Secrets

Remember when you were a kid and you and your siblings, or you and your friend(s), had this huge secret you didn’t want anyone to know about? You’d do the pinky swear thing, or a special handshake, or some other ritual that meant certain doom for the person who broke the promise and shared the secret they’d just sworn to carry to their grave?

What I have to say today isn’t quite that dramatic.

It’s not good though either.

Facebook has rolled out more changes today. In addition to forcing authors to pay to boost posts if they want more than just a handful of followers to see them – and even then, they just show them to a small fraction of people who have liked a page – now they have bots policing our posts.

If we ask for an opinion from readers, if we ask for advice that isn’t something like a police emergency or regarding travel, if we do much of anything that encourages you to comment or like a post … Facebook will start limiting our visibility even more than they’ve already done.

So my post last month that said something as simple as “white lights or multi-color lights” (or something like that) would have me flagged as a spammer. If I did something similar another time or two, they would consider it ‘engagement bait’ and my page would be ‘demoted.’ Meaning even fewer people will see my posts.

A quote from an article letting authors know about this new change pretty much says it all.

“All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

It goes on to say that if I post about a new book release, possibly even new blog post notices (my interpretation of the article), only a fraction of friends and followers will see it.

Because, apparently, it’s considered engagement bait – and engagement bait is only acceptable if we pay Facebook to boost those posts. 

So I’m going to try to do better with my blog and ask that those of you who enjoy talking with me check in here regularly because we can chat in the comments section here just as easily as we can on Facebook – and no one will be policing my post with bots that might misconstrue everything I say as spam or engagement bait.

So anyway, there you have it. The reason behind my weird Facebook post. I just felt like I needed to fill you all in on what’s going on and why I haven’t been posting as much as I used to. Most of you haven’t been able to see them and we’ve (authors) known this newest change was coming for a couple of months now.

Don’t forget to talk to me in the comments section below please. 🙂

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Guest Blogger, Darby O’Hara (of Code Red Christmas fame)

Hi, ladies (and gentlemen, if you’re visiting too). It’s Darby O’Hara. Kristy keeps saying with deadlines and Christmas, she’s too busy to do anything with the blog this month. Well, I’m not so sure I believe her because she was overheard to say that she and her daughter had taken Aria to see Santa (four times!), taken her sledding, gone shopping, and visiting relatives. She’s also been doing some reading and has, according to Holly, been hammering out her 2018 goals.

Of course we all know that with Kristy, goals are more of a wish list so we won’t be holding our breath. She’s just pulled in too many directions and doesn’t know how to say no. But Holly says if she can do even half of what she wants to do, you all will have plenty of stories to read next year.

For now though, I’ve been nominated to take a turn at her blog. We’ll see how bad I manage to mess it up because seriously, I’m so not a writer. But when the kids hit the terrible twos, Emma said I should start blogging about what it was like to raise triplets. I said sure, I’ll get right on it. Then we all laughed and I never gave it another thought. But I guess that qualifies me enough to try.

My mission was to write a movie review. Given that my reviews tend to be limited to, “It was really good. I loved it,” or “It was horrible, don’t waste your money,” I kind of panicked. So I decided if I’m stuck writing it, I’m having some help.

This is from our girls’ night out this month. The guys had all the kids and I pulled The Spirit of Christmas up on Netflix. Cal left a couple of roaster pans full of hot buttered popcorn, an oblong cake pan full of chocolate fudge with walnuts, and a big bowl of punch so we were set for snacks. I gave all the girls a small notebook and pen, along with orders to make some notes on what they liked about the movie.

Here are those notes, in order of popularity.

  1. All of us agree that Thomas Beaudoin is hot! He’s also a really good actor and played a believable ghost.
  2. Some of us – mainly Jenna and Holly – think Robert Walsh is pretty hot too. And a good actor.
  3. We all think Jen Lilley did a fine job of playing the heroine though about half of us (Hannah, Harry, Emma, and Clancy) think they could have played the part more believably … and you’re not supposed to mention that fact to Jon, Chris, Ty, or Mitch please.
  4. We all thought the inn was beautiful but given a recent winter storm warning – that actually panned out – some weren’t as thrilled over the beautiful snowy scenery as the rest of us.
  5. On the romantic scale of 1 – 10, here are our votes:

Jess voted a 9 because she thought they should have kissed earlier. Holly, Emma, and Clancy say 9 because they would have liked a better explanation of the end. They do concede that it was a good ending anyway but they’d have liked more details. Hannah, Jenna, Harry, and I gave it a solid 10. We think it was perfect the way it was.

  1. Did I mention we all thought Thomas Beaudoin was really hot?
  2. Would we recommend it to you? Absolutely. We’re 100% agreed on that. Definitely, if you get the chance (even though Christmas is over for the year), it’s worth your time to watch.

Now, we’ve only got about an hour before we have to go pick up our husbands and kids. We’ve got to clean up our mess so Chris doesn’t come home to it.

Whew. I’m glad this is over. If Kristy keeps forcing us to do letting us do the blog, it shouldn’t be my turn until well in to next year.

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SO Excited!

Sometimes, I think I need my head examined – like deciding I was going to publish not one but four stories this month! There were times I was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat but … I did it! Not only that, I also put the Cooking With the Coach’s Boys back out.

I’m pleased with the feedback I’m getting from the Haunted Depot: The Ghost Curse series, published under my pen name, J.J. Belding. Contrary to the series name, there’s nothing terribly scary or evil (at all) about the books. It’s still pretty much sweet romance. It just takes place over a few novellas instead of in one longer book.

Click the titles to get The Secret, The Depot, and A Merry Depot Christmas today.

And finally…. I just hit publish on Back to the Beginning, Book 8 in the Coach’s Boys Series. I couldn’t be more excited about this one!  It’s a story I’ve always believed I needed to tell – it just took a while to figure out the best way to write it. Alas, I don’t have a link to this book yet. Hopefully, tomorrow.

During their regular bi-monthly ‘guy’s night out,’ an ill-timed phone call brings back memories of the year Ed first came into their lives. A year that brought painful changes, unbearable heartache, and fear over what the future might bring.

In this installment of the Coach’s Boys series, you’ll catch up with what’s going on in the lives of Dan, Sam, Chris, Jon, Cal, and Ed. You’ll also get to know who they were twenty years ago – and the challenges they faced that helped them become the men they are today.

 

Posted in #HauntedDepot, #romance, Christmas, Coach's Boys Series, Cover Reveal, Holidays, J.J. Belding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New J.J. Belding Story!

Hey, everyone…

Christmas is fast approaching and my first J.J. Belding holiday story is going to be going live on Amazon this week! And …. by Christmas Eve, God willing and the creeks don’t rise, so will the newest Coach’s Boys story. 🙂

I’ve got too much editing to do (and stew and dumplings to make) so here’s the new cover and information…

 

 

Posted in #GhostCurse, #HauntedDepot, Christmas, Holidays, New Book, New Release | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Surprise Guest

Hello. Dan here. Dan Mulholland. You know. From the Coach’s Boys series? Kristy has decided that since she’s so busy trying to get our newest book ready for next week, she’s going to try an experiment. Sometimes, maybe, she’s going to let us take over the blog and newsletters for her. I’m not going to hold my breath though because once things slow down a little and she starts getting more sleep again, she might change her mind.

For now though, we’re going to run with it. We all did the whole rock, paper, scissors game and I won. Which is really as it should be because other than Laura Keane, or whatever her last name is, from the Casteloria Royals series, I’ve got more writing experience than anyone else.

Uh-

Hang on for just a second…

Okay. I just took a lot of flak for that because no one else believes that writing house listings counts as “real” writing. I disagree because I do sell a lot of houses but hey, whatever.

Anyway, with this coming out of the blue – and so close to Christmas – I’m going to keep this blog post short. Kristy isn’t the only one who is crazy busy.

She said it was okay to let everyone know Cooking With the Coach’s Boys (affiliate link) is going to be back on the virtual shelves at Amazon – and I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to remind everyone that Jess’s famous cherry/whipped cream cake she makes every Christmas is in that very book.

I also want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever other holiday you might celebrate – or just a good rest of the month if you don’t celebrate any holidays) … from all of us here in Michigan.

Michigan, which just happens to be under a winter storm warning today so I’m closing up shop early and heading home. If I’m going to be snowed in, it’s going to be at home with my wife and kids, not in the office with all of my co-workers – who I like just fine but still… They’re not my family.

I’ll try to wow you all more with my next post.

Take care,

Dan

P.S., Kristy wanted me to remember to share her 2017 video Christmas card with all of you.

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Reflections

I’ve been debating whether to post about this or not because I can’t give out specific details but since I’m still thinking about it after more than a week, I suppose I will.

A few days after Thanksgiving, someone I and several others used to be close to passed away. There was a tragic event and most of us chose to – rightfully – support the victim. The other small group chose to support the guilty party … and there was very clearly – legally – a victim and a guilty party.

It caused a  huge wedge between everyone but it was assumed that during this sad time, there might be a little bridge building. Most of us wanted to let the past go, at least for this, but it wasn’t meant to be. Long story short, those who supported the victim were banned from the funeral.

At first we were all offended. Then mad, then hurt. Then back to mad. I can’t speak for the others but I finally realized I don’t need people in my life who don’t want to be there. No matter how important any person used to be, if they choose – for whatever reason – to walk away, I’m not going to chase them.

[bctt tweet=”I don’t need anyone in my life who doesn’t want to be there.” username=”@KristyKJames”]

Will I regret my decision to let them go? Not really. They chose this path, not me. I’ll still pray for them and I’ll still wish them well but honestly… Life is too short and there are too many people who do want to be part of mine. I’ll focus on them instead – and be the happier for it.

I’ll always be sorry things turned out this way though. But I’ll always have some wonderful childhood memories to look back on.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Some Quick Updates…

Hey, everyone…

I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a great holiday. For those who do the whole Black Friday thing, I hope you got the deals you were looking for … and survived it injury free. 🙂

For the first time in maybe three years, I actually baked pumpkin pies. I’m not happy with the way my crusts turned out though so I’m going to experiment. If half butter and half shortening don’t result in a tender, flaky, pretty crust, I’m going to switch to all butter. This whole trans fat thing is ridiculous. I’m sure everyone who buys shortening knows it’s not a health food. If anyone has suggestions for ways I can make a nice crust again, I’m all ears – or eyes, or eyes since this is a blog and not a telephone. 😀 

Okay. So maybe it’s not quite that dramatic but my crusts are nowhere near as pretty as they once were.

The Coach’s Boys Christmas story? I’m still hoping it’s coming along. Bopping back and forth between present day and the year all but Sam turned fourteen is more of a challenge than I’d anticipated. But I’m determined to get it right – and hopefully published before Christmas. 

As for my J.J. Belding stuff…

I’m putting a prequel up in installments on Wattpad ()https://www.wattpad.com/user/JJBelding). I’ll put up two more over the next two weeks, then start posting the first story there too. I’ll be doing a Christmas party with the other guys in the Hemisphere group – with games and prizes. It ought to be interesting because when I say guys, I mean they ARE all guys. I’m the only girl.

Now for some pretty important news…

No, I’m not pregnant. 🙂

But I have banded together with a launch team of nearly a dozen other sweet romance authors. It’s so hard for indie authors to get any exposure these days – unless they happen to have a huge advertising budget. Most of us do not. So we’re going to lend our support to one another – and I hope you’ll give them a chance too. Like their books, they’re very sweet . I’ll update more about this in my next newsletter.

And even more important news…

We’re having a Facebook Christmas party later this month – with games and prizes (free digital books and gift cards). We’re hoping it’s a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing you there.

Now for a question…

Last year, Aria was all oohs and aahs over Christmas decorations. This year, unless there are lighted Santas and Frostys, or tons of lights, she really doesn’t care. Is that normal for a 2 1/2 year old? 

Okay. Gotta scoot. It’s time to get something around for supper. Personally, I’d be okay with oatmeal or eggs and toast. The kids, however, are not impressed with my meal suggestions so I probably have to do more than boil some water. Then it’s on to editing. 

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Read My Stories – Free!

At least some of them. I’m really starting to love Wattpad and am trying to add new parts to all of my stories weekly … for both my Kristy K. James and JJ Belding books. I’ve actually managed to update both two weeks in a row (quite a feat for me, lol) so I thought it was time I let all of you know about it.

I’d also like to ask a favor. If you read any of the stories there (and I really hope you will!), please take a moment to vote on each part and maybe leave some comments. I would love to get the notice of someone at Wattpad but without lots of reads, votes, and comments, it’s not likely to happen. So thank you in advance for your help. 🙂

My son says you don’t need an account to read stories on Wattpad but I’m not sure whether you can vote or comment if you don’t. If you do need one, they’re free – and there are millions of other stories there you can read for free too.

Here are the links to both of my Wattpad pages:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/KristyKJames
https://www.wattpad.com/user/JJBelding

Right now, for Kristy K. James, I’ve got:

The Daddy Pact (already free on Amazon) up – just one more part on Friday to complete
Brody’s Banshee, complete
Someday… maybe, complete
Erin’s Christmas Wish, the first two parts. I’ll be adding a new one every week until it’s complete too

As JJ Belding, I have:

The Secret, prequel for Haunted Depot: The Ghost Curse. Just one part right now but I’ll be adding more each week for the next three weeks when it, too, will be complete.

And then I’ll be starting The Depot, Book 1 in Haunted Depot: The Ghost Curse, and once that’s up, I might put the series Christmas story up. I’ll share the covers for all three here – because I’m loving them 🙂

 

I hope you like them as much as I do, and that those of you who like a little paranormal or urban fantasy with your romance will enjoy reading these stories as much as I’m enjoying writing them. And no worries. I’m a big chicken. They won’t be too scary. 🙂

 

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A Thanksgiving To Remember

Someday, I’ll start making lists again. I’ve been picking up things here and there for a couple of weeks – in preparation for Thanksgiving.
 
I assumed since the sugar canister is nearly empty, and since I only buy about five pounds a year (always near the holidays), I needed more. I forgot I’d picked up four pounds a month or so ago (in anticipation of holiday baking). Now I have nine pounds.
 
And if you count my gluten free baking mix, I have fourteen pounds of flour – after picking up a five pound bag of regular flour yesterday – after picking up another one about a week ago.
 
Crisco? Five one-pound blocks of the stuff – because I hardly use that either and forgot I still had two left when I bought the other three yesterday.
 
The can of pumpkin I KNOW I bought last week has come up missing somewhere between the checkout lane and home so instead of two yummy pies cooling in the oven, I have two empty, uncooked pie crusts wrapped and in the refrigerator until I find an open store in the morning. I’m assuming the errant can is under one of the seats in the van and since we’ve hit freezing a few times, I’m not going to use it when I do locate it. If it actually made it to the van.
 
Oh yeah. And I’m out of butter too. Why? Because C.J. doesn’t always throw empty boxes away and I assumed there was a full box.
 
What do I have? The turkey, everything I need for stuffing (which I bake outside the bird because I can make more things if the leftover meat doesn’t taste like sage and onion), about three hundred pounds of yams (okay, maybe four pounds – which will feel like three hundred after I’ve finished peeling them), whipping cream, cranberry sauce, and frozen roll dough.
 
But even if I wasn’t going to set the table with a full table tomorrow, including homemade pumpkin pies and rolls with real butter, even if I had to serve hot dogs or tuna sandwiches, I still would have the most important part of Thanksgiving. My family, a roof over our heads, food in the cupboards, fridge, and freezer, and all of the other blessings in my life – including all of you.
 

Thanks for sticking with me, supporting me, and encouraging me during a rough period of writer’s block.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating it … and Happy Thursday to those who will not be. God bless each and every one of you. <3

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I’ve Been Lying To You

Of course, I’ve been lying to myself too, coming up with a million reasons why I haven’t written much over the past year and a half. I’ve blamed fatigue from my thyroid, knowing full well it’s always been an issue – and it’s never stopped me from writing. Family obligations? I’ve had those all along too – and watching Aria has never been a 24/7 thing.

So what’s the real truth?

Probably a combination of those two things, the deaths of a few people I either loved or cared about over the past eighteen months, some unexpected stressors, and a few other things put me in a mildly depressed, very burned out place. And for more than a year, I was afraid I’d lost what it took to be an author.

I kept trying to write. Steven (book 2 in the Double M series), Weko1, the Coach’s Boys Christmas special, the Enza prequel… I’ve tried writing all of those – and more – but I’d get to a certain point, different for each one, and I’d be stuck. And I just could not write more.

I tried doing a challenge with another author – a short story, roughly ten-thousand words, every month for 2017. It took me until late July to finish and publish my first one. I even had trouble writing one short story.

It was crazy. So in a kind of desperation, I jumped on an opportunity this spring – writing in a fictional world with three other authors. The plan was to have five novellas written by the end of September. I had part of one done by then. I’d tried a couple of other ideas for a series of five stories but those didn’t get far. Then I thought, I’ll just do a standalone story and hope for the best. That was like pulling teeth but in a panic because I didn’t want to let the others down, I finally managed to finish it.

And then, and I’m still not sure where the idea came from, Haunted Depot: The Ghost Curse was born. And it’s like whatever was blocking me, whatever wall was there that made it impossible to write, it’s gone. I’m having more fun writing than I have in almost two years. I’m finishing stories – and it’s looking like the Coach’s Boys Christmas novella will actually be published this year. I’m also hopeful for Steven and Weko1. 

To clarify, I will continue writing sweet, contemporary romance too.

Now because the Haunted Depot series is urban fantasy, I’ve taken on a pen name: J.J. Belding. J.J. because it was my Yahoo nickname for several years, Belding because it’s the name of a city my family lived in when I was little. After much research, it just makes sense to keep the genres separate because some of you prefer my contemporary romance. I’ll be trying to add a link at the top of this website for J.J.’s website, which will just make everything easier for all of us.

In closing, for today, I’d like to share a couple of covers with you. The Ripple, the standalone story that was so hard to write, is due out on the 14th of this month and this is the final cover. The first Haunted Depot installment, along with a Christmas novella, will be available next month but I’m still playing around with what I want – but this is close to what the final version will be.

 

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