Splendid Writing

I find myself in between projects and decided to take some time to do a bit of reading.  And I wanted to call your attention to an absolutely splendid writer.  Her name is Marlena de Blasi.  I discovered her work about a year ago.  She is an American food writer who married an Italian and lives in Italy.  The best of her books chronicles her life in Venice, Tuscany, and Umbria.  At least that is what I’ve read so far.  I believe there are a few more books to read so I look forward to reading those as well. Marlena has an absolutely magical way with words.  She so brilliantly captures the people, the food, and the customs of where she is living at the time.  If you are a foodie like I am, you will thrill at her descriptions of the food and the land where the food comes from.  It is beyond poetry.  Her wonderful descriptions of the people and customs of the regions is also heart-warming and enlightening.  She has some other books on the foods of various Italian regions that I have not explored yet.  And each of her biographical books also contains some wonderful recipes. If you are an armchair traveler I highly recommend you take up the adventures that Marlena offers. I would start with A Thousand Days in Venice, then move on to A Thousand Days in Tuscany.  Then Lady in the Palazzo, her third book, is placed in Umbria and continues the sequence.  Then you can go on from there if you like her work. I hope you will give this wonderful writer your attention and...

Congratulations to the Winners

We have two winners from the GoodReads book giveaway of Lights – Camera – Heist! A romantic Misadventure.  Shana Garrity of Clifton, NJ and Dusty Summerford of Warrior, AL will be getting their books very soon. But there are still ways to get a free Kindle version of the book. Click this link and sign up for one of 30 copies of the new book: http://bestindiebooks.com/giveaway/ If  you enter you have a very good chance of winning as I am giving away 30 copies.  So get yours and how about gifting one to family or a friend.   Share...

Win a Free Copy of “Lights – Action – Heist! A Romantic Misadventure”

Here is your chance to win a free ebook copy of my new book in the format of your choice from Smashwords.  The contest starts August 5th and runs for about ten days.  Click on the link and enter.  There are going to be 30 copies given away so you have a good chance of winning.  Please tell your friends, let them enjoy too.  And if you feel so inclined would greatly appreciate a review on Smashwords, Amazon, and GoodReads.  And good reading! Click here -> splur.gy/r/vg0S6 And More good news.  You can also enter to win a Paperback copy of the book at GoodReads.   Goodreads Book Giveaway Lights – Camera – Heist! A Romantic Misadventure by Jon McDonald Giveaway ends August 18, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter to win Share...

Finally it’s Out There – “Lights – Camera – Heist! A Romantic Misadventure”

  Very happy to report that my latest book is published.  The print and Kindle versions on Amazon are still under review, but all versions of the book are available on Smashwords.  The Amazon books should be up and running by Monday. In an effort to become more visible, I’ve discovered a marvelous website called Fiverr.com.  It offers many services for $5.  It has a large array of design services and also marketing and website optimization.  I am exploring using their services and am very excited to see if it bears any positive fruit.  Will also be doing a book launch with a group I found on this site. I want to acknowledge that I learned about this through a wonderful e-book called “How to Make Your Book Work Harder: How to Use Multiple Platforms to Make More Money.”  I highly recommend this book and believe it would benefit any self publishing author. You may go to my Published Works page to connect to all the sources to purchase any of my books. I do hope you enjoy the new book.  It will appeal to a new audience for me – those who love romance as well as a good heist tale. Share...

Launch of “Lights – Camera – Heist! A Romantic Misadventure”

My new novel “Lights – Camera – Heist! A Romantic Misadventure” is almost ready for publication.  I have been working with a designer for the cover and it is ready.  And I am in the final edits prior to publishing.  I plan to have a print version and ebook on Amazon, and an ebook version on Smashwords. I will be advertising and having a book giveaway on GoodReads as soon as it’s all set up.  I will be announcing that when it is ready to launch. I am really excited about this book.  It started out as purely an art heist story but soon developed into a double romance, for both of the two main characters.  Not a romance between them, but with other characters.  As always, I am intrigued to see how my story develops as I am writing it.  I knew where I was going with the story but many surprises popped up along the way.  And once again, characters I thought were incidental ended up growing into major characters. I thought it might be fun to give you a little taste of the new book.  This is from the first chapter and involves the getaway after our lead characters have heisted a rare and valuable cello from an Emir in Dubai. “Let’s get out of here,” Jack yelped, grabbing the cello case and running towards where they had a docked speedboat waiting for them. Jack looked up. The clear breezy sky of earlier had turned into a massive dark threatening sky with considerable wind. A squall was brewing out over the regatta, and many of the...

Progress On An Unexpected Romance

Well, finally I am back to my writing. After spending what seemed like months getting all my books published on Smashwards and doing a lot of reworking on some of my texts on Amazon to get them nice and tidy I am finally back on my heist novel. It is good to be writing again and I am now about 2/3 of the way through the first draft. I have described before how even though I kind of know where my book is headed I really don’t have a strictly formed plot, but find that my characters dictate where the book is headed. And this has happened once again. I am sure I am not giving anything vital away when I say the story is about a heist. After all the title says it all: Lights – Camera – Heist!  However the subtitle has changed.  It was An Unexpected Misadventure and now it is A Romantic Misadventure.  The reason? Well I find that my two lead characters are each having quite an unexpected romance – and not with each other.  I know that “romance” books are a major genre and while I would hardly call this a romance there certainly are romantic elements along the way.  Once again I am taking a genre different from my other books and playing with it.  I don’t call myself a genre-bending author for nothing. It’s going to be interesting to see where this finally ends up.  One thing about my writing is that it is as much fun writing it as it is reading it.  There are always lots of surprises and along...

All Books Newly Renovated and Published

In preparation for my new marketing campaign I have been updating all my books – adding tables of contents and indexes and publishing not only on Amazon but also on Smashwords, which also publishes on a number of other sites as well.  I decided it was good to be out there on as many platforms as possible, even though the income potential from no longer being signed up with Amazon’s KDP will be less. It certainly was time consuming and at times a little tedious going over each book again and making all the adjustments needed to publish on Smashwords which requires a different publishing format than Amazon.  It was slow at first but I finally did learn it all, and got all my books published and approved for the Smashwords premium catalogue. That prompted me to re-examine all my Kindle books.  I saw that I needed to change indents, paragraph spacing, and add indexes and tables of contents to some of the books – and that led me to make some changes in my print books as well.  Tiresome, boring, and tedious work but all necessary and I’m glad I did it. Now it’s time to get back to work on my new book.  I have been a bad boy and neglected my new baby terribly.  So I’ll take a deep breath and lunge in once again. However, it is almost time for the marketing group to come up with their recommendations, so I will want to study those in detail and see what I can implement immediately.  After all, I need to get my wonderful books out there so they can be...

Update on New Marketing Group

Just wanted to let you know that I have been very pleased with the Digital Author’s Lab work so far.  If you remember I contracted with them to help me with my pitiful approach to marketing.  They are in the process of putting together a master plan for me and they touch base with me regularly.  Currently they are putting together reviews for at lease one of my books – The Seed.  It has not posted yet but keep looking for it. I have been going through a lot of changes recently in my part-time work so have been a bad boy when it comes to working on my latest novel.  But a break is probably not too bad as it will be fresh when I return to it. But the good part is I continue to get great new ideas for the upcoming chapters.  It is such fun discovering the story as I go along.  And my naughty characters keep me constantly guessing and amused. Now that my part-time work has become less, I will have more time to devote to the writing and marketing.  I am looking at expanding from just Amazon and am looking to publish my books on Smashwords, Uncovered books and perhaps Apple.  I am hoping my new marketing campaign with DAL will allow me to create more income so I can devote even more time to my beloved writing. Share...

Several New Developments

Happy to report that Divas in Cahoots has passed through the first selection process for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  It is broken down into various categories and Divas is entered  in the mystery and thriller category.  The first selection process is based on a 300 word description of the book.  I worked for a long time on this and edited it over and over till it was exactly what I wanted.  I felt this was important as it would be necessary to at least get officially into the contest where the book could then be looked at.  If it was rejected because of the description then it would go nowhere.  The next level of selection will be announced April 14.  This is a really big deal as the winners get a lot of attention and even publication.  This book is self published and thus qualifies.  My other books that were previously published by a publishing company were not eligible. I have described here before my frustration with marketing.  Love writing but am a totally misery at marketing.  However, I attended a webinar on marketing and even though it was a pitch for their marketing services, I was interested in hearing what these people had to say.  It is a new company run by a man and a woman.  They had an introductory price for their services that was 20% of their eventual price.  They do a lot of research and come up with a marketing plan for the author that could really help me with my poor marketing skills.  It seemed worth the price to me and I signed up with...

New Book On its Way

Well, I’ve finally got started on my new book.  And I now have a title, Light – Camera – Heist! An Unintentional Misadventure. However, I am not sure about the subtitle and it might change.  What do you think?  Any comments on the subtitle?  Would be grateful for any feedback. Once again I am tackling a different genre.  I know most writers find a single genre and work within that.  But I love the challenge of taking a particular genre and playing with it.  It keeps me interested, and it’s fun. Can’t say too much about the new book yet, as I tend to write by the seat of my pants – letting the characters and story reveal themselves as I progress through the novel.  But I will say it’s going to be centered on an art heist.  And expect some humor along the way.  That always keeps it lively and fun. Share...