To 6×9 or not to 6×9…

…that is the question.

It was either that for a title or:


Have patience with me while I back up a little. I have always used Createspace for my print books. It was easy enough to learn their formatting & I was happy with the price and product.

I received an order of various books for my last signing and was really disappointed in the color on my covers. Maybe I am more critical (because – y’know, we are the most judgmental of ourselves…and) because I worked for a printing company. It really doesn’t take a graphics professional to see that ALL the covers had way too much yellow. It didn’t matter so much on my middle grade books since they are cartoons. I noticed on Come and Talk to Me, but it was still passable enough that I didn’t want to complain. My Baby, Just Say Yes ones were terrible. The cover is majority “faces” and those faces looked jaundiced.


Createspace is usually top-notch for customer service. They did spend several e-mails back & forth with me regarding this, and even had me send a copy to them (on their dime) since I didn’t feel the pictures I sent though e-mail did the terrible color justice. However, the final answer was “it is within our print parameters.”

I learned that because they are so busy, they now job out to new companies to fill orders. That explained how I had received a box prior to this that was 2Xs too big for the order and no packing. They always used to be great about shipping. They were speedy to replace the whole order so again, top-notch service.


BUUUTTTTTT…the were done addressing the fact that the covers were garbage to me. They said several times “it is within our print parameters.” And added “If you order them again, they can come that way and would not be replaced. The color ‘is within our print parameters.'” When I asked if others were complaining, they said “Maybe only 3% – that’s not enough to think this is a problem.” I asked a few friends & found out they saw and did the same as me. “Yeah, I noticed they are way more yellow than my last few batches, but not so bad that I wanted to complain.” I asked them to complain, in hopes maybe something would be done. I hate killing a tree as much as the next guy (probably more), and wasting money (definitely more) but I had to throw these copies out. I couldn’t sell them like that.

Knowing the printing process & how this is such an easy fix, I was beyond disappointed. Needless to say – I was sick. (as well as poor Steve and Laura! – My peeps on my cover in case you haven’t read that one 😉 )

Soooooo….here’s what I found, tried, and cried over, trying to get this remedied. I’m dropping this on my “TIPS” page on my blog for anyone that wants to look into printing options.

Lulu: I ended up using them to see what would happen. Learning their set-up was a little different, but in 2 proofs I had a book I could sell. The colors are back where they are supposed to be. The base price is more expensive, but it was no books or not make as much. No brainer. (They do run sales so I will keep an eye out for that!)

Ingram Spark: This is where I’d love to be. Book store distribution. BUUUUTTTT…$49 set-up per title. And I read that you will never get it right and to just “suck it up, Buttercup” and pay them another $10 to do it. Before I could even start, I had to quit. They required a pdf file that WASN’T made from Word. It seemed like a whole new can of beans and I didn’t want to go there (or buy another program just to do this.)

I have a local book store in my town. Whoo hoo, right? Wrong. She doesn’t want my books unless she can buy them from Baker & Taylor. Mine is not to question why. For me, it seems it would be easier to take them on consignment and tell the author to pick them up if they don’t sell. You’d be out nothing. The Baker & Taylor route – the store has to buy them then if they decide to return them, they rip off the cover (gasp) and return that for a refund & throw out the book. Then I get to pay for them. What a deal! NOT! This is the fear of a lot of authors. That’s the fact, Jack.

bill murray

Back to Lulu. I thought I found a way around this. Because they aren’t Createspace (*cough*Amazon*cough*) you get distribution. BUUUUTTTTT…you have to go 6×9. I hate 6×9 with a passion. What difference does an 1/2 inch make? A $hit-ton. To me anyway.

BUU…ok, I’ll stop that. Today I gave it a whirl. I took a few hours & re-formatted a copy & cover to 6×9. I get to the final steps and I see that $14.13 is the minimum I can set the price at. I make a big fat ZERO on sales at that price. Cue deflated hopes and dreams of distribution.


I could do all the work, but why? Who would go to B&N to pay $14.99 for a book that they could get for $9.99 at Amazon with free shipping?  Another sad day to see how much Amazon is ruling every aspect of publishing.

In hindsight, I knew there was something about Lulu that niggled at me. My first publisher went though Lulu with Dustin Time. I was sad that  my books were $15.95 and wondered who the hell would pay for that. I thought it was the publisher just tacking on their share. Maybe so to some extent, but I guess the price was not completely their fault.

I had wanted to give it a shot. Really give it a shot and see if I’d gain sales from different channels. I already limit my distribution at Amazon because that’s the price point I want to keep.

Well. Bloody. Hell.

Back to the drawing board. I’ll have to continue with Createspace for books for my signings, with the exception of Baby, Just Say Yes.

If this was about money, I wouldn’t be a writer now, would I? I just found out that since I drop all my books at Smashwords so people can load any format they need, I am on some “library” now that  is a lot like Netflix. For $7.99 you can read all you want. I’m sure I make a whopping 2¢ on each book. Maybe. Why people bother with pirate sites and the risk of a virus is beyond me. It’s legal to make sure a writer makes nothing.

Sorry this got so windy. I’m sure I’ll be back with another rendition of “As the Stomach Turns” when I get another bright idea about another print platform. I have more time than money, right?

Happy Reading! (On your e-reader!!!)





Hailey 3!!

I need to apologize for the delay in getting book #3 out. I promised it wouldn’t take a year like last time, so I guess I lied. Not on purpose! Some characters just yell louder than others. Dusty won this round and Dustin Time #3 had to get out in the middle of it all.

I’m getting my final edits on Hailey 3 this week before it’s shipped off to the editor! Man these guys got in trouble this time around! I hope to have it out shortly for you!

I don’t think I’ve ever let this slip, but Hunter and Amanda partake in this particular tale. If you haven’t caught up on the Hunter’s Find series, now is a good time! It’s a series I always loved and planned on continuing, but with Musa Publishing closing their doors, I didn’t know what I was going to do. This seemed like a wonderful compromise! The two groups really blend well.

The Hunter’s Find series is mob-based, so it’s not for the faint of heart. I was told once that the F-bombs were a little thick. Sorry, but I just couldn’t see the mob dropping a “shucky darn.”


There are a lot of new-comers to my newsletter. Welcome! If you haven’t dove into the Hunter series, I have print copies with the old covers that I’m selling for $5 + shipping. (That’s less then cost to me!) Holler if you’d like 1 or both & I’ll shoot  you a price.

If you haven’t dove into the Hailey series yet, book #1 in “e” is on sale for 99¢ everywhere. (May need to give it a day to pop up from this posting.)

cover hailey

Happy Reading!!




A free read

You may have heard how this novel came about:


Hubby came home one day and told me about how he helped a guy jump start his bike. I thought, “Why not a bad @ss gal who loved her machines?” Ellie turned into quite the tough gal (both in attitude and with her love of anything with an engine. Oh, and red.)

Although it was written just a few short years ago – times have completely changed. I loosely based the coffee shop in the book on our cyber cafe in Bemidji, MN – Cyber Bugs. When we opened, there were no other coffee shops and no one had internet on their phone – let alone wireless for their laptops…Or a laptop for that matter…and most didn’t even have home computer. This was barely over… 12 years ago. Wow. Okay, when I started this post I thought it was sooner but still…

We had 9 computers for people to get online for 10¢ a minute. We paid a hefty install fee and hundreds a month for internet. Within a few years we were paying less than $50 and giving away wireless if you had it on your laptop. We closed before the Android/iPhone evolution. Not only was the internet part barely needed, but 4 coffee shops opened within 2 blocks as well as 6 others not far away with Caribou/Starbucks in the works by the newer area of town.

Annnnnyway…when I say “Cyber Cafe” to a teen or someone in their 20s – I get that deer in the headlights look. “What’s a cyber cafe?”

This happened recently & it hit me. Holy crap…my novel is horrendously out of date. Poor Bix. I know the small town I used as a backdrop was probably behind the times somewhat, but every farmer out there, no matter how small the town is, has a cell phone & internet at his fingertips.

This was my 1st suspense. I loved this book! It won an award at one of my favorite blogs. I had readers want me to continue it as a series – they loved Ellie’s brothers!

What’s a gal to do? Glad you asked. I made it free. I can’t revise this to be more modern – the story line won’t work. I guess it’ll be one of those “retro” reads. Dig deep and remember what it was like when you couldn’t do everything in the palm of your hand. Like, y’know, download & read this book. 😉

Since I’m not Amazon exclusive, you’d had to write and tell them it’s free everywhere else so they price match. Otherwise – I do have every format available at Smashwords – even mobi for your kindle.

I do still have a few print copies that I’ve been selling for $8 (shipping included). Let me know if you want one.

Happy Reading!



Big Hearted Friends

Sunday night I received an amazing message from a dear friend. She had just finished Dustin 3.


And then:


Of course I was beyond thrilled. I was worried about the touch of sci-fi in this one & how my regular readers would react. The e-mails I’ve received so far have been overwhelming. I’m glad I pulled up the “big girl panties” and released this one.

I’d met Tiami through our coffee shop in Bemidji. She was in Cyber Bugs often with a friend for coffee and chat time. She moved – we moved – you lose touch with some people. This is one of those times that you are grateful for the creation of Facebook. She found me about 7 years ago and we’ve been in touch ever since. I was able to visit her for her wedding reception not long ago.

She was a nurse and well fitted for the job. She was always cheery, always the first to comment on your post with a “whoo-hoo” or “way to go!” When she found out we did engraving, she placed an order to support us.

She was actually my 1st reader/customer for Dustin Time. She purchased it the second I shared it 6 years ago & within hours shouted her praise. (I found out she was a speed reader!)

It was with her encouragement that I wrote Dustin’s Turn. She loved the character of Courtney & wanted more. Along with a few other friends that had their own theories about Frank, the sequel was born. I thanked her in the dedication.


I asked if she could try to leave a review for Dustin 3.  I mentioned how Amazon wouldn’t allow another friend to leave a review because of the whole “six-degrees of separation thing.” They figured somehow through the universe we knew each other and therefore wouldn’t let the review go live. This is disheartening on so many levels. All I read are friends so I can support them and leave an honest review. I worry when it all catches up with me. Anyway, I said that would probably be the case. She responded with:


Of course she did. Big heart – everyone else 1st.

I logged into Facebook on Monday and at the top of my feed were 2 things.


Then a post on her wall from her husband saying “We lost her last night.”

I couldn’t respond. I was waiting for the punchline. I kept watching the feed, believing there was no way it could be true. This came totally out of the blue. She wasn’t sick. We messaged at 5:30 p.m. about my novel then this at 8:00 a.m.?? I have no words.

She took a chunk of my heart & by the responses on her Facebook wall – I share this with many. I don’t usually do the public grieving thing, but I felt compelled to share her with you the only way I can. As I figured, Amazon won’t post her review. I’m grateful her big heart took the time to write me. I’m honored to think I was among the last things on her mind. Hopefully the cute hearts that Facebook flows up messenger when you send the heart emoticon sent her a final smile.

I’ll think of her with every signing. I think I have a new favorite book.

I’ll miss you, Thon!




Comments are off. For better or worse – this is just my rant/sob.

Dustin’s Novel

So…this happened:


Yeah…not sure how. I didn’t plan on a #3 (or a #2 for that matter!) So, now I have a trilogy. 🙂

As you can tell by the cover, it has a bit of sci-fi in it. If you’ve read Dustin Time or Dustin’s Turn, you’ll remember Dusty is a writer. Well, he decided to share a bit of his writing with me.

In every interview when asked, “What is the one thing you’d love to write?” I always answered “sci-fi.” Well…ta da! Guess I did it. Sort of. You get half of Captain Skinnard’s 3rd novel with Dusty and Katie’s latest (and final, gosh darn it!) story.

I had a lot of eyeballs on this one. I was thrilled at the “Amazing read! You should write sci-fi!” comments. Not sure if I’ll do more or not, but here’s the debut. Hope you enjoy!

Blurb:Katie and Dustin have had to time travel before to right some wrongs, but that’s not the answer or even an option this time around.

Struggling daily to deal with devastating news delivered by a time-traveling Frank, Katie immerses herself in Dusty’s latest manuscript. While trying to correct her own fate, she finds herself completely captivated with Captain Skinnard’s world.

She learns that their lives are intertwined with Dusty’s writing far more than she could ever imagine. From innocent phrases used by her daughter to the names of children and pets, Katie is in constant amazement of the twisted pretzel of time.

Enjoy the final installment in this time-traveling trilogy where you’ll join Dustin and Katie in a new phase in their lives and a touch of sci-fi in Dustin’s Novel.


It’s live at Amazon for Kindle & Smashwords for all other formats. As always, just a few days for everyone else to catch up. I’ll be listing a print giveaway today at Goodreads.

Happy Reading!


Back in the Saddle

No, unfortunately I didn’t get my horses back. I meant the book signing saddle.

I’ve gone WAY too long thinking and talking about it. It was time to get off my duff! I mentioned in a blog post about a ladies’ night event I took part in near me in November. It was so fun, I decided to organize one myself.

I wish I had photos to share. The downfalls of organizing & taking part in it – I didn’t have time to visit all the wonderful booths & ladies that participated. There was such a great variety of home parties – Norwex, Tupperware, MaryKay, Plexus, Pampered Chef, a few skin care, Jamberry, and so much more! The event was a huge success! Over 100 women came and went over the course of the event. Someone went home happy with a gift basket with a little something from each of the 19 vendors!

I am going to try to do one a month throughout MN at Elks lodges & VFWs. I can get away with a nice donation to the club’s charity with small table fees from the women, instead of some organizer pocketing money. (Not to bash the work some may do, but this went together well with help from a few friends and lodge members. I don’t know many events where these women would recover the $75-$125 table fees most charge.)

Bonus! I had company next to me. A dear friend & author I ADORE, Rhea Rhodan! Of course the only picture we got was after everything was broken down, but at least it was something! I love the uniqueness of her books. Nothing cookie cutter about them. This was her 1st signing – I look forward to more with her.


We have another signing together this month:

authors day

Books and wine. What could possibly go wrong? I look forward to this event and meeting even more wonderful local authors.

I’ve decided to give the newsletter thing a try again, so if you want to see if I’ll be near you – here’s the newsletter linky. I’ll only share upcoming events & blog posts so you won’t get bombarded.

Happy Reading!