The Return of Kristen Conner

Brand new!

Brand new – available August 1, 2015!

The return of Kristen Conner … she’s back and she’s (still a little) mad!

First item of business, the only way to purchase either of the first two Kristen Conner murder mysteries is as a used paperback online – yes – it’s true – Cuts Like a Knife and Every Breath You Take are officially out of  print.

I take that back. The large-print library editions published by Center Point and the audio editions published by Oasis Audio are still available. All eBook editions are down and gone!

But that’s not a bad thing – it’s by design. Worthy Publishing bought rights to the first two novels and did a fabulous job. Both books hit #1 on Barnes & Noble. The covers, trailers, and publicity were great. I was very fortunate to get reviews from some of the major national media outlets that cover books – Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Romance Times, and many others.

Revised Edition

Revised Edition – available July 7, 2015!

But Worthy’s sweet spot is nonfiction and we agreed that it was the right time for the series to move. Note: With the percentage of fiction sold in the eBook format, many publishers are contracting their fiction lists – this is standard operating procedure in today’s publishing universe.

Enter Sydney Lane Press – a fiction company founded by yours truly and one of my colleagues from when I was publisher at Thomas Nelson – Brian Henson. Brian and I have complimentary (and wildly different) gifts and talents. (For example, Brian can do math.) Our business model will be to bring proven fiction authors back to market.

But back to Kristen Conner.

Cold As Ice will be available August 1, 2015. Yay! To all who have asked “when is the next one coming?” … THANK YOU for your patience.

Revised Edition

Revised Edition – available July 7, 2015!

New editions of Cuts Like a Knife and Every Breath You Take will be available on July 7, 2015. In particular, Every Breath You Take has undergone a major new edit – not quite a rewrite, but close!

Jeane and Tyson Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media will be handling publicity.

For fans of the Kristen Conner series I would appreciate it very much if you could …

  • make sure you have hit “like” on my author Facebook page so you are up-to-date on announcements.
  • purchase the new book in your preferred format – paperback, eBook or audio.
  • when the books are back up on Amazon, B&N, iStore, GoogleBooks, etc. – please post a review if you haven’t already done so.
  • share your review with friends!

More news to come!

Is Happiness a Choice?

happiness is a choice

Is happiness a choice?

Is happiness a choice? Can you become happy by choosing to be happy?

Two small studies by researchers Yuna L. Ferguson and Kennon M. Sheldon, reported in the Journal of Positive Psychology, suggest exactly that. The intention to become happy may be the key to being happy.

Does the explicit attempt to be happier facilitate or obstruct the actual experience of happiness? Two experiments investigated this question using listening to positive music as a happiness-inducing activity. Study 1 showed that participants assigned to try to boost their mood while listening to 12 min of music reported higher positive mood compared to participants who simply listened to music without attempting to alter mood. However, this effect was qualified by the predicted interaction: the music had to be positively valenced (i.e. Copland, not Stravinsky). In Study 2, participants who were instructed to intentionally try to become happier (vs. not trying) reported higher increases in subjective happiness after listening to positively valenced music during five separate lab visits over a two-week period.

I will admit, this is not a massive research project and I would never argue that happiness is possible all the time by an act of the will. I recognize that there are circumstances and conditions that will make anyone and everyone unhappy. But are we forced to live there? [Read more…]

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

how do I make the best decision when I'm not sure what to do?

What do YOU do when you don’t know what to do?

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

The great philosopher and baseball player, Yogi Berra, described this state of indecision and gave sage advice when he said, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Not knowing what to do can take various forms, including:

  • two or more great options – yes, theoretically we love having choices, but in real life, more menu items to select from is not necessarily easier.
  • two or more terrible options – this is the scenario that begat the phrase, “jumping from the frying pan into the fire.” If you’ve burned yourself on a frying pan, you know why the guy jumped.
  • confused by the facts – ETFs, ETNs, IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401Ks – have you figured out the best retirement investment options for your golden years?
  • the future is unknown – duh! – of course we know that, but this variation of confused by facts still catches us by surprise and stymie our decision-making. This factor has also created the sport of second-guessing the stupidity of others based on our 20/20 hindsight. And as a publisher I can attest there are plenty of books that have been written by people who have caught lightning in a bottle and looked back and described in detail how they engineered their success – even if they had no clue what they were doing at the time.
  • conflicting feedback – I’m not sure if it’s scarier when the people I trust unanimously agree with what I want to do – or when it is a hung jury.
  • fear of failure – *spoiler alert* – aren’t you just a little suspicious of anyone that promises you a path or program that insures success – like a sure-fire way to pick the right stock every time? (If that was possible, why would someone that rich waste time selling a program to me?) If you are a perfectionist, decisions just got more than a little bit tougher.
  • decision fatigue – there are business dynamos that have no problem making million dollar decisions all day but have a blank stare and no ideas when asked where to go for dinner. Decisions take energy. If you’ve been working 12 hour days to finish up a project, it might not be the best time to rush out and buy a new car you can’t afford.

[Read more…]

6 Thinking Hats for Writing

6 hat thinking for writing

Try on all 6 hats for your next writing project!

Can a business strategy be used for the writing process? I thought I would give it a try with the 6 thinking hats for writing.

In 1999, Edward De Bono introduced the Six Thinking Hats as a way to improve thinking and decision making for individuals and groups in the business arena.  De Bono showed that humans think in six distinct ways and he gave each thinking dynamic a representative color. He believed all six ways of thinking are needed for making the best decisions, but if we let them run amok in our head we tend to get confused.

“We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.”

De Bono suggested that a breakthrough activity (not a permanent state of being and doing things) for groups and individuals is to compartmentalize our thinking intentionally and purposely. If we tried on each of the six hats when dealing with problems, new ideas, processes or any other task at hand, we would come up with better decisions and solutions. If one of the hats doesn’t quite fit who we are and how we do things, all the better. It’s role play after all. [Read more…]