Just so you know…

From the time I started writing the Emily O’Brien series, I struggled with the fact the books weren’t going to fit neatly into any category. The books have strong Christian elements, yes, but they weren’t necessarily written as Christian books. I tried writing the first book that way initially but it just didn’t fit well with the story or the characters. So I decided to write it the way that felt right to me. I guess that’s the reporter in me.
And when I made that choice, I found Emily’s voice and that propelled the story forward. At the time, that was OK since I was writing just for me. I never expected to let anyone else see them. But I had a persistent husband and I finally figured, why not?
I’ve heard the term “realistic Christian fiction.” I guess that might be the closest category I could find, but it wasn’t an option on Amazon or Smashwords. And I’m not sure it really covers it all anyway.
So in advance, I apologize to anyone I offend — either because you don’t like my views on faith or because you don’t like the book’s profanity or realism. I realize the books have the potential to alienate both ends of the spectrum but I had to write the books authentically.
I promise to keep the books between PG and PG-13 — no F-bombs or raunchy sex scenes or grisly, bloody details that make you quit eating your lunch. And as the series progresses, I hope readers see a change in Emily, that she becomes a better reflection of her faith. That was one of my goals when I began writing, to create a newbie Christian character that matures over time. She’s definitely a work in progress.

Free is good…

I would love to pretend that it was all part of my plan. But really, it was just a big flub on my part that ended up working out very well for me. That hardly ever happens so I’m kind of enjoying it.

So what did I do? I accidentally made my first two ebooks free on Amazon. When I published “Foul Play,” I decided to make all three of my books free on Smashwords for a few days so friends and family could download them. I didn’t think about the fact that Smashwords would send the price to Barnes and Noble, and I didn’t know that Amazon would match the B&N price.

So I was horrified when I checked on the status of “Foul Play” a few days after I had uploaded that to Kindle Direct Publishing (I use both Smashwords and KDP) and saw that “Vengeance is Mine” and “Buried Truth” were now free. I’m still fairly new to the world of ebook publishing and there is a lot I don’t know. Obviously. I didn’t even know I could make my books free on Amazon.

But it ended up being a huge blessing! It has been fun to see thousands of downloads of my books and a few reviews, and even better I had some readers say hi to me on Goodreads, where I had also posted my books. I wish all of my goofs turned out this well. 

The books are still free on Amazon and B&N. I have no idea how long that will last but feel free to take advantage of my mistake. 🙂

Sticks and stones …

This really isn’t book-related … well, it sort of is. I’ll admit that reviews scare me a little. As a reporter, it took me about five minutes to learn that not everyone will like what you write and some people can be very vocal about their disapproval. It’s part of the territory and you kind of know that going in.

I’m not really afraid of having my work reviewed in and of itself. I know I’m far from perfect and some criticism is OK … even good. But what scares me a little is just how mean people can be when they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.

I was reading an article on CNN last week about a waiter who identified one of the tables he was serving as “three fat girls.” I cannot think of any context when that would be appropriate. The guy was fired and the restaurant publicly apologized to the women. What shocked me about the article was the hateful way some commenters stated that these women were indeed fat and the waiter did nothing wrong.

WTH?

Some of these comments were brutal and I was just flabbergasted that people could be so mean. I can’t imagine that anyone would be OK with the waiter posting “three gay guys” or “three black chicks” because that smacks of discrimination. But let someone be fat and you’d think they committed a crime.

I’ve seen the same kinds of comments about Christians. If an article even hints at Christianity, Internet trolls come out of the woodwork to blast Christians as self-righteous bigots and to mock our belief in Jesus Christ. The level of hatred is just plain appalling. Everyone has a right to their beliefs, including Christians.

And I’ve seen difference of opinions degenerate to the point where some commenters feel it necessary to refer to a person with a different opionion as a moron or loser. And, back to my original point, I’ve seen discussions on Goodreads or reviews on Amazon that have called authors awful names just because the reader didn’t like a book. I’ve definitely read my share of wretched books, some by famous authors, but I can’t ever remember leaving such hateful feedback.

I have to wonder if people would use those same slurs if the other person was sitting across the table from them. When I worked at the newspaper, we allowed comments on our news stories, and I found that the ones delivered anonymously were often much nastier than those delivered via our Facebook page when the person had to leave his/her name.

The Internet makes it way too easy for us to forget that we’re talking to or talking about another human being with feelings. Someone who has his/her own insecurities and weak points, someone who really hurts when such barbs are hurled their way.

Is it really too much to ask that we all make an effort to treat one another with respect? Sadly, I think that ship has sailed, but here’s to hoping that I’m wrong.

New Year’s Resolution … sort of

I have a confession to make. I’m not much of a blogger. While telling stories and creating characters is fun, talking about myself is sort of uncomfortable. To put it mildly. Which is why even though I created this blog almost a year ago, I’ve only posted in it twice. Yikes!
In defense, I’ve had a lot going on in my life during that time. We moved to another state. My husband and I took new jobs. We built a house and got the kids settled at a new school. But those are really just excuses.
So, I’ve decided to make more of an effort this year to post on my blog. I’m not sure what I have to say will be that interesting but, hey, we’ll see what happens! 🙂
And BTW, I’ve also updated my list of books on the Emily O’Brien tab above. Right now all three ebooks are free at http://www.smashwords.com, in a variety of formats including for Kindle.