Tag Archives: e-books

Eyes Wide Open

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.

mysticink_72dpiLast week on my website, I announced the start of my very first Goodreads Giveaway to celebrate Mystic Ink, now in paperback. I was inspired, in part, by Katy Lee’s giveaway back in December. And because, I realized that while the book has been in paperback since late November, no one knew about it!!

It’s still not too late to enter, the giveaway runs until January 31 (open to US residents only, see Goodreads for all contest rules & details).

It’s interesting to me that Goodreads only allows paper books in their giveaways. I’m not sure if that is because of the inherent concern about DRM issues (digital rights management). All I know is that the reader’s world today is vastly different from the one I grew up in.

As a kid, I got my books from two places: the library and the bookstore. That’s it. The format was paperback or occasionally hardcover depending on the type of book. If someone had told me that, in my lifetime, music, movies, and books would be condensed into a digital format accessible on a single device, I would have said, “Awesome. Sign me up!”

Maybe I would have shown a smidgen of disbelief, but not too much. Hey, my reading (and movie/TV watching) of choice has always been science fiction and fantasy. I was one of the kids who watched Star Trek re-runs every day after school and geeked out over Star Wars.

But, because I’m a sci-fi fan, I also know to ask this question: “What is the evil dark side to having everything digital?”

C’mon. We all know there has to be some tarnish on the silver lined cloud of convenience and easy access. As Rumpelstiltskin always says on Once Upon a Time, “Remember,dearie. There’s always a price!”

Here is what concerns me the most. Eventually, maybe not in my lifetime, if all physical copies of books, music and movies become obsolete, who really controls ownership of that content?

Already, courts are working to decide if customers who buy e-books are only leasing them or do they own them? With a physical book, you can give it away, sell it or keep it forever and pass it to your heirs.

Right now, if you buy a book from Amazon or B&N (or whoever), you are only licensing that content. It doesn’t really belong to you, the reader. And someday, if you don’t even have a physical copy of your digital content, that means you have to go through a gatekeeper to buy it, store it, and use it.

A gatekeeper could be a benevolent corporation or maybe a controlling, not so nice, company (or gack – the government!). Today, cloud storage is free, but will it be tomorrow?

Whoa! This all sounds so Orwellian, doesn’t it?

Now with all that said, I do own e-readers (Nook, Kindle), Kindle Fire,and an iPod Touch, in addition to hundreds of physical copies of books, CDs, DVDs/Blue Ray, etc. IMG_1440And, since I’m a writer, I like knowing that my books ultimately belong to me (and I have the control).

I am not advocating that digital content is bad. I love it. If it weren’t for the computer age, I wouldn’t have spent the last 23 years working from home and watching my sons grow to (almost) young men. And my books would probably still be languishing in some slush pile if it weren’t for small presses.

All I ask, dear Scribesters, is keep your eyes wide open and consider the future possibilities.

Hopefully, I haven’t scared you all away. Anyone else see the evil dark side? Or, conversely, the positives of digital content?


Interview: Donna Shields – Secrets of Jenkins Bridge

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here. Please welcome my fellow Soul Mate sister – Donna Shields. She’s here to answer our favorite questions and tell us about her latest book – SECRETS OF JENKINS BRIDGE.

How do you battle the doubt monster?

The only way I can get past the doubt monster is a good two to three day break from writing. I’ll read a book instead. When I come back to the story, my mind is refreshed, and I can move on.

Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you? Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

Oh yeah. I really want to write a steampunk one and maybe one day I’ll start one. I have a couple ideas kicking around.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

First, I’d cry. I couldn’t imagine not being a writer. But, if I couldn’t I’d go back to college to become a nurse.

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

Yes, I actually have a couple. I don’t think there’s really anything terrible about the stories. I’m stuck where they have been left at. One is about a woman and a child in hiding from her now ex abusive husband and he’s on the hunt for her. He hired a PI (my hero) whom doesn’t know why this man is really looking for her. Slowly it comes out and all he wants now is to protect her. I will eventually finish this story because I believe it will be one awesome romantic suspense story to tell.

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book. How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?

Well, just between you, me and your entire readership (LOL), when my husband and I were having some serious marital issues I’d just begun writing Boneknapper (one I’m currently working on). I felt the need to punish my husband through my poor hero who has a deadly Voodoo curse placed against him. Let’s just say it’s wonderful therapy.

Your first book, THE SWAN COVE MURDERS is a novella. Is writing a shorter story, easier or harder? And is your new book – SECRETS OF JENKINS BRIDGE also a novella? And please tell us about your new book.

I think it’s easier to write a novella. With a novella you only have a short amount of words and I find I write with ease being direct. With a novel, you have to meet a minimum word count and I don’t even come close.

With Secrets of Jenkins Bridge, I just barely made the 50K word count needed to be considered a novel. Secrets of Jenkins Bridge is Katherine and Mitchell’s story. They used to be high school sweethearts until tragedy struck and Mitchell abruptly left Addison, unknown to him that Katherine was pregnant. Years later, he returns chasing down a mob boss who is a partner is his father’s company and to clear Mitchell’s deceased best friend of murder. Katherine has been run off the road, and her and Mitchell’s daughter has been kidnapped. They race against time to find their daughter and discover they still love one another.

Here’s the blurb:

Hunting down a dangerous mob boss has brought FBI agent Mitchell Donovan home, reawakening an old flame, resurrecting a dead best friend, and discovering fatherhood. As if those aren’t enough, his new case will push everything else aside: finding the kidnappers who took the daughter he never knew he had.

Katherine Delaney never forgot the heartbreak Mitchell had caused with his abrupt departure all those years ago. With her dead ex-husband accused of murder and her daughter kidnapped, she will place her trust in the one man who could trample her heart again if she gets too close. But, will the resurrection of Katherine’s ex-husband and Mitchell’s chase for a killer destroy their second chance at love and happiness?

This is your second book with Soul Mate Publishing. Please tell us about working with a smaller, digital press. How has the experience been for you? And what led you to go with a smaller press?

Since I’ve never worked with a big press, I can only assume. I get more one on one with my editor with quick responses to my concerns and questions. I feel like it’s more of a personal relationship. The experience has been great. I absolutely love my editor and am so excited to be starting my career with Soul Mate Publishing as they are beginning this great voyage into the publishing world.

What is your junk food of choice?

Why chocolate of course 🙂

What is your guilty pleasure? 

 I would have to say Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or Pizza Hut’s cheese stuffed crusted meat lovers pizza.


They followed the paramedic toward the ambulance while Gladys and the other woman continued to talk.

He’d had a nightmare in the early hours before Gladys’ call had awakened him. The Camaro from his dream sat in the same exact spot. Aidan pointed out the car and told Mitchell he had to save ‘her’, whoever that might be. He figured he was about to find out. If, in fact, he wasn’t losing his marbles.

As they rounded the corner to the back of the ambulance, Gladys stopped short causing Mitchell to nearly colliding into her. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he croaked, and then cleared his raw throat. “What’s the victim’s name?”

The paramedic shook her head, blonde ponytail swishing. “We don’t know. Haven’t found any ID yet, and she’s a little confused. Has a nasty bump to the head.”

He let Gladys climb aboard. Her upward movement stopped in midair, one leg dangling a little too close to Mitchell’s jewels. He jumped back as she whipped around, almost losing her balance. In a barely audible tone, she said, “I know her.”

“You know practically the entire town.” Mitchell gestured toward the victim. “Say something. Who is she?”

Her gaze stared off in the distance above his head. “It’s just so weird. It’s the widow whose husband drove off that bridge.” She pointed toward Jenkins Bridge, the old wooden-covered overpass in the distance.

An icy chill ran up his spine. Gladys moved aside, giving him full view of Katherine Delaney. She may be battered and bloody, but Mitchell could never forget her face, her high cheekbones, or the tiny, turned up nose. S**t.

Their eyes met, and his chest instantly tightened, his throat constricting. Something was wrong. She seemed to stare through him. Surely, she recognized him. He hadn’t changed that much. He managed to find his voice. “Hello.”

Katherine closed her dazzling emerald eyes. “What happened?”

He put his trembling hands behind his back interlocking them. “You were in an accident. What’s your name?”

She shook her head, the confusion apparent..

“It’s all right. This is Detective Freeman and I’m Detective Donovan.” Would the name register?

If it did, she didn’t react. She closed her eyes and turned her head away from them.

The paramedic announced, “Gonna have to finish this at the hospital after the doctor examines her.”

Mitchell reluctantly backed away allowing Gladys to jump down. Once the ambulance left, Mitchell said, “She didn’t recognize me.” Hundreds of miles apart and fifteen years later, and none of that mattered anymore. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and protect her. What was her life like now? Did she still live on the ranch with Aidan’s mother? Or did she have another whole life somewhere else?

Would she be okay? What if something happened to her? He couldn’t think like that. He wouldn’t.

“You know her?”

Of course he had. When he left Addison, he had been running from the hurt they’d caused one another. And his mother’s death. And his own demons.. “You keep forgetting. I grew up in this town.”

“What’s your connection?”

He didn’t want to get into his and Katherine’s complicated past at the moment. “We went to school together. Her husband, Aidan, and I were best friends.”

Gladys’ milk chocolate eyes grew large. “Oh wow. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. That was a long time ago.” Life goes on.

About Donna:

Donna Shields grew up on romance and scary stories. With her love for suspense and the slightly unusual, she enjoys tying these elements together to create stories full of love, danger and the paranormal.

She lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, her children, and some great haunts. She’s a mom, a ‘gramma’, a wife, a friend, an avid reader and writer. When she’s not occupied with all that, she loves traveling to Playa del Carmen and Jamaica.

You can find me:

At my blog: http://donna-realworldwriting.blogspot.com
On facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/shieldsdonna
On Twitter: @Donna_Shields
On SMP’s Author Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
You can buy Secrets of Jenkins Bridge at: http://soulmatepublishing.com
Coming soon to Amazon and Barnes and Noble also.

Thanks Donna!

Since we Scribes love secrets – who’s got one to share with Donna? Which do you prefer long novels or shorter novellas?

Here’s a Sneak Peek Just for You – shhhhhh!

Hi there!  J here.  So guess what?  The next book in my Livingston-Wexford Adventures series, The Peacock Tale, is launching in 10 days!  Wahooooo!  The e-book will be available on Smashwords and Amazon and the print version will be available from Createspace and my website all on November 29th!

This has been a wicked exciting year for me and to celebrate, I’m going to give one lucky commenter today print copies of both The Cordovan Vault and The Peacock Tale!  Fun for you to read, or they’ll make a nice gift for some ‘tween on your holiday shopping list.  I’ll draw the name at random and announce the winner next Saturday, Nov. 26th.

Just to wet your whistle, here’s a sneak peek from The Peacock Tale, just for you.  Enjoy!

Kayla parked her antique Schwinn in an equally antique rack outside the sheriff’s office.  Kayla’s experience with police departments was limited to what she saw on television.  Back home in Maine, they had a resident state trooper, but there was so little crime that there had been no need for an actual police department. 

Of course, Jim and Lorelei’s supposed deaths, their house blowing up and their own presumed deaths had probably ruined the town’s crime statistics for a decade.

Kayla didn’t know what she had expected, but the tiny office, complete with four cubicle workspaces, one conference room/interrogation room and one actual office with walls and a door was not it.  It practically looked like a sheriff’s office in an old western movie.  One brown corkboard hung on a wall by the door, covered in honest-to-God Wanted posters.  Who knew they still made those things? 

There didn’t appear to be anyone to greet people when they walked in the door, so Kayla coughed until someone said hello.  It turned out to be a grandfatherly looking man who said, “What can I do for you, miss?”

“Hi.  I’m Kayla.  My Great Aunt, Talia Blake, asked me to stop in and see Sheriff Watkins.  Is he in?”

The old man sighed, deeply, as if this request was just about the worst possible thing to come his way in a long time.  He closed his eyes and rolled his neck toward the ceiling, as if searching for patience.  Kayla suspected this might not be as easy an assignment as she had hoped. 

“I’m Sheriff Watkins,” he said, opening his eyes again.  “What can I do for you, Miss Kayla, and for Miss Tally, today?”

“She asked me to check if any additional information might have surfaced about her friends’ deaths.  I’m sure you know she suspects foul play.”  Kayla winced, sort of grinding her teeth as she asked the question to give the impression that she knew GAT was a bit off her rocker, but she had to ask anyway. 

It must have worked, because Sheriff Watkins sighed again and seemed to take pity on her.  “She’s still on that kick?  Well, you tell her that I consider those cases closed, as natural deaths.  I understand she’s not ready to let go of her friends, but perhaps she’d be better served by speaking with Father Greer over at the church about her…concerns.”

Kayla opened her mouth to speak, truly not sure what she was going to say, but it didn’t matter.  Sheriff Watkins cut her off anyway.

“There’s nothing for me to look for about Miss Laddie and Miss Garet’s deaths.  And with this kidnapping, I don’t have any extra deputies to send on a wild goose chase.  Now you run along home and tell Miss Tally that I’ve gotten all of her emails, and her text messages on the issue and I can’t spend any more time on it.  That’s a good girl.”

Kayla expected the sheriff to actually pat her on the head, he was being so patronizing, but she shrugged it off and graciously said goodbye before heading out the door.  She pulled the darkly tinted glass door inward and stepped out onto the sidewalk in blindingly bright daylight. 

For a timeless instant, her mind flashed to a movie she had seen with this same scene.  No not a movie, a dream!  She recognized her Advantage in the tiniest fraction of a second, and the rest of the scene from her dream flashed through her mind just as quickly. 

She moved her right arm to shield her eyes from the sun and realized too late that the glare came off of the shiny grille of a car.  The car struck her in the stomach and sent her flying through the air. 

Intrigued?  Whatever will happen to our heroine?  Will she live through the car ‘accident’?  Will they ever solve the deaths of Great Aunt Tally’s friends?  Who killed them, and why?  And who got kidnapped?!  Answers to these and many more questions can be found in The Peacock Tale.  Look for it online November 29th.

Julia Rachel Barrett – Ghostly Love

Happy Freakish Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

Please welcome today’s guest  Julia Rachel Barrett.  If you haven’t read any of Julia’s books, you are missing out on some great reads. Click here to read my review of her book Beauty and the Feast.

 And in  the spirit of our  Spooky Week theme – please check out her ghostly love story Incorporeal.

Let’s here what Julia has to say about romance.


Why Write? 

Perhaps the better question is, why not? I have a spotty history in the world of literature. Like so many readers, I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was very young, maybe five or six years old. Here’s a truism, if you love to tell stories, to make up stories in your head, you probably love to read and chances are you’d like to write.

It’s not as simple as it seems and a lot depends upon what your goals are. Do you want to sell a whole lot of books? I suspect anybody can sell bunches of books if the subject matter is prurient enough. Do you want to be a damn good writer? Takes work.

A Tale of Ghostly Love

How did I begin? I began by reading everything in sight, in every genre available to me. My early loves were poetry, mystery stories, fantasy/science fiction, and even comic books. Don’t laugh. Comic books are great for learning economy of words. The creator has to express an emotion and move a story forward in very few words. Of course comics also contain expressive action words like Pow! Bam! Smack! Crash!

I moved from poetry to short stories – which are making a comeback with the advent of e-publishing – to nonfiction articles for nursing and medical journals to literary fiction. Aside from freelance articles, finding a publisher for my works of fiction was an exercise in futility. I queried agents and publishers for too many years without results. While I was raising small children and working part time, I filed the manuscripts away and focused on my job as a hospice nurse.

Smokin’ Hot Good Read

In 2007 I found myself sidelined by a climbing injury…tore my left knee up pretty bad. For a year I either wore a titanium brace or used crutches while researching surgeons and then waiting for the surgeon I chose to fit me in for a repair. A friend took pity on me and brought me a romance novel – Kill and Tell, by Linda Howard, and I was hooked. I had always dismissed romance as ‘bodice rippers’ and it was one genre I ignored. Linda Howard told a damn good sexy story. I went on to read everything she’d written up to that point and moved on to Karen Marie Moning, then Hannah Howell and Lynsay Sands. I realized that with the life I’d lived, I had stories to tell, romantic stories, gripping, touching, loving stories, and I wrote my first romance.

Never looked back. Now I look forward to a brave new world of self-publishing. I can revise and release the series of short stories I worked so hard on years ago. In the meantime I have a full-length paranormal romance available on Kindle, Incorporeal, and I’ll soon release the sequel, In the Flesh. I have nine romances out to date with publishers in ebook and print and I’ve self-published another five books in a variety of genres and lengths.

Coming soon!

Come visit me anytime on my site – Julia’s Worldhttp://juliarachelbarrett.net

Thanks for having me, Casey!

Any time Julia. Thanks for being our guest today. Please feel free to leave Julia a question.

Tell us, what are your writing goals? And why do you write? And for our readers, what are you looking for when you choose your next book?