Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Grab Bag of a Post!

Howdy, folks! This blog post will be a grab bag of sorts, covering a lot.

Here's what you'll get: my review of the Amazon bookstore in Seattle, a preview of my work in progress, "The Young and Lesbian," a link to a separate webpage on this site that I've made to list all of my Kindle Unlimited books, and last but not least, a link to important tax advice for writers.

Amazon bookstore review!
When I learned that Amazon had opened a physical bookstore in Seattle, I knew I needed to go. Fortunately, I already had a trip planned to Space Needle City, so the timing was marvelous. I went this past weekend and had a great time, as I always do in Seattle. For this visit, I stayed in the Mediterranean Inn in the Queen Anne neighborhood. It was my first time at this hotel. I LOVE IT! I would definitely stay there again. (Go to the rooftop deck!!!) I checked out the Pacific Science Center and Archie McPhee's (my first time for both, too). Again, great experiences. 

The Amazon bookstore, as well, was fun. However, going a few weeks before Christmas may not have been optimal timing. ;)  The bookstore is in a shopping-mall area (that looks like a cute little village), and it was extremely busy. The bookstore is already on the small side, so don't expect space galore. I wanted to snatch up nearly every book I saw. Not having prices listed with the books serves the purpose of getting folks emotionally invested in a book and buying it regardless of price. You look up prices using your Amazon app (scan the barcode) or by using one of the barcode scanner tablets around the store. I had a few glitches with the barcode scanner on the phone app, but they went away once I connected to the store Wi-Fi. You can try out tablets or e-readers you've been thinking about buying. No gay/lesbian section in this bookstore, which was disappointing.

One thing my girlfriend, Marcy, really appreciated was the fact that ALL books are displayed covers forward. I didn't notice this tactic at first, but it's really effective, IMO.

The Young and the Lesbian
Soap opera romance! I am about 1/3 through this novel. It's been a lot of fun. I should be finished writing it in a few months (giving myself lots of time to do it).

Brief summary: Soap opera actress Dash Bannon isn’t exactly old, but at forty-seven and with her career prospects dwindling, she decides a bold move is in order. She hops onto the train of actors and actresses coming out as gay. One teeny problem: Dash isn’t actually gay. And she never thought she’d fall in love with Jane Knight, one of her Windsor Beach co-stars, but sure enough, she is. Dash finds herself navigating the tricky paths of self-identity, love and stardom.

For a preview of this work in progress, click on this link to read the unedited Chapter One. It's about 3,000 words and is 100% safe for work. :)

My Kindle Unlimited Books
For $9.99 a month, you can get Kindle Unlimited membership, giving you access to lots and lots of books and stories. Amazon offers a one-month free trial so you can check KU out before forking over money. I have a few books in the program now and will update the KU page on my website as books join or leave. Check out my KU books here.

Tax Prep
Last but not least, here's some valuable end-of-year tax planning info for writers and freelancers. Here's one tip to reduce income tax: open a SEP IRA.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kindle Unlimited: "The Green Pill, One Hour and Other Lesbian Stories"

Hi folks!

A quick note to let you know that "The Green Pill, One Hour and Other Lesbian Stories" is available in KDP Select. If you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read this collection of stories for free. Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FWG9PSK

Story blurbs:

THE GREEN PILL (about 14,000 words): The year is 2022. A green pill has been developed that cures breast cancer, but in the huge majority of cases, a side effect reverses sexuality. Basically, straight people turn gay, and gay people turn straight. Marcia Brandon, whose marriage to Jim has faded into monotony, keeps waiting for her side effect to kick in, but it never seems to. Marcia is dismayed; she’d counted on the side effect to shake up her life. On the other hand is Byrony Russell, who hasn’t told her husband, Griffin, that she experienced the green pill’s most notorious side effect. She keeps hoping an antidote will hit the shelves, and she can have her idyllic, heterosexual life with Griffin back. Marcia and Byrony meet at a support group and become friends. And eventually, perhaps more.

ONE HOUR (about 24,500 words): English teacher Jessica Harmon and one of her students, seventeen-year-old Riley Jenkins, hide in a classroom closet while a gunman rampages through their high school. When the gunman finds them in the closet, they figure they’re as good as dead. Except Jessica and Riley survive, without injury, their harrowing, surreal conversation with the gunman.

Their shared trauma and their guilt from failing to stop the gunman haunt Jessica and Riley and bring them close. They’re not the same people they were before the shootings, and Jessica, who never had given as much as a second glance to a student, finds herself drawn to Riley. 
“One Hour” is the story of how Jessica and Riley help each other through their unique situation. Do they ultimately find happiness and a future with each other?

THE NIGHT THEY DRANK WINE (about 5,000 words): Mallory and Vanessa are sisters-in-law and good friends. One night, they get together to gossip and drink wine. One thing leads to another, and the next morning finds them naked and in bed together. Will they ignore what happened or try to make some sense of it?

STAYING IN (about 3,200 words): Becky Wilson decides one day she’s not leaving her condo again. Her unusual choice brings her backlash—and much more.

TOMMIE (about 4,300 words): Claire has a secret—her first love, Tommie, who died of leukemia twenty years ago, has been reincarnated. Kendall Paulson is nineteen years old, almost twenty, and has no idea who Tommie was. What Kendall does know, however, is that she likes Claire a lot. A heck of a lot. Is Kendall really Tommie? Either way, what does it mean for both women?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

"The Odd Couple" in Kindle Unlimited

Hi peeps,

Just a quick note to let y'all know that "The Odd Couple" is now part of Kindle Unlimited. This means if you're a KU member, you get to read it for free. Here's the link to the book: Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Odd-Couple-Q-Kelly-ebook/dp/B005SJRABU

Blurb:  Morrisey Hawthorne and her four-year-old son, Gareth, have a pretty good life. Then one day they meet Charlene Sudsbury, who is trying to move on from the suicide of her son, JP, three years before. Gareth is nearly the mirror image of JP, and Charlene connects instantly with him. Not quite so with Morrisey, who can't escape fast enough after Charlene shows her a picture of JP. Charlene is convinced Morrisey is hiding something and sets out in search of the truth.

Despite the circumstances, the two women form an unusual bond and end up with a lot more than they bargained for. But when an old friend of JP's resurfaces, he challenges the fragile trust Morrisey and Charlene have been building.
Can these two women overcome the obstacles that separate them from the happiness they seek?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Swimming in Acorns (and a cute pic of my cat)

I’m nuts for Acorns! The app, not the food. If you ask me, I’m not too crazy about the food, 
Two acorns in love
but give me cashews any day. Anyhoo, the app!

Okay, a little background. I love money. Call me Scrooge! I love seeing money accumulate, if only little by little. I have a savings account that draws paltry interest. It used to be better before the recession in 2008 started, but hey, a little is better than nothing. I have a battery-operated bank that I bought a few months ago. And a few weeks ago, I discovered Acorns. I was writing an article on financial apps, and Acorns was one.

Right away, it intrigued me. Say you use your credit card or debit card to pay $3.83 for coffee. Acorns rounds up to the dollar, and in this case, the round up is 17 cents. It does this for your various purchases until you hit $5, in which case it transfers $5 from your bank account to your Acorns portfolio. (No long list of tiny itty bitty 5-cent transfers!)
What $17.59 looks like

No caption here. Move on. ;)
What an easy way to save! I really liked the idea. Acorns also lets you make an initial deposit and transfer a set amount each month to your portfolio (my monthly transfer is $5 right now). You can make one-time transfers anytime, too.

You choose an investing portfolio based on your needs and risk tolerance. Are you conservative? Assertive? Don’t have much time to play with? Have a lot of time? Acorns covers your bases.

I love checking my portfolio and seeing how it has grown. The first few days I had Acorns, I “lost” five cents in the stock market. The horrors! ;) Now, I have $2.17 I would not otherwise. In the long term, it’s more than I would get from interest in a savings account. (In case you're wondering, I used to do CDs but need more in savings before I am comfortable laddering again.)

Sure, there are risks. The stock market could crash—and has. You have the ability to withdraw your money and change your portfolio at any time, so that helps.

Oh yeah, fees. Aren’t they fun? I pay $1 per month as long as my balance stays under $5,000. After that, fees increase a little depending on the amount of money in your portfolio.

As of now, I’m really enjoying Acorns. It makes saving and investing fun. If you want to save without having to think about it, Acorns seems just the trick. If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, just sign up for Acorns online. In fact, that’s what I did. 

Okay, just because I can and my cat is really cute, who needs boxes when you have bags?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

More stuff! ("Strange Bedfellows" bundle and "Woman Behind the Mask")

OK, more stuff! First, "Woman Behind the Mask" is in print now, and you should see it very soon in print at Amazon and the usual suspects. For now, it is definitely on Createspace. https://www.createspace.com/5818488

Second, the "Strange Bedfellows" bundle that I talked about doing last year is ready.
For now, I see it as being ebook only (the individual books are available in print). Anyway, you get all three books in the series for only $9.99. That's savings of more than $10. Rather than
putting blurbs or long excerpts below for each book, I just figured I would use a few lines or paragraphs from each. (Spoiler alert warning: Do not read the info for the third book if you don't like being spoiled/have not read the first book. It's fine to read info for the second book.)

Retailer links:

All these thoughts. Memories. Regrets. Was this what getting old was like? She certainly felt old. Not old in the sense that her body was achy, tired and cranky, although it got that way sometimes. But old in the sense that she had regrets, lots of them, and was not sure she had the courage to follow through on her plans to address them. She had taken an important step, but there was still room to backtrack. Oh yes, there was.
Guess what I do then? I blurt out: “I love you.” Bad idea. Not that I do it on purpose. Not that I mean it. It simply comes out. Simply happens.
Ennis creaks her head toward me, her eyes wide and horrified. “You don’t love me,” she replies, and her voice is strange. Not soft, not gentle, not hard. Just…gravelly. Stoic, with unshed tears? “You hardly know me. Come on, Carol. You said you wouldn’t fall for me.”
“I know.” Crap. “It slipped out. I’m sorry. You’re right. I don’t love you.”
She swallows. “Yeah.”
Victoria came to her, stroked Felicianna’s cheek, and their gazes locked. Felicianna didn’t try to pull away or struggle. She’d made her decision, and her agony, at least for the moment, was suspended. Victoria moved her lips against Felicianna’s. The girl’s mouth was hot, soft, and tasted of teriyaki. When the tip of her tongue entered Felicianna’s mouth, something snapped inside Felicianna, and she sought to punish Victoria for what amounted to months’ worth of lies. Felicianna sought to express her anger and her growing feelings for Victoria the only way she knew how. The only way she wanted to.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Just in time for Halloween! "Woman Behind the Mask" release and giveaway

At long last, “Woman Behind the Mask” is out! Below is a list of places you can find it. It will be out in print soon.

There are still about three days left in the giveaway; I’m giving away two free ebook copies (any format) to two winners selected at random. Plenty of time to jump in on the action! :) More on the giveaway at the end of this post.

For an excerpt, check out the beginning of the novella at the various retailers or follow this link (perhaps not exactly safe for work): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5fwgXSI9WFhRm43WDBOQlQwZlk/view?usp=sharing

Blurb of “Woman Behind the Mask”: For Annie Hardesty, Zorro is a figure shrouded in the mists of fantasy. Whatever Annie does, from getting kidnapped on a cruise to adventuring in search of the Holy Grail, Zorro is in the picture. When Annie sees Zorro in the flesh at a Halloween party, she decides to make fantasy become reality.

Except Zorro turns out to be a woman.

Surprise doesn’t stop Annie for long, and she sets up a sexual liaison at a cemetery. While Zorro, a.k.a. a lesbian named Hayden, is nervous as hell, she’s game. The night doesn’t go exactly as planned, but it’s enough for Annie and Hayden to realize they have a genuine connection. Can they overcome obstacles such as Annie’s boyfriend and Hayden’s ex-girlfriend to discover who they can be together?

Giveaway details: What/who is your favorite Halloween creature, and why? Respond here, PM me, email me, attempt ESP, whatever...I'm flexible! ;) Deadline about noon Oct. 25 (I won't sweat exact times because we're all over the world).