Friday, June 24, 2011

Core Reader Friend

If you are interested in being a "CRF," here is the deal--I am only able to manage 100 "CRF's," so if you are truly intrerested and want to particpate, I hope you will let me know asap. :)

So, here is what a "CRF" is:


A "Core Reader Friend" follows this blog. It’s the best feeling for an author to know that there really are readers out there interested in what I write.

I consider you a part of my “Core Reader Friends,” and because I do a lot of writing and I will be releasing four more books this year—one under my name as Michele Scott and three more under my pen name A.K. Alexander--I have been thinking of ways to get the information out there on a larger scale about the books.

Here is what I am offering the “Core Reader Friends” group, (which will consist of only 100 friends), I would like to e-mail each “CRF” free PDF copies of each of my books three weeks prior to the release. I would be doing this in hopes that first off, you would consider tweeting, putting info out on facebook and writing a review if you like the book. You would have no obligation to do this, but I am hopeful that you would.

I would also like to send you out any hard copies of my books that you might like to have a copy of. I would happily sign the books however you would like them signed and send them to you at no cost. I encourage you to visit my site and then e-mail me at Michele@michelescott.com and let me know which of these books that you would like to have--that is any and ALL books.

Each “CRF” will also have an opportunity with each book release to be entered to win something extra special. That could be anything from a Kindle, a nice bottle of wine, signed copies of books from myself or other authors, to a vacation on the bay in Coronado, California!

All you have to do to be a “CRF” is send me an e-mail at Michele@michelescott.com with “CRF” in the subject line. Let me know that you want to be a part of this group and that you are signed up at http://adventuresnwriting.blogspot.com. Those who join will automatically be entered to win a Kindle or NOOK (your choice).

If you do sign up, I will be sending you out current PDF copies of my new thrillers that were recently published: “Daddy’s Home,” and “Mommy, May I?” Both of these books have been on the top 10 Kindle paid sales list, and “Daddy’s Home” was number one for over a week. If you haven’t already read the blog post about it, I encourage you to do so.

Thank You for reading my books, being a friend, following my blog, and considering becoming a “Core Reader Friend.”

Have a wonderful day!

Cheers,

Michele
http://www.michelescott.com/

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Answer a Few Questions and Enter to Win a Kindle

In the last month a very cool thing has happened for me as an author and I am trying to figure out how it happened. I am hoping my readers will respond to this post either by posting a response here or sending me an e-mail at michele@michelescott.com. You will be entered to win a Kindle. I will announce the winner on my site on July 21st.


The questions I am looking to be answered are: 1. What causes you to buy a book--cover, description, etc? 2. What is your favorite genre? 3. Are you inclined to read a series over a stand alone? and 4. What do you think is most important--plot or characters? Also, please tell me a bit about yourself and reading habits if you would like. I am a curious author. :) Here is my story;

It is an open account of my journey as a writer.

I am posting this in hopes that if anyone is ever feeling down about their work, or life in general, that maybe my story will inspire them.

I started out being published in 2005 with the Penguin Publishing group. They put nine of my mysteries out. All of the books have had multiple printings. I took a second mortgage on my home (stupidly) and put all of it into marketing my books. You can imagine how that worked out for my family and me. I sold our home of eleven years a few months ago and moved into a new home, which has actually turned out better for us in many ways. I sponsored contests that included a B&B spa weekend in Napa Valley. I signed books at umpteenth book stores where at the most I think I signed two dozen books. I hired a publicist. I did everything that I thought was right in getting books out there. I was on 4-6 month deadlines, churning out books at a rapid clip that combined with all of the marketing and raising three children nearly sent me over the edge. There were a lot of personal painful issues as well during the past few years, along with really trying to succeed as an author. I lost my ex-husband who was still a friend and parent to our sons to suicide (if anyone is ever facing suicide with a family member, I wrote an article for the NY Times that may help http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/...suicide/),I lost my best friend to cancer, and am now the primary caregiver for my dad who has Parkinsons. I nearly gave up my writing all together when Penguin decided to not publish the 10th book. I really had reached a rock bottom place and found myself pretty depressed. I kept that hidden from everyone because people know me as "the happy nice girl," but being a successful writer had always been my dream since I was nine-years-old, and I felt that I not only had failed at that (even though books sold), but that I had also jeopardized my family's financial stability based on this dream. I went back to a day job with my family's business in hopes of paying back the debt I had accrued by risking everything on my writing career. Then, I found Joe Konrath's blog (jakonrath.blogspot.com). I also read what others were saying about e-publishing. I followed their advice. I had already gotten back rights on 3 of my mysteries. I also had three books I had written from the past that had never been published, but they are thrillers, so I chose a pen name from my kids' names never realizing at first the symbolism in the name: A.K. Alexander. I took those 3 books and had them edited and had good covers done. I took the three mysteries and had new covers done and looked at reviews on the books from when Penguin put them out, making tweaks where the past reviews said there was a flaw in the book. I put them on Kindle and nothing much happened. I sold maybe a half a dozen for a few months, then a little more, and finally a couple hundred on average a month.

Then something happened this past month and I can't completely quantify it. I wish that I could. My thriller "Daddy's Home" started climbing the U.K. charts It climbed steadily each day and hit #1 thriller, #1 romantic suspense, #1 psychological drama, and finally # 1 in paid Kindle sales! The book remained on the top 10 Kindle Paid sales for a couple of weeks, and has stayed steady in the top 50. My other thriller "Mommy, May I?" is now in the top 10 along with "Daddy's Home." My third book is just beginning to catch on ("The Cartel," along with my Michaela Bancroft series. The Cartel is my favorite book of all of the books that I have ever written, so my fingers crossed it takes off like the other two.

I am currently finishing the next thriller and have outlined three more. I am also writing a new mystery. I feel good again. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I remembered how good it feels to write a book and discover readers enjoy it.

I guess my point is, keep at it, even when it seems like everything is a bit dark. Just keep writing. As writers, it's what we do best and it's what makes us happy. Do it because you love it and you want readers to find joy in it. It only took me twenty years and 14 books to get to this point. Who knew it would be due to e-books? I certainly didn't.

Cheers,
Michele

A.K. Alexander

For links (free chapters, etc) to all my books, please visit my site http://www.michelescott.com

I hope you will take some time and let me know what works for you as a reader. It will not only help me as a writer, but I hope others as well. You never know, you may win a Kindle just by answering a few questions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Huevos Rancheros and Caramelized Grapefruit with Schramsberg ’s Blanc de Blancs

It has been a long but fun weekend, and in order to get the week going a good brunch is in order...  This brunch is not only delicious and elegant but easy, too. Serve it with Schramsberg Chardonnay-based, vintage-dated sparkling wine. Blanc de Blancs blends citrus with tropical fruit notes and contains a soft vanilla flavor on the back palate.


Huevos Rancheros

6 6-inch corn or flour tortillas

vegetable oil

1⁄2 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

12⁄3 cups (14 oz) canned tomatoes, chopped

8–10 green chiles, chopped (substitute: 2 4 oz cans green chile)

3⁄4 tsp salt

6 eggs

1⁄8 tsp pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1⁄4 cup butter, melted


Fry tortillas in oil until crispy. As you fry try to form a small well in each tortilla. Place tortillas in a baking dish. You may require two dishes depending on size. Sauté onion and garlic in 2 tbsp of oil until tender. Stir in tomatoes, green chile, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Pour equal amounts of tomato mixture over each tortilla. Preheat oven to 350°.

Carefully break eggs, one on top of each tortilla. Sprinkle remaining salt, pepper, and cheese over eggs. Drizzle butter over; cover. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


Caramelized Grapefruit

1 grapefruit

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp port wine

2 tbsp butter

Cut your grapefruit in half and pour 1 tbsp each of brown sugar, port wine, and butter on each half. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes; serve hot. Serves 2.