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

16 March 2016

Marching Onward

One thing I haven't done much of on this blog is share excerpts from my books. So today seems to be a good day to start!

This is one of my favorite scenes from Spirits of Wind & Fire, aka Dragon & Hawk Book One:

     Evan's stomach churned. He and his brothers moseyed a pitiful herd of skinny cattle across the road north of Bisbee. Their bandanas sat over their noses to block the cloud of dry, bitter dust the cattle stirred.
     For the tenth time, he considered their situation. This has to work. Improvise when opportunity knocks. Better than what we'd planned, has to be. Cattle will be a grand distraction. Right then, what have I forgotten? Damn that Alice and her "perfect spot." How would she know where to—?
     He watched Huw urge his horse to trot to crest a small rise, pause and return. "It's coming," he said, breathless as he rode up to Evan. "Just about to top the hill there."
     "O'r gorau." Evan nodded to Dylan to stay with the cattle blocking the way. He and Huw turned their horses, rode up to the stagecoach as it rolled to a stop. Their faces were hidden by the bandanas and their hats pulled low to shield their eyes from the hot sun.
     "How long you boys gonna take to move that herd?" the driver asked.
     "Well now," Huw drawled, "might could take us 'bout as long as it'll take you to hand over those moneybags you got in that chest up there."
     Evan drew his pistol, pointed at the Wells Fargo messenger, and motioned for him to throw down the shotgun. It thudded into soft dirt with a puff.
     "I cain't," Driver said.
     "Why not?" Huw aimed at the man’s face.
     "On accounta we was already robbed! All's left is a roll o'dimes."
     The messenger opened the money chest, tipped it over. One coin-roll teetered out of the darkness.
     "What!" Huw turned and looked at Evan, eyes wide over his bandana.
     "Yep, you boys gotcha some comp-ee-ti-shun 'bout five mile back." Driver spat tobacco past a mule's rump through his missing front teeth. "Bastids even took my watch."
     "Aw, shit!" Huw cursed in a loud whisper. "Do we wait here? When's the next?"
     Evan shook his head in disgust, flipped his pistol into its holster, and wheeled his horse around without a word.
     "Damn!" Huw followed suit, galloping hard to catch up with his brothers. Dylan had seen Evan's quick turn—the trouble signal—and startled the cattle into a stampede across the flats. Dust clouded fast and dark, hiding the stage—and so hid them.
     After a few miles, they turned the herd to head back where they'd found them, let them go, then turned their horses for Bisbee.
     "'Do we wait here?' 'When's the next?'" Evan whacked Huw across the shoulder with his cowboy hat. "Sweet Jesus, Huw! You’re a bloody idiot!"
     Dylan laughed, blue eyes sparkling in the sunset. Tears streamed from his eyes as he doubled up in his saddle. "'Pardon me,'" he wheezed, "'is the 3:15 what’s carrying gold on time? We'll wait to steal it, if you please.'"
     "What if he hadn't thrown that shotgun down?" Huw grinned. "I had no bullets."
     Dylan shook his head. "None of us did!"
     "Not bloody funny," Evan said, exasperated, but his eyes hinted at a smile.
     "Oh, but it is! C'mon, Evan, you have to admit it was a farce," Dylan cackled. "Lucky we found those cattle, though they were north of where we'd planned. Still, we're lucky no one's come looking for them…so far."
     Evan began to chuckle, and finally laughed. "Think that kinda luck lasts? Let's go before we're accused of rustling." He clapped Huw on the back. "At least you sounded like a real cowboy back there, brawd. Mind you now, we coulda used those dimes."
     Certain sure, he thought as he rode. Evan swallowed the sour contents of his stomach when he realized they were now left penniless—and more desperate than before.


Happy Reading, kids!
~Jude

29 February 2016

Dreams of Fire & Rain

Finally, Dreams of Fire & Rain (Dragon & Hawk Book Two) is now available via Amazon. This is the third edition of the Dragon & Hawk trilogy, definitely new and improved as each book is revised and re-edited.

Why new titles? Partly to ensure there is no problem with establishing the fact I have the rights back to my stories, and partly to tie the entire series together in a more coherent way.

I have to say, I adore the new book covers for this series. Dreams of Fire & Rain  is by "Mystic" via SelfPubCovers.com. If you are an indy author, check out their inventory. They have some absolutely beautiful creations.




This one took me quite some time to revise. I've learned much about my craft in the ten years since this was originally published as Celtic Fire, Desert Rain. The emotional intensity resonated as I re-read the story, and I hope the improvements I've made please my readers. I loved redoing this story. Did I mention how much I love the new cover? ha ha.

Now it's on to revising and editing Book Three, whose new title will be Essence of Blood & Fire. I hope to have everything ready and the book released by the end of March. Stay tuned.

Thank you all for being wonderful readers, encouraging fans, and marvelous humans.

Happy Writing,

~Jude

http://jude-johnson.com

22 February 2016

Get it Written Get it Published SEMINAR

Get it Written

Get it Published

A Gecko Gals Ink seminar

                   Saturday, April 16, 2016
9:30AM – 3:00PM
Viscount Suite Hotel
4855 East Broadway
Tucson, AZ

                        $30 includes lunch


Learn from experts how to finish your draft, polish it, and get it published.

Some people find the prospect of writing and getting published intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write something – a book, a story, articles, memoirs – but you’re not sure you can. Let us help! All you need is a little encouragement to get started – and that’s what you’ll find at this Gecko Gals Ink seminar.

For just $30.00, join us on Saturday, April 16, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to talk about some of the basics – and enjoy a chance to chat with fellow authors over the included lunch.

SEMINAR SCHEDULE

  9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.           Registration and Welcome
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.           Finish That First Draft
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.          The Right Format
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.          Lunch (included)
12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.            Passive Voice vs. Active Voice
  1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.            Publishing: Traditional, Self, and e-Book
  1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.            Popular Genres: How do you know where your story fits?
  2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.            Special Guest Presentation:
  Ms. Robin Peel, Marketing and Public Relations

Registration forms: download HERE or email Geckos@comcast.net

*Discounts available for EARLY BIRDS (before March 15) and previous Gecko seminar attendees.


DEADLINE to REGISTER APRIL 01, 2016

12 February 2016

Happy VD!

Happy Valentine's Day! What else did you think I meant?

This is not my favorite holiday, to be honest. Forcing someone to treat you with affection because it's expected from a commercial standpoint is rather silly. My favorite thing about Valentine's Day is the big chocolate sale on February 15th.

AMAZON LINK
So for those of you who who don't particularly enjoy all the implications that you need to have a significant other in your life to be considered a whole person, I'm giving you a little gift. All day Sunday, February 14th, through Monday, February 15th,  my short story collection,
Key Connections will be a free ebook. That way, after you hit the chocolate sales, you can curl up on your favorite chair to read and much to your heart's content.

For those of you who don't have Kindle or just hate dealing with Amazon, no worries. Simply use the email link on the upper right section of this page and I will send you a PDF of the book. Offer starts at midnight, February 14 and ends at 11:59PM on February 15, 2016.

Happy VD to all, and Happy Writing,

~Jude
http://jude-johnson.com 

18 January 2016

New Year, New Books!

Only halfway through the first month of the New Year...at least I got a post up now!

Now available on Amazon
Big news is the release of KAPOW! 2--Good Girls Edition only yesterday. KAPOW 2 picks up where the nefarious villain-esses left off as the Super Heroines kick into action! Ready now in paperback AND Kindle versions! POW! BAM! ZOWIE! Jump into the action-- and don't forget your cape!

The other big news is that I have re-edited Dragon & Hawk and the entire trilogy will be republished by Scorched Hawk Press. Book One is now titled Spirits of Wind & Fire. It will be available on Amazon shortly in both print and Kindle. I'm currently re-editing Book Two and Three, hoping to have them both ready to go by February. 

Watch this space for more information, and as always, if you've read anything of mine, please consider leaving a review. 
Happy Writing, 

~Jude