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Topics - Bards and Sages (Julie)

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So I've mentioned before that I am a Vine reviewer. How Vine works: Amazon selects items to place in your review queue that you can request. If you request an item, it gets sent to you to review. If you don't, after about a week if nobody else requests it, it gets moved to Vine For All, which is the untargeted queue that any Vine member can select from. There are not always things in the targeted queue, so it isn't unusual (about three or four times a month) to go into the targeted queue and it is empty. And in the past, the message was only:

Thank you for your participation in Amazon Vine. At this time, there are no products in current inventory targeted to you based on our current targeting system.

So TODAY I check in to review some items I received recently and see if there was anything interesting in the queue. And THIS was the message.

Thank you for your participation in Amazon Vine. At this time, there are no items available to you in your queue because of one or more of the following:
There are no products in current inventory targeted to you based on our current targeting system. [OK. It happens]
You may not meet our active contribution criteria or performance standards. [Huh. Well, maybe I should check to see if they changed the standards recently]
One of your reviews may have been flagged as inappropriate. [Um, maybe you should let me know which one if this is true?]
We may have identified suspicious activity and are investigating your account. [WTF AMAZON WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT NOW!]

Now don't worry. I was able to review products I already got just fine and select items from the untargeted queue without incident. There is just nothing in my targeted queue currently. But THIS is the new message? Either there is nothing in my queue because there is nothing targeting my demographic OR they suspect me of suspicious activity and I am being investigated? Is this REALLY the general message Amazon wants to send out?
 :o ???

Writers' Cafe / Amazon as your competitor
« on: June 11, 2018, 07:37:33 AM »
As I've mentioned in the past, my day job is in contract packaging. This gives me access to a lot of industry publications that color my perspective on business in general. Most of them are behind paywalls, so I can't link to them for discussion. One of the few available without a paywall is Shopper Marketing Magazine. You can subscribe to see if you qualify to get a free copy. I qualified as I run an actual publishing company. I don't know how readily they will approve indie authors. But it is a monthly magazine actually sent to you (I know, real paper! What are they thinking!)

It is predominately focused on the display industry, but it often contains a lot of insights and research into consumer behaviors as well as what is happening with the major players. This month’s issue had a focus on Amazon. It was specifically talking about Amazon’s future with brick-and-mortar, such as the Whole Foods acquisition and some other potential acquisitions/plans. But it also discussed how manufacturers of products are starting to respond to Amazon. Not OTHER retailers, but manufacturers. Some of this might be relevant to publishers, as we are, technically, manufacturers. Just throwing out some of the key discussion points with my commentary.

Thinking of Amazon as a COMPETITOR, not just a Retailer
The big takeaway from the article is that manufacturers are thinking of Amazon not as a retail partner, but as a competitor. Amazon’s algorithms favor their own brands, and the number of Amazon brands is growing exponentially.

Store brands have been a growing trend over the last five years. Quite often, store brands were made in cooperation with brand name products (sometimes even in the same facility!). Originally just seen as cheap knock-offs of brand names, many store brands have become strong brands in their own right. But the difference between other retailers that have store brands and Amazon is that Amazon gives preference to their brands. While other chains continue to simply offer their store brands alongside other brands as a matter of giving consumers choices, Amazon gives preferential treatment to their brands.

This obviously makes manufacturer's nervous. In particular, this means Amazon uses its own algorithms to promote its own brands while minimizing other brands. And any action taken by a manufacturer to DIRECTLY impact Amazon algorithms provides Amazon with data on both your marketing strategy and your consumers. Data it can use later for itself.

For example. Amazon knows which websites you are using to promote your books, because it knows where all of its traffic is coming from. It can track patterns and decide to diminish the value of certain traffic for purposes of algorithms. So downloads created by a specific site might be weighted less if Amazon feels it is in the best interest of their system. We have seen conversations in this forum about the effectiveness of some promo sites waning recently. We should assume this is not a failure of the sites, but a change in Amazon’s algorithms when processing that traffic.

Manufacturers are beginning to take steps to limit the amount of data Amazon can access just as they would with any other competitor. Manufacturers are caught in the balancing act of making sure their products can be found on Amazon while not depending on Amazon search for people to find them.

Nimbleness is required
One benefit most indies have over traditional manufacturers is that you can make decisions quickly. You aren't bogged down with having to go through a corporate bureaucracy to make major changes to your business plan. You have much more freedom to adapt to changes in the marketplace than most larger companies. This is essential when dealing with Amazon, because their arbitrary, often bizarre changes aren't limited to just indies. Amazon’s willingness to change programs with little notice is of concern to large companies as much as it is us. Amazon has been making a series of demands of manufacturers on a variety of issues.

 I know personally Amazon has been making radical demands of a lot of consumer commodity companies regarding changes to their packaging, specifically to make it easier for Amazon to ship. Much like WalMart’s demands a decade ago led to innovations in concentrated products and reduced packaging, Amazon’s demands today are changing the way manufacturers design both products and product packaging. The companies capable of meeting Amazon’s demands get warehouse space and the coveted “Prime eligible” label. Lots of companies are falling behind here.

In this regard, Amazon has actually be more helpful to indies than other manufacturers, as the KDP system guarantees compliance with Amazon’s goals.

Willingness to Fail
The companies that will survive dealing with Amazon over the next five years are the companies that are willing to fail.  By that, they talked about companies reexamining the demands of ROI to give themselves the flexibility to experiment with new marketing and advertising opportunities that are not Amazon-dependent. This is where companies have an advantage over indies, who are often dependent on their Amazon income to pay their bills. Large companies have the flexibility to occasionally “fail” and lose money in the short term in order to cushion themselves against long-term losses.

The one "bright side" to the entire thing is that it seems like corporate America is just as abused by Amazon as we are lol

Writers' Cafe / Ingram Spark Promo Code for June
« on: June 04, 2018, 01:44:34 PM »

Just got the email. Use the code above to waive the set-up fees for any books uploaded in June.

Writers' Cafe / 2018 eFestival of Words Nominees!
« on: May 15, 2018, 08:24:28 AM »

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the nominees of this year's eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. As usual, Kboards authors represented well.  ;D

Writers' Cafe / So I think Amazon has terminated my account...
« on: May 03, 2018, 12:21:17 PM »
I got an email today from KDP that they had delisted one of my titles because the author name was too close to a famous author. There are two problems with this:

1. The author name is the author's real name and I have a contract that says so
2. There is no famous author with the same name. In fact, if you type the author name in Amazon's search NOTHING COMES UP under the name!!!

So I go into KDP to contact support and try to get clarification. And while I can access my reports, I can't access HELP. When I click the link to contact support, I get a loop asking me to sign in with another user.

But when I click "Julie's Account"...I get this:

 :o :o :o

And so EVERYONE is in the loop:

1. No, I'm not buying reviews. I barely have ANY reviews on Amazon, let alone purchased ones!
2. No, I'm not running a clickfarm. I have some titles in Select, but they aren't getting that many page reads that it would flag anything as peculiar. Heck, Amazon isn't even my main sales avenue.
3. No, none of my authors share names with famous people
4. Yes, I have documentation for everything that I have the legal right to publish

In short, there is absolutely nothing that should have flagged anything on my account, and I am.

I had to go through regular Amazon customer service to even reach a person, who was very good at trying to help me and has reached out to KDP on my behalf with my contact info so this can get resolved. But in the meantime, I have a title to upload, another to update, and I just uploaded a pre-order yesterday.

Suffice it to say, but Her Sithiness is unhappy with the situation.


We will be awarding $800 in prizes this year as part of our annual charity writing competition.

This year's competition will benefit local animal shelters. The winners of this year's writing competition will be able to direct the charity portion of their prize to their own local animal shelter.

Submit unpublished short stories up to 25,000 words. Stories that are previously published but not currently available for sale are eligible, but you must specify where the story was previously published when submitting. This year's competition is open to all fiction genres except romance, erotica, young adult, and children's literature.

To learn more about the competition and see a list of past winners and supported charities, visit

Writers' Cafe / Cheesecake and Puppies (previously Appearances Matter)
« on: April 26, 2018, 09:09:25 AM »
So my friends, family, and co-workers all know I publish. Yet after all of these years, they still have this notion that I have some sort of "pull" with Amazon. As if I can just call Jeff and ask him to meet for lunch to discuss their problems or something  :o :P

So today one of my co-workers comes up to me with her Kindle, pointing angrily. "I need to report this person."

I look, and she is pointing at a book page for a romance novel. There was nothing wrong with the cover, or the blurb. There didn't seem to be any obvious problem with the listing that I could see. I asked what she was reporting.

"They listed a FAKE publisher. That's fraud."

Apparently, like a lot of indies, the author listed a "publisher" name in the listing. My co-worker, who (in case it is not obvious) can be a bit obsessive, decided to look up the publisher to see if they publish other books like that one because SHE LIKED THE BOOK and had bought a couple of the author's OTHER books, but now wanted to find more books from the publisher to find more authors like the one she liked!

But when she Googled the publisher name...nothing came up. Because like most indies who add a publisher name to the field, there was no actual publisher PRESENCE.

I eventually talked her down, explained to her that some indies just put something in that field but are actually self-published (which brought up the whole "So they aren't real authors" thing that I had to talk her through.)

The moral of the story is: appearances matter. If you are going to list a publisher name, you should, in fact, have a real publisher PRESENCE online. While I would not say it rises to the level of fraud, there are actually laws regarding the use of trade names and DBAs for business. You could, theoretically, open yourself up to legal problems if you use a trade name as a publisher name on Amazon and there is no such actual company.

If you aren't going to actually use a Publisher Name for marketing purposes, don't put a publisher name in that field on Amazon. You don't really gain anything from doing so, and as this little story illustrates, you can end up losing a customer who feels tricked or betrayed.

Remember, the Court of Public Opinion is a 1000x more dangerous than a Court of Law. In a Court of Law, you are innocent until proven guilty. In the Court of Public Opinion, the opposite is true.

Writers' Cafe / THIS is why editors don't give feedback anymore
« on: April 02, 2018, 01:57:09 PM »
I just need to vent. Don't mind me.

I publish a Quarterly magazine (and a lot of other projects). Because of the behavior of a lot of authors, we only provide feedback if the author explicitly requests it when they send a submission. We don't send unsolicited feedback. You have to deliberately request it.

And even when it is requested, I still get crap replies like this:

"Yeah, not helpful, unless considered as a means to understand why magazines publish so much dross, as opposed to imaginative, humorous, and/or logically-consistent stories. I think a better class of screener may be necessary, if short story magazines are ever to stage even a partial comeback."

This right here is why most editors send generic rejection letters.  :'(

Writers' Cafe / Keyword Advice for non-erotica with gay characters
« on: March 23, 2018, 08:50:24 AM »
So I have a situation...   ???

We just released our newest ebook: The Society of Misfit Stories Presents: Slung Mugs. I'm very proud of this story. It is outside our specialization of speculative fiction and is a coming of age story that features gay characters. We have even been in communication with the librarian at the Britten-Pears Foundation who originally encouraged the author to seek a publisher for the story and has given it their blessing.

This is a literary work. Not a romance. Not an erotica. So imagine my consternation when I checked the listing this morning and the "Sponsored Ads" were all gay erotica.   :o :o

I can only presume that Amazon assumes anything that uses LGBQ as a keyword is erotica, and thus explains the disconnect with the sponsored ads. But these are my concerns:

1. I don't want erotica readers buying the story and then getting mad because it isn't erotica
2. I don't want readers thinking the story is erotica and NOT buying it because of that assumption

And I don't want to remove LGBQ as a keyword, as there is a shortage of stories with LGBQ protagonists that AREN'T romances or erotica.

Not that I expect it to help, but I did already email Amazon and ask if they could perhaps do something about it on there end, but I suspect the answer will be some stock reply that won't resolve anything.


Writers' Cafe / eFestival of Words: Ballot Now Available!
« on: February 01, 2018, 06:10:01 AM »

The ballot is now available for this year's Best of the Independent eBook Awards. ;D

Nominations are open for English-language books self-published or published through a small press for the first time in DIGITAL FORMAT between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. That is not a typo. The competition always runs on a two-year window.

You can review the entire list of categories first here so you can plan your ballot:

Book must be available for sale on a normal retail outlet (Amazon, Smashwords, etc. etc). Books only available from the author website or publisher website are not eligible.

Books previously published by trade publishers and republished independently are not eligible. Again, the book must have been originally published as an indie title.

Books published through Amazon Imprints are not considered self-published or small press published.

If a book was FIRST published independently during the contest period but later published by a trade publisher or Amazon imprint, it still qualifies.



Everyone here should know me by now. Those two bolded points are the biggest sticking points I have every year. People think they are "smarter" than me and try to get over and be sneaky. Understand that I have been doing this a very, very long time and we have processes in place to detect most of the schemes people use. The purpose of these awards is to celebrate our peers and be a positive influence in the industry. Don't be "that guy" who undermines the awards for self-serving reasons.

You can nominate in each category, but any individual title can only be nominated in ONE genre category and ONE format category. By the gods, don't nominate the same title in six different genres. You all know how twitchy I get about those things! Pick the primary genre the book best represents. I also should not be seeing the same book nominated as a novel, novella, and short story (and you realize of course the fact that I have to specifically make that statement means that people have done it in the past, right?  :o :P )

If you have questions about the ballot, please let me know. If you are having trouble with the ballot on the website, you can go to the ballot directly at this link:

As most of you know, I sponsor a little virtual book fair and awards program every year. I wanted to get some feedback on adding new categories this year. These are the categories we had last year:

Best Children’s Book
Best Fantasy (Contemporary/Urban Fantasy)
Best Fantasy (High Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery)
Best Historical Fiction
Best Horror
Best Literary Fiction
Best Mystery/Suspense
Best Romance
Best Science Fiction
Best Thriller
Best Young Adult
Best General Fiction
Best Roleplaying Game
Best Poetry
Best Anthology
Best Short Story
Best Short Story Collection
Best Novella
Best Novel

In past years, we had categories for New Adult, Women's Fiction, Memoirs/Autobiographies, Self-Help, graphic novel, and Religion/Spirituality. The two problems we have had with these other categories were lack of nominations and miscategorization For example, Women's fiction and NA, for some reason, were filled up with erotic romance novels. Graphic novel ended up with dozens of nominations that weren't graphic novels but had one or two graphics in the texts. Etc. etc. etc.

So on one hand, I am always open to new categories so we can better support our fellow indies. On the other, it quite literally takes HUNDREDS of hours between myself and my volunteers to validate the ballots and make sure the books nominated belong in the categories they are placed. So adding new categories that may not have clear parameters means adding more work. So before adding a new category, I want to make sure there is a strong interest in it.

So that said, does anyone have a suggestion for new categories for this year?

We probably will not do the Author of the Year or Small Press of the Year again as, despite ultimately getting some good finalists, those two categories also brought out a lot of negative behavior (quid pro quo nominations, etc) that caused a lot of work on our end.

I just set the pre-order for the January 2018 issue of the Bards and Sages Quarterly.

The very first issue of the Quarterly was published in January 2009. The first calls for submissions ran in the classified section of Writer's Digest, The Writer magazine, and the IWWG member newsletter. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with new authors who got their first paid publishing credit with me to experienced, award-winning authors with publication credits longer than my arm. Our authors have included high-schoolers and college professors, full-time writers and casual hobbyists, and talented folks from around the world. It has been my great privilege to work with them all.

The Quarterly is a paying market 100% funded by its sales, not ad revenues. Supporting the Quarterly allows us to continue to provide a paying market for writers in an age of "exposure" payments.

In this issue: Stories by Russell Hemmell, James Victor Jordan, Steve Rodgers, J.G. Follansbee, George Nikolopoulos, Peter Medeiros, Robin Reed, Scarlett R. Algee, Judith Field, James Fitzsimmons, Jude-Marie Green, and A.J. Flowers.


For the benefit of those who have not seen the movie, let's try to keep this spoiler-free for at least another day or two!

And this is a line I will no doubt find myself using often in the future:

"It's amazing. Everything you just said in that sentence is wrong."

The Book Bazaar / The "Help Julie Pay for Her New Computer" Sale!
« on: December 11, 2017, 07:15:31 AM »
So Saturday, Windows 10 pushed out a large update. By the end of the day Sunday, my computer was stuck in the "Preparing Windows Repair" loop of doom. Now the computer IS old and it may have just been a coincidence, but the bottom line is that I can't run my business without a computer and I don't have the time to be fooling around playing with temporary fixes.

So I had to break down and order a new computer. Of course, this means I need to also pay for it. Which is why this week I am having a HELP JULIE PAY FOR HER NEW COMPUTER SALE!  :o :P ;D

Go to Smashwords and pick up The Society of Misfit Stories Presents...Volume One for 50% off! This is a brand new release normally priced at $5.99.

The Society of Misfit Stories Presents this eclectic collection of novelettes and novellas from some of the most unique voices in the speculative genres. This diverse anthology offers readers an enticing assortment of high fantasy, alien adventure, paranormal investigations, haunts both real and imagined, and more.


By Force and Against the King's Peace by James Dorr
Provenance by Fred McGavran
Propinquity by Brian Koukol
The Barghest by Rafe McGregor
On Sabbatical by O'Brian Gunn
Bearwalker by Derek Muk
Raising Mary (Frankenstein) by Ace Antonio Hall (Top 5 finisher Preditors and Editors Reader Poll, Best Horror short story)
The Belladonna by Sonny Zae
Desperate Measures by Deven Greene
Little Green Men? By Paul Stansbury
The Number of a Man by Tom Pawlowski
Detached by Rohit Arora
The Death of Dr. Dean by Jack Coey
The Short End of the Stick by David Perlmutter
Winona in the Window by Steve Passey
The Squirming, Scarlet Madness by J.E. Bates
The Man with the Golden Hair by Cam Rhys Lay
Song of Ascents by Maxwell Zimon
Grave Escape by Olga Godim
No Way At All by Mike Sherer
Idan's World by Milo James Fowler

Also 50% off, another new release: The Great Tome of Magicians, Necromancers, and Mystics

Volume Six of The Great Tome Series features eight original tales featuring historical and mythical magic-users.

A Salem Town Great-Granddaughter by Vonnie Winslow Crist   
Unalloyed Payload by CB Droege
Green Wounds by Bill Hiatt
Godwoman by ErlyAnne Toomey
The Sorcerer by J.M. Williams
The Thirteenth World by Larry Lefkowitz
Merlin's Time by Mark Charke
The Unworthy by Julie Ann Dawson

Normally $2.99. Now 50% off at Smashwords.

And finally, for those more inclined toward literary works, Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler's When Village With Village Comes to Parle is also 50% off. Regularly $7.99.

With When Village with Village Comes to Parle, Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler presents over five dozen unique essays, articles, and vignettes covering an eclectic range of topics. Travel the world with Dr. Sadler and her husband as she details some of their adventures abroad. Experience a thought-provoking conversation with Robert Frost. Read a heartfelt letter to J.D. Salinger. Discover some of the hidden history of the author’s native North Carolina.

An accomplished poet, storyteller, and playwright, Dr. Sadler is recognized in the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her extraordinary body of work. As a Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet 2013-2015, she mentored student and adult poets. She was Visiting Distinguished Scholar in the "Educational Leadership for a Competitive America" seminar of the US Office of Personnel Management. This collection is a showcase of her exceptional wit, skill, and creativity.

All of the above titles, and a bunch of others, are also available for 50% off through Help your favorite Sith out and get a great deal on a boatload of fabulous fiction!

Writers' Cafe / Halloween Promotions!
« on: September 18, 2017, 01:27:39 PM »
For horror, dark fantasy, or anyone with a Halloween-themed title.

I hate to leave the eFestival of Words site dormant all year. So for October, I am looking to run excerpts of indie titles. If you would like me to run an excerpt, please send me an email at with the following information:

Your name
Title of Book
Link to the book on Amazon (without affiliate codes)
Link to your website
Any information on sales you will be running in October (so I can try to match up the day your excerpt runs with your promo if possible)

I will pull the blurb and cover off of Amazon.

Send the excerpt as a Word document. The excerpt should be a minimum of 1000 words and a maximum of 3,000 words. The site is a Wordpress blog, so if you can submit the excerpt already formatted, you will make my life much easier. If you don't know how to format, don't try. Just send me the excerpt without any formatting.

If you send me an author photo, I will include it. If you are offering any Rafflecopter giveaways in October, send me the code and I will include it.

Priority will be given to horror novels first and foremost, but I'm open to anything with a proper Halloween theme, even romances (but not erotica). if you do submit a romance excerpt, it must be "clean." i.e. No steamy sex scenes.

Horror excerpts: violence out of context doesn't encourage people to buy. Don't send an excerpt that is just a gruesome kill scene. Send something that sets up your story and demonstrates the overall mood and style of your work. Don't just spill buckets of blood and call it a day.

Writers' Cafe / Best Indie Speculative Fiction (Volume One?)
« on: September 14, 2017, 12:36:19 PM »
There are a great many "best of" compilations published every year. Unfortunately, most of them don't accept self-published work. This is something I have been tossing around for a while and have finally decided to launch.

My goal is that this will become an annual anthology to highlight the best speculative fiction being independently published. This will be a curated anthology. We won't accept everything submitted and anything submitted has to follow our general guidelines and will be judged using the same standards we judge all stories submitted for publication. The only thing that will be different with this project is that there will be multiple reviewers reading each story, and scores will be averaged across all reviewers.

You current sales rank, your number of reviews, your monthly page reads: none of that means anything to us so don't bother including the information with a submission. The only thing that will decide whether or not a story is included will be the averaged reviewer scores. This is a truly level playing field for all authors who may want to be involved in this project.

This is a paying market. We are buying non-exclusive, perpetual rights to include the story in a print and audiobook anthology. No digital rights are requested with this project (So if you are in KU, you can still play!). The market I will be targeting with be more specific to libraries and institutions that would be interested in curated compilations, though obviously, the book will be available widely to consumers as well. My goal will be to get this book in front of people who generally won't read self-published authors. The demographic that I am targeting will be very different from the demographic that normally buys indie ebooks.

Currently, I have not set a deadline for submissions. Once I get what I consider a critical mass of submissions and can start to judge the quality of the submissions, I can better plot an actual deadline. The goal, however, is to be able to release the first volume at the end of next year.

If you are interested in submitting, please review our submission guidelines. Yes, you need to follow the same guidelines as all of our other authors!

If you have specific questions, ask below.

Writers' Cafe / 2017 eFestival of Words Winners!
« on: August 27, 2017, 09:28:51 AM »

Always my favorite part of the festival.

if you don't want to scroll through the pretty presentation, you can go here and just read the names lol

Writers' Cafe / Free Promo Opportunity at eFestival
« on: August 02, 2017, 01:24:57 PM »
Well, the eFestival of Words is only a few weeks away. As I put the finishing touches on the site, I'd like to add a "Dealer Room" where authors can plug their books. I will be adding a drop down list under the heading "Dealer Room" that will have each "table" listed. I'm fairly open to whatever you want to plug, whether it is an Amazon exclusive or wide, on sale or not. NO review requirements or hoops to jump through other than consider this a "first come, first serve" deal where I may stop accepting new "vendors" if it gets too cumbersome.

You can also offer something for the goodie bag. If you have titles on Smashwords or Drivethrufiction that you want to offer for free as part of the goodie bag, I can create pages for those like this one: Note: this is only if you are offering a special code or coupon. If the book is permafree or requires signing up for your newsletter or something, it should be listed in the dealer room.

Just email me at with the details and we'll get it sorted out.

Writers' Cafe / 2017 eFestival of Words Finalists! Go Vote!
« on: July 17, 2017, 06:27:10 AM »

Apologies for not posting this earlier, but I sort of had this little event over the weekend (I GOT MARRIED!) so I wasn't around to do the normal promotional stuff.

Congratulations to the finalists in this year's eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards! Open voting is now live. Please go vote for your favorites. Voting will close Friday, August 25th when the festival opens and the winners will be announced August 27th.

With When Village with Village Comes to Parle, Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler presents over five dozen unique essays, articles, and vignettes covering an eclectic range of topics. Travel the world with Dr. Sadler and her husband as she details some of their adventures abroad. Experience a thought-provoking conversation with Robert Frost. Read a heartfelt letter to J.D. Salinger. Discover some of the hidden history of the author’s native North Carolina.

An accomplished poet, storyteller, and playwright, Dr. Sadler is recognized in the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her extraordinary body of work. As a Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet 2013-2015, she mentored student and adult poets. She was Visiting Distinguished Scholar in the “Educational Leadership for a Competitive America” seminar of the US Office of Personnel Management. This collection is a showcase of her exceptional wit, skill, and creativity.

The Book Bazaar / Win Free Books!
« on: May 03, 2017, 05:59:02 AM »
Bards and Sages Publishing is sponsoring a special book giveaway. We are giving away the complete KJ Hannah Greenberg Short Story Collection in print. To enter, just visit the rafflecopter link. We'll select one winner from all entrants to win the entire collection in print.

Writers' Cafe / 2017 eFestival of Words Nominees List!
« on: May 01, 2017, 10:16:10 AM »
Congratulations to all of the Kboarders who were nominated this year. And a big thank you to everyone that completed a ballot this year!

The complete list of nominees can be found at

There is also a separate post for the nominees regarding how to get the award graphic.

Not Quite Kindle / Getting married (finally!)
« on: April 25, 2017, 11:07:35 AM »
Mike and I are finally, after fifteen years, making it official. We'll be getting married on July 15th. We originally planned on getting married in New Orleans (no ceremony, just a justice of the peace), but after certain parties (hint: not MY side of the family) started having a stink (long story), we're going to have a little casual ceremony at my parent's home and still go to New Orleans for the honeymoon.

As Julie has been forced to change her plans, she has decided that she will, at least, have some fun with this. For starters, as a proper Sith, I shall be wearing a little red dress.  ;D

My friend Lynda is registered as a civil celebrant in NJ, so she will perform the ceremony for us. And as she is my friend, she is sufficiently darkside to make sure our vows are special.  :P

Obviously, I cannot invite you all. But I may use Facebook Live to share the event!

Writers' Cafe / eFestival of Words Planning of Events
« on: March 30, 2017, 08:09:15 AM »
It is that time of year when I need to start planning the panels and events for the eFestival of Words Virtual Book Fair.

The fair is this August (and if you want to participate as a panelist, you can still sign up), but I need to start formulating the panels and events now so I can pretend things will run smoothly (honestly, they normally do.  ;D)

Looking for ideas for new panels, or if there are previous panels folks feel we simply must do again.

Last year's panels included (follow links to see how events are set up):

I Only Kill People On Paper
BUILD A STORY TWITTER CHALLENGE (which actually produced a somewhat cohesive story!)
Never Have I Ever..Character Edition
Ask the Editors
Writing Diverse Characters for the Right Reasons

We try to keep the panels more reader-centric than publishing-centric. So panels on things like how to get a Bookbub or the whether or not to use permafree aren't really the focus (and we can do those discussions here!). General craft topics are also of interest, of course.

For those of you who have joined us in the past, if there is a panel we ran in a previous year you think we should do again, share. Or if you have never joined us (and why not? It's a free, virtual event!) let me know what type of panels you think might be of interest.

Writers' Cafe / 2017 Bards & Sages Writing Competition for Charity
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:02:28 PM »

I know most folks here are loathe to enter a writing contest when they can just upload their stories to Amazon  :P but I would be remiss if I didn't share this here. And even if you aren't interested, you may have friends that are.

Every year, I sponsor a writing contest for charity. This year I have set up with to let participants select the charity they want to support. All you have to do is go to the portal page and make a donation of $10 or more to either the ACLU, Electronic Privacy Information Center, The Southern Poverty Law Center, or International Planned Parenthood. Then forward your confirmation email along with your submission (see the link above for complete details on how to enter). If we hit the initial fundraising goal of $500, I will increase the prizes by $50 each and set a new goal. If we hit that goal, I will increase the prizes again. And so on and so on.

By using the portal, your "entry fee" goes directly to your selected charities and may be tax-deductible.

If for some reason you don't want to support any of those charities but still want to enter the contest, you can pay the standard entry fee of $20 via Paypal. Obviously, I'm happy to take your money but I would be happier with folks donating.  :D

The current prizes are:

Grand Prize

2nd Place


3rd Place


Again, if we hit the $500 fundraising goal, we'll increase the above prizes by $50 each and set a new goal.

Please check out the complete rules first. Then if you have additional questions let me know. And if you have writer friends that are looking for contests to enter, please tell them about this. This is our 14th year running the contest (ye gods, that makes me sound old!).

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