Curious Authors Who Want to Know

Friday, July 29, 2011
I've discovered NovelRank and am kind of addicted.

I'm one of those people who is always uber-curious to know how my book is selling. Some of my publishers are too sweet and send an itemized list of exactly how many copies sold at each vendor when they hand out royalties. Some publishers are a bit more general: you sold this many this quarter, here's your money.

But impatient me, I wanna know now...and I wanna know every detail. So, I would haunt all the vendor sites.

-On All Romance Ebooks, if I looked up my name in the author search, then organized or "showed" them by bestseller, I could tell something had sold every time the order changed.

-On Fictionwise (yet another vendor place that sells some of my ebooks), I do the same thing. Look up my name, then display them in order of bestseller. Fictionwise usually only updates once a week (on Mondays), so I don't daily check them.

On Amazon and Barnes and Noble (yeah, you think I have a serious problem by now, don't you?!), you can look up each book and look at your "sales rank." If you don't have a sales rank or if it's blank, then your story hasn't sold there yet. BUT...if you do have rank, you've sold at least one. Each time you sell a copy, your ranking number goes down, and then it climbs right back up...until you sell another copy. So, every times you check and the ranking is lower than it was the last time you checked, you sold a book there. I know, cool, huh.

That's how I kept track of my Amazon sells for forever until I learned about NovelRank. You just give them the URL for your book on Amazon and they keep track of each sale for you. Now I don't have to guess how many books I've sold on Amazon.

Isn't that amazing? Well, I think it's totally cool. And seriously, I don't believe I'm the only curious author who wants to constantly know how many of my books have sold because I've looked up other authors' books on NovelRank and found their books too!

There's my curious author tid-bit for the day. For those who already knew, well...sorry. That's all I got for now!

Disclaimer: Tracking your books sales can become a bad addiction and can lead to loss of having a social life plus you might spend so much time tracking, you never get back to work on your current WIP. Proceed at your own risk.

Guest Posts and Guest Pictures

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I'm guest posting over at THE WRITERS VINEYARD today, talking about funerals, automobile accidents, writing, and walking on water!

And a picture of my daughter is on DIANE ESTRELLA'S Blog today for her MicroFiction Muse Wednesday. If you ask me, it's too adorable to miss (not that I'm biased!).

So that's where I am today.

Happy Wednesday.

Friday Forwards - #29

Friday, July 22, 2011
Children's Science Exam Answers

Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.

Q: What is artificial insemination?
A: When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g., abdomen)
A: The body is consisted into three parts -- the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels, A, E, I, O, and U.

Q: What is the fibula?
A: A small lie.

Q: What does "varicose" mean?
A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term "Caesarian Section"
A: The Caesarian Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word "benign" mean?
A: Benign is what you will be after you are eight.

Those Bulky-Armed Heroes

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I recently noticed in the past three manuscripts I completed, I have the hero carrying the heroine somewhere after she hurts her ankle.

I can't figure out if this means I've fallen into some kind of clich├ęd rut, or if my psyche is trying to tell me something.

In any case, I loved every instance, and I'm not taking them out, so hmmph!


What say you? Is the hero carrying the heroine around totally lame, cheesy, goes against all feminine rights, or sigh...absolutely romantic?

I fall under the romantic school of thought, of course. I just loved it in Gone with the Wind, Sense and Sensibility and even in Twilight (both of Jacob's and Edward's carrying turns). There's just something sweet and yet utterly tummy-swirling about cuddling up to a nice, strong chest and being pampered a bit.

Though seriously, I should probably come up with something new in my next story, huh? Or hey, maybe it could become my new signature scene. Yes, here comes "the bulky-armed hero carrying his heroine" move. Classic Linda Kage style from her early works.

No? Okay, I'll tame down on them then. Sheesh. It's just so much fun to write sorta the same scene in different books; each one has different charcters, flair, mood, style. Makes me feel almost artistic to come up with different ways to say the same thing. Except, yeah, I bet readers are all like, "Hey, you already did that. THREE TIMES."

So, here's my new challenge to myself: No more hero-carrying-heroine scenes...for now!

Took a Little Break, Got a Little Sun, Now I Need a Nap

Monday, July 18, 2011
Last week was my TEN-YEAR wedding anniversary. So, the hubby and I dropped our kid off at Grandma's and spent four days at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. We boated, we swam, we lazed around. It was fun, relaxing and nice, but now I'm all sunburned (okay, just a little colored), sore, and finding it hard to get back into the swing of things.

I haven't written since I returned, and didn't write while on vacation.

Feeling like a bum today.

Maybe I'll write tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

TMI Age

Friday, July 15, 2011
I think we might be moving from the Information Age into the Too-Much-Information Age.

We all have our own Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Blogger, MySpace, Whatever account now. It's just so easy to hop online and announce, "Hey, I just caught my oven on fire." If we're in a good mood, we can celebrate with all our cyber friends. And if something ticks us off, we can rant, rant, rant.

But I've noticed... My mood will come and go, but my words online stay...forever--or quite a while, at least. If I get upset with old stupid-face for calling me stinky-pants, and type out a vindictive little eulogy for him/her on my facebook page, everyone and their dog can read it and see just how upset I am.

The next day, my mood might change--it probably will--and friends are still writing me, "what'd stupid-face do this time? What'd he/she say to you?" If only I'd waited 24-hours to rant, my anger would've drained out and I wouldn't have anything nasty to write. Now everyone thinks I'm bipolar because I just sent stupid-face a cow on FarmTown five minutes ago.

Okay, that really didn't happen in real life, but can't you so easily see it happening? It just seems like we can learn way more than we want to know about people these days, and I can't tell if that's a good thing or bad.

I guess it depends on your thought process. So what are you? A dude-have-you-never-heard-of-privacy or a Ooh-juicy-details-spill-all-the-juicy-details kind of person?

Burning Down the House

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I caught my oven on fire last week, though I think I might actually be able to blame the husband on this one.

It was almost one o’clock when we made it home from church last Sunday. I was starving, the kid had just woken from her one-hour-trip-home nap, and it was hot. So I found one of those box meals where you pretty much pour the contents into a baking dish, throw it in the oven for a while, and you’re good to go, except…all the small baking dishes for cooking were sitting in the refrigerator, holding leftovers.

Why we didn’t just eat leftovers, I have no idea. But, ack, leftovers? Gross.

Being the lazy person I am, I didn’t dump out the any of the leftovers I knew we’d never eat, clean the dish, and use that for baking my chicken pot pie. No, I found this pretty little heart-shaped ceramic pan my aunt had given us for a wedding present and poured everything in there. It all came pretty close to the top of the pan, but I didn’t think much of it, and put it in the oven to cook for half an hour to forty-five minutes, in which the kid whined—probably hungry—the husband complained about her whining, and I continued to starve…in the heat.

The timer goes off, my stomach rejoices, and I throw open the oven door to find that the evil pot pie had boiled over the sides of the pretty, but worthless, heart-shaped pan and onto the floor of my new oven.

I know, the nerve, huh?

The blond-headed version of Mr. Clean, otherwise known as my husband, thought it needed to be cleaned immediately. So, he pushed that CLEAN button on the oven, thinking that would be that. We did not hunt up the oven instructions that explicitly say, “spills need to be cleaned prior to self-cleaning or they may start a fire” until after we learned that nifty little fact for ourselves.

So, I’m holding the kid on my hip and scooping up lunch—it’s now almost two o’clock by then—when I glance over and see nothing but flames behind the little window on my oven door. Not wanting to put my daughter down in case we have to go all ‘save yourselves!’ I scream my husband’s name—like a banshee, he later described it—and hop around the kitchen, waiting for him to come save the day.

Hey, he's the one that pushed the button in the first place.

My mother used to have the same version of that oven and had told me long ago that once you push the clean button, the door locks and there’s no canceling it until it’s done cleaning. So I’m thinking there’s no way to get in there to put out that fire.

But the hubby starts pushing buttons and manages to open the door. He kept saying something about, “It can’t have oxygen. We can’t give it oxygen.” I wasn’t totally sure what I was supposed to do about that, hold my breath? But somehow he got the fire out, we read the instructions (finally), and the oven has yet to be cleaned to this day.

From there, we had to open all the windows and doors—yes, IN THE HEAT—to clear out the smoke and smell.

And that, my dear blogger friends, is just the kind of cook I am! Aren’t you glad you only know me cyber-wise so I can’t invite you over for a dinner?!

Start your week with hero, MORGAN BINGHAM!

Monday, July 11, 2011
Linda Kage: Since author Alison Henderson has already visited with us before, we decided to interview a charater in her book instead. Please welcome Morgan Bingham, hero in Alison's newest story, A Man Like That. Well, hello there, Morgan. The burning question is...Who IS Morgan Bingham? Describe yourself to us please.

Morgan:Ex-Confederate guerilla, ex-outlaw. I’m a man of few words, a hard man who’s lived a hard life. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, but I aim to put all that behind me and return to my roots in the Ozark Mountains. If only that little red-haired wildcat will let me …


Kage: Give us a peek into your head. What is one happy memory you have?


Morgan: I don’t have many good memories of growing up. My family was dirt poor trying to scrape a living out of the rocky hillsides. And my Pa … well, I won’t go into that. Leastwise not with ladies present. Without a doubt, my strongest memory is the first time I saw Miss Jessamine Randall coming down the staircase at her best friend’s house. I felt like I’d been struck by lightning. She asked me to escort her to her buggy. As I said, I’m a man of few words, and on that occasion the few I have deserted me completely. Holding Jessy’s hand was like touching a live flame. If I saw her every day for the rest of my life, I’d still never forget that first time.


Kage:Okay, now let’s skip to the stuff I want to hear about…this is a romance writer’s blog, after all! Before going into this story, what was your romance life like


Morgan: There was no such thing as “romance” in my life. Before I left home for the army, life in the hills was lonely. The only time I saw anyone outside the family was when I drove to town for supplies every couple of months. The proper ladies seemed just as scared of me as I was of them, and Camdenton was too small to have the other kind. Of course, I did manage to spend an evening or two with a soiled dove over the years, but I don’t believe you could count that as “romance”.


Kage: And now that your book has begun, who’s the woman starring in your romance? And what’s the trouble with her?


Morgan: Jessy Randall is the daughter of the town judge in Weston, Missouri. She’s beautiful and too spirited by half. A real do-gooder. Always interfering. Always trying to save someone, even if they can’t be saved. She ran the Freedman’s Bureau school until a gang of cowards burned it down, and she was too stubborn to admit defeat even as the flaming rafters crashed down around her. I breathed in so much smoke pulling her out of that fire I ended up spending nigh on to three weeks in bed over at the doc’s. Big mistake. While I was laid up, Jessy got the notion to marry me. Now I couldn’t let her do that—not a fine lady like her and a no-good outlaw like me. As soon as I could draw a full breath, I lit out there fast.


Kage: What do you like most about her? And what do you like least?


Morgan: That’s two sides of the same coin. I admire her determination, but her stubbornness makes my blood boil. She’s big-hearted, but sometimes her generosity looks an awful lot like meddling. I guess you could say she riles me up, for better or worse. She’s a force to be reckoned with, that’s for certain. .


Kage: Thanks for stopping by and gracing us with some eye candy--I mean, with your presence. Was there anything else you'd like to add before getting along on your way?


Morgan: I’d like to thank you for inviting me to visit today. I’ve never been too comfortable in the presence of ladies, but you all were most gracious. I tip my hat to you. If you’d like to understand why Jessy makes me so crazy, you can read a bit of our story below.




********************EXCERPT for********************
A Man Like That
by
Alison Henderson

Buy Link: The Wild Rose Press
*********************************************


Jessy took a step forward and slid her arms beneath his jacket and around his waist. “Now aren’t you going to kiss me?”

He grabbed her wrists and threw her hands off him as if she harbored a dread disease.

“Are you sure you don’t want to kiss me?” she persisted. “Aren’t you glad to see me?” Her seductive tone was pure torture.

Morgan scowled and didn’t answer. He had no intention of answering the first question and wasn’t sure about the second. At the moment, it required every ounce of strength and resolve he had to keep from jerking her into his arms and taking everything she offered and more.

He stared down at Jessy’s face in the flickering firelight. Her sparkling eyes beckoned him. Her moist lips parted in invitation. But the same fresh innocence that had always stopped him held him back again.

He could take what he wanted; he knew it. There was no one around to stop him, and Jessy wouldn’t resist. She was crazy enough to think she loved him.

It would be so easy to give in, so easy to forget the past and the future for a few sweet hours in her arms, to forget their differences and lose himself in the generosity of her love. But he couldn’t do it. To take her and leave her would be to steal something more precious than her virginity. He would be stealing the bright fire that formed the essence of her, the fire that had drawn him from the beginning. As much as he wanted her, he prayed for the strength to resist her.


*********************************************



If you're still curious about Morgan's author, here are other places to find Alison Henderson on the web:

Website: http://www.alisonhenderson.com/

Blog/Goodreads: Blog on Alison's GOODREADS page.

(A MAN LIKE THAT is a sequel to Alison's first book, HARVEST OF DREAMS)

Friday Forwards - #28

Friday, July 8, 2011
DICTIONARY FOR WOMEN'S PERSONAL ADS

40-ish = 49
Adventurous = Slept with everyone
Athletic = No tits
Average looking = Ugly
Beautiful = Pathological liar
Contagious Smile = Does a lot of pills
Emotionally secure = On medication
Feminist = Fat
Free spirit = Junkie
Friendship first = Former very *friendly* person
Fun = Annoying
New Age = Body hair in the wrong places
Open-minded = Desperate
Outgoing = Loud and Embarrassing
Passionate = Sloppy drunk
Professional = Bitch
Voluptuous = Very Fat
Large frame = Hugely Fat
Wants Soul mate = Stalker

WOMEN'S ENGLISH:

1. Yes = No
2. No = Yes
3. Maybe = No
4. We need = I want
5. I am sorry = you'll be sorry
6. We need to talk = you're in trouble
7. Sure, go ahead = you better not
8. Do what you want = you will pay for this later
9. I am not upset = Of course I am upset, you moron!
10. You're very attentive tonight = is sex all you ever think about?

MEN'S ENGLISH

1. I am hungry = I am hungry
2. I am sleepy = I am sleepy
3. I am tired = I am tired
4. Nice dress = Nice cleavage!
5. I love you = Let's have sex now
6. I am bored = Do you want to have sex?
7. May I have this dance? = I'd like to have sex with you
8. Can I call you sometime? = I'd like to have sex with you
9. Do you want to go to a movie? = I'd like to have sex with you
10. Can I take you out to dinner? = I'd like to have sex with you
11. Those shoes don't go with that outfit = I'm gay

And finally.....

A recent scientific study found that women find different male faces attractive depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle.

For example, when a woman is ovulating she will prefer a man with rugged, masculine features.

However when she is menstruating, she prefers a man doused in petrol and set on fire, with scissors stuck in his eye and a cricket stump shoved up his backside.

From BEYOND PERFECT to A TROUBLED PAST to KISS IT BETTER

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
One of the first stories I finished writing after graduating from college with my nifty new bachelors’ degree in creative fiction writing was a novel I called BEYOND PERFECT.

It was the fifth story I’d completed and a total of 107,000 words long about a children’s illustrator/author named Lucy who was raped in chapter one and then goes to live with her brother to recuperate, where the brother’s roommate helps her heal.

It had a little suspense, where everyone tried to discover who the rapists was, and of course, the bad guy had to come back and try to get at her one more time, though her dashing, handsome Kade (her brother’s roommate) saves her, and they live happily ever after.

In short, the story totally sucked.

I never even bothered submitting it anywhere.

That was back in 2002 (I think—okay, I’m pretty certain it was. Well, it could’ve been in 2001, I guess).

A couple of years rolled by. I wrote more stories (twelve more, in fact), and forget about Lucy and Kade for six years. Then one day in mid 2008, I don’t know why, but I opened this old document from one of my dusty computer files and start reading through it again.

It still sucked, but I decided I wasn’t going be deterred by that small, insignificant detail. I had put a lot of freaking work (or what I thought was a lot at that time) into the story.

Thus, I pulled out my handy machete (metaphorical, of course) and began to chop away. I changed Lucy to Dani (pronounced Danny) and Kade to Sam and made her share the story with her brother (who’s name I also changed from Andrew to Reed) in order for him to get a romance with his beautiful co-worker, Sophia (and she’s the only character name I never changed…Huh, strange).

There was no more suspense in version two since, in this account, Lucy’s—I mean, Dani’s—rapist was caught before chapter one even started. Plus, I added a deep painful past for both her and her brother, heaping them each with lots of childhood issues. The story theme morphed into a motivational one, where both couples learned to overcome painful pasts, ergo a title change to A TROUBLED PAST was in order. This edition was 72,000 words long.

I didn’t submit this overhaul to any publishers this time around either, but I did enter chapter one into a contest, and received some pretty dour reviews. I seriously don’t think a single judge liked it. I know, shucks, huh? But I did get one piece of good advice back from the whole disaster. I probably should make the story about just one couple…not two.

So back to the chopping board we went. Well, okay, fine, I sulked for a while first. Then I hid the story away for a couple more years, completing two full novels in the process. And THEN…back to the chopping board we went.

Delete some words, paragraphs, chapters…add some words, paragraphs, and chapters. Take out all the bedrooms scenes; then add a few bedroom scenes back in. It went from sensual, to sweet, and back to a sensual heat rating.

And on the revisions went.

Dani’s name was altered to Danni, so readers would know better how to pronounce her. Kade/Sam turned into Nic. And both of them became merely supporting characters. I deleted about ninety percent of their airtime until the manuscript shrank down to about 50,000 words at one point. Then I focused the rest of my efforts on Reed (who’s Lucy/Dani/Danni’s brother, remember) and Sophia (his co-worker), who became the star hero and heroine.

My sister suggested I tame down poor Danni’s past (she’d already been through enough torment, I guess), so I did, which beefed up poor Reed’s painful past (sorry, bud). And viola! KISS IT BETTER, a 60,000-word emotionally-packed sensual romance was born in early 2011.

So many changes.

From 2002 (or 2001) to 2011….from 107,000 to 60,000 words…from the sister’s point of view to the brother’s…from suspense to motivational romance…from BEYOND PERFECT to KISS IT BETTER, I’m so pleased to report my story finally has a home.

In the coming months, Reed and Sophia cordially invite you to witness their journey at Whispers Publishing, where they battle through a whole warehouse (forget the mere closet) full of emotional skeletons to find a pure, binding love that lasts a lifetime.

Here is your first peek at Kiss it Better. (for a blurb or excerpt, you can check out the “Kiss It Better” page on my website: http://www.lindakage.com/kiss.html)

And that’s the whole story behind my next release: Kiss it Better.

Happy Independence Day!!

Monday, July 4, 2011
I hope you have a happy, SAFE, fourth of July!



To all the non-Americans...have a happy, um, Monday!

That's EXACTLY it!!

Friday, July 1, 2011
They say...

You're not supposed to read the reviews about your book. So of course, I haunt the review sites, checking for new ratings morning, noon, and night.

You learn a lot about your own writing from complete strangers, you know. Okay, mostly, you make little mental comments, sometimes indignant snorts (you're wrong, buster, just completely wrong), sometimes embarrassed head-hanging moments follow (oh crap, that was a good point; why didn't I do that?), and other times you glow with pride (Yep, that's MY story this person is praising).

And then there are the times you come across someone who has a bigger insight into your story than you do. This week I read the line, "The book doesn't have some big unbelievable whopper of a plot. It's simplicity is what makes it complex."

And I was like, BINGO. That's it. That's exactly that I was trying to write about! Wow, someone actually got it.

In my young adult stories, I really don't create huge save-the-world situations. It's usually about one person and how everyday life affects them. Boring, real life...except I try not to make it so boring.

But all this time, I've never known how to explain it. And now I do.

So thank you _yay_, you totally made my week! It's nice to know someone really understood me.