Trying to Market in a Greedy World!

Right now, as I write this it’s 53 degrees (Fahrenheit, for any in the Celsius zones). It’s a drizzly day. Kinda raw, but better than the outrageously cold March we had, after an unusually warm January and February. But, that’s New England for ya. Anyway, I didn’t come here to discuss weather.

So, for those interested in my books, I “revamped” my vampire series covers (first 3 books, Book 4 will be out in May)! I did them myself, as I do all my book covers. Fortunately, this time, I had the help a very nice and talented designer, Mariah Sinclair.  She didn’t do the covers for me, but she advised me in making them better. Here are the covers for my Fate of the True Vampires series now…








The reason I needed to redo these covers was because, a) I wanted them to stand out and tell the story better, and because, b) They are a series and should LOOK like a series, despite the books all being set in various times and geographical locations.

I think I got the mood pretty well.

I also did a little renewing of Book One for Beyond Every Mirror.


All of this is because I really NEED to sell more books and make my brand as an author.  Now for my “vent.” Part of this came about because I am on disability and have VERY limited income or resources. I am no spring chicken, but would love to get off state aid (which gives me pretty much nothing) and actually LIVE my life before it’s too late. Unfortunately, marketing books so people will buy them costs a LOT of money and I have no idea at what point I will actually make money… Writing is pretty much all I know (besides acting… but other than a short movie I was in last year that will be out this spring, I am not in a position at the moment to travel to auditions). Henceforth, I write!! It has taken me a couple years (and a lot of money wasted that I couldn’t afford to waste) to learn what works and what doesn’t in book marketing, and I am still trying to figure it out because it keeps changing!!

My biggest gripe is that some of my best free marketing vehicles are now charging… The biggest being Goodreads!! I am very angry with them right now. Every new book release in the past, I have run to Goodreads to do a giveaway. They were free, you just had to pay for the books you mailed to winners. I loved it!!! It worked. Now… they want over $100 to do a giveaway!! When all you make is about $500 a month and you have more than $600/month in bills, that is a LOT of money!! So, when I released Blood Moon in February (my first released self-pub in a year due to unforeseen terrible circumstances), I went straight to Goodreads to do a giveaway. Imagine my shock when they no longer offered free giveaways! O-M-G! And it wasn’t like they had any inexpensive options, either! Yep, their cheapest (which, as stated above, is far from cheap) is  $119 to start… the next package (there’s only TWO) is $599.00! If I had $600 to spend on a giveaway, I wouldn’t need the giveaway.

There are other examples, but this one is the best example of a company gone greedy (don’t get me started on Amazon). Isn’t there ANYONE out there willing to help authors with major financial burdens who want to write and sell books to get OUT of their major financial burden?

Stay tuned as I will be doing LIVE giveaways on my Facebook site (which you can find here).

The Day his Purr Stopped

Life has become crazy beyond description, and not in a good way, unfortunately.

Well, ok, some things are not horrible, such as my novel Beyond Every Mirror, which is doing ok in sales and getting great reviews. A few missed editing errors cost me a few stars in a couple reviews, but all editing errors have been fixed, so that shouldn’t be an issue anymore. It’s difficult to have to do it all by yourself; publishing… Self-publishing is a difficult endeavor. My goal is to get back to traditional publishing (where I don’t have to pay for an editor, etc). Fortunately, as I do professional editing, I am able for the most part to edit my own books, but it’s easy to miss things. Hence, once I can afford it, an outside editor will be hired. Cover design as well I have so far done myself, and as a professional photographer (I am just a ‘Jill of all Trades’ lol) I know enough graphic design to do a fairly decent cover (apparently, since my cover for Beyond Every Mirror is up for a cover design award) and I am studying graphic design daily to learn more and more tricks for making really cool covers.

As for the craziness in my life, if you love cats, you will sympathize. Two of my mother’s cats have become ill. Not related. Fluffy Kitty, a gorgeous and large 19 lb Silver Maine Coon I rescued when he showed up one terrible winter and started sleeping on the love seat on my porch. He was un-neutered and gorgeous. Not expecting to keep him, as I already had a house full of foster and rescued felines, I named him, simply “Fluffy Kitty” due to his heavy coat. He turned out to be the absolute epitome of the indoor cat! Once he was neutered, tested and inoculated, he was inside and PURRRfectly happy. The most loving cat I have ever met (and that is a LOT of cats). He is obsessed with always being in laps and his purr never stops.

Day before yesterday, however, his purr stopped.

He acted lethargic, disoriented. He was at the vet hospital all yesterday and today we transferred him to a veterinary neurologist. A month or so ago, he developed a severe infection behind his right eye. I think this is somehow related, even though they were able to cure the infection at the time, I believe some was deep and left behind, thus working into his brain somehow. Vets have agreed with me, but he’s getting an MRI tomorrow to be sure and see if there’s something underlying.

His best friend, Humphries, also saw the vet yesterday due to not eating and vomiting bile. His issue, as I knew, was due to bad teeth. Easy fix. With my mother also in the hospital today, this was a most stressful day! The “saving grace” of the day, if you can call it such, was twofold: My novel, Beyond Every Mirror, received a good review through the most important review company in the world! And my mother received a clean bill of health. But, the worry over Fluffy Kitty (not to mention the expense) is beyond stressful.

Bookwise, I will have “Sands of Time: Extended Special Edition” will be out soon all over the place, in all ebook formats and paperback.

In the meantime, if you love romance fantasy pick up a copy of Beyond Every Mirror. You will be pleased that you did.


Watch my website for contests and giveaways!






New Books, Giveaway and Tour

Happy New Year to EVERYONE!!!!  Now that 2017 is upon us, I wanted to write a post on all the fantastic plans I have for this year! This is not something to miss, particularly if you love to read romantic fantasy and win wonderful free prizes!!

Sands of Time, Special Edition: Still in the works, this Special Edition of Sands of Time, will have extra material, new scrolls never before seen, and be fleshed out and revised. Whether or not you read “Sands of Time,” you will want to get this book. VIP members who have gained good standing on my newsletter/email list will receive some of these new writings FREE!

Anthology:  Do you love horror stories? I will be putting out a collection of short horror stories that I wrote and were published many many years ago. If you like horror and want a fun quick read, this little book will please you greatly.

BOOK THREE, Fate of the True Vampires series will be out in the spring!! It’s called Blood Moon: Diary of a Highland Massacre. It will be deep and involved! If you love vampires, Scottish hottest and a darn good, yet unique tale, this one’s for you!!


In the meantime, check out my book blog tours… giveaways galore! You can find them at www.christinechurch/net/events-tours.


Foster cat has a name

Her name is Pixie. I came about her name by posting to my Facebook account that she needed a name. I was offered many suggestions and most were terrific, but PIxie stuck out. Since this little momma cat is very small, and well, looks Pixi-ish, that became her name. And it suits her. Thank you to all who gave their suggestions.

Hard to Handle Horse

I know this is Cat on the Keyboard, but I work with horses and well, and will occasionally share a horse article of mine.

In the years I have had my horse and been working with and around horses, I have noticed something interesting. Many people — trainers included — haven’t the slightest clue on how to handle an “out of control” horse. This includes young horses, spastic horses, green horses, loose horses, etc. These same people are often the first ones to hop on a horse known to buck and rear in an attempt to fix the problem. So, what is it that makes so many horse people balk at handling a horse that’s a bit nuts on the ground? Is it a fear of being kicked, bitten, stepped on or trampled?

I don’t know their answer, but I do know that when it comes to handling a crazy horse I would much rather (and am more secure) at handling them on the ground than from the top of them.  

Really, handling horses on the ground is not that difficult. But, you need to actually have no fear of this tall animal looming before you.

Yesterday, a young horse at our stable got loose. I didn’t chase him, which is rule number one. Never chase a loose horse. Keep an eye on them and try to keep them from danger areas like the road, but don’t chase. You won’t win! If you have a horse that’s saddled up and experienced in herding (or is capable of it) you can herd the horse to a safer locale if you want. This happened once with me at another boarding barn. I was riding and my trainer grabbed my horse to herd a horse back home that has gotten loose and was heading through another field on someone else’s farm. My horse was not a trained herding horse, had never done team penning or any of the like. But she knew how to control him and he was brilliant at taking her cues and herding the run-away back to the barn.

Back to yesterdays adventure. The young horse (he is 2 years old with no training) galloped happily through the big field in front of the stables. I kept my car and myself between him and the road for safety, but otherwise I just watched. He sure did look beautiful, and happy. Eventually, he ran past me on the correct side, towards the stable and ran into his stall/walk-out. But he was back out before anyone could get there to close the gate. I repositioned my car once again to keep him closer to the barn and even farther away from the road.

There was a lesson going on in the outdoor arena and several people riding. The arena is very close to a small paddock and the small barns, one of which holds his stall/walk-out. Fortunately, he did not run down the path past the arena to the big barns, but instead ran into the small paddock where a student’s dad closed the gate, trapping him.

The owner’s daughter was there, on the phone with her mom, the stable owner. I heard her say “I’m not going in there to get him!” The young horse was still prancing, bucking and snorting. I stated, “I will get him.” I asked for a lead rope then went in.  The owner’s daughter was still standing there, watching. “Be careful, he kicks,” she stated. I assured her not to worry. I had handled crazier and younger with no muss, no fuss.

Now, here’s where we get to why so many people have trouble catching and/or handling these types of horses. Once again, assuming they can catch the horse easier in an enclosed area, they proceed to chase. The horse runs and perhaps bucks. This is dangerous and counter-productive to the horse’s training. Horses are hard wired to run away. It’s what they do. And young horses with a lot of energy and little experience are the biggest offenders.

What I did was nothing. I just stood there and let him run around until he realized I was not going to chase him. Then, he slowed down and walked around. I took a slow step towards him, talking to him in a casual conversation tone. “Hey buddy, how you doing? Look at that hay over there, doesn’t that look yummy?”

As he moved I took a single step nearer to him, nothing threatening. The last thing you want is to be threatening or let the horse on to your plan. Remember, horses are intuitive and instinct tells them to sense threats, even something as simple as being caught by a trusting human. Be calm, be gentle, be non-threatening.

Eventually, he made his way over to sniff the hay, so I walked over. He moved into the corner of the paddock. Again, here is a big no-no mistake a lot of people make; he’s trapped in the corner, now we can get him! No! There’s your key…trapped! Fight or flight. If he feels he cannot get away that’s when you have to worry about getting kicked or trampled. He was still near the hay and water bucket, so I reached down and grabbed some wet hay from the bucket, sniffed at it and gentle spoke. “Mmm, delicious. Wouldn’t you like some of this hay?” I put the hay down and stood there. Patience is key! It only took about ten more seconds and he came over to see this curious human who had been just standing in the paddock with him for the last five minutes. I pet his face gentle and eased the lead rope on.

The next step is another area where many people err: leading the horse away once caught. Most assume, “hey, I got the horse. I no longer need to be gentle or cautious.” Wrong! particularly with young and very energetic horses. Suddenly they realize they are no longer in an enclosed area and some will try to get away.  As this young horse tested me, I looked him in the eye, shanked the lead lightly just once, at the same time firmly stating, “relax!”  Then I stood in that spot and pet him until he calmed and realized he couldn’t intimidate me into letting go, and that we were going nowhere until he was calm. In a case like this, a chain over the nose can be helpful, but is not always necessary.

Walking him away, I put my right hand on his shoulder, my left hand held the lead. This I do with all horses that don’t lead well. This keeps the horse at a respectful distance from you, while at the time providing a bit of comfort for the horse. It also helps you to respond faster if the horse tenses suddenly you will know something may happen, and be prepared to react. I also talked to him gently the entire time. Never dismiss the power of gentle speech. And never dismiss the power of patience and calmness, always!