Friday, May 22, 2015

Blogging for Creatives

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm gonna talk with all you bloggers about a book I think you need to have on your shelves, and give you some of the highlights. I do love non-fiction how-to books, and I've recommended a number of them here on the blog. However, I like this book on blogging above any other I've come across.

So, I figured I'd talk about it. I originally picked the title up from the library, but have gone on to purchase my own copy since. I also grabbed one to give away during the panel I'm moderating at utopYA called "So, You Wanna be a Book Blogger/Tuber?" I have a great post on panels coming up for you next week, so I'm not delving into all that too deeply.

The title of the book is Blogging for Creatives: How designers, artists, crafters, and writers can blog to make contacts, win business, and build success, and it's by Robin Houghton. You can get a copy from Amazon here for about $16.

Moving on!

Now that you know the title of the book, have seen the cover, and where you can snag a copy, let's get to yammering!

Here are a few of the section titles and what you can hope to find:
1. Get Started - this covers many things like group blogging, what a blog is, and how to find a niche.
2. Blogging Tools and Technology - She discusses how to choose a host, and recommends some widgets.
3. Step-by-Step Setup
4. Creating an Eye-Catching Blog - Color, typography, and other fun stuff.
5. Creating Great Content

Anyway, you can see where I'm going with this. Plus, Ms. Houghton gives you awesome inspiration screenshots throughout.

If you're a seasoned blogger, you may not get a lot out of this book; but there were some tips and tricks in there I didn't know, and it helped me pull a new level of creativity out of my hat.

You know my utopYA author interview series? Yeah, the idea for that came from this book.

Looking to make money with your blog? This book will guide you through the process of setting everything up.

It's awesome. Period. As a bonus, you can check it out from the library for FREE!

You're still here? What are you waiting for? Get to it!

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


Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Release - Markaza Mystic Book Six

Happy Thursday, everyone! If you're reading this, I'm assuming you survived Wednesday. *grin* What a long week it's felt like, huh? Wow. My brain keeps screaming, "It should be Friday!" Haha! Anywho, I have some super exciting news for you all today. Grab a cup of coffee and let's get going!

Markaza has been launched on the world! I'm not doing a big, huge release for this book (I'm saving that for the next novel - M). So, I'm just gonna put it up here on my little blog and announce it to the folks I hope are vested in the series. Those who've read the first five books will be on the lookout for this one. It's been a long time coming, but we're finally there!

As a bonus, you can pick up the first five books in a box set for your Kindle for just $3! Get them here.

Bronya, book one, is always free. So, you can try the series out with zero risk. Grab that one here!

Without further yammering on my part, I give you links!

Amazon: Kindle $3.99
Smashwords: $3.99
Paperback: $16.99

Markaza Turner isn't your average seventeen-year-old. She can see the future, the past, and has an eerie propensity for getting people to do things.

But what she sees is the obliteration of mankind. Worse, her visions tell her it's gonna happen on her eighteenth birthday, December 21, 2012.

All six of the ladies forming the elite group, known as WSTW, are finally together under one roof. Bronya, Lily, Shelia, Melody, Coralie, and Markaza must now figure out how to use their strange powers before an evil being rises from the ground in Central Park and destroys the world.

But Markaza's own past is dark and riddled with secrets she'll need to unearth and come to terms with before she can go to war.

In this exciting finale of the Mystic series, the women come face-to-face with a truth that will change their lives forever.

Our fate is in their hands.

Wanna see the full wrap paperback cover? Yeah, buddy!! Here ya go!

Interior matches the individual novellas (not the collection five in one).

What the heck are you waiting for? Go grab some new reads :)

What do you think? Like it?

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


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

utopYA Con 2015 Needs Your Help!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Well, we've managed to survive the first half of the week; if you can make it through today, there are just two more days until the weekend. GOOD LUCK! *grin* I have a couple of requests for you today. The first involves two clicks, and the second involves a copy/paste with a click. Ready? Let's get rolling!

As you know, I'm one of the official bloggers for utopYA for 2015. Next year, for the five-year anniversary, I'm officially the book blogger/tuber coordinator. I'd really love to see this conference grow into the next big thing.

Here's where your help comes in.

If you wouldn't mind, please click on this link and vote for utopYA. This grant could do a lot for the con, and it's just a little two clicks of your mouse button: One to get to the Chase website, and one to click vote. That's it.


Second, I'm going to beg you to please, please share the following post(s) on your social media sites:

Two clicks, $100k! Please help @utopYAcon become the next big thing! #utopYA2015 #authorcon

UtopYA Con is for writers. Like you. Like me. It's a place where you can feel safe being exactly the person you are with no need for pretense. Help keep the dream alive! Please. Two easy clicks will give the conference your support, and it will help writers of the future learn how to achieve their dreams. UtopYA's tenants are: Education, Collaboration, and Inspiration. Now that's a powerful message. Spread the word and vote here:

Thank you! Know I appreciate every single one of you. Tomorrow, we return to our regularly scheduled program!

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


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nominated for Two Awards - Vote?

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I have some amazing news for you all. It's late because I've been on the fence with how to approach it. Bear with me while I explain, please. *grin* Do you have coffee? If not, grab some, sit back, and relax while you read.

I was recently nominated for two amazing awards by the utopYA Academy, and I'd like to tell you about them. I'm gonna ask you for a favor here in a minute, so stick with me.

First up, I got nominated for Blogger of the Year. This was huge for me, because there are some amazing bloggers on that list with me: Maria Pease, Tammie Ross Zimmerman, Shana Benedict, Vilma Gonzales, and Mandy Anderson. I mean, wow. I'm over the moon to be on that list.

More than that, it helped me realize what I do here in my corner of the blogosphere is appreciated, and it tells me someone, somewhere, found something I published helpful in some way. That made me smile. It's not about winning the award; it's about being on that list. I'm there. I helped someone in some way. I've already won. *cheers*

Secondly, I was nominated for a super amazing award that honors people who've displayed the tenants of utopYA over the last year (education, collaboration, and inspiration). It's called Utopian of the Year. Appropriate name, huh? On that list with me are some women I greatly admire, and there are a few I'm lucky enough to call friends: Carlyle Labuschagne, Tammie Ross Zimmerman, Heather Hildenbrand, S. M. Boyce, Carol Kunz, and Casey L. Bond.

This nomination means a lot. I'm humbled beyond words to be included with those women.

Why did I struggle with how to approach this? Well, it's because I'm me. While I have few issues with talking about my books and how much you may love them, I tend to freeze when I talk about myself. I'm just a woman at a keyboard. I do appreciate the things I do for others, but I always feel like I could be doing more.

I believe in the message of utopYA: Lift as You Climb. It's a powerful movement I'd love to see everyone embrace. That link will take you to a piece I wrote on the subject. Because of that, I stand behind the conference 100%.

Recently, I was asked to join the team of awesome that helps bring the conference to fruition every year. No, I won't be working to get sponsors or help organize the con. My end comes down to promotion and getting the word out. I'm the Book Blogger/Tuber Coordinator.

I have no words for how excited I was when Janet Wallace asked me to be a part of something so monumental in my mind. Something I believe so strongly in the message of. I jumped at the chance to help spread that mindset.

Speaking of which, if you don't have tickets yet, get them here now. They're almost all gone, and utopYA isn't an experience you want to miss.

But, I digress! Funny how you can do that when you're talking about your passion, huh?

Here's what I'd love it if you guys would do: Go vote for your favorites! It doesn't matter if it's me or one of the other women/men/books on those lists. Add your voice to the sounding board. Support the people you adore!

Want the link? Your wish is my command!

Thanks for reading my little post.

Did you vote? See anyone on that list you love?

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


Monday, May 18, 2015

Cover Reveal - Waterproof - The Water Crisis Chronicles

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your weekend was fabulous and relaxing. Today, I have a wonderful cover reveal post for you from Amber Garr. This is such a unique series. Ready? Get those eyeballs prepared for all the pretty things, and let's get going!

Ever wonder what would happen when the world runs out of drinking water? Civil unrest? Global nuclear war? All of the above?

The Water Crisis Chronicles by Amber Garr presents one possible scenario for this all-too-real local and global issue.

Waterproof, the original novel, won Best Science Fiction Novel of 2014 at the Royal Palm Literary Awards and fans of the book asked for a prequel novella - Waterfall. Well, now Waterfall has been expanded into a COMPLETE FIRST NOVEL which will be released in next month.

In addition, the whole series received an updated look that better reflects the two narrators: Zach and Vivienne and the love story woven into a world set on destroying itself.

Waterfall will be re-released as a full novel in June (stay tuned for more info), and Waterproof is available now. Watermarked, the final book of the series, is due for release in September 2015!

A special thanks to Emma Michaels for her excellent front covers! Find out more about Amber Garr at her website, on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

And, now for the full wrap cover!

What do you think? Nice, huh?

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


Friday, May 15, 2015

Cover Reveal - Catalyst

Happy freaking Friday, everyone! Weekend time! Oh yeah. Today, I have a cover reveal post for you all from the awesomeness that's Casey L. Bond. This book is a prequel to the Harvest Saga, but it's also a standalone. Let's get going!

First, info!

Cover Model: Josh McCann
Cover Photography by: Mandy Hollis/ MHPhotography
Cover Design by: Pink Ink Designs/ Cassy Roop

Author: Casey L. Bond
Genre: YA Dystopian
Expected Publication Date: June 3rd, 2015

The city of Confidence is surrounded by a thick, concrete wall. These walls are built to protect those within and to keep dangers outside. What happens when the only danger to the citizens within is its leadership?

When a young man on a suicide mission meets a young woman with a terminal illness, both of them use one another as a means to their own ends. They never expect to become friends. They never expect to become so much more to each other. Their backgrounds and the secrets they uncover are more dangerous than any plans they could make together or separately.

Revolution begins with a spark.

‪#‎Catalyst‬ What's ‪#‎yourspark‬?

Goodreads Link:

Now, it's time for the pretty!

And the full wrap:

How about a teaser?

What do you think? Excited yet?

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


Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Freebie and A Sale

Happy Thursday, everyone! So sorry about the blog post miss yesterday. Things are rather hectic around here in ye olde Jo Michaels office, and I just didn't have the time. Markaza is back from the editor, I'm working on M (good stuff, that), and I'm working on typesetting a book for a lovely client of IBGW. So, yeah, things may be a bit spotty over the next week and a half. Just letting you all know. *grin*

But! Today I have some awesome news from Bella Roccaforte! I woke up to a wonderful e-mail in my inbox that I'm going to share with you. She has a freebie and a box set sale going on.

First up, the freebie!

Title: Moon Crossed (Crescent Hunter Series Episode One)
Author: Bella Roccaforte
Genre: Older YA/NA Paranormal
Length (print): ~ 85 pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle FREE (limited time only)

Claire O'Conlan is a hunter, her kind were created to protect humans from feral werewolves. She's desperate to find a cure for the moon-touch. Until she does, the hunt won't stop.

Despite being raised among supernatural creatures, Claire is determined to make college as normal as possible. But childhood habits die hard. She can't seem to stay away from the wolf-borne, and worse, she's falling in love with Cole Jackson, the big bad wolf.

Claire can't resist the undeniable fire Cole ignites within her. They are falling headlong into a forbidden love affair. Hunter and wolf, a dangerous combination inciting war between factions, action from the council and the biggest risk of all, Claire fulfilling her duty and being the hunter that kills Cole.

Will Claire find the cure? Or will their love end in tragedy?

If you remember my review of this book, it was a 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can see the review here. Give it a try. No risk for you, and you may love it.

Now, for the sale!

Title: INK (Fine Lines Series Episodes 0-2)
Author: Bella Roccaforte
Genre: NA Paranormal
Length (print): ~ 604 pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle $0.99 (limited time only)

Series Blurb:
Shay Baynes made her dreams come true using her nightmares.

Her hit comic Sanguine Specter, based on the horrific murders in her dreams, hits it big. Finally able to feel something other than numbness, Shay's riding high on her success when it all comes crashing down with the bodies of the murder victims.

The crime scenes from Sanguine Specter are a dead ringer for real life murders, all evidence leads back to Shay as the murderer and she's left with little choice but to depend on the two men she's been trying to stay away from.

The INK series is the perfect blend of horror, romance and suspense. Embark on this wild ride of twisted dark urban fantasy. Watch as a 22 year old Shay transforms from someone who needs help, into a strong confident woman with more power than anyone ever imagined. 

So, that's the news for today! I do hope you take a chance on either Moon Crossed or INK.

What do you think? Will you snag one?

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