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I’d Like to See Jane Fix This!

I’d Like to See Jane Fix This!

“I’d like to see Jane fix this,” I muttered after opening the first of the 20 book merch mugs* I ordered in advance of summer speaking events and spotted my proofreading error.

Do you see it too?

As a former teacher who corrected enough papers to kill dozens of trees and drained oodles of red pens, I deserve no mercy…at least not from past students.**

In my own defense, I have only two things to say:

  1. I ordered them while in the grips of a raging sinus infection that the second round of antibiotics I’m currently on will hopefully work.
  2. I actually caught and corrected the error, but neglected to click “save” before placing the order.***

After staring at the mugs in dismay for a couple minutes, visions of red pens danced in my sinus-fogged head. “Hiram,” I asked my husband, “is the pack of multicolored Sharpies you bought still around somewhere?”

As a matter of fact, they were in his desk.

I plucked out the red Sharpie, picked up a mug, and did this:

Do you think they can be sold at book events if I inscribe each mug with whatever red pen message the buyer requests…within reason of course? Or use them as door prizes? I’d love to hear your suggestions, too, so leave them in the comment box.

*The mugs in the picture are all identical. They are arranged at different angles to show the 4 different covers that circle each mug.

**Those students, now adults with their own kids and grandkids, are very forgiving people. After I posted a picture of the errant mugs on Facebook, several of them wanted to know how to order them.

***The error has been corrected for a second time, and the save button clicked for the first time. Sigh!

See Jane Run! Is Close to 50 Amazon Reviews

See Jane Run! Is Close to 50 Amazon Reviews

See Jane Run! is close to 50 Amazon reviews. So close, in fact, I’m breaking out my dance moves and choreographing a little something to record on video when the milestone is reached.  50 reviews, by the way, is when Amazon sits up, takes notice, and begin to assist authors and publishers in promoting their books. It’s a big deal. So how close is See Jane Run! to 50?

Drum roll please……

As of today, See Jane Run! is sitting at 42 positive reviews.

If my math fact memory serves, only 8 more reviews until spunky Jane can grab the Amazon promotion ring. I know more than 8 people who haven’t yet reviewed the book have read and liked it. If you’re one of those people, I’m on my knees begging you to write and post your review on Amazon. Just go to See Jane Run! on Amazon, scroll down and click on the white “Leave a Customer Review” (it’s on the left hand side beneath the starred ranking graph), and Amazon will walk you through the process.

I promise to post a Facebook video of me doing a happy dance when the big 5-0 is reached.

In case you’re wondering, See Jane Sing! has 31 reviews and See Jane Dance! has 24. The See Jane Dance! number delighted me considering I haven’t been able to promote it much due to health issues that began shortly after it was released. Once again, I am down on my knees begging for reviews. Once again I promise to post a happy dance video when those books reach the magic number too.

Also my dance moves are epic. You don’t want to miss them.



The See Jane Dance! Party Top Ten List

The See Jane Dance! Party Top Ten List

The See Jane Dance! Party is now history. It was a wonderful morning, which led me to create the See Jane Dance! book party top ten list. The list would have been much longer, had I not exercised great restraint. Note that I didn’t follow David Letterman’s habit of saving the best for last by presenting his top ten lists in reverse order. The items on this list go in chronological order. Now that we’ve got that straight, here goes…

  1. The party happened, which is a minor miracle. The owner of Chocolaterie Stam and I met to plan the event on October 11. Shortly thereafter, a pinched nerve laid me low. I continue my preparations from bed and wasn’t sure I’d be able to attend the event. Had it not been for my husband, who ran errands when he wasn’t driving me to physical therapy or massaging my sore back, the party wouldn’t have happened at all.
  2. The weather was fantastic––sunny, calm, jacket weather. The day could have been snowy, windy, and cold. Iowa in November is fickle that way.
  3. Friends arrived early and helped us set up. My husband and I thought we’d arrived with time to spare. However, the parking meter accepted credit card payment only, a transaction that gobbled up every extra minute. Fortunately, friends we’ve known for 30 years arrived early. They pitched in and everything was ready when party time rolled around.
  4. People came. Friends from our old church, friends from our present church, teaching colleagues, a former professor from my college days, someone I knew in elementary school, the parent of a former student, even my former eye doctor! Despite their busy lives, they came. This fact never ceases to amaze me.
  5. They bought books. Another fact that never ceases to amaze me. People spent their money on my books. Why, I continually ask myself. Why?
  6. They bought treats at Chocolaterie Stam, too. You may not know this, but the folks at The Stam host events like this for free. Their only profit comes from what is purchased during the event. Many, many thanks to those who purchased chocolate or beverages or gelato on Saturday morning!
  7. I didn’t cry while reading Chapter 1 of See Jane Dance! aloud. The chapter is sad. It’s actually on the funny side. It was the sight of so many dear people smiling and cheering me on, smiling and laughing, to realize how richly God has blessed me, that nearly brought me to tears.
  8. The gift baskets raised $320 for Wonderfully Made Family Camp. I have no words. No words.
  9. Not all of the free chocolate medallions gotten eaten. The extras are in my freezer waiting to become the key ingredient in gourmet s’mores at our next family campfire.
  10. Becca Smith’s live fiddle music. Her toe-tapping songs added a perfect, festive touch to the party. After the party ended, the Chocolaterie Stam’s regular Saturday afternoon musician arrived, and the two of them began jamming. You can hear a snippet of their impromptu concert at this Facebook link.

If you attended the party and would like to add to the list, now’s your chance! Just leave a comment in the box below.

Swapping Out Jane’s Dancing for Jane’s Digging Has Been Keeping Me Sane

Swapping Out Jane’s Dancing for Jane’s Digging Has Been Keeping Me Sane

Swapping out Jane’s dancing for Jane’s digging has been keeping me sane for a few miserable weeks.

The misery began with back pain that I thought was the normal stuff I’ve dealt with for decades. But it turned out to be a pinched nerve that requires bed rest, physical therapy appointments, and exercises simple enough for a kindergartener to zip through with ease, but feel like climbing Mount Everest to me.

The worst misery came with the word that my last living uncle, the one after whom Uncle Tim in the West River Mysteries is modeled, died. We knew it was coming, but it came sooner than we knew it would. That particular misery expanded when I realized driving 3 1/2 hours to attend his funeral was out of the question due to my pinched nerve.

More misery came with the cancelation of a See Jane Dance! speaking engagement at the Onawa Public Library in western Iowa because it was too far to drive. The misery continues gnawing as I wonder whether a speaking engagement on November 9 at the Huxley Public Library will suffer the same fate. And, gasp, what about the See Jane Dance! Book Launch Party on November 11 at Chocolaterie Stam in Ames?

3 hopeful facts and 1 saving grace are keeping the misery at bay. The hopeful facts are:

  • The physical therapist says I’m making good progress.
  • The PT showed my husband how to help with exercises and massage my sore, pathetic back muscles to speed progress.
  • Both venues are just down the road, and my husband is willing to serve as my chauffeur.

The saving grace is this: swapping out Jane’s dancing for Jane’s digging has been keeping me sane. Instead of woe-is-me-ing about the See Jane Dance! stuff I can’t do, I’ve swapped it out for stuff I can do. As in, revising the first draft of See Jane Dig! Not only is it my favorite part of writing a novel, but also I can do it while resting in between doing my wimpy exercises and getting up close and personal with the PT crew. And November 1 was my target date for starting revisions anyway. Hooray!

So you can now see why swapping out Jane’s dancing for Jane’s digging has been keeping me sane. Let’s hope this saving grace, along with the 3 hopeful facts, result in enough healing to avoid more cancelations. With that hope in mind, I’ll sign off with this––see you at The Stam on November 11!

The See Jane Dance! Party Is Coming Soon

The See Jane Dance! Party Is Coming Soon

The See Jane Dance! party is coming soon! Here are the dance party deets:

DATE: Saturday, November 11
TIME: 10:30  – Noon
WHERE: Chocolaterie Stam
230 Main Street
Ames, Iowa 50010

The writer/teacher in me feels compelled to clarify certain aspects of the party. The See Jane Dance! party is NOT a dance party. Rather, it is a party to celebrate the launch of See Jane Dance!, the third offering in the West River Mystery series. I also feel compelled to say there will be live fiddle music, featuring the tunes Jane and the Little Missouri citizenry learned to square dance by. If the music makes you want to turn the See Jane Dance! book launch party into a dance party, I’ll be dancing with you.

We’ll also be celebrating the book’s spectacular splash on Amazon. I mean, what’s not to celebrate about hitting #1 in 3 Amazon categories and #27 in the entire Kindle Store?

Live fiddle music is just the beginning of the fun. You can also:

  • Enter the drawing for 4 door prizes: $25 Chocolaterie Stam gift certificates
  • Sample FREE Chocolaterie Stam chocolate
  • Participate in a book signing (bring your copies or purchase them on site)
  • Place silent auction bids for 3 gift baskets (all proceeds go to Wonderfully Made Family Camp)
  • Listen while the author (that would be me) reads a chapter from See Jane Dance!
  • Ask the author (still me) questions about the series
  • Get the inside scoop about See Jane Dig!, Book #4 in the series
  • Purchase treats at The Stam––chocolate, gelato, coffee, and tea––to enjoy during the party
  • Do some early Christmas shopping (Who doesn’t want chocolate in their Christmas stocking?)

Come November 11, I hope you put on your dancing shoes and do si do on down to the Chocolaterie Stam in Ames and join in the celebration!

Read See Jane Dance! Before Its Release Date? Join the Launch Team and You Can!

Read See Jane Dance! Before Its Release Date? Join the Launch Team and You Can!

Do you want to read See Jane Dance! before its release date? Here's how to do it and get a free Kindle copy too.

Does this picture make you want to read See Jane Dance! before its release date? The third book in the West River Mystery Series will be available at Amazon on October 10, but you can read it sooner by joining the launch team.

Before passing on the deets about how to join, I want to explain why See Jane Dance! updates have been sparse in the last several months, it’s because my indomitable mother (Doris Newell’s prototype) passed away on June 23, a few months shy of her ninety-fifth birthday. Saying good bye was hard. Still, I rejoice to think of her free of pain and reunited with her husbands, her parents, and her seven siblings who left this earth before her.

Now that most of her legal and financial matters settled, my attention is focused on the upcoming release of See Jane Dance!, the third book in the West River Series. Here’s a quick peek at how Jane and her fellow Little Missourians decide to usher in the new year:

1978 is only a few days old when Jane Newell stumbles over a body on her way to Round the Bend, Little Missouri, South Dakota’s most popular (and only) bar and cafe. Soon she’s juggling not only a murder investigation, but also the addition of four kindergarteners to her lively country school classroom. Thanks to weekly square dance lessons paid for by her mother, the town switchboard operator, and the school janitor, all of them determined to kick start her romantic life, she’s also fending off eligible bachelors right and left. Jane braves bone-chilling temperatures, dangerous snowstorms, and town gossip as she and the sheriff zero in on a killer who’s dancing too close for comfort.

If that’s got your curiosity doing a jig and you want find out how Jane tracks down the killer, please consider joining the See Jane Dance!  launch team. Here’s what’s in it for you:

  • An advance reader copy in September.
  • A FREE Kindle version on October 10.
  • An invitation to whatever kind of launch party I have time to dream up. This one depends on how much attention Mom’s remaining affairs require.)

Your part is to write an honest review and post it on Amazon after the book releases on October 10. (More about that in future blog posts.) To join just email me. I would love to have you on the team. I guarantee that taking square dance lessons with Jane and her rotating roster of partners will not be boring.

Now for two final tidbits regarding See Jane Dance!

First, Mom’s chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe can be found at the end of the book. Second, Mom learned to square dance in gym class while attending a small, conservative Christian college in the 1940’s. The students, however, had to refer them as “square games lessons” because dancing wasn’t allowed on campus.

Which goes to show that words really do matter.