QuickJAB

Reader Magnet Short Story, Chapter 1

Fun Mysteries to Read In April that Are NOT Reader Magnets

What Amazon Readers say:

“Every town needs a Donut Shop like this.”

“Wonderful book. Laughs and a mystery.”

While we wait for that Reader Magnet, Read the DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOKS 1, 2, and 3.

What Is a Reader Magnet?

A year ago, I had no idea what a reader magnet was. In my literalness, I envisioned a nice refrigerator magnet with a picture of a book and a puppy. And maybe a kitten and a chicken for good measure. I don’t know about anybody else’s readers except mine – but we all like books, puppies, kittens, and chickens.

Then I stumbled across the idea of a “short story” that would give a reader a taste of the author’s brilliant writing. My first thought: That’s dreadful.

The Short Story that Wasn’t a Reader Magnet

Case in point: I wrote a short story called Barter and Bargains three years ago and submitted it to millions of contests. (I typed jillions, but autocorrect frowns on exaggeration.) The maximum word count allowed was 5,000, so I had to trim my 7,500-word story back with a hatchet.

I received two recurring criticisms:

  1. The story was too nice.
  2. The critic/judge wanted to know more about the characters.

I learned four things from the experience:

  1. I write nice characters that people want to know more about.
  2. I am a great storyteller.
  3. My writing craft skills needed work.
  4. I can’t write short.
  5. Wait, make it five: I’m not deflated by criticism.

What’s an Overgrown Short Story?

I expanded my short story to a longer story that I learned could be called a novella. Another unfamiliar bookish word for a reader becoming a writer who was learning about publishing.

I still didn’t have a reader magnet, but I had a nice short novel about a nice donut shop. I called my novella Sweet Deal until someone pointed out all the romance books that were titled, Sweet Deal.

Sidetrip: Genre

Then I learned another word. Genre. Whatever it meant exactly, I wasn’t sure, but I was definitely positive I was not a romance genre type of writer. Mystery? Yes. Science Fiction? Yes? Throw in a little Supernatural? Always.

Unwritten, Non-Negotiable Rules

After I published the novella, named Sweet Deal Sealed with the subtitle Novella, I marveled at the encouragement from readers for me to write another book about the Donut Lady. So I wrote Sweet Deal Concealed, Book 2, a longer book that is referred to as a novel, and the Donut Lady Mystery Series was born. Last summer, I published Sweet Deal Revealed, Book 3, another novel. Little did I know there is a magical rule in the Invisible Publishing Rule Book that says a series cannot have a novella as Book 1 if all the subsequent books in the series are novels.

Fighting an invisible rule is not healthy for one’s sanity. Take my word for it. It drove me crazy that “they” insisted on calling Book 1 Book 0.5 because it was a novella; and Book 2? “They” call it Book 1. Book 3? Book 2. “They” live by rules, not logic. Rant over.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Do Something Different

So I expanded Sweet Deal Sealed: A Novella to a second edition, full-length novel by adding a murder or two and called it Sweet Deal Sealed. Clever, no?

Side note: Amazon has been absolutely amazing in their support as I’m going through the process of replacing the novella with a novel and eventually retiring the novella. 

This is all well and good and an absolutely lengthy story that probably could use a murder right about now to help the plot move along. However, I still don’t have a reader magnet.

Where is Reader Magnet?

Do we leave our hero, Reader Magnet, lost in the maze of bookish words and invisible rules? Of course not! Reader Magnet hitches up her pants and begins her quest for her true identity.

The Cliffhanger Part

While we’re waiting for the next installment of Reader Magnet, feel free to check out all my books on Amazon. Note: None of them are short stories or novellas except the one we sent to retirement, but she’s away at the moment as far as Amazon is concerned.

Judith A. Barrett Author Page

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QuickJAB

SECOND EDITION? Why?

NEW RELEASE!

SWEET DEAL SEALED, SECOND EDITION

DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 1

SDS 2 Kindle 3D

Why a Second Edition?

Short answer:

More Story! The first edition of SWEET DEAL SEALED: A NOVELLA is 115 pages; the new SWEET DEAL SEALED, EXPANDED SECOND EDITION, is 235 pages!

Long Answer:

The first edition of SWEET DEAL SEALED is a novella – a short novel or a long short story. In the publishing world, there is a rule that says a series cannot have a novella as Book 1 unless all the rest of the books are also novellas. Who knew? Not me.

For example, Goodreads considers SWEET DEAL SEALED: A NOVELLA, BOOK 1  in the DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES as Book 0.5; SWEET DEAL CONCEALED, BOOK 2, Goodreads labeled as BOOK 1; SWEET DEAL REVEALED, BOOK 3, Goodreads labeled as BOOK 2. Ugh. Were readers confused? I know I was!

With DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 4 in the plans for 2020, it was time to channel my inner Don Quixote and pick my windmill/battles. Taking on the entire literary and publishing world to force them out of their antiquated rules didn’t seem fun. And I’m in it for the fun. I realized there was so much more to the Donut Lady’s earlier story. Who knew? And the EXPANDED SECOND EDITION was born. Now that was fun!

CLICK OR TAP FOR SWEET DEAL SEALED SECOND EDITION

FREE ~ KINDLE UNLIMITED

 

QUESTION: I’ve already read/never read Sweet Deal Sealed: Novella. Do I read Sweet Deal Sealed, Expanded Second Edition?

ANSWER: YES!

If you’ve read the original novella, you’ll enjoy the expanded story.

If you haven’t read the original novella, all of its story is included in the expanded second edition.

 

Are you interested in Book 4? Watch for it in the fall!
QuickJAB

Author Goals 2020

My Author Goal in 2018 was to publish a book. Results: I published two books.

My Author Goals in 2019 were to publish four books and earn a prestigious award.  Results: I published four books and received three awards.

My Author Goals for 2020: Publish four books, receive a prestigious award, sell one book through a bookstore, and end the year with a POSITIVE net income. 

That last one – positive net income – is a stretch goal. At least I know the IRS is cheering me on!

QuickJAB

WARNING Label? Read the Series in Order

Maggie Sloan Mystery Series, Books 1 and 2

I’m struggling with whether I need to add a warning label or spoiler alert to the beginning of RED IS THE NEW GRAY, MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2.

For anyone who has read  I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY, BOOK 1, you know about Maggie and her men and her heartbreak.

It is possible for a new reader to read RED IS THE NEW GRAY, BOOK 2, without having read BOOK 1 because the men and other characters from BOOK 1 are introduced.

HOWEVER, the dilemma is that BOOK 2 of course also mentions Maggie’s heartbreak from BOOK 1. THAT’S a spoiler! Do I add a warning label to the beginning of BOOK 2?

WARNING: READING BOOK 2 WITHOUT READING BOOK 1 FIRST IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR READING ENJOYMENT.

or

WARNING: DO NOT PROCEED WITH READING BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU HAVE READ BOOK 1. WE DON’T CARE IF BOOK 2 WAS FREE. GO READ BOOK 1.

or

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU READ BOOK 1. ANGRY READERS MAKE CRANKY REVIEWERS.

 

LINK TO MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES

QuickJAB

RED IS THE NEW GRAY ~ NEW RELEASE!

RED IS THE NEW GRAY

MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2

 

MAGGIE SLOAN – former librarian, self-trained spy, literal, and brilliant – has the skills of a deadly assassin. Our Gray Lady (like the Gray Man who blends in, except shorter) accepts a two-week assignment in Galveston, Texas, to find a missing spy who trusts only her. Larry, her original police officer protector and “cousin” from her hometown, is her backup.

The Gray Lady is rocking her new red boots as the fill-in cook at a diner, but before the end of her first week, she is shot. The attacks escalate and so does Maggie’s determination to solve the crimes. Note to bad guys: Maggie is irritated, and Larry and Maggie’s men are furious.

Maggie and Larry struggle with the disturbing clues that point to the guilt of everyone they meet. How many more people will die before Maggie uncovers the vicious leader who has escaped detection for so long?

RED IS THE NEW GRAY Click/Tap to Buy on Amazon

QuickJAB

Author’s Goal 2019 – Publish Four Books and Earn One Award

My Author’s Goal in 2018 was to publish a book. I published two. Time to up my game in 2019, so I did.

Danger in the Clouds

Published January 2019

Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award

 

I Always Wanted To Be A Spy

Published February 2019

New Apple Literary Award – Excellence in Publishing

Sweet Deal Concealed

Donut Lady Mystery Series Book 2

Published March 2019

Florida Writers Association Award

Sweet Deal Revealed

Donut Lady Mystery Series, Book 3

Published July 2019

In 2019, I published four books and won three awards. Time to up my game.

 

QuickJAB

No Coconut Trees in Georgia

Here’s a hack you won’t find anywhere else!

When you are at a school library in Georgia and you are discussing the differences in plants and trees between the Florida Everglades and South Georgia, NEVER dispute a second-grader. For example, coconut trees in Georgia? Pay attention to the seven-year-old expert.

Readers always win.

 

Judith A. Barrett Books on Amazon

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Every month, one of the Judith A. Barrett Books is free for a few days.

Newsletter subscribers receive a monthly enewsletter. They are the first to know which book is free and the dates. Every month!

If you subscribe, you’ll never miss a FREE book!

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September’s FREE Book

FREE September 15-19

 

QuickJAB

A Review from the UK ~ I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY

An Unexpectedly Unique Heroine

30 July 2019

Maggie Sloan always knew that she wanted to be a spy. She is unusual, almost emotionless. More than just a loner, she separates herself from the world, looking in at it, observing everything, making copious notes and filing them away, but not truly engaging with other people. This in an adult would be odd enough, but Maggie has been this way since a child. But do not pity her, because Maggie has grown up happily enough. We see snapshots of her early life – an absent father and over-protective mother – which seem to be filled with trivial episodes, yet like an expert quilt-maker, Judith A. Barrett creates an image of this character which is so strong, that she is far more flesh and blood in this, her first book, than many others become through a whole series. And I truly hope that this is the beginning of a series, because I want to spend a lot more time with Maggie. There is death and betrayal along the way to Maggie connecting with other people, but the delight she finds as she learns to live: to cook, colour-coordinate (she was always in first black, then grey shades), open up to love, learn fighting and weapon skills and ultimately put everything she ever learned into practice, is truly affecting. Oh, and she sees imaginary people – a side-effect of a medical procedure – which is presented so matter-of-factly that no one can question their existence. Maggie will haunt you long after you put the book down.

*  *  *  *  *

Have you read I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY? Maggie Sloan Thriller, Book 2 is in the works!