2017 Reading Challenge.

2017 Reading Challenge

I always love these challenges!  Maybe one year when I’m not working on a novel (or 3), I’ll be able to commit to them.

In case you’re looking for some matches with the above list, might I offer the following?

  • A book by an author who uses a pseudonym.  Look no further than Ann Benjamin (I also publish under my real name, Courtney Brandt).
  • A book involving travel.  While technically Room 702 stays in one place it could count, but Life After Joe is all about a road trip, so I think it definitely ticks the box.
  • A book that’s published in 2017.  The Queen of England: Coronation is definitely coming out next year.  Actual release date: TBD.
  • A book involving a mythical creature, kind of a 2 for 1 with above.  There is a unicorn involved.
  • A steampunk novel.  Yay, this makes the Queen 3 for 3.
  • A book with a title with title that’s a character’s name.  See, Life After Joe.
  • A book set in a hotel.  Room 702 is completely set in a hotel.

And there you have it!  Lots of good choices this year.

Did you complete the challenge in 2016 or another year?

Happy First Anniversary, Life After Joe!

Well, here we are.  Life After Joe is exactly one-year-old today.  To start, what I wouldn’t do to go back and talk to Courtney in July 2015…  No, I don’t think you understand the limits I would go to correct the path I was on… The things I would warn her of and the plans I would put in place.  As you’re probably aware, my books are all on a bit of an imposed ‘time out’ from Amazon at the moment.  While I hit some big milestones at the start of my adventure with Joe, I’ve been extremely hands off for nearly half the time the book has been out.  And I should feel worse about that fact, but as this is the eighth book I’ve released, my attitude has morphed into kind of a ‘just go do your thing book, I don’t have the energy to make sure you figure things out.’  This, by the way, is an absolutely terrible way to go about marketing a book.

Life After Joe

Should you want to help celebrate the birthday of Joe, it is available to buy here and for a free preview, here.

And yet…

There’s some little milestones out there that make me think this year wasn’t a total disaster:

  • Even though it’s not perfect (sensing a theme here, are we?), I did finally release a hard copy of Joe (and yes, this is the first time I’ve announced it).
  • The reviews are for the most part…quite good.  I’m rocking 4.0 on Goodreads and a 4.3 on Amazon (both out of 5 stars).
  • Reaching #22 in the free Kindle giveaway (like a similar exercise with Room 702, it means I might know what I’m doing when it comes to this stuff).
  • There have been some meaningful reviews.
  • I haven’t stopped writing or editing.

What hopes do I have for Year 2?  Sadly, not that many.  If I get control back of the book (in February 2017), I would like to do another free listing on Amazon.  More than anything, I want to KENP pages back.  I was starting to do quite well before the rug was yanked out from under me.  My optimistic self (as of February 16, 2016) thought all these pages read would generate some great word of mouth and reviews.

So, today is a bit melancholy.  I know there are other things I’ve done since July 2015, things I can be very proud of, but I’m not going to lie and say I’m rather disappointed from where I thought I would be with my book.



Author Challenge, Day 6: Favorite Review

As an author, I may not have sold the most books, but I have received some truly incredible reviews.  Over the years, two stick out to me:

  1. With the release of the final book in my marching series, a reader commented (with love) how she couldn’t wait to pass these books along to her children.  Seriously, I was crazy excited.
  2. With the release of Room 702, I received a private and very personal message.  In the book, a character goes to the room to end their life (but in the end, chooses not to).  Apparently, this reader had a nearly identical experience and had never know how to share that moment in their life with friends and family.  Reading the chapter was a way to bridge what happened and talk about it openly.  I cried.  In fact, I still tear up thinking about it.
  3. Bonus!  As the subject of Life After Joe is a sensitive one (the journey — literally and figuratively — of a widow), I’ve been very happy with the reception from real widows.  Their opinions mean a lot to me.

    Slothilda knows what’s up. Imagine this is me when I get a positive review.