Sunday, January 30, 2011

One month into the happy new year

So, we are 30 blissful days into our new year. How's those resolutions going? Mine~eh! My 1st one ended roughly 10 minutes into the year. Vowed to cut back on cussing. Not happening anytime soon. My 2nd one took 2 weeks before I started it. Decided to give the liver some respite. No telling what will happen come St. Patty's Day though. My 3rd & 4th are stuck on a rollercoaster. Getting time to write without being constantly interrupted and getting my workout routine back in shape (or would that be me?) Kinda one and the same. Started the year off with my niece getting married. And will pretty much close out the year with my daughter's wedding in Nov. The dress is bought, and came in yesterday. Her father saw it on her and for the 1st time in umpteen years, the man was speechless :) That however was about as shortlived as my cussing sessation.

So, I always thought resolutions were for people who were unhappy with their life style. I was wrong. They are for people who are trying to better themselves and their families. Whatever goals you've set out to accomplish, may you overcome any obstacles and achieve your deams.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Promotion in likely and unlikely places . . .

I work full time and have yet another job on some weekends so I have to make every moment count when I am promoting my books. First, I add to my website blog at just about every day on my lunch "hour" (usually just a few minutes these days - we work all the way through without breaks or lunches because so many have retired and are not being replaced). The problem with the blog is wading through thousands of spam posts to respond to the two or three "real person" posts to the blog.

I posted a free story on my blog to give readers a sense of whether they might like my writers voice and check out my books. I'm hoping it results in some sales.

Book events like panels and book signings at stores are great places to schmooze with readers and to get your name out there. Borders is a sweet place to sign! I was on two panels (and have one coming up in February in Milpitas) at Borders and one "meet and greet" local author book signing event at that store. Not only did they help us by announcing our event a few times and setting us up, they gave us a plate of "treats" from their cafe that we could offer to readers. Of course, my Wild Rose title, Sacred Guardian, was there - thank you, Wild Rose, for making it easy for a brick-and-mortar store to obtain our titles! They had an end-cap filled with our titles and had us sign books that had not sold by the end of our panel event.

An "unusual but lucrative" place to get your books out there is to arrange to give a talk and sign/sell books at local service clubs like the Kiwanis or Elks clubs. They are hungry for presenters and being a romance writer is a plus because the men like the "hot" scenes and the women generally read romances. I fit a lunch hour promotion in by attending my local Kiwanis club meeting to give a talk on becoming a romance writer. I did this twice and sold several books while I was there.

A really unexpected place to promote my books happened when I had the opportunity to attend a literacy event to the San Mateo County Fair. I was invited to serve on a panel about "genre fiction" and a book signing event at the Fair on another day. I did not sell many books but hundreds of people attend the fair and at least a hundred or so tromped through the hall where our genre panel was speaking.

Every year I promote my books while I read tarot cards at the Himalayan Fair in Berkeley during the month of May. I have read tarot cards for 40 years and am part of a tarot booth that reads at the Fair. I always bring a stack of books and offer a discount on a reading if the person wants to buy one of my books. Since we write paranormal romance here at Black Rose, it is a good place to sell a few books. Though a lot of my tarot clients are men (go figure!) people who want tarot readings usually are fans of paranormal books and I've sold a few of my romances to men at the Fair.

I am not sure that libraries are a good place to be on a panel or do a book signing. I've done this several times at different libraries but I found they are often poorly attended (maybe five people) and I only sold one book at a library event (among the ten or so library events in which I have participated), though I always donate my books to the library after the event. It is hard to gauge the success of a library event, though it is good karma.

I am certain that there are other "on a shoestring and with scant time" ways to promote our books. Please let us know what you do and how that has helped you promote your books!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A New Year, A New Me???

Every year it's the same thing. From the comfort of my sofa, while tucked under a warm blanket, I watch the glittery ball drop and the crowds cheers in Times Square. Welcome baby new year!

In my mind I list all the great accomplishments I plan to do:
1. I'm going to get and stay organized.
2. I'm going to stick to my writing schedule.
3. I'm going to keep my house clean.
4. I'm going to exercise every morning.
5. I'm going to post my blogs on time.

With great expectations buzzing warmly in my mind, I drift off to sleep.

This year is going to be different.

I'm going to be a new woman this and clever and brave and organized....

When I wake up New Year's morning, however, the day feels exactly like any other day. Worse, I feel like the same disorganized, slightly flaky Dorothy.

Things slide quickly back to evidenced by this blog post (coming in a day late.)

So I've decided to toss my New Year's resolutions out the window. They're not doing me anything other than to taunt me with my failings, anyhow. This year I'm going to focus on being happy with the person I am, and stop trying to stuff myself into the mold of the person I think I should be.

This year I'm going to breathe easy and relax.

Who's with me?

Dorothy McFalls/Dorothy St. James

Mystical Seduction
"Faith was looking for a one-night stand. What she got was an otherworldly hunk who appears determined to make her his sex slave."

Flowerbed of State, Berkley Prime Crime (May 2011)
"The White House is about to get a green thumb..."

Find me on Facebook!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just wanted to say hello to everyone. I'm kicking off the new year with a new book, one of my goals for 2011 (so I have to set another one). This time I've stepped into the darker side, lol, and am looking forward to it. I'm noticing my work is getting darker as I go on, although this one isn't quite that dark. Do any of you find that what you write changes? I'm also outlining now, a real switch for me. Outlines were a vague thought before but everyone seemed so sold on them I thought I'd give it a try. Hopefully it will mean I work a bit faster. So that's my new year's news. Hope everyone else is off to a great start!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

I hope everyone enjoyed a happy and safe New Year's celebration this year. I attended the birth of the New Year with my family, a bottle of sparkling apple cider for the kids and a glass of red wine for the adults to celebrate. My husband and I also participated in our traditional tarot reading for 2011. If you're interested you can read more about that on my blog.

Inevitably with the beginning of any new year, thoughts turn toward how to make this year better than the last. I enjoy making resolutions to challenge myself and at the end of the year I look back to see if I've accomplished any of my goals.

This year I've set myself up for a lot of accomplishments, both personally and professionally. Here's my list (so far!):

-I've never had a goal to lose weight before, but after having 3 children in 4 years I've discovered the desire to fit back into some of the clothes I packed away during my pregnancies.

-I plan to write two new novels and 3 to 4 short stories. I can write fast if I keep myself locked in a room far away from my family, but I understand if I do this my children will likely destroy my house. I plan to re-evaluate this goal in 6 months.

-I also plan to edit and revise 2 novels I finished last year and submit them for possible publication.Again, locking myself away from my family would be beneficial...

-I'm going to brush up on my language skills this year. I took 4 years of German class in high school (oh, it seems so long ago!) which has done me tremendous service since I had the opportunity to visit Germany a few years back. But, I really want to speak fluently and not enough to just-get-by.  And, I really want to go back to visit Europe more thoroughly. I might have to plan this for next year's resolutions.

-My husband has offered a challenge for me this year. He thinks I can learn to play the violin. Being a musician himself and with the growing numbers in our family, I believe he is preparing to mentor a musical group of some sort and is trying to get a head start with me. I think he suspects it might take me 20 years to learn this instrument. But, it's an interesting challenge and I'm going to attempt this with enthusiasm.

-And every year since I've had kids, I resolve to become organized, especially regarding my paperwork. I usually wait 365 days before I begin to attempt this. This year, I might try to make an effort a little earlier.

That's my list. As always, it's a work in progress. What about you, dear readers? Any plans for 2011 that you would care to share?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wishing You a Happy 2011

There are a few days that are guaranteed to bring with them a feeling of promise-the first day of spring, the first day of fall and New Year's Day. This New Years I resolved to take a page from my one year old's book-enjoy the moment.

Here's wishing you a great 2011, and remember...enjoy each moment.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I wanted to wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year. :) May inspiration come to you.

Looking Forward to a Wonderful Year!

I know I'm a day late, but I didn't want to push Lilly out. :p I just want to say thank you to everyone at TWRP and everyone on this loop for all the great support. I can't tell you what a thrill it was to see my first novel, To Kill a Vampire in print!

I also offered contract with three other books with another publisher for next year and I finally landed a wonderful agent in December - yay! So it's been a bit of a whirlwind ride! Here's raising the cyber champagne glasses to all the fine authors and editors at Wild Rose Press. May you all have a wonderful new year and may all your dreams come true!

Oh!!! And I'd love if you'd join me Monday, January 10th - I'm blogging at VampChix.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I'm a couple of days late posting this but what had happened was....I posted it on the wrong blog. Ooops! So, now I'm posting here two days late and more than a dollar short. lol!

I can't believe another year has come and gone. But it was a fantastic holiday season. My husband and I actually started the celebrating early. The first weekend in December, we went to our camper at the beach so we could see the Christmas Flotilla in Beaufort. We had clams and beer at The Dock House Restaurant before the parade started.

After eating supper, we stood along the water front and watched the parade float by.
The boat parade runs along the water front from Morehead City, NC to Beaufort, NC. And it is truly a sight to behold.

The waterfront in winter at Christmastime is beautiful, but even in NC, it was freezing! My Christmas wasn't perfect. My daughter and her husband did not make it home from Germany for the holidays. But we were able to "see" them on SKPYE as we opened gifts. I even took a picture of my beautiful daughters together.

All in all, 2010 was a great year. I saw the publication of my first book Out of the Darkness.

And I signed a contract with TWRP for my second novel, a historical romance entitled Slightly Tarnished. I also recieved my first royalty check, making me a "professional" writer. Yay me!
So, as 2010 comes to a close, I can't really complainal. There were book signings and blog appearances and I've genuinely had a good time with my new career.
But it's time to start a New Year and make those resolutions we hope to keep. And my resolution isn't about loosing those eight pounds I gained over the holidays. It's all about writing.

For 2011, I hope to finish and submit Into the Light, the sequel to Out of the Darkness and then complete the sequel to Slightly Tarnished.

What are your New Year's resolutions?