The Watch

What follows is the part of self-publishing I hate–promoting my latest work. For a while, I’ll post some little blurbs on Facebook, warble out a few tweets and post semi-apologetic paragraphs on this blog. Then, I’ll get frustrated and grumpy and abandon the whole thing because I’m so inept. I tried putting an excerpt on Goodreads yesterday, but finally gave up. I’m sorry if you heard me cussing. Anyway, I try to come up with non-pushy ways to let the world know when I’ve published something new. Ultimately, I hope to earn enough money to buy hair dye, to cover the gray hair I get when I try to format my work. It’s still hit or miss, but social media really turns me into a curmudgeon. Just ask Amadeus. Anyway, here goes:

My newest e-story is called, “The Watch.” It’s about a little girl named Angel Walker, an eleven-year-old whose parents have recently divorced. Her world’s quickly changing and she’s learning to maneuver. Her mother claims she’s trying to make a better life for them, and her way of going about it involves a search for a rich new husband. Her father’s a pill-popping playboy with a hair-trigger temper, who makes no bones about the fact that he has little interest in parenthood. Angel worships him, and prays that he’ll change. Lately, he’s given her reason to believe that he has.

A tale of family dysfunction, childhood resilience and trust, “The Watch” will transport you to another place and time, and Angel Walker will steal your heart. Don’t I sound confident? I really like this one, although I should warn you that it’s rather sad.

As part of my shameless self-promotion, I’m shamelessly copying and pasting some of the comments and reviews I’ve received so far.

“…this story is a highly polished gem…”

“What an amazing story! LOVED it!!!”

“I wept three times reading that story. It is a masterpiece.”

“…exquisitely written, each character completely believable and throbbing with life.”

“…poignant, meaty, truthful…”

Not one of those lovely words was written by a family member, nor did money change hands.

“The Watch” is available for the low, low price of $1.99 on Smashwords and at Amazon. My preferred site is Smashwords (because they take a smaller percentage of sales). I’ve published it under MB McQueen, in order to make my life more confusing. Actually, MB McQueen just seemed to fit this one better than Moonbeam. It’s a serious story, and initials are serious things. 

Thanks to all who’ve already sent me such wonderful, in-depth feedback, and to those who helped me purchase rights for the song used in the story. As always, I feel that you’re all a part of this process. If you feel the spirit, please spread the word. Post your reviews at Goodreads, Kindle and Smashwords. For the next week, I’ll gladly give a free copy in exchange for a review and a link on your blog (shoot me an email if you’re up for the task). Word of mouth is about all I’ve got to promote my work. Fortunately, I’ve got a very big mouth.

Operation Book Push: Week 1

Above is the first poem in my little invisible book of light verse, Peculiar Rhymes and Intimate Observations. In part, it sums up why I wrote the thing in the first place. I longed to learn self-publishing, but I also hope to make a little money for my efforts, in order to justify my existence and contribute toward our little house of fun here at Planet Moonbeam. I also wanted to entertain readers. It’s not a deep book– just some fluffy, humorous verse, but I wanted to put something out while I’m writing more complicated stuff. It’s helped me shove past my self-imposed fear of DIY publishing, though the stress has probably axed three eight years off of my lifespan in the process. It’s a decent trade. I’ve learned so much by doing this.

Week one went well. The book is selling like hotcakes. Okay, more like a plate of cold, cardboard, pre-packaged pancakes, the kind you get in your grocer’s freezer, but still– it is selling. I managed to set up a new Facebook page, dedicated to the things I publish, and some folks are even following it (mostly because I begged and wore them down). I’m chirping, tweeting and making all sorts of bird calls on Twitter, though I’m just awful at it. I’m confused by the etiquette of it all. It took a while to see that others were mentioning me and retweeting some of my stuff. I tried HootSuite for a couple of days and almost went into seizures. I’m getting the hang of things though, sort of.

In a week or so, “Peculiar Rhymes” will be available as an audio book, on Audible and I think, as an iPhone app. I’m hunkering down and gearing up for that one. I played the audio for my daughter the other day, and was horrified to realize that the recording had slowed down somewhere in the process of sending it. On it, my voice sounds husky and deep. Not sexy, Kathleen Turner deep– this is more like Darth Vader meets Mercedes McCambridge. We’ll see what the final outcome is, but I’m cringing in advance.

I’m also considering putting out a print-on-demand version of the book, and am hoping to collaborate with a local artist on it. There are so many branches on a self-publishing tree – various reading devices, audio, the old-school book made of woody, pulpy stuff with pages that really turn. So many lovely people have been involved in this experience– I won’t go into it now, but it’s pretty fascinating, and it makes my heart do a happy tap dance beneath my left bra strap. Working with this artist would be great for both of us– just another pretty branch on the tree. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

But I’m an awful self-promoter. Really– who does this? I bash my own book. I downplay it. I should be talking non-stop about how fabulous it is– how it will make you laugh, change your world and melt your butter. I should tout it as being a Hallmark Greeting card for your soul. But I’m a worrier. I worry that folks won’t like it (though they seem to). I worry that I’ll disappoint readers of this blog, who know I write dumb lyrics about road kill, and goofy crap about cockroaches. I think we’re probably all in agreement that my writing strengths lie elsewhere. Still, when I think about this entire project, I have to admit that, though it isn’t the Best Thing I’ve Ever Written, I kind of like it. And it’s $2.99, for wheat’s sake. It’s not as though I’m advertising a $75 coffee table tome and sending a “Fun with Elmo” activity book instead.

Wonderful things have come from doing this, though the going is rather slow. I’ve only gotten four reviews so far. One was from my favorite uncle, a former bad ass Marine and a retired colonel at the Pentagon. Thinking about him cracking the spine on my little book of verse makes me smile. I know, there are no spines on Kindles, but you catch my drift. It’s like envisioning Mike Tyson watching “Chocolat.” Another review was from my angel, Amadeus. Those guys are a bit biased, and their critiques are so glowing you could use them as flashlights. So, in fairness, I guess that I’ve gotten two reviews. But wowee, what sweet reviews they are. Here’s a link to the ones on Amazon, and here are the two on Smashwords (my uncle’s and my hubby’s included).

These reviews make me as weepy as a willow (damn you, you stupid @#$% menopause), and those are the good ones. Can you imagine what’ll happen the first time someone writes “THIS SUCKS!!!” Note: Please don’t write a review saying “THIS SUCKS!!!” Anyway, here’s the most beautiful thing of all. Kendall, a long time reader of this blog, is a gifted photographer and writer, whose work I’ve mentioned here before. She keeps a Blipfoto blog, and the other day, she sent me a Facebook message that said, “This Blip’s for you.” I clicked the link she sent and heavens to Mergatroyd, there was a photo and a post about me– about this blog and my little e-book, and about my weird-ass life. Over 40 of her splendid fans left wonderful, heartfelt comments. It all blew what little I have left of my mind. I’m posting the link here, not just so that you can read it, but so that you’ll cruise around her album and see (and read) her incredible work.

So, I’m going to try to keep pushing the book for a while. It’s all pretty traumatic for my ADD-addled brain. The constant over-stimulation of social media makes me feel a little like a steelie in a pinball machine– all dinging bells and lights, a million words passing before my eyes at any given moment. But I’m trying. On the side, I’m writing, and tonight, I’ll be reading a bit of an upcoming story at a little indie bookstore. Not from the poetry book– there are going to be real poets there, so I’ll stick to prose. See? Awful self-promoter. I’m glad this book isn’t out in hard copy, because Amadeus would bop me on the head with it for being so shy.

Thanks again to those who’ve purchased Peculiar Rhymes and Intimate Observations. Thank you for the feedback and the reviews and the retweets and for every little twinkle of support you’ve given me. I just adore you, you know.

You can purchase the e-book here and here. And I’d love it you’d “like” my Facebook page, which you can find here. Please, pass the word, write reviews, tell your friends and give yourself a hug from me.


P.S. In trying to come up with creative ways to promote this book, I made what might just be the weirdest, worst video of all time, besides maybe this one. It was a total flop– an eight-hour experiment gone awry. I’m not going to run it, but if you message me on FB, I’ll message you back with top-secret links (it’s a two-parter), so long as you promise to keep what little remaining respect you have for me intact. You’ll have to pinky swear.






Rhymes and Reasons

Hoorah! It is with great joy that I announce my grand entrance into the 21st century. I’ve published an e-book, and if you read this blog with any regularity, you know that the fact that I actually did it is a modern-day miracle. I’ve lost 78 pounds in the process. I’ve pulled out my hair in clumps. If I were a yard, I’d have to re-sod patches of my scalp. The remaining strands have turned white, and my left eye twitches non-stop. It’s all terribly attractive. My family has washed their hands of me, my friends are all hiding.  My husband now sleeps on the sofa at night and my dog hates my guts.

But I did it, by clickety. I wrote and studied and tutorialed. I formatted, unformatted, reformatted and cursed a lot. I considered adopting a drug and alcohol dependency, but my brain barely works as it is. Best not to mess with those few remaining cells.

My goal, besides (hopefully) generating a little income, was to learn how to do this self-publishing thing.  I have a vault full of stories and essays, but I wanted to start small and simply. I wrote a lot of poems and went about the task of compiling them into an e-book. It’s not a big book, or an important book, and it’s definitely not a great book– just a little volume of mostly-humorous, light verse.

I hear what you’re thinking . “Ugh!” your brain whispers, “I’d rather jab a fork into my eye than read poetry.”

I beseech you to lay the utensil down. Rethink your position. This is a book of poetry for people who don’t read poetry, developed especially for you by the maker of my mind.  It’s somewhat reminiscent of Emily Dickinson, if Emily Dickinson were a middle-aged woman fighting on the frontline of  a hormonal battlefield. It’s like Shakespeare, if Shakespeare had low self-esteem and an issue with meter.  It conjures the dulcet, silvery tone of Lord Byron, had Byron been tone-deaf and stuck in the house all day with only a wee, neurotic Chihuahua for company.  If you normally avoid poetry like  nuns avoid online dating, you’re going to like this book. I hope. As a professionally trained compulsive worrier, I can’t be certain, but I have a hunch.

Now comes the next step– publicizing.

I’m a Facebook failure, a LinkedIn loser. I’m Twitterphobic.  People talk about branding themselves and all I can think of are those poor cows you see standing around in pastures with a big “Bar K Ranch” emblem seared onto their butts. Ouch. I have to make an attempt, though. I’ve to get out there with the big boys and let the world know about my itty-bitty book. So I’m asking a favor– please go to my new Facebook page and hit “like.” You can find it by clicking here.  There, you’ll find updates on my doings. There will be links and contests, special offers and whatnot. Lots and lots of whatnot.

Peculiar Rhymes and Intimate Observations: A Book of Light Verse is available on Amazon, in the Kindle Store. Here’s the link, along with a few sample pages. You can also purchase it on Smashwords by clicking here. It’s formatted for every device, including, I think, the toaster oven. There are versions for Nook, Kindle, iPhone, Sony Reader, Adobe Digital and the good old-fashioned computer monitor, among others.

Your feedback is welcome and enormously appreciated. Your support means the world. Please feel free to shoot me e-mails, offer suggestions, post comments, write reviews and buy books! I hope it’s as much fun for you to read as it was for me to write. Not the publishing part though. That sucked.

Special Offer: For the next ten days, those who “Like” my new Facebook page will receive 15% off of the whopping $2.99 listed price when you buy at Smashwords. What a bargain!