Amazon Paperback Giveaways and Growing Twitter

Hi authors! I’m not dressing up this post with pictures and frills. This is business! If you’ve been trying to grow your Twitter following, this post is for you.

Amazon has a new program for authors of paperbacks. Scroll to the bottom of your Amazon paperback page, underneath your reviews. You’ll see “Set up an Amazon Giveaway.”

Here’s how it works:

You can offer as many books as you’d like, keeping in mind you have to pay retail price + shipping + applicable tax. You can set up the giveaway in two ways. 1) first come, first serve. Don’t pick that one. Or 2) offering your book to a lucky number (entrant). You can require your entrants follow you on Twitter. If you choose option 2, click “lucky number” and the button to connect to your Twitter account, select the winning entrant from 2-50,000, enter the number of books you’re giving away. The giveaway will run for one week. You cannot change the dates.

MATH: I know what you’re thinking – if I give away 5 books, 1 to every 20th entrant, I’ll get at least 100 new Twitter followers. No, no, no, think bigger. That’s what I did the first time and the 5 books were gone in less than a half hour. Yes, I got just shy of 200 Twitter followers, but the giveaway was over before I even told my Facebook people to enter. Set it up for a BIGGER number. If you give a book away to every 1000th follower, you would get 5000 Twitter followers! FIVE THOUSAND. It’s taken me two years to get to eight thousand. Maybe even go bigger if you’ve got the guts! You need to fill out three short blurbs, one to announce the giveaway, one for the people who didn’t win, and one to congratulate the winners. The contest is instantaneous. The entrant learns if they’ve won or not at that moment, so they’re not going to put off buying your book because they want to wait and see if they’ve won. I filled out the forms like so: Enter to win one of five paperbacks of XYZ. – Sorry, you didn’t win this time, but stay tuned for future giveaways. – Congratulations, you’re the winner! Enjoy XYZ and please check out all my books.

WORK: The cool thing is that Amazon does all the work. They contact the winners. They ship the books. You do nothing! It costs more than hosting a giveaway yourself, but when’s the last time you got 5000 Twitter followers from your giveaway?

MONEY: My paperback sells for $9.99, so my total cost for 5 books with shipping and my Tennessee tax was about $82. I got $13 back in royalties from CreateSpace AND I got credit for the sales in my Amazon rankings.

THE PIS DE RESISTANCE: If you don’t give away all your books in the allotted week, Amazon will return your unused money.

If you try it, let me know your outcome. We’re all in this together. 🙂

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Plundering the Romance Novel by Ionia Martin

51t2fcaBeRL._SX383_BO1,204,203,200_I just finished reading the funniest book I’ve read in a long time. I trotted over to Amazon to leave a review. In their little pop-up, they asked me if there was sexual content in the book. I’m not sure how to answer that question, so I left it blank.

I will say, though, that this book is short, sweet, and hilarious. It is told by the hero, narrator, author, and your choice of two heroines. You can tell them apart by the color of their flowing locks. Watch out for the potato sack race which had me spitting my drink onto my Kindle. A MUST-READ for any romance fan or writer…especially writer. I encourage all of my author friends and anyone who loves a good romance novel to go get this book…TODAY…RIGHT NOW. Click HERE. If you hate romance novels, you’ll like it even more.

It is written by our friend and fellow blogger Ionia Martin from Readful Things. Below is her blurb that I copied from Amazon, and make sure you stop by her blog. I linked it above for your convenience.

Description: A silly, satirical romp into the land of romance novels and pirate adventures, full of romance clichés and humour. This book is a short novella, just over 10k words.

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the minds and hearts of romance novel heroes and heroines? No? Good, because this book won’t be helpful with that at all.

If romance clichés drive you mad and you like Monty Python style humour, this may be the perfect book for you.

From the twisted mind of a sometimes writer and lifelong reader, you are certain to have less brain cells than you started with after reading this book.

Captain Stormy is the typical romance hero/villain archetype. He follows the Romance Hero Handbook to the letter, but he is about to figure out that nothing in his guidebook is going to prepare him for the trials he’s about to face.

Uncooperative heroines, lack of treasure, severely delayed sex scenes, a missing crew and an old man’s butt cheeks later, Stormy has a story to tell you.

Even pirates have bad days.

*contains some mature themes and language

New Release! “John Culpepper the Merchant”

51hHerBrPbL._UY250_If you’ve been following along, I’ve been writing a four-book series on 17th century John Culpepper who was my 10th great-grandfather. He was born in 1606 in Kent, England and was trained as a lawyer in his youth, but his greatest desire was to command a ship. Against his father’s wishes, when he was in his twenties, he purchased a ship, and his father never spoke to him again. His childhood story is told in the first book of the series, “I, John Culpepper.”

The Merchant ebookMy new release, the second book “John Culpepper the Merchant,” begins in 1642 and follows John to the colony of Virginia, but it more-or-less leaves him there as England finds itself in an uproar. The King had been angering his citizens with his religious antics since he took the throne in 1625, and the citizens had had enough. Parliament began fighting back and effectively split the country in two – the parliamentarians vs. the royalists. As civil war raged on, John returned over and over, but by the time he reached his wife and family, the fighting had usually died down. By the time he returned to Virginia, it had started back up again.

While everyone hoped the bloodshed would soon end, the members of Parliament, namely Oliver Cromwell, had other plans. He wanted to take over the country, he wanted the king dead, he would stop at nothing. After the king’s surrender, kidnapping, trial, and ultimately, his execution, the royalists found themselves at the mercy of Cromwell, and John had only one choice. He had to return to England under the cloak of darkness and rescue his family from certain death. It’s a good thing he had a ship and didn’t listen to his father.

“John Culpepper the Merchant” is available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

The third book in the series, “John Culpepper, Esquire,” will be released July 2015.

For pictures, paintings, and documents of the people and places in the series, visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

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Saturday Snippets – I, John Culpepper

Culpepper_1My new book, I, John Culpepper, is now available!!

It is the first of four books in the Culpepper Saga and takes place during John’s youth. John was born into great wealth and prestige and got to do things and see things mere commoners would only dream about. When John was fourteen, his cousin, JC was knighted by His Royal Highness King James I, and John not only attended the ceremony, he also attended the joust afterwards.

Here’s what happened…

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Trumpets sounded again, causing the spectators’ din to increase in pitch. Knights’ horses were usually escorted onto the field by a groom, but a massive black horse, its face covered with metal plate, galloped onto the tiltyard. On its back sat a knight clad in iron armor, sunlight glinting on his breastplate, making it look as if it had been polished for weeks just for today’s event. The crowd roared and rose to its feet as the black horse pranced back and forth, kicking up dust. The rider removed his helm and waved to the crowd. It was JC! John rose to his feet and cheered loudly for his cousin.

A second knight in full plate, riding a white horse, galloped toward the field. The crowd applauded even louder for this contestant, and John bobbed up and down on his tiptoes to see over the standing spectators. Who was this newcomer to receive more applause than his cousin? The horse was wearing plate on its face and chest, and its back was covered with a sapphire blue blanket. It was followed by a small donkey ridden by a squire carrying a standard and trying unsuccessfully to keep pace with the knight and his mighty horse. As the two approached the tiltyard, John saw the standard boasted the royal crest. It was the king!

The two opponents met each other in the middle of the tiltyard and tapped their lances together. JC nodded to the king and then pulled sharply on his horse’s reins. The massive beast stepped backward and curled one of his front legs beneath him in a regal bow. The spectators gave a collective roar of approval.

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I, John Culpepper is available at Amazon.

The Culpepper Saga Facebook page contains photos and paintings of the houses and people in the series. Hop over and take a look.

The Backstory of the STUCKEY’S BRIDGE TRILOGY

Here’s a little background on the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy.

stuckey's bridge from VA Iron and Bridge Co on wikiMy childhood: I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi and heard the legend of Stuckey’s Bridge my whole life. It actually began in a book about the area written in the 1970s. The local paper, The Meridian Star, picked up on the legend from the book and the story spread like wildfire. The bridge instantly became THE place to party on the weekends, searching for ghosts and frightening girls into cuddling closer. (If you want to go there: head south out of Meridian on Interstate 59. Turn right at exit 142, then a quick left onto Meehan-Savoy Road. Travel 2.2 miles until you see a dirt road on your left. That is Stucky Bridge Road. The bridge will be about two miles down the dirt road. It is now closed, so you’ll have to turn around to leave. After you read the following legend, you may not want to go.)

The legend goes: In the late 1800s, a former member of the Dalton Gang came to Lauderdale County, Mississippi to find his fortune. He opened an inn near the Chunky River and stood on the old wooden bridge at night, flagging down merchants with his lantern, offering them a warm bed and a hot meal. Supposedly, he murdered his victims in their sleep and buried their bodies on the banks of the river. In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding the old bridge and the bodies were discovered. The innkeeper, Old Man Stuckey as he is known to the locals, was hung by a posse from the iron rails of the new bridge.

Stuckey's cover_webIf you know me, you know I couldn’t stop searching until I figured out who this Old Man Stuckey really was…that became the first book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE. (Check out the book trailer…creepy!)

unnamedWhile writing the story, I didn’t want Old Man Stuckey to be alone all the time, so I had him run across a young boy named Levi. In the story, young Levi took on a creepiness all his own, and I received tons of emails and messages asking what Levi’s past was. As usual with my overactive imagination, I was more interested in his future than his past, so I wrote STUCKEY’S LEGACY: THE LEGEND CONTINUES. At the end of that book, Levi “got his” and the story focused on the young woman he met during the story, Penelope Juzan.

Back to my childhood: There was a second legend around the area where I grew up. Supposedly there was an inn on Lake Juzan in the 1840s where an innkeeper murdered his guests for wealth, much like Old Man Stuckey. The man’s name was Pierre Juzan, and he dumped the bodies in the lake with the help of his Indian sidekick. Toward the end of the legend, one of them killed the other for the wealth of gold they had confiscated.

Side note: There were also a couple different accounts of trunks of confederate gold disappearing as they traveled through the area during the Civil War.

I thought all these stories had a similar thread, and I wondered if I could separate them.

stuckey Gold Cover smallBack to the trilogy: I came to the conclusion that these legends were indeed different stories, but thought they were probably connected in some way. Those crazy ideas in my head became the third book in the trilogy, STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN. 

These tales tickled me pink while writing them, and I hope you enjoy them too!

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Update: October 1st release of – The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy  available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon. Click HERE!

Lori Crane Books at Amazon

It’s Monday! What are you reading? “A Newfound Land”

2a2I’m reading yet another of my favorite authors…

Anna Belfrage

“A Newfound Land”

 

 

 

 

 

91lWunghvPL._SL1500_“A Newfound Land” is the 4th in the Graham saga. I would suggest you start at the 1st book, “A Rip in the Veil,” and set aside some time, because once you get caught up into the world of Matthew Graham and his time-traveling wife Alexandra, you will not want to stop reading. This story takes up where the 3rd book left off. Matthew and Alex were having trouble in their homeland of 1670 Scotland. Religious and political turmoil gave them no option but to pack and leave, and what better place to travel to than the new world – the Colony of Maryland? Unfortunately, some of their former adversaries make an appearance and the reader is left gripping the arm of the chair as the suspense builds, and new complications arise to increase the tension. We know these two are strong and steadfast, but we wonder how in the world they will make it through. It is a pleasure to see their children growing, and I look forward to reading the 5th book in the series, “Serpents in the Garden.” Keep ’em coming!

 

“A Newfound Land” blurb

It’s 1672, and Matthew Graham and his family have left Scotland. Having taken the drastic decision to leave their homeland due to religious conflicts, Alexandra and Matthew hope for a simpler, if harsher, life in the wilds of the Colony of Maryland.
Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as you want them to, and the past has a nasty tendency to resurface at the most inappropriate moments. Both Matthew and Alex are forced to cope with the unexpected reappearance of people they had never thought to meet again, and the screw is turned that much tighter when the four rogue Burley brothers enter their lives.

Matters are further complicated by the strained relations between colonists and the Susquehannock Indians. When Matthew intercedes to stop the Burleys from abducting Indian women into slavery he makes lifelong – and deadly – enemies of them all.
Once again Alex is plunged into an existence where death seems to threaten her man wherever he goes.

Will Matthew see himself – and his family – safe in these new circumstances? And will the past finally be laid to rest?

A Newfound Land is the fourth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

downloadAnna Belfrage

As a child, I spent a lot of time trying to find ways of travelling through time – always backwards – and somewhere along the way I concluded that while real time travelling is as yet (sadly) not possible, it is always possible to leap through time by using that most powerful tool, imagination.
I don’t know how many hours I’ve whiled away submerged in one daydream after the other, all of them set in the misty past, all of them starring yours truly. As a matter of fact, I still daydream, and my hourly walks with the dog tend to be one long delicious escape from the world of today to another place, another time.

The books in The Graham Saga (so far I’ve published A Rip in the Veil,Like Chaff in the Wind,The Prodigal Son, A Newfound Land, Serpents in the Garden and the NEW Revenge and Retribution – more is to come)are the products of very many hours of daydreaming – although at times I’m not entirely sure who is doing the actual daydreaming, my characters or myself. Alex(andra) Lind and Matthew Graham have grown into most tangible beings, people with likes and dislikes – and very exciting lives, putting it mildly. Which is why the story developed into a whole series, six of which have now been published (two more to come).

The latter half of the seventeenth century is rife with dangers, and even more so when you’re a woman who has been yanked out of your comfortable, modern timezone and dropped into 1658. But Alex is lucky; she lands at the feet of Matthew, a man most women would give an arm and a leg to get to know closely. Things, however, are complicated by the general political unrest of the times and Matthew’s present status as convicted (but fugitive) royalist. Phew; at times I almost feel sorry for all the situations I land Alex in.
“Tell me about it,” she sort of growls, “and it’s not you who’s got the bruises to show, is it?”
Erm, no; but I’m the author, remember?
“We can trade anytime,” she says.
Ooh yes, please! I nod eagerly, throwing Matthew a longing glance. Alex follows my look, and two well-formed brows come down in an impressive scowl.
“He’s mine,” she says.
Matthew raises his face and looks at her. Those magical hazel eyes shine gold in the afternoon sun, and a slow smile spreads across his face. She sort of dances towards him and I sigh; he’s definitely hers, I can see it in the way his fingers graze her cheek, in how he laughs at whatever she’s saying. Shoot…

The Graham Saga is a heady mix of romance, swashbuckling adventure and emotional drama. while each book has been written so as to make it possible to read them as stand-alones. I believe the experience is enhanced by reading them in order. Alex and Matthew have more than their share of adventures, both in Scotland and in the New World – more specifically the Colony of Maryland.

I like my female protagonists strong and capable, and Alex is nothing if not resilient, no matter what full blown punches fate throws her way – and they are many. And as to Matthew, well… the man is stubborn and brave, rarely back downs when it comes to issues of faith and integrity and is at times more than a little frustrated by his opinionated, time travelling wife.

It isn’t always easy, to bridge the divide of three centuries in perceptions and ideas. Some days, Alex wants to kick Matthew in the butt for being a old-fashioned jerk. Other days, Matthew is sorely tempted to belt her, this woman with eyes the colour of the deep sea. But the moment his fingers graze hers, the instant she steps into his arms, none of that matters: She is his woman, and he is her man – that is the way things are, that is the way things will always be!

Oh; BTW. For those of you that want to know when the next book in the Graham Saga, Wither Thou Goest, will be out, it is planned for November 2014. (The paperback will probably be available somewhat earlier than the e-book version)

I hope you choose to buy my books and that you find the reading as enjoyable as I’ve found the writing!

Anna’s Amazon page

Anna’s blog

Anna’s website

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading? “Live from the Road”

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I’m reading one of my favorite authors…

PC Zick

“Live from the Road”

 

 

 

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“Live from the Road” is a story of two friends, Meg and Sally, and their road trip across Route 66. They are escorted by their grown daughters, and the four women each have their own personal demons to face during the trip. Some of their struggles are shared with each other, some kept private.

There were idiosyncrasies in this story that made me giggle. At each stop, they invite whomever they ran into to join them, and a lot of people strangely took them up on the offer. I would never be that open to invite strangers to join my vacation, but I have some girlfriends who would do something that crazy, so it’s not all-together impossible. At one point, they had four or five cars in their caravan. I thought the concept of strangers joining on one’s vacation was a little weird, but then I realized I had joined them, too. I was traveling the Route with them, experiencing the sites and sorting through the personal problems. The road trip mimicked the trip through life – the inner journey. The part I loved best was Meg’s 50-year-old brain struggling with her own mid-life crisis. I found myself thinking her thoughts many times. Perhaps these are the thoughts of every mature woman.

 

“Live from the Road” blurb

Live from the Road takes the reader on an often humorous, yet harrowing, journey as Meg Newton and Sally Sutton seek a change in the mundane routine of their lives. Joined by their daughters, they set off on a journey of salvation enhanced by the glories of the Mother Road.

Along the way, they are joined by a Chicago bluesman, a Pakistani liquor store owner from Illinois, a Marine from Missouri, a gun-toting momma from Oklahoma, and a motel clerk from New Mexico.

Death, divorce, and deception help to reveal the inner journey taking place under the blazing desert sun as a Route 66 motel owner reads the Bhagavad-Gita and an eagle provides the sign they’ve all been seeking.

Enlightenment comes tiptoeing in at dawn in a Tucumcari laundromat, while singing karaoke at a bar in Gallup, New Mexico, and during dinner at the Roadkill Cafe in Seligman, Arizona.

The trip isn’t always easy as laughter turns to tears and back again. However, the four women’s lives will never be the same after the road leads them to their hearts – the true destination for these road warriors.

088eb14324190ad8956eff.L._V146807737_SX200_PC ZICK – Author

P.C. Zick began her writing career in 1998 as a journalist. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. She describes herself as a “storyteller” no matter the genre.

She’s published five works of fiction and two nonfiction books.

She was born in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1980. She finds the stories of Florida and its people and environment a rich base for her storytelling platform. Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife – both human and animal – supply her fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable.
Her fiction contains the elements most dear to her heart, ranging from love to the environment. In her novels, she advances the cause for wildlife conservation and energy conservation. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion.

“This is one of the most exciting times to be an author,” Ms. Zick says. “I’m honored to be a part of the revolution in writing and publishing.”

PC’s website

PC’s Amazon Page

PC’s blog