Grousable Books Newsletter: September 1

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Literary fiction in hardcover

Whether book readers have been awaiting it or not, I certainly have. My literary novel Before the Time Machine (2021) is finally available in hardcover.

hardcover book: Before the Time Machine

There’s something about literary fiction that seems to require a hardcover version. Maybe it’s the idea that it will be in libraries, or the snob appeal, or just feeling something a little more solid and more permanent in your hand. 

This is the book I had to write, and it was my first published work of fiction.  It’s a dual-timeline novel about a present-day historian researching H. G. Wells, young Wells becoming an author during the 19th century, and the conversation they have across time and space. 

Next up for hardcover: Murder at Old St. Thomas’s.

Garden report

The watermelons dried up after Hilary, the tropic storm that, in this part of California, was not.

Each season something comes to the garden that’s new. I like fig beetles. They’re kinda funny. Last year a few came to drink the juice from the grapes, and ruined a couple of figs. Fig beetles fly with faulty air traffic control systems, bumping into things. I’ve had them bump into my face, and I just saw one bump into a Mourning Cloak butterfly (called the much more lyrical Camberwell Beauty in the UK).  They’re the bumper cars of the natural world.

But this year, they held a bumper car convention in my grapes. I didn’t know. I didn’t see. I failed to notice that some of my green grapes weren’t grapes, that half of the clusters were beetles. They were so quiet about it. I’m afraid there will be no Grousable Jam this year. 

I had to cut down the clusters, because they’d split and it smelled like a winery. The clusters were dropping grapes all over the deck.

I won’t say it was fun, but it was surreal, being surrounded by peckish and angry beetles as I closed the bar at Happy Hour. 

So instead of worrying about grapes, I wrote a poem.

Authors Selling Direct

I join a lot of promotions hoping to find new readers, but this one on Book Funnel (Sept 1-18) is particularly interesting because authors couldn’t get in without having their own online “shop”. The idea is to promote authors who sell through their own websites rather than (or in addition to) a retailer (Amazon, Waterstones, etc.). I only recently opened the Grousable Bookshop at my website. 

Authors Selling Direct with picture of book

What’s the difference? When you order from an online retailer, the retailer takes a significant cut, even of e-books. When you buy direct from the author, there is no middleman. The author does have costs, including the fee to use whatever system is taking the payment, but they’re much lower. 

Having chosen my historical mystery romance, A Heart Purloined, for this promotion, it was fun to see the other books alongside it. Take a look at the Authors Selling Direct page and you’ll see what I mean!

Free short story: Murder Steampunk Style

It’s the last chance to download my contemporary mystery short story e-book for free before the end of Bouchercon on September 3, only two days away! So hurry on over to BookFunnel and grab a copy before it’s too late!

Murder Steampunk Style cover of book

This was the story I originally wrote for this Bouchercon, so it’s contemporary and set in San Diego. But I couldn’t resist some Victorian elements, so it takes place at a neo-Victorian steampunk convention. I hope you enjoy it!

That crazy technology

Some readers noticed, I’m sure, the weird formats of previous newsletters. On some people’s screens they looked fine; on others, not so much. Last time I sent a second version cuz I was so embarrassed by the first one. 

I love online technologies — I really do! But mailing list programs are a little insane. They need to keep everyone’s email — that’s no big deal. But they also need to use certain server settings to discourage the emails landing in a Spam folder at the other end. And they have lots of options, some of which don’t work very well. I’d been trying to get MailerLite to send my newsletter posts to you when I post them, but the formatting was, shall we say, unpredictable.

So two weeks ago, I spent an entire day upgrading to the new MailerLite and learning how to structure my newsletter. I didn’t like any of their formats, so I got into the HTML code (I only get free access for the first 30 days) and started hacking. Long ago (1998) I started teaching online, and if you didn’t know some code (well, it’s actually Markup Language, not code) you couldn’t do anything online. Lots of trial and error, but I’m hoping the newsletter will look better from now on! 


Want to read previous newsletters? They’re located here at my website, where you can also find information and buy links to all my books.

Want to read previous blog posts? They’re here

Until next time!