Tag Archives: self-published authors

Dad – If You Could See Me Now… Part II

4 Feb

Dad (and Mom) listen up now, this is where my story gets even more amazing. What does a retired elementary teacher do while waiting for her fellow teaching buddy to give in and retire so they can do fun things together during the day? Well, I read, joined a book club, and read some more, then…

You may be aware of the term, The Butterfly Effect, which explains how tiny initial differences may lead to large and unforeseen consequences over a period of time. This is my version of the phenomenon.

My butterfly’s egg was hatched on June 9, 2011 when I downloaded a free book from Amazon called Maid For the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello. After reading and enjoying the book, as I did with a number of authors, I searched for a web site for Ruth and found a blog site named, eBook Experiment, where Ruth had frequent blogs about her journey into authoring romance books.  At that time, she had only released her first book, and it was free, so she wasn’t yet making any money with her writing. Well, my little caterpillar devoured reading about her journey and before long the chrysalis was formed.

My butterfly burst forth on August 20, 2011, when Ruth self-published her second book, For Love or Legacy, and I quickly ‘one-clicked’ and downloaded it. Those wings started flapping and unknown at that time, I started my new journey. Ruth had asked her Facebook friends to let her know if they found any mistakes as they read the book. As I was reading I did find a couple of mistakes and I ‘private messaged’ Ruth. Being the sweet person she is, she thanked me and we started a conversation that lasted into the late evening as I read the book and found a few more tiny errors. At one point she joked that maybe I could edit her third book. We laughed… talked teaching (at the time she was on summer break from her kindergarten teaching job)… discussed family…we even discussed having coffee together someday.  She said, “And who knows, if this writing thing takes off…maybe I’ll take you up on that coffee.”  Serendipity, Ruth!

When the school year started, Ruth went back to teaching, but we still messaged off and on. She asked me to reread her first book and look for mistakes before she submitted it for paper print. I volunteered to reread the second one too to see if I could find anything I had missed the first time through. Her sales were going very well on the second book and I (along with many others I’m sure) encouraged her to quit teaching and write full time so she could get started on her third book. In April 2012, Ruth became a full time writer and our friendship grew as she wrote Bedding the Billionaire, book three. She talked to her colleagues, told them about me, and one or two of them asked if I could help them by proofreading their manuscripts.  Feeling a bit under-qualified, I hesitated; after all, my training was in elementary education, with a master in educational curriculum, not an English degree. But with Ruth’s encouragement, I agreed. Ruth convinced me my qualification came from reading as many books as I had and that I had a good eye for finding those pesky little mistakes that so many writers just don’t see in their own writing. Plus, both of us being former teachers, we had practiced daily how to help others make their work better. The good news was, the authors that I helped, thanked me profusely for a job well done! Ruth cemented our friendship right there; we entered the realm of sisterhood!

During this time, my biological sister and I also started a new book group that read only eBooks that were fun and cheap, five dollars or under—The Bargain eBook Book Club.  To make our group unique and jovial, I started contacting authors and asking them if they could join in our discussions. To hear those stories, please read through my earlier blogs, but suffice it to say, we have a fun time and we have Skyped with almost twenty different authors, many of them New York Times Best Selling authors! Our best treat was a day in June when Ruth called and told me she didn’t want to Skype, she wanted to actually fly here and meet with the Defiance ladies that were all the talk of her writing world. Her third book, which I had proofed for her just like we laughed about earlier, had just made the New York Times Belling Selling list for eBooks! Well,to add to that surprise, Donna McDonald, another author our book club knew, said she would like to drive up from Kentucky and meet not only us, but Ruth too. And guess what?  Yes! I got to have that predestined cup of coffee! The ladies graciously presented a workshop to local writers explaining the hows and whys of self-publishing along with an evening of merriment and friendship with both of my book groups at the local bed and breakfast. Amazing—successful authors coming to Defiance just to meet our little book group!book group with Ruth and Donna

Meanwhile, my little proofing business was growing and I needed some help.  Ruth, who by then I had considered more than a friend (we had bonded…), kept putting my information on her Facebook pages and new authors lined up. In October, my sister joined with me and we are now proofreading/line editing/beta reading for over fifteen romance authors.  Did you hear that Dad—your two daughters are working with romance authors! Some of them even want to meet us! They know me! Don’t you love it?  And, my retirement plan—it allowed us to purchase tickets to visit my daughters in New Mexico and Seattle. Oh… and I took a trip to see Ruth in Rhode Island in December where she planned a party for me to meet many of the authors I work with, then Ruth and I went to Newport and had lunch with Marie Force. It was rather like coming full circle, although I’d like to think of it more as a spiral, because this butterfly is not nearly finished with her amazing journey. Stay tuned… Texas is next!Ruth and Karen

If you are wondering what to do with a new phase in your life, I will tell you what I’ve always told my children—find something you love to do and do it! As hokey as it sounds, when a door is closed, a window IS opened.  Embrace that window and let in your butterfly! There is a whole new cyber world out there just waiting for your discovery.


Seriously Fun Reading Groups

14 May

My “serious” book club met last Wednesday.  No, we don’t always read serious books, but we seriously discuss the book we read.  The selection for this month was Happy Hour by Michele Scott. The book tells the stories of four female friends who connect through wine.  One is a wine maker, another is a sommelier, the third is an editor for a wine magazine, and the fourth is an artist who specializes in vineyard landscapes.  These women all have obstacles in their lives they are dealing with, but the strength of their friendship carries them through difficult times.  And, as I most enjoy, there is a happily ever after for all!  So, what made this a meeting worth blogging?  Well, we met in a local restaurant and had wine flights with our discussions.  It only seemed right to combine book, wine, and laughter for our final meeting until next fall.  This group of women have become so dear to me.  Our discussions have lead to understanding each other and we are fast becoming really good friends.

My other book group meets today to talk about Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas.  I was unable to contact her, so we won’t be skyping, but we do have a fun time planned.  You see, through a different author, I met another new friend from Australia.  She loves hearing about our “fun” reading group.  She sent me some cookies (well, she called them biscuits) and key-chains for this group.  Of course, the “biscuits” arrived about a week and a half ago, and I couldn’t let them get stale, so we will be sharing the key-chains and I’ll tell them all about the wonderful cookies!  We will laugh and talk about favorite parts of Smooth Talking Strangers and probably find out how many more of us have started Fifty Shades of Grey.  Fun stuff!  Needless to say, these friends have also become very dear to me.

Many people have heard about our “fun” group.  Word is traveling around about our skyping adventures.  We have even been contacted by a publishing company in California requesting we add two of their authors’ books to our list and skype with them.  Right now, our list of books go into November, so it may a while before we get back to them.  But, we are having a good time and it all centers around reading!  Some of the “serious” group affectionately call the “fun” group, the “smut” group.  Well, we do read mostly romances, but which group do you think is reading Fifty Shades Trilogy over the summer?  I guess we will have some “serious” discussions over that one!  And, hopefully, some of that group will be joining us over the summer for some “fun” reading!  Lunch, laughter, and friendship – what could be better?  I hope if you have a book club you will be as lucky as me and find great new friendships.

Upcoming books:

Samantha Moon: All Four Novels by J.R. Rain

A Woman to Blame by Susan Connell

My Big Old Texas Heartache by Geralyn Dawson

Can’t Skype, Send Swag!

7 Apr

While many authors are happy to Skype with The Bargain eBooks Book Club, there are some who either won’t or can’t.  This is to be expected.  However – I have found some really nice authors who have offered to send us little presents, or swag, since they weren’t going to “be” with us.  We’ve had two authors that went above and beyond with their swag.

When I first contacted Carly Phillips, I held little hope that she would even return my email.  I mean, she has been a best selling author for years and Kelly Ripa chose her book on national TV and everyone’s heard of her and…….  Much to my surprise, not only did she answer, but she explained that she would love to Skype, but she would be on vacation on the date we were discussing her book.  Then she offered to send us some bookmarks, autographed book plates, and magnets to make up for not being with us!  Who wouldn’t love to get presents from famous authors?  And our members were delighted to get her goodies as we discussed her book, The Bachelor, the one that got her national recognition going through Ms. Ripa!

Gemma Halliday ‘s story is really cute.  She replied to my email by saying it was a lovely offer, but she doesn’t Skype as she is not that tech savvy yet.  She continued by saying she would love to send us some High Heel goodies if I would send her the number of members and my address.  To my great surprise, when her box arrived, I found the cutest little wine charms with high heels on them, along with cute autographed trading cards for her first five books of her High Heel Series.  She also sent some promotional autographed post cards for her other series, Hollywood Headlines.  Needless to say, the members were extremely excited to get the wine charms – so much so that we took a picture!

We have had other authors who did Skype and have also sent us some of their swag.  Ruth Cardello sent us personalized pens and chocolates (she does know me!) and Donna McDonald sent us some pens that we used for a drawing when she skyped.  We drew numbers and she chose the winners!

Now, do you have your book club going yet?  We have our books planned through August right now and I know we will be skyping with the next two authors – Sheila Horgan and Kathryn Shay!  By the way, last week Barbara Freethy was a sweetheart and very entertaining.  We read her book, Ryan’s Return – a great story!  You really need to ask your authors about talking live with them at your next book club meeting.  A good time will be had by all!

Future reads of Bargain eBooks Book Club:

Readers and Writers and Book Clubs – Oh My!

25 Mar

Do you belong to a book club?  I am in two different book clubs.  Shortly after retiring from 35 years of teaching, I was asked to join a new start-up book club group.  Most of the members were retired teachers, but not all.  We all are in the same age group (50 and older).  It took us well into the first year to decide how to choose books, but we have a great system.  The “Leader” chooses the book to read and asks the discussion questions and the “Hostess” provides the house and light snacks.  We meet once a month and have serious but fun discussions on each selected book.  We have read some great novels – The Help, Water for Elephants, and The Paris Wife just to name a few.  We even go to see the movie together when it comes out if there is one.  We have developed some great friendships with each other and have read some wonderful books.

My second book group was started for a number of reasons.  I love reading books on my Kindle.  I love introducing new authors to friends.  I love eating.  I love laughing.  I love romance books.  I love spending not much money on books.  What could I do to combine all these loves?  Well, my brother owns a fantastic restaurant that serves a great lunch.  He has a big table in the back for small groups.  The lunch crowd has usually slowed down after 1:00.  Why not invite anyone who wants to read on their eReaders to share lunch and books they have enjoyed?  So, my sister and I started The Brainless Bargain eBook Book Club at Breadstyx Bistro.  We meet every other Monday and eat lunch, laugh, and sometimes actually discuss the chosen book.  The protocol for this group is a bit different though – I get to choose the books!  I do ask for suggestions, but so far, there have only been a few from the other members.  We do have one rule – the book must cost $5 or less.

Many self-published authors list one of their books “free” for a day, week, or month for readers to snatch, read, and hopefully enjoy enough to buy their other books.  My job has been to read these and decide if they are worthy of the members’ time and money.  I have “met” so many wonderful writers doing this.  I have introduced my friends to some great new romance authors:  Ruth Cardello, Marie Force, Donna McDonald, and Tawna Fenske, along with some established writers Carly Phillips and Gemma Halliday.  I try to contact these authors before we meet to have them answer some of my questions and see if they are willing to Skype with us.  Some have Skyped and others have sent some “swag” for sharing with the group.  I’ll tell you all about that in a later blog.

Back to my original question: Do you belong to a Book Club?  If your answer is “no” and you love to read – make up your own group and enjoy the benefit of sharing your love of reading with friends.  There are no set rules – your group can decide how often, where, what book, and who chooses.  Just find some buddies that share your interests and go have some coffee and discuss!  Happy Reading!