Nancy's Notes From Florida

Get These Book Bargains While They Last!

May 3, 2024

Are you getting ready to stock your summer reading basket? I’m pleased to offer you two book deals for your reading pleasure. Buy them for yourself or as a Mother’s Day gift for someone special.

ON SALE – BOX SET ONE

The Bad Hair Day Mysteries Box Set Volume One: Books 1-3 is on sale May 1-14 for only $0.99. In this humorous series starter, hairstylist Marla Shore finds the culprit when her client dies in the shampoo chair, saves a gala fundraiser from sabotage, and gets a workout while solving a murder at a sports club.

“A delightful box set that I blazed through in less than a week! The believable characters and plausible situation drew me in from page one. Author Nancy J Cohen has me wrapped around her series’ perm rods.” Muddy Rose Reviews 

“Cozy mystery readers will fall in love with the wacky characters in this series. Hairstylist Marla Shore reminded me of Lucille Ball. A fun series!” Lois Winston, Bestselling Author of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries

“Marla Shore is a delightful protagonist. If you’re looking for a cozy series that teases you with plenty of fun, the Bad Hair Day Mysteries are sure to satisfy!” Terry Ambrose, Author of the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mysteries

Grab a Copy Now

ON SALE – KEEPER OF THE RINGS

Romantasy is the new term for a blend of romance and fantasy. Just in time for your summer reading basket, I’m putting Keeper of the Rings on sale at $0.99 May 12-22. Embark on a new adventure with this action-packed tale.

It’s Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone when an archaeologist and her mysterious protector search for a stolen sacred artifact on a faraway world. “This complex multi-level story captures the reader with intrigue, adventure and mystery. Prepare yourself for exotic locales, evildoers galore, and two splendid romances!”

Join the Adventure


GIVEAWAY

Enter Here to win two free books at Booklovers Bench May 1-22. While you’re there, check out our blog posts, characters/authors on the bench, and weekly puzzles.

P.S.

Have you seen the 5-star review by N.N. Light’s Book Heaven for The Bad Hair Day Mysteries Box Set Volume Six: Books 16-18: “What a brilliant cozy mystery box set! Featuring three full-length cozy mysteries, this box set is a feast for cozy mystery lovers. The plots move at a fast pace. The dialogue is witty, sharp, and hilarious. The characters are so funny, especially Marla. The descriptive narration is intricate, and the writing is superb… If you’re looking for a good laugh, pick up this box set right now. Even though this is box set six, it can be read out of order or as a standalone.” Read the Full Review

Get Your Copy Here

 



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When Plans Go Awry

April 2, 2024

We make plans, and the Fates laugh in our face. Life can change like a flash of lightning. In one of my 2024 initial posts this year, I set my writing goals and then said… Of course, the best laid plans often go awry. Who knows what the universe has in store for us?”

Little did I know the divine truth in those statements. Our world turned upside-down when my husband became ill and ended up in the ER. He’s home now but our world has shrunk to focus on his care. We live on a day-by-day basis while managing his illness. These include chemo treatments. It’s impossible to plan ahead or to focus on anything except his immediate needs.

As for my writing, the muse is on a break. I’ll be taking a hiatus from this blog unless a subject strikes me that I want to share. Your understanding and support would be greatly appreciated.

Nancy



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Getting Reviews on NetGalley

March 5, 2024

NetGalley is an online site where publishers solicit advance reviews for upcoming titles. This has mostly been the realm of traditional publishing houses, but now indie authors can take advantage of this opportunity.

Authors can join a co-op created for the purpose of reducing costs. For example, Anne Victory from Victory Editing has a NetGalley service, and you can find other sites as well. I jumped on board Anne’s co-op for my latest release, Star Tangled Murder. I scheduled this for two months prior to release. Any shorter, and readers won’t have enough time to read your work. Too long an interval, and it might get lost in their TBR pile. You can also make your book available for more than one month if you wish.

I appreciated how I could filter the requests. I’d research each member profile and then accept or decline entries based on my impressions. At the end, I got a spreadsheet from NetGalley with a list of reviewers who had downloaded my title along with their email addresses.

In total, I approved 105 requests. Out of these, 44 posted reviews. I felt that a 42% return was a pretty good rate.

The Risks

My first two reviews were one-star bombs that threatened to crush my self-confidence. They referred to elements in the book that apparently hit these readers’ hot buttons and didn’t truly reflect upon the story or my writing. I was afraid the book would fail.

But then four and five-star reviews started pouring in, both from NetGalley reviewers and from my personal reviewer list. At present, Star Tangled Murder has 60 ratings on Amazon with a 4.5 average. I got some great quotes from these reviewers.

How do you get started?

Sign up for the author co-op. Once you get a link to your book on NetGalley, design some memes to let people know your book is available there. Share these graphics on your social media sites, in your newsletter and blog posts, and notify your personal reviewer list. Include the link to your book’s site on NetGalley in your posts.

How do you evaluate a request?

You don’t want to give a free book to anyone who asks, so you need to be careful. Use these criteria to check each person out:

For Reviewers, look at their member profile. Do they have links to social media sites or a personal blog?

If they’re a Bookseller, realize they may not review your book but might recommend it to their customers. Plus, the listing puts you on the radar of independent booksellers who are interested in your genre.

Librarians may order a copy and/or recommend it to patrons and book clubs. They might also post a review on LibraryThing or Goodreads.

Consider why an Educator might want to read your book. Do they teach in an age-appropriate grade? Would your book be appropriate for their school library? Are they still teaching or have they retired?

Are their reviews on NetGalley current? How are the ratings?

Where else do they post reviews aside from NetGalley? If you want general readers to see them, you’ll want people to post on Goodreads at the very least.

Check their Goodreads profile. Are those reviews current? Do they review books regularly, and how are their ratings? Do the same for each of the other sites they mention.

Are their reviews more than one or two lines? Do they read like a generic review, or do they actually say something relevant to the story?

As Reviews Arrive, you’ll get emails like this sample:

Susie Star, Reviewer
Member Profile: [NetGalley Link]
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Links included to NetGalley, Amazon, Goodreads

Star Spangled Murder is #18 in the bad hair mystery series. Salon owner Marla and her detective husband Dalton, visit a living history village over the fourth of July weekend. When someone is murdered during a Seminole battle reenactment, Dalton gets assigned to the case and Marla does her best to help him find clues to solve this last case before he retires from the police department. This was a fun quick read with likeable characters and plenty of red herrings. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

Are you interested in connecting with this author (interviews, events, etc)? Yes
Would you purchase this book for yourself or a friend? Yes
Will you recommend this book/author to your audience? Yes

Keeping a Spreadsheet

Download your list of reviewers from NetGalley. Look to see if the people who made requests have followed through with a review. When the book goes live, send a reminder email to each person who downloaded your book and provide links as to where they can post reviews.

For my spreadsheet, I added columns for the Reviewer’s Name, Email, Category (i.e. Reviewer, Librarian, etc.), Approved or Declined; Downloaded the Book – Yes or No; Number of Stars Rated; Review sites, i.e. NG, Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, Blog, or Other to show where they posted. Also I included a Reminder Letter and Date Sent.

Next time you have a new release, you can email those reviewers who posted about your book and offer them a copy, either through NetGalley or through a BookFunnel link.

In Conclusion

NetGalley can be a great way to get exposure for your upcoming release and to gain advance reviews. Revel in the good ones, pull quotes from them, and share these across your social media sites. For bloggers who post about your book, thank them in the comments section and share the post.

Getting Your Book Reviewed on NetGalley #indieauthor #marketing Click To Tweet

As for what to do with the reviews, Read This Post.

STM Five Star Review

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here to win Two Free Books from Booklovers Bench in our March giveaway!

BB March 2024 Giveaway



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Leu House Museum

February 24, 2024

The Leu House Museum is located inside Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, FL. Overlooking Lake Rowena, this stately residence is on the National Register of Historic Places. Although we’ve been to the botanical gardens many times, this was our first tour of the house.

 

The original owners were the Mizell family who claimed the land in 1858. There they grew sugar cane, cotton and corn. David Mizell was the sheriff of Orange County. He got killed in an ambush in 1870. Duncan Pell, the next owner, hired David’s son to add two more wings to the house. He made this a weekend getaway for him and his second wife, silent screen star Helen Gardner.

The Woodward family came next in 1906, adding on to the house to make it the present size. They used the house for a winter retreat.

Finally, Harry P. Leu and his wife Mary Jane bought the property in 1936. They traveled widely and brought back seedlings and plants for their garden. They donated the acreage and house to the City of Orlando in 1961.

Inside, the rooms have been restored with a mixture of original furnishings and donations. The lifestyle reflects turn-of-the-century living. The first families lived without plumbing and electricity, which were later additions.

       

Through the front door, we entered the living room. There’s a pleasant parlor to the left and a dining room straight ahead, with a staircase next to a bookshelf I’d like in my home. Most of these rooms had fireplaces.

       

              

    

The kitchen has been modernized in some ways but still has a wood-burning stove and an old-fashioned refrigeration unit. Originally, it was a warming room while the food was cooking in an outbuilding accessible from a breezeway. But then the kitchen moved indoors.

   

The upstairs held several bedrooms that looked bright and airy. They appear easily habitable.

     

 

A screened porch out back would have been a pleasant place to relax during temperate weather.

  

On the paths back to the garden entrance, we viewed some of the glass and steel sculptures by Alex Heveri for a special exhibit. Otherwise, try to time your visit to include a tour of the house. Go to https://leugardens.org for more information.

 

Leu House Museum is worth a trip to Leu Gardens in Orlando #Florida #history Click To Tweet

We enjoy touring botanical gardens and historic homes. Are there any near you?



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Quick Prep Recipes

February 15, 2024

Here are some quick and easy recipes that will serve you well for breakfast and dinner. They’re fast to prepare for your family.

BANANA OAT FRITTATA

This is a quick preparation breakfast that’s healthy and nutritious. It’s as hearty as any omelet and gives you a serving of grains as well.

Banana Oat Frittata

Ingredients

3 Bananas
0.98 oz. packet Quaker Original instant oatmeal (4 Tbsp.)
3 eggs
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Honey

Directions

Mash one banana in a medium bowl. Add 3 eggs and oats. Sprinkle in cinnamon and stir to blend. In a separate bowl, slice remaining two bananas. Heat olive oil in large nonstick frypan. Place rings of sliced bananas inside pan. Pour oat mixture over top and tilt pan to spread evenly. Cover and cook on medium heat until bottom is browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove cover and flip frittata over to set on other side for 5 minutes or less. Slice and serve warm. Dribble with honey or use maple syrup if preferred. Serves 2-4.

Note: To downsize for a smaller frypan, use only 3 Tbsp. oats, 2 eggs, and 2 Tbsp. olive oil.

STRING CHEESE MANICOTTI

Make sure the food is cooked through enough that the string cheese melts. This tastes even better heated for leftovers the next day. Serve with garlic bread and a fresh salad.

String Cheese Manicotti

Ingredients

12 oz. package string cheese (12 pcs)
8 oz. package manicotti pasta (12-14 pcs)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (24-32 oz.)
Grated parmesan cheese
Dried parsley
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh chopped basil
Dried oregano

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the manicotti in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool. Roll string cheese in a mixture of parmesan cheese and dried parsley. Stuff cheese sticks inside manicotti noodles when not too hot to handle. Pour a coating of tomato sauce on bottom of greased 9 x 12 baking dish. Place manicotti on top in single layer. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil and dried oregano. Add shredded cheese. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until heated through. Serves 6.

Quick prep recipes for breakfast and dinner #cooking #recipes Click To Tweet

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here to win 7 First-in-Series Books AND a Logo Mug from Booklovers Bench in our 11th anniversary blowout giveaway!



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