Scene Snippet, #Giveaway, Price Rant, Weekly Winners

That’s a pretty broad list of topics, right? Hear a rant, enter to win a copy of ELYSIAN FIELDS’ UK version, read a snippet, check out last week’s winners. Busy day!

First off, Happy Sunday!

I have a new scene snippet today but, first, you might ask, what’s this about a price rant? It was prompted by this Amazon “review” of ELYSIAN FIELDS:

“I’m not sure why Suzanne Johnson decided that, starting with #3, this series was worth $5 more per eBook, but she did. I really dislike it when authors do this to their fans, starting a series at a semi-reasonable price point when released…then have an egomaniac attack and jack the price up far beyond what her readership has been paying. … All in all, I’m disgusted by the author’s apparent greed and will be leaving her to whatever audience likes paying $12.99 for a newly released eBook. She may not care, but she’s lost one fan.”

So, first of all, I agree with this reader that, these days, $8 plus change for an ebook (it isn’t $12.99, although it might have been at some point–I don’t know) is really high. But the point I want to make is this: unless one self-publishes, authors have ABSOLUTELY NO INPUT on pricing. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I have no control over any of my books’ formats or prices. I have no ability to have special promotions or sales. I make very little money on my books, which is why I’m still in a 50-hour-a-week day job. So, that’s all I have to say, except that when you see an high-priced book that isn’t self-published, don’t blame the author for being greedy.

Okay, rant over.

Speaking of ELYSIAN FIELDS, my publisher sent me a box of the UK edition last week. I’ll give away five copies to commenters. Here’s the cool UK cover if you haven’t seen it.


Now…how about a snippet from my December release (from the $3.99 ebook publisher–LOL), DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD? Which doesn’t yet have a cover.

This is our first meeting of Brody and Samantha, our hero/heroine, and takes place in the Black Dragon, a pub in the village of Swineshead, England, and area in the East Midlands a stone’s throw from Sherwood Forest.

Brody watched Greely return to the bar, stopping along the way to talk to a newcomer, a woman who looked completely out of place.

Linking his fingers behind his neck and flexing his stiff shoulder muscles, pretending to stretch, he gave her a longer look, trying to decide why she didn’t fit in. Finally, he realized what it was: she looked like an American. Jeans, running shoes, backpack.

The woman took a seat at the bar and kept talking to Greely, who like many pub owners, was a bit of a philosopher and dispenser of local history and wisdom. The woman was waving her hands around; probably one of those people who couldn’t string two sentences together without hand gestures. Over the noise, Brody heard “hotel” and “urgent.”

No business of his. He turned back to his steak pie and shoveled the last bite into his mouth, noting a big swath of green paint he’d missed earlier. It trailed a verdant smudge from wrist almost to elbow. Oh well, it would just add to his reputation as the eccentric artist.

He felt her rather than saw her, a soft, accidental brush across his left shoulder as she stopped behind him. “Excuse me, but you’re Brody Parker?”

What? Brody sat up straighter but didn’t turn. He’d been right; she was American. Maybe even Southern, although it was hard to tell from a few words.

Greely showed up and reached for Brody’s empty plate. “It depends on why you want to know, love, as to whether he’ll admit it or not. If you’re looking for someone to escort you on a scenic tour of Swineshead, you’d be better off with someone such as myself. If you’re a bill collector, this big, silent hulk would be the one you want.”

Using his foot to shove out the chair next to Brody, Greely added, “Have a seat. You already have a pint and Mr. Parker here detests seeing a woman drink alone.”

Brody hated to be paranoid, but why would a strange American woman be asking for him, especially a day after a security irregularity at MI6? He tried to maintain a neutral expression as he watched her take the chair. She was pretty, going on average, with hair that swept the top of her shoulders in a fan of caramel and honey. Red-framed glasses gave her more of a Marian Librarian look than one of a federal agent or a hitman, but that would be a brilliant disguise, wouldn’t it?

She set her beer on the table and looked at him for the first time. Brody’s breath caught. Whoever this woman was, she had the most perfect green eyes he’d ever seen, the color he thought of as Lincolnshire Green and was forever trying to capture on his canvases. He could drown in that color.

When their glances caught, he’d been in the process of setting his pint back on the table after taking a sip. Instead, he set it down on his fork, knocking the utensil off the edge of the table with a loud-enough clatter to draw glances from several people sitting nearby.

“Smooth move.” The woman smiled as Brody, his face heating, leaned over to pick up the fork and made the mistake of glancing under the table at her feet. Her white running shoes carried  a coating of fine Lincolnshire mud. Jeans and tennis shoes were such an American uniform that an unexpected—and unwelcome—pang of homesickness stabbed Brody in the gut. He hadn’t thought about it before, at least not consciously, but he hadn’t talked to another American in the seven years he’d been living in England, unless talking to the TV counted. Swineshead didn’t exactly qualify as an international tourism destination.

The woman leaned over to peer at him under the table, and Brody sat up abruptly. Since when had he turned into a total idiot? “Can you talk?” she asked, looking back toward Greely, who’d returned to the bar. “Do we need an interpreter?”

 “I can talk.” And sound pretty damned defensive, apparently.

Of course, I’m into art journaling these days, so I had to make Brody a painter. And yeah, I might have gotten to the day job a time or two and found a dab of paint I missed :-), although my favorite colors are teal and purple, so it’s usually one of those colors instead of green!

Now…did you win a book this week? If you see your name, please email me [] –please indicate print or ebook when applicable and be sure to tell me which book you won. It saves me a lot of time if I don’t have to go back and dig through old blog posts!

JOLENE won a copy of Betty Bolte’s TRACES, choice of digital or print.

BONNIE G won my Midweek Mailbox giveaway, Mercedes Lackey’s THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS. This is a print book, so I will need your preferred mailing address.

(And just wait until Wednesday’s Midweek Mailbox post–my mailbox was stuffed this week!)

DONNAS won this week’s Reader’s Choice and selected Jennifer Estep’s POISON PROMISE.

Coming tomorrow…a new Reader’s Choice! Till then, leave a comment to win one of five copies of the UK version of ELYSIAN FIELDS! My current hobby is art journaling…what’s yours?


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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

27 thoughts on “Scene Snippet, #Giveaway, Price Rant, Weekly Winners

    • Addendum: I didn’t want to comment on the “lost fan”, but this has been bothering me all day. I think if I am a fan of any author I’m willing to pay whatever the cost to continue reading that author. I feel bad for that “lost fan” in more than one way. Most important, he or she will miss out on a opportunity to continue reading a wonderful series, based only on the cost. That is really too bad! The dollar amount should not have anything to do with the reading pleasure a fan receives.

  1. I like the UK cover of Elysian Fields, I’ve read some good reviews about the series.

  2. The only hobby I indulge in these days is reading! I do enjoy genealogy but haven’t worked on it in several years.

  3. Reading and encouraging my owner to run away from zombies. She has taking up running with the Zombies, Run app.

    Also: how dumb can people be to blame an author for the price of a book when it’s not self published? Maybe you are better off losing such readers.

  4. Really i can’t understand how a book lover could say that! yes that price is really too high but it’s not the author fault and every book lovers knows how little power the author has ( i mean a publisher can switch from paperback to hardback without any say from the author even if said author is completely against teh idea)… i have a series i’m interested in but i’m waiting because on TBD it’s nearly 30dollars ( instead of 15 on amazon) yes it’s frustrate me but i never thought to accuse the author frankly that’s crazy and he or she wasn’t a fan at all because if she was one she would be following you here and learned long ago how you were dependent of amazon even to know the date of publication…
    you haven’t lost any fan there don’t worry

    at the moment my hand aren’t healing yet ( progress yes but not healed enough yet to touch things) so i can’t craft like i enjoyed but i trying to be reading for when i will be so i’m searching or creating modele i will do later ( if i can) and i lan to start playing with paint to make some postcard as well

  5. Love the snippet. My hobbies are reading and scrap booking. The UK cover is terrific! Have a great week.

  6. My hobby is quilting. In fact, I just got back from Tennessee where I took some quilting classes. Thanks for sharing the great snippet from Deadly, Calm, and Cold.

  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    re: the “reviewer.” I think she probably has no idea how pricing works, and I sure can’t argue with her about the ebook price being high. I almost had a cow when I found out the Sentinels books were going to hardcover. I was pushing for mass-market paperback so the price would come down–LOL. But it wasn’t/isn’t my decision. Thanks for the votes of confidence! To be fair, there is a lot of overhead with a publisher than self-pubbed authors don’t have to deal with. The books are professionally edited and proofed; there are really awesome covers; there’s much broader distribution than just online. So it’s a tradeoff.

    Isn’t the UK cover fun? I love the U.S. covers with the Cliff Nielsen art, but I do like the understated nature of the UK covers as well. I have no idea if Pirate’s Alley or Belle Chasse will be coming out in UK editions or not.

    Lots of fun hobbies here. I used to quilt, but writing kind of knocked out my quilting time. The good thing about journaling (similar to scrapbooking, Liz–do you do digital or physical?) is that I can do it in short bursts and feel as if I’m accomplishing something.

    • Mostly physical scrapbooks, but the last 4 Christmas, I made photo books digitally and then had them printed up as gifts. My family enjoyed them a lot.

  8. Yay I won! My current hobby is Zentangle. It is extreme doodling. I have never considered myself an artist but this is something that I can do and I think it looks pretty good.

  9. Cover looks great. I always like to see the other editions. Its cool to see how they are designed elsewhere.

  10. It’s always interesting to see the differences in covers. Both the US and UK covers are nice.
    I used to do cross-stitching but then my hand started to cramp up with holding the tiny needle too much. So now I mostly read, web surf etc.

  11. As a reader, that annoys me too! I don’t understand why people don’t realize that the author has no say over almost anything after the publisher gets their book on contract — not the cover, not the publishing timeline, not the price, not whether it’s available as ebook or audio, not whether it gets international releases OR the timeline for those, and most of the time even whether it gets published with typos or wonky formatting (usually that’s an ebook-only issue). Any time I come across a review that gives a low rating due to these things, I always mark it as “not helpful.” Because it’s not! It has nothing to do with the quality of the writing or plot!

    So…I feel your pain (though it doesn’t directly effect me like it does you)!

  12. I make candles and don’t consider reading my hobby; it is more of stress-reliever. My husband says it is a guarantee than he and our five year old son will continue to live. 🙂 {I will admit I might get a little grouchy if I go two days without reading.}

    A reader would never leave a review like that one. A reader, doesn’t even need to be a fan, would find ways around a price issue such as visiting the library or checking with bookstores which sell used books. A FAN would follow the story thru those same avenues if patient enough or pay whatever the price to see what happens with favorite characters. I’m so sorry that review was left for you! It had absolutely nothing to do with your talent or story. All of your books are amazing!! Please don’t let this review get you down. 🙂