Tag Archives: Red Clay and Roses

Moving Right Along

Study this image. How does it make you feel? Does it affect your mood? There will be a test question at the end.
Study this image. There will be a test question at the end.

 

If you didn’t notice, I’ve altered my tag-line. It’s always been a bit smug…after all, I’m no genius. I explained all that on my About page. My husband suggested mybrandofgenius and it sort of stuck. I’m not ready to let that go. It reminds me to laugh at myself.

The added tag-line speaks to the two sorts of writing, 1950’s-60s historic literary fiction, and riveting contemporary crime romps, I’m vested in. I’ve spent a great deal of time promoting Red Clay and Roses on this blog and have connected with some fabulous people in the process. My intention really wasn’t to promote my book when I first got started, (I wanted a place to socialize and talk about writing) but I was told that was what I was supposed to be doing.

Tons of people showed up to teach me how. I watched you and listened and learned. I traveled around the blogosphere and got to know you. I need for you to know you mean the world to me. When I first became disabled, I had no clue how I was going to spend my time. A workaholic nurse used to racing around on my feet eight to sixteen hours a day, I found myself at a loss. Bewildered and lonely.

The characters that developed in my head and my memories were my only comfort. And then, you came along and brighten my path. Since then, I’ve gained three grandchildren, and those quiet times became something I have to defend. But still, I have plenty.

For the last four months, I’ve been back and forth with my editor getting things done. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished and feel I can present the work with confidence at Sleuth Fest. I’ve completed a three page long synopsis and a one page short synopsis, a cover letter, a tag-line for the book, a log-line, a blurb, and a perfect pitch. (Thank you Carrie and Sue, for allowing me to pick your brains.)

Since writing Naked Alliances, it’s always troubled me how I would market the book without abandoning Red Clay and Roses, as they are two completely different genres and styles. After much research with branding, I realized I don’t have to abandon anything at all. I began to look at the common features of the books and what motivated me to write both of them. I also examined those attributes of myself that I’ve learned from you by reading through the comments you’ve left me…that I am compassionate, candid, and honest…and sometimes funny.

In Red Clay and Roses, we have a book that includes rape, racism, illegal abortion and murder. In Naked Alliances, we have child abuse, murder, and sex-trafficking. I thought about how my work as a nurse influenced the writing in either book. RC&R with direct references, and NA with indirect. As a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner in an active ER, I was unfortunately exposed to a number of situations that did influence the writing of NA.  Out of respect, and due to HIPAA laws, I’ve been very careful not to put anything on this blog that might reference any particular incident in such a way as to identify people involved. My work in forensic psychiatry also contributed to the writing of NA in a more indirect manner having to do with the character development of the antagonist and the psychology of the killer.

The tone of RC&R is dark and serious. The tone of NA is lighter and somewhat amusing. That was intentional. Crime, while often dark and serious, allows for different approach. Here, we have a most responsible, loner P.I. who is forced to, by circumstance, work with a brassy, and irresponsible transgendered sidekick. To protect a young girl from an evil vixen, they must hide in a nudist resort while the body count rises. There are two protagonists, an unlikely pairing in an unpredictable setting, which makes for entertaining reading. It’s a riveting crime romp through Central Florida. A rather motley crew of characters that speak to the diversity we have in this neck of the woods.

While the crimes are serious, the tone of the book really isn’t all that serious. Herein lies my marketing dilemma. How do I promote both books across one set of platforms? Setting up platforms for each book is not an option for me. I’ve come up with some ideas I’ll be testing out in the near future, so you’ll likely see some gradual changes on FB, Twitter, and this blog.

All I ask is that you remember I am compassionate, candid, honest…and sometimes funny, or at least try to be. Sometimes that’s hard without being rude. I’ll try not to be too rude.

Day before yesterday, I pulled my car over to a bus stop in a torrential downpour and gave a guy my umbrella if that helps.

Is there something you’d like to hear more about?

Any ideas on promoting books of different tone and/or genre?

Do the colors in the image above illicit any particular mood or feeling?

A Little Promo & A Little Info

Before it becomes a museum relic, you have an opportunity to buy this book for just 99 cents!!!

11218809_10153437767057719_2100613954475623271_n

 

Red Clay and Roses is on sale this week for 99 cents. Yes, I know, I said I didn’t like that artificial ceiling we’ve set for ourselves, but it was the only way to get Book Gorilla to take it…see what I mean?

The book also has a new Pinterest board HERE.

I think you have to be a member to see it.

However, if you’re in the USA and decide to buy the book, go to AmazonSmile: HERE, and choose a charity. Then type in Red Clay and Roses. Better yet, write in the charity of my choice: GMO Free USA Inc, in the others box 🙂 .

If you are not familiar with AmazonSmile, a little info from their site: AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

Not certain if this option is available outside the USA.

Or you can wait for the movie.

11753286_10153438193882719_3681702253874334631_n

(If you’re really young.)

Special thanks to Misha Burnett for turning me onto PhotoFunia.

“Do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

My father passed away on Sunday, April 12, 2015 quietly in his home at the age of seventy-seven. He went to church, came home, hung up his suit, took a nap and went to his heaven. The pastor said his sermon that day was about Heaven and I think ole Henry was just ready to be there. Three years ago in February he had a coronary bypass graft and we were afraid we might lose him even then, but that didn’t happen and we were given a few more years of precious time with him.

For six weeks in 2012, I was able to spend time with him while he recuperated from that surgery.  We needed that time together. He was a great storyteller. Most of the way I helped was by listening to the stories he shared with me about his life and events that occurred in the 1950s and 60s, the social injustice of the era. Inspired by his stories, a cousin’s stories, and a ledger he knew I had discovered in 1992, I came home and on April 12, 2012, I began to write a book. I would love to share those stories with you.

I appreciate the life and time he gave me. May he rest in peace.

My husband is, like my father, Henry Koone, was, a not-so-anonymous recovering alcoholic. I attend open meetings with my husband and one of the things they say in the rooms of AA is,

“Do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

When you bury the past and fail to look back you miss the opportunity to grow and learn, to develop insight and character. While it may not be healthy to dwell or live in your past, in it there are lessons we will find nowhere else.

Experience, strength and hope!

The Promises go on to say, “We will comprehend the word serenity and know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole outlook on life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

I watched my father go through some dramatic changes over the course of the past fifty-four years and I learned the meaning of forgiveness.

He taught me about unconditional love.

I learned from the experiences, strengths and hopes we shared.

There is much social injustice in this world but change begins with each and every individual. Looking back at the past, in the manner that my historic novel does, it is my hope that the reader can recognize the harm of social injustice, oppression, poverty and ignorance, and perhaps develop some insights, in addition to being entertained. It isn’t a preachy book, but one that tells the stories of those who lived in an era we must move forward out of, never forgetting the sacrifices of those who came before us.

“A fictionalized true story of life in the Deep South during the time of Jim Crow Law, and before Roe vs. Wade. Women were supposed to keep quiet and serve, abortion was illegal, adoption difficult, and racism rampant. The discovery of an old ledger opens a window into the dynamics of the 1950s-60s.

Unspoken secrets are shared between Beatrice, The Good Doctor’s wife, and Moses Grier, their black handyman. The Grier’s daughter, Althea, suffers a tragedy that leaves her family silent and mournful. Her brother, Nathan, a medical student, looks for answers from a community that is deaf, blind, and dumb.

A summer romance between Nathan and Sybil, an independent, high-spirited, white woman, leaves more unresolved. Nathan is thrust into the center of the Civil Rights Movement. Sybil is torn between living the mundane life of her peers, or a life that involves fastening herself to a taboo relationship. Witness social progress through the eyes of those who lived it.”

Reviews are appreciated.

Red Clay and Roses Proceeds to go to The Russell Home for Atypical Children

All future proceeds from book sales of Red Clay and Roses will be donated to The Russell Home for Atypical Children. Most of my readers know that my mother died when I was age eight, I lived in foster homes, and then The Ethel Harpst Home for Children and Youth in Cedartown, GA.

For several weeks, I searched the Orlando area for a similar type children’s group home and found none. There is a thrift store run by The Russell Home near my daughter’s house. We shop there and always buy our Christmas trees from them. I got information from them and toured the facility last week.

Ideally, atypical children are best served in their own homes. I worked pediatric extended care for eight years as a registered nurse and know that there are some situations when that simply is not possible. Foster Homes for children with special needs are not easily found. Some need a permanent home and some need a temporary residence.

The Russell Home for atypical children was established sixty years ago. Vaguely familiar with them from donating bicycles and furniture, I have learned a lot about their services. Started by Mrs. Vantrease “Grandma” Russell, who died in 2003, it operates without any government support. It is now run by her heirs. The Home is the only private, non-profit facility of its kind for severely handicapped children in Central Florida. In addition to your thoughts and prayers, cash contributions are their primary means of support.

Red Clay and Roses was published in March 2013. With the December promo through Ereader News Today, the book finally earned enough to pay for the costs of publishing. I am a retired nurse and write as a hobby. If the hobby should blossom into something more that would be great, but it is not a goal for me. The point is now that the book has paid for itself, I would like the money earned by the book to go to a worthy cause and I believe The Russell Home is most certainly worthy.

Last night, my husband and I sat down and discussed our charitable contributions that we make every year, along with our finances. We decided to MATCH book sales with our own personal pledge. The combined total will be contributed to The Russell Home quarterly.

As author, it puts a serious purpose behind promoting the book. A promotional started today through Ereader News Today, so buying your copy now also means you will be supporting this organization. Just 99 cents!

If you would like to donate more you can HERE!

Help spread the word!

You can tour the facility here:

Buy the book here:

Summertime Sale: Red Clay and Roses

I have been planning a summertime sale of Red Clay and Roses for over a month now and wanted it to coincide with a promotional I am doing with Ereader News Today. It took a while to reschedule with them because I was out of town the last time they approved a promo and missed their email, so it was cancelled.

download (1)The sale officially begins tomorrow, but the sale price has already been set!  Red Clay and Roses is on sale for 99 cents! This sale will last a week, but ENT gets a cut on the first two days of the sale. With a 35% royalty and ENT getting a cut, I don’t plan on buying a new car with the proceeds, or anything like that, but I did want to let you know about the sale in case you have an interest in picking up the book.

Blurb:

A fictionalized true story of life in the Deep South during the time of Jim Crow Law, and before Roe vs. Wade. Women were supposed to keep quiet and serve, abortion was illegal, adoption difficult, and racism rampant. The discovery of an old ledger opens a window into the dynamics of the 1950s-60s.

Unspoken secrets are shared between Beatrice, The Good Doctor’s wife, and Moses Grier, their black handyman. The Grier’s daughter, Althea, suffers a tragedy that leaves her family silent and mournful. Her brother, Nathan, a medical student, looks for answers from a community that is deaf, blind, and dumb.

A summer romance between Nathan and Sybil, an independent, high-spirited, white woman, leaves more unresolved. Nathan is thrust into the center of the Civil Rights Movement. Sybil is torn between living the mundane life of her peers, or a life that involves fastening herself to a taboo relationship. Witness social progress through the eyes of those who lived it!

Red Clay and Roses is a roman à clef . Pronounced romanaclay, Wikipedia defines a roman à clef as, “A novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction.” The technique was used historically in writing about controversial topics and/or reporting inside information of scandals without giving rise to charges of libel; the opportunity to turn the tale the way the author would like it to have gone; the opportunity to portray personal, autobiographical experiences without having to expose the author as the subject; avoiding self-incrimination or incrimination of others that could be used as evidence in civil, criminal, or disciplinary proceedings; and the settling of scores.

Being a fictionalized true story based on personal family member’s lives, I promised that I would not use real photographs to portray my characters. Sybil is a cousin in real life. For giggles and grins, I once did a casting call for the movie using popular actors and actresses today.

I got on the internet a while ago and tried to find a 1950s entertainer that I thought best represented Sybil Hamilton, a main character in the book, and came up with Peggy Lee. Her hair styles remind me of the images I had of young Sybil in my mind as I wrote the story.

 

Peggy Lee was a an actress/singer and her work includes the soundtrack for Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.”  All of her recordings are bluesy and jazzy, like the music of the era I listened to while I was writing. Enjoy.

If you haven’t read it yet, pick up your copy today.

 Reviews are appreciated.

RED CLAY AND ROSES

Went to Bed Happy Because I Screwed Up

Red Clay and Roses

Sometimes I go to bed happy just because I screwed. This time I screwed up.

It’s not the meds or the bipolar. Allow me to explain.

I am a little more than annoyed with myself. I screwed up a Memorial Day promo. I had a promo scheduled for Memorial Day weekend for Red Clay and Roses priced at 99 cents through ENT.

It would have been a great promo with everybody having a three and four day weekend. Lots of book shopping and reading time. But I screwed it up. I didn’t change the price. I still had it at $3.99.

This is what they wrote me back when I asked why there was nothing happening with the book. “Nothing is happening because we didn’t post your book on Saturday. It was at the regular price, and as of today, still is at the regular price.”

So they didn’t list me. My fault. My bad.

I wrote them two letters of apology and asked them to reschedule. Never heard a word. Changed the price download (1)to 99 cents and still never heard a word.

Waited. Nothing.

Then books started moving of their own accord. With no promo.  About half as many as I moved through my last promo over two days. It broke ten thousand in one day.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) and went back onto three category listings.

I haven’t advertised this anywhere. Not my blog. Not Facebook. Nowhere.

Just so you know. I have changed it to 99 cents. HAPPY Belated MEMORIAL DAY!

I may just leave it at 99 cents. I haven’t decided yet. It’s a debut novel.

I have to PAY for promos. I’m sure it’s gotten exposure. But is it necessary every time you do a sale?

Should I ever reset to $3.99? What do you think? I only sold 4 books in May at $3.99. I sold 104 at 99 cents in one day!

If I do reset to $3.99 again, I am also thinking seriously about leaving it on Amazon and pulling it from other platforms through smashwords as it primarily sales though Amazon and I can’t list it in Countdowns not being Select.

Happy Birthday Red Clay and Roses!

 

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the day that Red Clay and Roses went live for the whole world to see.

I want to express my appreciation to all of the people who gave me an opportunity to share this story. Thank you most sincerely for the decision to invest in me and the time you spent reading; perhaps reviewing, my work.

Tomorrow I will put on my lab coat and go to work on an assignment that will pay me more in eight hours than I have earned in sales on this book this year. Yes, nurses often earn more than writers. Does this mean my sales are bad? No, it means my earnings in nursing are better. Most of you know I stepped out of career nursing to write. “You must be crazy!” some people have said to me.

Though I can’t refute that I am crazy, what they don’t understand is this: It is not about the money. Not for me, anyway. It’s about having the time and the peace of mind to dedicate myself to a life that I love. To do what I most enjoy. To spend my time pleasing myself and my readers.

I don’t write genre fiction. I don’t cater to trends. I don’t even write to fit into any specific category.

I write American life drama. Maybe some would call it historical fiction; maybe some would call it literary fiction. There is even a little romance in there. It wasn’t written about the last ten years, so it doesn’t qualify as contemporary fiction, but there are issues explored in it that are contemporary issues. I cannot even claim to know what it is by Amazon or Goodreads definitions.

I cannot claim to to know anything except that I am a perpetual student.

I have learned so very much this year and there is so much for me yet to learn.

Red Clay and Roses was written between April and July of 2012. I spent four months doing nothing but writing. It was not written as a novel to be published. It was a creative writing project that I devoted myself to out of a passion to record a story.

After I wrote it, I placed it on a shelf for about a year. I took it down, read it, and made a few changes. After sharing it with others, which took immeasurable courage, we (my support group and I) decided to publish. It was published March 27, 2013.

I did not know what the hell I was doing. (Not sure if I know now.)

I liked to read. I liked to read stories about life in America. I liked to write stories about life in America.

I liked history. I liked reading about history. I liked writing about history.

I made all of the mistakes it is possible to make. I published Red Clay and Roses in its rawest form. I was clueless. I didn’t know a damned thing. I did not know about blogs, platforms, branding, writing rules, beta readers, editing, blurbs, book cover images, marketing, sales. I didn’t know shit. I won’t claim to be an expert now either. I am learning every day and I am writing and reading every day.  I will say this: I have mentors, trusted confidants, other authors, a reader audience, friends, colleagues, valuable associates that I did not have a year ago.

As I learned from these people, and continue to learn, I made improvements on my product, my book, my novel, Red Clay and Roses. I know now that it is not the best that it could have been, but it is what it is, features, flaws and faults included.  I know that my next product will be even better, because you are who you are. Most significantly, I have the capacity to keep learning from YOU!

I was going to end this post right here with my eternal gratitude, but I think this is a good place to tell you the rest of the story if you will bear with me. I want to tell you how I feel about the concept of success. Success is measured many ways through different perspectives.

I have read numerous posts declaring success is measured by numbers sold, dollars earned, an ability to make a living at the craft, and I suppose that may be true for some, but it isn’t for me. Success is measured by starting a project and seeing it through.

Red Clay and Roses is a success.

After we (I say we because I had support people around me at the time.) pushed the publish button, there was a celebration. Of course, nothing much happened.

For weeks, nothing much happened. I think a few friends and family bought the book, nobody posted any reviews. On the advice of a friend, I started a blog. I didn’t know much about that either, but I learned. (Am still learning.)

Not knowing anything about how to find readers, I went to the library. Surely there would be readers there. I met a reading group, strangers, people I did not know, and they expressed interest in reading my book. So they bought it and read it. This was in May of last year.

They were eight people, a nurse, a middle school teacher, a college professor, an IBM corporate executive, and so on. Ordinary people, strangers who became acquaintances. Four of the eight wrote my first reviews on Amazon. Five star reviews. I was excited, overjoyed. That was enough for me. My confidence was stoked, but they did not stop there.

These eight people, whom I barely knew, were so very impressed with my literary work that they entered me in a contest. It was a surprise to me when they shared the news. What grand support is that?

My book deals with American life during an era of conflict and political strife. It is about everyday people who made tremendous sacrifices to promote social progress, whether they knew it at the time, or not.

The Pulitzer is awarded: “For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.”

This group of eight people had pooled their resources to pay the fifty dollars necessary to submit Red Clay and Roses as an entry for the Pulitzer. Eight people thought my literary work was distinguished.

Now, I chuckle, and you may be laughing out loud as you read this. But I thought it was an amazing honor that they bothered to do this.

I have no unrealistic expectations to win a Pulitzer, or to even become a nominated finalist.

They discourage anyone from claiming nomination simply because an entry has been submitted, so there are no grandiose expectations here. I did not know how simple it was to be entered. It takes fifty dollars and four copies of your book in physical form. That’s all!

I am not trying to belittle the Pulitzer award, I am just saying that I did not know.

Anyone can enter. An author or publisher can submit their own work. Self-published works are accepted, but not in eversion. It is easy to do online. Then you mail in your proofs or your books. I have only sold one paperback copy, but four of them were mailed off by this group of readers, and passed through the hands of Pulitzer judges. Whether or not they felt the book had any merit I may never know, but it has been an exciting adventure in writing.

The Pulitzer winner and nominated finalists are to be announced on April 14, 2014.

They receive approximately 2400 entries, and there are 21 awards. In 2012 there were three nominated finalists in fiction, but no one was awarded. How they determine finalists and award winners is a mystery. The judges have the final say.

I have read many Pulitzer Prize winners, some I thought had merit and some I did not like. So, at least in my mind, it is all relative to personal opinion…a subjective analysis like it is for any reader. I am not holding my breath or anything like that, but I am honored by these readers who thought my work worthy.

I only mention it to say this; DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!

Whether they are Pulitzer judges, a library group, hundreds of strangers found through a marketing campaign, or a few blogger friends, all of your readers are what makes doing this worthwhile. They are the measure of your success.

It is not a finished project until it is read, so keep writing! I love you all!

I am not doing any special promotions or running any sales or ads for this birthday, but if you would like to pick up a copy of Red Clay and Roses you can find it here on Amazon, where you can also find the paperback. You can also find it on Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Noble and smashwords.

?????????????????????????????????????????????

Red Clay and Roses for Less Than a Dollar!

There is a fancy word for S.K. Nicholls’ novel; “Red Clay and Roses” is a roman à clef. (pronounced romanaclay) This is what I refer to as Faction, or a fictionalized true story. If you have been curious about this impressive literary work, gather up your pennies and head on over to Amazon or Smashwords and buy your copy today for 99 cents for the full sized novel.

That’s right, 99 pennies!

Never before offered at this easily affordable price,

“Red Clay and Roses” is now on sale!

images

A kickoff for a two week long sale, the novel will be featured on Ereader News Today in the category of literary fiction starting tomorrow.

Unique in that it crosses genres of Historical Fiction and Literary Fiction we decided to promote in the Literary Fiction category for this sale and hope to sell a few books.

Actually,

Our hope is to sell out the ebook, which people say is impossible, but I say is inevitable.

So please do your bit by buying, gifting and spreading the word.

While the book is available at Amazon and Smashwords today, over the next few days it will also be available at the same 99 cent price across all platforms; including, Barnes& Noble, Apple iBooks, Sony, and download (1)Kobo. This sale will be running for two weeks.

Red Clay and Roses

Beat the crowd, and raise the ranks!

Autographed Paperback Book Giveaway: Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

Help Spread the Word!

To celebrate “Red Clay and Roses” new availability as a paperback print on demand, I am having a Goodreads giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

Red Clay and Roses

by S.K. Nicholls

Giveaway ends March 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Every entry has four chances to win!
Two books and two Amazon gift certificates up for grabs!

Mission Possible

It would be nice if Amazon allowed books you buy for independent bookstores to count toward your ratings. Ha!  These were delivered today!

002

I have 30 paperback books that have already been sold…now I just have to brave the holiday traffic and distribute these to the stores that bought them.  They are all to be paid up front, no consignments.  A tiny trickle in the river that is exposure, but I am hoping to stir some local interest.  I also like the idea of supporting the local independent bookstores and having them support me.  We have a dozen or more such stores, so this could be interesting. I have two radio stations that I am sending copies to. They are both talk stations and review books and interview authors on Saturdays.  So we will see what happens with that. Autographed copies are being sent out this week (you know who you are) but may not arrive before Christmas.

003

Went to the grocery store in my fuzzy slippers for the second time this week.  They aren’t even pretty fuzzy slippers. Starting to feel like one of those shoppers that gets their picture passed around the internet.  I am really getting too comfortable with this whole, “work at home” thing. However, I do recall showing up for my nursing job once with my scrubs on inside out.

Here are some pretty flowers from the garden today.  Something to take your mind off the ice and snow for a moment.

Peace Lilies look like little sailboats on a sea of green.
Peace Lilies look like little sailboats on a sea of green.
I did not even know that Tiki Plants bloomed until this year.
I did not even know that Tiki Plants bloomed until this year.
Bird -of-Paradise is just past its peak.
Bird -of-Paradise is just past its peak.
Hibiscus bloom year round.
Hibiscus bloom year round.
Hoping you have a good work week whether you are working at home or out and about.