Friday, May 15, 2015

The Verdict: My Paperbackswap Experience

Okay, so a while back I wrote a blog post stating that I'd joined Paperbackswap, but I didn't say much more than that about it because I hadn't used the service enough to give a fair appraisal. Well, I've been a member for long enough now...or rather, I've sunk enough money into it at this point...that I feel I can give my honest opinion about it.

I'm going to start by saying that I have a few friends who are members of the site as well, so I initially felt confident joining the site. Their membership seemed almost like a stamp of approval for me, at first. I viewed the site, and although skeptical, it seemed like it would save you money to swap books there, because essentially it's easy to look at the site and believe that you're going to be basically swapping books for a small swap fee, receive a credit and that's it. Well....

Here's how using the service has gone down for me:

When I joined, I listed 10 romances (never read, no spine creases) from my "wanted it, but never gonna read it" paperback shelf. I usually reserve those books for relatives or giveaways, so no big loss there, although, I did pay for those books at some point. For signing up at PBS (paperbackswap), I received two free swaps. I wanted to dive head first into trading, so I began a search for books on my wish list. However, none of the books on my immediate wish list were available for order. Hmm. I should've taken that as a sign and backed out of the program right there. But I went ahead and browsed through the titles until I found something interesting to order - which was a couple of horror novels. I tend to read a lot of horror, category romance, and erotica, so you think it would be easier to find posted books. That definitely wasn't the case for me.

Okay, so after those initial free swaps, I received swap requests for three of the books on my list. I dutifully printed the labels, and hauled these bad boys to the post office. I didn't use the paperbackswap printable shipping, because sure enough it wouldn't have been enough for the books I was mailing. I went to the post office and each book shipped with delivery confirmation was about $3.50. So, let's just say $10.00 spent right away. (That's not counting the value of the books, of course, which were between $4.88 and $6.97 per book at Walmart prices.)

About two weeks later, I got notice from paperback swap that two of the books had been received, which gave me two credits total. I thought, cool! I'll go in and order another book. The thing is, I was out of free swaps. Since that was the case, like a fool, I went ahead and paid for a $20.00 yearly membership that gives you "free swaps" (that really aren't free anyway you slice it) thinking that would help save me money.

After ordering two more books using those "free" book credits (the ones I got from my books being received by the people who requested them), I was out of book credits again. Since no one had requested any of the other books I had posted, and the other person hadn't given me credit for their book's receipt yet, the only way for me to get more book credits was to buy them at a cost of $3.95 for 1-2 credits, or $3.79 for 3+ credits. Plus a paypal fee, which is shady territory.

Anyway, you can buy book credits straight up using paypal, or you can buy paperbackswap money and then buy the credits through the PBS site. Either way you go about it, if you buy one credit, once you factor in the .50 cent paypal fee on every transaction**, that's over four dollars...for a used book.

This is why I do not see that as a savings of any kind: You can buy used paperbacks for a penny all day long on Amazon (the shipping will be standard $3.99, which totals out to $4.00, and no paypal fee), and you get to choose the vendor you're buying from and at least get an idea of the condition of the book you'll receive - more about that in a minute.

The fact of the deal is that paperbackswap money doesn't go very far. Paperbackswap money can be used for kiosk transactions, for swaps, fees, and book credits. However, if you go with "a la carte" membership, unless you post a metric shit ton of newly released, high in demand books, (to keep people requesting your books so you can accumulate credits that can in turn be used to keep books coming to your door), you're going to have to pay swap fees, plus paypal transaction fees, plus book credit fees. And if you mail out a book, you're going to be paying shipping fees as well, since you cover the shipping on any book you send out. Basically, paperback swap is good in theory, but this is a fairly expensive service, and you're not swapping anything for free - not even your own books. While I'm sure there are people who love the service and get a lot of mileage out of it, I am not one of those people.  I'm presently out about $40.00 from using paperback swap, and the books I have received are in a condition NOTHING like what I sent out. One book had the wrong cover from what I requested, and the rest were very, very worn. Not "good condition" as the site demands. People are sending out books that need to be retired, end of story.

Anyway, my overall experience with the service has been anything but good. Sadly, I can't recommend this site to friends, and I will be closing my account there as soon as my last book request arrives...if it gets here. To me, it's not worth the expense. I get far more mileage out of buying penny books off Amazon, and using my $9.99 Kindle Unlimited service (which I love and have gotten a ton of mileage and savings out of since I started using it.) As for the books I'd hoped to swap at PBS, I will simply take them to my area used book store, or put them on the giveaway shelf at the local library to cut down the clutter at home. It's far, far cheaper to do that.

**Any paypalling you do from the site costs you .50 cents per transaction, and this is from the paperbackswap side of things. Basically, you are paying Paperbackswap's paypal fees for doing business. That's a tad shady if you ask me, since paypal charges businesses fees for using their service. That's what you're paying - Paperbackswap's business/seller fees.

If you've had a good or bad experience at Paperbackswap, I'd love to hear about it...just please no bashing. I don't welcome that here.

Until next time, happy reading! xoxo

Sommer Marsden's Haunted

I'm obsessed with books, photos, and TV shows about abandoned places, so when Sommer Marsden's Haunted appeared on Amazon, I knew I had to read it! Check out the blurb....

Sommer Marsden's Haunted 

Two people lost and alone in life searching for answers… 

Maddox visits abandoned sites to take photographs and figure out his future. He haunts the places that are monuments to the way he feels inside. Stark, empty, raw. And Olyvia searches for answers to her own painful loss by hunting ghosts. Trying to comfort herself by seeking proof of an afterlife. 

One haunted amusement park with a dark history… 

Maddox and Olyvia recognize kindred souls in one another. But a chance to fully explore their connection is a luxury they may not have. There’s a ghost stalking Screamland hell-bent on revenge. And it’s targeting them. ♦

I highly recommend this novella. It's a quick read, and if you're like me, you won't be able to put it down! 

Buy Link:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Love Plot by Katherine King

I'm back again with another recommendation from my recently read list. I read a ton of non-fiction, specifically writing guides. The ones I find helpful, I shelve in my writing library. I'm always happy to recommend a good writing guide, and this is one of them.

I've had a hard time finding writing guides that delve very deeply into the crafting of category romance novels. This one does (although it also works for other types of romance), so The Love Plot gets a big thumbs up from me. If you're interested in writing category romance, this book digs deeper than most.  Check out the blurb...

The Love Plot (How to Plot Your Romance Novel) by Katherine King

Romance novels are a labor of love. But writing your book doesn't have to be laborious. Don't reinvent the wheel-- or the plot outline. The elements you need to get plotting and get writing are at your fingertips. Learn how to structure your book with the pivotal and connective scenes listed in the worksheets that get to the heart of the matter: the buildable plot.

Whether you're writing category romance or romance in general, The Love Plot can get you from the blank screen to the last page. Which is just what you need. No fuss, no frills, no filler. And that's just write. 

So grab your pen and create something your readers will love!

I highy recommend this book for aspiring authors looking for help crafting a category romance. I'm linking to both editions of the book, because I read the Kindle version through Kindle Unlimited first, then went back and bought a paperback copy.

Buy Links: 

Kindle edition:

Paperback Workbook:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

For His Brother's Wife by Kathie DeNosky

Forbidden romance alert! I've loved every title I've ever picked up by Kathie DeNosky, and as soon as I saw For His Brother's Wife on the store shelves, I knew I had to read it. Just check out that blurb!

For His Brother's Wife by Kathie DeNosky

The tornado that tore apart Royal, Texas, ripped Paige Richardson's world to shreds. She lost her husband, and she expected her husband's twin, construction tycoon Colby Richardson, to offer a shoulder to lean on. But instead, he's distant. Why? What happened to the closeness they once shared?  

For years, Cole has kept his distance, but now he's staying on Paige's ranch while he helps the town rebuild. It's only a matter of time before the feelings—and secrets—he's hidden all come to the surface.

I purchased my copy from Walpurgis Mart a few days ago, so its still on store shelves out here in the sticks. You can also pick up a copy at, Books A Million, Amazon, and at other book retailers. It's definitely worth a read! 

Buy Link: 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nancy Henderson's Bounty

Hi, everyone! I've been deep in the writing cave for the past two weeks. When I haven't been writing, I've been reading to keep my mind fresh...a couple of books per week. That being the case, I thought I'd share some of the great new reads that have found their way home to me. To kick things off, I'm happy to recommend...

Nancy Henderson's Bounty

A bounty to live comfortably for the rest of his life…

A betrayal she would never forget…

And the journey of a lifetime…

Delilah Van Allen has her whole life planned. Independent as a mountain cat, she will escape to the wild and live off the land in peace.  Until her father promises her hand to the commander of a fort in the remote Adirondack wilderness.

Mohawk scout Two Crows has been hired to escort a white woman to Fort Edward.  He never expects to find love and risk the bounty—and the vengeance—he has been promised.

Buy link:

Where to find Nancy:
Facebook 2:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Midnight Angel, Paperback Swap, and Mini's Tooth

The day before yesterday, I managed to salvage eleven writerly files I thought might be lost forever. Woot! I still haven't done a complete hard drive recovery off the old computer, so I'm still missing plenty of pictures, old book covers, story pieces, etc. However, I have all the Werekind series story files now, and I've started reading through them.

In my free time I've been working on cleaning up and reissuing the Werekind books. I recently started re-editing Moonlight and Shadows—kind of the outlier in the series, but one of my favorites. I'm a couple of chapters into it, and I've been rewriting bits and pieces of it as I go. That's my big project for this week: get M&S cleaned up.

I'm also working on wrapping up Midnight Angel, which is the last short story in the Under A Midnight Moon trilogy. I have only a few scenes left to write. Midnight Angel is Gemma's story, for those who remember Betsey and her friends. Once that story is cleaned up, I'll start compiling the trilogy into one file. I'm going to post that set of shorties in a single volume. The stories included: Under A Midnight Moon, Feral Instinct (which has been extremely hard for readers to find up to this point!), and Midnight Angel. The set doesn't have a title yet, but it will be available this summer. If you want to be notified when the set goes live, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, which I use only for new releases, and important writerly updates, etc. I promise never to spam you, ever. There's a sign up box on the side bar of this blog, and also on my website.

Kindle Unlimited and Paperback Swap

I've talked before about Kindle Unlimited and how much I love the program. I've never tried it as a writer, only a reader, so I can't speak for how well it works for writers. It has kept me with a steady stream of good reading material though, and I've discovered several new to me writers that I have added to my auto-buy list. After reading one series on Unlimited, I went back and bought the entire set of paperbacks. Pricey, since they were done through CreateSpace, but I loved the books and wanted them for my keeper shelf.

In addition to Kindle Unlimited, I recently signed up for Paperback Swap. I wanted to trade off some of my older keeper shelf romances for horror novels and supernatural thrillers. I signed up for the service, and right now I'm still on the shelf whether it's a program I'll stick with. For one thing, the credit system. The cost of purchasing credits is about the same as you'd pay for a brand new Harlequin at the bookstore. Roughtly $3.50 per credit, or something like that. Then there is the .49 cent swap fee. So, you request a book, and it costs you 1 credit plus the .49 cent swap fee. That's roughly the cost of a new paperback. The other person, the book holder, pays to ship it to you. (Senders can use printable shipping on the website). When the book arrives, you go to your control panel and mark the book as "arrived", and the other person gets a credit they can use to request a book from anywhere on the site. It's not a bad program, but it's not as cost saving as I thought it would be, especially when almost all of the books I'd hoped to find on Paperback Swap weren't available for request in the database. They're wishlisted instead, and may never end up available for trade. So, even after "swapping" several of my romance paperbacks, I've only managed to acquire one horror novel on my actual wishlist. I haven't been with the program long, so I'm going to give it a while. I'll update when I settle on a final impression of the service.

The Broken Tooth

Today Mini called me from school. He'd broken a tooth, and I needed to go pick him up. He didn't know how he fractured it, but he'd cracked his upper right six year molar in half. I drove to the school to pick him up (we live about four minutes from campus), and I took a look at the tooth. A permanent tooth was pushing it out and compromised it. That's why it broke. It was nothing to worry about, and didn't hurt him in the slightest. In fact, as of this afternoon, half of the tooth has come out, and the other half is wiggly. He didn't even feel the half piece come out.

Anyway, I signed him out of classes for the day, and as we went to leave, the principal comes striding out of her office and says she wants to speak to me in the hallway. (She asked if I was his mother, too. Who else would I be?)

In the hall, she told me they had confiscated Mini's watch, because "students aren't allowed to have recording devices at school". I looked at Mini and asked "what watch?" He took it out of his pocket - a new watch I'd never seen before.

I asked, "Where did you get that?"
He told me, "I bought it at the book fair this morning."
The principal, "You bought that here? Today?"
Mini nodded, "I bought it this morning."
Principal, egg on face, "Well, you enjoy that at home, okay? We can't have that kind of watch here."

I'm like, whatever, let's go home. If she expected me to scold him, she walked away sorely disappointed. He bought it at the school, what else is a kid going to do with it but play with it until he gets it home. It's Kid Logic 101.

We leave the building and are walking toward the car when Mini starts to laugh. He tells me, "I totally busted BULLY kid with my watch. I recorded him harrassing me. It was beautiful."

Hence, the real reason the school doesn't want recording devices - even the ones they sell in the library - on campus. Parents will find out what's really going on.

In that regard, they can kiss my fat fanny. Bully kid is the same little shit who threatened to shoot up our house with his father's hunting rifle earlier this year. On top of that, you can't tell me that there are no kids on campus with iPhones. And if that's not a recording device, I don't know what is.

In Closing 

That's all for now. Sorry for any typos in advance...Mini is telling me to hurry up. He bought a how-to-draw Pokemon book from the book fair, and we're about to test it out. Until next time, happy wishes! ☺

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Wordy Weekend

Hurray for Friday! (Or Saturday, rather, since it's almost midnight) I'm thoroughly jazzed the weekend is here. Although I still can't ride in a car (the jarring around puts me in horrible pain), I'm able to get around the house fairly well. In the morning the guys are heading off to the Sunshine Festival, and it's a bummer I can't go. However, the guys have promised me that if the gator booth is open this year, they'll bring home some fried alligator on a stick - with dipping sauce, of course! ☺

For the past few days I've been enjoying all the Indie Recon posts. There are videos still posted for authors to check out when convenient. To find them, simply check the IndieRecon hashtag on twitter, or do a google search for Indie Recon 2015. There's a lot to take in. 

I read through part of the vamp manuscript today, and made a few notes on what's there and what isn't. After a while I switched over to working on the final revisions for Moonlight and Shadows. It's almost ready to be sent off to the formatter. I'll be thrilled to have it back in print, but I'm a little concerned about what to do with it when it's ready to go. I'm torn over how to price and distribute it. I'm playing around with the idea of offering it up for Kindle Select, and then enrolling it in the Kindle Unlimited program. As a reader, I love the Unlimited program; however, I've never tested it out from an author's side of the equation. I've heard horror stories - poor reader response, a pittance for royalties, some books taking a steep plunge in sales after doing well off the program, etc. Then again, Moonlight and Shadows is so short, I'm sure that I'll have a lot of reads and returns, anyway. That's the sucky part about writing and selling short stories, especially since Amazon makes it so easy to return ebooks. Either way, I'm going to try not to worry about it too much. I'll cross the distribution bridge when I get to it.  

Over the weekend, I hope to get some more revision done, and then check a book or two off my TBR stack. I bought a handful of a next books this afternoon to keep me entertained while the guys are doing their thing. Anyway, that's all for now... I need to hit the hay. So until next time, happy wishes. ☺