Sunday, March 30, 2008

I am so ticked off at Amazon...

Well I have some very sad news about Amazon, (and I'm very ticked off about this) apparently they have decided that they are going to strong arm POD authors into only having their POD books printed with BookSurge or they will loose their Buy Now button on their Amazon sales page. The thing is I started out as POD author publishing my very first book Getting Out Alive with Lulu Press (an excellent POD publisher by the way), and while I decided not to go and post my books on Amazon due to cost constraints at the time of publication, I still find this news highly disturbing as both an author and a reader. Apparently, BookSurge which was purchased by Amazon in 2005 is now calling and e-mailing all POD authors who have their books listed on Amazon but who are having their books printed by printers other than BookSurge that if they do not switch over to having their books printed by BookSurge only, that their Buy Now button will be removed from their sales page on Amazon! What are these idiots thinking? This takes POD books who are not printed by BookSurge out of the loop for free shipping, and not directly available from Amazon anymore. This is going to loose money for authors as well as those small e-pubs who POD the print versions of their books because people are not going to want to order from Amazon if they can't get the free shipping when they spend $25, it's just not going to happen. Removing the Buy Now buttons is going to make some people go elsewhere to buy the book they want or choose not to buy at all.

I have not heard good things when it comes to BookSurge's quality of print books either, in fact consistently I've been told by more than one author that their quality is crappy to say the least. So, switching over to them is not an option for me should I decide to make my POD print book available on Amazon in the future, which I will not now.

Amazon is even cutting out Lightning Source and saying they are going to remove Buy Now buttons from those pages whose POD books are through Lightning Source. Yikes! Lighting Source is how you get your book listed in Ingrams and as we all know if you are a POD author, this is absolutely critical. So, let me see if I have this straight Amazon? *sarcasm* I have to allow you to only print my book through BookSurge, a low quality POD printer at best, and if I still want to be listed in Ingrams I have to pay for both Booksurge to print my book, and Lightning Source so I can make sure I remain listed in Ingrams? I don't think so. I will be taking my business as well as my books elsewhere thank you very much. I refuse to support any company that takes these sort of stong arm tactics to try and bully POD authors. I hope those of you who read this will follow my example and discontinue doing business with Amazon in any form. I see some lawsuits in the future and while I'm not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination, I wonder if this doesn't violate anti-trust laws? And I'm not the only one wondering that one! For more information check out this article by Angela Hoy, one of the owners of Booklocker, a POD publisher. You can read it here.

Welcome Spring

Can you believe it? March is all but gone and April is just a day away. It doesn't feel much like Spring right now because it's cold and cloudy but I have the promise of warmer days coming up all the same. Spring really is here. It’s good to see the trees begin to bud and the azaleas blooming in their many different colors. I feel kind of lazy—is that Spring Fever?

I do have some news about some fun stuff going on today. New Concepts Publishing is having a series of THEME DAYS that starts off today with a Vampire Party. The authors there will be putting out excerpts from their Vampire books and having contests and prizes for readers. Although my books won’t be in on this Theme Day, as soon as I get off work, I’m going to go over there and see what’s happening. I hope to get some excerpts out on Fantasy Day or Paranormal/Shifter Day with my books from the Valmora series.

More good news: Carolina Romance Writers group (local chapter of RWA) is having some fantastic online classes for May: Spilling The Beans: Secrets, Lies and Backstory by Lynn Kerstan, Writing Erotica by Angela Knight, and From Fiction to Freelance by Beth Morrow. Go to and check it out. If you’re interested in giving a two week long or month long online workshop, let me know. I’m the workshops Coordinator for Carolina Romance Writers and I’m looking for Workshops for 2009. You can email me at I’ll be happy to hear from you.
Well, that’s it for this Sunday. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week and another great week coming up. All good things to your corner of the universe,
Sarah McNeal
Author of the time travel romance, The Violin, at Amira Press available in print and ebook and for sale at Amira Press, and Fictionwise
Also, from my dark fantasy, Medieval Valmora series:
The Dark Isle at New Concepts Publishing and
Lake of Sorrows at New Concepts Publishing

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sorry I've missed a post or two

I just wanted to say that I have not been able to post for a while. So I popped in today to let you know that I am still around. At the moment I do not have a lot to report. I am waiting on something important and may have news soon. However, I have been busy checking proofs and writing as well as personal stuff.

At least we have the sun here, which is nice today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Raven Author Chat Tonight!


Join me from 9 PM to 11 PM EST tonight in the Raven Chat Room for my author chat! Drop by and ask me questions, and we'll talk about my books!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Checking in

Sorry for having been so quiet, darlings. I've been writing and studying like a fiend, plus going through a bit of a (pre) mid life crisis with my birthday yesterday.

I'll be signing books this coming Saturday at the Jacksonville Marriott from 4:30 to 5:30, as part of the First Coast Romance Writers' Southern Lights Conference. If you're in the northern Florida area, stop by and visit me along with Elizabeth Hoyt (*squees!*), Marianne LaCroix, Suzanne Brockman, Alyssa Day, and more! A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Jacksonville Public Libraries. More info here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The writer's life...

Lately, I've been reminiscing about the writer's life because well I haven't been able to do much in mine, sadly. While I do write full-time often, there are times when money needs make it necessary for me to work for a while, and this is one of those times. While I love having the extra money, getting caught up on my bills and such, it is really hard when I get home and am just too tired to write. That's been happening quite a bit the last few weeks. I'm really excited about my current projects and I always have these ideas during the day at work when my energy level is better that I'm going to come home and write. Of course by the time I get home, that doesn't always happen. I'm going to be really glad when this current assignment ends and I can get back to the business of being a writer again which is of course my first love.

I know I'm not the only writer who works at least part of the time to make ends meet, let's face it, very few writers make enough to actually be able to write full-time all the time unless they are Nora Roberts or Stephen King. Still I'm looking forward to the time when I can start listening to my characters again who I can hear yelling at me in the background, but for whom I am unable at the moment to put all my attention on.

Fortunately, I'm almost done with Doomed to Be Charmed, and I'm hoping that maybe I can squeeze in a few writing hours this next week and see if I can at least get that much closer to finishing Kyle, Tyber and Tyrel's story. Then I'll be off to outer space again and working on Leilani's story. I have the say the author's who participate on this blog with me are a real inspiration, and I'm blessed in having them here. :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

It is my hope that all of you have a peaceful and loving Easter.
Some day I'm going to figure out how Easter Bunnies and baskets of candy came into being. Since hard boiled eggs are one of the symbolic objects of the Passover Seder meaning eternal life, I get why we do Easter eggs. I'm not getting the part where we dye them--just to be pretty? Ever notice how they taste better dyed?
But bunnies and baskets? Go figure.
In any case, as you ponder these mysteries, I hope you enjoy friends and family who come to share the Easter holiday with you. Maybe one of them knows the answers.
All good things to you and yours this Easter.
Sarah McNeal
Author of THE VIOLIN Amira Press
THE DARK ISLE New Concepts Publishing
LAKE OF SORROWS New Concepts Publishing

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Break

I'm going away tomorrow for the Easter weekend. As I am in Melbourne, and Melbourne is highly known for its unpredictable weather, it is still summer-ish in this state. Although that has had it's days of being annoying up till now, I must say, it is terribly convenient, for I am going to be going to a beach house for the next four days!!

Wonderfully well wishes and safe times to everyone here over the holidays, and I will be back again some time next week.


Nikki Watson. ;)
Changeling: Of Elves and Men. Available Now! From NCP

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

North and South!

Here's a video I found on You Tube from the screen adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, detailing the difference of life between South England and North England during the Victorian Era. It's one fine production! The romance will sweep you away! Richard Armitage as John Thornton is just so hero worthy! *sigh*


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wearin' of the Green

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day and, for those of Irish decent, it's a day of celebration and pride. There's the whirl of bagpipes, penny whistles, fiddles and drums. Nothing sounds better than a sweet, mournful Irish ballad sung by an Irish tenor. Although some of us aren't entirely Irish, we can still enjoy a cold green beer and wear a bit of green just the same. I wish you all a wonderful day tomorrow and hope you'll enjoy a parade and remember those of us who share a common thread: we weren't always Americans and we weren't always loved by those who came here before us but we found freedom here and a chance to change our lives. We made America our home.
Slan's beannachdl! (Health and a blessing!)
Sarah McNeal author of The Violin, The Dark Isle and Lake of Sorrows

Saturday, March 15, 2008

SRR Reviews Doorway to the Stars!

I just found the review that Simply Romance Reviews gave to my futuristic novella, Doorway to the Stars! Thank you Melissa for the fantastic review! She gave it an A!

Here's a snippet of the review and the link to take you to the full review!
Freya Kirkland has the soul of a fighter, always trying to do the right thing. Aries D’Halen might have gone about procuring his wife in the wrong way, but it is easy to see that he has deep feelings for her early in the relationship. The gradual change in Freya makes you want to cheer for Aries as he slowly, persistently works to get her to trust him and eventually love him. Marley Matthews went the right way in working these two star-crossed lovers together. Details that are normally overlooked are fit into place like pieces of a puzzle. Though it might be a short story, there is nothing lacking from the characters to the colorful planet of Gaian. And the hunk of the story- six foot six—now that’s my kind of man!
~Melissa, Simply Romance Reviews

  • SRR Review of Doorway to the Stars!

  • ~Marly

    Opinions on Writing ;)

    I've just written a scene in my latest WIP that makes me wonder about the evolution of characters. How they start on a page with one fairly distinct personality, but within a scene can suddenly embody a person that you actually know, or just appear in a slightly different light than the one in which you had originally viewed your character.

    I think I'm going to state that this is a good thing. Suddenly you have this character on a page that you are going to get to know. While you are on the train, you might hear his or her opinion to something that you are seeing out the window, and you might have a little bit of a chuckle. Sure, the people in the seats around you might think you are crazy, but you know that you are just a writer. And that this is the way that things just happen to us sometimes. ;)

    Things like this signal, at least to me, that the characters you have chosen, out of all the possible choices, are the right ones, and that, like real people, they are multi-faceted. They should be. I like it when my characters do something that surprises me. Sure, in the next moment I then have to get out my notes and figure out how I'm going to suit any future scenes I may have in mind to suit this new character development, but yeah, overall, it's a good thing.

    Likewise, I like to have the ending of my stories kept from me until I am very near the end. This sounds really silly to some people, because how can you write a story when you don't know how it's going to end, right? Wrong. At least for me, it is. I have a vague idea, maybe three main plot points through the story that I know I'm going to have to cover, but the very end result to come out of these things? That's as much a mystery to me as to the reader. At least I hope so. I like to think that my stories do not have predictable endings.

    Nikki Watson.
    Changeling: Of Elves and Men. Available Now! from NCP.

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Something different

    Today I want to tell you about a book I recently reviewed for Red Roses For Authors/Reviews. the title is The Wise Woman's Tale and the author is Phillipa Bowers. the book is published by Piatkus Books. This is a really intriguing story. It flashes between WWI and some time in the dim and distant past. Kate is living with her grandmother, who is the local wise woman and she has just discovered that she also has the sight. In her dreams she goes back to the life of an earlier wise woman or witch.

    If you would like a review check us out and mail in.

    On a personal note. A Kind Of loving/Linda Sole/Red Rose Publishing released this week. fingers crossed it will do okay. A Shameful Secret/Anne Ireland/Amira Press is still in the best sellers at the historical section fictionwise.

    I have been working hard recently, but this week I intend to relax and do a few reviews before I start on my next book.

    Best wishes, Linda

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    New Romance Writer/Reader Community!

    I'm a member of:
    View my page on Romance Book Junction

    I just joined Romance Book Junction yesterday. It was easier to sign up for than my MySpace account was, now, I just have to become an old pro at it like I am with MySpace. LOL
    This community is set up for writers and readers, which I think is a great concept!
    Also, if you're looking for a chat to attend tonight, please drop by RWA Online's Chat Room, where we will be talking with the lovely Monica Burns about her latest release, Dangerous!
    The chat starts at 9 PM EST and ends at 10 PM EST!

  • ~Marly

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008


    That's about all I've done consistently all day: yawn. I am happy that the Muse is back and ready to work but he's not just back, he's in full swing manic mode. I was rather proud of myself for going to bed at 11pm last night, a reasonable, and unusually hour for me. A few hours later I sit bolt upright out of a deep sleep, completely wide awake, with a scene for Reckless Liaisons bouncing around in my head. I tried for a while to get back to sleep, but to no avail, and at 1am I was sitting in my bed typing furiously on the laptop, until finally I said aloud, "Enough! I need to sleep!"

    At about 4am, the Muse finally cut me some slack and let me go to bed.

    So yes, yawn it certainly is.

    Sunday, March 9, 2008

    God's Creatures

    I hope you remembered that today is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time--except Arizona and Hawaii. I don't know about you, but I kinda wonder how you arrange plane trips and so on to those two states. Are their TV stations adjusting to the time change on everyone else's TV program? Just wondering.

    Like Jimmy Douglas in my book THE VIOLIN, my dad cared deeply about God's creatures. From his childhood and into his retirement years he banned birds for the USA Fish and Wildlife Service. While he worked as a weatherman for a local TV station, he made films demonstrating how to ban birds for young people. As a conservationist way back in the days before most people even knew what that was, my dad worked for conservation and supported groups that attempted to save the environment and the creatures that abide on planet Earth. So, I just wanted to take a moment to honor his memory and his work to save the planet. I based the character of the boy, Jimmy, in THE VIOLIN on my dad. He actually had a red-tailed hawk named Sky Chief who suffered a broken wing that my dad splinted. When the wing healed, he let it go just as the character, Jimmy, did. He also had a dog named Guess.

    I wrote THE VIOLIN with my dad and his brother in mind. In reality my dad's brother died by drowning in two feet of water while fly fishing with his friends back in 1927. My dad missed him for the rest of his life. In THE VIOLIN I brought his brother back to life and gave him a second chance to live the the life he might have had. Here's an excerpt from THE VIOLIN.

    THE VIOLIN Unedited Excerpt at Amira Press by Sarah J. McNeal

    Chapter One
    Genevieve began to dream the familiar dream again. The man was dressed in canvas trousers, a white cotton shirt with no collar and suspenders. He was fly fishing in a picturesque scene with steep banks of forest on either side of the river that hurried past rocks and boulders. The water scrubbed his waders sometimes a few inches below his knees and other times deeper, up to his waist as the man worked the river using a fishing pole and skill.

    The man was standing with his back to her. She watched the muscles in his back as he cast his line into the water. The wind ruffled his hair and the sunlight glinted through it. Water gurgled and splashed happily as it bumped along the rocks and boulders. It seemed to be a pleasant scene but something wasn't right.

    Genevieve had a feeling deep in her core that something ominous was about to happen. She tensed and her heart went into overdrive. She heard someone scream. Was it her? The man began to turn. She could almost see his face.

    Then the dream started to tumble out of control.

    She couldn't breathe. She suddenly found herself under the water looking up through it into the clear, blue sky. The man's face was looking down at her but she couldn't make out what he looked like because the water distorted his appearance. He reached toward her as if to help her when everything went black.

    She struggled up to the surface of her dream to awaken gasping for breath and feeling confused about where she was. She pulled herself up and leaned against the headboard hugging her knees to keep from shaking. A fine film of perspiration had formed on her upper lip and her heart was still playing a staccato rhythm against her ribs. She reached over and turned on the lamp that rested on the nightstand. She felt as though she'd run a marathon.

    What was wrong with her? Why did she keep having these dreams? Always, they occurred back at the turn of the century. It wasn't always this particular dream. There were several of them. Though she never saw his face, she believed it was the same man in all her dreams.

    In one of them she was dancing with the dream man. There were lanterns strung on ropes that looped from tree to tree creating a pleasant glow as she was twirled and dipped by the man to the music of a small band. As the dream continued, the music would slow and he would draw her in closer. Amazingly she could smell him and he smelled good like soap and pine trees and open sky. She felt his chest rumble and knew he was laughing. She could even feel his warm breath as it tickled her ear.

    Occasionally she dreamed about a violin. It was a well used instrument with softly gleaming wood laying in an old fashioned case.
    Something sad happened to it or its owner. She knew this as well as if it could talk to her. Every time she dreamed of the violin, a knot seemed to form in her throat. In the little compartment in the violin's case lay the answer to the melancholy feelings she felt about the violin. Many times her dream would lead her to grasp the ribbon loop that would open the compartment but she always resisted looking inside it. Whatever was in there, she didn't want to see it.

    Saturday, March 8, 2008

    Cover for Do or Die!!!

    Don't you just love it! Rae Monet designed this absolutely gorgeous cover for my futuristic paranormal romance, Do Or Die coming soon from The Wild Rose Press!

    Here's the blurb to whet your appetite!
    Do or Die by Marly Mathews
    Coming soon from The Wild Rose Press!
    The world has changed. Ten years ago, Earth nearly crumbled beneath the might of an intergalactic War. Their Enemy fought them with their destructive psychokinetic powers. Only a band of extraordinary humans stood in their path. They were known as the Gemini Order. Led by Shylah McKay, they saved Earth from ruination.

    Now, Shylah McKay and her kind are being persecuted for the very talents that saved Earth. But Shylah's a mover and a shaker, and with her lover Grayson by her side, she'll go to the ends of the Earth and beyond to fight for her people.

    Have a magical weekend, everyone!

    Friday, March 7, 2008

    Unity - a novel for Tease Publishing's imprint?

    I just spent a bit of yesterday lurking around The Romance Room, watching as the ladies there handed it over to the authors of Tease Publishing. And I gotta say, I'm pretty impressed by the standard of work that seems to be there.

    And the diversity.

    So, I sent them my submission for their Dark Tarot imprint yesterday afternoon. I suppose now, I have to think of a kind of synopsis to give them if it's accepted. Maybe something like:

    When obstinate Darcy and artistic Celeste lives first crossed, they couldn't have known that would start them on the path into the fantasy worlds they both had an interest in. In their sleep, that world comes alive for them, and they themselves are drawn towards true ladies, balls and gorgeous dark men inside cathedrals. The world of abusive stepfathers and depression is left behind them, and in their waking life, they find that they are changing for the experiences of their dreams.

    Like all my favorite authors and poets at the moment, I have tried to tell a tale that mixes real life with fantasy elements to create the novel Unity. It is a little bit different to both my purely fantasy novels that I have with NCP or my singularly social realism that I had while Aphrodite's Apples was still open, but I kinda like it because it mingles the best of both aspects.

    I finally chuffed myself up and made all the last edits I wanted in there, finished writing the cover letter, then pushed the send button. Then I heard back from the editor in chief at Tease this morning. She told me they are looking over submissions this week and I should hear back from them next week.

    Holding my breath until then sounds like a plan, yes? :D

    Nikki Watson.
    Changeling: Of Elves and Men. Available Now! from NCP.

    Thursday, March 6, 2008

    Best Sellers

    Being in the best sellers in the Times newspaper usually means that you have sold a lot of books. I am not yet sure what it means when an ebook is in the best selling list at fictionwise. At the moment I have Cassie's Sheikh/Linda sole at number six in the Red Rose Publishing list at Fictionwise. It has been up to four. In the amira Press section at fictionwise A Shameful Secret was at number one and is now at number two. A shameful Secret went to number two at the Historical Fiction section at Fictionwise it was between Ken Follet and Bernard Cornwall. Now at number three it is between Ken Follet and Phillipa Gregory. These authors usually make up most of the top ten ebooks (historical fiction). So I should know what that means soon and whether or not ebooks sell in anywhere near the numbers that mainstream press would. It will be interesting. I do know of an author whose latest sales with one particular publisher is a healthy four figure sum and that is encouraging for ebook authors. I always like to hear of someone doing very well.

    Anyway, A Kind of Loving/Linda Sole/Red Rose Publishing should be out soon. The Lord's Forced Bride is out at Harelquin Historicals this month. It was requested for review but I haven't seen the review yet. At the moment I am writing a big saga and really enjoying it.

    I am putting up the cover of A Kind of Loving for you. Love to all, Linda

    Tuesday, March 4, 2008

    New Newsletter and other Goodies...

    I put out my February newsletter a few days late this last month, but I figure better late than never. LOL If you haven't already signed up for Regina's Universe, you might want to consider doing so now. I have posted two new chapters for Soul Memories, and added a new folder Free Short Stories. If you haven't yet read my holiday sequel Destiny's Holiday, then you can now find it there for your reading pleasure. There is also another short story called Alien Dreams which is a science fiction romance.

    Alien Dreams is about a young woman who can travel astrally during dreaming and the alien she meets and falls for while doing so. I'm already getting some very good feedback on this one, so if you sign up and read it feel free to send me an e-mail at and let me know what you think of it or any of my other stories.

    In addition if you enjoy Native American romance coupled with paranormal themes I now have eighteen chapters of my Native American reincarnation romance Soul Memories posted to the files section.

    I've also created another piece of artwork that you can use as a desktop background, this one titled "Moon Priestess," and yes, she is levitating the pillars and herself! LOL You can check it out at the bottom of this post. Oh, and you can see a larger version in my Art Gallery on my website.

    And...(yes there's more!) there is a new contest posted on my website for a pair of Native American beaded earrings created and designed by yours truly.

    Feel free to check out my newsletter Regina's Universe and my website at your leisure. :-)

    I'm a guest on Raven Radio-March 5th!


    Hey Everyone,
    I'll be popping in to chat with Mandy and Michelle on Raven Radio tomorrow between 11 am and 12pm EST. My interview will run for twenty minutes! If you are interested in dropping by follow the link below!


    Come See Me this Weekend!

    Be one of the first to get an autographed copy of LEADING HER TO HEAVEN, stock up on fun goodies, and just have fun!

    11721 US Hwy 19
    Port Richey, FL 34668

    March 8 & 9th

    Stop by The USA FleaMarket, 11721 US 19 in Port Richey FL. on March 8th and 9th between 10 AM and 4 PM to meet some of Florida's bestselling authors. There will be something for everyone to read in this multi genre event.

    Chat with the authors, have your picture taken with them, and all of them will be autographing the books for you.

    Authors attending Saturday and or Sunday will be:
    Tiva Wallon, R.W. Langston, Veronica Towers, Scott Harper, Carol Bartolet, Cheryl Rogers, Skyler Grey, Kayleigh Jamison, Adra Steia, Susan Cronin, Valerie Washington, LeRoy Coffie and cover model Marc Kempe.

    Sunday, March 2, 2008

    Happy Sunday

    Good morning and happy Sunday to you.
    Things are hard now. There is the fear of recession and a new thing called stagflation-- whatever that is. I'm not even sure what the difference between recession and depression is.
    My parents lived through the Great Depression. They told us the way it was then. But for all that no one had any money, there was a real sense of community. People shared what they had. Even before that, in the years before the Depression, before the fall of the stock market, in the time when my book, THE VIOLIN, takes place, people took care of one another.
    There was no social security, no medicare or medicaid, no government programs. People became inventive. They made clothes from flour sacks and put cardboard in their worn-out shoes. There was no shame in poverty and there was no whining about being poor. Everybody was poor. But they worked together to help one another and they enjoyed the kindness of their family, neighbors and friends.
    So what if there were a recession or depression today? Would we rally toward each other? Would we console and help one another? Would we become like the characters in my book acting from a love of humanity?
    The depression started an upheaval of social change. Would that kind of economic disaster do the same today? As humans, would we band together for the better good? What are your thoughts. What would you do?
    All good things to your corner of the universe.
    Sarah McNeal

    Saturday, March 1, 2008

    Sick mummy :(

    Hello darlings, I have no good news and posts to share this week. My mother had a minor heart attack a couple of days ago. Rest assured, she will be well. We have figured out what the causes were and she is going back home this weekend.

    So there is a lot of time being spent around my mother this week. And so, less time online.

    But I will be back soon, and will be posting many more wondrous things anon.