Emotional Beats: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Thanks, Nicholas C. Rossis, for another informative and enriching post guaranteed to build better writers.


Back in September, I published Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings. As promised, I will be posting the book on my blog. So, here is the next installment, feat…

Source: Emotional Beats: Do You Hear What I Hear?



#MysteryAI #PaperbackAttack

Review of The Green Pearl Caper, Damien Dickens Mysteries, Book 1

by Phyllis Entis


Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.

This writer received a copy of the Audible audio book edition in exchange for an honest, objective review.


Detective Damien Dickens has been framed for murder, and the only solution is for the beleaguered private investigator to bring the real killer to justice.


This is a classic gumshoe detective story with under-appreciatedgreenpearlcapercvr girlfriends, unknown family relationships, wealth and concurrent depravity in yesteryear’s Atlantic City, and a persistent, wise-cracking hero. I really enjoyed it and found it delightfully reminiscent of the archetypal private-eye stories of the thirties, forties, and fifties. The hero’s personality kept me entertained, and the twists and turns of the plot kept me guessing.


This is the second Damien Dickens Mystery I have had the pleasure of reading, and I am eagerly anticipating a third. Best of all, this book contains absolutely no offensive material.


I would recommend The Green Pearl Caper to any mystery lover from student to senior citizen.

Audiobook available on AMAZON.



Chris Mooney Author posted this excellent article on indie authors on Feb.10. It’s too good not to share. Thanks, Chris!

For all you writers and authors..and all those who aspire to achieve in the writing world..an interesting and thought provoking article..??

The Times Newspaper – 10 FEB 2017
Meet the bestselling author you’ve never heard of
Former barrister LJ Ross is one of a generation of novelists who have ditched their day jobs and self-published online
If you were to name Britain’s most successful novelists today, who would you choose? Ian McEwan perhaps, or Hilary Mantel, or Kazuo Ishiguro or Zadie Smith. If you like crime, Ian Rankin or Val McDermid. For something more commercial, how about David Nicholls or Paula Hawkins — she seems to be doing quite well. And let’s not forget about LJ Ross.
Who? Quite. It was Ross who in 2015 knocked Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train off the No 1 spot in the Kindle bestsellers charts with her first novel, Holy Island. Since then she has sold more than 750,000 books, making her one of the platform’s bestselling authors — late last year she was selling more than 10,000 books every day. For anyone who doesn’t read ebooks, her name won’t mean a thing, because Louise (LJ) Ross, the “queen of Kindle”, is self-published.
What’s the worst-case scenario? I upload it and nobody likes it?
For years self-published authors were discredited as amateurs who lacked the talent to land a traditional book deal. Increasingly, however, more and more novelists choose to publish their work themselves, not because they have to, but because it offers a better deal.
Ross was a barrister who wanted a career change and ended up writing a book. Now she is the writer of a string of “cosy” romantic suspense thrillers, which hardly sound like the sort of books to rival the psychological thrillers that so dominate the charts. She describes them as “old-fashioned whodunnits” in the vein of Agatha Christie, starring her hero DCI Ryan.
Ross, 32, has a gentle Northumberland accent and is softly spoken. As she explains her success to me, her tone is somewhere between surprised and apologetic. She could have gone down the traditional publisher route — she had received “some really nice feedback and an offer or two”. However, when a contract came through, she couldn’t bring herself to sign it. “I don’t know if it’s the bullish former lawyer in me, but I kept looking at it and thinking: ‘Why am I not signing this?’ ” she tells me over coffee in London. So she took a different path.
The “J” in LJ Ross stands for James, the name of her husband, who was the first to suggest she publish her books through Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon’s ebook self-publishing platform, so the sell goes, gives authors control over the publishing process, from the content of the book to its design and price, and allows them to earn up to 70 per cent royalty on sales.
“Even with just a cursory glance, I could see it was hugely more favourable to authors and there was no question of relinquishing that creative control. There was absolutely nothing to lose. What’s the worst case scenario — I upload it and nobody likes it? Well, there’s nothing lost and we just keep trying.”

The former BBC journalist turned writer Alex Gerlis turned to self-publishing after knockbacks from publishers
On January 1, 2015, Ross hit “publish” on Holy Island. By May she had knocked The Girl on the Train off the No 1 spot in the Kindle bestsellers chart and her books have stayed in the Top 20 pretty much since. While Ross won’t say what she’s earning, she admits, with typical understatement, that “it has worked for me” — to the extent that she has been able to give up her job to write full-time, and she and her family have moved to a beautiful house in Bath. You can do the maths: 750,000 copies sold at about £3 to £4 is a healthy sum. Of course, because Nielsen BookScan, the trusted source for book sales, does not include Kindle or other ebook sales, she’s never counted among the year’s bestselling titles.
It’s easy to be snobby about ebooks — and there are many reasons why you might be: the quality is extremely variable and relies in part on a reader being willing to take a punt on a few; and books can be given away to boost their position in the charts. A good book isn’t necessarily one with complex plots and beautifully crafted sentences. Over the past few years ebooks have launched the careers of EL James (Fifty Shades of Grey), Lisa Genova (Still Alice), and Andy Weir, whose novel The Martian became a film starring Matt Damon.
In Amazon’s Kindle ebook chart, the bestselling books are, no surprise, psychological thrillers, including one Girl on a Train [see what they did there?] by AJ Waines. Cynical marketing? Not at all: the twist to this tale is that the former psychotherapist had published her novel a couple of years before Hawkins’s similarly titled book. She then benefited from its huge success. “I’m making more money than I ever have before,” said an excited Waines after her book suddenly shot up the charts. Readers must have enjoyed it too because it has remained up there and has nearly 950 four or five-star reviews.
Independent publishing has also allowed communities ignored by traditional publishers to flourish. I speak to Clare Lydon, who tells me that she is part of a flourishing group of lesbian romance novelists. “The stuff that tends to get published with lesbian protagonists in the UK tends to be literary or historical fiction, ie Jeanette Winterson or Sarah Waters. What I write is chick lit with lesbian protagonists,” she tells me. “Traditional publishers focus on protagonists who are white, straight — they are risk-averse and they think lesbian fiction won’t sell as much. And if you slap the word ‘lesbian’ on a book, they’re probably right. But that doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t a market for it, because there is.” Lydon, who published her first novel in 2014, is proof of this: she has published six novels that have sold about 50,000 copies.
Self-publishing also worked for Mark Dawson, who became disillusioned with traditional publishing after his early novels flopped. After receiving a five-figure advance from a major publisher for his first two books, he was surprised when neither were promoted. So the former lawyer decided he would have more success if he did the work himself.
Dawson writes, among other things, a series of novels about an assassin named John Milton. Though “writes” feels like too gentle a word for Dawson’s output: since 2012, he has produced 24 books. He typically punches out 3,000 words a day; on a very good day he can produce as many as 7,000. And in 2014, which he calls his breakthrough year, he published “about one million words, a bit more than the Harry Potter books”.
In November 2014, Dawson left his job to write full-time, because why would you be a highly paid lawyer when you could be an exceptionally well-paid author? “In January, I was making about what I made at work — £3,000 to £4,000 a month after tax. Towards the end of the year, it was in the high five figures every month. By the end of the year, I was earning in the high six figures [a year] — it wasn’t miles off £1 million.”
Writing his books has become “like a cottage industry”: he pays an editor, proofreader and cover designer to check his books, and because of the close contact he has with his audience has built up a team of early readers, many of whom are experts in the subjects he writes about, who check the book for accuracy and realism.
Such is his success that Dawson also runs courses under the brand Self Publishing Formula to help others make it. “I gave a talk at the London Book Fair a couple of years ago and someone asked me how long I spent writing every day. I said: ‘Half and half: half the day is spent writing, half marketing.’ And she said: ‘So you’re not a full-time writer then?’ Which I think is the stupidest comment I had heard all day.”
If you’re going to be a success, you “have to be two people at once. You have to be the writer and get the words down, then you’ve got to know to take off your writer’s hat and put on your business hat. And this is why self-publishing is not for everybody.” You also have to lure readers in: “I give away quite a lot of stuff,” he says. “If you sign up to my mailing list, you get the first two books in the Milton series free — you need to shoot them a pill to get them to sign up. But I know that when you start reading my books they’re quite ‘hooky’ and I have lots of other books for you to buy. Readers on average buy ten of my books.”
Then there’s his Facebook page, where he keeps his readers up to date with his books and what is going on in his life. “You want to take someone from being a customer to being a reader, then a fan and in the end you should consider them friends.”

Ross chooses to publish her work via Kindle because it offers a better deal and more controlGARETH IWAN JONES
Not everyone who succeeds has Dawson’s level of self-belief. The former BBC journalist Alex Gerlis was inspired to write his series of espionage thrillers after he reported from Normandy on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Years later, when his agent sent his first book to publishers, the feedback they received was, “We like the book very much much but we already have a Second World War espionage thriller on the books and we don’t think there’s room for another.” The market, it turned out, could handle it. Rather than wait, Gerlis and his agent found an alternative by publishing through Kindle. His two books have become a word-of-mouth success, selling nearly 100,000 copies; he tells me he earns about £1 a book.
For many readers, myself included, there is still a suspicion around books that seem to be self-published. How are you meant to separate the good from the bad? Gerlis, who prefers the term independent author to self-published, suggests that many ebooks succeed because, ultimately, good writing will out. Plus, the process his writing goes through isn’t all that different to that which a printed book would go through. His meticulously researched work not only passes through an agent at Curtis Brown, the company that represents John le Carré, Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell, but an editor and proofreaders too. The only difference, as he sees it, is the final platform. Would he ever want to have his books published by a traditional publisher? No, he tells me. He’s found a formula and it works — why break it?
For the ebook sceptics, there are, increasingly, digital-only publishers who are “professionalising” the process. Among the more successful British businesses are Canelo and Bookouture, which was founded in 2012 by Oliver Rhodes, who used to be the head of marketing at the romance and women’s fiction publishing house Harlequin.
I speak to Michael Bhaskar, Canelo’s publishing director,who believes that traditional publishers too often made digital publishing an afterthought. “They would always prioritise the print edition and we felt that for loads of genres that was wrong,” he says. “We wanted to create a publisher that really took digital publishing seriously and would have that dedication at its core. We could do all the good things that a traditional publisher would do — offering strong marketing, good editing and book jackets.”
Because there would be no printing costs, warehouse costs or returns, they could “also offer a better deal to the author as well”, Bhaskar says. The publisher offers authors royalties of 50 to 60 per cent. With a traditional publisher, you might get an advance of a few thousand on your book and royalties of about 10 per cent.
As any author knows, in that way you need to sell a lot of books to make ends meet. Only this week Donal Ryan, the Irish novelist whose The Spinning Heart (2012) was longlisted for the Booker Prize, confessed that he earned only about 40 cents (34p) a book and that he had to return to his job in the civil service to pay his mortgage.
When ebooks started to come out, Bhaskar says, people believed that the sort of books that had succeeded in print would also succeed as ebooks. Not so: “What we don’t see working very well in the ebook world is nonfiction and literary fiction. Neither of those have really ever taken off. What you see is commercial and genre fiction that really does work. We’ve actually discovered an unexpected market for military thrillers.” It wasn’t what he had expected, but the readers voted with their wallets and Canelo was able to adapt quickly to corner the market with authors including Sean McFate (yes, that is his actual name), Ben Coes, Will Jordan and James Barrington.
This makes ebooks sound like a shortcut to wealth and riches, but that isn’t the case. For all the protestations that good writing will triumph over bad, writers have a competitive and saturated market to contend with. There are more than four million titles in the Kindle Store, compared with about 600,000 six years ago.
“There is that myth that you write a novel, put it out there and it will just take off. It’s so rare that that happens,” says Bhaskar. “It is possible to make a lot of money from digital publishing, but it is also true to say that it is harder now than it was a couple of years ago. There’s more competition and it’s a tougher proposition. What you see less of now are self-published writers just suddenly breaking out.”
Not everyone needs to break out. As Dawson says, “I may be in the 1 or 2 per cent of authors making good money, but there are so many people now earning enough through ebooks to pay the bills or the mortgage, and take their wife out to dinner every now and then.” Which, as many struggling authors would agree, is a pretty happy ending.

9 Best Grammar Tools For Writers

Practical and helpful digest. Thank you, Mary Walton, and thank you, Nicholas C. Rossis.

Nicholas C. Rossis

You may remember Mary Walton’s recent guest post, 10 Proofreading Tools For Writers. This is another fine list of author resources compiled by her. Oh, and here is one of my favorite comics of all time:Grammar Cyanide and Happiness | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

9 Best Grammar Tools For Writers

The most interesting, fascinating book can fall down if the grammar is poor. No reader will want to continue if the book is too difficult to read. That’s why your grammar is so important in everything you write. If you find that you don’t know enough about grammar to skilfully edit your writing, you’re in luck. This guide will show you nine online tools that will really help you out when you’re in a bind.

  1. Academized: Invest some time in your writing skills and read this guide. It’s comprehensive yet easy to understand, making it perfect for writers. By reading it, you can get a good…

View original post 578 more words

Amazon Notifications Regarding Copyright

Thanks to Nicholas Rossis for this important and extremely helpful information for Amazon authors.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Amazon | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: dailyfinance.com

Image this: You have the perfect campaign lined up, and are counting the days before you finally start paying off the cost of those ads.

Then, you receive an email from Amazon accusing you of copyright infringment. Your book has been taken down for now, until you prove it is, indeed, written by you.

This is what’s been happening to several authors, who have received the dreaded copyright notifications from Amazon. Specifically, they’ve received the following email:


We are writing to you regarding the following book(s):

Title:[book title]

During a quality assurance review of your catalog, we found content (text and/or images) that is widely available on the web. You can do an online search for the content inside your books to discover which sites are offering the content for free. Copyright is important to us – we want to make sure that no author or other copyright…

View original post 618 more words

Review: ASCENDING (The Life We Lead)

Move over Robert Ludlum, David Baldacci, and James Patterson, there’s a new legend in town and it is George M. Nagle. The evidence is Nagle’s spy thriller (The Life We Lead) Ascending517qhblh5nl-_uy250_.61blben3qsl-_ux250_

Nagle has created an everyman hero with everyman problems and relationships, even dating angst, even though this globe-hopping, multi-named spy has unique and powerful intellectual and physical skills.

I haven’t been so sorry to see a book end in a long time. I’m really looking forward to the next in this series from this exciting, soon-to-be-legendary author

ASCENDING (The Life We Lead) is available on Amazon.com.

February Featured Author: AMY READE

Mystery Authors International has named Amy M. Reade as their featured author for February 2017. The time is right, because Amy has a mystery novel, The House on Candlewick Lane, hitting the shelves on February 7.  Amy is a USA Today bestselling author and a recovering lawyer; she lives in southern New Jersey.

amy-reade The House on Candlewick Lane is the first of The Malice Novels, a gothic suspense series set in the United Kingdom. The second book in the series, Highland Peril, will be released in the fall of 2017. Amy is currently at work on the third book. She is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead HouseThe Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of Hanging Jade, all stand-alones. She loves reading, cooking, and traveling.

Just to whet your appetite for this delicious new mystery, here is an excerpt from The House on Candlewick Lane.


I must have fallen asleep, because I sat up with a start, not remembering where I was. But after a second it all came back to me in a rush of fear and indignation. I was sitting on the twin bed. It was hot. My hair stuck to the back of my neck and my forehead. Gray light forced its way into the room through the small window that overlooked the fields behind the house on Candlewick Lane. The rain was still falling, smearing the glass. I wondered where Neill was. I knew pounding on the door would be no use, but I had to do something. I had to try. My fists bore the bruises from my earlier futile attempts to be heard. There was nothing to do but wait to be released from this tower prison. Someone had to let me go.

They couldn’t keep me here forever

Ooh, there’s nothing like a good gothic mystery on a gray, wintry day. You’ll want to curl up in your window seat with this one for a happy afternoon.

You can get in touch with Amy M. Reade and, more importantly, get your copy of The House on Candlewick Lane, via the following sites:

Amy’s Website:  https://www.amymreade.com

Amy’s Blog:  https://www.amreade.wordpress.com

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmyMReadesGothicFictionFans/

Twitter: https:///www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Congratulations to author Amy M. Reade on the release of The House on Candlewick Lane, and congratulations on being named the Mystery Authors International featured author of the month.