Back in Kindle Unlimited…and excited about it

As any author knows, Amazon has taken a stand against some types of books by changing the way they pay authors who belong to KDP Select. Some authors are screaming Armageddon and running for the hills. 

Not me. I’m jumping back in. This is exactly what I’d hoped would happen. Why? Because it’s closer to being fair. Exactly fair? Not yet, but they’re working on it. That’s why I like Amazon. They’re always working on it and trying to make things better. 

Authors will be paid based on the number of pages read in your novels. Unfortunately, we don’t know the actual number we’re to be paid yet, and I understand how that can stress people. The most common guess is a penny a page, thus a 200 page novel (based on their normalization process) will make $2.00. I think the payout will be less than that-somewhere around 3/4 of a penny (.0075). 

To pay me what they wanted to pay me with their first payout formula, they would have paid me about a half a cent per page for my books (all between 70,000-80,000 words).  But I think we’ll get more. 

More, you ask? Why? Because people won’t be paid for unread pages. All those novels thrown up in a hurry, carefully edited for the first 10% to game the system, aren’t going to get finished. 

I belong to Kindle Unlimited. Why? I love to read, and I do research for my books. Amazon has not made money on me during most months, because I love to take books out. I like to try new things that I would never try if I had to pay for the whole book. I read a chapter, say this isn’t for me, and return it. 

Authors will be shocked to see how many novels aren’t completed in this world of short attention spans. In fact, I am sure Amazon will be accused of not being truthful, but many times, the truth hurts.

So back in Kindle Unlimited I go with all my novels. I sold very little on the other platforms, but I tried. I can’t wait the one or two years it takes to build a substantial following in the other retail places when Amazon pays me very well. As I’ve said before, Amazon has been very good to me, and has made it possible for me to write fulltime. And I’m loving it. 

Here’s to more great books! And thanks for listening, Amazon.

Keira

Dialect

Every historical author has to make a decision on how they are going to handle dialect. For me, that means the 1200s in Scotland for my Clan Grant Series. For most of my characters, that would mean I should write in Gaelic which I don’t speak or understand, and I doubt many of my readers do either. 

So I write in English and move to step 2 on the decision ladder…how much dialect do I throw in there? If you have read my Clan Grant Series, you know that I have changed as my series has progressed. I used what I considered (as a reader) to be heavy dialect in my first novel, but “lightened” it with every successive book. Why? Because I don’t want to ever lose a reader due to my use of dialect. 

Since I was born in the US, my Scottish dialect is limited, and I have discovered that I am more concerned with not giving the dialect justice and respect. I do not want to make mistakes, and I am sure I have somewhere in my six novels. I apologize if this offends anyone. I do try my best: I have read many other authors, have hired historical editors, but still I find myself unsure. 

And the truth is that even the experts are unsure about some things. How much was written in the medieval period? And according to one of my experts, the 1200s in Scotland was such a calm period that little is written about it, thus we have little guidance. 

So I resort to what I think will be the least offensive to all. Yes, I have always received reviews that critique my use of language, but I am sure I always will. Some say I use too much dialect, some say not enough,  some say incorrectly. One said I used a completely wrong word-something never used in the UK. Yet according to my research in etymology, it was used in the early 1300s in Scotland, so I thought that was close enough for the 1260s. True, it may not be used in present day UK, but it was back then. Of course, one can never please everyone. 

But what I hope comes across in my writing is how much I love the country and the history of Scotland. I try to bring readers to another world for a time, to enjoy, to fantasize, and to fall in love.

Happy reading! 

Keira

Summer is coming!!!

I had a blast in Dallas at RT Conventions. Learned lots, met many new friends, and have new plans. So here’s what you can expect to see for the summer!

1. A FRESH START FOR TWO will be out toward the end of this month. I love Jake and Julia, I hope you do, too. I have a favorite scene in this novel between Jake, his brother Ryan, and the character you haven’t met yet, Gram. I think you’ll love her!

2. Starting in June, I will have a new assistant working with me, and I can’t wait. She will definitely help me out in the social media area, along with getting my Summerhill Series available on audio. The good news for you is that I’ll have MORE time to write, and that is exciting to me, also.

I’m actually taking a week’s vacation in June. Back to the Charleston area that I love!

3. In July, I hope to release Jennie’s story. You can guess that Alex Grant is not going to let his baby sister go to just anyone, and I’ll let you in on a hint: she won’t be verra happy with her brother. 

Also in July, MY DESPERATE HIGHLANDER will be released in audio by Tantor Media.

I  will be visiting the Finger Lakes region in Western New York, and plan to write quite a bit of my third novel in the Summerhill Series while I am there. 

I also have another big conference in July. BUSY month. 

No special plans yet for August. I won’t release Summerhill #3 until late September. Maybe I’ll find time to squeeze in a novella. I know I have promised one for the St. James Series. 

Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend, if you live in the US. Hope everyone has a wonderful summer planned!

Keira Montclair

 

Dallas and RTConvention, Here I come

I’m so excited to be attending my first RT Convention. I’m not sure what to expect, but this is what I’m hoping for:

1. Meet readers- old and new. Please come up and talk to me! Would love to meet you. 

2. Give away some books, free, signed, yep. Did not sign up in time to do the Saturday book signing, but I will be at Club RT on Thursday.

3. Network with other authors. Meet some new friends, catch up with old friends. 

4. Find out what’s going on in the publishing biz. I’m so isolated self-publishing. I can’t wait to learn more. 

5. Learn from the experts-contemporary, indie, historical. Love to learn something new!

6. Enjoy Dallas! My first time.

7. Write 10,000 words of Jennie’s story. Yeah, may not get there, but workshops don’t start until 10 am. I’m hopeful.

8. Proofread A FRESH START FOR TWO-Jake’s story. It’s almost ready!

9. Relax and have fun. 

Can’t wait! 

Keira

 

The Conundrum of RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER

rescuedbyahighlanderWhy is RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER a conundrum? Because readers either love it or hate it. I decided to try and tackle the reason why. 

So…recently I paid for a BookBub ad, and had an amazing 49,000 free downloads of my very first novel in the Clan Grant Series, RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER. Along with the good often comes the bad, and this was no different. It brought all kinds of people out that gave me one-star reviews for my writing, or ‘liked’ the one-star reviews.

Yes, I made a mistake on my first and second novel in my self-publishing experience. I hired an editor for both, but it was my first experience with editing, and didn’t know enough to hire a developmental editor. I also didn’t pay much for the first two edits. Now I know better.

Understand that I am also a nurse (RN) and a teacher, and both roles are a large part of me.

In these bad reviews, I am often accused of the same things. In fact, if you want to write another bad review about my writing, go ahead, you won’t tell me anything I haven’t already heard. But here are the most frequent comments:

1. Repetitive- Yep, guilty. One of the first things I learned as a teacher was that you have to repeat anything new 8 times before someone will remember it. EIGHT times. By habit, I repeat myself. My present editor (God bless her) often crosses something out and states, “You just said that.” I still want to remind her that it’s an important point, so shouldn’t I say it at least twice? Umm… no.

2. My writing is choppy-Again, guilty. I spent years as an RN. Here’s how I would write an assessment: VS stable, A & O x3, c/o pain in abd RUQ 7/10, intermittent. Lungs CTA….I think you get my point. You can’t chop a good RN’s writing any more. It’s supposed to be choppy. My present editor says- “Flesh this out a little.” Two pages more..”Flesh this out.” and by the end, she should be writing in caps FLESH THIS OUT!!!

3. I’m melodramatic-Guilty. Oh, YES I AM!  If you don’t like melodrama, please don’t read my books. I worked in a pediatric intensive care unit for a while, and in a recovery room, for heaven’s sake. People stop breathing every day in my world! It’s not melodrama to me, it’s life.

I also took 3 different classes by 3 different people about how to write best-sellers. All three said the same thing-write melodrama. That just validated what I already knew. Most people love melodrama.

4. Too much abuse-Not guilty. Really? Women chained to beds? The NFL? The emergency surgeries I’ve seen in the middle of the night? I do want to say that I write about the abuse to focus on the journey to healing, to give women hope and an escape. I don’t try to focus on the abuse, but I could have done this better in my first novel.

So those are the most common. I could go on and bore you to tears, but I won’t.

Why the five-star reviews? Readers say because of the emotions, of the essence of family, of the strength of the hero/heroine, but mostly because it’s a good story. I strive to be a great storyteller. I know I am not the best writer, but I continue to take classes to try to improve my writing, and I hire a great editor.

And I think I do know how to pull on your heartstrings.

So why don’t I just rewrite RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER  and THE DUKE AND THE DRESSMAKER? I discussed this with my present editor (who is fabulous, by the way) and she looked at my reviews. She suggested that since I had so many 4 and 5 star reviews that I am more likely to anger my present fans if I changed the book.

And I know a few readers that would flip out if I changed RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER. So, Kimi, this is for you. I won’t change it. I love Alex and Maddie, too. For everyone else, thanks for your patience with my writing in that book. Every other book in the series has had both a developmental and a line edit by a very talented and patient individual. I do try to give you the very best possible, but I’m not changing RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER.

Thanks, Angela!

Keira

RT Booklovers Convention coming soon!

I’m so excited to be attending my first RT Convention in Dallas, Texas. The dates are May 12-17th, and it is held at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas. Here’s the website link: https://www.rtconvention.com/

I didn’t sign up in time to be in the book signing on Saturday, but don’t worry. I’ll be around in the lobby. I also will be at Club RT on Thursday, and I am also making an appearance in the Fan-tastic Day from 6:10-6:50. I will have some books to giveaway and some bookmarks and other goodies, so I will be searching for romance readers everywhere! 

Hope to see you there!

 

Keira

Clan Grant #6 is here!

KeiraMontclair_MyDesperateHighlander_200px

Diana of Drummond is frantic. Tired of waiting for her to choose a husband, her ailing father has selected one for her. Too bad the man he’s chosen could not be further from her childhood fantasy of the perfect knight. From the instant she meets him, she knows her betrothed would make a frightful partner. Lucky for her, the handsome, intrepid Micheil Ramsay is part of the group that escorts her to her betrothed’s home.  He spirits her away and promises to save her from the ruinous marriage by helping her find the knight of her dreams.

 

Too infatuated with all women to select one, Micheil Ramsay is determined never to settle down. But when he rescues Diana of Drummond and brings her to Edinburgh to snare a husband, he finds himself swayed by her beauty, her bossiness, and her bravery. This is exactly the sort of woman he would take to wife…if he had not already decided to remain a bachelor. Now he finds himself in the position of trying to help the object of his affection woo another man.

 

As they embark on a rapid-fire quest to save Diana from her disastrous situation, Diana and Micheil find themselves battling their own hearts. Will they manage to overcome their preconceived notions and recognize the love that’s right in front of

 

 

 

The Summerhill Series


I’m so excited to announce the release of my SUMMERHILL SERIES starting with ONE SUMMERHILL DAY the first week of March. 

THE SUMMERHILL SERIES is about descendants of the Grant clan and the Ramsay clan in my Highlander novels. The fun part of this series is that in each novel, you’ll see a soul similar to one in my Highlander series. It’s your job to figure out the soul MATCH for one character in each contemporary novel. There will also be one guardian angel brought forward from Scotland in each novel. You never know who it will be!

The series is set in a fictional lake, Orenda Lake, in the Finger Lakes of western New York. The Finger Lakes is a beautiful area full of wineries, swimming, boating, cottages, you name it. There are twelve siblings and step-siblings in the Grant-Ramsay family, so I hope to tell all twelve of their stories. How exciting!

I hope you enjoy it!

Keira Montclair

What’s up for 2015?


I’m so excited for 2015. I’m writing full time and loving it. I have the BEST readers in the world. So I thought I would let you know what I have planned for this year:

January: Highland Sparks- Logan and Gwyneth’s story

March: My first contemporary romance will be released in March. It is a series that is set in the beautiful Finger Lakes of Western New York, an area I absolutely love. Here you will meet a new family- the Ramsays and the Grants. Same names as the Highlander Series? That’s right! They are the descendants of the Scottish Grants and Ramsays, and they end up in the same family. Six Grants and Six Ramsays. The first story is about Ryan James Ramsay, III and Caitlyn McCabe. 

April: A Desperate Highlander (working title for now): Micheil Ramsay meets Diana Drummond, a cousin of the Grants. Clan Grant #6

May: Jake Ramsay’s story-contemporary #2

July: A St. James Novella (from The Duke and the Dressmaker)

September: Mallory Ramsay’s story-contemporary #3

November: Jennie Grant’s story-historical Clan Grant #7

You know I would love to squeeze in a Christmas novella, but no promises there yet!

There you have my APPROXIMATE  schedule for the next year. I can’t wait to see what unfolds!

I’ll also be attending the Romantic Times Convention in May in Dallas, Texas, plus the Romance Writers Convention in New York City in July.

2015 should be a GREAT YEAR!

Keira Montclair

 

HIGHLAND SPARKS-Logan and Gwyneth’s story

Here is an excerpt from HIGHLAND SPARKS:

KeiraMontclair_HighlandSparks_200px

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October, 1263, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Gwyneth of the Cunningham smiled as she thought about how well she had done at the butts. Her father, who’d first taught her how to nock, draw, and release an arrow, would have been so proud. How she missed her da and her brother Gordon. They had held such fierce competitions, and even though she’d lost most of the time, it had improved her skills as an archer. She picked up her pace so she could find her younger brother, Father Rab, to tell him of her good fortune for the day.

As she approached the back door to the Kirk, a rustling in the bushes startled her a few seconds before two sets of strong arms picked her up and pinned her to the ground. She tried to scream, but a gag was stuffed in her mouth, stifling the words she wished to shout: Help me, please! Someone help me. Who are you?

She kicked and squirmed with everything she had, but to no avail. One vile brute held her arms while the other pinned her legs. The smell of fish invaded her nostrils.

She prayed for her brother to step outside or for anyone in the area to assist her. But it was dusk, and the men wore dark clothes. Bystanders would have to be close to realize what was afoot. Even Gwyneth could barely make out the looks of them. The lout at her feet tied her legs together.

“Och, ‘tis a feisty one, is she no’? I’d like a wee taste of this one.” The smelly one at her head spoke first.

“Keep your shaft between your legs. Duff will skin you alive if you touch her. He says she still has her maidenhead.” The name made her buck and kick even harder. Seven long years ago, she had watched her father and brother die at the hands of Duff Erskine. He was her one sworn enemy.

Smelly guffawed. “Well, I would no’ mind checking for him.”

The second attacker finished tying her legs before nodding to his partner. “Shut up before someone hears you, fool. Tie her hands together so we can get moving. The boat leaves shortly.”

Gwyneth panicked. The boat? As in a boat to send her off from the docks? Where were they sending her? Her heartbeat sped up as her vision dimmed.

“You know Duff makes ten times the coin for a lass whose maidenhead is intact.” He grinned at her as she continued to fight against her bindings. “Whoever buys this one in the East will have a challenge taming her.”

Her maidenhead? The East? What were they talking about?

A chill ran up her spine as cold sweat drenched her body. All the possibilities—one worse than the next—raced through her mind as her eyes searched the area for someone, anyone, to help her. Not paying any heed to the desperation, the two men tossed her in a horse-drawn cart like she was a sack of flour and covered her with a scratchy blanket. At the last minute, her bow landed beside her.

“Why’d you do that?” Smelly asked the second man.

“Duff says he can sell any weapon. He’ll make coin off her bow and quiver.”

Screaming through the gag, she bucked with all her might, but no one came to her rescue. Angry tears slid down her cheeks at her own powerlessness. All the training in the world with her bow and arrow would not help her now.

Papa, help me. Lord, help me. The words repeated themselves over and over in her head as she was bounced along in the cart. It seemed as though she had been moving forever, but in truth she knew it had only been about an hour before the horses finally slowed.

The smell of the firth reached her and she closed her eyes, not wanting to accept what would happen next.

Nay, nay, nay.

She bucked again in an attempt to throw herself over the side of the cart, but failed. A few minutes after the horses stopped, Duff Erskine’s hated voice reached her ears.

“There she is.” He removed the blanket and her gag and stroked her cheek. “Och, you did grow up to be a beauty, didn’t you? And those blue eyes. I never noticed them before.” He broke out in a huge grin. “You will fetch me a large number of coins. How are that bow and arrow working for you? I’m glad the lads brought them along. I’ll sell them in the East as well.”

Gwyneth screamed and Erskine slapped her. “Close your mouth.” She screamed again, and he wrenched her up by her hair. “No one will help you. I send women abroad whenever I please, and no one ever helps them. Why? Because no one dares face me, not even the sheriff. But have no fear, you won’t be alone,” he said with a smirk. “Several women will be going with you.” As soon as he was close enough, she clawed her fingernails across his hand. “Bitch!” Flinging her head back down, he cursed again at her, checking his skin where she’d scratched him.

Duff Erskine had changed. No longer looking like he lived by the water and just came off a boat, he wore finery like any nobleman in England. A sickish smell emanated from him, some type of scent much like a lady would wear lavender. Gwyneth’s nose wrinkled, but then she grinned, noticing a small trail of blood sliding down his arm. It was a shallow wound, but each drop of blood was a small victory.

He turned to one of his comrades—the one she knew as Smelly—and said, “Rodney, hold her head down.”

The brute pinned her head to the cart. No matter how she fought, she couldn’t escape his grip. Erskine leaned over and pinched her nose. “Open up.”

Gwyneth refused to open her mouth and held tight for as long as she could, flailing and kicking at the same time.

The other brute pinched her thigh and said, “Open up, bitch. I gotta get home.”

She couldn’t hold on any longer. Her mouth opened as she gasped for air and Erskine forced a vile liquid into her mouth. She fought to spit it out, but gagged on it, swallowing much of it.

Fight, Gwyneth! Fight! A persistent voice cried out in the back of the head, but darkness overpowered her as her squirming weakened, whatever liquid he gave her taking over.