Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Business of Writing: Expenses #ASMSG #MFRWOrg #IAN1 #IARTG

Pre-decimal till, Museum of Liverpool
by Reptonix free Creative Commons
via Wikimedia Commons.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, tax specialist, or professional accountant. I'm just an author with a decade and a half of experience running my writing business. 

I'm here to share some ideas about the types of expenses related to writing and how to manage them. For specific questions, please consult your lawyer, tax specialist, or accountant!

Yes, writing is a business, with expenses as well as income. And it's not too late—or too early—for you to start organizing those records for the Tax Man if you haven't already begun to do so.

Since I incorporated my computer-consulting practice two decades ago and my corporate lawyer gave me the green light to include my writing business, I have kept a series of Excel spreadsheets, one per year, each with separate "tabs" (worksheets) delineating the major expense categories.

With this information I can then classify the appropriate amounts in QuickBooks whenever I write a check against my corporate account to pay myself back for out-of-pocket expenses. It all gets delineated by category in my balance sheet, which comes in very handy for filing my corporate tax return each March.

The major expense categories I track related to writing include:
  • Advertising: paid mailing lists, print ads, web promotions (blog tours, tweet packages, web site design & maintenance, and so forth), booth fees at book fairs and conventions, and contest entry fees (because you're advertising your book to the judges).
  • Bank Charges: fees deducted from royalty payments from publishers who pay me via Paypal; currency conversion fees for foreign purchases of writing-related materials such as research books; ATM fees when the cash withdrawal is used for purchasing writing-related goods or services.
  • Gifts & Charity: the fair market value of books or other writing-related items donated as door prizes, given to museums, etc.
  • Dues & Subscriptions: amounts paid to writers' organizations; writing-related print and online subscriptions such as Writer's Digest and Publisher's Lunch.
  • Inventory: the cost (including shipping & taxes) of purchasing my books for resale, delineated by book title, edition type (print, audiobook, e-book), and if a print edition, whether it was purchased new or used. I only pay myself back for print edition purchases; the other editions are usually onetime buys to have the e-book or audiobook available on my Android device as "show and tell" at personal appearances.
  • Meals: the cost of business meals. Since this is a category that's often flagged for audit, I usually don't bother recording those expenses, but I keep the tab from year to year just in case.
  • Office Supplies: self-explanatory, but I do include software purchases in this category, such as my annual purchase of Turbotax for Business, any QuickBooks upgrades or add-ons, etc.
  • Outside Services: occasional payments made to service personnel such as translators, artists, book cover and layout designers, editor, book trailer designer, web hosting provider, computer repair technician, printer of promotional materials, and so forth.
  • Postage: again, self-explanatory, but I also include the annual fee to maintain a box at my local Post Office, since that is the address of record for most of my corporate mailings, and for fans of my writing.
  • Professional Services: annual payments made to professional service personnel such as my corporate lawyer. Back when I first started my company and employed a freelance accountant before I transitioned to keeping my own books, I recorded his fees here too.
  • Research: purchases of books and other materials in the course of researching my novels. This is not a traditional tax category but one I established because I didn't want to lump those purchases under Office Supplies.
  • Telephone: for the past two decades I've been recording half the monthly cost of my landline expense. This was the common wisdom for delineating business versus personal use when I started the practice, and for me it still makes sense because my DSL Internet service is bundled with my landline, and probably 90% of my online activity is directly related to writing and the promotion thereof. I don't bother to expense my cell phone usage because probably only 5% is writing related.
  • Travel: convention registration fees (sub-categorized as Education for such publishing-industry-only cons as RWA National), hotel room costs (including houskeeping tips but excluding meals and other incidental charges), and transportation (air and rail tickets, tolls, and automobile mileage).
    A side note on the mileage method for automobile deductions: I use mapping software to get the one-way distance, create separate lines in my spreadsheet for the "to" and "from" legs, and multiply it by the IRS Standard Business Mileage Deduction for the given tax year. For tax year 2015, the business mileage deduction is $0.575 per mile. The Standard Mileage Rates at a Glance page gives you the current rate as compared with the previous tax year. To obtain the value for any other tax year, visit, and search on "standard mileage deduction" and the year you want to look up.
Every item in my spreadsheet is backed up with either a paper or electronic receipt.

You might have noticed that I didn't mention expenses related to the "home business" deduction. The reason is that I don't ever bother with trying to claim it—even though I am situated to do so under current tax laws—because I have no desire to reduce the tax basis of my residence. The home business deduction amounts to a "get you now or get you later" type of situation as far as the IRS is concerned, and I choose the "get you now" option so that I don't complicate matters either for myself or my heirs later.

Once I have paid myself back for an out-of-pocket expense, I record the date paid in the appropriate place, which automatically updates the "amount remaining" fields on the category's worksheet and on the summary worksheet. That way I can see at a glance how much is yet to be repaid in which category.

This is of course just one way of organizing your expense records. If you use another system that works for you, I would love to hear about it!

Enter this giveaway for an autographed print copy of Liberty!

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All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Spotlight on Surviving Outbound by @Liza0Connor #scifi humorous romance #giveaway

There is a mystery surrounding the sentient giant bull called Blue. Who took him off his planet and placed him on Earth? Was it someone who wanted to save or kill him?

And how can the Sargons —that’s what Blue’s kind are called—remember so far into the past? And not just a single line of events, but every event, even those that have collapsed and no longer exists.

As Marybell, the sentient ship computer, examines Blue’s magnificent brain, she postulates that the entire planet of Terranue comes from a far, far earlier time, and it’s placement in every single universe in their multiverse suggests the possible  continued existence of the First God who created the very first big bang. Based on the memories of the Sargon, she postulates three things:  

Oops! I was just advised that you’ll have to wait until the blogs for book 3 to find what she postulates. My bad!

So let’s focus on what we do know about Blue:

  1. He’s cranky, but then who wouldn’t be if prairie mice tried to make you their beast of burden?
  2. He’s very large, even larger than the bulls used in national bull riding events.
  3. Whoever dropped him on earth changed the color of his long blue hair to the color brown, no doubt to help him blend with our cows.
  4. Then Blue changed himself back to the color blue so Tamara would chose him rather than any of the other calves at the auction.
  5. For many years now, Blue is only controlled by reason. Mind commands don’t work on him. His mind is far stronger than a mere human’s.
  6. His main caretaker has been a mind-deaf named Saran. She has loved and cared for him since he was a young calf. When she needs to clean his pen, she kindly asks him to step out and enjoy the sun and fresh air, and when she has cleaned his stall, she asks him to return.
  7. Blue greatly prefers requests over commands. And not surprisingly, he falls in love with Saran.  But don’t worry. They won’t break any publication laws. Their love is platonic.
  8. Blue knows his purpose in life, and that he doesn’t belong on Earth. So he’s getting on the Outbound ship with or without Tamsarandem.

Which leads me back to my initial question:

Do you think the entity who placed him on Earth wanted to protect Blue by putting him on a safer planet where he would flourish in the care of Saran,


They wanted him off his proper planet so the prophecies concerning Blue could never happen.

Which do you think? 

Think hard. One commenter who has the best answer and LEAVES THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS will get a free book of either The Gods of Probabilities or Surviving Outbound, their choice.

Surviving Outbound
by Liza O'Connor

Saran along with her ‘not dead, just no longer human’ soul-bond—Tamara, and their giant blue bull leave in search of a handler so Blue can escape Earth and travel outbound. The man Saran meets and falls in love with turns out to be Tamara’s husband. Their spiritual joining of three sets into play a prophecy written long ago. Together, they become Tamsarandem, the most powerful soul-bond in all the multiverses.  

The shamans pay for their voyage to Terranue, an unknown planet, never before colonized by humans. In return, Tamsarandem must look after the other colonists and help them to prosper and find their Paths of Light. They will need to do this mostly on their own, for the Gods are running out of authorized interventions. However, the God Pane, with the help of the sentient ship-computer, Marybell, constantly search for clever workarounds to ensure The Path of Light will reign supreme upon the final collapse. But there is only so much they can do within their bureaucratic rules.

Having failed to stop Tamsarandem from leaving Earth, those who walk the Path of Darkness embed their own people, including their darkest lord, on the ship to ensure it will never arrive at Terranue. 

Satisfied Saran was fine, Dmitri stepped outside and cursed beneath his breath. His brother had evidently tossed the bucket of oats at Blue, for flakes speckled the grand fellow’s entire back and head.

He apologized verbally to the bull since he had closed his mind again. “My brother is the baby of the family, and Mother has never made him work a day in his life. I asked him to give you a large bucket of oats so I could see to Saran.”

A low grumbling voice spoke in his head and asked how Saran was doing.

“She drank a full glass of water and was nibbling on a sandwich when I left her.”

Blue snorted. “Could use some water myself.”

“Yes, of course. I’ll bring it now, along with fresh oats and a brush to clean off your coat.”

“I wait with anticipation,” Blue replied in an acerbic grumble.

In all his life, Dmitri had never spoken to an animal with such an expressive voice. Most had only rudimentary language skills; many simply chose to send pictures to communicate their needs.

Dmitri didn’t find his brother in the barn. He would bet the ranch that the lazy sloth was inside playing video games. He tucked a brush in his shirt and carried two large pails, one with oats and one with water, to Blue. As the bull enjoyed his meal, Dmitri brushed the bull’s longhaired coat free of oats, burrs, twigs, and a thousand other items picked up during their travels through the woods.

He knelt down and inspected Blue’s hooves, mentally asking the bull if there were any pains.

“Nothing that won’t wait for Saran,” the bull replied.

“I have a vet on staff. He’s very good.”

“No one but Saran. If you are eager to be helpful, get me another bucket of water.”
Dmitri smiled at the brashness of an animal ordering about his handler. When he returned with more water, he continued brushing the fellow. “I’m amazed Tamara put up with you, Blue,” he teased.

Suddenly, Tamara’s voice answered. “I didn’t. When I handled him, he did what I said.”

Blue snorted, and his reply resonated in Dmitri’s head. “I was considerably smaller then. Now, I am only handled by reason.”

Dmitri stroked him behind his ear. “I will try very hard to remember that.”

“See that you do,” Blue huffed.

Sales Links

Book 2: Surviving Outbound: Amazon

Book 1: The Gods of Probabilities: Amazon

About the Author

Liza is a multiple genre author of 15 novels. A Late Victorian Series, The Adventures of Xavier & Vic, plus a spinoff, A Right to Love, is an ongoing series. A Long Road to Love is a humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance series of five books. She has two single books. One is a humorous, bad boys contemporary novel with ghosts, called Ghost Lover, the other is Untamed & Unabashed, a spinoff from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Now, she’s rolling out her Science fiction series (with romance & humor) called The Multiverses. The first four books are slotted for last half of 2015.  In addition she hopes, if she hasn’t dropped from exhaustion by then, to re-release a sometimes humorous/suspense thriller called Saving Casey.

For more information about Liza O'Connor, investigate these sites:

Enter this giveaway for an autographed print copy of Liberty!

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All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Business of Writing: The Pen Name #ASMSG #IARTG #MFRWOrg

George Sand by Nadar, 1864.
Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.
Close your books and grab your pens, class. Here is your pop quiz for the day!

Who was/is...?
  • Mark Twain
  • George Sand
  • CJ Cherryh 
  • Kimberly Iverson
Just about everyone with decent grades in high school English should know that Mark Twain is the most famous pen name of several used by Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Bonus points if you knew (or were able to look up) that George Sand was born Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, and that Carolyn Janice Cherry went by her initials and stuck an h onto the end of her name so that her science fiction novels didn't appear to be written by a romance author.

Mega bonus points if you figured out that "Kimberly Iverson" is me. :D

There many reasons to establish a pseudonym, some relevant to this day and age such as Clemens's intent to prevent any potential literary backlash from affecting his brother Orion's political career. Other reasons—for example, a woman inventing a man's name because authors were predominantly men, as in the cases of Dupin and Cherry—perhaps not so much. I even see men's names on erotica romance these days (though I will be a good girl, for once, and refrain from speculating upon the content of such works :D).

Establishing a pseudonym (once you've invented one that you like, and done enough research to ensure that no one else is using it) is as easy as typing it on the title page.

Managing one or more pseudonyms, however, is the real trick.

The blog post written by Derek Haines ( discusses doing this via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and is a good starting point.

What Haines doesn't cover is that you can establish multiple author pages via retail and book discussion forums such as Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc.

When it came time for my literary agent to shop around the first edition of my novel Liberty in 2003, he advised that I submit it under a pseudonymt since Dawnflight hadn't been an "overnight sensation." I chose "Kimberly Iverson," and my agent found an editor at HQN Books who was willing to take a chance on a "first time" author with the project. When she learned that I had published with Simon & Schuster just a few years earlier, it made Liberty all the easier to sell to her management.

I already had a "Kim Headlee" author page on Amazon, so I created one for "Kimberly Iverson" tied to a different email address to delineate the two accounts in their system. Simple as that.

Once I started self-publishing under a blend of both names, "Kim Iverson Headlee," I added the other permutations to each of the books' "contributor" fields in the metadata so that fans of "Kim Headlee," "Kimberly Iverson," or "Kim Iverson Headlee" can find all my books all the time.

Having one or more books in print automatically gets the author's name established in discussion forums such as Goodreads. In my case, I had to contact a super librarian in the Goodreads Librarians Group to sort out the merging of my "Kim Headlee" and "Kimberly Iverson" author profiles into "Kim Iverson Headlee." These folks are very supportive and helpful, and they will also advise when and how to make changes for yourself.

I recommend all authors join the Goodreads Librarians Group, because you never know when you'll need extra information, or when some glitch or special request might pop up that you cannot fix on your own.

I chose to merge my various pen names for several reasons, not the least of which being that it's easier to manage one author page per platform than three. Whether you take this approach or not is entirely up to you; I'm just here to tell you that it's quite doable.

Best of luck to you, whatever name give your pen!

Enter this giveaway for an autographed print copy of Liberty!

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All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Have a #RockingSummerRomance with My Best Friend's Ex by @AuthorTinaGayle

My Best Friend's Ex by Tina Gayle is today's Rocking Summer Romance feature on The Maze!

She loved him first, but her best friend married him. Now, divorced Brooke must choose between her best friend and the man of her dreams.

Brooke Janson has loved Garrett Sawyer since she met him on her first day of high school. Now, he’s free to love her too.  Except, his ex-wife happens to be her best friend.

How can Brooke choose between a friend she’s known since kindergarten and the man her heart wants?

“Hello, Brooke.”

Ignoring the sudden butterflies in her stomach, she waved a casual hand. “Hi, Garrett. It’s been awhile.”

“I believe it was just before Janet moved out, almost a year.”

“Janet told me about the divorce. I debated whether to call, but, well...I didn’t know what to say.” To cover her awkwardness, Brooke allowed the words to flow from her mouth as if she had vocal diarrhea. “I always considered you, my friend, too. We had such fun together.  I wanted to see if I could do anything for you, but I...”

Embarrassed by her rambling, she stared at the stuff in her cart; lettuce, fruit, protein bars, each one good for her.

Man, I need to pick up a box of cookies.
Forcing back the urge to binge on any tasty treat available, she recalled how his face lit up when he was excited, his deep belly laughter, and his willingness to listen when she had a problem.

Damn it, she didn’t blame him for the breakup. Well, maybe for not listening to her warning. She had told him that her friend had a natural tendency to throw responsibility to the wind. Still, Brooke hadn’t wanted to take sides. Because it was incredibly hard to choose between two people she cared about, one a friend since kindergarten and the other the man of her dreams. Guilt sparked inside her.

Why? Did she still want more than just to be his friend? Was this her chance? 

“Don’t worry, I’m over it now. I bought a house, which requires most of my time. I spent last weekend putting in a new hot-water heater. The old one leaked.” Garrett brushed a hand through his dark, curly hair. The silky strands fell back into place without distracting from the perfect picture he represented.

Sexy, hot, and totally off limits.

Free via Kindle Unlimited

Author bio:
Tina Gayle grew up a dreamer and loved to escape into the world of books.

After years of working in the business world doing a variety of jobs, she decided to try her hand at writing and hope to incorporate the joy of being a mother into her books.

Currently working on a series about four executive wives, she is excited about combining elements of women fiction with the passion of romance. The  first  three books, “Marketing Exec’s Widow”, “IT Exec’s Baby” and now “CFO’s Affair” have all been released. The last one will be out next year.

Married twenty-five years, she and her husband love to travel and play golf.  She can’t wait for Mike to retire so they can do more of both.

Read the first chapter of any of her books by visiting her website.

Find Tina Gayle at:
Home | Blog | Twitter |Goodreads | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn |

Enter this giveaway for an autographed print copy of Liberty!

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All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Linda McLaughlin @LyndiLamont in #RockingSummerRomance Super Bundle III

Longtime Maze contributor Linda McLaughlin is one of 11 authors featured in the Always & Forever Romance Super Bundle III!

Order from: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook.

The follow-up to the USA Today Bestselling Romance Super Bundle II: Second Chances is available!

SKIN (book 1 of Broken but… Mending) by Dale Mayer
A journey of exploration... A journey of healing… A journey of love… Two people are forced by circumstances into a therapy class to help them deal with their problems. They are strangers. Forced to be partners. Naturally opposites.

EVIDENCE OF TRUST by Stacey Joy Netzel
Sparks fly when a headstrong wrangler & an alpha park ranger are thrown together while he’s searching for evidence to stop a poacher killing animals in RMNP. When the monster turns his sights on Brittany, Joel discovers he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her.

Living the ‘no strings’ attached lifestyle has always worked for Leslie until she arrives in Phoenix and meets Chris Matthews. She doesn’t like bad-boys, so why can’t she keep her hands off her new neighbor? Can she let him lead her places she’s never been before?

Tori Henderson has never forgotten her teenage crush, Gabe. When her mother gets engaged to Gabe’s father, Tori assumes Gabe will be at the wedding and hatches a plan to get him back. But Gabe also has a half-brother, Jed, with plans of his own to snag Tori himself.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY by Donna Marie Rogers
James is furious when his shiftless brother sells half their horse ranch to match a bet. When a golden opportunity falls into Angela’s lap, she takes it and sets out to prove she has what it takes to help James run the ranch—and ends up losing her heart to both.

Take two cats, a dog, a determined woman and her teenage sister… Add a businessman trying to do the right thing and a six-year-old girl with a damaged heart… And it’s hard to tell who is rescuing who...

OUT OF CONTROL by Kate Kelly
One night of passion turned into a crazy, unforgettable month—until Serena McGregor walked away from undercover FBI agent Nick DeMarco. Six months later, her elusive scent still haunting him, Nick risks his career to prove Serena is innocent of a million dollar theft.

A terrorist’s twisted need for revenge has claimed the lives of Sarah Montgomery’s entire family. One more kill will fulfill a promise made long ago. Can a woman who can’t remember and a man who can’t forget stop the assassin before Sarah becomes the final victim?

ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE by Barbara Phinney
Comedy, romance and a meddling family: Former beauty queen Janet Jemseg is asked to raise money for charity and ‘marry’ hunky, annoying Devon Kidder? No way! But it’s for a good cause.

LADY ELINOR’S ESCAPE by Linda McLaughlin
Lady Elinor Ashworth longs for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for in Stephen Chaplin, a curious barrister determined to ferret out her secrets. Cinderella meets Mr. Darcy in this sweet Regency romance.

The night Victoria Conrad runs away doesn’t turn out at all like she planned. After being accosted by two ruffians, she is rescued by the horribly scarred Earl of Carlisle—only to discover she is his prisoner!

Order from: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook

Author bio:
Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it's only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O'Farrell.

You can find her online at 
Twitter: @Lyndi Lamont

Enter this giveaway for an autographed print copy of Liberty!

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All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Business of Writing: Labeling Yourself as a #Bestselling Author #ASMSG #IAN1 #IARTG

Breaking News on The Maze!

I interrupt the regularly scheduled article about pen names to bring you the following special report:

Early on 8/10/2015 my YA paranormal historical romance novel Snow in July hit #1 in the category of Kindle Teen & Young Adult Historical Romances! And it got as high as #2 in Teen Historical Romance Books (all formats) and #24 in Teen Paranormal Romance that morning too. What a lovely surprise to wake up to, and I thank everyone who downloaded the book to make it possible!

I am also grateful that I was lucky enough to capture the screen shot when I did, because on the product page for Snow in July, Amazon had already reported that my book was #2 in the aforementioned Kindle category, and even lower ranks for the other two. I almost didn't click through to "see the top 100" to discover the very pleasant surprise that Snow in July had reached #1 during the night.

So my book's "bestseller" status lasted just a few hours, but the lists hadn't yet caught up to the product page. Did I rush forth and change my Twitter profile to add "bestselling author," and crank out a bunch of tweets, pins, and status updates to blare this news before everything synched?

H*ll no.

And if you're fortunate enough to have this happen to one of your books, you shouldn't either.

I'm serious. Because Amazon category bestselling ranks are that fleeting, they are meaningless. Because they are meaningless, those labels in a tweet or other social media post do absolutely nothing to sway me toward buying a book unless prefaced by the phrases "USA Today" or "New York Times"—and it's a rare day when I buy off those lists either.

I cannot count the number of times that I've seen such a tweet, clicked through on the link, and seen the book's Amazon rank numbering in the tens of thousands, sometimes even the hundreds of thousands or millions. Do you know what that does to a "bestselling" (but not today) author's credibility in my eyes?

I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.

Yes, it's an exciting accomplishment that presents a tremendous temptation to claim the Amazon category "bestselling" badge. But I'm here to beg you not to succumb. You're only hurting your marketing efforts if you do.

By the way, at the time of this writing, Snow in July is still ranked in the top ten of the Teen & YA historical romance categories of Kindle as well as all book formats, and it's in the top 40 Teen Paranormal Romance. It may not be "bestselling" today, but it's still a great read if I do say so myself and I would be grateful if you would check it out—or at least view its fabulous book trailer embedded in the sidebar. :)

Enter this giveaway for an autographed print copy of Liberty!

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All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Winners and reviews galore for SNOW IN JULY! #MFRWOrg #BZBooks #ASMSG #IARTG

Winners already have been notified! 
Please join me to congratulate:
  • $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card: Sandy S.
  • Set of autographed note cards: Julia Booklover
  • E-Book of choice: Olga NM

The Snow in July Review Tour was a huge success! Read on:
  • Writer Wonderland: 4* Snow in July is "sure to please those who enjoy a historical tale imbued with romance and intrigue.
  • Romance Writer and Lover of Books: 4 Crowns: "I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between Kendra and Alain, and I rooted for their happy ending throughout the book."
  • FictionZeal: 4* "I loved the characters of both Alain and Kendra. They were joyful to watch as each had their own preconceived ideas of the other."
  • Room With Books: 5 Cups of Room With Books Coffee: "Snow in July is a wonderfully written novel that is filled with a very authentic and rich historical voice and characters that pull you into their world and keep you there from the first page to the last."
  • Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock (PRATR): 4 Fangs: "The interaction between the characters really allows the characters to come alive and be believable."
  • Romorror Fan Girl: 5* Kim Headlee "gives us a story with a plot full of twists and turns, chivalrous acts, the old battle between good and evil, great characters and magic. Highly Recommended."
  • LibriAmoriMiei: 4* Snow in July is "so exciting and addictive that it is impossible to put it down."
  • Archaeolibrarian - I dig good books! 4* Snow in July is "a wonderful read!"
  • Mama Reads, Hazel Reads: 5* "Sword wielding, horse-riding hotness!"
  • The Reading Head: 4.5* "The suspense, danger and adventure, meant that you want to read the book in one sitting, although I’d defy anyone to even try it. "
Thank you for visiting today, 
and if you haven't yet left a review for  
Snow in July, I would appreciate it very much!

Didn't win this time?
Take a shot at an autographed print copy of Liberty!

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All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an ebook copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Business of Writing: Being a Professional Writer #ASMSG #IARTG #MFRWOrg

Author Nikki Tysoe from London, UK
(c)2008 by Alan Moore, Wikimedia Commons.
Although the concept of the "lonely writer's garret" still carries a certain romantic flair, once a writer has transitioned into preparing to make money off his or her words, he or she becomes a professional writer. 

But what does that mean, exactly?

Writers being creative beings, this can mean a number of different things in terms of personal appearance, behavior, and habits. For the writer who wishes to be perceived as a professional, these aspects center upon various demonstrations of common courtesy... the exercise of which seems to be eroding in this day and age of Internet anonymity.

Yep, I have my "Mom hat" on again. Feel fortunate that I'm not into taking selfies, or you'd be treated to my "hairy eyeball" look too! :D

I can't say it any better than Nikki Woods did in this article published 8/4/15.

As a professional writer, you should always remain mindful of how you come across to your audience, not only in your books or articles but in everyday correspondence tasks. This applies (but is not limited) to email and "earthmail" interactions with:
  • Literary agents, editors, cover and interior-layout designers, promotional companies, accountants, and other service personnel, prospective as well as contracted.
  • Booksellers and other event organizers, both before the event as well as giving thanks afterward. In fact, expressing appreciation can be the fastest way to a return invitation.
  • Book bloggers and other reviewers, when asking for reviews as well as optionally expressing thanks for a helpful review; and never engage a reviewer if you are in any way dissatisfied with the review. I already covered that advice in this blog post, but IMO it cannot be emphasized enough. (Insert "hairy eyeball" selfie. Again.)
  • Your fans—and this goes double for anything written online, even in "private" messages. Since any site can be hacked or otherwise monitored, the best policy is to presume that nothing is truly private, and structure your interactions accordingly.
  • Anyone with whom you need to send followup correspondence.
  • Can you think of any sector I have missed? Please leave a comment letting me know which ones! :)
Now there's a loaded word! For journalists, deadlines are usually perceived as just a means of structuring one's workday. For everyone else, especially those of us who write book-length fiction or nonfiction, adhering to content delivery deadlines that are established by another party such as a publisher can be problematical at best. And yet delivering a completed manuscript on time will set you apart from the madding crowd of authors who play fast-and-loose with their time—and with their editor's or publisher's patience.

Public appearances offer a slew of opportunities to present yourself as a professional writer.
  • Online. I have already covered fan interactions; here I refer to things such as the random tweets, retweets, pictures, videos, and status updates that you choose to share to your sundry social media platforms. As you decide upon your online persona, make sure that it jives with what you write, for that persona will become a part of your author brand. And then tweet/retweet/share accordingly. For example, if you write Christian fiction, I would advise against saying anything in a tweet that you wouldn't say in church!
  • Book vending & signings at bookstores and conferences. Your in-person persona should also jive—or at least not conflict with what you write. On the other hand, if you write about serial killers, I strongly suggest that you do not act like one in public! (Unless it's a PR stunt for your book promotion, but still, I'd think twice about using that tactic. :D) You can get a lot of mileage from being courteous, respectful, and appreciative of customers, non-customers, and event hosts alike, regardless of what type of books you write.
  • Writers' conferences. If you're a member of the Romance Writers of America, I don't need to tell you how to present yourself as a professional in this type of venue. You know already—or you should. Although I haven't attended a RWA National convention since 2011, I can pretty much imagine what 2015's looked like: out of 2,000 attendees, 1,942 were power-suited women (whether publishers, editors, agents, or authors), 55 were similarly attired men, and the remaining three were newbie women authors who didn't receive the dress code memo, showed up in blue jeans, and missed the entire first day of panels shopping for an emergency power suit and accessories. Okay, I jest... but barely.

    The dress-code memos will, of course, vary by genre. At a typical World Fantasy Convention you'll see no shortage of suits, but very few of those will be draped over authors, who sport pretty much whatever tickles their fancy, short of character costumes. Although come to think of it, I haven't attended a WFC since the debut of the first edition of Dawnflight in 1999, so you tell me if character costumes are in vogue at these non-fan cons now!
  • The grocery store. The what? Yes, there is always the possibility that you could be recognized in a chance public encounter, so your appearance and behavior choices matter there too.
As I always told my kids as they were growing up, no one will ever fault you for being polite, gracious, appreciative, respectful, and kind. And the people you impress with your professionalism may just remember those choices and become extra supportive of you and your work!


All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#RockingSummerRomance spotlight on Bootleg Broadway by @DianaLRubino prohibition

Booze, music, sex, murder, Prohibition... New York... What a time to be alive!

So reads the tagline of BOOTLEG BROADWAY by Diana Rubino, and it looks to be a most intriguing read. I shall let you decide for yourself! 

In this sequel to FROM HERE TO 14TH STREET, Vita and Tom McGlory and their three children are struggling to make ends meet.

It's 1932. Prohibition rages, the Depression ravages, and Billy McGlory comes of age whether he wants to or not. Musical and adventurous, Billy dreams of having his own ritzy supper club and big band. On the eve of his marriage to the pregnant Prudence, the shifty "businessman" Rosario Ingovito offers him all that and more. Fame, fortune, his own Broadway musical…it's all his for the taking, despite Pru's opposition to Rosie's ventures.

Meanwhile, Pru's artistic career gains momentum and their child is born. Can anything go wrong for Billy? Only when he gets in way over his head does he stop to wonder how his business partner really makes his millions, but by then it's far too late…

Diana talks about the birth of Bootleg Broadway:

With FROM HERE TO 14TH STREET set in 1894, I needed to set this a generation later, which happened to be the 1930s—with Prohibition and the Great Depression as the backdrop. This is the first book I ever wrote where I created the characters first, with nothing to do yet. The plot developed the way it did because of who they are. My goal was to get Billy into one mess after another. This era couldn’t have been more suited to Billy’s adventures, a few of which he barely escaped with his life.

Nicknames from real life:
As in FROM HERE TO 14th STREET, a lot of characters have nicknames like Piggy Balls and Dirty Neck Bruiso. I sat around the table with my surviving aunts and uncles who were then in their 80s and 90s, and they rattled off these nicknames from ‘the old days’ in Jersey City like they made them up yesterday. That was a standard Italian neighborhood custom, everybody had a nickname. Some were more descriptive than others. But you didn’t just ‘get’ a nickname. You had to earn it.

Diana's favorite passage from BOOTLEG BROADWAY:
Pru had kept closemouthed all day about what she was giving him, although he badgered and hounded her, but she wouldn’t give in.

As Ma began divvying up the rum cake, the doorbell rang, and Da came back with a long box. “This thing’s heavy. What’s in here, Pru? Billy’s tombstone?”

Billy cut the ribbon with the cake knife and slid the lid off. Wads of tissue paper filled the box. As he removed the last layer of covering and revealed what was inside, they all gasped—a sculpture of a naked man, in all his masculine glory—and fully aroused. He had one hand on his hip and one foot upon a pedestal on which was inscribed in bold letters, “BILLY.”

“Oh, crap.” His face turned red hot.

Diana says:

This was the first book I ever wrote where I created the characters first, with no storyline whatsoever. All I knew was that it was during Prohibition, and I wanted to get the main character, Billy McGlory, into one mess after another.

Here’s a prime example of that, in this excerpt:
Heading south on Madison Avenue, I heard the siren. I glanced into the rearview mirror and saw the unmistakable Greyhound radiator ornament of the Lincoln behind me. Cop car. All the gangsters drove Lincolns, which had a top speed of 80, so the cops had to get Lincolns to keep up with them. I tried to get the hell out of his way—he must've been going to a robbery or a diner or something. I pulled over, and he pulled up next to me. Oh, shit. It was me he was after.

I rolled down the window and asked sweetly, "Yes, sir, what can I do for you, sir?"

"License and registration please."

"Uh—what's wrong, officer? Did I commit a traffic violation?" As the son of the ex-Chief of Police, I should have been real comfortable around cops, but to tell the truth, they scared the hell out of me. The cops my father knew weren't the crooked ones. They were the straightassed ones, just like him, who fought Tammany and made a career out of busting crooks. They didn't have a price, like the rest of them. Hardnosed bastards, some were frustrated politicians and not smart enough to get into law school, so they enforced the laws from behind their badges. Hell, I was all for law and order, but these guys sometimes took it too far. "Your back license plate is missing."

Relief drained me. "Oh, drat. It must've got stolen. You know this city—just crawlin' with thieves."

"License and registration, please," he repeated, in what passed for a more menacing cop voice. Now he assumed his cop stance, pudgy fists on meaty hips, waiting while I dug through the glove compartment, tossing aside all the crumpled up sheet music and junk crammed in there. Oh, that's where my emergency pack of cigarettes was, and that old box of prophylactics! But damned if I couldn't find the registration.

"Uh—I can't find it, but it's my car, honest. I mean, it was a gift to me, but it's been paid for, it's not stolen or anything. I can probably find it in my penthouse. You wanna follow me there? It's only two blocks aw—"

"Step out of the car, please."

Uh-oh. I felt my bowels burning. I had two briefcases bulging with two shitloads of money in the back seat.

He poked his head into the car. "What's in the briefcases?"

"Uh—I dunno. I'm doing an errand for somebody."

"Yeah, I'll bet you dunno. Step aside, please."

"Hey, you got a search warrant?" I demanded.

But demanding a search warrant from a New York City cop was like demanding a shot of Scotch from Satan in the middle of Hell.

I didn't want to look. I turned my head and flattened my palms on the roof of the car, like I was being searched. I heard the clicks as he sprang the latches and his not-so-surprised "mm-hmmm" as he checked out the contents.

"Who you doing this errand for, sonny boy?"

What was with the "sonny boy"? He wasn't much older than me. I knew he just wanted to put me down. Screw that. I've been called a lot worse by much better cops than him. He obviously didn't know who I was. "Uh—I'd better get a lawyer or something."

"You'd better come with me."

"Look, uh—you wanna just take a few bills outta there and forget it?” I asked, real generously. “I mean, uh—we're all in this mess together, ya know—"

"Bribing an officer of the law is a very serious offense, sonny boy. You'll have to come with me. Park your car there, please."

"Here? But there's a hydrant here. I'll get a ticket."

The Wild Rose Press | Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Nook | iTunes


All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!

Monday, August 3, 2015

DAWNFLIGHT's 50th Amazon Review! #ASMSG #IARTG #MFRWOrg #BZBooks #BYNR

Okay, so 50 reviews on a single platform for one book might not seem like a big deal for anyone who has seen (or has been fortunate enough to write) books with reviews numbering in the thousands, but I am very proud of the fact that these are fifty honestly obtained reviews.

And by "honestly" I mean that no arms were twisted (at least, not too strenuously :D), no reviews were swapped, and no reviewers were paid any remuneration other than receiving a free copy of the e-book.

This could explain why it took nearly sixteen years—yes, years—to log 50 reviews for my award-winning debut novel, but such is life in the publishing biz!

Oh, and what does reviewer #50, Sara S., say about Dawnflight?

5* Awesome Arthurian romance

Love this! Great characters. Very hard to put down. I want more.

Good news, Sara, there is more!

In The Dragon's Dove Chronicles, of which Dawnflight is the first installment, we have:
  • Morning's Journey (book 2) which picks up the morning after Dawnflight leaves off
  • The Challenge, a stand-alone novella that takes place about ten years after Morning's Journey
  • And, if you would prefer to try before you buy (though at 99 cents, it's nigh impossible to go wrong on any of my titles :), there is my perma-free (in the US) stand-alone novella excerpted from Morning's Journey titled The Color of Vengeance.
  • Book 3, Raging Sea, is still a work-in-progress, and its most recent excerpt may be read on this blog post. I hope to have it available for sale by the end of the year.
  • Full-length books 4-8 also exist in various stages of completion, and I may elect to publish other novellas set in this world as well. Stay tuned!

Other novels in my corpus include:
  • Liberty, winner of the 2015 BooksGoSocial Best Book award, a historical romance featuring a female gladiator and her impossible love for the son of the Roman governor of Britain
  • Snow in July, a paranormal romance set in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings
  • King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee, my sequel to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, a science fiction/fantasy futuristic time-travel comedic political satire

Thank you for stopping by today, and I hope you've found something to pique your interest. Perhaps you can be my 50th reviewer for another of my titles! If you review books on your blog and you're interested in having a go at one or more of my books, the following review tours still have openings:
  • Liberty (Aug. 24 only), sign up by leaving a comment on this page. Yes, I understand this is late notice but I figure the mention couldn't hurt!
  • Dawnflight (Sept. 14 for sure, possibly another spot Sept. 28), sign up page is this one.
  • The Challenge 3-Day Release Blast (Sept. 16-18); sign-up sheet TBA.
  • Morning's Journey (Oct. 12, Oct. 26), sign up by leaving a comment here.
  • King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court (Nov. 16, Nov. 30), sign up on this page.

All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Snow in July. Please enter often, and good luck!