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The Final Step That Never Ends

Truth in Advertising: My hair is no longer this color! Over the last few months, I've written about how I came to self-publish and what I do in that process. Once your cover is great, your MS is perfect (we hope), and your formatting is set for whichever sites you plan to present on, there's just promo left to do...always...forever...eternally.  A person trying to make a living by writing has to promote. Those who aren't (like me) do as much as we choose. Writers understand that promoted books, (often books that aren't as good as yours) will sell, while unpromoted books mean that no one even knows you've got a new one out there. We begin promo long before a book is available for sale. We talk about it online. We do cover reveals. We offer samples. We try to get bloggers interested enough to feature the book. We solicit reviews. Add standing on our heads and screaming, "IT'S MY NEW BOOK!" and you have some idea. The biggest problem is that no one kno

Are You in Panic Mode Yet?

 It's two days until Christmas. You have someone to buy for. Maybe you forgot. Maybe that person is difficult to buy for. Maybe you feel like the trite gift card is just too...trite for this person. You're desperate. How about a book? No, it probably won't arrive before Christmas, but you could present the description and cover art, creating anticipation for that 'something nice' that will arrive later, when things have calmed down a little. Each book is a personal choice, but there are so many to choose from, so many great hours of enjoyment to come. And if it happens to be one of mine, well, you'll make another person happy. Bonus! Find all my books (and Maggie's too)  https://www.amazon.com/Peg-Herring/e/B002JK5FKY https://books2read.com/pegherring/

Book Clubs Take Note: Discussion Guide: Sister Saint, Sister Sinner

  When I sent Sister Saint, Sister Sinner to my editor, she was (as usual) helpful about pointing out areas that needed more development, parts that repeated information already given, and places where the logic  temporarily failed. At the end, she made a comment that stuck with me: "People are going to be talking about the things you deal with in this book." To me, that meant the story was destined for book clubs. Having visited a few in my years of writing, I knew that they often begin with a list of discussion topics. Now, they often don't stay focused on them, and that's okay. Sometimes it's the wine. Sometimes it's a natural progression. But discussion leaders like having questions that can get the conversation back on track when it strays too far from the story. Every person who reads a book gets something out of it that no one else does. I had the experience once of visiting a book group where one reader didn't like the book and kept bringing up her

Which Book Was That?

 It happens to me sometimes. A reader mentions a character or a scene in one of my books, and it takes me a second to find it in my memory. Oh, right, Caroline, the protagonist in Somebody Doesn't Like Sarah Leigh. I remember her--kind of. https://books2read.com/u/4AgVOq The thing is, authors move on. We have new ideas. We dream up new people. But there's no way to tell when a reader will find a book, read it, and get excited for more. My first book was published in 2006. I just saw online where someone ordered it. Yay...but how much of Macbeth's Niece do I even remember? https://books2read.com/u/m0xYdY My newest book, Deceiving Elvera, released on Friday. There are ads for it everywhere, and the introductory price is a bargain, so readers are talking about it. One beta reader suggested I could make it a series. Um, no. Some books are meant to be stand-alones, and this one is...big-time. https://books2read.com/u/38RZoB The other day a fan wrote to say she wished Maggie P

...and Then the Monsters Showed Up

I'm not a big reader of science fiction , but I love it when it's well done. (Michael Crichton comes to mind.) Good sci-fi writers explore interesting social questions while constructing cool plots about things that haven't happened...yet. My complaint with SF is that all too often the story ends with "and now we must kill the aliens before they kill us." The last few chapters are the all out battle for the survival of our species, with lots of things blowing up and gallons of green blood spilt. That's not my thing. In the most recent example I read, the story began well, with questions about how time travel would actually work and what the resulting physical and mental problems might be, but it ended up with monsters pouring out of the portal and lots of shooting. We started with questions and ended with an arcade game. SF isn't the only predictable genre, which is why genre fiction has a bad name with literary folks. Who hasn't started a romance

Free Books and All That

I'm kind of bad at selling things (which is odd because my dad was a used car salesman. He wasn't the stereotypical one, though, and worked hard to find the best car for the money for each customer.) Anyway, even with years of watching people sell things to other people, I can't make myself tell readers that my books are amazing and will change their lives. Nor can I follow the advice of one writer I met who said, "When people come up to your table at a signing, shove the book at them so they have to take it into their hands. They'll be embarrassed to put it down, so they'll buy it." Really? I'd be embarrassed to be that pushy. So here's the deal. It's the holiday season and people are looking for gifts. If you know a mystery reader, you might consider giving one of my books. I've listed below the first in each series, and I'm giving the Kindle versions away over the next month on Amazon. I won't hide my motive: if a person re

The Bitter End

Not me. My hero, Dorothy Parker I posted on Facebook the other day that each book I write comes to the point where I'd like to tell the reader, "I've brought you this far, now you finish it!" I was surprised to read in the responses I got that it's been done. Can't imagine reading a whole book and being left in the lurch like that. As one respondent pointed out, "As the author, you know the characters better than anyone else. You have to tell us what happens to them." Yes, it's the author's responsibility to sort out the mess she's created. Still: 1) I'm tired of them at that point. Like one's children, an author loves her characters, but there are times when she'd like to love them from a galaxy far, far away. 2) Some readers won't be satisfied. I've heard from some who wanted more romance (okay, sex) between the characters to end the book. One reader complained that a certain character would never have given