Wednesday, April 28, 2010

At Least I'll Save on Gas...

So this week I get to watch everybody go to the Romantic Times convention without me. It feels like grade school somewhat, on a day everybody is off to a friend's party and you're the only one who caught the chicken pox or somesuch, and has to stay home. Today my husband, whose injury is the reason I had to cancel at the last minute, told me he was glad I didn't go, and not because I had to be here to drive him to and from work. He didn't want to be apart from me for so long.
Yes, you can all coo at that. Still, this was likely my last shot for a while. Next year is in Los Angeles, and I'm unsure I can make the drive. Maybe if we still had the old Ford Explorer, I'd consider it. Yes, I realize it's more economical, and sane, to fly from where I am, but I do not like flying cross country at all. I came down with cabin fever once flying from San Diego to Philly, and I wouldn't mind so much a long trip if we could be leisurely about it. If we should blow a head gasket or crack a windshield, I'm sure there's a place to stop, and certainly I wouldn't have trouble finding a Los Angeles auto repair shop for an oil change and tire check.

I used to embark on epic trips with my family all the time. They were teachers and had all that time off. Hopefully when hubby's arm heals we'll get that kind of time together as well. I'd like to be in a position to take summers off to travel. That, naturally, means selling more books, which means attending conferences like RT to promote myself. What a vicious circle.

Well, I do have BEA in New York coming...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Say, you like those Facebook pages?

I've gone a bit Facebook happy, I admit. There is some value in having a Facebook page for your organization or business. As I learn more about my day job industry, I find that one day I'll be able to manage social networking to a point where it reaps more that what I sow. There are ways to monetize and optimize, and reach readers and fans and anybody interested in what you have to say. Social media, too, involves a bit of mutual backscratching, so if you're feeling generous take a look at what I've created lately and sign on to like it if it appeals to you.

DLP Books - The official FB home of my eBook imprint.

Leigh Ellwood - My fan page. I need to do more with this and the above link. A lot of people consider it tacky to invite people to be fans of your own page, so I haven't mass plugged these. the numbers are low, so I'd like to get at least to the point where I can choose vanity URLs. It's my goal to interact more on these pages.

Lewis Grizzard: A Great American - Lewis was one of my early writing influences, believe it or not. Until now, there wasn't a fan page for him, so I created one.

Odd Chocolates - A fan page for my chocolate review blog. I plan to do more with this in the future.

Web Writers for Hire - I would like to make this a marketplace for writers looking for Web work, and people looking for writers.

And of course, you can friend me at http://www.facebook.com/leighellwood.

Ramblin', Gamblin', Amblin'


I've talked about my mother's favorite hobby here before - recently she came back from the Gulf Coast casinos a few hundred bucks to the good. Promptly she spent it all at her church fair's "Bars and Bells" booth, which gives out tickets similar to scratch-offs. You peel back five or six strips to see if you get three cherries, three bells, etc. It's one of the more popular games at the Sacred Heart annual fair, and I shudder to think how much of my inheritance has gone into it.

Oddly enough, Mom doesn't partake in online casino games, supposedly because going to the Gulf or Vegas is half the fun. I imagine if you can't get away and don't live in a state where gambling is legal (I'd have to go to Delaware to get my kicks - how often does anybody say that?), the online alternative might be a good option. Given the economy, however, it seems everything is a gamble. Should I invest in this, spend money on that? I tell you, if I had poker skills I'd certainly use them to get ahead. At least with the online casino sites, there are free software downloads to assist you, and a variety of games to choose from. I have to admit, during my first and only trip to Vegas I got a bit hooked on penny slots - if I have some money to burn for such a pursuit, I might stock up for a fun weekend. Of course, it's important to know one's limits and play with caution. Know when to walk away, as the song goes.

It was my hope to get to Vegas this summer, not just for casino action but because Rush is playing there once again for their 2010 tour. Of course, Mohegan Sun is also on the schedule, but I understand good tickets at casino venues are difficult to obtain as it is. High rollers get first dibs, and unfortunately my mother hasn't made that club yet. I'd certainly get her seats if so. Alas, I'll have to resort to my own special brand of gambling, dealing with ticket pre-sales. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Seeking Social Media Buddies for Glorious Benefit and Good Times

Some of you know during the day I masquerade as a social media specialist. The work is really growing lately, and it's my hope one day to conquer the world one Digg at a time. Heh. Achieving this, however, involves putting in as much work as I hope to yield in site traffic. This is why I'm calling out for fellow authors, readers, freelancers, whatever to help me help you in the social media dance.
What will it cost you? Nothing. All you really need is to register with select networks if you aren't already on, then connect with me there. Once done, we then work toward mutual gratification (sounds dirtier than it is) by helping each other promote our sites, blogs, books, products, etc.

Right now, I have profiles on the following:
What I would like to do is connect with people through these sites. Here we would "fan" or subscribe to each other, and submit each other's URLs, rank and comment on them. I find that the more unique domains you have, the easier the process is because the risk of spam lessens. I'm thinking an initial ten URL submit would work as a start, then as you progress with your networks we help each other when we can.

So if you're interested, leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail at info (at) dlpbooks (dot) com. The more you work sites through social media, you will see a difference in traffic for the better.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Now he's gonna play that damned Vicki Carr record, and when he comes to bed he's not gonna touch me.

Ten points if you can name the movie.

I don't know how other people manage to get through when one of them suffers an injury. Recently my husband broke his collarbone, and if you've read this blog you know it's effected much of my schedule. I've had to cancel RT to be his chauffeur, and unfortunately it's not the sexy Penthouse kind. A few days ago he tried to drive himself, and it didn't quite work out.

So, in addition to that, I've had to do without other things, so to speak. Yeah, you're probably thinking: well, he didn't break *that*, but trust me, if you're not feeling good you're likely not going to be in the mood. On the upside, it's left me more time to do more Web work. Boy, am I working. Almost have to, anyway, to pay the medical bills.

What's up in Leigh world? I'm creating with Squidoo on a regular basis now for clients - I'll make a lens for you for five bucks - and for myself. I discovered Hubpages for more writing goodness, still working on Dead Barchetta, and finishing up Dare and Dare Alike for hopefully a May release through DLP Books. I'm also looking into a way to set up a cart to sell those titles to download immediately, so y'all don't have to wait on me to send books. I'm chuffed by the way that little enterprise, founded mainly to seed Little One's 529, is growing.

So, if you're inclined to help ease our medical bills, for Hubby has another surgery coming, you can assist me in these ways:

Hire me for social media and SEO. Check out my a la carte services, and my long-term SEO with Spider Writers.

Buy my books. Buy from DLP Books and Phaze Books mainly, where I make the bulk of my royalties.

Buy a t-shirt. I set up a Spreadshirt store for 2112 Chocolates, my chocolate blog. Get a nifty chocolate t-shirt and be the envy of the neighborhood.

Check out my Squidoo stuff. I'm making Squidoo lenses out the yin yang and could use some StumbleUpon love myself.

Pray hard. I need a nap.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wear your lust on your sleeve...for chocolate anyway

With hubby out of commission due to his recent surgery, I've had to make myself useful. The gigs I have going at Fiverr are starting to build, and I'm collecting a nice little egg to put in Little One's 529 because of that. I've noticed, too, that traffic to DLPBooks.com and Daring Romance have spiked, and I'm trying to figure out the cause. I certainly welcome it, if it leads to book sales. Nona mentioned to me today that she's getting some nice reader mail, so I'm thrilled for her. I just finished editing a short she has in an upcoming Phaze Binary Stars release, and she's working on something longer, finally.

Despite having slipped from my WW regimen, I haven't put on any weight. I've been packing, and nursing, and doubling my work to pay for all this surgery and moving expense. Doesn't leave much for food, I gather. So, for now I shall merely design my love of it, namely chocolate. I wish to work more on my Odd Chocolates blog, and perhaps generate a bit of money from it so I can purchase a domain and fix it up nice. I discovered Spreadshirt recently and opened a chocolate t-shirt store there. If you want to show your appreciation for chocolate, consider buying a shirt with a catchy slogan today. They're fat free. :)

In the meantime, I've taken on more freelance work, and am finishing up Dead Barchetta and Boone, in addition to my Phaze work. Ugh, so tired!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This April, the role of Leigh Ellwood will be played by...

Good Ged, what a week. I know, it's just Tuesday. Let me bring you all up to speed.

First off, since I need the money to pay for stuff you'll soon hear about, I had a story release through DLP Books. Share Some More is the sequel to my F/F Share, and goes more into the characters you met the first time around. This time, there is conflict and story, and an ending you won't expect but will hopefully like. It's available at all the usual channels, ARe, Kindle, etc. Only 99 cents, too, a steal. So far, with the four F/F stories I have, I just need to finish one good sized novella to get a print collection together. Thinking of titles for it now.

For one, our first dealer room appearance at Ravencon didn't go so well. Usually when we attend these functions we come away with a number of sales, particularly of our Piers Anthony titles because ultimately we meet fans who hadn't known until then that he publishes with Phaze Books. This year, it was a challenge to raise interest in anything we had. Whether we'll return (if they'll have us) is up for debate, but unfortunately I wasn't given the opportunity to try our luck on the Sunday. About thirty minutes into the business day, I get a phone call informing my that my husband was injured in a bike race and was in the emergency room. So my table helper and I cleared out of there, and I drove straight from Richmond to Hampton to see to my husband, the now ex-competitive cyclist.

Long story short: broken clavicle, surgery required, no driving for him for several weeks afterward. This means, unfortunately, I must bow out of my first and likely only RT Faery Court appearance. Yes, the one I'd planned for a year, for which I have boxes of promotional material crowding my bedroom which I had intended to drive up to Columbus because I figured...why spend the extra money to ship everything when I have this nice sports utility wagon to handle the freight?

You ever see UP? You know the prologue where Carl and Ellie are pitching change into this big-ass glass jar to save for their trip, and just when they get to a good point one of them breaks his arm, or the car blows up? That's pretty much been my month so far. With hubby out of commission, guess who gets to pack the entire house for our move, too?

Sigh.

So, the RT gig is paid for, and if you go you'll see my book covers in all their big-screen glory. You just won't see me there. I've been told, however, that I can have somebody go in my place to the ball. Being that Coming Together As One is one of the books I'm promoting for the event (it features my short Daring Hearts), I've asked one of the authors in the book to sub for me (will reveal name if she's comfortable with it). If she's lucky she'll get to sit next to Barry Eisler, who offered cover praise for another CT book, so we'll be well repped on Thursday night.

Am I disappointed? Yes. This was likely to be my last RT for a while. The 2011 gig in LA is not exactly doable for me, and the way my writing career twists and turns I don't know what 2012 will bring...my luck, it'll be me outgunning a tsunami with John Cusack in a beat up Chevy van. But, my picture is in RT, and my books will on the tables, so there's no turning back. Have a drink on me and my husband's collarbone, would you?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Anything for a Buck, or Five

One challenge to working as a career freelance writer is sometimes getting people to pay what the job is truly worth. With writing, many people might believe that it's simple to do. I say, if you think it's simple, why not do it yourself than hire out the job? If it's not easy, it's certainly time consuming, especially writing for search relevance.

When I'm not composing hot stories and mystery, I'm writing for a living. The bulk of my work is concentrated in travel, B2B topics, and home improvement right now. The purpose of the work is to build on optimized keywords and drive traffic to client websites. I will say, too, I do a good job of it. I've helped many people make more money than I sometimes receive for the work.

Right now, though, I need more of it. Money, work, it's all the same. Bear in mind, this isn't another anti-piracy lecture, though I do appreciate everybody who buys my books and stories. Right now, in order to raise funds to alleviate moving expenses, I'm offering a number of SEO and social media services on the cheap. I recently joined Fiverr, a community of people who'll do all sorts of things for five bucks a pop. There's everything from setting up blogs to holding a sign in Times Square with your logo on it. I'm not so dramatic, but I'm willing to lend some time to boost your site traffic for the money.

For five bucks, I'll:

Whatever I make will relieve some of the debts we have coming. It doesn't look like we'll get any money back in taxes, so I have to do what I can short of selling hair and my Type O neg blood. Please pass the info along. Thanks!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Phaze Books Offers its First Foreign Language Release!


Since 2004, Phaze Books - the erotic romance imprint of Mundania Press, LLC - has offered hundred of quality erotic romance and erotica titles by the most talented authors in the industry. We are proud to have introduced readers to a new generation of writers who have become masters of their respective sub-genres - M/M romance, interracial romance, and paranormal. It is only fitting, considering our company's roots in science fiction and fantasy publishing, that we have decided to launch the Phaze Foreign imprint in a universal language that is, quite literally, out of this world.

Phaze Books is proud to announce the release of our first foreign language translation. Now, readers have the option of purchasing one of our flagship novels, Leigh Ellwood's Truth or Dare, in the new Klingon version. Our relationship with the foreign rights agency of Y'liveL, A'loreM, and AeL afforded us access to translation services in a multitude of Federation languages.

Presently, readers have two options for the Klingon version of Truth and Dare: the traditional Klingon symbols (tlhIngan pIqaD) or the more accepted Latin/Klingon translation.

In addition to the near future Klingon editions of Bridget Midway's Fascination Street, Piers Anthony's Relationships series, and the six Phaze Fantasies volumes, look for Phaze Books to add editions of select titles in Vulcan, Cardassian, and Esperanto.

Honestly, if you've read this far, we congratulate you and hope you have enjoyed our April Fool's Day merriment. For your reward, we are offering a wild April Fool's sale using the code FOOL2010, which is good all day. While the code will discount your total order today, how much is a secret...and it will change from time to time throughout the day. It could be 10%, it could be half off your bill. We don't really even know how we're going to work it out, but if you follow Leigh Ellwood on Twitter on April 1 at @LeighEllwood, she'll be dropping hints. Good luck and, as they say in Klingon, QaQ.