Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nine Princesses Facebook Page

The Nine Princesses now have their own Facebook Fan page!

Click here to "like" The Nine Princesses.

I need to build up my "likes" so please visit and like the page. Thank you!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Real Hair Bandits!

Not happy about this at all, of course. But the irony struck me. Venezuela has real hair bandits! Stealing women's hair to sell to salons for hair extensions.

See Article

How horrible for the fair maidens of Venezuela. Hope they catch the muggers. Wish I could send Gord to go clobber 'em.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Get Offa My Laptop!

I don't exactly have the ideal writer's life. I don't have a home office or much personal space at all. We have a shared computer out in the living room and that used to be where I wrote. Until my boys got bigger....

Then the shared computer became Game Central where one of my boys was always playing. I encouraged them to do other things, like go outside, build Legos, read books, etc. But even so, one of them could always be found at the computer, gaming away, and I'd have to bully him off to get my writing done. And then they would stand right at my elbow, saying "Mommy, are you done yet?"

So I gave up the fight and bought myself a laptop last summer. And for a while that was great. Until my boys discovered this virtual game world for kids. Now when I go to the living room, there's one boy parked on the desk computer, another on the laptop, both playing separate characters in the same virtual world. They like to do it together, they say. So I sigh and say "One hour!" after which I have to wrestle away my laptop amidst wails of protest.

I could crack down and put my laptop off limits entirely. But I tend to loosen the rules during summer. Looking forward to school, quiet, and un-harassed writing time!

Book news: Maelyn audio book is now available. Three-quarters done with Heidel - I made great progress at Chuck E Cheese's yesterday! New free book promotion to be announced soon.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Maelyn Audiobook is Here!

For those of you who prefer to listen to your books, Maelyn is now available as an audio book from It's just over 2 hours long, so it's good for a short road trip! I chose the voice actor Lara Asmundson from to do the narrating. She has a beautiful reading voice that I thought matched Maelyn's character well. And she does a great Book Miser!
The audio book is $6.95. CLICK HERE to view the product page and listen to a sample. (Hit the play button below the book cover image.)
Auditioning Coralina narrators now. Boy is that fun!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Goodreads Giveaways

Every month I do a Goodreads giveaway for paperback copies of Maelyn and Coralina. It's like a drawing, you enter your name and address and at the end of the month, the winners are selected randomly. (I don't select the winners, Goodreads does.)

I usually offer about 2 or 3 copies of each book, and about 900-1000 people enter the drawing. But if you don't win, you can always enter again the next month! As soon as one giveaway ends I start another one and I'll keep doing that as long as Goodreads allows me.

For authors, by the way, this is an inexpensive way to get exposure. All it costs is the price of mailing the books, usually just a few dollars for each copy. And many of the people who don't win the books add it to their 'To Be Read' list. With Maelyn, for example, I've given away about 20 copies to winners, but over 1,700 people have added the book to their 'To Be Read' list. It's an easy way to read hundreds of new readers!

If you're interested, click on the links below and then find the button that says 'Enter to Win'.

Maelyn Goodreads Giveaway

Coralina Goodreads Giveaway

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Now How Did Heidel Get on Goodreads?

LOL! So funny.

I happened to log into my Goodreads account yesterday to check on my giveaways. (I do paperback giveaways every month, but more on that later.) It lists my published books so there was Maelyn, and Coralina, and... Heidel? There she was, listed on Goodreads, though her book isn't published yet. I just stared at her, thinking, what are you doing here? No idea how that happened - I guess it's Heidel's impatience.

I also noticed that 12 people have added her to their "To Be Read" list. Hooray! If you have a Goodreads account and would like to add her to your 'To Be Read' list, the link is here: Heidel on Goodreads

For those following Heidel's story on WATTPAD, I'll have another chunk of chapters ready soon. We're getting to the good parts!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Marketing Tip for E-Books #1

Most of what I post on this blog will be for readers. But some of it will be for writers. Today I'm going to share a marketing tip for e-books because that's often the most frustrating side of this whole business.

Marketing Tip #1: Have a Marketing Day

Marketing is hard, time-consuming work. You could make a full time job out of just marketing and never write a book again. You've got to respond to e-mails, update your website, update your blog, post on Facebook, post on Twitter, search for websites that will advertise your book and fill out the forms, send out marketing e-mails, create keywords and descriptions that will (hopefully) help search engines find your book, and so on and so forth. It's a lot. Especially when you live with those sweet little time-suckers that go by the name "small children".

I can't market every day. It cuts into my writing time and my days are too inconsistent anyway. So once a week I have my 'marketing day' where I put all the writing aside and just do marketing. For me it's Friday. That's the day I update my website or do a new blog post or just read and brainstorm new ways to market. It's not my favorite thing to do and but books don't sell themselves! And you do get results. Since launching The Nine Princesses Novellas last year, I've sold/distributed about 30,000 books. So it's working, one Friday at a time!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Maelyn Audio Book Coming Soon

I love reading books out loud. I read to my children almost every day, even though the older ones can read on their own. I used to read to my younger siblings when we were all teenagers. And now and then, I find a short story or magazine article I think my mom would enjoy, so I take it and read it to her. I just find reading aloud to be a nicer way to share a story with someone. You experience it together, rather than just handing them the book and saying "Read that, you'll like it." (Though I do that too.)

So when I thought of doing audio books for The Nine Princesses, I really wanted to read them myself. And I tried. But I hit a wall of technical ignorance and discovered that I just don't have the knowledge, equipment, time, and voice-acting skills to do a professional recording. For one thing, you need a silent room. Silent room? I have KIDS! Silence doesn't exist at my house.

So I went looking for an affordable voice actor to do Maelyn for me. And I found one! There's a wonderful site called ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) that's owned by Amazon. It's a place where authors can find voice actors, and voice actors can find authors! Win, win. 

I posted a reading sample from Maelyn and about a dozen or so actors auditioned for the job. I also browsed the various voice actors listed on the site and listened to their samples, trying to find one that sounded right to me. Eventually I invited one of those actors to audition and ended up giving her the job. I was looking for "feminine but serious" which is how I imagine Maelyn would sound. :)

So! The audio book is just about done and should soon be available in online stores, like If it does well, I'll look into doing an audiobook for Coralina. I guess in her case, I'll be looking for "smug and seductive" voices.  LOL! Really wish I was narrating that book.

I realize most everyone who visits this blog has probably already read Maelyn, but I wanted to share this anyway. It was a fun experience!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Moving Heidel to Wattpad for Now

Hi there!

As I think I mentioned before, I'm having some issues with Heidel. Mostly that my life is just interfering too much (job, kids, some health issues) and not letting me work on it as much as I'd like to. I had hoped to have this out by Spring! And now it's Summer.

One major problem I've been having is the sense that I'm keeping my readers waiting. When I try to work on Heidel, I feel this sense of rush, that I have to hurry up and get it done. And that's not good. If I rush to finish it, then it won't be quality writing. So I've been struggling to find a way to lose that hurried feeling because it gets me all stressed out.

I thought of something that I think will help that. I'm going to post the finished portion of Heidel on Wattpad, a chapter a day. That way, readers can begin reading the story, and at least I'll know they're getting some of it. And knowing the book is out there will help me get it done, but without, I think, so much pressure.

Of course I don't get paid when people read the story on Wattpad, but it won't necessarily stay there forever. This is a measure I'm taking now to be fair to my readers, and to help the project progress.

So I welcome you to pop over to Wattpad! One nice thing about this site is that readers can make comments on each chapter, rather than just reviewing the whole book (like on Amazon).

Here's the link: HeidelonWattpad

Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy. :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Heidel Book Cover

Here she is - Princess Heidel! I got the finished artwork today and I always get so excited. So pretty, isn't she? Wish I had red hair like that. Just gorgeous.

Heidel isn't meant to be the standard pretty princess, though. As you can see, she's a bit freckled, her hair isn't elaborate, and though it's hard to tell from this image, she's a bit on the chubby side.

And she's got a temper too. Don't mess with her. :)

I sometimes see the covers of other e-books and wonder where the author got their cover art from, whether they hired an artist or did it themselves. In case you are wondering about my covers, I happy to share.
I don't create my own covers. I do work as an artist and I'm currently illustrating a novel I wrote for boys some years ago. But when it came to The Nine Princesses, I wanted a certain type of art that I'm not skilled with, namely 3-D rendering. So I went to website called 99designs.
99designs is a site that works by creating a contest for your project. You describe the image you have in mind, and multiple artists compete by offering their design suggestions. You pick the one you like best and that artist gets paid. That's how I chose the cover for Maelyn and I've returned to the same artist ever since.
And just to give him a plug, my artist is Rob Sullivan and he is based in the UK. Here is his website:

I wish I was that good! But my style is very cartoonish, sort of like Disney-style. Here's a drawing I did of Heidel several years ago: 

This is from the picture book, not the Heidel novella I'm working on now. Heidel is wondering (and worrying) why Coralina is ruling the kingdom that day and not Maelyn.

Working hard to have Heidel out soon. :)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Short History of The Nine Princesses

I started creating The Nine Princesses in 2001 when I was 20 years old. It started out as a children's picture book about a family of princesses who did their own chores.

As I developed the characters, I realized I had too much material to contain in a picture book. So I turned the idea into a chapter book series. (Short, easy-to-read books for children in early grades.)

Tried to get the chapter book series published. Rejected.... Rejected.... Rejected.

Lost confidence. Gave up The Nine Princesses project (after several years of work). Wrote a boys' book thinking that would have a better
chance of getting published. Rejected.... Rejected.... Rejected.

Returned to The Nine Princesses. Decided the best target audience was young adults. Tried to write one big book in which each chapter was told from the viewpoint of a different princess.

It seemed good. Until I realized a novel told from nine different viewpoints would end up longer than the Bible.

Frustrated. Gave up the project again.

From the very beginning, the problem with this project has been format. Chapter books or one long novel? A trilogy featuring three princesses
each, or nine full-length novels? I couldn't find something that worked. It seemed like it wasn't meant to be.

In 2012, I decided to try one more time. I stumbled across another author's novella and thought, what if I did a novella series? As a working mom with limited writing time, the idea of novella-length books seemed manageable, something I could finish in a few months (as opposed to years).

I wrote Maelyn and - Holy Toes! - it worked. After 11 years of trial and error, inspiration and despair, The Nine Princesses found their place in the world.

So happy.

 Original cover the The Nine Princesses picture book. A lot has changed. The princesses now have different names, different skin tones, different races, different figures. Maelyn (in the middle) stayed pretty close to her original look, as did Coralina (next to Maelyn on the right). Heidel (far right) has the same coloring too, although she's plumped up a bit. :D

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blogging (Again)

I'm starting a blog again (I've tried before), mainly because there are things I like to communicate to my readers. It's an easy way to post project updates. So I'll use this blog to let you know how The Nine Princesses books are progressing, any related news, and a few helpful things for writers and readers. That's all. That's it. No opinions about what's going on in the world. No stories about my puppy (don't have one anyway!) Just book stuff.

Working steadily on Heidel. I'm struggling to find a balance between writing and marketing. When I market, sales go up for Maelyn and Coralina, but Heidel doesn't get done. When I devote more hours to Heidel, sales drop because I'm not marketing. It's a struggle, especially because I have limited writing time, and often have to choose which I'll do today, write or market?

But Heidel is going well and I'm having fun with it. My artist is nearly done with the beautiful cover, so I'll post that soon!

And by the way, you can read a SAMPLE of Heidel on my website. I posted the first 5 chapters.

 (A cartoon drawing I did of Heidel several years ago. LOL. The cover will look much better.)