I’ve Lost the Best Friend that I Ever Had

Juli Page Morlgan, Romance for the Bohemian Soul

Trust my rock ‘n roll mind to understand Black Sabbath lyrics, right? But the first line of their 1972 song Changes resonated a lot with me recently. “I feel unhappy/I feel so sad/I’ve lost the best friend that I ever had.” Granted, I’ve moved past the unhappy, sad phase, but I did lose the person who was once my best friend. Only I lost this friend years ago and never realized it fully until now. Bear with me, this is gonna be long.

A kid’s early teenage years are just horrible, I don’t care who they are. Everything is changing; their bodies, their skin, their emotions. It’s all one big, awful stew of confusion. Now add to that moving four times in two years and attending three different junior high schools in three different (oh so different!) states. Fun times, y’all. Fun times. Not. But I was lucky enough to find exceptionally wonderful friends in all three schools, friends that I connected with instantly. One girl, though, quickly became my very best friend of all.


She and I seemed to like all the same things, whether it was music, movies, books, humor, clothes, everything. She had this laugh that seemed to come straight up from somewhere deep inside her, a loud, heartfelt, raucous belly laugh that you couldn’t hear without laughing, too. A huge laugh that came from a girl who barely topped five feet tall (if that) at almost fourteen years old. That’s one of the things I remember most about her, that joyous, unrestrained laugh.

In the few short months my family lived in her hometown, she and I spent almost every minute together. If I wasn’t at her house then she was at mine. Not to say we never had squabbles. Come on, we were thirteen/fourteen years old! Of course we had spats. None of them lasted very long, though. Our friendship survived all of it. And it seemed destined to survive for the rest of our lives even though we ended up living so far away from each other for the majority of our adult lives. That distance isn’t what ultimately dissolved our bond. It was something deep-seated, something I didn’t fully come to realize until last year.

As much as I always loved my friend, I look back now and realize that she not only expected, but also demanded that I share her opinions. There were times over the years when that realization raised its head and got my attention for a bit, but I always pushed it away rather quickly. This was my friend and I loved her. I could keep my mouth shut and let her believe I felt the same way about certain things, right? Fast forward to the mid-1980s. I wrote her a letter, one of those long, rambling ones that contained everything from the antics of my two children to my feelings about the presidential candidates. Oops.

In return I received a condescending missive that chided me as if I were a misbehaving child regarding my statements about her chosen presidential candidate and his wife. While she had not seen fit to hold back her gushing admiration of them in earlier letters to me, she let me know that she was “troubled” by my dislike of them. In fact, she compared my distrust of someone who might become the leader of the country to the dislike she felt over the kitchen decorations chosen by her sister. That hit me like a slap to the face, that my opinion to her was nothing more than the irritation she felt when she walked in her sister’s kitchen and saw blue ducks on the wallpaper. Let’s just say I didn’t answer that letter.

In fact, I think that was the beginning of a very long break for us. I was married, working in radio, and raising two daughters. She was still single, and bouncing from job to job. For the first time in our long friendship we truly had nothing in common. But thanks to technology, years later we were able to find each other again.

In the time we hadn’t communicated she had married and had two children of her own. We exchanged emails, photos, and phone calls, and even a quick but lovely visit when we met each others’ families. Time and distance had taken the shine off our friendship, it’s true, but I still considered her my friend, and I know she considered me hers. Until the recent presidential debates.

We still didn’t agree on politics and social issues. But we agreed to disagree, I kept my mouth shut about how pissed I was when she marginalized my opinions to the level of blue ducks on kitchen wallpaper, and all was good. Then the second presidential debate took place on October 4, 2016, and the proverbial shit hit the fan.

The candidate I backed pretty much destroyed hers in that debate, and my friend did not handle it well. Over the years she had made occasional posts on Facebook praising the president of that time, and expressing her admiration for his wife. I never responded in any way, shape, or form because her opinion was hers and none of my affair. But after the debate she composed a post worded in that smug, condescending way she always had. Words that made it appear that she was so very, very wronged and that her heart was just broken by something the media reported my candidate had done. Since I knew this was misinformation (and I knew she knew it, too, and was just trying to find something to praise from the debacle her candidate had made of the debate) I answered her.

Y’all, I was nice. I have witnesses. 🙂 I simply pointed out that she was repeating false information about my candidate. She responded, but still civilly. I answered her back and she got angry that I dared disagree with her. She even told me that she had let me post positive memes, etc. about my candidate without saying anything. Then her teenage son decided it was his business to weigh in, and he was a complete and utter prick about it. So you know what I did? I went back up to the beginning of the thread and I deleted my original comment. Of course all the attached comments were deleted as well since they were part of the thread. Y’all, I swear by all that’s holy, she lost her effing mind. Again, I have witnesses.

From the posts that followed accusing me of unfriending her, deleting her posts, and pretty much everything up to and including the Iraqi war, I can only surmise she was three sheets to the wind. She’d always been combative when drunk, so I tried to explain that I deleted my own comment, and that included any and all replies, and tried to get the hell away from her for a while. She kept raging at me, and in her mind it was my fault that she didn’t understand how Facebook works. I finally got rather stern and told her several times to Let. It. Go. But she kept having kittens over my deleting my own post. So I got snarky and said at least I didn’t delete 33,000 classified emails.

It got interesting then. I ended up blocking her son because, really? I don’t know that kid, and from his posts I don’t want to. His mother quieted down and shut up and I figured it was over. Granted, my friends and I did obscurely discuss it in some posts, with one person saying they thought certain people were going to tell me I couldn’t sit with them any more, and another saying I handled it well but that Snowflake didn’t. And then it ended. Until her husband started stalking my Facebook profile.

Yes, he and I were Facebook friends, but we very rarely interacted. I didn’t know him any more than I knew his son, so we didn’t exactly have a lot of subjects on which to converse. But right after the election he started replying to some of my posts. He wasn’t nice. It quickly became clear from whom his son learned the art of being a prick online. There was no reason for him to do it other than being a sore loser and, I can only surmise, immature as hell. I ended up blocking him, too.

I have not spoken to my now-former friend since October.

Like the Black Sabbath song says, at first I was unhappy and sad. I dwelt on it more than I wanted to, but it’s only because so many things brought up memories of her. Certain songs, certain bands, catch-phrases we laughed at together. You know how it is. But I haven’t contacted her, and I’m not going to. As I’ve looked back over our friendship I’ve come to realize that I was the one who made all the concessions. She expected it, and I did it. I’ve also realized that while I was growing and changing and stretching my wings and my knowledge and experiences, she’s never really had an original thought.

While I discovered on my own my love of some of the bands we both liked, she liked them because her older sibling did. She liked the books and movies she did because of this sibling or her parents. In our teen years I explored opinions and issues that differed from those of my parents. I supported the political party they didn’t, which disgusted my dad, but he was wise enough to know that I had to come to some decisions on my own. As I matured I saw that I didn’t agree with that party anymore, so I explored and studied again, until I found the ideals and policies with which I agreed. While I was stretching and changing and exploring differing ideas, she never changed. She still slavishly clings to the political party of her parents, and has never once expressed the desire to hear or consider a dissenting opinion. It appears her husband is just as inflexible, so I doubt she’ll get any encouragement to loosen up and admit to her less-than-stellar behavior and apologize. We’re still friends on Facebook, she and I, but we don’t interact. The other day I saw she had written a new post, one worded in that social justice warrior language she uses these days. I just rolled my eyes and scrolled past. (Yeah, we’re friends on Facebook, but if she reads this I figure we won’t be for long.)

So I lost the best friend I ever had. No, it wasn’t over politics. It was over the fact that I am no longer a person who lets someone else tell me who I am. I have embraced my lovely, wild, free, bohemian self, the one who knows my opinions and ideas are just as valid and just as worthy as anyone else’s. I have finally remembered who I was before my now-former friend told me who she thought I should be. And that is why I lost my best friend.

I heard the song 5:15 by The Who yesterday, and felt a twinge. I won’t forget her or the things we shared, but I can’t live by someone else’s rules. You know? The fact that she’d want me to is the thing about this that’s sad.

Thanks for letting me get this out. 🙂


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance for the Bohemian Soul comes out, or if there’s something special going on. Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, sometimes I get a wild hair and there’ll be special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

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Merry Christmas!

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And peace on earth.

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Tell Ya What I’m a-Gonna Do

Checking it Twice at Juli Page Morgan's Blog

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! And Die Winter Die. Oh. Ahem. That last one’s just for me. Let’s just insert a sheepish smile here, shall we? But while I’m hibernating until spring I thought I’d get caught up on my list of Things I’m a-Gonna Do. And since you’re hanging with me today, I thought I’d Tell Ya What I’m a-Gonna Do.

I’m a-Gonna Unfollow on Social Media

Done with Drama at Juli Page Morgan's Blog

Now, I’ll admit that I unfollowed a butt-load of highly unpleasant, smug, and unrepentant twatwaffles during the recent U.S. Presidential election. After my guy won I went back and re-followed (is that even a word?) most of them. I’ve only had to re-unfollow (okay, I know that can’t be a word!) one of them. Hey, she posted that Lily Allen song and aimed it at us who support the PEOTUS, so I quietly removed her posts from my feed so I wouldn’t have to see them. But those aren’t the people I’m a-gonna unfollow now. No, unfortunately a large number of them will be authors. Now, if I’m lucky enough to be friends with their actual personal profile on Facebook then I most likely won’t unfollow that. It’s their author pages I’ll unfollow. Because while they post interesting and funny and sometimes incendiary things on their personal profiles, when they “interact” on their author pages it’s always to try to sell a book. They post teasers and banners and links to reviews and on-sale info. But they never really interact with anyone. There’s nothing on those author pages that make me want to know them, nothing that tells me who they are as a person. Shoot, I know they have books! So quit trying to shove them down my throat all the time. I know they’re there. And if I like you, the person, I may check out what you’ve written. But not if the only time you pop up on my newsfeed it’s to try to sell me something. And that usually carries right over onto Instagram, too. Book teasers out the wazoo, full of lines from the book that have no context to me, and if they’re lines from sexy-times then it just looks like an ad for porn. I’d rather see photos of your backyard. Really. Oh, and also? I’m right off Twitter, so that’s like unfollow times a million. 🙂

I’m a-Gonna Write

Actual writing at Juli Page Morgan's Blog

If you get my newsletter then you know why I’ve been off the Writing Wagon for a while. But, brother, I’m back on it. Or else, I will be around the end of January if everything goes well. And it should! But stories? Do I have stories, y’all. And characters? Lots of ’em! And even a new little town that I think you’ll love as much as I (and my characters) do! And, yes, I swear on my own pointed little head that I will wrap up Rhys and Rhett’s story. Which reminds me, I’ll have a sweet box series coming along in 2017, too. It will be affordably priced and all the books will be pertaining to something you’ve all begged me to write. I have half of it written now, as a matter of fact. Can’t wait to show it to y’all!

I’m a-Gonna Finish My Office

Chaos at Juli Page Morgan's Blog

That picture? That’s an actual photo of my office in its present state. Have mercy, I started re-doing my office sometime during the summer, and that turned into a cluster…well, you know. (I’ve already used the word twatwaffle in this post. I’m trying to be good. Stop rolling your eyes.) But when I put up the Christmas tree I had to use the office to store this gorgeous wicker chair I scored for only $15, and other odds and ends from the living room so that I could put my holiday stuff up. So now I have to kick crap out of the way to get in the door of my office. Dang it. But it’s going….I mean, it’s a-gonna look so great when I get it decorated! I’m doing a bohemian theme, and can’t wait to get back in there, shut the door and light some incense. Then I’ll turn on the stereo, or I’ll play the piano for a bit (yes, I have a piano in there) and then I’ll sit down and write while the sun shines through the multi-colored beads in the window. Ahhh. Hey, I started a Pinterest board for my office remodel. Feel free to check it out if you want!

I’m a-Gonna See Y’all Here More Often

Be here at Juli Page Morgan's Blog

Promise on that, my Bohemian Babes. I promise to finish my Rock Fiction Primer (which, judging by the latest offerings, is desperately needed), I promise to regale you with tales from Hooterville (it gets more interesting — in a Green Acres sort of way — here every day), I promise to share excerpts from my writing, and I promise to be here twice a week like I’m supposed to be and to quit screwing around on Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram all the time. We good? Good.

Anyhow, that’s what I’m a-Gonna Do.


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance for the Bohemian Soul comes out, or if there’s something special going on. Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, sometimes I get a wild hair and there’ll be special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

 

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Where Is Everyone?

On the sidebar to the right of this post you’ll see all the icons that link to my various social media accounts. Sometimes I think about removing some of them, because I go there and think, “Where is everyone?” There’s no one there, or if someone is there it’s not really anyone with whom I care to communicate. But I still keep the accounts because there are always nefarious-minded individuals who like to scoop up people’s names and open fake accounts with them. If I have the accounts and check in every now and again I can maintain my control over them. But honestly? There are only a couple of places I can be found with any regularity. Here’s my Social Media Update in case you go looking for me. 😉

Instagram

Juli Page Morgan

I’ve recently started using my Instagram account on a daily basis, and I’m enjoying it immensely! 🙂 Hashtags are fun, y’all, especially when you make them up as you go along. But more importantly, they’re the way to find others who share your interests. Just type a subject in the search box and you’ll find all the posts you could want about it. Then click on the photos that catch your eye, and check out the accounts of the people who posted them. If you like the account then follow them, and their posts will show up on your feed. I like Instagram because it’s easy to like a post without having to come up with anything to say unless you want. And no one expects you to respond, either. They leave a comment and then move on. It’s the perfect social media for introverts! It’s hopping, y’all, and it’s where everyone is these days. Feel free to follow me on Instagram.

Facebook

Juli Page Morgan

Facebook is the other social media hangout where I can be found daily. I really love my Author Page, and, to a lesser extent, my Profile. My Profile is getting annoying lately, though. Everyone is so effing mean these days. I’ve been having to unfollow and/or block so many hateful people over the past few months. Too, Facebook picks and chooses which posts we see. They limit our access to our friends and to the Pages we’ve liked which kind of cancels out the reason we go there, right? But I still update my Author Page a couple of times a day. I love connecting with everyone there, so please do come and join us!

Pinterest

Juli Page Morgan

I like Pinterest a lot, and you can probably find out a lot about me from looking at my boards. I do have boards for my books, but I rarely bother with those. I mainly pin things I find funny or poignant, DIY stuff I think I may try one day, clothes I like, and food to try. It’s pretty much just things I like without a lot of explanation. If you’d like to follow some or all of my Pinterest boards I’d love to have you along.

Twitter

Juli Page Morgan

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I don’t like Twitter. I never have liked it, and now that it’s gasping out its dying breaths it’s not doing anything to change my mind. If you think people are mean on Facebook then you’ve not been on Twitter lately. Every time I log on (which isn’t often; maybe once a week) I end up unfollowing dozens of people. I used to follow a lot of authors, but now the majority of author accounts are nothing but updates on daily word count, retweets about other people’s books, BUY MY BOOK tweets and/or out-of-context lines from their books or blogs. There are only a couple of people who use Twitter almost exclusively for social media connections, and if it ends up that they’re the only two or three I follow anymore then so be it. But Twitter just makes me angry, anxious and depressed. So I rarely bother with it.

Google +

Juli Page Morgan

I never log on there, so there’s that.

So that’s where I am. And where I’m not. 🙂 If you start looking around and wondering “Where is everyone?” then feel free to come join me on some of these other social media networks. Next up? Learning SnapChat. I have an account, but no idea how to use it. 😀


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance that Rocks comes out or if there’s something special going on. Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, there are special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

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There’s A Giveaway Happening!

This isn’t a blog post, per se, but more of a public service announcement. (And it’s fun to type per se. 😀 ) But I have a giveaway in progress right now over at my Facebook page.

Juli Page Morgan's Giveaway

I’d love to have you enter if you’d like. All you have to do is bop over and find first post on the page and then comment with your favorite color. That’s it. And on Monday, October 10 I’ll let good ol’ Random choose a winner.

Good luck!


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance that Rocks comes out or if there’s something special going on. Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, there are special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

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What’s Wrong With Fall?

It’s no secret that I’m no fan of autumn. I’m not shy in letting anyone know that I detest everything about the end of summer and the beginning of fall, but this year I started wondering why that is. What’s wrong with fall? Why do I hate it so much? So I got introspective about it. Scary, I know. 😉

Fall Colors

Juli Page Morgan Romance for the Bohemian Soul

This is a big reason I don’t like fall. Yellow, orange, red, brown. Warm colors that I dislike even when they’re not all over the foliage. And while I’ll admit (grudgingly) that some areas, like the photo above, do look rather nice with those colors, overall I still don’t like them. No matter how they look for the brief time they’re there, they still indicate death. The leaves are dying from lack of sustenance. Dying, y’all. Starved. To. Death. To me, that’s just not beautiful, or inspiring, or awesome, or any other adjective other than sad.

Fall Hunting

Juli Page Morgan Romance for the Bohemian Soul

I’m not against hunting. Not at all. I know it keeps animal populations in check (a big necessity), and it provides food for people and takes the strain off their grocery bill. But as much as I understand it and even support those who like to hunt, I still don’t like seeing photos of dead deer with their glazed eyes all over my social media feeds. Or ducks with limp necks. Or whatever the hunters have managed to kill. I’d also rather not have panicked deer running out in front of my car. Another reason that fall equals death to me. If it’s not SEC College Football or the World Series, fall recreation makes me sad.

Fall Weather

Juli Page Morgan Romance for the Bohemian Soul

I hate cold. I don’t just dislike it, I hate it. And I hate it because it hurts. As someone with a chronic pain condition, cold or even cooler weather brings agony in ways you can’t imagine. I’m not talking about an air conditioned house or car. I’m talking about cold, damp weather that clings to clothes and exposed skin, and sinks into the core of your being. No amount of clothing will keep that crap out. And speaking of clothing, once you’re clad for the temperatures outside then you’re set up to be miserable when you enter stores, restaurants, or any businesses you may visit. Then it’s Sweat City, baby, and the hacking cough that comes with overheating. No, you can keep your fall weather. Please. And take winter with it.

Fall Education

Juli Page Morgan Romance for the Bohemian Soul

Oddly enough, this is the big one for me, the main reason I think that makes me hate fall. Back to school. I know, I know. I don’t go to school. But I used to, and I’m going to admit something I rarely hear anyone admit: I hated school. Hated it with every fiber of my being. Always did. I wasn’t one of those kids excited to start Kindergarten. Nope, I didn’t want to go. That carried over every single year until my last year of college. Just the thought of the quiet of a classroom set my teeth on edge and brought on anxiety. I seriously disliked parent/teacher conferences when my kids were young because I so hated the sounds and smells of a school. One year when money was tight I worked as a substitute teacher. Threw up every morning they called me to work. Gritted my teeth and counted the seconds until I could get the hell out of there, just like I did when I was a student. So the main thing about fall to me was having to go back to school, the most horrible situation I could think of.

So nothing about fall is enticing or pleasant to me since it induces anxiety, physical pain, emotional revulsion, and a stuffy nose which I didn’t even bother to mention above. I know that when fall arrives, winter can’t be far behind with freezing temperatures, frozen precipitation that makes just walking to the mailbox dangerous, and sends cars crashing into each other. No, fall/autumn/whatever-it’s-called is just evil to me. It’s always meant the death of everything pretty, whether it’s plant life, animals, or personal freedom.

I’m sorry, but I’ll never like this season. Give me spring and summer; give me warmth, and sunshine, and pinks and creams and purples, and baby animals, and sand, and swimming, and life. I’ll be huddled over here under a blanket, waiting.

Juli Page Morgan Romance for the Bohemian Soul


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance that Rocks comes out or if there’s something special going on. Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, there are special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

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Looking for FREE E-Books?

Think I’m going to be pricing any of my books as free? Ever? Yeah, that’s never gonna happen. If you’re looking for free e-books you’ve come to the wrong author. Lemme explain, ‘k?

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This weekend I went to the butcher’s for a roast and some sausage, and they made me pay for my purchase. I bought some vegetables from a roadside stand, and they, too, made me pay for my purchase. Then I went to see a movie with some friends, and we had to pay to be entertained. I know, right? I didn’t get any of that stuff for free, even though none of it was stuff I absolutely had to have in order to survive. I mean, it was just stuff I wanted, and the people who made it required me to pay for their product!

Because they have to make a living, too!

I write for a living. Granted, I haven’t been doing a lot of writing, but all my income comes from my books. That’s my J-O-B. My books are the products I produce and sell. Like my butcher, and the farmer with the roadside stand, and the movie production company, I’m not going to price my product as free. I don’t care how badly someone may want it. My books cost $3.99 each. If you want them then that’s what you pay. I’ve got bills to pay, just like everyone else, and my books are where my money comes from.

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This isn’t to say that I don’t give away books from time to time. Just last month I decided to give away a signed print copy to someone among those who responded to a certain Facebook post. There are times I just up and gift someone a digital copy. Bloggers who have supported me in the past usually get a free copy when a new book comes out. No, I still give away my books. But I will not, ever, price them as free on retail sites like Amazon, etc.

You Do You

I know lots of authors have a least one book as perma-free, and more power to ’em if that’s how they want to roll. A perma-free book has been touted for a couple of years now as a good way to get readers to buy an author’s other books. You know, draw them in with a freebie (especially if it’s the first book in a series) and then the readers will pay full price for other books by the author. And several years ago it worked. For a short amount of time. Now? There are so many free books out there that readers can spend the whole day downloading them from reputable sites, filling up their e-readers with tons and tons of books.

And then they don’t read them.

Several surveys over the past year (and no, I can’t remember where they are or I’d give you a link, but I read them) have shown that readers very rarely read free books, especially ebooks. Those downloads get shuffled into a folder where they’re promptly forgotten. Why? Because the reader places no value on them. They’re just free books, that’s all. Stuff. Filler. Junk. Maybe on a rainy day they may open the folder and see if a title or cover jumps out at them enough to give the book a try, but more often that not those books go unread.

I place more value that that on my work.

Anyone who thinks writing a book is easy is free to open up a blank Word document and start typing right now. Or talk to some of the readers who, inspired by the books they loved, decided to write and publish their own books and got horrible ratings and reviews because of writing, plot, grammar, realism, etc. Writing a book, a good book, is hard. I put a lot into it, and I deserve to be paid for it.

Of course, creating the characters, setting and storyline, research, writing the first draft, revising, revising, revising, revising and revising is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also paying for the cover art and design, classes and books (because, like all jobs, writers take courses to make us better at what we do), conferences, etc. All of those business expenses take money, and that money comes from selling books.

So unless you’re on an illegal pirate site where they purport to offer free downloads of books, or you found a douchecanoe somewhere who ripped off one of my books and is offering free downloads (in other words, if you’re stealing my books) then you will not find them listed for free. Not at any reputable sites. You know, the ones where honest people go to find books.

I don’t work for free, and I’m not sorry. My e-books are $3.99 each, and I think that price is more than fair. My print books are also priced competitively. And they’re good enough to merit those prices. You may catch me doing a pop-up giveaway on my Facebook, or giving away a couple of e-books to a newsletter subscriber, but as for free books on retailers? You’ve come to the wrong author.

Felicia


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance that Rocks comes out or if there’s something special going on. You’ll get a FREE e-book of my bestselling Song Without Words just for signing up! Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, there are special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

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The Power of a Reader (And a Poll!)

In my last blog post I let you know that I don’t expect you to feel required to write a review when you read my books. All this unrelenting pressure on the reader to perform a job after reading The End is something to which I do not subscribe. Just read my books and derive enjoyment from them. No book report required. 🙂 This isn’t saying I don’t run into the problem drowning a large number of authors these days, and that’s how the hell do we get our names and our books in front of new readers? How do the people who would like our books actually find our books? Well, according to several well-conducted research polls, it’s word of mouth that does it. That’s right, it’s the power of a reader that spreads the word.

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A reader who swears they never read or even glance at written reviews will perk up their ears if a friend praises a book.

Stands to reason, right? No one knows who those faceless, often nameless reviewers are at Amazon or Goodreads. But friends and acquaintances? They know you. You know them. Strangers can stand three feet from you and yell about how great something is and how you must give it a try, but why in the world would you believe them?

That’s why you don’t see very many posts about my books on my social media accounts. Every once in a blue moon I’ll put something on Facebook. I recently had a post go viral (over 19,000 shares and over 13,000 “likes” last time I looked!) and because of it I gained a lot of new followers to my profile. My daughters asked me why I wasn’t taking advantage of this by posting about my books. Honestly? I never thought of it until they mentioned it. And then I only posted once.

Because I don’t want to be that author.

You know the one. Every single Twitter post is automated and contains a line from one of their books (that just falls flat because there’s no context), a bunch of hashtags about genre or price, a snippet of a review, and buy links. In other words, “BUY MY BOOK!!!!” Might as well just come right out and say it. And all Facebook posts are book-related, or writing related, or book-related again, or they’re just sharing their author page posts, OR they just post the exact same thing on their author page and their profile so it shows up twice on your newsfeed. Even worse? When they’ve linked their Twitter feed to their Facebook feed and FB readers see their replies to tweets in their newsfeeds! And every pin on their Pinterest account has to do with their books. Every. Pin. Look, I’m an author, too, and I understand their frustration, but Lord have mercy, that’s nothing but spam. That’s right, I said it. Unwanted advertising=spam. If I follow/friend an author on social media, I wanna be social. I want to know the author, not be bombarded by BUY MY BOOKS!!!!

But it’s so easy to fall into that trap, y’all. Speaking of spam, you ought to see my email inbox. Twitter for Business. Pinterest Partners. Those are the ones wanting me to bombard you with advertising for my books instead of interacting with you as a person on Twitter or Pinterest. And every time I post from my Facebook author page I get a big ass blue button that tells me I could reach more than Facebook’s designated five followers by paying to “boost” (read: advertise) that post. But that’s pretty much the same thing as a stranger yelling at you. Dang, y’all know I’m an author and that I have books. Talk about preaching to the choir!

Friends telling friends about books, though? That’s what the majority of readers say works for them. A word over lunch with co-workers. At the gym. Over a glass of wine while waiting for the Netflix program to load. Texting during a traffic jam. My younger brother got his bank teller interested while making a transaction one day! Friends telling friends. Word of mouth. From your mouth to the ear of a new reader. The only drawback is having your friend forget both the name of the book and the author’s name, and then forgetting to ask you about it later. After all, your friend still has a long afternoon of work ahead of her. Or she’s about to do kettlebells and she’ll be lucky to remember her own name after that. You know what I mean.

So here’s where the poll comes in.

I don’t mind one bit sending you things you can hand to your friend/co-worker/bank teller/interested party when you’re recommending my books. Something you can pass along and say, “Here’s her name and her website. All her books are listed there, and you can even read the first chapters of each one!” And she’ll put that thing in her purse or her wallet, and hopefully when she runs across it again she’ll check out my books. And then maybe pass that reminder thing on to another friend.

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But here’s the question:

What kind of thing should it be?

I used to have bookmarks made. Great if a print book is handy, not so great if a reader only reads ebooks. Plus, they’re a little big. Would a business card size be better? Or something else? You’re the reader – you have the power to sway a new reader. So let me know how you can best do that. You know what works and what wouldn’t. I will be forever grateful and will go into production immediately!


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance that Rocks comes out or if there’s something special going on. You’ll get a FREE e-book of my bestselling Song Without Words just for signing up! Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, there are special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

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You Do NOT Have To Write A Review

I swear it’s almost gotten to the point where you wake to an alarm, and after you quiet the alarm it shows a message asking you to write a review of it. (And if there are alarms that actually do that? Please don’t tell me about them. I think it would finally drive me smack over the edge.) Can’t do anything these days without the product’s manufacturer pestering you to write a review. And, brother, authors are some of the worst offenders. But I’m gonna break the mold here by telling you that you do NOT have to write a review of my books. Ever.

Juli Page Morgan - You do NOT have to write a review

It all started with Amazon. (Doesn’t everything?)

When it started they invited consumers to leave reviews of the products they’d purchased. And in the beginning all those products were books. A lot of consumers were delighted with this because it was the first time they could truly recount their experience with a product and be heard. Amazon played it up, too, by sending emails reminding people to rate the product they’d bought. They made it appear they paid attention to reviews when what they actually pay attention to is how many times someone clicks onto their website. They’ve got a lovely layout, so when you visit Amazon, particularly if it’s for something you’ve bought already, you’ll probably find images of things that make you want to buy them, too. Those peeps at Amazon aren’t fools. They know how to market, and they know how to get people to click on their website and products. And pandering for reviews is one way to do it.

It didn’t take long for authors to jump onto the review train. Someone somewhere started a rumor that if a book had a large number of reviews Amazon would market that book in its emails to customers. I don’t know if that was ever true, then or now, but I’ve seen indie books with thousands of reviews get no attention from the ‘Zon at all, so there’s that. Again, Amazon isn’t run by fools. They market the big names and the authors who publish A) with them exclusively, like with Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Select or B) publish with Amazon itself through one of its imprints. What, you didn’t know about those? Not many people do. But Amazon runs a large publishing company of its own with fourteen or so imprints like Lake Union, Montlake, and Thomas & Mercer. Stands to reason that they’d push their own books instead of indie authors, no matter how many reviews they have. After all, Amazon is a business. They’re in it to make money.

Then the book newsletters saw a golden opportunity to increase their own standard of living, so they offered authors a chance to advertise reduced-price or free books in their newsletters for a small fee. Can’t blame them. Again, it’s a business. They aren’t working for free. Didn’t take long before they were swamped with requests, so they raised the fee, and raised the fee, and raised the fee. Still, authors were desperate to get their books in front of potential readers, and ponied up hundreds of dollars for one day’s mention in one of those newsletters. (Yes, I said hundreds of dollars, anywhere from $400 to $1,800 for one listing, depending on the book’s price. Of course, two to three million people will be sent the newsletter, and you could realistically sell 2,000 books. Of course, if the book is free, or priced at 99¢ you’ll lose money. Even if a reader bothers to look up your regularly priced books and maybe buy one.) So the newsletters decided to require a certain number of reviews before a book could be listed. Some book bloggers, who are inundated every day with hundreds of  review requests and who are working for free, also started requiring certain numbers of reviews on Amazon before they’d agree to read a book. And, boom! Authors started pestering their readers.

Juli Page Morgan - You do NOT have to write a review

Actual photo of readers digging for words with which to write a review.

Lord, it’s everywhere.

Facebook posts that range from embarrassed pleading: “Would you consider leaving a review? Here’s a link.” to outright guilting readers into it: “My book will never be seen by anyone else unless you all leave a review!” Memes started to crop up about the “care and feeding” of authors that included writing a book review as essential to the author’s continued existence. Then the links appeared in the back of the books. “Thanks for reading. Won’t you consider leaving a review?” And, yes, that’s right smack-dab at the end of each of my books, too. I own it.

But so many reviews have stopped being actual reviews. A reader gets pissed at the author for his or her political leanings and leaves a one-star review on a book. A reader buys the book and leaves a one-star review that reads, “Just bought it. Haven’t read it yet.” Another author gets miffed because a book blogger gave her book three stars (which is still good!) but the author is furious because it’s not five, so she rallies her street team to attack the review sections of an author the book blogger really, really likes, and the street teams run out and leave one-stars on all the innocent authors books, books they’ve never read. Or a reader emails an author and says, “I really loved this book. I’d like to read the rest of your books, but I can’t afford to buy them all, so from now on you need to make all your books free,” and when the author shares this (without naming names) as a What-The-Actual-Hell moment, the reader (who has apparently never heard of a library) starts a flame war and one-stars all the author’s books and gathers a bunch of other trolls to help her because the author won’t give away all her books for free. Every one of these things has happened, and within the past three months. We won’t even get into unscrupulous and/or desperate authors who sink so low as to pay for fake reviews.

And regular readers? Those who don’t read two or three books a day? The ones who buy a book with lots of thought beforehand and take a week or so to get through it? Those readers? They’re being pestered to work for it now by writing a freakin’ review that, frankly, doesn’t mean much today.

Juli Page Morgan - You do NOT have to write a review

Son of a bitch. It ain’t worth it.

So guess what? You don’t have to write a review when you read my books. You don’t have to feel guilty for not writing a review. I do not expect you to write one, and I will not mind one teensy-tiny bit if you don’t. I promise. When you read one of my books all I want you to do is enjoy it. Then when you’ve finished, put it aside and read something else. (It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if it was another of my books, but, you know. 😉 ) This isn’t Mrs. Waldon’s 10th Grade Literature class, and you do not, nor will you ever, owe me a book report/review. You don’t owe me anything, my dear readers! Reading should never feel like it comes with strings.

Juli Page Morgan - You do NOT have to write a review

Now, am I going to leave those links at the back of my books? Yep. Not because I expect a review, but just for the convenience of those so inclined. I truly appreciate every review my books have, because I know people wrote them because they wanted to. And, too, I’m afraid I’ll get thrown out of the I’m-An-Author Group if I take them out. So just ignore them. That’s the beauty of those links — you can scroll right past ’em.

And scroll away, because remember: You do NOT have to write a review!

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Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance that Rocks comes out or if there’s something special going on. You’ll get a FREE e-book of my bestselling Song Without Words just for signing up! Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, there are special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

 

 

Posted in My Books!, My Surreal Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

I really didn’t intend to give you an earworm this morning, but Sly Stone said it best and who am I to mess with perfection? Although, just between us? My favorite song by Sly and the group has always been “Family Affair,” but it just didn’t work as the title of today’s blog post. Again, not gonna mess with perfection. And I wanna say Thank You. You know, for lettin’ me be myself. Again.

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Sly and the Family Stone. Yep, people used to dress like that. Still do.

Why am I thanking you for letting me be myself again?

Well, mainly because those of you who follow me on Facebook didn’t A) unfriend me, B) come to my house with baseball bats, or C) call the men in the white coats when I dipped my toe my whole foot into responding to political and/or societal posts with my own opinion, no matter who I pissed off in the process.

See, when Crimson and Clover was first published in 2013 I read lots and lots of advice from people who know what they’re talking about that authors should not talk about and/or engage in discussions about hot-button topics, including politics, religion, and the like. It was pretty good advice, because who the hell wants the political opinion of a romance author? If I wrote a political column for a newspaper or magazine or something? Well, yeah, then people would expect me to spout off. But all the people who know about this stuff said it’s a bad idea to even hint at that kind of stuff if you don’t write about it because you’re bound to piss off readers. Some authors got all huffy and said they felt it was their “duty” to write blog posts about politics, et al., because they thought they had “a voice” to “effect change.” They may have been authors of how to arrange flowers, but they really thought their readers would hang on their opinions on the political topics making headlines.

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Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. So I kept my mouth shut. Tight. I did not want to be those people.

However.

After three years of stifling myself and restraining myself from making any comment whatsoever about the hateful shit going down in the world today, I snapped. I started by responding in comment threads. Hey, if I was going down the rabbit hole I was going to make sure it was the express hole to hell, right? Got into some down and dirty fights with other trolls, too. Yes, I said other trolls, because I was just as mean and awful as they were. Except I could spell. (Sorry. Not sorry.) I then graduated to posting inflammatory things on my Facebook newsfeed and sharing posts I knew would make everyone who didn’t think exactly like me either hurt or raging mad. And it felt so good. At first.

Yes, at first it felt good to finally let go, to stop holding everything in, to pretend that I was dancing through life without letting any of this bother me, even when other authors who I follow and/or am friends with on Facebook posted snarky, passive-aggressive things that subtly called me (well, people who think and believe as I do) a moron, a fool, an idiot, wrong about everything and everyone. And I wanted to strike back. Take that! And that! You’re the idiot. You’re the fool! You are so, so, so wrong about everything. Let me laugh at you now. Not so smug now, are you? But then it hit me one day.

What was the use? 

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Their hateful memes with quotes from Samantha Bee or Joy Behar or other talk show hosts hadn’t changed my mind at all. It just made me think less of those who posted them (and also made me wonder why they were getting all their political views from “talk show” hosts, but I digress. And I also couldn’t help but get in one last shot. Again, sorry. Not sorry.) So it stood to reason that my posts weren’t changing their minds, either, even though they came from people who actually knew the laws. (Sorry. See? Politics. Bad to talk about. We should just do our talking at the polls.) Besides, though it felt freeing in the beginning to finally let loose, now it was just making me mad all the time. While I felt hurt and insulted by the things others posted before, once I started responding in kind I felt personally attacked by them. I was turning into one of them — one of those people who think everything they see is about them! No!

So I’ve dialed it way, way back. I started by unfollowing a crap ton of people on Facebook. I hated to do that, because I genuinely like every one of them. But their passive aggressive crap was making me feel bad all the time. Maybe after the election I’ll see about following them again. Plus, I’ve hidden all posts from a lot of source posts I see from people I didn’t unfollow. Some are things with which I don’t agree, but not all of them. The majority of these things are political opinions with which I agree, but they’re still couched so hatefully that they made me feel bad, like they left a light coating of anger over my whole newsfeed. It’s made for a much lighter newsfeed, both in content and in tone, and I feel a whole lot better, this time in a good way.

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Does this mean I’m going back to the hide and stifle routine? Nope. Look, if a reader decides to not read my really good books just because I’m a conservative who votes Republican 99% of the time and owns firearms, then their loss. Myself, I think that’s a petty reason to not read an author, but hey, whatever floats anyone’s personal boat. Ain’t no politics in my books, but that’s their prerogative. No skin off my nose. Ouch to my bank account, I’m not gonna lie, but oh, well.

No, I’m not hiding anymore. I am who I am, and I think what I think, and I believe what I believe, and I think you should do the same. We just don’t need to beat each other over the head with it. But before I completely shut up, there are a few things that have bugged me, and I’d love to get them off my chest. Indulge me for a minute, would you?

Am I the only one who

  • didn’t think the lady in the Chewbacca mask was drop-dead hilarious? I watched about a minute and a half of the video and thought it was mildly amusing, but then she got on my nerves and I hit “stop,” but then everyone was sharing it and talking about how “cute” she was, and I was all, WTF?
  • doesn’t care all that much for Betty White? I liked her in The Golden Girls, but now she seems to just be a coarse broad with no class. JMHO, y’all.
  • doesn’t think the guy on the Got Talent (or whatever it’s called) show who did the cover of “Somebody to Love” was very good? Everyone was posting the video and gushing over his performance, and so I watched it and thought, “Meh. I’ve seen intoxicated people do a better job of it on karaoke night.”

Am I the only one who felt that way?

Okay, done. Just a few things I held in because I was all bewildered that everyone’s reaction to these things was so opposite my own. I was afraid to say anything contrary because people were freakin’ passionate about that stuff, especially that Chewbacca lady.

So thank you. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin). 😉

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Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when a new Romance that Rocks comes out or if there’s something special going on. You’ll get a FREE e-book of my bestselling Song Without Words just for signing up! Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, there are special giveaways of books and/or swag that are only available to newsletter subscribers!

You can also follow my blog by email. You’ll get a notification in your inbox whenever a new post is ready. And, as always, you can unsubscribe at any time. The subscribe button’s right over there to the right somewhere.

 

 

Posted in My Surreal Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment