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The Sweet Spot

Let me tell you about The Sweet Spot

I published The Sweet Spot 18 months ago. I did it on my own — a long story there. And for three days, Dec. 7-9, you can buy the Kindle version for 99c/99p because I want more people to read it. (More below.) If I say so myself, it’s a damn good book about what can happen in a small town when somebody makes a big mistake.

It’s the first book I published that’s set in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts where I now live. scan TSSAnd its characters, starting with Edie St. Claire and her rough-sawn family, have stayed with me like old friends, even the ones that are not so nice.

Let me share a post I wrote about Edie. Here goes.

Real people have real feelings. And since the characters of my new novel The Sweet Spot are real to me, I believe it applies to them.

Actually, the novel is filled with emotion. Love. Joy. Humor. Grief. And then there’s the ugly stuff. Jealousy. Anger. Hate. Oh, there’s more than that certainly.

But let me focus on Edie St. Claire, the novel’s main character. She’s a young widow who still grieves for her husband, Gil, who was killed in Vietnam eight years earlier. (The novel is set in 1978.) I don’t blame her. He was a sweetheart of a guy. I should know. I created him.

They were high school sweethearts who married young. Gil was taken by Edie’s fun-loving spirit. She adored his tenderness. They would have had a wonderful future together, except he pulled a low number during the 1969 lottery and had to go to war.

I’ve never been a widow. But the blessed part about being a writer and a person with a creative mind is that I can imagine it.

When The Sweet Spot starts, Edie raises their young daughter by herself. She does her best, whether it’s helping her crusty old father who runs the town dump or her fiery aunt who live next door. Still, she knows how to have a good time, whether its playing softball — the camaraderie and banter among her teammates are a lot of fun — or hanging out at the local watering hole, the Do-Si-Do Bar. These are simply ways for her to escape her grief.

Then, there is her affair with her married brother-in-law, Walker. The man could never replace his brother although he sure keeps trying.

I can’t give away the rest of the book, but things turn out badly for Edie and Walker.

Now Edie must deal with different emotions like shame, hatred, and pride. How does she handle them? Let’s say I’m rooting for her.

BUY MY BOOK: Well, unless you know somebody who has a copy, you need to buy my book to be able to read it. Those who read Kindle have an advantage for three days. The Sweet Spot is also available in paperback. Here’s the link to Amazon: The_Sweet_Spot

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William Cullen Bryant homestead
The Sweet Spot

Countdown

Monday, Feb. 20, the official launch day for The Sweet Spot, fast approaches. For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to generate interest in my hilltown novel’s characters and plot. I will continue that practice over the next few days via these posts.

This has been a hectic week for Michelle Gutierrez, the novel’s designer, and me. Dissatisfied with the proofs of the book’s physical cover — the spine’s printing was off — she decided to change the design a bit to alleviate any problems. Ah, so another set of proofs had to arrive, which they did Wednesday. Voila. The cover looks fabulous. But I am holding off publishing until last minute. (With Create Space and Kindle, you can’t set a future release date.)

The Kindle version was a bit trickier. But Michelle figured out the formatting problems.

Then I had to come up with ad copy through Amazon marketing for the Kindle version. I plan to run the ad for the next two weeks at least, starting Monday. People were nice enough to weigh in on the ad copy on Facebook.

Ah, then I found out I had to reduce it all to 150 CHARACTERS. Wow, how do you reduce 80,000 words into that amount? Here’s what I came up with: Most love Edie, widow of a soldier killed in Vietnam, until her affair with his brother ends badly. Can she survive her small town’s biggest scandal?

That will appear on certain ads, like when somebody opens their Kindle e-reader.

I also came up with a headline for the other types of ads: Secrets and Scandals in a Small Town.

Of course, I will do promotion via social media, and later next month, a reading in Taos. It would be fun to return to the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts to have one.

And hopefully, those who read and like my novel will write reviews as they did for my last novel, Peace, Love, and You Know What.

More tomorrow ….

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That image of the road leading to the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, Massachusetts was taken from an old postcard. Hank and I used to walk the old-growth forest beside it when we lived in the hilltowns. Conwell, the fictional town in The Sweet Spot, would fit nicely beside Cummington.

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