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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Audiobook Adventure Part Seven--It's Live!!!

-Now live on Audible!  Now Live Everywhere! 
The big day has finally arrived! Oddly enough, I emailed ACX this morning asking about a release date because the time frame given originally had ended. Then as if by magic, the email announcing the wondrous news appeared in my box! I love results like that, don't you? 
So here is the link to the Audible site. If you're not familiar with Audible, all the information is there on the site for you to check out. I'm assured that in a few more days the audiobook will be available on Amazon and iTunes as well.
My thanks again to Matthew Lloyd Davies for bringing my story to life with such expertise. When you hear his narration, you'll be amazed at the way each character steps off the page into the spotlight. 
More later as this experience moves forward, but I couldn't wait to get the word out to you since you've been following this adventure from the start. 
Happy New Year!! 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Audiobook Adventure Part Six--Holiday Sale!

As I anticipate that message telling me "The audiobook is now available" --on Audible, Amazon and iTunes, to be specific--much as a child anticipates the arrival of St. Nick, I thought it only fitting to offer the ebook at a special price. Grab your copy before the end of the year and see why readers have responded with so much emotion to the love story of Peg Shannon and Kendall Gregg. http://www.amazon.com/Shannons-Daughter-Karen-Welch-ebook/dp/B00H3R7LKU/ref=asap_B007ILHX90?ie=UTF8

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Audiobook Adventure Part Five--That Said. . .

Why does everything seem to come back down to money? Why can't we just ride high on  that euphoric cloud of creative satisfaction and let the sales take care of themselves? Much as we try to stay focused on the joy of creating, the sad truth is we are inevitably distracted by the potential sales of that which we've created.

 With the pending release of Shannon's Daughter on audiobook, I have yet one more reports page to watch anxiously for signs of life. Right now on ACX there is a row of lovely, egg-shaped 0's, just waiting for that first miraculous sale. I'm reminded of my first KDP sales, which were so miraculous they sent me straight back to the keyboard, inspired to write more. With each additional title came an additional line on the report, which each month was filled in with a number, often not a very large number, but nonetheless a number representing readers who purchased a book. A book I wrote. To read. Wow!

That's what it should be about--readers--or I suppose listeners in this case. But with a reports page, it also becomes about numbers and the money those numbers represent. I subscribe to a simple life, that road less traveled, the one where things take a back seat to the joys of life well lived shared with people well loved. But I still have bills to pay, even if they're just for the basics. Frankly, there's never too much money, sometimes there's not quite enough. So yes, the dollars matter too. They help make life a little better. I don't deny that. The line between the joy of creating and the need to sell can get really blurry at times.  

Back in the 1970's, when I started college and knew much more about life than I do now, I was sure I wanted to write. I had the bright-eyed, youthful expectation that if I wrote well enough, often enough, I would someday find someone who would pay me for something I'd written. In the meantime, I took on a husband, children, a home and an increasingly complicated life. In between, I wrote. Nothing particularly worthy, but it was the weaving of characters and plots, the escape of storytelling, which I craved. Making a living at writing was never my ambition, although heaven knows a little extra income would have been welcome many times. Still, all I wanted to do was write. Getting published was a vague possibility. Selling books was a mist-filled dream.

Fast forward forty-odd years, and I'm still writing, but with greater urgency. I'm getting older, time is running out, and writing continues to be the thing I want to do. I'm vaguely aware that the publishing industry is rapidly changing. No longer is it essential to find an agent and a publisher before writer reaches reader. When I learned about the possibilities of self-publishing, that route seemed ideal for someone like me. I'm not out to earn a living, accolades, or even recognition as a professional author. If something I've written is considered worth a reader's time and they gain enjoyment from it, what is there to lose in putting it out there for them to read? 

Sadly, that question leads back to the desire (need) for compensation versus the value of creativity for creativity's sake. I don't presume to speak for anyone but myself. This journey is unique to each individual writer. For me, it's the writing, not the money, the readers, not the sales. Not that I don't welcome that payment, large or small, each month from the sale of my books. But if that payment becomes my sole impetus for writing, I'll count myself a failure at this endeavor. If I lose the thrill of seeing words fill pages, seeing characters come to life and plots unfold, because I'm concerned about how much or how little money I'm earning, then I've lost sight of my purpose. If I lose the sense of wonder each time I hear from a reader, I might as well pack it in. 

That said, with the production and release of Shannon's Daughter, the Audiobook, there's something else to think about, someone else actually. Matthew Lloyd Davies did such a marvelous job of bringing this story to life because he's a talented professional. Thankfully, Amazon paid him something up front through their stipend program but now his further compensation depends on how the audiobook sells--which to a large degree depends on how well I promote it. I owe it to Matt to push this as hard as I can. I owe it to him to find an audience, to rack up those numbers and thereby increase his opportunities. If I anxiously watch my reports pages now, I can imagine what the next few months will be like!

But all I can do is my best. I've learned a good bit about promotion, but I know there's so much more to learn, and then there's no guarantee the word will travel as fast and far as I want it to. But now that I think about it, looking back to where this all began when I put Hearts Unfold out almost three years ago, guarantees aren't what I need. I need a miracle!

And that said, if I've learned anything from this journey it's that miracles do happen. They're called readers, and they happen one by one by one.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

What a Deal!

Final day!

Come to Valley Rise! Discover this "very special love story" at a very special price! 


This is the final day for this sale--a chance to save big off the regular price of $3.50 each.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Audiobook Adventure--Part Four

While ACX does its thing in preparation for the release of Shannon's Daughter, I'm scurrying to come up with ways to get the word out. That's the glory of being an Indy--the never ending challenge of promotion. I don't believe in the adage "if you build it, they will come," but many times I fear that's what I'm doing. I often picture myself standing on a wide open plain shouting at the top of my lungs, with the echo of my words beaming back at me!

I'm happy to say that Shannon's Daughter's wonderful narrator, Matthew Lloyd Davies, seems eager to add his voice to this shouting in the wilderness business. It's his interpretation of my story, after all, that has me so anxious to find its audience. Today he posted a sample on his ACX profile page, so now you can get a tiny taste of what's coming. Go ahead, hop over and listen. I'm not going anywhere.

Scrumptious, right? 

Last night I played around over on Canva.com and put together a piece of promotional eye-candy. I rarely pull out the "bestseller" card, mainly because reaching the top of one Amazon's "Free Bestseller" lists has never felt quite like making a list where actual sales took place. But in the case of Shannon's Daughter, I can honestly call it a bestseller. After each free promo, she hovered on the Women's Historical Fiction list for quite a few days as the result of followup sales. I'm pretty sure that's why Amazon elected to place this book in its stipend program, which made the whole thing possible. I'm also very proud of the reviews this book has received so far. While some have expressed disappointment with the ending--which I fully expected--most have been willing to acknowledge that not every love story has a happy ending, but can still deliver a satisfactory experience for the reader. That readers have been caught up in the emotion of the story and identified closely with the characters is enough for me. 

In a matter of days, Shannon's Daughter--the Audiobook, will hit the market. I hope it will find its audience. I'm going to try my darndest to help it along. If you can help--share or post or just mention it to a friend--I'd be so grateful. Given the beautiful manner in which Matt has given voice to this story, I'd love for it to be heard!

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Just In! The Audiobook Adventure--Part 3

It happened on Friday morning. I had an email from Matt--you remember, Matthew Lloyd Davies,the producer/narrator of Shannon's Daughter-the Audiobook? Anyway, Matt emailed that he would be putting the final polish on the audio files and should be sending them to me early this week. But the very next morning, Friday, there they were! Needless to say, I did little but listen all day Friday and Saturday. It takes a while to listen to over 130,000 words! But it was worth every minute!

When I write, as I'm sure is true for most writers, I hear, see, sometimes smell, and even feel my characters. They are flesh and blood individuals from practically the moment they "walk" onto the page. I often wonder how my image compares to that of the reader's. I hope for close. I hope they can picture the features, the hair and eye color, the timbre of the voice, but I accept that we each perceive differently and as long as the reader enjoys the story these characters tell, I'm cool with that. So when Matt was reading Shannon's Daughter in preparation for the recording, I spent some agonized brain time wondering just what he was seeing as he read, and more importantly, what he was hearing. I know these characters, I gave them life, but now it's Matt's turn. How well will our two creations mesh?

I wasted that brain time. The characters on the recording are in complete accord with those already in my head! If I hadn't already fallen in love with Kendall Gregg when I wrote Shannon's Daughter, listening to him would definitely have done the trick! Matt gives him precisely the right polish without the least hint of "posh-ness." The pitch of his voice and his accent are enough to send shivers down any feminine spine, but there's nothing roguish about him. Kendall comes across--just as I know him to be--as a sensitive, somewhat battered, and basically honest young man with a painful secret. With teenaged Peg, his kindness towards--and kindly amusement at--the often outrageously outspoken young heiress come shining through. By the time Peg has grown to a young woman and she and Kendall meet again, his "heart on his sleeve" admiration of her produces the above- mentioned shivers by the barrel.

Peg, who I "heard" as a cross between Katherine Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, is precisely that, a bit of Yankee twang overlaid with just the right touch of breathiness. I'm never sure just how much I like Peg Shannon, but I love what Matt did with her character! I feel I know her better now, this woman whose head I could never get into sufficiently to tell the story from her POV.

But it's the secondary characters, even the tiniest bit players, who come to life in this recording and fill the "stage." I laughed out loud at times. Having played my share of walk-on roles, I am delighted that each of these folks is given a distinctive voice worthy of the finest character actor. I love my secondaries. Many of them are based on people I've known and loved. They are often tributes to real "characters" from my personal journey. I'm so grateful to Matt for giving them their proper due.

Shannon's Daughter ends on a low note. I wrote the story, I know how it goes out. Yet when Matt started reading that final chapter, I fell apart. Tears! Real tears. Darn it, that's just plain sad! And pretty powerful when Matt adds his talent to bring the scenes to life.

I hit the "Approve the Audiobook" button a little while ago. In a week or two, Shannon's Daughter will be available for everyone to enjoy. I'd love for it to do well, more for Matt's sake than mine, really. His work deserves to be appreciated. He's taken a quirky love story and made it something rich and fine, and highly entertaining. I consider this venture one of the most fortunate "breaks" in my writing life. Much like filling that prime role when producing a play--I've had that joy too--with an unexpected walk-in whose audition leaves you breathless, "finding" Matthew Lloyd Davies for Shannon's Daughter has made me truly thankful I stepped out on a limb to ever write this book.