Elysium is half finished, but that goes without saying it’s on the first draft. This milestone is worth mentioning, because it has already long surpassed the length Sweet Lucidity was on the same occasion. Though what truly is worth mentioning is that this will be the last. As some of you know, my mother is fighting stage 4 cancer, and I do mean fighting with everything she has. As few of you may know, she is also the editor of the Sweet Lucidity series. Just as this series started with healing an emotional wound, it will end with another one opening. My mother, Teresa, has insisted this be the best book for Sweet Lucidity fans, and that is a promise we will both keep.
I have now received hundreds of complaints that the posts made to this page are not showing up on timeline feeds. I have contacted Facebook numerous times regarding this, and have yet to receive any response on what can be done to remedy this. From the reports on my end, for any post made approximately 1% will see that post. For every boosted post, spending about $5 for each one, 4% on average will see that post. I have studied the settings to see if there is something I missed to fix this, but it wasn’t until today that I realized I cannot fix this problem.
I have noticed on my own personal timeline, posts from pages I have liked are not showing up either. Frustrated, I visited a help forum, and started a conversation with someone who worked for Facebook. He provided insight of how Facebook is tightening a hold around page owners wallets in order to interact with fans. It was also a sweeping response to users who wanted their timelines free from advertising, instead of relying on those users to hide posts/pages from showing on their timeless through their settings. I had suspected it all along, posting about it once before, but now have confirmation of it. You might notice on pages with over 100K likes, less than 100 interact with their posts. It’s even harder for pages like Sweet Lucidity, with a little over 5K likes, to be able to interact with a dozen fans on a single post. Otherwise, to insure a single post is seen frequently by the majority of you, it will cost me a little over $100. This is an issue that only seems to get worse over time.
Before the changes were put in place, it was easy to interact with the majority of you. I took pride in posting excerpts and contests exclusive for Facebook fans. Giveaways, challenges and contests were a fun way to give back. Messages and comments sent through the page were one of the main sources of receiving feedback from you. There was a time I couldn’t keep up with messages, and the majority of fans of the series relied on this page for news & updates. I am just as disappointed as you regarding Facebook’s handling of official pages. It has turned from subscribing to one for updates to its face value of merely liking one to show it as an interest on your profile. Because of it, I am having to change the way I use this page until Facebook allows page posts on users timelines.
From here on:
* All giveaways will be available through Goodreads
* I am discontinuing fan challenges & contests
There are a few things that can help increase the visibility of posts made to this page. For my part, regular postings are suggested to help, and by regular I mean several posts a day. I am going to test this theory to see if it works. If it is of importance to me, my writing, or the series, I will share it with all of you. There is also something you can do. Share, like, and comment on posts that interest you. Though most importantly, follow the page by clicking “Follow” at the top. Hopefully this will increase the frequency of posts made to the page in showing on your timelines.
I have a few excerpts from Elysium ready to go, and I will be posting them throughout the week. I haven’t stopped working on Lorelei, I progressed too far into it, and after a number of requests, I have decided to continue Don’t Touch the Butterflies too. I have a few excerpts ready from those as well, and will post them soon.
I am planning another author appearance & book signing in Lubbock. I really enjoyed the last one, so I’m excited to return, this time to see books on the shelves for me to sign!
Speaking of books, I’ve been working on the cover for Elysium, and I have been having a hard time deciding between several of them. I just might leave it up to the fans to decide this one!
Hope everyone’s start to 2015 has gone smoothly, and I hope those of you bundling up for the big winter storm stay safe & warm.
Two friends plus one. Two boys who have grown into young men, plus one. Ben and Chris had done it all, the playhouse, the sleepovers, the video games and the girls. It were the girls that brought them ever closer together, always wanting one and then the other, never even having kissed one.
Ben Stackler was an odd sort, a sore thumb, the boogey man to those who did not know him better. His dress was all black, his hair long and thick like oil. His taste in music was just as miserable. He was that guy, the one who sat in the back of the class, mysterious and brooding. He was that guy who skipped PE for a smoke behind the gymnasium. He was that guy that every girl wondered what it would be like for him to break his shell just for her, and for every guy to beat up for drawing pentagrams on the bathroom walls. Yes, he was that guy mothers warned their sons about, and fathers loaded their shotguns to protect their daughters from. He never sat in the back of a police car, but every cop eyed him for petty crimes committed anonymously, especially when the underpasses were vandalized with black graffiti of anarchy and skulls. Though really his only crime was abusing his lungs with cigarettes, his hands so quick, his mother never noticed him taking them from her packs. He did not have to be so quick; she slept through most her life, dazed from the fumes of drunken patrons who called her bar home. They looked alike, though their minds were strangers. Ben was highly intelligent, more so than his own good. His biggest fault was being too trusting that everyone else around him was more intelligent than he was. It made him that much easier to escape the blame upon in a city of sinners and angels.
Chris White was Ben’s opposite. He was a straight A student, a Boy Scout with nearly every badge contrived, the last rank achievable within his grasp. It did not bother his single mother much when he began listening to heavy metal music, shadowing Ben at a very young age. With long blonde hair, fair skin and a perfect complexion, Chris looked innocent, his bright eyes wise beyond their years. He compensated Ben’s downfall, knowing the rest of the world could not be trusted. He learned that early on in life, at the tender age of five. He admired the scoutmaster who taught him to swim, earning that coveted award of fastest swimmer one year at summer camp. He stood proudly, looking at the shiny metal against his bare chest in the mirror of the men’s bathroom when the figure of a father came up behind him. They do not have a badge for what he was taught next, if they did he would have been rewarded handsomely. He never stood for any man to enter his mother’s life, always fearing they were all the same. She went through life single and alone, her son the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of his own sanity.
The two boys were a perfect match in a world where doubt both murder and deliver. They grew up in the same trailer park, sharing the same experience of fortune, living from the wealth of imperfection. They found their mother in the episodes of the Brady Bunch, their father in watching the ones playing ball with their sons in the park. Apart they were weak, together they were unyielding to hurricane force winds. Nothing could tear the two apart.
It was of no surprise the boy who lived in the worst trailer in the park found comfort in their presence. He came from a house of discord, his mother having left him to walk the streets all day and night, his father collecting hard earned pay as the oldest construction worker in the state. Drugs and alcohol flowed freely through his home when his mother was around, served on a broken plate for breakfast and feasted on paper for dinner. Dessert was only served in the streets, and she grew fat on it. The only treat Jamie Taylor enjoyed was the quiet that settled after each beating, most of the bruises now deeper than the surface of his skin. He always stayed quiet; knowing when he opened his mouth others would hear his demons. He was nineteen years old, but his mind knew no more than a seven year old. It was for that reason others were able to hurt him, use him and downright abuse him. He was not safe from anyone, not a teacher, not even his priest. He became a statistic the moment he was born, surviving the hand that was supposed to caress his cheeks which instead had covered his mouth. Even though he barely spoke to the two best friends, he followed them everywhere. His father thought things were looking up for his son, not realizing Jamie had turned into a shadow rather than a companion. That would be another demon his son kept buried deep inside. He did not know what else to do with them, nor did they with him.
All three of them were expected to graduate the fast approaching summer. As in life, the school wanted to be rid of Jamie. He had found an endless existence in ninth grade the moment he entered high school, awkward and reserved. He had hoped his ignorance would be forgiven, an apple a day left atop the desks of all his teachers, stolen from the cafeteria every morning. Not a single one of those teachers protested losing him to a life of desolation. He was not seen as a boy with promise, but a burden on their yearly raises. It had been the same ones, year after year, who took his standardized tests, barely passing the grade themselves with the answers they filled in instead.
It was an odd match indeed when the best friends chose not to ostracize Jamie. They were softened by the same apples handed to them during lunch, an offering of a desperate need to hear two words of appreciation and a rare chance to experience some semblance of approval.
The duo gradually became an unintended trio, although it was only realized on those rare occasions Jamie actually spoke, his lisp unmistakable, his ignorance penetrating. After school the three walked the three miles to their trailer park just southwest of town. It never failed. At least twice a day someone would make it clear they were unwanted outcasts, usually hanging out the window of beaten up trucks, their disapproving breath ripe with afternoon liquor. They never greeted the dissent; they never even acknowledged its sound. The hateful words would fall upon closed ears, their minds already filled with enough to last a lifetime.
The crossing of railroad tracks were symbolic in the area they lived, across from brand new housing developments, each one like the other, the only difference the hue of brown and the sounds of children enjoying a hot afternoon outside in the backyards with a pool. Ben would step on the tracks, not afraid if they trembled beneath his feet by an approaching train. Chris would step over them, always the first to quickly meet the other side. It was Jamie who would look both ways, taking a running leap to avoid the tracks entirely. It did not matter how one crossed them, what mattered was which side you called home, home where sleep never came easy by the sound of cockroaches feeding on the walls.
To celebrate the 4th anniversary of Sweet Lucidity, I am giving away one signed copy of each of my books. Starting now until December 25th, enter to win on Goodreads for your chance to win.