Halloween 1870s Style

Post by Doris McCraw


First, I’ll get my new story/promotion out of the way. I have a story in the anthology “One Yuletide Knight” that is now up for pre-order and will be available as an ebook on November 2, 2017 with the print version available shortly after. You can purchase it at: One Yuletide Knight

With October 31, Halloween, approaching, I thought it might be fun to look at how people perceived that date in the 1870s in what most would call the West. Below are some actual pieces from papers of that time.

Here we have almost an advertisement for the evening from the Atchison Globe from Friday October 31, 1879 issue in Atchison, Kansas


And this warning from the Lawrence, Kansas, Lawrence Republican Daily Journal of October 24, 1878. Seems mischief has been around for longer than we may have thought.


For the history of the day we can thank the Sedalia, Missouri, Sedalia Daily Democrat of Saturday, November 2, 1878. 



Of course no Halloween would be without the special events that take place. Here from Alden, Iowa issue of the October 10, 1879 issue, we have the following 

halloween fest

And finally this clip from a piece called “The Fairy Quest” from the Saturday, October 4, 1879 issue of the Republic County Journal of Scandia, Kansas.

clip from story halloween

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what folks back in the 1870s thought about October 31 and Halloween. There are so many stories, and I’m sure each of you have your own. However you celebrate of not, enjoy the fall season and don’t eat too much candy.  I know I won’t be bobbing for apples like I did when I was younger, but I might have a piece of…

Doris Gardner-McCraw -Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

Angela Raines – author: Where Love & History Meet

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here



Getting Educated on Marketing

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

As a writer there are two things I truly suck at, punctuation and marketing.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to work on both.  So when an on line course I had been eyeing was offered for free for one week only I signed up.


This was my first experience with an on line class and how they work.  I knew each day of the Book Marketing Summit I would receive an email with links to the days segments.  On day one I learned there would be 4 or 5 segments each day.  Each link was accessible for 48 hours and then it disappeared.


The segments consisted of interviews with a knowledgeable professional about a specific aspect of marketing; most of them were an hour long.  That’s four or five hours a day, add in my part time job, laundry, meals, etc, etc.  I would not be spending any time with critters that week.


At the end of the seven days I had worked 26 hours and traveled close to 400 miles to do it.  I had completed all 28 segments and had 40 pages of notes. 

I have now sorted my notes into categories and have a game plan.  The first order of business for me is to start building my list.  What list you ask, why my e mail list of course.  This list will consist of people who want to follow the progress of my publishing journey with my new book. 

On a bi-weekly, or possibly monthly basis I will e mail each of them an update on my progress, and offer a free look behind the scenes every now and then to keep them engaged.  Once the book is released they will get an e mail with a bonus if they purchase the book.   .  If this sounds like a journey you would like to take with me just E mail me sjbrown.pictures@gmail.com.   Feel free to share this blog with others that may also be interested.


The timing on this marketing summit couldn’t have been better. I am in the final stages of finishing a book my sister and I wrote together.  The working title of the book is simply “Sisters”.  It is a memoir that takes the reader through 12 years of our lives as we become adults.


As I build my list I will also be putting together my launch team. What is a launch team?  It’s a group of people that are super interested in this process.  The launch team is my sounding board for decisions on things like the book description, the cover,  keywords, what freebees to offer (launch team members get all the freebies)   categories and more. The launch team members will have first access to the book and I am hoping most will write reviews. 


There is still a lot to do before we go to print, but I have learned a lot about on line marketing and I am hoping my new found education will serve me well in the future.  What are your marketing secrets? How will you apply them to your next project? 

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

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S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at


Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See CoverHow will you apply them to your next project.






Anticipation >Prediction >Planning

SONY DSCThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

Some of the readers of this blog may know that I eagerly awaited the end of August 2016, the reason being that I was making a trip to the US from my Scottish homeland. I anticipated some lovely hot sunny days, brand new places to visit and the joys of reuniting with US based family members before, during, and after a family wedding.

Pasadena City Hall

I had a brilliant holiday and was completely in awe of all the natural wonders (and some man made ones) I saw in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California.

San Gabriel Mountains behind Los Angeles

Deserts; impressive colourful canyons; sprawling cities (some ever so fanciful like Las Vegas); beautiful buildings; mountain ranges…I loved them all.

This photo below makes it look as though there was just one peak at the top of the San Gabriel Mountains, California. Not so at all! The range is massive, majestic and the drops down onto the canyons are all spectacular. (Yes, that tiny brick wall around 1 foot high is all that separates a vehicle and a person from a drop of thousands of feet- YIKES!)

But now I’m home I have to do the Anticipation >Prediction >Planning thing. Sadly, no, I’m not planning another trip (though that sounds so appealing) but I do have to anticipate, make predictions, and plan the last months of 2016 in my author calendar. As my fellow writers will know, that will not just be anticipating adding to, and hopefully completing, my current writing in progress. The DREADED MARKETING planning looms! It will be for both paperback and for ebook sales.New Facebook withnew TE

Paperback Sales… I’ve sold lots of my paperback novels already this year at my regular Craft Fair venues and have had really encouraging feedback from return customers. Having now sold at these fairs for 2 years, I thought I could predict approximate paperback sales over a ‘selling season’ (April- Dec). I added to my stocks in May and June, guessing that I’d have sufficient supplies to last till Dec., but since I’ve sold more of The Taexali Game and Topaz Eyes than I had anticipated I’m happily back to the planning board for those two!

With the Christmas/Winter season approaching, I’ve booked three much larger venues with potentially a lot more footfall to sell to. Back to prediction. What’s a realistic amount of paperbacks that I’m likely to sell at these new venues? How many new copies should I buy so that my stocks are sufficient?

One venue in mid-November will have over 100 craft & design tables with the anticipation of something upwards of 1000 visitors looking at the goodies on sale. I’ve attended this yearly event before as a shopper and know it’s always a seething mass of browser/customers (event organised by the American Women’s Association of Aberdeen). I’ve been advised to bring lots of stock with me but many should I take? Anticipate> predict> plan…I’m ordering new stock today!

Ah, ebooks. They’re so different… I don’t know about you, but I find that ebook sales are much harder to plan for and much, much harder to achieve. I find it really difficult to decide which services I can afford that might just help sell more ebooks. I now have a tiny profit (and I do mean tiny) from my paperback sales that I want to use to promote my ebooks but like most authors (I believe), I can’t afford to waste it. I’ve looked at a number of suggestions but many depend on having a clutch of 5 star reviews (maybe 10- 30)- which I don’t at present have, so I need to use sites which are reputable though maybe less optimistic.


Last year, I spent fees for a whole year on what I thought might be a good author/ reader site and didn’t get any ebook sales from it. I tried a couple of Facebook adverts that resulted in almost nothing- though that was possibly due to poor targets being set by me. With better knowledge I might try FB adverts again but it’s a taxing learning curve putting up ads with FaceBook!

This week I’ve paid a small fee to a site for their basic package to promote my mystery thriller Topaz Eyes. We’ll see how that goes. I need to find a suitable site to promote my Teen Time Travel historical adventure The Taexali Game– but nothing yet seems tailor made for a 10 – 14 year age group. More internet searching looms! But…If anyone has any suggestions of great promotional sites that only require minimum fees, please share – I’d be very grateful!

I’m this close to the North sea, today.

Meanwhile, till I get better at the ebook marketing, I’m out today (Saturday) at a new sea-side venue -Newtonhill- with my FOCUS (meaning Festival of Crafts Unique to Scotland) Craft Fair buddies. If get the chance after it’s over I’ll be off down the sand dunes for a little wander! I fancy a paddle in the surf if the day turns out to be a sunny one.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend- enjoy!

Nancy Jardine writes:~ Historical Romantic Adventures set in Roman Scotland; Contemporary Romantic Mysteries set in fabulous world-wide locations; and Historical Time Travel Adventures for Teens.

New Facebook withnew TEYou’ll find her at: 

http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk   http://nancyjardineauthor.com/   Twitter @nansjar  Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG and http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G (for The Rubidium time Travel Novels.) email: nan_jar@btinternet.com

Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos:   http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Most novels are available in print and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble; NOOK; KOBO; Waterstones.com; Smashwords; and various other ebook stores.



10 Steps to Promoting Your Book by Cher’ley

This Blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Books do not sell themselves. We have to get out there and get our names known and sell those books. Some of these you already practice and some of them are perhaps new to you.

The Internet has made us much more involved in our own marketing.

  1. Websites and Blogs
  2. Join a Blog Group
  3. Promote Your Site
  4. Market your book-in person
  5. Book Reviews Help
  6. Have a Book tour
  7. Use Social Media
  8. Focus on Twitter
  9. Guest Blogging
  10. Create a Book Trailer
  1. Create A Website

The first thing you’ll need in promoting your book is a website, preferably one that includes a blog. There are several free ones, and they are drag and drop, which means easy set-up. I use Web (previously Free Web) and WIX. I’m sure there are other free ones. My Website.  I am listing some of my links in case any of you have any questions or want to see how I did them.

  1. Join a Blog Group

Just like many of you have done here on Writing Wranglers and Warriors. This way you have many people helping to promote your blogs, and therefore your books. Sometimes it’s time-consuming, especially when you have to read and share everyone’s blog, but where else can you get so much free promotion? Our Blog Group

  1. Promote your Site and your Group

An engaging website is just the beginning. Now you have to get out there and promote it. Choose one or two of these social networking sites and dive in. With a little experimentation, you’ll find the ones that work for you. On our blog site, it’s easy to promote it, there are buttons for the most popular and some less popular ones. My Facebook Fan Page 

  1. Don’t Forget your Local Communities

With all the focus on online book promotion, don’t forget to physically market your book at home. Get your friends, family and churches involved. Local communities might be more intrigued in your work because it’s coming from one of their own. And it’s far easier to break into the local media than it is to get reviewed by the New York Times. Though it takes time and work to make contacts and set up events, the results can be effective and satisfying. I truly wish I were home more to do this, but hey, the rest of you can.

  1. Reviews Help

Contact people you know who have read your book and ask them for reviews. You can also offer free copies of your books for a review. I tried having an Amazon give-a-way for this reason, but didn’t get the reviews I had hoped for, but I think others have been more successful at this. Stamp Out Murder Reviews  I could really use some more reviews-Hint/Hint.

  1. Plan a Mini Book Tour

It’s up to the author to go out there and make things happen, to get the word out and get the book noticed unless you are a really big name. No one is going to do it for you.” If you have a little money and some good contacts, take the initiative and set up readings in a few cities. Here’s how one woman did it. EIREANN LORSUNG

  1. Use Social Media

Pinterest, Tribber, and Google + are getting more and more attention, but there is still the many phases of Facebook. You know it’s important to reach as many contacts as possible.  Fans of Cher’ley Grogg  Tribber 

  1. Focus on Twitter

Social media and other marketing gurus have taken to using the phrase “discoverability”—the ability for potential audiences to  find you and your book. It is Twitter’s capacity to make you “discoverable” that makes it so appealing. Cherley@Twitter

  1. Guest Blogging

Check around. Many blogs could use a guest blogger sometimes. We have even used guest bloggers on our site and we have 18 regular bloggers. Blogs are a great way to promote your book. I did a guest blog for Nancy Jardin that I enjoyed reading again. I have done several, but this was the first one that came up in my google search.

  1. Create a Book Trailer

They are not that hard to make and they get a little attention. The technology doesn’t have to be fancy if you have a good concept. In fact, simple is better if you’re doing it yourself. I enjoyed making the two I made, and I need to make two more. One of the things I’ve learned is keep it short. If you enjoy my book trailers, please go to You Tube and click like, so I can get a little extra clout. Thanks

Stamp Out Murder Book Trailer

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk Book Trailer

Remember to go to YouTube and click on like. Thanks again.

** What do you do to promote your books, or projects?  **

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

The Branding of “Stephen Buehler”™

Stephen Buehler

By Stephen Buehler

In my last blog I talked about my anticipation of going to Left Coast Crime, a mystery writers and readers convention that will be held in Phoenix 2/25 – 2/28.

On the very first day of the conference at 9am, I have signed up for an event called, Author Speed Dating. For 2 hours, 40 authors will hop from table to table pitching whatever they want. It works like this; there are 10 chairs at each table and 8 of them are already filled with other writers and readers. When the first bell rings, 2 authors will sit with the group of 8 and talk. One author gets to speak for 2 minutes, a bell rings, the other author gets to talk for 2 minutes, then the bell rings again and the traveling authors move to another table and start it all over again.Speed dating

Most authors have new books or even old books to pitch. I don’t. I have two short stories in anthologies that came out over a year ago. It’s just not sexy, (Hollywood term for what’s exciting right now.) Don’t get me wrong, I feel it’s a big accomplishment to be published in anthologies but I’m just one author among at least 12. It’s a hard sell to get people to buy the book just for my story. So this is what I’m doing instead. I’m making Stephen Buehler a brand. By the time I’m done with my pitch I hope each person will know that when they read anything by Stephen Buehler they will be entertained, mystified and have a good time. That’s my goal.

Here’s my plan: Since I don’t have any new work to show off, I’m going to be the show off. I have devised a magic trick with 2 of my business cards (each card had a cover of a different anthology). I will perform the trick for the table, talk briefly about my published 2 short stories, then talk about my 2 upcoming books, Detective Rules and The Mindreading Murders. I’m hoping my presentation will stand out from the other authors who will probably be pitching the plots to their new books.

Now mind you, there is no publisher attached to my two novels yet. One publisher has given me a Revised and Resubmit for Detective Rules, but that’s no guarantee. My goal is not to necessarily to have my tablemates remember the books, but if they do, that’s great. I want them to remember Stephen Buehler, the author who is fun to hang around and shows them a good time. When my books are eventually published, (keep your fingers crossed), hopefully they remember my name and my brand.

Last Exit - book cover
“Not My Day”
“A Job’s A Job”

To help remind them of the Stephen Buehler brand, I will be giving away a goodie bag to everyone who listens to my pitch. In the bag are the business cards used in the magic trick plus instructions for each person to learn how to do the trick themselves. If they do show other people the trick, they’ll be advertising my anthologies, Last Exit to Murder and Believe Me Not: An Unreliable Anthology. I’ll be getting free publicity. Also in the bag will be a bookmark for The Mindreading Murders and a postcard of Detective Rules, which hopefully are amusing and enjoyable -like the Stephen Buehler brand. Plus, in the bag I’ll be adding my secret weapon – candy.  You can’t go wrong with candy.


That’s the Stephen Buehler plan. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What ways have you devised to market yourself and your books?


Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and A Job’s a Job in Believe Me or Not An Unreliable Anthology.  He is expanding his novella, The Mindreading Murders about a magician into a novel and shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. On top of all that he is a script consultant, magician and dog owner.  www.stephenbuehler.com

The Gift of Balance

Post copyright by Doris McCraw

hhj spc 3

I rarely talk about myself. My nature I am an intensely private person. In today’s post, I am opening the door just a bit to illustrate the idea of Balance.

As some of you know on June 15, 2015 torrential rains caused an overflow of water in the sewer and drain systems in the hilly area where I live. Not only my self, but numerous other homes sustained some kind of damage. In my case, a complete obliteration of my basement. We are talking completely full of water. Since insurance will not cover the damage and the water company denies any wrong doing at this point, we are left to deal with this on our own. For me, I set up a gofundme account to help defray some of the cost. This site is a go to for people who need help with personal financial burdens. Thankfully friends have stepped in when companies were unwilling to clear out the damage, because insurance didn’t cover it and I didn’t have a few thousand sitting around. (okay, I’m being a bit catty there).

columbine 2

Now, this could be all I think about, but as I stated at the beginning of this post, life does give some balance. Since the disaster happened, I have had a short story released from Prairie Rose Publications in the anthology “Cowboy Celebration”. I have signed the contract for another novella to be released at sometime in the future called “Angel of Salvation Valley”. If all goes well, I will also submit a short for another anthology to be released later this year. This same company is having a Christmas in July Fandango on Facebook July 27 & 28 in the evening. Plenty of giveaways and chances to meet the authors. I will be involved with the Fandango and look forward to the fun of talking with people I’ve not met. Here is the link if anyone would like to stop by:https://www.facebook.com/events/1608290686092159/

But that isn’t all. As much as I’m thrilled with the publication of my writing, which by the way my fiction is written under the pen name Angela Raines, there is more. If you don’t believe other people read these posts, think again. I was recently contacted by the great great grand daughter of one of the women doctors I have been researching. She wants to get together to share her stories and pictures of this amazing women.

So you see, life is about Balance. We may not always like what is happening, but if we are open to options, life has a way of balancing the scale. I truly do believe things will work out as they should on my basement, that the work will get done. I also know, that by being aware, open and grateful for all the blessings in my life, I bring in more. So the next time life throws you some grapes or lemons make wine or lemonade. It all Balances out in the end.

Photo and Poem:http://bit.ly/1dVnNwO



home for his heart angela raines

Closing the stable door…after the horse has bolted!

Nancy blog shot 1This post is by Nancy Jardine.

No, I’m not going to shock everyone and tell a horsey story- sorry!

I spent a good while of my precious writing slot, yesterday, doing yet another book marketing task – that of writing a press release. This is not for a new book launch. I’ve written a couple of those before. This one is to make more people aware that I have a novel entered in a national competition which needs all the votes it can get to move on into the finals in May. I did mention this competition on my last Wranglers blog, but I’m now ‘branching down’ from the global…to more locally in Scotland… if there is such a phrase.

Some ‘wranglers’ may be experts at writing a press release. I’m not, though I know we have newspaper experience amongst us and I’m hoping to ‘milk’ from you. >smiley face here< Today’s was only the third I’ve sent out and I feel pretty inept at composing them. Only after I wrote it, and emailed it off to four different newspapers, did I think of checking what might have been a better way of going about it. Sort of remembering what I did before for very local use isn’t really very professional when it comes to national newspapers. It was a case of closing the stable door after the horse had bolted!

I wondered what it would take to make me feel more successful with this task and ‘Googled’ to see if I should have used a format, or scaffold, around which to frame my own needs. Did I find one? Actually, I found lots and lots of hits for ‘Writing a Press Release’ – most of them quite confusing and very lengthy. (I’m now glad I hadn’t looked at them first)  Some of them even have conflicting information, depending on where you might be sending the release. For example, the coverage a provincial newspaper might give may differ from a national one, and their expectations differ in a submitted press release.( eg In December 2013 for the release of my latest historical novel, I knew who to contact at one of my local rags, and that was a very casual affair.)

12001081_s Plan A to plan BSome sites encourage you to put the words “For Immediate Release” at the very top of your page. This would be important if you have a particular date that you’d be requesting exposure for. Some sites I think are maybe a bit old fashioned when they advise you to ‘centre’ your heading in bold or capital letters. When emailing a press release I’m not sure how relevant this is now, though I did use capitals in mine. Using italics for a subheading is also recommended by some sites. I see little evidence of italicised fonts being used in the local and national newspapers I buy nowadays, and wonder at the relevance in a current press release. However, I do agree with most sites when they recommend that your headline should contain important ‘buzz’ words which help in search engine optimisation when read online.

A neat, concise and error-free first paragraph, containing essential information sounds absolutely perfect advice.


6095511_s GizaThe pyramid effect with essential layer at the top, next paragraph less important, with the remainder being the least important information is a structure I’m quite happy with.


Some sites recommend a relevant quote from the author; some others strongly advise that the quote matter should come from a third party. What is common is that the quote should, in some form, corroborate the information given in the first paragraph.

I agree with most sites I looked at on what should constitute a last paragraph. That it should include the basic details of the venture, and information on the author/subject of the press release is reasonable – information the newspaper editor, or indeed the reading public, can use easily.

Some sites say that, nowadays, the inclusion of a relevant internet link to previous publicity is a good idea – I like that idea, too, since it saves on journalist time- though I’m wondering what they do if I write the whole item?

Ensure you know the best person to send the press release to is easier said than done. 14274236_sA provincial newspaper may display editorial information and who to send to for what – but that’s not the case with the national newspapers I looked at in Scotland. Central contact only is displayed. It’s very good to read the advice on the internet that says do more research to find out who in the newspaper is the best contact, but time is a precious thing. (I might need it to write more blog articles like this one!)

One of the most crushing pieces of advice I read, today, was when it said that I should have included the press release in the main body of the email – the reason being that most reporters won’t open an attachment from someone they don’t know. When you have to send to a central email address, the main ‘switchboard’ of the newspaper, will the person receiving it read every email, if they are more than a page long? This one could be one major mistake that I’ve made, today, since I did send as an attachment. But then again, there are sites that recommend an email submission should include visual information- images and video material. You have to send them as attachments!  In fact I sent on my book cover image as an attachment.


So maybe I need to rethink my strategies. And do a resend with the press release in the main body of the email – but would that seem like harassment?

Nonetheless, I’ve boiled down writing a press release to a little list that I personally can handle.

Headline-eye catching

Lead Paragraph:

Who & What – my key message, ultimate objective and target audience

When & Where & How –duration of competition voting and how to vote link


Links for me and my books

Most important first, least important last.

To add the press release that I sent would make this way too long a post, so I’ve posted it on my blog. Anyone who is fabulously gifted at writing press releases I urge you to take a peek and tell me where I’ve gone wrong and tell me what would make an improvement to a next one. Please???? You’ll find it at http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com

Here’s another site I scanned in my quest: http://www.infoscavenger.com/prtips.htm

x600Nancy’s novels can be found in print and ebook formats at:   http://amzn.to/RJZzZz  They are also available from Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Crooked Cat Bookstore, The Wild Rose Press Site, W.H. Smiths, Waterstones.

Wishing you a happy weekend!

A Few Thoughts on Advertising

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander Author of Fearless Fiction

I am a little frustrated now.  I’ve been trying to work on Yahoo but am inundated with clickable ads.  It seems that every time I move my mouse it hits the pop-up ad and I am redirected to something I don’t want to watch and certainly don’t want to buy.  It definitely adds time to my already-busy schedule and I am unhappy about using the free version of Yahoo because of all the ads!  I know that I can switch to the premium version for a small fee.  I did that last year and spent months getting everything sorted out between my two accounts.  I finally gave up and terminated the plan.


My blog post isn’t really about my unhappiness with Yahoo it’s about ads.  These days have gone from a few billboards on the freeway and a sign or two in a drugstore window to being slapped with ads everywhere you go.  And they are loud!  On television the audio ramps up when commercials come on.  Do the powers that be think we are deaf?  We generally mute the commercials now.  When you are driving down the freeway ads are provocative, sometimes with half-naked people who are promoting something like tractors or toothpaste.  No wonder so many cars swerve into the ditch!peterbilt

Everywhere on the Internet ads abound.  There are writers and entrepreneurs who post several times daily about their product.  In my estimation, less is more.  Yes, we want people to take a look at our latest book or the big freebie giveaway, but does it have to be every other post?

pillsbury feedsI confess I miss the ads painted on the sides of barns that made our mouths water at the sight ofbarncream a little old granny at a big wood stove pulling out a batch of fresh-baked biscuits, but the wording was short and sweet, the barn was big enough so the sign was readable and there weren’t many other billboards to be seen.

The latest phase of loud advertisements is the barrage of “emails” to your inbox or Spam.  I’ve received everything from “Wisconsin Drivers Need to Know This Little Known Rule” to “Hey Baby.  This is Angelique.  Wanna have a good time?  I haven’t heard from you lately and I’d like to.”

In the first place, I’ve never met and never want to meet Angelique.  Why on earth would these ads appear in the inbox or spam box of a heterosexual middle-aged woman?  Hmmm, I wonder if hubby’s been using the computer again?

free adsWe receive a community shopper’s guide every week for our area.  Yep, four page ads for groceries, full-page ads for cars and trucks and you need to use a microscope to read what’s for sale and community events.

I am a news junkie and admit to clicking on news articles that interest me but the articles have a good hooks with an enticing picture and I’m hooked.  Do I really need to know about the two-headed kitten, a celebrity who just got her latest boob job or tummy tuck, or old news brought back to life – just another look in different words?  But I find myself clicking anyway, just to see what it’s all about.

beerMy point? Ads are good.  Ads are important.  Ads introduce us to the latest in new products, kfcbooks, vacation spots and much more.  I fell into the rut of being overzealous when I wrote my first book, Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders.  I knew nothing about marketing and I jumped into the fray on Facebook and posted to every group I belonged to.  It about wore me out!  I learned some things along the way.  We have to market or we don’t sell.  Nancy Jardine, Cherley Grogg and Gayle Irwin are all writers I respect and because they don’t “over post” I read and share their book ads and other newsworthy things. (Don’t worry, I share all of your posts on my page) but the aforementioned three writers twisted my arm so I’d put their names in the blog (for advertising purposes, I’m sure).  I know my time would be put to better use if I actually sat down to write instead of clicking on every interesting ad or post I think I might be interested in.


Alas, the marketing is here to stay and may even get much more aggressive as the years go on.  I’m going to have to make a battle plan.  While I can’t ignore the billboards because they’re right in front of my face as I drive down the freeway I can ignore all of the spam on the Internet.  This may be a hard things to do, because I really want to know where and when that celebrity got her boob job (who knows, I might need that information some day) and the two-headed kitten is sooooo cute!  But, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to shut off the Internet while writing (except for research, dictionaries, thesaurus and the like) and I promise not to stray into other areas if I see a link to something totally unrelated to what I’m working on.

I’ve started by getting all social media out of the way in the morning when I wake up, after my daily meditation.  I don’t do any more with email or banking, etc. for the rest of the day.  Of course, once I’ve started a promotion I have to adjust a little but it’s all for a good cause, right?

Here is a link for an interesting look at how advertising has evolved over the years.


In closing I’d like to say:


OK, that’s my ad for the day.  What do you think?  Am I all wrong?  How do ads affect your life?  I’d really like to know.gorilla

Books by L.Leander:

Jumping on the bandwagon…

This post is by Nancy Jardine
This post is by Nancy Jardine

 Jumping on the bandwagon…

Yes, I admit it; I’m sort of doing this just now. However, before I relate my tale what does that phrase mean to me? And to people in general?

Jumping on the bandwagon: to become involved in an activity which is successful so that you can get the advantages of it yourself; to support something that is popular; supporting something/someone who/that is on the popular side of an issue; taking a popular position. (list compiled from different dictionaries)

 I always knew the meaning above but had not really thought about its origin. I had a vague notion that a ‘bandwagon’ back in Victorian times was a wagon which carried the band in a parade, circus or other entertainment and it was that Victorian tradition which had been carried on into the twentieth century.

I decided to check my facts before using the phrase today, and, I admit it was also because I needed a little distraction from doing other promotional post writing for the December launch of my newest historical novel.

Dan Rice circa 1840s. A daguerreotype portrait...
Dan Rice circa 1840s. A daguerreotype portrait by Thomas M. Easterly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I didn’t know was that ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ was coined after an American politician, Dan Rice, used his bandwagon back in 1848 to further his political campaign. Famous already for being a circus clown Dan Rice capitalised on his ability to entertain from his bandwagon to drum up support. The music his band played atop the wagon was highly effective in gaining the attention of supporters.

As his travelling campaign became more successful, other political candidates elbowed their way onto his bandwagon. In getting a seat on it they hoped that Dan Rice’s success would rub off on them. In subsequent years the political campaign had a standard ‘bandwagon’ element. Unfortunately, by 1900, the term ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ had acquired a slightly derogatory meaning in that the association might be slightly questionable.

So what bandwagon have I jumped on?

The coming week 25th November through to the 1st December is nominated as Book Week Scotland. When I was teaching, my school got involved in a version of this special country -wide week which is set aside to encourage people to read more. In class, that meant planning some kind of special activities to make reading a really entertaining activity. The head teacher always invited authors or illustrators in to school to do little workshops about writing for children, and to talk about their books. Book distribution companies came to display and sell their books. We had a ‘dress up’ day as a book character- that sort of thing.

Book Week Scotland

Now that I’m no longer teaching, I’m not involved in school activities (my own writing not suitable for school visits, at present) but I did, rashly, sign myself up to do something back in July for Book Week Scotland when I saw the publicity drive. Typically, I forgot I had done that. A couple of weeks ago, a little email prompted me to put my event on the map of Scotland.

18243339_sPanic! I had to think on my feet. I’ve been so busy making plans, writing blog posts for my next book launch for the second book in my Celtic Fervour series of historical romantic adventures on the 16th December. Was there a way I could do something for the community AND promote/sell my own books?

In comes the bandwagon.

A writer/ creator of ‘Think You Know, Page-A-Day, Trivia Desk Calendars’ has become a recent local contact. We put our heads together. For a Book Week Scotland event there must be a FREE element for the community and it has to be ‘book related’. The local tiny café, The Peerie Pantry (name means  a tasty little bite) has agreed to be our host for our St. Andrew’s Day (30th November) Drop-In Quiz.Saltire 15486670_s

St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, is celebrated on the 30th November so this conveniently gives us reason to set FUN questions which include Scottish novels, Scottish Comic book characters etc. From 2-5 pm we will have ‘scrolling True/False questions’ displayed on my laptop, the answers shouted out by those presently in the café. There will also be a  FREE ENTRY Quiz Sheet – again easy True/False questions- for the chance to WIN  copies of my novels and Glen’s calendars. We’ll be selling our calendars and novels at a bargain price for the event and hopefully, I’ll do a bit of book signing as well.

Not to waste the opportunity, I’ll be promoting my forthcoming novel AFTER WHORL-BRAN REBORN and another  surprise to do with my ancestral mystery- TOPAZ EYES – the details of which I’m not allowed to reveal until the day (my publisher’s rule!) Don’t you love secrets! I’ll be able to reveal that in my next post…

www.123rf.com Image acquired for my use
http://www.123rf.com Image acquired for my use

Phew! All organised very quickly last weekend. By Tuesday I had the advertising poster created on my laptop and copies printed. At least 10 copies are now displayed in our local shops (we only have a few since our Aberdeenshire village isn’t that large). The tickets are free but people are encouraged to book their table for a half hour slot. Tickets for this were also down at the café by Tuesday. I emailed our two local rags to see if they can help with publicity. I’ve got ourselves an article posted on the local official Village website, an advert on the café’s Facebook page and we should soon be on that Book Week Scotland MAP!

Can you see where the bandwagon comes in?Tues Am

 I COULD make up all the quiz questions myself but I’m so….very …relieved that my co-organiser is going to do that for us! Yes- he does make up quiz questions for his livelihood, i.e. for his Trivia calendar business, and he will be much better at True/False than I would. I’m definitely jumping on HIS bandwagon!

Fingers crossed that the event is busy.

 Nancy Jardine can be found at the following places: Amazon UK author page   Amazon US author page   Blog    Website   Facebook  Goodreads   About Me   LinkedIn   Twitter @nansjar  Google+ 

frontx 1000I’m totally delighted that I can now share the fantastic cover for my forthcoming historical romantic adventure, AFTER WHORL-BRAN REBORN, the second book in my Celtic Fervour series which will be launched on the 16th December 2013

Playing a behind the scenes role.

Nancy blog shot 1This post is by Nancy Jardine 

I’ve been spending some time this last week planning and writing blog posts for my December virtual launch tour for AFTER WHORL-BRAN REBORN, the second book in my historical Celtic Fervour  series – attempting to get an early head start on them. Lots of excellent people have invited me to write guest posts about it, and I’m finding it’s quite challenging to come up with a fresh approach for every visit.

I don’t know about all the authors who are reading this post, but when I write promotional material about my own writing I almost feel like it wasn’t me who sat at that keyboard writing that book. It’s almost as though there was someone else orchestrating it because, as the marketer, it’s a different version of me who is now doing the promoting. A new persona.

image use bought for me from www.123rf.com
image use bought for me from http://www.123rf.com

What exactly does the author need to write in a promotional post to attract new readers to their work, or encourage past readers to pick up another of their books? What is going to engage the interest of the blog visitor? What will show off the writing in best light? Being the ‘mercenary marketer’, what will ultimately garner more reviews and more sales?  I know I can add incentives like run a competition to win something the commenter might cherish- I’ve tried that before, I’m not certain of its success, though will probably try it again. I don’t have a Newsletter list of followers yet, but intend to sort that out soon.  I’ll be pouring over that ‘Try anything once‘ list of ideas and will decide what’s feasible within my limited budget.

What are the variables that the author can control, and what is largely out of their control?

I’d love some new answers to those questions, but I’m realistic enough to know that sometimes there are circumstances which aren’t totally under my control. Once I send off my blog posts to my hosts I’ll wait till the due date. When I know that my post on their blog is ‘live’, I’ll promote the visit across places I’m linked to: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc and maybe Yahoo groups if appropriate. I’ll pop in to their blog and comment – give my thanks, and respond to any visitor comments. Apart from that, can I actually do any more? I don’t think so. Once all that’s done it’s largely out of my hands, though I obviously hope for positive feedback. I know how that goes, as it’s so difficult to fit in time to comment in more than a few places each day.

Essentially, I’ve driven that action in the first instance and then it’s over to circumstance and environmental factors. On the due dates, if I have personal internet problems with commenting (broken laptop or something) I’ll be very upset and very apologetic, but till whatever is fixed I’ll have to live with circumstances which have not been in my original plan. If there’s a total shutdown of the internet (SHUDDER/HORROR) for a couple of weeks neither myself nor my hosts will be able to do anything about it. Circumstances and cyber environment controls all when it’s a virtual launch tour.

image use purchased for me from www.123rf.com
image use purchased for me from http://www.123rf.com

I got to thinking about who the driving forces are in AFTER WHORL-BRAN REBORN and found the answers quite interesting. Who prompts the actual events which occur in my novel? Is it my main characters who create the action all the time? Alternatively, is it the circumstances themselves which drive the actions of the characters –although they are making up their own minds about what to do and how it affects them on an immediate basis? Does the environment matter in my Celtic adventure novel? The answers are simple. Circumstances make my main male character tread a different path from he was earlier expecting to, and for a time he’s unable to make all of his own decisions. The environment he lives in is crucial to not being able to make all of his own choices and see them carried out. If that sounds mysterious it’s because there will be no spoilers coming from me just yet!

In AFTER WHORL-BRAN REBORN my characters find themselves in turbulent times. Essentially it was a war zone back in AD 71. The Roman Army is creeping northwards subduing and terrorising the local Brigante Celts after their defeat at the battle at Whorl- as mentioned in The Beltane Choice, the first novel in my series. When a ruthlessly brutal army are breathing down your neck it’s not always easy to immediately burst free of the imprisoning conditions you’re forced to live in. For Bran, my Brigante warrior, it takes time and some clever planning for his circumstances to change to the extent that he can begin to drive the action in his own fashion, to his own benefit and to the benefit of his countrymen.

County map of England & Wales, overlaid with T...
County map of England & Wales, overlaid with Territory of the Romano-British Brigantes Tribe of Northern England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I will say is that there’s a name which crops up throughout my second-in-the-series novel – Petilius Cerialis, the Roman Governor of Britannia – whose policies and decisions affect Bran and his fellow Brigantes. Though Cerialis never actually appears as a ‘proper’ character, never has any speech in my novel, he is very guilty of causing the action to occur. In a sense, he’s like me as the marketer of my books.

In the background, he’s driven the action in the first instances and then waits unseen while the events unfold.  

Are those environmental and circumstantial factors necessary in all novels to drive the action, or just in historical adventures? I’d love to read what you think about that …and any helpful marketing tips

BeltaneB 500The Beltane Choice is availble now if you have not yet read the first in my Celtic Fervour series.

After Whorl- Bran Reborn will be available from December 16th 2013.

Number three in the series is expected around March of 2014.

Amazon   Barnes and Noble   Smashwords   W.H. Smith   Waterstones …and other ebook stores.


Find Nancy at the following places:  Amazon US author page     Website    Blog   Facebook     LinkedIN   About Me   

 Goodreads  Twitter @nansjar  Google+ (Nancy Jardine)   YouTubebook trailer videos   Amazon UK author page

Have a great weekend!

Site for useful blog tour ideas