Daisy Blanket Reconstruction

Thank you Lisa Tomassetti for posting this picture on the Crochet Crowd Stitch Social on FB last week!

Greeting, Crochet-Luvin’ Friends!

Last week, on one of the crochet groups I belong to on Facebook, The Crochet Crowd Stitch Social, a friend named Lisa posted a picture of a blanket she saw online to which she was unable to find the pattern. She asked if anyone wanted to help her deconstruct it so she could crochet her own version.

Naturally, I chose to spend a couple days on this rather than write, because, you know, procrastination. This is what I came up with. Enjoy!

First of all, I learned the blanket is worked in filet crochet. I wasn’t familiar with filet crochet, so I did my homework.

Basically, filet crochet is worked in blocks of three or four stitches (3DC or 4DC filet). Ideally, a block is as tall as it is wide. This creates a square within which you can create beautiful images and patterns that have a lacy feel. It is often worked with thread.

Diretions for filet crochet are often provided in a chart with black boxes representing “blocks” and white boxes representing open mesh.

If you’ve never done, filet crochet, take a look at these instructional posts before moving on:


Tips and Tricks for beautiful filet crochet:


Most important tips I took away from the above post:

1. Extended dc makes for a better, more square look than regular dc. Regular dc makes a kind of squat looking square. An extended dc gives you a stich height somewhere between a dc and a tc (US terminology).

borrowed from https://www.interweave.com/article/crochet/7-tips-filet-crochet/

To work extended dc: Yarn over, insert your hook in the indicated stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, and draw through 1 loop on your hook (yarn over, draw through 2 loops) 2 times.

2. Blocking is very important with filet crochet. It smooths the bumps in the stitches and makes the pattern pop:

borrowed from https://www.interweave.com/article/crochet/7-tips-filet-crochet/

Here is another helpful post. It has a tutorial on 3DC filet, which is what I think the “Daisy Blanket” pattern is based on (as opposed to 4DC filet, the other common type:


Now that you’re a pro at filet crochet, here’s my attempt at recreating the Daisy Blanket pattern.

Recreated Pattern

I worked on recreating the body stitch first. The border patterns are at the end.

Well, here’s my attempt at recreating the pattern in the “Daisy Blanket.” How did I do?

Here’s a picture of the swatch on its own:


This is my best guess in replicating the stitch seen in the blanket photo. My guess is the blanket was worked on smaller yarn and hook size than I used, since mine looks chunkier. But I think I managed to capture the spirit of the stitch.

The pattern is worked over 4 rows.

The swatch in the image was worked with Paintbox cotton yarn in peach orange and a size 3mm hook. This is 1 to 1.5 mm smaller than the recommended hook size.

The type of crochet is 3dc filet.

The pattern below uses US terminology.

Hook size, tension, and blocking are all very important for this stitch (as for any filet project). You may want to create a few swatches trying different yarns and hook sizes to see which looks best for your project.

Your stitches will look much neater after careful blocking, so don’t be discouraged if your work doesn’t look quite right as you get going.

Hook size 3mm unblocked on left, blocked on right

When in doubt, go with a smaller hook size. The tighter your stithes, the neater your work will look. The above swatch was worked on a 3mm hook. The swatch below was worked on a 3.5 mm hook. The pattern gets lost and doesn’t “pop” with the larger hook size.

Hook size 3.5mm unblocked on left, blocked on right

One of the stitches in my pattern is a monster of a stitch. If you want a simplified version of the pattern, I worked a swatch and provided directions below (see VariationDirections).

Personally, I prefer th simpler version shown above. The open diamonds make for a lacier look than the diamonds filled with a picot. The variation is also less of a yarn eater.

Are you ready to get hooking?

Stitches Used:

Edc = extended double crochet

The edc is a slightly taller version of the standard dc. It’s height will be between that of a dc & tc.

To work, yarn over, insert your hook in the indicated stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, and draw through 1 loop on your hook (yarn over, draw through 2 loops) 2 times.

2edctog decrease = 2 edc together worked in a decrease over the ch3-picot-ch3 in row 1

This is a monster stitch. Buckle up. Here we go.

To work, yo, insert hook into same st previously worked, as you would for a v-st

Pull up loop, yo, pull through 1 loop

Yo, pull through 2 loops. You have 2 loops on hook.

Insert hook through the top stitch of the pico (either 3rd or 4th st depending on how tightly you chained your pico). You now have 2 loops and the pico on your hook.

Yo, insert hook into next edc from previous row, pull up loop, yo, pull through 1 loop

Yo, pull through 2 loops. You now have on your hook, loop, pico, loop, loop.

Yo, pull through all loops/pico on hook.


Chain 34

Row 1: Edc in 5th chain from hook, *ch3, sk1, sc, (chain 6, slip st into base of sc to form 6-st picot), ch3, sk1, 5 edc* Repeat from * to last 5 st, In last 5 stitches, ch3, sk1, sc, 6-st pico, ch3, sk1, edc, edc in last st, turn.

Row 2: Ch3 (counts as first edc), edc, *ch1, work 2edctog decrease (see stitch guide), ch1, ecd in same st (1st of 5 edcs from row 1), 4 edc * Repeat from * to end, omitting last 4 edc and instead working a single edc into turning chain, turn.

Row 3: Ch3, (counts as edc), *edc, edc in ch1 space, edc in the top of the 2edctog decrease from previous row (optional, before inserting hook to work this edc, dip the hook through the bar and then into the indicated stitch, work the stitch as normal. This creates a nicer looking back of the work for a more reversible fabric), edc into ch1 space, edc, ch3, sk1, sc, (chain 6, slip st into base of sc to form 6-st picot), ch3, sk1* Repeat from * until last st, work edc in turning chain, turn.

Row 4: Ch3, 5edc, *ch1, work 2edctog decrease, ch1, ecd in same st (1st of 5 edcs from row 1), 4 edc * Repeat from * until last st, work edc in turning chain, turn.

Row 5: Ch3 (counts as first edc), edc, *ch3, sk1, sc, (chain 6, slip st into base of sc to form 6-st picot), ch3, sk1, edc, edc in ch1 space, edc in the top of the 2edctog decrease from previous row (optional, before inserting hook to work this edc, dip the hook through the bar), edc into ch1 space, edc* Repeat from * until last st, work edc in turning chain, turn.

Repeat rows 2-5 until work reaches desired length.

(Please forgive typos/errors. I am not a professional pattern writer.)

Variation Directions:

Note: I worked the variation in a thicker yarn, Loops and Threads Impeccable with a size 4.5 hook. I wanted to see how the pattern looked on a larger scale. If I made this blanket, I would probably use a thicker yarn so I could get a larger blanket for the same number of stitches. Going up in size of yarn & hook in filet crochet is called “Exploding” the pattern.

Personally, I prefer the variation over the original stitch. I feel like the open diamonds create a lacier look, and the pattern requires less yarn because you’re omitting the 6-st pico.

Variation Pattern for Daisy Blanket. There are no picos inside the diamonds.
Notice how you can get a larger block of fabric using the same number of stitches when you use larger hook/yarn.

To work:

Chain 34

Row 1: Edc in 5th chain from hook, *ch3, sk1, sc, ch3, sk1, 5 edc* Repeat from * to 5 st from end. In last 5 stitches, ch3, sk1, sc, ch3, sk1, edc, edc in last chain, turn.

Row 2: Ch3 (counts as first edc), edc, *ch1, work 2edctog decrease (see stitch guide & omit the part involving the pico), ch1, ecd in same st (1st of 5 edcs from row 1), 4 edc * Repeat from * to end, omitting last 4 edc and instead working a single edc into turning chain, turn.

Row 3: Ch3, (counts as edc), *edc, edc in ch1 space, edc in the top of the 2edctog decrease from previous row, edc into ch1 space, edc, ch3, sk1, sc, ch3, sk1* Repeat from * until last st, work edc in turning chain, turn.

Row 4: Ch3, 5edc, *ch1, work 2edctog decrease, ch1, ecd in same st (1st of 5 edcs from row 1), 4 edc * Repeat from * until last st, work edc in turning chain, turn.

Row 5: Ch3 (counts as first edc), edc, *ch3, sk1, sc, ch3, sk1, edc, edc in ch1 space, edc in the top of the 2edctog decrease from previous row, edc into ch1 space, edc* Repeat from * until last st, work edc in turning chain, turn.

Repeat rows 2-5 until work reaches desired length.

Border Directions

The border is worked in 3 parts.

Part one is a sc all the way around the swatch, then a *dc, ch1, sk1* mesh-like stitch all the way around (make sure to work extra stitches in at the corners). Work regular dcs for the border, not edcs.

Part 2 (part with applique daisies) is linen st, which is worked over 2 rows. Row 1: *sc, ch1, sk1* all the way around. Row 2, work *sc, ch1, sk1* but work the scs into the chain-1 spaces from row 1. Work the linen stitch around as many times as you want. In the picture, it looks like it was worked over 12 to 14 rows.

Part 3 is a lacy border, which I didn’t try to recreate. You can do a search online for lacy blanket borders and pick one you like.

Thank you for reading! Let me know what you think of my recreation!

If you appreciate this post, take a look at my books. Don’t feel pressured to buy unless something really appeals to you!

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Didja Miss Me?

Eminem im back

It’s been two and a half years since my last blog post.

sum up.jpg

Life Summary Since Last Post

  • Kids are now 7 & 9. They can put their own clothes on and I don’t have to fumble with carseats anymore.
  • Residence is now in the woodsy foothills of the Cascades. I do not miss Seattle, but when people ask where I live, I still say Seattle.
  • My number of pets has quintupled.
    • My grumpy old Chihuahua-Terrier mix, Cricket, now has a sister. Meet chihuahua-beagle mix Buffy.Buffy
    • We also gained a cuddly mouser Fluffy and two guinea pigs named Giblet and Sosage. Sosage is still coming to terms with his new name after my son changed it from Gravy.
  • I can no longer eat dairy, sugar, or yeast. On the plus side, I am constantly craving dairy, sugar, and yeast.
  • I am now blonde. (I summoned a smile even though everyone else was having pizza and I was having salad.)Blonde
  • I still watch American Idol and am currently quite pleased with this season’s top 6 contestants. Personally, I’d be content with any of these awesome singers as American Idol, but if I had my way, it’d be Jeremiah.

Writing Summary

  • Highland Wishes goes to Germany! With the help of talented translator Barbara Grüner I’ve published all four books on Amazon.de in Kindle Select. A little trivia for you: Germans love Kindle Select! I make more moolah on page-reads for my Highland-Sehnsucht series than I do on ebook sales.Ich Wünsch Mir Einen Highlander - 3D_new
  • The amazingly talented and super wonderful Teresa Conner at WolfSparrow Covers rebranded my Love Under Construction series (longtime fans will know this series as Blue Collar Boyfriends). Authors, check out Teresa’s premades store! She has GORGEOUS covers available for a STEAL! In fact, I’ve bought several from her and use the covers as inspiration for future works.LUC Facebook ad
  • My muse is giving me fits. There are SO many things I want to write! The problem? There aren’t enough hours in the day!
    • More Highlanders (Timothy the albino with Constance’s twin, Leslie, Neil the wolf war chieftan, and more)
    • Modern twists on fairy tales (think mob princess saves the knight in shining armor)
    • Sci-fi romance (think sexy aliens and abducted women in need of luvin’)

Your Turn

What do you think of Teresa’s covers? Are you interested in my unique Jessi Gage take on the genres my muse is obsessed with? Which ones are you most interested in? Are there any German readers here? Let me know where you’re from and which Highland-Sehnsucht book is your favorite.

Posted in Life, Writing | 6 Comments

What Indie Means to Me


Photo Credit: Susanne Neal | Dreamstime.com – <a href=”https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-lived-happily-ever-image7226129#res9080468″>They lived happily ever after</a>

I am a proud indie author. In this post from a year and a half ago, I write about my decision process and experience transitioning from traditionally-published author to indie author. Click over and check it out if you’re interested in finding out more about what it means to be indie, how much money an indie author makes compared to a traditionally published author, and why I made the decision to go indie.


October is indie month at Amazon! This whole month, Amazon is featuring great indie writers on their Powered By Indie campaign, and I’m sooooooper excited to be included among their greats!

wishing-for-a-highlander-ebook-smallThey’ve chosen Wishing For a Highlander as one of their featured indie books.

Thank you Amazon!

To celebrate indie month, I’m sharing some of the reasons I absolutely love being and indie author.

Reason 1: More Money

Those of you familiar with my blog know I don’t shy away from money discussions. I share my income numbers with you here and here hoping the sharing of information helps others with the hugely important decision of whether or not to go indie.

My personal writing journey has evolved in such a way that I make more money as an indie author than I did as a traditionally published author. This may not be everyone’s story. I had a bestseller on my hands, and I knew my Highlander time-travels would continue to sell well based on reviews I was getting and what the market was demanding. The decision to go indie was a pretty safe one for me, and I have no regrets.

Reason 2: FREEDOM!


Giving input on cover design and formatting is great, but my favorite area of freedom is choosing when to release my next book.

For me, writing to a deadline would stifle my muse. I need to be relaxed and content in order to write.

I set goals for when I want my next book to be completed and released, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t make the goal. At least it’s not the end of the world to me. My faithful readers who eagerly await my next Highlander book might have a different take on deadlines and release dates.

Reason 3: Community

kristen-lambKristen Lamb, Marie Force, Candace Havens, Jami Gold, Angela Quarles, the list goes on and on. What do all these authors have in common besides being uber talented and publishing indie novels? They are all authors who love helping other authors.

All us indie authors are technically competeing against each other for the hard-earned dollars and ever harder-earned time of readers. But for some strange reason, we’re not all trying to sabotage each other. Weird, huh?

I’ve found indie authors to be the most welcoming, sharing, encouraging folks around. I wouldn’t be where I am without the free advice of all these wonderful people. That’s why I pay it forward by sharing with you lovely readers when I have a tidbit of information I think someone might find helpful.

If any of the names above aren’t familiar to you, and you’re an author, go check out their blogs. They have some really useful and often side-splittingly funny things to say about writing and marketing books.

Your Turn

If you’re an indie author, why do you love it…or not love it?

For readers, what’s your reaction when you hear someone say, I wrote a book and published it myself? Are you more or less inclined to buy an indie book compared to a traditionally-published book?

As always, thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share this post using the nifty buttons below, and please check out Amazon’s Powered By Indie promotion this month! You might find some new-to-you literary treasures!


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Choose this Highlander: Choosing the Highlander now in Audio Book!

Highland Wishes Book 3 Is Now Available In Audio!

Choosing the Highlander - AudiobookWhen I discovered the joy of listening to romance novels in the car, my commute became 150% more awesome. I knew that as an author, I had to get in on this growing market. I’m so glad I did.

Hearing my time-travel romances narrated by the amazing Marian Hussey has been one of the neatest parts of being an author. Characters come alive in a whole new way.

Whether or not you’ve read/listened to the first two books in this series (Wishing for a Highlander and The Wolf and the Highlander), you can get this audio book and not be lost. Choosing the Highlander works fine as a stand-alone, and is, in fact, a prequel to book 1, Wishing for a Highlander. 

***Jump to the bottom to enter my giveaway. I’ve got 5 FREE Audible copies up for grabs***

Love is anything but sensible

As a mechanical engineer in 1981 Chicago, Connie designs plumbing systems. She has also designed her life to perfection, right down to the man she hopes to marry. But when Mr. Right proposes, she can’t say yes. A head-clearing vacation brings her to the Scottish Highlands, where her free-spirited twin wishes for Connie to find true love. Neither sister expects the wish to send Connie hurtling five hundred years into the past.

Wilhelm Murray, heir to the barony of Dornoch, hopes to one day hold a seat in parliament and bring urgently needed reform to Scotland. But everything changes when a woman slated for execution proclaims her innocence using the most peculiar language. Powerfully attracted to the brave beauty, he rescues her even though it means becoming a fugitive and forfeiting his dream.

As Connie and Wilhelm evade capture, she discovers his passion for justice. Scotland needs his ideas. It needs him. And so does she. But in order to clear Wilhelm’s name, she will have to turn her back on everything she’s worked so hard for and embrace the magic of love.

Audible | Amazon | iTunes

How to get your hands on CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER

If you already own the Kindle version:

Add Audible Narration1.Log into your Amazon account and go to the product page for CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER. Click “Add Audible narration.” For a limited time, you can get it for just $3.47 if you already own the ebook.

2. Download the Audible app on your smart phone or wherever you listen to music & books. CHOOSING will show up in your library.

If you don’t yet own the ebook or didn’t get it at Amazon

Log into your Audible.com account or start a FREE 30 Day Trial

Audible Free Trial_how-audible-works
Make CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER or any of my Highland Wishes novels your first Audible audio book and you’ll get it for free!

After your 30 Day Trial is over, you pay $14.95 per month and Audible gives you 1 credit per month, the equivalent of 1 audio book ($20-$30 value).

Get it on iTunes

I’m not an iTunes user, so I don’t know how to buy audiobooks there. It’s listed at $21.95 in the iTunes store. That’s an option if you’re not an Amazon or Audible person.


1. In your car. Make your commute 150% more awesome.

2. While folding laundry. You’ll look forward to the chore you used to avoid at all costs.

3. While gardening…to drown out the sounds of all that pesky wildlife.

4. In bed. Help yourself wind down…or rev up, depending on what part of the book you’re in *winks*

But Jessi, I’m not tech-savvy enough to figure out audio books

vinylNever fear, passionate vinyl listener or 8-track aficionado. I’m here for you.

I’m not super tech savvy myself, but I do own a smart phone, and getting started with Audible was painless.

Start by downloading the Audible app from whichever app store you use. Use your Amazon log-in info or sign up for a new account, and Audible will hold your hand from there.

So will I. Drop me a line if you have any questions, and we can tackle your technophobia together!

Connect With Me Online

I love hearing from you! You can reach me on the following social media platforms:

Website | Blog | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter

Comment Below For Your Chance To Win 1 Of 5 Audible Codes

Leave a comment on this post, and I will randomly choose the winners on Friday, September 9th. If you can’t think what to say, how about answering this question: What one thing would you NEVER time-travel without?

This Post is re-blogged from Hearts Through Time, where Jessi blogs along with dozens of talented tim-travel romance writers. It’s a reader-oriented blog with fun posts about history and time-travel.

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Audio Books for Idiots Part 2: Can I Afford to Make an Audio Book?

acxLogo2How does an indie author figure out whether he or she can afford to turn their books into audio books?

What is Amazon’s ACX platform, and how does it work?

How does an indie author decide whether to produce their audio book using a royalty share agreement or by paying outright for production?

The Wolf and the Highlander - AudioIf you’ve asked any of these questions lately or you’re a writer considering turning a book into an audio book, you’ll want to jump in on this series. In part 1 I talk about several things I wish I’d known before starting the audio book process and I lay out the pros and cons of royalty share.

In this post, I’ll report my royalties from my two audio books, Wishing for a Highlander and The Wolf and the Highlander. I don’t share financial information lightly. I’m doing it here to help other authors understand what they can expect to make on their audio books depending on which method they use to produce it.

Jessi’s Prediction

In part 1 of my audio book series, I talked about the two different ways you can use ACX to create audio books of your work: Royalty Share and Paid Production.

For Wishing for a Highlander, I used the royalty share option. Royalty share is free to the author and results in 20% royalties. 

Based on what I was receiving in royalties for Wishing, I decided it would be safe for me to use paid production for The Wolf and the Highlander. Paid production means the author pays the narrator/producer outright and receives 40% royalties.  

My investment in the production of Wolf ran me over $2000.

(Note: The amount you will pay to produce your book might differ wildly from what I paid. Some narrators charge more than others per finished hour. Because the industry is always changing and narrators are becoming choosier about what they spend their time producing, the cost to an author could go up substantially in the months and years to come. Don’t be surprised to find some narrators charging upwards of $400 per finished hour, which would work out to over $4000.00 for a 100,000 word novel.)

As of my previous post, I could only guess at how long it would take me to reap the rewards of that investment. Here is how I made my educated guess:

Thanks to the royalty report for Wishing I shared in part 1, I learned that on average, I get $2.65 per audio book sale. If I do a little math, I can assume from that royalty that the average sale price of one of my audio books was $13.25. Keeping in mind the different ways of purchasing audio books, that average price is NOT hard and fast. But it’s a starting point.

If I assume Wolf would sell for the same price on average as Wishing, and if I know my royalty will be twice as much (40% vs 20%), then I predicted my royalty per unit of Wolf would be $5.30. At that rate, I would need to sell around 410 units of Wolf to pay for its production.

Well, now that I have a few royalty statements under my belt for Wolf, I’m in a good position to check my assumptions. I’m pleased to report I was on the right track.

Here’s a table showing what I made at the 40% royalty rate for Wolf versus the 20% royalty rate for Wishing for the month of December:

ACX Royalty Wishing Wolf_table

  • ALC: audiobook units bought by customers not in an AudibleListener membership
  • AL: audiobook units bought by AudibleListener members using their membership credits
  • ALOP: audiobook units bought by AudibleListener members but not using their membership credits

For those who like pretty pictures, here’s a couple charts. The top chart shows units sold. The bottom chart shows royalty earned.



Notice I sold fewer copies of Wolf but made quite a bit more than Wishing. In fact, for this reporting period (December), Wolf made 2.67 times as much as Wishing per unit sold.

I hope my sharing this info with you allows you to make make more informed decisions about your audio books.

To learn more about my books and audio books, visit my website. It’s new and improved and kind of spiffy if you ask me. There’s even a spot where you can like my FB page and sign up for my new release newsletter. Just sayin’.

As always, thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to share using the nifty buttons below!

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Audio Books for Idiots Part 1: What You Should Know About ACX (+ A Giveaway)

My Experience Using Royalty Share and Paid Options on ACX

The Wolf and the Highlander - AudioIn the past couple of days, I’ve learned a ton about marketing audio books. I’ll share what I’m learning about marketing in a future post. But it seemed weird to jump into a discussion of marketing audio books before first talking about the process of producing audio books.

There was a lot I would like to have known before starting the process of turning my indie Highlander e books into audio books. I plan to share those things here for those of you thinking about producing audio books.

If you already have an audio book, and you’re looking for marketing tips, subscribe to my blog and you won’t miss that post when it comes along.

Why you should turn your indie e book into an audio book

In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to have your book available in as many formats as possible.

Audio books are the only reading option for some people. They’re also a fun way for people who love books to squish in reading time while they do other things, like driving, working out, or gardening. It’s a growing market, and you should be in it if you possibly can be.

Think you can’t be? Think again.

Amazon’s ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) platform makes audio book production accessible to all. By accessible, I mean it is POSSIBLE for you to find a producer for your audio book regardless of your financial situation. You have ACCESS to the process for free. That said, you are not GUARANTEED success.

I’m living proof of that. I have had two audio books produced in two different ways, and I have failed to have a third produced. I’ll explain and use myself as an example as I share what I’ve learned.

Producing an audio book with ACX

If you’re thinking about turning your book into an audio book, you will probably use ACX . That’s what I did, so what follows is a user’s perspective.

When you approach ACX, think of it as approaching someone to do something for you that you can’t do for yourself. Yes. I said it. You CAN’T do this yourself. Think I don’t know what I’m talking about?

I have degrees in Broadcasting Communications & Speech and Hearing Sciences. I know a thing or two about sounding good on the radio and in any number of public speaking situations. But I’m not a trained voice actor or a narrator. I don’t have a sound studio and mixing board at my disposal. I don’t have professional- grade sound-editing software on my computer. I am not the BEST choice for bringing my story to life for listeners.

If you have all those things going for you and you firmly believe you ARE the best choice for narrator and producer, knock yourself out. Produce your own audio book. But know you’re looking at 40+ hours of studio time (for a full-length book) plus many hours of trial and error as you ride out the learning curve. Personally, I would rather be writing new stuff.

I’m going to make one last plea for you to reconsider if you want to do your own audio book production. I’m going to advise you to listen to a sample on Audible’s website for an audio book with poor production quality. I’m not going to name the author or book in this post, but you’ll see that info when you listen.

I apologize to the author for calling attention to what I consider to be poor production value, and I don’t do it lightly or with any kind of mean-girl intent. I do it because I think it’s an important consideration for anyone considering producing audio books.

Click here for the poorly-produced book’s Audible page then click on the little “Sample” triangle. Make sure your sound is on. Just listen for a few seconds. (Note 1: You don’t need an Audible account to listen to samples. Note 2: This is an erotica, but the sample does not contain anything explicit.)

What I hear from the sample is someone with no professional voice training. I can tell because every phrase ends with vocal fry. The sibilant sounds are peaking. The narration is rushed. The male character voice is laughably bad.

You don’t want this to be you. And it doesn’t have to be! There are lots of narrators out there who will do justice to your story. Give them a chance! It doesn’t cost you a thing.

So, you’ve decided to turn your indie e book into an audio book. Awesome! Now you have to decide how you want to produce it. ACX gives you two options.

One option is to pay your narrator/producer a set rate per finished hour. ACX estimates how many hours your finished book will be based on your word count. They provide guidelines for deciding on a price. Hint: the more you’re willing to pay, the more talent you’re likely to attract.

I used this option to produce my second audio book, The Wolf and the Highlander, and it cost me a little over $2000. My narrator is amazing, and considering what she gets paid on a royalty-share deal with a stipend, she gave me a bargain! (More on royalty share below).

The expense of the paid option is a big con, but the pro is that you get to keep all 40% of royalties earned.

For those who don’t want to drop a huge chunk of change on narration, there is another option, which I used to produce my first audio book, Wishing for a Highlander.

Wishing for a Highlander - AudioRoyalty Share (aka The Free Option)

When you place your book on ACX for auditions under the royalty share option, you are agreeing that you will split your royalties 50/50 with your narrator/producer.

Let me break this down for you in general terms and then using my first audio book as a real-life example of sales versus royalties.

Here is how it works:

  1. ACX helps you find a narrator/producer (this is considered one entity on Audible, though there may be two or more individuals involved in the process).
  2. You and your narrator produce the book.
    1. Production costs you the author nothing.
    2. It costs the narrator dearly. Remember that 40+ hours of studio time I mentioned above? That doesn’t include reading your book for note-taking purposes, developing voices, and editing what they recorded.
  3. Once finished, and at no cost to the author, the audio book goes up for sale on Audible, iTunes, and their affiliates (you have the option to sell to a broader market, but you sacrifice royalties).
  4. When your audio book sells through any of these venues, ACX and the retailer get 60% (how they split that is a complete mystery to me and probably individually negotiated between ACX and each retailer). You the author get 40% of the audio book’s price. With a royalty share agreement, you split your 40% with your narrator. In other words, you get 20% and your narrator gets 20%. ACX does the split for you.

When I entered into a royalty share deal for my book Wishing For a Highlander I had no idea what my 20% portion of the royalties would look like. The price direct through Audible was $24.95 or 1 credit. The price on Amazon’s Audible button was $17.47 or 1 credit. One credit on my Audible plan (I’m a customer as well) is $14.95. But people on other plans pay different amounts per credit. Would I as an author get a different royalty depending on what Audible plan a customer has or which vendor sold the audio book?

I still don’t know the answer in as much detail as I would like, but I’ll share with you what I can glean from my royalty reports. Here is a screenshot of my first full-month royalty report from ACX:

ACX Royalty Report

Click to make the image bigger if you need to. I made it as big as I could by trimming out the title of my audio book, which appears on the left-hand side of the report.

The top white row shows UK sales for the month of January 2015. Next is US sales. The light gray row is a per-book summary. If I had more than one book, there would be more white rows and another light gray row for each book. The dark gray row is the overall summary, which is the same as the light gray row since I had only one audio book at the time of this report.

You’ll notice the second column says “Royalty Share” and 20%. That means this report is specific to me AFTER the royalty split. My narrator gets a similar report. In other words, this report only shows my portion of the royalty breakdown. If I had paid for production of this audio book, I would be seeing double this amount. Make sense?

Okay. Now, notice there are three sets of columns with abbreviations ALC, AL and ALOP. Here’s what each of those means:

ALC: audiobook units bought by customers not in an AudibleListener membership

AL: audiobook units bought by AudibleListener members using their membership credits

ALOP: audiobook units bought by AudibleListener members but not using their membership credits

Looking at the ALC column, I had 36 US sales netting $629.66. That works out to $17.49 per sale for audio books sold to individuals not holding an Audible membership. What I don’t know is what percentage of these sales are from different retailers, like Apple, for example. My 20% per book was $3.50.

Looking at the AL column, I had 249 US sales netting $3230.53. That works out to $12.97 per sale for audio books bought by Audible members using their monthly credit(s). My 20% per book was $2.59.

In other words, Audible members pay a monthly fee and get 1 or 2 monthly credits depending on that fee. They use their credits to buy audio books, and Audible pays ACX out of their membership fund.

Currently, $14.95 per month gets a listener 1 credit per month. One credit will buy you one full-length book. This is a pretty good deal since audio book prices typically range from $20 to $30+. Recently, I upgraded my Audible account so I pay around $22 a month for 2 credits (I listen to a lot of audio books, so this plan suits me better). This means I pay an average of $11 per audio book.

For the month of this royalty report and for the particular Audible listeners who bought my audio book, the average ACX net per Audible “credit” sale was $12.97. I assume this average will change slightly depending on the plans of the listeners making the purchases. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

Looking at the ALOP column, I had 97 US sales netting $901.61. That works out to $9.29 per sale for audio books bought at Audible by listeners who have already used their monthly credit(s) and want to buy even more glorious audio books. My 20% per book was $1.86.

Regardless of how much ACX nets, the math shows me that I always got 20%. What I didn’t know when I signed on with ACX was that the amount they net is far more variable than the amount retailers net on a $3.99 e-book (that’s what my Highlander e books go for).

There’s another way an audio book can be purchased, and I have no idea if it falls into one of these three categories. Anyone who owns aKindle e book with Whispersync can add the Audible narration for $1.99. If anyone knows what ACX nets from this arrangement, I’d love to know.

In summary on royalty share: you can expect to earn 20% of what ACX nets, but you should know that the amount varies depending on where and how your listener purchases your audio book.

Stipends: Making royalty share especially attractive to narrators/producers

Alert! More info I wish I had known earlier!

I’ve mentioned how much producing an audio book costs a narrator. It’s not cheap for them. When you hire a narrator to produce your book, they are looking at two working weeks devoted to nothing but your book.

If you selected the royalty share option, that means the narrator gets nothing up front. Zilch. Nada.

And if your audio book doesn’t sell well, they get very little for their efforts, and so do you. In other words, it’s a risky proposition…

Unless ACX awards your book a stipend.

What is a stipend?

It’s a significant bonus ACX attaches to your royalty-share audio book to encourage narrators to audition.

It ensures narrators receive compensation for a royalty-share audio book.

What kinds of books receive a stipend?

Well, Wishing For a Highlander was awarded a stipend before I even knew what a stipend was. I credit the stipend with my finding the narrator of my dreams, the uber talented Marian Hussey.

But when I posted book 2 The Wolf and the Highlander for auditions, weeks passed, and I heard no news of a stipend. Because I am not afraid to ask for what I want (and I REALLY wanted to keep my narrator, who only does royalty shares with stipends), I contacted ACX. The gist of my email was, Dear ACX, I’m sure you didn’t mean to, but you seem to have overlooked my book The Wolf and the Highlander for a stipend. I’m sure you want to award it a stipend. So here’s your chance. Thanks much.

I learned the hard way that if your book isn’t awarded a stipend, you’re not supposed to contact ACX and ask for one. How do I know this?

Because I received this polite but clear response from ACX:

All ACX marketplace titles are automatically reviewed for stipend eligibility on two occasions during the first two weeks that they are open for auditions. Going forward, you will not need to contact ACX to request stipend consideration.  Your book must be open for audition for a minimum of two weeks for them to review it for the stipend program. If your book is accepted, you will see a green banner on your title in the ACX system.

The algorithm ACX employs to determine stipend eligibility looks at factors including past print and eBook sales of a title, recent sales velocity, user reviews, date of first publication, genre, and estimated running time (on ACX, longer is better).  We also review sales of your previously released audiobooks to ensure they are in line with similar titles. Titles that have not qualified for inclusion in the Stipend Program did not meet the requirements in one or more of these categories.

I hope this helps and wish you the best with your productions.

Yeah. So, they didn’t make a mistake. Wishing had been promising enough for them to risk a stipend. Wolf wasn’t.

Did you read that second paragraph of ACX’s response carefully? They look at your rankings, reviews, and the length of your book. What I took away from the letter was this:

  1. Post your e book to ACX for royalty share WHEN YOU HAVE AN EXCELLENT SALES RANK.
  2. Don’t post for audio book production when your book is newly released unless you have a ton of great reviews already up.

Do you need to have a stipend to land a quality narrator?

Honestly, I don’t know. If any narrators want to weigh in on that question, please do. I only have experience with my narrator, and as of our latest communication, she only accepts royalty share projects with a stipend.

I’m waiting to submit my third Highland Wishes book, Choosing the Highlander to ACX until it has enough reviews to be competitive for a stipend. Even then, that third book doesn’t have the sales traction of Wishing. It might not get picked. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to switch narrators.

If I were a narrator, I would check out a few things before thinking about submitting an audition. Does the book sell in e book? Does it have a compelling, error-free blurb? A gorgeous cover? Does the author do a good job of promoting themselves?

What about your book makes it a smart business decision for a narrator? Remember, for them to make any money on your book, it has to sell, sell, sell!

I would love to know what percentage of books on ACX actually receive auditions. This would be super helpful information to help authors make their books as attractive as possible to narrators.

Bounties: Free Money in Addition to Royalties

In addition to earning royalties, you can also earn a bounty on your Audible sales. Audible pays a bounty of $50 to the author every time their audio book is the first purchase of a new customer. With royalty share, you split the bounty as well as the royalties.

I have earned a total of 15 bounties on Wishing For a Highlander. This means my narrator and I have both been paid $375 for Wishing being someone’s first audio book.

Do audio books sell? Will my audio book sell?

In my limited experience, I’m selling in audio book about one quarter what I sell in e book.

Anyone with more experience, feel free to comment.

Are you an author considering producing audio books? A reader in love with listening to audio books? A narrator with experience producing audio books?

I would love to hear from you!

Anyone who comments will get their name in a hat for a free review copy of my latest audio book The Wolf and the Highlander. I’ll give out three copies.

The contest will remain open for one week.

I’ll choose winners on Saturday 11/21.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share using the nifty buttons below!

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Spotlight on Elementals

D. B. Sieders’ New Release Combines Fantasy, Romance & Brilliant Writing


I’m thrilled to welcome my friend D.B. Sieders to my blog today. D.B. and I met while we wrote for the same publisher a few years ago, and we’ve been cheering each other on ever since.

Her contemporary romance Red Shoes for Lab Blues hit all the right notes for me, and I can’t wait to dig into this next book of hers, this time a fantasy romance.

Here’s D.B. with a spotlight on her first indie release (YAAAAYYYYY!!!!!!):

I am so delighted to be here with Jessi Gage, purveyor of Scottish delicacies of the Hot Highlander variety and one of my favorite authors! She’s been kind enough help me spread the word about my new fantasy romance series. Supernatural creatures featured in conventional paranormal/fantasy romance are usually male and are often more powerful (at least initially) than their heroines. My heroines hold their own and take charge—often they are the supernatural creatures paired with mortal males, as is the case with the mermaids in Southern Elemental Guardians.

Yet at heart, these mythical maidens crave love and acceptance in much the same way as mere mortals.

Why mermaids? Well, why not? They’re beautiful, intriguing, and mysterious. They are associated with death, luring unsuspecting mortals to a watery grave. Yet they’re also known as healers. That dichotomy fascinated me. The fair maidens of the sea have had their share of page and screen time, but I hadn’t encountered much about their freshwater cousins. From the legend of Melusine the Warsaw Mermaid, to Lorelei of the Rhine, Ondine, and Wagner’s Rhinemaidens, European folklore is rich in source material. I blended all of these legends, put in my own unique spin, and voilà, my mermaids came alive!

A sexy, wounded rock star, a giant talking catfish, a host of powerful elemental guardians, and a killer soundtrack round out this modern fairy tale for grown ups!


If Lorelei sings, someone will die.

Her beautiful voice once cost a life. Still, music is her passion. What’s a mermaid to do? Run off and live vicariously through mortal musicians!

Unfortunately, gorgeous rocker Vance Idol almost succumbs to her siren call after his show in Nashville. Not that Vance cares—not since his girlfriend’s fatal overdose left him with a supersized death wish. Lorelei makes it her mission to undo the damage and help this talented and charismatic man on the eve of his band’s big break.

But saving a mortal man is a dangerous proposition. Lorelei could far too easily lose her heart, and quite possibly her immortality, during her American holiday. Bad boy Vance might be worth the risk.

Can their love survive his attitude, her fins, and an evil Pixie with a grudge against them both?

Buy link: Available from Amazon in eBook and paperback formats.



“I asked you nicely. Once. I won’t do it again.”

The woman didn’t flinch, but her gaze turned hard and held his without faltering. “You didn’t, Vance.”

“I didn’t what? By the way, what’s your name, sugar? Guess it must’ve slipped my mind since last night,” he added, smirking.

“I’m called Lorelei,” she said as she stood, forcing him to take a step back lest she knock him over. “And what you didn’t do was ask me nicely, but it doesn’t matter. You won’t find your phone, clothing, or the means to leave until I’m sure you’re fully healed.”

He maintained his glower but found himself at a bit of a loss. Though she was tall for a woman, he still outweighed her by at least fifty pounds of muscle. Most men he’d faced down during his time on the road would have cowered, but she clearly didn’t fear him.

Since he couldn’t persuade her by fear, he shifted tactics again, reverting to his preferred method of persuasion when faced with a difficult woman. It hadn’t failed him yet. He allowed his gaze to wander down her face to her full lips, and from there down along the slender column of her neck. Her audible swallow and the bob in her throat made him smirk with satisfaction. When his gaze fell to the swell of her breasts, he grew hard again and knew she’d read the heat in his gaze when it returned to her face.

He definitely saw heat in hers.

He moved past her, taking care to brush his skin against her bare arms, and sat down on the bed. He reclined and stretched his body, allowing the towel that covered his lower half to come loose. Plastering a smile on his face, one that charmed most women right out of their panties, he said, “Well if you really want to make sure I’m healed, Lorelei, I guess you’d best get on with your examination.”

db siedersAuthor Info:

D.B. Sieders was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent her childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, and chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. She and her family loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire.

Those days of frog chasing sparked an interest in biology. She is a working scientist by day, but never lost her love of telling stories. Now, she’s a purveyor of unconventional fantasy romance featuring strong heroines and the heroes who strive to match them. Her heroes and heroines face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves.

db2D.B. Sieders lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, two children, two cats, and her very active imagination.

You can find D.B. Sieders on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.


Want a chance to win some gorgeous custom mermaid jewelry?

db3Click here between now and October 31, 2015, sign up for my newsletter to hear about new releases, discounts, bonus content, and events.

Rest assured, your email address is safe from third parties and will remain confidential!

Buy Lorelie’s Lyric today at Amazon in eBook and paperback formats!

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Strap on Your Jingle Bells! It’s Holiday Romance Time!

Announcing Passionate Kisses 3 Under the Mistletoe

Passionate Kisses 3 Cover_3DwShadowI love holiday romance. Don’t you? All that spiked eggnog, misunderstandings under the mistletoe, and pine-scented heroes!

What could be better?

Last year, I released my third Blue Collar Boyfriends novel, Cole in My Stocking, around the holidays.

This holiday season, I’ve got a brand new release coming your way in a package deal you won’t be able to resist.

The Passionate Kisses gang are at it again. This time, we’re taking our mischief UNDER THE MISTLETOE!

Holiday Bargain - EBook 1563 x 2500My book in the set is a brand new novella HOLIDAY BARGAIN. I guess I have a thing for cops and Christmastime, because the hero in this one is a cop, like Cole, in Cole in my Stocking.

You are going to want to meet Officer Doug Mendez, aka the king of hookups and the sweet heroine who makes him want to settle down.

The good news is you can get Doug and 9 other sexy heroes at a pre-order deal of $0.99.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

Holiday Bargain

Single mom Cassie is nowhere near ready to love again. It’s only been a year since her husband passed away. But when a neighborhood emergency brings an old crush, Seattle cop Doug Mendez, to her door, her libido awakens. Her heart might not be ready for commitment, but a no-strings-attached affair with the king of hookups might be just what the doctor ordered.

Doug needs a date to his sister’s Christmastime wedding. Since he’s been taking a break from dating, he has no prospects, but a cute woman he meets on the job—and who happens to be an old friend of his sister’s—agrees to step up. On one condition: that he reintroduce her to sex in a casual hookup. Charitable guy that he is, he agrees, but soon realizes he wants more from Cassie than a holiday bargain.

Passionate Kisses 3 Under the Mistletoe

Passionate Kisses 3_2DCurl up under the mistletoe with these 10 brand new novellas in the sexy Passionate Kisses romance anthology! From Italian stallions to bad boy bartenders, small towns to big cities, all of these stories by USA Today best-selling authors promise to keep you warm this holiday season.



ONE STARRY KNIGHT by Sydney Holmes

SCROOGE YOU by Nikki Lynn Barrett

A MISTLETOE MOMENT by Victoria Barbour

MIRACLE OF LOVE by Allie Boniface


ALMOST ROMANCE by Kylie Gilmore




What are you waiting for? Go hit up your favorite e-retailer and claim your copy.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

After release week, the price will go up to $2.99. Still cheaper than a venti latte, but why pay more when you can pre-order for $0.99?

Whether you’ve got bosses, boxers, husbands, doctors, soldiers, or cops on your wish-list this season, we’ve got you covered!

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share using the nifty buttons below!

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Guardian’s Secret out now!

Woohooo! My friend Amy Raby has a new book out! Get it! It’s good. Here’s her post announcing her new release!

Amy Raby


Guardian’s Secret is out today! This is a new novella in the Hearts and Thrones series. It’s a side story featuring Drusus, the imperial bodyguard. Please note that this is a gay (m/m) romance, unlike the other stories in this series which are m/f. Why did I write a gay romance in a straight series? Because the Hearts and Thrones world includes people of all kinds, and I don’t want to exclude a gay character from having his story told just because he’s gay.

This novella is about 200 pages long, so it’s longer than most novellas, but only half the length of a novel. This made pricing it a challenge, so what I’ve done is priced it at 99 cents for the first week, as a thank-you to my most loyal readers. Next Tuesday the price will go up to $2.99.

Drusus, recently retired from the imperial guard, has…

View original post 141 more words

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Help a Highlander Out

Writing Updates and a Cover Poll

My kids are both in school! The 4yo is in pre-K and the 6yo is in first grade! Which means I have time to blog again! And to write. And shower. It’s amazing!

I’ll keep it quick, since I’ve got, like, five years of stuff to catch up on.

  1. Vote for Wishing for a Highlander in this cover poll on Story Finds. I’m up against some pretty stiff competition, so spread the word for me if you feel comfortable doing that.
  2. Look for a pre-order button soon for Passionate Kisses 3: Under the Mistletoe. My 9 Passionate Kisses sisters and I will be releasing out third boxed set together in October! I love working with these ladies. I know you’ll love their holiday stories! My contribution to the set is Holiday Bargain, a Blue Collar Boyfriends novella with a cop hero and a young widow heroine. You’re going to love Cassie and Doug–oh, and Cassie’s adorable four-month-old, Jake. I’ll have a cover reveal coming your way soon!
  3. Get ready to experience Riggs, the rugged, taciturn wolf-man from The Wolf and the Highlander, in a whole new way! My amazing narrator Marian Hussey is currently producing Wolf in audiobook. I’m planning an October release if all goes well.

That’s what I’ve got on tap. I’m looking forward to a super productive fall.

Thanks for stopping by!

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