Monday, October 5, 2015

Final Report on My Blog Tour for Not as it Seems

I probably should have titled this blog post, "And the Winner is..."

Amy Bennett.

Amy managed to comment on the most blogs. This wasn't easy because some of the posts didn't show up until later in the day. One blog wouldn't accept comments. I didn't know that ahead of time.

I've notified her. Two others came in at a close second.

33 people in all left comments on various posts.

Will I do another? Probably, but I might change some things.

I'll never ask who'd like to host me on Facebook again. 

It's important that a blog accepts comments if the contest on the tour is about counting who comments the most.

The blogger needs to know that the post can be set up for a certain date and time and how to do it.

Perhaps I'll search for bloggers who have a lot of followers.

However, I do have some favorite blogs I enjoy visiting--and I'll probably continue doing that.

I do know that people who didn't comment visited and read my posts because they left comments on Facebook.

Did it help sales?

Yes, the numbers on Amazon got lower which only happens when people buy books.

And slowly but surely I'm getting reviews.

Reviews are important to writers.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Arms and Related Business in Taiwan

by Brent Ayscough

The Taiwanese are a lovely lot of people.  They have a military defense, but they are fully aware that if the Mainland Chinese ever decide to take the country, the only thing they can do is to try to hold them off a short while until the US and others come to their rescue.   Would the US do that?   You might ask yourself, would our president actually declare war on Mainland China, or would he just talk tough with his “sanctions” idea.

Dealing with the military in Taiwan over defense items is in part the subject of my story The Visitor.   The arms merchant Baron Von Limbach has his office there.  He sells to the Taiwan military, and to others. 

Money is very much the lingua franca. Deals for military equipment, aircraft, boats, and military related items are done with bribes of one kind or another.

Apart from the bribes, the method of the dealings is also interesting.  In the negotiations for something military, the parties, that is, the government or the military officers, meet with the supplier in a room.  A secretary brings in a fresh container of tea as they empty, and it is sipped throughout.  The negotiations may go on for a few days over something big.  The language skills are important, so someone like the fictional Baron Von Limbach, even though he speaks Mandarin, would probably not be the head negotiator as the language is too important. The parties go back and forth, with very slight movement in their positions.   

Of interest is that, when a deal is finally made, they do not quite bargaining.  They may continue to request some movement on the other side.

In my story, The Visitor, there are transactions that are based on actual events over such dealings.  

As an example, the Taiwan government decided some years ago that it wanted some helicopters to police the Taiwan Strait, that is, the narrow waterway between Taiwan and Mainland.  A contender was the smaller, inexpensive Robinson helicopter made at Torrance, California.   Mr. Robinson was very afraid of product liability. 

I put together  a proposal for an arms merchant in Taiwan for the Taiwan military that would have not allowed product liability suits from Taiwanese military pilots against the US company.  The helicopters would have installed on them French made Forward Looking Infrared Radar, or FLIR. 

But, Chinese are not known for flying skills, to put it mildly. That goes for driving cars as well. So, to impress Mr. Robinson, I set up a proposal to have their pilots come to Torrance, California, to be trained in an intensive course with interpreters.  It was assumed, at least by me, that a very large number of the helicopters would be crashed when being flown in Taiwan.  The deal almost went through, except that a dispute arose regarding commissions to be paid with the French.

Brent Ayscough or Ace, as he is known to friends, retired from the practice of law and lives in a house overlooking the sea in Southern California. He has always loved machines, from airplanes to motorcycles, structural design, and other interests. He has enjoyed the acquaintance of diverse and interesting people, and is widely traveled. Bits and pieces of characters he has known, places he has been, seasoned with the spice of his imagination, help him create unusual stories and characters. Extensive collaboration with experts and sources, hopefully, make his stories credible and interesting.

The Visitor by Brent Ayscough, Black Opal Books, Tradepaper/ebook

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Puzzling by Lala Corriere

Imagine you have a colossal jigsaw puzzle. Now imagine you don’t know how many pieces it contains, but somewhere between 75,000 and 90,000. A best guess. It’s not labeled on the box.
That’s what I have in front of me. A new manuscript. Pieces of rough outlines, scores of sticky notes and hundreds of untamed ideas. They'll need to be moved around and sorted, because I always start with the flat-edged pieces that I know will make up the border.
            For me, the border represents the foundation of my manuscript. It encases my growing cast of characters to include the protagonist, the nefarious, along with a slate of voices important to the story. Settings become clear. At the very least, a vague plot is formed. Whether I write as a plotter or a panster, I have to start somewhere.
Some of the pieces don't fit quite right. I try to jam them into place to make them work. Some of the pieces go in smoothly and I can begin to see the storyboard that is my book.
I’m missing some puzzling pieces. I can’t tell you how many times my writing enters my dreams. I try to scribble illegible notes down in the dark. I wake up, and some of my thoughts are plain stupid. Others, I can’t quite remember when I knew they would be perfect.
Another piece, I painfully toss out. That piece would be the perfect scene that did not move my story forward.
A big part of the puzzle is that we fiction authors are liars. We make things up. It’s remembering all those lies that gets tricky. I love this part! Tying up all the loose ends by remembering where the pieces went. Every puzzling piece must be integral to the whole picture.
This is the best analogy I have for you on writing a novel. For those of you who are new to writing, or just curious, less than one percent of the population that sits down to write their great American novel actually completes it. This remains true, even in today’s saturated digital book market.
And yet the process is a bit like that of an explorer. You can celebrate knowing that you have the vision. This is your decision to write your book. You can rejoice in knowing that you are overcoming all of your obstacles. Your words are unfolding faster than you can type them. You will then dance the victory dance when you see all of those words fill the blank pages. And then, and only then, you realize The End, when your journey is documented. A finished novel.

Today I wish you many celebrations along your journey as a writer, reader, and amazing puzzler!

"Success is falling nine times and getting up ten."
                                                   ~Jon Bon Jovi


Just when romance author Chyna Blaze gives up her haunting past, she has a new problem. Her peers are being knocked-off. The detective insists she’s high on the list.
Her publicist arranges the date with a well-known literary giant. Chyna finds the idea annoying, but harmless.

Orson Locke quit writing, but not his vices. He likes his sugar straight out of cans of white icing, chased by bourbon, and Poe. He likes his temptations well-sated.

Bio: Lala Corriere

Since early childhood, Lala has been passionate about all the arts. She is a painter and a former stage performer. Early work careers blended high-end real estate sales and serving as president of an interior design firm.

Her fifth grade teacher, Miss Macy, was the to suggest she consider a career in writing. That extension of the arts, the written word, turned into a full time passion in 2001.

Career Highlights:

  • Endorsement and long-term mentorship by the late Sidney Sheldon
  • USA Today articles and review.
  • Published in regional magazines, newspapers, writer’s guides and journals.
  • Award winning poetry.
  • Endorsements from Andrew Neiderman [Devil’s Advocate], J Carson Black, KT Bryan, CJ West, Paris Afton Bonds, and many others remarkable authors.
Titles Include:

  • Widow’s Row
  • CoverBoys & Curses
  • Evil Cries
  • Kiss and Kill.
  • Bye Bye Bones, coming 2015

Readers and reviewers applaud her hallmark original plots, her in-depth character portrayals, rich scene settings, and authentic dialogue, all delivered with a fresh new voice. Oh, and her TWISTS! With her recent visit to Italy and riding the trains, her sixth book, Tracks, is taking shape.
Lala is a desert rat. She nestles there with her husband of over 25 years along with Finnegan & Phoebe— Teacup Yorkies.

 Buy link: 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Last Day of my Blog Tour

This is the last day of my blog tour and I wrote about the changes in publishing and the choices I've made.

I can't tell you who won my contest just yet, though I have a pretty good idea who it is going to be.

Thirty people made comments on various posts. Some visited nearly every blog and posted. A few only posted on one blog. I supposed it was a topic he or she was interested in.

If you've been following, you know I've had some challenges.

People forget--though, since it's possible to set up a post with the day and time that it's supposed to appear, I'm not sure why that happens.

Has the tour helped with sales? Not sure, of course, but my numbers on Amazon have gone down--but my publisher also sells all formats directly from the site. I really won't know until I receive my next royalty statement.

Doing a blog tour is a lot of work. Will I do another one? Probably because despite problems, I love doing them.

If you've read Not as it Seems, consider writing a review.


Monday, September 28, 2015

This is What I've Been Up To

This last weekend we were all in Barstow CA--and this is some of the people who came. The patriarchs are in the middle front row (not those with feet in the water), hubby in black, me in white, my cousin Barbara in red and white. It was really hot--and it felt like we were meling while the photo was taken.

We had a great time, as usual We were missing some important folks who usually come, but hopefully they'll be able to make it next year.

Of course my blog tour suffered a bit. I was using my iPad and I'm just not as well versed on it as my home computer. I did the best I could.

I loved being with family. Had so much fun catching up. We laughed a lot. My cousin and I shared stories and remembrances about when we were kids growing up in L.A. one short block from each other. We walked to grammar school which was a long way, and we walked to junior high, much longer and to high school many times. Sometimes we took the bus, transferred to the street car and then walked which was still a long way.

We also walked over the hill which didn't have any houses back then, but were forbidden to do it when one of our classmates discovered a dead body while horseback riding there. (The area is now where the Glendale freeway passes through.)

We played several games of Estimation.

We ate nachos and my chili beans and lots of other goodies.

It was a great weekend.

Here's one of a few of us with the addition of my eldest grandson, Patrick and his son Ethan who stopped by for a short time.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

HEALTH AND THE WRITER by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

Writing stresses the mind and the body. Whether first draft or final edits, our brain is exercised by constant choices and decisions. We must sort through thousands of words each day and make decisions about each. Which ones will stay on the page? How will this word affect the story in its past, its present and its future? Is the pacing spot on or is the pacing lacking? Are my characters acting logically, given their personalities?

The myriad of judgment calls boggles the mind.

Then there’s marketing and administrative and work and family.

Marketing (including social media and a personal website) can gobble up time and energy if we’re not careful. Today’s writer is under tremendous stress. Lack of energy, a harried feeling can tear at one’s health. Responsibilities can drain energy and leave none for the fun part—writing a novel. Good health can break down if we’re not diligent.

What to do?

Over the years, I’ve learned that the basis for good health is a positive mindset. You have to like yourself and be happy with your life as it is.

Being happy at where you’ve arrived on your life’s journey doesn’t mean you no longer have goals for the future. To the contrary, those desires/goals are a positive stimulus for good health, as well as essential to your ambitions as an author. These yearnings for new achievements and recognition are what get us up in the morning. They keep us excited to start our writing. Keep us focused.

What else?

Having established a base line of happiness for my unfolding life, I then look to intersperse happy thoughts and fun activities throughout my day. One such activity could be playing favorite music in the background while writing. Another could be getting up every couple of hours to walk outside and get a breath of fresh air. Another fun activity could be taking a few minutes to watch the antics of a squirrel walking the telephone line outside the office window. Our spirits need a moment of relief and an influx of the positive to lift the burden of stress we put on our bodies.

For me, being healthy and staying as happy as possible throughout the day are not won by leaps and bounds. Baby steps are called for—any little thing that will brighten my day—small distractions to make me smile. If something big and wonderful unexpectedly drops into my day, I certainly don’t turn my back on this gift because it doesn’t fit into my baby-steps philosophy. I embrace the joy of it.

What if nothing goes right?

If I wake up to one of those days when everything falls apart, I make a point to look for the silver lining on whatever cloud shadows my day. If I can find something to make me feel a little better, I take it. If I can’t, I keep as positive a mindset as possible until the shadows leave. Patience is necessary. “This, too, shall pass” becomes my mantra.

Eventually, life changes and the clouds and shadows lose their grip. For me, if I allow myself to drop into despondency because of setbacks, it takes me a very long time to work my way back. The justification I might feel to be miserable because of a setback is not worth the extra work I’ll give myself to again become a productive writer. Negativity wears at my health. To keep me well and working on a manuscript, I need the most positive thoughts I can find. I make every effort to get happy as quickly as I can—even if “quickly” means baby steps.

What about you?

Do you agree that whatever you want to do with your life is best accomplished when built on a foundation of happiness?

  JoAnn Smith Ainsworth Bio

When JoAnn Smith Ainsworth carried wood as a pre-teen so her Great Aunt Martha could stoke up the iron stove to prepare dinner, she wasn’t thinking, “I could use this in a novel someday.” Yet, the skills she learned from her horse-and-buggy ancestors translate into backdrops for her historical romance and paranormal suspense novels.

JoAnn’s debut medieval romantic suspense novels received 4 stars from RT Book Reviews. Of her historical western romances released fall 2013, one reader said, “seamlessly, flawless writing” and “If you love westerns, this is the book for you. Great characters, great plot, and a story that will make you smile.” ……. Lauren Calder, Reviewer, Affaire de Coeur Magazine. JoAnn’s paranormal thriller, EXPECT TROUBLE, released July 2014. One reviewer said:  "If you like the British series The Bletchley Circle, you will enjoy this book!"   .............. Patricia Simpson, Author.

Expect Trouble was a semi-finalist in the East Texas Writers Guild first chapter contest 2015.

Twitter @JoAnnAinsworth or @JoAnnParanormal or Facebook’s JoAnn Smith Ainsworth Fan Page 

Goodreads blog: 

Contact her at or (Delphi series email).

Amazon -
Barnes & Noble -

and at an independent bookstore near you -

AddressBlog #1Blog:  Goodreads Blog: 

Twitter #1:  @JoAnnAinsworth (Author Life)
Twitter #2:  @JoAnnParanormal (Delphi Series WWII and 1940’s tweets)
Facebook #1:  Profile page (Author Life) (
Facebook #2:    Facebook’s JoAnn Smith Ainsworth Fan Page (for Delphi Series) (


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tidbits About Not as it Seems

Just for fun, here are some things you'll encounter while reading Not as it Seems:

Ethiopian food and I bet your mouth will water.

Descriptions of seafood dishes, guaranteed to make you want to visit the restaurants in the book.

Beautiful places to go hiking.

The Indians who lived in and around Morro Bay: the Chumash and the Salinans.

Morro Rock

Some of the places to see around Morro Bay.

Great places to go hiking.



Arroyo Grande

Los Osos

San Luis Obispo

The Mission at SLO

ARF facilities for the mentally ill

Montana de Oro

The legend of the missing hitchhiker


Indian Spirits

A character named after Linda Thorne.

Once you've read Not as it Seems, if you've never been to Morro Bay, I bet you'll want to visit.


Not As It Seems PDF (978-1-60659-447-6)

Not As It Seems Kindle (978-1-60659-447-6)

Not As It Seems Mobipocket (978-1-60659-447-6)

Not As It Seems HTML (978-1-60659-447-6)

Not As It Seems EPUB (978-1-60659-447-6)

 (or go directly to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.)