Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting Ready for #NaNoWriMo

I might have a chance of succeeding at NaNoWriMo this year. I have successfully cleared my writing plate, so to speak. My next novel, Accomplice, is edited and formatted and sitting in Amazon waiting for the magic go-date. And for once, I don’t have three other projects that are begging my attention. Well, actually I have exactly three other projects, but all of them are prime NaNo candidates and not mostly-done works in progress that I’ve been procrastinating on.

When I logged into my account just now, I reviewed what I have set up the past two years, where I participated but then failed miserably.  2012 I said I was writing The Vegas Affair.  2013 I said I was writing Take Me Down. So now it’s 2014, and those are two of the three contenders for my NaNo book. Because, you know, I never wrote them.

Take Me Down is the prequel (or really, just book 1 of the series) of the sci fi romance I wrote in 2009’s NaNoWriMo called Leap.  I have never sold or published Leap because after querying and revising it for a year or two, I realized that I really needed to introduce the world and some of the side characters in a different spot.  I already have about a chapter of Take Me Down written, but I’ve been dragging my feet about working on the rest of it.

The Vegas Affair is a sequel to The Paris Affair, which was my first published novel.  The Vegas Affair will pick up with the story of Kelsey, the sister of The Paris Affair’s hero Helmut.  Kelsey is the baby of the family and used to being coddled (and rescued) by her two older brothers. She’s also pissed at both of them, who have refused to talk to each other for over a decade.  Fed up, she comes up with a plan to get them into the same room—or at least the same city: she is going to elope to Las Vegas with the one man that both brothers can agree to hate, in the hopes that they will work together to save her from certain disaster. But, of course, things don’t go quite as she plans.

My third option is Steal the Sun, the next installment to Call the Rain, my fantasy novella.  Steal the Sun will also be a novella or short novel (short for the fantasy genre).  Trapped in the equivalent of an ivory tower by a ruthless dictator, my heroine will enlist the help of a criminal to escape the only world she has ever known.  But the hero has reasons of his own for helping the runaway princess. He believes that sacrificing her is the key to saving his own people from certain doom. The fantasy world for this story has been floating around in my head for three or four years now.  I have been reluctant to really start writing on this one, and I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t have the story line solidified yet, or if it’s because I’m having too much fun musing over all of the possible directions I could take it.  Once I start writing, I lock things down and the playground in my head loses some of its adventuresome qualities.

So now, I need to decide what to write. And then strategize my November.  It looks like I will have a week of business travel to work around.  That week should include two travel days where, battery permitting, I can write many words on the plane.  But the rest of the week may be a wash depending on how stressful my days become.  Plus Thanksgiving.  It can be done. I’ve done it before. The travel may end up boosting my writing, because I won’t be bogged down by housework and the distractions of the real world.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Release!!

So, after way too much procrastination and foot dragging and other assorted delaying tactics, I have a new release.  Accomplice, which I know I've mentioned on the blog before (I have tags to prove it!) is up on Amazon.

It can be pre-ordered now, and will be released as an ebook on November 25th.

Here's the official verbiage:

All the new widow Jessica Kingsbury wants is a quiet new life away from the Hollywood spotlight that made her infamous. But the paparazzi aren't the only ones interested in dredging every sordid secret they can from her past. 

All FBI agent Noah Grayson wants is to uncover the mastermind of a blackmail plot that touches the nation's highest ranking politicians. All the clues lead straight to Jessica's late husband, who died under suspicious circumstances. Though his instincts tell him that that the beautiful model is no criminal, he can't help but wonder how much she knew about her dead husband's business dealings. 

Then a diamond necklace with ties to the blackmailer is stolen from the Kingsbury mansion, and Jessica begins receiving death threats. She must decide whether she can trust the handsome agent with her secrets and her life, not to mention her heart.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Missouri Sales Tax and Amazon Associates and Me

Last week I received a fun little notice from Amazon.com.  It reads:

Greetings from the Amazon Associates Program.

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective August 27, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Missouri state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Nixon on July 5, 2013, with an effective date of August 28, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after August 27 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Missouri residents.

Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to August 28, 2013 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with your regular advertising fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of August 27, 2013, any final payments will be paid by October 31, 2013.

While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress. Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Missouri residents.

We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act.


The Amazon Associates Team

In case you've never noticed, or never cared, all of my book links and some of the ads that I keep on my blog (and all the booklinks I use on my author website) have my Amazon Associate id embedded in them.  It's a feature that ought to mean nothing to the few people who click on those links, but that adds up to a few cents here and there in my pocket.  Up until next week, if you click on one of my links and actually buy something, then Amazon pays me a small referral fee--a percentage of around 4%-7% (depending on what the link is and how many folks have bought stuff with my links recently)

It's not a lot. I'm not a high-traffic site.  I just don't get that many clicks or purchases.  But it's not nothing. 

So here's the deal as far as I understand it (keep in mind, I'm not a lawyer or tax expert or anything similar):  because I'm a resident of Missouri, if Amazon were to continue paying me advertising revenue on those clicks, then they would have to collect Missouri sales tax on all the items that get sold as a result of those clicks.  They don't want to do that.  Therefore they are yanking my Amazon Associates account (along with all the rest of Missouri resident accounts) and not allowing any other Show-Me's the opportunity to make a few bucks by referring folks to their site.


I'm not really sure what to think. I'm not really mad at Amazon--they are clearly making a decision that is best for their business going forward.  I'm not entirely sure I understand all the ins and outs of sales tax calculations. I'm definitely not against sales taxes, so I'm not sure I'm mad at Missouri.  I live here and benefit from the services that all that tax money buys.

I am peeved that Missouri was already taxing my Amazon Associated referrals as income.  But since that wasn't enough, they also want to collect sales tax from Amazon because they see me as a physical presence where Amazon is doing business.  Or I was adding to their "nexus" helping bolster their bottom line.  I suppose in a very tiny way, I was helping bolster Amazon's bottom line. But moreso, I think I was addinag to my own bottom line, and helping to promote individual items that Amazon sells--aka books.  And I've long been peeved at the stupidly complex layers of sales taxes that states, municipalities, towns, taxing districts, etc apply.  Sheesh, come up with a singular number and go with it, people.  You shouldn't need degrees in math and law to understand a sales receipt.

Now the fun starts.  I'm pretty sure that my e-book of Call the Rain has a link to The Paris Affair (note how I'm not including links, LOL).  And my website and blogs are littered with my associates ID.  And Facebook. And who knows where else I've managed to post links.  I assume they'll still work with the associates account going away, but I have a few hours of cleanup to do.