Sunday, November 22, 2015

Contest Alert!

Chance to win a $25 Amazon card! Just sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win - If you already signed up you are still eligible. You can receive an extra chance to win by "Liking" my Facebook page at and leaving me a comment letting me know you did so.

A random drawing will be held on December 19th. The gift card will be delivered by email.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Andi's Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Andi’s Gingerbread Cookies
Featured in Euphoria Lane
Book 1 of the Homeowners Association Mystery Series - available on Amazon

Cookie Batter Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. ground cloves
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cups flour, divided*
*Set aside ¼ cup of the 4 cups of flour for lightly flouring rolling surface.
Gingerbread Man cookie cutter         

Frosting Ingredients:
1 pound of confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
3 egg whites

1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.      In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sour cream, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and eggs. Combine 2 cups of flour with the allspice, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat the dry flour/spice mixture into the wet mixture. Continue to gradually beat in the remaining 1 ½ cups of flour to form a stiff dough.
3.      Use remaining ¼ cup of flour to lightly flour working surface. Roll out dough with rolling pin until dough is 1/8 inch thick. Cut with gingerbread man cookie cutter.
Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
4.      Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool 5 or more minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.
5.      While cooling, make frosting. In a medium bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar and cream of tartar. Blend in the three egg whites. Beat with mixer on high speed until mixture is stiff. Add food coloring if desired.
6.      Cookies can be decorated with candy, sprinkles, etc. Either cute or ghastly. Miniature candy canes can be broken and filed down to create stick pins to stab cookies with. 


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Introducing Euphoria Lane

How far will one person go to stop the HOA?
Andi Stevenson knew her life would never be same after purchasing her new condo on Euphoria Lane. On day one, she finds the body of the Homeowners Association president. Day two, she discovers the property manager is her former fiancé. Day three, the new president begins his campaign of violation letters to force her to move. Day four, her sister, the owner of a detective agency, needs her help with the investigation of the murder. And day five, a full scale neighborhood war!

Available on Amazon.


Facebook Author Page

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kindle Scout - Phase Two - My Campaign

If you didn't read Phase One explaining what Kindle Scout is and my experiences with it, the post is below this one.

Phase Two - My Campaign

When I clicked on the link to my campaign, I spotted my cover with the blurb next to it. Below was an excerpt of the book, plus my photo, bio, and social media links. There was a button for readers to nominate the book. They could also go to the main page of Kindle Scout to search for other books to nominate. I don’t believe I received many more followers to my social media sites during the campaign, but others may find different results.

I wish I had read a blog like this one before I began promoting my campaign. I believe I rushed out of the gate too fast. My husband I both spread the word on our Facebook pages the first day. I posted on my writers’ loops, as well as on Twitter. I was excited to see my book cover on the Hot and Trending section of Kindle Scout’s main page, along with the mystery and romance sections. I stayed in Hot and Trending for about a week and then, to my dismay, fell off. That hurt.

I reached out to one of my bigger Romance Writers of America loops called Pro and I was soon back in Hot and Trending. Then I fell off again. Sigh. I had never posted on Facebook groups before and decided to do so. I had already been placed in over a dozen groups and I joined more. I believe I am member of about 33 groups now. I read their rules carefully and began posting. I made sure to focus on the reader’s chance to earn a free book if they nominated my book and it is published. Free always catches my attention. I continued to do the same on Twitter, which feeds into my Facebook. I posted in Twitter about every other day unless I fell out of Hot and Trending, then I increased to daily. I may have posted twice on the same day once.

I was in and out of Hot and Trending until near the end. I started posting on Twitter/Facebook/Facebook groups the number of days left in my campaign to vote and possibly receive a free book. I posted in about 6-10 Facebook groups a day to make sure I didn’t repost in the same group for another three days. I stayed in Hot and Trending near the end of my campaign.

Looking back, I would have staggered out my original postings to increase my chance of staying in Hot and Trending. For example, my husband’s Facebook friends were wonderful. Many of them voted/nominated my book. If we had posted in his account later the first week, I might have stayed in Hot and Trending the second week.

Yesterday, I received an email from Kindle Scout that says they now track the number of hours in Hot and Trending for you, along with where your votes are coming from. You can read those when you log into your Amazon account and click on My Campaign. Even though my campaign was over, I could still see my results. I was in Hot and Trending 460 of the 720 hours of my campaign. I could see where voters came from my blog and Facebook posts. I couldn’t tell when they came from Twitter, but I know at least a couple did because they told me. According to one of their graphs, many votes came from readers who were on the site nominating books. One graph tells you the number of votes received each day. The days I received zero votes were the ones I didn’t promote due to other commitments.

The scariest part of the campaign was the moment I realized everyone who nominated my book would receive an email telling them whether or not Amazon chose to publish my book. I kept telling myself it was in their best interest to publish Euphoria Lane since I had been in Hot and Trending for so many hours. I didn’t want to face the embarrassment if they chose not to publish my book.

During this time, I discovered I could call Euphoria Lane a cozy mystery. I have the nice ladies on Goodreads for that information. I wasn’t sure before because the story is also a romance and in two points of view. I also decided during this campaign that I was going to write romantic cozy mysteries from now on. This is a combination of two genres I love. Romantic Cozy Mysteries is not a genre recognized by publishing companies, but I have read the title once online and decided I can self-publish my books so it doesn’t matter what publishers recognize. I feel good about my decision and can thank this campaign for allowing me to find my way.

The end of my campaign was a comedy of errors. I was exhausted from returning back to teaching and thought my campaign ended Saturday night. I stopped promoting after Saturday morning. It turned out, it ended Sunday night. I was still in Hot and Trending. I checked my email before going to bed. No news. I hoped to hear from Amazon the next day. Minutes after the campaign ended EST on Sunday evening, I received an email telling me the readers had voted and my book was selected for publication. At almost the same time, everyone who had nominated the book received the email with my thank you note. My daughter read her email and called to wake me up. Many friends knew the book was chosen before I did. The congratulations were rolling in.

My email notified me that the thank you notes were being emailed and that the terms of the contract were in effect. They gave me thirty days to update the cover, manuscript, and book details if I wanted. I chose to make the title larger. I soon received an email saying the changes were approved and my manuscript was going to their editor. They asked me to respond with my name and address. I opened a bank account for my writing and soon received their email to open my Payee Account in their secure website. They needed my name, address, phone number, email, bank account number, routing number, and social security number. I then filled out a W-9 online. The account is on hold until the IRS verifies my information.

I have been impressed with how organized this campaign has been. Also with the timeliness of each step.
No more than a few days passes before I hear from them again. They also give you a contact for asking questions and they are quick to reply.

What now? I am waiting to hear back from the editor. Once we make the changes needed, they will email the people who nominated the book to let them know the book is ready for them to read and review. During this time, my book will be available for preorders. They want to give readers time to review the book. They will also give me a publication date.

I would recommend this program to anyone who can reach a large number of possible voters and won’t mind the heavy promoting for that month. Also, to anyone who can handle the possibility that their book might not be published after you have put it out there to the world. I would have cried, but I would have survived. I call this my exciting adventure.

I will update you again after my book receives its first set of royalties.


Tina Swayzee McCright

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kindle Scout and Voting for Euphoria Lane

What is Kindle Scout?

Phase One – Submitting Your Book

You can go to for information on how the program works, books that have been chosen for publication, and the links to submit your book. I will also share my experience here. 

The first time I heard about Kindle Scout was when another author asked me to vote for her book. A few months later, Amazon sent me an email telling me about the program because I had purchased books on self-publishing on my Kindle. It sounded interesting, but I still wasn't sure what to expect. I did learn your book needs to be in English, complete, copy-edited, never published before, and at least 50,000 words typed in Word,

You need to have a great cover saved in PNG or JPEG.  They have rules on size and no blood or graphic violence etc. so read those rules over.

You will need to create and type in a book one-liner of 45 characters or less (they give examples), a description of 500 characters or less, and a bio of 500 characters or less. Just like Twitter, they let you know how many characters you have left while you are typing so you can adjust what you enter. It is rather simple to do.

They want you to write a thank you note they will send to people who voted for your book no matter what the outcome. They provide an example. You also have an opportunity to post up to four links to your social media sites. That was easier than I thought. You click on the add button and two boxes show up. One for you to paste the link and the next for you to provide a name for the link. I chose my website, blog, Twitter and Facebook. You can do all of this in fifteen minutes or take your time. I saved mine many times as I completed each step. To finish it, I went back to the Submit Your Book section I saved to my laptop or I found again on Google. Your Campaign shows up at the top for you to click and continue.

They divide the submission into three sections. The first is where you post all of the information about your book. When you are done with that section, you submit it and go onto the next. The second section is where you upload your book, cover, and personal photo. A friend used her digital camera to take pictures of me and that worked. It turned out better than the professional one I took a few years back. Once again, you can save and go back to it later. Once you are finished uploading you click to submit that section and move to the final section. This is where you read and agree to your agreement with them.

Once you submit, you agree to give them a 45-day exclusivity period. They will decide in 1-2 business days, longer if they have a lot of submissions, to decide if your book meets their submission requirements. I submitted my book Wednesday night after 10:00 PM and they let me know the next morning that my book was approved. At that time they tell you when your voting campaign will begin and the URL to view what the public will see. You can also share that URL with others. My 30-day campaign for scouting votes started the Saturday after I received notice of approval, so I had two days to prepare this blog, posts to copy on Saturday to Twitter and Facebook, plus I copied the URL on clear address labels and placed them on the back of business cards for my husband and I to pass out to friends at work, etc.

If your book is popular, there’s no set number of votes, Kindle Scout will review it and decide if they want to publish it. There is no minimum number of books for them to choose from. The contract with them provides the writer with a $1500 advance and 50% royalties on digital books. They retain the right for digital and audiobooks for five years. The contract will automatically renew for another five years if you do not let them know within six months that you want your rights back. You keep your print rights. You can also choose to print your books on CreateSpace or any other avenue you choose to pursue. They do want you to wait until after they edit your book before you create a print copy. Royalties are paid monthly but there is a two-month delay. For example, if you make sales in January, I believe you are paid at the end of March. The agreement is easy to read. You click on the bottom that you agree to the terms and submit your book.

Now the nerve-wracking, exciting part, getting the word out.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

How Do Indie Authors Become Best Sellers?


This year, Valley of the Sun Romance Writers is pleased to present an all-day e-Publishing Workshop, bringing in Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, who is sharing inside tips on what it takes to become a best seller.

Open to the Public

Date: Saturday, August 15th, 2015
Place: Crowne Plaza, 2532 W. Peoria Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
Time: All day –9am –3pm
***Lunch Included***

Total Cost –$40.00 Lunch Included (if paying by check, please contact for instructions and to reserve your spot)
Deadline to register: August 7th, 2015

1. An Introduction to Ebook Self Publishing: How to Publish, Distribute and Sell Your eBook
The ebook revolution has taken the publishing industry by storm, and self-published authors are leading the charge. Self-published authors now grace the New York Times bestseller list on a regular basis. A few years ago, this was almost unheard of. In the future, it’ll become even more commonplace. It’s easier to self-publish an ebook than you might imagine. No technical experience necessary! In this introductory, jargon-free primer to ebook self publishing, Mark Coker will cover the basics. Mark will present an ebook publishing checklist covering everything you need to know to get started. Mark’s session will begin by providing an overview of the latest ebook market trends, and then will provide detailed guidance on ebook creation, pricing and marketing. Learn about ISBNs, copyright and what you need to know about piracy. Learn how to get your book distributed to libraries and major ebook retailers.
2. 16 Secrets of the Bestselling Ebook Authors: Best Practices for Ebook Publishing
In this segment, Mark Coker will share 16 best practices of the most successful self-published ebook authors. Learn how to self-publish with pride and professionalism. Learn simple, yet important strategies that will make your book more accessible, more discoverable and more desirable to readers. The session draws upon the best practices advice contained in Mark Coker’s free ebook, THE SECRETS TO EBOOK PUBLISHING SUCCESS, and includes new insights not covered in the book.
3. Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Ebook Preorders
Imagine if you could press a magic button that would make your next ebook release land higher in the the bestseller charts. Imagine no more. The magic button is real, and it’s called the ebook preorder. In this third section of Mark Coker’s ebook publishing intensive, you’ll learn how to use preorders to make your next book launch more successful. Learn case study examples of how Smashwords authors have used preorders to hit the top of the charts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Blog Blast - Chance to win up to $100!

ENTER TO WIN $100, $50 OR $25 IN BLOG

Just copy and paste this entire announcement
onto your blog, then send an email to with the url to
your post. You can also earn additional entries
by: SHARING this on Facebook, by TWEETING
the url: ,
by DOWNLOADING the book and forwarding
the receipt. Be sure to include the number of
entries in the subject line of your email. Only
one entry per site or share. Prize is in the form
of an Amazon gift card. Three winners will
randomly be chosen, the most site entries
chosen first for the grand prize.

Download the novelette
for 99 cents at:

Until Jak meets his new mark. Since his job as
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then he meets Minerva Overon, and she has
such an unusual request that he soon finds
himself more involved with the woman than he
wants to admit.

Because of her special magical gift, Minerva
knows that when Jak crawls through her
window, he is there to kill her. She is ready and
waiting for him, determined not to die a virgin.
But she harbors many secrets, and it takes Jak
several revelations before he figures out the
real truth.

A winner will be randomly chosen using
RANDOM.ORG. Your information will be kept
confidential. Contest ends June 30, 2015.
Winner will be notified via email provided. If
winner does not respond within seven
business days, a new winner will be chosen.
We are not responsible for any misdirection of
email. Rules are subject to change for any
reason without prior notification. Void where
prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or
older to enter.  No prize substitution permitted.
Odds of winning are determined by number of
entrants. This contest is subject to all country,
federal, state, and local laws and  regulations.
You accept all terms and conditions by
entering into the contest.