Good Luck on Friday the 13th!

Friday the 13th is generally known for bad luck, but today, your luck is good, as you are not the next in a long line of Old Man Stuckey’s victims. Pick up a  copy of The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge.

Click HERE to get your Kindle!

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In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river.

Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed.

Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again.

To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name. If you travel down to Stuckey’s Bridge, be careful, for not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.

Click HERE to get your copy!

Saturday Snippet – FREE this weekend “An Orphan’s Heart”

AOH%20cover_webThis week’s snippet is the story of a girl who was orphaned during the Civil War and her quest to find the love she lost as a child. Martha Ellen Rodgers, simply Ellen in the book, grew up in a large, loving family in Mississippi. Her parents died of typhoid within days of each other when Ellen was nine. She spent the rest of her life searching for love and a place to belong. Her travels took her to Alabama, back to Mississippi, and eventually to Texas where she found the love of her life – only to have everything ripped from her in a shattering turn of events.

Note: You’re going to need a kleenex for this one.

An Orphan’s Heart is being offered for FREE this weekend (Sept 26-28) on Kindle at Amazon.

Enjoy the video and snippet below and pick up your FREE copy today.

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Ellen is staying at her aunt’s house in Alabama and helping with the children. She met a handsome boy named Milton who has unexpectedly dropped by while no one was at home.

We make ourselves comfortable at the table, and as we sip our coffee, we chat about his family and farm, but his deep brown eyes make it hard for me to concentrate on anything he’s saying. We chat about his siblings and his hopes for the future. He even mentions that he might like to go to a big city someday, which brings up his desire to ride a train. I would tell him of my dreams of riding a train also, but I can’t seem to get a word in edgewise. Throughout the one-sided conversation, he’s very friendly and open, and I think I may like him a lot more than my first impression, especially his penetrating gaze. Nothing else in the world exists while I’m under that gaze.

Hours later, in the middle of a sentence, he suddenly stops and pulls out his pocket watch. “Oh, it’s getting late.” He rises from the table. “I need to get back to the farm, and you probably need to pick the children up from school.”

Reality hits me like a lightning bolt. I hadn’t thought about the time since we sat down. “Yes!” I jump up from the table. “What time is it?”

“It’s almost three.”

“I do have to go get the children right now. I only have a few minutes to get there. Please excuse me, Milton. It’s been nice spending the afternoon with you, but I really must hurry.” In one move, I grab my bonnet and head toward the door, hoping he’ll hurry behind me, but he seems to be taking his time. I stand with my back against the open door, ready to close it the moment he exits.

As he nears the door, I impatiently wait for him to walk through, but he stops an inch from my face. I think he may kiss me and I feel panic rise in my chest and can’t breathe. I close my eyes for a moment, but then think maybe I shouldn’t because it’ll look like I want him to kiss me, so I quickly open them. His full lips, that cocky grin, and those dimples are enough to set a girl’s head spinning. I’m late to pick up the children, but for that split second with his mouth an inch from mine, I really would like him to kiss me. But then I get this uncomfortable feeling that spending this afternoon with him has been highly inappropriate, so I sidestep away from him and move outside onto the porch.

“Thank you for coming by, Milton. It was very nice seeing you, but I really have to run.”

He steps out onto the porch, with his head cocked to one side, looking at me through squinted eyes. The afternoon sun in his face shows the slightest beginnings of lines around his eyes, and I think as he ages, he’ll become more and more handsome. He shrugs and his smile widens. His smile is filled with a knowledge and confidence that’s alluring, but it also unnerves me in a way I can’t explain. I wish I was more attractive, more assured of myself, more experienced with boys.

I slide behind him, pull the door closed, then quickly move around him again to step off the porch. He watches me with the look of a lion stalking his prey as I climb onto the wagon.

“The visit was my pleasure, Miss Ellen, my pleasure,” he says as he strolls over and places his hands on the worn wood of the wagon.

“I really do have to go now. Please come by again anytime,” I mumble. Did I really just say that? Did I just invite him over again?

“Oh, I’ll be back. You can count on that.” He winks and his eyes twinkle.

I snap the reins and coax the horse away from the house. I take off so fast, I almost rip Milton’s hands off, but I refuse to look back and check. I know he’s standing there watching me. I will not look back. I will not. No.

As I reach the bend in the road, I glance back. Sure enough, he is still standing in the yard with his arms folded across his chest, watching me and smiling. And now he knows I looked back. Oh, what a mess.

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An Orphan’s Heart is FREE on Kindle Sept 26-28 at Amazon

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.

#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.