Things Heard while Book Shopping

img_7608I went into Barnes & Noble this morning to get myself a copy of Seth Godin’s This is Marketing so I could see the charts he refers to in the audiobook. While his blog has a page dedicated to the charts, I figured it was time to just get the book in hard copy especially when the ebook price is almost the same as the book price.

… and I also get to shop at my local bookstore, probably the only one standing in my neck of the woods.

Browsing through the store made me realize how important it is to keep stores like Barnes & Noble going. I don’t know how their corporate leadership is but even if they could be crappy money-hungry executives just steering the company into the ground and leaving with million-dollar severance packages, it’s the employees that people like me—customers—come in contact with whenever you go into one of these stores. And for them, I want to see the company continue to thrive for years to come.

Sure, their filing system is slightly different—Seth Godin’s books were on another bookshelf in the same row but not in the general alphabetized section under Business. More like a shelf dedicated to probably more popular business books even if I had no idea who the other names on the shelves were?

Still, it took me only a few minutes to figure it out and I found the other books he authored. His latest book, This is Marketing, wasn’t actually in the Business section. The store associate found it on the New Releases table.

But then, I also realized that’s me thinking like I was shopping on Amazon, where I simply type the book on the search box and voila! there it is.

Well, Barnes & Noble isn’t like Amazon… and it shouldn’t be.

Before the store opened, I was having coffee at the Starbucks next door that’s kinda attached to Barnes & Noble. Behind me, there was some sort of a “class” going on with one person doing all the talking about how to reach customers. He said one thing that caught my attention immediately.

“You can’t manage something you can’t measure.” That prompted me to make a mental note to study my marketing to measure if it’s working or not, keywords-wise so I can manage it better.

Then he went on to say that while our “buy line” is Amazon and our “search line” is Google, both companies dominating those avenues, what is your “social line?” How do you reach your customers and where can you find them? The other people around the table mentioned Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, each one and more catering to a subset group of people. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have eavesdropped.

But while I was busy eavesdropping, an older Asian man walked by that the marketing man recognized and in the midst of their hey, how are you conversation, the Asian man said, I’m an author. I wrote a book.

The marketing man said, “That’s fantastic. Where can I find your book?” and then they proceeded to take a picture of the man’s book on his phone and then the marketing man said, I’ll find your book on Amazon

Orange Tags and Other Stuff…

Today I found this for my boy Campbell:

So I’ll just park it here because it’s a sweet accomplishment I didn’t expect.

And did you know I bought this cover back in 2015? Yup, it was one of my regular cover guy’s premade covers and the moment I saw it, I knew I had to have it even if it would take me three years to find the right hero for the story. I currently have about 12 premade covers waiting for their stories it’s crazy. And that doesn’t include the ones I’ve purchased from other designers as well as the ones I make myself like the Holiday Engagement series ones. Or the ones for my Naughty Pen and the PNR pen.

Juggling too many plates? Yup, that’s me.

But I did find time to do some reading between those two releases and having to plot and write the next book of my Holiday Engagement series. I just finished Gutter Medicine: Twenty-six Years as a Firefighter/Paramedic by Roger Huder and I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely eye-opening to read about his experiences on being a firefighter paramedic, in a way, helping it become what it is now. I loved reading about “the street” and how it gives and takes away, the calls he’s never forgotten, and how one call almost got him and his fellow firefighters, the one where they encountered “the beast.”

I also have been finding time to go back to walking with friends again even if they’re just for an hour each day and not the usual three-hour walks we used to take that kicked my butt every time.

In the afternoon, I returned close to the same spot with my Lil Dude to check out the Farmer’s Market. Now it’s back to trying to write again because somehow I’ve lost sight of my characters again.

Another book I’m really enjoying is Seth Godin’s This Is Marketing: You Can’t be Seen Until You Learn to See. He profiles the Open Heart Project that grew from a small number of students to thousands of members across the globe because of the following:

  1. Start with empathy to see a real need, not an invented one, not ‘how can I start a business.’
  2. Focus on the smallest viable market. How few people could find this indispensable and still make it worth doing? (Smallest viable market is the group of people that are ready and open to hearing your message versus marketing to the world – basically start small.)
  3. Match the worldview of the people being served. Show up in the world with a story they want to hear, told in a language they’re eager to understand. (You’re not exactly selling a product; you’re selling an emotion. How does your product make them feel when they use it?)
  4. Make it easy to spread. If every member brings in one more member, within a few years you’ll have more members than you can count.
  5. Earn and keep the attention and trust of those you serve.
  6. Offer ways to go deeper. Instead of looking for members for your work, look for ways to do work for your members.
  7. At every step along the way, create and relieve tension as people progress on their journeys toward their goals.
  8. Show up often. Do it with humility and focus on the parts that work.

So there you go. Guess I could call that celebrating the release of two books even if I somehow forgot. But anything that takes my mind off my books is a good thing. I even found myself a pair of reading glasses because apparently, I need them now! I’ve never realized how bright my e-reader really is until I put on a pair and read.

Now I need to go back to writing book 2 of the Holiday Engagement and hope I can get the book released before the craziness of the holidays completely takes over!

 

New Release & Guest Blog Post: Reactance by Dacia M Arnold

Before anything else, I’d love to wish a Happy Book Birthday to Dacia M Arnold for her latest release, REACTANCE, the prequel novella to her upcoming novel APPARENT POWER! Don’t miss her guest post following the release announcement! Congratulations, Dacia!

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REACTANCE

by Dacia M Arnold

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: August 18, 2018

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Given a gift she never wanted, a young woman fights to find a place in post-apocalyptic Denver.

When a dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population, conductors of electricity are at the mercy of the DiaZem who rule over them.

After her father is killed in a thwarted plan to eradicate the population without the conductor gene, teenager Sasha Bowman channels her bitterness toward the woman she believes is responsible: The Queen DiaZem.

Keeping a journal to share with the world what really transpired, Sasha rallies the community to React against the Apparent Power.

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AVAILABLE ON

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About the Author

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Dacia Arnold is an author that struggles to find a balance of work, motherhood, marriage, writing, and the occasional craft. Her first full-length novel, Apparent Power, is in the works to be released December 2018. Dacia served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and deployed twice to Iraq and often incorporates these experiences into her writings both fiction and non-fiction. She currently lives in Denver, Co with her husband, two children, and a fat beagle named Watson.

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GUEST POST

I am so excited Liz Durano let me take over her blog for the day. My novella, REACTANCE just went on sale on Amazon and she wanted all of you to know about it. I have been a fan of Liz for a few years now and she has been extremely helpful to me and my career over those years. Thank you, Liz.

How fitting in the wake of Breaking the Rules, she would have me on her blog to talk a little about my personal military experience and the representation of such in literature. I served in the US Army, Active Duty for ten years. I deployed twice to Iraq in the medical field and witnessed both miracles and horrors of war. While my experience as a woman in the military differs from Sawyer’s, it is always important to remember women do serve and have served in the military for a long time.

Gender differences and representation in literature is not what I want to talk about though. I want to talk about my experience at war, PTSD, and losing dear friends.

I worked for fifteen months in the busiest trauma center in the world, Baghdad ER. Books were written and documentaries were filmed about Ibn Sina Hospital located in the Green Zone of Baghdad. I assisted in the birth of healthy babies and witnessed the death of young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. I also fought for the lives of other men and women who felt they could no longer go on and decided to take their own lives. In the absence of understanding I was often angry when we would fail in our attempts to resuscitate my fellow brother or sister in arms.

We also treated children, criminals, terrorists, murderers. And we treated them all the same. A man, who was shot for creating an explosive which killed five Americans, received the same life-saving measures as a child who was considered collateral damage and was injured for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I saw a lot. I let for Iraq at 23 and returned home when I was 25. I left far more than a birthday and year worth of holidays in that marble clad medical facility. I left nearly every memory I had and held onto the feelings of comradery, the twisted sense of humor one often finds in an emergency room, and pride in the work we did and care we provided. When our mission was done, our emergency room held a 98% survival rate. If you made it to the Combat Support Hospital, your chances of living to see your family again were pretty good. We still managed to lose so many.

All of this happened over a decade ago. I am older, have kids, and left the military when my contract ended four years ago. I do not have post-traumatic stress disorder. This simply means when these memories come back and affect me negatively, I am able to successfully find a coping mechanism to file the memories back in my mind. An inability to do so does not make a person weak. There was a time where I drank too much, cried a lot, and felt guilty about those lives lost in my care. I am, after all, still a human being.

My second deployment to Iraq, I was asked to manage the outpatient clinic (a position multiple levels above my pay grade) while my peers were shift leaders in the emergency room. They wanted the guts and glory. I had seen enough gore by then and was happy to have my quiet predictable corner of the hospital. On Christmas morning (was Christmas night in Iraq), my best friend back home was murdered by her boyfriend with her six children in the home. Because she was not family, I was not granted the opportunity to go home to pay my respects or offer assistance to her children. She was also a veteran. Her boyfriend was still in the military at the time. He was sentenced to a mere fifteen years of prison because he was clinically diagnosed with PTSD. He’s halfway done with his sentence already.

All of these experiences bleed into my writing. Articulating the feelings of loss, pain, guilt, the emptiness one experiences when someone they love is no longer there helps me in filing those hard memories in my mind. It helps me make sense of situations and the grieving process. Everyone has a “fight or flight” reflex and it never occurred to me that flight was an appropriate road to take in such matters.

As a mother, my knowledge of terrorism, guns, and survival are always thoughts running in the background of my mind. I was working in a major hospital when someone called in a bomb threat. Patients and staff alike were notified. Many patients wanted to leave against medical advice. After we received the all clear, some of the nurses, knowing my background, asked me what I would have done. I simply said, “I really just depended on what happened, but either way, I’m going home tonight.” While I knew I had no control over the situation, I needed to maintain the confidence of my ability to fight.

I often call my time in the military “the best worst time of my life” I do not regret joining, serving, deploying OR getting out after ten years. Every experience added a layer of clay to my skeleton and molded who I am today. It gives depth to my writing and a strength I know even the most likely of characters can muster.

And with that, I present my novella, REACTANCE.

Reactance is written in the form of a journal. The story runs the timeline of my novel, Apparent Power, and the sequel, Shifting Power. Though Reactance is meant to be a teaser to the main DiaZem Trilogy, readers can either pick it up while they wait until Apparent Power is released in December 2018 OR they can read it between books 1 and 2. Either way it wets your pallet for the dystopian world I have made.

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My Thoughts on the FOSTA/SESTA Act

A few days ago, the US Senate passed the FOSTA/SESTA bill. SESTA stands for the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act while FOSTA stands for the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.

Because of the bill, Craigslist immediately took down their Personals section, Reddit shut down darknetmarkets, Google has apparently deleted porn from Drive, and Amazon removed the Erotica bestseller rankings from its store.
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You may be wondering, wait, what does Erotica have to do with an online sex trafficking bill?

I don’t know but because Amazon ends up being an online platform and the bill will make it possible to penalize online providers that enable sex trafficking to occur, that’s why Amazon is doing what it’s doing…? Or is it just one big coincidence?

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This new change has had authors scrambling, and not just erotica writers, but those who write romance because it seems that a few who don’t write erotica or have erotic content in their books have been affected, too. Not having a store ranking means it’s no longer visible in the overall store but readers looking for erotica content can still search for it—unlike a book that’s been “dungeoned” where you can’t even find it in search results. Yep, Amazon has a dungeon where certain books are sent to die!

Does Amazon’s new system mean that erotica is dead?

Considering that my post about writing erotica is the most popular on my blog, well, I’d like to think not (yet — just kidding). Erotica books are still selling on Amazon, only now their listing has been removed from the main store pages much like Walmart moving Cosmopolitan magazines away from the checkout racks and putting them into the magazine aisle.

What does this mean for my naughty pen name? Is it worth it to keep it?

I don’t know the answer to that yet but I do love writing under my naughty pen. It’s more liberating and I wish I could share it here but I can’t. But because it’s now grown from the original 8k word erotica short to a 50k word erotic novel that has yet to be continued until it’s happily ever after, I have the option of migrating it to my main name after I “clean it up” a bit or keep it under the naughty pen’s stable and leave it as raunchy as it is.

I do like the second option better.

But with Amazon’s latest move and Google’s deletion of porn content from Drive, this has got me thinking about personal blogs.

  • Will WordPress, Blogger and similar online providers police content, too?
  • Will they create a separate category like Amazon has done?
  • Will they shut down what they consider pornographic?
  • And who considers what to be pornographic? A bot? A human behind a terminal going through all the blogs (highly unlikely)?

The questions are endless and I guess time will tell. What do you think?

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Screenshot courtesy Melody Kush (from Motherboard.vice.com)

Edited to ADD the image below from Radish Fiction, an app that delivers serials and charges per chapter.

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At this point, I don’t think online erotic content will last long 😦

Here’s A FREE Novella For Your Monday!

Yup, you read that right! My clean and wholesome novella WILD CARD is free to download!

Daniela Simmons has stopped asking all the why’s in life.
Like, why did the accident have to happen? Why did the drunk driver not stop at the red light?
But when her name gets picked to be on a reality TV dating show, there’s a new question that she’ll need to ask herself:
“Why not?”

When Daniela Simmons’ sister enters her name in the reality TV dating show, Paired in Paradise, the last thing Daniela expects is to be chosen as the Wild Card, the latest contestant added halfway through the show to compete for the heart of billionaire adventurer, Tyler Drake.

Now, whether she likes it or not, Daniela is going to be a reality TV star.

For Tyler, being the object of the women’s affections has become exhausting.  How can one truly know who’s being real or not – including himself – with cameras constantly filming their every move and producers manipulating everything they say?  But he’s willing to coast through to the end of this fabricated fairy tale with whomever producers decide will be the best choice for him, even if it’s just for the show.

But that’s before he meets the Wild Card… and suddenly Tyler realizes that what’s best for the show isn’t necessarily the best choice for his heart.


I wrote Wild Card two years ago for a short story competition but ended up going past the word count limit of 10K words and decided to keep going. Some stories just don’t want to follow the rules and this was one of them. This was a story about a woman who, despite everything that happens to her, remains true to herself.

I hope you enjoy it and if you can, please leave a review.