Yay! Another Review Of The Bargain!

Happy day!  Another reviewer reviewed my book!  And in case you couldn’t tell, she liked it!

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Today I woke up to a lovely 4-star review of The Bargain.  Love to start my day that way!  Thank you, Harlequin Junkie, for the review!  If you’d like to read the whole review, check it out here.  And please feel free to leave your own review on Amazon if you’ve read the book.  Reviews are much appreciated!

New Year’s In August: Excerpt Alert

I’m hard at work on the second of three novellas in a holiday series, and this one is a New Year’s story that picks up where the Christmas one left off but with Trish’s friend, Nadia.  I’d love to get your feedback on the opening scene below:

* * *

“Dear, could I possibly get you to do something for me?”

On the surface, the question seemed harmless enough, especially when the petite white-haired lady asking it looked like she could have stepped right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  When one actually knew the matchmaking schemer that lay beneath that innocent exterior, though, one learned to pay close attention before committing to anything.

And Nadia Normandy had long ago learned to pay very close attention.  Straightening from behind the Heavenly Bites display case in which she was rearranging a tray of cream puffs, she put both hands squarely on the counter and leaned forward to look the older woman straight in the eye.  Well, forward and down; Mrs. Beasley was only four foot eleven.  “Who is he, Mrs. B?”

Her customer blinked at her through enormous tortoiseshell glasses, her eyes wide with innocence.  Considering how much the huge lenses magnified her eyes, they looked very wide indeed.  “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Last time you asked me to do something for you with that little quaver in your voice, I wound up agreeing to a blind date with a carpet salesman who had an absolutely out-of-this-world sweating problem.  What was wrong with that poor man anyway?  Was

it something glandular?”

“My dry cleaner’s son is very nice,” Mrs. Beasley huffed with what struck Nadia

as incredibly insincere indignation.

“He used my cashmere scarf to wipe his forehead at dinner.  Twice.”

“Yes, but he did offer to get it cleaned for you at his mother’s shop for a fantastic discount.”

“Sorry, Mrs. B.”  Nadia bent down to resume working on the cream puffs.  “I can find my own dates just fine, thank you.”  She’d gotten nibbles from three different prospects this week alone due to all the holiday parties she’d attended.  A hunky physical trainer, a Latin musician with a smile to die for, and the third one—what was he again?  A dogwalker?  Dog trainer maybe?  Or maybe he just liked dogs.  All she really remembered about him was his great tan because she was impressed that he managed to maintain it so well despite it being the middle of winter.  Well, maybe she was more curious than impressed.

The fact that his tan was the only memorable thing about him was a bad sign, though.  She’d give him the benefit of the doubt and one date, but somehow she suspected there wouldn’t be a second one.

“Pretty thing like you?  Of course you don’t need help finding somebody.”  And yet it was impossible to miss the glance Mrs. Beasley gave to the ringless finger on Nadia’s left hand, especially since her eyes were magnified to twice their normal size by her tremendous lenses.

Nadia raised one eyebrow to let her know that she understood exactly what that look meant but chose not to comment.

“And anyway,” the older woman continued, “that wasn’t the kind of favor I was

going to ask of you.”

“No?”

“No.”

Closing up the display case, Nadia returned her attention to Mrs. Beasley.  “So there’s no man involved in this favor whatsoever?”

“Well…”

Now Nadia raised both eyebrows.  “Uh huh, that’s what I thought.”

“It is not what you think.  You see, the young man who handles all of my financial matters for me is a sweet boy, but he’s also rather…awkward.”

“Awkward?”

“Socially speaking, yes.  You see, Benji—“

“Benji?  This guy is named after a dog?  And he’s an accountant—oh, Mrs. B…”  Shaking her head, Nadia reached for a cloth and began wiping down the counter.

“Benji is short for Benjamin actually, but Benji really suits him better.  You’ll see what I mean when you meet him.”

“Mrs. B, I am not going out with your accountant.”

“I’m not asking you to see him socially, dear, I’m asking you to…to educate him.”

Nadia blinked and stopped wiping the counter.  “Educate him?  In what, scones and shortbread?”

“In social niceties, particularly in regards to women.  How to talk to them, where to meet them, that sort of thing.”  Mrs. Beasley patted Nadia on the hand.  “You’re so

good with people, dear.  You’d be a natural at this!”

“At teaching a man how to pick up women?  Mrs. B, what exactly do you think I

do when I go out?”

“Who better to teach a man what women want than a woman?”

It was hard to argue with that.  Still, the prospect of becoming a dating coach to a complete stranger was about as appealing as a second date with the uber-moist carpet salesman.  “What about asking your granddaughter?  She’s not exactly shy with other people.  Why not have her do it?”

Mrs. Beasley fidgeted and cleared her throat.  “Aimee is… unconventional.  I’m not sure she’d be the best person to give Benji advice on dating.”

Unconventional.  That was a good word for Aimee.  The girl was probably a few years younger than Nadia, somewhere in her mid-twenties, and she had come to live with her grandmother a few months ago.  In that short time, she’d gone from blonde to redhead to jet-black hair with red streaks.  Nadia tried to picture Aimee even in the same room as an accountant and failed.  “Fair enough.”

“Then you’ll do it?”

Nadia couldn’t hold back a wince.  “Mrs. B—“

“Please, dear?  It’s for a good cause, I promise.”

“Is this because Trish is dating Ian now, and you want a matchmaking project?” Nadia asked, referring to her best friend and business partner.  “Who’s next on your list, your pharmacist?”

“No,” Mrs. Beasley replied without a moment’s hesitation.  “My hairdresser.”

Nadia started to laugh and then stopped as she realized the other woman was

serious.  “Wait—you actually do have a list?”

“Never mind that, dear.  Now, Benji works nine to five most days, so it would

probably be best if you met him after work.”

“Hang on, I never said I’d—“

“Please, dear?  At my age, I have so few pleasures left, and who knows how much time I even have at all, really.”  The quaver was back in Mrs. Beasley’s voice, and she let one wrinkled hand hover tremulously over her heart as if it might give out on her within the next three seconds.

It was blatant manipulation, Nadia thought.  It was also very effective.  “Mrs. B,” she groaned, pleading.

“You could consider it a Christmas present to me.”

“I gave you your favorite homemade lemon tarts as your Christmas present!”

The old woman let both hands tremble over her heart now.

“Shame on you,” Nadia muttered, folding her arms across her chest and frowning but also slumping against the back counter in defeat.

Mrs. Beasley beamed at her.  “I think the best thing would be for you two to meet at that charming little coffee shop on Third and Oakdale,” she told Nadia, the quaver in her voice vanishing as quickly as it had appeared.  “It’s midway between both of your workplaces.”  Reaching into her purse with a hand that was as steady as a rock, she pulled out a little slip of paper and handed it to Nadia.  “Here’s the address along with Benji’s phone number.  I’ll tell him to expect you.”

“What?  Mrs. B, it’s Christmas Eve!”

“You’re right,” Mrs. Beasley agreed after a moment’s consideration.  “Silly me.  I

suppose the day after Christmas is more reasonable.”

“The day after Christmas—“ Nadia sputtered, incredulous.

The older woman’s lip quivered.  “I just thought it would be so nice to help Benji start the new year off right, and—and—“  Her hand found its way to her heart again.

“All right, fine, Mrs. B.  I’ll do it.  But you know, woman, you really ought to be regulated by the federal government.  I’ll bet you can squeeze out tears on command, can’t you?”

Mrs. Beasley only patted Nadia’s hand again.  “How does five o’clock sound?”

“Like emotional blackmail, but other than that, fine.”

“Lovely.  Then I’ll just take a dozen of those gingerbread men, and I’ll be on my way.”

Scooping up the requested treats and putting them in a bag, Nadia rang them up and handed them over.  “I don’t even have the first idea of what to say to this guy, you know.”

“You’ll think of something wonderful, dear, I just know it.”

“Mrs. B?”

The woman paused with her hand on the door.  “Yes?”

“Am I on that list of yours?”

“Merry Christmas, dear,” was all Mrs. Beasley called out in response as she stepped out into the wintry weather.

Nadia stared after her.  “Girl,” she said aloud to herself in the empty bakery, “I have the distinct feeling that you are in deep trouble.”

* * *

So…what do you think?

Guess What Finally Arrived In The Mail! (or…The Squealing Could Be Heard For Miles)

Look what finally shipped from Amazon and arrived on my doorstep today!

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Words cannot express what it felt like to thumb through a paperback for a story I had written–surreal, maybe.  Thrilling isn’t a bad choice either.  I’m probably going to walk around holding a copy close to me for the next several days and then whip it out to show people whenever a chance presents itself:

“I’d like paper instead of plastic today, and–oh, look! See my book?”

“Fill ‘er up with regular please, and while we’re waiting for the tank to fill, take a look at this book I wrote!”

“Yeah, sorry, doctor.  I don’t really have an abnormal growth to show you today, I just wanted you to see THIS!”  [holds book up]

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go do a happy dance…

Twitter For Dummies

It’s time…  [whimper]

Up until now, I’ve told myself I was doing great just getting a website going and learning how to use Facebook to post funny pictures of grumpy cats, but everybody keeps saying that writers MUST include Twitter as part of their social media platform, so…here I go.

I actually signed up for a Twitter account months ago, I’ve just never tweeted anything because, well, I don’t know how.  But not to worry!  I found several books that claim to be able to help someone as fearful of modern technology as I am.  So I’m diving into Twitter with Stacey Myers’ book How To Twitter at my side.  (I almost got the Dummies book, but this one had higher ratings.  And the title doesn’t hurt my self-esteem.)

You know what I like about this book?  It’s broken up into “Daily Do-ables” which are mini-lessons meant to soothe frightened Twitter newbies like myself with their level of simplicity. For example, lesson 1 is merely “Opening an Account.”  Nice and easy, taking it slow.  Truthfully, it’s still a little fast-paced for my tastes–I would have preferred something like “Lesson 1:  Uncurling From the Fetal Position” and “Lesson 2:  Approaching Your Computer–No Sudden Movements.”  But…I’ll do my best.

I don’t anticipate tweeting anything terribly witty anytime soon; probably it will just be things like “Have tweeted twice today without losing bladder control! #dry pants.”  To follow along for exciting updates, follow me at https://twitter.com/FeldmanCS!

Wish me luck!  With the tweeting, I mean, not the bladder control.

Christmas In…?

So I finished my Christmas novella, Pastels & Jingle Bells.  And I’ve been working on a New Year’s novella, too, plus learning about self-publishing options on Amazon, and while I’m working details out little by little, one very important question remains:

When are you actually supposed to release holiday stories to readers?

I mean, I initially just had a vague idea that I’d publish my Christmas novella around Christmas time, because even I can connect those dots pretty well.  Unfortunately, “around Christmas time” isn’t all that specific, and now I’m trying to determine the actual point in time that would be best.  It’s not like I can really go by what I see department stores doing, because they start marketing Christmas stuff in, oh, maybe March.  A blogger I know (Kim at Read Your Writes Book Reviews) recently asked folks to weigh on when they start actually reading Christmas stories, but opinions varied.  I’m thinking sometime in November.

What do you think?

I Will Sleep With One Under My Pillow

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In other words…my first published book, Coming Home, is officially available in paperback now through Amazon.  Pardon me while I squeal with delight:

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Okay, you can uncover your ears now.  No, wait, I feel another one coming on–

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Now I’m done.  For the time being, anyway.

But my first book in paperback is a very exciting thing!  Now I have to practice my “author” signature for all the MILLIONS of people who will no doubt be clamoring for me to sign their personal copies.  Well, at least my mother will…  But I can feel a certain giddy madness coming on that may result in me leaving signed copies under random people’s windshields in supermarket parking lots.  Hey, you have your marketing strategies, I have mine.

For some reason the paperback version still isn’t correctly linked to the ebook version on Amazon–the course of modern technology never did run smooth–but hopefully that will be fixed before too much longer.  But if you’d like to see it with your own eyes, here’s the paperback link.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Sorry.

Comments Welcome

Today Maureen at Just Contemporary Romance is hosting me on her site, so please stop by and say hello if you get a chance.  Thanks, Maureen!

We love it when people leave comments, and I promise it’s really fairly painless.  I’m promoting my new book, so if you’ve read The Bargain and enjoyed it, feel free to comment on that, too!  And if you didn’t enjoy it, feel free to comment on something else like the weather, current events, or whether or not 40 really is the new 30.

To check out the post, click here.

Do Reviews REALLY Matter? (Hint: The Answer Is NOT No…)

When you’re a relatively new and struggling author, reviews of your books are VERY important.  Well, maybe they’re important if you’re a wildly successful author, too, but I don’t have quite the same personal insight into that perspective as I do the former.  I’ll let you know if that changes anytime soon.

Bottom line is…reviews matter.  And I’m talking about reader reviews, too, not just reviews from professional book reviewers or organizations.

Reviews tell a writer that somebody was interested enough to pick up his or her book and actually read it, which feels incredibly wonderful!  Unless, of course, the reviews are unflattering, in which case I suppose it feels more like a kick to the gut–or maybe someplace a little lower if they’re especially harsh…

But the point is, somebody read the book!  Yay!  Writer’s existential crisis averted!

But there’s a lot more to reviews than I first realized, and maybe more than you realized, too.  Until recently, I had no idea that books on Amazon only became eligible to participate in the Kindle Daily Deals once they earned at least 10 reviews, and this is important to an author because Kindle Daily Deals are seen by tons of readers and represent an incredible opportunity to become known to the general public.  Eligible doesn’t mean a shoe-in, but it’s a start.

There’s more, though…

Rumor has it that there are other promotional opportunities on Amazon that an author can’t become eligible for until he or she earns a certain number of reviews, like the “If You Liked This Book You Might Like ______” or “Buy This Book With That Book” for a special discount price.  And once you reach 75 or 80 reviews, I think you win a car.  Or something.  The details are a little fuzzy right now…

But anyway, reviews definitely matter.  They don’t have to be lengthy reviews that analyze subtext and note similarities between the work in question and Anna Karenina or anything like that.  They just have to be honest.  And hopefully respectful, even if the reader didn’t particularly care for the book.

So please make a writer’s day and leave a review!  And if you want to compare his or her book to Anna Karenina, you go right ahead.