FINALLY . . . MASS PRIMARY, book 2 of the DARK LANDING series is available exclusively on Amazon in the ebook/Kindle edition. (The trade paperback edition should be available within 60 days.) Don’t have a Kindle? No worries—download the free Kindle reader app to any device.

Set six months after the end of TRANSMUTED (book 1), MASS PRIMARY is a fast-moving space adventure:

For Curtis Walker, being chief of security on Dark Landing means fighting boredom and feigning integrity. Caught in a quagmire he created, his greater struggle now is survival. That’s an ambitious goal since he can’t tell his friends from his enemies, and the evil alien blackmailing him can assume any form. Forced to team up with his reluctant assistant, the station’s irksome new chief of administration, and the runaway son of an heiress, Curtis discovers only one of them is who they claim to be. Old comrades rush to his aid, but rescue offers no guarantee of survival.

In MASS PRIMARY, book two of the DARK LANDING SERIES, the characters you loved in TRANSMUTED return to play a deadly, and sometimes humorous, game of “Who’s Rescuing Who?” Morals and motives are tested, and loyalties shift with each new plot revelation.

And if you haven’t read book 1, TRANSMUTED, 2017 KindleScout winner (first of all, why not?), now would be an excellent time to pick up a copy of both books. Read the preview for TRANSMUTED to learn how it all started: Space is complicated . . .

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Post-To-Print Publishers: A Most Excellent Thing

After a brief false start (tired to do too much too soon) in 2016, Post-To-Print Publishers is off and running with its first official short story Submission Call for what will be an annual anthology. If you know a short story fiction writer, please send them our way at

As an author myself, I’ve made a vow that all contributing authors will be paid something—if only a token payment for the first selections ($25 per story). And that PTP will never charge submission or reading fees. Our ultimate goal is to pay $.02 per word for subsequent stories. Lofty, but doable, especially if the first anthology concept is brilliant. And it is. All stories will be written from a cat’s P.O.V.—to quote me:

“Being an Internet junkie, it didn’t take long to decide on the theme of Post-To-Print’s first anthology. Cats!

“I met a friend for lunch once (a few years back now), who was gifting her mother with a tablet. She asked about the best way for her mother to become familiar with the Internet. An eavesdropper in the booth behind me mumbled, ‘Get a cat.’ Truer words have not been spoken. From the moment the World Wide Web went mainstream, there has been a special relationship between the Internet and cats.”

I’m hoping for an avalanche of submissions to make our anthology Most Excellent as Ted Logan might say.

Please help us spread the word (and you might want to ignore my Twitter feed on the right because it will reek of submission call ads for the next several weeks).

As always, I appreciate the follow.


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SHARE: call for short stories from a cat

SHARE: call for short stories from a cat’s POV (all genres/authors paid/no fees) #anthologies

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Chapter Titles: A Major (Free) Marketing Tool

If you’re like me, you don’t expend a lot of writing sweat over chapter titles. According to the stats, around 50% of authors simply number their chapters. Well, I’ve been schooled; chapter titles are a marketing bonanza. And free, and right there for the grabbing. Great chapter titles can give a prospective buyer that final kick in the butt she needs to click the “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button. It took me two years to figure this out—my curvature for learning arcs wide.

BABY TAGLINES – Think of each chapter title as a baby tagline . . . or a dangling worm in front of a big-mouth bass—whatev. A brilliant tagline and description will draw buyers to your sales page and entice them to read the book preview. After the publishing data, most previews display your table of contents. (The Luddite buyer must manually turn the page.) This is where a thoughtful chapter title strategy can close the sale. I’m going to lean on J.K. Rowling from here out.

SETTING THE TONE – Rowling’s chapter titles are wonderfully witty and whimsical and sometimes maniacally malevolent, but always magical (and often alliterate). Her chapter titles establish the tone for each book (in no particular book or chapter order): The Whomping Willow; Mudbloods and Murmurs; or, The Sorting Hat. This is gonna be a fun read!

FORESHADOWING – Something scary, dangerous, heart-wrenching is happening here: The Deathday Party; The Unknowable Room; The Dementor . . . ooooh, your prospective reader shivers with anticipation.

KEEPS THE READER READING – And when that buy button is pushed and the book delivered, those chapter titles keep on giving. How can a reader resist turning the page with prompts like The Boggart in the Wardrobe, Cat, Rat, and Dog (walked into a bar . . . sorry, I digress), or The Unknowable Room. Come on, could you put that book down?

ADDED BONUS – During the writing process, chapter titles can also double as mini outline trackers for the author. Let me see, where did I mention Hermione’s secret? Was it Chapter 19 . . . no, maybe Chapter 22 . . . damn, Chapter 23? Oh, there it is in the chapter titled Hermione’s Secret. Duh?

Just think about all the wonderful things you can cram into your chapter titles. But, you know, still keep ‘em short and on point—this isn’t a license to go crazy.


OMG, who put this here? Oh, well, I’ll just leave it.

2017 KindleScout winner: TRANSMUTED, book one of the Dark Landing series, available on Amazon. Book two, MASS PRIMARY, coming very soon (the chapter titles on book two will amaze you).

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One Year Later: Random Thoughts From a #KindleScout Winner

It’s been almost a year since I posted my first novel, TRANSMUTED, book one of the Dark Landing series, to Amazon KindleScout for consideration and it’s selection for publication. The following random thoughts are based on nothing more than my personal experience and opinion—unsubstantiated by anyone (see the title of this blog).

  • My timing was perfect. I didn’t learn about KindleScout until TRANSMUTED was completed and professionally edited. That’s a good thing because I would have been tempted to post the manuscript before it was ready, and the book would never have been selected. (One job of a good editor is to slap your ego around until you’re whimpering like a baby).
  • The process couldn’t be easier. I’m not a paranoid person (some might argue) and I didn’t have a lot of questions. I read the agreement and followed instructions. Kindle Press (KP) was—and still is—responsive at every step, though I’ve never talked with a human. Just remember, this is a one-way street, or it was for me. There’s no room for negotiation or discussion.
  • I think I have some insight into the nomination process:
    1. KP editors can tell from the first few paragraphs if a manuscript is eligible. If there are typos, grammar and punctuation errors, clunky flow, or a general lack of writing style, story and number of nominations be damned. Fuhgeddaboutit!
    2. I’m also convinced that genre is a consideration. For example, if you write romance, and KP selected two romance manuscripts from the previous group, you may be screwed unless yours is knock-your-socks-off great. There’s little an author can do about that.
    3. I had only 445+ nominations for the entire month, and 72 hours trending at month end (which I don’t believe I earned). My guess at what tipped the scale once KP determined the writing/editing/story was good, was that the analytics showed my voters read the entire preview. If 500 of your friends and relatives open your page, click the nomination button, and leave without reading the preview, or only read the first couple paragraphs, their nominations carry little weight.
  • The royalty advance ($1500) was welcomed. After I deducted my production costs from the advance, editing, cover art, ISBN purchase, etc., I was left with a profit of $43.00. I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I’m thrilled. (BTW: If you’re tempted to calculate your hourly wage, DON”T—there lies madness!) (ALSO: I’ve earned enough over and above my advance to cover the expenses for book two.)
  • Promotion is critical, and my opinion about the job KP did/does in this area waivers. The first 90 days were good, I think. But I have nothing to compare it to since I’m a first-time author, and (for personal reasons) did not pursue a relationship with other KindleScout winners (though I was invited to), which might have provided more data. It’s possible I had exaggerated expectations re the level of promotion KP would provide. I mean, it’s AMAZON for Pete’s sake; expectations are high. After six months, sales dropped off (off  like the deep end of the ocean), but I have myself to blame, as well. I’m not that great with social media, and I haven’t actively pursued a following. Three further, significant points:
    1. I have only one book out. From everything I’ve read, that will never cut it. When the second book is published (hopefully by the end of the year), sales should perk up. To my own detriment, or not, we’ll see, I’ve ignored marketing the first book to focus on finishing the second book.
    2. To date, I’ve received over sixty reviews on book one (all but 3 are 4-5 star) a significant plus.
    3. Other than the occasional email saying they’re running a $.99 limited promo, I don’t see KP’s promotional efforts. Since I’ve already “purchased” my book, in the robotic eyes of Amazon analytics, also read or emailed recommendations for my title for me are scrubbed. (Early on, a friend forwarded a copy of an email she received that recommended my book, but I think only because she’d previously accessed my sales page—still a good thing.
  • The scary downside of signing with KP is what will happen if they don’t accept the second book in the series. After thinking about it for a year, I can’t recommend posting the first book of a series to KindleScout. If they don’t accept the second book, I’m screwed. I have no control over pricing/free offers of the first book to cross-promote book two, and I can’t advertise the first book on Amazon where I’d get the best results (I asked and they said no). If I could, I’d advertise book one on Amazon tied to a free pre-publication copy of book two in order to build my email list and get early reviews. And what happens if I want to create a box set later on? Also, my contract with KP prohibits me from offering book one on any other platform, which makes total sense, but offering book two on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc., without book one, makes no sense.

The fear of KP passing on the second book in the series overrides all the ego stroking, promotion, and sales results from KP’s selection of book one, and keeps me awake at night. Maybe I am paranoid, after all. 

Again, the above represents my experience, my opinions, and my personal night-sweat-producing terror.


2017 KindleScout winner: TRANSMUTED, book one of the Dark Landing series, available on Amazon. Book two, MASS PRIMARY, coming soon eventually soon.


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