Thursday, August 21, 2014

My UtopYA2014 Experience Blog Hop

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm participating in a blog hop and huge book giveaway from the authors of UtopYA. No, this isn't official! It's just a bunch of us that got together and decided to talk about our experiences at the con, and reward readers/followers with some awesome books. If you'd like to, you can join the Facebook event for the hop here. Now, sit back, relax, and let's get going!


My UtopYA 2014 Experience
by Jo Michaels

I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs about attending UtopYA Con 2014. I did a couple of things along the way to ease those fears (like my author interview series), but I still felt my knees knocking when I walked through the doors of the Millennium Maxwell House in Nashville, Tennessee, on the Thursday afternoon before the con began.

Those nervous moments didn't last long; there was too much to do/see. As soon as I walked in, I spotted the ever awesome Eva Pohler. Not long after, I spied Toni Lesatz, C. A. Kunz (both of them), and an hour or so later N. L. Greene, Kelly Risser, and Casey L. Bond arrived.

Then, I spied Carlyle Labuschagne. That's when the squeeing began.

There were many hugs, lots of "I know you! So good to put a face with the name." going around, and many, many business cards changing hands. This crazy (yes, I do mean bonkers) "moment" kept going all afternoon.

At six, Tia and I snuck out to the pool area with Kelly Risser, N. L. Greene, and Casey L. Bond. We worked from six until about nine on ideas we had for our YA anthology. There were lots of great things flying around that table, let me tell you. We'll be bringing you something never done before. Keep your eyes out for that.

Because I drove up to Nashville, I'd been up since around 5am. At this point, I was ready to pass out. After hauling our books down and setting up our table, Tia and I excused ourselves and ducked back to our room for some much needed sleep. We knew the next day would start earlier than we really wanted to get up.

At 6am, it began again. Breakfast took longer than it should've and we were late for the keynote speech. *facepalm* Yeah, next time, I get up at 5. After that, we literally talked non-stop, marketed our books, and met authors until 10pm. I also had the Friday night fan invasion to attend. With Sylvia Day there, the line was humongous. Moving books and swag off my regular table and out the door to another one (and back again later) was fun in a strange way. I chatted with the authors near me and made some new friends. Don't judge, I'm able to befriend darn near anyone. Yeah, we sang Baby Got Back in the hotel bar, but the networking never stopped. My face hurt from smiling so much. By 11, we were back in our room. Tia spent the nights working on an edit for a client of INDIE Books Gone Wild (now that's dedication), and I read a book in bed while decompressing from the day's craziness and trying not to have a nervous breakdown from being so on edge all day.

Saturday was just as nuts. I face-planted in bed after the awards and dance party. No, I only had one drink (it's good to be responsible) so that wasn't it. My throat was killing me, and I'd been running all day. If there was a moment to breathe in there, I missed it--or maybe I was moving so fast I got caught in a time-warp continuum and the moment came later than it should've.

By this point, I was missing my husband and my own bed fiercely. I left Sunday morning (early). While this guaranteed I missed out on some of the super fun stuff going on at the con, I couldn't help it. Remember, I had a pretty good drive ahead of me.

Was it worth it? YES. Will I do it again next year? YES. Why? Because, for the first time in my life, I felt normal. No one looked at me like I had ten heads when I talked about dragons, zombies, or mutated mushrooms that want to kill me. It was accepted, embraced, and even encouraged. Was it overload that'll wipe you out but leave you teeming with ideas? YES.

Do it. If you've been sitting on the fence about attending a writer's con, come to UtopYA in 2015. I can't speak for other cons; but this one treats every author (traditional or Indie) like a rock star. Get your tickets here.

Advice for newcomers:
  • Sleep well before you come. You won't get much rest once the con begins.
  • Bring cough drops or drink a lot of warm tea or coffee. Your voice will thank me later.
  • Pack with intelligence. Remember! You need a dress or some nice clothes for the awards, and whatever clothes you're comfortable in for the other days. Trust me, sneakers are your friends.
  • Don't drink so much you can't walk. I realize you're getting out of the house for the first time in forever, but be responsible; you never know who's watching you and noticing. This is a gathering of professionals. Be professional. Your career is in your hands here.
  • Get to the con early (before Thursday). They'll let you set your stuff up the night before. You can thank me later.
  • Find a friend with wheels. No, I don't mean a car. I'm talking about a wagon, cart, or something else that has wheels. Again, you can thank me later.
  • Use the time every night after the con to decompress. You won't have time to hang out and relax during the day, so set aside some quiet reading time or something before you plan to sleep. Yes, this may mean you leave a gathering just a little early. But your body will be grateful, and you'll be happy you were responsible.
  • Set an alarm. Don't be late for the prize giveaways every morning. If you aren't there, they give what you might have won to someone else. And they give fabulous prizes.
  • Take the time to look at photos on Facebook and author websites or join me here for the author interview series I'm doing. You'll know at least a few people when you arrive if you bother to do this. It makes all the difference in the world.
  • The Con will be here before you know it. Start prepping and buying swag and table decor now. That way, you aren't in a mad rush to get it all before the big day.
  • Set aside boxes and label them UtopYA Con 2015. Put anything you buy for the con directly into the boxes so you don't forget to bring your goodies.
Well, that's all the nuggets of wisdom I have for you. I hope you enjoyed my little story!

~ The End

Now to tell you all about the blogs on the tour, the prizes up for grabs, and give you a Rafflecopter entry form!

Here's the hop list:
Christina Mercer - August 4th - Blog Link
Nichole Greene - August 5th - Blog Link
Delphina Henley - August 6th - Blog Link
Kelly A Risser - August 6th - Blog Link
Nanette Bradford - August 7th - Blog Link
Amy Evans - August 8th - Blog Link
Chelsea Starling - August 9th - Blog Link
Carlyle Labuschagne - August 12th - Blog Link
Anna Cruise - August 14th - Blog Link
Becca Vincenza - August 18th - Blog Link
Raine Thomas - August 19th - Blog Link
Casey L Bond - August 19th - Blog Link
Jo Michaels - August 21st - You're there now
Shelley Custer - August 26th - Blog Link
Nely Cab - August 27th - Blog Link
Chelsea Fine - August 28th - Blog Link
Rachel Harris - August 29th - Blog Link
Amber Garr - August 29th - Blog Link
Heather Hildenbrandt - August 30th - Blog Link
Susan Burdorf - August 30th - Blog Link

Now for the prize packs (there are FIVE!) and each has a Rafflecopter entry form that will follow the image:


Visit Delphinia's blog to enter to win the first prize pack.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you waiting for? Get on it!

How many of these great giveaways did you enter?

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

Jo 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review - Resist

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today, I'm bringing you another book review. No, this one isn't from my review list. I'm working on Scott Marlowe's The Five Elements (The Alchemancer: Book One) in that pile. I think, from this point forward, I'm gonna put all the titles in a hat and draw one every time I finish the one I'm reading. His book, I'm about halfway through. So we're getting there. If you're late to the party, I'm referring to my 12 Days of Christmas review pile that's part of my list on the Indie Fever 2014 Reading Challenge. We commit to reading a certain number of Indie books every year and reviewing them. I love taking part. It's really an awesome thing to give back.

As always, I'll start with a little bit of information about the book up for review:

Title: Resist (Harvest Saga - Book 2)
Author: Casey L. Bond
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Length (print): About 213 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99

Synopsis:
Abby Kelley returns home from the Greater city of Olympus to find that things in Orchard Village are bad, very bad. The Olympian Guard has taken over village affairs. The Lessers are being worked to the bone in the coldest winter Orchard has seen. Villagers are being dragged away for the slightest indication of what they call “resistance.” She needs to keep her head down and her mouth shut. But, it’s so hard to do when everything within you screams rebellion.

Kyan is coming on strong, trying to convince her to take a chance on him. Shocking news of Crew’s activities in Olympus sweeps through the Villages. When Abby is taken away by the Olympian guard, Kyan sends word to Vesuvius for help. But, no one could have predicted their idea of help or what they might expect in return.

Who will be left to pick up the pieces of Abby’s heart?

Resist is the second book in The Harvest Saga series by Casey L. Bond. It is highly recommended that you read Reap (book one) before reading Resist.

***Will not appear in review elsewhere. Holy wow at the covers on these books, huh? While the type treatment is weak, the imagery is awesomesauce. I can't wait for the third installment. I must know how this ends! I reviewed Reap and you can see that on my blog here.***

I ran out and bought Resist the day it went on sale. I loved Reap, and couldn't wait to continue the story of Abby, Crew, and Kyan. Casey is quickly becoming a go-to author when I'm in the mood for a great story. Enough of my rambling! I'm sure you're eager to hear about the story.

From a Reader's Perspective:
Let me tell you, there were some major shockers in this book. They had me putting my hand to my mouth and gasping for air. This is an edge-of-your-seat read for sure. Many times, I find the middle book in a series lacking punch. They kind of go tra-la-la to move the plot along, and there's nothing interesting on the pages. Resist isn't one of those books. It'll keep you biting your nails, cringing, and tearing up over and over again. Pacing is spot on, and I wanted more when I hit the last page. As in Reap (book one), the world building is awesome. I love that there are more than one Greater factions in control of the Lessers. It made the twisty plot even more of a page turner. Warning! There is a cliffhanger. It's a big one. So, if you don't like that sort of thing, wait for the last book to come out before you start reading. If you don't mind, pick up these books ASAP.

From an Editor's Perspective:
So many errors in the writing. Mostly punctuation and pronoun confusions, but there were a few oops moments that should've been caught. Example: Even though it was only a rouse, she would be hurt. This should read: Even though it was only a ruse, she would be hurt. Sadly, what would've been a 5 star book, is dropped to 4 because of the errors. I had to turn my inner editor off.

Rating:
1 Star for keeping me on the edge of my seat
1 Star for awesome twists I was blindsided by
1 Star for world building
1 Star for pacing and wonderful conflict
-1 Star for editing
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars. A fantastic read that'll keep you gripping your chair despite the writing errors. Recommended if you can look past writing errors and really get into a story.

Have you read it? What did you think?

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

Jo

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cover Reveal - From Deities by Mary Ting


FROM DEITIES by Mary Ting
Descendant Prophecies #2


A mysterious stranger enters Skylar’s inner circle, throwing her life out of balance. As secrets are revealed, she learns of the New Olympus, a dwelling for the descendants of the Gods. The Grand family must work together with these descendants to discover the key to their rescue from the clutches of the evil vultures of Hades, whose numbers are growing. As the threat increases, Skylar must learn to control her newfound powers before it’s too late.



_________________________________________________________________


FROM GODS by Mary Ting
Descendant Prophecies #1



_________________________________________________________________

About Mary



Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

Website † Facebook † GoodReads † Twitter

_________________________________________________________________

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Milestone on the Blog

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Wow. I looked at the number of posts I've written here on the blog today and noticed I breezed past six hundred last week. Today, I'll share with you some of the stats for the Jo Michaels blog. This'll be fun; so, strap in and let's get going!


As you all may know, I also have a blog over on Tumblr. It has the same content this one does, but I have different followers over there. Those folks like their information presented differently, so they choose to go that route. I'll share numbers from that blog, too!

This blog has:
  • 136 followers
  • 70 e-mail subscribers (of which 50 are verified and regularly click through to the posts)
  • 606 posts
  • Approximately 334,000 words (606 x 550)
  • 155,887 page views all time
  • An average of 213 page views per day (last 30 days was 6,394) and that number goes bananas around Christmas (and fluctuates down during the summer)
  • A categorized link list with 180 helpful, how-to posts on writing (and the business of self-publishing)
My most popular post? Human Nature: Situation Reaction with 2,036 views

My Tumblr blog has:
  • 178 followers
  • 500 posts
  • and no way to get stats on anything else
My most popular post? He Said, She Said, Who Said What? It's been shared so many times I've lost track.

I've been blogging since 2012, and I hope I've build a reputation as a go-to for writers and readers of great fiction.

But, you know what? It's not me who makes this blog worthwhile; it's all you readers of my ramblings who pop by here and say hello or just take in what I have to say that make the difference.

Thanks for being awesome and joining me on my crazy journey through Bloggerland. And, if you've taken a chance on my books, thank you, too. Readers are an author's lifeblood, and I have some of the most amazing fans on the planet.

YOU GUYS ROCK!

I'm blown away by the support.

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

Jo

Monday, August 11, 2014

Improving Your Writing with a Journal

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! I hope you all had a super fabulous weekend and are ready to kick the week off with a bang. Today, I'm gonna talk to you all about keeping a journal and discuss how it may help you in your writing life. So, grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Journal
/ˈjərnl/
noun
1. A newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject or professional activity.
2. A daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary.

As you can imagine, I'm talking about the second definition of the word. But we'll take it a step further and add to that definition. Now, it'll read: A daily record of news, events, and emotions from a singular individual of a personal nature; a diary.

If you take five to ten minutes a day and write down your feelings or news topics that piqued your interest, you'll end up with an invaluable resource for your novels. I've talked about creating a feelings bible before, but this is something different.

Because you'll be writing in it every day, those emotions will be fresh. Feelings you had will still be on the tip of your fingers and ready to be slapped down on the page.

How does one journal feelings?

Think about a particular incident where you were taken aback by the reaction you had, or consider how something might have made you over-the-top happy. Write down what happened, then go on to describe your feelings about it in vivid detail.

Engage all five senses when you write these things down: Smell, Taste, Sight, Touch, Sound.

Go bananas. If you were angry, let it all out. Be real because you'll only be lying to yourself if you aren't.

What you'll find, after a month or so, is that you have a wonderful record of situational impact on a human being's emotional state. You'll know the situation, the players, and the results. Not only that, but you'll be able to recall things that interest you as a person.

You can also go sit in a cafe or coffee shop and journal other people. Yes, you'll have to guess about their feelings; but, chances are, you've been in a similar situation and can get pretty close to the physical fallout of a given situation. If you're an outgoing type (most authors aren't haha), go ask the person how they're feeling and write it all down. Take note of their facial expressions, posture, and vernacular.

Once you have this gem of a written record, put it somewhere you can get to it when you're stuck on a particularly emotional scene in a novel. If you already have a feelings bible, add some of the content from the journal.

I promise, it's never a waste of your time to get in touch with Human Nature (that's a link to another blog post series I did on the Jo Michaels blog that will give you some awesome insight into what makes us tick).

What do you think? Do you already have a feelings bible or journal? How has it helped?

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

Jo

Friday, August 8, 2014

Paranormal Transmissions by Bella Roccaforte - Release Day Information


Synopsis
Welcome to Paranormal Transmissions! You are about to embark on the first episode of a novel-length serial--guaranteed cliffhanger-free--encompassing approximately 22,000 words of thrilling paranormal suspense (with a hefty side of humor). Buckle up and get ready to fly!

In Episode I: 

Carl and McNab are paranormal investigators. Carl, a man of principle, has the best of intentions. His job is to keep paranormal beings under cover and out of mischief. McNab--young, impetuous, devil-may-care--will add his talents to Carl’s effort...as long as he gets paid.

McNab has a lot to learn--and a lot of growing up to do. But he does come up with a great idea to finance Carl’s exploits--a weekly reality program showcasing paranormal phenomena. To the delight of their cable TV audience, McNab and Carl wade through the seamy, murky waters of the Underside world, helping those in need, saving the blissfully unaware from the ravages of evil, and attempting to redeem their own mistakes--all without causing widespread panic! 

In this first episode we join our heroes in the desert of Mexico trying to bury the body of a chupacabre--and McNab learns his lesson the hard way. After the chaos subsides, Carl notices some suspicious activity in a small North Carolina town--several suicides followed by an odd wave of philanthropy. Both investigators agree--all fingers point to a “pusher.” But what they find catches them both off guard. 

Those readers familiar with Bella Roccaforte’s INK: series will recognize Carl and McNab as favorite characters, but all readers will love their early exploits, which take place long before the INK: series begins. Come and find out what happened before McNab met Shay in Seattle!
Buy Now


   
Teaser



MeetTheAuthor
Bella's motto has always been that you can choose to watch life pass you by or your can be the one spinning the world. You have to get out and live, life won't come to you!

Bella has always seen things in the world with a different view and has been an avid story-teller. She is enjoying putting her crazy musings into print for others to enjoy.

To her, one of the most exciting parts of writing is getting a chance to interact with readers. It is truly her hope that readers will reach out and tell her what they like and even don't like about her stories. She's looking forward to a relationship with the readers to better write stories they will love.

Please feel free to connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, Email or her website!
 

 




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Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Guest Post by Me on The Zombie Survival Crew's Blog

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today I'm giving you a little snatch of what I wrote for a guest post over on The Zombie Survival Crew's blog. Then, I'll give ya a link so you can go see what they're all about and read the rest of my crazy ramblings. *grin*

Grab a cup of Joe and let's get going!

Fear Factors
What’s Really Going on in those Zombie Novels
by Jo Michaels, author of I, Zombie

So, I’m sure you’ve all picked up a zombie novel and turned to page one with your breath in your throat and your hands shaking as you contemplated what horrific situations you were about to be treated to, right?

Is it because you’re anticipating the sticky situations people will undoubtedly get themselves into and out of? Or, is it the mindless munching of brain matter by half rotted, animated corpses that gets your pulse racing?

Chances are, it’s a mixture of both. Zombie novels aren’t about the eating of flesh. While that’s a key component in the movement of the plot and something adding to the spine-tingling horror of it all, it’s not what’s lurking behind the scenes.

Deep within the pages of your everyday zombie novel there’s a central theme: survival of humanity and basic compassion. What you’re reading about is the battle—both with the creatures, who used to be thinking, feeling humans, and with the character’s own sense of what’s right and wrong while trying to survive. All around the character there are old friends, family members, and people those characters met along the way that now must be destroyed.

How do you pull the trigger when you’ve had a conversation with the person staring back at you with those milky zombie eyes? What if it’s your child?

Many times, authors of zombie novels go the extra mile to include how a parent tried to keep their feral child safe once it turned; because the parent(s) were unable to do the unthinkable. A neighbor might present a challenge (it depends if they were easy to work with over that property line dispute), but if they mean to harm or eat you, chances are you wouldn’t have much of a problem pulling the trigger, using a machete, or sticking them in the head with a pitchfork (hey, I lived on a farm; don’t judge me).

Read more on the Zombie Survival Crew site!

What do you think?

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

Jo