Questions, News, and Brain Picking. Plus, a Teaser!

It’s been a while since I posted a general news post, and as it happens, I have a few topics to discuss, so that’s what today’s post will be. Questions, news, and brain picking.

The new WordPress editor. Do you love it or hate it? It’s taking me a lot longer to write posts because I’m still getting used to it, but I think overall I’m going to like the ‘block style’ editor. What I do have a major problem with though, is when scheduling posts, the little calendar where you select the date of your post, no longer shows little blue dots indicating other posts that are already scheduled for that day. This means, if I want to schedule months in advance (which I do) I have to use an independent calendar, and mentally plan it all out, instead of relying on the little calendar in the WP editor. Anyone else found this an issue? Got a work around? Otherwise I’ll put in a request to the WP team to address it.

I’m also having trouble getting Grammarly (Chrome Extension) to work in the new block editor. It used to work fine, now it doesn’t show up. Very annoying as there’s no spell check in WP editor (unless you’ve found one I’ve missed)? What have been your experiences so far?

Bookbub. So, I’ve gotten myself a profile on Bookbub. I don’t know much about it yet, haven’t really played much, but any tool that can help us indie writers has to be a good thing right? Any of you use Bookbub? To what extent? I’m going to do a bit of a search later and see if I can find some of you to follow. Any hints, tips, and advice would be most welcome!

Book pricing. Okay, so this one is doing my head in. What price should I set for my debut book, Guns of Perdition? I settled on $3.49 (US) at the outset, but I’ve recently shifted to $0.99 to see if I get any traction saleswise from a 99 cent pricepoint. I just worry now it’s too low. What about you all? How do you price your books? Do you have a method? Care to share it?

Writing and the WIP. This has been a hard week at ‘the day job’, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for writing. I did, however, get through a scene that I’ve been pretty stuck on for a few weeks. It felt so good to get out of that damn bar! It was just one of those scenes where a lot of research was necessary, and careful word choice needed. Hopefully the next few chapters will roll out pretty smoothly. I’ve got a very unpolished teaser from the current WIP – Sins of the Lamb, The Armageddon Showdown Book II. Please enjoy, and thanks for reading and (hopefully) commenting below!

Extract – Sins of the Lamb, The Armageddon Showdown Book II

Footsteps jolted her from her reverie, and Abigail swiveled to see a man approach the bar. She slumped as she recognized yet another foppish dandy. This one was clad in what she assumed were expensive clothes, clean, but rumpled, his shirt unbuttoned to his breastbone, a necktie loose and dangling. A pair of outrageous suspenders bowed across a well-defined chest, and as he sauntered, he kept one hand casually tucked into his pants pocket. Most astoundingly though, was the charcoal-like makeup applied around his eyes.  

As the young man approached the bar, the remaining bartender, who had been focused on cleaning for the past hour, paused, cracked a grin, and ambled down the length of the bar. “Oliver. Haven’t seen you all night, old sport. Gin Rickey?” 

The young man leaned against the bar, a smile sliding across his lips. “Pos-I-lute-ly, old fruit. Been busy. Did I miss Ethel’s scav hunt?”    

“Afraid so. They should be back any moment.” The bartender replied. He set to work mixing a drink.

Ethel’s name on the young man’s lips piqued Abigail’s interest, and though the movement was subtle, the slight head tilt from Grace beneath her John B. suggested she too was absorbed in the newcomer. 

As Abigail indulged in spying on the young man, he turned and gazed straight at her. Abigail’s heart skipped a beat, and warmth suffused her cheeks at being caught staring. She dropped her gaze to her hands and tried not to react when she felt the young man sidle close beside her.  

“Well well. Who’s this doll? I don’t remember seeing you in here before.” 

Permission granted to look into the man’s kohled eyes, Abigail raised her head and bobbed at him. Perhaps it was the clothes or the grooming, but there was something about him that put her in mind of Aaron Boothe. He knew money. He enjoyed a privileged life. She doubted this young man had ever toiled in fields, struggled with washing, or scavenged for food. It immediately set her on edge, reminding her of her own humble origins.

“Oliver Hughes Davies,” he said. The way he spoke the name was a lot like Lillian Jones or Ethel Taylor. Like an honorary title, one she should gush over.  

Abigail sniffed and replied, “Abigail Armstrong.” Foreseeing a complicated explanation of who she was and where she came from, she supplied, “My friend is a guest of Ethel’s.” 

Oliver’s eyes widened. “And from that tasty accent, I’d say you are American. Well, well.” 

Yet another heatwave bloomed across Abigail’s cheeks. Something about the way he said American made it sound infinitely more alluring than the entire Indigo Club scene.  

The bartender motioned as he slid an oddly shaped glass across the counter. Oliver smiled and reached for the drink. He paused and glanced at Abigail. “May I buy you a drink.”  

Abigail shook her head, her tongue tangled and unable to form the words to say, no thank you, in polite civilized terms. Oliver’s shoulders rose but he did not press the issue. He took his glass and sipped what looked like weak tea.  

“So, you’re chums with Ethel? Let me guess… You’re a jazz singer. Or an actress? That’s why the rag-a-muffin dress? You live wires are so darb!” 

Abigail opened her mouth, but she found she had no words ready to answer him. The mention of her fuzzy, dirty colonial dress only served to heighten her unease, surrounded as she’d been all evening by women clad in pearls and satin, sequins and silk. Oliver merely smiled broader at her agitation. He leaned forward and slid an errant curl behind her ear. The gesture was intimate, inappropriate, and the epitome of this strange time.  

Whether to save her from apparent embarrassment, or perhaps simply because she was growing bored, Grace chose that moment to make herself known. With an extended middle finger, she raised the brim of her Stetson, sat up straight on her bar stool, and flung the empty whiskey glass on the counter.  

Oliver flinched and flicked his gaze to the gunfighter. The smile slid from his lips, and it was clear he was only really seeing Grace for the first time; like a rattler in the desert, she’d completely escaped his notice until it was time to strike. With an exaggerated stretch, she dropped her palms on the hilts of Justice and Mercy and fixed the toff with her dark-eyed stared. 

“So, you know this biddy, Ethel, right? Then tell me, when is this scavenger hunt of hers gonna be sewn up, so I can get my wheel-horse back, and maybe get the hell outta this bunko rum-hole?” 

Oliver’s brow rippled, belying his bewilderment as to how to take Grace and her poorly mannered question. Finally, after what seemed an age, Oliver’s lips twisted into a smile and he raised his drink to Grace. “Actors! What goofs! This is that newfangled form of showbusiness, isn’t it? Method acting? Well done, doll. Very convincing!” 

Grace shared a glance with Abigail. There seemed little point in challenging the beau’s notion, though Grace’s darkened expression suggested she would like nothing more than to show Oliver how very method she was.  

Inspiration for this scene

23 thoughts on “Questions, News, and Brain Picking. Plus, a Teaser!

  1. Ooh, I enjoyed that teaser! I’ve recently joined BookBub too, though I haven’t finished setting up my profile yet. I’ll find you and follow when I do 🙂

    Btw, I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but I’m definitely not dead. I’m back 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw the follow on BookBub. Thanks for that. I immediately copied and pasted my review, so you have your first one. I like the ability to share from the platform directly. Twitter, Facebook, etc. all at the push of a button. I think it’s a pretty good place to showcase your wares.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The extract is very well written, Jessica. I enjoyed it. The block editor doesn’t bother me. In fact, I find it much easier to use. I don’t really understand why people are struggling with it. I don’t schedule posts in advance for months so I don’t have that problem. Most of my posts are on the spur of the moment. I can’t comment on Bookbub. My publisher looks after these things for me and I haven’t got the time to pursue these additional things at the moment. Doing the writing and marketing takes up all the spare time I have. I know I should do more, but I just can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve found the block editor to be easier but less flexible, and the latter drives me nuts. It’s a thing in motion though, eh? Next year there will be different features, and a year after that a new version, and a year after that . . . .

    I don’t schedule in advance, and I don’t use Grammarly, so I can’t comment on those.

    Loved the excerpt. Grace is such a cool character. Awesome description of the Oliver fellow, too.

    Personally, I think 99c is too low for a book that’s as good as GoP. I also suspect the sequel will help sell the first book, and that your future stories will help sell your GoP series.

    Did I mention I enjoyed the Sins of the Lamb excerpt? I’m looking forward to reading the whole book when it’s done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, you’re a sweetie 🤗 thanks for the shot of confidence 😁
      You’re right about it being a thing in motion. Seems to be the rule these days. I just get used to a website or an app or something, then they go and change it on me. And I’m finding I’m less adaptable to change than I used to be. Old age creeping up on me 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m still the holdout on the new WP editor – have mine set to classic, but I know I need to take the time to get used to it. I’m on Bookbub and I’ll follow other authors and post book reviews – like you said, anything helps. Can’t help with the pricing – my publisher sets the pricing, which I’ve always felt is on the high side when books are first released. Off to follow you on BB!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t like the block editor. I’m a member of Book Bub but have not had time to get into it deeply. As for pricing. I think a 99¢ price is okay for the first month then it should go to at least $2.99. The sad thing about a high price at launch is all your early adapters feel cheated when the price is lowered to try and get additional sales. My new one will be 99¢ until launch is over then goes to $2.99. At launch is the best pricing possible. It will never be lower than 99¢. This still allows me to come back at any time with a 99¢ deal and no one feels disadvantaged. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. First up—I LOVED the teaser! What a great sneak peek. I am so looking forward to book 2. Glad to see Abigail in there, too.

    As for BookBub, I love it. Thanks for the follow. I just followed you back and posted my review of GoP. I’ve had a lot of traction on BB by sharing reviews and gaining notice from others sharing reviews of my books. I like it SO MUCH better than Goodreads.

    I hadn’t noticed that about the calendar in the block editor, but I only ever schedule one post a day and keep track of them in an app on my phone, so I don’t really rely on the calendar. I’m okay with Gutenberg, but there are some things that seem kind of clunky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mae 😊
      That’s interesting to hear your take on bookbub. I’m going to have a play with it more when I get some free time (!) … sounds like it could be worth getting involved in 🤗

      Thanks again, my friend 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I couldn’t wait to get into the teaser, Jess. Nicely done! I’m glad you got through the stuck scene. 🙂 I’m still on classic editor, so I can’t help you there. I have a profile on Bookbub that is horribly out of date (thanks for the reminder to update it). I’m going to try get a book on there, but it’s so hard, especially if you’re only on Amazon, which is my case.

    And pricing… it’s a tough call. I used to lead my series with $.99 and then make up for it with later books. That seemed like a good strategy for a while, but then I decided to only do the $.99 for a couple of months (like with my new one). I raised all my prices about 18 months ago to what seemed in line with other kindle books, and honestly, the sales didn’t drop off at all. Readers seem willing to pay $2.99-4.99 for a decent indie read. I’ve also heard that readers love a deal, so a fair regular price with discounted promotions can attract attention. There’s no magic bullet, but there’s my two cents. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks D. That’s some good input about pricing. For what it’s worth, I’ve decided to start with a .99c bang in the future and go to 2.99 (US). Seemed like a good compromise, plus I want my loyal readers to get the book at a discount. John Howell taught me that 🤗, and now hearing you echo it, it sounds like a solid plan.

      Glad you enjoyed the teaser, my friend 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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