How To Free Sample Thousands of Books

I’ve always been a voracious reader. Ever since my first job part of my money has always been budgeted to books (sometimes more than I could really afford to spend). Then came Amazon and one-clicking…I was in big trouble. Thank god Kindle Unlimited came along in 2014 to help me get my book budget under control. If you’re a reader and you haven’t tried this incredible program yet, let me explain why I’m loving it.

It’s ten dollars a month. So, yeah, its not free in the true sense of the word, but when I divide the number of books I’ve been reading by ten I’m now spending a dollar or less per book. Before KU each book I read was at least $2.99, some much more. I cringe when I look back at how much I spent on some of my big reading months last year.

It’s a great way to discover new authors. All authors don’t have books on KU, but more and more are seeing the benefit. It’s a great way to let readers sample their work. This has been one of my favorite parts of being in KU. Anytime someone suggests a book or an author that looks good, I check to see if they have any books in KU first, then downloaded that book. If I like it I can buy others. If I don’t I just return it and pick another book.

Quick and steamy reads. KU is really popular with erotic authors. There are tons of short, sexy reads available for times when you want your mind to go somewhere besides your massive to-do list and you also don’t want to get involved in a complex, long story. For this reason alone couples should be signing up for KU. It’s like a sex toy for your biggest sex organ–your brain.

As an author I’m also completely sold on Kindle Unlimited. Both of my current books and the book I’ll be releasing later this month will be on KU (You can read the 1st chapter here). I’m still new to the game. I want people to find me and get a chance to check out my writing. I’m betting on more sticking around for more than not. If you sign up for KU follow the links below and give one of my first two books a try.

The other benefit to me as an author is that I can see if someone only reads part of a book. If lots of readers are stopping after one or two chapters, my statistics will tell me that. What that tells me is there is something amiss in those two chapters, that I need to work on making my writing stronger there. It’s great feedback that can only help me improve.

And finally…your first month is free! So you can get a free sample of KU to get as many free samples of books as you want in one month. For someone who loves to read a deal like that could take some planning to get the most out of it… call in sick to work, send kids to grandma’s, stock up on wine and take out…charge my kindle.

Follow these links to read both my books for free on KU:

Suburban Love Song > www.amazon.com/dp/B00IN8ZDJO

Catch You If You Fall > www.amazon.com/dp/B00O71APQ2

 

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The End of Being Chicken Sh*t or Why I Self-Published

To celebrate my 50th birthday I jumped out of an airplane, got a tattoo and self-published my first novel. Of the three, publishing was by far the scariest but they were all part of my midlife journey, my campaign to live my life differently, more deliberately, for the second fifty years (give or take a few).

The night before my skydive a friend asked me why I was doing it. I told her that I couldn’t live as a chicken shi*t any longer. There were so many things that I feared, irrationally, at that time. I was scared to death of heights, but I knew that statistically skydiving was pretty safe. I was scared to do much of anything permanent, because I was scared of making a mistake and scared of regret. My tattoo is permanent and a constant reminder that I can trust my gut and the choices I make for myself.

And I was scared to death of anyone knowing me, who I really was, what was in my heart. Writing “Burnouts, Geeks & Jesus Freaks: a love story” was me leaning into that fear and pushing past it. It was me giving it the finger and saying that maybe I did have something to offer.

At first I was defensive of my writing and the topic, young love. But reviews told me that a lot of people really enjoyed reading the book because it mirrored their own high school experience and they loved reliving it. I began to apologize and back peddle less and own it. I showed up at writers groups and proclaimed that I write romance.

Other fantastic changes also happened when I hit publish. I was forced out of my very small world. I had to interact with other authors and ask tons of questions because I was so incredibly lost. I met amazing friends, people who are stoked about life and writing and helping others reach their dreams. My world expanded and filled up with great people. And I reconnected with others from my past. They read my book and contacted me to say they liked it and played the guessing game of who from our high school inspired certain scenes or characters.

A few days after publishing I created some flyers and carried them around with me (because I was still too chicken to ask to hang them). I had lunch at a local coffee shop and my friend/editorial goddess, Chrissy, pushed me to ask to hang one on the bulletin board. I can still remember how I described my book, with a long list of everything it wasn’t and a promise that the owner didn’t need to read it if she didn’t want to. Leanne, the owner of Pinks coffee shop is one of those really sharp, funny people who read people well. She welcomed my flyer (it’s still there now!) and read my book and recommended it to others. I have lunch there frequently because the food it really good and the coffee and hanging around Leanne reminds me how far I’ve come. I tell her all my writing plans now and I’m open to having a book signing party when I publish the Vivienne series in a few months, something that sounded absolutely painful two years ago.

This past Wednesday, February 4th, was my two year writing anniversary. I realize that in some ways two years isn’t a lot. I hope its the start of a very long career. But I’m commemorating it to celebrate just how far I’ve come. My bravery level is through the roof compared to back then. I do things daily that I would have been absolutely traumatic to the old me. Right now I am planning to teach a class on self-publishing locally starting in April. Going through all the steps to make this happen I still feel fear–fear of failure, fear of rejection. But I’m not the chicken shi*t I was in my 40’s because even if I am afraid, I do it anyway. I tell the negative voices in my head to shut the F up and I do it. And it feels amazing, life-affirming, crazy powerful. I’m pushing forward, past my fears because I want others to get a chance to feel the same thing.

I’m going to end with a quote from one of those amazing, stoked, life-affirming people I’ve discovered along the way. Danielle LaPorte creates Truthbombs, daily smart thoughts. This was one from the other day, yet another that nailed exactly what I was feeling. If you like it you can subscribe to them here.

blog second image feb 7

Work From Home Wardrobe – Fall 2015

It’s true, when you work from home you can spend all day in your PJ’s. (Trust me, I have.) But eventually you’re gonna need to leave the house and it’s nice to put on something besides yoga pants and an over-sized tee shirt (standard writer’s uniform).

Since I don’t work in an office it’s hard to justify spending much on clothes but I like to get a few new pieces each season. I’m rushing fall, I know. It’s still closer to 100 than 50 degrees here in Memphis but the new season of Project Runway and back to school have fall clothes on my brain. I perused my go-to fashion sites (see list below) and a few stores and came up with the following list of key fall pieces.

  1. Utility Jacket. utility jacket collageMy niece wore one on her two-week trip to Europe. It was a great choice because it went with almost all her casual clothes, had a ton of pockets and was roomy enough to layer another jacket or sweater underneath on cold days. I have one that I picked up a few years ago at Target that I love to wear with jean or dress it up more with black pants and animal prints.

 

 

click image to see more on my Pintrest fall fashion page
click image to see more on my Pintrest fall fashion page

2. Leather leggings. I would be more accurate to say Pleather leggings (no way I’m springing for the real thing). They look a lot like black skinny jeans but with a little more edge. Bonus: they are super comfy for travel. Most of the mall stores will have them for around $15-20 a pair. A small investment to look a little more cosmo or dangerous.

 

click image to see more accessories on my Pintrest page
click image to see more accessories on my Pintrest page

3. Gold Jewelry. It’s easy to stack necklaces, rings and bracelets in simple geometric shapes and not have them look overwhelming. Charming Charlies has an entire wall of short, medium and long necklaces for you to mix and create your own look.

 

 

 

There’s a few other trends I’ve got my eye on like fringe. It would be easy to add a fringy skirt or sweater to pieces I already have for the holidays. Chunky heeled shoes are growing on me too. I’ve already pinned a few pair of leather ones to my Pintrest accessory page (click here to see.)

What trends are you adding for fall? Which ones are you avoiding? Comment below and link to your latest pins or favorite sites. If you’re not sure yet, here’s a list of links to a few of my favorite fashion bloggers. Click on each name to visit the site.

Wendy’s Lookbook

Penny Chic

The Budget Fashionista

 

Writer’s High

I am riding the wave of a very happy high and I want to share it with all of you, the fabulous people who take the time to read my rambling writings. 

You know that delicious feeling you get when you finish a wonderful novel, or walk out at the end of a great movie.  It’s a contact high from being in the world of the characters.  You get to feel their adrenaline, their endorphins, their thrills, their peace, their joy. 

I’m writing my first novel and it is going better than expected.  Yesterday I wrote for hours and produced a chapter that I was proud of.  It will still need tweeking, but I knew I got it right because I had a contact high from my characters that I am still coming off of this morning.

I must have 20 drafts from trying to get started on this novel.  I knew the story I wanted to tell, but I couldn’t find my voice.  Everything I wrote sounded contrived or cliche or fake.  My breakthrough came when I started writing this blog.  It turns out that writing is a one of those skills that the more you do it, the easier it gets and the better you get (or at least I think so).  If I’m not getting better, this may not be the time to tell me.  To keep writing on the novel I will need to stay in my world of delusion. 

And I have to say, I am LOVING this fantasy world (delusional or not).  I am absolutely floating along in a bubble of sweet, happy love (it’s a romance novel). 

I’m not sure how many other jobs can list “contact high” as a benefit, at least any other legal jobs.  Sure, there are drawbacks, like no promise of ever making a red cent from your work and only having imaginary friends to play with, but the perks far outweigh the drawbacks.  Knowing that what I write might make even one person happy (even if that one person is me) is motivation enough to just keep trying.