April 2022 Newsletter: The Perils of Self-Publishing

Hi, Everyone!

Some of you may have noticed that I withdrew the pre-order of Die by the Sword, a standalone novel of suspense. Here’s why. As I worked on that book, I discovered that I was doing lots more revising than copy editing. And I realized that I wouldn’t make my publishing date of May 27, 2022, after all. So, I decided not to publish this novel at this time. Thanks to those of you who gave me feedback on it. I appreciate your observations.

As many of you know, I do almost every aspect of writing and publishing myself, from drafting through final editing and including designing most of the covers for my books. Plus, I promote and market them all. For the eleven years that I’ve been an indie author starting with Walls, my Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mystery novel for grown up people, I’ve usually set deadlines that I’ve rushed to meet. And so, some of my works have gone out with glitches like the dreaded missing word. At the same time, I’ve neglected important indie author chores like increasing my knowledge of self-publishing and building my author brand effectively.

 

Besides my writing work, I have household tasks like bookkeeping and grocery shopping. I do the major ones, but I put off doing many of the minor ones. And frankly, I’m tired of seeing some of my paintings leaning against the fireplace instead of hanging on the wall. I’d also like to clean up the seeds under the bird feeder on the patio before they grow into towering sunflower plants.

Since there are literally not enough hours in every day or days in the week to do all of these tasks properly and write and publish a new book, I’ve decided to step back from the latter to catch my breath and possibly catch up with some of my other tasks. For example, I’d like to re-edit and reboot my historical fiction Calendar Mystery and Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mystery series, increase the readerships for both, and explore options for my future work. But as I often say, better busy than bored.

Happy Spring! Juliet

 

P. S. Apart in April, Book 5 of my calendar mystery series, is available Wednesday April 27 through Tuesday May 3, 2022 for $0.99 at www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94 and for £0.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B095J4BB94. (And it’s forever FREE on Kindle Unlimited.) If you already own Apart in April, please review it. And in any case, please share this information with your friends.

March 2022 Newsletter: New Book!

Die by the Sword  Coming Soon

I am very pleased to announce that my new book, Die by the Sword, a novel of suspense, is now available for you to pre-order at www.amazon.com/dp/B09WKX9ZR2 for the very special price of $2.99. (The cover shown here is a stand-in for the final one that I’m still working on.)

Here’s a snippet from Die by the Sword, a book I’ve been working on for decades in assorted forms, along with a description.

Van stopped at the crossroads of four wide paths, all strewn with straw and well lit by an electric lamp secured at the top of a tall pole overhead. “Ye Pirates Cove” said a sign shaped like arrow projecting from the post. It pointed to the left. “Ye Dell of the Ancient Ways Society” said another sign, pointing right.

Darn! Van thought. Why didn’t I keep those keys out?

Shifting the basket again to her left arm, she dug in her pocket and pulled out the set of keys. Okay, which one? This was only the second weekend of the fair and she still wasn’t used to the routine.

She was holding the key chain up to the light when she heard a strange, metallic sound behind her. Startled, she tried to turn but didn’t have time before something or someone hit her in the back, sent her sprawling. The keys flew off into the darkness. The basket holding the crockery crashed into the post. “Oh no,” she gasped.

Van struggled to get up, but someone held her down with his foot.

“Shall you too die by the sword?” a hoarse voice said.

“Die? Me?” Van shrieked. “By a sword?”

When potter Vanessa Mathison hurries to the craft shop that she partly owns on the Medieval Faire site late one night, someone wearing shining armor assaults her. But her friends don’t believe her, even after the body of a young man is discovered on the site. Nor does the police detective she tells about the attack. Still, determined to find and stop her assailant she comes to know as Sir Scourge, the Lord of Lamentation, before he kills her, Van enters the strange world of the Ancient Ways Society, a group sharing a fantasy that becomes increasingly dangerous as Sir Scourge continues attacking her and her friends.

Die by the Sword is set in September and October of 1988. In the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, my daughter and I belonged to the Society for Creative Anachronism and participated in several Renaissance Festivals.

Please let me know in the comments or at jkwryter@gmail.com if you would like an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of Die by the Sword, so you can write a review of it on Amazon.com on or shortly after the publication date of May 27, 2022. Please note: The ARC will probably be a PDF of the final copy. Please also note that Amazon, being its picky, tricky self, only displays reviews from those who actually have purchased the titles they’re reviewing.

Once again, you can pre-order Die by the Sword at www.amazon.com/dp/B09WKX9ZR2

Oh, I’m so excited. Best, Juliet

February 2022 Newsletter: a troubled dream

What Troubled Dream Is This?

Usually I don’t recall my dreams, but I did remember the one I was into just before I woke up Friday morning.

I dreamed that Jess and were at the premiere of a Stephen Amell movie, and Amell himself of Arrow fame was there. He wore a pair of chinos and a tight short-sleeved shirt with a collar. His casual ensemble showed off his wonderful physique that this octogenarian has no business drooling over, but does anyway. The gorgeous guy, surrounded by a bunch of groupie dudes similarly attired, even smiled at us and beckoned to us to come along.

But we got hung up at the concession stand where some middle-aged man who needed a shave waited on us. He gave us a fight about what he should cook for us on a grill as time slipped past. This is taking too long, I thought. Finally in disgust, I dug in my purse for my wallet and then in my wallet for some money to pay him for his trouble. “This is taking too long,” I said. I only came up with a twenty — way too much —and a one — way too little — tightly folded together. The guy at the concession stand was just offering us some sort of fried bun when I woke up.

Now, at our house, we follow my daddy’s old Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that one doesn’t tell what she dreamed before breakfast, so by the time I finished my juice, bacon, toast with cream cheese and delicious raspberry and pomegranate fruit spread and described my dream to Jess, I’d figured out what it was trying to tell me.

Dreams often are absurd. For example, Jess and I don’t go to the concession stands anymore or movies during the pandemic for that matter. I don’t keep my paper money folded. Still, dreams often are our subconscious minds’ parables. And I figured out that mine was telling me I’m taking too long to rewrite the climactic chapter of my WiP, Die by the Sword.

But in the light of day, I can also see it was my fear that spoke to me in that dream. “Keep it up, give in to all the distractions in this troubled world, and you’ll never finish this book,” it said.

And then I was able to say, “Sometimes you have to put in stuff that doesn’t belong in the piece to get to what does belong. Once you get the story and the characters where they need to be, you can cut, cut, snip, snip. The book will be fine, just give it a bit more time.”

So, this is a long way around telling you that I’m not quite finished writing Die by the Sword this month, but I’m close.

Meanwhile, Mischief in March, Book 3 of my Calendar Mystery series that now includes the follow-up short story “Detectives’ Honeymoon,” will be on sale from March 11, 2022 through March 18, 2022 for $2.99 at www.amazon.com/dp/B06XR1STRN and for £1.99 www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XR1STRN. If you’ve already bought the book, please review it on Amazon and/or Goodreads. If you’ve already bought, read, and reviewed this book, please share this notice with your friends.

Please stay safe and well, Juliet

P. S. Please note that I’ve changed my mind about republishing all my books and selling them through Draft2Digital. There seemed to be problems buying them from assorted merchants like Barnes and Noble, and it was taking me far more time to format them than I had. So if you want to keep up with my writing and publishing, just check my Amazon author age at https://www.amazon.com/Juliet-Kincaid/e/B00DB4HWRG

 

January 2022 Newsletter

Starting a New Year . . .

Somehow, I’ve managed to start the new year by catching a cold. Apparently, this happened when I went to my doctor for a well woman check-up about a week ago. Of course, I went fully masked and observed the distancing protocol for the most part except when my doctor listened to my heart beat. Bummer!

But my temperature was the usual 96.9 this morning. I can still breathe deep and slowly exhale without coughing. And the COVID test I took yesterday turned out negative. So overall I’m good to go in 2022 with several projects. I’ll just talk about two of them.

Recently, to enhance my career as an indie author and increase sales of my books, I started publishing on a platform called Draft2Digital, a service that allows me to format my eBooks for lots of other platforms in addition to Amazon like Barnes & Noble Nook and Kobo. You can check out January Jinx at https://books2read.com/u/mqX1d. You can expect Fatal February to come along soon. And in the coming months, I anticipate getting all the historical Calendar Mysteries and the Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mysteries on it.

Print lovers, please note that Amazon will continue to be my publisher for the paperback copies of my books. To discover what’s available, check my Amazon Author Central page: www.amazon.com/Juliet-Kincaid/e/B00DB4HWRG.

And here’s a progress report on Die by the Sword, a standalone thriller set in 1988 partly at a Renaissance Festival. The book features a young ceramic artist stalked violently by the mysterious and murderous Sir Scourge, the Lord of Lamentation.

The protagonist’s name currently is Vanessa Mathison. You might recognize the last name from my Calendar Mystery series. And I might change Van’s first name to Meneatha after her great grandmother Arminta Meneatha Wilcox known mostly as Minty. (I need to do a family tree before I start the last draft.) I hoped to finish the current draft by the end of 2021, but didn’t make it. But now the book is in pretty good shape to leave simmering on the back burner while I do some other things like the Draft2Digital project.

I’m aiming for a Memorial Day weekend publication date for Die by the Sword or possibly Labor Day. Regardless, sooner or later, I’ll need some help with it. So, if you’d like to read an Advance Review Copy and give me feedback on it, please let me know.

Please stay safe and well, my friends, Juliet

 

 

 

December 2021 Newsletter

The Old and the New

Out with the old and in with the new isn’t working so well for me this year. For example, at a time when some of my friends send virtual Christmas cards, this year I decided to send out real stamped cards. For me, the process involves looking back at the cards I received last year and circling the years when I received responses in the address book that I’ve kept for twenty years. I used to send as many as fifty, this year about half that for one reason or another.

As it happens, this year the day I did my Christmas cards, I woke up at 4 AM as my interminable Ya Gotta List rattled through my head. So, I ended up getting only two and a half hours of sleep, an insomnia record for me, and awoke in a terrible mood. But later, the process of looking at last year’s cards and newsletters, locating current addresses for a couple of my nieces and a nephew on Facebook, writing Hi along with a specific name and Love, Juliet and Jess inside the cards, addressing them, and putting on stamps and return address labels made me feel better. Plus, most of the cards I sent this year featured two dozen cats gathered around a piano. The joy of that card became my joy as well and healed my head.

From the topic of the old tradition of sending holiday cards, let’s move on to the new . . .

Not long ago I crashed my old computer by opening too many apps at once. And my daughter Jess decreed that its days were numbered because the hard drive was dying. (Ten years is old for computers.) So, I bought a new one. That meant that I needed to get used to a new computer, a new version of Microsoft Word, and a new version of Photoshop. (For instance, the new version of Word somehow put Calibri in my font box instead of the Times New Roman I’ve used in the past and I haven’t figured out how it did that.) Also, these things required new user names and new passwords. I don’t especially care for the passwords some alien AI app assigns because I just can’t remember those jumbles of letters and numbers. Instead, I like to devise my own with phrases I can recall and put together with a variety of upper and lower cases, numbers, and possibly a special character now and then.

All this stuff takes time and leads me to my last WiP Report of 2021. It looks like I won’t complete the current draft of Die by the Sword this year after all and move on to revising and editing. But when things settle down, I will.

Have a happy, healthy, and safe New Year, my friends, and I’ll get back to you in 2022. All the best, Juliet

Continue reading

November 2021 Newletter

Cat Chores and More

Like my daughter and I, our black Bombay cat named Safa has his chores around the house. (We first named him Satyavan and his sister Savitri from the Hindu story about a couple similar to the Greek Orpheus and Eurydice, only in the Hindu version the wife rescues her hubby from the Underworld. According to a young friend of my daughter’s, Safa means clown in Hindi.)

1) Safa’s first chore of the day is to act as a four-legged, furry alarm clock ramming about the house and yowling around seven in the morning. (He adjusted fairly fast to the recent time change.) Later on, he helps us make our beds. (Sometimes he hinders us, though.)

2) Sitting on the microwave, he monitors meal preparation, starting with breakfast. He also sits on the cable box in the family room and observes us while my daughter and I exercise with our online service.

3) He helps us get even more exercise by playing hide and seek with us. Sites he hides in include under the covers of my bed, under chairs, and inside the big cardboard box his multi level cat condo came in. (He mostly ignores the latter.)

4) He spends considerable time during the day warming the seat of his favorite chair in the living room. In the evening, during t. v. time in the family room, he warms my daughter’s lap or mine when she’s not available.

5) Recently, he even volunteered to help me promote my books by posing next to them for a photo.

All the while Safa keeps busy with his chores, he maintains his status as the world’s most adorable cat. This isn’t just idle bragging. A few years ago an employee of the Emergency Vet Clinic said that thirty people had to say goodbye to Safa when he left. And recently our regular vet took pictures of him to share with her daughter. The vet says she would adopt Safa in a heartbeat if for some reason we no longer wanted him. As if . . .

Ya Gottas (continued)

In my October newsletter, I lamented about the lengthiness of my to-do lists and how much I suffered from a case of Ya Gottas, at least partly cured by letting myself write in order to give me joy and feeds my soul.

Well, I am happy to report that since then I have come upon another cure–creative scheduling–that is, spacing way out the tasks gotta do. I’m telling myself I don’t have to do thems all at once or even all of them this year. It really, really helps to remove stress from my life by planning far ahead.

So my tentative publication date for my next novel is Memorial Day weekend in 2022, partly because during the first part of next year, I want to reboot my Calendar Mystery series month by month, for example, January Jinx in January 2022, and make them available on other platforms like Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

A Mini WiP Report

I hoped to tell you all that I’d completed the current draft of Die by the Sword by now. But due to distractions, I have 66,610 words and 266 pages of what probably will end up as about 90,000 words and 325 pages or so. It’s a bit hard to estimate how many words and pages I have to go because my characters are popping up with new ideas from time to time. For instance, the police detective in it has decided—all on his own and without finding out what this author wants—to go undercover at a Renaissance Festival sort of thing dressed like a wench. Sigh . . .

Meanwhile, I’m making my boxed set of the Calendar Mysteries, Books 1 – 3 along with the short story “Detectives’ Honeymoon” available at www.amazon.com/dp/B07QDKF413 for only $2.99 from December 5 through December 9 and www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QDKF413 for only £2.99. Treat yourself or gift a friend with this big book that follows my business girl Minty Wilcox and dashing detective Daniel Price from newly met to newly wed and beyond in Kansas City, a place that could get downright deadly a hundred years or so ago.

Best, Juliet

October 2021 Newsletter

A Bad Case of the Ya-Gottas

“Ya gotta,” says the voice in my head.

“Ya gotta get a COVID booster shot.”

“Ya gotta work on your website; it’s a mess.”

“Ya gotta trim the hedges before the weather gets bad.”

“Ya gotta redo your Amazon Author Central page and add pages in other countries.”

“Ya gotta get the dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer serviced before the warranties run out.”

“Ya gotta read the newspaper today because you vowed to do that everyday until COVID is gone.”

“Ya gotta get to the DMV to send for the title of the car you paid off with some of the COVID money.”

“Ya gotta spiff up all the sales pages for all your books and stories currently available on Amazon.”

“Ya gotta back up everything on your desktop computer somewhere else, because Jess says your hard drive is dying, so you don’t lose anything important like the novel you’re writing.”

“Ya gotta get somebody over here to fix the broken door to the garden shed before the raccoons set up housekeeping in there when winter sets in. Also you need to get somebody to fix the rotten window frames, fix the ceiling in the front bathroom, and fix the . . .”

“Ya gotta reformat all your books and publish them all the platforms, not just Amazon, so you can maybe make some money off of them. But oh no,” the voice in my head says. “You can’t do that right now because first you need to redo the covers of some of your fairy tale mysteries. And anyway, why bother with doing that because you haven’t made any money off your books right now. What makes you think you ever will?”

And so the maddening mix of personal, household, and authorial “ya gottas” has continued in my head until one recent afternoon during a walk around the neighborhood with my daughter, I started crying about it. That got a stare from the guy who stopped his car at the intersection so we could cross the street. And then Jess said something that I’ve repeatedly told my students over the years. I’ve also said it to myself and to Jess about her own creative work. “Mom,” she said. “Ya gotta put your creative work first because it’s the thing that nurtures you and gives you joy. All the other stuff ya gotta do gotta wait till later.”

And finally, the voice in my head shut the hell u

So I’m pleased to say that Die by the Sword is going well, and I’ve now increased my word count from the 23,000 words I mentioned in my previous newsletter to 51,475 words, so I think the book is more than halfway done. Also I’ve done a couple of versions of the cover, but I didn’t like the advice my art teacher gave me on the one featuring the full length, slantwise sword, and there are copyright issues with both, so it’s back to the drawing board. But it will get there.

FYI: Novel Basics, a concise yet complete guide to writing a novel, is on sale for only $0.99 from October 24 through October 30 at www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2LXFRP and for £0.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K2LXFRP.

Stay safe and well, Juliet.

P. S. Our sweet Safa boy, shown at the top of the page with some of my books, says “Hey!”

Busier than a button on the . . .

Hi, Everyone!

As my dear old darling dad used to say, it’s been busier than a button on a back house door at the Kincaid house this past month. Whew!

For instance, the ceiling in the front bathroom of our house had been leaking since the summer of 2019. No need to deal with it during the drought and no way to deal with it during the lock down. But this month, the time came for me to deal with roofers and assorted personnel of my insurance company before the ceiling fell on our heads. The process got a little messy especially when the salesman from the company I hired found a raccoon’s nest on the roof beneath the trumpet vine that birds and critters enjoyed all summer. It was so beautiful. But it should come back next year.

Here’s a picture of the finished roof. That’s 40-year shingle up there now, I’ll have you know.

I’ve been enjoying my multi-media art class very much though watercolor remains challenging. I got in a hurry with this painting, tentatively called “Ghost Tree: Tulip Poplar,” the first in a series about trees that no longer live in my neighborhood. And so I botched the roof on a house in the neighborhood (unlike our new roof) . Maybe I can fix it the painting. Maybe not. We’ll see.

In spite of all of these distractions, I am making progress on the WiP, Die by the Sword, so now the novel is almost 23,000 words long and close to Plot Point 1 when the protagonist Vanessa Price Mathison makes an important decision that moves the story into the second story arc. I’m especially enjoying the way Van’s sort-of-boyfriend Guy Truelove is developing in this version of the book that I’ve tried to write several times before.

Some of you who have read my calendar mysteries will recognize Van’s middle and last names. At this point I haven’t quite figured out the connection to business girl Minty Wilcox and dashing detective Daniel Price, let alone developed a family tree, but in time I will.

Speaking of that series, in case you missed it, Apart in April, Book 5 and the fourth novel in the series, is now available as an eBook for $4.99 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94 and also as a paperback for $14.99 from Amazon (ISBN 9780996160490).

 

 

Also currently available is Novel Basics, my complete yet concise guide to writing a novel, at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2LXFRP. It’s perfect for those of you planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year. The book will be only $0.99 from October 24 through October 30, but if you need it sooner, the eBook is now $3.99. The paperback in “easy on the eye” 14-point font is $8.99.

I’ll be back next month. Meanwhile, stay safe and well, Juliet

August 2021 Newsletter

My Once and Future Novel (Part 2, I think)

Hi, All!

A few nights ago, I thought about retiring on my birthday coming up really soon on 9/11/2021. I’ll be eighty, and maybe it’s time to stop. I told myself that maybe I’d be happy and fulfilled reading and reviewing other people’s books and taking weekly art classes.

But who am I kidding? Nothing gives me more joy than being lost in the fiction I’m writing. Besides, it’s back. . . In this case instead of a monster, I’m talking about my once and future novel, the one that I’ve worked on for about three decades, the one set in part at a Renaissance Festival sort of event and in part at activities of a group similar to the Society for Creative Anachronism. This is a book concept that just won’t let me go.

Over the past thirty years, this book has gone from a fairly conventional detective mystery with one protagonist to suspense with quite a different protagonist. Overall, I think I’ve produced three different detective mysteries and two versions of the basic story as a novel of suspense. In fact, one of the challenges for me, now that I’m having at it again, is to locate scenes I vividly recall writing though when and in which notebook and which digital file, I’m unsure. I know that some of you have read an earlier version. In fact, I still have your comment sheets along with print-outs. But right now I can’t remember where I put them.

The characters have undergone several variations as well. For instance, I have two characters whose role is providing the protagonist (whoever the heck that turns out to be) with information about the Ancient Ways Society. The twosome started out as a lesbian couple, one white and the other Black. Eventually, they became an elderly man and not so elderly woman with a very large Great Dane. As I embark on the final version, I’m not sure I really need the dog. But I really can’t predict at this point.

The book also has a couple of working titles: Death in Shining Armor and Die by the Sword. I took a poll on Facebook recently and most of the people responding favored the first one, as did I. But once I really got into the first chapter, I decided that Die by the Sword was the better choice. But you know what? The book is alive and well and I’m looking forward to completing it.

Meanwhile, I’ve had lots of distractions. For one thing we’ve been dealing with a leaky roof and predatory roofers, but we’ve found a decent one now. But once the dust settles on that and other issues, I hope to plunge back to the book . . . I’ll keep you posted on the project next month.

Best, Juliet

 

Postcard Anyone?

As you can probably tell from the photo, my trials making postcards to promote my publications often include plenty of errors . . . And now that the touch pad on our multi-purpose printer no longer works, we need a printer, especially to print color images on the front sides of postcards that I make to promote my work. So I’m wondering, do I really need to replace the printer? More to the point, even if we buy a new printer, do I really need to make postcards to promote my books at all? Maybe not . . .
Note: I prefer postcards to business cards because I just can’t get enough information on the typical business card, for example, information about a new book like the book blurb (“love, loss, dangerous secrets, and FUN” for my new Apart in April ), the series blurb (“mystery and romance in old Kansas City, a place that could get downright dangerous a hundred years or so ago” for my calendar mystery series), the link to the sales page, and social media information.
Of course, like most authors, I mostly promote my stories and novels through social media and online advertising. And indeed for well over a year I had no in-person meetings or social events to go to like most other people on the planet, so I didn’t need postcards.
And to be frank, now that I do have some in-person, non-Zoom book club, writers’, and retirement association meetings to go to, I’m still a little shy about handing out postcards. There might be that rude person who flings up his hand when I hold out a card as if it were a viper. (That’s happened to me.) Still, at the last two out of three meetings I went to, my friends eagerly took the postcards I offered them. So I’m leaning toward making some more postcards.
I’ll end this exploration with a question for you. As a potential reader, what do you think about an author giving you postcards to promote their work?
P. S. The digital version of Apart in April is currently on sale for only $0.99 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94
And a penny less than a pound at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B095J4BB94