How to attract readers

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Last October, I organized Indie Author Day at a weekly outdoor market held on the grounds of an arts center. It was a beautiful day and about two dozen authors showed up, but not many sales were made. The patrons were more interested in vegetables than they were in books.

This year, I am working with my county library system to hold the event again, this time in a library. I’m looking for some ideas. As a reader, what would attract you to such an event? I’m thinking having authors talk about their research or the locales or themes of their books would be appealing.

Or should an Indie Author Day be targeted at writers or wannabe authors rather than readers. Or a bit of both?

What do you think? Which would you attend?

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To prom or not to prom

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My husband’s youngest grandchild went to the prom last night. She wore a fairytale princess dress and looked absolutely lovely. I must admit, I’m envious. You see, I never went to my own prom. I was that nerdy girl with the glasses who spent time in a band uniform instead of a glamourous gown.

On my little island, the local Kiwanis has organized what they call a senior prom the past two years. Sadly, I haven’t gone to that either, although nowadays I do have a date. Maybe next year I’ll finally get to experience this event. In the meantime, I included a senior prom in the third book of my Calusa Town Tales, Island Dream.

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Did you go to your prom? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

 

 

Easter Monday sale

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If you haven’t read the third book in my Calusa Town Tales series, it is on sale today for 99 cents.  Some other clean romances are also on this after Easter sale at victoriapinder.com/category/blog.

I am a big fan of the Food channel, so I incorporated some of what I’ve watched into my novel, Island Dream. 

“Zumba teacher Isabella Ramos moved from Miami to quirky, small town Calusa to open a restaurant. Luc Girard arrives on the Florida island to become a painter, or so he says. The attraction is instant. But the secret he’s keeping threatens to deflate their relationship like a fallen soufflé. It takes the right mixture of ingredients for dreams to come true.”

Here is a recipe from Food Network’s Ingrid Hoffman that Isabella might make although to lighten it up, she might substitute ground turkey and use cooking spray instead of the olive oil. It makes about 6 cups.

Picadillo

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1 pound ground beef or combination of beef chorizo, and pork

1/3 cup dry white wine or dry sherry

10 cherry tomatoes, chopped or 1 (8-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

1/3 cup tomato paste

1/3 cup chopped pimento stuffed Spanish olives with 1 tablespoon brine from jar

1/3 cup raisins

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves and saute until onion is soft, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef to skillet and cook until browned. Once the meat is browned, carefully away from the flame, tilt pan and remove excess fat with a large spoon.
  3. Add the white wine and stir for another minute. Then add the chopped cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, pimento stuffed Spanish olives, raisins, dried oregano, cumin and cayenne pepper. Simmer over low heat for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve warm:
  5. As a filling for empanadas or tacos
  6. Over white rice with fried plantains or black beans
  7. With a side salad and black beans
  8. To make Picadillo soupier for serving over rice, add additional wine, chicken or beef stock.

 

If you decide to buy my book, I’d be really grateful if you would post a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Find some new authors

Have you ever bought a car and the started seeing the same model everywhere you went? I mentioned last week I wish I knew some authors of “seasoned romances” and then saw the announcement for this sale on Facebook. It’s probably too small to read here, so go to this link for a bigger display. The sale will be over, but I bet you can still get some good deals. Happy reading.

 

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Oldies but goodies

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Like many authors, I am a member of the Romance Writers of America. They have recently revamped their website and have separate “forums” where various topics can be addressed.

I just learned there is now a romance novel category called “seasoned.” No, this is not about stories set in restaurants. It features heroines and heroes who are, gasp, age 30 or more.

In a world where 60 is the new 40, or whatever the phrase is now, do we really consider 30 to be seasoned? I don’t know about you, but I was barely hitting my stride at age 30.

Have you read any books with “older” protagonists? I haven’t yet and would love some suggestions.

No business like show business

 

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The island where I live has a thriving community theater group headed by an extremely talented young woman. She directs, builds sets, acts. But the thing I find most impressive is that she is also a playwright.

She has adapted several books into scripts for the group, condensing the number of people in the cast to fit the confines of her space and her pool of actors. Of course, she also uses already published plays if they fit her requirements.

It is fun to see people you know taking on a character in a play. It is also amazing to see the sets, props, and costumes that can be created on a limited budget. I commend their ingenuity.

Before I moved to Florida, I participated in two community theater companies. I performed with one and worked backstage with the other on sets and props.  I have thought about becoming involved with this local playhouse, but I am committed to my singing group and really don’t have the time to devote to both. Maybe some day.

Last fall, I began to write a Christmas-themed book featuring a theater group to add to my Calusa Town Tales series. I’ve tabled it for now until I finish the non-Calusa book I’m working on.

Do you enjoy Christmas books? What scenes do you like to see included?

Batty for opera

Making Time with the Maestro

 

Today is National Opera Day.

I have been interested in opera ever since I was a teenager. This is somewhat a mystery. While I come from a musical family, I don’t recall any opera being played at home.

In my early twenties, I was very briefly a part of the opera company led by Josephine McGrail in Pittsburgh. We rehearsed choruses from Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, and La Traviata. I still remember most of the lyrics. Life intervened, however, and I never got the chance to perform these on stage.

Years later in Florida, I was in the chorus of a production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. You can read about that experience in my mini memoir I Guess I’ll Keep My Day Job. Not long after that, I was in a concert version of the second act of Die Fledermaus. I also included the story of that performance in my memoir, and I used many of those details in Making Time with the Maestro. 

In the past few years, I have had the pleasure of singing various opera choruses as part of the Symphonic Chorale of SW Florida along with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. In fact, I was sitting on the stage at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall before a concert when the idea of Maestro came to me.

Do you like opera? Making Time with the Maestro is free today only. Let me know what you think.