Category Archives: ebooks

A Very Austen Christmas

Book Launch Tomorrow!

A Very Austen Christmas - 3DIn early June, Laura and I broached the idea of an anthology to include all the authors of Jane Started It, along with our lovely friend, JAFF author Wendi Sotis. Susan Kaye, Pamela Aiden, and Gayle Mills originally intended to be a part of the project, but real life threw several hitches in their plans. Laura Hile, Barbara Cornthwaite, Wendi Sotis, and I kept the dream alive.

Tomorrow, that dream will be realized with the book launch of A Very Austen Christmas, hosted by Claudine Pepe at JustJane1813.  We are very much looking forward to reading Claudine’s review (our first one!), as well as chatting with our readers.

The kindle version is already available for pre-order (to be delivered tomorrow) on Amazon, and the print copy is live, though they are not yet linked together.

Does this sound tempting, lovely readers?

Four favorite authors, four heartwarming stories set in Jane Austen’s Regency world.

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite revisit Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park to deliver the uplifting holiday storytelling you’re looking for.

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm
Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance.

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile
It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way?

No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis
On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger?

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite
When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth …

A Very Austen Christmas - jpeg

The stories are arranged according to length. Mine is really a novella of 30K words, and Laura’s is 24K words. We have decided that we can’t write short stories (insert laugh). Wendi’s is 17K words and Barbara’s is 7K words. Curl up in your PJs with a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy the writing of four friends with quite different styles and story lines.

We hope that Sue, Pamela, and Gayle will be able to join us in our next anthology. (Yes, I just said next anthology!)


Writing Revolution

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

I’m in the very final stage of publishing my newest book, Understanding Elizabeth. Because it’s my seventh indie publishing effort, some steps are easier for me, but others have become more complicated.


My earliest writing (the Guardian Trilogy) consisted of outlining the basic plot, writing the chapters, sending my work to my betas, taking their corrections, posting on Beyond Austen (as well as Derbyshire Writer’s Guild, Darcy & Lizzy, Fanfiction, and Austen Underground), formatting, one final edit, and publishing.

I now understand that it is much easier to format as I write, so that isn’t the huge headache it used to be, but I have become much pickier (real word?) about my writing.

I rushed to publish my first six books, but with this latest one, I have taken six months between completing the writing of the story and publishing it. In addition to all the steps listed above (minus posting on all those forums except Beyond Austen), I have gone through six edits and rewrites. I finished the final rewrite yesterday, and I’m nearly ready to release my child to make her way in the world.

Today, I hope to put the book in the print template so I’ll have a page count for the cover designer. I also want to finish the formatting of the ebook version and send it to my very talented friend, author Wendi Sotis. She’s a wizard at all things tech, and she has the final look at my formatting.

With a little luck, I may publish the ebook Saturday. 

Exciting times!


Answered Prayer – Toby’s Dog Tale

Toby & LarryOn Thursday, October 8, I let our Yorkie Poo, Toby, out to do his business. Nothing unusual. Same routine for eleven years. However, after an hour, he hadn’t come back, so I called my husband. Larry came home and called him, but Toby still didn’t come. That afternoon, Larry biked over the whole neighborhood, combed the woods, called the Humane Society, and rode up and down roads looking for him. He put up a picture at our vet’s office, and I put it up on Facebook, both on my personal page and on the Lancaster Lost Pets page. Everyone knew Toby, because Larry had taken him to the Wee School at church, kayaking, and bike riding. Half the town was praying for Toby’s return.

Our daughter who lives in Japan e-mailed the local paper. It took her over a week, but she set up a lost pet ad. We had two calls from the ad, but both were wash outs. After nearly three weeks of looking out the door for him, praying for his return, and missing him, we were convinced he was either dead or taken. We thought we would never see sweet Toby again.

Around noon on Wednesday, October 28, nearly three weeks after he’d disappeared, I answered another phone call. The caller asked me the location of our home, and I replied that it was close to the Health Department. She replied that she had found a little Yorkie in the parking lot of the Health Department on Thursday a few weeks prior. The more we talked, the more convinced I became that she really did have Toby. I asked for her address and phone number, and she agreed to let me come get him.

I tried to call Larry, but his phone went to voicemail, so I headed for my car alone. I didn’t know the area, so I was a little hesitant to go by myself. He had ended up six miles from our house after the lady rescued him. As I was backing out of the garage, Larry called back, and I told him I was going to get Toby. He was, naturally, skeptical that it was actually Toby, but he agreed to let me meet him at the church. In a few minutes, we were on our way.

When she came to the door holding Toby, we could hardly believe it. Toby stared at us like he couldn’t believe it either. It was a joyous reunion.

Several things occurred to me. The lady told us that Toby was nearly hit by a car in that parking lot. Since he wasn’t wearing a collar, she took him home and cared for him. 1) We were fortunate that he was found by a caring person. 2) The lady didn’t have the internet, so she didn’t see anything I put on Facebook. 3) She wasn’t in our neighborhood, so when Larry talked to all of our neighbors, she had no way of knowing. 4) She lived six miles away in an area in which our church ministers during The Way every summer. 5) She normally didn’t buy newspapers, but she bought one that day to see if there was a lost pet ad about Toby. It was the last day the ad would run. Thank you, Mandy. We wouldn’t have thought to place the ad. 6) When the lady saw us, she recognized us. Her grandchildren attend the church’s AWANA program. I have two of them in my music large group time, and Larry has one in his Puggles group music.

There are too many coincidences for it to be coincidental.

For the record, Toby now wears a collar bearing his name and our phone number. Larry also put up a run for him. When he needs to go outside, I clip him to the run. We won’t lose him again.Toby kissToby snuggle

What I Have Done and Learned

4 H emblemThat title cracks me up. It was the name of the workbook we had to finish every year for 4-H Club in elementary school. My sisters and I used to laugh about it. I’m sure the wonderful 4-H people weren’t think of native rural Southern dialect. At least I hope not. “I’ve done gone and learned this!” “She’s done gone and got hitched!” “He’s done and learned how to play the geetar!”

But I digress. (How trite!)

I really have learned a great deal in the past two weeks. I always knew that nothing promotes an author’s books like writing another book, but I have actually proven it to myself. When I published Forever Yours, Yours by Design, Book 3, the other books in the series began to sell again. I’ve already started writing a new series which I hope to publish at the end of the summer.

I’ve also learned that having great betas (editors) is very important. People like the story, but many of them comment specifically on how well the books are edited. Readers are distracted by mechanical and grammatical errors, plot deviations, over-exposition, and stiff dialog. They want limited narrative sections and more interaction between the characters. They don’t like stumbling over extra words carelessly left in a passage after the author has edited.

book banner

Better covers attract more readers. With the advent of smart phones and Kindle Fire, even e-book readers get that cover, and a great cover just jumps out of that library. I like color and drama – in book covers. Not so much in life.

Which series would you buy? This set which doesn’t match?

Or would you prefer this set which does?Accidentally Yours kindle cover

Pricing is a great big hairy deal. I don’t pay more than $5.00 for an e-book (unless it’s a runaway best seller), so I don’t charge more than $4.99. As an indie author, I can’t control the price of my print books. I make the books cost as little as I can, and I put them in the Kindle Match program.

Sincerely Yours, KDP coverForever Yours, KindleIf the reader buys a print copy, she gets a Kindle copy free. To me, that’s fair. People have gotten away from having shelves full of books. Open concept modern design is all the rage, and stacks of dusty books don’t fit into that design scheme. I view it as a great compliment readers buy a print copy of my book. They are allowing my work to take up precious space in their homes.

Good formatting is essential. I don’t like to read books in which the font types and sizes are all over the place. I stopped reading a book that I really liked because the font was so huge it was distracting, even when I adjusted it as much as I could in my smartphone. There are also tricks regarding ellipses and dashes which indie authors (and traditional publishers) should learn and use so that there aren’t big chunks of space at the ends of lines. The look should be uniform throughout all the books of a series. I made those mistakes on my first series (The Guardian Trilogy) but corrected them in my second (Yours by Design). One day I’ll go back to The Guardian Trilogy, do new covers, and reformat, but that will have to wait.

I accept that there will be people who don’t like my work. I accept that some of those people will give me bad, even unfair and cruel, reviews. Most of those people have never written a book, and they have no idea how difficult it is. I’m a freight train, and I refuse to let those people derail me.

In writing, sure and steady wins the race. I’m not the type of writer who can churn out a book every two months. That saps my creativity. However, I rarely take a break from writing. I write, edit, rewrite, edit, and continue the cycle until I have something I would enjoy reading myself.

If you are a fledgling writer, hang in there. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give up.”

Incidentally, don’t forget to enter the Forever Yours giveaway!

FREE today on Kindle — Shadows in a Brilliant Life

Shadows in a Brilliant Life - Susan Kaye

Shadows in a Brilliant Life – Susan Kaye

I’m posting this everywhere I can think of so you won’t miss out.

Because this is Captain Wentworth as only our own Susan Kaye can write him, FREE on Kindle today. Only this time he’s rather more sinister.

Will Anne escape the Captain’s dishonorable scheme?

This is just the thing for a ‘Frederick Break’ at work.

Here’s the link to Amazon. Enjoy!

“Hey, you wanna buy a book?”

If you love the insider dirt on book sales and why publishers, sellers,


and even authors are losing control of the marketplace, read Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s, Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

From the post: “In the past, publishers have gotten in the way by no longer publishing an author or canceling an on-going series. Then readers might notice that the publisher has done this to a favorite author. But usually the reader writes to the author asking why she discontinued a series, and the author then points to her publisher.  The reader might or might not write to the publisher to complain, but even if the reader does, the publisher doesn’t care. The publisher made a business decision long ago, and really doesn’t plan on revisiting that decision no matter how many readers say they will buy the books.

Keep this fact in mind: Readers don’t notice publishers. Readers only notice writers. Readers will buy a writer’s next book no matter who publishes it.

But most of the statistical measures of book sales track book sales by publisher.”

Who’s minding the store now?

Take care–Susan Kaye

Flipping the light switch

So, Amazon halted all, and I was able to replace the wonky manuscript with a nonwonky one. It’s not ready for purchase yet but is “publishing” which is amazon’s way of saying that it is migrating through their system.

If you were one of the two unfortunates who bought the first run, you can download again and it should come out fine.

I think I have figured out what the problem is. It is something that may be endemic to MS Word in general, or just the ancient copy I use. One day I will spring for a newer model, just like a new computer, but it will not be this day, as Aragorn says in Return of the King.

Anyway, thanks for travailing with me.

Have a great weekend.

Take care–