Now Available-Writers' Tricks of the Trade (the book)

This book of writing tips, writing tricks and writing techniques should be on every fiction writer's bookshelf! NOW AVAILABLE at Amazon, B&N, Books a Million, and most online booksellers or order from your favorite local bookstore.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Morgan St. James was interviewed on Highlighted Author

Author interviews are a good way to share details about yourself with fans and future fans. The trick is in the quality of the questions. Are they humdrum, same old/same old, or do they have an element of fun and depth.

Highlighted AuthorCheck out this interview, and the recent interview on Simon's 10Q, and you'll see that they are each individual and reveal different things.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


The September-October issue of Writers' Tricks of the Trade eZine has just published. As usual, it is filled with helpful articles, industry news, conference listings, the Life Story feature and book reviews. If you wish to share it with friends, the link is

This month the publishing industry lost one of its shining stars -- publisher, author, marketer Carolyn Hayes Uber. 

We have taken the liberty of reprinting her last article  posted in 2013 on her blog. "One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato...?" as a tribute to Carolyn and her humor.

She fought a very valiant fight against leukemia for over 4 years, but in the end even her determination was not enough to beat it. She underwent two stem cell transplants which did extend her life and give her the opportunity to enjoy her family. They were staunchly by her side throughout her illness. 

In the July-August issue of Writers' Tricks of the Trade she shared what it is really like to go through stem cell transplants in the Life Story feature. She went into City of Hope still upbeat and positive, with freshly a manicure and pedicure so she could look pretty.

We say to our friend, RIP dear lady.

This month's Life Story is called "Fooling the Feds," an excerpt from the upcoming "Izzy and Me," Gina Marion's memoir of growing up with a father with many faces. In this escapade, she is a decoy to throw the FBI off the track.

Just click the issue cover where indicated to open it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Nothing happens without hard work. Yesterday was spent constantly promoting downloads of the FREE Kindle edition of Ripoff. FREE BOOKSY selected it as a featured book which definitely helped a lot. Today it will be in DIRT FREE MYSTERIES newsletter. The promotion was also submitted to about 20 newsletters that feature Free Kindle books. Multiple posts were made on social media throughout the day.

With two more days of the promotion left, today the results so far are looking good. It made the Top 100 Free Kindle books overall and remained in the #1 spot for Free Kindle Humor and Entertainment> Humor most of the day yesterday. Including the UK, Canada and India, just under 3500 copies were downloaded since yesterday morning. 

This is pretty good evidence that if you are planning a Free promotion of the Kindle edition or any editions of your book, make sure you are prepared to put the time into promoting it and ask for the reviews.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Sometimes the Amazon Select promotions work, and sometimes they don't. A lot depends upon how much promotion is done in advance and how appealing the book seems. After copies are downloaded, how many are actually read? Of those read, how many reviews are posted?


The numbers are all over the place, and a 10% to 15% return is actually good. Some free promotions trigger paid sales afterwards and some don't. In a nutshell it is a "crap shoot" but still worth trying to get your book more exposure.

My own test is today with the funny crime caper RIPOFF co-authored with Caroline Rowe. There are not a lot of books like this around, if any, because one would need to know about the Federal prison manufacturing ins and outs in order to create the plot. They would also need to know that it is close to A BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR business and is also a rehabilitation program. Add a diabolical scheme to grab millions out of the Federal coffers and three women who act like wannabe Charlie's Angels and you have RIPOFF.

The promotion is off to a good start, with 860 copies having been downloaded by 9:25 PST. In order to keep the buzz going, posts have to be made to several social media sites a few times a day over the three day promotional period.

Not only that, but the author must ask for reviews. The old adage "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" applies and though that request probably won't  inspire anyone who never posts reviews to post one,it can act as a reminder and perhaps garner some reviews that would not have been posted otherwise. With millions of books competing for the buyer's dollar, reviews remain an important part of promotion.

Friday, July 25, 2014


For those who thought the announcement of using drones for deliveries was simply a publicity stunt by Amazon, according to the Publishers Lunch July 11 issue, the company is sincere about it.
Somehow it is a bit bizarre to picture fleets of Amazon drones flying around delivering books, boxes and heaven knows what else, but Amazon appears to be dead serious. Maybe there will be job openings for drone traffic cops or something of that nature. Who knows. Obviously there will have to be rules and regulations governing flight patterns, perhaps times of day and more. After all, who wants to look up at the friendly skies and see drones circling around like dragonflies? And, if it does come about, what will this mean to the publishing business as we know it?. “
After the FAA made it clear in late June that they are still prohibiting commercial uses of drones, Amazon formally applied for an exemption from that regulation. News of that application has sent their stock up over 4 percent in Friday morning trading (almost $15 a share).”
 In their letter, Amazon indicated they are experimenting with Prime Air inside..

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sometimes what seems bad at first turns out good!

In this economy, several authors whose books had previously been published find themselves without a home when the publisher goes out of business. Or, in other cases perhaps the book was dropped for one reason or another.

It doesn't mean that it is all bad. There are options available and also some benefits. The author can shop other publishers, or  sometimes, as in the closing of L&L Dreamspell due to the tragic death of one of the partners, before closing the publisher opened the door for their authors with other publishers. If you want to get the book to market quickly, the althernative is to self-publish.

Speaking from experience, the benefit is the ability to design new covers and perhaps edit the interior. How often does an author read the book after it has been released and say, "Why didn't I write [specific passage] like this?" Or, "Why didn't I think of that ending?"

Here is what happened to two of Morgan's books that had been published by L&L Dreamspell.

 Devils Dance and The Devil's Due was a two volume story inspired by true incidents that happened in the late 1950s. It was written under the pseudonym Arliss Adams which resulted in her losing the following she had worked hard to establish. And, she wasn't particularly happy with the covers. Although the story was compelling, and received many 5 star reviews, several readers wanted more closure in the first book. When the rights were given back to Morgan after Dreamspell ceased to do business, a decision had to be made--re-issue the books just as they were with a new ISBN number and publisher, or take the opportunity to make some major changes.

The route chosen was major changes.

The two books were consolidated and all of the references in The Devil's Due to the backstory in Devil's Dance were either eliminated or edited. The ending was changed because she always had doubts about ending it as she had, and the cover was changed. The end result a year later was a book published under her real name, Morgan St. James, entitled Betrayed.

The new book has a much different feeling but retains all of the tense emotion and heart-rending story that grabbed readers in the original editions.In analyzing the salient points in the story, it all came down to betrayal by a multitude of people in the protagonist's life. Betrayal was behind her being kidnapped, sold into a brothel when she was only 17, then brutalized and left for dead. Betrayal by her mother and her father. As the story unfolds, the brave but damaged young woman manages to survive and rebuild her body, her life, her spirit and a career, but that is not the end. Others betray her and a chance meeting threatens to destroy everything she has accomplished. Although the book is fiction, many of the scenes were inspired by events in the life of a real person.

So, if you are an author and find yourself in this situation, don't despair. Look for the ways you can turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade!

Monday, July 14, 2014




Friday, May 16, 2014

It's that time again! The new issue of Writers' Tricks of the Trade eZine just published.

If you are not familiar with Writers' Tricks of the Trade, this is your chance to check it out. 


Every issue is filled with tips, techniques, stories, review(s), industry news, conference listings and more. 

The mailing list has grown to a point where we are now switching over to using MAILCHIMP as the mailing list manager. At some point, all notifications of a new issue will be through the MailChimp software, so to put your name on the mailing list please visit 

The information will not be used for any other purpose.

TIP: Be careful of overusing adjectives and adverbs. I just read what would have been a 4 or 5 star book but for the overuse of these pesky adverbs and adjectives that filled every chapter in the book.

For example, is it necessary to say "inched slowly?" When one inches, isn't it done slowly? Or, "What!" he said excitedly. Oh no. That exclamation point certainly tells the reader that the speaker is excited or agitated.

Happy reading and writing.


Thursday, March 13, 2014


The March-April 2014 issue of the FREE Writers' Tricks of the Trade eZine is now available!. Now you can sign up for our mailing list and be sure to receive each new issue in your designated mailbox. Just use the form on the right and you will be added to the MailChimp distribution list.

As usual this issue is packed with interesting articles and information, so don't miss out. Here is the link for this issue: