#2 Behind William Freakin’ Shakespeare!

My book I, JOHN CULPEPPER is sitting at #2 behind William Shakespeare…YES, THE William Shakespeare. If for some crazy reason I pass him, I will consider it my best. day. ever. 🙂  Pick it up HERE for $0.99 and make it happen!

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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

To FREE or not to FREE, Kindle Select is the Question

I know the title is corny…sue me. This post is for my author friends. The rest of you will be bored silly. My apologies. I’ll post something better next time.

kdp-select_01I’ve never understood why an author would sign up for Kindle Select, requiring their eBook to be exclusive to Amazon, and in exchange, being given the wonderful opportunity (sarcasm) of either giving their book away for FREE or doing a promotion called Kindle Countdown Deal where the price drops to rock bottom and rises at periodic intervals, creating a ticking clock for the customer to freak out about. The author gets his or her choice of one of these fabulous no-income-producing options for up to five days per quarter. Makes no sense to me.

 

sorry excuseEXCUSES:

I’ve been working on a new four-book series (Yes, all at the same time. Don’t know what the hell I was thinking.) and haven’t released anything since August 2014. Combined with being in Europe the entire fall and in the Bahamas the whole month of December, I’ve done little to no promotion since my last book release.

 

paparazziRESULT:

My book sales have taken a nosedive. I released eight books and two book sets in the twenty months prior, so my sales have remained consistent until my recent disappearing act. Apparently, if you spend six months out of the public eye, you’re dead in the water. Who knew?

 

SOLUTION:

I decided to play around with my books and see if anything would boost sales while I awaited my next release in April, hence I removed my three-book Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy from Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Scribd, Oyster, and Smashwords and signed them up for the Amazon-exclusive Kindle Select. I guess if I’m not selling them, I can give them away, right? (more sarcasm) Whatever. I gave away the first in the trilogy, The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge, Friday, Feb 6 – Sunday, Feb 8.

 

OUTCOME:

Downloads over the three-day period totaled 2633, including the US, UK, Germany, India, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Stuckey’s Bridge topped out at #87 in Free Kindles (the photo below was taken an hour before when it was #97), #1 in Historical Thrillers, and #1 in Mystery, Thriller, Suspense. Real sales of the sequel, Stuckey’s Legacy, placed that book at #57 in Historical Thrillers, and the third book in the trilogy, Stuckey’s Gold, went to #74 in the same category.

Stuckeys Bridge sales

When the promotion was all said and done, the three books remained in the Top 100 of the Historical Thriller category for about four days. A week later, books two and three have seen a marked increase in sales and all three are being “borrowed” surprisingly well through Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime. The sales and “borrows” have easily covered any losses of not being available on Nook and his friends.

CONCLUSION:

I have a pretty large social media reach, but I know there’s not much I can do to promote a book that’s a year and a half old. Anyone who follows me already knows about the book. Therefore, downloads were 408 and 401 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. A popular blogger can announce a promotion and sales will take off. Amazon can send out one email and sales will soar. You know that lightning strike when you see it. It’s impossible to miss.

ebookdaily-logoWell, Stuckey’s Bridge got picked up on Sunday by eBookDaily, and bless their little electronic hearts, they caused over 1800 downloads on Sunday between 10 a.m. and midnight. That’s over 120 an hour for 14 hours straight!

If the marketing stars align, Kindle Select seems like a pretty good thing. If they don’t, it could be just another marketing idea with mediocre results. I’m not sold yet, but I’m leaning a little bit that way…just a tad.

What’s your experience?

 

Saturday Snippet – Stuckey’s Gold

stuckey Gold Cover smallIn case you missed the release of Stuckey’s Gold a few weeks ago, here’s a snippet to get you movin’.  If you’ve read Stuckey’s Bridge, you’ll recognize this sheriff, although it’s been ten years since he retired. If you’ve read Stuckey’s Legacy, you’ll know exactly who they are talking about at the end. 🙂

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She knocked on the wooden frame of the screen door and the rattle reverberated across the screened porch. The kind face of a white-haired man with gray eyes greeted her warily.

“Yes, miss? May I help you?”

“Yes, sir. I’m looking for Sheriff Temple.” Penny gave him her biggest and brightest smile.

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Well, that would be me, young lady, and who might you be?”

“Sheriff, my name is Penelope Juzan. I wonder if I might ask you a few questions.”

“Questions about what?”

“I’m interested in a man who worked for my father in 1901. He sent my father a message that he was staying at an inn in town, and we never heard from him again. His name was Carter Stuckey.”

The sheriff froze. He stared at her for a long time and didn’t respond.

“Sheriff? Please, sir. I came all the way from Vicksburg to speak with you.”

He sighed, turned away from the door, and walked into the house. “Oh, all right. Come on in.” He didn’t open the door for her and he didn’t sound very enthusiastic.

She opened the creaking screen door and followed him into the cool darkness of the modest home. The place smelled musty. A worn and dirty flowered sofa sat in the living room to her left, along with a big chair that had seen better days long, long ago. She stood in the middle of the room and watched him light the wood-burning stove and place a black teakettle on top. He finally turned to her and gestured toward the small dining table to her right, then turned back to the stove. “Have a seat, Miss Juzan.”

Penny pulled out a wooden chair that was covered with dust. She scanned the room to see if there were any feminine touches, as the house appeared to be owned by a bachelor. She saw nothing that would suggest a woman lived there. As the former sheriff stood at the wood-burning stove, she glanced at the back of his wrinkled shirt, hoping he wouldn’t turn and see her wiping off the chair before she sat down. She held her handbag in her lap, as she wasn’t sure if he would offer her some tea or kick her out in the next few minutes.

She was concerned when he began to cough violently. He pulled a cigarette off the shelf above the stove and lit it with a match. Penny remained silent and watched him exhale smoke between coughs. As his coughing spell subsided, the teakettle whistled. The sheriff used a pot holder to grab the hot kettle, and he poured two mugs of tea. He brought them to the table and placed one in front of Penny.

“Thank you,” she said softly.

He turned back to the stove, snubbed out his cigarette on a plate, and then sat down at the table.

“Carter Stuckey, eh?”

Penny nodded and took a sip of her tea. It was extremely hot and just as weak.

Once the sheriff began telling her the story, he spoke for quite some time. She listened wordlessly, mesmerized by the tale. He told her the whole saga of the inn up on Chunky River and the innkeeper’s victims. She sat with her mouth agape at the heinous story, and was even more stunned at the way it ended.

“The innkeeper’s name was Stuckey—Thomas Stuckey.”

“Stuckey?”

“Yes, it appears he took the name of one of his victims.

“So, Carter Stuckey was one of the victims?”

“Yes, ma’am. Carter Stuckey had something in his pocket with his name on it when we uncovered his body, so we know for sure he was murdered at the inn. No one ever came looking for him, and we didn’t know who to contact about his death, so we moved his remains to Concord Cemetery and buried him in an unmarked grave.”

“Well, no one knew he was here except my father. My father died about the same time and I just recently found his journals, which led me here.”

The two sat in silence for a few minutes while Penny absorbed the gravity of the tale.

“Miss Juzan, why are you looking for Carter Stuckey now, a decade later?”

“Oh, um, well, he had something of my father’s, something of great importance. I’m afraid I didn’t know about it until a few weeks ago when I found my father’s journals.”

“And what was this item of great importance?” He wrinkled his brow at her.

“It was a trunk, sir.”

“A trunk?” The sheriff ran his fingers down his stubble and shook his head. “I don’t remember finding any trunk at the inn, but I’ll tell you who might know. The only survivor of the whole incident was a young boy. He was maybe twelve or thirteen years old at the time. He was a blond, blue-eyed boy named Levi Stuckey. The moment his father—the murderer—was hung, the boy disappeared. I searched for him for years but he’d simply vanished. If he’s still alive somewhere, he’d be about twenty-two now. Maybe he knows something about your missing trunk. Maybe he has it himself.”

She nodded. “Maybe he does.”

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Lori Crane Books at Amazon

 

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading? The Gerson Therapy

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I just finished reading

The Gerson Therapy: The Proven Nutritional Program for Cancer and Other Illnesses

by Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker

 

 

coverThis is a different book than the sort I usually talk about. It’s a juicing book to heal your body. Dr. Max Gerson (1881-1959) was a pioneer in using nutrition to HEAL every chronic illness from arthritis to diabetes to cancer. After losing my son-in-law to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February, I spoke to so many people who knew people who beat cancer using this program. They swear this program works. I also saw a TV special on Dr. Gerson and found him quite amazing. Well, heading into the second half of my life (if I live that long), I have some health concerns and thought I’d take a look at this book. I’ve fought blood sugar problems my whole life and was told by a physician that I would probably be an insulin dependent diabetic by the time I turned 50. I hasn’t happened yet, but I do feel it sneaking up on me.

I found the 2-year-long nutrition program to be quite intensive, but if it’s a matter of dying of cancer or following a strict diet for two years, I’ll go with the diet. There are some quirky things like coffee enemas that I won’t go into, but the science that backs it in the book is quite convincing.

My only problem with the book is what it said at the end. It said the diet should NOT be followed by healthy people. I don’t get that at all. You have to come down with a chronic illness before you can get healthy? I understand it’s a radical diet, but something about that didn’t make sense to me, and they could have told me that BEFORE I bought the book.

So, long story short, I’m sticking with my basic pyramid diet and hoping for the best.

Saturday Snippet – Stuckey’s Gold

Here’s a snippet from my coming release:

STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN

stuckey Gold Cover smallBlurb

In 1840, Pierre Juzan was an innkeeper on the shores of Lake Juzan. His business was successful, but he wanted more. One day he got wind of a coach transporting a trunk of gold near his home, and his actions on that fateful day would spark an Indian curse that would haunt his family for four generations. Seventy years later, can Penelope Juzan break the curse, or will she suffer the same tragic fate as her forefathers?

“The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge” and “Stuckey’s Legacy: The Legend Continues” told tales of the gold leaving a trail of destruction from Meridian, Mississippi to Jekyll Island, Georgia. In “Stuckey’s Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan,” we may find the victims in the original tales were merely bit players in a story that is far darker and more sinister than one could imagine.

“Stuckey’s Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan” is the final installment in the “Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy” and is the tale of four generations struggling to escape a curse caused by greed.

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The sun had already reached its highest point and was slowly beginning its descent behind them. By the look of the shadows, Leon guessed it was around three o’clock. He knew the traveling distance from the county line, so he figured the coach would be arriving at any moment. As he recalculated its arrival time, he heard horse hooves on the road. The two sat silent and still on their horses and watched the man from last night trot past them. Their plan was to let him travel by unharmed as to not warn the drivers of impending danger. They would take care of him later.

Not more than a few minutes had passed before they heard the grinding of wagon wheels. Two men sat in the driver’s seat of the wooden coach. One was whistling a tune. Leon was feeling anxious and wanted to get on with it, so he decided to make the annoying whistler his first target. He pulled out his bow, armed it with an arrow, took aim through the trees, and let his arrow fly. It hit its intended target and the whistling abruptly stopped. The whistler slumped in his seat, an arrow through the left side of his neck. The horses didn’t flinch, but the man’s partner looked over at him and his jaw dropped. Leon quickly pulled out another arrow, aimed, and put it through the chest of the second man as he still stared at his partner in disbelief. The second man slumped in the seat.

From higher up on the hill, Pierre rode his horse out of the woods and fell in line behind the wagon. He gave Leon a nod. Leon nodded back. Leon tucked his bow away and emerged from the woods, trotting alongside the wagon. The wagon’s team kept pulling the wagon forward, oblivious to the fact they no longer had a driver. They began to pick up speed as the road began to slant downhill. Leon grabbed the side of the wagon and pulled himself onto it, abandoning his own horse on the road. He crawled across the canvas back and climbed over the rail, into the driver’s seat. He grabbed the whistler by the shirt and pushed him over the side. The man plopped onto the road like a sack of potatoes, and Leon felt the coach jostle and heard bones snap as the back wheel of the wagon ran over some part of the whistler’s body. He grimaced at the sound.

Behind him, Pierre grabbed Leon’s abandoned horse’s reins and continued down the hill, pulling Leon’s horse along with him. Leon glanced back and saw both horses neigh and rear up when they approached the whistler’s body unexpectedly sprawled in the middle of the road.

He turned his attention back to the coach’s horses. They were now nearing a gallop down the hill. He reached down on the floor of the wagon and fumbled around until he found the reins. He grabbed them and was about to pull back on them when the butt of a gun came down on top of his head. He saw stars as he fell to the floor of the coach. He turned his head and saw the whistler’s partner pointing a revolver at his face. As the driver clicked the hammer back, Leon kicked the gun out of the man’s hand. He heard it bounce off the edge of the wagon then discharge as it hit the ground. The sound echoed through the trees, startling the wagon’s horses who took off at full gallop.

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STUCKEY’S GOLD is available at Amazon!

Saturday Snippet – Stuckey’s Bridge

In celebration of the coming release of the third book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy on August 25th, I’m posting a short snippet of the first book today, the second book next Saturday, and the third book the following Saturday.

Stuckey's cover_webThis is from THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE.

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He staggered down to the river to inspect the boat, carrying the ax in one hand and the lantern in the other. He realized as he walked that he may have consumed one too many swigs of whiskey, for he didn’t remember the path being this difficult to navigate. He giggled as he stumbled toward the bank. The cool mist of the fog felt good on his face, but the lack of visibility made him a little disoriented. He wasn’t sure if the feeling was caused by the fog or the whiskey.

He reached the river, placed the lamp on the dirt next to the boat, and crawled aboard. He searched around the deck, under the seats, and down in the hole, but found nothing.

“Damn it. Why do they always keep the money on them?” he griped.

“Hey! What are you doing there?” called the skinny boy, who surprisingly emerged from the woods and neared the boat.

“I was making sure your boat was tied up securely.” The words sure and securely came out in a slur, but Thomas ignored it and climbed out of the boat, back onto the bank. He still held the rusty ax.

“Why do you need an ax to check on the boat?”

“Oh.” He looked down at the ax. “Just in case I run into something out in the woods. You can never be too careful out here, you know?”

“Don’t you have a gun?”

“Well, yes,” he said as he neared the boy. “But guns make noise.”

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