is featured at the back of A Highland Ghost for Christmas

Where the Recipe Came From

Many years ago a Scottish lady gave me this recipe and I’ve been using it to bake shortbread every Christmas since then. I hope you love it as much as I do. Unfortunately Cullen, the hero in A Highland Ghost for Christmas, couldn’t eat it, but he said it smelled “perfect.”

Enjoy.

Exploding 3 Amazon Myths About Author Rankings

I read an awesome article, Mythbusting the Amazon Algorithm Reviews and Ranking for Authors, by Kate Baum on SPR (Self-Publishing Review) recommended by an author on the Guppie loop. I can’t reblog it as it’s not a WP blog, so I thought instead  I’d examine three of the myths she talks about. I highly recommend the whole article

“MYTH 1 – Nobody knows how the Amazon Algorithm Works

TRUTH – Yes they do.

The Amazon Algorithm is an A9 algorithm, a pretty run-of-the-mill product search engine with a personalization built in. A9 is a company in Palo Alto that creates product algorithms, code that tells Amazon’s website how to sort and load product lists for each customer’s experience. Anyone who wants to read about how this algorithm works has to do nothing more than search for information online and read the manuals, forums, science articles, and a myriad of other documents that tell you EXACTLY how it works. You can even see samples of the code that makes it work if you look! …”

Me: Wow! I thought they had their own algorithmic magic thing happening. This was an eye-opener for me


“MYTH 2 – Amazon has secret ways of ranking books

TRUTH – None of it is secret.

It works according to the algorithm. The factors are already written into the algorithm, which has to be a clear-cut set of commands. There’s no magic here, and it’s simply a case of knowing what factors are used in this sort of algorithm…

Ranking is influenced by factors that anyone can look up in Amazon documentation (we will discuss in detail):

  • A product that is priced well in relation to similar products, but that is priced in a way that will turn the best profit in relation to its competitor
  • A product that offers a description that gives bullet points or features that the algorithm will recognize in terms of keyword
  • A strong keyword in the title that will help categorize the product (I suggest a subtitle to deal with this)
  • Sales in each session period, which is 24 hours, compared to others in your category
  • How many times someone clicked on your listing to your product, known as Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Spelling, grammar, editing, and quality of your interior, and also the quality of the cover
  • Number of verified reviews, helpful reviews and new reviews –outside of this, unverified reviews do not count towards ranking but do count towards social proof and CTRs (see below)
  • Product page is complete in all sections and meets Amazon Guidelines on word count, layout, and image size and quality used.

The MAMM Factor – Amazon’s Objective

Amazon has one objective for its sellers to bear in mind: Make Amazon the Most Money…

Sales and Rank

Sales are not straightforward numbers either. What Amazon looks for is the number of sales for a product with the best profit in its category (Remember MAMM?)… So if your book is 99 cents, but another book is selling at $2.99 but not as many as you, it’s likely Amazon will recognize the $2.99 book higher in rank because it makes Amazon more money. This means you need to do some research on what is selling in your potential category before choosing one, and also before choosing your price. 99 cent books may do well in Romance, for example, but maybe in another category you’re pricing too low to show Amazon a good profit margin… ”

Me: Wow! Again. What she says makes so much sense, especially the MAMM factor. It’s changed how I think about my promotions. 


“MYTH 3 – You can figure out keywords that people will use to find you by typing into the search bar and seeing what is autosuggested.

TRUTH – The search bar is personalized to YOU and YOU ALONE.

This is a useless and possibly damaging practice being bandied about by bloggers who think they have uncovered a “secret.” A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In this case, the lack of knowledge of how an algorithm works is leaving holes in understanding globally on this subject.

Amazon has a department called The Personalization Platform Team. Look ‘em up. They spend their time working on coding the search bar to serve absolutely personalized product lists to you...

Takehome fact: Do not figure out keywords for your book by seeing what autocompletes in the search box. It’s only based on your own user experience and nobody else’s.”

Me: This wasn’t a new idea for me. I’m well aware that all my search results are personalized. That’s the new reality.



The other myths she busts in this article/post:

4 – “It’s a job finding keywords to make your book discoverable and you have to do a bunch of tricks and resort to many author advice blogs to find answers and theories.”

5 – “If you pick a niche category to get to #1 you are just conning everyone that you got to the Bestseller Lists by exploiting the “loophole.”

6 – “You are advised to write to Top Amazon Reviewers and other reviewers to ask for free reviews to boost ranking.”

7 – “Nobody knows when the algorithm updates.”

And then Kate Baum wrote a follow-up article/post you might be interested in.


Me: Myths abound in the writing world and it’s hard to ignore them. I really appreciate it when people take the time to research the facts and share them with me. 


highlandghost_cvr_medLooking for a Perfect Christmas Gift?

Jilted by her fiancé, librarian Maddy Jacobson is nursing a broken heart, when her best friend gives her an early Christmas present. Intended to be a fun, psychic reading in a spooky, tea house, the gift turns out to be life changing. Maddy becomes haunted by a mischievous, Highland ghost.

Ruggedly handsome, Cullen Macfie, the Highlander, has been dead for over three centuries, and never in all those years has he been as attracted to a woman, as he is to Maddy. He falls hopelessly in love and decides to woo her.

Can there be a future for a librarian and a naughty, Highland ghost? 

A Highland Ghost for Christmas is a sweet, romantic comedy guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart, make you laugh out loud and leave you craving a man in a kilt … and shortbread, of course. 

Buy Link

 

 

My Visit to the Haunted Craigdarroch Castle

20161115_123310Getting to this haunted castle was not easy. I’ve been meaning to check it out for years, and there always seems to be other things to do when I’m in its hometown. Long story short: I decided to make a point of seeing it this year. Just “it.” A whole trip devoted to being in a haunted castle.

Well that didn’t work either. At least not at first.

I planned to drive down with PJ on Saturday as part of my birthday weekend celebration, but–and I’m not fibbing here– a sliver of glass from a broken mirror stopped me. Instead of looking for ghosts I spent three hours in a medical clinic waiting for a doctor to dig the glass out of my foot. That only made me more determined to see the castle.

I decided Tuesday would be the day.

The History of Craigdarroch Castle

20161115_130101Craigdarroch castle, built by the late coal baron Robert Dunsmuir between 1887 and 1890, is in downtown Victoria (the capital of the province of British Columbia, Canada) on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Robert Dunsmuir did not live to see it completed, but his wife a few of his children and grandchildren moved into it. After Jane Dunsmuir’s death it was sold for less than forty thousand dollars and over the years has been used as a military hospital after the first world war for “long treatment cases and incurables,” Victoria College -the first home of what was to become the University of Victoria (where Pierre Burton studied), the Vancouver School Board office and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. It is now preserved as an historic site (i.e., the Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum).

Interesting Facts:

  • Craigdorrach means “rocky oak place” in Gaelic. Lord Dunsmuir was a Scottish immigrant.
  • the castle is 25,572 square feet
  • it has 17 fireplaces and seven chimney stacks
  • gas and electric lighting
  • central heating (originally coal fired furnaces, later electric)

 But is it haunted?

According to British Columbia Magazine:20161115_120259

20161115_115118
“Welcome ever smiles and farewell goes out sighing” Shakespeare quote on hearth

“Although the current owners of the castle do not acknowledge that it is haunted, that doesn’t stop the rumours. Visitors report seeing a little girl, as well as the apparition of a maid; a woman’s feet have been seen running down the stairs, and strange music has been reported, as well. There’s also this very strange story about a man ascending stairs.”


What do I Think?

Quite possibly.


Pictures Courtesy of PJ

20161115_122105
This gargoyle like figure is wrapped around a wooden bar, which hangs inside the turret.

PJ took some great pictures (60 actually). I’ll feature some of them

20161115_115419
The stained glass windows are amazing.

here:

20161115_124806
The Smoking Room
20161115_122509
Loved the tiny wooden blinds on the windows.
20161115_124826
I’d love to use this dining room for a scene in a Gothic murder mystery
20161115_122758
The beds were tiny and the ceilings low.

20161115_115609

20161115_115258
The entrance is gorgeous. Note the wooden ceiling. Apparently it was all prefabricated, which was a very modern idea back then.

#3 in Hot New Releases for 4 Days!

Color me dazed. And oh so grateful to my readers.

A Highland Ghost for Christmas is selling well. Here are my current stats:

#2,673 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

While it has bounced around a bit, it has held onto 3rd place in Hot New Releases for Kindle Short … Science Fiction & Fantasy  most of the time. Squee.

screenshot-5

Had to share.

Thank you.

 

A Highland Ghost for Christmas – #99c #book Launch

highlandghost_cvr_smlJilted by her fiancé, librarian Maddy Jacobson is nursing a broken heart, when her best friend gives her an early Christmas present. Intended to be a fun, psychic reading in a spooky, tea house, the gift turns out to be life changing. Maddy becomes haunted by a mischievous, Highland ghost.

Ruggedly handsome, Cullen Macfie, the Highlander, has been dead for over three centuries, and never in all those years has he been as attracted to a woman, as he is to Maddy. He falls hopelessly in love and decides to woo her.

Can there be a future for a librarian and a naughty, Highland ghost? 

A Highland Ghost for Christmas is a sweet, romantic comedy guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart, make you laugh out loud and leave you craving a man in a kilt … and shortbread, of course. 

Buy Link


Contest

Reviews are how we spread the news about books. If you send me a link to your honest review of A Highland Ghost for Christmas on Amazon, I will put your name into a draw for a ten dollar Amazon gift card.
Contest ends Jan. 1st 2017. The winner will be notified and announced in my January newsletter.

(Please, send entries to connect@jo-anncarson.com, subject line review).


 fantasyGiveaway Link