4-21-2014 8-10-17 PM

No blog for a couple of weeks due to work on the website and getting Do and Die up and running on Amazon and other ebook and print locations. Burnt Mountain Do and Die page is updated with links to online print and ebook sites. I’m still waiting for a box of print books to arrive so I can sign copies, but you can go ahead and pre-order if you like from the website or just shoot me an email or note through fb.

Early feedback from readers is folks are enjoying the book. If you have time to leave a review on Amazon, sweet! I’d greatly appreciate it. If you only have time to drop me a note, that works too. I’m just giddy that folks are reading and enjoying the story.

I am actively writing volume 4 and 5. I expect 4, Burnt Mountain Rhyllia, will be available in 2016 with 5, as yet untitled, coming out at most within a year of 4’s release. Stay tuned. More info to come on this series of five novels. I also plan to do more polls for reader input since folks enjoyed naming the villains in Do and Die. I have already received new character suggestions from my youngest readers, Mia and Emma of Illinois. I already know how I will incorporate two of their three new characters, so thanks for your input!

kris frogs-smaller scale

Some days you are off to the races. Other days, you wait and let the racers go by you. I first saw this picture above last month and immediately fell in love with it. My sister in law took this photo in 2005 in Baltimore, I believe at the aquarium. She and my brother had it printed on a metal plaque for me for my birthday this year and gave it to me early. I now have this photo as part of my images that are on my computer’s wallpaper. I get a kick out of it every time I see it, and I think of how my day is going in relationship to this image.

Is my brain feeling a bit mushed and writing is slow? Or am I off to the races? If I am feeling brain drained, what do I need to get going again? Sometimes the answer is as simple as rest. Working full time, plus air travel twice a week, plus writing, editing, reading, researching, marketing, blogging, etc, it’s easy to make a brain and body feel tired.

This last week I didn’t do much writing, but I was still busy. I have ordered the first two books to increase my inventory at home. With the third book coming out soon, I have had a spike in orders for the first two books. Christmas is coming up and folks are thinking farther ahead than I am! Today I ordered the print proof for Do and Die. That copy won’t arrive for at least 2 weeks, but once that proof is approved, the book is released. Expect book 3 to be out before the end of October. I know my date has shifted back, and I missed my target of late September. But the slippage wasn’t because I was dragging my heels.

 

Enjoy those races whether you’re the one cruising by or the one watching from the sidelines and having a rest!

 

Photo by Kristine Campbell, 2005

9-14-2014 8-33-03 PM

Fell off the grid again last week and for good reason. Took a wee trip to Amsterdam to enjoy a soccer tournament my brother played in. Prior to leaving, I hit a significant snag with the US mail getting draft prints of Book 3 sent out to test readers. One copy arrived to a test reader, damaged. The other copy left Bangor and vanished into the abyss of missing mail.

The delay with the mail puts me behind in my anticipated release date of mid-September. So with a big “oh well,” I still left for my trip with resolve to have a great time, not stress about the delay, and deal with the book stuff when I got back. I did have a great trip and did not stress over the book. The mail snag continues to be a problem, but I’m working around that and still not stressed. I can request a refund for shipping costs, but when I went on the USPS website today to do that, the website was entirely too convoluted to figure out. If I assume that my time is worth, say $10/hr, even with the 20 minutes of frustration and zero success rate, I’d already lost that time plus the shipping costs. It was cheaper for me to throw in the towel and call it quits on getting the refund than spend another second on a useless website.

Sure, I want to get the book released ASAP, but the delay isn’t because I’m dragging my heels or anything, hence there is no reason to get completely freaked out over this. I have folks who enjoyed the first two books chewing at me to get the third one out pronto. To those folks, I’m doing my best. I’ll keep you posted. When I have the release date, you’ll have it too.

So while I’m not dragging my heels on this, I am vastly enjoying my vacation and bail off the grid again tomorrow for camping in the New Hampshire mountains. Boom.

 

Photo image by me Sept 2014, Amsterdam outside of the Van Gogh museum

watch

Another update on Book 3. Feedback from a few test readers has started coming back. These readers are my hand-picked folks to provide feedback on various things. One reader is an eagle eye for proofing. Another is an overall story and pacing feedback expert. Two others are great with character development, flow, and get their paws deeper into the story structure.

The feedback coming in thus far is: “Wow! Great story.”  “I was out of breath!”  and my personal favorite texted to me: “HolyFrigginShit!” :)

I’ll definitely give an update on a firm release date once I know it. Next steps are to get the draft copies back, make any final final edits, format the manuscript three times. Yes, three times. Once for Kindle, once for all other ereaders, and once for print. After that comes checking the print proof, and once that is ready and deemed good to go, the book will go live. As you can see, there is way more to writing a novel than writing the story. I start vacation tomorrow too, and I won’t be taking this stuff with me. I will however be writing on book 4 and 5 in my down time. I have already been told by one test reader: “Hurry up and get book 4 done!”

 

Image from sxc.hu

Ever stop to gas up a rental car and park the car before you pull up to the pump so you can see which side the gas cap is on? I’ve certainly done it. Quick tip, look at your dashboard. The fuel gauge, there is a little white arrow next to the gas pump icon that tells you what side the gas cap is on. Sure would be nice if it was a big honking arrow like the red one, but it’s the little white one you’re looking for.

8-25-2014 8-23-28 PM

Next tip, when you pick up the car, check the fuel gauge and grab a pic if the tank is not full. This way you don’t have to pay for the gas you didn’t burn. When you go to return the car, snap a pic of both the mileage AND fuel gauge. If you gas up the car before you return it, hang on to the receipt too. I have had a rental car company try to tell me I didn’t return the gas tank full. I had a receipt to back me up, so they had to credit the charge they tried to lay on me. I have also had a rental car with a faulty fuel gauge. I snapped pics of the gauge showing 3/4 of a tank with the receipt (date/time stamped) where I’d just filled it up. I took several pics showing the faulty gauge and showed them to the folks when I returned the car. I had no issues with extra fees because I had the pictures. Also because I had the photo proof, they took the car out of service and flagged it for repair. As a result of this and the attempted fee for not fueling the car, I started snapping a pic of the fuel gauge and the odometer before I turned in the keys. I keep the pic for a few days to make sure they billed me correctly, then I’ll delete it. I have had them email me a bill and then email me an “updated” one the next day. That updated one always has a fee tacked on which I always send right back and get a credit. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen and they can’t argue with a fuel receipt and/or a picture.

8-25-2014 8-23-52 PM

Happy driving!