Friday, September 28, 2012

Gal Pals from Delaware

Sallie, Bernice, me, and Pat
Out with the girls on a nice day in Virginia. Sallie, Bernice, and Pat from Delaware were staying at Massanutten Resort, so we got together for a day of fun. We had lunch at the Wood Grill in Charlottesville, visited the Downtown Mall (great place), and ended our day with a stop at Noon Whistle Pottery in Stanardsville.

The Mole Hole
One of the shops I really wanted them to see was The Mole Hole. Its not a big place, but it has some very interesting stuff. In particular is their collection of wall clocks. The photo doesn't do them justice. You'd have to see them for yourself to appreciate their uniqueness. The girls were impressed. I knew they'd love it.

Harry, Sallie, the scary redhead
named Gambino, and Bernice
And finally, a pic of our driver, Sallie's hubby, Harry. Harry & Sallie. Hmm... Thanks Harry for driving us all over town. It was a good day. Love you Harry, but next time we're taking my car... and I'm driving.

Gotta do this again with my Gal Pals from Delaware. Wahoo!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Twitter Etiquette and Me

The definition of etiquette is proper social behavior, and according to Derek Blass (thank you Derek for all your helpful tips) in his blog post a while back, one should always thank another when they retweet your tweet—but I had to give up on that. I was spending most of my time thanking folks, and didn't have time to do much of anything else while on Twitter. So, what I decided to do was retweet, retweet, retweet. That's my way of saying thanks. I hope y'all don't think it's rude of me. And if I miss retweeting for you, I will catch you later. Also, I read the tweets, and then I click over to blogs, websites, and whatever is of interest to me. Isn't that the point? I don't just retweet for the sake of retweeting. I do it because I think you have something worth reading that others might also like. So, that's my excuse for not saying thanks anymore to all the folks who retweet for me. I do appreciate it, so please don't think I don't. My thanks will be in the form of a retweet for you.

Now to the subject of who I follow. I follow people who interest me, so if I don't follow you, feel free to unfollow me. If you speak a foreign language, I don't follow you. I can count to ten and I know one sentence in Spanish, and a few words in Latin. That's the extent of my understanding any language other than English. And... I don't follow people who use really foul language. It's not necessary, and it's not fun to read. I did not follow the funeral home that was following me. Sorry, but I don't want to read your tweets about coffins and planning my last goodbyes. Life is hard enough as it is without reading that stuff first thing in the morning.

To be honest, most of the people I follow are writers (*but not all). They post great tips on everything from improving your writing skills to telling you about a great book they've read. I take what I've read, bounce it around in my head, and then decide for myself if its for me. Like the time a guy posted on his blog that you should never sell your books on your website. What? For several years I've been selling my books through my website, because that's where the traffic goes. Remember the purpose of the internet highway? Now, I wouldn't sell my books on my blog (don't even know if I could). That's why I have a website. My website is my livelihood. My blog is for fun.

Just like Twitter. Twitter should be fun, entertaining, and a way to meet people. When it becomes a chore, I'm done. And, when I'm on Twitter, I'm live. I don't do pay-for-tweets. Where's the social connection in that? It might work for others, but its not for me. I guess if I had a gazillion followers I might do it, but since I don't, when I tweet, I'm there in person.

Think I'm a Twitter snob? I'm not. I'm just honest. I want to have fun, talk with people, and then move on to something else. Fighting or arguing on Twitter? No thanks. I have better things to do.

To all those who are following me, tks for the #follow, and I hope you enjoy what I have to say. I want to learn something from you and hope you'll learn something from me. My Twitter etiquette might not be the best, but my social behavior will always be proper. So... let's tweet and enjoy the moment.

P.S. The photo above was a photo shot. I don't really do my writing outside on my laptop... and my dogs don't usually sit still like that. Thanks, Alex Carrier, Photographer/Journalist for being able to get my dogs to do what I couldn't.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In Case You Missed It

Just in case you missed Emily Lewis' interview of me, here it is:

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.  Living in the mountains. I know you’ve probably heard this before, but it’s the truth. If I had stayed in the city, I’m sure I never would have written a book, let alone more than one.  Life is refreshing here. The air smells so good when the wind blows down the mountain and stirs up all the scents around me. There’s always something in the air—the smell of wild roses, pine trees, mountain laurel, jasmine, and my favorite—honeysuckle in spring.  So, when I’m bored or need inspiration, I get in my car, put the top down, and cruise. That’s for the warm months. In the winter, all I have to do is look out my window at the snow. That always works for me. Another inspiration: people who smile.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A.  The satisfaction I get from knowing I can actually write something someone might want to read.  So many people aspire to this, but very few ever realize their dream. Creating a story isn’t just putting words together. It’s hard work and takes up all of your time. Most people don’t have the time even if they have the imagination to do it. When I retired and moved to the mountains, my imagination found me. Was that luck? I think so.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. Trying to live up to the expectations of my readers.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. I’d be me.  That’s who I’ve been for sixty-two years, and I’ve been happy with my life the majority of the time (there’s always those times when drama stops by for a visit). I’m retired. I’ve had a career, spent my time in the work force, and have no desire to go back. If I decided to stop writing, I’d just be retired, living in the best place in the world.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  The Unplanned Benefit of Murder

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A.  That’s so hard to say. I’ve read many good books, but I really became an avid reader after I read All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell. I was enthralled with the storyline about a young couple who went missing at the New Kent rest area on I-64. This (fiction) book was based on a true story, and the area where it took place was close to my home town.  Familiarity grabbed me, and curiosity held onto me. Now, I have too many favorite books to only choose one, but I will give Cornwell the credit for pulling me into the world of books.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A.  I think authors create characters from bits and pieces of others, and I have yet to find one who is like me.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. My main character, Jesse Watson, of course. Don’t we all put a piece of ourselves in our protagonist? I know I did. However, Jesse does things I would never do. I’m smiling.

Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Winter—without a doubt. I used to be a sun worshiper, but that all changed with age and hot flashes.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. I don’t know what sparks my ideas for my book jackets, but sometime during the writing process, up pops the image in my head. I can see it plain as day, and that’s what I go with. My favorite jacket cover is the one on book #5, Greene County Killer. It was the first time I had the courage to put a full-length photo of myself on the back.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. During an interview—I was at a restaurant talking with my reporter/journalist friend and I told her I had killed off someone, but was now having my doubts about what I had done. I can get a little loud when I get excited, so it didn’t take long for others close by to take notice. They started staring at me as if I were indeed a killer. Alex and I laughed all the way to the car.

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.  Yes. The Prey Bites Back, book eight in the series. It’s a little slow going because life seems to get in the way.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.  You can only be a success in your heart when you’re doing something you love. Keep on writing, reading, or singing in the shower—whatever makes you happy!

*Be sure to stop by Emily's blog to read interviews of different authors and reviews of the books she has read. It'll be a fun visit!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We're Having a Baby!

It's official! Our donkey, Sable, is having a little donkette! We felt it kick the other day. What an amazing thing it is to feel a little life moving around inside her belly. We bought Sable and Donkey (the jack) about a month or so ago, and boy did we get a bargain. We got both donkeys for the price of one, and now we're getting an extra bonus. Donkeys are pregnant for a year (ugh... glad humans aren't pregnant that long) and since she's about ready to explode, I'm sure she was with donkette when we got her. Needless to say, the coral has to be enlarged. So much work to do/so little time. My guess is she'll probably give birth when we're knee deep in snow.

We know about as much about raising donkeys as we do about raising chickens, but we're learning. We now have twelve hens and a rooster to keep the donkeys company. Or is it the other way around?

Wish us luck. We're going to need it! Ain't life grand!

Friday, September 07, 2012

First Two Books Free on Kindle

I'm celebrating my birthday early (Monday, Sept. 10... and yes, I'm 29... again) by offering the first two books in my Jesse Watson Mystery series FREE on Kindle.

#1 WHAT YOU SEE Sat. & Sun. Sept. 8 & 9

Mon. & Tues. Sept. 10 & 11

Log onto and check them out. Read the sample chapters. See if this is the kind of mystery you'd like to read. It's free, so what have you got to lose? Just click on the book title to begin a journey with Jesse and Billy as they travel down the road to murder and intrigue, but watch out for the bodies alongside the road. You never know what you're going to encounter when you hang with private eyes. I hope you enjoy!

Method to My Madness

I might have caused some of you to wonder if I've lost my mind with some of my recent reviews of the books I've read, why I haven't given a book less than four stars. I've had a few emails questioning my sanity—kinda like the time I told a woman at a party that I killed people for a living. Needless to say, that didn't go over real big. I'm not saying any of the books I've reviewed were in question, just the lack of any bad reviews. Haven't I read any books that were horrible? Here's the truth: I have. I've preview many books, and knew right away it'd be a waste of my time. Either there were so many typos and bad grammar, or the storyline just didn't work. And some of the ones I've downloaded and tried to read, I just couldn't finish (for one reason or another). Those are the books I don't post reviews on. Writers have a hard enough time, and I'm not going to be the one to make it any harder. Let someone else do it.

Also, I'm not a professional reviewer. I've had writers ask me to review their books, but I can't give an honest review of a book that isn't the kind of book I like to read. I love a good mystery, with or without romance (preferably with romance, and definitely not erotica), and with some humor. If Janet Evanovich would clean up her mouth a little, she'd be my favorite author. So... I'm a mystery lover. I just can't get into Sci-Fi, vampires, erotica, paranormal, or YA (but I will support those who write it). I did read a book I thought was YA (after I had read a few chapters) and decided to finish it and judge it accordingly—by what I thought young audiences would like.

I bought Janet Evanovich's Metro Girl at the thrift store yesterday for $2, but I haven't been able to really get into it. I keep finding myself drawn back to the mystery I downloaded the other day. I've read the first chapter, and if the rest of the book is as good as the beginning, I'm in for a real treat... and you'll hear about it.

Pretty soon I'm going back to work on my next book, and I won't be reading as much... probably not at all, but until then, I'm going to finish the book I'm reading, and hopefully, find a couple more before I go off the radar.

Also—my first book in the Jesse Watson Mystery series, What You See, has found a permanent home in the Prime Kindle program, so it will no longer be available on NOOK. Sorry, NOOK, but you're just not doing it for me. Kindle rules!

So, if you haven't read any of my books, the first one will be free on Kindle very soon. I hope you'll give it a try. Happy writing and happy reading!

To all authors out there, I send you many wishes for your writing success. Keep up the good work. Ann Mullen

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Puzzle by Peggy A. Edelheit

The Puzzle by Peggy A. Edelheit Aug. 2012 ***** 5 Stars

Title: I loved, loved this book!
What a terrific read! Peggy Edelheit kept me glued to the page with her description of events and her likeable (and not so likeable) characters. I can still see Samantha running around her house, storm brewing outside, while her laptop stared back at her, demanding her to get back to work. And… the characters, Betty and Hazel were a hoot. I can’t wait to start her next book in the series. Five stars, Ms. Edelheit! You did good!   

Monday, September 03, 2012

Let's Talk About Book Reviews

Book reviews can be so misleading. Everyone has an opinion, and not everyone is going to like the same book. Try as you might, there's going to be something in your book that just doesn't jive with a reader. Sorry, but it's true. I say this because I surf Amazon looking for free Kindle books (I don't buy a book until I've read one by the author before, and liked it), and sometimes the reviews just blow me away. Usually, I don't read too many of the five star reviews because they tell too much about the storyline. I want to be surprised. I don't want to know the ending until I've read it for myself.

It's the bad reviews that catch my eye and intrigue me. Some of them are so brutal, I find myself wanting to read the book just to see if its as bad as they say it is. Most of the time it isn't. For example, I just read a short story that was clobbered by readers who said it was weak, had typos and poor grammar, and ended too abruptly. *They didn't realize it was a short story. Yet, I thought the story was very good, and I didn't find any problems with the grammar or any typos. I even wanted to read more by the author, so what does that tell you? My opinion verses others. Who's right?

And then there are books with rave reviews that I just can't get through. I start reading and find myself shaking my head. What was this author thinking, and who in their right mind would love a book such as this? See what I mean? It wasn't my kind of book, but I'm not going to write a bad review just because I didn't care for it. Others loved it. Why make an author's job harder than it already is?

No writer wants to get a bad review, but let's face it, it's going to happen. You're going to get slammed, beat up, and dragged through the mud, taunted as the worst writer in the world. But don't let it get you down. *Remember what I said in my first paragraph. When I got a review that said "Ick" I thought I was going to die. I was in a blue funk for days, but I got over it when I noticed a jump in my sales. See, sometimes a bad review might not be so bad. But, if everyone complains that your book wasn't edited and was laden with typos and poor grammar, do something about it. That's the one thing you can do to improve your reviews. Fix the problem.

Can't afford an editor, you say? That's bunk. There's more than one way to skin a cat as they say. With my first book, I hired a proofreader and thought everything was okay. It wasn't. Why? Because the proofreader wasn't as good as I thought she was... and I paid her $200. That taught me a very valuable lesson—but once it goes to physical print, it's too late—so... I came up with an idea and it's worked pretty well for me. I have five FREE proofreaders, and between them all, they find almost all of my mistakes. Of course, nobody's perfect, so a few might slip by. Ask someone to read your manuscript and tell them you'll give them credit for their help in your acknowledgements (but don't rely on just one person, ask a couple of people to help you out). You'd be surprised at how many people would love to do this for you. We all like to see our name in print, don't we? Sift through your proofreaders to see who can find the errors and who can't, and then weed them out.

Also, keep in mind that people will read your book, but won't post a review. That happens a lot. People just don't take the time to do it. They think it isn't important, or they don't know how to do it. Crazy, you say? You'd be surprised at how many times people have told me they didn't know how to post a review. I try to explain it to them, but they still don't do it. But that's okay, because word-of-mouth is worth its weight in gold. As long as they're talking about your book, others are listening.

Also, take note. Kindle readers are fickle. Since they have the opportunity to grab as many books for free as they want, they don't give you but two seconds to amaze them with your writing (and let's face it, it's hard to knock it out of the ballpark in the first paragraph), whereas, readers who purchase the physical book (after giving it a thorough examination) will savor the feel, examine the cover, and languish the thought of a good read. I'm not knocking Kindle readers—I'm just saying they're impatient. They might read half a book, get to where something happens they don't like, and then it's over. They hit delete and you're done. Any chance of a good review just went south. I say, if they can do better, let them write the book, but that's just me being me.

But I digress. What I'm trying to say is, take reviews for what they are—they're just the opinion of others... but not the opinion of all your readers. The best way to get an honest review of your book is to have a book reviewer read it (make sure the reviewer is one who reads your type of book), and then learn from it. Good luck and here's wishing you good reviews. It'll make your day, and you deserve it. Be tough and let the bad reviews roll off your back. Don't let them drag you down. Keep on writing!

P.S. I added the image of yellow daylilies to cheer you up. Did it work?