Storm: The Cat who Lived

The topic of my most recent article for IDAHO Magazine is Storm, a blind foundling I plucked from the ditch during my morning walk. Storm was incredibly tiny when I found her and despite being gravely ill, she rallied and survived. She even managed to overcome blindness. But, what is really remarkable about this tale is that neither the veterinarian nor I killed her.

To explain that last sentence, I need to back up a few years. Continue reading


Book Review: The Witch’s Book of Self-Care

 

The Witch’s Book of Self-Care

By Arin Murphy-Hiscock

$14.99 available on Amazon

 

This book changed my life!

This book came to me at an exceptionally low point in my life. I was juggling three jobs, one of which required me to deal with a gas-lighting supervisor, was experiencing chest pains and hypertension, and sleeping maybe four hours a night. To say I was burnt out was an understatement. With the help of this book, I set healthy boundaries, quit what was an undeniably bad job, lost 52 pounds, and saw my blood pressure drop 30 points.

In The Witch’s Book of Self-Care, the author quickly addresses the common misconception that self-care involves sitting on your laurels, eating bonbons, having spa days, and engaging in retail therapy. Self-care takes work in order to have a lasting impact on your life. This is not a book to be read in an afternoon. It needs to be savored, taking as much time as necessary to master each task before moving on to the next topic. Continue reading


The Witch’s Familiar

‘Tis the season to celebrate cats. Halloween cards and decorations feature black cats sporting witches’ hats, slinking through graveyards, and riding on brooms. Halloween is synonymous with fun—and frights, but for cats, Halloween tricks can seem all too real. Strangers slink through the neighborhood. Unusual smells and horrifying noises fill the air. Costumes turn ordinary people into monsters. Make no mistake, Halloween is a spooky time for cats. Those frights come with an even more frightening history. Continue reading


Book Distribution: What are your options?

Your book is written, edited, and formatted. You’ve purchased ISBNs and barcodes. You have a stellar cover and a pretty spiffy author photo, too. You’re moments away from uploading to Amazon, popping some bubbly, and announcing your book release . . . but have you really thought through the supply chain connections necessary for a successful book launch?

Marketing on your blog, through social media, and spamming your email list is a no brainer. But, how do you get your book in bookstores? There’s no getting around the need to connect with retailers. Therefore, it’s incumbent on you to figure out what kind of distribution system you want. Continue reading


Party Platforms

My political cartoon ran in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News this morning.

After listening to both the Democrat and Republican conventions, I was inspired to find a way to effectively sum up both parties’ platforms in a single sentence.  I believe I have succeeded.


Book Review 102: Galleys vs. ARCs

Launching a book with strong word of mouth sales right from day one takes a lot of groundwork done months (and years) in advance. Most people realize they need to post excerpts and teasers on their author website, in email newsletters, and on social media, assuming that reviews will trickle in from readers after publication. If you wait until after your book has been published to post a listing on Goodreads or similar sites in order to acquire reviews, you have waited too long.

Many consumers use reviews to make purchasing decisions.  This means authors need to develop a plan to obtain those reviews about a year prior to publication. When sending materials out for review send exactly what the reviewer requests. Some reviewers will accept galleys others require an advance reader copy (ARC). So what is an ARC and how is it different from a galley? Continue reading


Book Review: Gritty, Grisly and Greedy

Gritty, Grisly, Greedy: Stories Inspired By True Crooks And Crimes From My 28 Years As A Fed.
A collection of short stories by Stuart L. Scott

$14.95 available on Amazon.

It’s rare to get fiction and nonfiction all in the same book, but Stuart Scott artfully manages to do both.  His book includes 13 short stories, ranging from well researched accounts of actual events, like the “The Easter Massacre Mystery” that occurred in Pullman, Washington in 1949 to fictionalized accounts of events using characters loosely based on parolees he supervised over the years, like “Pinky and the Piper,” the story of a botched bank robbery in Priest River, Idaho. Continue reading


Beyond Terrestrial Podcast

After coming across my article, “Grizzly Ghosts: Tales of the Hoodoos,” I was invited to be a guest on Dan and Lee’s pod cast with ‘Beyond Terrestrial.’ The article covers ghost stories new and old that have been passed around campfires by decades of scouts attending Camp Grizzly as well as some mysterious happenings that occurred elsewhere in the Hoodoos.

Are these all fanciful tales told by rambunctious Scouts? Or is there something darker lurking in the Hoodoo Mountains? Find a stick for roasting marshmallows and sit down by the fire as we swap summer camp ghost stories! Continue reading


Submitting to the AR Catalog

You have written a book.  It’s great book, a stellar book, a magnificent book.  Yet, it sits on the shelf unsold.

If your intended audience is between the ages of 6 and 18, unless your book is listed in the Accelerated Reader (AR) catalog, it’s unlikely to be purchased by anyone.  Teachers cannot possibly be familiar with the plot, storyline, and characters of every book available to school-age children.  Because of this, many schools turn to Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader (AR) program.  The AR software provides assessments that measure comprehension and reading level.  Consequently, school and library purchasing decisions are often dependent on AR catalog listing.

Authors hoping to bypass schools and libraries, marketing directly to kids (and their parents) are out of luck.  Summer used to be a time for kids to catch-up on ‘fun’ reading.  Now, even it has fallen victim to the AR Catalog.  Racking-up AR points is highly competitive.  Pizza parties and tickets to amusement parks on the line.  Many schools allow students to log points for books read during summer break, so most school-aged children simply will not read a book that does not appear in the AR catalog.

In order to be successful with the school-age demographic, authors need their books listed in the AR catalog.  But, how does one do that? Continue reading


Grizzly Ghosts

Looking for spine chilling ways to amuse your family during this time of social distancing?  My article, Grizzly Ghosts: Tales of the Hoodoos was published in the April 2020 edition of IDAHO Magazine.  The article covers ghost stories new and old that have been passed around campfires by decades of scouts attending Camp Grizzly as well as some mysterious happenings that occurred elsewhere in the Hoodoos. Continue reading