Katy's World Blog 2003-12-13T18:30:02Z Kathleen Walls https://katywalls.com Katy's World Blog https://katywalls.com 2021-02-13T18:30:02Z A little about me. Katy's World Blog
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Welcome to Katy's World Blog where I talk about my books and  how I came to write them. I'll also talk about other books and thing of interest to both readers and authors. I have the comment section right near the bottom of the page so you can ask questions or make suggestions.  

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Books Take a New Path

A few years back I discovered a great new way to expand the audience for my books. ACX, an Amazon affiliate, offered me the chance to have my books turned into audio books read by a professional narrator.

KudzuAt first I was skeptical. Were there any catches? Any downside to this venture?  Well, yes. I had to sign the rights over for seven years. But was that really a downside? I had no plans for those audio rights anyway. Worst that could happen is I had no sales and made no royalties. As thighs were, I had no audio books and thus already no royalties for those rights. Farther, I had no money to hire a narrator privately and pay a huge fee. And if I did where would I market them? So I took the plunge.

For my first venture I used Kudzu, one of my earlier novels that does pretty well as a print book and as a Kindle version. I looked for a great female narrator who could do a Georgia accent, Kudzu is set in the north Georgia mountains in the present and goes back to the 19th century as my protagonist reads her Great-Grandmother Weezy’s diary. Especially for my characters in the past, accent was important.

Now the way ACX works is you can sign up for an exclusive so they offer you books on Amazon.com, Audible.com and Itunes. You can set up, if the narrator is willing to accept, a shared royalty plan where each of you earns half of the royalty paid on each sale. Lately they have a new option where you pay a little to help share the narrator's production costs but it is your choice.

Last StepI was lucky enough to find a great narrator that exceeded my expectations, Lee Ann Howlett. The experience went well and there were some sales.  So I added my Last Step to the queue.  Last Step was my first novel and had done well. It even has a movie made based on it. I asked Lee Ann to narrate and she accepted. Last Step  was a difficult thriller that had many different characters of different races and backgrounds, male and female, young and old.   It’s set in Jacksonville, Florida and deals with drug addiction. Some of the realistic scenes portraying life on the streets were not pretty. Once again Lee Ann came through and did a fantastic job. 

By then I was sold on the idea. I posted Under a Bloody Flag and its sequel, Under a Black Flag. These books are very heavily researched historical novels. Under a Bloody Flag begins in Kansas in 1858 when Kansas was still a territory. It traces the roots of the War Between the States and continues until Kansas is ready to be admitted to the Union as a Free State. Under a Black Flag picks up then and continues until about a year after the war ends.

Bloody Flag cover smMy main characters are all have unique accents. Daniel, is from Louisiana, his half-brother and former slave, Andre is able to switch from speaking perfect English to slave cabin slang at will, Becky, who marries Daniel, is from Massachusetts. You can see the problem with fining a narrator for these books just based on that.

Added to this is the fact that I have tons of lesser characters, most of them based on real people. The accents here are literally all over the world. A narrator here needed to switch form General P.T. G Beauregard to Harriett Tubman, from General  Ulysses Grant to General Robert E. Lee. I have Creole Frenchmen, Irish immigrants, Scottish inventors and the list goes on.

It took a while but finally I came to an agreement with Samuel R. Jones. He held up his end of the game beautifully. His accents are so accurate you feel you are listening to the real historical character he is narrating throughout both books.. I was truly impressed by his talent.

Black_Flag_Front_cover_SmThe third book in the War in the West series, For Want of a Ship is now being narrated by Dr. Tony E.Medlin. It's waiting approval form ACX.   I had Missing-Gone but not Forgotten done by Lee ann Howlett. It came out great and is doing better than my Kindle version. She recently finished The Tenant from Hell and I just got final approval on that also. It already had a few sales after just two days.

As you can tell, as an author, I am happy with ACX. It opens up a whole new audience for my books. For readers, it offers a new experience. Many people have spoken to me at events where and told me how much they like my book as an audio book. Some were experiencing vision problems and could no longer read the printed books. Others like the audio book experience as they travel a lot and it is a easy way to listen to their favorite books while they drive.





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Missing and Last Step: A common bond

Looking at similarities between my "Last Step" and two of my new books, Missing--Gone but not Forgotten and The Tenant from Hell . Drugs are a big part of all three. In Last Step, the dead daughter is a young adult who has become hooked on drugs. In Missing-Gone but not Forgotten, Starr is a young child, and it is the parents and relatives who are involved with driugs.Both are victims of drug abuse.
In The Tenant from Hell, the focus is on those who profit from selling dangerous drugs. Still this leads to multiple deaths.

Here's a little about Last Step: Vickie's daughter is dead. Just one more dead druggie among the hundreds that die each year in Jacksonville, Florida's drug-infested slums. The police aren't concerned about her drug-related death.

VICKIE needs to know. Was it an accidental overdose, or murder? To find the answer, she must leave her safe life behind and plunge into the terrors of the drug culture. Will the search lead her to love? Or will she end up on a morgue slab, just one more casualty in the war against drugs?

HANK His mistakes caused the death of those he loved most. Drug addiction is his sworn enemy. His chosen life has no place in it for love until he meets Vickie.

JOE His money and power haven't been able to save his marriage or his son's love. He seeks Vickie's love but what are his secrets...
It's available as a spring, Ebook, audiobook, and had been made into a movie.

Here's a blurb Missing-Gone but not Forgotten when Starr is reported missing by her father and his girlfriend, later wife, and still later ex-wife:

Jon unsnapped his gun from its holster but didn’t remove it. Clair reached toward the Colt Official Police Pistol strapped at small of her back and nodded at her partner to let him know she was ready and prepared for anything. Jon rapped hard on the door, “Sheriff's Department responding to your call. Please open the door.”

When the trailer became silent and the door swung open, Clair's first thought was this was another child in the family. The person standing in the doorway was about five foot three or four, thin to the point of emaciated, with long brown hair straggling in her face. She was wearing a rumpled tee and a pair of skinny jeans and tennis shoes. Her large blue eyes with a totally blank expression gave the only hint that this was 17 year old Autumn Daily, the person reporting the missing child. She looked like she was stoned out of her mind on some strong chemicals.

Behind her loomed a man a bit over six foot in his mid twenties. He had dark short hair, a small mustache and weighing about 160 with enough muscle to take on either detective. His knuckles were bloody as if he had been punching something, or someone.  He clarified that by slamming his fist into the trailer's side. “It's about damn time you get here. Some fucker took my daughter! If I find ‘em, I'll kill 'em so you better get them first.”

“Calm down, Mr. Shatner. We're going to find whoever took your daughter but we need some background .

Here's a blurb from The Tenant from Hell.
I scooted over to it and lay still hardly daring to breathe. I did remember to turn my phone off. It wouldn’t do to have it ring now.

It seemed like hours but I knew it was only minutes. I heard Hiram’s footsteps coming towards the bedroom. Then I heard another set of footsteps coming from the front. I could hear voices but not make out the words. They sounded like two men arguing. I picked up a few words, “Mess” or “meth,” “Hank,” “Chief,” or maybe it was “handkerchief.” Then the unmistakable sound of a shot, a thump, footsteps walking away, and a door slamming.

For a few more seconds I froze waiting for a shot to pierce the ceiling and kill me. Reason kicked in. The shooter had left. Whoever he shot might be bleeding to death right under me. Even if it was Hiram, I had to help. I pushed the ladder back down and descended. A man lay face down on the floor. Blood was pooling. Overcoming my fear, I tried to turn him, to see if there was a pulse. Logic told me there would be none. There was too much blood and it was coming from a very large hole in his head.

I needed to call 911 but my purse with my phone was in the attic. Before I could start back up, there was a loud crash in front and a large deputy was pointing a gun at me. “Hands up! Don’t make any sudden moves.”

Drugs, their users, dealers, and innocent victims, run through all three books.


It's like a Battle 

Lots of things are like battles today. Writing a book is like a battle. Writers need to make their characters do what they want but sometimes the characters rebel and make the author do it their way. Reading a book is an escape from battling everyday trials.

Welcome to Katy's World. After the past year, I think we all feel like we are in the midst of a battle. Reading is one way to escape the frenzy. Pick up a good book and you can be in a new world instantly. You can go back in time as relive history. You can go to imaginary worlds. You can become so involved in solving a mystery or finding a killer you can forget your present-day troubles.

Indie Book Store Owners: I have marked many of my books down and will give you an even better discount when you purchase for your stores.

To combat the battle fatigue here are a few free books to help. One is the latest in my War in the West series, For Want of a Ship. This offer is only going to be available for a limited time so act now.

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