QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Author at Work

authorwriting      Chickens with grass Jan 2023 clipped

My New Author Bio?

Judith A. Barrett: The Georgia-based, award-snatching author who’s convinced her chickens might be plotting the next big mystery, or are they burying the evidence? 

With her loyal husband as her alibi, two dogs who are terrible at keeping secrets, and a penchant for spinning yarns ranging from mysterious thrillers to cuddle-worthy cozies, Judith has a story for every kind of reader. She’s taken on the challenge of combining mystery and crime with just a sprinkle of sweet romance to all her stories to keep them mildly spicy like sugar and cinnamon – not like jalapeno and ghost peppers!

Her motto? “You keep reading, or the chickens get it! Just kidding… I’ll keep writing!

Bitter-barn-smaller-1 Chickens who go broody and won’t leave the nest go into the Bitter Barn to cool off. She’s crying fowl on the charges. If she begs you to open the barn door with a promise of eggs, she’s scamming you. Broody hens don’t lay eggs. There’s a story…

Buy Judith a cup of coffee!

Did you enjoy the new bio? Consider buying me a cup of coffee! Coffee is magical writer’s fuel and keeps me writing, researching, and sharing stories with you. Thank you for your continued support!

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QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Legendary Author/Legendary Readers

Pepper Festival Sept 2023

My latest festival was the two-day Pepper Musical Festival: I wore my taco socks and used my chili pepper apron to spice up my table.  I expected to see a pepper eating contest or some  reason for the event to be the Pepper Festival, but as far as I know, it was the Pepper Festival just because.

You might have noticed that we finally realized that putting up the side panels on our tent helped block the sun. We also remembered to charge the fan the night before. For some unexplainable reason, I forgot all my tablecloths except for one small, white one. Walmart to the rescue! We found the cheap (yay!), green vinyl tablecloth that is now my favorite.  I love a bargain!

The vendor sites were spacious because of the large field where the event was hosted; we didn’t feel crowded at all and had a perfect location for our booth. The stage for the bands and the bleachers were in front of our site with an open, spacious, grassy area between us.

The two-day event was a challenge because the festival lasted until ten o’clock both nights, but Friday night was a blast. The headliner band played Hispanic music, and the area in front of us was filled with families. In addition to our  all time favorite music from the southwest, we had live entertainment as the children chased each other and rolled in the grass, and the toddlers bounced to the music.  We enjoyed an impromptu wrestling match between preteen boys that could have rivaled any high school wrestling team for style and technique.

Saturday was exhausting. We had to take our books back to the campground Friday night then haul them back to the event on Saturday morning because books and morning dew don’t mix; however, our campground was less than ten minutes away, which was a wonderful bonus.

A young, local police officer entertained himself most of Saturday by stopping by my booth and teasing me about some imaginary flaw in one of my books. He brought  a group of other police officers and firefighters to my booth to show them my fan then expounded on the imaginary flaw. I told him he was fired as my public relations manager, and his buddies roared with laughter.

The Saturday night crowd was mostly teenagers who were there to see and be seen. They were entertaining enough to watch, but they couldn’t come close to  the bouncing toddlers. The headliner music was not their type of music or ours either. Adults sat on the bleachers and politely applauded; it must have been their type of music.

The most amazing sight of all on Saturday night was the number of food trucks that magically appeared; everyone we saw was eating something!

We quietly packed our things and left at nine o’clock.  In theory, we won’t be invited back as vendors because we left before ten, but we’re okay with that. Our campground was great, and we had a terrific time; we’ll go back next year to camp at the great campground,  shout out to you, Tifton KOA Journey,  and enjoy the Friday night music and entertainment.

Will we consider another two-day event? It depends…

Remember the pesky police officer? The police chief stopped by my booth later and told me I was a legend.  Legendary Author: should I add that to my biography?

You know who reads the works of a Legendary Author, don’t you?

Legendary Readers: readers who  form theories based on clues and stray, almost random, hints the author leaves along the way in the story. That’s you, isn’t it?

How’s this for a new tagline?

The Legendary Author Who Writes for Legendary Readers.

Buy Judith a cup of coffee!

Did you enjoy the story? Consider buying me a cup of coffee – it’s writer’s fuel and keeps me writing, photographing, and sharing stories with you. Thank you for your continued support and being a Legendary Reader!

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QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Small Town, Big Heart for Reading

In May, we packed up books and dogs and took our camper trailer to Ellaville, Georgia, population 1,500 (not a typo), for an Arts and Crafts event sponsored by the town’s Chamber of Commerce who named their event Luau in the ‘Ville. Kind of snappy, don’t you think?

I wore my  flowered shirt, which is my version of appropriate luau attire (my grass skirt is at the dry cleaners), for the occasion, and if you carefully examine my tent, you’ll see my new “ceiling fan” is in place to keep us cool.

My new friends from the Wine Festival who told me about the Ellaville event were two booths away from me with their son who was selling his debut novel. We were too busy to chat very much, but I told them about the arts and crafts event that is close to me: Elevate Artisans; I hope to see them in October.

The most amazing sales wizard I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness was next to me in the purple tent. She sold  jewelry, T-shirts, drink cups, and stickers, and she knew how to work a crowd.  She maintained a constant, almost musical patter, and people were drawn to her booth.

  • Mother’s Day is coming up; do you think she’d like earrings or a T-shirt?
  • That’s our best-selling T-shirt, feel how soft it is. We have your size.
  • What’s your mom’s favorite color?
  • You need to get yourself a Mother’s Day present. You deserve it.
  • You’re ears aren’t pierced? These earrings make great charms.
  • You need a Georgia Bulldogs drink cup to go with that shirt.
  • You’re from Alabama? We still love you. Here’s an Auburn drink cup: you won’t see another one here.

Her charming delivery made her aggressive-sounding style a magnet as she magically became everyone’s favorite friend, including me.

It was another scorcher of a day in the afternoon in Georgia. Remember my fan? It was great until it wasn’t. We forgot to pack the charger, so we weren’t able to charge it fully the night before the Luau. It fizzled out around two, and I baked in the heat until five when the party was over.  I have a new addition to my packing list: the charger for the fan.

Because all of the ebooks for each one of my series are included on my online Barrett Book Shop, I was fully prepared for anyone who said they didn’t read paperbacks. I asked everyone who stopped (or kind of slowed down) by my booth, if they read paperbacks or ebooks. The readers of Ellaville and the surrounding towns surprised me when they almost 100% said, “Paperbacks.”

I was even more surprised when many of them bought one or two of my books or an entire series. While all of my First in Series books sold, the number one favorite was TAGGED BY DEATH. I sold out before the end of the day. In terms of sales, Ellaville  far surpassed any other event that I’ve ever attended. You’ll find me in Ellaville next spring trying to figure out how to get next to the sales wizard’s booth.

Pro tip: Readers are Everywhere.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Road Trip

We decided our new camper needed more than one shakedown weekend: our latest excuse for a road trip!

FarmerMan found an all-day Arts and Crafts festival for me and an all-day agriculture class for him that were on the same day and within a 45-minute driving time of each other. I made our four-day reservation at the Americus KOA, which was an absolutely perfect campground for us, TJ, and Toby.

We arrived at the Wolf Creek Plantation Winery in Americus, Georgia, for their Spring Festival at seven thirty on Saturday morning to put up my canopy tent and set out the tables, then FarmerMan left for his class.

After I arranged my tablecloths, banner, books, and signs on the tables, I asked my new early-bird neighbor if she’d take a photo of me with my booth.  See the newly planted grapevines behind me? The winery has acres and acres of grapevines, and there was plenty of room for the 95 vendors who had signed up to hawk their wares.

I’ve loved our local fall and Christmas arts and crafts festivals that I attend every year, so one in the spring was a new adventure for me, and one without FarmerMan’s assistance was definitely a new and scarier adventure.

The morning was a bit chilly to sit and wait, but I was busy answering questions when the rest of the vendors arrived. The most common question: where is number fill-in-the-blank; I was in #36.  I had printed the map the winery sent us, so I was the resident expert at pointing. “It’s that way!”

By noon, the visitors parking lot was overflowing, and cars were parked on both sides of the road. I enjoyed talking to so many interesting people while I made new friends. Shout out to the sweet woman that stuck by my side while I fumbled then finally figured out how to accept her credit card payment for the signed book she bought from me. My first book sale of the day!

There was a bounce house for children that was very close to where I was, so I had extra entertainment. Have you ever heard of playing Marco-Polo in a bounce house? I hadn’t, but they did!

My book sales were great, and I was an old pro with taking credit cards by early afternoon. FarmerMan gave me his solar charger to use for my cell phone, and that definitely made a difference in being able to accept credit cards.  My phone would have run out of steam by one o’clock without it! It’s my solar charger now, but you knew that.

In the late afternoon, the weather turned hot. My booth faced the west, and the day turned into a scorcher; I overheated. My booth neighbor on my other side watched my booth while I hurried into the air-conditioned event center that was nearby. I washed my face with cool water then used damp paper towels on the back of my neck. Heat stroke averted!

When I returned, my neighbor told me about another vendor who had a ceiling fan in her tent. Her mother watched both our booths while we went to ask nosy questions. The ceiling fan made the vendor’s tent very comfortable. Guess what I bought after we returned home? You got it!

Remember it was hot? People who went past my booth had slushies. I had water to drink, but those slushies looked really refreshing. Two young women with slushies stopped by my booth to chat, and I asked them about their drinks. They urged me to get one at the event center because they said my cheeks were really red  from the heat; they kindly offered to watch my booth for me.

I bought a strawberry-mango slushy; it was a little pricey, but I was certain it would be as tasty as it was cooling. Are you already ahead of me on this? I took a huge slurp from my straw.

Pro Tip: If you buy a slushy from a winery, it may likely be a Wine Slushy.

I drank another bottle of water and quietly set my Wine Slushy aside to melt into a sadly watered down drink that I threw away before we left.

In spite of my minor slushy faux pas, it was a great success, and I’ll keep an eye on the Wolf Creek Plantation for their next event!

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Starting Over

The fragrant, beautiful gardenias in the front of our house have bloomed every May since we bought the house in 2018, and we know they were there when the previous owners bought the house  in 2013, so they had survived the high and low temperatures that fluctuated from year to year for more than ten years.

When the hard freeze that lasted four days hit in February 2023, we were saddened by the loss of so many of our pine trees that we had planted over the past three years but were completely shocked that our three sturdy gardenia bushes didn’t survive.  So, we started over.

In November 2022, in a series of unfortunate events, our faithful camping trailer that we bought new in 2015 bit the dust in a most unlikely incident. Out of respect for her faithful service, we won’t go into the details, but no humans, dogs, or chickens (even though they weren’t there) were injured. We had a choice: give up camping or get a new camping trailer. I’m certain you aren’t surprised that we bought a new camping trailer. We’re starting over by taking short trips to get used to our new trailer.

As an author with a publishing business, I’ve been closely tracking the dwindling benefits of exclusivity with a single online book distributor. I started over in January 2023, and now all 30+ of my books are being sold by over a dozen book distributors.

In February, I investigated several options of selling my books directly to readers online. By the beginning of March, my online Barrett Book Shop was live and in business!

 

I’ve been excited to learn that other authors are doing the same!  Take a peek at a very delightful author, Maria E. Schneider, at Bear Mountain Books. 

I’ve found my toe-tapping, head-bobbing theme song for 2023 on You Tube:  Chris Stapleton

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Grand Opening! Barrett Book Shop

Do you try to buy from your favorite local store or vendor? It’s not always that convenient, is it?

Announcing a new way to purchase Judith A. Barrett books – the ONLINE Barrett Book Shop!

All the thriller, post-apocalyptic science fiction, and mystery books  are conveniently at your fingertips; it’s just like going to an in-person event to buy a book from your favorite author, Judith A. Barrett, amiright? without spending money for transportation or even having to  put on your shoes or change out of your comfy pants.

Barrett Book Shop has the same deals and specials as any of the Big Gorilla Book Sellers in addition to exclusive discounts and deals!  Match THAT, Big Gorilla! <- I say that lovingly, BG, in the extremely unlikely event you’re reading this blog.  

Tap the link Barrett Book Shop and browse, drop a book or two into your cart then check out for a special Welcome Discount!

REMEMBER to mark Barrett Book Shop as a favorite in your browser, and let me know what you think!

Meanwhile, You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

A Mountain of Goodness

Our beautiful Buff Orpington and Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens were two days old when we brought them to their forever home coop from the feed store last August.

This morning, they had their first experience of two mountains of newly-mowed grass and weed clippings from the front field. Initially, they were very suspicious of the two new monstrous creatures in their run, but eventually two of the Buffs ventured close and discovered seeds, fresh green grass, and bugs. Game on!

The chickens have spent the entire day scratching and snacking at the two large piles; the mountain in the back that is much smaller than it was this morning, probably because it had the most green grass blades on top, but they are discovering more tasty grass, seeds, and bugs in the closer mountain.

I understood exactly how they felt when they first saw the two large, foreboding creatures. I tackled my first 2023 mountain when I expanded selling my books through new retailers: Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, Apple, and a myriad of other international booksellers in addition to Amazon. As I scratched and searched through the mountain of goodness, I’ve discovered a few yummy royalties and am sharing the bounty with my newsletter readers.

The second mountain, with which I’m more wrestling than tackling, is the daunting monster of developing an online book shop, so I can sell my ebooks and paperbacks directly to readers. I’m taking small steps because it’s an entirely new world with all kinds of strange creatures to wrangle. I’m hoping Barrett Book Shop will be live by the end of February.

Have I ever told you learning is fun? It still is!

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Taking off the Chill

Fire Jan 2023 smaller

When the winter sun sets in Georgia, the blue sky blends with the orange strip of light on the horizon. As the temperature plummets and the wind howls from the northwest, it’s time for me to layer, grab a lap blanket, and stay close to the small fireplace. Drink of choice? Hot tea, hot apple cider, or hot chocolate are high on the list.

FarmerMan wanted a wood burning fireplace when we moved to Georgia five years ago. I wanted a house with two and a half bathrooms, so our visiting families wouldn’t have to knock on the guest bathroom door and ask repeatedly to use the toilet while someone took a long shower. Are you done yet? Hurry up! 

FarmerMan and I compromised with a gas burning fireplace and three bathrooms. (You caught the irony there, didn’t you?) FarmerMan has adjusted to not having to cut and stack wood, keep the wood dry, bring in firewood, and clean out the fireplace after an enjoyable fire in the evening; not to mention his wintertime aching back, which I just did. I’ve adjusted to the warmth near my writing corner that takes off the chill as I write.

What about you? Are you susceptible to the cold too, or are you one of those hardy souls who is outdoors in shorts and a short-sleeved T-shirt while I’m wrapped up in three layers and shivering?

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

2023 Goals

goals 2023 

My plan for 2023 is to crush my goals!

My Writing Journey is a marathon, but I’m walking not running because I don’t want to miss any of the fun along the way.

My overall goal has always been to write books that people enjoy, so my motto is no surprise: You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

I’m a natural-born storyteller, but the skill of coaxing a story onto a page for a reader to enjoy was a craft that required extra work for me. I’m still learning, so I can write better books faster. For you wonderful readers that finish a book then tell me you’re ready for the next one: I’m working on it!

My next big hurdle after finding my writing style was how to get the stories in front of the right reader who will not only read the story, but love it, and want another and another. I’m still learning that elusive skill called marketing, which will put my books into the hands of the right readers. I’m stumbling along, but it’s fun to learn, and I’m encouraged when I hear how much you enjoy my books!

Summary of Previous Years

2018 (Year 1)  Goals: Publish 1 book   Results: Published 2 books!

2019 (Year 2)  Goals: Publish 4 books; cut the year’s expenses in half   Results: Published 4 books; expenses cut by more than half of Year 1 expenses!

2020 (Year 3)  Goals: Publish 4 books; end the year with a positive net income   Results: Published 6 books; first year to end the year with a positive net income!

2021 (Year 4)  Goals: Publish 6 books; end the year with a positive net income Results: Published 6 books and wrote a short story for an anthology; second year in a row to end the year with a positive net income!

2022 (Year 5) Goals: Publish 6 books; end the year with a new high for positive net income  Results: Published 8 books, a boxset, a novelette, and 2 short stories; ended the year with the highest net income since my first book was published!

2023 (Year 6) Goals

  • Publish 6 books
  • Publish 3 audiobooks 
  • Wild goal: Double net income from 2022 

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

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