Tag Archives: department stores

The Fate of Webs of Fate – Waiting for Reader Reviews

Many of you may have noticed requests for reviewers for my upcoming novel, Webs of Fate. The response has been phenomenal. My thanks go out to all of you who have joined our team. We now have reviewers across the US and Canada, even some out of the country who are reviewing the PDF file. They include Gibraltar, England, Australia, and Paris.  The Advanced Readers Copies have been shipped to the reviewers that have already come aboard, and now I wait to see how this novel will be received.

Patience may be a virtue, but  is often nerve wracking. While I am not pacing a worn paths in the carpet or experiencing sleepless nights, like most of us I have a certain degree of insecurity. The fact that Webs of Power and Twisted Webs have been winners of the Indie National Excellence Awards and finalists in the USA National Best Books and Twisted Webs was recently named winner of the 2011 International Book Award for fiction and literature was thrilling, but it has raised the bar since I strive to make each novel better than the one before. The big question is have I met that goal?

I have yet to meet an author, even a famous one, who did not admit to occasional bouts of insecurity.  It is human nature to be concerned with how others view us, and let’s face it; our work is a part of us. It is our heart, our soul, our very being which we pour out onto paper and then parade out for others to assess. As authors it is our job to drop the filters and write from the heart; to give our readers a glimpse into the inner workings of our minds and imaginations. Few other jobs have this requirement. And yet as authors, we ask for reviews, knowing we must reach our intended reader. For non-fiction the contentmust fill the needs of the intended readers. In the case of novels, the key element is story. Have we reached our readers? Have we touched their hearts? Have we kept them turning the pages? And most of all have we provided entertainment?

No matter how good we think our work may be, it can always be better. There is a small, lingering doubt that maybe; just maybe it is not good enough. When Webs of Power won its first award, I was pleasantly surprised–most award winning books I have found to be somewhat dark–mine are not.. When I put Twisted Webs out for reviews, I worried that it wouldn’t live up to Webs of Power.  Now it’s time to see if my reviewers feel that Webs of Fate lives up to standard set by the previous novels in the series. It is now in the hands of the reviewers, and I hope that it fares well. In the meantime, I will continue work on Unpredictable Webs and continue to take my daily walk on the beach and enjoy the company of my wonderful husband, Jack. Yet in the back of my mind, Webs of Fate and its fate will be ever-present.

 

How do you deal with the waiting game while waiting for feedback on your work?

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Twisted Webs – A Novel

 

The new year is soon approaching and with it, it will bring the release of Twisted Webs, Darlene Quinn’s second in her series and the sequel to Webs of Power. Twisted Webs takes us through the saga of department store corporate struggles and the very personal struggles of remarkable characters. For those of you who have read Webs of Power your favorite characters are reprise, and for the rest of you may your journey into the elite world of corporate  jet-setters and intrigue begin.

Let me paraphrase her editors wonderful snapshot review of Twisted Webs:

In her soon to be released Twisted Webs, the follow-up to her novel Webs of Power, Darlene Quinn once again involves her main protagonists—Mark and Paige Toddmann and Conrad and Ashleigh Taylor—in personal and professional struggles. The author hooks the reader with a gripping case of kidnapping that is then interwoven with plot twists and intrigue that she conveyed so convincingly in her first work of fiction. Along the way, readers are once again treated to delicious descriptions of luxury department stores, designer clothes, and chic events as the characters hop flights from Dallas to Los Angeles to New York City.

Having read Webs of Power, I am looking forward to the release of Twisted Webs and “catching up” with characters I will welcome like old friends. Yes, I work closely with Darlene, and she has told me a little of what I can exect to find out about the characters in Twisted Webs, but just enough to wet my appetite. Like all of you, I have to wait for the release  date to enjoy reading Twisted Webs, with  a glass of wine. Believe me the wait will be worth it.

~Kathy Porter

Christmas Shopping Today

Now days, once school shopping is over Halloween takes one side of the aisles and Christmas ornaments adorn the other —an unlikely pair to share the beginning of our holiday season. Thanksgiving, which used to have its own special season, has been edged out in our department stores and has now become a grocery store holiday with food taking the center stage, as it was when the Pilgrims and Indians first celebrated together.

I miss the days when stores took their time with the holidays. Thanksgiving turkey cutouts hung from ceilings and you could find specially designed turkey serving platters and place settings, as well as some wonderfully decorative oven mitts and dish towels. Gone are the days of the beautifully ruffled aprons and table cloths featuring Thanksgiving cornucopia and fall colors.

Today Thanksgivings, the day before Black Friday, has been given little space in our department stores. Out of necessity, at his time of year retailers must gear up for the holidays sales period, which traditionally begins the day after Thanksgiving. Since the holiday period accounts for 40% of their sales and profit for the entire year, the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday has fallen through the cracks. Much has changed in the world of retail since the greedy, predatory 80″s. However, the importance of the holiday sales period for the retail community, is nothing new. Since before the time of FDR, this holiday period has been crucial for the survival of retailers. So crucial, that in 1939, leading department store merchants convinced FDR to change Thanksgiving from the last Thursday of the month to the fourth to widen the holiday window. Why would our president make such a decision? Simple economics. Retail sales account for 70% of our economy.

The 1980’s were the epitome of greed and a time when we sadly watched some of our finest well-known department stores disappear. To survive in today’s economy, retailers much concentrate on their bottom line. This means that they may entice you to rush from your Thanksgiving dinner to sit in long lines, sometimes overnight to purchase the most covenanted of gifts. Unfortunately, when the doors open and the stampede of customers begins, seeking the same gift for their child or other relative, you may get trampled and delayed long enough to lose the very item you had your sights on. They are sold out. After an employee was trampled to death in a Walmarts last year, retailers have taken extra precautions. (Some open 24 hours, others handing out tickets for early bird specials, etc.)

Not to worry, in today’s market we have what has come to be know as Cyber Monday, for all those items you couldn’t find on Black Friday. There are numerous websites to find the gifts that the department stores just didn’t have enough of. In the past we would have taken a rain check and waited for the next shipment to the department store of our choice. Today’s market is driven by instant gratification, and in many cases rain checks are not available. It needs to be in our hands on Black Friday or ordered over the internet, next day delivery, because we no longer have the time or the patience shoppers once had. We want it, and we want it now, before someone else gets it. You have to wonder if the retailers have trained us to be such frenzied shoppers unwilling to pay full- price or did we train the retailers to cater to our new shopping habits?

Yes, Christmas and the way we shop has changed. I’ll admit I took off work and headed out at 3Am to shop with my daughter on Black Friday, which has been our tradition since she could walk. We hit malls, large and small department stores, discount stores and specialty shops. One thing that hasn’t change – the Christmas cheer. Everywhere we went people were happily purchasing the best prices they could find while Christmas carols blared loudly for our entertainment. We chatted together in line about where the best deals were, and what stores to rush off to next in our quest to find then next gift on our shopping list. Although, at the end of the day, we didn’t have everything we set out for, there was a back up plan – Cyber Monday was just a few days away.

Yes, we rush our holidays, but they still bring families and friends together, and they are a wonderful reprieved from our daily lives. Although we blame the internet for some of our ills, you have to admit when you have reached the end of the mall and can’t find that special gift, Cyber Monday is a lifesaver. So if you are ready to sit down at your key board and find the last of your Christmas shopping, there are tons of sites to choose from. While your shopping don’t forget to order your copy of “Webs of Power”. You will be giving a gift that helps explain just how our departments stores became what they are today, and characters you won’t be able to forget. Luckily, the sequel, “Twisted Webs”, will be available next year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

~Kathy Porter

Books for the Holidays

It’s time to start looking ahead to the holidays which will soon be upon us.  Gift buying for Christmas and Hanukkah is sometimes difficult, like knowing  just what to give Uncle Joe or Aunt Mary. There will always be a huge variety of department store wonders to choose from, but you can spend hours agonizing over who gets what.  Then there is the problem of  it being sold out while you were taking  the time to make your decision. Do you order or choose something else? Holiday shopping  can be a challenge.

To make your Christmas and Hanukkah shopping easier I suggest you buy books. There are thousands to choose from in book stores and online. You can find  book gift suggestions on the internet, books to give  mom’s, dad’s, grandparents, teens, children, and then there are also many book club recommendations.

After the hustle and bustle of bumper to bumper Mall traffic you will find that a book store filled with the scent of new books and hot coffee offers the tranquility and solace you need.  Uncle Joe would like a mystery, Aunt Mary enjoys mainstream fiction all easy to find on the well marked book shelves. Once your shopping is complete you will still have time to sit and have a nice relaxing cup of coffee.

Remember if you do your book shopping early you can mail out your books using media mail rates, a special low rates for books, through the US Postal Service.

Now that you know how to make your holiday shopping far more enjoyable and easy I have a few book suggestions for you. For your friends and relatives who enjoy feeling smarter about things they have heard or read about, while sharing the lives of fascinating characters and being thoroughly entertained – I suggest Darlene Quinn’s “Webs of Power”, which is now in paperback! Let’s not forget the mystery readers, especially those who watched Barnaby Jones, or the Beverly Hillbillies and enjoyed Buddy Ebsen’s many talents. For this select group I recommend “Sizzling Cold Case” a Barnaby Jones mystery. Darlene complete this novel for Buddy Ebsen at the request of Buddy’s widow Dorothy. 

Each of your relatives and friends has their own unique taste in books,  however, you can rest assure that “Sizzling Cold Case” or “Webs of Power” can cover the  majority of your gift giving needs. So go and buy several copies and take a huge bit out of you holiday shopping needs.  Please don’t forget to have a rewarding cup of coffee after you shop! You deserve it. 

 ~Kathy Porter

Mom and Pop stores are not the only retailers suffering from these economic times.

The focus of this morning’s interview  with Maria Keena & Tom Calhoun on KMOX-AM 1120 in St. Louis, MO centered on a the evidence that Mom and Pop stores are not the only retailers suffering from these economic times.

Recent Feature on WDUN-AM 550

Last week I was featured as a guest on the outstanding radio morning show with Bill Maine and Joel Williams. I talked about “Where You Won’t Shop in 2009” and how this recession is affecting big name department stores.

Where You Won’t Shop in 2009

Many of our beloved retailers will fail to survive the latest economic downturn, but most will. Click here: Where You Won’t Shop in 2009, The Crash of Retail Giants