Great Kirkus Review

Woohoo! Got a really good Kirkus Review for When a Stranger Comes…

In this psychological thriller, an author hoping to match her bestselling debut’s success signs a lucrative contract that nudges her into a nightmarish world.

Alexa Wainwright has written quite a few novels since her first book. But while A Foregone Conclusion stayed at No. 1 for a year, her subsequent works haven’t cracked the top 10. Her chance to be a winner again comes from her copy editor, Margaret Hathaway, who introduces Alexa to Alex. His last name is eerily Wainwright, and he is a dead ringer for Foregone character Rick. Alex wants to make Alexa’s not-yet-completed trilogy into a film, but she resists, as the movie adaptation of her debut bombed. The full offer from the company Alex represents, Trinity of Sixes, is unbelievable, promising millions for movies and future books. Reluctant, Alexa meets CEO/Chairman King Blakemore, a surreal encounter in which the novelist is disoriented and sees others resembling characters from her stories. She’s later shocked to learn she has evidently signed a contract with the company. As Trinity slowly turns her newest psychological tale into an erotica piece for mass appeal, Alexa is stuck; the contract language keeps inexplicably changing, closing off potential loopholes. She’s soon certain the company name is a sign: Alexa has made a deal with the devil. Bell’s (Sunspots, 2012, etc.) novel is a sometimes-convoluted but riveting story. Readers, for example, will be just as startled as Alexa by plot twists: her apparent doppelgänger; the suddenly appearing basement door in her home; and a surprising death or two. Answers aren’t easy to come by, which is befitting of the protagonist, who entertains notions that she’s being drugged, hallucinating, or perhaps losing her mind. Regardless, her plight is grounded by her parallel, Jodie, her more relatable literary character drawn to abusive relationships, akin to Alexa’s inability to escape the ruthless contract. The final act addresses various mysteries, including Alexa’s murky history (she isn’t sure of her mother’s birth date), while the ending is appropriately—and smartly—open to interpretation.

A methodically paced but wholly engaging literary tale that revels in its dreamlike plot.–Kirkus Reviews

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End of 2017 musings

It was a year of highs and lows. The lowest point came watching an ignorant and selfish con man get sworn in as president. And he did not disappoint. He has a assembled a cabinet of billionaires whose main function is to dismantle the agencies they head. Rolled back protections for the environment and workers, diminished this country in the eyes of world leaders, and stoked the flames of divisiveness at home. No, he has not disappointed but good will eventually prevail over evil and this subhuman will not be president forever. Sad that he will go down in history among superior men.

I published my third book, When a Stranger Comes... and so far, for the most part, the reviews are quite good. And I finally finished recording my audible book for Walking with Elephants–a two year project. DONE!!!

Exciting travel marked this year with a cruise on the Baltic Sea with stops in St Petersburg and Helsinki among other ports. Then there was the Cayman Islands and Iceland and Germany in Dec. Trying to get a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights. Alas, bad weather brought dashed hopes.

I look forward to 2018 with joy and hope. So far my health has been pretty good for an old broad and new writing projects keep me enthused. It is quite wonderful to observe the emerging power of women. Taking a stand for themselves and running for office. I will always vote for a woman, because we understand what’s important. Go women! Go women in the 2018 midterms.

For all my subscribers and readers of my blog posts, I wish a happy and healthy 2018. May you dream of a better life for yourselves and your families and by having that dream, you can make it happen.

#resist

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A word to the wise

All  virtual book tours are not the same. It’s impossible to vet them but I had found a website that recommended Enchanted Book Promotions. It seemed legitimate. It had a review only option and that’s just what I wanted. After a few weeks, I contacted,  Majanka who owns the site to see if there was anyone who signed up for a review. She said four people had signed up and in fact two reviews were posted on Goodreads and Amazon. At the time I didn’t realize that the owner of this tour’s name was Majanka. So someone named Carli posted a really good review on Amazon. Five stars with a lot of praise. I loved reading it, so I went back to read it again. It was gone. There was another review by Majanka on Amazon giving me four stars and in a short while that review was pulled as well. Two reviewers from the same promotion company had their reviews pulled. I wrote EBP. Majanka had no idea why Carli’s review was pulled and she said Carli was looking into it. Then I realized that Majanka was the owner. So the owner is forbidden to post on Amazon? Very suspicious. I’m thinking that she and Carli are the same person.

This is a very busy lady. She supposed to be in law school, is a prolific author, and manages several websites and this promotion company. Needless to say she has stopped interacting with me, took my money and there are no reviews forthcoming. Majanka did post her review on Goodreads but Carli has not, even though I requested it so I don’t know  if it’s because Carli is Majanka. I also found a site that has analyzed Enchanted Book Promotions and it says it resides in Brazil. When I sent her money through PayPal it wanted to charge me more for sending money out of the US.

So buyer beware.

 

 

 

 

 

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Facing reality

Here’s the situation. Selling one’s art is a hard business. Too many sites are giving away books or if not free almost free at 99 cents. Readers expect that now from indie authors and from traditionally published books close to becoming remainders. Too much free stuff out there so how can one attract a paying readership? Well, first get published by Penguin et.al, be touted as a bestselling author, and get a large advance. For the unknown indie author you become like the Maytag repairman with a big difference. The repairman doesn’t work for free but indie authors do. Oh, there are success stories about how by giving away your work as a loss leader brings a paying readership. It happens…sometimes. Also, I’ve noticed that some indie books have thousands of reviews and even some traditionally published work have thousands of reviews. Of this I am very suspicious. I think you can buy programs or companies that create reviews with bots. But thousands of good reviews do bring some paying customers. And if you buy enough of your own books it can became a best seller. Lots of scams to fake the paying readership.

So what is an indie author like me to do? Face reality and give in. So I took my award-winning book Sunspots off Smashwords and Google and made it exclusive to Amazon KDP Select and I’m giving it away in a five-day promotion. You can download a free copy here:

amzn.to/2A9Fm82

There have already been 6 downloads on the first morning after months of nothing.

Oh well. A writer needs to be read and luckily my living expanses are covered. So please read Sunspots. I know you’ll enjoy it as can be testified by the really good real reviews.

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A month of accomplishments

I grabbed the bull by the horns and went for it. I had gotten impatient and annoyed at the query route. Rejections were piled so high I couldn’t breathe. I reworked the letter several times, rejections kept coming. What to do? Life is too short to be at the mercy of finding the one “yes.”  So I just went for it. Got my book ready for Kindle and ready for paperback. All the files were ready to go and I hit send. Voila. Live on Kindle and live on Kindle Direct Publishing. I chose KDP because I thought it was the new direction away from Createspace. Yes and No. Createspace offers better distribution than KDP but I didn’t know that.  In time, KDP will expand its distribution and I suspect Createspace will go away. Too bad the distribution right now is so limited. Only Amazon outlets. Oh well. But my sales reports for Kindle and paperback are in the same place. So fingers crossed I made the right decision.

Then I just went for it with my audible book. Took all my files and uploaded and held my breath. ACX checks for quality and structure of your files. I made a few mistakes with combining my dedication and opening. Easy peasy fix. Sweated out the quality part because I just sat with a mike in front of my computer. No recording studio. I learned how to use Audacity software to edit extraneous sounds, add some consonants that had dropped off, and rerecord bad parts of sentences. Viola, it passed the quality check. Two years of dedication to this project. I kept editing and editing and my husband said “enough just send it in.” I did and now it’s DONE and for sale. WOW!!!

Then I had I hard time with Facebook’s like box for my website. Facebook changed the way to create it and now it was set up for developers working with source code. I used iWeb to create my site and it wouldn’t let me edit the source code. I called Apple for help and found out that iWeb was no longer supported. Stopped years ago. The tech guy suggested Sandvox. So, I was hesitant to learn a new web design software, but I just went for it. I discovered that built into the software was an easy way to create the Facebook like box. Voila! Easy Peasy.

What’s next? Working on my next book project and narrating my next audible book. Plenty of stuff to keep me busy for awhile.

You can find my new book here: Kindle and paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/When-Stranger-Comes-Karen-Bell-ebook/dp/B075MR6JVG

https://www.amazon.com/When-Stranger-Comes-Karen-Bell/dp/1549772325

My audible book here:

https://www.amazon.com/Walking-with-Elephants/dp/B076FH15MX

And newly redesigned website here:

http://www.karensbell.com

 

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