Monday Mayhem – Last but not least…

At last!

Double Play is live at last! That’s right, it’s my turn to brag on myself. I know authors (like mothers) aren’t supposed to have favorites, but I really fell in love with Avery and Dom’s story.

It’s different.

It won’t be for everyone, and I am okay with that.

But I think it’s unique and sincere.

These are two people who were convinced they had everything just the way they liked it…until they discovered what they were missing. The problem is, as we get older, we’re all a little more resistant to change. These two are no exception.

I listened to the audio this weekend, and I have to say, Samantha Cook did a great job with the narration.

Here’s the scoop:

She knows what she wants, and how to get it
Avery Preston knows her mind. The Women’s Studies and Literature professor is the latest in a long line of feminist firebrands determined to break the mold at Wolcott University. When her biological clock tells her it’s time to bust a move, Avery does what she does best—she takes care of business all by herself. Or, so she thinks….

Dominic Mann is happy with his life just as it is
The widowed baseball coach is content and sees no point in changing his lineup this late in the game. Still, a man would have to be dead not to notice a live wire like Avery Preston. But a one night stand was all either of them wanted.

There’s only one complication

The clinic where Avery was inseminated has been hacked. Now, she not only knows who the father is, but she knowsthe father. In the biblical sense. Avery shows up on Dom’s doorstep with a bun in the oven, a bellyful of ethical righteousness, and the absolute conviction that she doesn’t need him, and soon, the two of them are caught in a rundown between their hearts and their heads.

DOUBLE PLAY is available now! Here are some handy-dandy links:

Amazon ~ Apple ~ Google PlayB&N ~ Kobo~ Audible

Thanks to all my pals who let me pimp them during this release month. Be sure to look for these fabulous October reads when you’re grabbing your copy of DOUBLE PLAY!

  

 

Monday Mayhem – Giveaway!

Today we have a very special giveaway!

Stay tuned, we have a giveaway coming up! Maybe even…a double bonus giveaway!

As many of you know, a couple years ago Karen Booth and I started a group on Facebook for people who read and write romance featuring heroes and heroines who might have aged out of traditional romance publishing. We call the group Seasoned Romance, and we are over 1,600 member strong.

Natasha Moore was one of our earliest members and is now our co-moderator.  Her upcoming novel,  THE JULY GUY, has been selected as one of the debut titles for Entangled Publishing’ s new August line, featuring more mature characters! Yay!

Check this out:

The July Guy – The Men of Lakeside book 1 – Natasha Moore

They have an agreement, but he wants to renegotiate…

Art professor Anita Delgado spends eleven months of the year working. July is her month to cut loose, paint, and pick a guy to make the summer memorable. But this year she isn’t in a tropical location with an exotic man like she’d planned. She’s stuck in small-town USA dealing with a lake house she doesn’t want, inherited from a grandmother she never knew. A summer fling might be the only thing to get her through the next few weeks.

Salvage specialist Noah Colburn is running for mayor. If he doesn’t, an absolute idiot is going to ruin his beloved town. So he’s stepping up. It’s what he does—with his teenage daughters, with the family business, and now with Lakeside. But when the newest resident of the town asks him to renovate her grandmother’s house—and have a four-week fling —he’s tempted. Tempted to step out of the mold and take just one thing for himself. But the gossip mill in the town is notorious.

Anita’s learning it’s hard to have a fling when the town follows your every move, and it’s even harder when the July guy makes it clear one month is never going to be enough…

Whew! I can’t wait!

The July Guy releases on November 12th, and is part of the launch for Entangled’s new August imprint – romances with characters 35-50!) You can add it to your Goodreads shelf right now!  https://bit.ly/2R1viWa

WE HAVE ADVANCED READ COPIES!

Would you like a  early copy of THE JULY GUY? Comment below with your email address and we will pick two winners on Wednesday, October 24th!

And, as a special added bonus – I’ll throw in an ARC of DOUBLE PLAY!

And don’t forget that our other fabulous October releases are NOW AVAILABLE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready? Set? Go!

 

Monday Mayhem – Sunny day!

Regardless of the slightly soggy weather around here, it’s going to be Sunny days for me this week because Karen Booth’s SECRETS OF A (SOMEWHAT) SUNNY GIRL is out tomorrow!

Check this out:

As sisters, they tell each other all their secrets…except one.

With divorce and infidelity hanging from nearly every branch of her family tree, Katherine Fuller sees no point in marriage. Boyfriends? Sure. Sex? Of course. Wedding vows? No, thanks. Still, when her younger sister Amy gets engaged, Katherine gathers all the enthusiasm she can. She won’t let Amy down. She’s done enough of that for a lifetime.

As the sisters embark on wedding plans, Katherine’s college love resurfaces. It nearly killed Katherine to part from sexy Irish musician Eamon more than a decade ago, but falling under his spell a second time forces her to confront everything she hid from him. The secrets surrounding her mother’s death are still fresh and raw in her mind, but one has haunted her more than the others. She can’t bear to tell anyone, especially not Amy. It could ruin far more than a wedding. It could destroy a sister’s love forever.

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Kobo

Now, it’s no secret that I love Karen Booth and all she does, but I’m super happy to be able to share this book with you. I got a sneak peek, and there’s so much to love about Katherine and Eamon’s story.

So many good books in October!

I hope you’ve all got your copy of STEEPED IN LOVE by Julie Evelyn Joyce.

LONG DISTANCE LOVE is FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow. Grab a copy today!

Next week, we’ll be talking with Natasha Moore, whose upcoming release will launch of the August line from Entangled Press featuring seasoned characters.

And we are only 10 days away from the release of DOUBLE PLAY – can you believe it?

Amazon ~ Apple ~ Google PlayB&N ~ Kobo ~ Audible

Oh! And I’m signing LOVE GAME at the Barnes & Noble in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 12-3PM!

Monday Mayhem – Ready to click that mouse?

Click! Click! Click!

October is a busy month in the book world. Therefore, I have exciting new releases to talk about EACH WEEK – including one from me at the very end! Is your finger limbered up and ready click?

First up:

STEEPED IN LOVE by Julie Evelyn Joyce

Yes! Jewels’ first full-length novel is about to be unleashed upon the reading world. I had the pleasure of browbeating encouraging her every step of the way.

Trust me, you’re going to love Addie and Ethan’s story. It’s quirky, funny, and heartfelt – the perfect antidote for these turbulent times!

Read more here:

Addie Mitchell is a pie-on-the-fly entrepreneur who’s finally ready to settle down in the big, empty house her late great-aunt Edna left to her. Frustrated with her lack of success in romance, Addie turns to another gift her great-aunt passed on to her—the art of reading tea leaves—to aid her in her search for the ideal mate. 

Novelist Ethan Holtz is having a hard time sinking his teeth into his next project, but he finds Addie fascinating. Mainly for her ability to make her dates disappear in fifteen minutes or less. He can’t help but eavesdrop on her dates in the local coffee shop, his writing haven, and soon finds himself taking pointers on what not to do from her failed suitors.

Though her methods seem nothing short of mad, he falls fast and hard for the pixie-haired pie-pusher. She thinks they’re all wrong for each other, but Ethan teams up with the tea leaves to prove they’re so right.

Click a link to pre-order now and have it delivered to you first thing Wednesday morning!

Monday Mayhem – Immortally yours

Yesterday morning, one of my best friends in the world sent me a text telling me that she was cleaning out her pen drawer and came across a piece of immortality:

 

Yes, that’s a pen with my parents’ names and home phone number on it.

Don’t fret, I’m not exposing them. They have both passed away, and that number is no longer in service. But it’s a nice piece of nostalgia on many levels. My mom’s birthday was on Saturday, so she was already on my mind. It’s a relic from a time when the telephone was our best means of instant connection with one another. And having these made was just soooooo quintessentially my father.

Bob Kidwell was here.

My dad loved having his name on things. Pens, pencils, notepads, calendars – wall and pocket versions. He loved putting our names on things. I still have a few #2 pencils emblazoned  with MARGARET MARY KIDWELL around here somewhere. He ordered them for me when I was in college. He knew I hated filling in those little circles, and I suppose he was afraid I’d forget my own name amidst the test anxiety.

When I showed the picture of the pen to Fodder, he commented that it was my dad’s bid at immorality. And I don’t think he’s far off the mark.

Twenty+ years later, they are still turning up in pen drawers.

He left behind seven children – five of them boys destined to carry on the family name – and enough custom-printed stationary items to last decades beyond his passing.

Way to go, Daddy!

Many authors have pens, notepads, and other swag imprinted with their name and brand. Other than the bookmarks I had printed once, but haven’t gone much beyond that. My books are my bid at immortality. I wrote them and put them out into the world. After I am gone, they will be like the pens my dad left behind.

Margaret Kidwell Ethridge (aka Maggie Wells) was here.

They may end up out of print, but there will likely be the random paper copy floating around a used book store or flea markets. Friends and total strangers will have a part of me embedded in Kindle libraries, on their hard drives, and tucked away in cloud storage systems. The pirated copies people upload and download illegally?  I may not get paid for them in my lifetime, but the internet is forever. I’m not inclined to thank those who steal my work and post it for their own gain, but they are helping to make me immortal as well.

Immortally yours, Margaret.

Monday Mayhem – To Blog or Not to Blog

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question…

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer. Or to continue spewing random words onto the interwebz every Monday, braving the slings and arrows of SEO optimized posts…

I go through this debate every fall as I start goal setting for the next year. The fact is, there are about 4-6 of you who comment on these post regularly, and 20-30 who actually click the link to read. Occasionally, I have a Monday where I hit 50+ views, but those are rare.

And the numbers haven’t been growing. Actually, they are slipping. So I have to wonder…

Is there a better use of my time(and yours)?

And the answer is, probably not. In truth, this blog is the only way I have of communicating with a wide, unrestricted audience.  We all know that social media site throttle posts so they don’t reach a broader audience – even those who have opted in. Since I’ve removed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from my phone, I find myself looking at them less and less. I also think this is a growing trend, so ditching my blog for social media doesn’t makes sense.

Newsletter mailings rely on opting in, which is great, because we can assume that the audience wishes to receive them. The problem is, we all suffer inbox overload. I myself can be rather capricious when it comes to  randomly unsubscribing depending on how my day is going. And if someone sent me newsletters weekly, they would be a goner. Which means the blog is the best way to stay out in front of potential audience.

So here I am. I’m optimized baby. My readability scores are high. I use eye-catching images like this one to pique the interest:

But if the audience isn’t clicking the link, does potential reach matter?

These are the questions that plague me every week when I sit down to write my post. But in writing this post, I’ve managed to answer the big question for myself. So, let me ask you, lucky person who clicked because of the cute but slightly confused hamster, the more important question:

What kind of posts do you want to see going forward?

 

 

Monday Mayhem – Pantser life

Yo-ho! Yo-ho! The pantser life for me!

Hey, gang! I’m back again this week, with a new/old trick. I’m reverting to my old pantser ways.

Reader say, “Wha?”

You see, the writing world is generally comprised of two types – plotters and pantsers. Plotters work out every detail of the book before they even open page one. Pantsers have an idea and run with it.

In other words, a pantser writes a story by the seat of their pants.

Most writers naturally gravitate to one style or the other. I started out as a pantser and continued that way for a number of books. But as my career progressed, I started selling books to publishers on proposal. Therefore, I needed to submit a detailed synopsis of each book I intended to write.

This is how I evolved into sort of a plantser – someone with a pretty sketched out outline of the book, but still winging it on a chapter by chapter basis.

But I am not currently under contract. I have no series to complete. I am, at the moment, free as a bird.

So what did I do?

I started writing a book I hadn’t even thought about until I opened my mouth Tuesday morning and a story started coming out.

One that hadn’t been hopping around in the plot bunny file. One I haven’t plotted, or even barely thought about. An idea popped into my head Monday night, and Tuesday, I started writing it.

This should be fun, huh?

In other news

Double Play is coming in October! Digital pre-order is available at all e-book retailers. The audio production is in progress, and should be ready for October 25, 2018 release.

Paperbacks will be available, They look fabulous, but I have to tell you, they are a little pricier than the usual mass market paperback. I wanted to produce them in the 4×7″ size to match the other two books, but there’s limited production availability for that trim size in print on demand.

ANNNND – I have declared 2019 the year of the backlist. As part of the celebration, I’ll be resurrecting some out of print friends – like Tracy & Sean from Contentment, Maggie & Tom from Commitment, and Lynne & Bram from Spring Chickens!

Whew! That’s what I have going on. What’s new with you?

 

 

Monday Mayhem – Back to Reality

Summer fun vintage car

Back to life, back to reality

As of last week, I am back to reality-working full time.

Some writers would shudder as they read this sentence, but I am more than a little relieved. Turns out, I’m one of those people who needs stability and structure in her life in order to be creative.

It seems counterintuitive, I’m sure. Most writers dream of being unfettered. I know I did. But having unlimited time to write does not mean you’ll have unlimited creativity to back it up.

The truth about writers

Being a writer is not at ALL like you see on TV. Sorry to bust that myth, but that’s the truth of it.

Authors do not sell a book and become automatically rich. Some never make much money at all.

The reality is, few authors can survive solely on the income from advances and royalties. Most have other streams of income-teaching, content creation, graphic art creation, or another side hustles.

We also don’t hear about the people who may be underpinning this marker of perceived career success. Behind many a good author is a partner with a steady income and employer-based health insurance. But their names are not on the cover so…

The misconception that being able to ditch the 9 to 5 grind is a sign of authorial success endures.

This wasn’t my situation. My unemployment was never meant to be long-term. I didn’t toss a match as I walked away from the corporate world and expect to become the next Nora Roberts. I was downsized, and because I carried our employer-based health insurance, I needed another job as soon as possible.

Still, I thought I might be able to take better advantage of the situation. I was wrong. These months of uncertainty have been hard. I’ve written 40 books whilst employed full-time. I wrote exactly 3 chapters while unemployed.

Lessons learned:

  • I need structure and time constraints. I work well under pressure. Left to my own devices, I spend too much time communing with Netflix.
  • It’s difficult to write happy ever afters when worried about bills and health insurance.
  • I can make enough money to pay the bills, but not to pay my bills and maintain our coverage long-term. Having two self-employed persons in the household can get pretty spendy. Welcome to America 2018, where too much entrepreneurship is highly discouraged.

Summer fun vintage car

I don’t regret my summer of fun.

I relaxed as much as I could. Sally and I suntanned and napped.

Fodder got used to having lunch, because I am accustomed to eating on schedule.

But the reality is, I was ready to get back to work. Happy for life to settle into a pattern again. I like a good rut.

Soon, I’ll be ramping up for my 10th NaNoWriMo, and psyching myself up for crunch time.

How about you? Are you a creature of habit, or a go with the flow kind of person?

Monday Mayhem – Slowing My Scroll

We have rolled into September. How did that happen? With the change of the calendar page, I decided to make a change of my own. I am slowing my scroll.

What does that mean? It means I have removed all my social media apps from my phone.

Gasp!

social media icons

Like many people, I’ve been thinking about breaking the social media habit for a while now. Facebook is great for keeping up with family and old friends, but the recent political climate has tainted the fun as far as I am concerned.

And Twitter… Oh, I have such a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I used to love it. There are some things I love still.

Every Sunday night, a bunch of romance writers have a weekly chat on a variety of topics. It’s been an excellent place to get to know other authors, and for us to share a little of the angst that comes with being a writer. And trust me, there’s a lot of angst.

But along with all that good stuff comes a sort of gang mentality. Twitter is very us against them. And the pile-on… It can get ugly.

True, social media has given each of us a platform. We can share our every thought, opinion, or memorable meal. But should we?

I agree, some of it is good and fun. However, I find much of it draining.  For that reason, I’ve been finding ways to limit my time using it.

Ironically, I learned about Scroll Free September from an article my niece shared. Still, I X’ing out of all those apps.

I’m mostly over my fear of missing out. Probably because I’m pretty sure I won’t be missing much that would do me any good. At least, nothing I need to know about while standing in line at Walgreen’s.

I can always take a look when I’m on the computer.

It’s a holiday!

So, happy Labor Day, my friends.

I hope this day of rest is the perfect reward for all of your hard work.

Put your phone down.

Go out and play.

If you need me, you can reach me the old fashioned way…maggiewells1@gmail.com

Monday Mayhem – Dumpster diving beats dumpster fires

Dumpster Diving

The news has been nothing but a dumpster fire all week, so Fodder and I decided to go dumpster diving.

Now, I am not a flea market or yard sale type person. Fodder is. The man lives for the hunt. I like to tell Fodder that I don’t want most of the junk that’s cluttering my house already, so why would I go buy someone else’s cast offs?

Yeah…He doesn’t follow the logic. Not when there’s treasure to be had.

One person’s trash is another woman’s treasure

He took me to the donation center of a large national charity under the pretense of offloading some of the stuff he no longer wanted cluttering up the barn. While he made the drop, it was suggested that I wait inside because the pickup has no A/C, and it’s August in Arkansas.

Mm hmm.

I have to tell you, I found it to be a very sad place. This is where memories go to die. They are tossed into a large plastic gondolas on wheels and rolled out into a huge warehouse space, where they are pawed through by strangers. I didn’t like it.

Fodder tried to cheer me up by telling me that these things were getting new life and a new home, but still. I couldn’t wait to leave. There’s were too many items in there that reminded me of thing my parents had around the house when I was growing up.

Then, I turned the corner and spotted this little lady in need of a loving home:

Underwood Typewriter

Her keys seemed to be in working order, her carriage proud. She’s lacking a ribbon, but I’m not above providing such fripperies. I checked the sign above the bin. All items weighing more than 5 pounds cost only $4.

Sold!

Fodder spent the evening polishing her up, and look how she shines.

Cleaned up

Maybe all we need to take us from a sad place to a happy one is someone to notice us. A second chance. Some love, affection, and a touch of Old Gold polish.

Now my Underwood (Claire or Carrie? Her true ambitions are yet to be revealed.) is parked next to my super sleek Karmann Ghia.

typewriters

Looks like this is the start of a colorful collection.

How about you? Do you collect anything? Did you start the collection yourself, or was it something that just happened?