Happy Thanksgiving!

Like many people, this holiday encourages me to think about the many blessings in my life for which I’m grateful. My list is a long one, but high on it are you, my readers. So thank you for reading. I know you have a lot of demands on your time, so I appreciate it every time you sit down with one of my books, or take the time to leave a review.

I count sitting down with a good book as one of my blessings, so when I find an author who becomes an “auto-buy”, someone whose work I love so much I’ll read pretty much everything they write, that’s something special. I thought I’d share with you a couple of those names. That way, when the release of  my next book is delayed, you’ll know who tempted me away from my computer. ;-)

Grace Draven writes fantasy romance that inspires me to up my game. I’ve read two of her books so far: Radiance and Entreat Me. Entreat Me won the 2014 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for best Fantasy Romance, and Radiance has been nominated for the same award in 2015. I didn’t know that when I read these books. I just knew that these were amazingly good reads and wanted more.

Eidolon, the sequel to Radiance, can’t come soon enough.

If urban fantasy is more to your taste, then I recommend Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. I read the first book, Rosemary and Rue because I was going to be speaking  at a convention where Ms. McGuire was guest of honor. Then I binge read all the other books in the series. I warn you now, she’s addictive. So far there are nine books in this series, and she’s not done yet. This is excellent news.

Ms. McGuire also writes the InCryptid series (which I have yet to read), and science fiction horror  as Mira Grant.

I count these authors’ books (as well as many others) among my  blessings. I hope you will, too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book reviews

TusCon 42: The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything

TusCon 42 (Tucson’s science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention) concluded yesterday. That’s a bittersweet thing, because the panels, art show, dealers, films, anime, computer gaming, belly dancing, music, LARP, and costumes were so much fun that  I wanted it to never end, but if it went on any longer we’d all be zombies. Which shouldn’t be too shocking because it was held on Halloween weekend, but some of us had to get back to work writing those  books you love to read.

Seanan McGuire was a wonderful author guest of honor, and Bridget Wilde was lovely to have as the artist GoH. There are too many people to thank individually, but a few are Autumn Ivy, Geoff Notkin, Eric Flint and Ed Bryant. Thank you also to Fearless Leader Sue Thing and the TusCon committee. This is an all volunteer group that puts in long hours to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone has a good time. Which we do.

Next year, the TusCon 43 Guest of Honor will be George R.R. Martin. Don’t miss it.


Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Happy Halloween! And Happy Birthday!

I love Halloween. I love seeing the little kids dressed up in their costumes and handing out candy. When I was a kid and on the other side of the door, Halloween seemed like the opening act for my birthday. First the neighbors gave me yummy things, and the next day I got cake and presents. Such a deal!

To celebrate Halloween and my birthday this year, I’m putting two of my paranormal romances on sale at 75% off the regular price. LIGHTBRINGER and VEILED MIRROR will be only $0.99 from today through November 1st.

In LIGHTBRINGER, an exiled angel falls in love with the woman he’s supposed to be protecting from a demonic assassin. (4.2 Stars)

A ghost haunts her twin sister in VEILED MIRROR, demanding she solve her murder, regardless of the cost to her heart–or her life…(4.1 Stars)

So celebrate All Hallows Eve and my birthday with me, and enjoy a sweet deal at the same time!

Leave a comment

Filed under Sale

Sell It!

Most readers want to like the protagonists of the books they read. Even if the main character has a long way to grow to become likable at the beginning of the book, they had better have something that makes them sympathetic or the reader is going to find someone else to spend time with. Most commercial fiction is populated with sympathetic characters, people we want to root for. But what about when your otherwise likable character makes a mistake?

There’s an old saying among writers, “Reality is no excuse for fiction.” That means that just because something happened in real life, if it’s weird or unlikely you probably shouldn’t have it happen in your book. (The only exception to this maxim is when it makes things worse for your hero, and even then you have to be careful.) We’ve all made boneheaded mistakes, done things that in hindsight we can’t believe we did, things we should have known better than to do. That doesn’t mean our characters get to be stupid, though. They can make mistakes, but you’d better give them a good reason to be blind to the right path or your readers will let you hear about it. And you’d better sell it.

You can hit all your marks, give your character the right emotional backstory that perfectly justifies her inability to trust, or commit, or stop being a workaholic, but if the reader doesn’t feel it, they won’t believe it.

So how do you do that?

  • Understand your characters. Have at least a basic knowledge of your characters before you start so you know where they’re coming from. This makes it easier for you to know how the character will choose between A and B as they progress through the story. It’s okay to build up that background as you go along, just be sure you go back in the revision phase to make everything consistent.
  • Multiple layers. You can’t just tell the reader that the character was hurt by her boyfriend and you can’t do it  just once. Show how that experience is still affecting her years later, in several different ways. Then you can show how the events of the story are causing her to grow beyond that old, limiting experience.
  • Which brings us to: Show, don’t tell. I know, this is an oldie. And you don’t have to show everything. Sometimes telling is the right way to move a story along. But putting a reader IN a scene, so they can watch how it unfolds and how the character reacts, rather than being TOLD about what happened, helps the reader feel it.
  • Tell it from a different character’s perspective. Sometimes you can break the above rule (sort of) by having another character tell about something that shaped the protagonist. By showing that other character’s reaction to the events, you guide the reader’s reaction as well.

That being said, even if you do everything right, you won’t sell it to every reader, every time.

Writing a novel or short story isn’t as much of a group effort as writing for Hollywood, where directors and actors interpret the writer’s work before the audience ever sees it, but it’s still collaborative. Obviously, your editor will have some input. Less obvious is what the reader brings to the story. Every reader has his or her own way of viewing the world. Sometimes that bias prevents them from understanding why a certain experience shaped the character a certain way. The character’s reaction is not what they would have done. If you do your job well, most readers will be able to experience the world through the mind and the heart of your character for that little time they’re inside your  creation. But the magic doesn’t always work. Not every book is a good fit for every reader, every time. And that’s okay. If the author does her job, the rest of the story will be satisfying enough for the reader to keep turning the pages, even when the character makes a mistake.

* * * * *


For the 28th and 29th of September, DANGEROUS TALENTS will be Free. This is the last time this year that the first Vinlanders’ Saga book will be on sale.

And if you haven’t already done so, you can get a Free fantasy story by signing up for my VIP Newsletter. Just click on Get a Free Story in the Nav bar above. (I won’t spam your inbox or share your email. The only time you’ll hear from me is when I have a new book or when a book goes on sale.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


For just a few days, DANGEROUS TALENTS is available here for Free:

If you haven’t yet read the first book in the Vinlanders’ Saga series, now is your chance! (This is the first time in two years that this title has been available for free.)

Why am I giving it away now? I want you to fall in love with my world and my characters, and what’s better than finding something you love for a great price? And what price could be better than free?

If you’ve already read DANGEROUS TALENTSTHANK YOU! I hope you enjoyed it, and that you’ll tell a friend or two about this opportunity to get a great read for free– or maybe even give it as a gift. (I discovered two of my favorite “must read” authors when I was given one of their books.)

I also want to say thanks if you’ve written a review. Your opinion is hugely helpful, both to other readers and to authors like me. And if you haven’t already left a review, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to let other readers know what you think. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few sentences will do.

You can leave a review near the bottom of this page:  http://smile.amazon.com/DANGEROUS-TALENTS-Vinlanders-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B007QQ1CDK

Happy Reading!


Celia Montrose has been trained to deal with any emergency–except being thrust into another world. Crisis management training hasn’t prepared her for meeting the Viking descendants of the lost Vinland colony, or coping with kidnapping, murder, and magic.

Lord Dahleven is preparing for war when he rescues a strange and beautiful woman in the drylands. Though he fears Celia may be Fey-marked, Dahleven can’t resist the powerful attraction he feels for her. But is Celia in league with the enemy, or will she provide the key to saving his people?

Alone and off-balance, Celia finds herself falling for Lord Dahleven. But dangerous forces are at work, and one of them is offering Celia a way home–for a price.


Filed under Uncategorized

A Free Story For You

KoombsTunicI’m giving away a free fantasy story, KOOMB’S TUNIC,  to subscribers to my newsletter. As the folks who already subscribe can tell you, I won’t clog your inbox with chit-chat. What I will do, is tell you when I have something on sale or when I’m getting ready to launch a new book. Subscribers will be offered the opportunity to get sneak peeks and free material, too.

Get KOOMB’S TUNIC  and Sign Up for Frankie’s Newsletter


1 Comment

Filed under Publishing

Indie Publishing, Three Years and Counting

I’m still here, even though I’ve been pretty quiet lately.

I haven’t posted much in the last year, especially about self-publishing, because I didn’t feel as though I had much to contribute. I’d pretty much shared what I had to say in my post about that first year, and all the decisions that a newbie had to make. But now that I’ve been on this path for a little over three years, I feel like I have a new set of choices. One of the big ones is: how much and what kind of publicity is enough?

This is actually an old decision revisited. Within a few months of starting out, I’d taken to heart the advice that the best promotion is getting the next book out. The corollary to that is to wait until you have five or six books out (some sources even say ten) preferably in a series, before you start trying to do any serious promotion. I wasn’t that hardcore, nor was I that patient. I ran quite a few free promotions and .99 sales on several different books. Some worked better than others, and they all worked better when I paid for an ad to advertise the promotion. But over the months I noticed that the sales became less effective, not only for selling books, but also for generating reader reviews. (Thank you, every single one of you, who has bought and reviewed one of my books!) And over time I found that the additional revenues were eaten up by the cost of the ads.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to Indie publishing, this isn’t news to you.

One of the immutable laws of business is: adapt or die. So I tried a few things like writing a newsletter, updating my metadata, and my product descriptions, both of which helped sales  a little, though not much. About five months ago I decided to give advertising a rest and focus on writing. I was pleased to note that even without “goosing” sales with promotions, my sales held steady and even improved a teensy bit.

Teensy isn’t good enough, though. Now that I have six novels out (three of which are in a series), I think it’s time to get more serious about getting eyeballs on my books. I’ve been researching what has works and I decided to experiment with some of the techniques that Nick Stephenson recommends in his book, READER MAGNETS: Get Readers to Come to You. While not over promising, the results he reports sound pretty impressive, so it’s worth my time to give it a go, I think. It also seems to be a good fit with the 80/20 rule. (Getting that 80% of results from the most effective 20% of effort.)

I’ll let you know how it goes. And if you don’t want to wait, go buy Stephenson’s book for yourself. I’d love to hear how it works for you. I’d also love to hear from the other authors out there what you’ve done to get the word out. What do you think REALLY works?

*  *  *  *  *

I you live in the Tucson area, be sure to check out the TUCSON FESTIVAL OF BOOKS this coming weekend, March 14-15. Over 300 authors will be speaking, along with many food vendors and live music. I’ll be speaking Saturday afternoon at 4:00 on a panel with several other authors about the differences between Indie and traditional publishing. I hope to see you there

*  *  *  *  *

I’m planning something special for the wonderful people who subscribe to my newsletter, so make sure you sign up!


Leave a comment

Filed under Publishing, Uncategorized