I know I've jumped around a lot lately. Plus I'm sure the strange and unusual posts have some of you wondering if this is the same Mercy Celeste. It is. I swear.
Long time ago I used to blog a lot. About everything. I posted a blog a day. I did all kinds of things about all kinds of things. TV, Movies, Books, Cars, cooking gadgets, recipes....hot men. I talked about anything and everything.
I got away from that. I started focusing on my books. On troubles in the industry. On things that dragged me down. And people started getting sued for posting pictures they scrounged from the internet. So...hot men kinda went by the wayside. I don't know about you but I'm not able to afford to pay for every picture I post so I try to use the stuff that might not get me sued. I mean, the promo stuff for the TV shows...iffy...but it's promo stuff and I was talking up their shows and promoting them. Still iffy.
Unfortunately, I learned not to talk about books that weren't nearing completion. And right now I don't have a book anywhere near completion.
So let's talk about what's going on with me in the writing department and what's not going on.
Lots of questions about books.
So, right now I'm working on a western MM romance.
It's the sequel to my MF western that about ten people have read.
It's a story I've wanted to write for fifteen or so years so I'm indulging myself.
At this point not much may ever come of it.
What about Blindsided?
I made the announcement a couple of months ago that I was going to delay Blindsided until 2017. I needed to take a break from football and Levi's world is kind of painful to live in for nearly a year. I'll get back to it after I either finish or abandon the western.
And Sunday Schooled?
Well, again. I made the announcement that I've decided not to publish Sunday Schooled. I've decided not to finish the book. That Blindsided will be the final book in the series.
Sequels for ANYTHING ELSE?
I have no planned sequels for any other books at this time.
What to expect in 2017?
Besides Blindsided? I don't know. In a way I envy those authors who have a year or two of books mapped out. I can't do that. I tried. I did. I set a schedule a couple of years ago and ended up writing two books that weren't on the schedule and let the others fall to the wayside. I wish I could write like that. Actually, no I don't. I don't like deadlines and schedules and stuff. That's why I didn't like working in the real world. I'm too free flow for that. I get antsy when I'm punching a clock.
Okay, moving on to the next topic.
I pulled all of my books from Kindle Unlimited early.
I guess we can go back a couple of months to me grousing about the lack of sales for the last two books to understand why.
The page flip feature that Amazon introduced to ebooks has severely impacted books enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Specifically romance for some weird reason.
This is not a reader issue. Please don't think so. This is a systems glitch caused by Amazon. And Amazon is admitting and denying that there is a problem. The problem is, the page flip feature is causing whole books to show as one page read. There's no way to tell how many books were read or how much money was lost. Amazon is adamantly not responding to the issue. But if you can prove that your sales have been affected they will release your books from the program. I could and they did.
I'm sorry to the readers who prefer to borrow books. Again, it's nothing you did. It's Amazon. It's their faulty system. But, it will be a cold day in hell before I put the books back in.
I have, however, lowered the prices on all of my books with hopes that if you like it you'll buy it. And I've put them all back up at All Romance, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.
It's been a strange year. It's been a frustrating year. November starts next years earnings. I guess I should start thinking about 2017 but seriously, I'm still trying to crawl out from under 2016.
So...well...that's it for now. Tomorrow I'm going to talk about something else.
I wrote Under a Crescent Moon as a sort of a reply to the BDSM books I was reading at the time. Books that used BDSM in an entirely wrong or dangerous manner. I wanted to explore a character who made bad choices and the consequences of those choices. Xander was a character with so much power that he didn't know how to control. He sought love and affection in the form of giving up control. To the wrong people. This was the book where the main characters were pigheaded and refused to talk to each other...as men can be. I think the paranormal aspect of it tied in with the issues of control. He had none or too much. I don't know if I managed that in the storytelling. I know that this book is very different from my usual story. Welcome to New Orleans where witches hide in plain site. Available at:
I don't want to like this show. I don't want to. I refuse to like this show. It's an abomination. It's evil it's wrong it should be killed...and killed again. The problem is: I do like this show. The movie is one of my all time favorite movies. The movie is Mel Gibson off the chain crazy and you know he just ain't playing. Mel Gibson put the crazy in the role of Martin Riggs and deep down you know it was brilliant and honest and fucking crazy because he knows crazy, he gets crazy, he eats sleeps and breathes crazy. I can watch the first two movies over and over and it's like the first time. I was one of those people who emphatically said BULLSHIT! about this reboot. I'm not going to eat crow over this. I do like this show. It is nothing like the movie. Okay, it takes scenes from the movies and uses them like little nods to great fucking plot devices. But it's nothing like the movies. I divorced the movie from the show. It's just a show with the same title and two coincidentally named main characters. So, let's talk about what I hate about the movies, the little niggling things that I could never get past. Keep in mind that I watched the first four but pretend they stopped after number two. Though, I did enjoy Rene Russo's character...just not the movies she was in.... I think the main thing about the franchise is that they went away from the premise that Riggs WAS the lethal weapon. They moved away from his military background and the movies became more of a buddy comedy. I didn't like that. I liked the hard edge of the first two. I don't mind some comedy in my shit blows up movies but I don't like shit blows up in my comedies....I'm a bit twisted. I didn't like that Riggs' wasn't as explored as he could have been. After the first movie when he broke all kinds of bad, they kind of pulled away from that. We did explore the murder of his wife...but...it was more like meeting the Murtaughs fixed him right up. I didn't like Gibson's homophobia in the movies. It's subtle but it's there. Anyway, moving on. I did like Danny Glover's cop bordering on retirement/burnout but he was no nonsense and a cop and a family man. I didn't like that they sexualized his daughter in a daddy/lolita way. The scene in the first movie with him naked in the tub and her staying behind and splashing in the water...yeah...bothered me. Too much. So despite the 80s being the 80s...the first two movies were solid action dramas with some comedy. And I can let slide the few things wrong with them. Now, let's move on to the abomination of a show that if they'd named it anything else and given the lead characters any other damned name in the whole entire universe of names.... I like this show and here's why: Riggs. That's it.
I don't like the take on Murtaugh. I don't like that he's kind of a wimpy character. I do however like his wife. And that the kids are background characters and not sexualized. I like that they're kids. I love the take on Martin Riggs. I love how Clayne Crawford portrays the character. He can't reach Mel Gibson's level of crazy, but I'm not sure anyone can. He holds his own. He's a detective. He's THE detective in this show. The first one to notice what's out of place. The one to push the limits of his co-workers. I think the episode tonight, Spilt Milk, the fourth episode, solidified how I feel about this show. The exploration of ex-military, which includes Riggs and how he handles being back in the world...this is what was missing in the original movie...Riggs was in 'Nam...but so was Murtaugh...they saw some shit...end of story. You can see that Riggs saw some shit in the reboot. You can see his demons eating him alive. You can see him dealing with them. Long past the first meeting with the Murtaughs and being saved from himself...or whatever happened to change the character in the movie from wanting to eat his gun to fun loving rascal. I love that Riggs keeps his head together even while he's falling apart. I love that in this show, it's the job that's saving him...because he can't let his wife down. He has a backstory. He has a family. He lost a child. The Murtaughs have a child that would be roughly the same age as his. How you can see his pain in his eyes. The rest of it.......it's going to have to get better to make me love this show and forget that it's a reboot. I do love the scenes ripped directly from the movies...it's a wink wink nod nod to what made those movies great. But so help me if Leo Getz shows up...I am done. I will walk. Oh yeah, and...his hair. I think I have a hair fetish. Can I just play with it? I'll give it right back. I promise. Oh yeah, and before I go, Clayne Crawford is an Alabama boy...with that accent what else could he be. Wednesday nights at 8, 7 central on Fox.
Pretty in pink or If the Tiara Fits...Liv's t-shirt is the must have accessory of the season.... if you're a Scrimmage Fan.
I went with teespring for one of their limited run campaigns for this shirt. There's 13 days left to reserve your shirt. Long sleeve, short sleeve, tank, hoodie, pink, white, or grey...there's even a mug. But hurry, campaign ends on November 1st.
Little more than a week ago a friend sent me the link to an article about a possible issue with the new Kindle flip page feature. The article is HERE if you'd like to read it. Until this article I didn't think to question why two brand new Mercy books had failed to make any page reads worth noting. I thought it was me. I thought the books were not well received. That I'd failed to establish word of mouth. I released both books in wide distribution and made no real sales. I held off placing one book into KU because my KU page reads were dropping as far back as June. I wanted to let the book have a chance. In July I pulled all of my books from KU because page reads had hit an all time low for me there. I figured and probably rightly so, that my older books were running the course and this was a natural drop. I wanted to see if I could find new life for them on other sites.
So, obviously, since I'm writing this, that didn't happen. I stayed out of KU for six weeks in which time there were still page reads for most books but not many to speak of. Sales of all books had stopped everywhere. I had two brand new books that had peaked with less than 5000 sales between them. So I put all of the eligible books back into KU the first week of September. Out of 22 books I have 20 in KU currently.
I'd hoped the two new books would garner some interest. I'd hoped that being free to 95% of my reader base that the two books would do something other than sit there.
By the time my friend sent me the above article I felt my career was over. I felt like a failure. I'd put out not one, but two books, in a very popular series, books that I expected to do at least half of what the third book had done.
At the end of September when I totaled my page reads and my actual sales, both books combined still have not crossed the 6000 units paid mark.
I should state here that I calculate all page reads for each book and divide by the total number of pages listed KENP to get a unit total. I round up or down to reach a whole number. The third book in the series sold 9000 units in it's first month. By itself. Real sales. Not page count sales. I wasn't expecting that many with the fourth book, but I'd hoped the fifth book would match the third...I'm sorry if I come across as egotistical, I can only quote stats here and this is what my figures show me. Book 4 has been out since June and has not crossed the 3000 units sold mark. Book 5 barely crossed 3000 units in the six weeks it was out, total sales and page reads.
I've given up. I'd hit the point that I thought it was me. I thought the series was done. No interest. Nothing. The few loyal fans I have left...yada yada yada. Until that article.
I pulled up my sales graphs and started looking at everything.
For the first week of October I had one book that consistently had one or two full books worth of page reads for the past 90 days (90 days is as far back as the graph on KDP goes). It didn't do much but it was a fairly consistent little seller. And for the first six days of October the book had one page read a day. One of the days had three page reads. In six days that book had a total of 8 page reads, while behind it was a trail of 89 or more pages read consistently each day. It's not a long book. It takes about an hour to read. So I then checked a book that consistently does not sell well at all. It has more days of zero page reads than days with any page reads. The 90 days prior, though, when it had page reads it had the 79 pages that it's listed as having. Once or twice. And then toward the middle of September it suddenly had the random one page read. One page here one page there, between many many zero pages.
I checked the big selling books. There's no way to tell. I am not that good at math. They have enough page reads each day that the random one pagers can't even be determined.
So, I borrowed the two books above with my KU subscription. Yes, I have a KU. I don't make a habit of reading my own books. I have them stored on my computer. I see no point in pulling my own books unless someone says there's a problem with formatting then I can see what they're seeing other than that I tend to not look at my own books....so anyway, I pulled each of the two books with the wonky pages and I read one straight through in the full screen feature. When I finished about an hour later it said 100% and I closed the the book. An hour later 90 pages were on the page read graph. Sometime while I was reading a single extra page read was logged. I then read the second book with no page reads strictly on the flip page feature. I accidentally tapped chapter two too hard and brought up the full screen page. I tapped again to bring up the flip page feature and finished reading. The print is tiny, I had serious eye strain when I was finished. When I was finished I closed the book. The percentage read was listed at 26%. This would be roughly where I tapped in on chapter two. I waited one hour and then checked the graph again. 18 pages showed as having been read for that book. Out of 79. It would be five more days before another page read showed for that book. And then it was one single page.
I don't know what to make of it. I went to the KDP community bulletin board to read the updated conversation about it. Amazon has posted that there have been complaints. A few days later they reported that the Flip page feature is designed as a navigational tool and does not count toward page reads. However, they say that there is no evidence to support that any books are being read in entirety in the flip mode. This is the stance they've taken. Yes we know...but no it's not happening.
And this is where we are right now. Yes they know there's a problem. Yes they've admitted there's a problem. No they aren't interested in hearing about it because it's not really happening. Because reasons...I'm paraphrasing here.
Authors are showing them evidence and they are rejecting the evidence. I waited until the mid month income report came out to see what they were doing about the severe lack of page reads for the month of September. By my invoice, it was nothing. I'm still credited with the same amount of page reads as I have totaled in my journal.
So today I went back to November and tallied every single month of page reads since the first month. I have a pattern. I have evidence that my lesser selling books are only getting single page reads when the title page comes up, and then the flip page comes up. I've had readers tell me that their smaller devices will not recognize the full screen feature now, just the flip page. I've had readers tell me that they don't know how to tell one from the other and read it how it comes up. This is an issue. This is a major issue. KU books are exclusive to Amazon and now the majority of books predominantly in romance it seems, are earning less than half a cent per full book. And Amazon seems to be turning a blind eye.
I'm going to divulge my personal stats. I don't like to. But I'm going to. I don't have stats before November of 2015. October of 2015 we were still paid for one unit borrow instead of per pages.
In November I had 18 books in KU. My last new release was in March.
November page reads: 867,053
December page reads: 833,700
In January I put Out of the Blues into KU. It was released in November.
January page reads: 1,689,686
February page reads: 2,094,204 (I received a top seller bonus this month)
March page reads: 1,462,151
April page reads: 767,327
May page reads: 477,538
June page reads: 401,071
I should note that I pulled all books by mid July and at least half of the pages are hold overs.
July page reads: 220,354
August page reads: 14,071 (these will be from books still in KU borrow and not new borrows:holdovers)
I put all but two books back into KU on September 4th. I count the whole month. There are two not one brand new to KU books this time.
September page reads: 517,366
I'd noticed that after Out of the Blues hit in January there was a gradual slow down. June is the month in which the Flip page feature was introduced. I can't say as to how I was affected that month. It seems to fit in with the previous data. New books always give bumps to old books. Always.
The data for the six weeks the books were out will not be indicative, as those books were borrowed before the books were removed but still in existing KU libraries.
September seems to be the month in which all authors noticed a significant drop in page reads. August coming in second but still nothing reported like is being reported for September. New books in the system seem to be more affected than older books.
I don't know, still, if it's me. The data says it's the system. I just know that two brand new Mercy books should have had at least double if not triple that amount of page reads. Even if for the curiosity factor alone.
I don't know what I'm going to do about it. I still have 50 days left until the books are released from KU. I know that as of October 15th, I've not registered 100,000 page reads for the month. I know that as of right now I won't even earn a thousand dollars for this month.
Frustrating. Possibly career killer. However, you want to slice it. This is what it is for me.
The best I can ask of my KU subscriber readers...Please make sure you read your borrowed books in the full screen mode, and that when you close it, the appropriate percentage is showing on the cover. If you didn't read much or if you read all the way through. Your authors are not getting paid due to a glitch in the Amazon system. And if they're like me, they'd like to pay their bills so they can write more books.
I can and can't say that I've been a fan of Supernatural since the beginning. I say can and can't because I did watch the first half of the very first season as it aired on the WB. Our cable company dropped the local WB from it's line-up but our local WB was still too far away to pick up with rabbit ears. I did see the first half. I did enjoy what I saw. By the time the CW moved into our area and was once again on our local cable provider season three had just come to an end. That was the writer strike year. I saw no reason to start watching a show I was two and a half seasons behind on. So I didn't watch season four. However, towards the end of season four our library got the first four seasons of the show on DVD. I caught up. Big time. I binged all four seasons so I could watch season five when it started and I've been with it ever since.
That was seven years ago.
It's hard to believe that last night they began the twelfth season.
Sam and Dean and Jensen and Jared were just babies when the show started. If you go back and binge watch...as the husband and I have done over the past few weeks...it's like watching them grow up. We just finished season six...again.
So let's talk about last night and this season and what I thought of it.
I seriously enjoyed season six, just so we know. Most people hated that season. Soulless Sam was probably my favorite half a season of the entire run. I tend to like the episodes where they go off on a tangent better than the tried and true. I like the seasons where they shake up the status quo. I think this is going to be one of those years. I wish the Demon Dean season had been longer on the Demon Dean part.
So, last night....SPOILER ALERT I MEAN IT!
I think the show started off very well. I might be in the minority. There was no Big Bad waiting right out of the box this season. That's refreshing. God is alive and well, and having a family reunion with his sister. Lucifer is in the wind. But he's weak and Crowley is on his tail. The only big bad so far is of a human variety. Which probably makes this big bad worse because they can't kill humans...well, you know...it's happened but...yeah...uh...so Mom is back from the dead.
Dean is his mother's son. That is very obvious right from the start. The scene when Mary is reunited with Baby and leaning in on one side taking in the back seat with a certain gleam in her eye and Dean is leaning in with a gleam...and then notices his mom's gleam and it's priceless. Ohh ick. Never looking at that backseat the same again kinda moment.
Mary's expression when Castiel and Dean hug. She sees what we've all seen. Cas is the love of Dean's life...maybe not that way, but it's certainly there.
Sam, now, let's talk about Sam. I've never been a huge fan of Sam. I think he's too Jiminy Cricket to Dean's Chernabog. I don't think that's a bad thing...but it has colored the way I look at him. And then there's the Soulless Sam season, and the episodes where Sam is left alone to fight his way out. Sam isn't the Jiminy Cricket. He never was. He just prefers a quieter way. When pressed he's stronger than Dean. Way stronger than Dean. And that's when I love Sam.
Last night I loved Sam. That's the Sam I want to see. The quiet Screw You Sam. I love that Sam.
This is like the start of season six...the Apocalypse has been averted and right now there's nothing pressing. No Lucifer to stick back in the cage. No Darkness to avert. I think like in season six we'll have to work up to the Big Bad. Because it's Supernatural. There's always a Big Bad. And sometimes that Big Bad is family. Whatever happens, it's going to be interesting to watch.
I'm going to do something that I used to do all the time back when I blogged daily. I'm trying to get back into the habit after years of sporadic attempts. I'm going to feature a book I really liked. I am not reviewing. I do not review. I am recommending. I liked this book is all of the review you need. I don't know the author. I just really like the book.
Raven's Rest is a beautifully written mystery that happens to have a ghost. I really like ghost stories. Took me two nights to read and I had to force myself to put it down the first night to go to bed. It does not have sex in it. And you know, I might write sex books but I've grown to prefer books without sex as a reader...anyway. It's Halloween month. I like to read the spooky for Halloween month. And this book is perfect.
One of the cursed books. Need You Now is a short story that is near and dear to my heart. I wrote it the Christmas after my dad died. It's about love and loss and finding the way back from grief. Not to make it icky, it's about grief. And it's kinda dirty. But...yeah...not that way...okay forget I said anything. Need You Now has a brand new cover from the awesome Jay Aheer and it's on sale for 99 cents and free on Kindle Unlimited. Details and buy links are on my website http://www.mjcpress.com/need-you-now/
I must confess, I didn't know this show even existed until it had already aired two episodes. My husband found it on Hulu and was watching the first episode when I came in after staring at a blank word document for a couple of hours last week. I didn't see the beginning and was hooked. When it was over I went back to my office and closed down for the night and then I asked him to start that episode over so I could catch up. When we hit the point that I walked in on we watched the second episode. The third aired the next night. By that time I had set the show to record. Since then I've rewatched all three episodes twice.
The best I can say as to what this show is like...maybe a PG version of HBO's football show Ballers.
What I can say is that there is nothing like this show on network television. Which is the kiss of death right there.
Why should you be watching this show?
Well, it's about baseball. I'm not much of a baseball fan now. I was when I was a kid. I played softball and sucked because I couldn't hit slow pitch. I could whack the hell out of a fast pitch baseball.
Okay...no...so sports and ick.
Well, yes. Okay... other ick word because girls don't belong in_____!
I think this show is important. It's also entertaining.
It's about a young women who was pulled up from the San Diego Padre's farm team when one of their pitchers was injured. She's a novelty. A girl can't hurl as fast as a man. This is true, they don't even pretend otherwise. She's had to adapt by using other pitches. Pitches most players no longer know how to hit because fastball rules...yeah yeah. It's about a woman in a locker room in a time when locker room talk is all the rage. It's about a woman competing with men in a male dominated sport. It's the give and take of fitting in and standing out and how to deal with everything women have to deal with every day.
It's a show about girl empowerment. It's about sports and it's drama and it's incredible.
It's not about shoving an agenda down anyone's throat. It's about living and being and following a dream. Even if it's not your dream.
You should watch this show. It's on Fox on Thursday at 9, 8 central. It's on Demand. It's on Hulu.
And it's got Zack Morris all grown up as the old man catcher with the busted knees and words of wisdom. Mark-Paul Gosselaar grew up and got hot when I wasn't looking.
And it's play off season.
Do you need any other reason?
Fine acting, excellent story telling, compelling characters...WATCH THIS SHOW even if you don't like baseball. Give it a chance. I'll be glad you did.