Monday, September 30, 2013

I'm A Unicorn!!!

Why else would the fabulous writer's of Unicorn Bell interview me? Oh, okay, maybe because they're fabulous and Marcy is a blog buddy... but anyway, I am over THERE Wednesday... Angela is there, TODAY so you should go over and see us!!!

As for HERE... My work schedule is terrible until Oct 15, so I think twice a week is as much as I might manage blogging...

But if you visit me over at Unicorn Bell, I will do my best to get back to you!!!

I'm a Fire Horse... why NOT a fire unicorn?

Monday, September 23, 2013

So How Did It Go?

I'm glad you asked... and if you didn't ask and don't know what I'm talking about, let me explain... no, is too much, let me sum up:

Thursday (because it's the most naked day) I released Book 2 (In Short Supply) of my serial and at the same time offered A Flock of Ill Omens (Book 1) for FREE.

Conclusion: People like free stuff.

See. Now you're smarter.

But if you want specifics:

I gave away 227 copies of A Flock of Ill Omens in at least 6 countries (190 in the US, 17 in the UK, and 3 each in Germany, India and Canada). It's actually more countries, as Amazon only has 9 they track. In addition, I SOLD some copies to either side of the free day, and have thus far sold 11 copies of the second. I'm not moving mountains, but if I add that to what I gave away prior to releasing, (and counter for duplicates, as there are some) I think I have nearly 300 copies out there of the first... That's not terrible. And look at THIS:

Did you SEE the #2? I spent all afternoon there!!! I was as high as #68 in free thrillers. Never passed under the thousand mark for free books overall, but I'm pretty happy, considering I have mostly sat over 100,000. Best I can tell, a book a day sits you right on that 100,000 rank mark for the paid store.

I have no idea how the 'bestseller' titles get bandied about. I don't think I'm there, but it was very fun to watch all day.

I plan to offer the first free AGAIN when the 3rd is released (October 10), and again for the 4th (October 31)

I really want to thank all of YOU for helping me out! My friends who helped spread the word really made it all possible.

In Other News...

It's Fall... ACK!

Don't get me wrong. Fall itself is already with me. I like warm days and crisp nights, apple flavored stuff, fall beer options... My PROBLEM with it is this...

And the dreaded winter will arrive well before the 4th season of Game of Thrones or the 6th book of the Song of Ice and Fire series...

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Net te flog ye wit it... Jes excited.

There be THREE very important things YE need ta do taday!!!

1)  Wish Hermione Granger a Happy Birthday!!!

2)  Talk like a Pirate! (all day!)

3)  Download A Flock Of Ill Omens!!!  (It's FREE!!!) 

(an tell yer mates te do the same)

And if you are interested, 
In Short Supply is up!!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Beauty of Stubbornness

And by that, I mean me, of course... but do I have another point?

Don't I always? *shifty*

On Monday I saw probably very WISE concern about serials... waiting to buy until they are done because not everybody finishes them. And I thought WHAT?


I mean I spent a fair few years writing fan fiction and I saw a LOT of abandoned stories, so it's probably totally naïve that it never crossed my mind that serial stories being SOLD could have this happen. But it didn't. I guess I thought I'd jumped out of the sandbox and into the naked volleyball pit... or something.

But I will share something with you about me that the title of this blog was already a spoiler on... I NEVER don't finish. Okay, poor sentence structure, two negatives and all... But that just isn't me. When I was a senior in high school I was the FIRST one to turn in our huge Government take-home final because from day one I did a question a day. Every day.

It's how I roll.

If you need further reassurance, episode 2 goes up tomorrow, and I am WRITING #5, but my intention is to FINISH my first draft during NaNoWriMo... THEN it is just a matter of editing, which DOES take me several rounds, but is a place I will never abandon it.

But I promise to keep all of you skeptics up to date...

I ALSO have an apology.

For a while here my blog visits are going to be down—my day job is REALLY needy right now. That leaves me night, when I am trying to WRITE.

I will definitely keep trying, but it may be weekend before I get my visiting done.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NakedStorm! Or should we say CassaTart?

Today is a HUGE day! Alex Cavanaugh is releasing his third in his Cassa Trilogy and he let a bunch of his buddies ask him questions... What do you think I asked about?

Tart:  In the future universe you've created, where would a Tart go to find her favorite dress code? Which is to say UNdressed?

Ninja:  I think you’d enjoy visiting Arella. The Arellens wear light clothing and underwear is probably optional. It’s a lush planet with numerous bodies of water, so lots of opportunities for skinny dipping.

(Oh, I know... Ninjas are always naked)

Comment on Alex’s blog this week for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag!

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.” 
- Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

“I thought the revelation was going to be one thing and I was completely wrong … CassaStorm pushes the limits…”
- Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Reviews

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

(And he's a ninja)

Go Alex, Go!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Small Favor and a Bigger One...

So this week I get a reality check. Anyone want to take bets on whether I'm delusional or if I might be onto something. Say WHAT? You say...

Well see THIS WEEK I am offering up my first FOR FREE and releasing my second in my Shot in the Light serial.

The questions go something like this:

Can I give it away? (how many downloads will I get with that FREE pricetag?)

And if I DO give it away, will it lead to PURCHASES?

I could use all of your HELP on that front. [Note: This is the BIGGER favor] Anyone willing to share THIS, would be HUGELY appreciated!

Buy Link

The LITTLER favor:

Could you please, even if I sent you one for free, click BUY on Thursday. It's free. It's easy. And I am HOPING that click will help me get a good ranking on the old free book thing... It is one of those things Amazon adds to their promo algorithm.

In Other Attempts...

I sent a copy of book 2 to anyone who reviewed book 1 by yesterday—I don't know what the 'sweet spot' is for number of reviews, but I DO know that Amazon takes it into account when they are promoting. I think if there are enough reviews, then THEY do my advertising FOR ME. That's where I want to be. But I think the number of reviews needed is like 30.

It got a couple people to post reviews, so it worked on some level.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tapping My Inner Slut (Indie Life)

So second Wednesday of every month is an Indie Life blog... You should go see ALL the Indie authors, yes?

You know... there are certain advantages some of us have in this Indie world... because when I want to tap my inner slut... I sort of had an outer slut once upon a time (though at the time I called it feminism... you know... what's good for the gander... all that, but I digress).


So last Thursday (actually Wednesday, but only because I wasn't sure it would work the first time) I pushed publish on my FIRST episode of my FIRST self-published work. It's really out there.

And there are terms that just seem really apt...

Giving it away...

Flaunting it...

Putting out...

But then there are other things I am just less familiar with... For instance I've always thought 'teasing' was cheating... that part doesn't translate. HERE teasing is GOOD, not lousy. Though it IS still manipulative... which maybe I want to be? Am I figuring this out right? I don't LIKE manipulation! In fact I HATE being manipulated and usually rebel, tossing POO at said manipulators! But am I unusual that way? I think some people must like it or there wouldn't be so many who DO it.

And I can't give it ALL away or nobody buys anything!? Gads, this is confusing! So I give a little away and hope they marry me? But I don't WANT marriage! I just want really good sex! Okay, you can see how bumbled this whole thing makes me.

I completely come from the WRONG ideology. I'm all good with parts of it, but I never did master drawing the lines. I guess, though, if people LIKE it, they will keep coming back, yeah?

I think I was more adept with the drug dealer analogy. What does that say about me that I can push it as a drug, but not as a sex toy? Are you all feeling uncomfortable yet?

ANYWAY, episode 2 comes out next week. I am offering it free to anyone who reviews A Flock of Ill Omens (honestly)  by Sunday...

Oh, and the reviews are going well! All my actual reviews (4 at Amazon and 1 at Goodreads) come with 5 stars. I only have a 4 star average at Goodreads, but there is a person who gave it a 1 star when I hadn't actually sold any, and since she wasn't on my list of the 60 freebies I sent, she rated without reading (she has a single 4 star review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and 15 one-star reviews—me and a bunch of famous people... I figured it meant I'd arrived.

I haven't sold many copies, but I didn't really expect to--I gave away oodles and plan to give oodles more... first free day is next Thursday when the second comes out to buy. THAT, I would love help shouting about...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

And the Winner Is!!!

So for my book release blogfest, I promised a randomly chosen winner, eh?

I went to and put in the boundaries of 1 and 23, since there were 23 blogfest participants and it came back with 7. LG Smith, you have won a $25 gift card and the rest of my book in serial as I release it!

Congratulations to you!

And THANK YOU to everyone who participated and helped me spread the word!

I am currently:

Going through copyedits for Book 2: In Short Supply

Awaiting 2nd reader feedback for Book 3: So This is War

And WRITING Book 5: Travel Plans

(Book 4, Fight or Flight is with first readers, but they just got it—FINALLY this schedule is spreading out a bit)

Be sure to stop by tomorrow. It is second Wednesday and is the Indie Life post for the month and now I really have an Indie book so I'm no longer a fraud with that...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Being All Authory...

So most of the time I am sort of an imaginary author. I write books and do my online stuff and the degree of separation from reality is solid enough that it doesn't seem quite real. I am playing at being an author. But then weekends like THIS weekend happen... and it makes me feel both more real and more like a fraud...

Lemme e'splain...

We have a local bookstore owner who is FABULOUS. I think most of you know I am normally fairly awkward—definitely don't have the personality to cold call and invite myself places, but Robin Agnew of Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookshop has approached ME and invited me to do book releases and be part of local book events.

So this weekend was the Kerrytown Bookfest. For those of you not familiar with Ann Arbor, Kerrytown is a little downtown shopping square where the farmer's market is on Saturday and the shops are the most Ann Arbory in town (think intellectual hippies), and Ann Arbor is a pretty bookish place—TONS of bookstores, publishers, binders, artists, and peripherally related stuff.

And Robin invited me to moderate a panel... Mysterious Sense of Place...

What this meant for ME was a FABULOUS excuse to read some GREAT books in preparation. The authors were Erin Hart, Cara Black, and Libby Fischer Hellman, ALL of whom I recommend! Man, did I have fun reading!

From Cara Black, I read Murder Below Montparnasse and Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis. Aimee Leduc is the detective and she is SUCH FUN! These books, too, hit exactly the tone I really would like to aim for in my mysteries. The cozies are a blast, but these, while they maintain a bit of zany and humor (in fact quite a lot) has more serious situations and crimes—there is politics and corruption and real life issues—I finally have a series to refer to when I get to selling What Ales Me (which I intend to do very shortly—just one final cleaning needed)

From Libby Fischer Hellmann I read her book that just came out this week, Havana Lost, and thought it was great—it takes place over thirty years and I loved the contrast of pre-Castro Cuba with modern Cuba. It is sort of a Mafia Family saga more than a mystery—suspense. And then I am mid-book on A Bitter Veil, a story about an American girl who falls in love with an Iranian grad student. The two of them marry and go to Iran just as the Shah is deposed... Only half done on that one, but enjoying it.

And then I fell IN LOVE with Erin Hart. Her books take place in the bogs of Ireland and pair an archeologist and a pathologist to find out what they can about these OLD bodies, but there is ALWAYS a parallel modern crime to go with the old 'crime'--I love that—the parallel thing. It is like the James Michener books of locations a bit, only an added layer of modern mystery. They're delicious. I am mid-book for Haunted Ground, which was her first (and was inspired by a true 'finding a perfectly preserved head of a red-haired woman in the bog). The other, the one I read first, is The Book of Killowen and I ADORED it, probably all the more because at the center of the story is a manuscript and the 1000 year old body is a scribe (and it brought me to believe in a past life I was probably a scribe, but that's for another day)--anyway, the writer in me can't resist books about books, and the double mystery, new and old, was fantastic.

[note my buy links are Indiebound—conversation Saturday really got me thinking about what we authors DO around here... promoting indie bookstores is a good thing--more on that later]

So ANYWAY... I moderated the session about sense of place, touching on why they'd chosen the places they did and how they instilled the stories with it to the extent that place was almost a character... these amazing authors were SO nice. Session went well... Dinner party Saturday night went well (I got to talk to Libby and Cara quite a bit there)... so much wisdom and talent...

And then there is me. Always awkward.  Anyone else feel that way when you rub elbows with such talented, amazing people? There are these alternating moments of 'look at the company I earned' and 'I AM UNWORTHY!'

A very cool experience, in any case...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Release Day! And The World Ends HOW? Blogfest

First, I want to throw out a GIANT thank you to those of you participating with me! Today is book release day for A Flock of Ill Omens, the first in my A Shot in the Light serial. And I REALLY REALLY appreciate those of you willing to help me spread the word!

OHMYGOSH!  I'm twitterpated!  At least I think I am. If that word means what I think it does... The book (episode) is UP and LIVE and for SALE!!!

That's a trip to post something all on your own. I will say though, it took about 7 takes before the proof copy looked right--all those things you don't THINK about formatting-wise. But it looks GOOD!

Did I mention it's UP!!! *gasp*

Wanna hear about it?

Deadliest virus in a century, or a social experiment gone awry?

Every year they warned about the flu and more often than not, it amounted to nothing. Sidney Knight, a young freelance reporter had certainly never written on it. But a trip to Lincoln City, Oregon cut short by a beach full of dead seagulls and a panicked warning from her brother, the scientist, catch her attention. This batch is different. Deadlier. And the vaccine doesn't seem to be helping. It almost looks like it's making it worse...

A Flock of Ill Omens: Part I is the first episode of A Shot in the Light, an Apocalypse Conspiracy Tale about what happens when people play God for fun and profit. There will be approximately ten episodes, each the equivalent of about 100 pages.

Good Reads has a sneak peak posted. You can find the purchase link and more information about the book here. And if you want it FOR FREE, I will be offering it free on the release dates of at least the next two in the serial: September 19 and October 10.

And if you want to BUY it, it is HERE. (actually has the whole first chapter, too)

Hart Johnson writes books from here bathtub and can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart, though be warned. She is likely to lead you into shenanigans.

Now for my bloghop entry!!!

The year is 2069 and Global Warming has increased the average temperature by about 15 degrees. People have finally accepted that nudism is MUCH SMARTER than other fashion statements. It just is breezier that way. And having taken ON nudism, the planet has become a nicer place. People just get along better when everybody is naked. It's really HARD to be a jerk when your business is right out there in the open.

But an Evil Sect of TWEED-WEARERS has deemed that this is INAPPROPRIATE and are trying to instill their will on everybody else! Now once a person has spent some time naked, putting on tweed on a 90-degree day... well you can SEE where the civil war begins... The Tweedists try to cool the world to make the Nudists wear clothes, but their strategy BACKFIRES--everyone knows the energy in the universe is constant, and you can't cool something off without warming something up, if you know what I mean...

There is a devastating battle in which the nudists finally CATCH the Tweedists trying to set off a nuclear bomb (a strategy only understood by a knucklehead who would wear Tweed when it's hot out), and they decide to ship all the Tweedists to Mars where it is known it is cool enough they can be idiot Tweedists up there. The remaining nudists go back to living on a peaceful, if less populated and material planet. (the end of the world as we know it)

So there!

And I have a HUGE Favor, if you wouldn't mind... Could you help me spread the word?

Share the buy link:  A Flock of Ill Omens
Like me on Facebook: Hart Johnson
Mark me as 'to read' on Goodreads: A Flock of Ill Omens

And if you HAVE read, a review would be helpful!!! I won't bug you for it every time, but I think on a serial, a lot of reviews for the FIRST really give it a boost. Honest reviews are perfect! I want to do several of these serials, I think, and I learn from criticism as well as praise!

PLEASE check out the entries of the other participants and how THEY see the world ending!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Insecurity and the Naked Chick

It's first Wednesday and you know what that means! Insecure Writer's Support Network!!! w00t w00t!

Seems strange, doesn't it? That someone who runs around naked, virtually or otherwise is insecure. I mean I am a girl with a policy reading: TMI is par for the course. I am a more is more gal, where over-sharing is the topic and less is more when the topic is attire.

I mean seriously... Naked is FUNNY!
But I want you to consider the class clown. Sometimes the goal of being a goof is to give people a reason to laugh at you so you never have to know if they'd laugh at you in a bad way.

I know. Deep, right? And honestly, when I was really MOST concerned about being laughed at, I was more a 'keep your mouth shut and maybe nobody will notice you don't know what's going on' girl. I was socially inept and kept quiet to hide it.

Now I'm socially inept and take my clothes off to hide it.

Are you spotting a pattern here? Polar extremes to hide the same thing. That is sort of me in a nut shell. (in the middle I tried a 'get so smart nobody will notice you're inept', but that only takes you so far if you are only so smart)


But now we come to my CURRENT insecurity.

On my BLOG if you laugh at me that is mostly by design. Ninety percent of the time, even on a somewhat serious topic, I put some goof into the presentation (you know... in case you laugh at me...)

And the cozy mysteries have intentional humor to them. If somebody says to me after reading one “you're a riot!” that's a compliment.

Vaccine killing the country: NOT funny.
Tomorrow I release a book with significantly less humor. They aren't humor-free. Whatever I am, I'm always me, and frankly I like CHARACTERS who have a sense of humor better than those without, but this series has more serious circumstances, more evil villains, more horrible life events. It's meant to be a little horrible and a little sad and a little scary and the humor is really only so you can relate to the characters and LIKE them, and sometimes to give you a breather from the dark stuff.

So NOW if you laugh at me, I'm naked. How's that for irony?

What makes YOU feel figuratively naked? And how do you hide it? Or do you?

Don't forget to visit the other insecure writers today, too!

Monday, September 2, 2013

This is the Week!!!

I can't believe I'm doing this, but here goes nothing, eh?

Want some of what I've learned? And perhaps more importantly what I've failed to learn but know I need to? I know some of you are eagerly watching, as you have serial plans of your own. I think the serial conversion will be MUCH easier for those of you who've self published before and I will just say, if I were a thinking gal... which I apparently am not... I'd self publish a stand-alone and learn the ropes before committing to this level of chaos.

Then again it is the serials that convinced me I wanted to dive in at all. I will keep publishing mysteries traditionally and haven't decided on my YA stuff. May continue trying that traditionally as well. Or not... See how redundant this is making me? *cough*


Okay, can I just die a little now?

See, uploading to CreateSpace isn't hard, but then figuring out what exactly they've done without pushing publish? Yeah, I don't know how to do that.

So I downloaded Calibre to convert for these early distribution things I've done... and it converts to Kindle pretty easily (once I realized I had to save my Word doc as rtf). But the ePub (for Nook) is a little wonky--page breaks don't read and the acknowledgements did weird things with my apostrophes and quotes... and the PDF is a mess on the iPad, or so I hear. I don't HAVE an iPad.

And if you're a writer, you should probably proof your emails before sending *rolls eyes* luckily the 50 copies I sent all went to people who KNOW me and know how I am.

So what I've done in the last few days:

*  Edited book 2 for my copy editor, Leanne
*  Edited book 3 for 2nd readers.
*  Incorprated changes FROM my copy editor to Book 1

*  Figured out how to upload portions of it, along with cover and description to Goodreads.
(here's a hint--even though I actually have no real intentions of selling paper copies of this, I had to upload and push publish and get my ISB and all to do this... not because it's probably necessary, but because I couldn't figure it out otherwise)

*  Formatted for Kindle and ePub (which covers the rest except iTunes--need a Mac to format for iTunes, it will have to wait) and sent it to about 50 early readers (if you want it, you can have it, too--just shout--I need an email)

* Wrote my acknowledgements and cover copy
*  Wrote the email to go with my sent books (this is the one where about half of you got a few typos)
*  Sent my blogfest info out (it is Thursday by the way, and you still have time to enter. Here are details.).

*  And then last night (which is tonight in my world) I hope I finished the first draft of Book 4

Are you tired yet? I know I am. Thank goodness I have an extra day this weekend!!! I will be around, but maybe not until noon or so...