Murder Mystery

We’ve been so busy with Gunning Down Romance we’ve fallen behind on Real Life. On the 18th, our mate Ryan’s mum, Theresa, hosted a murder mystery evening to celebrate our 29th birthday, which was on the 17th. The theme was 1942 Casablanca. We’d never attended one but had always wanted to. We were so excited. Lynx was playing Otto Von Pinklewurst (no laughing in the back) a mad, fanatical Gestapo officer with a venomous hatred of mime artists. Cat was playing Nicole Le Grandbutte, an 18 yr old Resistance helper who was having an on/off affair with Pierre Paysanski, a poet (played by Ryan, Cat’s ex). It all took place round the dinner table. We’ve never been so civilised!  Everyone was given scripts and some of us had clues that we had to reveal. It was so much fun, even if the accents would never win an Oscar.

The killer turned out to be a pair. We were hoping we were the killers as we have a hatred for mime artists. They’re creepy. Like silent clowns. *Shuddering.* Seeing as they’re overly fond of the whole ‘glass box’ mime, they can try miming their way out of a glass coffin. Then we hoped it would be Ryan so we could see that murdering scumbag dragged out in handcuffs. Sadly not. Theresa and her sister were the culprits, though Otto Von Pinklewurst was the prime suspect as he spent the dinner calling for the death of all mime artists. Never thought we’d agree with an insane Nazi…

We definitely recommend people do a murder mystery event. It’s fun, you get to dress up, play a character and accuse the dirty lowlives at the party of committing heinous crimes.

Our next guest blogger will be the lovely L K Jay, author of The Ghost Hunters Club, so don’t forget to drop by and say hi.

Welcome Julie A Lindsey

We are very excited today because one of our favourite people on Twitter, Julie A Lindsey has agreed to board this sinking ship. If you don’t follow Julie on Twitter, why the hell not? She’s hilarious, delectable (NOT a pervert, despite rumours 🙂 ) and a little crazy. Ok, a lot crazy, but that’s what makes her so much fun. So, welcome Julie, have a seat *moving a cat off and brushing off the hair* have some coffee – there’s a whole barrel for you. Ooh, and have a biscuit.

Hi! *waves wildly from Ohio* I’m all bouncy and happy to be here! This blog post took some serious work! I wrote it once and saved it nice and safely on my old laptop, then kissed it good night and planned to send it to you when you were ready for it.

Then my computer died.

I never backed my stuff up.

Buh-bye.

And so I have no idea what form my brilliance took last go, but it takes more than a complete loss of everything I have ever written to get me down. LOL. I’ll just write you a new, better, more fabulous post! Ha! Let my old dead computer suck on THAT.

I thought I’d tell you a horrifying real true story about one of my millions of rejections.  All writers get rejected and I have been rejected like a champion. But one stings a little more than all the others. Here it is.

I entered a contest and won a partial critique from an agent’s assistant I followed on twitter. (Serious. Get on twitter people. If you aren’t there you are missing out for reals). So, lucky-ducky me, I was polishing my very first (and last) paranormal romance. I had an in person pitch session with a big time editor at one of the big publishing houses coming up and this was the *perfect* opportunity to get some real agent-ish feedback before my pitch.

So I sent it and I waited.

A while later I received my first three chapters, covered in comments and track changes and commentary, none of which was good. In the email she said she liked my voice (I have an engaging personality, what can I say?) BUT perhaps paranormal and romance and especially paranormal romance was an area I should avoid. Ouch.

My story was basically this: A girl fell in love with a demon – fallen angel – you got that right? Okay so when she discovered he was a demon, she fled. He tracks her down because he’s learning to love again (corny and cliché’ I know now) and she keeps running. In the opening scene he’s found her and she’s singing in a church choir (hoping to redeem herself from having been with a demon) and he’s watching her…thinking the things a demon might think when he finds her in the choir loft looking all sweet and innocent.

Agent Assistant called me a pervert and asked me who my target audience was? Catholic priests? (because they get a bad rep for being pervs) but not them cause they like little boys. I don’t know…It’s probably still in my email somewhere and I’m half tempted to look for it and send it your way. Personally, I thought the scene was hawt, but as I already told you…I am apparently a pervert.

I cried rivers of tears after that. There’s no coming back from pervert. The way I saw it, I could either embrace it or run. I ran.  So, I don’t think about it more than I have to anymore and I will never attempt another pararom.

Today I write sweet romances for the Turquoise Morning Press’ new line of books called Honey Creek. Honey Creek books center around a small rural town in Ohio and I have three short sweets coming this year in my Seeds of Love series.  My first title, Bloom, is out now! I have never told anyone about my perverted writing LOL and now the whole world could know because I love you guys so much I had to share!

I hope you’ll visit Honey Creek. It’s a beautiful place where anything can happen. Kick off your shoes, relax into that porch swing and cuddle up to a steamy mug of cider. Taking a trip to Honey Creek is as easy as Amazon : ) See you there!

Bloom by Julie Anne Lindsey

In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future…

Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one.  Now Cynthia’s come home, and these two hardened hearts can’t stop arguing. If they’d only take a break long enough to find some common ground, they might be surprised to find love can grow anywhere.

If they’ll let it, love will find a way to Bloom.

*Bloom is book one in my new Seeds of Love series.  I’ll be planting those seeds all year.

Buy it here! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00736DKQA/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&tag=musfrotheslup-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00736DKQA

About Julie:

I am a mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you’ll find me online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.

You can find my blogging about the writer life at Musings from the Slush Pile

Tweeting my crazy at @JulieALindsey

Reading to soothe my obsession on GoodReads

And other books by me on Amazon

Romance is Dead

Gunning Down Romance has now been out a week */* are we bestsellers? No. Are we charging up the rankings? Er, no. But we’re tobogganing down them at Olympic Gold winning speed. Are you surprised? Hell no. We didn’t go into this with rosy dreams of becoming the next JK Rowling, because we know her level of success and fortune is incredibly rare in the writing world. She’s just the one you hear about. For the rest of us, we’re lucky if we can make enough to live on. Though we’re not even doing that. Hell, we haven’t even made enough to pay off the £15 we spent on images for the book trailer! Do we care? Not especially. We’ve been making our own books since we were 12. We did it then for the love of writing. 17 years later, nothing’s changed. Well, our writing has improved tremendously (we hope) and our books are no longer bound with plastic rings with childish drawings on the cover (mainly ‘cos we didn’t draw the cover :D)

The book is still pending approval to Smashwords’ Premium Catalogue. We’re beginning to think they took one look at us and escaped out the toilet window. *looking around* guess we’re paying the bill then. Things have quietened down now and we’re back to doing the edits on Soul Asylum. We’ve currently cut a further 8000 words from it. The learning curve for Gunning Down Romance was stressful and a little complicated. At times it felt like our brains would actually explode because they were so full. And now that it’s all over, we can’t wait to do it again. We’re desperate to release Soul Asylum and our fairytale collection. We’ve been working on those stories for a while now, we take a break and suddenly, there’s fairytale adaptations everywhere! TV series, films, books. They stole our idea! We really need to find those chips the government implanted in our minds. They’re just downloading everything we think of and making it into films. Aw crap. *Hurriedly buying Men in Black mind wiping device* really do NOT want to see THAT on the big screen 😉

 

The hilarious Julie Lindsey will be coming on this blog on Thursday and the amazing Indie author L K Jay will soon be making a guest appearance. We’ll make sure to have the biscuits ready

Failure to Launch

*Cue creepy astronaut’s voice* “Smashwords, we have a problem.” Yesterday Smashwords was down. All day. So we couldn’t publish Gunning Down Romance. Amazon released it a day early, Smashwords a day late. So our big Valentine’s launch did not happen on Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the link https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/132849

New users to the site will have an adult filter automatically on so go to the bottom of the page and switch it off or you won’t be able to find our book without the direct link *pointing above* it’s pending approval for the premium catalogue so expect a ranting blog if it doesn’t get in 😉

Gunning Down Romance

Gunning Down Romance is out today! Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8BYiu3PRTE then buy the book here if you’re from the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gunning-Down-Romance-ebook/dp/B0078KYG3W/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1329228772&sr=1-2 or here if you’re from America, Canada or Australia http://www.amazon.com/Gunning-Down-Romance-ebook/dp/B0078KYG3W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329232210&sr=8-1

The run up to launch day has not gone smoothly. Last week, we uploaded it to Smashwords for a trial run, to see if the formatting was correct. While we were busy with our veggie dinner, it completed the upload, went live & 2 people downloaded the free sample. We were sorely tempted to send golems after them to get it back, but in the end, we quickly unpublished it. Then there was that ugly incident at the bank. Yesterday, we decided to upload the book to Amazon. According to Amazon, it can take between 24 & 48 hours to be available for sale. So we uploaded it at 10a.m. Four hours later, it was on sale. A DAY EARLY! We desperately looked for an unpublish or hide button, but it would take 24 hours to unpublish, which would be launch day. Cursing Amazon and trying to resist the urge to crumple into sobbing balls, we kept quiet. It was the equivalent of a major dock party to wave off the Titanic only for all the guests to gather on the jetty to find the ship has already set sail and hit the iceberg.

On to launch day. We uploaded a book launch video to YouTube, ready for our big launch event on Facebook at 10a.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=687ChQmUP0I Except it took an hour to upload and we were late to our own launch. (The video itself took three hours to shoot because we had to keep changing the zoom and in one of the shoots all you could hear was one of our cats, Ebony, arguing with next door’s cat. It was -1C and our mum forbade us to wear our hoodies in our summerhouse outside because they ruined the effect of our outfits. So we spent the entire shoot trying not to shiver.) Back to today – after cleaning out the animals (the lives of writers are very glamorous) we headed to the pub with our mum, sister and niece, with the intention of uploading to Smashwords. Except Smashwords is DOWN! It has crashed on our big launch day. Is this the most disastrous launch in history? What else could possibly go wrong? At least a meteor hasn’t hit the Earth & wiped us out on launch day. *Peering up at the sky* no that is NOT an invitation.

Cheque please!

We are now so close to being indie authors we can feel it tingling on our tongues, like the first sweet taste of a new Red Bull. We are so excited we can barely keep still. After nothing but rejections since June, we’ll finally be able to see our work in print again. And we’ve done it all ourselves. We’ve learned how to format, how to do cover designs, make book trailers, how to upload to Amazon and Smashwords, how to confuse bank staff with international dealings.

We decided to test things out by uploading our book to Amazon and Smashwords to make sure the formatting was good. We’ve heard from other indie authors that Smashwords can be a nightmare so we wanted to be prepared. On Amazon, the answer was no. It had done weird things to some of the lines. After a brief strop and rant, we figured out what the problem was – we hadn’t uploaded it in HTML. Future note – upload to Amazon in HTML, to Smashwords in .doc. Problem solved. For Amazon you must put the account in your real name then once you’ve uploaded it, you click on Contributors and that’s where you put your pen name. That all caused a headache. We didn’t realise it went live on Smashwords immediately and before we’d had a chance to download and check it, two people had already downloaded the free sample. Panicking, we unpublished it and downloaded it in epub format to Adobe Digital Editions and to our Kindle app. Both look great 🙂 We’ve now shrunk the font and it’s all looking good. Seeing it in our Kindle app makes it so real, so exciting. Our mum is very impressed with what we’ve done. So are we. We can just about figure out Word!

But we knew it wouldn’t be that easy. The problem lies with Amazon’s royalty payments. As soon as our brains see numbers, they melt into a big pile of goo. Amazon give you the option of cheque or electronic transfer. We chose electronic transfer for Britain, spent ages hunting out our international bank account number and Bank Identifier Code then clicked on EFT for America. It asked for a routing number. We stared at the screen blankly before asking Google what it was. We spent ALL AFTERNOON Googling routing numbers. Apparently they’re something American banks have. We managed to find the routing numbers for almost every American branch of HSBC but none for the UK. So the next day we headed to HSBC. And utterly confused 3 members of staff, including the manager. They’d never heard of a routing number. To think they were probably having a nice easy day before we showed up in our Gothic clothes mumbling about international payments like we were rogue pirates trying to stash our booty in off-shore accounts. We were taken aside while the nice man in a suit searched the database. We helpfully told him he’d learned something new today. He said he’d be going home with a headache. We were there for half an hour. Cat’s phone text kept going off, blasting Alice Cooper’s Poison into the proceedings. In the end the manager gave the man a directory of numbers. From 2007. Our branch wasn’t listed. How we laughed. We left him confused and probably needing a good lie down then changed our Amazon option to ‘cheque.’ One problem – they only pay by cheque once your royalties reach $100. What if they never reach it? Do they withhold our money? Are we going to have to don our pirate dresses, grab our swords and steal back our booty? After scouring the KDP forums, we were none the wiser. No-one knows what happens. This seems totally unfair to those publishing outside America, who have no choice but to choose cheque payments.

Pirate dresses it is.

Book Trailer Win

We’ve managed to lock Scott back in his freezer, but because he shared our book trailer on Twitter, we now have to go capture a doctor for him. He wants Baked brain Alaska for tea. Why did we agree to this? Oh yes, because we wanted him to tweet about our book trailer. You read right. It’s done! You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8BYiu3PRTE let us know what you think.

With our book trailer out of the way, we could concentrate on formatting. We’ve been dreading it the same way people dread going to the dentist’s. We were expecting the pain and blood loss of a tooth extraction, but it was more like a check up. With no fillings 😀 Formatting isn’t as hard as we feared – there’s just a lot of steps. The best advice we can give is to download the Smashwords style guide. It explains every step in an easy to follow way. We then tried uploading it to Amazon, to see if there were any errors. There were – we hadn’t saved it in HTML format. So word of advice – for Amazon, save it as web page, filtered. For Smashwords, it’s .doc. We haven’t tried uploading it to Smashwords, but we will. That’s usually where the problems lie, if other authors are to be believed. We’ll upload it a few days before Valentine’s, just to give us breathing space to correct any formatting errors.