Christmas Cards – Yes or No?

It’s that time of year again. If you want to do Christmas cards, you’d better get on it.

I thought for a few years that Christmas cards were dying out, but I’ve seen a resurgence lately. All of the young married couples I know are sending them, and that’s encouraging that perhaps the tradition will continue. I always thought Christmas cards were a great way to stay in touch. That has become less of an issue with social media, but there is still something about getting that card and displaying it for the weeks (or days) before Christmas.

I’m late this year. One year we cut way back on cards, and my family who live in Georgia wanted to know why they didn’t get their annual picture of our kids. So we continue.

We don’t use a professional photographer, but we do try to get a picture with the kids dressed in something other than shorts and a T-shirt. Preferably in front of the tree. This year it took forever to find a night when we actually had time for the kids to get dressed up and pose for a picture. IT turns out we took the picture the night of their Christmas band concert. They are both in white and black concert attire, so it worked.

I’ve found that the older I get, the more I like the photo cards. I know some people don’t like them, but I think it’s neat seeing how much my faraway friends’ kids have grown.

After all the sitcoms mocked the Christmas newsletters, no one really does that much anymore, but I wish that they did. It would be nice having a summary of the year. My husband mocked me the last time I tried one, so I quit.

We still haven’t uploaded our photo yet to print the cards. We ran out of time tonight. Tomorrow is it. If we don’t get them in the mail Saturday, we might as well not bother.

Curious who you should send cards to? I ran across this infographic from Grammarly that may help you. (Thank you to Grammarly, https://www.grammarly.com/grammar-check, for allowing me to pass this along.

GenX

 

What are your thoughts? Are you sending cards this year? Like the newsletters? Hate them? Weigh in.

 

Producing an Audiobook

I recently decided to have my first book, No Strings Attached, recorded as an audiobook through ACX, a subsidiary of Amazon. There are several options when you are thinking about audiobooks: read and produce the book yourself, hire a narrator / producer at a flat rate, usually an hourly rate, or offer the book for a royalty share.

Doing the production myself was not an option. I don’t have a “radio voice”, and I don’t have recording equipment. My understanding is that ACX has high-quality standards, and I would want my audiobook to be of the highest quality. Clearly, doing it myself was not an option.

The first step of the project is to input information about your book into ACX. They pull in reviews and other data on sales ranking, etc. from Amazon. You tell them how many words the book is, and they estimate the recorded time. I was skeptical that they would be close, but they estimated my book at 8.2 hours, and the full recorded time was just under 8. So they were pretty close. Sometimes if your project catches Amazon’s eye, they will offer a stipend on top of the royalty share, which is what they did for my friend’s book.

I first listed the book over a year ago, but I had no auditions. Zero. I offered a royalty share only, and couldn’t get anyone to audition. Keep in mind that I was asking them to commit a minimum of 24 hours, including editing and everything else. ACX told me the listing had been dormant for too long and they made it inactive. So I decided to wait a while.

My friend was having success, so I talked to her about the fact that no one had auditioned. She suggested I contact her narrator and ask him what rate he would charge. With x being the hourly rate I thought I could afford for 8 finished hours, he offered 4x. I had email exchanges with him, but I couldn’t afford his rate. I said I would be in touch after Christmas.

Meanwhile, I was talking to another author that I met online who does audio narrations by the name of Brian Schell. We started discussions, and he also said he would do it for 4x per hour. I told him I couldn’t afford it right now, but would be happy to talk to him later. He said he was interested in the project and submitted an audition anyway. Within the same week, a female narrator submitted an audition for my book based on the offer of royalty share only. I couldn’t leave her hanging, so I had to make a decision.

Most auditions last about five minutes. I listened to her reading and it just didn’t do much for me. Her phrasing felt odd and I just couldn’t relax into the reading. There was a section where I could hear her fumbling with something, and that undercut her professionalism.

I listened to Brian’s reading, and I was hooked. My book is told from Fox and Laura’s point of view, and Fox’s narration has a certain sarcastic feel to it, a certain dry wit. He captured that immediately. He was also able to differentiate between multiple voices in the dialog sections. I felt like he brought my words to life.

We discussed it, and he agreed to take the risk. I offered x for the 8 hours plus royalty share to start immediately, and we reached an agreement. I couldn’t hold back my excitement. Brian was going to bring my words to life!No Strings Attached Audiobook 2400x2400

When I received notification that he had uploaded my finished audiobook, I couldn’t wait. I downloaded it and listened over a Friday and Saturday. It was like Fox talking in my ear. Brian also reminded me that I had to reformat my cover (it had to be square) and offered to do that for me.

I chose to listen to the words without matching it to the text unless it came across confusing or I had a question. There were only a few places where I submitted minor changes to him. Now the book is live, and ready for listeners.

That, in a nutshell, is how audiobooks are made. Are you a audiobook fan? Do you have an Audible subscription? Download the sample and give it a listen. Here is the link to Audible.com. If you like the sample, I would be honored if you choose it as your selection this month. listen. Or, if you’ve been thinking about starting an audiobook subscription but haven’t taken the plunge, you can start your subscription and receive my audiobook for free. You can find details here.

I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about producing an audiobook. Ask them in the comments.

Writer Wednesday – Meet Sandra Dailey

Today I’d like you to take a minute to meet Sandra Dailey as she interviews two of her characters, who happen to be twins.  Sandra, take it away.


Hi Lily! Thanks for inviting me to your blog and letting me bring a couple of characters along, and I do mean characters in every way.

I’d like to introduce you and your visitors to Connor and Caleb McCrae, my heroes. Besides being twin brothers, they both work for their family’s law practice and have interesting stories to tell about their personal lives. As a matter-of-fact, I have a few questions to ask them.

href=”http://lilybishop.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CommonEnemy_w8699_300.jpg”>CommonEnemy_w8699_300CloseEnemy_w10168_300

Sandy: Are the two of you identical twins?

Connor: We used to be as identical as two spoons from the same drawer. Now, you could say I’m the one that got caught in the garbage disposal. He touches the deep scars on one side of his face.

Caleb: That’s why he took off for so long, living like a gipsy in an old van. He couldn’t stand the sight of my pretty face. Caleb shoulder butts his brother with a sympathetic smile.

Sandy: I read about the incident in COMMON ENEMY. That man, Bobby Ray Butler, was one scary guy!

Connor: I would have done anything to protect my woman, Jordan, and her little girl from that psychopath. It was a hell of a way to meet the loves of my life, but I’ll never regret it.

Caleb: I suppose you’re going to take all the credit. As I recall, I came close to buying the farm when I went down to Mayville to help out.

Connor: There were a few casualties, but I’d rather not talk about it right now. Your friends will just have to read the book. Caleb grips his shoulder in a show of support.

Sandy: Caleb, I heard you had a hard time starting a relationship with your partner, Leah.

Caleb: I’ll say! It took me months to find her after our first meeting and when I did she was in jail with a bun in the oven. The guy who had framed her, Bogdan Petrov, even had someone working there. He was definitely another nut case.

Connor: Of course I showed up to help, which I’d say makes us even.

Caleb: Whatever. Anyway, we went through hell with him too and a baby on board didn’t make it easy. You can read about it in my new book, CLOSE ENEMY.

Conner: You’ll find out his biggest challenge was changing diapers. The man is pathetic.

Caleb: Get bent, Connor.

Sandy: I believe the two of you take pot shots at each other as much as my twin and I do.

Connor: It’s the best thing about being womb-mates. We may throw a few verbal punches now and then, but we always have each other’s back.

Caleb: And, heaven help the man who tries to bring harm to one of us. Butler and Petrov can both testify to that.

Common Enemy blurb ~

Jordan Holbrook is the single mother of a five-year-old daughter. She’s just inherited her grandmother’s house in South Florida where she’s hiding from an abusive ex-husband who’s been released from prison early. A new man in her life isn’t part of her plans.

Connor McCrae is a handyman who lives out of his van. He walked away from a privileged life and loving family after being badly scarred in a vicious attack. He doesn’t believe a woman’s love is in the cards for him.

They are brought together by a rundown house, a mutual attraction, and a common enemy: Bobby Ray Butler, who is cutting a path of murder and mayhem through south Florida in his quest for vengeance against his ex-wife.

Can Connor protect Jordan and her daughter from the enraged Bobby Ray? Can Jordan learn to trust men again? If anyone has a say in this—it’s Connor.

Buy links ~

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5695

Amazon Print:

http://www.amazon.com/Common-Enemy-Sandra-Dailey-ebook/dp/B00ILYKD8G/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402881991&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=common+enemy+by+sandra+dailey

Amazon Kindle (encore):

http://www.amazon.com/Common-Enemy-Sandra-Dailey-ebook/dp/B0145P8J4Y/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1440555249&sr=8-1&keywords=Common+Enemy

Close Enemy blurb ~

Caleb McCrae is a powerful man with a broken soul. In six years, Leah was the only person to help him forget the painful memories, but only for one night. Now she seems to have disappeared. A mysterious letter arrives, and she’s in trouble…in more ways than one.

Leah Fletcher’s life is complicated. To care for her drug and alcohol addicted mother she works at a sleazy men’s club…until she finds out she’s pregnant and is framed for a crime that lands her in jail. When a stranger visits, she learns her troubles have just begun.

Bogdan Petrov has waited eleven years to get back the money Leah’s father stole from him. Despite her denials, he knows she’s hiding it. He’s arranged to infiltrate every part of her life until he gets what he wants, but soon realizes that an unknown person is doing the same to him.

Buy link ~

The Wild Rose Press:

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6515

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0166SHQGU?keywords=Close%20Enemy&qid=1445482436&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/close-enemy-sandra-dailey/1122767397?ean=2940150868960

Kobo:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/close-enemy

Author bio ~

Sandra Dailey

Sandra Dailey

Sandra Dailey lives with her husband and mother in a small town in North Florida, far from the maddening crowds. Her children and grandchildren all live close and keep her ridiculously busy and active. Her passions are reading, writing, and crafts. Her addictions are coffee, chocolate, and football. Her aversions are cooking, housework and negative people. She loves to hear from fellow readers and writers, so get in touch.

Contact info ~

Website/Blog: http://www.sandradailey.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sandradailey.author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sdaileyauthor

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/sandradailey

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551048.Sandra_Dailey

Remember: COMMON ENEMY and CLOSE ENEMY are a pair, but can be independent, like their heroes. Conner, Caleb and I would be happy to answer any questions or just chat. Feel free to leave comments and share this post.


It takes a good hero to make a good romance, and it sounds like you’ve got a couple of good ones there. Good luck with Conner and Caleb.

Anybody else intrigued with twin heroes in two books?