Monday, March 31, 2014

A Guest Post by Alison Pensy

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I welcome back Ms. Alison Pensy. She's gonna regale you all with a few words about writing what you know (something I talk a lot about here on the blog). This one may jerk some tears out of you, so be prepared. As you may know, Ms. Pensy is one of the authors attending UtopYA Con in June of this year. If you don't know what UtopYA is or don't have tickets to the event yet, go here and pick yours up now. You don't wanna miss out on this one! Without further ado, I give you Ms. Pensy's guest post:

Write What You Know
by Alison Pensy

Firstly, I'd like to thank Jo for inviting me to be a guest on her blog. It's an honor to be here. I hope you enjoy the post.

I'm going to talk today about how drawing upon life's ups and downs can give your writing and your characters more depth.

Something very sad happened to me last Monday. It was inevitable, I knew that, I was just hoping for a little more time. At around 9:30am I put my arms around a very special friend who'd been in my life for twelve years, buried my face in her soft fur as the vet did his thing, and sobbed into her neck as she fell asleep in my arms never again to wake up. It was possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. One of my best friends had just died in my arms. I felt that time momentarily stood still, I wished it would because I didn't want to let her go. My body was racked with sobs, my face would have fit neatly into a zombie movie without the need for stage makeup, and my heart hurt, it literally hurt, and continued to do so for hours after I'd left the vet's office carrying an empty collar, and made my way home.

Experiences like this are tough, but we all go through various things in life that, although being the last thing we are thinking at that moment in time, have the potential to give our writing much more depth. How else would you be able to describe the emotional and physical pain of losing a loved one to any kind of degree without experiencing it? Yes, you could say it was gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, traumatic, or countless other adjectives, but would you know that you actually got pains in your chest from it? I didn't, until I just experienced it the other day. Would you know how to describe it to a degree that the reader could feel it too? Maybe not.

It's not just the sad stuff. Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns. When I first started writing, I kept seeing the same quote, time after time…"Write what you know." When I first saw this, I took its meaning literally because the book I happened to be writing was using my adventures backpacking around Australia when I was twenty. I threw in some romance, which wasn't part of my real-life adventure, and ended up with an NA romantic comedy. I am probably the clumsiest person on the face of the earth and I got myself a job as a jillaroo (Aussie cowgirl) working on a sheep station in the outback for six months. How I got out with all my limbs intact is still a mystery. For goodness sakes, they let me loose with a tractor, and a motorbike! Me… on a motorbike…chasing sheep *clutches sides*. I was the quintessential Bridget Jones and all around comic relief for the family who owned the station. Writing what I knew for that novel was not a stretch.

It wasn't until I had the urge to write a fantasy novel that the true meaning behind "write what you know" hit me between the eyes. I didn't know anything about faeries, dragons, red caps, Valkyries etc, other than what I'd read in other fantasy novels or on Wikipedia, let's face it, who does? It was then I realized "write what you know" went much deeper. If I infused my characters with emotions that I had felt throughout various experiences in my life, I could make them more three dimensional. They would come alive on the page and to the reader.

It doesn't stop there, though. Writing who you know can also help develop some very interesting characters and it can be very cathartic to boot *rubs hands together*. I had a lot of fun using an ex-boss, who made my early career life a living hell, as the basis for a slimy toad of a character in one of my books. Someone else I had the misfortune to know was also drawn upon for another less than savory character. Then there's the good guys. Lots of my hero characters portray traits from my real life hero…my husband. The female characters portray traits from my BFF's, the list is endless really, but writing what and who I know has certainly helped me become a better writer.

How about you? Do you draw on situations and/or real people who've impacted your life whether good or bad, to help you develop your characters and give them more depth?

~ Alison Pensy

How was that for a guest post? Pretty awesome, huh? Get your fingers in the clicking mode and go give Alison a follow on Goodreads or give her author page on Amazon a like.

Because I'm playing a bit of catchup here, you'll get to meet Ms. Rachel Harris on Thursday, so be sure and come on back for that!

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

Jo

Book Blitz - First Impression




First Impression 
A Shadow Maven Paranormal
by Pauline Creeden
Published on March 22, 2014

Now on sale for only .99cents for a limited time! Pick up your copy now!



Chira Kelly thought she didn’t
need anyone…until she met Ben.


Because of one ugly rumor, Chira lives as an outcast at her school. Which is fine with her, because she works better alone. Always has, always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old schoolhouse, she's wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group. Tragedies and accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?

EXCERPT

 She rips my hall pass from her pad and points it toward the young man sitting across from her desk. “Chira Kelley, meet Ben Oscuro. He’s new here and needs someone to show him around. It just so happens he’s also a member of class 18B.”
I finally lay my eyes on the boy. He doesn’t look up at me, and his disheveled dark hair is just long enough that it hides his eyes. But he pushes himself up from his chair and his slim form towers over me. He’s at least six feet two and his uniform is almost as crumpled as his hair. He swings his backpack onto a strong, square shoulder and nibbles his full bottom lip. His smooth olive skin and dark hair make him look like a foreign rocker, and there’s something about him
that seems vaguely familiar.
“Here’s a copy of his class schedule. When you’re not in the same class, I want you to leave a few minutes early and help him find the next class room. That’s your job for today. Got it?”
I swallow back and resist sniffling again. Taking the hall pass and the copy of the schedule from her, I say, “Um…sure.”
“Excellent. Robin, you’re off the hook.”
The office aide pumps a fist in the air before returning to file more papers in the cabinet. The secretary’s chair squeals a dismissal, and Mrs. Campbell picks up her phone, returning to her duties without another word.
Ben pulls open the office door and stands to the side to allow me to go first. The hallway that was empty only a short while ago is now full of students and their incessant conversations. With a shrug, I eye his class schedule quickly. Except for second and sixth period, we have exactly the same schedule. He’s in all of the advanced classes, too. Only he has gym for second period and Latin for sixth – opposite of my schedule, except I take French.
Piece of cake.
I glance up at him again, and his eyes meet mine. My breath hitches. His intense gaze makes me feel like he’s measuring me. The dark pools of his eyes seem deep and bottomless, but there’s something strange about them. They’re brown, but he has colored contacts. Why would anyone color their eyes brown?
My heart flutters. A sniffle escapes me before I can stop it. Ugh. I clear my throat and start in the direction of first period. “Follow me.”
We elbow our way down the freshman hall toward the second floor, but before we start up I point down the way. “Do you know what your locker number is?”
Ben nods and pushes his backpack up on his shoulder further.
I wait for a second and then smile. “What is it?”
“706.” He has a slight accent and his voice is deeper than I expect. I suppress a shiver at the jolt that the musical timbre of his voice sends through my body. I’m resonating like a tuning fork. II really want him to speak again with every fiber of my being. What’s with me?
“Uh…okay.” I swallow, trying to regain composure. And take him to the general area of the locker. “Here it is.”
He looks at it, nods, and returns his hard gaze to me. Is he always so stiff? Probably just nerves from being new.
“I know you don’t have any books to put in it, but do you want to try out the combination?”
He lifts one shoulder in a shrug and spins the combo quickly through the three numbers. I purposefully avert my eyes so he knows I’m not peeking. He opens the locker wide, nods toward me and then closes it again.
“Great. We have first period over here.”
“You and I have the same first period?”
My body vibrates again, and I blink hard. So glad my back was to him so he couldn’t see the effect his voice has on me. I swallow and face him. “Actually, yeah. Our schedules are very similar. It’s a smallish school so there’re only a few tracks that juniors can be on.”
He nods, and his eyes are half lidded as if he’s bored already.
I lead him toward our class room. “We don’t really have assigned seats, so you can pretty much sit anywhere you want. I’ll show you to the gym at the end of class. I have French next, but it’s not too far from there.”
I lead him to the front of the class, and my friend, Tasha, gives me a wan smile and raises her eyebrows, looking back and forth between me and Ben. She mouths, Who’s that?
I roll my eyes and put up one finger toward her to let her know I’ll tell her in a minute. Then I turn to the teacher. I hand him the schedule from the office. “Hi, Mr. Scott, this is Ben Oscuro, a
transfer.”
Mr. Scott sets down the Mountain Dew he was drinking and offers Ben a wide grin. He puts a hand out for him to shake. Ben hesitates but takes the hand in what looks like a firm grip. Mr. Scott shakes his hand afterward. “That’s some grip you’ve got there.” He laughs and leans down to the bottom drawer of his desk and hands Ben a Geography text book.
With a nod, I return to Tasha and squeeze into the desk next to hers. Because I’m at Jackson Hall partially on scholarship and partially on my father’s insurance money, I’m somewhat of a social pariah. My only real friend is Tasha Brown, a pariah herself, being one of the few African-American kids in the school. Still she tends to be more popular than me, because at least her family has the money they’ve made in the night club and music business. But then there’s that rumor…
“So who is the new hottie?” Tasha hops up and down in her seat.
I shake my head at her. “You are one big hormone, you know that? Sure, he’s cute, but is there any guy in the room you don’t consider a hottie?”
Tasha scans the room, considering for a moment with her hand on her chin and a very serious expression on her face. Her hair is in the typical pigtail braids she usually uses to play up the uniform. She has on no sweater, and her shirt is one size too small, causing the buttons at the front to bow and expose part of her red bra. Finally she returns her gaze to me. “There’s only one guy in here that doesn’t rank hottie.”
“Really? Who?”
She leans in conspiratorially and whispers, “Mr. Scott.”
I nearly choke on a laugh as I eye the middle aged, balding teacher at the front of the room. But I have to admit, Jackson Hall is a prep school. And no one can afford to make their children look their best more than the wealthy. I guess if I take my father’s words to heart, it’s better to be the poor kid in the rich kids’ school…than the other way around. Right?
Tasha’s smile returns and I follow her gaze to figure out why. Ben Oscuro walks down the aisle between us and takes the desk right behind mine. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. He smells like pine and mint, and it reminds me of the outdoors. When I open them again, Tasha’s smile has grown impossibly wider. She leans towards me and whispers, “What was that you said about hormones again?”
I shove my elbow toward her but she dodges me with a giggle.

About the author

In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. Her books have hit #1 on the Amazon Bestseller List and Armored Hearts won the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Award in Historical Fiction. First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal is her first mystery. It’s a dark urban fantasy and will be released March 31, 2014.









A Shadow Maven tin full of jellybeans!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Young Adult Novelettes Anthology Call for Submissions

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm gonna talk about an idea I have regarding novelettes and putting together an anthology. If you're an author, I invite you to read on and consider what I'm offering. Grab your cup of coffee, a notepad, and a pen, and let's get going!

I know you've probably seen a ton of anthologies out there, but I intend for this one to be different. I'd like to give readers a sampling of many different genres in one great book. So, my call is to those who write in the following fiction genres:
  • Sci-Fi
  • Paranormal (including angels, demons, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, vampires, etc...)
  • Romance (including western, historical, contemporary, etc...)
  • Urban Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Magic (of any kind - witches, wizards, superheros, etc...)
  • Time-Travel
  • Crime
  • Suspense
  • Horror
  • Historical
  • Mythological
  • Humor
  • Satire
  • And any of those I may have missed.
I'll take a total of fifteen; but each one accepted will be in a different genre and be YA appropriate/themed. This means: No foul language or sexual situations and your protagonist must be between the ages of thirteen and seventeen.

What's different about this offer? Well, you have a built-in editor, proofreader, and cover designer, as well as a formatting person for both digital and print.

Our book will stand out amongst the crowd for many reasons. One being because your author information will be right after your story, not bundled in the back of the book with everyone else. This will include links to your social media pages and a brief biography as well as an author photo. That way, if someone enjoys what they just read, they can find you right away.

Another reason will be the length of the stories inside. Most anthologies are short story collections; this one will be a collection of novelettes.

I've also considered having everyone use the same protagonist, but put him/her in different situations/worlds. Again, that's up for discussion. But wouldn't it be an interesting twist on the common anthology theme?

Here's what the author bio pages will look like:
I'm thinking the title should be something along the lines of: Genre Mash-up: A collection of fictional tales.

But that's open for discussion. Length of stories will be at least 5k words, up to 10k and may include chapters. With fifteen novelettes, that'll give us a final product that's between 75k and 150k words.

Here are two things I require: You must be able to attend a meeting at least twice a month to discuss the book until it goes live, and you must be expedient with all editing suggestions/proofreading requirements/communication responses.

If a deadline is missed, I'll take it as a sign that you didn't want to participate in the first place, and put in someone who didn't make the cut the first time around for a reason other than missing a deadline.

Speaking of which...

If you think you have what it takes to be a part of this awesome opportunity, send a short sample of your work (2k-3k words - can be published already) as an attachment in MS Word format to me at WriteJoMichaels [at] gmail [dot] com. Include the following in the body of the e-mail:
  • Name and Pen Name (if applicable)
  • Genre you want to write in for the anthology
  • Your Twitter, Facebook, and blog addresses
Subject of the e-mail should be: Anthology submission.

Please have those in to me no later than April 20th. Publication date will be sometime in either July or August of this year. It depends on how quickly everyone can get their stories written. Heck, we may be able to get it out by mid to late June. Let's get this party started!

Have you considered being part of an anthology before? What do you think of the idea of a collection of novelettes in general?

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

Jo

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review - Sanctuary

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I'm bringing you another book review from the Indie Fever 2014 Reading Challenge. If you've never heard of this event, it's a group of readers who get together every year and try to read as many Indie books as they can. We strive to discover new, awesome Indie authors and share them with the world. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, pop on over to this page, commit to the level you're comfortable with, add your name to the linky thing, grab the badge, choose your books, and off you go! So, today I have a review of Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden.

As always, let's start with a little information about the book I'll be reviewing for you.

Title: Sanctuary
Author: Pauline Creeden
Genre: Christian Science Fiction
Length (print): 280 pages
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $2.99  ~ B&N $2.99  ~ Paperback $9.36  ~ Audible $17.46

Synopsis: In a heart-racing thriller described as Left Behind for the Hunger Games Generation, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…

When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?

***Will not appear in review elsewhere. Tidbits for my blog readers' eyes only! I saw the cover of this book and just fell in love with it. Pauline was my UtopYA secret Santa this past Christmas and gave me the book as a gift. It was a lovely surprise because I'd just finished writing I, Zombie, and have been consuming (no pun intended) zombie books for the last year and a half. When I got this one, I was over the moon.***

Moving on to the review.

Zombie novel? Love! Christian science fiction with zombies? Um... Wow. I had no idea what I was in for when I started this book. What an awesome twist on the biblical apocalypse. Rather than being some mutated disease causing people to start acting like zombies, what if it's an alien invasion? Well, this is the direction Sanctuary takes you in. Let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

From a Reader's Perspective:
I loved watching the main character, Jennie, come into her own through the story. When we begin, she's a lot like any tween would be: Self-centered, technology reliant, BFF in place, and has dreams of what she plans to do with herself down the road. As the tale moved on, she becomes a strong, self-reliant young woman. This change was perhaps the most moving one in my eyes. Pacing through the story was great, and I loved the little twists and turns thrown in. Hugh was a great character and I'm eager to see how his relationship with Jennie develops in future books. Oh my goodness what a cliffhanger at the end! If you're not a huge fan of being left with a juicy bone dangling in front of you, the ending will be less than satisfying. But I loved it. I'm now chomping at the bit for the next installment. Aliens were a nice twist to the common zombie novel, but the thing I love most about them was still prevalent: human survival struggles. What would one do in any given situation when they're terrified out of their minds? There's plenty of that going on in Sanctuary. Having said that, let's move on to part two.

From an Editor's Perspective:
I found a few niggling little errors like: "...but she knew the door would be locked as the red sign on the door clearly stated they were sorry about." and: "The ideas spun in his Hugh's head like..." But none of them really took me out of the story, and there were only around fifteen in the whole book.

Rating:
+1 Star for bringing Jennie into her own via life and death events
+1 Star for pacing and plot (both were excellent)
+1 Star for the awesome twist on the cause of the zombie virus
+1 Star for plenty of human angst during a crisis situation that left me biting my nails
+.75 Star for writing and editing
-.25 Star for need for a proofreader to eradicate those tiny errors
Overall: 4.75 out of 5 stars! But I round UP, not down. Highly recommended if you love zombie novels or any book that's gonna make you think about your own humanity.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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

Jo

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cover Reveal - Magic Unfolds

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Woo hoo! New week, new stuff to do. If you missed yesterday's post with the interview of author Alison Pensey, be sure and check it out here. Today, I have another lovely UtopYA Con author, Ms. N. L. Greene. She's joining us for a cover reveal for her new book Magic Unfolds. It's the second book in the Mystic Seeker series and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Illusions Begin was an awesome read (review here) and I'm dying to know more. Without further jabbering on my end, I give you: the information (What? You didn't think I was going straight into the cover, did you?).


Title: Magic Unfolds (Book 2 of The Mystic Seeker Series)
Author: N. L. Greene

Blurb: For the first time in her life, Becky had hopes of fulfilling her own dreams when Blaine Winters inexplicably arrived into her quiet life, teasing her with astounding possibilities she never thought imaginable. Not only did he reveal that magic was indeed real, but he also stirred feelings in her that she had only read about in clichéd romance novels. But just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone. Then Becky’s life was turned upside down by a family emergency. With the overwhelming demands of running an elite law firm as well as her ex becoming more of a threat each day, she didn’t have time for whimsical thoughts or personal exploration anyway.

Now that Blaine has mysteriously disappeared from her life, she can put her family first and focus on what she needs to do. If only it were that easy. Blaine may be gone and all of Becky’s little girl dreams of a world filled with magic with him, but that doesn’t mean all’s forgotten. Nightmares are plaguing her, someone is watching her, and there are powers within her that she can’t seem to control.

Will Becky finally get her chance at magic after all, even if she doesn’t want it?

Sounds good, huh?

Now, on to what you came here for: the cover!


Oooooooooh! Pretty! How about the full wrap?

Oh my... Now that's a book cover :)

Are you wondering yet where you can pick up a copy? It's available for pre-order now!

Click here to pre-order the book from Barnes & Noble (you can also pre-order for iBooks). IF you get it before April 20th, it's just $0.99.

Illusions Begin (Book 1) is $0.99 through April 20th as well. Get started on the series while you can. Link to Amazon here.

About N. L. Greene

Author N.L. Greene is a writer of YA and NA Contemporary and Paranormal Romances. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and two beautiful daughters. When she isn't writing or reading, she enjoys traveling around the world with her family, shopping and doing other girly things with her girls, or playing video games with her husband. She is a lover of dogs, chocolate, and anything pink!

To connect with Ms. Greene on Social Media, click the following links:
Amazon Author Page
Facebook Page
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads
Smashwords

I hope you all enjoyed this post! What do you think of the cover?

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

Jo

Monday, March 24, 2014

Author Interview Alison Pensy

Happy Monday, astute readers of my blog! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be bringing you another unofficial UtopYA Con author interview. So far we’ve had a number of awesome authors give their time and expertise to make us smile. If you missed any of the past interviews, I invite you to check them out here. And, if you don’t have your tickets to the con yet, be sure you grab them soon! Time is running out and you don’t want to be the only girl left out of the party, do you? Get yours here. Let’s get this party started with gusto! Everyone go grab your favorite party hat, strap it on, and make some noise to welcome author Alison Pensy to the party.

Jo: Welcome to the blog, Alison! I hope you enjoyed that little bit of noise the crowd made for you. *grin*
Alison: Thanks for inviting me, Jo *does little curtsey* I'm honored to be here.

Jo: So, let’s get right into the interview questions. You’re an interesting lady and I can’t wait to dig into your head! If my research is right, you’re a tax accountant. Are you super excited about April 15 being right around the corner?
Alison: More than you know! I'm always a bit gung ho at the start of the season, but when it gets to this point, I start flagging a little. It's nice to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I have so many plans for after tax season, one of them being getting back to writing, that I'm now starting to get excited about it.

Jo: Awesome. I hope it all goes well from here on out! I also read you raise chickens. I’m completely enthralled by that. I read a book once called Steering Gone Awry that talked about chickens and how, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could have disastrous consequences (cracked me up). Mind sharing with us a few of your chicken raising mishaps?
Alison: Well, I cheat a bit. When I buy my chickens they are usually about 6 months old, so I don't have to do all the hard stuff. I love my chickens, they are relaxing to watch and there's nothing better than a freshly laid egg. The most fun I have is watching them chase after bugs, especially grass hoppers in the back yard. It always amazes me how fast they can run. One of the main mishaps we've had along the way was losing five chickens in one day to a fox (we think). I got home from work and there were patches of feathers scattered around the property. I'm a lot more careful with them now.

Jo: Oh my... My sister had a couple of chickens once. Her dog ate them! She came home to feathers everywhere, too. Such a sad thing! In your best writer-ly voice, describe headless chicken mode for us.
Alison: In the thick of tax season, on the surface I convey poise and professionalism, underneath, however, my mind is racing around in circles flapping its wings and squawking things like "What are you thinking?" and "You chose to do this for a living…are you mad?" *grins*

Jo: I'd pay to see that. Seriously. LOL You’ve said that your characters are always in your head, roaming around, chatting away. Which one of them talks the loudest and do you have a particular fondness for one in particular? Why?
Alison: Faedra talks the loudest. She's pretty strong willed and independent, occasionally she will let Faen have a word in edge ways. You'd think I would be fondest of my main character (Faedra) but I have a particular fondness for Etyran who is introduced in book 2, The Emerald Staff. He is a rough diamond with a heart of gold. I am planning to give him a book of his own so everyone can get to know him better.

Jo: Nice! I'll be able to talk more about them once I get to reading your books! How many fairy figurines do you have, which one is your favorite, and why?
Alison: I have 30 of them. My absolute favorite is similar to the one I describe at the beginning of the first book when Faedra's mother gives it to Faedra as a gift. Hubby bought it for me several birthdays ago. It is called 'Dawn Dancing' (for anyone who wants to Google it), and it's a figurine of a fairy on the back of a rearing black horse.

Jo: I love horses and I adore fairies. You bet I'll be looking that one up! Time for a couple of rapid fire questions! What’s your favorite candy?
Alison: Ghirardelli peppermint cream squares…Yum!

Jo: Yum squared! (See what I did there?) *grin* Favorite actress?
Alison: At the moment…Jennifer Lawrence. I love her attitude and the message she puts out there for young people, especially girls. She's being a great role model.

Jo: Heck yeah, she rocks. I love strong women. Place you want to visit but haven’t yet?
Alison: Alaska. Seeing the northern lights is on my bucket list.

Jo: Oh yeah! I hope I get to see that some day, too. But my bucket list is long already. *grin* So, you’re an actress, eh? Love! I was on stage for over a year myself. What was your favorite part about playing Glinda in The Wizard of Oz?
Alison: The dress!!! *laughs* I love magic and have been a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz since I was a little girl. I even got to keep my wand. It's part of my Glinda display in my office. After the play finished, people kept buying me Glinda memorabilia.

Jo: Gotta love playing dress up. You look like Glinda! That's so cool! Tell me what it means to be a feminist author and why you call yourself one.
Alison: Not sure I would call myself a feminist as I like having doors opened for me and having a man help with stuff I just can't do on my own. I am fiercely independent though, thanks to my mum, so there isn't much I won't have a go at first. She is a very strong woman and brought my sister and I up to be the same. I have a lot to thank her for.

Jo: My mom is the same. I only hope I can pass that trait to my daughter. I think, sometimes, I come off as being very hard on her. Maybe I am, but she has to learn to be strong when the going gets tough. Yay for awesome moms! What was the title of the first book you wrote in first person and published for fun? Tell us about that journey?
Alison: The title was "What's a Jilleroo to do?" It has since been re-written in third person and published as "A Summer Down Under" under my pen name of Adrianna Blakeley. I originally wrote it because I wanted to write a book about my adventures backpacking around Australia when I was twenty, but I didn't want it to be a memoir. Eventually, I had the bright idea that I could write it as a fiction, using my adventures as a back drop. When I first wrote it, I knew nothing about the craft of writing and if I were to read the original manuscript, it would make me cringe. I published it on Lulu.com just before the days of e-books and sold a few copies locally before taking it down and essentially stuffing it in the back of a draw. I decided to re-write it and re-publish it in 2012 after having quite a bit of success with the Custodian Novels series and being much wiser as an author.

Jo: Sweet. I know my first manuscripts (from wayyyy back) always fill my head with new ideas and cringe-worthy moments. *grin* I read somewhere that your soul mate is your hero. How long have you been together and did you meet him in England, where you’re from?
Alison: We have been together for just over fourteen years. We actually met on a pen pal site back when the internet was in its infancy, I guess you could say we were the original "You've Got Mail" story. We both thought it would be 'safe' to chat with someone who lived 6000 miles away. The Universe obviously had other ideas :)

Jo: Wow. That's amazing. What a super sweet story! Time for the alien question of the interview! Do you believe in fairies and is it a huge jump for you to believe there could be aliens out there, watching us?
Alison: I do believe in fairies, I believe in most things paranormal, I've had too many unusual experiences not to. I also have a set of fairy 'tarot' cards and they are so accurate it's freaky. I believe in aliens, too. I think it would be very arrogant to assume we were the only intelligent species living in the infinity of space.

Jo: Amen. Arrogance doesn't do anyone any good. Why did you choose Romance as your primary genre and where do your ideas come from?
Alison: Who doesn't love a bit of romance, right? Although, I think my young adult series has equal measures of adventure and magic. The idea for the series came from an urban legend that surrounds an old church in the village where I grew up. Legend has it that if you walk around the church three times at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, you disappear. I never tried it, but I got to thinking what if you disappeared into another realm? My imagination took off on its own from there.

Jo: I'm a huge fan of romantic undertones in magical books. *grin* I can't wait to check yours out. Now, is there anything you think I should’ve asked but didn’t?
Alison: I think you asked some great questions. I always have stories to tell but I think we covered quite a lot today.

Jo: I'm glad to know I've done you justice! Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thanks for doing the interview, Alison! I can’t wait to meet you at UtopYA Con in June!
Alison: Thanks, Jo. I appreciate the invite. I can't wait to meet you, too. In fact I will probably be wearing my 'fan girl' hat all weekend, there are going to be some awesome authors there.

Now it’s time to tell you about Alison’s featured book!

Title: Custodian Novels Boxed Set Books 1-4
Author: Alison Pensy
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Length (print): Approx 900 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle  B&N  Smashwords

Synopsis:
The Amulet
To seventeen-year-old Faedra, faeries were nothing more than the figurines she collected and displayed in her curio cabinet. Or so she thought...

Faeries control nature, with a book, no less. But Faedra doesn't know that...yet.

She is next in line to protect an ancient fae amulet that controls the weather. And she's blissfully unaware of that fact, too.
She also doesn't know that the book has been stolen and now the thief is after the amulet and willing to kill for it.

Ignorance is bliss, and then you turn 18.

The Emerald Staff
Faedra was enjoying the fact that everything was back to normal. Well, as normal as it could get when you had the ability to manipulate energy, were protector of an ancient Fae amulet, and lived with a fairy guardian 24/7.

Her dad had even started dating.

Yes, all was right again in Faedra’s world, or so she thought…

The Cypher Wheel
Faen was worried about his charge. Faedra had locked herself away in the cottage on a self-imposed quarantine, for six months. She was having trouble controlling her newly acquired powers, and was terrified of hurting someone. But, enough was enough.

When Eytran obtained some tickets for a treasure hunt, her father and friends persuaded her that it was time to get out of the house and back into the real world.

It was only a treasure hunt, what could possibly go wrong…?

The Ice Diamond Cuff
Across the land, wedding bells ring out their joyous announcement. But, when a wedding gift is discovered to possess a dark and sinister secret, the damage has already been done.

As the dust settles, Faedra is thrust into a different role…one she is not ready for. The only hope she has of defeating a deadly force that threatens her new home, is to pull her allies together. She can only pray it will be enough to save the kingdom she has fallen in love with.

While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Alison a follow on social media?

Facebook: Author Alison Pensy
Twitter: @AlisonPensy
Blog/Website: www.alisonpensy.com

I hope you all enjoyed this interview.

If you have questions for Alison, please put them in the comments!

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

Jo

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cover Reveal - Waterfall by Amber Garr

Happy World Water Day! And happy cover reveal day for The Water Crisis Chronicles Book 0.5. As a part of today's celebration for raising awareness about water and energy consumption, I thought I'd celebrate with a cover and website reveal!

First, here's the cover and blurb for WATERFALL...

 





Waterfall (Book 0.5)


The water is gone. The wars have begun.

Clean water is a luxury most can no longer afford. Climate change, industrial sabotage, and greed have  turned country against country as each one tries to provide for its citizens. Terrorist groups target desalinization plants and frustrated governments hunt those who work against them. Rationing, sequestering, and patrolling have become routine at a time when there are too many people and not enough resources.

While the world around them disintegrates into chaos, Zach and Vivienne hope that their life in a government-run complex will retain some semblance of normalcy. But when attacks on their water supplies bring war to their sheltered community, they must accept their new fate. Stay and fight or flee and endure—it’s a difficult decision with lasting consequences.

Will they choose what’s safe? Or will they choose to survive?

Coming April 22, 2014


And now you can learn more about Zach and Vee's world, the government, the timeline, and what you can do help bring clean drinking water to the millions who don't have it (more about that coming later).



You can also read about how the series began with WATERPROOF sporting its new cover makeover as well!




Waterproof (Book 1)


Dying of thirst is the new reality.

Five years after the last drop of clean water disappeared, global societies collapsed and nuclear war shattered all hope of recovery. In a place now only a skeleton of its former self, survivors fight to avoid capture by the government. Forced to work in factories that produce the only drinking water available, those who go in, never come out.


Zach and Vivienne have lived as deserters since they were teenagers. Fighting amongst their own and scrounging for the necessities of life, they’ve learned to rely on each other in every way. Yet when tragedy strikes and the true objectives of the government facility are revealed, their world is ripped apart.


A fate once thought to hold their demise may be the sole answer to their survival. Who can they trust? Who can they believe?

In this life, it pays to be waterproof.

Cover by Creative Book Designs and Amber Garr

Find Amber at:
Her Website
On Facebook
On Twitter

I hope you all enjoyed this lovely cover reveal! What do you think? Is it awesome or what?

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

Jo

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Funday Part Two

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! It's time for the weekend, and I couldn't be happier. Today, I'm giving you some more great games you can play that'll help your wit and grammar skills while spending time with the family or friends. Unlike last week, these are games you can go to the store and buy. So grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

First up, we have Scattergories!

This game is a fun way to see how many words you know that begin with the same letter. You see, you have a die with 26 sides (one letter on each side) and ten categories. You roll the die, start the timer, and everyone tries to fill in the blanks with a word starting with your chosen letter in each category. Bonus points are given if you can come up with descriptive words that also begin with the letter rolled. For example: Food (letter C)-Crusty Cheddar Cheese or Curdled Colby Cheese. Each of those answers are worth three points. It's a seriously fun game that will have you giggling at some of the words people try to pass off. But if you have the exact same answer as someone else, you have to cross it out (no points are given to either of you). So, you have to be creative and think outside the box for this game. 2+ players.

Second, one of my all time favorites, Balderdash.

The actual definition of Balderdash is: Senseless talk or writing; nonsense. I freaking love this game because I'm a total word-nerd. Here's how it works: You draw a card with a word and definition on it (only the drawer gets to see the real definition) then read the word out loud to everyone else. They write down the word and have to come up with a definition that'll trick everyone else into believing it's the right one. Whoever drew the card writes down the real definition and collects all the papers. That person then reads the definitions out loud and people get to choose which they think is the right one. This game is a hoot when the reader can't stop laughing long enough to read the definitions, or you have someone in the circle who comes up with clever alternatives. Bonus points for every time you choose the right one out of the submitted ones, OR if folks choose your definition as the right one when it's not. Bigger bonus points if you write the correct definition on your piece of paper. Warning! There are some really obscure words in there! *grin* 3+ players

Third, and one you may not think of as a word game, Pictionary!

I think this is a super game for writers. You have to take a word and make people guess what it is by bringing them a visual. What better way to flex your descriptive muscles than having to draw something on paper? Besides, you may get an obscure word you've never heard and have to look it up. Great for vocabulary expansion! You get two teams of at least two people each. A card is drawn and you have to get your teammate to guess the word on the card by drawing pictures on a whiteboard. You can do as many of these as time (one minute) allows. Super fun for a weekend with the family or a party game. 4+ players

For my final suggestion, I give you Taboo.

This game will make your brain become a walking Thesaurus. You get two teams of at least two people each. One person tries to get their teammate to guess as many words as they can from the ones on the cards. But there's a catch! You can't use any of the words listed under the main word to get them to say the highlighted one. It becomes difficult to think up alternative ways to communicate your thoughts to your partner. Think: $100,000 Pyramid without the ability to use any word you want because you have a restriction list. One thing you'll love to hate about this game is the buzzer. Someone from the other team stands behind you and makes sure you don't use any of the words on the card. If you do, buzz! and you have to throw that one out. 4+ players


I do hope, if you've never tried any of these, you'll give them a shot. If you don't really want to put out the cash for a pre-boxed game, I have some great, free games on my last Friday Funday post you may want to check out.

What do you think? What's your favorite word/writer game?

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

Jo

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Eva Pohler's 2000 Likes Extravaganza

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm bringing you all an awesome Facebook milestone for the fabulous Eva Pohler! She has a lot of really great prizes to give away so get on over to Facebook and join in the fun!

2000 Likes Header (2)


It's that time again! Time to celebrate another Facebook milestone: 2000 likes at Eva Pohler's Book Page. To help with the celebration, twenty-five authors and fifteen bloggers have joined together to offer readers an ebook extravaganza! Enter the rafflecopter below to win, and stop by the Facebook Event for additional Flash Swag Giveaways (t-shirts, buttons, pens, and other fun swag) going on from March 20th to March 24th. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 25th!

And don't forget that release day for The Gatekeeper's Secret: Gatekeeper's Saga, Book Five is April 1st! We will be celebrating that day, too, with my April Fool's Isn't Just for Fools Party with the Olympians! Details to come.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It starts today, so get on over there and check it out!

Enter the Rafflecopter and have some fun.

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

Jo

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mystic Re-releases

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! I know I missed my post yesterday but I had good reason. I've been working on getting the new covers for the Mystic series ready for re-release and doing a lot of back editing. So far, I have a new interior and cover for Bronya and a new cover for Lily. These newest versions will be the ones I take with me to UtopYA Con in June of this year.

Are you all anxious to see them? Well, you've seen the standalone covers for these, so I won't bore you with those. What I'm gonna show you today is the newest interior formatting and the full wrap covers.

Ready?

First up, I give you book one:


As of now, you can get the newest print version of Bronya for $8.99 on Createspace here.
But, you can pick up the digital version FREE on Smashwords here.

Oh, you wanted to see the new interior, huh? Well, here you go:
Pretty, huh?

I guess it's time to show you the new cover for book two!

So, you can probably imagine what the others will look like.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this little look into the new Mystic world. Each of these books are getting an overhaul in the editing department, too. So you have a lot to look forward to!

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

Jo

Monday, March 17, 2014

Luck o' the Release Indie-rific Giveaway

Happy St. Paddy's Day, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm sharing with you all a little bit of fun happening over on Facebook. There are a ton of great books and prizes to win so hop on over and check it out here:

Luck o' the Release Day Extravaganza!

Casey L. Bond and Cassy Roop will be partying it up until 11pm. It's happening right now, so get your booties on the move!

These two new releases by Cassy and Casey will be up for grabs along with the donated books from the many authors:

Reap by Casey L. Bond ($0.99 for a limited time on Amazon)

Synopsis:
The remnants of the United States of America have been divided. From five enormous, technologically-advanced cities, the Greaters rule over the Lessers.

In the Lesser village of Orchard, things are not as perfect as Abby Kelley thinks they are. When the apple harvest draws near and the Greater’s engineered fruits become too much for one village to handle alone, reinforcements from neighboring villages are called upon.

Having to choose between her best friend, whom she has no romantic feelings for, and mysterious newcomer Crew, Abby finds herself in the middle of a harvest that she had no intention of becoming a part of. She becomes involved in a situation that threatens the strict rule of the Greaters, and just might give the Lessers hope for a better tomorrow. But, can she help the Lessers without losing Crew? And if she chooses Crew, will she lose her best friend? 

The Price of Love by Cassy Roop ($2.99 on Amazon)

Synopsis:
Two short months before graduating high school, Kendall Jones’ world is ripped apart at the seams. A stranger rescues her from a near brutal attack, but is unable to save her parents from death. Eight years later, Kendall moves to New York, hoping to put her past behind her, and once again finds herself in need of rescue.

Tristan Price saves the life of a young woman, who then haunts his dreams for eight long years. When she literally falls at his feet, Tristan decides that he will protect her, no matter what the cost. When her past comes back to threaten her, his plan to keep her close could cost his heart.

Can Tristan save Kendall a second time, and at what cost? Can the price of love overshadow the darkness of her past?

Although this book is part of a series, it can be read as a Standalone and has a HEA.

I mentioned there are many Indie authors participating. Here's the most recent list:


And, in case you want to enter the fabulous Rafflecopter giveaway, here's the link to the form:

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Good luck and have a lot of fun, guys!

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

Jo

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Funday

Happy Friday, everyone! The weekend is almost upon us and I figured I'd give you a few things to do in your downtime that will help your writing skills. Just a little weekend fun to keep your writerly brain engaged and on target for the workweek ahead. I know you don't really want to think about Monday, but it behooves us all to be prepared. I'll begin by giving you the name of the exercise, and then move on to how you can accomplish it (and maybe have some fun, too). Grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going.

Exercise #1: Dialogue Dissection
Grab a friend or family member and chat with them. Be sure you have a recorder of some kind running (voice notes on an iPhone work great for this). Give yourself ten to fifteen minutes then shut the recording device off. End the conversation and move to a room where you can be alone. Play back the recording and recall what each of you were doing as you spoke. Mentally add commas and periods where you think they belong. Listen to it again. Pay attention to the words used, pronunciation, and inflection. Think about how you might write the conversation out. If you feel so inclined, you may do so; but, this is more of an exercise to get your brain thinking about dialogue in general.

Exercise #2: Title Trivia
Sit down with a friend or family member and grab a couple of sheets of paper or 3.5"x5" index cards. Cut them into pieces and have everyone write one word on each piece. Fold them up and throw them into a bowl. Take turns picking out two pieces and sticking them together. Pretend it's the title of a book and come up with a synopsis to support it. This is all verbal, so no need to write anything down (unless you hit upon the next great novel idea!).

Exercise #3: What's That Word?
This, again, is a two or more person game. Grab a sheet of paper and write down a sentence with at least ten words in it. Exchange with others. Now, try and come up with as many words as possible in place of the ones written. Whoever has the most variations (accurate ones) wins! Don't cheat and use a thesaurus! I find chocolate is a great motivator as a prize for this game.

Exercise #4: Acting Gone Awry
Take a character from one of your favorite novels and pretend to be them for the day. Respond to other people the way you think the character would, do things you think they would do, and really try to walk in their shoes. Take little notes as you go if you want. At the end of the day, reflect on your actions and try to flesh out the character in your head. Were there circumstances that made you wonder about the character's personality or how they would react or did it all flow very naturally? What part of the book let you know that? Use this knowledge the next time you're building your own characters (or when writing scenes of discovery).

Exercise #5: Cover Collection Craziness
Go online and take a look at other books in your genre. Save images of the covers. Print out a quick copy on regular paper or pull them up in a photo editing program. Make notes about what you like and don't like about each one. If you wanna get crazy, cut them up and glue together a whole new cover with some of the elements. Kids love this one.

These are just a few games you can play with your friends or family members to help you become a better writer. An added bonus is: You get to spend time with your loved ones while sharpening your skills!

Which one of these sounds the most fun to you?

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

Jo

Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Release - Evermore by Amy Miles

Happy Thursday! I bet you're all looking forward to tomorrow, huh? I know I am. I need a weekend to recharge my batteries. I've been busier than a one-armed paper-hanger this week. Bronya (book 1 of the Mystic series) is getting a major overhaul in both the editing and cover department. I'd like to take the newest versions of the series with me to UtopYA Con in June so I'm busting it out. Busy, busy! I'm planning to do a raffle for a couple of special things at the con, so be sure and visit my table in Area 51. I'll be sharing space with the ever awesome Tia Silverthorne Bach and we'll have some IBGW goodies to give you all, too!

But, today, I'd like to tell you all about a new release by Ms. Amy Miles titled Evermore. It's the fourth book in her Arotas series. Without further ado, I give you the info!

Title: Evermore (book 4 of the Arotas series)
Author: Amy Miles
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Coming of Age
Length (print): ~91 pages
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $0.99  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Barns & Noble $0.99  ~  iBooks $0.99

Synopsis: I pledge my heart, my life, my soul to you on this day and all the days to come. My life, bonded to yours, if you will have me. ~ Gabriel, Redemption

With a single vow and a swift blow, everything Roseline Enescue held dear is stripped away. The battle is over, but the victory is far from sweet. Laying Gabriel to rest in the Enescue family mausoleum beside her beloved friend and former lover, Fane is the hardest thing she has ever had to do. With an eternity of loneliness stretching out before her, Roseline withdraws into herself, shutting everyone out. Even Elias, Gabriel's guardian angel leaves her to mourn by herself, but his sudden return brings about a series of thrilling and terrifying events, the likes of which will forever change the course of her life.

Follow Roseline and Gabriel as they are reunited after death, enjoy Sadie and Nicolae’s fiery romance, experience William's growing feelings of uselessness and discover what happens when there is no one left to control the forces of darkness.

With a single vow everything changed. A prophecy yet to be fulfilled. A new legacy to last the ages.

EVERMORE, an Arotas novella. The final installment.

Sounds like a pretty awesome book, eh?

What do you think? Will you check it out?

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

Jo

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writing Your Ending First

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today we're gonna talk about an interesting way to write a novel that goes out with a bang. All you pantsers out there are probably gonna love this. Those of you who work with a strict outline will most likely cheer. I'll admit to using this trick only once; but, I loved the results so much, I figured I'd share what I did and how I did it. Grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Imagine this:
You have your story idea in your head. All the research has been done and you may or may not have an outline ready and waiting. Cracking your knuckles, you sit at your computer and start banging out your first chapter. Then another flows out. Then another. You take the rest of the day off because writing those nine thousand words really took it out of you.
Day two rolls around and you grab your coffee, determined to crack out as many words as you did on day one. This day you get two chapters written before you push away from your desk, exhausted, but loving the story on the pages.
By day three, you're back to rolling out words like a Lorem Ipsum generator (but yours makes sense, of course).

Fast forward a couple of months.

You stare at the screen. Your energy is drained because you've given your everything to writing this novel you're sure has the stuff of awesomeness. And now it's time to write the ending. Your creative juices are drained and you can't figure out how in the hell you're gonna go out with a bang. *head to desk*
Words begin to meander out of your fingers and you end up with a lackluster finale you know your readers are gonna lift an eyebrow at. But you're so tired of looking at/working on this novel, you don't have it in you to re-write it.

In edits, you may revise that ending. But it'll never have the level of awesome the first eighty or so pages of the novel. Why? Because you were exhausted.

Now, step back in time to day one. You knew exactly where the story was going back then and had a vivid idea about where your characters would end up, right?

Why not write the end and the beginning on that first day?

I heard that gasp.

Let me try and put it another way. If you have a clear path to your character's finale, using your awesome creativity to craft it when you're fresh out of the gate will leave you with something rich and satisfying.

Write the end, then step back and start at the beginning. You'll find you rush less, take the time to choose just the right words, and it may even help give your novel clearer direction.

Try it once. If it doesn't work out for you, I won't take it personally. But this is a cool way to be sure your ending is everything the beginning is.

I used this technique in only one book: I, Zombie. I knew what I wanted to happen by the end and I wrote it, then the beginning. It was one of the most surreal writing experiences of my life. Endings will now always be written first when I start a novel.

Have you ever used this technique? Think you'll try it now?

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

Jo

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Reviews and Paying it Forward

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Today I'd like to talk a little bit about your book reviews and what you can do for those folks who take the time to read and write a bit about your book. So, grab your mouse and let's get going!

Now, we all know how badly those one and/or two star reviews sting. But we read them, right? Please tell me you're reading them. Why do we subject ourselves to that? Well, if you're an author, it's likely because you want to learn what you did poorly, what you did well, and how you can improve upon future books.

Am I telling you to rip apart your manuscript and start from scratch because one person says how much they hated your book?

No.

What I'm saying is this: If the reviewer takes the time to detail what they liked and didn't like about your book, you should take the time to read what they said and consider it very carefully. When it matters most, is when more than one person says the same thing.

We all know you can't please all of the people all of the time; but you can listen to what your reviewer is saying and not assume they're trolls who are marking your book down in order to boost their own.

So listen to what your readers say.

On to what you can do to show your appreciation for those who review your books!

Go to Amazon's Author Central and click on Customer Reviews. Scan down and see how many of them you marked as "helpful" when you first saw them (you can say you don't look, but we all know you do). If you didn't mark anything, go to the book's page and start clicking. I'm not telling you to do this with all the reviews, but if you want potential buyers to see the good reviews, mark them as helpful.

This does two things: It jumps the good reviews to the top of the review list on your book's Amazon splash page, and it increases the reviewer's ranking. Why does this matter? Well, if I see a review by a top 1000 reviewer on a book, I'm much more likely to listen to what that person has to say. If they rave about the book, I'm also more likely to buy it. While you're helping the reviewer, you're also kinda helping yourself.

Go to Goodreads and check for new reviews. "Like" the new ones. If you feel so inclined, take a moment and write a note to the reviewer thanking them for their time and effort.

I know I'm the exception to the rule, but I usually apologize to a reviewer if they found my book lacking because I feel badly about wasting their time on something they didn't enjoy. Besides, it keeps the friendly lines of communication open between us. No need to be an asshat.

I review a lot of books. I notice the authors who take the time to mark my reviews helpful; and, I'm not ashamed to say, if I go looking for a new book to read and review, I'll go to their books first. I also appreciate those authors who pay it forward by sharing the reviews of others' books, take the time to comment with a simple "thanks for taking the time to write a review for my book" on my blog post, and who share the love once I use my time to write them a review.

Yes, I give preferential treatment to folks who pay it forward. I'm not ashamed to admit that. Authors, think about the reviewers of your work, do your best to help them out, and put away your pride or feelings of awesomeness to take a moment to show your gratitude.

If you're an author, do you always mark reviews helpful? If you're a reviewer, does it bug you when authors are nonchalant about your review?

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

Jo

Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Review - The Witch Who Cried Wolf

Happy, happy Friday, everyone! Today I bring you another book review. I know you're all super excited to get another book to look at. This is part of my Indie Fever Reading Challenge for 2014. I committed to read at least 1-24 Indie books this year. If you want to join in the fun and support great Indie authors, go here, fill out the linky thing, and get to reading! Before I move on, I'm gonna give you a rundown of the books on my list for 2014 along with links to the ones I've reviewed so far:

Rebecca Trogner The Last Keeper's Daughter Amazon Kindle $7.99
Scott Marlowe The Five Elements Amazon Kindle $2.99
L.K. Evans Keepers of Arden: The Brothers Volume 1 REVIEW HERE
Sarah Mäkelä The Witch Who Cried Wolf REVIEW BELOW
Felicia Tatum Masked Encounters REVIEW HERE
Peprah Boasiako The Hitman Amazon Kindle $0.9
David T Griffith The Bestiarum Vocabulum REVIEW HERE
C. S. Janey Surrender To You Amazon Kindle $2.51
Thaddeus White Sir Edric's Temple REVIEW HERE
Gloria Piper Finnegan's Quest Amazon Kindle $4.99
Elle Todd The Elect Amazon Kindle $2.99
Heather Topham Wood The Memory Witch REVIEW HERE
N. L. Greene Illusions Begin REVIEW HERE
J. A. Huss Tragic REVIEW HERE
Morgan Wylie Silent Orchids Amazon Kindle **FREE**
Laura Howard The Forgotten Ones Amazon Kindle $2.99
Pauline Creeden Sanctuary Amazon Kindle $0.99 (Currently Reading)
Casey Bond Winter Shadows Amazon Kindle $7.99
Casey Bond Devil Creek REVIEW HERE
Skylar Hamilton Burris The Strange Marriage of Anne de Bourgh Amazon Kindle $2.99
Christina Marie Morales Ambience Amazon Kindle $0.99
Tamar Hela Feast Island Amazon Kindle $2.99
Molly Taggart Off Target Amazon Kindle $2.99
S. G. Daniels The Druid's Doorway Amazon Kindle $3.99
Misty Provencher The Fly House Amazon Kindle $0.99

I'm not gonna ramble on and on here. Grab a cup of something warm to drink (it's still freaking cold out), snuggle up with your computer, and let's get going.

As always, here's a little information about the book being reviewed today:

Title: The Witch Who Cried Wolf (Cry Wolf Book 1)
Author: Sarah Mäkelä
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Length: About 105 Pages
Links to Purchase: Amazon Kindle $0.99


Synopsis:
Be careful what you wish for…

A potion gone wrong: Mia Brooks is a reluctant witch, with powers that she tries to hold in check. But when her magic gets mixed up, supernatural forces are unleashed and suddenly she’s being pursued by werewolves—that she didn’t even realize existed…

Hidden emotions: Ethan Parker, Mia’s brother’s best friend, is home from deployment for the holidays. Mia’s not only hiding from werewolves, she’s trying to keep her feelings for Ethan secret; it would be a disaster if he knew she’s been nursing a long-time crush…

The power of love: things take a terrifying turn when Mia and Ethan are attacked by a werewolf. Ethan is amazed when Mia reveals her paranormal prowess as she tries to shield them from danger. But can she really protect them from the darkness that lurks? And how can he tell her that, for ages, he’s been denying what he really wants? Mia...

On to the review!

I picked this book up after the author pitched it to me during my 12 Days of Christmas event. I read the sample and the story intrigued me. I had to know more. I'm not a fan of romance novels, but the paranormal aspect of The Witch Who Cried Wolf snagged me. I love dark things, werewolves, and witches so I was willing to overlook that it was labeled a romance. Paranormal aspects really took the front and center stage, with the romance being like a backdrop draped over the whole thing to give it color (think: Twilight). With that said, I have to move on to the meat and potatoes of my review.

From a Reader's Perspective:
This novella was told in first person, alternating viewpoints (Mia and Ethan). I kinda liked that I got to see the whole situation through two peoples' POVs because it showed me how grossly misunderstood many of the situations/remarks were. I liked connecting with the characters in this way. Mia wasn't someone I could get a good handle on, one second she's whimpering in a corner and the next she's fighting with everything she's got. I didn't see enough to really grasp the sudden change in her attitude. I could relate to Ethan and found him to be a good guy on the surface. I would like to see him with more flaws; but perhaps those are unveiled in later books. Oftentimes, the seemingly good guy has some vein of bad boy running through them. I hope to see him come into his own. World building was good for such a short book and I enjoyed discovering the hidden world of the paranormal among us. I could've done without some of the language in the book. It was pretty strong. I wouldn't recommend to those under age 18. Tenses jumped at times, and I found that rather jarring, and it felt like a lot of things were skimmed over or left out (what about Grandma?). There were also a number of sentences that made no sense at all. Which leads me to...

From an Editor's Perspective:
There were a lot of noticeable grammar and structure issues throughout. I mark these on my Kindle as I go, so I'll give you two out of the many I found: Was I thrilled about my relationship as much Greg was? and I set aside the empty beer can aside, then popped open a new one. This novella needs a once over. But, the story was entertaining and something enjoyable to read on a cold and rainy afternoon.

Rating:
+1 Star for giving me an entertaining read
+1 Star for using alternating viewpoints successfully
+1 Star for world building
-1 Star for the tense hopping, and things left out that were mentioned
-1 Star for the need for an editor
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars. Like I said above, it was something fun to while away the time on a cold/rainy afternoon.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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

Jo