THE ANSWER TO THE ROMANCE REVIEWS “QUESTION AND ANSWER” FOR MOON OVER ALCATRAZ CAN BE FOUND IN THE EXCERPT BELOW.
With that hopeful plan in mind, I put on shorts and running shoes and jogged along the beach on my way to Peet’s. A typical August morning for Alameda, fog hugged the coast, occasional breaks in the clouds allowing a bit of sun to shine through, sixty-four degrees. The refreshing wind along the shoreline cooled me as my feet pounded the sand. Turning up Park Street, I slowed to a quick walk until I reached the coffee shop.
The baristas were busy this morning, the waiting line extending all the way to the front door. I took the opportunity to buy a copy of the town newspaper, the Alameda Times Star, reading while my place in line slowly inched toward the front counter. Latte in hand, I noticed a young woman and her toddler getting ready to leave, giving me the rare chance to sit at one of the window seats where I could watch people walking along the busy street.
While sipping my coffee, a gentleman dressed in an impeccable dark grey suit, red tie and baby-blue shirt approached my table.
“This is the only unoccupied chair. Do you mind?”
I looked over at the empty seat and nodded. “Go ahead,” I mumbled then continued reading. I turned the page and noticed his hand reach across the small round table, handing me my keys.
“Oh, my God! I must have dropped them. Thank—” I looked up at his face. “Edward? Edward Barnes?” My eyes widened. “Is that really you?”
He pulled out the chair and sat down, his blue eyes snagging me with an intense stare. “Brandy Donovan?”
“Brandy Chambers now. I don’t think I’ve seen you since high school graduation.”
“I left for NYU two days later and—”
“Law school, right?”
“You remembered.” He smiled, revealing beautiful straight teeth. “Then I came back here and I’ve been practicing law ever since.”
“What type of law?”
“Criminal. What about you, Mrs. Chambers?” he teased.
“Well, I married Weston after I graduated from Cal. He works as a structural engineer on the San Francisco Bay Bridge project.”
“And you? A mom? Two point five kids?”
I looked down into my paper coffee cup, fiddled with the top. “No, no kids yet.” Feeling too raw to discuss it now, I changed the subject. “Do you work here in Alameda?”
“Yeah, I do.” He glanced down at his wrist watch. “I’d love to continue our discussion but I’ve got a meeting in ten minutes. How about lunch soon? Remember how I was planning on becoming a chef some day?”
I laughed, recalling his regaling me with the list of applications he’d received for culinary institutes all over the world. “I remember all right. And you were always demanding I taste your latest creation, asking if I thought it needed more spice or a little less olive oil.”
He stood, pushing the chair back toward the table. “I’ll have to cook for you one of these days. Sometimes I think I’m a better chef than I am a lawyer.”
“Well, most of the time you were a fantastic chef.”
He grinned mischievously. “And you were always a bad liar. Some of the dishes I served you should never have made it onto the plate.”
I laughed again. He’d always been nice looking but now he was older, he’d matured, no longer a gangly teenager. He’d filled out but was still slender with long legs and he appeared to be at least six foot five inches tall. He turned to leave.
“Wait!” Grabbing the corner of his sleeve, I smiled up at him. “It was nice seeing you again, Edward.”
He looked right through me with that blue-eyed stare. “It certainly was, Brandy. You take care now.” He tipped his head once in acknowledgement then wended his way through the crowd toward the door.
“Edward Barnes,” I whispered to myself. “I’ll be darned.”
I wrote my first book in 2009 and my novel was published in 2012. Need I admit — I was a novice. I knew nothing about promotion. I set up several online blog tours and left everything else to my publisher. But my publisher was small and had a limited budget for marketing. Beyond that, though, they didn’t give me any guidance. I was adrift in the middle of an ocean of hundreds of thousands of authors trying to promote their books. My sales were abysmal. Depressing.
Unfortunately, the publisher closed shop this year.
Fortunately, I’m with another small publisher who is lending me a helping hand – Ravenswood Publishing, headed by Kitty Bullard. She does promotion for her authors but that is definitely not where promotion begins and ends. It must continue with YOU, the author.
And Kitty gave me many sites to use for my promotion. The important word here is “my” promotion. It’s what I, the author, have to use in order to promote my own book, to try to get the reader to buy it – to sell my work. Some authors don’t care about sales, though I’ve not met anyone like that yet. I write books to “share” with others. I want people to read them. I don’t write so that I can keep the book on my computer for posterity. I write because I want people to be “taken away” and experience a world I’ve created for them to share with me. I want them to buy my books.
Whatever your reasons for writing, IF you want to sell your books, you must promote them. So, here are a bunch of sites where you can promote your book – some cost next to nothing, some cost more than that, some are expensive – most are reasonably priced. And I’ve put them in no particular order. It doesn’t matter whether they’re in alphabetical order. What matters is that you look up each and every one of them to see if it offers you something that’s worth your time and/or money to use for promoting your book. Just copy and paste the links into Google and they will all come up and you can start your research.
Why am I writing this post? Because my sales are not abysmal as it was with my first book. And another KEY point. Don’t stop promoting. Gone are the days where you have a teeny-weeny window of time to promote your book and after that, fuggetaboutit. Nope. Not any more. You not only have time before your book is published, you have plenty of time after it’s published to continue promoting it. And sometimes you find a particular site that brought in sales for you. So you can go back to them and continue promotion “until the cows come home”. It doesn’t have to end.
BTSemag – http://btsemag.com
Bitten by Books
Night Owl Reviews
Goodreads Ads and book giveaways
THE ROMANCE REVIEWS (TRR)
SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW – BOOKBUZZ
Author Marketing Club
E-Book Bargains UK (EBUK)
E-Readers News Today aka ENT
Kindle Books and Tips
Kindle Nation Daily
Pixel of Ink
The Kindle Book Review
Free & Discounted Books.com
Free Book Promotion on Fiver
DigitalBookToday.com (Book Buzz Circle)
WorldLiteraryCafe.com (Book Buzz Circle)
The Women’s Nest (Book Buzz Circle)
The Independent Author Network
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Jessee Bradford, a respected young veterinarian in Santa Barbara, California, comes home to find his wife Serena and baby daughter Sofia missing. Jessee fears they have been kidnapped or worse. The FBI investigators believe his wife, the only daughter of a wealthy philanthropist who never approved of their marriage, simply abandoned Jessee and took their child with no intention of returning.
After months of fruitless searching, Jessee relocates to his grandparents’ home in Iowa, where he takes over his grandpa’s veterinary practice. There he finds the family closeness he’s been missing and falls in love with a female equestrian Laura. When Jessee and Laura attend a gallery opening of an artist named She, the paintings remind Jessee of his wife Serena’s art work. Thus begins Jessee’s search to find She while his future with Laura teeters precariously on the edge until the truth about She is discovered.
My second book Taken Away is available in both paperback and e-book formats.
AMAZON US (Kindle)
AMAZON US (Paperback)
BARNES & NOBLE
Photo: Linda Tanner
1. You’ve never called it “Cali.”
The only people who call it “Cali” aren’t from California. It’s not that anyone has to tell you not to say it, people just don’t. I think it’s a respect thing. It feels almost like calling your mother by her first name. I’m cringing just thinking about it.
2. Burritos are a constant topic of conversation while abroad.
My Japanese friend was convinced that “you know Californians miss home when they start talking about burritos.” True enough, in-depth discussions about missing our burrito joints of choice would come up even more often than being apart from our families.
Burritos are a unifying part of the Californian experience — black, Asian, gay, poor, rich, or Ke$ha, you love a dank-ass burrito.
3. Other English speakers don’t understand your English.
Speaking of dank-ass food, we don’t speak the same English other Americans do. Sometimes phrases like, “How gnar was that shit?” or “James was hella butthurt so he just bailed” do warrant translation.
4. You’ve asked someone, “Why do you live there?”
A pissed off Rhode Islander came up to me one afternoon. “God you Californians suck so bad!” I asked her why. “Whenever I say I’m from Rhode Island, they just ask me why. Like, why do I live somewhere that isn’t California.” I tried to sympathize, but honestly I have no idea why anyone would want to live in Rhode Island.
5. Living somewhere rainy makes you seriously depressed.
I was living in Taipei for a while, which despite being a super fun party town, has some of the suckiest weather outside of London. After months of grey weather I was bummed for no real reason until one day, in a quiet alleyway, the sun finally muscled its way through the clouds and onto my skin. I was immediately way happier.
Later, when my friends visited me, they expressed sincere concern about my state of being because I was no longer tan. We are a solar-powered people.
6. You’re the best fucking driver around.
People complain about Californian drivers like we suck or something. Quite the contrary! We have more practice than anybody at it, weaving through lanes and circumventing traffic with our eyes closed. Our skills can shave 20 minutes off a drive in traffic that would reduce lesser drivers into sobbing lumps of existential despair. And yeah, we know this is bad for the environment. We assuage our guilt with compost heaps and Priuses. Prii?
7. You act all tough whenever there’s an earthquake.
“Oh you think that was bad? You shoulda been there for Northridge, now that was a gnarly quake,” you tell those scared non-Californians after a little rumble. True, we have a lot more experience with earthquakes than most people, but they still scare us. Not that we’re going to admit it, though.
8. Snow kinda freaks you out.
Sure you go snowboarding in the winter, but snow is a pretty foreign concept off the slopes.
Last time I was in Brooklyn it was a particularly chilly December evening. I was walking out of the subway when the road looked kind of weird. “Dude, snow!” I said to the guy next to me. “Yeah, what about it?” he said. “Dude!” I said, at a lost for words. He shook his head and walked away.
9. You’ve got a special PCH playlist.
Driving Pacific Coast Highway is a special occasion. It’s usually a day when you’re not in a terrible rush slogging around on the 5, and you can really roll down the windows and enjoy the smell of the sea. What’s actually on the list is really personal, but you can never go wrong with the Beach Boys.
10. You have an incorrigible avocado habit.
In other parts of the country, avocados are an expensive luxury. I’ve seen New Yorkers cradling a sorry-looking avocado they just paid three dollars for. We just put avocados on everything because their creamy decadence makes all of our fresh food taste even better.
11. In-N-Out, dude.
I can’t write an article about California without any mention of what In-N-Out means to us. We have access to every variety of gourmet burger imaginable, from Kobe beef patties to buns make out of ramen, but all these weird permutations are only brief distractions from the pure burger bliss of In-N-Out.
It’s the perfect harmony of the fresh tomato and lettuce. It’s the lightly toasted bun. The thicker than Kim Kardashian milk shakes. That gross-but-satisfying post burger onion breath. In-N-Out doesn’t ever change it’s menu, because there is no improving on perfection. Any Californian who has ever left California for an extended period of time knows that coming in for a Double Double Animal Style is the only homecoming ceremony that means anything.
East Coast idiots might try to tell you that Shake Shack or Five Guys Burgers and Fries1 are comparable, even better, but their taste is suspect; they live on the wrong coast, after all.
1Sorry, but that place should definitely be a sausage joint. Just saying.