Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Not Kidnapped, Writing!

I just spent 4 1/2 days with 14 women shut up in a house.
No, we weren't kidnapped.
And we weren't there under duress. We wanted to be shut in for days on end.

I was at a writers' retreat. An annual affair I selfishly organize so I can get out of town to buckle down with my laptop to live inside my  head, only coming out for short sprints to eat, see if everyone slept well and look at the passing deer and elk out the windows.
My hubby asked if there was any drama this year and I looked at him like he had two heads.
These woman are over 30, are there to be productive and are WRITERS. Writers don't get snarky, competitive, mean, vindictive, nasty, dramatic. At least the ones I know wouldn't even think of letting those agendas into their lives.
My women writer Peeps are supportive, interesting, giving, lovely human beings who don't worry about furthering their personal agendas on a writers' retreat.
We eat healthy food, we hunker down for hours at a time at our laptops and we support each other. Someone comes out of the den to say they finished their book and we cheer. Another asks what's a good country song a dog can trot to and we put our brains to it.
This year we trickled in to the Lodge from Thursday afternoon to Friday night, one person getting waylaid on the highway when an accident temporarily closed the road. There were great stretches of time where everyone was quietly working but at meal times, we came together, emerging from the bedrooms, den, suites, office to talk, share, network, support each other's work and hear each others life stories. We talked travel, kids, politics, heartbreaks and of course writing. Our group this year all writes fiction and I did a little talk on how to adapt your work to a screenplay, something I've recently taken up doing. We discussed writing stronger, writing longer, marketing smarter and even had a 4-hour long Facebook party on the Sunday afternoon where six of us took turns asking questions and conversing with anyone who dropped in to our virtual party to win a free book.
Monday we packed, cleaned the massive kitchen, put all the furniture back where it was when we arrived, said our goodbyes and formed a convoy to support each other as we drove back to the coast through a snowy Snoqualmie Pass.
Writing can be a lonely life but this weekend, it wasn't.

I love this writers' community I'm a part of. It keep me going when I need something wonderful to grab onto.

I wouldn't be a plumber or a doctor or a real estate agent, even if I could.

I'm a writer.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

ARROW to Dream Jumper?

My novel is slated to be a FEATURE FILM!
How cool is that?
Very, very cool, I'd say. When the film company sent contracts to my agent to option the whole series, I was over the moon excited and happy and thankful and vindicated. Yes, vindicated because when I tried to get this first novel an agent or a publisher, no one would touch it.
Because it involves dreaming.

There are numerous flashbacks and dreams and premonitions and the story is complicated. But, I have faith in readers and knew they could handle it.
THE DREAM JUMPER'S PROMISE

This weekend, I have a friend in Washington D.C. who is lining up at #AwesomeCon to get an autograph from the man who I want to talk to about playing the lead in the film.

Stephen Amell (Arrow)

This is a shot of him yesterday at the Con with a fan.

James deBenedetto asked me if I'd like him to mention the film to Stephen when it's his turn to get an autograph.
Hell ya!
I think Stephen would be great in the role of Jamey Dunn, Special Forces soldier who has the ability to enter dreams. The movie is set on Maui, while he's on medical leave and encounters his ex-girlfriend whose husband has gone missing.

As a contributing producer and a bit of a go-getter, I've already sent him the script through his agent and heard that the material was well received. He won't read the script until a director is attached, which in Hollywood talk means he won't believe the film is going to be made until a really good director comes on board. Fair enough.
In the material I sent him this week, there was a letter to him personally to ask him to keep this project in his thoughts until we go into the pre-production stage and begin casting.
BUT, I want him to come on board as a producer. As with any film, there are many producers and each one has a varying degree of input. I am a contributing producer which means I don't make any final decisions and can contribute but not command. That's fine. I'm thrilled to be able to be a part of it.
So, today or tomorrow, James is handing Stephen the physical novel and a note from me to say "Imagine yourself playing Jamey..."

I'm hoping he takes the book, (not hands it to his assistant) and his wife reads it. Then, on Monday, someone in his camp looks on Amazon to see if the book has done well. It has moderate success with 323 reviews but wasn't ever a blockbuster hit for a big stretch of time.
If you haven't read the book but love ARROW, would you consider taking a look on Amazon and weighing in about his suitability to play the lead?
Amazon Link

If you read this book and liked it (!) and did not write a review, would you consider writing one now? The more reviews up there, the better it looks.
If you haven't read the book, would you consider buying it this weekend to get the numbers up? I left the novel at .99 this weekend for that purpose.
Even if you don't buy in to the paranormal, you'll see in my reviews that it's a book for all types of readers. It's paranormal lite, with the strangeness of entering dreams as the supernatural ability. Check out the first book HERE on Amazon Kindle.
As you read, tell me if you think this guy would make a good Jamey. My 16 year-old daughter says no but then she judges everyone based on their age and hair. And I have to think our audience will be older.
But then, ARROW is beloved by many.


If you can, give the book some love this weekend and stay posted to see if Stephen Amell responds positively.

Click Here to Find The Dream Jumper's Promise on Amazon Kindle

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ten Authors, One Creepy Story

I'm part of a collection of incredible Suspense Authors called Moonlight and Mystery.

We have an awesome website for readers where we blog, give away cool stuff, tweet, we have contests, and we announce #FREEBOOKS. We also have Goodreads discussions, have a Facebook site, we have a street team, and it's a wonderful group to belong to if you're a reader who likes suspense books. You can be in our Inner Circle if you like to get all kinds of perks on books and giveaways.

Here's the website...

http://www.moonlightandmystery.com


This week was my turn to write the final chapter in a collaborative novel that got creepier as the story went on. Ten authors, ten styles, ten ideas of where this story was going.
And I got the supreme challenge to write the ending.
I read the whole thing through several times, made notes on what plot lines had to be addressed and started writing. I couldn't stop.
It was like I was writing another whole novel!
So much needed to be said about Annabelle, Preston, Max, even those ghostly apparitions that rose from the water to suggest justice.
I spent about 3 full days writing the 5,000 words needed to finish the story to my satisfaction. Considering I live with my novels for a year before publishing, this was a challenge and a cool writing exercise for this writer. Each of the other nine authors took the chapter before them and ran with it, keeping the tension high, the characters interesting and the story moving forward.
I want to keep editing and revising and changing my final chapter now and it's an exercise in itself to walk away from the story. I have another book to work on.
Check it out.

DARKNESS AWAITS

Read the 1-2 hour story and see if the ending works. I had loads of stuff to tie up. And now I shall go massage my aching shoulders!





Sunday, March 18, 2018

Donuts, Cops & Ghosts

Cops eat donuts.
I would have thought it was an urban myth until I saw cops in Krispy Kreme buying two boxes of the things. It's a quick snack for immediate energy and maybe that appeals to the profession.
There's lots of jokes about cops and donuts but are there any about cops and malasadas?
In Hawaii, there are a lot of Portuguese people, another thing I'm not exactly sure about. That culture has a donut named the Malasada. Basically, they are the same thing as a sugary homemade deep-fried donut but they have no hole in the center and I'd have to say there is more donut in there for your money and less air holes.
In my novel, Rocky Bluff, the police solve the mystery of a death at the old Iao Theater in Wailuki. A cast member is hit with a giant moon prop when it falls to the stage, and is killed. Two cops happen to be in the audience of The Rocky Horror Show and the investigation begins.
Although the story is attached to the Lei Crime Series by Toby Neal, you need not know the characters or read her books to enjoy this stand alone mystery. This, I've been told.
Or to eat the Malasadas.
In the back of the book I have the recipe for Malasadas, something I do in each of my books--include recipes talked about in the book.
Feeling generous today, I'm going to post my recipe here and hope if you try them, you'll be inspired to read the story of how Lei and Michael solve the mystery of the murder at the Iao Theater on Maui.
Rocky Bluff is on for 99 cents on Kindle and takes about 4 hours to read. It's a mystery with no gore or graphic crime descriptions but does have some romantic moments in there.
Also, a word of warning...there is a ghost in the theater so if you like ghosts or books with ghosts, you'll like this one.

Perfect for a Sunday afternoon in March! The first chapter is posted below...

Find Rocky Bluff, the ebook, here...  FREE on Kindle Unlimited or .99 on Kindle!

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist who lives in the Seattle area and writes books about women in dire circumstances rescuing themselves. She tweets her dreams most mornings over here on Twitter under the hashtag #StrandDreams
www.twitter.com/kimhornsby
Feel free to follow her to keep up with her unusual dream life...
Newsletter Signup for Book Releases & Free Stuff www.bit.ly/KimHNews
Kim's AMAZON site www.bit.ly/kimamzn


Recipe for Malasadas (Portuguese Donuts) 


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
6 eggs
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 quarts canola oil for frying


1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup warm water; set aside. 2. In small bowl, beat eggs until thick. 3. Put flour in large bowl, making a well in the center. Into the well add yeast, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, milk, 1 cup water, and salt. Beat thoroughly to form a soft, smooth dough. Cover, let dough rise until doubled. About one hour. 4. Heat oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Drop dough by big spoonful’s into oil, fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, shake in a bag of either regular sugar or powdered sugar to coat, and serve warm.

ROCKY BLUFF 

Chapter 1

Lei Texeira stood on stage of Maui’s Iao Theater among the costumed actors and stared at the dead body. She’d seen the whole ugly mess. It looked like a freak accident, but all of her police training told her to keep the crowd back and not to touch anything. Sirens wailed outside, getting louder, closer. One minute, the fantasy of the Rocky Horror Show was in full theatrical swing on stage, and the next minute, a woman was dead.
Lei’s once fiancĂ©, now simply her live-in boyfriend, Michael Stevens, had taken charge from the moment he flew out of his seat in the audience. He and Lei were both detectives with the Maui Police Department, but only one of them didn’t have PTSD from being abused as a kid. Or parents who let drugs control their lives.
Just now, Lei hadn’t reacted like a cop, something she wasn’t proud of, but would have to revisit later. Never having seen The Rocky Horror Show before, she’d almost believed it was part of the script. Strange things had been happening onstage for the last hour and a half. Not that she went to the theater on a regular basis but when the moon fell on that poor woman, it seemed like part of the show. Lei had long ago turned off her cop warning signal to simply enjoy the spectacle onstage. Apparently, it was normal for the crowd to yell “asshole” every time a name was spoken, and to wave flashlights and throw rice. Most audience members seemed to know when and how to perform each ritual.
So, no, Lei hadn’t reacted when the giant moon crashed to the stage. It was at least five seconds before she flew out of the seat.
Lei’s friend, Kali, who played the tap dancing groupie Columbia, now stood near the feet of the dead woman looking horrified. Her hands covered her mouth as if to keep from screaming, or crying. Nora, the victim, had been a favorite with the cast. That much Lei knew. Kali stood with Derek, the man who played the lead, Frank-N-Furter.
The murder weapon, a large quarter moon prop, that until ten minutes ago had held Derek as he descended from the theater’s rafters, lay on its side beside Nora. It reminded Lei of a dog who wouldn’t leave their dead owner. When the prop broke free, Derek had been seated on the curve of the moon singing “Don’t Dream It, Be It,” in full spotlight. When the moon fell, he’d slipped off the end and had landed on his side. He now looked flustered, but unhurt.
“You okay?” Lei asked him.
He nodded, but Lei knew no one was really okay.
Although Stevens had taken the victim’s pulse and found nothing, one of the cast continued CPR.
Lei stared at the grim scene on stage. From one angle it looked like Nora lay on the stage floor as if taking a nap. From another angle, the amount of blood pooled by the woman’s head indicated a fatal injury. Lei fingered the smooth stone in her jacket pocket, her reminder to not let the darkness take over at horrific moments like this. Dissociation was a bitch sometimes. Somehow, the stone helped.
The theatre stage door flew open and paramedics hustled into the once gorgeous, but now charmingly decrepit theater. Audience members had scattered, spilling into the aisles and maybe still hoping. Lei knew this woman was dead, never to be revived by any amount of CPR. “Let’s move over here,” she said, directing the cast to the back of the stage. “Make room for the paramedics.” She wasn’t wearing her police detective badge, neither was Stevens, but the cast of twenty actors and crew did as they were told. No one on stage looked like this death was what they’d been hoping for. She noticed things like that.
Both wires that had held the moon prop led to a carabiner-type loop that connected them to one central line that now dangled uselessly from the rafters. Lei bent over the wire attached to the moon and took a photo just in case anything was moved before the crime kit arrived. She wondered how a wire simply gave out. Someone would search the rafters tonight. The break looked too clean for fraying.  As she watched the paramedics pronounce Nora dead, Lei was sure that this wasn’t a horrible accident, but a murder. But why?
When the theater cleared of audience members, and the cleaning crew had swept up the rice and garbage left behind, Lei offered to drive Kali home to Lahaina. Although Lei was coming to the friendship table kind of late in life, she was learning what friends did for each other by using her Aunty Rosario as an example and driving Kali home would be the type of thing her aunt would offer. Even after the paramedics took Nora’s body away and the theater started to clear, Kali continued to cry into a growing pile of Kleenex as Derek comforted her.
Having met Kali Baker only a month ago, Lei didn’t know her extremely well. But their friendship had blossomed fast, strangely similar to love at first sight. They hit it off immediately even though they appeared to be very different. Unlike Lei, Kali was an emotional person. She hugged everyone, blurted out compliments, and was able to show exactly what she felt at any given time. Normally, such a demonstrative person would have had Lei rolling her eyes and walking away.
 Kali looked like an eighteen-year-old petite Barbie doll, but was actually Lei’s age—late twenties. Where Lei was Hawaiian, Portuguese, and Filipino, Kali was pure white bread. Where Lei had short brown curls, Kali had long blonde hair. They’d met while running with their dogs and in the last month, they’d spent a lot of time together, especially because Kali left her dog, Stripe, at Lei and Stevens’ house while she performed.
“I’ll take you home,” Lei told her. “Just leave your car here tonight.”
Kali was a mess, trying to talk through her sobs. “Nora always wanted to be onstage with us. After years of sewing and helping with costume changes, she got to join us.” Kali still wore the stage makeup that had transformed her into Columbia, along with her costume of a red bow tie, sequined tails, and a sparkly top hat. But by now, Kali’s face was a swirl of clownish color and tears. A false eyelash had come off with the mopping of tears and was stuck to Kali’s jawline like a giant cane spider hanging on. Lei reached for it. “Eyelash,” she said handing it over. They walked out the theater’s side door to Lei’s new silver Tacoma truck.
Stevens would stay behind with the crime kit and would manage the investigation. The Iao Theater was inside his jurisdiction, not hers.
She and Stevens had just moved to Maui from Kauai six weeks earlier. They’d been ready for something new, ready to leave Kauai. Stevens was offered a promotion as Detective Sergeant, a position with Kahului Station, headquarters for MPD. As luck had it, the timing was right and Lei joined her old partner from the Big Island, Pono, who was now working at Haiku Station on Maui.

If it looked like murder, Stevens would head up the case. Playing second fiddle to Stevens wasn’t a role she relished, but she could help by staying with Kali, asking questions, and maybe even coming up with a lead.
The director, lighting director, costumer director, and prop mistress for the play remained with Stevens for questioning. Two officers from the Kahului Station, Hensley, and his rookie partner, Sakamoto, would help. Lei would only get in trouble for sticking her nose into another station’s investigation, and that wouldn’t be good because she was terrified of her boss at Haiku Station, Lieutenant Omura. And because of that, Lei wanted to do everything by the book. Not piss off the Steel Butterfly again.
Weeks ago, when Lei reported to Haiku for the first time, Omura had barely looked at her, saying, “There’s no room for publicity hounds at my station.” That had been her welcome to Maui.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Lei said.
That same day, she and Stevens had found a perfect little cane cottage in the Iao Valley and were now officially living together. Thinking of their home just down the road, Lei had an idea.
“How about you stay at our house tonight? You’re upset.” It was a long drive back to the other side of the island and Kali looked traumatized, slumped against the truck’s door. “I’ll bring you back to your car in the morning. Stripe can have a sleepover with Keiki.” Lei threw that in for good measure. Her Rotty loved Stripe. The two dogs had spent a lot of evenings together while Kali rehearsed this show and were currently in Lei’s fenced yard. Double protection, as Lei saw it. Which was good any way you looked at it. Lei was kind of OCD about protection from bad guys, and with good reason. Having a Rotty and a Rhodesian Ridgeback in her yard on weekend nights for Halloween month, was a plan that benefitted everyone.
 “That’s probably a good idea,” Kali sniffed. “I don’t want to be alone.” She looked out the window miserably. “Was it an accident, do you think?”
“Not sure, but maybe.”
“Who would want Nora dead?” Kali began to sob again.
 Lei didn’t have an answer.

 Their cottage in the Iao Valley wasn’t far from the historic theater and as they drove in to the valley, Lei hoped that once she settled Kali in, she could return to the crime scene. Stevens had told her to ask Kali a few questions about Nora and to look for a motive. See if Nora had any enemies. But on the drive to the house, Kali had nothing to tell. Everyone was good friends; there were no bad feelings between anyone, least of all Nora. What else could Lei do for Kali after she settled her at the house? It was hard for Lei to pretend that she didn’t want to speed back to the theater to help. She was a better detective than a friend. Always had been. She loved her work always wanting to dive in the center of a crime, get messy, and work her way out. It wasn’t in her nature to sit on the sidelines with a friend, wondering what was going on. She wanted in to the eye of the hurricane.
They parked and got out of the truck, the air fresh from recent rain in the valley. Keiki and Stripe wagged their tails, or in Keiki’s case, her stub, and jumped around to see the women approach the fence.
“See anything tonight, Baby?” Lei opened the gate and patted Keiki’s back. Lei never took safety for granted. The serial killer case on Kauai that she and Stevens cracked wide open had been crazy-weird enough for Lei to have new appreciation for her guard dog. She and Stevens had moved from Kauai to get away from all the publicity after cracking that one, and because they needed a fresh start somewhere new. Probably that’s what Omura meant when she’d called Lei a publicity hound.
After settling Kali on the couch with both dogs lying nearby, Lei made her a cup of tea.
“You’re so sweet, Lei.” Kali’s tears had subsided but the box of tissues was still within reach. Handing her the mug, Lei noticed Kali’s makeup had smeared enough to make her look like a dead person herself.
“Feel free to take a shower,” Lei said, sitting down on edge of the living room’s one chair.
“I might do that.” Kali took a sip and set the mug on the coffee table.
“Are you okay if I head back to the theater for a bit to take a look?”
Kali glanced to the bathroom door. “Sure. I’ve got Stripe to keep me safe.”
Kali depended on her dog the same way Lei did. Protection was important, especially when you were a single female. One of the first conversations Lei ever had with Kali was about how a large dog made them feel safe in the world. Able to relax. She and Kali had gone for smoothies after that parking lot conversation and talked for another hour about their dogs.
“Is my makeup all over my face? I’m sure I look terrible.” Kali smiled.
Kali was very pretty by All-American cheerleader standards. Lei smiled back sympathetically. “Even more terrible than usual.”

When Lei walked through the stage door of the Iao Theater, Stevens was up in the rafters with the lighting director, Keven. Several tearful cast members, still in costume and makeup, were sitting in the front row talking, watching; probably waiting to hear if Nora’s death had been an accident. After fielding questions Lei wasn’t at liberty to answer, the actors stood to leave. Hensley and his rookie partner, Sakamoto, told them they could go home, then moved to the stage to estimate the trajectory fall of the prop. Hensley stood by the bloodstain on the stage floor. His partner, who everyone called “Saki,” hung on every word from his mentor. From the rafters, Stevens and Keven spoke in hushed tones.
Lei approached Hensley. “What do you think? Accident or murder?” she asked.
Hensley knew who Lei was. Sort of. When she and Stevens arrived on Maui, they’d bumped into him in Takamiya Market and the near-retirement cop had zipped his lips shut when he saw the couple together. It wasn’t against police policy to date, but Hensley probably sensed they liked their privacy.
Hensley looked to the rafters. “Could’ve been an accident, but Stevens says there’s room for doubt.” He shook his closely-shorn head.
“You knew the victim?” Saki asked Lei.
“I knew of her. One of the cast members is my running partner.” Lei could still smell the blood even though it had been wiped from the stage floor.
Stevens descended the ladder from the rafters and Lei walked over to meet him. The only people in the theater now were the caretaker, Mack, the lighting director, Keven, the show’s director, a man named Mike, the set designer, Dan, and the four cops. Everyone else had been asked to leave. Keven was upset, tears rolling down his plentiful cheeks and Lei knew it didn’t look good.
The four cops congregated near the stage’s stairs and in whispered tones discussed what Stevens had seen. “It looks like the main wire holding everything was cut. The wire cutters are missing from the theater toolbox.” He shook his head gravely. “The prop was checked two hours before the show started so it was cut after that. Keven insists the prop’s lines were fine.” Stevens motioned to where Nora had died. “Apparently Nora was out of place on stage; too early in the script to be where she ended up, so I’m thinking it wasn’t necessarily meant for her. Still, looks like we have a murder on our hands.” No one batted an eye. Everyone knew what this meant. The investigation had begun.
Hensley and Saki went downstairs to take a look in the basement dressing rooms of the old theater. Lei stayed with Stevens. “Someone wanted that moon to fall.”
Stevens glanced at the production group gathered by the stage door. “But why? No one was supposed to be on that side of the stage.”
Lei inwardly cringed. This friendly community theater production of The Rocky Horror Show was now living up to its name. At least the horror part.

It was almost dawn when Lei and Stevens pulled in their driveway. They both felt more at home in this type of dwelling even though they could afford something bigger, newer. The small cottage was painted green with white trim and a rust-colored tin roof and the sight of it made Lei happy every time she drove up. This type of house was called a cane cottage in Hawaii and was typical of what was built when sugar cane production started in the islands, long ago. A perfect place for Keiki to hang out while they worked, the cottage was only a few miles from the heart of downtown Wailuku. Regardless, Lei could imagine they were in the most remote part of Maui, back in the folds of the West Maui Mountains, beyond Kahakuloa, where the wild boar lived.
The Iao Valley State Park was tropical rainforest at its finest, with every shade of green imaginable. From their house, they couldn’t see the Iao Needle, the famous tourist attraction in the Valley, but the evidence of its presence was reflected in the daily traffic on the road when the park gates were open. The Needle, resembling a breaching humpback whale covered in jungle growth, stood guard to the remote part of the valley.
Lei climbed the cottage stairs and opened the door carefully. Kali was probably sound asleep, unaware that tonight’s accident had become a murder case. No one had been charged. Not yet. There were no suspects. Stevens didn’t see motive from the director, the caretaker, or any of the crew. By all accounts, no one was supposed to be standing under the moon at the time of its fall. Maybe the killer had the wrong victim. Maybe the killer hadn’t anticipated Derek jumping clear the way he did. Maybe the killer simply wanted to scare or hurt Derek.
Keiki lay beside Stripe on the floor and when Lei and Stevens walked through the living room on the creaky wooden floor, both dogs watched. It was time to get a few hours’ sleep then head back to the station. Lei would help work the case today seeing Saturday was her day off, the one day she and Stevens had off work together. Usually. Trails got cold fast in the islands and clues faded away if you didn’t get some answers in the first forty-eight.
 “We can hit this in a few hours, after some sleep,” Stevens whispered as they entered their bedroom.
Keiki entered and settled on the floor by Lei’s King-sized bed, a monstrosity that she’d moved from the Big Island to Kauai and now to Maui. Stevens pulled off his collared shirt and chinos, and slipped into bed beside her. His body was warm and comforting in a very boyfriendly way. She nuzzled into him, one of her favorite positions—tucked into his shoulder, top arm flung across his well-muscled abdomen. Stevens always seemed so big to her, so elegantly long, especially in bed. Tonight the thought of getting frisky was completely vetoed by their exhaustion. “Think it was Keven?” she asked, her exhausted words barely audible.
He sighed. “I’m gonna say no.”
“That moon wasn’t meant for Nora,” she mumbled.
“I agree. But who?” Stevens sounded on the edge of consciousness.
“Me,” Kali said from the open bedroom doorway. “I think the moon was meant to kill me.”

FIND ROCKY BLUFF ON AMAZON FOR ONLY 99 CENTS!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Dreaming - Everyone Does It!

I am a prolific dreamer.

If I wrote as much as I dreamed, I'd have worn off my fingerprints by now from typing.
Each morning, I wake and try to remember my last dream. I do this because my immediate mood is affected by what I was just experiencing in my dream. This morning I woke slightly amazed because my nephew had discovered how to fly. No one had ever tried this before and he was just brave enough to jump off a tower into the wind to discover if he put his arms out he could fly, like skydivers without falling. Like going to one of those skydiving places with a wind tube at the mall. He was able to direct himself over to pick up a jacket he'd left at a park and come back. I was impressed. I woke impressed but worried for his safety.
Dreams are the result of an active hind brain that won't go to sleep when the rest of the brain shuts down for the night. Like an ADD child, this part of the brain keeps going, nudging the rest of you to pay attention. Playing with toys, essentially, while you sleep.
But what if outside forces could penetrate those dreams, your subconscious, to insert suggestions? Like in the movie Inception? Leonardo diCaprio was developing a way to insert suggestions into a business mogul's mind, taking dreaming to a whole new thriller level.

I love the mystery surrounding dreams. Like the weather, it's something that we all have in common whether we are rich people, dirt poor, athletes or housebound, old or young, everyone dreams.

It's with that in mind that I write books that always have dreams. I ask my readers to interpret as they read, essentially. In my Dream Jumper series, dreams are crucial because the heroes can enter other people's dreams and use that to solve a mystery and eventually do good in the world. I wrote this first book before Inception was a movie and thought I had a unique idea. And now, the first book in the series, The Dream Jumper's Promise, is optioned for film with hopes to begin filming in the next year.
Dreams are our subconscious's way of working out problems and questions in our brain, keeping us thinking and at the very least not turning off. If we listen to our dreams, the experts say that we can learn secrets about ourselves. If you dream of your teeth falling out it could mean you feel insecure of your physical self or you feel out of control about something.

If dreams are metaphorical representations of our waking expectations, I now know I have some degree of concern over my nephew and his life. It's interesting to remember dreams, interpret them and move on to your waking life every morning.
Happy Dreams, Everyone!

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist who lives in the Seattle area and writes books about women in dire circumstances rescuing themselves. She tweets her dreams most mornings over here on Twitter under the hashtag #StrandDreams
www.twitter.com/kimhornsby
Feel free to follow her to keep up with her unusual dream life...

Newsletter Signup for Book Releases & Free Stuff www.bit.ly/KimHNews
Kim's AMAZON site www.bit.ly/kimamzn

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Bachelor - Arie

Ari wasn't my favorite. I didn't even learn to correctly spell his name.
He said "Yeah" a lot.
He said "I love you," a lot.
When you accept the post to be The Bachelor, you must also accept the public's scrutiny of you. I just read he's worried about the finale tonight. I predict he picks no one. Did anyone notice Chris H did not ask him if he was in love last night? Well, he didn't. The first ever in Bachelor history.

Here's what Ari did right, in my opinion:

Nice hair, not dyed so the grey doesn't show
Gave Crystal her just desserts on Women Tell All by cutting her off
Didn't eat steroids or work at his buffed body (which it was not)
Looked great in a suit
Did not focus on the women's bikini bodies

Here's where Ari can improve for his next turn at The Bachelor because you know he's coming back:

Learn how to eliminate the words "Like" "Yeah" and "I Love That," from his verbiage
Don't wear black ankle socks after a Fantasy suite date
Take a course in how to express yourself eloquently -- ask pro football players how they do it
Don't tell everyone you love them, it makes them think they are the winner of the contest
If an ex flies to Peru to take away your girlfriend, don't invite him in

Can't wait to see what happens in the FINALE tonight.



Monday, February 19, 2018

Content Validation at Create Space is Driving me Nuts!

Amazon Create Space is driving me crazy! Last year, Kindle was on my sh_t list for removing my titles, thinking I was two-timing them over at Barnes & Noble. That sh_t show was all due to Smashwords who did not remove Barnes & Noble after I unpublished with them months before.

It isn't easy being a publisher. I already spent hours today trying to get my novels' page numbers to start at Chapter 1 and not at the title page. If I was prone to tearing my hair out, I'd be bald tonight.
And this ongoing "war" with content validation over at Create Space is making me wonder what is going on over there at Amazon these days.
I have to think that new Bots were released to detect red flags this last month because I've had several print books with Create Space for years and recently I received notices that my print book had to be suppressed because of non-conformity.
For two books!
I got two emails. Nobody signed their name but that's not surprising. 
Getting two "I'm in the doghouse" emails is very strange indeed considering that the only changes I've made recently is to update the covers of both books on Create Space, the Amazon site for print on demand books.

On Feb 11th, I got this email...

AMAZON

Hello kim,

Thank you for publishing with Amazon. 

During our review, we found that the search keywords for the following book(s) create inaccurate or overwhelming search results and impair the customer experience:

Title: The Dream Jumper's Secret: 
Author(s): Kim Hornsby (AUTHOR)
Title ID: 4878570

As a result we have removed the title from the publishing process.

Search keywords that are not accurate descriptors of your book’s central storyline or are completely unrelated to its content may be misleading to our customers and are unacceptable. 

Misleading search keywords such as reference to other authors, titles, promotions or sales rank result in confusion for customers as to why your work is included in search results. 

Please submit a request with the updated keywords to validation-request@createspace.com, our team will update this information for you. Once reviewed we will provide an update within 24 hours.

We appreciate your understanding.

Sincerely,

The Content Validation Request Team


Then the next day I got this...

AMAZON


Hello kim,

Thank you for publishing with Amazon. 
I am contacting you regarding the following content: 

Title: The Dream Jumper's Pursuit: 
Author(s): Kim Hornsby (AUTHOR)
Title ID: 5626970

Copyright is important to us – we want to make sure that no author or other copyright holder has his or her books sold by anyone else. 
To publish your book, please respond with documentation confirming your publishing rights within four days

Acceptable documentation can include:

- If you are the author and you are republishing your book after your publication rights have been reverted to you, a signed reversion letter from your former publisher
- If you are the author and you are publishing under a pseudonym, please state that you have the rights of the content along with the pseudonym used.
- If you are the author and your content has not been published anywhere else, please state that you own the rights to the content you are publishing.

- If you are not the author, please provide documentation where the author confirms your rights to distribute the content, such as a signed contract between you and the author granting you the rights to publish the book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected or other similar documentation

Documentation we cannot accept includes:

- A statement by you that you have the publishing rights without verification by the author/copyright holder
- A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed

If you publish books for which you do not hold the publishing rights, you may lose access to optional services or your account may be terminated. 

To learn more, please see: 

We appreciate your understanding.

Sincerely, 

The Content Validation Request Team 
This last one was almost funny seeing I did not fit into any of those categories and told them so.
 I am the author, Kim Hornsby, and have published this print book with you for years. I'm not sure what I did differently this time to lead you to wonder about my identity but I appreciate that you keep close track of this type of thing.
This email is the one I've used for the last few years and this series of books is self-published by me (Top Ten Press) and always has been. I own the rights to this work and always have.
Let me know if there is any other problem as I'd like to get The Dream Jumper's Pursuit back for sale on Create Space.
Thanks,
Kim

Kim Hornsby Novels

Then I got this...

AMAZON

 On Sunday, February 11, 2018, 7:14:44 PM PST, Content Validation Request <validation-request@createspace.com> wrote: 
Hello kim,

Thank you for publishing with Amazon. 

During our review, we found that the search keywords for the following book(s) create inaccurate or overwhelming search results and impair the customer experience:

Title: The Dream Jumper's Secret: 
Author(s): Kim Hornsby (AUTHOR)
Title ID: 4878570

As a result we have removed the title from the publishing process.

Search keywords that are not accurate descriptors of your book’s central storyline or are completely unrelated to its content may be misleading to our customers and are unacceptable. 

Misleading search keywords such as reference to other authors, titles, promotions or sales rank result in confusion for customers as to why your work is included in search results. 

Please submit a request with the updated keywords to validation-request@createspace.com, our team will update this information for you. Once reviewed we will provide an update within 24 hours.

We appreciate your understanding.


Sincerely,

The Content Validation Request Team

Twenty-four hours, huh? So I wrote this:

Hello: I have no idea what you are talking about. I can't even sign in to Create Space today to take a look. And today I got another email from Create Space saying that another one of my books was submitted by someone other than me. I'm not sure what's going on over there, but I don't even have keywords in my create space account, let alone inappropriate key words. 
Please clarify what you think I've done wrong in publishing with Create Space. All I did recently, after years of being on CS, was redo the cover. 
Thanks,
Kim Hornsby
Top Ten Press
Author of The Dream Jumper Series

And then this:

Hello Amazon Person at Create Space: What makes you think after years of being published here, that I am all of a sudden, not Kim Hornsby? I am baffled what triggered this email seeing I only was changing the book cover to republish the new cover.
I don't know what documentation would prove I'm Kim Hornsby unless you want me to send my driver's license. Let me know what you need. 
I'm very upset that 2 of my books have been unpublished this week, this one saying you'll give me 4 days but it's offline now, and The Dream Jumper's Secret is unpublished with no warning and no time to correspond to see what the problem is over there.

Very upsetting,.
Kim Hornsby
Top Ten Press.

My books were not for sale on Amazon as print for almost a week.

Hello Amazon: This is very confusing. When you say keywords, what do you mean. I don't think CreateSpace gives a chance to add keywords. As far as I know no keywords are attached to this print publication. 
Please check this matter because the longer my book is not available on CreateSpace, the more angry I get about missing sales. 
I've had this book published on Create Space for years and the only thing that changed this week was a different front cover. 
PLEASE FIX or advise me as to what you are talking about!
Here is a screenshot of my Kindle Direct Publishing Keywords for this book, none of which are inappropriate.

Then I got this ..

AMAZON

Hello kim

Thank you for your response. 

We’ve reviewed the information provided and we are happy to inform you that your book will now continue to the File Review process.     
   
The File Review process ensures that your files were created according to our submission guidelines and can take up to 24 hours to complete.  

Once your files pass File Review, you can either view a digital proof or order a printed proof copy of your title. After the proof is received and you're satisfied with it, you will be able to approve your proof for sale once it leaves our manufacturing facility.   

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter and thank you for publishing with CreateSpace.

Regards,

CreateSpace Validation Request Team

I am now able to re-publish The Dream Jumper's Secret after a week of emails back and forth.

Then they shed some light on the subject with this:

AMAZON

On Saturday, February 17, 2018, 11:43:47 AM PST, The Content Validation Request Team <validation-request@createspace.com> wrote:


Hello kim,

Your keywords for the related title are: Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Award Winning, women's Fiction 

Misleading search keywords such as reference to other authors, titles, promotions or sales rank result in confusion for customers as to why your work is included in search results. 

Please submit a request with the updated keywords to validation-request@createspace.com, our team will update this information for you. Once reviewed we will provide an update within 24 hours.

We appreciate your understanding.

Regards,


CreateSpace Validation Request Team

So I wrote this...

--------------- Original Message ---------------
From: Kim Hornsby [kimhornsby@yahoo.com]
Sent: 2/14/2018 12:11 PM
Subject: Re: CreateSpace - Content Validation Request

Hello Amazon: This is very confusing. When you say keywords, what do you mean. I don't think CreateSpace gives a chance to add keywords. As far as I know no keywords are attached to this print publication. Please check this matter because the longer my book is not available on CreateSpace, the more angry I get about missing sales. I've had this book published on Create Space for years and the only thing that changed this week was a different front cover. PLEASE FIX or advise me as to what you are talking about!Here is a screenshot of my Kindle Direct Publishing Keywords for this book, none of which are inappropriate.
Keywords
Enter up to 7 search keywords that describe your book. How do I choose keywords?Your Keywords (Optional)

Kim HornsbyTop Ten Press
Kim Hornsby Novels
www.bit.ly/kimamzn 

The one that apparently has inappropriate keywords, is still suppressed on Create Space. And I can't touch it or publish that book.

I wrote this on day 7

I've had this book for sale for years, like this, but I'm assuming award-winning is the key word you don't like. Here are the new key words. I'm sorry it took over a week for you to get back to me.


Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Suspense, Suspense

Thank you.
Kim Hornsby 

When nothing happened to get the book back up on Create Space, I wrote to them:

Thank you for your attention.
During my review of this situation, I've found this assessment to be very frustrating because I have not changed my keywords for this title in years. And yet, now you find my keywords aren't acceptable.
I am not sure what is wrong in my keywords, except maybe Amazon doesn't like the word Award Winning. I'm not sure what is going on here except Amazon is preventing me from selling books for WEEKS on end.
Please change my keywords to this:
Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Suspense, Women's Fiction Suspense 


And now, let this strange new claim come to a close so I can sell books again.
Please.

Thank you,
Kim Hornsby
Top Ten Press

I'll let you know when they get the book up and running again. If you are having the same problem with Content Validation, I suggest you keep emailing. If you have a better suggestion, please let me know in the comments here. 

Kim