Friday, November 30, 2012

Rebecca Dahlke, Publisher of All Mystery e-newsletter

Rebecca Dahlke publishes a thriving Mystery Newsletter. She's here with us today to talk about how she started it.

In 2010, I started an e-newsletter for mystery and suspense authors. It ran, free of charge to the authors until December 2011.  I decided to let it go because: 1) authors just weren't with me on how effective this kind of advertising could be, and 2) I had my own books to write.

So I put the website in mothballs, but kept the Facebook site, the yahoo group (which is where authors meet to talk about promotion, and readers come to see what authors are talking about.) and Good Reads group for Indie and small press promotion, and a Twitter account.

Since then I have put four mysteries up on Amazon/Kindle, and because I understood that my books are a product, I also began a six month quest for the best, and most effective, form of advertising.

The results were exciting!  I discovered that with a combination of inexpensive paid and free promotion, I could sell more books. I thought the results of this were interesting enough to share. I put together a 7 page handout and spoke on this subject with my local Sisters in Crime chapter in Tucson. The handout was necessary because I had a lot of powerful information to share, but also I cautioned my grateful listeners with the following: The only thing I could guarantee about this information was that some of it would change.

That was in June 2012, and sure enough, things did change. One of the sites I listed as smart and creative bit the dust, and another site, Digital Books Today, has taken a giant leap after only 18 months in the business.  Eighteen months? Gee, All Mystery e-newsletter started before DBT… so that meant… but wait! There's more!

In a 2012  e-mail from the founder of Digital Books Today, Anthony Wessel  says, and I quote: "Traffic on our Sites: March: 8,000, June 16,000" and in their "The Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books List: November 2011: 600+ and June 2012- 10,000+ with 38,000 click outs to books on Amazon."

Obviously authors had finally seen the light and were using paid book marketing as part of a successful campaign to sell books. I know, because I was using them too, and the results have been gratifying—except I had one complaint: As a mystery writer, all of the promotion sites had mystery squished in between vampire and memoir.

It didn't take me but a nano-second to see that All Mystery e-newsletter's time had finally come. I ticked off the obstacles for resurrecting this e-newsletter against the fact that it might take some time to gain momentum. Then realized I already had all of my requirements for a good promotion site: I still had my list of readers from last year's e-newsletter, and I had a Facebook page, Yahoo and Good Reads groups, and Twitter with a small army of Re-Tweet pals.

September 1st I sent out the first weekly e-newsletter  accompanied with additional author posts at Facebook and Twitter that would continue throughout the week.

Sound interesting? Author information page:

Last but not least, for those of you who would like a copy of my copy of that 7 page hand-out for both free and paid promotions for authors, send me an e-mail with "promotion handout" in the subject line and I'll send you a PDF copy. E-mail:

Find her Books on her Amazon Author Page

Thursday, November 29, 2012

#BookChat The Search by Susan Leigh Noble #paranormal

Synopsis/Book Description
For over a thousand years, telepathic cats known as STACs have faithfully searched for those with power over the elements looking for the one foretold to save the Land. None have questioned their duty to fulfill this ancient task.

But when Tosh’s latest charge is murdered because of his Elemental powers, Tosh considers abandoning The Search. Will a glimpse of the future destruction be enough to change his mind?    

From the Author
While taking a break between finishing Book 2 (Quietus) and starting Book 3 (Destiny) in my The Elemental trilogy, I thought it would be fun to explore a little more of Tosh’s life before he meets Lina (the main character from my trilogy). I have had at least one cat in my life at all times except during the college years so it was easy for me to set a short story with a cat as the main character. I think readers will sometimes forget that Tosh is a cat as they read The Search.

Reader’s Reaction

“Ms. Noble has a wonderful way with words that allows the reader to suspend belief. Never for a moment did I think ‘We have a talking cat. Cats can’t talk.’”  - J. Keller Ford, author

“Halfway through the first page my attention was fully drawn to Tosh, and I just had to keep reading to find out what his mission involved.” - Kristy Centeno, a review

“Cat lovers will recognize a lot of their own cats in The Search,” - Amazon Reviewer

Behind the Scenes
Often while I am writing I have my cat, Nikki, either trying to sit in my lap or lie in front to the monitor which of course makes it hard to write, but she is quite insistent on being there with me. Actually, she is the only one (we have three cats) that likes to sit with me while I write.

Readers can find out more about Susan at her blog – or her author page on the Independent Author’s Network –

The Search is FREE on Amazon, 11/29 to 12/1 - download it now!

Books by Susan Leigh Noble:

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#BookChat The Last Letter by Kathleen Shoop

She wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t found the letter... 

Katherine Arthur's dying mother arrives on her doorstep, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie's husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty—a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death. 

Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine’s world apart. Now, seventeen years later, and far from the homestead, Katherine has found the truth – she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it’s too late?

For every daughter who thinks she knows her mother’s story…

This book came to be through family letters that were written over 120 years ago. My mother’s father gave her this stack of letters my great-great grandmother wrote to her fiancĂ© during the year of their engagement. They’re beautiful, heart-felt sentiments about all the hopeful ways the future would be theirs. But…of course things did not go as planned as the first blush of love is often veiled, with the truth about who the lovers are, being hidden until the wedding is over.  It was seeing the gorgeous, optimistic letters in contrast to another set of letters written decades later that I saw a compelling story develop. It’s what happened in between the tell-tale family letters that I created.  My great-great grandmother’s letters, the early and the late ones revealed a strong, stubborn, though probably, a little difficult to live with woman. She was very educated and intelligent and cobbled together a life when she had no materials to work with. It was this character that was compelling to me.

Also the history of the pioneering Americans, the land they lived on and worked—every day was a challenge, an obstacle to survival. The Children’s Blizzard of 1888 worked into my plot perfectly as the environment in which they lived was extraordinary. All of these elements, mother/daughter relationships, love, the land—helped me construct a story I thought was moving.

For me, relationships--the nature of them are partly revealed in times of crisis and partly revealed in reconciliation. Many readers have talked about how they could relate to Jeanie and Katherine's relationship and they were warmed by its strength. Others found it hard to understand the fracture that marked it for so many years after seeing the love they shared in younger years. But, everyone seems to really appreciate the way James and Jeanie were so close.  Many were disheartened by Frank and Jeanie's relationship--but I think that's a testament to it being realistic. For me, this story is Katherine's--hers to learn from and to finally become capable of growing past her childhood wounds.  I think that's hard for all of us sometimes!

Readers' Reactions:
I don't know when I have read a book where the heroine has stolen my heart.  I just love Jeanie Arthur.  She is strong and determined, and her journey is heartfelt. Kathleen Shoop is a marvelous talent with a fresh new twist on historical fiction. Selina MacPherson, award-winning author of Rough and Tender

Shoop's characters breathe. I’m blown away by the naturalness and authenticity of the dialogue and setting. The author is a gifted writer with a bang-on sense of atmosphere, time, place, and social class. Bev Katz Rosenbaum, author of I Was a Teenage Popsicle and Beyond Cool.

About the Author:
Kathleen Shoop, PhD is an author and educator who has taught, researched and worked with teachers for twenty years. She writes historical and women’s fiction. Her first novel, The Last Letter (Kindle bestseller), won a Gold Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards and her second novel, After the Fog, won Silver the next year. Kathleen has also contributed stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat’s Life. Her background in education came in handy in writing her latest novel—a quirky, post-college, coming of age story called Love and Other Subjects. It launches in January, 2013. Kathleen lives with her husband and two children in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. 

Read more about Kathleen at her Amazon Author Page

Books by Kathleen Shoop:

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#BookReview A Lick And A Promise by Jo Leigh #romance

A Lick And A PromiseA Lick And A Promise by Jo Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A quick read and very steamy. The plot and character development was a little cliched. We have Margot, an eccentric food designer who likes to change people, and Daniel, the ultraconservative architect who designs boxes for accountants. I liked Margot because she was very opinionated and ample with her advice, style, and hips. Daniel was played a very good game of allowing her to open him to new experiences. The cast of neighbors and friends each had their own quirks and added to the fun and informal atmosphere.

Predictably, the two of them get together and have hot sex everywhere. At about 75% the problems crop up with their jobs. There is the obligatory let's blame ourselves and break up, and then the friends pushing them together and another hot session followed by the "L" word.

Descriptions and scenery was good, as was the backdrop of the food stylist world. I enjoyed that. But as with all of these serial romances that have limited word count, don't expect the character emotional development to be ground breaking. They seemed to have gone through the crisis, climax and recovery a bit too easily: a cute post-coital question and answer session and everyone's happy again.

View all my reviews
Books by Jo Leigh:

See Amazon Author Page for more books...

Monday, November 26, 2012

#GuestPost Five tips for writing a Medical Thriller by Frank J. Edwards, MD #writertip

Here are five ideas that a beginning writer of medical thrillers can’t go wrong thinking about. 

  1. First of all, you’ll need a good conspiracy.   It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but one of the reasons thrillers do so well sent in the world of medicine is that the field is so rich with drama at the four-way intersection of life, technology, big business and government.   This gives you an unlimited vein of conflict to mine for suspense.

  1. Give your main character the potential for greatness combined with an Achilles heel.  This rule applies, I believe, for all good characters, whether they appear in literary works or genre fiction, comedy or tragedy, and for that matter, whether the character is hero or villain.   My hero in Final Mercy, for example, neglects his private life for work and pays a price.

  1. Don’t forget the huge role that women play in modern medicine.  When I was in medical school in the late seventies, there were only 14 women out of a class of 100 (and some of our professors actually smoked cigarettes while lecturing).   Most med school classes today are 50-60 percent female.  So, if your hero isn’t a female, make sure you’ve got some strong female secondary characters.  This will lend your story texture and verisimilitude, not to mention the potential for relationships.   No spice, no flavor.

  1. Sling the jargon like a pro.   If you spend all your time explaining things like V Fib, ET tubes and laparoscopy, you’ll end up insulting the reader and making characters sound like robots.  The average reader can understand most medical terms through context alone, and furthermore they will deeply appreciate the fact we believe they are smart enough to figure things out.  Whenever possible, don’t interrupt the flow with mini-lectures and definitions that don’t fit in with the narrative.   

  1. Go for the new.  The success in recent years of medical thrillers—including medical TV shows—has created a big audience out there for this genre, but as also made our job a little more difficult in the sense that a lot of the easy ground has already been broken, and sometimes more than once.   Yesterday’s fresh idea has become today’s clichĂ©.   The mysterious epidemic caused by the toxic water supply, the underground cabal engaged in euthanasia, and the ever-popular organ harvesting plots.  You get the point.  There’s still a ton of great ideas out there awaiting development, but you’ll want to have some familiarity with what’s already been done.   No one, however, should let that intimidate him or her from taking the leap.  We all possess individual quirks and experiences that will inevitably lead us to fresh fields, though perhaps a little further from the highway.  Onwards!
Frank J. Edwards MD
Frank J. Edwards lives in Western New York.
He entered the Army after high school and became a warrant officer helicopter pilot, serving a tour in Vietnam. He studied English and Chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill, went to medical school at the University of Rochester, and later received an MFA in Writing at Warren Wilson College.
Frank served as a faculty member in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in the 1990′s, leaving academic medicine to start a regional emergency medicine group, now called Delphi Emergency Physicians, where he continues to serve as the medical director.

In 1994 he started the first writing workshop for medical students at the U of R’s Division of Medical Humanities and remains active in the program.

He has written several books, including the medical thriller Final Mercy, a collection of poetry and short stories called It’ll Ease The Pain, and two books of medical nonfiction.

Please visit him at

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

5 Funny Things & 12 Fascinating Books & 2 Embarrassing Photos

BooK ReviewS
b00kr3vi3ws by Debdatta is the hottest Book Blog in the world, and this month I'm the featured author. In order to qualify, I had to provide 5 funny things about myself. As a bonus I threw in two embarrassing photos and a giveaway for the 12 books that most fascinated me this year. [Want to see the pictures? CLICK HERE]

My characters, Michal, David and Ittai from Michal's Window and Dave Jewell and Jen Cruz from Broken Build talk about these 12 books in a roundtable interview with Debdatta.

I also provide a glimpse into my charmed life as a beach bum doing research on my stories. Must go to Debdatta's blog to read "A Day in the Life of Rachelle Ayala."

Okay, still here? Read about these 12 fascinating books and enter the Giveaway CLICK HERE [ends November 30] or buy them now if you can't wait [click on their covers to go to Amazon]
Lilly Price is an endearing heroine who is on the run to shed her past. She has been abused and doesn't believe anyone would give her another chance. Zach Woodbridge is a mystery writer who develops an interest in Lilly. Will he figure out her past and understand why Lilly is so evasive? Chantel does a wonderful job of developing this love story with vivid internal thoughts and tense dramatic action.
Lucessa is a woman who has lost her bearings. Her husband has died on a remote mission trip and she is doing her best to keep her job and pay the bills. Unknown to her, a demi-god is protecting her, and when danger appears at her door, he does too. The plot weaves Greek mythology with modern drama and touches on the timeless love of a father for a long lost daughter he despaired of ever seeing again.
Maya and Alex are not ready to be parents. While in search of choices, Maya makes a new friend in an abortion clinic. What happens next opens her eyes graphically. Ms. Hamling tells an emotionally absorbing story that'll force you to come face to face with the inhumane blot in our country's moral values.
She's too young to be a widow. Sarah Johnson struggles to raise her two year old daughter alone while mourning her husband's death in Afghanistan. His long time buddy, Ethan Cooke, is not a body guard and a good friend. A stalker is after Sarah and Ethan jumps to protect her. Sparks fly in the hot and steamy bathroom.
Disaster after disaster befalls poor Rebecca Ross. After a decade auditioning for movie roles in Hollywood and being duped by Mr. I'm So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades, Rebecca heads back home into a wedding nightmare and a honeymoon from hell. Laugh with her ever present sense of humor as she navigates the Italian justice system and finds herself in the arms of an unexpected savior.
How dark does evil pervade? This multi-threaded book tells a gripping story set between the vast deserts of the Karoo and the closed in gardens of England. The narrator, Ilsa Joubert, seems sensible and reliable on the surface. She is, after all, the nanny to solve all problems. But what about her own past?
Time is ticking for poor Kat who has placed all too many years into the basket of one reluctant to commit Marc. When she finally makes the break and meets Mr. Right Ryan, Marc comes back for a last ditch pin in her heart. Will Kat cave or take courage lessons from the Cowardly Lion and risk losing the marriage sweepstakes all over again?
At Road's End is a rollicking adventure set in Pre-Aztec MesoAmerica. It is full of fights, escapes, battles and strategizing. A pretty captive woman enters the mix and a nice bit of romance results. A fast paced action adventure story in the style of a Louis L'Amour western, At Road's End will charm young and old alike.
Margaret was the daring Snake-Woman-Child, the one her peers looked up to. But one day, her daring was her undoing. She was kidnapped from her mob and forced into a rehabilitation center to be trained in the white world as a domestic servant. Will Margaret find her roots and prevail? Or will she make it in the world she was forced to embrace?
My Emily is a story about a very special little girl who taught her family and the readers of her book about love and acceptance. Emily was born with Down's Syndrome and stricken with leukemia. Even though her life was short, it wasn't without meaning. “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss
Michael Langdon is a wealthy man who makes quick judgments and gets what he wants. But when Allie Overton enters his life, Michael's carefully planned life is turned topsy turvy. Despite their mutual distrust, Allie's caring for Michael's well being and a shared love for art allows Cupid's arrow to impale both their hearts.
Danielle Bretancourt is a strong woman. She has to be. Her husband was killed by Nazis. Her young son is missing behind enemy lines, and she is a Jewish woman caught in war torn France. After half her family is killed, she takes the remaining members to America and works her way from the slums to Beverly Hills. Despite all her success, the hole in her heart grows every year that her son is missing. And then there's that handsome Englishman whose timing is always wrong...

Win ALL these books by entering the Giveaway at B00kr3vi3ws by D. D. S.
($41.40 combined value) or click on the covers below to buy.


Don't have a KINDLE? Download a FREE Kindle APP and enjoy your ebooks on PC, Mac, iPad, Android and smartphones.

Update: Winners have been announced -

1st winner : L
All twelve books.

2nd Winner : N
1. Twenty Weeks by Melisa M. Hamling
2. Wedlocked by Bonnie Trachtenberg
3. Kat Fight by Dina Silver
4. Always & Forever by Chantel Rhondeau
5. At Road's End by Zoe Saadia
6.  Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

3rd Winner : T
1. Notorious Proposal
2. Kat Fight
3. Always and Forever