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The Day my Novel Got on Jeopardy!

jeopardy-full“I’ll take Thrillers & Mysteries for $200, Alex…”

So, on October 25th I get an IM out of the blue, from a friend. It goes something like this (shortened it a bit – but you’ll get the point):

Jen: Umm were you a question just now on Jeopardy???? A woman hunts for the murderer of her parents… in the mythical home of Kubla Khan…answer what is The Hunt for Xanadu !!!!
Me: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? That’s impossible… You’re joking with me…
Seriously, stop. There’s no way, they are supposed to be questions that are mainstream.

Jen: I recorded it. I will try to show you give me a few
Me: How is that possible?! You’re pulling my leg. (I completely don’t believe her. Thinking she is entirely joking with me)

Jen: I Googled The Hunt For Xanadu and yours is only one I saw! I don’t care I’m telling all my friends that I have a friend whose book was the answer/question on Jeopardy just like Lincoln Child. Lol you are mainstream now!
Me: Hmmmmmm, I’ll believe it when I see it (this conversation went on in this vein for a while – still not buying it, but man that is a great joke)

But then, I sort of freaked out. Could this be possible? So I start searching and then contacting friends who are good at finding things. Frank Tuttle (a genius at stuff like this), found a fan site that keeps track of every answer and clue. And guess what? IT WAS THERE. Not a little there. Not “could it be my book?” It WAS my book. After I caught my breath, I had to track down my California friends and family to see if they could tape it for me, since Jen’s tape didn’t work, and sure enough, it was the first question of the night. The icing on the cake would have been if Alex Trebek had additionally said my name, but it’s still okay. I mean, MY NOVEL WAS ON JEOPARDY! Here’s the video clip. Thank you Lisa Jey Davis!

So folks, “I’ll take Thrillers & Mysteries for $200, Alex.” And they got it right.

I’ve been wanting to get my books to Hollywood, so I guess you can say, I made it! 🙂

Feel like grabbing the book for yourself? It’s part of a series if you love spiritual thrillers.

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

Book #3 THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1SUskAv
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1nPF6TO

Amazingly, many of my friends watched the show, saw the question, but didn’t immediately connect it was my book. It was a “why do I know this answer?” sort of thing. Though my lovely Aunt Trudy told me she knew the answer right away!

So, Enjoy! (and Jennifer – you are the bomb! Thank you for catching this for me, or I never would have known!)

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Taking a Facebook Book Promo idea to WordPress

So the other day I opened up my personal Facebook Feed to allow my writer friends to put up one of their books in the comments of that day’s post. You see, I try to keep my FB feed relatively free of constant promotional book posts. Not that I won’t tell my family and friends about my writing life, but I don’t want it to be filled with that. I use twitter, my author page, google+ and other social media means when I want to post more often. For FB, I really just love to keep my regular feed filled with poignant, slice of life events for all my friends and family to chat about.

Now, I happen to have a lot of friends that love to read, and with all the millions of books in the world, it’s just so hard for people to sometimes find these little gems. Especially when I know how hard everyone has worked on these. (though I will admit, I have not read them all) Still, these authors were keen on letting the world know about their work, so I wanted to showcase them a bit more. I’ll start with mine:

THE HUNT FOR XANADU Doug CoverTHE HUNT FOR XANADU by Elyse Salpeter
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
A girl on a quest for revenge to find her parent’s killers. Book #1 of 3.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ahjL12

H.E.R.O. – METAMORPHOSIS by Kevin Rau
This is a FREE, full-length ebook and kicks off the most extensive superhero novel (not comic book) series in existence!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aUHy74

TRUST by Pamela Kelley
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
What do you do when your fiancée becomes a murder suspect 3 weeks before the wedding?
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2a7kBR4

ardenARDEN’S ACT by Elizabeth Thomas
Genre: Historical Romance.
In the time of Charles II, the first women are allowed to act in plays. Arden West comes to London to do this, and finds romance and adventure along the way.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aHlyjD

A TIME TO TELL by Maria Savva
Genre: Family saga
A story about love and family relationships – history repeating itself.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aJpddT

BLUEWATER DRONE by Charles Dougherty
Eleventh book in the series about the adventures of two young women running a charter yacht in the Caribbean.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aqzHzP

THOMAS TALKS TO ME by Denise Vitola
Need a Writing Muse who has great ideas and tips? Let an angel help you.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aob6sT

chrissieAMONG THE OLIVE GROVES by Chrissie Parker
Genre: Historical fiction.
Love bravery and sacrifice on a Greek island during World War II.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aJoFos

An Anthology of Pet Tales with Ann Swann’s story SNAKEMAN
It’s an anthology of true pet tales.
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/gu7mmzw

BATS by Fred Barnett
Protecting their all dead habitat from tourists. PLUS The Black Friday Shoppers
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ak4oFm

BREATHE by Christine Grey
Genre: Fantasy Adventure with plenty of Romance
The Destiny Series, Book 1 Fantasy, PG-13 Girl meets boy while trying to kill boy.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aHnokR

jessieJESSIE by Rebekah Lyn
Genre: Young Adult.
Jessie is the 2014 winner of the Patrick D. Smith Literary Award for Florida Fiction. Jessie’s boyish ambition is to ride a rocket into space and he has plans to make it happen.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2an0nUK

darkTHE DARK by David C. Cassidy
Genre: Supernatural Horror
IT KNOWS WHAT YOU WANT. IT KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED. Don’t miss this two-time award-winning novel.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aDgsnL

Want to check out some lovely poems by Tracy Meyerhoffer? She enjoys writing poems about the life experience. There is something there for everyone to identify with. Funny, thoughtful or quirky, my poems are like snapshots of someone’s soul.
Check out her website: http://www.TracyMeyerhofer.com

lisaMs. Cheevious In Hollywood: My Zany Years Spent Working in Tinsel Town by Lisa Jey Davis
It’s my memoir of my fun time as a single mom pursuing a job working in Television… and landing said job!! It’s filled with funny stories and foibles ala newly single mom… and also tons of a-list celebrity dish as well… I hope people enjoy! It’s available in paperback, hard cover and eBook:
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lisajeyd-book

BITE SIZE READS by Roseanne Baxter Frank
Slightly twisted, deliciously dark really short stories for people with very little time or very short attentions spans.” Sometimes what you read depends on how much time you have.
Amazon: Bit.ly/BiteSizeReads

Please feel free to check these out and if you get a chance to read any of the books above, there is no greater favor to an author than leaving an honest review. It means so much more than you know.

Happy Reading!

The Quickest Amazon Giveaway on the Planet….

giveawaySo, Book #3 in the Kelsey Porter series launched. Right before this I decided to try out the new Amazon giveaway for Book #2. I’ll be honest, most times trying to get people to enter giveaways is so hard, that I wonder if it’s even worth it to do them.

I’ve done Goodreads giveaways and gotten possibly 600 people to enter. I’ve done FB, instagram and twitter giveaways and maybe 20 come in. This give-away you can pick how you want it to run. I gave away five books with a one in ten chance. I thought it would take all day for this to go. I put it out on twitter, Facebook, google+ and by the time it hit my newsletter folks, the giveaway was already over!

Yes, over. And here’s what’s weird. Four of the people that won were “A” names, the last name I couldn’t even pronounce, and I knew none of them. You’d think if I were first promoting to my own people, I’d know at least one of the winners, but I didn’t.

Next time I do this I’ll do a 1 in 100 chance to win. (or 1 in 300) As of now, I basically only engaged 50 people in this. Not efficient at all, and I had to pay for five ebooks, full price. (yes, I’ll get the royalties, and yes, it helped in my rankings for a spell, but it was roughly $20 for what seemed like a five minute giveaway and not even one review from it.)

I just thought I’d share my experience. Definitely something I’d do again, but I’d up the amount of people that need to enter to win the books, and play around with how many books to give away. I think the sweet spot is at least 500 entrants. Worst thing that happens is people don’t enter and you have a few books leftover you simply can gift to other people. They’re ebooks, so it’s not like the outlay is that huge.

Have you done one to great success? Love to hear.

Priorities – Picking the Most Important Ones Can be Difficult…

prioritiesPriorities: According to the dictionary this means “a thing that is regarded as more important than another” or “the right to take precedence or to proceed before others.” I’d like to talk about this.

I have two kids. I work all week. When I’m home, they are both vying for my attention and the issue is, neither of them wants to share me because they want me for themselves. If I try to do a dinner together, they balk, try to go somewhere together, they complain. So, I’m stretched. I get it, I really do, but with time being so limited I wish I could be with both of them together and have them be happy about it, but they’re not. So what I try to do is carve out alone time with each of them, a few hours here and there with just one at a time. Neither of them is completely satisfied with this arrangement because as soon as I’m home and switch kids, the other one gets mad at me again. Sigh…

Today is a tough one. One kid just got braces and he’s been miserable for days. The other has a martial arts tournament today. This tournament is about 30 minutes away and I would be sitting most likely in a gym for 6 hours to watch one minute of performing. The fact is, I wanted to go to the tournament to support her and she wanted me to watch her, but the one miserable at home wanted me to stay with him. If I choose one kid over the other, the other child is most definitely going to feel slighted. One will feel that I don’t value them enough to take the time to watch them, and the other is upset because mommy is not there to make them feel better.

So, what do you do? After much grappling, I chose to stay with the kid that wasn’t feeling well and now I’m in the dog house with the other. Her dad went instead and she’s annoyed with me. I feel like I can never win. I truly believe illness trumps all. My son needs comfort today, meds given on time so he feels better, soft foods. Priority made, but I’m still upset that I can’t be in two places at once.

It’s like that with my writing life, too. What are my priorities? Building my Social Media platform? Tweeting, Facebooking, Google+ing, Blogging regularly? Finding an agent? Querying contests? Learning how to do a mailing list? Making a treatment for Hollywood? Advertising? Book Store appearances? Creating give-a-ways? Creating Pinterest boards for your books? Signing up for a Conference? Querying media? Getting reviews?

Do you see a problem with anything in this list above? Where is “writing?” It’s not even there because as indies we are required to do everything else to gain any modem of success. I can’t tell you how many writers feel like there is so much to do, that writing has not become the main priority any longer. And they’re pained by it. They miss it, but they’re trying so hard to be successful, there are simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done.

So I go back to the definition of priorities above and realize that what is most important in my writing life has to be the writing. I find I get mired in all the rest of the conversation and marketing minutia and have to step back to basics or I’ll never get projects out.

In life, in lieu of time, hard choices are going to have to be made. Decisions are going to have to be brought down to basic needs. For family it will be “which kid needs me most at this time” and in writing it has to be “getting the words down on paper.” No matter what I do, someone is going to be unhappy and some project is going to get put on the back burner. Both are important, but I have to make a decision. In these cases, it simply means that “for that moment in time” I had to make the priority to get what had to be done first.

Tonight I’ll take kid #2, who is unhappy I didn’t go to her tournament, out to dinner alone to celebrate, and maybe later today I’ll work on social media, but for now, I’m with my sick kid and after this blog, as my son is on the computer, I’ll work on Book #3 in my Kelsey Porter Series.

It’s all about priorities and nothing about them is ever easy. Love to hear your thoughts on this.

Authors, Really, Don’t Do These Things….

postNow, before I begin this post, I need to declare that I’ve probably committed a few of these less blatant faux pas myself during my start in publishing. To a new author, you think it’s not quite a big deal, but they really are. The more you’re immersed in the publishing social media industry, the more you learn the do’s and dont’s. What irks me are not the newbies, but the people who have been publishing for years who continue to make these mistakes or these “not cool” actions. I’ve spoken to authors directly about it and many of them have listed why they do them. One told me “they were too lazy to do anything else.” Another told me that they were too desperate and figured “why not?”

Well, the why not and too lazy won’t help any of us be successful and more than that, it won’t help us with our other fellow authors helping us. So here are some things I see, some of my biggest pet peeves. If you see yourself consistently doing any of these, please just take a moment and rethink them.

#1) For goodness sake, on your author page, please don’t guilt readers, friends or family to buy your book. Please don’t tell everyone you’re broke and that you need to pay your bills and it would really help if you could purchase a book for them. This is your public author page. Be professional and respectful. It’s one thing to suggest they buy your book and explain you’ve just launched it and would love their support, or ask for reviews, promote blogs and other things, but when you start resorting to guilt to purchase? Not cool and you certainly won’t get a fan base invested in your work.

#2) Please don’t go to another author’s page and promote YOUR book or services. (someone did it to me yesterday – an author I actually know on social media) You want to tell an author you now do book covers? Then email them or IM them – don’t go to their author page and put a big photo of YOUR book or services on their page. Just not cool and you can be sure I’ll delete it pronto. That page is mine. Meaning, if I want to promote another author, I do it because “I” want to, not because someone else used my platform to meet new people.

#3) Please don’t spam your twitter followers with ONLY “Buy my book” tweets or a post about your book. Or for that matter, just post other people’s book tweets. It’s lovely of you to do that to support them, but you want to be known for more than just being a book spammer. Follow some conversations, ask questions, retweet other people. Work with the hashtags. Anything, but just spamming. Talk to people. You must do this if you wish to have more engaged fans.

#4) Please don’t ask someone to retweet your book if you’ve NEVER once done anything for them. If you don’t speak to these people ever, you don’t buy their book, you don’t promote them, you don’t do a review, don’t expect them to just do a dedicated campaign for you. And then if they don’t do this “dedicated campaign,” don’t then stalk them on social media and ask them WHY they haven’t looked at your book yet. Trust me, my reading list for author friends, which is 15 deep, comes first. And another thing, when I read a friend’s book, I do not expect them to buy and read mine just out of courtesy. I chose to read that book. My time is so limited between work, family, commuting, and my own writing that I simply have no time.

#5) In the same vein, please don’t ask another author to do anything for you on twitter if you don’t even follow them back. I have so many authors asking me to do things for them, retweet their books, BUY a book, review a book, yet they don’t follow me and have never once engaged me, promoted me or listed me. Am I petty? No, it’s a courtesy. IM me on the side, go to my web page and seek me out and email me if you have a question – but tagging me so my followers see you just to promote yourself? Not cool. I’ll respond much better privately, trust me.

#6) Please don’t send me publicly anything dirty, racist or ultra religious. Even if it’s a joke and you think the joke is funny and I’ll enjoy it. I have a great sense of humor… but PRIVATELY. But, if it’s on my public feed, I’ll delete or block it. My son saw something really lewd on my feed last night as I was doing a tweet and when I checked it, this photo was right below it. He was appalled and fled the room. I was utterly embarrassed as I stared at the blatant close-up of a woman’s naked “hooha” being “serviced.” I had to assure my son that it wasn’t my post. He didn’t quite believe me thinking that if it was on my computer, it must be mine. BLOCKED and REPORTED.

#5) Lastly, this is a biggie on Facebook and it bothers me the most: FOLLOW THE RULES ON A PAGE. If it is a tweeting page, please make sure MOST of your requests are tweets. If it is a likes page, make sure most of the requests are likes. If it is a horror blog and they don’t allow book promotions – DON’T PROMOTE YOUR HORROR BOOK. It’s one thing if authors ask other authors on those pages occasionally to help them do something because they’ve become friends and they’ve all supported each other, but it’s something else when people continually abuse the rules on a page for their own self promotion yet the admins are too kind to do anything about it.

Maybe I’m just overly sensitive. Maybe I’m a just a stickler for rules. But, I do think with the internet being so impersonal we must put the “personal” back into it.

Thoughts?

When Your Anthology Hits a Best Seller List: What Do you Do?

A collection of creepy horror tales...

A collection of creepy horror tales…

Hello everyone! I found myself in a bit of a quandary earlier this year. I was working on Book #3 in my Kelsey Porter series and I got stalled. To keep myself doing something creative while I figured it out, I put together a collection of all my horror tales. I figured it would be fun to have a second horror novel in my inventory and since I tend to write more creepy and disturbing than slasher fic, if people enjoyed my horror novel THE MANNEQUINS, they were sure to like this.

What’s it about? Here you go:

Terrifying things are happening to those in Ricket Row. Why do a set of grieving parents dig up a shoebox each week from their son’s grave? Who is that maniacal clown that follows a man home? Why do those teen boys chase after a ghostly girl they’ve never met before? This anthology is packed with tales both psychologically creepy and horrifying. You’ll meet a group of disabled orphans trying to survive a zombie apocalypse and a woman who is getting sicker and sicker, day by day, with no reason why. Or is there? Come enter the horrors of Ricket Row. You’ve been warned.

#13 next to Stephen King!

#13 next to Stephen King!

I soft launched it on Amazon early so that early reviews could come in, with a public launch date of July 15th. But, lo and behold, it started to sell and it quickly hit a Best Seller List. So the question was, do I still wait a full month for the reviews to come in before the public release, or ride the wave and just let the reviews come in whenever they do? If more sales hit quickly, the book would jump even higher in the rankings. So that’s what I did. I released it fully and announced it to all my social media boards and wouldn’t you know, a bunch more sales came in and it has so far jumped as high as #13 in horror anthologies on Amazon (and right next to the amazing Mr. Stephen King, I might add). So, what do you do with this? First, CELEBRATE, and then, watch the boards meticulously so you can keep grabbing screen shots if it goes higher. You want those screen shots to post your book’s progress, with the link to BUY the book, to all your social media platforms. Hit them hard in the beginning to see if you can acquire as many sales as you can. Amazon actually grabbed the book and put it out as a hot new release in the sidebar (first time for me for this) and I’m hoping that helps some sales as well.

If anyone is interested, you can get it here in US for just $2.99 http://amzn.to/1cZb1M8
UK: http://amzn.to/1GsMERK

Hard copy coming soon! Love to hear what you think of it.

Just Zip It. Don’t Enter into Political, Racial or Religious Discussions on Social Media.

I'm Not Saying Anything!

I’m Not Saying Anything!

In my blogs I try not to make blanket statements, but this week I’m going to. DO NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICAL, RACIAL OR RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. There, I said it.

I’m saying this as a hypocrite, though. I got into a very heated conversation just the other day on Facebook with someone who made a blasphemous comment about race and abortion. I won’t go into my views on these things, but let’s just say I disagreed with his pig-headed, misogynistic statements so very much I could not stop myself from replying.

WHY IS THIS NOT A GOOD THING? Because:

a) You will NEVER sway someone’s mind from your tweet or FB comment. You just won’t. They believe what they believe and are posting their post and subsequent comments to show the world what they believe. Do I possibly think my well-thought out comments, examples, quotes or personal experiences being a woman, when they are not, will sway this person to change their mind’s view? Not a shot. All it ever does is cause an argument back and forth that gets more hateful as the discussion continues because then people from both sides of the fence start chiming in. And usually they will be against you because those “sound of mind” smartly choose to remain silent and not add fuel to the fire.

b) Race – I can’t comment. Honestly, I’ve been rendered mute on this subject by society. Let’s move on.

c) Religion – there is no way around this. You don’t agree with someone, to the militants you are a heathen, to the tolerant you are more gently a non-believer, or to the ultra devout, someone who won’t be saved. I once had a friend who was “Born Again” spend one hour outside my apartment in New York City after visiting me – he was praying for me to “find my way.” I only caught him, kneeling on the dirty sidewalk reading from a prayer book, when I went out to get some dinner. I assured him I would be fine, but that terrible look in his eyes proclaimed otherwise. Sigh… I don’t talk to that friend any longer because it’s hard to have a relationship with someone when they constantly stare at you as if you’re going to suddenly burst into flames before their very eyes. Thankfully, most people are tolerant of each other (I know I am) but you hear the atrocities committed around the world in the name of religion and you just shudder.

d) Politics – this isn’t even worth the effort speaking because it’s all wrapped up in race and religion and never really about changing the world for the better. Might as well not even bother and just exercise your right to vote.

So why really can’t you say anything? Because an author, or any person on the internet trying to get some notoriety, you don’t want to be branded anything but what persona you’re trying to depict. You don’t want haters to find ways to hurt you. You don’t want to egg on the trolls. It really is in your best interest to steer clear of any discussions that can get you in trouble with anyone – even if you feel you are right.

But, if you simply can’t control yourself from saying something, and decide to get embroiled in a debate, just make sure you are prepared for the consequences. Because there will be consequences. Also note that nothing you say will ever really disappear, even if you’ve deleted your comments. Things get saved, printed, snap-shotted, copied. Once you’ve written it, know that it’s there for the world to see. The last thing you want is to finally become famous and your words come back to bite you in the tush. It could be twenty years from now but your little argument on Facebook could one day have a screen shot and there in full glory you will be vilified for a comment taken out of context (or not) from twenty years ago.

Do yourself a favor and don’t let that happen. The media and haters have enough fodder – don’t give them more.