Friday, June 27, 2014

Love Giveaways with a Guarantee of a Great Read?

Happy Friday, everyone! As you all know by now, I'm a member over at INDIE Books Gone Wild. Well, we've just had a brilliant idea to get the books by our authors into your hands with greater ease. As you know, we do a little promotion and giveaway of our authors' books (at no extra cost to them) at the end of every edit, formatting job, or proofread.

Well, here's how we're doubling the exposure for our authors, and providing great books to readers:

Every time we list a giveaway on the IBGW blog, we'll shoot our readers an e-mail with the rafflecopter link and details about the book. No more having to keep an eye on the blog to know when another great title has just hit the shelves!

Besides that one e-mail every now and again, you'll get a message every January that recaps the previous year's publications. We won't bug you about anything else, sell your e-mail address, or spam you. No crazy marketing stuff, just books by our authors we know you'll enjoy winning (and reading).

As you may be aware, we're planning to add six new editors to our amazing team! Details about those lovely ladies will come on the IBGW blog next week and the week after. Keep your eyes peeled! This is going to be amazing. I've searched the web to find editors who have a love for the finished product and adoration for their clients. I think you'll all be extremely pleased to get to know them, work with them, and add them to your "go to" editor list. Their way of thinking melds well with ours, and I think you'll all love them as much as we do.

Time to give you that link!

MailChimp signup for INDIE Books Gone Wild Publishing News

If you're one of our authors, signing up for that e-mail will let you know when your giveaway is live.

What do you think? Did you sign up?

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

Jo

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Marketing Advice via Bella Roccaforte

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm continuing my post about what I learned from UtopYA Con 2014. I started it yesterday, but I'm interviewing for new editors over at INDIE Books Gone Wild and it's time-consuming. Apologies! First, a little bit of information about how I met Bella Roccaforte and what I learned from her. Put down your coffee (Gasp! Did I just say that?), grab your pens and notebooks, and let's get going; because this is going to be epic.

I met Bella at UtopYA Con and we quickly realized we're from the same area in Georgia (North Atlanta). Because I am who I am, I talked about everything marketing. Getting off the elevator, she turns and says, "You should go to the Amazon marketing panel tomorrow. I'll be there."

After all she told me over the previous hour, I would've broken an ankle to get to that panel. So, I went. It wasn't long before Bella found herself ushered to the front table by the moderator.

Things I learned:
  • Stay off your book's Amazon splash page. Every click that doesn't equal a sale, gets put into the algorithms (not in a good way).
  • Don't make the first book in a series free until you've written at least three. This gives you a loss-leader that starts your sales funnel.
  • Keywords matter. Don't hunt for your Amazon keywords in Google (not the same search engine, ya know?).
Pretty cool, right?

Now, most Indie authors have day jobs or other things they do besides writing. Bella happens to be an SEO analyst. After the con was over, she shared the following post with us:

Links that Every Indie Author Should Know

You must go check out that post. You can thank me later.

What was the last thing you learned from someone when you weren't intending to?

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

Jo

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

UtopYA Con 2014 - Take Me to Your Reader - Images and Information

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Wow! I just spent four days in Nashville, TN at my first writer's con. It was amazing, and I'm gonna share my experience with you.

Let me begin by telling you about the amazing people I met. I may accidentally leave someone off this list (if I do, you have my deepest apologies). I'm also gonna say a little about each one. Beware, this is a long list and in no particular order!

Carol and Adam Kunz - These two were like a mini comedy troupe. But, Adam did carry the big bucket of books Tia and I were dragging down the hall to our table. Carol is now in possession of both I, Zombie and Depression Cookies. She was so frikkin sweet!
Casey L. Bond - She was even more amazing in person than she is online! I know, how's that possible, right? But it's true!
Felicia Tatum - Known her online for a while, met her face to face at the con. She's got a wicked sense of humor.
Carlyle Labuschagne - I was thrilled to get to meet this extremely classy lady. She's adorable, fun, and always had the biggest smile. Probably the only time I'll ever get to hang out with her because she's from South Africa. Priceless (like her accent!).
Misty Provencher - She was so cool. Her face was painted with awesome curls and adored with gems. She huggled everyone and handed out amazing salted caramels.
Amy Evans - Adorable! She was so friendly and cute. I wanted to chat with her for hours, but time restraints held us back.
Bethany Lopez - Another author I was sooo very excited to meet! She brought her daughter along. It was awesome to have a young adult there!
Christina Mercer - She sat next to me Friday night for the Fan Invasion event. Very elegant lady and so fun to chat with. Strong sense of self-confidence radiated from her being.
Toni Lesatz - She is my coffee goddess. Seriously, between manning the table and running hither and thither, I had zero time to visit Starbucks. Toni shows up and hands me a cup. I almost died it was such a sweet gesture. Friends for life. Seriously. I adore thoughtful people. If you don't know Toni, get to know her.
Sarah Ashley Jones - Just as amazing in person as she is online. No. More so. She's always laughing, smiling, and having fun. Plus, her dress for the awards was stellar! So beautiful.
Eva Pohler - Wow. She's such an interesting lady. I only got to sit down with her once on day 1, but I'm so glad I had that chance. There was a dinner at the Parthenon in Nashville with her on Sunday that I didn't get to go to, but how awesome is it that she set that up?
Elizabeth Kirke - Loved her dark mark tattoo. She's a humble, sweet soul with a charm about her that you miss once you walk away.
Michelle G Miller - Such a pretty lady! She was soft spoken, very tall, and super sweet.
N. L. Greene - Probably one of the sweetest people on the planet. She's crazy adorable, talks about her baby girls all the time (love), and smiles at you in a way that lights up your soul. Besides that, she's fun to hang out with (yeah, I made her sing, too!). *evil grin*
S. G. Daniels - Had to stalk her in order to meet her face to face, but so glad I did. She was lovely. Ever meet that person who radiates awesomeness? That's her.
Donna Dull - Didn't get but a moment or two here and there, but this lady will melt your heart. She's a recovering introvert who never missed a new connection as she ran around like crazy. Always had a smile on, and was super duper friendly.
Nely Cab - Stalked her down, too! Met her last year at the Decatur Book Festival and said hello, but didn't check out her books until this year. She's petite, cray cray adorbs, and soooo pretty!
Susan Burdorf - I only saw her for a moment as she ran up to collect the prize for the scavenger hunt giveaway she was doing, but we shared a hug and a few words. She loves all her UtopYA peeps so much!
Natasha Hanova - I did a piece on her blog about the writing business, and then I saw her at a table right across the way from me! I squealed, ran over, and gave her a massive hug! We got to chat a couple of times. She's so nice, open, and approachable. Meet this lady!
Chelsea Starling - I think about her and have to smile. She's kinda nutty, sosoooo elegant, always smiling, and delivers joy as she flits from person to person like a butterfly. Oh, and this lady has style! She was always very well dressed (like, to the nines every single day).
Megan Curd - Reminds me a lot of me. Prefers jeans to a dress, is fun and funny, and loves all things creative. She brought her L glass, but I didn't have time to touch it. Sad. I had a moment to chat with her, and she's also very down-to-earth real. Felt like I was chatting with an old friend.
Barbara (BJ) Sheldon - Not someone I knew before UtopYA. Holy wow am I glad I met her. There was never a dull moment. I think I did a little too much preaching at her table, but she was a JOY to hang out with once I talked to her a little. Can you say 80's dance off? Yes we did. She was fun, gorgeous, and so... Well, the only word I can come up with is Princess-like. Yes. Grace. She glittered like runway Barbie at the awards program.
Bella Roccaforte - Possibly one of the most brilliant marketing minds I've ever run across. She has fire-engine red hair and I could feel the smart radiating from her. It took two moments of engagement to realize: This lady has it together. Analyst, real, and classy. Yeah, no way am I letting her out of that lunch she suggested we have!
Lisah Stephens - Just had a moment with her, and it passed very quickly, but she seems really nice. Every time I saw her in passing, she was wearing a smile. All good with me!
Krystal Wade - Yoga teacher! (I have since been informed she was not the yoga instructor. LOL! She was the one talking about yoga early in the morning and my brain made the jump. Incorrectly, I might add). I don't know how people could even move, personally. We discussed snakes (and compared photos) and her three acres. Oh yes. This was one exhausting weekend! But she was centered and relaxed (even without the yoga), always with a smile on her face. Conversation flowed like water over rocks. She smiles and it lights up her whole being. Adore!
Nanette Del Valle Bradford - Her outfit for the awards was amazing! Yeah, she got my compliment. I didn't have a chance to sit down and chat with her, but we were part of some of the same discussions. She's a keen person and has those eyes that show you she's working things out in her head as those around her talk.
Justine Vandale - Came all the dang way from Canada! She was sooooooo nice! Just a tiny little thing with a huge personality. Loved her quick wit and wicked sense of humor. My favorite: "Nice accent you have there." *grin* Yes, she did. I was cracking up.
Tia Silverthorne Bach - My roomie! She's also my coworker at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I love that she wasn't a huge party animal who kept me awake. Know what she did every night? Worked! I love that kind of dedication to a client. She worked while I read myself to sleep. It was a wonderful arrangement and I couldn't have asked for a better roommate. In the mornings (it was super early) she bounced right out of bed with nary a groan. *win* Finally getting to meet her in person, she was everything I hoped she'd be. I'm very lucky to be able to call her friend. She's just beautiful inside and out.
Terri Barber - Adore! We talked for a long time when she stopped by my table to gather her pre-ordered books. Why did she pre-order them? Because they're different. Not the same old stuff. I'd be willing to bet she and I would have lovely, long conversations about books we've read. She was so open and willing to meet someone new, too! What a sweetie! Oh, and I loved her hair! Too cool!
Megan Toffoli - She had me cracking up on more than one occasion. She smiled the whole time. I don't know how she didn't have a massive headache at the end of the day. But she kept going. I ran into her a lot! It was awesome.
Shelley Custer - For an introvert, she was very outgoing! I loved meeting her and chatting. She's got a big smile and is always bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. You'd love her.
Stacey Nixon - Yeah, from the UK?! She was there and was totally fabulous. When her and her crew got on the elevator to go to the awards, they stole my breath away. Stunning ladies! They were also loads of fun.
Allyson Gottlieb - This is one young lady you have to meet. She's such a ray of sunshine in every situation. Not often you get to meet someone like her. Very giving, sweet, and man was she happy to be at UtopYA. I don't think anything could've erased her smile.
Amber Shawl Garr - Wow. She was radiating happy the whole weekend. I have to say, she's a lovely edition to this list. I could go on and on about how gracious she was. Stopping now before it gets weird. LOL
Kat Nequette - How much awesomesauce can be packaged? Kat. And that's a lot. I was so happy she came by my table to say hello and pick up her books. We also got a picture together! *squee* She was another one I reallllly wanted to meet! So glad I did.
Michelle Hart - She worked the hell out of UtopYA Con. It was completely amazing to meet her. She's such a beautiful young lady with a killer smile and a huggles attitude. Adorbs!
Kelly Risser - One of the lovely ladies who'll be working on "the anthology that turned into a novel with five different sections written by five different authors" with Tia, N. L. Greene, Casey, and me. Kelly was so easy to talk to and her brain was like clockwork. She spit out so many ideas, I wanted to hug her for being awesome!
Chelsea Fine - Just as her name sounds. She's gorgeous, clever, and refined. Like many of the people there, she always had a huge smile and approachable attitude. I only spoke with her for a moment, but she was funny and gracious.
Mary Ting - Made her way over to my table and introduced herself (yeah, she was on my list of must-meet authors). I got a hug and a number of nice words from her before I made her enter our book giveaway for IBGW. Well, she won! Well deserved, too! Mary always had a big smile and a great attitude. Must meet!
Teal Haviland - Beautiful woman with an equally beautiful daughter. They were so stunning at the awards. And that little girl of Teal's completely rocked the dance floor at the after party!
Nancy Byers - Yes. This lady! I'd been waiting to meet Nancy for a long time, too! Luckily, she stopped by my table at the Fan Invasion and I got the chance! *grin* She was lovely. So much fun to chat with.
Kendall McCubbin - Who came all the stinkin' way from Scotland! Yeah she did. It was the most amazing, thrilling, fan encounter ever! She's another youngling I couldn't get enough of. Always had a smile and was having the best time! She's also remarkably brilliant for one so young. I was impressed.
Janet Wallace - She's the amazing woman who created UtopYA Con. I never got more than a moment to speak with her, but she had a lot going on. I'm not one to bog people down with my presence. Janet was a beautiful speaker with a wicked sense of style. I loved her outfit every single day. Besides, she's the one who found us Gennifer Albin as a keynote speaker. I'll get to that in a moment. But if you ever have the chance to sit down with Janet, do it. Then write me and tell me about it so I can pretend it was me. *grin*
Christine Marquette - I spoke with her every chance I got. She's a wealth of information and so very creative. She's so tiny, I was scared I was gonna break her when I hugged her. I do believe we got a picture together, but I can't remember. I look forward to working with her in the future. Yeah, we talked shop. LOL
S. M. Boyce - I was soooo happy to meet her! It was like basking in the glow of the sun from close range. She's bright, sparkly, and has a killer smile. I adore people who are bouncy and full of life. She's one of those people. I can't wait to get to know her better! Wish I'd had more time at the dance party to chat with her, but we were going out as she was coming in. Gah!
Ginny Gallagher - Flooded her bathroom because of a shower curtain misunderstanding, used all her clean towels to soak up the water, and still arrived downstairs looking fab (with a funny story to boot). Spent a lot of time with Gin. She sat with us a lot, chatted when she could, and had a great sense of humor. I adore her to pieces.
Regan Claire - My table neighbor, reviewer of I, Zombie way back when, and bubbly as all getout. She was such a sweetie and you could tell she was there to work her books. Always had a smile, a kind word, and watched our stuff for us a couple times when Tia and I both had to run out. She was great.
Kris Lindemann Seek - I've only had a few people come up and tell me how awesome my blog is. Kris was one of those. It made me feel so good about what I do here. She wasn't afraid of anything (or didn't seem to be), and I loved meeting her so much.

So afraid I left someone off! If I didn't mention you in my list and we met, please accept my apologies! That's a long list and there were seven hundred people at the con. Besides all that, I'm getting wordy. LOL

Moving on!

Now, I'm gonna talk about the two keynote speakers!
First up, Sylvia Day!
Her message was inspiring and women empowering. She was so real to me as she stood at the podium and spoke about how she made it in the business. We got some great advice on what to (and not to) do with/during our careers. I didn't get a chance to meet her because I was behind a table for her signing, but everyone said she was a very cool lady.

Next, Gennifer Albin!
You may recognize her name from the cover of Crewel. Yup, the same Gennifer came to our conference. Boy do I have a lot to say right now. Stay with me! She was supposed to be the Friday morning speaker, but her plane was delayed seventeen hours, and she had to sleep in the cruddy airport on a crummy cot. Saturday morning, there she was, bright and bubbly for the con attendees. What got me was she could've turned around and gone home, and not a single person there would've blamed her. But she didn't. She arrived and told us a terrifying story of falling to the bottom of life before clawing her way out to rise to where she is today. It was moving, beautiful, and every woman in the room cried. She's the epitome of everything I want to be when I grow up. I'll shout her accolades from every rooftop.

I got to meet her at her signing the next morning. I put her book down for her to sign, and she started chatting with me like we'd been friends since we were in diapers. She's real, she's beautiful, and she's funny as hell. Time for a photo!

In order: Me, the awesomesauce that's Gennifer Albin, and the amazingness that's Barbara (BJ) Sheldon.

Yassa totally photobombed this. Do you see it? *grin*

Every day we were there, was a marathon. There wasn't a spare moment to make time to find anyone. Had I not come in the day before, I would've missed out on a lot. I'll share tips and hints about my trip over the next week in case you're thinking of attending next year. Then, we'll get back to our regularly scheduled program.

Do you know any of the ladies listed above?

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

Jo

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tia Silverthorne Bach - Guest Post

Happy, happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I have a super special guest post for you all from my sister from another mister, Tia Silverthorne Bach. She's got some awesome advice for you. At the end of this post, you'll find two things: A Rafflecopter entry form for a chance to win Tia's book, Chasing Shadows, and the winner(s) of my personal share contest for the author interview series I didn't tell anyone I was running. Sometimes, I like to surprise people by doing something they didn't know was planned. I kept a spreadsheet of each share, retweet, post, and comment on every interview I did. Only the people directly involved in the interviews were eligible to win a prize. I wanted them to be organic with their shares, and not be doing it with the hopes of winning anything. An unexpected prize is the best kind you can receive, in my humble opinion. Isn't that lovely? Anyway, kick back, relax, and get your read on! I now give the floor to Tia.

Squashing the Bugs
by Tia Silverthorne Bach

UtopYA is less than a week away!

Thanks to the alien theme this year, I’ve had all kinds of creatures on the brain: everything from the kind ET to the gross bug-alien from Men in Black.

Bugs gross me out. I could be having a perfect picnic on a beautiful summer day, but it’s over if I see a bug. That’s the same way I feel if I see constant errors in an otherwise amazing novel.

Yes, I managed to go from bugs (and an alien theme) to editing mistakes. It’s a gift.

So, what’s a writer to do?

Read Out Loud
Not only will you catch mistakes (left out words, poorly written sentences, misused words), but it’s also an excellent tool for discovering and fixing awkward dialog.

Simplify
Have you ever struggled with a long sentence that becomes a punctuation nightmare? It might be time to simplify. Either break the sentence into two shorter ones or write a tighter, less wordy, sentence.

Search & Find
Every writer has words they overuse. When you are done with your manuscript, do a search and find for your problems (e.g., just, that, all, and ly words). It’s also a great tool to make sure character names are spelled consistently. Then, as you edit, mark down overused words outside the initial search. Then, it’s time to hit the Thesaurus and make some changes. Which brings me to…

Internet
Don’t forget to use this valuable tool when editing. On the first read through, mark any issues which require an Internet search and then go back through and do them all at once. If you go to the Internet with each question, at least if you are like me, you’ll end up distracted. Use the Internet to check spellings, punctuation rules (Grammar Girl is a great source), and other references. Example: Is it Crock Pot or crock pot?

Hire a Professional
Yes, even after all of the suggestions above. You are too familiar with your own work to find everything. At the very least, please hire a proofreader. When I proofread, I will usually do a full edit of the first chapter or so many pages to show the author what it would look like. Whether you get a full edit or a proofread, you really need a trained pair of eyes on your hard work.

Now, go squash some bugs!

Can’t wait to see everyone at UtopYA.

*No bugs were harmed in the writing of this post. If squashing bothers you, feel free to imagine catching the bugs, putting them in a glass jar, and setting them free.*

~ Tia Silverthorne Bach

That was an awesome post. Guess what? It's gonna stay up as the top post until the end of the con. I'll be back next Monday with a goodies post about what I saw and learned at the con.

Why not give Tia a follow on these social media sites?
Pinterest: TiaSBach
Google+: Tia Bach
Goodreads: Tia Silverthorne Bach
Website: Tia Bach

As promised, here's the Rafflecopter entry form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for a very cool little add-on to my author interview series!

As I posted, tweeted, shared, and shouted about these authors from the rooftops, there were three people who helped me out at every turn. Because I'm a crazy author, I decided early on to award prizes for the person who shared the most. Well, turns out there were three people who really embraced the Indie author code and shared their butts off. Who are they and what did they win?

Well...

First prize (a $50 Amazon gift card): Casey L. Bond
I swear, every time I turned around, I was thanking her for retweeting, sharing on Facebook, or sharing on other media. She was really a force to be reckoned with. Thank you for all you do, Casey!

Second and Third prizes (a $25 Amazon gift card): Carlyle Labuschagne and N. L. Greene
These ladies did a ton of sharing. Not only of their own posts and interviews, but of other authors' as well. Thank you both so very much for spreading the Indie love!

I'll be handing out these fab prizes at UtopYA.

I can't wait to see you all!

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

Jo

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UtopYA Con 2014

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Well, you all know I'll be at UtopYA Con this coming weekend. What you may not know is some of the facts about that event. I'm gonna share those now, as well as give you information on where you can find me and my awesome table mate, Tia Silverthorne Bach.

First up, the super awesome Fan Invasion event!

This event is completely separate from UtopYA Con. Even if you don't have tickets to the con, you can still attend the Fan Invasion on Friday, June 20, 2014, from 6-9pm. Attendance is free IF you bring a new or gently used children's book. Otherwise, you can get in for just five bucks. More about the sponsor here in a moment.

First, here's a little video I made to promote it:



It includes information on all the authors I did interviews with here on the blog. Here's a list of authors that'll be at the signing:
Charlotte Abel
Jennifer Armentrout
Amy Bartol
Stacey Marie Brown
Jacinda Buchmann
Susan Burdorf
Nely Cab
Chelsea M. Cameron
G. P. Ching
Kristie Cook
Shelly Crane
Anna Cruise
Megan Curd
Silvia Day
Rebecca Ethington
Amy Evans
Lila Felix
Sherry Ficklin
Michelle N. Files
Chelsea Fine
Amber Garr
Nichole Greene
Chanda Hahn
Rachel Harris
Amanda Havard
Teal Haviland
Erin Hayes
Andrea Heltsley
Heather Hildenbrand
Erin Horn
P. K. Hrezo
S. A. Huchton
C.C. Hunter
Ella James
Amanda Jason
Carmen Jenner
Sarah Ashley Jones
Tiffany King
Heather Love King
Elizabeth Kirke
C. A. Kunz
Anna Kyss
Carlyle Labuschagne
Cydney Lawson
Quinn Loftis
Liz Long
Bethany Lopez
Heather Lyons
Kelsey Macke
Jen McConnel
Christina Mercer
Jo Michaels
Amy Miles
Michele G. Miller
Christal Mosley
K. C. Neal
Rhiannon Paille
Melissa Pearl
Eva Pohler
Misty Provencher
C. J. Redwine
Kristina Renee
Sharron Riddle
Kelly Risser
Sarah Ross
Mindy Ruiz
Heather Self
B. J. Sheldon
Chelsea Starling
Nancy Straight
Felicia Tatum
Keary Taylor
Raine Thomas
Paulina Ulrich
Magan Vernon
Rysa Walker
Annie Walls
Devri Walls
Stacie Wilson
Morgan Wylie

We're listed (and will be seated) alphabetically.

This event is sponsored by Book 'Em. Here's a little info about them:

Book’em, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization focusing on two core areas: the collection and distribution of books to children and teens in lower-income families who might not otherwise have books of their own; and providing volunteer readers to local preschools and elementary schools. 

Now, the con kicks into full swing that morning, so be sure you get there early if you have tickets.

Here's the information about where you can find Tia and me Friday and Saturday:

We'll be in Area 51 at table number 27. If you get lost, look for the big banner on the front of our table with the INDIE Books Gone Wild logo front and center, and our logos on either side with our book covers.

Here's a picture of those logos:

We'll have a huge prize pack of books for a giveaway at the con. Titles include:
Keepers of Arden - The Brothers, Volume One by L. K. Evans
Tbinkerknese 101 - Poetic Enrichment for Teens - Book One by E. L. Thomas
First Visions - Second Sight, Book One by Heather Topham Wood
A Pair of Docks - The Derivatives of Displacement, Book One by Jennifer Ellis
Borrowed Things by Doris Schneider
I, Zombie by Jo Michaels
Chasing Shadows by Tia Silverthorne Bach
Sixty Days of Grace by Dorothy Ruppert

As you can see, it's a great bundle of books. We've worked on all of them in some way (may have been a small way, but we did something for each one). You can enter by stopping by our table and filling out a quick entry slip with your name. We'll draw the winners on Sunday morning.

We're so excited to meet everyone! Come on by and say hello because we aren't the shy type!

Come back tomorrow for a wonderful guest post by Tia, and find out who won my super secret sharing prize!

Are you going to UtopYA Con this year? Are you excited about next year? Planning to join us then?

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

Jo

Monday, June 16, 2014

Heather Topham Wood's 4K Likes Giveaway

Happy Monday, everyone! Today, I'm sharing an awesome giveaway with you from the always fabulous Heather Topham Wood. You may see some books on here you're familiar with. Get to entering and good luck!

I now turn the floor over to Heather!


Thank you all for helping me reach 4,000 fans on Facebook and Twitter! To celebrate, I'm hosting a huge giveaway with tons of prizes: gift cards, paperbacks, eBooks and book swag! A big thank you to all the authors who have decided to take part. Giveaway is international and ends June 30. Best of luck! Prize List:

$15 Amazon Gift Card
$10 Amazon Gift Card
$5 Amazon Gift Card
Choice of eBook (up to $5.00)
Falling for Autumn by Heather Topham Wood Signed Paperback
Speak of the Devil by Shawna Romkey Signed Paperback and Swag
Dakota Captive eBook and Paperback by Alythia Brown
Gemini Rising by Louann Carroll eBook
A Shadow of Time by Louann Carroll eBook
Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux eBook
Wasteland by Lynn Rush eBook
Death Lies Between Us by Jody Kessler eBook
The Grave Winner by Lindsey Loucks eBook
The Grave Winner Signed Bookmark
Son of a Mermaid eBook by Katie O’Sullivan
Chasing Shadows eBook by Tia Silverthorne Bach
I, Zombie by Jo Michaels eBook

The Bird by Jo Michaels eBook
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Jo 

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Single Swim

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Well, it's less than a week now until I'm at UtopYA Con. I have to admit, my nerves are starting to get frazzled. As you all know, I'm a Klutz with a capital K. At my college graduation, I was the only person to drop their name card when handing it to the announcer. *head/desk* If one can fall over a pebble, I'll be the person to do it (and probably break an ankle in the process). Needless to say, I'm worried I'll do something idiotic like that and become the buffoon of the weekend. There are 695 confirmed attendees this year. People don't scare me--I've worked in retail for many years. But we all have our own fears; even if they're unfounded or ridiculous. There's no way to express how happy I am that my dear friend, Tia Silverthorne Bach, will be joining me.

Anyway, enough about all that. Let's get to the good stuff. What I'm about to share with you may scare the heebie-jeebies out of you. Well, maybe you need that. Grab a cup of coffee and let's get going!

A Single Swim
by Kristina Circelli

On August 13th, 2011, sixteen-year-old Courtney Nash passed away after contracting Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba that lurks in warm waters. This is her story.

A Single Swim follows Courtney's life and death, while taking a closer look into an amoebic infection very few people ever hear about - until it's too late. Tracing as far back as 1960s, Naegleria fowleri and the resulting infection of this parasite have taken more than a dozen lives, with a fatality rate of nearly 100%.

Through an examination of Courtney's case along with stories of other victims across the United States, A Single Swim offers a glimpse into our waters' rare silent killer. From ecology to symptoms, hospital care to awareness, find out what can happen ... after a single swim.

Here are the buy links for the book:
Amazon Kindle $1.99
iBooks $1.99

I don't know about all of you, but this scares the bejezus out of me. One swim? Well, what you don't see here is the fact that Courtney is related to the author. So, raising awareness means a lot to Kristina.

I do hope you'll check out the book and learn more about Naegleria fowleri.

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

Jo

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Author Interview - Tia Silverthorne Bach

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I have one of the women I’ve grown very close with over the last couple of years here for an interview. Not only that, but she’ll be joining me at UtopYA Con next weekend. I can’t even begin to tell you all how excited I am. Tia isn’t just a friend; she’s also my partner in crime over at INDIE Books Gone Wild. So, strap in and get ready for a wild ride as you learn a little more about Tia than you probably wanted to know. If you missed any of the past interviews, I invite you to check them out here. If you wanna know more about UtopYA Con, click the name to visit the site. Okay, enough about all that, let’s get to the fun! Make some noise for my sister from another mister, Ms. Tia Silverthorne Bach!

Jo: Now, I’ve had a lot of authors here, but none should be as scared as you, Tia. Your secrets are mine to divulge! *evil laugh* Are you scared yet?
Tia: Scared, yet oddly excited.

Jo: Well, let’s not beat around the bush; we may scare out some critters we don’t really wanna see. Tell me about the challenges of having three daughters and what your biggest fear for their future is.
Tia: I have three very strong daughters who are vastly different. I have a sneaky suspicion they meet in a dark corner in the middle of the night and plot to see how many different interests, needs, and personality challenges they can throw at me. Still, I adore them!

My biggest fear is probably the same as most parents. I want them to find happiness and follow their dreams, and I fear anything that stands in their way—anything that can hurt them.

Jo: I hear that. Maybe all kids do that. Mine are also ridiculously different. I know you’ve used all three of your daughters’ names in your Tala Prophecy series. Who does each character represent and why?
Tia: My eldest daughter, Jackie, is an old soul who is wise beyond her years, so it made perfect sense for her to be the Wiccan grandmother. Reagan, my middle daughter, is the tough-as-nails heroine. She’s a lacrosse goalie and afraid of nothing, but she has a soft side and a love for family just like my main character. Finally, Madeleine, my baby. She’s all kinds of sassy and strong, but she loves fiercely. You don’t want to get in her way. Madeleine, the character, is the same. Life has thrown her major curveballs, but she perseveres and protects her own.

And I’ll share a little exclusive here on Jo’s blog… my daughter, Reagan, does not love to read (it’s not my fault!). I thought she might want to read a book where she was the heroine. So, yes, it was partly a sneaky-Mom trick.

Jo: Oh man. Did you all catch that? Tia's a sneaky one! What made you decide to join the editing team at INDIE Books Gone Wild and what have you learned from the experience so far?
Tia: First, it was spearheaded by one of the most awesome, talented women I know. How could I pass that up? Love you, Jo!

Even as a teenager, my friends brought me their reports to edit. I’m not quite sure who first placed the Editor hat on my head, but it stuck. I’ve been editing novels for years, but I liked the idea of joining a team. My favorite part of IBGW is the editing/proofreading package: If you contract IBGW for editing, you also get a separate proofreader. What could be better than two sets of eyes on your manuscript?

Foremost, I have learned everyone needs an editor. I don’t care how amazing you are at finding errors in others’ work; you can’t be your own editor. When I get my edited copy back, I want to smack myself. I full well know I would have caught most of the issues in another author’s work, but in my own… *head desk*

Jo: *blushing furiously* It was the same way for me in college. Every time I turned around, there was someone handing me a paper to edit. Haha! We’re going to UtopYA next weekend! I have to say, I’m super excited at the prospect of getting to spend face-time with you! EEP! But, as any newbie, I’m nervous about attending the con and meeting so many people. What are your greatest fears about going?
Tia: I can’t tell you the last time I looked so forward to something! Still, I’m going to be surrounded by a lot of writers I’ve come to respect and admire. It’s a little intimidating. I want to walk away with a lot of friends and tons of new ideas. My biggest fear is not taking advantage of this amazing opportunity. I’ll have to fight my instinctive urge to sit back and simply people watch.

Jo: Me too. I'm nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! Time for rapid fire questions! As a fellow word-nerd, I have a favorite one of all time (gargantuan). What’s yours?
Tia: Catawampus. Plus, I have a saying (am I ruining your rapid fire fun?) I love:
"You have the audacity to doubt my veracity to insinuate that I might prevaricate."

Jo: Sweet. How often do you get to use it in a sentence? LOL Jeans or a skirt?
Tia: Jeans.

Jo: I prefer jeans as well. *grin* Alien question! I’ve asked everyone I’ve interviewed something about aliens because that’s the theme for UtopYA 2014. Since you’re a paranormal writer, have you ever considered writing an alien themed book? Why/why not? Do you believe?
Tia: There isn’t a book I haven’t considered writing at some point in my crazy-ideas life. Who knows? I might have an alien book in me. As for believing, I have no doubt that there is other life out there besides us. It’s a much bigger stretch for me to consider we are the only form of life in the universe than the alternative.


Jo: I can't wait to edit that one! *wink* Care to share with my readers what super secret project you’ve been working on?
Tia: One particular idea has taken over my brain lately, but I’m holding it at bay until I finish my current series. It’ll lean towards fantasy; but, like all my other novels, be character-driven. I want to play with the idea of a character who feels invisible. She feels lost in mediocrity, constantly wishing she was more noticeable. Then, she’s given a choice to try two more extreme versions of herself. In the end, she must choose who to be.

Jo: Wish I had that choice handed to me. But not in two extremes, I don't think. Again, can't wait to edit it! If there was one thing you could do for your books/writing career, what would it be and why?
Tia: I would travel the world and people watch. Since people fascinate me, I’d love to soak in different cultures. I truly believe you have to live to write. You have to soak up different experiences and push yourself to walk outside your comfort zone.

Jo: This is one of the many reasons I call you my sister from another mister. We have wayyyyy too much in common. You wrote a book with your mom (Depression Cookies) and I learned you’re working on a follow-up. What’s the worst thing about working with your mother (don’t worry, I won’t let her see your answer) and how did you work through it (if you have)? Where will book two take us?
Tia: My mom and I have very different writing styles. We joke about trees. She would spend a whole page describing the color, movement, height, surroundings, animals, nests, and so on. I would state it was an oak tree and focus on the character sitting underneath it and what they were thinking. For every word I tried to get her to take out of the book, she tried to get me to put more in. In the end, I think it’s what made the book so appealing—our voices were so different and helped define the characters we created. As far as working through it, it was a lot of give and take (and don’t worry, I listen to my mama).

Book two has Krista going off to college and leaving the nest while Abby redefines what motherhood means with growing children. How do you parent from two different area codes? How does Krista begin to define her own life? Those are just a few challenges Mom and I are taking on with book two.

Jo: I loved the first book, and I do hope you'll let me take a stab at the second installment! I have to admit, I’ve loved working with you on your novels. With no holds barred, tell me one thing you hate about my editing style or something I said that caused your eyebrow to lift in question.
Tia: You force me to describe more! My mom would be so proud. Whenever I see a comment about strengthening the senses, I cringe. A whiny voice is my head always screams, “But I want to keep the story moving and not describe the damned tree!” Clearly, I have tree issues. In the end, when you push me, the book is always the better for it. I am grateful.

Jo: Sometimes, we must be like the tree and bend with suggestions. Otherwise, we break. *gives Tia a sage look* Before we get to the next question, I must share a little photo I found of you (that's totally embarrassing) eating a depression cookie. Look to the right, people. Yeah I did. *grin* Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let’s talk reviews for a moment. Which one has been your favorite and which one do you wish you could delete (we all have at least one)?
Tia: Any positive review is my favorite one for that moment, because it reaffirms my decision to write. I have a nasty little insecurity monster; he rises out of nowhere and tries to convince me I’m not good enough. So, positive reviews give me much-needed reassurance. While I don’t love negative reviews, I try to learn from them. Sometimes, they spur me in a different way; they make me want to be a better writer.

However, there was this one review I’d love to strike from existence. During a blog tour, a Christian book blogger read Chasing Memories and warned against the evils of Wiccan practices. She reminded her readers that all magic has roots in darkness. While I respect her right to her opinion, I was never sure why she’d even agree to read the book. Would she read Fifty Shades of Grey and lecture about the evil ways of S&Mers?

Jo: I just spewed coffee out of my nose when I read that. *wipes screen* Tell me one fact about each of your sisters, and then tell me one thing you love about each of them.
Tia: My middle sister, Tara, is one of the most committed people I know. She’s a rock. When she sets her mind to something, it will happen. Yet, she’s also my shoulder. Then there’s Dana, my baby sister. She’s all spunk. I’d give her my book in a heartbeat and tell her to go sell it to a room, and she could. Her personality shines through and people are drawn to her.

I adore them both; I’m quite blessed in the sisters-as-best-friends department. I hope my girls feel the same way when they are adults.

Jo: I have four sisters. I feel you. I wish we were closer, but distance is what it is. What are your plans for marketing on your future novels? Any intention of going perma-free with any of them?
Tia: Marketing. *sigh* I find marketing the hardest part of being an Indie. I want some super reader to swoop down, read it, love it, and take out billboard signs to spread the word. Free seems counter-intuitive to me, although I know it’s a successful marketing strategy. So, I’ll probably go perma-free with Chasing Memories once the series is complete.

Jo: Amen to that. Marketing is a total suckfest 9/10 of the time. But perma-free seems to work with series starters. What’s your biggest fear in regards to your books/writing and how do you plan to overcome it?
Tia: A blank mind. After I finished Depression Cookies, I honestly thought I might be a one-and-done. It took so much out of me. When the idea for the Tala Prophecy series came to me, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I get helter-skelter ideas, but I’m always afraid I won’t come up with something I’m passionate about that’s also unique. No pressure, right?

My plan is to never give up—to keep developing whatever ideas won’t let me go. As a dear author/editor friend of mine would say (whoever could she be?), WRITE ON!

Jo: No pressure. One of the great things about being Indie is saying/writing whatever in the heck you want to. *grin* Look at my Mystic series. Do you really think a traditional publisher would dare? Any luck with that scheduling thing you were stressed over?
Tia: Ah, you refer to my stress-paralyzed vent. I tend to overwhelm myself with my inability to say one simple word: No. I always want to help everybody, do everything, be everything. It’s a prescription for failure. More than anything, I have to learn to focus and prioritize. Oh, and set timers and turn off the Internet.

Jo: I understand completely. I used to have the same problem. It'll come. *bats eyelashes* Well, we’re out of time. *sniffs back tears* Anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had?
Tia: You didn’t ask me to share my amazing dancing skills on video. I’m hurt. (For anyone who now expects a party animal at UtopYA, I hate to disappoint. This is a running joke with Jo after my pitiful dancing performance in a group author video.)

Jo: I just choked again. Seriously, I'm too damned old to be trying to break dance. So, I'll wallflower with you. Chin up! I get to see you in a week! How exciting is that? UtopYA, here we come! Thanks for your time, Tia!
Tia: Can’t wait to hang out with you, Jo, and mingle with the other UtopYA babes! See you soon.

Jo: You betcha! For those of you visiting us at UtopYA, be sure and stop by our table (number 27) in Area 51! We’re gonna have awesome book giveaways, thanks to our generous authors at IBGW, and plenty of our books for you to snag! Tomorrow, I’ll have more information for you. Plus, I have a little surprise for my biggest sharer through this interview process (name to be revealed June 18th).

Now it’s time to tell you about the featured book of the week!

Title: Chasing Shadows
Author: Tia Silverthorne Bach
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Length (print): 312 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99 ~  B&N


Synopsis:
Reagan thought one night changed her life forever, but her fate was written long ago.

Merging creature and white blood,
One of flame, one of night,
At eighteen years it will commence,
Spiritual warrior and power,
Will bring an end to the lawless ones.

A war looms: One that pits brother against brother for werewolf supremacy. Angels and demons will each have a say before a victor is chosen.


With her eighteenth birthday only six months away, time is running out. Reagan must find a way to harness the two powerful, ancient bloodlines coursing through her: Werewolf and Wiccan. Then, she has to figure out her role in the century-old prophecy foretold by her great-grandmother.


However, if Reagan can’t save her family from her most vicious rival, Rafe, the forces of Hell will be unleashed and the war will be over before it starts.

While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Ms. Bach a follow on social media then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below?

Facebook: Tia.Bach.Author
Twitter: @Tia_Bach_Author
Blog: Depression Cookies

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
If you have questions for Tia, pop them into the comments section below. Be sure and come back Wednesday for a guest post!

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

Jo

Gray's Domain - Huge Giveaway for Active Minds

Gray's Domain Release Giveaway

Twenty-four amazing authors have joined forces with Eva Pohler Books and over a dozen outstanding bloggers to raise money for Active Minds, a non-profit organization devoted to mental health awareness and suicide prevention in young adults. In addition to donating their books, swag, and gift cards, many of these participants have also given cash donations directly to the organization.

This coalition of authors and bloggers wants to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and let young adults know there are people who care and to never give up.

You can help, too! One of the entry options on the rafflecopter giveaway is to donate $1 or more to Active Minds. The link will take you directly to the foundation's website, and it's so easy to do!

Here is the list of prizes you can enter to win:

Mercy Amare and K.T. Smith's Legacies
Casey Bond's Reap
Jacinda Buchmann's Indigo Incite
Nely Cab's Creatura Series, Books 0.5-2
Amy Evan's Clicks plus Jelly Bean Kisses
C.R. Everett's I Loved That About Her
A.M. Hargrove's Tragically Flawed
Susan Holmes's Deadly Ties: A Waterside Kennel's Mystery
Laura Howard's The Forgotten Ones
Amy Jones's A Zebra Like Me
Allana Kephart and Melissa Simmons's Uprising
Carlyle Labuschagne: Winner's Choice of any of her books
Quinn Loftis's Grey Wolves Series
Quinn Loftis's Elfin Series
Quinn Loftis's Call Me Crazy
Kelly Martin's Big Is Beautiful
Jo Michaels's Lily (Mystic Vol. 2)
Jennifer Miller's Pretty Little Lies
J.D. Nelson's Night Aberrations
Alison Pensy's Custodian Novels Boxed Set
Eva Pohler's The Gatekeeper's Saga
C.W. Stokes's Second Chances
Felicia Tatum's Intoxicating Passion Boxed Set
Becca Vincenza's Damaged
K.A. Young's The Nephilum Warrior Boxed Set
K.A. Young's The Elise Michaels Series
Deausha Kitty's YA Book Blog: $5 Amazon GC
Lisa's Book Lair: Swag
The Bookworm Blog: $1.99 ebook
Supagurl Books: Swag
Wicked Women Book Blog $3 Amazon GC
Kat's Indie Book Blog: Rachel M Raithby's Lexia The Deadwood Hunter Series, Book 1
From Ravenz Reviews: Heart Attacks: A Valentine's Day Anthology

GraysDomain3Along with the rafflecopter for the prizes above is a tour celebrating the release of Gray's Domain, the second book in The Purgatorium Series.

If you are need in therapy, this is the series to read! It tells of an island off the coast of California where Dr. Gray and her staff use experimental methods on clinically depressed and suicidal patients sent their by family members who have no other hope. Seventeen-year-old Daphne is their newest patient.  







TOUR SCHEDULE:
Michelle's Tells Blitz June 5th
Kristi’s Book Readery Blitz June 8th
A Book So Fathomless Interview June 8th
The Power of Three Readers Blitz June 9th
Escaping Life’s Craziness with Books Review June 10th
My Bookopolos Blitz June 10th
Literary Redemption Blitz June 10th
Lissa Lynn's Reviews Blitz June 11th
Shelf Full of Books Review June 11th
Purple Shadow Hunter Blitz June 12th
Jen's Must Have Books 2 Read Review June 12th
Lisa’s Book Lair Review June 13th
Inside Bj’s Head Blitz June 13th
Word Wenches Guilty Pleasures Blitz June 14th
Book Skater Blitz June 15th
The Book Worm Blog Review June 15th
Deausha Kitty’s YA Book Blog Review June 16th
Supagurl Books Review June 17th
Open June 18th
Open June 19th
Open June 20th
Pure Jonel Review June 21st
Kat’s Indie Book Blog Review June 21st
Wicked Women Book Blog Review June 22nd
Ravenz Reviews Review June 22nd

Winners will be announced on June 23rd! Please enter the rafflecopter below:   

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Look at all the amazing books in that pile above!   You know you want to win one (or two).

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

Jo

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Call Off the Search


Call Off The Search

(A Novel of Spiritual Fantasy, Bi-sexual Romance) (The Comyenti Series Book 1)




Synopsis: The planet Bhan. For millennia, humanity has persecuted the beautiful and mysterious human-looking comyentis with a deep set envy and hatred; driving them from their lands; murdering and enslaving them wherever they find them. Why? Comyentis have powers that humans can only dream of. They can merge their minds with animals and use their abilities for the greater good. However they had one weakness that led to their downfall. 

Now, Sula, one of the last of her great and noble line, has been fleeing for her life, living in hiding for too long. With not just her own life but her whole species’ cupped precariously within her hands Sula is running out of time... 
As loneliness and alienation slowly engulfs her, a young attractive human steps forth and reaches out to her... 

Should Sula, who is after all half human, trust him? Can she afford not to? Will she be able to overcome her aversion to humans to save her species from extinction? 

Read "Call Off The Search", book 1 and cling to Sula as she fights for everything she holds dear: her husband, her female lover, her child, her hopes and her freedom. 



Meet Natasja




Mrs Hellenthal is residing in the UK, with her partner, two small children, two small dogs and a cat who all follow her around the house at the same time.
She is an eco-warrior, animal lover, vegan and her hobbies include outdoor activities such as hiking, wild camping, swimming and snowboarding. She grows her own vegetables and loves to get her hands dirty in the garden. If there is any time left she loves to write speculative fiction that entertains people but at the same time makes them think. Her work has been described as 'thought-provoking'.
'The Queen's Curse' was her debut novel and has received some great reviews.
It's a heroic Spiritual Fantasy novel in the old tradition, yet with original and surprising elements. It attracts attention from a wide range of people, both straight and gay as it deals with many issue's such as: justice/injustice, power, lesbian romance, freedom,adventure, magic, immortality, intrigue, soul searching, love, life, loss, near death experience and sword and sorcery.
In this book the author explores more than the ancient battle between good and evil so common in Fantasy literature. What is evil and how does someone become bad? Available for Kindle and in Paperback.
In her writing she deals with big psychological and ethical themes and struggles of life such as death, love and loss and tries to build strong characters as realistic as possible, for even though the genre is Fantasy she wants people to feel connected with her heroes and villains as they would with their real life people.
Mrs Hellenthal is influenced by writers such as Marion Zimmer Bradley and Tanith Lee, Kahlil Gibran and Hermann Hesse.
She is currently working on Book 2 in the Epic Fantasy series, The Comyenti Saga,'Children Of The Sun' which will be released Summer 2014!
Book 1 in the series, 'Call Off The Search' was published on the 26th of December 2013 and is available both for Kindle and in Paperback.
'Chained Freedom', a stand alone fairy-tale for adults but part of the Comyenti Series, was released in February 2014.
Please like and share her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natasja-Hellenthal
Feel free to leave an honest review and rating if you enjoy her books.
For the latest news and updates follow her blog on http://natasjahellenthal.wordpress.com or Twitter on @natasjahellenth

I hope you all get a chance to check out the book!

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

Jo

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Revolution Z




Revolution Z
by GB Banks and Blaine Hislop





THE REVOLUTION IS COMING...
WORLD WAR Z MEETS OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

He was the first President of the United States
Now he may also be the last...

When the resurrected general George Washington discovers the corruption now ruling the US government, he vows to do something about it. So President Washington wages war on the nation's capitol...with an army of zombie soldiers at his back.




GB Banks is a sufferer of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as "Brittle Bone Disease", and has been wheelchair- and home-bound and cared for by his parents for all of his 48-years. But through the power of his imagination, he has been able to escape to far-off lands and go on magical adventures, and now he hopes to use that very same ability to better his life, to give back to his parents for everything they have done for him throughout his life, and to free himself of the fear of being left alone and placed into a nursing home when they are gone. He has published several works in small publications over the last few years, but his dream is to become a full-time, financially successful author so that he can finally live a more independent life and be able to travel to see the numerous places that he has only been able to explore in his fantasies.

Among Banks' works are the novel "Three Hours to the Apocalypse" and the series WALKERS, which are stories based in the universe of The Walking Dead. His latest book is entitled "Revolution Z", an epic zombie war novel.

Blaine Hislop is a writer from Canada who loves zombies, vampires and, basically, telling a good story. His other zombie novel is a post-apocalyptic thriller, "Deadlands: The Last Stand." It is a novelization of a story by Gary Ugarek that features a desperate, tightly-knit group of people brought together in a world populated by ravenous zombies, madmen with guns and no conscience, doomsday weapons, and creeping terror. Each day, the survivors wake up not knowing what fresh horrors await or which one of them will be next. It is, above all else, an account of family and of survival in a maddened world where death and destruction can come at any time.

Also, as a lover of the world of Stephenie Meyers, he wrote "The Cullens". It's a story that focuses on the relatives of The Cullens and features dynamic characters and a growing love story between William Cullen, a handsome, young vampire, and Samantha Carlton...a Werewolf. It's a serious and respectful parody about a great series. I'm a huge fan and I want to play in that great world and pay tribute to it. I hope you will take the time to check out "The Cullens" and support this growing series. His latest book, "Revolution Z", was co-written with author GB Banks.

I hope you all enjoyed this little promo stop!

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

Jo

Monday, June 9, 2014

Back on Track and an I, Zombie sale!

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I may be bringing you a guest post from my awesome featured author, Elizabeth Kirke, but it may come later. I'm not sure. It's been so darned crazy around here. But, we're settled into our new house and things are finally getting back to the way they were. That means no more spotty blog posts. Okay, they've been darn near non-existent, but such is life. I'm back on track now, and have a special announcement for you!

I, Zombie is on sale over on Amazon for the next five days. That's right, it's a countdown deal. First reduction is to $0.99. From $3.99, this is an amazing price to be able to snag a copy.

Here's where you can get it and a little about it:


Kindle: $3.99

Recommended for ages 13+ due to a mild amount of gore.

Synopsis:
It's the end of the world as we know it.

Trixie Collins is a normal teen making her way through high school. One night at a party, a boy comes on to her and won't take no for an answer. As she jerks her arm away, his fingernails cut into her skin.

When she finds her dog's mutilated body and realizes she's to blame, she starts to think maybe the zombie apocalypse they've been screaming about on the news isn't a hoax after all. Worse, she begins to think maybe she's one of the infected.

Now it's a fight for life as she joins together with her brethren to stop the humans intent on destroying them. Are zombies all bad, or is it just a huge misunderstanding?

Happy reading!

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

Jo

Monday, June 2, 2014

Author Interview - Elizabeth Kirke

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m so excited! UtopYA Con 2014 is right around the corner (seventeen days away) and I get to go to Nashville and meet all the lovely ladies I’ve interviewed here on the blog. Eep! I hope you’ve enjoyed the interviews and guest posts so far! If you missed any, check them out here. I’ve had so much fun getting to know these authors, and I feel a little like I’m going to meet long-time friends. Anyway, keeping with those Monday posts you’ve loved so much, I bring you an awesome interview with author Elizabeth Kirke! Make some noise and give her a proper welcome! Let’s get to it!

Jo: Welcome to the blog, Elizabeth! I hope you’re ready for what lies in wait with your interview. I do a lot of research on my guests, and try to ask the difficult questions you may not have been asked before. Are ya good to go? 
Elizabeth: I knew I kept getting that eerie feeling that someone was watching me. Now I know who it was! I’m ready when you are! 

Jo: *grins and rubs hands together* Let’s jump right in, shall we? First off, I have to ask because I know you love History (I do, too!): Which era is your favorite and why? 
Elizabeth: 18th Century, hands down! I worked for three years at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, so I became quite the 18th century buff! I was one of those crazy people in costume. My job included farming, wool dying, milling, whiskey distilling, cooking … Pretty much anything you can think of that people did in the 18th Century. I also tried my hand at blacksmithing! 

Jo: Love that answer! Kinda seems like acting is something that's IN you (that'll be answered here shortly, people, be patient!). I just interviewed Eva Pohler and had a little squee about the new Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios. I know you’re a big fan of the series. Are you planning to visit the attraction once it’s open? 
Elizabeth: I am SO going!!! I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t been there at all. I’m a different country sort of traveler, so my travel budget always goes to cruises, not theme parks. 

Jo: I wanna go, too. I'm asking for a trip there for my birthday. *bats eyelashes* Now, can we see your HP tattoo? When and where did you get it and why? 
Elizabeth: Whoa, you HAVE been stalking me!!! I got my first tattoo right around when the 7th book came out. In fact, I was reading it for the first time while being inked, because I couldn’t put it down! Pretty much as soon as I was done with the book (and the weird ink-scab thing), I wanted another tattoo. They’re like potato chips, really. You can’t have just one. The Dark Mark just hit me and I knew that was the tattoo I had to have. Fans may notice a lot of my characters are inked. See, I’ve always wanted to get a book tattoo. But, I realized that there are almost no books (at least not in 2007), where characters have notable tattoos. The Dark Mark is unique in that it’s a canon tattoo on main characters. It’s described in detail, right down to exactly where it’s located on the body. I think that’s awesome. 

On a deeper level – boy this answer is more than you bargained for, isn’t it? – I wanted a Harry Potter tattoo. Harry Potter is the last book I can remember my parents reading out loud to me as a kid. After the 7th book came out, I returned the favor. I read all 7 books, out loud, to my parents. We’d read a chapter or two every night after dinner. It took several months, but we did it. It was an amazing throwback, away from TV or everyone going their separate ways. I was in my final year of college, so it was an amazing final hurrah as a family before I “grew up.” So, the tattoo has both meaning and fond memories attached to it. Plus, I wanted to be an author at the time, so a book tattoo of my favorite series made sense. 

I told myself that I would wait a year. If I still wanted it, I would get it. I think the picture speaks for itself. 

Jo: WOW! I loves it. I have three tattoos myself. I may show them at the con, I may not. Maybe we'll play a "guess where Jo's tattoos are to win a book" kind of game LOL! So, how does acting your scenes out as you write them help? What are some of your favorite scenes to do this with? 
Elizabeth: I keep thinking I’ve seen the depth of your stalking, but then you go deeper! Jo-ception! It helps me describe what’s going on, for one thing. I’m very visual, so if I can see how my body is and I can write a better description of the pose or action I’m writing about. But, I think the biggest benefit is my dialogue. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments about how “real” my dialogue is and how it flows. I think it stems from how picky I am as a reader. Clunky dialogue can really turn me off of a book, even if I’m enjoying the story. When I have conversations with “myself” as the characters, I write exactly what I’m saying and it feels much more realistic to me. I figure, if I can actually say it out loud, then a reader can read it aloud too and have it sound normal. 

I love doing arguments or really emotional scenes. I get totally into it, tears and all sometimes. Similar to the reading out loud part, I like to think that if I’m writing it and crying, then the reader will feel the emotion too. 

Jo: That's actually a brilliant way to get the emotional impact into the scene. I sat and played a super emo scene from I, Zombie through my head with my eyes closed about ten times before I wrote it (with the tears still streaming down my face). Now, you outline like I do: Chapter numbers with a brief blurb about what you intend to write in each one. High fives to pantsers! What’s been the biggest challenge this style has presented? How have you overcome it? 
Elizabeth: I think the worst part is when I fail to meet it and have to update/alter it. My second book, Snow Bound, was originally outlined to be something like 16 chapters. It ended up 24, plus an epilogue. When I originally plotted it out I thought, “Okay, if I can write a chapter every week, I’ll be done in about 4 months.” Every time I had to sit down and add another chapter to my outline and shift things back, I felt a little disappointed; both because it was taking longer to write, and because I had failed to stick with my outline. As those of you who were eagerly waiting for it know, it took over 6 months, so much for the original 4! I’m afraid I really haven’t overcome it. The only thing I really do it to try and remind myself that it’s okay if I don’t stick to my outline. It’s just a guide, not set in stone. I don’t have to feel disappointed in myself if I don’t follow it to the letter. 

Jo: Bingo! Nothing is set in stone. *grin* Tell my readers about BookChart. How did you find it, what has it shown you, and what does it do? 
Elizabeth: Ah, BookChart!! I was Googling for myself (be honest, who doesn’t?) and just stumbled onto it. Having just checked it, I’m devastated to say it looks like they lost ALL of their data prior to January 2014. But, according to their site: Since 29 April 2014, BookChart.info has tracked 46,059 books by 24,886 authors. These books have appeared on the iTunes charts about 770,000 times across 54 genres in 6 countries. Basically, this site pulls data from iTunes book sales and complies it. If your book makes the top 100, it marks the position, the date, and the genre. According to this, both Semester Aboard and Snow Bound have been in the Top 100 of iTunes UK in the Fantasy genre. It’s pretty awesome. 

Jo: You'd be surprised how many authors I interview who never Google themselves. I'm always like: Really? Why not? LOL! On to much more awesome things. You worked in a blacksmith shop? How cool is that! What did you learn while you were there and what kind of work did you do? 
Elizabeth: I did! I started working in George Washington’s Blacksmith Shop in 2009. They finished rebuilding it (barely) that year. It was the first time since Washington that the shop was operational. I had the privilege of working with Eric Zieg, the Master Blacksmith, for 3 years. Yes, he’s an honest-to-god, started as an apprentice, blacksmith. And he’s freaking amazing at his craft! Anyway, I wore a costume and my job was mainly to field the questions from the 2000+ visitors every day. Since the smith was actually physically working all day, I had to learn the answers so that I could talk when he was working or, at the busiest times, so we could both talk. I learned a TON about blacksmithing, both now and in the 18th century. If anyone ever needs to bounce questions off of me for a blacksmithing scene in a book, just let me know! On slow days, I was allowed to grab the hammer and try my hand at making nails and hooks! 

Jo: Oh man. I'd love to try something like that. Even if just for the experience/knowledge of it. I'm an information hound. haha! I found your blog when I did my search for you. Seems you began posting in 2011, and had a sporadic flow, then 2012 saw you posting your heart out, and then your blogging dropped off again. Any reason why and do you intend to pick the pace back up? 
Elizabeth: More creepy! Let’s see if I remember how that all went down. I published my first book in 2011 and didn’t really “get” the whole blogging thing and how important it can be to have one. I had a fairly slow paced job and a lot of free time in 2012 (other than wedding planning), so I did a lot of blogging. I also had a 5 minute commute, so I had a ton of free time. I believe there were more random posts and guest posts and reviews at that time. I moved in the end of 2012 and my commute increased to almost an hour. 2013 was when my work-load picked up too. I’m hoping that 2014 will see my return to lots of posts but, as you can see … I haven’t been very good so far this year. 

Jo: By all means, pick it back up! Wedding is done, no more excuses. Time for the alien question of the interview! In your best writer-ly voice, tell us how you think aliens look and what it would be like inside a spaceship. 
Elizabeth: Oh goodness a pop-writing quiz. What we have to remember is that aliens probably don’t look human. They come from different worlds with different environments, right down to different levels of gravity. Every alien, from every world, is bound to be as different looking as we are from animals here on Earth. Pointy ears are one thing, but some aliens may not have ears at all! They’ll have skin, scales, fur, and different ideas of what should be kept covered! A mouth, a nose, and two eyes are just our perception of normal. They may have flippers instead of feet and ships full of whatever passes for water on their planet. They could have wings and ships with vast hallways they can fly up and down. Aliens from a planet with low gravity will be bigger and heavier than we are, they may even have trouble getting around on our world. 

The aliens who arrive here first and have perfected long-distance space travel will have ships built for long journeys, like giant flying aircraft carriers. They’ll have food, living quarters, and places to hang out. Some may even have launch bays for small scout ships. 

As my lead-in to this next image, I’ll say that one of my favorite series growing up was Animorphs. That author did aliens like no other, because her aliens weren’t just humans with different ears or different colored skin. She planned out those worlds and the aliens who lived there, and made each one as unique as it gets!

Jo: I'm not only an awesome stalker, I also love pop-quizes. But check this out: Rapid fire question time! Who’s your favorite character from Twilight? OMG I’m kidding (I’m also rolling on the floor laughing)! I know better! *wicked grin* Real rapid fire question: Who’s your favorite character from Lord of the Rings
Elizabeth: LOL! That’s a tough question. I can tell you without hesitation that my LEAST favorite is Tom Bombadil. Leaving him out of the movies was the best decision ever. I’m afraid I have too many favorites. So, instead, I’ll just tell you that my cat is named Thorin Oakenshield. 

Jo: Favorite cheesy movie? 
Elizabeth: Company Man! Nobody has ever seen it/heard of it, and it’s absolutely hilarious. It is, hands down, the BEST cheesy movie ever. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0177650/ 

Jo: I know you haven’t been married long. Is married life everything you thought it would be? What’s the best and worst part? 
Elizabeth: It’s been great! We bought a house and adopted a dog. It’s quite a bit like when we were dating, which is why I married the guy! I don’t know how to choose a best and worst part without sounding cheesy! I guess the best part is that I come home every night to a person that I love and that as my future unfolds, it’s with him. The worst part doesn’t have anything to do with being married, but my only struggle right now is time. I work a full-time job outside of the house, and it’s hard to juggle that with spending time with my husband, and trying to find time to write. Wait, I changed my mind, the worst part is when he leans over my shoulder and reads what I’m writing in a melodramatic TV announcer voice. Gah! 

Jo: I'm with you. I love being married to my guy. How funny is the melodramatic voice thing? OMG I'm laughing hard! Okay, getting back to serious. Willing to share with us why you signed on with Anchor Group Publishing? I read in an interview you did a long time ago that you’d never sign with a publishing house. What changed your mind? 
Elizabeth: Okay, I don’t even remember ever saying that!!! This is a new level of stalkerdom! 100% serious, do you remember where you found that? LOL. Better go eat my words. 

I may have been referring to the Big Six publishing houses, but I’m not sure. So, there was I was, August 2011, a brand-spanking-new self-published author. I totally loved the control I had over my books and the pricing and all of that good stuff. But, I started learning some stuff along the way. I made my cover, which I was totally happy with, but as I went I picked up marketing tips and tricks, and the importance of editors, professional cover designers, marketing, blog tours, etc. etc. The costs for self-publishing really start adding up. I just didn’t have a big enough brand to start with. Moment of Honesty: I made more the month I self-published Danio’s Prelude, just from that book, than I made the entire 9 months between August 2011 and May 2012 when I signed with Anchor Group Publishing. That was because I had time to build my brand and readers. People actually knew my books existed and were waiting to buy the next one. 

Anyway, so, after a few months dipping my toes into the publishing world, I started to learn more and more about small publishers, like AG. I started to see the benefit of having someone else foot the bill for covers and edits (side note, a good, honest publisher will NEVER charge you upfront costs for your book. Your sales are their profit. If a publisher asks you to pay them before they publish your book, run) and to help with marketing. I was actually asked to do a short story for AG’s first anthology. They loved it so much they asked if I would want to publish my book with them too. 

Then, it all just sort of fell into place. They hooked me up with another round of edits, an amazing cover, and all sorts of resources and support I could never have gotten on my own.

It’s been an amazing ride. My third novel with them was released yesterday and I couldn’t be happier! 

Jo: Blame my awesome stalkerness on my army of super ninja spies. They are at my beck and call. Be afraid; be very afraid. *bats eyelashes* Any super secrets I didn’t ask you about that you’d like to divulge to my hungry readers? 
Elizabeth: Well, I do have the official blurb, which only a few people have seen, for the 3rd book in the More than Magic Series. This seems like a good place for it!

Forget everything you know about magic … 

Jen doesn’t know who people keep mistaking her for, but one thing is clear: her mystery double is not popular. When Jen is kidnapped by a group bent on revenge for something she never did, it’s up to her friends to rescue her. Little do they know, Jen’s captors are ready for them. 

Thomas, TS, Charlie, Dani, and Mariana become the latest victims of a malicious experiment, one which could spell doom for magic-kind. Now their lives, and maybe their entire world, are in Jen’s hands. Unfortunately, escaping the facility is the least of their problems. The experiment is dangerous; one in three test subjects dies. And considering five of them are affected, the odds don’t look good. 

Time is running out and Jen and her friends are faced with the hardest decisions they’ve ever had to make; how do you know who to trust, when your own mother isn’t who you thought she was? Just how much will you sacrifice for a friend, even if it’s your life? 

And how can you make a choice when the wrong one means death? 

Jo: Now that was awesomeness. You rock! Thanks so much for your time, Elizabeth. I can’t wait to meet you at UtopYA! 
Elizabeth: You’re so welcome!!! I can’t wait to tackle hug you! 

Now it’s time to tell you about the featured book of the week! 

Title: Carved in Cherry (Curse Collectors #1) 
Author: Elizabeth Kirke 
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance 
Length (print): 206 Pages 
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $0.99  ~  Smashwords $0.99

Synopsis
One thing set Lydia Shaw and her store apart from the other antique shops in town… 

Lydia’s collection was plagued by curses, and it was her duty to break them. 

Rachel, Angie, and Jo knew nothing about their aunt’s secret life. In fact, they didn’t even know she owned an antique shop, until they inherited it. Unfortunately for them, Lydia passed down more than just her store. The sisters are the proud new owners of countless deadly curses, buried under centuries of dust. 

Lydia also left behind her apprentice, Peter. He does everything he can to protect the girls, as they explore their new store, unaware of the dangers it hides. In spite of his efforts, Rachel finds herself obsessed with opening a strange trunk, Angie has vivid dreams, haunted by a man who claims he needs her help, and Jo’s imagination starts to run wild. 

When one of them falls victim to a curse, it’s up to Peter and her sisters to save her. But, if Peter can’t teach them to wield a magic, that he barely understands himself, she’ll be the first one to die. 

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

Facebook: More Than Magic
Twitter: @More_Than_Magic
Blog: Elizabeth Kirke

If you have questions for Elizabeth, pop them into the comments section below. 

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

Jo