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ACX now open to UK authors and voice actors

Posted by Alana Woods on April 21, 2014 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips

It looks like it's finally happening. ACX is opening up to other countries.

On 9 April it made this announcement on its website:

"ACX is pleased to announce we are opening our virtual doors to the United Kingdom! We now welcome all UK authors and actors to join the online marketplace that has facilitated the creation of over 16,000 audiobooks in less than three years. Opening ACX to the United Kingdom means that UK narrators can now audition for US books, UK rights holders can cast US narrators, and vice versa!


Make sure to check out Audible founder and CEO Don Katz’s piece on this initiative in Publishing Perspectives, and then head back to ACX with any questions. New to our site? See how ACX works for authors or narrators. Actors should also check out The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Audiobook Professionals, and authors can get the scoop on How to Win Listeners and Create Great Audiobooks.


We firmly believe that every book worth reading is worth listening to. We can’t wait to see your book or hear your voice on ACX!"

So that's the US and UK covered.  Now I guess it's just a waiting game for the rest of us.

Click here for all my audiobook production articles.

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Alana Woods' book reviews: SHANNON'S LAW & COP'S KITCHEN by Emma Calin

Posted by Alana Woods on April 19, 2014 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (2)

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips


SHANNON'S LAW by Emma Calin

In the premise at least this reminded me of The prince and the showgirl, except it’s the earl and the policewoman. And what a policewoman—every bit as feisty as Marilyn Monroe’s showgirl.

PCW Shannon Aguerri is shunted out of her London jurisdiction and into a country PC Plod situation after acting independently on a case. Immediately she arrives she meets the local lord and, boy, is he a hunk. However, he has a history. His wife died some years before in a skiing accident and his 15 year old son has a police record for possession. Sparks fly between the earl and Shannon almost from day one. But she’s a working class girl with a mechanic father and cleaner mother. How on earth is she going to get on in the earl’s world?

There’s some very steamy sex scenes and that’s usually a turn-off for me. Those I’ve read before usually have a weak storyline that seems to be an excuse for all the sex and it pulls me out of what little story there is. I’m happy to report that isn’t the case with this book. The story is so strong that I could read the sex and then get back to what was happening. Which is a lot. Murder, money laundering, slavery, trafficking, drugs, kidnapping—you name it, Shannon has to deal with it. She also has to contend with Elvis and the Royal Family.

The dialogue during the sex scenes was a bit over the top for me, but other than that, thes tory, the descriptions, the characters—I liked them all.

The strong story held me.

COP'S KITCHEN by Emma Calin

Man! Emma, Emma, what a treat. Not only the story of SHANNON’S LAW but an accompanying recipe book with the food your characters enjoyed as well! How spoiled we are.The bonus Cauliflower crisp is a real bonus—I love cauliflower! But so many others as well that I’m just going to have make: the kedgeree, the desserts, cakes and little sweet things, and Sausage toad—gotta try that. And those triple cooked chips! Yum. And those blinis and the Pimms—I absolutely love Pimms.

Fabulous idea, well done!


SHANNON'S LAW on Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Smashwords   |   iTunes

COP'S KITCHEN on Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   iTunes   |   Smashwords

Take this link to my interview with EMMA CALIN

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Alana Woods interviews Emma Calin, author of SHANNON'S LAW & COP'S KITCHEN

Posted by Alana Woods on April 19, 2014 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

My guest this week is UK author Emma Calin, although to label her ‘author’ is doing her a disservice to my way of thinking as she is so much more than that. Let’s see if I can tease it all out of her.

Alana: Hi Emma, welcome from what I hear is a very springlike UK at the moment. Maybe you’re in for a good summer. Although I believe you spend time in France as well, so maybe that’s where you’ll be.

Emma: Hi Alana, thanks for being so kind as to put these questions. Yes indeed I will be in France for much of the summer. My home there is in Charente Maritime, which is about halfway down and more or less on the Atlantic coast.

Alana: Tell me how living in both countries came about and how you manage to do it.  I take it you’re fluent in French.

Emma: I like to think I'm fluent in French and I do give private lessons in the UK. French folk think I'm Belgian because they can't identify my accent. My long-term project is to live in France. I bought the house with my partner Oscar who is also a French speaker. He doesn’t have a house in the UK so the French place is home to him. I was keen to educate my kids in both languages and just as importantly develop awareness of other cultures. Being a tourist really doesn't get you inside the life of a place. I have good friends in France and there is often someone popping in and out of the house. Brits are far more reticent.


Alana: You’re a woman of many talents: you write, you produce your own audiobooks—something I’ve felt beyond me technically—you play the trombone, you sound like an inveterate bike rider and you obviously also enjoy cooking. How do you fit them all in? Is there a descending order?

Emma: To be honest I only do one thing at a time. I've never been able to write all day so narrating or editing an audio book is a break. The editing is technical but mainly it is repetitive and painstaking. I have found that reading my own work has helped me work on sentence balance and the internal poetry of my prose. A reader won't spot an awkward line as such but the book will feel more difficult to read. The trombone is right on the back burner. I turn out for the local band in the UK maybe only twice a year. Bike riding has suffered while I've been writing and launching SHANNON’S LAW. I love cooking and have to do it anyway. Many women also do ironing/dusting/shopping/hoovering/gardening/community activities and watch TV. These are things I do not do! That’s where I get the time.

Alana: You sound like one of my daughters. She has a magnet on her fridge that says ‘Some people are into cleaning, I’m into art’. Puts housework squarely where it should be. :)

Emma: I wish I’d created that magnet.  If you don’t do dusting a lot of the piled up junk becomes invisible after a while.

Alana: I’ve just read and reviewed two of your books, a steamy crime/police procedural called SHANNON’S LAW, and an accompanying cookbook COP’S KITCHEN. I have to say it was a stroke of genius to think of producing a cookbook with recipes for all the food the characters enjoy in SHANNON’S LAW. There are definitely a few I’m going to have to make. Apart from the fact that you’re a dedicated foodie how did the idea for it originate?


Emma: Glad you like the look of some of the dishes—they are all family favourites in our home—although we don’t eat them that frequently as good old home-comfort cooking doesn’t always help in the weight management department! I'm not so much a foodie as a food lover. I'm no purist but I do love to cook food from scratch. We don't do ready meals.

Alana: I’ve come around to that way of thinking myself. We moved into our present house four years ago and it had enough ground for a vegetable garden—love being able to go out and pick fresh for dinner!

Emma: Exactly. And as an author I was looking for something unique to give the book a bit of a spin. Initially I was tempted to add the recipes at the end of the story then I realised I could use a cookbook as a giveaway to encourage reviews. Broadly this strategy is working. I also hoped that the novelty factor would attract some interest from the media. It did not!

Alana: You’ve written at least one other novel that’s also a steamy crime/police procedural, if I’m not mistaken. Let’s tackle the sex first, you obviously enjoy writing that aspect of your stories.

Emma: Pleasurable emotional sex is good for people! I have never shied away from that belief. The way a relationship develops emotionally will feed into the sexual behaviour of the lovers. Often the sex will be the best window into that complex situation. Is there shyness? Who is taking the lead? Are they capable of true naked honesty? Is their commitment to each other's needs equal? Sex will provide those insights more readily than heavy psychological analysis. I also know from my own life that sex is not always loving and fulfilling. Fiction by other writers has provided me with awareness, information and stimulation.

Alana: You know, I’ve never given it any in-depth thought before. Never thought of the sex as an extra insight into characters and personalities.

Emma: I really really believe that a writer should share what she knows with readers—not just to write a ‘sexy’ passage but to be open and human with them. After all, this stuff happens and I love it!

Alana: Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind it in SHANNON’S LAW. Usually I flick through the sex to get back to the story, but the sex seemed to hold its own, if you know what I mean.

Emma: SHANNON’S LAW is a difficult book to target as it crosses several genres. Fans of erotic/steamy/romance seem to love it but those who have bought it with the police/crime/action in mind have been surprised and sometimes shocked by the more explicit scenes in the romance—although I have now updated my blurbs to warn people! My editor thinks I should bring out a second version 'Shannon's Law Lite' with the explicit/erotic elements of the romance story removed or at least attenuated. She felt it could stand up as a crime-police procedural mystery that would then appeal to a wider audience of more mainstream readers plus young adult/new adult audiences. I'm still considering it as an option.

Alana: I think that’s a brilliant idea. I’d keep the title SHANNON’S LAW for the non-sex edition and call the sexy version SHANNON’S LAW: the steamy edition.

Emma: Wow—yes! I think that's the best idea so far. Here’s a link to the build-up scene prior to the sex (don’t worry it’s a non x-rated excerpt!)

Alana: Then there’s the crime angle. A good mix with the sex, perhaps, given they both make for intense reading. But tell me about your interest in crime?

Emma: We are all interested in crime and criminals in my experience. Crime means breaking the rules and being daring. Strip away the morality and a burglar, assassin or drug dealer is an extreme risk taker. Good girls often love bad boys. A lot of cops ‘respect’ the daring of criminals. These guys frighten us. They will just snatch it for themselves. We don’t have that detachment or recklessness and secretly we just slightly admire it. Come a war or desperate times people get a permission to break out. The fact is that they do. The bank clerk becomes the machine gun hero. Shannon has some criminal sparks in her nature. She walks a fine line. For some people breaking out into a sexual expression of themselves seems too daring. In a way I think that our excitement over all daring people has a vicarious dash of desire and orgasmic abandon in it.

Alana: Wow, that conjures up some images. :)

Emma: Crime and sex are mutual metaphors and the perfect armchair mix. Who dares pushes the ‘no return’ button and lets go ...

Alana:  I know you have other published works. Can you give a rundown of them?

Emma: My first recent novel was KNOCKOUT. It's a police story of a sexy Interpol cop who goes under cover to check out a hunk of a boxer. I have been a magazine short story writer and I love this form. My collection LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE has five stories. The theme is of urban working class life. It’s written without the constraints/traditions of genre romance. No one is impossibly beautiful, brave or intelligent. It's about folk at the lower end of the economic spectrum getting by and finding ways to fulfillment. I know that this collection is my best writing because it is dug out of my own life with my own hands.

As a younger writer I was a serious poet. I still love to use it to hit those high notes in a love story. My YouTube video You Are My Love shows how I talk to myself about emotion and build it up in my own heart when I'm writing.


The five stories contained in the LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE collection are also available separately.


Alana:  How many have you produced as audiobooks? And please do tell me what got you into producing your own and how you actually do it?

Emma: I have produced audiobooks for poetry collections, my own short stories and for third-party publications. I narrated ESCAPE TO LOVE myself since it is has a first person POV. My partner, who is the poet Oscar Sparrow, is popular as a narrator and has done a couple of my short stories where I needed a male voice. I get to do the dishes which means the editing. Rather like the cookbook, I was looking for ways to sell my print and e-books. Audio seemed exciting and I started to look around the net. I came across ACX and we did some auditions. Offers came in. We set up our own mini studio—a booth in the corner of the bedroom with a professional microphone and a ‘pop screen’ (looks like a pair of nylons stretched over a hoop to tone-down any explosive ‘p’ ‘t’ and ‘s’ sounds.) We added to this editing software on the computer and completed the set up with blankets and towels hung round to deaden the noise. We produced some very popular stuff. Then ACX banned us because it was only set up for tax paying citizens of the USA. However, the ban has just been lifted and it is going to be full ahead on audio work. We specialize in projects seeking British English accents across a range of social classes and regions. Oscar does all this readily and he gets top reviews. Our greatest triumph was THE GENTLEMAN AND THE ROGUE by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon. It's a guy-on-guy historical romp. Oscar is a true pro and a trouper. The guys just love him. It's fascinating to me that a gay male story written by women and narrated by a straight guy is a number one hit. Perhaps love and sex unites us all.



Alana: And what about currently, are you working on another book?

Emma: Yes, I'm working on a prequel to SHANNON’S LAW. I plan to have it on ‘perma-free’ to stimulate sales of the main novel.

Alana: Will there be a series following Shannon?

Emma: Not as such because it’s hard for a character to have multiple romances and remain credible. The prequel will be the early life and desperate struggles for Shannon as a teenager on a tough inner city estate. It shows how she became a cop, the prejudices she faced and why she is the woman she is. It has drugs, loyalties, tragedies and violence. She only ever finds emotional love and sexual completion with Spencer in SHANNON'S LAW.  This will be followed by the next in the Passion Patrol series – another action/romance novel that will be set in the Metropolitan Police and follow the Passion Patrol theme about a woman officer. Both Shannon and Anna (from Knockout) will have walk-on parts.


Alana: Emma, thank you so much. It’s been lovely delving into your world.


Read an excerpt from SHANNON’S LAW here

Find out about the research and background to Shannon’s Law on Pinterest




FIND EMMA:  website   |   blog   | About me   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   YouTube



 Shannon’s Law and Cop’s Kitchen landing page website

Amazon universal links:   SHANNON'S LAW   |   COP'S KITCHEN


Links to all Emma's e-books and paperbacks

Amazon USA   |   Amazon UK   |  Barnes & Noble   |  iTunes   |   Kobo

Take this link to my reviews of SHANNON'S LAW and COP'S KITCHEN

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Indie Authors #61: interviews Amanda L Barbara, vice-president of Pubslush

Posted by Alana Woods on April 16, 2014 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips

Indie Authors #61 interviews Amanda L. Barbara, vice-president of Pubslush. Amanada explains how crowdfunding helps with finances as your masterpiece gets written and discusses how to raise money for book projects.

From the Pubslush website: 

Founded by mother and daughter entrepreneurs, Hellen and Amanda Barbara, Pubslush is a global, crowdfunding and analytics platform only for books. Our platform allows authors to raise money and gauge the initial audience for new book ideas, and for readers to pledge their financial support to bring books to life. Pubslush is entirely about giving: giving an opportunity to authors, giving a voice to readers, and giving books to children without access to literature.

A revolutionary publishing platform. Publishing as it stands now is a guessing game. Our goal is to introduce readers into the publishing equation and provide authors with the tools (access to capital, audience demographics, freelance publishing professionals) they need to be successful.

A sustainable nonprofit and a brand of literature. Inhibited access to literature is one of the greatest barriers to overcoming poverty today. Our model allows us to combat the problem with the persistence and with the momentum of an organic, grassroots campaign. We like to think of ourselves as a global book club with a cause.

Hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.



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Posted by Alana Woods on April 12, 2014 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon    Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips

I thought I'd take the opportunity to introduce you to Egbert Rosella, one of my most loyal subjects, because he's been on my mind lately.

Hang on, I hear you say, in a past communiqué you indicated you were alone in Chasing book sales land.

Yes, forgive me, I did give that impression.

But, in fact, my tiny fiefdom is teeming with loyal subjects. This chap, Egbert, his better half, plus another pair, live in the hollows of a tree next door to the palace.

But loyal though they be, they’re not above making complaint when they feel it’s warranted.

They’re rather partial to the kitchen garden rosehips as they start to ripen in summer. But the yearly ripening usually coincides with the depletion of rosehip jam in the fiefdom’s larder. So to ensure supply the bushes are netted.

The little chaps do their best to overcome the obstacle. I’m a benevolent despot but I have been known to gesticulate rather wildly in my efforts to let them know I’m not at all pleased.



I don’t show favouritism of course, what benevolent despot worth their salt would? But I do have a soft spot for Egbert who has a touch more gumption than the rest of his family and mates.

I had to hide a smile this year when he appeared at the window and tapped with his beak to gain my attention: 'Er, ahem, Your Fiefdomness, the rosehips, they appear to be netted.'

Admiring his pluck I pointed him in the direction of the lavender, because he and his family and mates are also very fond of that. They’ve been known to gorge themselves until they resemble little round balls!



So, yes, Chasing book sales land does have residents. Sadly for them none of them read, therefore none of them know what fine literature they're missing out on by not reading Her Fiefdomness' books.

Click here for past Chasing book sales land stories.

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Indie Authors #60: interviews GAYLE CARLINE Humor columnist, mystery author

Posted by Alana Woods on April 9, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

Indie Authors #60 interviews Gayle Carline, shares tips, mystery and humor FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH, a memoir of Snoopy, a horse who thought that if couldn't be good, he could at least be useful. He's even got his own YouTube channel.

Gayle Carline began writing journalistic pieces for California Riding Magazine, then quickly added 'humor columnist' to her resume with a weekly column in her local newspaper, the Placentia News-Times. What she really wanted to do was write mysteries, however, so in 2009 she crossed that off her list with the first of her Peri Minneopa mysteries.


Indie authors is hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.


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Alana Woods' book reviews: THE LONG CUTIE by Dan Alatorre

Posted by Alana Woods on April 5, 2014 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing TipsMy books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips


The title to this book, THE LONG CUTIE, was of immediate interest. I figured it must be something to do with a child because of the cover, and something medical, also because of the cover. Was the child extra tall? But no, it’s not that at all. The words are the phonetic pronunciation of a medical condition called Long QT Syndrome. It’s a cause of sudden death in predominantly children and young adults and is caused by a fault in the heart’s electrical system.

Given that, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether you really want to subject yourself to reading a book about it but I’m happy to report that although it tugged at the emotions it was a good read.

It’s an uplifting and delightful diary of sorts; of a father’s day-to-day enjoyment of his life with his three year old daughter Savvy. That she has Long QT is by-the-by. That he has Long QT is by-the-by.

Interspersed with his stories of Savvy are contributing chapters from others around the world who live with Long QT. Some of the stories are funny, some heartrending, but all touch you.

The author’s laid back style makes it an easy, if emotional, read. I remember a news item last year about a 14 year old boy literally dropping dead after a football game and wondering how that could possibly happen. Now I know. At the end of the book the author invites those affected by Long QT Syndrome to join the Facebook group—you don’t have to suffer it alone.

An inspiring read.

THE LONG CUTIE on   Amazon   |   Smashwords

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Alana Woods interviews Dan Alatorre, author of THE LONG CUTIE

Posted by Alana Woods on April 5, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (2)

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

My guest today is Florida author Dan Alatorre. Dan and I met on Jason Matthews’ Facebook group How to make, market and sell ebooks—all for free. It seems I’ve met so many people I consider to be friends now in his group. Dan was kind enough to give me his prized chocolate walnut cookie recipe for Christmas because I’d mentioned to him one of my grandson’s had asked me to make them for the day—and Dan is sharing it at the end of the interview. Dan writes about a heart condition known as Long QT Syndrome and I plan to ask him to explain what it is.


Alana: Hi Dan, you live in a very exciting part of the world that experiences tornadoes on a regular basis. And when I say ‘exciting’ I don’t necessarily mean in a good way. What is it actually like to have one raging around you?

Dan: Hi, thank you for having me. You know, I grew up in Ohio near Cincinnati, and a small town near where we lived was pretty much wiped off the map one summer by a tornado. I thought if I moved to Florida I’d get away from them but I was wrong! I think they have more of them here! Maybe they followed me.

I’ve never seen one bearing down on the house like in The Wizard Of Oz or anything; mostly it’s just a big windy rainstorm and you have to go pick up sticks and tree limbs out of your yard after it blows through. Then you see in the news that a tornado touched down somewhere. Crazy. But for marketing purposes, ‘Florida: The Sunshine State’ probably sounded better than ‘Florida: Tornado Alley Plus Sharks And Hurricanes.’


Alana: So you gravitated to Tampa, Florida?

Dan: I definitely gravitated! We vacationed a lot in Florida when I was a kid, so I always wanted to live here. I went to college in Tampa, but I also lived in West Palm Beach for a while, and Orlando and Melbourne.


Alana: You have a Melbourne there too! Is it a suburb or a city? Ours is the capital of one of our states, Victoria.

Dan: Unfortunately the Melbourne where I lived is also in Florida. It’s a little city near to where they used to launch the space shuttle, on the east coast. I threw that in to see if you were paying attention.


Alana: Whew, passed that one. :)

Dan: With flying colours! The closest I’ve been to Melbourne, Australia, is knowing an exchange student who lived in Auckland, New Zealand. So, you know, that’s not even close, really. And I’ve had Foster’s beer. That’s the best I can do right now, but we do plan to visit one day.


Alana: Well, put us on the list of people to visit when you do.

Dan: Great. Will do. Tampa has been my home for most of my years in Florida. I love the sun and the warm weather. I love it even more when my friends are freezing up north and we are going to the beach. I’m bad that way.


Alana: I imagine there’s a fair amount of envy on their part. You write non-fiction, to date anyway. You’ve got a few books to your name and they are all about your daughter Savvy. Is that right?

Dan: I hope they’re envious, otherwise it’s no fun!

That’s right. It’s been pretty much nonfiction so far, but we do have a new book coming out soon that isn’t. It’s a thriller novel, fiction based on real events, called An angel on her shoulder. But my first books have been nonfiction based around my daughter Savvy. Those have been a lot of fun and people seem to like them.


Alana: Why the focus on your daughter?

Dan: Well, she was just a baby when I asked her if I could write about her, and she didn’t say no, so …


Alana: I’m sure she was very flattered. :)

Dan: Keep your fingers crossed.

Really, I think it started innocently enough. My wife and I were first time parents at an age much older than most first time parents, and I was posting on Facebook about various things that would happen with the baby that I thought were funny. My friends from high school were getting ready to have grandkids, or their children were starting college, and they just found my little Facebook stories hilarious. Quite a few of them said I should write a book and I said NO! But the more encouragement I got and the funnier the stories I wrote became I realized that I had a unique opportunity to put a book together from a first time parent’s viewpoint, have it be funny, and have it celebrate the magic of childhood. I don’t think your perspective on kids is the same at age 25 versus age 47.


So that became the force behind the first two books. Stories about how funny and fun and smart and magical kids are in those early years. It’s a lot of little things we either don’t notice or are too busy to remember later. Like a meltdown at a grocery store, or a simple drive across town while trying to keep the baby awake. Little things that turn out to be very funny. A lot of people write and tell me that reading my stories puts them right back to when their kids were young and recalled a lot of very fond memories.



Alana: That must make your day.

Dan: It does, absolutely. It feels pretty good when you hear that!


Alana: I’ve just finished reading THE LONG CUTIE, which is an evocative title to put my reaction to it mildly. It’s a departure of sorts from Savvy Stories books 1 and 2 (it's book 3 in the series) although it’s still very much about her and your delight in the everyday with her. Would you elaborate about it?

Dan: Sure! THE LONG CUTIE came about after my daughter was diagnosed with a rare and potentially fatal genetic heart condition. I wanted to learn as much as I could about it so I could help her doctors any way I could. That evolved into a Facebook site for Long QT Syndrome, and as I met people there from all over the world a familiar theme emerged: they were all lost and alone and afraid after receiving the news that they had Long QT. Almost all the stories they could find on the internet were really scary and negative and I thought, that doesn’t really represent reality. With proper medication and a few restrictions most people with Long QT Syndrome will live long happy lives.

Alana: So you created the Facebook page?

Dan: Yes, to inform people and represent a more balanced view of a life with LQTS. That site grew to over 1100 families in over a dozen countries! For a condition that affects only about 1 in 2500 people that’s the equivalent of about 10 million people visiting a regular Facebook site. As they shared their personal stories and read some of my funny stories about my daughter, we felt like a book dealing with Long QT would help raise awareness of a condition that kills more kids annually than all children’s cancers combined. So I wrote it!

Alana: Obviously it’s a subject very close to your heart.

Dan: Ha ha! Heart condition, close to my heart.


Alana: Apologies. An unintentional pun.

Dan: No apology needed. Yes, it became that way, that’s for sure. It’s a genetic condition, so that means I passed it on to my daughter, but I had lived my whole life not knowing about it. That also fueled my drive to learn more. How could my daughter and I have the same condition and she’s been told never to swim, no sports, etc, when I did all those things all my life. The short answer is the condition affects different people differently, and also some people who have it can be asymptomatic their whole lives, never having a problem. Like me. That makes for a tricky condition to control if you are a doctor!

By the way, the experts looked at her and said that she can do anything that any other kid her age can do, including swimming and the other stuff. That shows what a difference getting good information and the proper medication can make for people who have this condition.

**Dan explains the condition LQTS at the end of the interview.


Alana: The book switches between you and Savvy and contributions from Long QT Syndrome sufferers around the world. How did you find them?

Dan: From the websites. When I created the Facebook sites …


Alana: Dan, may I interrupt. Websites, Facebook sites—you have mentioned one Facebook page, are there more?

Dan: There are a few now, that I do. The main one focused on kids and families. The second smaller one is to help newly-diagnosed people, and we have started some spinoff sites for various countries to communicate in their own language; like we have an LQTS Mexico site on Facebook, written all in Spanish. Hopefully we will have sites for every country in every language, helping people all over the world. They can all join the main site, of course, but it’s easier for people when things are in their own language. For that reason we’re getting THE LONG CUTIE translated into different languages. The Norwegian version is about halfway done, and we have commitments to translate it into Spanish and German, too, so far.


Alana: Your aim is to cover the spectrum then?

Dan: I wanted to focus on the whole picture of a Long QT life, not just the bad stuff. That was revolutionary; people don’t write about ‘nothing happened today’, you know? That positive focus was unique on the internet. People learned a lot on my sites and I went out of my way to share a lot of personal stuff with them, to make them feel at home. If you get diagnosed and feel like you are the only one in the world with this condition, because it is so rare and because even the doctors don’t know a lot about it, it is a huge benefit to find others who understand what you are going through.

One big way to create that understanding is to tell them your own story about how you came to be diagnosed. So I told mine, then I told one for my daughter, then I’d talk about my dog and my cat and making pizzas and potty training—all the other things that go on in everybody’s life, to encourage them to share their lives. Like a big family get-together, you want to have fun and you might gossip a little and talk about the latest movie, as well as give out some vital information about a rare heart condition. You talk, you share, you discuss everything.


Note: Dan is updating the Savvy Stories covers and has provided me with the new ones to books 1 and 2 which will be available soon.


Once they started sharing—which I had to constantly ask people to do, because nobody thinks their story is special—we quickly had over 40 or 50 personal stories from all over the world.

When you do a Facebook search on Long QT Syndrome my site is the largest one you’ll find, by a landslide. So when we started talking about a book I asked people if I could use their story as part of the book. The vast majority were eager to help and said yes.

I thought the best way to create a book from that would be to have one main story that represents the most common thing about LQTS, and have it run for the entire length of the book. Then intersperse that main story with other short stories from other people with the condition. So the story of my daughter represents most people with LQTS, the story of the Norwegian man’s family represents the tragic side of LQTS, and the other stories represent the challenges of getting diagnosed, coming to grips with the condition, and deciding to live a full life after being diagnosed. It’s very uplifting.


Alana: It certainly is. I was very moved at times but finished reading with a feeling that it was a positive experience.

Dan: Many stories are about the triumph of the human spirit. The book is funny in places, sad in places, inspirational … it’s got a lot going on. People who have read it said it transcends just being about Long QT Syndrome, and that its lessons apply to any affliction. Cancer, diabetes, Muscular dystrophy. That’s pretty cool!


Alana: So tell us about the main Facebook page. What is its essential purpose?

Dan: It’s called ‘LQTS Kids and Families’. In a nutshell it’s a way for people to connect with other people who have the condition, in a positive and supportive way, without having the crap scared out of them from an internet full of horror stories. I started it as a way for me to learn and to collect information for my daughter one day, but it grew way beyond that!


Alana: Are you going to continue Savvy’s life in books or do you think there’ll come a time when she’ll object? Although I have to say that, given the questions my children and grandchildren ask about their early lives, she’s possibly going to be enchanted to have such a detailed record.

Dan: I think you touched on it there. The Savvy Stories books are about my daughter, but they are really about any child that age. All kids are magical. They all do funny stuff. If we are paying attention we notice and smile or laugh, if we have a pen handy we might write it down. I think you have to be careful when you write about what a baby does, or what a toddler does, when the life experiences are still pretty universal, versus what a five year old does. At some age you are writing less about kids and more about a specific kid. She deserves some privacy too. So the plan is that Savvy Stories series will stop after the 4th book, FOURthcoming, but some of the characters will appear in other books. The whole four book series covers birth through her fourth birthday.


Alana: And the thriller you’re planning?

Dan: It’s a mystery thriller—An angel on her shoulder—and is based on actual events. It uses characters from my real life family, like my wife and daughter, but we don’t disclose to the reader whether it was actually us who experienced the amazing events that happen in the book. I think it’s more fun that way, kind of like the Amityville Horror was way back when.

Alana: That was fun!? Never been able to bring myself to watch it. Don’t like horror one little bit! As well as the thriller do you have other books in mind?

Dan: Well, I thought it would be fun to switch from writing stories about my daughter to writing books that we can read to her, to books that she can read to us! So the upcoming books are The Adventures of Pinchy Pinchy Crab and Ramon D’Escargot, about a little girl who makes friends with some animals at the beach.


Alana: Does Savvy put in an appearance?

Dan: She does, but as a character, not a real person. That’s one to read to your kid, but there will also be a picture book for the kid to read. Then we have the thriller novel, a romance novel, and some other things. There’s a cookbook, too!


Alana: You’re going to have to include your chocolate walnut cookie recipe. That’s a must!

Dan: Okay, but I have to warn you, they're addicting!

Most of my books are collections of funny stories, but we will go down some other roads too. Savvy asked me to write a book about a character she made up called Super Balloon, a latex balloon that saves the day by rescuing kittens from trees and things like that. So, you know, I gotta do that too.

Alana: Sounds like you’re never going to be short of ideas—until she’s old enough to want to write them herself. :) Dan, thank you so much. THE LONG CUTIE was a delightful albeit heart-moving read.

Dan: I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for having me! It was fun!


** Long QT Syndrome

In a nutshell, Long QT Syndrome is a genetic heart condition. When your heart beats it rests for a moment before it beats again. It receives an electrical signal to tell it to take the next heartbeat. In people with Long QT Syndrome the electrical system takes a little too long to deliver that signal. Doctors refer to that as the QT interval, and so people whose interval is elongated are referred to as having Long QT Syndrome.

They may pass out during exercise or swimming. For some the first symptom is sudden death. We’ve all heard about athletes who suddenly dropped dead at football practice—Long QT Syndrome is often behind that.

It is largely undetected and is often misdiagnosed as epilepsy or some other condition. Some people have been told that they are just trying to get attention!

But when diagnosed properly most people with LQTS can live long happy lives if they take their medicine, stay away from certain drugs that can elongate their QT interval, and avoid specific activities that may be a trigger for their type of LQTS.

There’s a list of drugs to avoid, and the doctor usually tells them about what sports or other activities to avoid, but for many there are very few restrictions.

The key is proper diagnosis. The main ‘red flags’ are early death in your family (deaths before age 40) and any history of passing out (syncope).

If you would like more information, please visit or the Mayo Clinic website for signs and symptoms of Long QT Syndrome.


Dan Alatorre’s chocolate walnut cookies



1 cup (200 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder; I use Hershey’s 100% Cacao Special Dark

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2-3 cups walnuts OR white chocolate chips, or a combination of both

(I use 2 cups chopped walnuts AND 1 cup white chocolate chips)



Beat butter and sugars together.

Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla.

In a different bowl sift cocoa powder, and mix with the flour, salt and baking powder.

Mix into the butter and sugar.

Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

Arrange unbaked cookies 12 per large tray or 9 per small tray. Bake on cookie sheet (with a baking mat if possible).

Bake at 350℉ for 18 minutes.


The reason they are Christmas cookies is because a friend said they look like reindeer droppings! But they taste GREAT.


Dan's links      Amazon   |   Smashwords

Savvy Stories FB page   |   Savvy Stories blog   |   Savvy Stories Twitter

The following Facebook sites are private/closed, by invitation only.

You have to ask permission to join before you can see any information.

Membership is primarily for people with LQTS but also for family members, friends, etc; anyone affected by LQTS.

LQTS Kids and Families   |   Long QT STRONG   |   Sindrome Largo QT-Mexico


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Indie Authors #59: interviews Slash Coleman, author of BOHEMIAN LOVE DIARIES

Posted by Alana Woods on April 1, 2014 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

Indie Authors #59 interviews storyteller extraordinaire Slash Coleman and discusses his life with eccentric artists, profound comedy, the unending quest for love and more from his memoir THE BOHEMIAN LOVE DIARIES.


Slash's Amazon bio:

NPR says author/performer/Psychology Today blogger/French fry eater Slash Coleman, 'has the power to change the way people think,' and WGBH Boston calls him  'extremely provocative and entertaining.'

The Dear Uncle Slash advice columnist at, a 2013 Storytelling World Award Winner and the 2012 United Solo Winner for Best Drama, Slash is best known  for his one man PBS special, The Neon Man and Me.

As a performer he's been featured at: TEDx, The International Storytelling Center, Pete Seeger's Clearwater Festival and hundreds of national theatres. Slash lives in New York City and splits his time between performing and writing new material for the stage, film, and television.

Indie authors is hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.


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Posted by Alana Woods on March 29, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Today I went for a walk around The Fiefdom.

I hadn’t done so for a while so thought I’d better check that all is well. The Consort accompanied me.

Wait on, I hear you say, Consort? You haven’t mentioned him before, Your Fiefdomness.

No, well, that’s because he doesn’t visit often. To give you an amazingly brief history of Chasing book sales land, it came into being 40 years ago and for most of those years The Consort did co-habit. But recently he moved to Why not give it away land, another petty fiefdom that shares a border with mine.

So far The Consort has been pretty benign with his change of stance. There’s no looming war or hostile takeover on the horizon. Long may that last.

Anyway, getting back to our perambulation. It had been raining all day and we took the chance for the walk when it eased. The smell of eucalypt hung heavy in the air. Very pleasant indeed. Conducive to discussion of fiefdom business.

Official court likeness of The Consort

Yes, there is a wine glass in one hand and camera in the other. Apart from his official role of providing gravitas to My Fiefdomness, his primary purpose is to assess and chose wines for the palace cellars and photograph official happenings.

He does a sterling job of both.

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Indie Authors #58: interviews Samantha Chase, romance novelist

Posted by Alana Woods on March 25, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Indie authors # 58 interviews Samantha Chase who tells romance authors how she gets titles out in a short time frame and sells many thousands of books every month.

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel Jordan's Return in November 2011.

Her second book, a holiday novella titled The Christmas Cottage, hit #10 on Amazon's Overall Best Seller List on Christmas Eve. On February 25th she released the follow up novella Ever After.

In March 2013 The Christmas Cottage was nominated for two Indie Romance Convention Awards, Best Indie Romance Novella and Best Indie Contemporary Romance, while Samantha was nominated for Indie Author of the Year! In August 2013 the video trailer for Wait for Me won an Oscar for Indie Author Book Trailer!

More titles quickly followed: Catering to the CEO, Wait for Me (Montgomery Brothers book 1), Trust in Me (Montgomery Brothers book 2), In the Eye of the Storm, and Stay With Me (Montgomery Brothers book 3) which hit the USA Today bestseller list upon it's debut.

Catering to the CEO was included in the romance bundle Loving the CEO, a five-book package, that made the New York Times and the USA Today Bestseller list.





Indie Authors is hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.


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Posted by Alana Woods on March 22, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

Hello, I'm pleased to welcome you to my home—the tiny fiefdom of Chasing book sales land.

Today I received yet another ether-delivered communique by an expert on the subject of Amazon author pages asking if I’d got all of mine up and running.

Because if I haven’t, I was informed, I was missing out on foreign country sales.

Because foreign Amazon sites are on the up and up and I’d be a fool not to get in on the action.

I have to point out I’m not a complete slouch. I completed my author page information for the US and UK sites quite a while ago. But the foreign sites? I’ve thought about it, I’ve even logged in and had a poke around, but filling in all the information? It’s all looked a bit hard so I logged out again.

But this particular communique got me motivated. So here I am, after several hours of sweating over it, feeling smug because I managed to complete them all, even the Japan page.

And let me tell you, even with Google Translate that one was tricky.

Not the ‘Add your bio, feeds, photos and trailers’ page. That one is set up exactly the same on all the sites. No, it was the ‘Add your books’ that had me flicking back and forth between the site and Google Translate until my head was spinning.

But it’s done now.

Anyway, the reason for me adding my two cents (sense?) worth to this discussion is that I actually doubt that it’s going to make a blind bit of difference to my sales.

And I base that on my UK sales. Which remained constant after I completed my UK author page information.

Talk about feeling as though I'm chasing my tail here in Chasing book sales land!

But hey, here's the proof I did them.  US   |   UK   |   France   |   Germany   |   Japan


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Alana Woods' book reviews: CHARLIE'S ANGEL by Samantha Fury

Posted by Alana Woods on March 15, 2014 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips


CHARLIE'S ANGEL is the first in Samantha Fury's Street justice series.

Charlie Anderson is on the run after being beaten up by her sister’s boyfriend. To escape she took his gun and cash and caught a bus to Chicago to the safety of an aunt, only the aunt is not there, she’s gone to Florida. A good Christian, Charlie’s situation becomes even more dire when she becomes involved with a prostitute and her pimp. Then she meets Angel Morganson, the pimp’s bodyguard, and there’s instant attraction between the two. How can Charlie reconcile her beliefs with the world Angel lives in?

This is the first in the Street Justice series which, I believe, features Charlie and Angel. I’m not an avid reader of Christian fiction but I’m happy to read any story that’s told well. Charlie’s Angel is, I believe, the first novel by the author and I have to say I felt the writing to be not as accomplished and deft as her later books.

Be that as it may I liked Charlie and Angel and will be buying the next in the series (TIDAL WAVE) to see where their next adventure takes them. I think from that you can deduce that despite the shortcomings I was sufficiently taken with the series to want to continue with it.

Take this link to my interview with Samantha.

Samantha Fury also writes under the name of Samantha Lovern.

CHARLIE'S ANGEL on Amazon   |   Smashwords   |   Barnes & Noble

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Alana Woods' book reviews: MAID FOR MARTIN by Samantha Lovern

Posted by Alana Woods on March 15, 2014 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips


MAID FOR MARTIN is the first in Samantha Lovern's California love trilogy series.

Randi Sanders is employed by an agency that provides temporary maids to the rich and famous. She is their most trusted employee because she treats the clients with respect, doesn’t fawn, and works hard. Randi keeps the temptation to be awed at bay by avoiding films, TV and the media, and therefore doesn’t have a clue who most of the clients are. Martin Taylor is the latest. Drop-dead gorgeous up-and-coming film star, in a going-nowhere relationship and a fast deteriorating situation he can’t avoid—Christmas and New Year with his and his girlfriend’s families. Randi is hired for the 10-day period and spends most of those days believing Martin is the chauffeur Mike and, of course, falls for him big time.

The scenario is totally implausible but the author gets away with it and had my admiration for doing so. It’s her deft handling that makes the story believable. She keeps you hanging for pretty well the whole book and, believe me, I was hanging. Approaching conflict begins right at the outset. With every page turned I expected the denouement but I was kept waiting and waiting. It certainly got me in.

The story is told from third person multiple points of view. It’s mostly from Randi and Martin’s perspectives but other major characters also make themselves heard. The language style is a little different—I think it’s the author’s Southern roots making themselves heard—and it added to, rather than detracted from, the overall. There’s plenty of realistic dialogue that drives the story along.

As well as paperback and ebook editions, this book is also available in audiobook format. I listened to the sample chapter and was impressed with the quality of narration. The author obviously used a professional and it shows.

Take this link to my interview with Samantha.

Samantha Lovern also writes under the name of Samantha Fury.



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Alana Woods interviews Samantha Fury, author of the Street Justice and Christian Mystery series

Posted by Alana Woods on March 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

It’s a pleasure today to have Samantha Fury here talking with me. You’ll recognise her name from my recent author blog chain. Samantha writes what she describes as life fiction, it has a predominant romance theme but is wrapped in stories that are much more than ‘will she, won’t he’.



Alana: Samantha, you’ve had an interesting life so far: 18 years on the road with your husband driving all over the States and Canada. There can’t be much you aren’t familiar with on the North American continent.

Samantha:  I’ve been in every state more times than I can count. I’ve been on every major interstate and on so many back roads it still amazes me to think about it. My travels helped me in my research and in developing my novels. I have lots of memories and some day hope to write a novel about my travels on the road. I was one of the first women traveling in a man’s world and I have lots of stories to tell about our adventures.

Alana: You were born in Kentucky—I love listening to you when we talk—and I believe you settled back there when you stopped travelling. Would you see yourself ever getting itchy feet again or are you well and truly ensconced at home nowadays with those little terriers of yours, Jack, Max and Socks?

Samantha:  Thanks. I never traveled enough to lose my accent. I think there could be a point and time I would like to hit the road again. This time in a nice RV. Although I was all over the country there were many places an 18-wheeler would not fit. I will say that for now home is where I want to be, writing and enjoying our home and our many dogs, fish, and wild birds.

Alana: I’ve read two of your books so far, MAID FOR MARTIN, which is the first in your California love trilogy that you write under the pen-name of Samantha Lovern, and CHARLIE’S ANGEL, which is the first in your Street justice series. They’re quite different. Can you explain why?

Samantha: MAID FOR MARTIN is my first clean romance. The main characters are not Christians; Randi and Martin were raised in Christian homes but they are not practicing what they learned. It’s more of a laid back way of writing for me. The storyline’s focus is romance and finding love. I also wanted to use my great-grandmother’s maiden name, Lovern, as it’s a perfect name for romance.

Alana: By ‘clean’ I assume you mean there’s no sex?

Samantha: Yes, there is a lot of romance and a lot of kissing and tense scenes but it’s no 50 shades, that’s for sure. I find that most women want the romance, they want to fall in love. To me anyone can write smut, but it takes an imagination to make women fall in love again and again.

Alana: And the Street justice series?

Samantha:  This series is clean too, but it takes on harder topics. There’s rape, abortion, drugs, and prostitution. It does have topics that are harder hitting. I hope it will be at least ten books long—it’s like law and order with kissing. It’s harder to write. There’s a lot of research involved, with police procedures, laws, and crimes taking place. I try to keep everything as real as I can so that means a lot of research. I have to be lawyers, doctors and nurses. 


Alana: You must be learning a lot. :)

Samantha: The writing process is a never-ending learning process. There’s always new software coming out, or apps that help us in our writing. Also, there is the learning process of getting into the minds of the characters. Feeling what they feel, and learning life lessons through the characters that come to me mostly in dreams.

Alana: You’re a Christian and incorporate your values into your books to varying degrees; less so in the Samantha Lovern novels than the Samantha Fury novels. Why is that?

Samantha: My Samantha Lovern novels are aimed more at the secular audience. Those that might not want much preaching but still want a clean read. Also, I thought some of my Christian fans might not appreciate so many romantic scenes and the more secular way of life that Randi and Martin have, so I wrote under a second pen name.

Alana: The Street justice series especially comes across as needing quite a bit of specialist knowledge, for instance of police procedures in CHARLIE’S ANGEL. What kind of research does it entail?

Samantha: It’s a result of a lot of research. I’ve had to research everything from bruised livers to crossing state lines with a gun. It takes a lot of time. I have several doctors, nurses, and police officers that I contact, and there is also Mr Google, he comes in handy all the time. For TIDAL WAVE I even had to make a call to our local postmaster.

Alana: People are happy to help then?

Samantha: Yes, most of them are excited to know that their helpful tips are going into a book. I try to give everyone credit too. Some knowledge comes from detective TV shows, but they don’t always go with the facts, so I normally always double check if I use them as an example.

Alana: I know you’re working on subsequent books in your series. What can we expect next from the two Samantha’s?

Samantha:  I’m getting close to releasing book two in the Maid for Martin trilogy, SURPRISE ENGAGEMENT, and book four in the Street justice series, MENDING FENCES. I also have several other things in the works, I just don’t have release dates yet: a sci-fi romance novel, SPACE STATION, a futuristic fantasy novel LOST IN SECTOR 9, and many others to come varying from mystery to westerns.


Alana: Wow, lots to look forward to reading then. Samantha, as always it’s been lovely immersing myself in that southern accent. Let’s catch up again soon.

Samantha: Thanks for having me, I love talking about writing!

Take this link to my review of CHARLIE'S ANGEL

Take this link to my review of MAID FOR MARTIN


 Samantha Fury novels   |   Samantha Lovern novels   |   Fury cover design   |   Facebook

Samantha Fury's land of writing   |   Christian romance snippets   |   Indie Authors 4 - U

   Christian indie author group

Sign up for Samantha's Newsletter for monthly updates on releases and any upcoming contests. Samantha would like to thank all of her fans for their support and reviews on her novels. This newsletter will contain updates for Samantha Fury novels and Samantha Lovern novels.

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Amazon ACX flat royalty rates: are they good or bad for authors?

Posted by Alana Woods on March 11, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (3)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

How does the newly announced Amazon ACX royalty structure affect authors?

Let’s look at the old and the new structures.


Up to 12 March 2014 ACX offered authors three payment options for audiobooks. Authors could pay for production with an up-front fee or opt to share royalties 50:50 with the producer (this is the narrator).

  • Option 1: The royalty split option. This came with an exclusive distribution requirement. The royalty return was 50-90%. The more books sold the higher the royalty. It started at 50% for 500 books and ranged up to 90% for 20,500+ books.
  • Option 2: Flat fee with exclusive distribution, royalty return was 50-90%.
  • Option 3: Flat fee with non-exclusive distribution, royalty return was 25-70%

All percentages rose 1% in 500 book increments.

From 12 March 2014 audiobooks distributed exclusively through Audible, Amazon and iTunes will earn a flat 40% royalty, non-escalating. Audiobooks not distributed exclusively will earn a flat 25% non-escalating.


Quite a difference, isn’t there. Both new rates are less than the starting point on the old scales.


Book bounty

Pre-12 March 2014 a $25 bounty was paid if an author’s book was one of the first three bought by a new AudibleListener*. Post-12 March 2014 the author will be paid $50 if their book is the first one bought. $50 sounds better than $25, yes? The catch is that you have only one chance instead of three.



Let’s not forget the producers (narrators). They’re affected if authors offer them the royalty split option. Instead of a 25-45% return they’re now looking at a flat 20%.

In royalty share arrangements the author and producer will split any bounties paid.

I can’t help but think this will make the split option less attractive to them, meaning they may now start to prefer a flat fee payment. This would be a blow to authors who in the past celebrated the split option because they couldn’t afford an up-front payment.

This has the potential to rule out audiobooks for a lot of authors.


Existing contracts

The pre-12 March 2014 escalating royalty arrangements will remain for any projects started before that date.

Existing audiobooks will also not be affected. They will continue to accrue royalties at the old escalating rates. The book bounty will, however, change to the new one.


ACX’s reasons for the change

I’m not sure they’ve actually given us one. But this is what they have to say:

“We're really proud of the innovations ACX has pioneered, including our aggressive payment structure and royalty sharing programs—and we are especially proud of the number of ACX audiobooks earning growing royalties. We are committed to continuing our record of innovation and creating and expanding opportunities for more rights holders and producers in 2014—both current users and those new to the service. Furthermore, we want to encourage Rights Holders and Producers to promote their audiobooks with the increased bonus payment from $25 to $50 (or from $12.50 to $25.00 on Royalty Share deals).”

“Proud”? Yes, I agree they have a right to be proud of what they’ve offered authors in the past. But “Aggressive”? Who is that aggression aimed at? One can only think it’s the author.





This is an Audible membership you can join for discounted books.

Monthly plans:           $14.95 for one book a month

                                  $22.95 for two books a month

Annual plans:            $149.50 for 12 books a year

                                  $229.50 for 50 books a year




Captive market

Regardless of whether you’re pleased or dismayed by the new rates (and I’ve yet to think of a positive side to them) what options are there for opting out of ACX?—because if you do eschew them you bar yourself from the largest audiobook distribution network on the planet.

So, complain though we may, if we want to add audiobooks to our suites what option do we have but to take what ACX is offering?

In a previous article I asked if anyone knew of other distributors. No-one has got back to me, so I’m guessing there’s a dearth of competitors to the Amazon distribution network. But if you know of any let me know. Let’s start compiling a list of viable options.


For the potted history and market power of Audible here’s what Wikipedia has to say.


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Indie Author Insight

Posted by Alana Woods on March 1, 2014 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

Today's article is reprinted with permission from GeoRiot's latest blog post.

Three Indie Authors Share Advice around Publishing, Marketing, and Earning Additional Revenue.

Writing a book is hard work. Publishing, marketing, and selling that book independently can be even harder. However, thanks to iTunes’s iBooks Author, Amazon’s CreateSpace, and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) services paired with social media, it’s been much easier for authors to get their work out to the world. Scrappy authors are also finding they can earn additional income, on top of their book sales, when using the iTunes and Amazon affiliate programs – just for referring someone to their own book!

We recently reached out to three different independent book authors, (Nick Daws, Alana Woods, and Dustin Rabin), who have all published books using the iTunes and Amazon services to see what advice they had for other indie authors, and to discuss the tools and methods they use to successfully market their books.

Where to publish.

We started the conversation by asking how they felt about publishing digitally versus offering physical copies of their books. All three firmly believed in the power of offering their books digitally because of the low barrier to entry.

If you’re talking about self-publishing, digital is the way to go,” states Nick Daws. “Kindle in particular has become hugely popular, and Amazon has made it very easy for indie authors to publish their work using KDP.”

Dustin also agreed. “I would love to do a physical and digital version of every book, but the upfront costs with printing are too risky in some situations.”


Once the book is published, the “easy” part is done. The real push starts when finding a way to show off what you’ve accomplished and build an audience to buy your masterpiece. When asked about how they reached their audience, each responded with a common thread: social media.

Alana offered up her favorite places to market her material: “In the early days, I plugged the books anywhere and everywhere that was free. I gradually abandoned those from which I saw no return. I now concentrate on the core social media sites: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads and to some extent LinkedIn. And, of course, my website.”

Additional Revenue.

Most authors focus on royalty payments from selling books as their return on their investment and don’t realize that when you use the iTunes / iBooks and Amazon storefronts, there is an additional way to earn revenue – using the iTunes and Amazon Affiliate Programs. All three authors that we’ve talked to saw this, so we had to ask about what benefits they offer for independent authors. Nick had some great insights.

A lot of indie authors are missing a trick by not using affiliate links when directing potential buyers to their books’ Amazon sales pages. As well as boosting your income from book sales themselves, you will also receive commission on any other purchases made by the visitor at that time. This can greatly boost your profits compared with sales of your books alone.”

How GeoRiot Helps.

Finally, we had some questions about marketing to a global audience because of the challenges iTunes and Amazon present with their international collection of separate country / region specific storefronts. We also asked them about the link translation, management, and reporting services that GeoRiot offers by seeing if they felt it was useful for independent authors using the affiliate programs as a whole. Luckily for us, all gave rave reviews, and great advice.

Alana explained, “It’s a time saver, and that’s invaluable. And let’s not forget the value for readers, because the one link/click takes them to the book they’re interested in at their local store. And anything that improves a reader’s experience is valuable to authors.”

Nick also chimed in with what he thought about the reporting that GeoRiot offers: “I love the detailed stats that you provide, so I can see exactly where my visitors come from. Before I started using GeoRiot I had no idea such a high proportion of my visitors came from the US. Being a Brit myself, this surprised me, although I’m clearly delighted to have so many American followers!”

Dustin finished with “I definitely think the service is useful. There is no upfront cost, and the peace of mind of knowing that readers will not get any [error messages in iTunes] is invaluable.”

It was simple to set up, and now I’m confident that all of my affiliate links are working properly globally. Being new to it all, I was stressing about it just before launching the eBook, but [GeoRiot] really helped me get set up.”


Your Turn.

If you’re interested in checking out the GeoRiot service, you can sign up for an account for free. The GeoRiot website offers step by step guides on how to sign up for both the iTunes and Amazon affiliate programs. If you’re wanting to get a piece of the affiliate program pie, but aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us with any questions and let us know what we can do to assist you in earning those extra commissions.



Nick Daws has been writing professionally for about 20 years and resides in Staffordshire, England. He’s published over 100 books, distance learning course materials, articles, and short stories and has been self marketing his materials for around 15 years out of those 20. You can find his books on Amazon and his website.

Alana Woods, an author for 30 years, hails from the UK as well, but has her home base in Australia. Her debut novel, Automaton, is an award-winning best seller down under. She has since written another novel entitled Imbroglio, and is working on a third. You can find her books on Amazon and her website.

Dustin Rabin calls Toronto home and has been a photographer for the last 20 years. Dustin is currently trying his hand at independently selling a photography ebook around the band “Alexisonfire.” He’s worked with many of the world’s top personalities and has photographed the likes of Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, and Queens of the Stone Age. You can find his book on iTunes and his website.





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Indie Authors #57: interviews NICK WINTERS, author of Hollywood Scent

Posted by Alana Woods on February 26, 2014 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

Indie Authors #57 features Nick Winters, Australian actor and writer. 

He discusses movie stars, murder, sex and witchcraft in his upcoming novel, HOLLYWOOD SCENT.

Indie Authors is hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.




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Alana Woods' book reviews: Annie Seaton's DE VARGAS FAMILY series

Posted by Alana Woods on February 22, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

Since reading these novellas I have learned they're in the Steampunk genre. The term isn't used in the reviews because at the time of reading and writing them I had no idea—not having read anything in the genre before.

WINTER OF THE PASSION FLOWER by Annie Seaton (first in the de Vargas family series)



This one threw me in the opening chapter. I thought I was reading a Victorian period piece when all of a sudden a submarine put in an appearance. I thought ‘Hello? There were submarines back then?’ Then comes biome domes and time travel and I settled back, knowing I was in for a sprinkling of sci-fi shaken over a romance with thriller background.

It’s the first in the de Vargas family series and follows the path of the elder of two sisters, Indigo, living in Cornwall who is dedicated to advancing science, but not without finding Mr Right along the way.

It isn’t a long read, I fitted it very nicely into a quiet Sunday afternoon relaxing on the balcony with a cold white and a cool breeze blowing on what was a very warm day. The story isn’t a brain-taxer, rather it’s an easy and entertaining read. The language was suitable for the period but not overdone, adding to the atmospherics. The dialogue I wasn’t so sure about, feeling that it could have been just a little less period.

Overall it was a good read that I wanted to finish in the one sitting.


SUMMER OF THE MOON FLOWER by Annie Seaton (second in the de Vargas family series)

I read WINTER OF THE PASSION FLOWER, the first in the de Vargas family series, before turning to this one so I knew what I was in for, meaning the automata and dirigibles didn’t take me by surprise.

The story follows the younger of two sisters, Sofia, as fair as her older sister Indigo from Summer flower is dark. Indigo lives in Cornwall UK, Sofia in Vienna. She is as committed to science as her sister but given that she’s seeking immortality it’s a pursuit she’s keeping to herself lest her enemies in the form of the Knights Templar discover it.

Once again the story is a sprinkling of sci-fi laced with romance and thrills. Her enemies send a young Scots nobleman to kill her and, yes, you should be able to guess the outcome.

I liked the juxtaposition of future technology and Victorian era. It made for an entertaining read interspersed with the unexpected.

As with the first in the series I wanted to finish this story in the one sitting. Very achievable as it’s not a long book.

Take this link to my interview with Annie Seaton.

Buy the books on Amazon



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Alana Woods interviews Annie Seaton, steampunk author

Posted by Alana Woods on February 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (3)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips

Annie Seaton is a very successful author of romance fiction but to say they’re just romance is to do her a disservice because some also venture delightfully into fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk. I’ve read and reviewed three and won’t be stopping there.



Alana: Annie, welcome. It’s lovely to hear the Aussie accent. So many authors I interview have wonderful accents, but nothing compares to the dinky-di. I believe we both hail from the East Coast, although to say Canberra is on the coast is to be just plain misleading, given it’s three hours inland (from Sydney, for those unfamiliar with Australian cities). You’re further up the coast and actually on the coast, I believe.

Annie: Yes, Alana. I live in paradise. My house looks over the ocean and the weather is temperate.  We spend a lot of time in our little boat on the river that feeds into the ocean not far from our home (within walking distance actually). I also love walking on the beach.


Alana: Mmm, a river on the New South Wales coast: the Manning, Hastings, McCleay …

Annie: Nambucca.


Alana: Ah, a bit further north. I agree, a beautiful spot. Has living on the ocean’s edge influenced your writing?

Annie: It’s strange. I think a love of the water is something that is a part of me. As a child growing up in suburbia in Brisbane I can remember climbing the posts of my mother’s clothesline trying to see the ocean! I spent a few years living inland ‘away from the edge’ I called it and I felt disconnected. So, yes, the love of the ocean features strongly in most of my books. Even my fantasy historical books have water scenes.

Alana: You write romance, for want of a more accurate description that better fits. Your ENTANGLED imprints range through Bliss, Indulgence and Covet. They remind me of the imprints used by publishers for their romance literature ranging from G through to R rated. Is that what yours signify? Would you tell us something about them.

Annie: I also write for Ignite for ENTANGLED too. The only one of the imprints listed above which features a particular rating are the Bliss line … which is closed door sex.  There is still a high level of sexual tension and angst in the books, just no explicit description. Indulgence, Covet and Ignite can be from closed door to steamy. My books tend to fall in the middle ground … but probably closer to a higher heat level.



Alana: You seem to specialise in short novels—why is that?

Annie: My original steampunk novella was written for a competition with a shorter length word limit. The ENTANGLED line, as with most contemporary romances, are between 45,000 and 60,000 words as per the submission guidelines. You may be pleased to hear (I hope) I am currently writing a single title novel of approximately 80,000 words.

Alana: I am! I’d love to get my teeth into a longer work by you. But Steampunk—you’re going to have to explain that to me.

Annie: Steampunk? What is steampunk you ask? Sounds slightly steamy?

Steampunk as a literary genre began to gain popularity in the 1980s.It began as a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy and developed as a rebellious response to the science fiction that preceded it. It includes the core elements of steam power, alternate history settings (mostly Victorian/Edwardian era England, and sometimes the wild, wild west), SF/fantasy elements, and devices that reflect the period but are ahead of their time, for example, engines, airships and all sorts of clockwork and steam powered devices.

It’s warm, sassy, and larger than life. The new direction is now steampunk + romance and a major appeal is the historical setting, and a steampunk author can use familiar settings and times. Steampunk romance has the potential to offer something familiar, yet different. Authors can stretch their creative wings. Sassy heroines can stretch the limits of Victorian dress codes...


Her signature red bustier topped an emerald green skirt embossed with the symbols of industry flowing around her ankles, neither satisfying air safety dress regulation for dirigible travel. 

Excerpt from Winter of the Passion Flower by Annie Seaton


Alana: The DE VARGAS FAMILY series is a departure from the contemporary romance novels. What was the impetus for it?


Annie: Winter of the Passion Flower (the first in the de Vargas Family series) is a steampunk novella and was the very first thing I wrote when I took up writing three years ago. I wrote it in response to a competition call …  until then I had never heard of steampunk, but it certainly appealed to my imagination. I loved creating the imaginary worlds for that.

Alana: Yes, I have to say the first mention of something out-of-period took me completely by surprise. :) I imagine you get quite a few reactions like that.

Annie: As it was my first book a lot of people have classified me as such. I was at the local library at a talk last week and was introduced as the steampunk lady!



Alana: And then there’s Blind lust which is yet another departure from genre, into fantasy? It’s the first of your books that I read and I have to say I loved it—so playful. Did you intend it to be so?

Annie: I adored writing Blind lust. It was one of those books that just came to me, I’ve always been fascinated by the concept … when I wasn’t climbing clotheslines I was wriggling my nose in class trying to be Samantha from Bewitched! I wrote Blind lust in less than a week … it just poured out of me.



Alana:  Good grief, a week!  Mine take me years!  I can’t imagine that you’re not writing another story at the moment. Can you tell us what it is? Contemporary, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk—you range wide. Or is it something entirely different?

Annie: I am actually writing four at once with another two in the back of my mind.


Alana:  Again I say, good grief.  My mind boggles.

Annie: Yes I often use the hash tag#ammadwoman! I came late to writing and I have so many stories to tell. So … I am writing book 3 of my Half Moon Bay Bliss series, an historical about a pirate in the late eighteenth century, and the prequel to my romantic suspense, Dangerous desire. I am also working on my longer title which is set in the Northern Territory. I also have another Indulgence due to my editor in July and that is about an artist and is set in Tuscany. The beauty of that is I'm going to write it when I am over in Italy in our winter!


Alana: Italy. :) I was there for my daughter’s wedding in July and August last year. We were down in the Puglia region.  Spent three days in Polignano a Mare—gorgeous—and the rest of the time at a private massieria about half an hour away.  Loved every moment.  Can’t imagine that you won’t love it too.

Annie: Yes, I am really looking forward to it. Thanks for having me visit, Alana!


Alana: Annie, thank you so much.  All the best and continued success with your writing.



Annie's links  website | Entangled website with all buy links | Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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