The Light Never Lies – 2nd Book in the Crater Lake Series – Free for Four Days

Revised -Light Never Lies FINAL COVER (2)

Rated 4.8/5 stars on Amazon, the second book in the Crater Lake Series – The Light Never Lies – will be FREE from Sunday the 18th to Wednesday the 21st of September.

Book Description:

As circumstances spiral out of control, Lisa-Marie is desperate to return to Crater Lake. The young girl’s resolve is strengthened when she learns that Justin Roberts is headed there for a summer job at the local sawmill. Her sudden appearance causes turmoil. The mere sight of Lisa-Marie upsets the relationship Liam Collins has with trauma counsellor, Izzy Montgomery. All he wants to do is love Izzy, putter in the garden and mind the chickens. Bethany struggles with her own issues as Beulah hits a brick wall in her efforts to keep the organic bakery and her own life running smoothly. A native elder and a young boy who possesses a rare gift show up seeking family. A mystery writer arrives to rent the guest cabin and a former client returns looking for Izzy’s help. Life is never dull for those who live on the secluded shores of Crater Lake. Set against the backdrop of Northern Vancouver Island, The Light Never Lies is a story of heartbreaking need and desperate measures. People grapple with the loss of cherished ideals to discover that love comes through the unique family ties they create as they go.

Take a look at what recent reviewers have to say about The Light Never Lies:

Continuation of a Great Story – I enjoyed the first book in the Crater Lake series so much that I immediately bought and read The Light Never Lies. It was as compelling as the first of the series. Sometimes I read books that are so special that I know that I will someday read them again. This series falls into that category.

I ordered this book as soon as I had finished the first book in the Crater Lake series. With unexpected plot twists and the introduction of new characters, The Light Never Lies is an enthralling sequel to Francis Guenette’s Disappearing in Plain Sight. The characters and their stories have remained with me for many weeks now, and I’m one who usually forgets the character’s names as soon as I finish a book. I’m looking forward to the third installment in the series.

Even Better Than the First – A terrific follow-up to the first book in the Crater Lake series. I immersed myself in this story with the feeling of coming home. It features a diverse ensemble cast of characters coping with a wide range of life’s problems, and Guenette handles each issue with care and sensitivity. Beautiful description of the fictional setting and distinct characters who feel like old friends are some of its many strengths. A highly enjoyable summer read reminiscent of Susan Wiggs’s Lakeshore Chronicles.

Every bit as good as Disappearing in Plain Sight – The Light Never Lies brought me right back into the fold of characters I have come to love! Just as much wit and insight as the first book with a bit more action & intrigue. Fabulous read, incredibly good writing.

I felt like all the characters in this series were family or good friends. I was “right at home” and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. Highly recommended for all.

Love this book! I love this series! It is interwoven with real life drama. I’ve devoured the books! GOOD read Ms. Guenette!

The characters are so real and believable! Everyone should read the whole series!

Captain Hardy's - LNL

Take this opportunity to read the second book in the Crater Lake Series – FREE.

Amazon.com

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What Type of Traveller Are You?

Flying over Mountains - Guenette photo  (1)

I can tell you the type of traveller I’d like to be. Get up and go with a moment’s notice. Work until the moment I have to leave. Be an organized, unflappable veteran of airport security. Squeeze every drop of life out of a trip and make it all fodder for the creative mill. Return home, get those bags unpacked and be back into the swing of things in no time flat.

Alas, I am far from my dreams. I am the person who sees the departure date looming a couple of weeks ahead and decides there isn’t much point sinking into a project because I’ll just have to pull up short to hit the road. What’s the point of that? I am as far from spontaneous as one can get. Those we know me, know better than to try surprise tactics. I can only hope I don’t look as frazzled standing in airport security as I feel. And it generally takes me a week to ten days to resettle when returning from a trip. I’m like an old dog circling the mat of my life over and over until I’m able to settle back into any type of routine.

Prairie Sky 2 - Guenette photo  (1)

Where I find success is in squeezing every drop of detail out of my experiences. For a writer, this makes the disruption of travelling well worth the effort. I’m good at taking note of details – the look of a prairie sky, the eerie feeling of an empty school yard and a long row of swings totally still in the afternoon heat, the noise a helicopter makes when it lands, what a magpie looks like, two men in conversation at a Tim Horton’s, one rubbing his jaw and saying, “Now, that, what you’re talking about right there … that’ll kill you sure as sure.”

Schoolyard swings - Guenette photo

I love to study people. On my recent trip, a woman at the airport caught me eye.

Short, sculpted, blonde hair, a chiselled jawline and a face dominated by a large mouth and gleaming teeth. I have no idea why but I can’t stop staring at her. She stands ramrod straight – her posture is admirable to the slouches among us. She’s dressed impeccably – heels, black slacks and a clinging, patterned top, the type that has an off-set neckline. The strange lack of symmetry in that throws me off somehow. She reaches casually into her black leather, designer purse and withdraws a small object. It turns out to be a miniature measuring tape. It snakes down to the ground as she goes about measuring the height and width of her carry-on bag. Maybe I don’t travel enough – I’ve never seen anyone do such a thing. I’ve watched people eye their bag up with nervous glances to and from the metal contraption near the gate that defines exactly the size of a carry-on bag. I’ve seen people trying to stick an oversize bag into said contraption, insisting it will fit. I’ve stared with disbelief while a person went so far as to tip the whole contraption over in her desperate efforts. But I’ve never seen anyone actually measure their carry-on bag. The action seems so natural to this woman, so effortless. The tape snaps back in on itself and is tucked away. I stare at her purse and imagine it containing dozens of useful items all stored in well-organized pockets. She can put her fingers on anything she might need. This woman is unflappable, I can’t imagine a scenario that could ruffle her.

And then the writer in me starts imagining …

Helicopter at Auburn Bay - Guenette photo

You put that woman with this helicopter and throw in those swings … those kinds of juxtapositions are bound to make a story.

What sort of a traveller are you?

Prairie Sky - Guenette photo

Marketing Update

Deck flowers - Guenette photo

As many of you who follow my blog know, I stepped up my marketing strategies to promote my self-published novels in March of this year. You can read about what I did and how it worked by checking out the following post: One Month Past BookBub Promotion.

I am five months down the road and the Crater Lake books are selling well. Yippee – happy dance and all of that. But here is the question you might be asking: How has she kept the ball rolling? Before I get to that, I will state two important caveats. My books are selling wildly beyond my expectations when compared with how I was doing prior to my BookBub slot in March. That having been said, my books are not selling at the same level that they did right after the BookBub promotion.

My marketing strategy has consisted of booking free days for Disappearing in Plain Sight every month or so using the KDP Select Program and promoting those free days through various venues. I’ve had different results for the money spent and am happy to share how the cost per free download panned out over the various promotional spots. Number of downloads isn’t the whole story, though. Bumps in Amazon rankings play a role in continued sales.

So here goes. All costs are rounded off and reported in Canadian funds.

In May, I ran two free days of promotion for Disappearing in Plain Sight and advertised via Free Kindle Books and Tips (130.00) and the Book Marketing Tool (20.00). I garnered just over 1000 downloads. This wasn’t enough to make serious moves up the rankings in the Amazon Free Store and I paid approx. 15 cents per download. Costly, but May and June sales of the subsequent books in the series (The Light Never Lies and Chasing Down the Night) definitely showed the halo effect from free downloads of the first book in the series.

In June, I was able to snag a spot on E-Reader News Today (53.00). I booked three free days for Disappearing in Plain Sight and as well as the ENT slot, I used FreeBooksy (82.00). Stacked up 3034 downloads. Three times the downloads for less cost than May’s promotion. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that. FreeBooksy came first, so I was able to make a rough judgement on effect. About 800 downloads for an approx. cost of 10 cents per download. ENT is the best priced option for results. 1800 downloads for an approx. cost of 3 cents per download. Not bad! Plus, rankings moved significantly and led to excellent subsequent sales.

In July, I ran three free days and used FreeBooksy again (82.00), Sweet Free Books (10.00) and Book Sends (34.00). Managed 1337 downloads. FreeBooksy performed as it did in June. Sweet Free Books was a pleasant surprise. I calculated 200 downloads for approx. 5 cents per download. Book Sends came in at about 7 cents per download. Again, rankings rose and subsequent sales over the series continued.

In August, I changed my strategy by listing my newest stand-alone novel, Maelstrom, for a two-day free event and advertised with Sweet Free Books (10.00) and BookSends (67.00). There were 1627 downloads that saw BookSends performing at the 5 cents per download level and Sweet Free Books did better than my use of them in July – getting down to approx. 3 cents per download. My aim with this promotion was to garner reviews for Maelstrom and I am still waiting to see if that occurs. It does take time to read the book!

I was pleasantly surprised to notice that the increased ranking for Maelstrom over the time of the promotion seemed to boost sales on all my books.

I have tried to capture another BookBub slot for the second book in the Crater Lake Series – The Light Never Lies – with no success so far. BookBub and E-Reader News Today continue to be the big performers when it comes to download numbers and because of that, getting in the door is quite the challenge.

My experience with utilizing Amazon’s free days and going with a variety of promotional services has shown me that even on a small budget, I can get results and keep selling over a longer haul.

I hope my experience can be of some use. I’m not saying, go out and do what I have done. The promotion of self-published books has way too many variables for that. The whole process seems to be part experimentation, part experience and part flying by the seat of one’s pants. I used categories specific to my books. Your books may land in categories that are more or less popular. I have promoted the first book in a three book series with the hope of cashing in on the halo effect. You may or may not have a series to promote. Timing may be a factor. I’ve always promoted over a weekend. In the fall, I’ll mix things up a bit and promote during the week.

Back garden - Guenette photo

Maelstrom – 1st Time Free this Weekend

Maelstrom Full Cover JPEG

Here’s a chance to try my fourth novel free of charge Smile 

The ebook copy of Maelstrom is free on the Amazon site of your choice from Saturday, August 13th to Monday, August 15th. Enjoy!

Genre: Action/adventure/thriller/romance

The road up to Casa Destion - chalk - Lorna FriesenDescription: A shot is fired into the still night air and a young woman dies on Suicide Ridge. A dangerous game has begun. Over the course of one blistering, hot week, winds of change sweep through an isolated valley in small town America.

Sheriff Bert Calder, with the help of Mayor Amos Thatcher, has held the town of Haddon under his thumb for twenty-five years. As things spin out of control, Calder works the angles, ensuring he can make the most of the upheaval that is to come.

Rafael Destino, facing his own mortality, races against time to gain control of the railroad – a lifeline essential to the town’s survival. His goal – to financially destroy Thatcher, the man he believes responsible for the death of his beloved sister. His tool – adopted son Myhetta. But how far down the road of revenge will Rafael push the young man who owes him everything?

Myhetta is poised on the edge of controlling Destino Enterprises, the job he has been groomed for. While money, power and influence are his to command, the past continues to torment him.

In a clash of powerful men, with fathers pitted against sons, no one will be left unscathed. Maelstrom is a page turner that speeds along like a runaway train.

The Road to Aldeao - pastel work June Guenette

Here’s what one reader thought. 5 stars … The damage we humans can do …

As a fan of Francis Guenette’s Crater Lake series, I was interested to read this new book, a collaboration and edition of her late mother’s manuscript Maelstrom. Before purchase, I already knew from the author that it would be a very different novel, and of course wondered in what areas.

The story, which has been outlined by other reviewers, takes place not on the Canadian West Coast but in some arid, desert-like part of the USA. I was never sure where, but thought maybe New Mexico? And like the Crater Lake books, in a small town setting, but a very different one. The town is dominated by its ruthless, amoral sheriff, though as the plot progresses we learn of the network of complicated relationships and special interests which has intensified his rule. Like the Crater Lake books, all turns on the damaged personalities involved, and how they interact: but in this setting, the damage is lethal, and the results are far more violent. It is indeed a book which surveys how tragically violent and destructive human beings can behave towards one another. The view of human is by no means the “Rousseau” one that we are all basically good: most of these characters could be said to be basically bad, weak, or both, and the author doesn’t hold back what we as a species are capable of, especially in male attitudes and actions towards women.

However, it is also a Francis Guenette book despite the differences. We can still discern her psychological training, experience, and knowledge, her concern for the fate of the mixed-race and Native Americans, her feminism (to give a name to something more subtle than that), and her ability to weave the consequences of damaged personalities for good or for destruction. This, as the story progresses, becomes increasingly obvious, and makes the book a page-turner. Her love and respect for wild and domestic animals is also in there.

She also weaves into it the boy who has what can be called ‘second sight’ (though it may have other names), also found in the Crater Lake books.

Recommended if you are a reader who prefers a study of how it is to be human in an isolated township and an arid setting. This is hard lives, hard survival, in an ‘unforgiving’ landscape. But it ends with some hope.

Arizona tree - Bruce Witzel photo

Writers Never Surrender When it Comes to Love

White Flag cover - Dido - google images

“I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,

But what’s the sense in that?”

Do you ever listen to Dido’s song White Flag and feel like sitting down in a chair and sobbing an over indulgence of emotion for the time you carried a torch and felt like the pain of lost love would never end?

As we get older and jaded about the cost of going down with the ship of unrequited love, we forget the emotion. Writers don’t have that option. We create characters that love and lose and hang on. We have to dig deep and remember. A song like White Flag aids in the process.

I’ll let you be the judge. Listen to this song and see if it doesn’t plunge you into nostalgia for the days of believing that hanging on forever could make a difference. You can just shrink the video and come back to read the lyrics here while you listen.

White Flag

I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,

Or tell you that.

But if I didn’t say it, well I’d still have felt it

Where’s the sense in that?

I promise I’m not trying to make your life harder

Or return to where we were

I will go down with this ship

And I won’t put my hands up and surrender

There will be no white flag above my door

I’m in love and always will be.

I know I left too much mess and

Destruction to come back again

And I caused nothing but trouble

I understand if you can’t talk to me again

And if you live by the rules of “it’s over”

Then I’m sure that that makes sense.

I will go down with the ship

And I won’t put my hands up and surrender

There will be no white flag above my door

I’m in love and always will be.

And when we meet, which I’m sure we will

All that was there, will be there still

I’ll let it pass and hold my tongue

And you will think that I’ve moved on . . .

Popular culture – and we writers are part of that or at least we want to be – promotes a love that is unrealistic but it’s an ideal that takes hold of our lives, for better or worse. There is something about never putting up that white flag of surrender, that appeals to us.

We want to believe that there is a man or woman out there who would go the distance. Never mind that we probably know ourselves to be incapable of such a thing.

Snape and Lily Potter - google images

A man like Professor Snape, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. He loved Lily Potter right up to the bitter end. He died to protect her son. A son she had with his most hated rival. Is his behaviour not the popular personification of true love?

Or maybe the French heroine of Sergeanne Golan’s books, Angelique. She rushed through a dozen historical novels, sleeping with and marrying other men, though she never stopped pining for her lost love, Joffrey de’Pyrec. True to the romantic ideal, he never stopped looking for her. This is the stuff of great literary romance.

Though James Bond is portrayed as the master of love affairs in a host of Hollywood movies, in Ian Fleming’s novels, Bond never got over the woman he lost.

Our every day lives are not peopled with the likes of Professor Snape, or Angelique, or James Bond. The men and women we know are fickle and who could blame them. No one wants to be alone and as you get older the concept of true love becomes quite nuanced. What is true might end up being what is comfortable and familiar, or convenient, or self-serving, or a host of other things. Luckily for us writers, part of us clings to that ideal – why else flop in a chair and feel teary when listening to a song like White Flag?

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Honouring Our Lost Sisters

Red Dress Project

This week the government of Canada launches a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Many wait with mixed feelings – we are good at inquires in Canada. Less proficient at implementation when it comes to complex issues that challenge systemic racism and misogyny. I read a tweet that said – let’s not let the good be obscured by our desire for the perfect. Maybe we are on the right track, maybe this time we’ll get it right.

Listening to CBC’s The Current, this morning, the podcast ended with a snippet of Amanda Rheaume’s song, Red Dress. I had to hear more. I write this post with her haunting words in my ears and tears in my eyes.

The song Red Dress is meant to honour the over 1180 Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada and raise awareness for this tragic and ongoing issue.

After hearing the song in it’s early stages, award-winning artist Chantal Kreviazuk was compelled to lend her voice to the song and the cause.

The title “Red Dress” and the concept for video were derived from artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project where 600 red dresses were donated and installed in public spaces throughout Winnipeg and across Canada as a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us. The hope for the installation was to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence.

red-drss-image - google images

You Tube link to Amanda Rheaume singing Red Dress. Please pop over and watch this video and then review the lyrics.

Red Dress

I see the line of all the broken hearts

Lining up to tell their side to an already one-sided story

Years of cycles in my mind

Seems to be the ones we love

Somewhere, I learned to say I’m sorry

Chorus: Take me down to the river

City lights are in my eyes

I have got my red dress on tonight

(Repeat)

I never wanted to be a drifter

I am a woman with no worth

Somewhere I learned to say I was sorry

Every day I learn to say I’m sorry. I hope with all my heart this is the moment for the long-awaited justice that Indigenous women and girls cry out for – the justice that so many of us demand of ourselves, our policing community and our government. I want to believe this is the time to redress the wrongs.

I long to see all the beautiful sisters – free of all fear –  dancing in their red dresses.

Maranda - Dancing with Butterflies in Spirit

August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month!

 August Garden - Guenette photo

On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote a post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed. She provides a link to a post that provides some excellent book review templates.

Following this up, Terry Tyler is starting an initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison Williams. I’m pleased to be associated with these ladies through Rosie’s book review team and to have the chance to spread their book review message.

The idea is this: We declare August to be “Write an Amazon Review Month”. We invite everyone who hears about this initiative to use their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!). You don’t even have to have read the book recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time. The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on your review.

Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next 99 cent Kindle book. No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique. I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used. Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved the characters, the dialogue was so realistic.”

Why should you write a review?

They help book buyers make decisions. Just as travellers check out Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, readers like to know what other people thought of a book before making a decision to buy and read.

If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves. Reviews from the reading public are an important and free helping hand.

The number of reviews on Amazon can help a book’s visibility. If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of spreading the word.

Off we go, then! A few more pointers:

  • If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post.
  • A review can be short. Here’s an example of such a review for Disappearing in Plain Sight: DPS review
  • You don’t have to put your name to the review. Your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.
  • No writer expects all their reviews to be 5 stars or to say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star guide on Rosie’s post that you can use to rate your reactions.

Spreading the word:

Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review? If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews – Terry Tyler will be doing one blog post a week featuring those links: An #AugustReviews Hall of Fame!

If you have a blog and would like to spread the word about #AugustReviews, please feel free to re-blog. Many thanks. We hope you will join the August review wave.

August Garden 2 - Guenette photo