06 October 2016

The 2016 All-Zona BookFest

It's that time of year again! The All-Zona BookFest will take place on Sunday, October 23 from 9:00 AM till 3:00 PM at St. Francis Cabrini Parish Hall. Same venue as the last two years at 3201 East Presidio Road in Tucson, one block south and east of the intersection of Ft. Lowell and Country Club. There is a great line up of Authors: we now have close to fifty book-scribes from all over Arizona! 

New this year, we have Independent Vendors who can help you with all kinds of holiday shopping! Premier Designs jewelry, Pampered Chef cookware utensils, Personalized Magnet buttons, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Origami Owl charms, and Tupperware food savers will each have a table of their products.

Help us reach our goal of collection 1,000 new or gently used books appropriate for children from birth through second grade to donate to Make Way For Books, who will distribute them to under-privileged families all around Pima County. Fostering a love of reading in young children and helping parents share that love prepares kids for school better than anything else. So check your closets and bring those "Pat the Bunny" or "Goodnight Moon" editions to us, please!

St. Vincent DePaul Charity will sell food for a nominal price as well as Raffle Tickets for a new car. New this year is their table of "Blind Date with a Book" selections: for only $5, you can choose a lovely wrapped book - and you definitely won't be able to judge it by its cover, only a one-line description!

Mark your calendar and plan to come on down!

Happy reading, 

~Jude

31 August 2016

WOOT! AWARD NOMINATIONS!

Sorry for being AWOL this summer, My Dear Readers. Sometimes in the desert, it's just too darn hot to do anything. HOWEVER, I have excellent news: FOUR of my books have been nominated for #SIBA Awards = Summer Indie Book Awards!

Voting OPENS at MIDNIGHT Central Time, September 1.





*Note: Readers and fans can vote in any or all genres at the different links. Voters can choose multiple books in a genre as long as they check mark ALL their selections in the genre BEFORE they click vote the first time! Poll Maker will limit voters to one visit per genre per day, so make sure your fans know if they want to choose more than one book, they must mark them all before voting. Voters can return to vote again each day. Voting will cease at midnight Central US time on Sept.11.
Then please, oh please return every day through Sept.10 to vote for my books. It would be so cool to win!

Here are my nominated books and the voting links:
SPIRITS OF WIND & FIRE      

Historical: http://goo.gl/zK9veq








           DREAMS OF FIRE & RAIN
 


LEGACY OF BLOOD & FIRE










KEY CONNECTIONS


Novella/Short Story: http://goo.gl/6zVg5y

Thank you all for your patience and your votes from Sept 1st through the 10th!

Happy reading,

~Jude

04 June 2016

Addressing Amazon's eBook Return Policy

I am reprinting, with permission, my author friend Linda Rettstatt's recent blog post about Amazon's ebook return policy. As my son just informed me, it is INHERENT in this self-absorbed, entitled generation to believe that everything on the Internet should be free: free information, free music, free art work, free fucking everything. Well guess what, duckies? Ain't NUTHIN' in this life that's free, and you will someday, somehow reap the rewards of stealing other people's work, be it books, music, or term papers. Karma is a bitch, and though it may be an exercise in futility, I will personally call you out on your thievery, especially when you download an ebook, read it, and then return it to Amazon. If you want to read a book and return it, go to the fucking library. 

All right, here is Linda's far more gracious post:

As authors, we want our readers to be happy with the books they purchase. We work hard to craft stories that will engage and satisfy the reader. We recognize that, occasionally, a reader purchases a book that does not meet their standards or hopes and they want a refund. Okay, that shouldn't be a big problem.

But it is a problem with the current return policy at Amazon.com with regard to ebooks. They basically treat an ebook like any other product and allow up to seven (7) days for return. Now let's be honest folks, most of us can read an ebook in seven days. And I have, to my horror, seen people openly post on Facebook that they repeatedly purchase ebooks, read them, and then return them for a refund. Surely anyone with an ounce of sense knows how wrong this is. I recently checked and found that a short story of mine that is 19 pages long and sells for 99 cents had two returns. Really? Now I can understand if you accidentally purchase the same story twice. But it doesn't take more than seven days to read 19 pages. If it does, you have a bigger problem.

I decided to take the bull by the horns (though it might end up being much like Don Quixote battle windmills) and address this with Amazon's Senior Counsel and Senior Manager of Customer Services. I'm posting the letter I sent (sans names) in hopes that it will encourage my fellow authors and possibly even some readers who see the impracticality of this return policy to likewise address this issue.

* * *
I am an author published through KDP and with CreateSpace on Amazon.com. I am writing to you regarding the return policy Amazon currently has in place for Kindle ebooks. Your policy currently reads in part as follows: Books purchased from the Kindle Store can be returned within seven days of purchase.

I personally think that a seven day return on an ebook is much too long. You generally know within reading a small percentage of a book that you don’t like it. I recently reviewed my sales and found a short story that is 19 pages long and sells for $ .99 and had two returns. Let’s be realistic. It does not take seven days to read 19 pages. Authors are facing an uphill battle with this every day. I have personally observed people on Facebook proudly announcing that they purchase ebooks, read them, and then return them before the seven days have expired.

I am begging Amazon to please review and revise your return policy with regard to ebooks. I know Amazon has the capability to track the percentage of the book that’s read. There should be no reason for anyone to not know 10% into a book if they don’t like it or have already read it. By allowing such great flexibility with a return policy, you are allowing readers to essentially steal our property.

It seems to me that your return policy for ebooks is based on a general product return policy. But ebooks are not the same as other products such as purchasing a vacuum cleaner or a pet carrier. I feel that Amazon is showing disregard for the authors who list our books with you and are being driven by the desire to only please the customer. There has to be a balance in place.

Tell me this: If you worked for the past two weeks and, when it was time to be paid, Amazon said, “We’re not going to pay you. We changed our minds about the work you did,” would you be happy? Would you think that’s fair? This current ebook return policy is no different.

I am realistic enough to recognize that Amazon is the driving force behind self-publishing today. What I am asking for is that Amazon show a little more respect for the authors who use their service. We have enough to do to battle piracy sites out their trying to give our work away. We don’t need Amazon to be doing the same thing under the guise of a return policy that does not fit the product.

Please take this into consideration and find a fairer way of allowing people who purchased an ebook twice, got a defective file, or realized a few pages in they didn’t like the book to return it without giving them free reign to read the whole thing and get a refund, thus shorting the author out of their due. I’m sure Amazon has the ability, both intellectually and digitally, to come up with a reasonable solution to this issue.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,
Linda Rettstatt
Author, Writing for Women

18 May 2016

Gonga Deals this week!

I'm running a promotion this week for the Dragon & Hawk saga.  Legacy of Blood & Fire had its official release date on May 15th, and since this is also my birthday month, let's celebrate!




Starting May 18th, Spirits of Wind & Fire will be featured in an Amazon KINDLE countdown:
May 18:  99 cents
May 19:  $ 1.99
May 20:  $ 2.99
May 21:  $ 3.99
May 22: Regular price of $ 4.99 resumes

Please note these are only for Kindle format ebooks. The paperbacks are regular price.




For an even better deal from May 18-21, Book Two, Dreams of Fire & Rain will be a FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD.






The entire trilogy is now available in both ebook and paperback formats. It has been a true labor of love to compose, revise, and re-edit this saga. If you've read any or all of these books, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads. Reviews are a great way to support your local authors and give them a smile now and then.





On to other Works in Progress this summer, then who knows? Perhaps my original idea of a five-book saga may still take shape... after all, the Great San Francisco Earthquake looms on the horizon, as does the Mexican Revolution, World War I, and the Deportation of Bisbee.  I'm sure Reyna and Evan will let me know. 

Happy Reading and Writing, 

~Jude




27 April 2016

Working on Revisions

As many of you know, I have been revising my Dragon & Hawk trilogy after regaining my rights. The titles have been changed, mainly because I wanted to make the series coherent as a group. Since much of the story deals with Reyna Montoya Svenson Jones (try saying that three times fast after a couple of margaritas!) and her skills as a curandera, I wanted the titles to reflect her unbreakable connection to nature. Even when the saga moves to the next generation, she is still a powerful influence.

Will this confuse the readers? Hopefully not. I clearly state these books are the THIRD edition of the story. What a journey they have had! Initially self-published, then picked up by a publisher, and now back to independent publication, they've been edited by at least four different people. Also, on each cover I have added this is book one, book two, etc. so people can read them in sequential order.

Why republish the same books? As I gained experience, I certainly hope my writing has improved. Tightening the prose, taking out some extraneous wordage, and clarifying scenes makes these editions better. At least, that's my goal. The covers are now obviously linked as a series also.

Originally, I wanted to have all three books out by the end of April, but as I listened to what you, the readers, have told me, I've added a couple of glossaries to the first two books. Book Three is now in its final revision and cover construction stage. I hope to have it in print by mid-May, but it will be out on Kindle sooner.

What takes so long if you're just repackaging the books? It's more than repackaging--it's nearly a total rewrite in some places. Book Two (previously Celtic Fire, Desert Rain / Our of Forgotten Ashes) needed further explanation as to how two people who love one another so deeply could not communicate.  Book Three, (previously Dragon's Blood /  Dragon's Legacy) needed stronger connection to the first two, and some unnecessary wordage removed. My Beta Reader has it now and will inform me as to whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. Fingers crossed, please.

In any case, it's been a wonderful ride with the Joneses. It's not over. Not by a long shot, but now they look and feel like a cohesive series to me. I hope readers will tell me what they think.

Happy Writing,

~Jude

01 April 2016

"Real Writers Don't Self-Publish"

An excellent blog post about the snobbery some people exhibit toward independent / self published authors. As the target of numerous snotty sniffs from so-called "established authors" (who, for all intents and purposes, basically wrote captions to illustrations or photos, but they were "real writers"-- gag), I found this post to be SPOT ON:

Real Writers Don’t Self-Publish

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 8.21.53 PM
One of the things I love about doing what I do is that I have the ability to connect so closely with you guys and speak on the topics that matter to you. Yesterday, a fellow writer shared an article from The GuardianFor me traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way. She wanted my take on what the author had to say.
All right.
For those who’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, I hope I’ve been really clear that I support all paths of publishing (vanity press doesn’t count).
All forms of publishing hold advantages and disadvantages and, as a business, we are wise to consider what form of publishing is best for our writing, our work, our goals, our personality, etc. But my goal has always been to educate writers so they are making wise decisions based off data, not just personal preferences.
We don’t self-publish because all our friends are doing it and we think we can make a million dollars fast cash. But, at the same time, we shouldn’t hold out for traditional out of some misguided idea that self-publishing/indie isn’t for “real” authors and that traditional publishers are somehow going to handhold us.
The author of this article has the right to publish as she sees fit. I am all for empowering authors and trust me, Iknow that self-publishing gets a bad rap for good reasons. I am not blind to all the book spam and authors who write ONE book and camp on top of it for the next five years selling to anyone who looks at them.
But there were some egregious errors in many of the article’s assertions that I’d like to address so that your decision is based of reality not an opinion piece. I won’t address them all today for the sake of brevity, but here were the major ones that jumped out at me.
Read the rest of the VERY INFORMATIVE post here:

Happy Writing, 
~Jude

23 March 2016

The Little Joys of Life

Newscasts from any source are depressing as hell these days. Between the apparent demise of decorum in political debates (yes, once upon a time such a thing did exist) and world events, it is extremely tempting to dig a deep hole, crawl in, and pull the dirt in over one's head. This year's election slate of presidential candidates is, to quote a meme on Facebook, akin to choosing which STD you'll prefer to contract. Gah.



So one needs to observe and embrace joy in all the little areas of life. It is springtime in the desert, with wildflowers blooming everywhere in a glorious riot of color.  Blue palo verde trees are also blossoming like giant bouquets of daffodils dotting the landscape. Green palo verdes will burst into flower in another couple of weeks. Hedgehog cactus now dot yards and lots with brilliant purples, pinks, and cheerful shades of orange. The hummingbirds and drunk on nectar, and the quail are running rampant as they hunt for prime hidey-hole nesting spots.









I had the honor of having two great friends help me at the Phoenix Caledonian Society's Highland Games last week. Raelene "Minion Mayhem" Ruiz, Sara "Minion Mamamamama" Boland, and Sara's delightful son, Colton (aka The Bug) made the heat seem just about tolerable, even though it was closer to 100 degrees than 90.


I have written about Colton before, in support of Down Syndrome Awareness.  At just a few months shy of three years old, The Bug is into lots of mischief, loves to share Cheerios, and--like every other two-year-old--lets his displeasure be undeniably known. He is adorable and laughs easily, especially when tickling feet:




Life is better with minions of all ages!



 He is a very tolerant child for his age, from long rides in the truck to hanging out with his mom and her crazy friends in the Welsh League of Arizona booth. He got to see some cool dogs, eat bunny crackers, and ride the light rail for the first time. Even hot and tired, he didn't fuss more than one would expect for a two-year-old. Hell, I think I whined about the heat more than he did.





So even if the world seems to be ripping itself apart and people running for President act worse than five-year-olds fighting over toys, there is still joy to be found in desert flowers, bunny crackers, and a wonderful baby's laugh.

Happy writing, 

~Jude