Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Release Day!

(Don't tell anyone, I'm running a day behind. I should have posted this yesterday, but I spent the day with my kids, and then date night with the hubs. I still think I have my priorities in order).

Killing Me Softly is now available!


Here's the blurb, in case you missed it:
Sadie Perkins has a sixth sense about things—especially people dying. Her clairvoyance has never bothered her until she starts to believe that her visions are causing the deaths of those around her. After her latest relationship ends ... badly ... Sadie swears off love for good. While searching for an uncomplicated life, Sadie finds her hands full not only with a home renovation project but with defending herself against suspicion of murder. There's a fine line between predicting someone's death and causing it. Has Sadie finally crossed that line?
Enter contractor Max Schultz, who is not only good at working on houses, but he's good at working on Sadie too. Much to Max's dismay, as he's trying to win Sadie's heart, he finds Sadie's first love, Henry Fitzsimmons, is back in the picture, snooping around.Sadie doesn't know which way to turn or who to trust, including herself. Can Sadie clear her name and open her heart all at the same time? 


The video teaser (just because I really like it):



And a small excerpt, because I know you are dying to read it (get it...dying!):

The first person I ever killed was a has-been comedian. 
I didn't mean to kill him, of course. The tabloid websites said it was drugs and alcohol, but I knew the truth. It was all my fault. My friends and I had been out drinking, and I quoted a line from this guy's most popular movie. The movie was still relatively obscure, and I had to explain it. Someone asked, "Whatever happened to that guy?" and my answer was, "Oh, he's probably drinking himself to death right now."
Guess what? He was. 
This sort of thing happens to me more often than I'd like to admit. I don't even know what to call it—psychic ability, premonitions, a sixth sense? It's not creepy, not really. Just enough to send a small chill up my spine. It never bothered me—until death got involved. Most of the time, it's pretty innocuous. Like someone from my past will pop into my head, and the next day I run into them. Or I think about a song that I haven't heard in years and then suddenly it comes on the radio. Nothing big, just coincidences. A lot of coincidences. 
Until the day it started turning fatal.Rob, my boyfriend of almost two years, doesn't believe me. When something happens and I tell him, "Oh, I had a dream about that," or "I was just thinking about this," he says I'm trying to be dramatic and seek attention. (which wouldn't really be such a big stretch, considering my family. We're the poster children for dysfunction). But I'm not like the rest of my family. I actually don't even tell many people about it because I don't want attention, certainly not for this. I want to be taken seriously. I teach high school American history. With kids these days being tougher and tougher, I need as much street cred as I can get. The last thing I need is for them to think I'm some kind of quack or whack job. 
My best friend, Therese, knows all about it. She's one of the few people I can talk to about this topic. She doesn't judge me or think I'm weird. I think she thinks I can predict the future or something. Which would be cool, but it is not what I do. I think I'm just intuitive at times. Who knows? 
Over the years, since the comedian episode, I think I've been "responsible" for at least four deaths. A couple celebrities, a distant relative, and a well-known local businessman. When I have the dreams or make the comments, I don't recognize them as premonitions. They're just random thoughts that pop into my brain and often fly out of my mouth without me even realizing what I'm saying. People are used to me doing that. It's only later, after the event, that I realize what happened. In each case, I made an unkind remark. It's not just a premonition—I say something mean and then someone's dead. 
If you're intrigued enough, head over to my 'Books' page (tab is at the top of the screen) for purchase links.

As with any book, this one was the result of so much support and love from my family and my friends. I am truly blessed to not only have friends in the physical sense, but those online communities who jump in, no questions asked, and lift me up. Becky, Celia, Tracy, Jayne, Wendy, and to all the Wenches, thank you so much.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

An Open Letter to Nook Press

I'm in an unhealthy relationship, and I don't know what to do about it.

No, it's not what you think.

Let me set the stage. Flashback to Valentine's Day, about five years ago. Maybe it was six. Either way, my husband got me a Nook. It was a relatively new movement, and I was a little on the skeptical side. I wasn't sure I could give up physical books. But once I downloaded my first books onto my Nook, I was in love. My Nook went with me where ever I went. It has hundreds of books on it. I've spent hundreds of dollars, including on a Nook Simple Touch when my Nook (First Generation) started crapping out.

I felt betrayed when my husband bought a Kindle Fire. We are not an Amazon house, we are Nook people.

When it came time to publish my first book, I sought out Nook Press, the Nook self-publishing platform. As an afterthought, I also put the book up through Kindle Direct Publishing. But, I'm a Nook person.

Two years later, I realize that this is unhealthy. Many of my author friends are exclusive to Amazon. I don't believe in this business model. Plus, I think of those people like me, who are loyal to their Nook (or iBooks, or Kobo, or Smashwords). I don't want to deny anyone the chance to read my books, should they want to.

But now, I have to ask, Nook Press (and Barnes & Noble, your parent company), why do you have to make this so hard?

Why can you not get on board with what the other platforms are doing?

Why can I upload my book to your site FIRST, and two days later, it is STILL not available? It was available on Amazon in about 2 hours and Kobo in less than an hour.

Why won't you let me do pre-sale?

Why won't you let me price a book free?

Why do your representatives on the service chat NEVER have an answer, and ALWAYS have to kick it to management, who SELDOM follow up?

And most importantly, why are my books not coming up when I search for them? They (all 5) are available through Nook Press. Yet, when I search, only one comes up. No wonder my sales are pitiful through Nook Press. You can't find my books even when you're searching for them.

I can live with your formatting pains when you upload a manuscript. Sure, you put random chapter breaks in, but I can deal with that.

I can deal with the 65% royalty versus Amazon's 75% royalty.

I can even handle that you have NO CUSTOMER SERVICE, including for price changes on the weekend. (Actually, that is truly terrible. No excuse really).

And we're not even going to mention the paperback printing service that has no option for distribution. WTH?

What I cannot deal with is that you will not sell my books. Are you trying to run yourself out of business? I mean, the rumors circulating about Nook are not favorable. Yet, here I am, trying to support you. Trying to make a difference.

And yet you will not bend one inch to meet me. I am paying you 35% of every sale for what? You're not even doing the job you promised to me.

I still want to love you Nook, but you are making it very hard.

My books on Kobo

My Nook Books Available

My books on Barnes & Noble


ADDENDUM:  I went in, and re-published my books on Nook Press, making sure my name was listed as "Kathryn R. Biel." For some reason (because I distinctly remember typing the R. in on Killing Me Softly), it had been left out. Hopefully you can now buy my books on Barnes & Noble and through Nook. But again, this is something I had to figure out, as there is no customer support on the weekends. Also, I sort of feel like a search engine should be able to differentiate this.

Friday, June 26, 2015

School's Out for Summer!

Today was my last day of school!



GIFSoup

This has been my first year working full time, which was quite the adjustment. However, it has been totally worth it to have the job security that I have. I work with great people (and the kids are always great). The peace of mind I get from knowing what I'll be doing in the fall is priceless.

So now, I have the summer ahead of me. My next book, Killing Me Softly, is going to be released on July 7th.

I'm ramping up into final edits and promo for it. As such, I made this little teaser for it:



Killing Me Softly hasn't even been released yet, and I'm already thinking about my next project. The "L" book, if you will. I have about 73 days of vacation before I report to duty again. While I do work a little over the summer, it won't be like my regular job. So, if I can write just over 1,000 words every day, L will be about done by Labor Day. Seems like a high goal, but I'm going to aim for it.

Also in the works this summer, Hold Her Down, the audio book. I'm working with the same narrator who did I'm Still Here. Yeah, if you missed it, I'm Still Here is available in audiobook on Audible and iTunes.

Plus, summer is the time for no lunch boxes, alarms turned off, swimming, cleaning house, and catching up on reading. I cannot wait!

Keep in touch and I hope to have more updates soon!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

This Time, The Twos Will Be Terrific

Two years old.

For most parents, it sort of sends a chill down the spine. A little feeling of anxious anticipation/terror. The dreaded terrible twos.

This time around, for me, two years old is going to be great. Of course, that's because it's my book that is two, not a toddler.

Two years ago, late on a Thursday night, I hit the publish button, and Good Intentions was released into the world. It was so not ready. It had a horrible cover. It needed more editing. But it was out there.


I need to admit something. Like most new parents, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I thought I had researched. Turns out, it was not nearly enough. You know, like you read What to Expect When You're Expecting cover to cover, but then have no idea what to do with the actual baby. Yeah, that was me.

I'd like to think I've learned. That I've improved my skill. That I now know where and when to ask for help. The last two years have been amazing. When I hit publish, I wanted to sell four books to recoup the cost of the terrible, terrible cover that I'd created. That was it. Then I got into paperbacks and marketing, and the expenses rose. It was okay. According to the IRS, I have three years to start making a profit before this is just considered a hobby. I never expected to sell books. I never expected people I didn't know to read my books. I never expected people to like my writing. I never expected to be a writer.

I didn't know what to expect.

I love having a creative outlet. I feel I'm so much happier, no matter what is going on in my life. I have a way to process and deal and escape. The part of writing that has been the best for me is the people. I am thankful everyday for the great people I have met--the writers, bloggers, fans (yes, I even have a few fans!).


I know I put acknowledgments in my books, but these thanks need to be said often and loudly. This whole process never would have taken off if not for the constant support from my best friend, Michele Vagianelis. If you're observant, you will notice there's a Michele in every book. That's because none of my books would happen without Michele.

My husband has been my quiet support. I think my writing surprised him as much as it did me, and he's expressed surprise that I've stuck with it. That being said, he's come up with a long term plan for my writing, and is supporting me in getting there. My kids are great, wanting to know my progress, sitting next to me while I'm writing, and even beginning to write themselves. That is one of the best rewards.


The ladies (and gents) of my internet writing groups, ChickLitChatHQ and Writing Wenches, are just the best ever. From all corners of the globe, at all hours of the night, I can count on support, help, and someone who gets what I'm going through.

My local writing group, Albany NaNoWriMo, has been so cool to hang out with on Sunday nights. With school winding down and a new project starting up, I'll be at Denny's again soon!

Becky Monson has become not only my cover designer, marketing guru, and sounding board, but one of my closest friends. Not a day goes by when we don't talk, and she is primarily responsible for setting me on the path to success.


Aven Ellis, Jayne Denker, Celia Kennedy, and Tracy Krimmer are other fantastic writers who share my journey, my struggles, and boost me up along the way. They let me bother them at all hours with questions and need for opinions.

My editor, Karen Pirozzi, has spared me from the embarrassment of typo after typo, error after error. If you bought Good Intentions when it was first released, it was before Karen helped me out. She makes my books so much better.

So many other people have helped along the way: Cahren Morris, Sue Rys, Amy Buser, Chrissy Wolfe, and last but not least, my mom, Mary Rose Kopach. These ladies read and critique, and help me put out the best possible book that I can.

To everyone who has purchased my books, told their friends, left a review, sent me a message, THANK YOU. Thank you for making the past two years even better than I could have imagined.


(By the way, I think I've finally settled on a cover. Which one is your favorite?)

So, cheers! Here's to another two great years!


P.S.--Good Intentions is only $0.99 to celebrate its birthday, and stay tuned for more book news in the near future!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Les Pommes Frites (aka French Fry!)

Congratulations to my friend Glynis Astie, on the release of her third book, French Fry!




Let me tell you about French Fry first (and say that five times fast):

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…


Sounds interesting, right? French Fry is the third installment of the French Twist Series (French Twist, French Toast), which chronicles the whirlwind romance and marriage of Sydney and Louis.

But wait, there's more! It's GIVEAWAY time! Glynis is also doing a giveaway this week! Head over to Book Mama Blog to enter. Here are the details and don't forget to enter! Giveaway begins on 5/13/15 at 12:01 AM and ends on 5/20/15 at 11:59 PM. Three prizes will be awarded:

  1. $25 Amazon Gift Card and e-book set of the French Twist series
  2. 2 e-book sets of the French Twist series

This giveaway is open for the US only.



Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.
When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.



Connect with Glynis!

Website:  www.glynisastie.com



Monday, May 11, 2015

What's on Page 45?

Today, I'm participating in the #ChickLitMay 'What's on page 45?" Blog Hop. It's sort of self-explanatory. I'm going to talk about what's on, you guessed it, page 45 of my latest novel, Jump, Jive, and Wail.



Okay, ready for it?

"Underneath, when she lets her guard down, she's soft and vulnerable. Like her skin."

Does that make you oooh and aaaah with anticipation? Do you want to know what's going on here? I'll give you a sneak peek inside.

Kaitlin has abandoned Declan in the airport. They had just met a few hours ago, but had spent a great afternoon together. Perhaps they drank a little more than they should. Declan felt the connection with Kaitlin immediately, so why did she disappear? He knows there's more to her than what she presents at first, and he wants to find out what makes her tick.

If you'd like to get a sneak peek at what other authors have on page 45, check out the links below. There's a prize too!
GRAND PRIZE
A one-pound package of caramels from Whitney's Goodies Winner can choose their flavor from those listed below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only.
The Girl Next Door (Crème Caramels): A scrumptious, full-bodied caramel. Old fashioned, melt-in-your-mouth bliss!
The Charmer (Chocolate Crème Caramels): This smooth, chocolate cream caramel will add panache to your day. An exquisite and elegant morsel, simply irresistible.
The Movie Star (Orange Crème Caramels): A timeless treat that will satisfy caramel fans of all ages. “The stuff that dreams are made of!”
The Bombshell (Lemon Crème Caramels): A bodacious bit of heaven with a bold citrus pallet. They will leave you satisfied and refreshed. Caramels are a girl’s best friend!
Always a Lady (Rose Caramels): A delicate bouquet of rose essence infuses this lovely caramel: alluring, tantalizing and reminiscent of another era. They are perfect for weddings and bridal showers. A definite for ladies who lunch or breakfast at Tiffany’s.

(Personal note: I won some of the Creme Caramels from Whitney once. I hid the package from my family and ate them all myself. Yes, they are that good.)

HOW TO ENTER
To enter, answer the following question in the comments section below.
"In 4 or 5 words, why do you think Jump, Jive, and Wail would be a good read?"
Entrants must leave their full name, along with an e-mail address (no e-mail, no caramels). A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Tuesday, May 19th. Visiting the blogs below (and leaving a comment) will give you 36 chances to win these scrumptious caramels!


And if this has been enough of a teaser for Jump, Jive, and Wail to pique your interest, feel free to check it out! It's available on all the major e-reader outlets (Amazon, Nook, iTunes, Kobo, & Smashwords), and is just $0.99 through May 17! It is also available in paperback.

Miss Chick Lit

In order to celebrate International Chick Lit month, my latest main character has found herself entered in the Miss Chick Lit 2015 contest. She's not the most girly of girls, so this should be interesting. Read on to see how she represents herself, and for a chance to win a prize yourself!


Hi, my name is Kaitlin Reynolds, and I'm representing the great state of, um, New York. No, Utah. Oh crap, I live in Michigan now. I'm representing the great state of Michigan. I'm a twenty-nine year-old former ski jumper who now spends her time pining after unavailable Olympic figure skaters. My dream is to one day improve the real estate market in Detroit so I can sell my condo. Oh, and world peace.

For my entry in the swimsuit compet--wait, I've got to put on a swimsuit for this thing? No one told me that. Nuts. You see, I'm a former athlete who may or may not have let herself go since an injury stopped her competitive career. This is going to be tough. I mean, I live in Michigan, so for the three weeks of summer we get, it's not worth torturing myself in the fitting room trying on bathing suits. Let me see what I can come up with ...

Oh, here we go. It's pretty much what I used to wear when I was ski jumping. I think this will work just fine.



Good, made it through that hurdle. What else is there in this competition? Talent. <smacks head> This might be even worse than the swimsuit thing. You see, I spent all my life as a ski jumper. I was world ranked until about two years ago, when a permanent injury sidelined me and left me with a foot drop. I have to wear a brace on my leg at all times now, so all of the things I used to be good at, I can no longer do. Where the %&$^ am I going to come up with a talent? Oh, that's right! I can swear like a truck driver. Okay everybody, listen to this:  BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP!

<crickets>

I guess the judges didn't appreciate that one. Oh well, can't win them all.

And now for the interview question. I've got this, bring it on!

If you had to define your mission in life, what would it be?

Please don't bring it on. Um, if you had asked me two years ago, I would have said my mission in life is to win the first ever Olympic gold medal in Women's Ski Jumping. I've had a lot of trouble re-defining my life since then. Right now, my current mission is to find my mission. Oh, and world peace.


Oh, that's it? I'm all done? Now I just have to wait for the judging. And while we all anxiously await the outcomes, did you know that you can too be a beauty queen with this $100gift card?
The Grand Prize for this international drawing will be:

US/Canada winner - $100 gift card to Sephora

UK winner - £65 gift card to Lush Cosmetics

Australia winner - $125AUD to Mecca

In order to enter, all you have to do is respond to the Kaitlin's interview question:

If you had to define your mission in life, what would it be?

Post your answer in the comment sections of this blog, along with your e-mail address (no e-mail address, no winner). Winners will be chosen at random on Monday, May 18, 2015.

The best part? Check out the other contestants in the Miss Chick Lit 2015 pageant by clicking on the blog links below. Answer their interview questions for additional chances to win (that's 19 chances in all!)


And if you're interested in finding out how Kaitlin recovers from her lost career, collides with the man of her dreams, and how swearing costs her a fortune, check out her adventures in my novel, Jump, Jive, and Wail.