Monday, April 7, 2014

Three Book Reviews: A Diet Book, "The Deepest Secret" and "The Paris Architect"

I miss doing book reviews. I have another site devoted to them but have not written a review in forever. I am still reading as much as ever, though, and thought I would try to get back to writing reviews. I will put them here and will shoot for at least one review a week. Reviews will most likely be on books I enjoyed rather than these I did not like.

Here are three short reviews to get us started! :)

Fat: The Weight Loss Secret  by K.D. Joseph
Yeah, let's face it, diet and weight-loss books seem to be a dime a dozen. However, this one, which I downloaded onto my Kindle during a free promotion, has helped change my life. It's a short book, about 48 printed pages (according to the product estimate), and shorter definitely is better in this case. I have no need for thick weight-loss books that take extra pages to repeat information or to fill space.

This book isn't the best written or the best edited, but its message is simple and motivational. It distills down to: you need to eat 100 grams (or less) of carbohydrates a day. Since then, I have eaten about 20-40 grams daily, with rare days hitting as much as 60 grams. I have also lost nearly 20 pounds and am still losing. My head is much clearer. My afternoon lethargy of two or three hours is gone. My cravings disappeared nearly overnight. It was amazing and incredible for me to realize how much of my life was controlled by sugar.

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley
This novel has many things going for it, including a look into a condition called XP (xeroderma pigmentosum) in which even a speck of UV light will kill someone. Eve is the mother of a teenager with XP, and her life revolves around her son, Tyler--often at the detriment of her husband and daughter. An intriguing, gripping read on family dynamics, secrets and suburban life.

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
Lucien Bernard is an architect in 1942 Paris who helps design hiding spaces for Jewish people--not out of the goodness of his heart (at least at first) but because he needs money. This book provides a different angle and take on the Holocaust and on hiding Jewish people than many other books do. It hooked me right away and is well worth the read. A great blend of mystery, suspense and humanity.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Psychic and the Damsel in Distress

My short story, THE PSYCHIC AND THE DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, is out for 99 cents. It'll be a Kindle e-book exclusive for 90 days so I can make it free March 29-April 2 (yes, download it free then!). There are no DRM restrictions, and it'll be available everywhere in e-book after that 90 days. You can also buy it in print through Amazon or here: https://www.createspace.com/4713026. (Click here for the Kindle UK URL.)


Blurb and excerpt below. (I'll send a reminder email on March 29 or thereabouts about the freebie.) By the way, while this is not lesbian fiction per se, the characters are all women. There's no het romance or anything like that.



Blurb

Telah Costner has enlisted the help of psychic after psychic in a quest to find her missing daughter, Claire. Dani is the latest psychic, and Telah is hopeful because she senses something different about Dani.

To Dani, however, Telah and Claire are just two faces in a sea of clients and missing people. Dani doesn’t believe in psychics and never has. She and her sister Kate have perfected a scam in which money is the only thing that matters. That is, until weird things start happening to Dani.


This short story is about 9,000 words.

Excerpt (starts at beginning of story)


Chapter One


The first psychic seemed promising. Telah liked her very much. Miss Theo was quiet, serious, unsmiling. Dedicated. She knew what she was doing. But a car hit and killed her. Telah wondered if Miss Theo saw it coming.
Telah hated the next psychic. Merry had been loud and disrespectful after the first few sessions. She said Claire was dead, but Telah knew Claire wasn’t dead. She felt it in her bones, in her gut, in every fiber of her being. Claire was alive and needed her mother. Telah didn’t waste much time with Merry.
Number three had been better. The fact he was a man didn’t put Telah off. She’d never heard of a male psychic, but so what? All that mattered was finding her daughter.
The man called himself Robert Joe, and he was like Miss Theo: quiet, expressionless, driven. Telah’s cause became his, and finding Claire obsessed his life much like it did Telah’s. Then came the day when, his face gaunt, his eyes black and unreadable, he stared Telah down from across the table. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I can’t do this anymore. I sense that Claire is dead.”
Telah left immediately, and now she was about to meet a prospective number four. She already knew a bit about the psychic. She had read about Dani in the newspaper, how Dani helped the police find a missing fourteen-year-old girl. Telah didn’t care that Dani charged an arm and a leg. Finding Claire mattered—money did not.
So it was that Telah gathered in her breath and knocked on Dani’s elegant Georgetown townhouse a few blocks from the Potomac River. Telah glanced back at the gleaming BMW parked at the curb, and a candle of happiness flickered inside her. A psychic with money meant she produced results. Genuine results. The other three hadn’t lived like this Dani. Dani would be different, Telah knew in her gut. Dani would find Claire.

**

Telah wasted no time getting down to business. She gave Dani a look over, satisfied herself with what she saw, and shook her head impatiently at the psychic’s offer of a beverage.
“I don’t have time to waste,” Telah snapped. “Now, I want you to tell me why I’m here.” She opened that way with each psychic except Miss Theo, who had been a bit of a different case.
Dani looked not at all offended, and Telah smiled in approval.
“Well.” Dani clasped her hands together. She had deep, piercing blue eyes and a rich, husky voice. Her hair was fiery red, and she stood at least five inches taller than Telah. But it was these eyes…these startling, penetrating eyes that gave Telah a start.
These eyes! They’re unnatural. Another sign that Dani will find Claire.
“You’re here to find your daughter,” Dani said.
Telah blinked. Yes, Dani was the one. The other psychics had started with generalities. “You’re worried about someone” or “You’ve suffered a great loss recently, and you’re trying to get in touch with someone” or “You’re in a great deal of pain.” Sooner or later, they arrived at the right place, but it took a while. Not so with this Dani.
“Your daughter was, ah…”
Telah jerked in a breath. The police could never say why Claire went missing, much less how. Miss Theo swore that a woman who craved a child abducted Claire. Merry said that Claire wandered off and somehow drowned in the Anacostia River. “Water…I see lots of water…it’s the Anacostia! There’s a body at the bottom. Your daughter,” she said. Robert Joe didn’t know what happened, and he hadn’t been afraid to admit it. Telah liked that; she didn’t want people blustering their way through sessions, fooling her, tricking her.
Dani shut her eyes, and her tongue went click-click-click against her teeth.
Telah clutched her purse in her lap. Please, don’t let Claire be suffering.
Dani stopped. Her eyes flew open as if she had been dead and revived. “I don’t know how your daughter disappeared. Do you?”
“No.”
The psychic kept her face expressionless, and Telah’s skin pricked with gooseflesh. Is she judging me? Does she think it’s my fault? “What should I call you?” Telah asked.
“Dani.”
Telah wrapped her arms around herself. “Dani, I’d like to ask a few more questions before I decide if I want to proceed with you.”
“Of course.”
“How old is my daughter now?” One psychic Telah had rejected (between Merry and Robert Joe) made the error of saying: “You mean if she’s still alive?” Telah didn’t give that sallow-faced blonde further consideration.
Dani’s reply was immediate and brisk: “I can’t tell you that.”
“Why?” The other psychics hadn’t provided Claire’s exact age either, but they came close. Good enough.
“Because,” Dani said, and for the first time, a hint of impatience shone through her voice, “she might not be alive.”
“Damn you,” Telah snarled. She rose to her feet and jerked toward the door. “I thought you were the one.”
Dani’s harsh, demanding voice stopped Telah: “Make no mistake, I will find your daughter.”
Heat crushed Telah’s cheeks. “Claire’s alive! She’s alive! I know it. A mother knows. I feel my daughter’s presence on this Earth.”
Dani’s lips pulled back into a smirk. “Let me tell you something,” Dani said. “I get results. I mean business. I don’t mollycoddle. I will find your daughter, but she might not be alive. Come back when you’re prepared to accept that.”
Telah’s jaw dropped. “Who do you think you are?”
A hollow laugh. “I’m the person who will find your daughter. That’s who I am.”
Telah’s throat closed in on itself. No wavering and doubt existed in the psychic’s eyes, in her voice, in her posture.
“My daughter’s alive,” Telah mewled, her voice cracking.
“She very well might be. In any case, I will find her. Moreover, I will find her within three months.”
Telah’s heart thudded. “Three months? For how much money?”
“One million dollars. What is your financing plan?”
Telah gasped. “One million?”
“You heard me.”
Anger overwhelmed Telah. “You think I’m made of money, like you?”
“One million dollars but only if I find Claire.”
“What do you need a million for? All you have to do is feel some of Claire’s dolls, recite some chants, close your eyes and do your voodoo thing.”
“I do not tolerate belittling. If you continue to mock me, you’ll leave and not return.”
Telah was shaking, so surprised and angry she was at Dani’s price. “One million dollars. How can I afford that?”
Dani shrugged and flicked back a strand of her flaming red hair. “That’s not my concern. So, do we have a deal? Come back when you find financing.”
“What, uh…” Telah flailed for a word, any word. “What are the terms?”
“I find Claire, and you pay me a million dollars. I don’t find her, I get nothing. The sooner you figure out financing, the sooner you have Claire back.” Dani made a distasteful sound. “If your financing methods aren’t exactly legal, I won’t hold that against you.”
Telah’s heart dropped. “You’re serious. A million dollars.”
“One million dollars for your daughter.”
There was no price for Claire, no price at all. But it wasn’t right of this psychic to manipulate Telah. “You’re taking advantage of me.”
“Perhaps,” Dani concurred. “So. Leave. But guess what? Ten years from now, when Claire’s still missing, you will come back to me. Truth is, I’m doing you a favor.”
“A favor?”
Dani inclined her head. “A favor. I charged the Higgenbothams two million dollars to find Ariel. That is how you heard about me, isn’t it? My helping the police track down the girl?”
Telah gasped. “Two million! But wasn’t the father a—”
Dani held up her hand. “They came up with the money. I had no doubt they would. Nor do I about you.”
“A million,” Telah whispered. She ran her tongue over her lips. “How do you operate? Your methods? What do you use?”
Dani cocked an eyebrow. “That’s not your concern.” She glanced toward the front door. “I have an appointment in a few minutes. Need anything else?”
“The other psychics, they…”
“Yes?”
“They charged me per session. One hundred and fifty dollars. They were up front about their methods.”
“How much money did you waste, hmm? Look, I’m so confident I’ll find Claire that I refuse payment until I do find her.”
Telah pointed an accusing finger at Dani. “You’re going to say Claire’s buried in some forest, she’s dead, now give me my money and go away.”
Dani sighed. “No. I will find Claire alive, or Claire’s body. I will bring her to you. Nothing less.”
 Claire dead, her face lifeless, popped into Telah’s brain. She couldn’t shake off the image.
The doorbell rang.
“Goodbye,” Dani said, and Telah shivered as she turned away from the other woman’s unnatural blue eyes.

**


END OF EXCERPT

Monday, March 17, 2014

Excerpt from TIME AND TIME AGAIN

I forgot to post an excerpt from my newest book, TIME AND TIME AGAIN, so here it is!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


This is an excerpt from Chapter Nine
in Time and Time Again by Q. Kelly. © 2014

 

Over hamburgers and fries at McDonald’s, Linn asked about Christian and Corrine. “What kind of kids were they?”
Joely ignored the question and devoured two fries. Why couldn’t Linn have found Molly? Now Joely had to go back to Green Cabin and face air.
“Joely? What were Christian and Corrine like?”
“Answer your own question. You see and hear them. So you say.”
“Come on, Joely. Tell me. What were they like?”
Joely shook her head. Suggesting this trip to Linn had been a colossally stupid idea. It’d bought Joely little more than half a day. Furthermore, it’d led Linn to think Joely was interested in bonding emotionally. Joely should have stayed in Richmond. Her kids were air! Air that didn’t have the sense to stay in rotting, decrepit graves that Joely couldn’t bring herself to visit.
“You want to know what my children were like?” Joely said. “They ate. They breathed. They drank. They shat.”
Linn pursed her lips. “Hmm.”
Joely nudged her foot forward and forward until her leg rubbed against Linn’s.
“Uh,” Linn said in a strangled, although not exactly protesting, voice.
Joely moved to Linn’s side of the booth and put her hand on Linn’s upper thigh. Linn sucked in a quick, aroused breath, and Joely felt something similar inside her too. “Fancy a quickie?” she purred.
“You’re nuts.”
“Thank you.” Joely edged her hand closer to the “V” bridging Linn’s legs. She and Linn sat in a far corner, and the backside of the booth allowed them a fair degree of privacy.
“Joely, stop. I’m not interested.”
“Oh, I think you are.” Joely brushed her lips against Linn’s neck. “Mmm. Oh. You taste good. You feel good. When’s the last time you had sex, honey? We could check into a hotel. Have some fun.”
“Not like this. You need to talk to your children. I’m not your escape.”
Joely snorted and planted a light kiss in the crook of Linn’s neck. “Escape? You think this is…oh, come on.”
“Of course it is,” Linn countered, but she made no move to break from Joely.
“Easy for you to say. You see the children and don’t have to face up to your dead person.”
A tear rolled from Linn’s cheek. “I think I wanted to see her,” Linn murmured. “Despite what I said, I wanted to see her. Hold her one last time. Say goodbye.”
“Let’s look again.”
Linn shook her head.
“Let me touch you?” Joely whispered. “I’m not Molly, but I can make you forget her for the afternoon.”
“I’m not having sex with you, Joely.”
Fine. There were other ways to delay the inevitable, and Joely rested her head against Linn’s. “Hey. If you had the opportunity to say goodbye, what would you say?”


 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Release of TIME AND TIME AGAIN

I'm happy to announce the release of my new book TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

Retailer information (click on links)
Kindle
Nook
Kobo
Smashwords

Print 
Goodreads
It will be distributed to Apple and other e-stores through Smashwords. Should show up any day.

Blurb

Bestselling author Linn Laurent has been grappling with writer’s block to the extent she imagines it as a distinct entity that crawls into bed after her some nights—with its sour, rotting breath. She’s tried remedy after remedy to get rid of the dratted thing, and her latest attempt is a retreat to Green Cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. Maybe there she can finally make progress on her latest novel.

Then she starts seeing and hearing a boy and girl. They claim they’re ghosts. Linn claims nonsense. She thinks a tumor or something like that is messing with her brain, but the evidence for ghosts turns out too strong to ignore. The children, Corrine and Christian, beg Linn to make contact with their parents and even bring them to the cabin if possible.

Joely Estes is sixty years old and has managed to move on the best she could since the deaths of her children twenty-three years ago. When her ex-husband, Orson, and author Linn Laurent show up at Joely’s office, they spin a tale that is too ridiculous to be true. Or is it?

Joely reluctantly goes to Green Cabin with Linn and Orson. The two women develop a bond that may go beyond friendship, but just when they think their world is back to normal, everything changes.

This short novel is about 42,000 words.


In other news
- I have a 9,000ish-word short story coming out in the next week or so. If you enjoy TIME AND TIME AGAIN, you'll like this one too. It's titled THE PSYCHIC AND THE DAMSEL IN DISTRESS.

- WOMAN UNLEASHED is in print. Buy it on Amazon (may take a few days to show up in the system) or through CreateSpace at https://www.createspace.com/4661591.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Make Your Amazon Book Permafree

I got a question from an author this morning on how to make an Amazon book permafree (not the five-day option that KDP Select users have). It's useful information, so I figured I would share the strategy here as well.

First you make the book free everywhere you can. You can do so directly with Kobo. With Nook and Apple and others, you must go through Smashwords, as the retailers themselves don't offer a free option. Once the books are free, go to the book product page on Amazon and find the "tell us about a lower price" link (currently, it's on the product details section right before the start of customer reviews). Click on the link and copy and paste your book URLs from the other sites. Try to get as many people as possible to do this because the more notifications, the higher chance you get of making a freebie. It's far from guaranteed but is the only way. And once in a while, Amazon UK, say, will pick it up while Amazon U.S. doesn't. If you ever decide to make the book paid again, it may take several weeks to months for Amazon to follow suit. There's no neat and orderly process, but it has worked for me most of the time.

You generally don't need to worry about submitting links to all the individual Amazon markets (U.S., UK, DE, etc.). Once the U.S. market picks it up, the rest will follow suit. But be sure permafree is what you want. I still don't know how the UK thing happened to me; it was with my The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories collection. I made it free on Smashwords (ONLY Smashwords) for two days. I changed my mind and reverted it to paid. It would most likely have trickled onto Nook, etc. for a few days before I changed it back to paid. A few weeks later, it suddenly became free on Amazon UK for several months but nowhere else. It all turned out well, though, because when it did finally revert to paid in UK, the sales were astronomical and made up for the months it was free.

Check out my permafree lesbian short-story collection, A Sprinkling of Lesbian Short Stories:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Nook


Apple

Smashwords

Kobo

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fiverr and New Book!

I have a new lesfic book coming out. The title is Time and Time Again. I'm hoping for release in the next month or two. It has been written and revised and is in editing.

Blurb:

Bestselling author Linn Laurent has been grappling with writer’s block to the extent she imagines it as a distinct entity that crawls into bed after her some nights—with its sour, rotting breath. She’s tried remedy after remedy to get rid of the dratted thing, and her latest attempt is a retreat to Green Cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. Maybe there she can finally make progress on her latest novel.

Then she starts seeing and hearing a boy and girl. They claim they’re ghosts. Linn claims nonsense. She thinks a tumor or something like that is messing with her brain, but the evidence for ghosts turns out too strong to ignore. The children, Corrine and Christian, beg Linn to make contact with their parents and even bring them to the cabin if possible.

Joely Estes is sixty-one years old and has managed to move on the best she could since the deaths of her children twenty-three years ago. When her ex-husband, Orson, and author Linn Laurent show up at Joely’s office, they spin a tale that is too ridiculous to be true. Or is it?

Joely reluctantly goes to Green Cabin with Linn and Orson. The two women develop a bond that may go beyond friendship, but just when they think their world is back to normal, everything changes.



***

Also!  Just wanted to let you know I am on Fiverr as a proofreader/editor. Check out my profile: http://fiverr.com/kellyllek

You can also contact me directly for such services. In these cases, PayPal usually works great!