Monday, June 29, 2009

How Do You Sell Books?

How do you sell books? I know I've asked this question before in various forms, but now that I'm coming up to the date of Killer Career's release on August 15, I'm wondering what's the most effective approach.

Tell me, please. What do you do to sell books?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Meet My Guest, Mystery Author Robert W. Walker

Robert W. (Rob) Walker with his dog, Pongo

Welcome to a very special guest, a good friend, a great author, and diligent editor.

Rob Walker is a prolific mystery writer with about 47 books to his credit. It's hard to keep track.

He's one of the regulars at my group blog, Acme Authors Link and also was gracious enough to provide a great blurb for my upcoming release, Killer Career.

For a change of pace, Rob's stepped over to Double M. Here's how he turned an author's computer nightmare into a sweet dream.

And Now Here's Rob - (No, that's not him hanging from the tree. At least, I don't think so.)

New HP Scanning Hardware for a Hardboiled Writer
by Robert W. Walker

My Mac went “south” on me through no fault of its own; people who have seen it, the condition it is in, my beloved G4 Mac Momma laptop know that the label on its cover is not far from the truth: Shake Before Each Use.

The keys are so worn that the letters are gone, especially on e, t, l, m and n…completely obliterated from, I assume, secretions of the finger against metal or just plain worn away from pecking, pecking, an more pecking. Two keys are gone altogether, thanks to the cat. Again my fault. I left it open and running to go get a cup of java and on returning Clark Kent was asleep atop it. Must be great to fall asleep at the drop of a dime or catnip.

Worse yet about the Mac, the WIFI thingamabob that allows wireless internet was fried…this due to a little known mishap soon after I got my lovely and quite expensive G4 notebook. A certain friend, and I am naming no names, was drooling over the Mac while I was staying overnight at his place. In fact, his whole family, the dog included, were drooling over it and as the battery was run low, I took it upstairs and plugged her in and left her I thought safely alone and sleeping…her little light-emitting blink on and off thingamabob winking at me as I left the room. Then sometime later, maybe two hours? I returned to find that someone had slipped in and had slipped the Mac into its tight little carrying-case sleeve that fits like a pizza carrier, and digging it out I was burned by the touch of it against human skin—my human skin. It was hotter than any pizza I had ever laid hands on. Outside temperatures in Chicagoland at the time were in the single digits, so I raced the Mac outside via the front door, everyone following me and asking what was up….I wanted to stick the entire machine into the nearest snow bank, but my host whom we will call Joe for anonymity, restrained me, thinking that I had gone berserk after so many years of writing about berserk characters.

I put the machine in Joe’s hands and he gasped at the level of heat emanating from the Mac. I removed the battery, playing hot-potato with it until I found a chair on the porch to place it on. This was all some ten or so years ago but seems like yesterday. After some judicious detecting on my part, I ruled out the wife and kids and it remained to be seen how my host might apologize for this awful set of circumstances. There was nothing to be done about it as my host was also a writer and had less in the way of finances than I, and on taking my baby back to where it was born, the Mac hospital, the thingamabob inside that made wireless possible, I was told, was fried, but fortunately everything else was A-OK.

Of course over the years, I had dropped the Mac not once but thrice, but the last drop was a baddy…so bad that the screen had a blue ink “rupture” of the spleen. This about three and a half years ago. There was no fixing a ruptured screen, no way to replace it. I thought I had the problem licked by purchasing a second humongous screen upon which I could just move everything over. Sure it would be now a desktop but I was pretty much by this time using it that way anyhow…and for how many years I was the geek at the coffee shop who “appeared” dumb and uninformed about wireless ‘cause I was always plugged in at the coffee shop—not to wireless but to a wall. Tied down! In any case, the second monitor did not suffice; failed to do the job….well not the monitor but the MAC failed me this time as while I could move whole files and screen images over with ease, the screen guides and drop downs—all those necessities for me—were not moveable! They stayed put.

I worked around the growing cancer of a blue disease slowly eating away at more and more of my screen and covering more and more of my guides. I did a great deal of drop-down memorization. I learned as much as I could about keyboard commands. I stretched this baby to the limit, and you gotta give it to her, she delivered. For years she delivered. Until recently. Now she goes off on her own. I mean off. The screen goes blank and then it displays all the colors of the rainbow, and it takes effort to resuscitate Mac Honey Momma who has become Mac-Madinajad!

So as serendipity would have it, a number of “things” in the world coalesced for me at once. I knew I needed to back up all my files at once, and so I loaded up everything on thumb drives between Mac’s tantrums and working around the blue disease. As I did so, I learned of the program that pretty much amounts to going into partnership as a self-publisher with Amazon, and I learned of the program from the very Joe who had smoked Mac Honey. What with all my out of print titles, all of which I have rights to, I could go into business with this new digital text platform publishing. All I needed to do was upload out of print titles, but guess what…most all of said titles were not written on my Mac and they were not stored nowhere no how except as old hardcopy manuscripts or the book itself on my shelf….Most had been written at a time when no one had ever heard of the term eBook or electronic thingamabobs or eBook publishing.

Anyway to make a long story short if that is possible at this point, I went out and got a 500 dollar HP Pavillion and a 120 dollar 4-in-1 copier, printer, fax, SCANNER so as to scan and scan again all the out of print titles onto the Pavillion whereupon I can edit, proof, rewrite, bring up to date these titles and generally spiff them up for publication as eBooks for the Kindle via dtp publishing. Thus far I have put up six titles for Kindle Store browser—some of the most voracious readers on the planet. I put up the easy stuff first, recently written and even more recently rejected books such as a great horror tale of spontaneous human combustion called Snake Flesh Wars, an exotic suspense novel set in old Havana called Cuba Blue, co-authored with Lyn Polkabla, a fantastic co-author and friend, Deja Blue, sequel to PSI Blue, Dead On Writing, a how-to for the disorganized among us writers, hehehe… and as I have always wanted to throw together an anthology of short stories, I done done that too! It’s called Thrice-Told Tales, and a couple of others that share space with three HarperCollins titles that have been Kindalized, City for Ransom, Shadows in the White City, and City of the Absent.

All told I have nine Kindle books up, and it’s a great buzz tool as well.
I am currently scanning (at 250 pgs of a 317 pgs.) the prequel to Snake Flesh Wars, the horror-science fiction title once known as Flesh and Fire that I plan to publish either as Fire Wall or Snake Flesh Wars #1 so there’s no confusing which came first, the snake or the fire. Let me just add that the 650 dollars spent on HP products to get these books up and selling at the Kindle Store was in my estimation a great bargain. The new line of HP scanners does OCR scanning, optical character recognition, a dream software that comes built into the HP 4-in-1s. Scanning this way at a box store or a university can cost up to 25 dollars a page!
Rob Walker

Thursday, June 25, 2009

From Frustration to Fun

After my edits were done, I still spent many midnight oil nights trying to figure out how to get my cover for Killer Career to fit the template requirements provided by Lightning Source. When you have new programs you haven't used, it takes a while to get the hang of them. I wrestled quite a bit with Adobe Elements 7 and Acrobat Pro 9, but still was in the dark in more ways than one. Rascal kept whining and hinting she wanted to go to sleep, but I was still driven to get the cover down pat. (She won't go to her spot behind the easy chair until she makes sure I'm upstairs for the night.)

In frustration, from work I called my rep at Lightning Source and asked for help. She put it a message to the cover technician and I got a call back the same afternoon. It took about ten minutes for everything to click in my head and make sense. Sometimes that's all it takes, a few hints from someone in the know. The secret was using layers. He explained the concept and now I'm on a roll. I'm in control of the cover instead of the other way around.

It's turned into fun fooling around and getting it all just so. I expect to have the cover wrapped up as early as tonight or as late as this weekend.

That's a relief. Now I can go onto other things, like getting ready to submit for reviews, getting the book launch party promo ready, getting a pile of blogs for my virtual tour, lining up book signings. Okay, lots to do, but the most important will soon be out of the way.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ryan's Hope Emmy Winner Louise Shaffer at Blog Talk Radio Today

Today at Blog Talk Radio Books and Blogs from 5-5:15pm CDST (IL time), I'm happy to host Louise Shaffer, Emmy award winning actress from Ryan's Hope, TV writer and novel author. We'll discuss her new novel, Serendipity, as well as why she enjoys writing novels.

The call-in number is 347-308-8605.
If you miss the live show, you can find the podcast here in the left column, as well as at my website,, or at my Blog Talk Radio page at sounds like she's leading a fascinating life. It should be a fun interview. Also, the cover art for her new book is really cute.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pepsi vending machine

If you didn't see this, it's really cute. See who was living in the machine. You don't have to be a Pepsi lover to like this story, even though I am.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So Near and Yet So Far

I'm very near to having Killer Career ready, yet have some stumbling blocks happening about the cover. I made a few changes so it would fit on the book cover size. I hadn't noticed before that the original form wouldn't work.

Right now I'm working madly to get everything figured out, but wanted to take a few minutes to say hello on my daily blog.

Now, back to figuring out a few puzzles.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rainy Day Reflections

Fleeting reflections on a rainy day -

A huge golf umbrella shielding a cell phone talker as she takes up half the sidewalk space.

People waiting in doorways with the hopes the downpour will stop.

Brave souls without umbrellas rushing through the rain.

Puddles at every corner.

Cars honking, people dashing across the street when they don't have the light.

A water taxi leaving to go across the river. I wonder how many people are on it? A canvas covers the sides so I can't tell.

A drummer man playing his drums on the bridge and hoping to get tips, despite the rain.

Squishing shoes as I walk through the train terminal.

The unpleasant feeling of the back of my legs and one arm being wet as I type this on the train.

How about you? Do you have any rainy day reflections?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Editing Blog at Make Mine Mystery Today

Please check out my blog about editing today at, called Tearing Down the Walls.

As always, comments here, there or both are welcome.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting There

Reminder: Interview with Austin S. Camacho today 2-2:15pm Central Daylight Savings Time (Illinois Time) Catch it at Call in number is 347-308-8605.

Life is a bit hectic lately as I try to get Killer Career ready for publication. Life intrusions keep getting in the way, most of them pleasant, such as book signings, graduation parties, birthday parties. Also, we've got some DVDs to watch from the library which we'd reserved a while ago and will be due in a week.

Still, I'm getting there. Only a few finishing touches to go. I'm hoping I'll get through very soon. Maybe I can take a few deep breaths then before I rush ahead with the marketing.

Why do I do it?

I guess for the thrill of it all.

PS When I get time, I'll post about the book signing today at Bundles of Books & Gifts in Glen Ellyn, where I saw lots of wonderful people, had lots of fun and sold lots of books.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book Signing in Glen Ellyn, IL today

I'm at a Book Signing Today from 11AM - 3 PM at
Bundles of Books & Gifts
560 Crescent Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Phone: 630-545-0069

If you're in the area, please stop by and say hello.

After the book signing, I've got a graduation party to go to. Busy days always
seem to get busier.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Coming Events

Sunday, I'll be doing another show on Blog Talk Radio. This time I'm featuring Austin S. Camacho, a great mystery writer and marketer. We'll talk about his new novel, Russian Roulette, among other topics which crop up. You can find the show from 2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time (Illinois time) this Sunday at

The good thing is if you miss the show Sunday, you can still catch it on its podcast at the same location. I'll also insert it in the left column here on the player.

Another coming attraction isn't happening until April, 2010. If you enjoy romance, check out the new website for the Spring Fling Writers Conference at , sponsored by Chicago-North Romance Writers of America. Laurie Powers did a spectacular job setting up the website. It's worth a look just for that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Life Saved

My friend, Jeanne, came over to see me at the Arbor Vitae Flea Market where I was selling books, while the DH and I were on vacation. She happened to mention a chipmunk ran inside her house. It was still there because she couldn't find it.

Later that evening we stopped by her house to say goodbye since we were leaving for home the following morning. The chipmunk was still there. She was getting nervous about what kind of damage it could cause, so she had the DH help her set up this giant trap which looked like it could even hold a rat. Thinking of the poor chipmunk getting caught in it made me feel really horrible.

Anyway, as luck would have it, Jeanne opened up the door which led to the family room and out ran the chipmunk. The DH and I tried to corner it in the hallway. It stared cutely up at us, before it ran past and hid under the couch. We opened the front and back doors. We pounded on the couch.

It ran out from its hiding place and out the back door, thank goodness. We all cheered since the trap would not need to be used and the critter would not be killed.

A life saved. It may have been a small one, but I still felt good about it. What about you? Have you had a similar experience?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who Do You Blog?

Check out some of my thoughts on blogging at
If you want, add your thoughts here or there or both.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Iphone Woes

Good news - Great new Iphones are available with video and compass and another megapixel on the camera. Also, they don't cost as much as the ones before.

That is unless - Bad news - My contract is about a year old, so I'd have to pay full price to upgrade. Bummer.

I love my Iphone because it's easy to carry and can do so much. I'd love it even more if it had the new features and more memory like the ones rolling out very soon.

Well, maybe when I am eligible, the Iphones will also have a flash and a telephoto lens. That might be next year's version. Until then, I'll probably have to sit and wait it out. I do have a perfectly nice small camera that does short videos and has 8 megapixels, so I'm not that bad off.

What about you? Will you get a new Iphone?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Back to the Grind

Back to work on a Monday after ten days of vacation, how depressing. Anyway, tonight I'll be going to our Chicag0-North RWA meeting, which will cheer me up. I always have fun there and eat too much of the treats our members always bring.

Another good thing - This week I plan to get Killer Career into shape, so I can get my author copies by the 4th of July Festival. Since I'm working full time now, hopefully, I can carve out enough time to get it all together. All sorts of little decisions to make and things to figure out. Stay tuned for more developments on that end.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

On the Cutting Room Floor Again

I was selling my books at the Flea Market Saturday in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin, when a news reporter from Channel 7 in Wausau dropped by. He did interviews of vendors and shoppers. I managed to convince him to take some closeup shots of my books, but as luck would have it, they never made it to the broadcast Saturday night. The angle of the story was about bargains and finds in a tough economy, so apparently my books weren't considered in that category.

Years ago, the DH and I answered an area casting call for seconds in the Blues Brothers Movie. It was quite a warm day. There were also quite many of us. It was our job to walk back and forth along a street in Long Grove, Illinois. A beach scene followed at Sunny Hill Beach in Wauconda. I still remember how uncomfortable the heat was. I also remember the great lunch truck packed with wonderful meals for all of us. I think we got $75.00 a day for our duties, but am not positive since it was so long ago.

Anyway, we landed on the cutting room floor. No matter how many times we watched the movie, we couldn't catch glimpses of us amongst all the others in the crowd. In a book about the movie, we swear we could see the DH's back, but that's as close as we got to actually being in The Blues Brothers.

Still, I can't help hoping that maybe someday if I keep trying I'll make it big, maybe not on TV, but in some way with one of my books. That's the dreamer in me.
By the way, the weather was cool, but not as cold as last Saturday. Still, attendance was down, apparently since vacationers don't come in droves until after school lets out. I did sell more books than last time and met more great customers and vendors. All in all, a pleasant experience I'll repeat when I come back for vacation around Labor Day.
Heading home today.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Not Early Enough

I got up around 5:20 this morning, but it wasn't early enough. The DH gets up around 3:15 to go fishing on our pier. He hears the cry of the loons, and sees a bunch of other neat things, like the beaver getting out of the water and scrambling into the creek to go across the street to the pond.
Today, he saw a huge fox being chased by birds.

He has a video camera, but it's too bulky, so he doesn't use it to capture any of these wildlife moments. I think we should invest in a small camera with movie settings for him. I don't want him to use my camera, because, God forbid, somehow it lands in the water or gets wrecked.

Anyway, I'm getting ready for another Flea Market Day today at Arbor Vitae Fireman's Field. The forecast is cool, with rain moving in this afternoon, so I'm not sure how many browsers or buyers will stop by. Still, I do enjoy bonding with the other vendors. It's a whole different world seeing everything from their perspective. I'll let you know how things go.

Friday, June 05, 2009

A Detour Well Worth Taking

I went on a detour in more ways than one on Thursday. My friend, Jeanne, asked
me if I'd keep her company on a drive to Fifield to pick up a coyote pup, so I went along.

It was a beautiful June day and perfect for a ride in the country. Off we went on our mission to meet a lady at a gas station where the orphan pup, which was in a small crate, would change hands, then come back with us to the North Woods Wild Life Center.

Anyway, we ended up taking a detour which was not clearly marked, getting lost, going in a circle, and finally finding a truck driver at a stop light to get directions. A sign of the times - he had a printed satellite map showing the detrour roads. After receiving his directions, we made it to the gas station only fifteen minutes later than we'd first hoped to get there.

As soon as I saw the pup, I knew it was all worth the bother. He is a cutie.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Close Calls

I thought I had some close calls at Bingo Wednesday evening. For four games, I was one number off when someone else called Bingo.

Actually, they didn't turn out to be the closest call. That happened on the way home. I was singing along to "He thinks he'll keep her," and my friend, Jeanne, turned the radio up even higher so we could hear the song better.

Out of nowhere, a deer jumped right in front of the car. I gasped, I mean, really gasped!! It was right in front of us and we were headed right at it. By some miracle, Jeanne managed to swerve the car without upending it or going off the road, and the deer ran in back of us.

So, looking back at Bingo, those games were nothing compared to the close call on the way home. What about you? Have you experienced any close calls? Or maybe you've put a character in one of your books through a similar experience. Please share.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Not Missing Anything at Home

The DH just talked to his aunt today. It's been raining constantly since we left. Fortunately for us, we're enjoying peaceful weather here. It's cool for June, but that beats the heat we've often experienced in prior years. I remember a few when we suffered through 90 degree temperatures. When you don't have air conditioning and it doesn't cool off at night, it's the pits.

The DH caught a nice walleye this morning, so he's happy about that, but of course he'll be wanting to go for more as soon as he gets some rest. He's been getting up at ungodly hours, like 3 or 4 in the morning, since that's when the fish seem to want to bite.

Rascal and I enjoyed a nice long walk this morning, but not as early as the DH got up. Later I'll try Bingo and see how I do. At least at Bingo I don't have the peril of losing as much money as at the casino.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mundania Press Acquires Hard Shell Word Factory

I just learned last evening in a group post that Mary Wolf, the publisher of my first two books, Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams, was selling Hard Shell Word Factory to Daniel J. Reitz, Sr. of Mundania Press.

Today, the acquisition was officially announced on various egroups online by the new owner. I and other Hard Shell Turtles are excited to have an owner who has the capabilities of carrying on the quality Hard Shell tradition.

Around the time I was first published in 2006, tragedy struck Mary Wolf's family when her son, Dirk, who was also a cover artist for Hard Shell, was murdered. On the heels of that, other misfortunes have dogged her, making it difficult for her to run Hard Shell in the manner she would have liked. As a result, the publishing schedule was put on hold.

I wish her all the best and also look forward to a new direction for the company under the reigns of Dan Reitz.

That said, my new release, Killer Career, is being published by Choice One Publishing Company very soon. I'm not sure yet if that's the direction my future novels will be published. It's good to know Hard Shell will again be a viable option for submissions.

Have any of you belonged to a publishing company that was sold, or worse, went under? Please share.

More Flea Market & Casino

I made it to the St. Germain Flea Market on Monday, but for some reason it turned pretty cold, which wasn't in the forecast. Knowing how it felt when I was a seller at the Arbor Vitae Flea Market last Saturday, I decided to go anyway. Not as many vendors were there as usual at St. Germain, but I did manage to pick up some goodies. It's a rare occasion when I can't find something to buy at one of those kind of places.

After dinner at my friend, Jeanne's, we headed to the casino, where we spent way too long. We were both ahead in the first hour or so. We started around seven and stayed until ten. We should have left at eight, but we were having such a good time, we stayed and lost. I didn't bring an exhorbitant amount of money with and I did not go to the ATM for more, so things could have been a lot worse. Still, we're taking a break from casino action until later in the week. I'm not sure what the plans are for today, but Wednesday we'll try Bingo again.

I also managed to make some headway on the back cover copy for Killer Career, so that's good.
Vacation is rolling along and I've heard the wind will be dying down and the sun appearing more in the next few days. We'll see about that.

Monday, June 01, 2009

North Woods Wild Life

On Sunday I got a tour of the NorthWoods WildLife Center from my friend, Jeanne, who volunteers there to feed the animals. The Center takes care of injured and orphaned wild animals and returns them to the wild when possible. Some end up being permanent residents when they can'd fend for themselves on their own, such as birds who lose wings or animals who lose an eye.

Here's one of the owls. I took lots more pictures, but it's way to difficult to upload them here while I'm on 2G.

Once I make it back to civilization with 3G
and DSL, I'll be able to show you more.

Afterwards, we headed over to the casino, where I actually ended up ahead by $80.00. The man next to me said he'd spent $600 on the same machine I was playing, but he wasn't as successful. I'm making sure not to overdo it, since money is tight. Still, I do enjoy playing slots and intend to go back again this week.

Today it's St. Germain and the flea market there where this time I'll be a customer. Fortunately, I'll have my casino winnings to spend.