Monthly Archives: December 2022

2022: A Writer’s Recap

Hi All! Happy Day Before New Year’s Eve Day!

Before we start, did anyone else not know that Skinwalker Ranch is an actual place? Only asking because “guess who” didn’t, and a YouTube documentary, based on the book by Knapp and Dr. Kelleher, is on for background noise. Since the renegade royal’s Netflix propaganda fest, I’ve been leery of anything trying to pass itself off as a “documentary,” although this one with its borderline monotonous narration seems legit. Then again, you can get a Ph.D. in parapsychology, so…


Well, it’s been a year. The best one since I started this journey as an indie author back in 2018, and for that, I’m truly grateful.

In 2022, they featured The Butterfly Girl in Haunt, an anthology from Dragon Soul Press; Dead of Winter received a rave review from indie author Lee Hall; and 2022 was the year that this 60-year-old won an award for a Sci-Fi, coming-of-age saga on a platform popular with aged 14-20-somethings. I won a Watty! Hot dang! They still won’t tell me if I’m the oldest person ever to win, but check that one off the bucket list!

New goal: save enough to make two audiobooks.

What else made 2022 so much better? This was the year I monetized my work in earnest. I’ll try to pinpoint what’s worked so far and what hasn’t.

Maybe some of this will resonate with you. Maybe you’ll want to implement one or more of these approaches. And maybe, too, if you see something amiss, you’ll be kind enough to tell me what I’ve been doing wrong. Because there’s always room for improvement, right?

Here’s what made a BIG difference.

  • A willingness to learn about marketing. Which began with the admission that “someone” had to get over her fear/insecurity/loathing/self, suck it up, and actually learn something. Because those books weren’t going to sell themselves. I didn’t always like what I read or heard, especially about how much this was going to cost. Being on a mostly per diem work schedule this year, paying regular bills has been tricky enough.
  • Leveraging social media. In 2022 (or thereabout), I created a Facebook Author page, opened first-time accounts on Twitter, Gettr, TikTok, and YouTube, and revived a blog that’s been more or less neglected since the twenty-teens.

    Is it exhausting, creating ads/copy and posting them regularly—as in Every. Single. Freaking. Day? You bet it is. Some days, it feels like I spend more time promoting work than writing new work, which really stinks. I still don’t know which platform performs better, and even worse, still don’t know who my reader demographic is.

    Yeah, the last one’s a cardinal sin, I know. The majority of readers are American with a smattering in the UK and other countries, but beyond this, I have no clue. All the literature says that the Reader Demographic is the single most important thing you should know, but where in Sam Hill do you find these statistics?
  • Kindle Vella. Hands down, this has been THE most successful venture for drawing in new readers and providing a steady monthly revenue. Is it making me rich? Hell no! But since publishing on Vella in October 2021, it’s been paying the light bill every month and, when I’m really lucky, the phone bill, too.
  • KDP Select. Taking advantage of the free promotion opportunities in this Amazon program also made a big difference (Countdown Deals, not so much). Those 5-day free promotions definitely put my work in front of more readers than ever before. Over 750 free downloads to date with almost 6,200 pages read. It might not seem like much (and you’re probably right), but when compared to the goose eggs for downloads in 2020 and 2021, it’s a downright windfall!

So, here’s what hasn’t worked.

  • Paid advertising.

This year, I spent close to $400 on various ads on Book Bub, Best Book Monkey, Snick’s List, Amazon, and Facebook, among others. It’s MUCHO dinero when you’re cash-poor most of the time.

To put it in perspective, after this last storm, three dead spruce trees fell on my lawn (one against the house). The man who cleaned and carted that mess away charged $150. A bargain! For what I wasted on ads, I could’ve had six or seven more trees taken down (lots of dead trees here).

One promo performed so badly, the site refunded the fee, then suggested I lower the eBook price to $1.99 or less. It’s disheartening and not what you want to hear. Anything priced under $2.99 on KDP puts you in the 35% royalty tier, which also makes your return on investment for paid adverts impractical, if not utterly impossible.

  • A Mailing List/Newsletter. Mostly because I haven’t figured out how to set this up. Or think that I need it. Isn’t that what Facebook, Twitter, and a blog are for? Also, who else here deletes a bunch of emails from folks they don’t know and for stuff they don’t want on a daily basis? Do mailing lists and newsletters really work?
  • Giveaways. Other than KDP promos. They’re expensive and a pain in the butt to carry out.
  • Publishing “Wide.” Earlier this month, I moved Dead of Winter out of KDP Select status and published it with Draft2Digital. The jury’s still out.

Wow, this has gone on much longer than planned.

Wishing you all a Happy and Bountiful 2023! Stay safe, and I’ll catch you on the flip side!

Boards creaked, dust sifted down, then a handbell tinkled.

 Crap. “Coming!” I wiped my hands on my Levi’s and clomped upstairs.

A woman with long red hair and skin as pale as a winter moon stood at the counter. Her gauzy black dress could’ve just stepped off the Rumors album cover. She could’ve been Stevie Nicks’s twin except for the hair color. The hem of her heavy coat (also black) grazed the pointed toes of her high-heeled leather boots. Her battered hobo bag, a velvet patchwork affair, bulged in the middle. Something inside of it clinked as she shifted it from her shoulder to the mahogany countertop.

I’d left one of my comic books there when Aunt Laura banished me to the dungeon. If she saw it, there’d be hell to pay!

I slipped behind the counter and, while wrangling out of my damp sweatshirt, attempted concealment by offering cordiality. “May I help you?”

Her hand smacked the comic, fingers splaying across it like spider legs. “Ah! I see you like ghost stories. So, are you a believer… or not?” she asked in a tone that reminded me of the chimes on our back patio.

I shrugged. “They’re okay, I guess. Would you like a room, Miss?”

She didn’t answer right away, preferring to stare at the picture on the cover of an angry woman who had tongues of flame for hair. Finally, she said, “You know, some of these stories are true.” When she looked up, her amber eyes flashed.

“There’s no such thing as ghosts and witches. They make it up or even rip off older stories sometimes. You know, like folktales and stuff.”

“No such thing?”

As she leaned against the counter, her perfume wafted over me, evoking images of wood smoke curling from chimneys and piles of leaves in the twilight. Beneath this, though, was another odor, one that reminded me of kerosene and trash heaps at the dump on a burning day. Not wanting to look like a scaredy-cat, I leaned right back, matching her stare for stare.


“Bet I can make you a believer with just one story. A true story.”

She punctuated this by arching a delicate brow. Plucked, not penciled in like Laura’s.

I clambered on the high stool behind the counter, hoping she’d get to finish her story before Aunt Laura butted in. “Go for it!”

“Are you sure? Because this story’s not in any book.”

“So, it happened to you?” I was expecting to hear about a dead relative paying a visit or furniture moving by itself. Maybe even a bunch of dead relatives moving furniture, which would’ve been totally cool.

“This story writes itself in the space between two people… in the gaps created by disbelief.”

from “Skin Deep” (Night Shades 2022)

Follow Me on Kindle Vella

You’ll find an ever-growing story spectrum featuring horror in every hue.

Blood & Thorns: Fantasy/Mashup/Vampire/Humor
Night Shades: Story Collection
The Dispossessed: Dystopian Horror
All the Colors of Death: Supernatural/Creature Horror

I made the pics in the top right and bottom left corners using an AI text-to-image generator.

Wendigos have three arms. Who knew? (According to one smart-arsed cousin, this one looks a lot like me, too.)

Wattpad Interview: Nobody’s Daughter

Wattpad Friends & Family chose my Watty Award-winning Sci-Fi novel as their Book of the Month and interviewed me. If you’re interested, here’s the link.

Currently, per our agreement, Nobody’s Daughter is available only on Wattpad. It’s free to register on the platform and the story’s free to read.

Japan… The Future…

One minute, seventeen-year-old Renata’s breaking curfew with her brother and his friends…

The next, she’s regaining consciousness in a strange place with no idea how she got there or why—only that she’ll have to fight her way out if she wants to survive…

And that’s just the start of her problems!

Cover Evolution, Part IV

Happy Boxing Day! Hope Santa was generous with everyone this year!

The longest video in this collection so far is for Night Shades: A Collection of Small Terrors, and not because of a slew of ever-changing images. This time, I knew exactly what I wanted but “outside forces” thwarted it.

Not only thwarted it but absolutely refused to believe the evidence, even when I showed them.

The Absolute Very LAST eBook Promo of 2022

Starts today!

When a request at a funeral turns her stomach, Lexi Collins thinks she’s finished with a rival ghost-hunting group.

But hours later, when a frantic plea turns their paranormal investigation into a rescue mission, Lexi must face one of the deadliest spirits she’s ever encountered…

Will she survive her visit to the Foyle Foundation?

Download your free copy of The Dispossessed and start 2023 with a scream!

Watch a trailer below.