Friday, September 19, 2014

After Twilight Releases Today

There's an exciting new limited edition boxed set OUT NOW!
Only .99!!

After Twilight: Six Tales of First Loves, Extraordinary Heroines and Daring Adventures is a YA multi-author boxed set comprised of authors: Julia Crane, Sophie Davis, Lizzy Ford, Ella James, Tara West, and Morgan Wylie.

This special Limited-Edition boxed set includes not only six FULL-LENGTH novels, but also four brand new, NEVER-BEFORE RELEASED companion stories. The cover was beautifully done by Eden Crane Designs.

After Twilight includes:

Freak of Nature (IFICS #1) by Julia Crane, plus a special short story prequel
Talented (Talented Saga #1) by Sophie Davis, plus Condemned (A Short Story Prequel )
Cursed (Voodoo Nights #1) by Lizzy Ford
Here (Here Trilogy #1) by Ella James
Sophie's Secret Crush (Whispers Book 5) by Tara West, plus Krysta's Cursed Cat (A Short Story)
Silent Orchids (The Age of Alandria: Book One) by Morgan Wylie, plus The Rise of the Paladin (A Short Story Prequel)

BUY Links: AMAZON iBooks Smashwords

These authors are incredibly excited to announce that After Twilight is participating in a .99 boxed set campaign offered by iBooks!! It is listed among the "Teen and Young Adult" category. You can get After Twilight along with a couple other sets (that's a LOT of books) for the cost of a latte!! 

Discover a great new book with Book Bundles. 99c for a limited time on iBooks.


Help these authors reach their "BOOM" via Thunderclap! 

Thunderclap: It's what happens after the lightning strikes when the thunder BOOMS and is the result of a sonic shock wave that shoots out.  It's called Thunderclap. 

Have you heard of it? Check it out...

"Thunderclap is a "crowdspeaking" platform that lets individuals and companies rally people together to spread a message. The site uses an "all-or-nothing" model similar to crowdfunding sites such Kickstarter, in that if the campaign does not meet its desired number of supporters in the given time frame, the organizer receives none of the donations.
On Thunderclap, backers donate tweets and social media posts rather than money." ~~Wiki
Except it's FREE!!
Please consider donating a tweet or FB or Tumblr post. It's super easy and (we love this part) it's FREE. Just click the link!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Join zOctober for a ton of Zombie Fun!

Happy Thursday, everyone! Well, it's mid September, and that means one of the most awesome events ever is about to happen. It only takes place once a year in October, and I had the very distinct pleasure of meeting the mavin behind the fun at UtopYA con 2014. She's awesome and very into zombies! So sit back, relax, and get your clicking finger ready to help you join the events!

Do you love zombies?

How about a whole month of them?

I'm proud to take part in the brain eating goodness happening over on...

My Book Addiction
With the always awesome Toni Lesatz!

Here's the cute little event icon for you to share:

I'll have a guest post rocking along over there, and I'll be hosting one day of the party on Facebook with some great zombie prizes to give away. There will be some exclusive I, Zombie swag, too!

Anxious yet to find out where you can join in and possibly win some awesome zombie books and swag?

Okay, okay.

Join by:

Be sure and follow the hashtag on Twitter:

And give Ms. Lesatz a follow over there while you're at it:
Or on Google Plus, where I know she'll be sharing all the zombie goodness!

Excited yet? Are you gonna go? What will you be looking forward to most?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review - Feast Island

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Heck yeah! Today, I have another book review for you all from my Indie Fever 2014 reading list. I'm making one hell of a dent in my list, and I've scheduled myself a review a week (sans November, because of NaNo) until I get them all done. Then, I'll have a new collection coming at me in December from my 12 Days event. If you're an author, you don't wanna miss that fun! I only take review requests once a year, and if you miss it, you're out of luck.

Now, if you're a reader, join us over on the Indie Fever Challenge! So far this year, we've reviewed over 300 Indie books! Wow! That's a lot of awesome for self-pubbers right there. You can join in the fun here. Just add your name to the linky thing with your pledge level, grab the badge, and get to reviewing. Here's mine so far:

Tamar Hela Feast Island REVIEW BELOW
Rebecca Trogner The Last Keeper's Daughter REVIEW HERE
Scott Marlowe The Five Elements REVIEW HERE
L.K. Evans Keepers of Arden: The Brothers Volume 1 REVIEW HERE
Sarah Mäkelä The Witch Who Cried Wolf REVIEW HERE
Felicia Tatum Masked Encounters REVIEW HERE
David T Griffith The Bestiarum Vocabulum REVIEW HERE
Thaddeus White Sir Edric's Temple REVIEW HERE
Heather Topham Wood The Memory Witch REVIEW HERE
N. L. Greene Illusions Begin REVIEW HERE
J. A. Huss Tragic REVIEW HERE
Pauline Creeden Sanctuary REVIEW HERE
Casey Bond Reap REVIEW HERE 
Casey Bond Devil Creek REVIEW HERE
S. G. Daniels The Druid's Doorway REVIEW HERE
Misty Provencher The Fly House Amazon Kindle $3.99
Peprah Boasiako The Hitman Amazon Kindle $0.99
C. S. Janey Surrender To You Amazon Kindle $2.99
Gloria Piper Finnegan's Quest Amazon Kindle $4.99
Elle Todd The Elect Amazon Kindle $3.99 
Morgan Wylie Silent Orchids Amazon Kindle **FREE**
Laura Howard The Forgotten Ones Amazon Kindle $0.99
Skylar Hamilton Burris The Strange Marriage of Anne de Bourgh Amazon Kindle $2.99
Christina Marie Morales Ambience Amazon Kindle $2.99
Molly Taggart Off Target Amazon Kindle $2.99

Here's a little about today's book:

Title: Feast Island  (Spirit Lake Book 1)
Author: Tamar Hela
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Length (print): ~ 192 Pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle $2.99

Seven teenagers from Northern California are assigned a seemingly innocent group project for their freshman English class. Little do they know, this project will literally take them on a journey out of this world. Cantelia appears much like Earth, until the kids realize magic is as plentiful as the danger surrounding them. A dark and evil ruler has placed a curse on the tribal people of Sikuku Island—the same island where the teens have been transported. Now, they must help the tribal people break the curse if they ever want to see their own planet again. Join Alex and her friends as they learn that there is so much more beyond their comfortable lives in Pollock Pines and its legendary Spirit Lake. 

**Will not appear in review elsewhere.  While the cover does capture the story on the pages, it's a bit too dark overall, in my opinion. This is YA and I feel like it needs to be a bit lighter. That being said, it's just an opinion and should be taken with a grain of salt.**

I picked up this book when the author, Tamar Hela, pitched it to me on my blog during my Twelve Days of Christmas event. She was looking for reviews, and her book got me from both the pitch and the sample. I ran out and bought it, as I do all books I review, and the rest, as they say, is history. Enough about how I came upon the title! Let's get to the good stuff.

From a Reader's Perspective:
This book has a lot of heart and a great story. I enjoyed the main character, and felt like she grew as the book progressed. It's a standalone in the beginning of a series, but there's no crazy cliffhanger at the end. Everything is wrapped up in a pretty bow. Plot-wise, Feast Island was spot on. Teens getting whipped away into another world? Yes, please! I also adored the idealism of the youngsters. I felt the story was paced well, and will be a great read for younger people. All that being said, I didn't really connect with any of the characters. I think it's because there were too many for me to get a firm grasp on one. I did like that I got to hear Alex's thoughts (she's a typical teen with a snarky process), but I found myself wishing for more of the Spirit Lake legend to be intertwined with her journey. There were also a ton of redundancy issues. Head hopping happens a lot, and there are at least three POVs (though the only one I could put a finger on whose head I was in was Alex's). There were a few times the author's voice intruded, and pulled me out of the story. Dialogue felt forced with names spattered in often. Which leads me to...

From an Editor's Perspective:
Very few pronoun issues. I was pleasantly surprised by that. However, the issues I found were redundancy (as mentioned), lack of comma lists where needed, author's voice intrusion, and confusions/dropped words. Examples: She had long, white hair that was braided and pinned close to her head and looked younger than she was. This translates to: her hair looking younger than her face. Nominated and voted. Same meaning in two words. Use of ?! and ?? happened often. Corporal and corporeal. Two very different words, the first used where the second should've been. I dismounted and chained my bike to a tree and made my way... Needs commas to improve flow.

1 Star for giving me a fun read with great pacing
1 Star for making me laugh at some of Alex's inner monologue
1 Star for tying up all the loose ends and an interesting plot
-1 Star for redundancies and forced feeling dialogue
-1 Star for confusions of words and phrases and for head hopping with no focus
Overall, 3 out of 5 stars. A good read for a teen (very clean), and something to enjoy on a rainy afternoon.

What do you think? Have you read it?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stereotypical Stuffed Shirts - Changing Cliché Characters

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Excuse me. I seem to have alliterated. *grin* Okay, all grammar nerd jokes aside, I bet you're all knee deep in the work week and looking forward to a little break, eh? Well, today I'm bringing you a post all about using stereotypes to your advantage. People tell you never to use a typical character, but I think using common folk as a base is a fantastic place to start. This is gonna be another work with me post, so grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

First, let's list some stereotypes:
  • Crazy aunt who pinches cheeks and laughs too much.
  • Shy, smart, eager to please teen who's bullied in high school.
  • Bad boy who smokes, drinks, and gets in fights all the time who turns good with love.
  • Good girl who has no one and nothing, but does everything right (perhaps even playing nursemaid to a sick parent or other relative).
  • Southern idiot with a drawl, a gun, and a coon hound.

Okay, that should be enough to get us through this exercise. Now, stories with these characters are abundant. You can find at least one in every three books you read.

They make great secondary/forgettable characters, because there's nothing about them that stands out from the fray. People forget them easily (especially if you don't name them).

That being said, you don't want to slap this kind of person into a tale and put the spotlight on them.


You add a little something to make them twisty to the reader. Take the stereotype and flip him/her on their heads. Throw in a surprise for your reader that's like a nugget of gold hidden in the pages. After all, riches kept miners going to the deadly land of Alaska looking, right?

Reward your reader; they'll come back for more.

How can you do that? Well, let's use the characters from above (yeah, you knew that was coming) and work out how we can make them more than they seem. I'll give typical traits, then how you might be able to give that character a twist.

Crazy Aunt - Now, this cliché lady crochets, makes jam, and probably has a fruit pattern on her plastic dining room tablecloth. But the twisty lady might keep kids in cages in the basement, men tied up in the barn to torture (perhaps she was a victim of abuse and this is her revenge on the male species), or she's a spy for a foreign government.
Bullied Teen - Typically quiet, excellent students (because no social life), and usually dress down so as not to draw attention to themselves. If you gave them a twist they could bully others anonymously, enter beauty pageants in other states, or run for class president (now that would be a shocker).
Bad Boy - Women are drawn to him, he's crazy sexy, and he has some sort of tortured past. Flip him and make him rich with great parents and un-saveable, someone who's doing a social experiment by acting like a bad boy (your reader will gasp), or have him be really bad and kidnap girls who fawn over him because he was always fascinated by the way women look.
Good Girl - She goes to her job every day like clockwork, never gets in fights, and makes perfect grades. Change her by giving her a twisted fetish she has to hide, visions of dead people she shakes when she sees but hides because she's actually crazy, or let her go on a murder rampage and kill everyone who ever expected her to be perfect.
Southern Imbecile - Hunts, fishes, not playing with a full deck of cards, drives a dirty pickup truck. Make him different by giving him a secret lab and off the charts IQ he hides, making him an alien, or let him be an over the top wealthy guy who's a brilliant artist in hiding.

Now you try. List each one on a piece of paper and try to come up with three things you could do to make them different. After that, come up with your own cliché characters, and change them, too!

No matter how you accomplish the twist, keep it fresh, keep your reader guessing, and do something folks don't see all the time.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to change characters up and make them more.

What do you think? Ever used a stereotype in a different setting? Tell me about it!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Office 365 - Good, Bad, and Awesome

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Do you remember that post I did a while back on MS Word vs Scrivener? Well, I may have mentioned something about Office 365 playing a huge part in the decision on whether I'd take the leap and learn Scrivener or just stick to MS Word. So, I invested in the Office 365 suite, downloaded the app, and the results are in. If you've been on the fence, this might be the tipping point. Of course, my experience with the program may not mimic yours, so remember to take everything you read (no matter the source) with a grain of salt. Grab your comfy chair, a cup of Jo, and let's get going!

When I saw the editing and portability power of Word in the 365 suite, I knew it would be the game changer for me. I can't begin to tell you how amazing it is to be able to write on my computer, pick up my iPad and go outside to sit with my daughter while she swims and write some more, and then come back in and have the words I wrote magically appear on the screen in my manuscript. Can you say freedom? No longer am I tethered to my desk.

But writing in two different places and having it all sync up is something Evernote could do, right?



I'm also an editor (and if you're a writer, you kind of are, too). No other program holds the MS I'm editing, allows me to make inline changes and comments, and keeps it all in a format most people have the program to open (.docx). Best of all, it can also be saved out as a .doc.

Now for the one downside so far:
On my iPad, it's difficult to highlight a specific place in the text because I don't have a mouse. It requires a few more motions to get to where I need to be because of the press/hold/select function. I kinda wish it was adaptable to highlight whatever I hold my finger on without me having to go into select/select all.

But, I can also see how that might be an annoyance. Hello? I just clicked to put the cursor there, not select the word! Right? So, six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Also, I'm not losing as much editing time when I have to hold my finger as I would be if I needed to be chained to my desk to work.

Make sense?

So, the pros outweigh the cons for me. But, allow further elaboration. Here are some screenshots of my WIP in Word 2013 on my iPad (click to enlarge):

Here we have the HOME screen.

You can see, it looks a lot like the traditional Word. No huge learning curve, and nothing to be alarmed about. You won't be able to format your page like you can in Word, but if you take a moment and set it up beforehand, it functions just fine. Or, you can always open on your laptop or desktop and select all and format. It'll save the changes over automatically.

When we click on the INSERT tab at the top, we get this:

It lets you add pictures, shapes, a text box, and all sorts of goodies.

Next up, is LAYOUT:

Just like in the older version of Word, you can change the margins, headers and footers, and numbers.

Then, we have my favorite, REVIEW:

Ahhhh, the power of the editor is here. This screen. You can turn on Track Changes, leave inline corrections, comments in balloons, and do so much more. See that tiny icon in the top right? You can add editors to the document if they have the program. Their edits show up in different colors when you look at the document again. How cool is that?

Last, is VIEW:

This is where you can choose what Word shows you as you write or edit. You know we all love word count! *grin*

Another awesome thing is how this program (on your desktop or mobile device) will take you to the place you left off when you return. It happens automatically on the iPad version, and you just click a ribbon that resembles a bookmark on the desktop version. My app crashed on me one time so far (knock on wood) while I was editing. But the changes were automatically saved as soon as they were made, so I lost nothing. Yeah, awesome.

By the way, the desktop version functions like MS Word 2007. Not a bunch of new stuff to learn before you use it.

Everything is stored in the cloud, and you're giving a ridiculous amount of storage space with the home version (I have 1TB). I mean, will I really ever use a terabyte of storage? I think not.

It is a per-year cost, so consider yourself warned. But every single one of you are writers or editors and will be using it for work, right? Ask your tax rep if you can write it off. My version is Office 365 Personal and will be $70 a year. It includes one desktop and one iPad license.

Anyway, now you have more information and a personal account of this new software. As always, I get no kickbacks from anyone, and there are no affiliate links on this blog. I just tell it like I see it and let you make your own decisions. You can get more information here or do a Google search for Office 365 and go from there.

What do you think? Have you considered changing? Any questions about the software for me?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review - The Last Keeper's Daughter

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I bring you another book review from my Indie Fever reading challenge commitment. I know this post is a bit late, but I do like to finish the books before I review them. If you aren't familiar with the Indie Fever reading challenge, check it out here. So far this year, we've reviewed over 300 Indie books, and still have three months to go! You can still join us. Just visit the link, add your name and commitment level to the linky thing, and get to reading. It's a wonderful event that celebrates my favorite people in the world: Indie authors! I'm gonna give you a quick recap of the reviews I've written so far, and the list of books on my TBR (in no particular order), before we get to information about the book and my review. So grab your comfy chair and a cup of coffee, and let's get going!

Rebecca Trogner The Last Keeper's Daughter REVIEW BELOW
Scott Marlowe The Five Elements REVIEW HERE
L.K. Evans Keepers of Arden: The Brothers Volume 1 REVIEW HERE
Sarah Mäkelä The Witch Who Cried Wolf REVIEW HERE
Felicia Tatum Masked Encounters REVIEW HERE
David T Griffith The Bestiarum Vocabulum REVIEW HERE
Thaddeus White Sir Edric's Temple REVIEW HERE
Heather Topham Wood The Memory Witch REVIEW HERE
N. L. Greene Illusions Begin REVIEW HERE
J. A. Huss Tragic REVIEW HERE
Pauline Creeden Sanctuary REVIEW HERE
Casey Bond Reap REVIEW HERE 
Casey Bond Devil Creek REVIEW HERE
S. G. Daniels The Druid's Doorway REVIEW HERE
Misty Provencher The Fly House Amazon Kindle $3.99
Peprah Boasiako The Hitman Amazon Kindle $0.99
C. S. Janey Surrender To You Amazon Kindle $2.99
Gloria Piper Finnegan's Quest Amazon Kindle $4.99
Elle Todd The Elect Amazon Kindle $3.99 
Morgan Wylie Silent Orchids Amazon Kindle **FREE**
Laura Howard The Forgotten Ones Amazon Kindle $0.99
Skylar Hamilton Burris The Strange Marriage of Anne de Bourgh Amazon Kindle $2.99
Christina Marie Morales Ambience Amazon Kindle $2.99
Tamar Hela Feast Island Amazon Kindle $2.99
Molly Taggart Off Target Amazon Kindle $2.99

Title: The Last Keeper's Daughter
Author: Rebecca Trogner
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Length (print): ~ 242 Pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle $4.99

Synopsis: To the outside world Lily Ayres is the privileged daughter of an old moneyed family. She is young, beautiful, and a talented horsewoman. All of which are enviably qualities, but few know that beneath this thin veneer of societal perfection lies a deeply troubled young woman. For Lily rarely speaks and is incapable of normal, human interaction.

Unable to understand why she is this way, she further retreats inside herself, until memories and suppressed emotions begin to bubble to the surface. Murder, revelations of her family's hidden purpose and dark secrets are revealed as she is thrust into the supernatural world of Krieger Barnes, Vampire King of North America.

Now that you know about the book, how about that review? *grin*

***Will not appear in review elsewhere. You all know how much I love covers. This one is pretty as all get out, but it's hard to read the title at small sizes. I'd also like to see the author's name in a larger point size. Your books are your chance to make a real stamp on your author platform. Be proud, not meek.***

Rebecca Trogner answered a call last year to pitch her book to me during the Twelve Days of Christmas event on my blog. This is the only time of the year I take requests for reviews, and buy the books that capture my attention. Well, her pitch and sample snagged a purchase. I loved the intrigue building behind the opener, and I had to know more. Let's get going about the rest of the story, eh?

From a Reader's Perspective:
Humans and vampires. But, then, there are Others. Let me tell you, I had no idea what to expect out of this story, but I loved the twisting and turning of paranormal creatures. Vantors were my favorite! Descriptions were very well done, and I liked how the main character, Lily, came into her own over the course of the novel. I didn't care for the back and forth between Lily and Krieger, hot one minute and cold the next, but I did appreciate the moments when the two were together and he seemed deep and caring. On characters, I got confused a number of times when reading about Walter, Winston, Henry, and Hunter. Their names were a bit too close to one another, and I kept having to stop and think about who the heck the subject of conversation was. Not fun. I liked the pacing (no dawdling here), and was able to finish the book in a week. Surprises abound. This tale is a twisty one and will keep you guessing until the end. I did have to shut off my editor's brain, but the errors I noticed probably would go unseen by the casual reader. Speaking of that...

From an Editor's Perspective:
There were several places I lost traction. Sentences like this one: "The bladed was forged with magic," and "Randolph convinced him to let him investigate it." Use of the word wracked in place of racked. It was little things like these that lose half a star, but the book is well written despite. Great plot that doesn't dawdle.

1 Star for giving me lots of paranormal folks besides vampires
1 Star for bringing Lily from weak and meek to awesome
1 Star for the twists and turns
-1 Star for names that were too similar and the weird romance/not romance thing happening
-.5 Star for editing of sentences, grammar, and pronoun misuse
.5 Star for a unique plot and good pacing
Overall 3.5 out of 5 stars. We all know I round up, so this book gets a 4. Recommended to fans of vampires, mysteries, and other paranormal creatures.

What do you think? Have you read it? Plan to?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Announcement - UtopYA 2015 Official Bloggers

Happy Hump-Day! Wow. I can't even begin to tell you all how excited I am! Today was going to be a book review, but that'll have to wait until tomorrow. I have some amazing news to share with you all. If you're a writer, you'll be excited. If you're a reader, you'll be happy dancing. Best of all: If you subscribe to my blog (or follow me in any way) you'll have opportunities to win some amazing things, and you'll be one of the first to get information about things happening at UtopYA Con in 2015.


Because, the announcement has been posted on the UtopYA Con blog...


That's right! In tandem with three other amazing bloggers, I was chosen to be one of the official news folks.

Plus, I get to display this awesome badge on the blog (look top right)! *drools over the pretty*

Along with myself, here are the other awesome ladies bringing you news and prizes from the event:

Maria Pease
Ashley Bodette

Shana Benedict

Go subscribe to their blogs, because you don't want to miss a thing.

Are you going to UtopYA Con 2015?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!