Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wednesday at Acme Authors Link

My Wednesday topic for Acme Authors Link is Do You Read or Write On Vacation?
Please stop by Wednesday and let us know at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com/.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Samples - Kindle - BSP

When I went grocery shopping, I used to see lots more free food samples to try out. Now, I don't see very many people offering me to sample their products. Maybe it's a sign of the slow economy and food companies can't afford samples.

Speaking of samples, Kindle offers free samples of books. If you own a kindle, along with all the bestselling novels, I invite you to try out a free sample of Killer Career. If you want more, it's at a very attractive price for a brand new book - $5.77. (g)  Hope you like it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Everybody, Blurb Your Book

Killer Career by Morgan Mandel is about a lawyer whose career change could be a killer when her mentor, a NY Times bestselling author, does more than write about murder.

Using one or two sentences, tell us about your book.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ouch - My Aching Back

I'm not spending too much time at the computer tonight because my back is hurting. It started late last night. I got up from the couch, stiffly as usual, since I'd been fooling around with my website at http://www.morganmandel.com, trying out different fun stuff for the main page and had been at it for a while.

My desktop computer was still on. I reached over to turn it off and all of a sudden my low back really hurt, not just was stiff. It was hard making it up the stairs to the bedroom. I did go to work today, but left early so I could make my train. When I walk slow, it doesn't hurt too much. When I sit still, it feels stiff, but doesn't hurt a lot. But, if I try to walk normal, bend over or try to carry anything with any kind of weight, my back protests.

I'm turning on the heating pad, then gulping some generic Motrin, and hoping that will help.
The pharmacist said that would be okay with my other pills. She also mentioned a pain patch might help. I asked my boss who has had his share of back problems if bedrest was the answer. He said the going advice was to keep active instead.

What about you? Have you ever had a backache? What did you do for it?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To Pay or Not to Pay For a Blog Book Tour

Would you pay good money for a blog book tour?

If you don't mind spending time to research popular blogs to make sure they get enough hits and are the right ones to promote your book, you don't mind contacting their owners and asking if they'll host you, you don't mind doing all the advertising yourself, have a very tight budget, then maybe a do-it-yourself blog tour is for you.

Then again, if you don't have the time or the patience to do the research, don't like making direct contact with hosts, don't believe your own advertising is enough, have enough money saved up for such a promotion, then maybe you'd prefer to leave it in the hands of a professional.

Either way you choose, you'll have lots of work ahead of you getting topics and blogs ready beforehand. During the tour, to make the most of your opportunity, you should be commenting on your hosts' blogs to establish your presence, plus tweeting and sending emails to Facebook and your egroups, and other spots.

With my recently completed Killer Career Blog Book Tour, I practiced a hands-on approach, but I had a great advantage. I not only belonged to the blogbooktour egroup run by Dani Greer, but also the pumpupyourblog egroup, run by Dorothy Thompson - The first being an immensely informative hands-on, do-it-yourself group, the other a group comprised mainly of hosts and guests of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours. I've made wonderful friends in each group, love them both, and respect their methods. Although I didn't pay for my own tour and arranged it all myself, many times I've served as a host for Dorothy's tours and enjoy doing so.

What about you? Do you prefer to pay for a blog book tour and leave the driving to people like Dorothy at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/? Or are you a do-it-yourselfer?

What are your reasons? Please share with us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest at Make Mine Mystery Today

Hi Gang,
I've got a terrific guest over at Make Mine Mystery today. Bill Walker is a graphic designer who specializes in book and dust cover design.

He's also got a new romantic suspense called A Note From an Old Acquaintance, which sounds very intriguing. Please hop over to http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/ to check him out.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

R & R and Restructuring

Today, I caught some R & R after being out in the Great Outdoors all day yesterday at the Flea Market and Craft Fair.

Although a steady stream of potential customers went by, not many seemed interested in free bookmarks much less books. We did sell a few books, but not as many as we would have liked. I noticed not many people walked around with multiple bags. Apparently pinching pennies is still the norm for a while, with customers trying to decide what they can afford to purchase and what to do without.

I spoke to the vendors on each side of us and they were disappointed in their sales as well. One lady said she'd sold three times as much the year before. I know this year at the Arlington Heights Frontier Days Marketplace sales were down from the year before, but they were better than at yesterday's event. Also, rain dogged us the first day at Marketplace, plus Killer Career was not out yet. Many customers recognized me and mentioned they already had my backlist books from the year before.

Since we never had a booth at this one before, we have no basis of comparison., but the consensus was it may not be the correct venue for selling our books. We'll skip it next year and try another method.

Today, I'm spending time experimenting with ideas for spiffing up my website's main page at http://www.morganmandel.com. It's a fun kind of project.

What about you? Do you have lots of bookselling success at flea markets and craft fairs?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flea Market Saturday - Come Join Us

Breaking News - Besides being out in print at many venues, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, Killer Career is now on Kindle. click this Link to Order Kindle.

I'll be autographing Killer Career at the St. John United Church of Christ Flea Market this Saturday from 9am - 4pm, along with Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams. Even if you already have one or all of them, stop by to say hi, if you're in the area.

Joining me are romantic suspense author, Margot Justes, and contemporary romance author, Debra St. John.

Hope to see some of you there.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dog Trainer, Alex Brooks, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Breaking News - Killer Career is now on Kindle. click this Link to Order.

Morgan Mandel & Alex Brooks------------------------Twister

Tuesday night the DH and I had a great time at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, where professional dog trainer, Alex Brooks, dispensed welcome advice to his eager audience.

Judging from the number of hands that went up in the question and answer period, it was obvious Alex's expertise was much needed.

Aggression over food, barkers, separation anxiety, and which collars to use were only a portion of the topics addressed.

I asked him what to do about Rascal's aggressive tendencies toward bikers, joggers, and skateboarders. I also mentioned part of the problem was she was deaf and couldn't hear them coming up from behind her. He suggested acquainting her with skateboards by going to a skateboard park. That way she'd come to consider them as routine. Now, I see a skateboard park in our future. (g)

His dog, Twister, shown above, is an American bulldog. She's white like our Rascal, but Rascal is a pit bull Dalmatian mix. Twister is taller and has a brown patch, instead of Rascal's black patch. Twister, like Rascal, is deaf. Alex used hand signals to train her.

Rascal pictured here.

It looked like Alex did a great job with Twister. After the presentation, anyone who wanted to could come up to the stage and pet her. The dog was super friendly, dispensing kisses and wagging her tail vigorously.

We hope to take in another Alex Brooks presentation soon. It was great fun and very informative. Here's the link to the Alex Brooks Canine Center, if you'd like more information about him and his work. Check out the cute dog on the main page while you're at it. Another thing to learn - how to do animation on my blog and website. http://www.absdt.com/index.php

Are You Predictable?

When I go into the bathroom to change clothes in the morning, our dog, Rascal, has me figured out. She knows I'm almost ready to leave for work, so she goes to the doorway of her room and waits for the DH to give her a treat before she goes to bed.

As a writer, being predictable can be a good thing or a bad thing. Lots of marketers say to stick with one genre or area of expertise. That way you'll attract a particular audience that will know what to expect and follow you for it. Over time, the audience will grow. You are reliable. That's a good thing.

Then again, it can be a bad thing for writers like me who get bored easily. I would feel stifled if I only wrote mysteries, no matter how much I enjoy doing them. That's because I also love writing romances. I also enjoy writing about my dog, Rascal. Not only that, I have a great time writing how-to articles on marketing, self-publishing, and a number of other topics. Then there's also my blog. I love sharing my writing and life experiences on the Internet.

What about you? Are you predictable, or do you enjoy a wide variety of writing?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Check Out the Mystery in My Backyard

Wednesday is my day at Acme Authors Link. I'm writing about my very own mystery in my backyard. Come on over at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com/ to find out about what happened and let me know if you've every experienced anything as strange.

Comments here or there or both are always welcome.


Killer Career now available at Barnes & Noble, Ingram,
Amazon, bn, booksamillion.com, Mobipocket.com - and
almost on kindle - hopefully later this week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Please Welcome Nancy J. Parra and Her Mr. Charming

Hi, I would like to start with a quick thank you to Morgan for hosting me today and you all for reading. This book had a lot of firsts for me.

It is my first contemporary. My first romantic suspense and this is my first blog tour. Because it was my first blog tour, I did a mini- five blogs in six weeks. Morgan is my last and I found the tour to be wonderful. My hosts were all warm and welcoming. Their readers were gracious and Mr. Charming spent four weeks on the Wild Rose Press Bestseller list.

Morgan is the author who encouraged me to try blog touring and blog following and other social media. Her advice was solid and boosted not only my sales, but hits to my website and blog. So thank you again, Morgan. I hope you all enjoy the excerpt.

Cheers! Nancy.

Mr. Charming, a romantic suspense
A single mom with a secret past finds herself embroiled in a playboy’s murder. Available for purchase now at:
ISBN: 1-60154-524-X

Suggested Retail Price:$6 adobe pdf, $11.99 print
Visit visit Nancy J. Parra at: http://www.nancyjparra.com/


After a painful public divorce, advice maven Jennifer Sumner vows to stay out of the glare of the limelight, but then she makes the mistake of saying yes to her brother’s request for assistance.

Kane McCormick loves his playboy lifestyle, using his fame and fortune as a barrier around his heart until the day the world assumes he’s dead. Then Kane learns that he had it all wrong.

As Kane discovers that Jennifer and her young son are the family he’s been looking for, his would-be killer discovers his whereabouts and threatens to kill them both. Can Kane convince Jennifer to step into his public life and escape the clear and present danger? Or will she stubbornly keep to her vow and take his heart to her grave?


“(Parra writes)…wonderful books with strong, stubborn heroes and plucky heroines who aren't afraid to go toe-to-toe with them. Shelley Mosley

Excerpt from Mr. Charming:

“Why do you keep touching me?” The words were soft and breathless. Jennifer wanted to take them back the moment they were out.
“I’m a tactile guy,” Kane said simply. “I like to caress what I find beautiful.”
Surprise filled her, scattered across her face. She was thirty five with a kid. Definitely not the type of person he usually dated.
“Yeah,” he said, breaking her stunned silence. “I find you beautiful.” He stepped as close as he could without touching her. He took the mug away from her trembling hand and planted it beside them on the counter. Then he held her face in his hands and smiled down at her. “I’m the kind of man who appreciates beauty in its purest from.”
“I told you, I know what kind of man you are,” she whispered. “Don’t you see? For my own good, I have to reject you.”
“Then I’m afraid we’re at odds, sweetheart, because I have to have you.”
She had promised herself just moments before to do her best to stick to the truth. “I’m not playing games with you.” Her whole body shivered in traitorous anticipation. He drew her to him, surrounding her with male heat and strength.
“Me neither,” he replied.
She put her hand out to keep him away. Her palm hit silky warm skin spattered with just the right amount of hair to make it intriguing. She swallowed a gasp and kept her hand firmly planted on his bare chest. The last thing she wanted was for him to know how electrified she was by the feel of him. “Just keep your distance. I know you’re bored and I’m simply a distraction. It isn’t fair.”
He took her palm and raised it to his lips. His dark gaze captured hers and sent shock waves through her body.

“Haven’t you heard, sweetheart? All’s fair in love and war.”

Author Bio:
The Lovin’ Kind by Nancy J. Parra, June 2006, was named one of the top ten romances of 2006 by Booklist Magazine.
The Bettin’ Kind, October 2005, received a starred review from Booklist Magazine. Cataromance.com says “… a wonderful story that thoroughly sucks you in and doesn’t let go until the last page is read.”

The Marryin’ Kind was heralded as “…another winner,” by Booklist Magazine, while Wyoming Wedding won a Reviewer’s Choice award from Cataromance.com. Labeled a rising star of 2002 by Booklist Magazine, Ms. Parra is proud that A Wanted Man received a starred review in the October 2002 edition of Booklist Magazine and Saving Samantha was featured on the chapter-a-day website.

Nancy’s Morgan Family series started with The Marryin’ Kind, released in Feb. 2005 followed by The Bettin’ Kind, Oct. 2005 and The Lovin’ Kind, June 2006. Her Morgan Brothers series, which includes Saving Samantha, A Wanted Man, Loving Lana and Wyoming Wedding, is available from Avalon books.

Nancy holds degrees in Journalism and Electronics Engineering. She has worked as a newspaper columnist, a publications coordinator, a communications manager, a technical writer, a corporate trainer, a satellite repair technician, and an electronics technician, but through it all, her fiction writing is her number one priority.

A member of Romance Writer’s of America for twelve years, Ms. Parra has been active in various chapters including Mid-America Romance Authors, The Golden Network, Midwest Romance Writers, Windy City and Chicago-North RWA.

Ms. Parra has also been a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest, and the MARA Fiction from the Heartland contest as well as receiving an honorable mention in the NY Love and Laughter contest.

Ms. Parra has published columns and articles in the Daily Chronicle; Topeka Capital Journal; The University of Kansas yearbook; and in corporate training manuals and hospital guidebooks throughout the United States. She has written numerous articles on writing for local chapters of RWA and has given workshops on writing techniques to various library and writers groups.

Visit her website at http://www.nancyjparra.com/

Please welcome Nancy by leaving a comment for her.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Romance Author, Nancy J. Parra, Coming on Monday to Double M

Monday, my special guest will be Nancy J. Parra.
Nancy is a fellow Chicago-North RWA member. She has a
brand new release called Mr. Charming, available now from
The While Rose Press.
Nancy is a diligent blogger at her two blogspots:
You can also visit her at http://www.nancyjparra.com/
Monday, come back to learn more about Nancy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Saturday at Schaumburg Library Event

If you can, stop by the Schaumburg Township District Library Saturday any time between 10-4 for a mystery writers and fans event, featuring workshops, panels, book signings, raffles, and much more.

I'll be doing the Promo Primer at 1:30 and right afterwards I'll be on a romantic suspense panel with Patricia Rosemoore and Sherrill Bodine.

Hope some of you can make it.

Morgan Mandle

Kindles at my library

The DH and I attended an event at our local library last night. On the way out, I noticed a sign saying kindles were there, so I stopped at the information desk. I learned the library had bought eight kindles loaded with popular books, which they were renting out for two weeks each. Some had fiction, the others non-fiction. Now, I'm on a waiting list for a kindle.

We're running into a little difficulty with converting Killer Career into kindle, since there's a crazy indent thing going on. I suspect Word might be responsible. Anyway, when that's all done, we'll have to put in an order for the kindle version and see if they order it. You never know.

What about you? Does your library have kindles? Or, do you have your own?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vistaprint Is My Friend

I'm doing a presentation called Promo Primer on Saturday at the Schaumburg Township District Library. To get ready, I've rounded up samples of my promo items for Killer Career, Two Wrongs, Girl of My Dreams and my blogs.

As I glance at the collection, I can't help but notice almost everything came from Vistaprint. I've got postcards, flyers, business cards, brochures, a lawn sign, car magnets, a tote bag, tee shirts, you name it. They're all from the same place. That's because so far I haven't found anywhere to beat Vistaprint's prices. They send me an e-mail just about every day with their latest free offers. Once I had my first batch done, I just selected the same thing next time to save money.

If you haven't checked out Vistaprint, try it, but a note of caution. Don't click on anything else except what you are ordering, unless you really want it. Also, check your cart to make sure you didn't click anything by mistake. You can always remove it before you pay. Also, remember you'll be getting lots of e-mails about free items, so it's not necessary to buy extra of an item unless you're really desperate. It's easy enough to pull up another e-mail and order off of that after you've already placed an order. Just be careful you go to the sale e-mail first when you order because that's the portal to savings. If you just go to the site, you don't always get the bargain.

What about you? Is Vistaprint your friend or do you have a different one? Or, maybe you share friendship with more than one company.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Forget Something?

It took an incredibly long time to get to our home in Illinois from the Minocqua, WI area, over 7 1/2 hours. Minocqua, WI, by the way, does play a role in Killer Career. Of course, the last hour seemed the longest. One reason was a bit of construction work which we couldn't avoid when we got closer to home.

Right now, I have bags and stuff from vacation all over the living room and dining room. I'm not sure how much I'll put away, since I have a feeling October will be here soon, judging by how the two months flew by since our June vacation.

Also, I'm the packer for vacation and the DH is the driver. This time, the packer forgot most of the DH's socks, plus his jeans. I'm kind of afraid to put away the stuff I brought home. There's danger I may forget to pack it all again next time.

One year, the DH forgot to bring his money, one of the few things he does pack himself. One time, quite a while back, before we had the transponder gizmo that we pay tolls for online, I forgot the change purse with the tollway coins.

What about you? Did you ever forget to bring something with on vacation?

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Slice of Heaven

The weather this trip has been nothing short of a slice of heaven. It's the only way for me to describe days in the mid and upper 70s and nights in the 40s where the cottage cools off without the use of an air conditioner. We haven't even had to use it this trip.

For the first time in a while, I've had a chance to really relax. I've spent hours just reading on the deck with Rascal stretched out beside me and the DH either on the lake fishing or not far from us inside the cottage napping on his easy chair.

When the weather is perfect, you don't need too much more on vacation. I take that back. I am also enjoying my trips to Lake of the Torches Casino each day. Saturday night I played this Jaws game with sharks which was so much fun - lots of bonus rounds and different screens coming out of nowhere. I lost on that machine, but I didn't mind because it kept me entertained.

Oh, I didn't mention the food. Saturday for breakfast was the Magnificent Seven at Perkins, Sunday the Tremendous Twelve. I'm guilty of eating all of the first, but half of the second. Then there's the broasted chicken dinner at Fibber's in St. Germain Sunday night, followed by white chocoate raspberry truffle ice cream at Susie's. We just made it for the ice cream, since they're closing for the season on Labor Day.

Monday is the St. Germain Flea Market, where I'm going as a customer. My friend, Jeanne, and I will be on the lookout for one of the vendors whom we call the sock lady so we can fill up on socks for the winter. Who knows what else we'll find. We won't know until we get there.

How will you be spending your Labor Day?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Flea Market That Wasn't

I got up early on Saturday so I could get over to the flea market. I was looking forward to selling autographed copies of Killer Career. The spot was down the block, not too far away, so I thought I'd walk Rascal over first to see how things were going.

That's when I discovered the sign, the one that said something like - Due to lack of enough vendors, the flea market is cancelled. Contact xxx at --- for a refund.

I was not a happy camper, to put it mildly. Fortunately, we had not come all the way to Wisconsin just for the flea market. If so, that would have been horrendous. Still, I thought the committee in charge handled it very badly. I had filled out an application and paid for my spot. My contact information was right on there. Now, if there weren't that many vendors, how hard would it have been to notify me that the event was called off?

Has anything like this every happened to you? Please share.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Full Moon & Stars Were In Alignment

After the fish fry and the DH went back to the cottage to fish, my friend, Jeanne, and I drove over to Lake of the Torches Casino. My budget's been kind of tight, but I had enough money stashed away for vacation.

I started out on the Sun and Moon slot machine and miracle of miracles, after being way too stubborn and not leaving it when I'd lost more than I should have, suddenly I got five sun and moons in a row, which means 50 free spins. I love free spins because I'm not putting extra money into the machine. Also, they usually pay better.

It happened again and the winnings grew larger. I played there a bit longer, then stopped, since the machine seemed to have turned off.

After that, Jeanne treated me to one of her comp tickets for an acrobatic show called ZZYXZ in the Hall of Nations room at the casino. I cannot believe what those performers do. They are so limber and contort their bodies into such strange positions. Also, they're not afraid of heights. Of course, they were in the best of shape. They didn't have excessive rippling muscles like wrestlers do, but they had just the right amount to look good and do those spectacular contortions.

After the show we proceeded back for another round of slot machine playing, where I lost some of the money I'd won before, but then miraculously gained it back again. Jeanne did well also.

So, as we left, the full moon was shining down on us and the stars were all in alignment. Such a night is rare, which makes it all the more enjoyable and an evening to remember.

Any slot players out there? Or maybe you prefer poker or black jack? Or maybe you hate gambling?

Fish Fry and Fishing

So far, we've got a fish fry lined up for our Friday night's entertainment. No, it won't be the ones the DH catches. Those go to our neighbor across the street for her and her daughter to prepare. The DH likes to catch fish, but neither he nor I like to clean and cook them. Better that way, anyhow. It doesn't seem as personal that way seeing the fish alive, then eating it later.

What about you? Do you like fish frys? Do any of you like to fish?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Any Bingo Players Out There?

My friend, Jeanne, already emailed me and asked if I'd like to go to Bingo in LacduFlambeau, so Thursday is Bingo day for me, after hanging up and putting away the clothes and such from the van. The good thing about Bingo is if you lose, it takes longer to lose your money. Not like the casino, where it's gone really fast. Actually, last trip, way in June, I actually won a game. Not enough to retire on, but still exciting.

I'll let you know how I do.

Any Bingo players out there?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Back to the North Woods

My group blog today is about Killer Career in the NorthWoods. Read about it at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com
If you want to let me know you've stopped by here first, that would also be great.