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February 2016

January 2016

Why for Me the New Year Begins in February

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I think I might be the one in the back. (Photo source: New York Public Library.)

My new year doesn't officially begin until February this year. No, it’s not a Chinese New Year thing.

February for me is in fact the newest new year of the past eight years because February is the first month in all that time that I won’t have an official employer.

That’s right. At the close of January, I will no longer be beholden to The Man. Or fish, in this case. (Then again, maybe I was the man.)

After five years at Big Fish, I’ve volunteered to take a position elimination layoff effective Jan. 28. It's a mutual decision driven by known declines in the niche premium casual segment of the gaming industry that I've served and by my own diverging creative pursuits.

I’ve opted for a return to full-time freelance writing. I’ve made a living on my own before and know I can do it again. I once paid a Seattle mortgage—during the last boom—on my freelance income.

If January is any indication, I’ll be doing just fine. I’ve got three local freelance clients already, which is no small feat in a sparsely populated county with an unemployment rate over 7 percent. I’m writing and consulting for The Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy and for Embody Movement Studio and Lifestyle Boutique. I have an open invitation with the newspaper here to write regularly, too.

And of course there are my books. I just launched the second book in the Dreamslippers Series, and the reviews so far are glowing. I’m encouraged by the healthy momentum I’ve already seen with what I’ve been able to do around my Big Fish work. Who knows what I’ll get up to with more time.

Will I continue to work in games? I hope so. I've been in a HOPA tunnel for the past five years, but I'm excited to play games purely for fun again (my husband and I just launched a regular game night) and discover what else is out there. I'm exploring.

This February, the man and I are also coming up on our first anniversary in Chehalis, Wash. We moved away from Seattle to explore a better employment opportunity for him and enjoy a much less expensive cost of living. The upside to our choice is that there’s less pressure on me to bring in a Seattle-level income.

Not that I won’t be shooting for the stars, mind you. I just know the landscape pretty well at this point. Less pressure means I can take more risks creatively and pursue a tremendous backlog of ideas without having to say yes to every opportunity there is to earn some dough.

It’s exciting to be in this position for the first time in my twenty-five-year career. I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t nerve-wracking, but I feel like I’ve got a good start on what should be an interesting, and I hope fruitful, journey.

So wish me luck. You can support my slow climb out of relative obscurity by reviewing my books and telling your friends about them. Like I said on Friday, it's a simple thing, but it makes a huge difference


12 Great Reviews! And Why You Should, Too

FramedBurningDec
Framed banner
 
The holidays were a whirlwind for me, as I had two book tours running at the same time. The second one ended today. Well, OK, these aren't traditional book tours, so nobody got on any planes or faced crowded bookstores. (Does anyone anymore? Maybe J.K. Rowling or Stephen King?) The way we do these things now if you're not J.K. Rowling or Stephen King is virtually, meaning, online.
 
So here's what happened. Framed and Burning was featured on 20 web sites, garnering 12 reviews. I wrote two guest posts and gave one interview. The rest were featured spotlights.
 
And the reviews are coming back roses, I tell ya. Roses. Here's what they've had to say:
 
"Framed and Burning is the second book in the Dreamslippers series. It’s easy to follow and hard to put down, making readers who may not have read the first book race back to give it a try!"  - InD'tale Magazine
 
"Lisa Brunette continues to develop vibrant characters in a stunning story that will keep you reading well past your bedtime!" - On My Kindle, Read the Full Review Here
 
"This cozy mystery about a family of psychically gifted amateur sleuths possesses enough magic to keep you hooked from the first page until the last." - BestThrillers.com, Read the Full Review Here
 
"Deeply intriguing right from the start! I definitely have to get my hands on the first novel of the series!" - Book-o-Craze, Read the Full Review Here
 
"I love a good eccentric granny character and Grace is in my top 5 granny characters I've encountered this year." - Back Porchervations, Read the Full Review Here
 
"I’ve become a Lisa Brunette fan with this read." - Sherrey Meyer, Puddletown Reviews, Read the Full Review Here
 
"All credit to the author for holding my interest over the busy festive season!" - Ali, the Dragon Slayer, Read the Full Review Here
 
"It was interesting to see how the dreamslippers worked as each one had a different method of invading and analysing dreams. Framed and Burning is a book I recommend reading." - Michelle Stanley, Writer Way, Read the Full Review Here
 
"This is a fun book, much more fast-paced than a cozy, but without the gruesome and gory details of real crime mystery novels." - Mystery Sequels, Read the Full Review Here
 
"This book had me hooked right from the beginning! I love the characters!" - Pari's Books, Read the Full Review Here
 
"A great mystery with lots of potential killers and twists and turns." - J Bronder Book Reviews, Read the Full Review Here
 
"Just when they thought the case was solved, there were more questions..." Mel's Shelves, Read the Full Review Here
 
I'm totally thrilled with this reception. It's one thing when people who know you rave about the book, but another entirely when perfect strangers fall in love with your words. 
 
However, in order to get more books in the hands of more readers, I'll need at least thirty more reviews. So there you have it. A writer can't ever rest, on her laurels or even just rest. As I write this, I've been up since 3 am.
 
By the way, here are links to articles about the book.
 
The Book Adventures of Emily: Guest Post, Getting to the Art of It All
 
indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop: My Miami Christmas Tree, and More
 
Whispering Stories Interview: The Writing Life of Lisa Brunette
 
Some of you are already asking about book three. Damn, people! I'm on it. (Actually, this is a great problem to have. THANK YOU for inquiring about book three. I'm in love with book three and can't wait to finish it.) But January is a month in which my day job (in its last month - more about that in a future post) is overlapping with new freelance projects, so my one day to write on book three is now in competition with other writing, and that other writing leads more readily, for now anyway, to a paycheck. And so it goes.
 
Curtsies to all of you who read my stuff and talk about it amongst your people. And hugs on top of curtsies to those of you who've reviewed Framed and Burning on Amazon (UK, Canada, and US), Barnes & Noble, and Apple. There is absolutely no way for me to make this work, so that I can write book three instead of returning to some other kind of employment, without your reviews.
 
And if you haven't yet because why bother, let me quote Kristen Lamb, who said it better than I can:

Reviews are more important now than ever before, especially for the indie and self-published author. The reason is that with the change in the publishing paradigm, the slush pile (unfortunately) has been dumped into the reader’s lap. There are a lot of bad books out there. But even then, that really isn’t all that big of a problem.

Want to know the bigger problem?

There are a lot of good books out there.

With the Internet and social media and the explosion of books there is SO MUCH content. This means consumers are overwhelmed with choices. Reviews help writers sell books because if readers see a book with no reviews or five reviews versus a similar title with thirty reviews? Who will they choose? Additionally writers gain access to promotional tools like Bookbub, but can ONLY do this with a minimum number of reviews.

Instead of sending me an e-mail about how much my book changed your life? Put it on Amazon and change MINE!

Readers are essential to our success beyond just the sale. If you love our books, your promotion means a thousand times more than any ad I could pay for. Ads and marketing don’t sell books. Never did and never will. Only thing that sells books is word of mouth.

Beloved reader? You would be shocked how much regular people will pay attention to you. That review is worth your weight in gold to me for a number of reasons. Humans don’t like being first. So unless a couple of you are brave and review? My book can sit with NO reviews and it is then unlikely to sell.

Think about a shelf with ONE item. It freaks us out. There is only ONE. Is it poison? O_o

Secondly, when you review us, Amazon favors our books in the algorithms meaning more people SEE our book. More people SEE it, odds are I will sell more copies. In the on-line world YOU have the power to get US that awesome front of the store book placement. The more reviews the better the algorithm. Better algorithm, more views. More views, more sales, more sales—>we make a best-seller LIST!

<3 <3 <3

You can also use your social media because it means more than ours.

Tweet a picture of our book. Put it on Facebook. People in your network ARE noticing. Peer review and approval is paramount in the digital age. And don’t support your favorite author on Goodreads as a first choice (AMAZON reviews are better). The only people hanging out on Goodreads for the most part are other writers and book trolls.

Support us on your regular Facebook page or Instagram or Twitter. Because when you post a great new book you LOVED your regular friends see that. When they get stranded in an Urgent Care or an airport? What will they remember? THAT BOOK. They won’t be on Goodreads. Trust me.

Read her rant in its full glory here.

OK, so this article has nothing to do with reviews but pretty much captures where I've been for the past year. I'm in the middle of at least three major transitions, which is my way of saying it's business as usual in Brunetteland.

 Thanks for reading this far. You rock.
 

What I'm Reading: The Crossing

The Crossing (Harry Bosch, #20)The Crossing by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a Christmas gift from my stepson. I read through it in nearly one sitting, unable to put it down. Harry Bosch is an immensely likable character, in the style of Jack Reacher and an extension of that mythic American white male hero, a Marlboro Man of the Law. As such it's a thoroughly enjoyable read, with enough twists and turns to keep readers engaged and wanting to know more. It's not a whodunit; instead, it's a race to find out if and how Bosch will discover the villain's true identity before the villain does Bosch in. But of course as with these types of books, the peripheral characters stay pretty much on the periphery. They are also more or less what you expect from the police procedural drama, no surprises or straying from the formula here. Still, Connelly manages to bring even a brief exchange with an Uber driver into hilarious relief through well-written dialogue showing the writer's ear for conversation. I can't wait to check out the TV series based on the novel series.

View all my reviews