Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Sneek Peak #4

Disclaimer: All of these excerpts are unedited. The whole manuscript won't go to my editor until the story is complete.

In today's sneek peak from Ain't Too Proud to Beg, we return to Telluride, Colorado so I can introduce you to the female protagonist, Trenyce Clark and her daughter, Zahra.


Chapter Two

Trenyce Clark – Physical Therapist. I stared down at the nametag I’d removed from my shirt after I finished with my last patient session for the day and returned the free weights to their stand in the corner. My job at the hospital paid a decent salary, and I loved working with my patients, but the hours were horrendous. The responsibilities of being a single mom left me little quality time with my daughter, Zahra. Although I’d never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, I knew Zahra and I didn’t spend enough time together. She hadn’t asked to come into this world three years ago. And she certainly hadn’t asked to start her life without the involvement and care of a father, so I had to fill that void the best I could. I was quite capable of raising my daughter alone.

Although Zahra’s birth hadn’t been planned, she was the light of my life. So smart and so beautiful, sometimes I couldn’t believe she was mine. She had gotten the best of both her father and me - a curly mass of light brown hair, not her father’s straight, blonde hair, and her fawn-colored complexion was closer to mine.
Once I put all of the equipment back in place and signed out, I drove to 221 South Oak, one of the nicer watering holes in town where Penny and I met for our standing once a week girl time. Spending an hour or two with her was my only social outlet these days. As promised, she was waiting for me on one of the cushy sofas in front of the bar. I eased down beside her.

“Hey, bestie.” Her lightly freckled face spread into an easy smile. “How was work?”

“Like it is every day.” We moved over to the bar, and the bartender came right over when I wiggled my fingers at him. “My regular, Tim. Thanks.” I turned back to Penny with a nonchalant wave. “Nothing exciting. The ever-present skiing mishaps, a couple of seniors with knee replacements. That kind of thing.”

She smiled. “Well, at least you’re not working the slopes or waiting tables, Nycee. The way things are these days, I’m just glad to have a job.”

“Me too. I’m not being ungrateful.” Tim sat the strawberry daiquiri on a napkin in front of me. “But I’ve told you how it is. Being hospital staff, you’re subject to its rules and regulations. If the other therapist doesn’t show up, I have to cover. That doesn’t thrill Zahra or the aftercare people at her school,” I said between sips. “It seems like I’m always paying overtime fees, and you’ve even had to pick her up when I couldn’t get there by seven.”

“You know I don’t mind. She’s my goddaughter. I’d do anything for my little Ladybug.”

“And I appreciate it. I just need a job where I can make my own hours.”

“One of these days, you’ll be able to freelance.”

“Oh, right. When Prince Charming comes galloping up to rescue me on a pristine white snowmobile with his ski pole drawn. Yada, yada yada.”

Penny swirled the straw around in her drink. “It could happen, you know. Anything is possible.”

I laughed and shook my head. “That’s why I love you. You’re the eternal optimist.”

“So, are we going to spin class on Friday?”

“If they have someone to monitor the kids’ room. Zahra likes hanging out there.”

We finished our drinks, hugged and said goodbye then headed back outside in the cold. The recent storm had dumped a fresh layer of snow, and the plowed piles lining the streets were no longer gray. I exited the parking lot and turned my four-wheel drive Grand Cherokee toward the daycare center. The Jeep handled the snow beautifully, the reason I’d bought it rather than something smaller and cheaper. On my way to the daycare center, I recalled the days Penny and I spent as roommates at the University of Phoenix. At first I hadn’t been thrilled with the idea of sharing my dorm room with a white girl and had even asked my parents to get my room assignment changed. What in the world would we have in common? They encouraged me to stick it out for at least the first semester and promised to intervene at that time if I still wasn’t happy.

Penny Murphy turned out to be the perfect roommate. My rather sheltered, middle-class, southern suburban upbringing was in direct opposition to her big city background. She wasn’t afraid to do anything or go anywhere, and she enthusiastically dragged me along with her to campus events and townie parties that I would never have attended by myself. By the end of the first semester, we were inseparable. And we had remained best friends ever since.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Sneak Peek #3

Today I am sharing the third excerpt from Ain't Too Proud to Beg, my upcoming fall release. I forgot to mention, for the grammar nazis, that all of these excerpts are unedited. The whole manuscript won't go to my editor until the story is complete.

In a few seconds, V’s snores reverberated in the room. I decided to wait until he was out cold before I went to find some coffee and call Shontae with an update.

“V, can you hear me?” I asked, even though I knew he couldn’t. “I’m going to get some coffee. Be right back.”

Someone at the nurse’s station gave me directions to the cafeteria. I took the elevator down to the hospital’s lower level. Once the doors closed, I exhaled. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the sight that met me when I entered Vaughn’s room. It was a good thing they had him heavily sedated. The Frankenstein contraption rigged above the bed holding his most damaged leg was enough to make the toughest man wet his pants. When his head cleared enough for his curiosity to take over, Vaughn’s reaction was going to be ugly. Six stainless steel rods about twelve inches long appeared to be screwed through the bones to hold his leg in place. Large clamps fastened to the ends of the rods. It resembled something from a torture chamber.

On the phone, Craig said V’s condition was stable, which was most likely what he’d been told by the hospital staff. But what kind of shape did I expect someone who’d just collided with a mountain in a two-seater to be in? Vaughn obviously had no idea yet how severe his injuries were. Would he be able to walk again? And if he could, would he be marked with a limp for the rest of his life? These were surely the questions V would ask when he was no longer under the influence of the painkillers. Hopefully, I’d be nowhere around when that happened.

A secluded spot on the lower level provided the perfect spot to make the call.

“Hi, honey,” Shontae answered. “I’ve been waiting for you to call. Have you seen Vaughn yet?”

I rubbed the tension in my neck. “Baby, it’s worse than I thought. They have one of his legs pinned together with bolts. The other one is in a hard cast. It’s impossible to even tell what kind of condition his face is in, because he’s stitched and bandaged.” I hesitated. “It’s bad.”

“Oh, God. Is he going to be able to walk? What are the doctors saying?”

“The doctor hasn’t been in to see him yet. He’s sleeping right now, compliments of the happy meds.”

“You know Vaughn has no family to help him. Find out what you can from the doctor so you can talk to him when he wakes up.”

“I’ll see what I can get, but I have to be back on set in two days. I won’t be able to oversee his care.”

“He’ll understand, and I know he will appreciate whatever you can do for him.”

Before we ended the call, I promised to let her know what I discussed with the doctor. Shontae was right. V needed me there. He wasn’t normally high strung, but who knows how he’d react to multiple bad news? Someone needed to be there to console him when the time came. Could he make V see that simply surviving an accident of that magnitude was a miracle in itself?

Probably not.


The chair in the corner was empty when I reopened my eyes. Other than that annoying beep of the monitor, silence was my only companion. All I could think of was how, little more than a month ago, I’d topped the list of Ebony magazine’s “50 Finest,” their answer to People’s Caucasian-heavy “Fifty Most Beautiful” list. The photographer who’d done the spread kept raving about my dark complexion, high cheekbones and deep dimples. I was well aware that many of the lists I’d made had nothing to do with my acting skill. And I didn’t care. Being recognized for my physical attributes did more for me than a Golden Globe or Oscar ever could. It kept me on women’s minds all over the country, which was all I needed to seal a hookup every night of the year. Just being a working actor in Hollywood was a major accomplishment. It paid the mortgage on my crib in the LA Grand condos overlooking downtown Los Angeles, my car note, and filled my closets with designer clothes. That was all the honeys were interested in.

Now everything that gave my life meaning was in jeopardy. My ride was wrecked, and since I didn’t have enough clout to give the studio reason to postpone filming until I recovered, most likely I’d be replaced in my current film role. The possibility of losing my looks scared the hell out of me. The more I contemplated how my life was falling apart, the more panicky I became and had to pull in a couple of deep breaths to keep from hyperventilating.

Almost as if he’d been summoned by my near looming panic attack, the elusive doctor appeared.  “Good afternoon, Mr. Breland, I’m Dr. Liu.” The middle-aged Asian man pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “I performed your surgery. How are you feeling?”

The pounding in my head seemed to drown out his words. “I’m hurting now.”

“On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, how would you rate the pain?”

I groaned again. “About seven.”

“I’d like to discuss your condition,” the doctor went on as if a seven wasn’t worth acknowledging. I should’ve said ten. He glanced in Devon’s direction. “And explain exactly what the surgery accomplished and what your recovery will entail.”

“It’s okay. This is my friend, Devon Burke. He can hear this.”

“Yes, I know,” Dr. Liu smiled and extended his hand. “I’ve seen your work.”

They shook hands then Dr. Liu turned back to me. “Do you remember anything about the accident?” the doctor asked, simultaneously scanning the computer screen.

“Not much. I was on 141 and tried to take a curve. Guess I skidded and lost control.”

“The accident happened closer to Montrose Memorial, Mr. Breland, but you were LifeFlighted here. We’re the only twenty-four-hour, Level Five Trauma Center in the region. If you’re up to it, we can talk about the surgery and where we go from here.”

“Okay. Straight, no chaser.”

“All right.” Dr. Liu pulled a chair alongside the bed and sat. “A combination of the seatbelt and the airbags saved your life, but apparently all your weight came to bear on your left leg on impact. You have a complete compound fracture of the right tibia and fibula, both bones in your lower leg. The force of the crash pushed everything up so that your left hip absorbed the impact, which dislocated the hip and shattered your thighbone. When you were brought in, your foot was facing in the opposite direction. I had to stand over the table and wrestle the hip back into the socket. Your right leg sustained a simple fracture and is in a standard plaster cast.”

What I heard turned my stomach. I swallowed to keep the nausea down. The possibilities momentarily overwhelmed me. What if I ended up with a limp? Who would hire me? If I couldn’t act, what could I do? No way was I going back to selling men’s wear in a retail store. As far back as I could remember, the only thing I wanted to be was an actor. And I’d achieved my dream. It would kill me to go back to punching a clock and dealing with John Q. Public on a daily basis.

Dr. Liu continued. “The surgery took about two and a half hours. A titanium nail was inserted into the left tibia with five screws to secure it in place. I couldn’t put a cast on because there’s a open wound in the side where the broken bones came through the skin.”

From the corner of my eye, I saw Devon squirm.

“I couldn’t do a skin graft to close the wound, because you were too low on blood. You were given seven units. The graft will have to be done in the future.”

“Another surgery?” This was turning into a nightmare. When was I going to wake up? My chest tightened, and I struggled to get the words out. “Will I…be able to walk again?”

“Most definitely, Mr. Breland,” Dr. Liu said a little too cheerfully for my taste. “But complete rehabilitation will take some time. Meanwhile, you’ll need to be in traction for about seven weeks.

This guy was tripping. I couldn’t be locked down that long. The idea of any kind of restraints made me crazy. Unless it was to a headboard with padded handcuffs. “You mean, I have to stay in this bed all that time?”

“It’s necessary in order to keep the bones in the right place for them to heal,” he explained in a flat, emotionless manner. “A regimen of physical therapy will start once you’re on crutches. Considering your car rolled over several times, it’s a miracle you have no spinal injuries.”

“Thank God for small favors, huh?”

Dr. Liu met my gaze with no expression. “I’d say so. Yes, Mr. Breland.”

The sarcasm really wasn’t intentional. It just came out as I imagined myself looking like a fly caught in a spider web. This couldn’t be happening. I’d been on my way to work out a deal that could have set me up for life. Now I was shackled to this bed like a prisoner. “What about my face?” I mumbled.

“It sustained damage from the airbag and flying glass. That’s all I know from your chart. One of the surgeons from Plastics will be in to see you shortly.”

“So…,” my stomach clenched. “You’re saying I’ll probably need a third surgery?”

“Possibly. That’s not my area. Do you have any questions for me?”

The fear constricting my throat wouldn’t allow me to speak. I turned to the wall and didn’t answer.

“It could have been much worse, Mr. Breland. I’ll stop in to check on you tomorrow.” The doctor turned toward Devon. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Burke.”

“Likewise.” Devon rose from the chair. “Can I speak with you for a minute?”

“Certainly, let’s go into the hallway.”

He and Dr. Liu left the room.

What have I done to deserve this? The second the thought came to mind, so did the answer, and I had to force away images of different women haranguing me for lying, deceiving them, standing them up, because I had a better offer and any number of other sins.

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop the hot tear from rolling down my face. I was in my prime, way too young to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. And I knew without a doubt I didn’t have the intestinal fortitude of Christopher Reeve or Teddy Pendergrass. If this was what the future had to hold, I’d rather be dead.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm on Kobo!

To all Canadian, Australian, Japanese and Eurozone readers: My multicultural romance and women's fiction books are now available on Kobo! You can get them all here:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Character Inspiration ...

I posted this on Facebook the other day, and the response was incredible. It never ceases to amaze me that whenever I start writing a new story, thoughts start bombarding my mind about the next story.

A while back, I had an idea about doing a series featuring a family of four brothers, so because I am such a visual person, I began searching the Internet for pictures of the physical role models for my characters, the Stafford brothers. The first four, Marcus, Charles, Jesse and Nick, came easily because I already had their photos saved into a "future characters" file. One day, while surfing the Internet, I ran across a photo of model Victor Ross. He quickly became the fifth brother. Last week, while piddling on Pinterest, gorgeous model/actor Billy Payne's blue eyes jumped out of the screen
and right onto the Stafford brothers' collage. A few days later, again on Pinterest, someone had posted a photo of another hottie who looked as if he would fit right in the family.  So, now Mama and Daddy Stafford have seven sons!

If I give each of them their own book, that will keep me busy for the next three years...

So, here they are, folks, the physical role models for my Stafford Brothers series from top left to bottom right:  Victor Ross, Marcus Patrick, Charles Divins, Billy Payne, unnamed hottie (if anyone knows his name, pleeeease let me know), Jesse Williams and Nick Denbeigh.

(Double click on the photo to enlarge.)

What do you think? Already I can see stories behind those eyes ...

This is mama and daddy, BTW. Faces with such character ...

Tell me what you think.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Sneak Peek #2

Last Saturday I posted the first sneak peek into Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, my upcoming fall release.  Today, we’re going back to movie star Vaughn Breland’s Telluride, Colorado hospital room:


My drug-addled mind drifted backward. I gradually recalled smiling to myself as my brand new fire engine red Lamborghini Aventador J, that I had affectionately nicknamed AJ, hugged the pavement and maneuvered the snow-covered curve in the mountain road. She gently leaned like a palm tree in the Santa Ana wind. It had only been a month since I’d bought the luxurious automobile, a gift to myself after I had received the nomination for best supporting actor in a recent blockbuster film. This was the first time I’d driven it out of state, and so far she’d performed like a prize thoroughbred.

Of course, I could’ve flown, but then nobody would’ve have been able to see my new ride. I remembered bobbing my head to the thumping beat of the song playing through the superb sound system. Thank God for satellite. Up in the mountains, regular radio reception would probably work a brother’s last good nerve. Thankfully, the snowstorm that had just visited the Telluride area was now over, but I’d silently wished I had left Los Angeles earlier. The sun was slipping behind the mountains and the impending darkness made me jumpy. Heavy rain and some minor mudslides were the worst weather I’d ever dealt with in my fifteen years living in California. But, even as a Chicago native who had learned how to drive in snowstorms, my stomach clenched and I eased off of the brake when the car’s rear end fishtailed. Probably not the best car for mountain climbing. Maybe I should’ve rented a Range Rover. Why worry about that now? According to the GPS, there was less than an hour left to my destination.

I remembered turning up the volume, switching my thoughts to the little bon voyage party I’d had the night before with Reese and retreating into my thoughts. The descending sun and visions of that sweet, young thing riding me like her life depended on it took my attention from the road sign warning of a barely visible hairpin turn up ahead. Once I realized the danger ahead and eased onto the brake to prepare for the turn, it was too late. At only forty miles an hour, the road conditions and the fact that the car had no weight in the rear made it impossible to handle the turn. The sight of a jagged mountain wall rushing toward the windshield was last thing I remembered.

“I can’t feel my legs. Am I paralyzed?”

“Oh, no, Mr. Breland. The surgeon administered a local anesthetic and also prescribed a morphine drip, so you wouldn’t experience any post-surgical pain.”

I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment while I tried to make sense of everything I’d just heard.  “But my head hurts,” was all I managed in response.

“You have a concussion. I’ll make sure the doctor is aware. We can’t give you anything else in addition to the morphine without his order. He should be here shortly.”

“Does anyone know I’m here?”

The brunette checked his chart on her hand-held computer. “It says here that EMS contacted someone, but I don’t have that information either.” She apologized again. “You do have a visitor in the waiting room. He’s been here for several hours.”

“Who? '

“It’s Devon Burke,” she answered with restrained excitement in her voice.

“Can he come in?”

“Certainly. Will you get Mr. Burke, June?”

Maybe it was just the heavy narcotic playing tricks with my mind, but I thought I saw Nurse June smile on her way out of the room. Almost everyone knew Devon these days, since he was blazing a trail in Hollywood as a sought-after leading man. I closed my eyes and didn’t open them until Devon’s heavy baritone punctuated the rhythmic beep of the monitor.

“I can’t leave you alone for five minutes without you getting into some kind of trouble,” Devon said from the doorway with a trace of laughter in his trademark voice.

“Don’t make me laugh. My head hurts.”


“That leash Shontae has you on stretches this far?”

“Oh, you’re laying up here looking like The Mummy Returns, and you got jokes?” Devon moved closer and suddenly stopped. “I got a call from Craig last night. Shontae and I didn’t want you to be here alone.”

“Thanks, man.” I sighed. “Looks like I really effed it up this time.”

“Hey, you’re alive. That’s all that matters.” Devon approached the bed again with hesitant steps and just stared for a few beats. “Damn, V. What happened?”

“All I can remember is trying to take a curve on 141. The next thing I knew, a mountain was coming at me.” I groaned. “What’s taking that doctor so long?”

“You want me to go find out?”

“No.” I’d answered too quickly. Devon didn’t need to know how hospitals scared the mess out of me. “That’s okay.”

We had been friends since we starred in a film together a few years earlier. Before he permanently relocated from New York to California, Devon often camped out at my apartment whenever he came to L.A. for auditions. In spite of our personality differences, our relationship quickly developed into what some Hollywood reporters had the nerve to call a “bromance.” Dev was my boy. We shared the personal details of our lives that couldn’t be revealed to others, and we trusted each other implicitly. Both of us had learned early on that our lives in the Wood required a certain amount of discretion. It felt good to have a confidante in a town where private lives were considered everybody’s business.

Devon sank into a chair in the corner and angled it toward the bed, but he seemed to be at a loss for words. I must look like hell.

 “They say,” Vaughn hesitated for a moment. “I broke both my legs, dislocated…my hip and…” The words in my head wouldn’t come out of my mouth. The morphine must’ve finally kicked in. “Uh, my hip, and…my face is jacked…up.”

“You don’t have to talk, man. Try to get some rest. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Friday, August 10, 2012

Marketing: Why the Future is Bright for Writers

Many of you will remember this song. It was featured in the movie, Doc Hollywood starring Michael J. Fox:

I wanted to use this song to introduce a fantastic article by Randy Ingermanson, the publisher of the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. Take it away, Randy!


A couple of weeks ago, there was a bit of a fuss among writer over the alleged impending death of writing as a profession.

The fuss focused around an article published by John Barber in The Globe and Mail. I would include a link to this article, but it's a long and convoluted link that won't fit on one line here.

You can find it by Googling "there will be no more professional writers in the future."

No, I'm not making that up. That is the real title of a real article that seriously claims that the future is dim for writers.

According to the article, the title is a direct quote from a UK writer, Ewan Morrison, "There will be no more professional writers in the future."

I don't believe it.

I believe that there's never been a better time to be a writer than now. I believe the future will be even better for writers.

I believe the future is bright for writers.

Now it's true that the future is going to look different from the past.

In the past, large corporations created publishing companies that guessed what readers would want to buy and then paid writers to create it.

The corporations took all of the financial risk and most of the financial reward. Authors didn't have to pay for cover art, editorial work, marketing, sales, distribution, printing, postage, or anything else.

In theory, authors took little financial risk and therefore got very little reward. (The author royalties for most paperback books are less than a dollar per copy. Royalties on hardcovers are typically a few dollars per copy.)

But in practice, authors took plenty of risk. Before getting published, a writer often worked for years to learn the craft of writing. It's common to hear a writer say, "I took ten years to become an overnight success." Most of that training time earned the writer nothing.

Let's be clear that a very few writers have done stupendously well with the old system. That's natural. In a free market economy, the 80-20 rule applies. Roughly 20% of the authors earn roughly 80% of the income. The top 1% of authors earn a lot of money.

The 80-20 rule has always been approximately true and probably always will be.

It's certainly true now as we watch the rise of independent authors. There are a very few big winners -- the new e-book elite. People like Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, John Locke, and Bob Mayer have sold huge numbers of e-books and earned very good money.

Five years ago, nobody would have believed that could happen. Now, it's extremely believable. There's a new superstar every few months.

The gloom-and-doom people like to point out that the vast majority of e-book authors don't earn very much. The median income for e-book authors these days is said to be about $500 per year.

It's hard to see why that's a bad thing. That is a radical improvement over the old days, when the median income of all writers was zero. (Because the overwhelming majority of writers couldn't get published at all, which meant they earned nothing.)

If the 80-20 rule has always been true and will always be true, then you may think that nothing really has changed.

In the old days, there were a few hundred high-earning authors, a few tens of thousands of published writers who earned modestly well, and hundreds of thousands of wannabes who couldn't sell a thing.

In the new e-book market, which is still developing, we're seeing a few very self-published big winners, thousands who are doing moderately well, and many tens
of thousands who are earning only small amounts.

What's different now?

What's different is that writers now have more control. If you want to publish an e-book, you can do it. Nobody can keep you from doing it. You might not earn much, but if you don't, then you can't blame those pesky gatekeepers.

How is this better than the old days?

It's better because now a writer has more choices.

Remember, if you liked things the way they used to be, you still have that option. Nothing prevents you from working ten years, writing a brilliant novel, getting a top-notch agent, selling it to a big corporate publisher, and reaping huge rewards. If that's your wish and if you have the talent, go to it.

But if that's not your thing, you can write a book, make your own decisions on art, editing, and marketing, and live with your choices. If the novel hits big, then you get the rewards. The online retailers will take a small cut. You get the rest.

How could that possibly be bad?

Checking back to the article on "There Will Be No More Professional Writers In The Future," we find these reasons why that's supposed to be a Bad Thing:

* Advances from publishers are shrinking.

* Sales are shifting to "heavily discounted, royalty-poor and easily pirated ebooks."

* The Evil Empire Amazon is launching a predatory price war.

* The new "winner-take-all" economy somehow "doesn't allow young writers to flourish".

I'm not buying any of this. Let's look at each of these.

* Advances for most authors most of the time have always been small. It's a shame that they're shrinking, but even in the good old days they were rarely enough to live on, especially for debut novelists.

* An author earns a lot more royalties from a self-published e-book priced at $2.99 than from a
traditionally published trade paper book published at $14.99 or a mass market paperback published at $8.99.

So why is "heavy discounting" bad? It is pure double-talk to call that "royalty-poor." And piracy is a red herring. What evidence does anyone have that piracy hurts sales of e-books?

* If Amazon is truly evil and is truly engaging in predatory pricing, then the Department of Justice can sue them. Most readers I know like Amazon because it has low prices. Most self-pubbed authors I know LOVE Amazon because it pays vastly higher royalties than
traditional publishers. Where's the harm?

* The economy is not really "winner-take-all." The economy is "winner-takes-most." That's nothing new. All free market economies work that way and always have. The old book publishing industry was never friendly to young writers, who had to work in obscurity without pay for years before finally breaking in. And the average advance for debut novelists for decades has typically been quoted as $5k to $10k. Young writers never "flourished" on that level of support.

Here is the real reason the future is bright for writers.

There is a large market for books. The estimates I've seen are around $27 billion for net sales revenue for traditional publishers in the US. This does not include self-published books.

The trend that everyone seems to be worrying about is that traditional publishers might get less of that in the future and authors might get more. Yes, that's bad for traditional publishers. But for authors, it sounds pretty good. If traditional publishers have to treat their authors better in order to stay competitive, then that sounds great.

Writers now can control their own destinies in a large and vibrant free market. At low cost, they can create a product geared to any niche market they choose and easily post it for sale worldwide. They can earn 70% of the sales revenue and be paid promptly. Or not, if they really can't stomach all that freedom.

Readers who switch to using e-readers typically start buying more titles, especially the lower-priced ones. A book becomes an impulse buy. This is good for authors who now have a better shot at finding their audience. Now buying decisions can be based on quality, rather than on whether a publisher has bought space for a book on the front tables of bookstores.

Writers have more freedom, an international market, a bigger share of the pie, and a level playing field.

Oh, the horror of it all.

The future is bright for writers.

The future is incredibly bright for writers.

The future is amazingly incredibly bright for writers.

Go get it.


This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.

Randy Ingermanson
Publisher, Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ain't Too Proud to Beg - Sneak Peek #1

My new work in progress is a romance that features Vaughn Breland, one of the characters from Hot Fun in the Summertime and Hollywood Swinging. I'll be sharing unedited excerpts here for the next few weeks.

Vaughn is an actor who is known more for his love life than he is for his skill before the cameras. His days are spent working, and his nights are filled with club hopping and parties. In celebration of a recent film success, he bought himself a new Lamborghini, his dream car.

This is how the story opens ...

Chapter One

I opened my eyes and had to blink several times to clear my blurred vision. Where the hell am I? Daylight seeped through the woven curtains into the room, but it didn’t do much to help me identify my surroundings. I turned my head to get a better view, and a thundering pain, like someone had bowled a spare inside my skull, warned me not to move again. The shriek that echoed in the room came from my own mouth after I raised my right arm and rubbed my eye. It felt as if I had jammed a hot poker into it, and I jerked it away.

A bandage?

This time I used a feather light touch to examine the other side of my face. It was completely covered. My hands trembled at the possibilities. What had happened?

Maybe things hadn’t gone the way I’d planned with Reese last night. She wanted to join me on this weekend trip, but I had to beg off. Now I couldn’t even remember what I’d told her. What I did recall, and probably would for weeks to come, was the send-off she’d given me. Surely, telling her she couldn’t accompany me on the trip hadn’t angered her enough to go for my face. The past twenty-four hours was a muddled mess.

Wasn’t I supposed to be in…Colorado? Right, a meeting in Telluride. My brilliant mind finally deduced that this definitely wasn’t Hollywood producer Craig Weinstein’s vacation house.

But where? And why?

Without moving the pounding boulder attached to my neck, I stretched my gaze as far as possible to the right and saw a chalkboard on the otherwise bare beige wall with the date and three names written on it. Some beeping machines stood beside the bed.

Hospital. I’m in a hospital. The antiseptic smell should’ve been a dead giveaway. 

Everything went into a spin when I raised the boulder a few inches off the pillow and saw a contraption suspending my left leg in mid-air, but I had no feeling in it. Ice spread through my stomach. “God! Oh, God! No!” This couldn’t be happening to me. White-hot bolts of pain shot directly to my brain. I grabbed my head in what felt like slow motion and squeezed my hands together to keep my brains from falling out in spite of the tubes that tugged at my right arm. Where the hell was the call button? My hands tore at the sheets in a frantic effort to find it. Finally, my fingers found the heavy rubber-coated wire close to my left side. I ran them down the cord until I found the controls and held the button down.

“Where is everybody? What am I doing here?”

“We’re on the way, Mr. Breland,” A woman’s voice spoke from somewhere above my head.

“Please calm down.”

Within seconds two nurses rushed in.

“Where am I?” My words sounded slurred.

“Try not to move, Mr. Breland. You don’t want to pull out the IV,” the blonde nurse said in a calm tone. She moved to my side and placed her hands on my shoulders. For some reason, her touch calmed me, and I slumped back against the pillow.

“It’s okay. Just lay back and let us check you.” Her eyes judiciously scanned the monitors next to the bed while she continued speaking in a reassuring voice. “You’re in Telluride Medical Center. You had a serious car accident. Both of your legs were broken and your hip was dislocated. The doctor performed surgery last night, and your left leg is stabilized. You are very lucky to be alive, Mr. Breland.”

All I could do after hearing that rundown was groan. What the hell could be lucky about being that damaged?  “What about…my face?” Even under the influence of whatever they had given me, I hated the way my voice trembled.