Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kindle Unlimited for Readers - A Cozy Choice?

Ah, a new buying choice for avid readers -- Kindle Unlimited. All the books...well not all the books, you want to read for only $9.99 a month. Let's see, $9.99 times 12 months is about $120 a year. Hum.

The program lets you download 10 books at a time on up to six devices. Those devices don't have to be Amazon devices, as their Prime program requires.The books go off devices at the end of the 30 day period so basically, you've rented the books.

So far, so good, maybe. But what about book choices? One reviewer of the program said he checked his wish list of 75 books and only found six matches.

An interesting fact -- of the 600,000 choices, around 500,000 are indie books, self-published like mine and three other CMM authors.

I checked Cozy Mystery Magazine authors for the KU program and  found three listings, all for Linda Kozar -- "Misfortune Cookies," "A Tisket, A Casket," and "Dead As A Doornail." All fun reads and normally priced at $0.99. If you were to get even seven more books in this price range you'd break even. If any of the other books you want are priced above $0.99 you may come out ahead. But what if you wanted to reread them as so many of us do? Sorry.

For authors to be enrolled in  Kindle Unlimited they must UNenroll their books on all other platforms like Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords, which includs Apple iTunes. For me, this is not an option. I like the fact that readers can purchase my books on any site they like and download it on any device they may own.

For some starving authors another cold hard fact is royalties are earned only if a reader reads at least the first 10 percent of the book. Great incentive to write good novels, but unnecessary since Amazon and many other sites allow refunds for unhappy readers.

For the first month, Kindle Unlimited offers a free trial. And I would add for some authors the program has offered wonderful exposure. If it offers more incentive for readers to discover new authors, I say give it a try. Then please let us know how it works for you.

See you in my books!

~Nancy Jill

Nancy Jill Thames was born to write mysteries. From her early days as the neighborhood story-teller to the Amazon Author Watch Bestseller List, she has always had a vivid imagination and loves to solve problems – perfect for plotting whodunnits. In 2010, Nancy Jill published her first mystery, Murder in Half Moon Bay, introducing her well-loved protagonist, Jillian Bradley, and whimsical Yorkie, “Teddy.”

When she isn’t plotting Jillian’s next perilous adventure, she travels between Texas and California finding new ways to spoil her grandchildren, playing classical favorites on her baby grand or having afternoon tea with friends.

Member of Leander Writers’ Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW CenTex Chapter), and Central Texas Authors

To learn more about Nancy Jill's books, please visit

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Vacation…


As most of you know I have a day job, I have that eating habit I need to support. So as per employment agreement, every so often (once a year) I get a vacation. Well I just finished my two weeks off and I’m sure you all are interested in hearing what I did. If not pretend, because I’m telling anyway.
I cleaned my house.
I know what you’re thinking, what kind of vacation is that?
The necessary kind.
You see this wasn’t just the normal maintenance type of cleaning. This is the pull out the furniture (even the big stuff) and break up the party that the spiders and dust bunnies have been throwing. Don’t feel too bad for them, they’ll be back. They are dedicated party animals.
Why did it take me two weeks to clean my house? Well, you’ve got to remember I have to do this all by myself, and I'm discovering that housework is hard work. 
I just know my mother is in heaven laughing at me right now. 
So to do it right and not exhaust myself I limited myself to a room (sometimes half a room depending on big the furniture was ) every a couple of days. Not only did I clean them, but I also rearranged the rooms as well. For instance, I now have an office. Seeing that I am now a business owner as a writer I figured I needed a room dedicated to writing.
Not that I had any time to write during my vacation as I was too busy cleaning.
I also managed to clean out and organize the two remaining bedrooms, or as I prefer to think of them, my winter and summer residences. The smaller bedroom is closer to furnace, one of the few rooms I can keep warm in winter. Yes, we have weather in California every so often.
Now, the toughest job I came up against was cleaning out my Mom’s medicine cabinet. Not because it was messy but because it was so personal to her. Also when someone you’ve lived with a long time dies it’s like you keep expecting them to come back and be mad because you got rid of their stuff. Still, most everything had expired so it was time.
I know, I know, she died three years ago and I still haven’t cleared out all of her stuff. I’m working on it.
Well I’m now back to the day job and yes I had a good vacation. I didn’t have to get up early, I got my house clean and I have regained by sense of humor for my job. A necessary thing. Best of all, I have a real sense of accomplishment.
What was that? What about the closets?
Don’t ask about the closets.
That’s another vacation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Red Herrings ~ Something Fishy in Cozy Mysteries

I am here to distract you!
A cozy mystery isn’t complete without the use of “red herrings.” A red herring is a false clue the author uses to send readers and the fictional sleuth in directions that don’t lead to the real villain. It is simply a tool to distract from the real culprit.

In the literal sense, no fish called a red herring exists; rather, the term refers to a fish that’s been strongly cured in brine or heavily smoked. The process makes the fish smell and turns the flesh a reddish color.

There is some debate about the etymology of the term red herring. The most common theory is that the strong smelling fish were used to train hunting dogs. The red herring would be dragged along a trail until a puppy learned to follow the scent. Later on, the trainer would drag a red herring perpendicular to the trail of the animal being hunted, and the dog would eventually learn to follow the trail of the animal. Another theory points to escaping convicts who used red herring to throw off hounds in pursuit.

No matter how the term came about, a cozy mystery wouldn’t be complete without red herrings to compel the book’s sleuth to go in directions that don’t point to the real villain. The cozy author can do this in several ways. The red herring used most often is giving other characters a motivation to kill the victim. Another technique used is to lead the sleuth astray with gossip or by planting false evidence at the scene of the crime. Sometimes the wrong victim is killed by accident—another red herring.

Cozy authors owe it to our readers to provide enough red herrings to make a story interesting. We also need to make sure all the red herrings are explained at the end of a book; for instance, if the sleuth uncovers a potential murder weapon at a possible suspect’s house, but that suspect turns out to the innocent, we need to know why the weapon was there. 

One notable example of the use of a red herring is the convict Seldon in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Author Conan Doyle. The reader believes that Seldon must be involved in the murders, but he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I'd love to hear from our readers. What is your favorite red herring from a cozy you've recently read?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Book Reading Giveaway

Hello dear readers. I don't see how I can follow up after Linda's great post on writing cozy mysteries. My life has been a roller coaster ride the last couple of months so please bear with my short post. I haven't even been able to focus to write any. I hope to get back on it soon. I've started a new series - the Skye Southerland Cozy Mystery Series. I sent the first book to an acquisitions editor I know and after waiting for a couple of months (seemed like forever) I got a reply. I need to do more editing and then she wants me to resubmit. I figure that is better than a flat-out no.

She mostly wanted me to work on Deep POV. What is deep pov you ask? Me too:) I've heard the term now for several years, but haven't gotten a good gripe on it yet. I'm going to research everything I can get my hands on and try to learn how to do this technique. This is what I found as an explanation of what deep pov is.

What is Deep POV?

* Deep POV is being so far into the head and emotions of your character that you write in her voice instead of your own. 
This goes beyond adding the occasional direct, italicized thought to the point where the narrative itself takes on the personality of the POV character. It puts the reader in the character's head instead of relying solely on action and dialog to determine the character's motives and opinions.
I'll keep you up-to-date on my progress and maybe even give some examples when I master this. In the meantime I'll have another book (book four) coming out in the fall in my Trixie Montgomery Cozy Mystery Series. The title is "Chilled in Chattanooga." I'm excited and anxious to hold it in my hands.
I'd like to offer a box-of-books giveaway for summer reading - even though summer is almost over:) Just leave a comment below (and your email address so we can notify you) and tell me something you've done fun this summer.  Maybe by the next time I post I'll have more about deep pov I can share. Have a wonderful rest of the summer!

Deborah Malone’s first novel Death in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Category Five writing contest! Deborah was also nominated for 2011 and 2012 Georgia Author of the year in Novel category. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine “Georgia Backroads” since 2001.  She has had many articles and photographs published, and her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails,” edited by Olin Jackson, as well as the “Christian Communicator.” She is a member of the Georgia Writer’s Association, Christian Author’s Guild, Advanced Writers and Speaker’s Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers.