Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Tag: Ice Cream Headache (page 1 of 6)

Book Marketing Strategies: How Much Should You Charge?


I’ve read a number of articles and blog posts about how much to charge for an eBook. Most of these articles suggest setting the price between 1.99 to 3.99 and I would have to agree, though I think the 2.99-3.99 range is most appropriate for most self-published authors.

Of course, no one wants to sell their book too low and face the stigma that the reason the price is too low is because the book is not good enough. And of course on the other end, selling the book at a higher price means that you deserve to make as much as you can for all the hard work you put into your literary achievement.

When I wrote my first novel, War Remains, A Korean War Novel, I set the price at 5.99. I thought that was a fair price for all the work, energy, and time, I put into writing it. However, sales were dismal despite everyone who bought it telling me that it was a good book. When I lowered the price to .99 cents for a promotional campaign, suddenly my sales rocketed and continue to do quite well, when I decided to sell the book at 3.99.

I do believe that more people will buy a book for a lower price and take a chance with an unknown author than spending over 5.00 for a book with an author they are not too familiar with.

Now I set the price for all my books at 3.99 and sales have been quite good. I’ve also experienced a halo effect. Whenever I sell any of my books for .99 cents, days and in the case of When A Hard Rain Falls, two months after the book promotion, I continue to sell a couple of books a day.

Although selling your book at .99 cents means a profit of .35 cents per book, I believe the exposure the book outweighs the profits made. However, because of this halo effect, I do make up the difference immediately.

Leonard’s Bicycle Shop

c9-56  d22 Img25 Leonard's Mower & Bicycle Shop



Although I don’t directly mention Leonard’s Bicycle Shop directly in Ice Cream Headache, the bicycle shop plays an important role in the novella. Looking at this photo, it was probably taken right around the time that the story takes place.

Set in a small, industrial town in Illinois in 1968, the lives of five people intertwine on one fateful spring day. Under the low-lying dark cloud of the Vietnam war, these five people act out their personal dramas within a milieu of sadness, regret, guilt, envy, cowardice and bitterness: Ray Jackson, isolated and strong in the face of losing his business and wife; Johnny Fitzpatrick, who has decided to run off to Canada to avoid the draft; Jimmy Smith, who overcomes physical and mental limitations and willing to believe the best about people; Nancy Smith, who has devoted her entire life to raising her only child in the face of great odds; and Earl Jansen who carries the guilt of an accidental shooting two years earlier that forced him off the police force. However there is also in equal measure all-consuming love, courage, loyalty, kindness, mercy, gentleness and the enduring strength of the human spirit. Linked together in conflict, articulate friendship and understanding, their plight as human beings is one we all share.

Don’t be Blinded by Science

Photo 1

You don’t have to go to great lengths to understand the science behind an ice cream headache.


It’s all poetry in motion.

Ice Cream Headache.


1968: A Year to Remember


It was no mistake when I started writing my novella Ice Cream Headache what year the story would be set. I have always been fascinated with the year 1968 because it was the year that I really became aware of the world around me. More importantly, the events which took place during this year would shape a generation. Indeed, if one looks at Ice Cream Headache from this perspective, one could argue that the story of these five individuals whose lives intertwine on this fateful day in late spring is in some regards, a microcosm of the year.

I believe that’s one of the reasons why this novella works; the year this story takes place is essential to the story. For one of the characters, Johnny Fitzpatrick, the year is important in regard to the Vietnam War. After the Tet Offensive earlier in the year, America’s involvement in the conflict would drastically change. For the first time since the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, there would be an increasing number of Americans who felt that we should get out the the quagmire the war had become.

Goodbye Ice Cream Headache

iceCreamHeadache Smash 5

Well, not exactly good-bye, but now it’s time to get ready for another journey back to the 1960s and 1970s with When A Hard Rain Falls.

I feel a little sad to be moving onto the next book after having spent nearly two years writing it and promoting it. You put so much into it and bare your soul with every word that you write.

Although I wrote When A Hard Rain Falls before I wrote Ice Cream Headache, it was one of those stories that needed a little time to ferment before it was ready to see the light of day. And for the next year, I devoted all my time to Ice Cream Headache.

It’s hard to move on to a new book when you spent so much time devoted to it.  I love Ice Cream Headache. I am glad that I wrote this story. Writing it was a chance for me to go back home; back to 1968 when I was a ten-year-old living in Oglesby. We all need to go back home at one time or another.

If you haven’t journeyed back in time with Ice Cream Headache, you really should.

Ice Cream Headache now on sale at Torri’s Ice Cream Parlor

ICH at Torri's

It’s not the Supreme Dairy Bar, but it’s close.

Now folks in the Illinois Valley and North-Central Illinois can find copies of Ice Cream Headache at Torri’s Ice Cream Parlor in Ladd, Illinois.

Although having an ice cream headache at an ice cream parlor is probably not a good thing for business, having my book on sale at one of the the oldest ice cream parlors (my grandparents used to take me to Torri’s when I was living in nearby Cherry) is quite an honor not to mention pretty cool.

Arirang Radio’s “Travel Bug/Guest House”

June 25 2013

It was fun.

That’s what best describes my appearance on Arirang Radio’s “Travel Bug” hosted by Korean celebrity Lisa Kelley. It was a lot more informal than I expected which made it more fun and allowed me to feel more relaxed.

The program is a veritable cornucopia on things Korean, Lisa, who was a most gracious host, explained that the majority of her listeners are from outside Korea who are interested in Korean culture, travel, music, and food.

I was invited to appear on the show to talk about War Remains on the 63rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Although the show was taped on Tuesday, June  25th, the show will not air until the day after. They would have liked for me to be on the show’s Monday taping, but timing became a bit of a problem.

In the Studio

I got the chance to talk about the book, how I came to write the book back in 2009, and at the end of the show, I was asked to read an excerpt. Now whether or not these listeners will be flocking to download copies of any of my books due to my appearance on the show remains to be seen.

Add one more “cool” thing to the list of things I’ve done while I’ve been in Korea. Now I can tell people, “yeah, I’ve been on radio.”

It was a lot of fun.

Guest House — June 26, 2013

You’ll love this story

iceCreamHeadache2 (1)

Why Ice Cream Headache?

Why not.

This story works on many different levels, but what I wanted to show with this novella was a microcosm of America in 1968 that had already been turned upside down by the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King. And there would be so much more before Apollo 8 circled the moon on Christmas Eve.

There is a lot of history in this novella, but it is not a historical novel per se. It is a drama of sorts keeping in the tradition of Peyton Place. There’s a lot of bad stuff going on behind the scenes; behind closed drapes.

Soda Fountain Drinks

iceCreamHeadache Smash 5

In Ice Cream Headache, Billy stops in at the Supreme Dairy Bar for a milkshake. While the owner of the dairy bar, Ray, is making the milkshake, Ray thinks back to when he was a child and went to the soda fountain at Adkins’ Drug Store with his father and sister for malts and ice cream sodas.

How many of these fountain drinks have you tried? Are there any I might have left off?

10 items   2 followers   1 votes   196 views

Soda Fountain Favorites

What are your "ice cream headache" favorites?


Cherry Coke

May 16, 2013
Cherry Coke

Vanilla Malt

May 16, 2013
Vanilla Malt

Green River

May 16, 2013
Green River

Black Cow

May 16, 2013
Black Cow

Root Beer Float

May 16, 2013
Root Beer Float

New York Egg Cream

May 16, 2013
New York Egg Cream

Ice Cream Soda

May 16, 2013
Ice Cream Soda

Chocolate Milkshake

May 16, 2013
Chocolate Milkshake

Strawberry Milkshake

May 16, 2013
Strawberry Milkshake

Vanilla Milkshake

May 16, 2013
Vanilla Milkshake

Ice Cream Headache and Oglesby, Illinois

Downtown Oglesby 2

Although there might be some truth to the claim that you can’t go home again, I most certainly did when I wrote Ice Cream Headache. And it’s only fitting, given the number of years that I have lived overseas, that I “return” home  a lot in my stories, especially when I am waxing nostalgic about “back home.”

This photo alone, brings back many memories for me: walking home from Washington Grade School, stopping in at the Supreme Dairy Bar for a milkshake or a Green River, buying candy and comic books at Balconie’s, and going to the library. This was the center of my universe from 1966-1976.

What I tried to do most with Ice Cream Headache was to capture some of the small town flavor that is rapidly disappearing across the United States.

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