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Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Stormy Jane and the Damsel in Distress

Stormy Jane and the Damsel in Distress

Lia London

Stormy Jane must get a Quest Permit from the DMV (Department of Majestic Vocations), but to do that, she'll first need to rescue a damsel in distress. No problem for a girl who can chew rocks, swim with lake serpents and sleep through thunder, right?

My Review

Like the previous stories in this series, this book blends snarky humor and sly references to modern life with a fairy tale setting. Jane is a heroine who doesn't take anything from anybody. She faces the horrors of long lines and "take a number please" bureaucracy in order to achieve a goal ... and finds her own way of doing it.

This is a short story (I think I read it in ten or twenty minutes) but well worth your time if you want a quick laugh.

I received an advance copy in return for my honest review.

Click below to purchase from Amazon.com
Stormy Jane and the Damsel in Distress (Snarky Princess Stories)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cover Reveal: Dream Wedding

After ten books and nearly a million words, the Dream Series will be complete on October 20th. Book number ten, DREAM WEDDING, will be released, along with DREAM FRAGMENTS, a collection of short stories that fill in some of the gaps between the novels of the series. And here is the brand new cover for DREAM WEDDING, designed by Emma Michaels (www.emmamichaels.com) Dream Wedding4   What's it about?
It ought to be a joyful time for Dr. Sara Alderson. Her daughter, Lizzie, is about to graduate college, and marry her longtime boyfriend. But the family’s happiness is shattered when a drunk driver seriously injures her teenage son in a hit-and-run accident. Now, instead of planning her daughter’s wedding, Sara must fight to save her son’s life. And when shediscovers who the drunk driver was – someone she thought was a colleague and a friend – she has to fight her desire for revenge. Because Sara knows she has the power to visit the driver’s dreams, and in those dreams, she holds the power of life and death. Dream Wedding is the tenth and final book of the Dream Series
And you can pre-order it on Amazon right now!   The DREAM FRAGMENTS collection also has a brand-new cover, also designed by the wonderful Emma Michaels: SeriesTitle_Dream Fragments_V2   You can also pre-order it on Amazon! If you can't wait for October 20th (and I don't blame you if you can't!), all nine of the previous Dream Series books are available on Amazon, as well as many other eBook retailers (visit my website to see the full list of where to buy them!). You can also check out my website (listed above), as well as Facebook and Twitter for the latest Dream Series news. Or you can click here to download a quick guide to the Dream Series and me! You can also check out the Dream Series on Audiobook. The first seven books are currently available on Audible, and book number eight, DREAM VACATION, will be available within the next two weeks. You can hear samples from all the audiobooks at my website, too!  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dragon's Curse Character Cards

I'm doing more free days! Dragon's Curse is free the 28th and 29th of August (2015 in case you are a time traveler from the future). Click the link below to download.

These are just something fun I did. I took favorite quotes from Dragon's Curse and made them into character cards, with images I felt suited the characters. Here's Shannon, Edmond, and Gnaw. 

I'd like to do ones for Adonna and Martin as well, but I don't have images I like for them. 
What do you think? If you like them, feel free to share them. 
As always you can purchase Dragon's Curse through the link below.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cover Reveal: Alora: The Portal--Tamie Dearen

Cover Reveal for Alora: The Portal

The compelling story of the young soulmates, Alora and Kaevin, continues...

The adventure begins with Alora: The Wander-Jewel.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 7.47.30 PM

Fifteen-year-old Alora has visions.

Only while in the shower. And only of one stranger: a handsome boy with long brown hair, intense green eyes, and the oddest clothes. A boy who vanishes whenever she opens her eyes.
And then one day, he doesn't…
Alora's safe world is soon turned upside-down as she's thrust into another realm where her soulmate waits, magic abounds, and unfathomable evil seeks to claim her.

The epic fantasy continues in Alora: The Portal.

Portfolio Alora 2 2015-08-20 at 8.52.48 AM

Cover design by StunningBookCovers.com

If one of them dies, they both die.

Bound together as soulmates, something compels Alora and Kaevin to abandon the safety of their refuge for the dangers of Kaevin’s realm. The soulmates arrive in the midst of a raging battle as Stone Clan warriors defend their capital, an attack made more deadly by the pervasive evil of her father. Alora and Kaevin face mortal danger as they fight against man and magick to preserve Kaevin's home and heritage. For Alora's father will have her allegiance. Or her death.

Praise for Alora

"...I have to admit - I wish the book had not ended! ...The romance is sweet rather than steamy making this a clean read for young adults, but the action and adventure is thrilling enough to keep any age reader turning pages..." Today's Visions "I found Alora to be a breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy genre! ... A YA fantasy with characters you will adore and cheer for, Alora is a book I would recommend to any of my friends!" Books Are Sanity Alora: The Portal is available on Amazon for the special pre-order price of 99¢ through the August 31 release date! As a bonus, Alora: The Wander-Jewel will be FREE on August 30 through August 31! Find Tamie Dearen on her website, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

Excerpt from Alora: The Wander-Jewel

Alora fought the urge to beat on the tile wall. He’d disappeared again. Who was this boy she kept seeing? Why did he only appear when she was in the shower? He seemed so real, and she could have sworn he looked as confused as she felt. As if he was trying to figure out who she was, as well. Was he a figment of her imagination? His eyes were so unusual. They were green. Not an ordinary green, but a deep, intense jade, the color of her aunt’s emerald ring. He was really cute, although he wore his wavy brown hair a little long for her taste. Yet she could only see his head—never his clothes or the background. Today he’d tied his hair back in a ponytail. Surely the fact he’d changed his hair was significant. Wouldn’t a figment of her imagination have his hair the same every time? She peeked around the shower curtain at the clock on the bathroom counter. It was five a.m. on a Saturday, and she had chores to do, feeding the horses and letting the chickens out. But it was winter, so she had plenty of time to spare before the rising sun tolled the beginning of her responsibilities. Living on a ranch in the backcountry of Montana meant cold winters, lots of work, and little time for leisure. It was the only life she’d ever known, and she usually enjoyed it, despite the heavy work involved. But right now, she wanted another stab at seeing that boy. The image was always so fuzzy. If only he wouldn’t disappear when she opened her eyes. She couldn’t summon his visage at will. He didn’t come every time she closed her eyes in the shower; it seemed to happen when she was relaxing and letting the water beat down on her head and shoulders. Maybe, if she were soaking in the tub, she might see his image again. She pushed the curtain back, put in the stopper, and turned the faucet on full blast. As an afterthought, she added bubble bath, filling the tub with fragrant suds. Soon the bath was full, with aromatic bubbles foaming on top. She eased into the soothing water, closing her eyes at the blissful caress of the heat on her tight muscles. And she waited. Anticipating. Would he come? She tried to stay alert, but the relaxing warmth seeped into her skin, lulling her to sleep. Awakening with a start in the cold water, disappointment formed a knot in her stomach—he’d never appeared. She released some water down the drain and added hot water, swirling it around until the temperature was comfortable again. She had five more minutes before she had to abandon her bath to start her workday. She lay back down, sinking below the water with her eyes closed, swishing the fresh water over her skin to remove the bubble bath film, her face floating above the surface to breathe. He appeared. She held her breath, clamping her eyes shut tight, trying to hold the image as long as possible. Though the apparition was still slightly blurry, she could see all of him, head to toe. She took advantage of her increased perception, thoroughly studying his image. She almost clapped her hands when her mental measurement estimated his height at over six feet. At five feet ten, she was taller than most boys her age. But she scolded herself for examining him as if he were a potential boyfriend. He wasn’t even real. His clothes were made of supple-looking brown leather. The attire was odd—held together with ties and toggles rather than buttons or zippers. The fit was close enough that his well-formed muscles were evident. She noted his long hair was tied back, as it had been earlier. She could only see the front of him as he stood frozen, stock-still, with his mouth agape, his jewel-green eyes wide and... moving. His eyes were moving, up and down, as if he were scanning her body as she had done. And it occurred to her if she could see all of him, he might be able to see all of her. She gasped, opening her eyes to dispense with the specter. But his image remained, now sharp and clear. And he seemed to be standing in her bathroom. She cowered under the water, attempting to hide under the few remaining bubbles. His eyes dropped down to her navel, and as they widened, he whispered, “Wendelle?” Lunging for her towel on the floor, she screamed at the top of her lungs. Hastily covering herself and preparing to leap from the tub, she looked up, only to discover the vision was gone—if indeed it had been a vision.

Read the first two chapters of Alora: The Wander-Jewel here.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review: Her Name was Half Calf

Her Name Was Half Calf

A Short by S. A. Molteni

*** This is a short essay (and free sample) from the longer memoirette - I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak: Leaving High Tech for Greener Pastures. *** 

Her Name was Half Calf is a non-fiction essay about the life and death of a pet cow.

My Review

I actually reviewed a compilation this short story/essay appears in several months ago. I enjoyed that, but now that this one particular short is being offered free, I thought I'd give it my thumbs up and link to it so you can download. It's a poignant tale, but fair warning, it may make you cry, especially if you've ever loved an animal. 

Click below to download:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Promo Results: BookBarbarian/BookTastik/BookScream

More Promo Site Results

I like to start these off with a caveat that different genres do better than others on different promo site. Also a site that is good for a free book might not work for a full priced or discounted-but-not-free book. Therefore, keep in mind all the different variables. 

These numbers were for a free day promo on an Epic Fantasy Novel (with about 21 mostly 5 star reviews on Amazon, usually priced at $2.99). 

Based on free days I've done without promos, I can usually get about 200 downloads by self-promoting (tweeting/Facebook groups/shares by friends). Normally I plug my book into all those "free to advertise" sites, but this time I didn't as an experiment, and I do think it made a difference. I've had much better free days, but I wanted to see how these two sites held up on their lonesome. 
Day One, I was going to just self-promote to give me a "baseline" but ended up getting picked up by BookScream. I had 486.
Day Two, Book Barbarian. Based on past promos, usually I get the biggest spike on day one, but unless I do an ad following that, downloads go steadily downhill. This time they went uphill (slightly) to 510. 
Day Three, BookTastik. Down all the way to 184. Honestly, I think I could get that sort of results easily on my own (and have before). 

I think the BookTastik ad was $10 and BookBarbarian was $8. 
Now obviously, neither did as well as ENT (Ereader News Today), but that's a little more costly ($20 an ad) and fantasy seems to be a hard spot to find a home for. I would say that Book Barbarian WAS worth it, considering the low price, but BookTastik was not. 

For comparison, I got slightly better results with BookBarbarian than I did with Fussy Librarian, though the ads are a similar price. 

My last ENT ad (for Beggar Magic) was 1372 downloads. 

One thing to take into account when doing a free day (if your book is in kindle unlimited) is whether your pages go up after the book's free days. With my last Beggar Magic promo, I definitely saw this happen. 
For the entire month of July I had about 1300 pages read of Beggar. After a free promo for the book for the first two days of August, the pages read were already double this in the week following. They continue to go up as the month progresses. I'll be curious to see if this hold with Lands of Ash.
Another thing is reviews. I usually end up with at least a couple of new reviews, though they may take a while to trickle in (this depends a lot on the length of the book. With Thaddeus Whiskers, which is a relatively short book at 112 pages), I see reviews usually within a few days of the promo. With Beggar Magic (209 pages) I started seeing new reviews about two weeks after the promo. 
I'm a big proponent of free days generally because giving away books seems to sell books. It increases visibility, too. This is especially true if you have a series where giving away one book leads to purchases of other books in the same series. However, as you can see with Beggar Magic's chart below, it isn't unusual to see a spike of full priced sales after the free day.

Monday, August 17, 2015

To Promo or Not to Promo

Quick Note: Beggar Magic is free to download August 18th and 19th. You can click the link below to download. I'm going to be running a couple of promos to let people know about the sale, and while I'm doing so, I thought this would be a good time to talk about promotion sites in general.

Beggar Magic

If you don't promote you die. . .well, your book dies. . .and by die I means it doesn't sell. It just sort of sits there, with a bunch of other books on Amazon, not selling. Even if it is a great book, people need to know about it to buy it, and if you just upload and abandon, the chances of enough people seeing and buying it to make it worth your while are negligible. You have to let people know it is out there.

And a lot of marketing is free. You can talk with people in interest groups related to your book. You can make social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and others. You can blog, you can guest post, you can go to your local library and ask if they do author events. . .you have options.

However, all that takes time and doesn't always amount to sales. . .and then the sharks start circling. The sharks who tell you they'll tweet your book to their 2 BILLION Twitter followers for three low payments of $9.99. Who email you offering you a 100 new readers for a low fee of $50. Who have a premium package for $399 that will guarantee you a spot on next week's best seller list!

You can throw money at these sites all day, but will any of it come back by way of sales?

Here are a couple of questions to ask/things to do before you invest in a particular promo site:

  • Did they email you? If so, there's a good chance they aren't worth it. If they are still going email by email to drum up business they are either in the early stage (not really established) or they simply don't work. Especially telling is if they send you a form letter that claims to have read your book and to know it is a PERFECT match for their site. This always strikes me as deceptive, for one thing (you can google the contents of the letter sometimes to see if it is a form letter, or ask around your author groups. If they emailed you, chances are, they emailed someone else too). The good ones don't have to come to you.
  • Are they recommended? If you ask in an active author group (on Facebook, Kboards, etc) and no one has heard of them, chances are, they can't deliver what they say they can.
  • Google. It seems obvious, but some people skip this step. There are lots of articles out there about promo sites and which work and which don't. Someone may have done the legwork for you.
  • If they are recommended by another author, ask specific questions to that author. What genre of book did they advertise? Just because a site is good with Romance doesn't mean it will move Scifi. How much of a return did they get? Did they advertise a full priced book, a discounted book, or a free one?
  • If they are an email service, subscribe to their email and watch it for a few weeks. What sort of books are advertised there? Would your book do well beside them?
  • If you click on the books the promo site is currently running, what is their Amazon rank? Is it one you'd pay to get? 
  • How much can you budget for advertising? If you are new to promotions, it is okay to start small. There are several promo sites that are less than $20. Some promo sites are more depending on the popularity of your genre, so this is also something to consider. 
  • Don't give up if you get rejected by a promo site. It's always disappointing (I've been rejected by BookBub five or six times already), but these sites are in high demand because they work. Keep trying. They may not have room for you this week, but they may the next. If you are continually rejected, though, make sure your book looks like something they'd be proud to promote. These sites often have a reputation and won't promote books that look cheaply put together. Double check your cover and blurb, maybe even the pages that show up in your Amazon sample. 
Some other thoughts: 

Don't be afraid to discount:

A lot of writers are leery of discounting their books or making them free. They feel it devalues what they spent so much time producing. However, you have to look at this from a reader's point of view. Do you know how many books are out there for a reader to choose from? And as a reader, have you ever felt the disappointment of starting a book and finding out that it isn't very good? Most readers in the modern world have felt this disappointment before. They've been burned by bad books, and are more likely to be cautious with a new name. Chances are an author they know and love is coming out with a book at the same time you are. You're not the only writer out there, and a lot of them are just as good as you are, maybe better. Plus they may have a big marketing team behind them, which you don't. 
Think of free books as the Indie version of the library. You're giving people a taste so maybe they'll come back for more. Maybe they'll tell their friends. Maybe they'll leave reviews. . . this works especially well if you have more than one book available. Hook them with one and they'll come back for another . . .but free books do sell books (this is probably worth a whole other post). 

Make your cover and blurb appealing:

No matter how much promotion you do, if you have an ugly cover and a confusing or poorly written blurb, people won't click through and buy. 

Write something worth reading:

I'm sure we all think we are doing this, otherwise why would we bother? But seriously, if sales are down because your book has serious problems (you've gotten some bad reviews, for instance) consider fixing the book FIRST then advertising. A lot of times readers will just read the Amazon sample and not buy. They won't review. They won't let you know "I didn't buy this because the writing in the sample was poor." They just won't buy. Make sure you have a product that draws people in and holds their attention. 

Brace yourself, the reviews are coming:

When you draw in more readers, you are more likely to get reviews. This is good . . . and terrifying. Because no matter how good your book is, there is someone out there who won't like it. Don't believe me? Pull up a random best seller and read some of the one and two star reviews. It happens to everyone! But it is more likely to happen after you do a free promo. Why? Because the reader who doesn't usually like "this sort of book" is more likely to pick up a free one than a full priced one, or a 99 cent one for that matter. Here's my post on why this shouldn't bother you a ton. (though emotionally it probably will. Who are we kidding?) 

And finally, since I've gone on and on, here are some links to a few Promo Sites I personally think are worth it (I may expand on this list at a later date or in a later post. I try to experiment with new sites every so often, just in case I use up the audience for one).

Buck Books  (specializes in 99 cents books, hence the name. Free to advertise, but they have an affiliate system you'll want to sign up for. Can be competitive to get on. Sometimes booked for a few months in advance)
Ereader News Today (Pricing varies per genre and whether you run free or discounted. They do take both free and discounted books. Still decently competitive to get on, but less so than big players like BookBub and much more reasonably priced)
Bknights (Price $5 plus a small processing fee of like 50 cents, but they have add ons for $5 a piece. I wouldn't go with more than $10. In my experience this works best for free books, but some romance authors have told me they've done well with 99 cents)
The Midlist (As of when I am typing this, I haven't run a promo through them, but I have a few scheduled for August, and I'll get back to you . . .maybe editing this post . . . later. However, a lot of people have highly recommended this site, and it is FREE to use, so worth the risk. May take a few tries to get on, and you want to give them advance warning. Don't try to schedule them hoping to get on within the next week. Think three to four weeks in advance.)

If you are running a free or discount promotion, there are a number of sites that will let you list your book for free. I usually take an hour or so to go down lists of them and enter in my information. You can find some listed here. I wouldn't recommend depending on these sites because not all are particularly effective, but it can hurt since they are free.

Also, if you haven't gotten your copy of Beggar Magic yet, click below before the Free Days are over!

Beggar Magic

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Whispers of a Faded Dreamer

Whispers of a Faded Dreamer

Celesta Thiessen
In this unusual, Christian speculative fiction novel, Cara Peirce wants to help people. She wants love but making connections in real life just isn’t something she’s good at. Through an unsettling turn of events, Cara finds herself a mostly-willing participant in a bizarre life in which she only feels truly alive in her dreams. Her surreal adventures in other realms seem important, somehow. And, almost every night, she dreams of the same guy - Blaze Saxon. 

In the end, only whispers remain. But the end is only the beginning. 

This is the story of a faded dreamer.

My review:

To start off, it wasn't what I expected. I actually picked this book up on a free day and put it down a few pages in because it starts off with strange black beings that only certain people could see, and I thought that was leading into a stark, dystopian sort of thing. There was even a company that had potential to be an evil corporation with a world domination scheme. .. and that just wasn't what I was in the mood for. . .but a bit later I decided just to keep reading, and that's not what this book is at all.
There is very little true danger presented throughout. Which I kind of liked. The book was almost like a dream in its own right, a series of at first seemingly unconnected adventures/fantasies Cara experiences within a dream state.

Writing: over all this book was well written. There was one scene that switched from third person to first person in an attempt to imitate a dream (where sometimes you're the character and sometimes you're just watching, which is how dreams do work) that actually did confuse me a bit, but the rest of the dreams were in a consistent style.

Characters: Cara and Blaze were overall consistent and interesting (though Blaze's name switched between his nicknames in a way that wasn't always consistent. Sometimes he was Bryson and sometimes Bryce, but after a bit I just accepted he has three names). Two side characters were rather undeveloped and sometimes their antagonistic actions seemed sudden and jarring, like they were only there to provide conflict. Dennis, particularly, could have been totally erased and the story wouldn't have lost anything. Thankfully, he's not around much.

Plot: it was very much about the dreams. Because of that there is an episodic feel as Cara goes on multiple short adventures as a knight, a super hero, a mermaid, and a spy. All of these were pretty cool, but the main plot was mostly just her figuring out who she was and where she fits into a world she doesn't quite fit into.

Conclusion: the ending seemed a bit more like a lead up to another book than an ending. While there isn't a cliffhanger, the characters just sort of slowly slip into their "new life" without a lot of conflict or climax. I was kind of expecting a big conspiracy with an actual villain (perhaps provided by the company I mentioned earlier). The conclusion was satisfying in that the characters ended up in a good place for them to be. Can't say much more without spoilers.

Overall, I loved the depictions of dreams, and I was able to read this book quite quickly once I put aside expectations for what I thought it was going to be and just let myself experience it.

Click the link below to download on Amazon:

Whispers of a Faded Dreamer

PS This is also the last day to download Lands of Ash for free so click below for that.

 Lands of Ash (Elemental Realms Book 1)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

But If I Blog, I Won't Have Time To Write!

Here's a bargain! Lands of Ash will be free August 12th through 15th. You can click the link below to purchase.

I'll start this off by saying: there are a lot of different sorts of blogs. Each of them has its own purpose, and if you want to make blogging a full time job, it can be. There are bloggers who do this. I'm not trying to say blogging is "so easy a caveman can do it" or whatever. I'm saying there are degrees of blogging and if you are just blogging as part of your author platform, you can treat it a lot more casually than you would if you were a big name blogger who was selling advertising space on their blog and doing it as a career. Hobby blogging is perfectly acceptable. You having a hobby blog does not take away from the hard work that career bloggers or part time bloggers do. Comparing the two is apples to oranges.

A lot of times marketing can be really overwhelming for writers. The most common worry I hear is, "If I put so much time into marketing my books, I won't have time to write them anymore!" (well, second most common. The first is probably just, "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING!!!")

Blogging doesn't have to be a big time sink, though. I know writing time can be precious and sacrificing it for the various sorts of marketing isn't ideal. I always say, the best marketing is to write another book.

However, in this case, I don't think it's an "either/or" proposition. Promoting a blog can be a full time job, don't get me wrong. I know bloggers for whom the blog IS their job and they treat it as such. But I've been blogging for ages. I manage 2 to 3 posts a week and it only takes about an hour a week.
If you can post on Facebook, you can blog.

Do my blog posts sell books? No idea. I keep doing them because I like to share stories and not all those stories fit into books. Sometimes a story is about something funny my kid or pet did. 

Sometimes it is my personal rant about something or other, and the blog becomes a therapeutic way to "blow off steam."

Sometimes I have some advice/ideas to share, and the blog provides a place I can put that for later in a space I own that doesn't get views based on the whims of Facebook or Twitter.

There are ways to generate blog posts without a ton of work.

Do you leave book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads? Take a moment to copy and paste the same review into your blog (along with an Amazon affiliate link and the cover art). Five minute blog post, helps a fellow author, helps you if your readers may be interested in both books.

Offer to host guest posts for other writers. Again, five minutes of work (just to read over the content to make sure it is appropriate for your blog and copy paste).

A funny thing happen on the way to work today? Well, if you can post it on Facebook, you can put it on your blog. Easy peasy.

You take a pretty picture? Share it! Blog readers love pretty pictures.

I actually pulled the majority of this post from a Facebook ramble I went off on when someone in a group mentioned they didn't have time to blog. Do you ever rant on Facebook? Do you make good points on forum posts? Write it down, polish it up, VOILA! Blog post.

It's not a huge time sink.

Do I think you have to do that?

No, if all of the things I listed above sound awful to you (You are a very private person who would never share their funny stories about their real life on Facebook, let alone a blog. You don't take pictures. You don't leave reviews. . .) I wouldn't say to force yourself to do it.

But "I don't do it because I want to spend that time writing" is a false dichotomy unless you also apply it to things like posting on social media, reading and reviewing books, or chatting online with friends.

Calming a few protests:

As mentioned some of this post came from a Facebook debate I got into, and I thought I'd address some specific points people said as to why they didn't have time to or want to blog:

  1. I don't have time to edit. . . That's okay. I personally read over my blog posts before posting them, to catch obvious errors, but blog posts do not have to be as polished as a finished novel. People expect them to have a casual "just chatting" feel. If you are a writer (and this post is written addressing people blogging as part of a writing platform specifically), you should already have a basic grasp of the English language. A once over is fine.
  2. I write non-fiction. I have to sound authoritative. I can't just dash out a blog post willy-nilly. I don't write non-fiction. I wouldn't attempt to lecture someone on how to promote non-fiction. It's a completely different market. I'm not trying to convince people I know how to cure their heartburn or fix their computers or counsel their relationships. My blogging platform is to share my love of the fantastical and the fun. If you're a non-fiction writer, don't listen to me. I'm not talking to you because I have no knowledge base as far as non-fiction goes. It's a whole other beast.
  3. But I'm really shy. You don't have to blog. It's completely optional. I'm not even sure I get sales from my blog. I just like having one. However, if you are shy and have a hard time talking about yourself and your books, a blog is a great way to practice without a lot of pressure. Think of it as a chance to develop a super hero persona to go with your mild-mannered alter-ego. You can be anyone you want to be (I'm not saying lie, but you could blog as your main character. You could keep all the details of "real you" secret and be "writer-you." The you who is all about the written world even if in person you stutter, hide behind your glasses, and wish you were back home reading in your room.) I'm not laying down the law here and saying BLOG OR YOUR BOOK WILL NEVER SELL! RAWR! I'm saying take a chance. The blogging community is actually pretty welcoming.
  4. No one sees blogs anyway. They don't sell books. This is possibly true in a lot of cases. If you just start a blog and never talk about it or link it or promote it, there is a high chance the only people visiting will be creepy google spider bots (seriously webcrawlers are like scifi nightmare material). That's one of the main reasons blogging can be a full-time job. If you want consistent page hits and readership, you're going to have to work at it a little bit. However, big hits and sales numbers are not the only reason to have a blog. A blog tells your readers things about you they might not get to know otherwise. It's a way of interacting with them. If you think the only reason to do it is sales, than you're right, it's probably not worth it or will be incredibly time consuming to make it worth it. As I said, I don't blog for sales. I blog to have one more platform to share my voice. One more way to interact with my readers. It also means that if you google me and my books you find me and my books. One other thing you can do is tie your blog to social media. Share the links on your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. You can have share buttons beneath your posts that allow you (and others) to do this with a couple of clicks.
  5. I don't have anything to talk about/feel guilty self promoting. This ties into the last item: if your blog is all self-promotion, no one will have a reason to visit anyway. You need to find blogging topics that relate to your books but aren't just "look how great I am! Look what I wrote! Buy my stories!" I listed a few options above that in no way involve self-promoting but might all be conducive to ending with a link to your book. Some things to consider: do you like to talk about your books? Do you have research you did for your story? Character backstories and profiles? Scenes that didn't make the final cut? All of those would make awesome posts which people who read the book might actually be excited to read. Think of the "extras" on the last DVD set you bought. What sort of things were they about? How can that apply to your blog?
  6. We have to appear professional. When was the last time you picked up a novel because "oh gosh, this writer seems so professional?" Maybe you have a completely different mentality than me, but I'm looking for the writer who knows how to have a good time, who has a sense of humor, who shares funny cat pictures, because to me that spells "entertaining." I don't necessarily want to read books by well manicured ladies in pants suits or gentlemen in ties (not that these things are evil or anything. They just don't matter to me.). My people wear graphic tees and occasionally Star Trek uniforms. They talk about fictional characters as if they are real. They aren't really that worried about being taken seriously. You want to consider your audience when you build a platform. Are they going to be impressed by bullet points and power points? Or do they want you to share your collection of David Tennant in Places He Doesn't Belong gifs?
Honestly, doesn't David Tennant belong everywhere?
So in summary: To Blog or Not To Blog ... that still is the question, but don't let the answer be decided by "I don't have time" or "I don't have anything to say."
Nobody expects perfection. Perfection is boring and inauthentic.

Go ahead and blog!

Oh and one last reminder! FREE BOOK!

Lands of Ash (Elemental Realms Book 1)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

International Cat Day: Indie Reads

So you've heard it is International Cat Day but you don't know what to  do  about it? Try celebrating with these Indie Books, each with a cat theme (this time these are almost all books I've read, or books by authors I have read. What can I say? I like cats.).

So here we go, a bunch of good indie reads for International Cat Day. Do you have a favorite Cat-Themed Read? Tell us about it in the comments!

Space Kitties: Feline Forays Through The Galaxies (Space Kitties Anthology Book 1)

The Amazing Adventures of Toby the Trilby (The Toby the Trilby Series Book 1)

International Cat Day!!!

Omgosh! It's International Cat Day! Take a nap, drink some milk, chase a little red dot across the floor, then click the link below and pick up your copy of Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon, the next big thing in Kitten and Dragon literature!

Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon

A Funny and Whimsical Middle Grade Fantasy

Thaddeus F. Whiskers is a pampered palace pet, a kitten enchanted to never become a cat. Princess Clarice loves him, for in the entire kingdom, there is no other kitten as cute or as clever. He leads a life of cushions and cream until a wizard's "gift" results in his banishment. Determined to make it back to the princess he loves, he escapes into the wilderness where he discovers the lair of a dragon. 

Grandious, the dragon, doesn't care about anything besides himself. He wants to be left alone with his treasure. However, there is something about Thaddeus that has him entranced. He finds himself opening his home and his heart to the little cat. 

Thaddeus is a small creature in a big world. Between him and his beloved Princess stand conniving wizards, would-be-step-mothers, and rampaging rats. However, when danger threatens both Clarice and Grandious, Thaddeus won't allow his size to get in the way of saving his friends.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cover Reveal: Schism

Cover Reveal: Schism by R. S. McCoy

“Keeping them alive was harder than I ever thought possible.”
The devoted lover and proud father Lark is on the verge of losing it all. His abilities are slowly fading without reason and his enemies are looming ever closer. He has mere days to prepare for war and earn the allegiance of the Nakben tribes, none of which are eager to fight for a foreign queen. With his life and family hanging in the balance, Lark enters enemy territory, but he doesn’t realize just how weak he’s become. Genre: Epic Fantasy Length: Novel, 300 pages Series: Book Three of Three in Sparks Saga

Purchase the first book in the series through the link below:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thaddeus Whiskers QUIZ!!!

Sometimes I just like to have a little bit of fun with my books. One thing I really like to do is make quizzes for them. This is one I made for Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon using Buzzfeed (first time with them. It's a little confusing at first, but I figured it out.)

Click here to find out which Thaddeus Whiskers creature you might be (Dragon, kitten, wizard, princess, rat?).

Click below to get the book from Amazon:

Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon

A Middle Grade Fantasy!
Thaddeus F. Whiskers is a pampered palace pet, a kitten enchanted to never become a cat. Princess Clarice loves him, for in the entire kingdom, there is no other kitten as cute or as clever. He leads a life of cushions and cream until a wizard's "gift" results in his banishment. Determined to make it back to the princess he loves, he escapes into the wilderness where he discovers the lair of a dragon. 

Grandious, the dragon, doesn't care about anything besides himself. He wants to be left alone with his treasure. However, there is something about Thaddeus that has him entranced. He finds himself opening his home and his heart to the little cat. 

Thaddeus is a small creature in a big world. Between him and his beloved Princess stand conniving wizards, would-be-step-mothers, and rampaging rats. However, when danger threatens both Clarice and Grandious, Thaddeus won't allow his size to get in the way of saving his friends.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Encouraging Thunder Blogger Award

I have been nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Blogger Award by Sylvia Heike. She is a fantasy & science fiction writer from Finland. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in: freeze frame fiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Molotov Cocktail (Flash Fury Winner 2015), and other publications. Her blog is devoted to encouraging people to follow their love of writing and not give up,
The Encouraging Thunder is an award for people who have mastered their purpose.
What can you do with the Encouraging Thunder award?
  • Post it on your blog or social media account
  • Grant others with the award
What you should do after receiving Encouraging Thunder award:
  • Enjoy the award
  • Thank the person who has nominated you
  • Mention your purpose in blogging/social media

My purpose in blogging and social media

I kind of just like to talk. Social media allows me a constant outlet for the stuff bubbling up within me at all hours, and I hope most of it is worth sharing. Part of it is my class clown nature (I love to see people smile), but there's also part of me that really wants to help people and solve problems. I love to host writers on my blog and let them share their work. I like to write posts that help people learn to do something better or maybe just make them look at it another way. Oh yeah, maybe that will work for me. 

I think a lot of people don't try things because they are afraid and spend a lot of time planning and preparing instead of just doing it. I'm the poster child for under-planning. I'll jump in like an idiot and just start pushing buttons. It's just how I learn, but I also love writing about what I learn while doing it, so maybe people can read and see, "Huh, even though she totally bluffed her way through that, it ended up okay. Maybe I can do that too." 

I want to spread a little light. I'm a Christian but I'm not very good about talking about religious stuff. Mainly because I can't be serious for more than three minutes before the class clown takes over and makes a joke. Spreading joy, though, is a big part of what I believe. There needs to be more joy in the world. I'd like for people to know that's part of who I am and how I see the world. 


Now it's my turn, folks. These are people I have found to be helpful or willing to help or innovative about spreading the blogging love. Check out their blogs!
I nominate:

Sunday, August 2, 2015