New! ‘L.A. Ladies’ romantic mystery novel is now available on Kindle, Nook and Kobo!

L.A. Ladies ebook cover

The ebook cover of ‘L.A. Ladies’. It is now available for pre-order of Kindle

Today is definitely a happy day!  After working on this novel for a year–off-and-on–it went live on Kindle, Nook and Kobo at midnight. I have a ‘slight misadventure’ to report, however. Yesterday at a little after 4 p.m. I received an email from Amazon telling me ‘L.A. Ladies’ was live.  It was eight hours earlier than I thought, but I assumed that Amazon must function on Greenwich Mean Time–that’s near London–and it was just after midnight there.  So I activated two advertising campaigns. When I got around to looking at the actual page on Kindle, the order button still read ‘pre-order now’.

Did I lose some sales?  I don’t know.  This morning my pre-orders appeared as sales, so everything is running fine now.

In this novel Robin, who has lived a privileged life in Los Angeles,  begins anew after the unexpected death of her husband and finds herself in situations she never dreamed she would encounter. Love and danger seem to be turning her new life upside down. And the collie on the cover? Her name is Pretty Girl and she plays an important role at two turning points in the book.

Here is where you can find the ebook:

Kindle

Nook

Kobo

It is also available as a paperback on Amazon.


L.A. Ladies now available for pre-order on Kindle and Nook

Tooting my own horn here!  My new novel, ‘L.A. Ladies‘ is now ready for pre-ordering on Kindle. You can find it here and read more about Robin, a ghost-blogger who is re-starting her life after the death of her husband. (And–Yes!–a collie is a character in the novel.)

The paperback edition will published on February 18th, too.

This romance-mystery is available for pre-order at other online bookstores, including Nook and Kobo. Coming soon on iTunes and Scribd.

L.A. Ladies ebook cover

The ebook cover of ‘L.A. Ladies’. It is now available for pre-order of Kindle


I spent $40 for a beta reader and am glad I did! Read how this happened.

This post is definitely not about a ‘misadventure’.

I’ve been writing and publishing fiction for almost 3 years.  (After 35+ years writing for corporations and magazines.) I’ve learned a few things along the way and do many more things ‘right’ than I did back when I wrote and published my first novel, ‘Playing for Julia’. This is one of those ‘right’ things.

As I wrote in my previous post, I’m to the beta reader stage for my new novel, ‘L.A. Ladies’, and decided to move outside the realm of Friends and Family for beta readers. F&F will almost always tell you that the book is good and they loved it–whether true or not.

So, with some trepidation, I joined the Goodreads Beta Reading group.  Following their instructions I posted a request for beta readers for my manuscript.  And waited.  While I was waiting I read other posts by authors and by beta readers and came across a message from a beta reader named Elle who charges $40.  There was a link to her site, AlphaBeta Reading, where I found an example of what Elle does as a beta reader.  Basically, she goes far beyond beta reading and provides a light edit for a lot less money than a typical editor charges for a line-by-line reading.  I was impressed, but not entirely convinced.  So I bookmarked her site and waited another day.  Still no response to my query on Goodreads.

After a third day with no responses from the Goodreads beta group, I took a chance and sent my MS  in .docx to Elle who I later learned had lived in L.A. for a while. That’s helpful since the book is set in Los Angeles and women are the target market.

Within less than a week she sent a reply with line-by-line comments as well as overall observations about characters and plot.  For example, her comment about using contractions: I should use more contractions in the dialogue because one character sounded too formal. She caught grammatical slip-ups. She noted overusage of words. She pointed out which conversational exchanges should be revised and why. And who she thought “Who done it” as the novel unfolded. (And what she thought when she found out it was someone else!)

She also made comments that I don’t agree with–primarily having to do with minor characters. She suggested that I eliminate some. I love minor characters in books I read!  I plan to keep them in the book, although one supporting character will probably be minimized.

collie dog

Pretty Girl is the collie owned by a triathlete trainer in ‘L.A. Ladies’.

Oh, she made no comments about Pretty Girl, a collie dog that plays an important role in the book.

Perhaps the most important aspect of her reading of ‘L.A. Ladies’ is how she seemed to regard the novel: more as a cozy mystery than a romance.  It’s both, but I have to admit it was easier to write the mystery parts of the book than the romance chapters.  I’m now trying to decide if I should revise the novel in that direction.  Well, I’ll decide that after Christmas.

Overall Elle offered much more than I expected. Take a look at the example of her beta reading at AlphaBeta Reading.


Results of my search for beta readers–or even more ‘likes’–on Facebook.

As I wrote in the previous post, I decided to search outside my current Friends and Family for beta readers for my new novel.  As we all know, F&Fs will tell an author that they really like the book because that’s what Friends and Family do.  And they might even buy a copy of the book once it is published, because that’s what they do.  But an honest opinion–F&F aren’t good for that.

First I went to Goodreads for beta readers.  They have two groups of Beta readers and following their instructions I listed my novel about women of a certain age finding love and danger and eating very well in Los Angeles. I mentioned the collie, too. The result: Nada. Nothing.  No one in the beta group volunteered to read my novel. I found out, however, that there are people in a separate section of the GR beta group who will beta read and report back–for a fee.  One of them sounds good, so I may send my MS off to her. Soon. I will report about how this goes.

After Goodreads I moved on and sent a copy of the novel, which I’m now calling ‘L.A. Ladies’ to a friend who is a playwright.  Her first response: “Not noir?”  I swear the brilliant Raymond Chandler cast a noir spell over Los Angeles. Well, that was then and this is now. My novel has not an ounce of noir in it. It is a romance with a mystery, a big friendly collie dog and a kayak trip down the L.A. River.  Well, it will be interesting to read further reactions from my playwright friend who lives in Tucson and wants noir.  I’ve asked her to get back to me by mid-December.

Now about Facebook.  I decided that I should drum up some Likes for my FB Annie Carroll Author page before I solicited beta readers from the group.  I agreed to a budget of $4 a day and put a limit of $1 for each Like. Well those folks at FB apparently can’t do math.  My Likes started off at .90 per Like and steadily rose to $1.35 per Like.  In the end I spent about $28 over 7 days and now have 32 Likes–not all of which came from the FB promotion.  And about an hour ago I launched a second promotion for ‘Likes’. This time my budget is $3 a day and FB promises 2-4 Likes a day.

Working AFter Retirement cover

This best-selling guide provides realistic solutions to retirees who need more income.

Meanwhile my non-fiction guide to Working After Retirement continues to sell a year after it was published. It is concise, practical and only $3.99 now.


7 words that self-editing indie authors should search for. I did and was surprised!

I took to heart some editing advice from John Adamus, a professional book editor who wrote a post recently for that wicked(ly funny) Chuck Wendig’s blog. Among other things Adamus noted six words that should be checked as an author is editing her/his manuscript.  The word “just”, which is on his list, leaped out at me.  While I was writing my new novel, a romance/cozy mystery with a nifty rough collie character, I noticed that I was using the word “just” a lot and had decided, even before reading this post, that I would use the ‘Find’ tab in Word to review everywhere I had used it in the MS and see if “just” was appropriate or should be changed.

New Vampire Online cover

Cate the Vampire has a new website and problems keep popping up everywhere!

I had done something similar when I was editing my last vampire novel, New Vampire Online, but the words I searched for in that MS were “and then”. Authors often use “and then” to indicate that time has passed. It was embarassing how often “and then” showed up in that MS.  I changed those words and discovered that the writing was better in the new version. It was a good learning experience.

This morning, with the first draft of the new novel complete and my re-writing underway, I decided to check the MS for all six of the words/phrases that Adamus suggested, plus “and then.”  The words on his lists were: “really”, “just”, “very”, “kind of”, “a little”, and “sort of”.  They are all qualifiers that do not necessarily add much to a statement and may, in fact, weaken the power of the prose.

“Really” was the first word I checked using the Find tab.  It turned up over 80 times in the 45,000 word manuscript.  I cut out or revised more than half of them.

“Just” was the second word and it showed up fewer than 60 times. Quite often it is in the characters’ dialogue. I cut more than a third of them. Many of the remaining ones indicate time recently passed.

“Very” was the third word I checked and it appeared in the MS 118 times!  Yikes!  Well, it turned out that the Find function had also found “every”, “everything”, “everyone”, and “silvery”  I had  not used “very” all that often. Again, I checked each one and revised where needed.

The next three on Adamus’ list were phrases I rarely use.  Checking the MS I found them a few times and only five of them did I change.  I use “A little”, for example, to describe things that were small or smaller–rather than indicating something was lesser or approximate.

As for “and then”…well, I was careful about using it as I was writing. It generally appears when one character is telling another character about an event that happened previously.

NOTE:  Author Diana Urban recently wrote a post about the 43 words every writer should delete.  I do not agree with all of her suggestions and caution you not to do ‘replace all’.  You could end up with a disaster! For example, if I deleted all ‘very’ using the ‘replace all’ function my MS would have strange words like ‘Sil’ instead of silvery. It can be time consuming but go through words to delete, one by one.

I’ve decided to entitle the new novel “Finding Mr. Yes.”  I’m also thinking about putting Pretty Girl, the long-haired, rough collie on the cover.  But a romance/mystery with a collie on the cover instead of some bare-chested dude? Yeah.  I might do that.

I finally set up an Annie Carroll Author page of Facebook to let readers know more about my fiction works.  You can find this page here.