Thursday, December 14, 2017

Next On My Roster of Writing Plans

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm gonna share with you a couple of covers and blurbs for upcoming releases. These will happen at the beginning of 2018. Ready? Grab your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

Title: Provocation - Pen Pals and Serial Killers - Story Two
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Length (guessing): ~ 60k
Release Date: March, 2018


Doctor Victoria Ward has been killing men for over thirty years. Her victims all have one thing in common: they’re abusive. Righteousness is a close companion—it helps her sleep at night—and she holds the virtue closely as she defends the innocent, upholding the law when it won’t rise to protect those who need it most. When she meets a young girl named Kelly, and follows her down a twisted path of deception, Doc Ward finds herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. Never before has she wavered in her resolve—but can she defend another against someone she loves?

Title: Intensification - Pen Pals and Serial Killers - Story Three
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Length (guessing): ~ 60k
Release Date: March, 2018


Detective Hank Reynolds has just been handed the case of a lifetime. Another reality TV star has gone missing, and it’s up to the Atlanta police department to find her before it’s too late. While he’s digging around, he discovers there have been nearly twenty similar kidnappings in the surrounding areas over the last twenty years, and while trying to find out more—and a witness that’s still alive—he’s dragged into a past he wishes he could erase. His dreams become nightmares about the women, and his sanity unravels. Even his eyes begin to play tricks on him, but no hallucinations are as devious as the antics of the killer—who’s always one breath away—waiting for the chance to strike again.

Title: The House
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Short Story Collection/Horror
Length: 51k
Release Date: April, 2018


This house is cursed, and everyone who lives there is in grave danger.

Ever wonder what stories you would hear if walls could talk?

What if those walls witnessed unimaginable horrors?

Inside these pages is the story of one such house. What it sees, the people it meets, and what happens when a terrified spirit is invited to stay.

Story 1 – The Butcher
Story 2 – Marna, Fred, and Kimberly McDade
Story 3 – Lacy Mae Ritter
Story 4 – Mark and Olivia Cullpepper
Story 5 – The Writer

The House is a collection of short stories that ties in with the Pen Pals and Serial Killers series by Jo Michaels. You’ll find a couple of those characters named, and discover how one grew the teeth he used on the women he captured later.


And I'm finishing up a cute, romantic, young adult, short story titled Black Tie Christmas for a charity anthology that will release next year.

How fun is this?

Which one are you most excited for?

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


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

New Release! Utterances

Happy Wednesday, everyone! EEP! It's release day for Utterances! I hope you're as excited as I am. Before we get rolling with the details, I'm gonna tell you a little about the book outside what the blurb says--from the author's mouth. After, I'm gonna give you a sneak peek at the INSIDES of the print book. So pretty. Ready? Grab your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

So, from the blurb, you can probably surmise that we're dealing with some pretty gnarly illnesses in this book. Cancer, dementia, and obsession are the top three. Why did I go into all that? Honestly, I have no idea. I started this book back in 2014, and none of the things on the pages had come to fruition at that time. I wrote a solid 20k or so, and then I set the MS aside and worked on other things. Then life happened, and I was handed some unique perspective for my story.

Utterances is a culmination of everything I learned during that year-long journey. Because I went through exactly what Simone was dealing with, I could relate to her on a raw level. Tons of the emotional turmoil she goes through is directly linked to things I experienced.

Things like fear of losing someone you love, and thoughts and emotions you have when you believe you have the power to save them as long as you can hold onto something else. The fear of losing that something else and being powerless. It all goes hand-in-hand with the story.

Simone is faced with a tough choice, and I did consider what the average human might do. You'll have to read for yourself to see what she chooses and why.

Anyway, enough of my rambling! On to the pretties! Here's the full wrap cover:

Here's a peek at the inside of the print book:

And here's the information (including the blurb):

Title: Utterances
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Length: 77k words
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $2.99 ~ Paperback $15.99

Simone spent the last two years by her cancer-ridden mother’s bedside. Taking care of her was the number one priority. When Mom suddenly goes into full remission, Simone is left bobbing in an unfamiliar ocean with a young man named Tristan. What happens next is the stuff of fairy tales—and nightmares.

Shocking, heart-wrenching, and insightful, Utterances will make you question everything you thought you knew about self-sacrifice. Award-winning author Jo Michaels pulls reality and the paranormal together in a way never before seen, intensely examining what we call the human condition by diving into the innermost workings of one young lady’s mind.

I hope you grabbed it! If you did, let me know what you think!

Happy reading!

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


Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Release! How to be a TOTAL LOSER and feel better than you ever have.

Happy freaking THURSDAY, everyone! I'm squealing all over the place today. Final files for Utterances were uploaded, and the release is officially ON for 12/13. If you grab it NOW, pre-release, it's just $0.99. I know Amazon says $2.99, but they give you the lowest price it's been, and that price is just under a dollar. You can get it here. I'm overly excited about that. But today's post is about the awesome How to be a TOTAL LOSER book and telling you where you can snag a copy. Ready? Let's get going!

Information stuffs first!

Title: How to be a TOTAL LOSER and feel better than you ever have.
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Heath & Fitness
Length (print): 112 pages
Buy Link: Amazon (paperback only) $14.99 OR you can grab a copy from my website here with the code Christmas2017 and get a 20% discount on that $14.99 through 12/15! Sadly, that will only behoove you if you don't have prime, but it WILL be signed. Moving on!

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Want to learn how to eat better and maybe lose a little weight along the way?

Need a realistic plan you’ll be able to stick to for the long haul?

Then this is the book for you.
There are no fad diets on the pages of this book, and no magic secret formula that’ll make you half the woman/man you are. What’s in here is real, sensible advice, and a ton of tips and tricks to help you ease into a newer, healthier you.

You’ll be a total loser. You’ll lose the fatigue, that general blah feeling, and maybe even a few pounds (or several), but you’ll start feeling better than you thought was possible in a very short amount of time.

Best of all? It’s not a plan that strips you of the things you love most. It only teaches you how to alter those things slightly, or look for better alternatives, so you can improve your overall health.

So, dive in, and become a total loser that wins in every way.


*****There's also a spreadsheet you can request via a URL in the book that will help you calculate your current level of fitness and help you figure out how many calories you need per day to achieve your goals whether they're weight loss, gain, or maintain. Better yet? It tells you exactly how to allocate those calories between protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Pretty cool, right? No more guessing games.

Here's the full wrap, in case you wanted to see!

I honestly can't wait to hear what you all think.

Did you grab it? What goals are you trying to achieve?

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


P.S. This would make a great gift to help someone achieve those New Year's resolutions. Just a thought.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cover Reveal and Excerpt - Battered Mind by Sylvia Stein

Lending the blog voice to a friend of mine so she can regale you all with a cover reveal and excerpt! Grab your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

Hello, my name is Sylvia Stein and I am an Indie Author. I have exciting news. This week I am doing the cover reveal of my book which I hope will be released in late 2018. I have been working with this book for awhile. It is a story I have been doing extensive research on and because of the topic I am covering I want to be sure I do it justice. It is a work of fiction, and for today I will be revealing the book cover which was designed by the very talented and amazing Michael Dangremond, and his title of his art work the cost of love. When I saw this portrait I immediately saw what I was looking for for my main character of Sadie Martin Carlyle. The title of this my first thriller is Battered Mind and I hope you all enjoy the cover reveal. I absolutely was blown away by it. I hope you are too! Thank you for your help in the cover reveal. I do appreciate it so much.

Thank you so much,
Sylvia Stein

Sadie Martin Carlyle is on trial for the murder of her husband Dante Caryle. She claims she killed him in self defense and that he was a monster. She was a battered woman and if she had not defended herself he would of killed both their young daughter and her. In short, She feared for their lives.

However, there is more to this case than meets the eye. Sadie Martin is not your typical woman. Her family consists of her Criminal lawyer father Jackson Martin from Atlanta and her mother Barbara Reece Martin is one of the main leaders of the Southern Belles of Atlanta.

From the very start, there are secrets that are hidden that no one will see coming. Sadie’s story will take the reader through a very emotional journey throughout. Once the case begins, everything you think you know about what happened between Sadie and Dante Carlyle will have you asking many questions and is everything being said the truth? 

Battered Mind Excerpt: Copyright by Sylvia Stein 

As I lie here holding on to my sanity. I have to say never in a million years would I have thought all would turn out the way it did. 

You see for most of my life I had been searching and hoping that one day I would find the one and be able to finally lead “the normal life.”

However, nothing could be farther from the truth. My name is Sadie Martin Carlyle and on May 27, 2010, I was charged with the murder of my husband Dante Carlyle. 

The thing that makes this so horrific is that I do not even remember committing the crime. 

All I know is that when I awoke the next morning, My husband Dante was dead and I was found next to his body and the murder weapon. 

As of now all I can do is await my trial which will not be for a few months. 

Sadly because of the circumstance of the crime, I will have to sit in a jail cell until my trial.

You must be wondering why I seem to know so much about the law in particular. 

One second, “Can you please let me finish talking.”

Sorry being locked away in this cell has made me a bit paranoid.

Well in any case as I was saying. The reason I know so much was that my beloved husband was a lawyer and before I got married. We both met in law school. Oh, it was so simple back then. 

If only I could go back to the beginning. Things were easier. At least I thought they were. However maybe if I can just go back to the beginning I can try to salvage a bit of my dignity.

Besides, I was born and raised to be a good girl. But right now I am really placing a damper on all the years my parents spent trying to make me something I never wanted to be. You see I was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia.

It’s too damn bad I was never able to lead a normal life. Thanks to my dear parents! 

My mother was born to parents of money and my father was no different. However, he was known for being one of the best criminal defense attorneys in all of the state of Georgia. 

He was deeply admired for his hardcore antics. My father was never one to give up on his client and he is both loved and hated throughout the community. 

On the other hand, my dear mother Barbara Reece Martin has always been in the public eye. As a child, her parents owned several wineries all over the state of Georgia and North Carolina and she was left with a trust fund and decided to invest in stock and has done pretty well. She is now the Ceo of The Reece Winery and overlooks them along with my father and she is also one of the main members of the Women of Atlanta social club. 

All in all, she is always busy and thinks that I am just spoiled. My mother and I are not close.
She was always gone when I needed her. The only person that seemed to care and worry about me was my father Jackson. 

He always made time to see me and for that, I am very grateful. My father has always said I was his everything. At the time I thought I was but then I discovered it was all lies. I will get to that later.

As I was saying my mother was never around as a kid. She was always out and busy with all her numerous work and charitable events. 

“I hated her, and I still do!”

As you can see I get a bit angry being cooped up in here. I mean there are many criminals in here and I know they are women like me. But I am not one of them. I am different and I want to do is start over again. 

Let me outta here.


Now for the cover!

About the Author:
Sylvia Stein is a published author with several anthologies with her Writer’s group 750 on linkedin. Stein obtained a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University this past July 2015. She is a mother of three beautiful children Paul 10, Michael 9 and Consuelo 6. She resides in the city of Fuquay Varina with her amazing husband Jeremy. Stein has also published two solo books one was her first novella Closure which she worked on while attending SNHU and published in July of 2014 and the other her first YA Chasing Clarity was published this past October 2015 and it was created during National Novel Month (Nano) in 2013. Her latest book is entitled, The Diary of a Broken Father which came Out in February 2017. Her new thriller which she has been working on since 2014 will be out Late 2018 and is entitled, Battered Mind. 

Get in touch with Sylvia!
Amazon Author Page
On the Radio: The Daily with Syl Stein on Anchor
If you'd like to read some of Sylvia's other books, you can find them here:
Chasing Clarity:

What do you think?

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


Thursday, November 30, 2017

How to be a TOTAL LOSER and feel better than you ever have. Coming SOON! See the Cover. Read the Blurb.

Happy stinkin' Thursday, everyone! OMG it's the last day of November already! :O Who else is freaking out a little over the fact that CHRISTMAS is just 25 days away? Just me? Haha. So, today's post is to introduce you to my new book. Grab coffee or tea, and let's get going!

Many of you that follow me on Facebook know I've been on a crazy journey since about April of last year. Battling Multiple Sclerosis on my side and Testicular Cancer on my husband's. It's been a lonnnnng 20 months.

Well, back at the end of June, when my husband was declared cancer-free, I decided to make a ton of changes in our lives for the health and betterment of us both. I took a nutrition course so I wouldn't mess anything up as we went along. I wanted us to be the best versions of ourselves.

When I began this new journey, I was taking nausea meds, medication for dizziness, and medication for acne as well as weighing in at a solid 184lbs. My husband was on pain medication for his surgery aftermath and was clocking the scale at 240lbs.

As of today, we're both off all those medications and have whittled our bodies down significantly. I'm at 148, and he's at 192. Yes, it took time, but we're both feeling like a million bucks now. We have more energy, all our symptoms are gone (yeah, my face even cleared up on its own), and we look amazing.

Because I see so many people struggling with the same things, and because I'm a writer, I wrote a book with detailed information about exactly what we did and how we did it. Also, because I'm me, there's little to no filler in the book. It's straightforward information.

Best thing of all, it's not a fad diet or something we needed to disclose to our doctors (who are amazed, by the way), and we didn't give up all the things we love (except fast food - ha!). We've learned to change our lifestyle.

I ordered the proof of the book today, and I'm hoping to release it within the next couple of weeks. Because of the way I laid it out, and the purpose of the book (it's meant to be written in), it will only be available in print.

Ready for the information and a peek at the cover?

Title: How to be a TOTAL LOSER and feel better than you ever have.
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Health & Fitness
Length: 112 pages
Price: $14.99

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Want to learn how to eat better and maybe lose a little weight along the way?
Need a realistic plan you’ll be able to stick to for the long haul?
Then this is the book for you.
There are no fad diets on the pages of this book, and no magic secret formula that’ll make you half the woman/man you are. What’s in here is real, sensible advice, and a ton of tips and tricks to help you ease into a newer, healthier you.
You’ll be a total loser. You’ll lose the fatigue, that general blah feeling, and maybe even a few pounds (or several), but you’ll start feeling better than you thought was possible in a very short amount of time.
Best of all? It’s not a plan that strips you of the things you love most. It only teaches you how to alter those things slightly, or look for better alternatives, so you can improve your overall health.
So, dive in, and become a total loser that wins in every way.


I'm more excited about this than I can say. Why? Because I think it's a book everyone needs to read, even if they're not looking to lose weight. It has a ton of useful information in it.

If it helps just ONE person feel better, I've had success with it.

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


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Busy, I Have Been - Exciting Announcements!

Happy freaking Tuesday, everyone! I know you've all missed the blog and my epic ramblings here, but it's been for a great reason! Grab your coffee or tea and let's get going. Lots of news today.

As you may know, NaNoWriMo has been conquered this year. My final word count was 75k, and I hit 57k on day 14.


The books I created during NaNo are in my Pen Pals and Serial Killers series.

First up, is The House (this was one of my NaNo novels). It clocks in right around 50k even and will be released AFTER my second NaNo novel. This is a collection of short stories that ties in with the next book in this list. I have a placeholder cover, but it's not the final. Shared it and the blurb on Facebook here, if you'd like to take a peek.

My second was Intensification. It's about a detective chasing a serial killer who's obsessed with reality TV stars. It's currently sitting at 20k.

Better than that, though, I've managed to fix the issue that was causing me to delay writing Provocation, and it's well on its way to being completed, sitting at 17k as of this moment. It's about a female psychiatrist that kills abusive men.

Utterances, my contemporary fantasy novel standalone, will release at the beginning of December. Pre-order price is $0.99, but it'll be $2.99 after launch. You can grab it here. More information about the book can be found on this post.

Finally, I've been working on another book for a few months that I plan to release right around Christmas. It's a book on wellness. You may be aware that I've been on my own journey over the last year, and this book is the culmination of things I've learned and steps I've taken to feel better in general. It has a routine guide, tons of information, and a little section with a few recipes (and a place to keep your own that you try and end up liking). YAY! Title: How to be a TOTAL LOSER and feel better than you ever have. Yeah. Because that's how I roll. LOL

I have a slew of covers to share, but I'll hold off until we're closer to the release dates. I'm still trying to decide on a cover for my wellness book.

Like I said, I've been super busy! How exciting is this?

What have you been working on? Which of the above are you excited about?

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


Monday, November 13, 2017

Be Your Own Biggest Cheerleader

Today, I'm stepping up on my soapbox. Just for a minute, but read, and think about, what I write here. This may be a long post, so grab some coffee, settle in, and maybe take some notes. Let's get going!

I see so many people these days wondering if they're good enough, strong enough, or asking themselves if they can do it.

When you're asking yourself if you're good enough, what is it you're referring to? Let's start there and see if maybe your mindset can be altered. Just a little. That's all it'll take.

Am I Good Enough?

If you look at yourself in the mirror and ask this question, you're doing it all wrong. Instead, ask yourself: Am I the person I'm proud to be? Am I meeting my own expectations? If not, how can I change so I love who I am and can look at myself in the mirror, proud of what I see?

Why? Because you're the only one that truly matters. You need to be in love with yourself first. Love stems from respect, too. Have those two things, and you'll come to a place where what other people think of you doesn't matter, and it won't be because you believe yourself to be "above" them. You'll know that you're the absolute best version of yourself that you can be. If they don't understand that, it's really okay. Because you have yourself, and that's the one person that should believe in you no matter what.

If you're a writer, then write for yourself first. I know you're probably going to say that doesn't sell books, and you're right, but if you're in this business to sell a billion copies, you're doing it for the wrong reasons, and you'll end up quitting before you even get started. If you write for yourself first, you're always good enough, because you're the only critic that matters. This question will never be asked by you again. Sure, we want folks to enjoy our writing, and it's okay if that still makes you a little nervous, but don't put so much weight on it that a one star review ruins your whole day and ends up making you question yourself as a writer.

This goes back to: Put out the best version of your book that you can. Give yourself something to be proud of on all levels. If you love it and can stand behind it like you stand behind yourself, you'll be happy whether you sell zero copies or a thousand.

If you don't like something, CHANGE IT.

Am I Strong Enough?

Of course you are. You just have to want it badly enough and not depend on others to bail you out or do it for you (whatever IT may be). When I was in college, I had this amazing professor who changed the way I look at those who give excuses with a simple quote:

"If you want it badly enough, you'll find a way.
If not, you'll find an excuse."

That sums it up. Don't give up on yourself or your dreams. Not ever. If you can't make it happen alone, find someone to help you, but don't begrudge those who don't have the time or resources. Back up and try again. Don't be afraid of failing. In every failure, there's a nugget of golden wisdom you can use to help yourself in the future. Learn from your mistakes, and COVER YOUR OWN ASS beforehand. This, also, is a learned habit.

Yes, you're strong enough if you want to be. Most of all, don't be taken in by the excuses of others. If they wanted it badly enough, they would've made it happen. People will show you this. Be prepared to see, and be strong enough to walk away.

You're strong enough to hold yourself up, but you're not responsible for shouldering the burdens of others.

Can I Do It?

If you devote yourself to it, 100%, with no excuses along the way, you can do anything you put your mind to. Don't take no for an answer. Back up, regroup, and try a different path. Always be willing to morph and bend if you need to, but don't let folks walk all over you, and do NOT try the same thing in the same way and expect a different result. Eisenstein said it best:

If you do the same thing in the same way and expect a different result, that's the definition of insanity.

Don't be insane! Change something! Try again! Don't let anyone use the word can't in your presence. Be an advocate for the things you believe in.

Listen, life is going to throw you some serious curve balls along the way. It'll feed your doubt monster the cookies they love so they grow stronger and whisper louder in your ear, beating you down.

When you have a success, no matter how small it may seem, congratulate yourself. Pat yourself on the back, and be your own biggest cheerleader. Make it a big deal. You made that soup? Well, then, it's the best damned soup that'll ever be made. You learned a new skill or had a new idea? Celebrate that. Even if it's with yourself.

You don't need the validation of others; you only need the validation of the person that's been with you from the moment you were born and will be with you until the day you die: YOU. So, yes, you can do it.


I'm a work in progress, too, but I'm living every day by the words above and have been for years. Doubt creeps in, but learning how to combat it is half the battle, and I'm totally winning the war.

You're responsible for your own happiness, and you're NOT responsible for ANYone else's happiness. You also can't change them; they have to be willing to change themselves. Surround yourself with those that understand this and appreciate it, those upstanding people who are also happy, and be good to them.

The benefits to all these things will be unbelievably amazing.

Work hard, play hard, and find your love for yourself.

Do you ever fight with things like this? Got any nuggets of wisdom to share?

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


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ozarks Indie Book Fest in One Week - Plus a Ticket Sale

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today, let's talk about OIBF! Eep! Get your clicking fingers ready, and let's get going!

Ozarks Indie Book Fest is having its inaugural event starting on Thursday, October 19, 2017, and running through Sunday, October 22, 2017!

There's a ton of awesome stuff planned, and you can find the full schedule on the OIBF website here. See any names you recognize on there?

Of course you do!

Our weekend will kick off with a keynote speech by the one and only Christina Benjamin, and then the fun shall begin with treasure hunt fliers being passed out! This treasure hunt includes several of the attending authors, and readers will get to seek out the authors during the signings, Friday and Saturday, and quiz them to find out what to put on the paper. A huge gift basket full of goodies is up for grabs.

Saturday opens with a keynote speech from the always awesome BJ Sheldon before readers swarm the signing hall!

Want to be one of those readers?

Use the code oibf2017
on this link for $15 off a two-day ticket! 

That's right, two day passes are just $20! With the single day passes being $10, and no t-shirt or bag being included, this is one HELL of a steal. With your twenty bucks, you get entry into the keynote speeches, all the panels, entry into the signing hall, entry into the Saturday night awards program, and both of these goodies:

That bag is FULL of alllll kinds of author stuff. Wow, am I right?

Plus, you get to listen to my keynote speech Saturday morning, and you'll get to come to the princess party Friday evening from 5-6:30pm! Three of the War and Pieces ~ Frayed Fairy Tale authors will be there! We have a ton of cool games and prizes for you all.

At the awards, you can dress up as your favorite book character. That's right, it's a COSTUME PARTY! Huzzah! So very fun, and so close to Halloween, you can reuse your costume to go trick-or-treating just a week and a half later.

You know you wanna come, so get to clicking that link!

Drop a comment in below if you're coming and will see me, and I'll have a special prize waiting for you at my table. ;)

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


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Utterances Available for Pre-order Soon!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! So, last week was all jacked up. I had a blog post I started on Wednesday, and I got so into my own head, I quit writing it and just stared at it until today--when I deleted it and decided to post this instead. Don't ask. There's certainly more of that tendency to dwell or hem and haw over a blog post than a novel for me. *shrugs* I have no idea why. Might be because I want to bring you all things that are relevant and helpful. Anyway, today, I'm gonna give you the release date for my upcoming book and rehash all the details I've provided so far (including excerpts).

Ready? Let's get going!

Title: Utterances
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Paranormal Coming-of-Age
Length: 77k words
Release Date: 12/10/2017 (will be $2.99)
Pre-order date: 10/13/2017 (will be $0.99)

Simone spent the last two years by her cancer-ridden mother’s bedside. Taking care of her was the number one priority. When Mom suddenly goes into full remission, Simone is left bobbing in an unfamiliar ocean with a young man named Tristan. What happens next is the stuff of fairy tales—and nightmares.

Shocking, heart-wrenching, and insightful, Utterances will make you question everything you thought you knew about self-sacrifice. Award-winning author Jo Michaels pulls reality and the paranormal together in a way never before seen, intensely examining what we call the human condition by diving into the innermost workings of one young lady’s mind.

Sneak Peeks (unedited):


“…and they lived happily ever after.” Simone closed the book and lifted her eyes to her mother’s still form.
Deathly white and blue.
Breathing shallow and erratic.
Tubes sprouted from her arms and neck, and the machines in the room kept up a steady beeping as though trying to create a beautiful melody amid the morbidity of the place.
Yvette was going to die. After fighting so long, the cancer eating her once vibrant body would complete its deadly feast and release her from the pain.
Simone’s eyes watered, and she stood to leave for the evening, eager to wash off the antiseptic scent clinging to her clothes and hair. Carefully, she placed the book of fairy tales in her bag, whispered a promise of something better to read next time as she kissed her mother on the forehead, and shut the door softly.

Chapter 1

Banging ensued as bags were carried through the door and dropped in the foyer on the threadbare mat. Yvette spun around with her arms extended, nearly knocking photos off the walls. “It’s so good to be home.”
Simone laughed. “It’s good to have you home.”
They embraced, and the woman kissed the top of her daughter’s head. “I never thought I’d see this musty old apartment again, that’s for sure.” “Me either.”
Sniffling, Yvette let go, took a step back, and put her hands on her hips. “I forgot how dismal it is. At least you managed to keep it clean.”
“Of course I did. I’m not a slob. You raised me better than that.” Simone winked and pulled two slim, red, plastic containers out of her purse. “How about you get the movies ready while I order the pizza.”
While her mother danced and whistled her way across the living room, Simone carried the bags down the hall, put them in the master bedroom, and slipped into her own room, shutting the door behind her. Carefully, she pulled the old book out of her bag and ran her fingers over the infinity symbol’s embossed edges. She then slipped the thick tome under her pillow before picking up the phone and dialing the pizza parlor’s number.
When she made it back to the couch, twenty minutes later, dressed in yoga pants and a tank top, she was much more relaxed.
Yvette patted the cushion. “Sit by me. Did you get the pizza ordered?”
Simone nodded as she plopped down and stuck her bare feet on the coffee table.
Her mother frowned.
“Have you been putting your nasty toes on my table the whole time I’ve been gone?”
“Mom. Come on. Don’t start on me the first day you’re home.”
One side of her mouth wrinkled back into her cheek a moment before she softened and patted her daughter’s knee. “Okay. You’re right. I shou—”
A knock at the door interrupted the moment.
“I’ll get it. You pour the drinks!” Yvette was off the couch in a fluid movement, ponytail swinging as she bounced toward the entryway.
Simone sighed before pushing off the cushions and heading for the kitchen. As she filled two glasses with ice, tendrils of panic weaved their way up her spine. She checked to make sure her mother was occupied before running down the hall and shoving a hand beneath the pillow, feeling for the book’s leather-bound edges. Satisfied it was there, Simone snuck back up the hall to continue her task—her mind still attached to the feeling of the book on her fingers.

Chapter 14

When the doc finally left, he was as white as his coat and moving fast.
Simone sat on the floor and watched as the fabric billowed in the breeze.
“Alexandra, honey?”
“Yes ma’am! Coming!”
Mrs. Shandy smiled. “Oh, good. I thought you’d done gone and left me!”
“No way, no how. We have a story to finish.” Simone dropped back in the chair, opened the book to where she’d left off, and continued.
That afternoon, she left a little early, with three chapters done, and decided to go to Tristan’s house to surprise him. On her way to Shady Pines, she’d texted him, but hadn’t said she had the evening off. After checking her makeup in the mirror—a new addition to her wardrobe thanks to Mom saying how tired and old her daughter looked, she started the engine and shifted into reverse.
It was twenty minutes before she got to his house, and she started to second-guess herself on the way up the driveway. He’d been off school that day, and she hadn’t pestered him to hang out. If he found out she’d been off work…
His truck was in the driveway, so she parked behind it and got out, suddenly nervous.
As she moved toward the door, she kicked herself for being impulsive. He was sure to ask questions she didn’t have answers to. She knocked three times and waited, a cold sweat breaking out on her forehead and palms.
He opened the door, his eyes got wide, and he stepped out, keeping hold of the handle. “Hey. What are you doing here? I thought you had to work.”
“Well, I knew you were out of school and had the day off work today, so I thought I’d drop by and surprise you.” She smiled, but her hackles rose. Something about the situation wasn’t quite right, yet she couldn’t put her finger on what.
Rather than pull her into a hug, he closed the door and grabbed her arm, guiding her off the porch toward her car. “How about I come to your house in a little while?”
“Um, why can’t we hang out here?” It was getting weirder, and he was being pretty obvious about wanting her to leave.
“My, uh, mom isn’t feeling well, and I wasn’t expecting company.”
She jerked her arm out of his grasp, turned, and sprinted toward the house, throwing open the front door and rushing in, looking everywhere. He was half a step behind her, yelling at her to stop.
A gorgeous, long-legged brunette with barely any clothes on was passed out on the couch, whisky bottle still in her hand. There was only one word to describe her: flawless.
Simone stared, her mouth dropping open. Every fiber of her being went into shock then flew into blind rage. Her world tinted blood red. She rounded on Tristan, spit at him, and bolted.
Words were being shouted at her, but all she could hear was the fury screaming at her to leave and not come back. Ever. Once in the car, she jammed the key into the ignition, turned, shoved the car in reverse, and spun around in a perfect one-eighty. Tears gathering in her eyes made the driveway blurry, but she managed, somehow, to make it to the base of the hill before she had to pull over.
There was another driveway about fifty feet up the road on the opposite side, covered with a lush growth of leafy branches that would hide her car, so she gunned the accelerator and pulled up far enough to avoid being seen. Once sure no one had followed or seen her, she shut off the engine and curled into herself, letting the tears loose. She cried, she screamed, and she beat the steering wheel with her palms until they hurt.

~~~~~~~~~~ End excerpts ~~~~~~~~~

What do you think? Are you excited yet?

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


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What the Hell is an Author Platform, Anyway?

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today, we're gonna talk about that little thing called an author platform. Everyone uses the term, but few take the time to tell you exactly what it is and how to build it. Well, I'll rectify that! Get your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

When you think of a platform, you think of something you can stand on, right? Either to get a better look or to boost you up, support you. It's the same when referring to an author platform; only for authors, this also entails reach, or how loud your voice is in the social sphere.

Your platform is that which you may climb upon and scream a message to the masses that gets heard. Obscure sites don't really count when you're calculating reach--unless those obscure sites have rabid book fans that belong to you and you alone.

Social media sites, personal websites, blogs, and newsletters all add up to author platform, but a couple have more impact for you personally. Here's an example:
  1. Twitter--4k followers
  2. IG--13k followers
  3. Blog--2k subscribers
  4. Website--200 visitors per day
  5. Newsletter--20k subscribers
  6. Quora--2k followers
  7. Facebook Page (public)--4k likes
  8. Facebook Page (personal)--3k friends
  9. LinkedIN--300 connections
  10. Google Plus--2k connections
  11. YouTube Channel--150 subscribers
Now, you're probably looking at that and saying, "Wow. That's an amazing catch of numbers at around 105k!" You'd be right, but let's break it down further. Out of those followers, subscribers, and connections, how many people actually engage with your content?
  1. Twitter--5 to 10
  2. IG--50-60
  3. Blog--20-30
  4. Website--2-4
  5. Newsletter--100-200
  6. Quora--2-4
  7. Facebook Page (public)--2-5
  8. Facebook Page (personal)--20-30
  9. LinkedIN--1-3
  10. Google Plus--2-5
  11. YouTube Channel--50-70
That hit pretty hard, huh? On the lowest number, that took you to 254. Out of 105k. Well, you can break that down even further when you look at sales generated from each method. IG has high likes, but how many true sales?

Your bottom line number is your true platform. For every comment, click through to buy, share, plus one, like, or question asked, that's an engagement, but not a sale. You can't simply count opens of a newsletter--it needs to produce clicks. That's where the value of your platform lies.

As you can see, you need a HUGE platform to get enough sales to make a difference. This is why cross-author promotion is so helpful--but it only helps if your base platform and theirs are interested in the same genre. Imagine doubling or quadrupling those numbers above.

I know, right?

Anyway, I hope this helps to clear some of the fog off that vague "platform" term. When an agent asks about your platform, they wanna know how loud your voice is--they're looking for that second set of numbers.

What number would you say your platform is at?

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


Monday, September 25, 2017

Pre-Formatting Your Book - The Dos and Don'ts Your Formatter Wants You to Know

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'll be talking about something that not many folks discuss: How you should format your word document before you send it off to your formatter for typesetting and digital readiness. Ready? Grab your coffee or tea, a notebook and pen, and let's get going!

I'm just gonna hit you with a couple of lists. Easy peasy.

  • Use "normal" style always.
  • Add some indicator when creating a scene break (most authors I work with use *** for this).
  • Keep it simple. If there's a place you'd like a photo, don't embed it, mark the spot and include the photo with the manuscript.
  • Everything set in one font, and don't use anything that's not standard on a computer. I suggest Times New Roman in 12pt.
  • Use paragraph styles for your indents.
  • Include a title page, copyright page with all relevant info, and author bio page at the end.
  • Break your pages between chapters ONLY. Use Ctrl (or Cmnd) + Enter (or Return).
  • If you have a section you want set in a special way, note it in BOLD and use [brackets]. Tell your formatter beforehand that it's there. 
  • Title all your chapters the same way (whatever you want the end result to be: Chapter 1, Chapter One, Ch1, etc...).
  • Do not use tabs (see above note on paragraph styles).
  • No LARGE or special fonts. This will get stripped out anyway.
  • Don't hit enter a bunch of times between chapters to force the next one down.
  • Don't just add extra carriage returns between scene breaks. This looks like a mistake and could be removed on accident by your formatter.
  • Nothing fancy. Your MS should just be words on the page.
  • Do NOT use TABS. Yeah, it bears repeating.
  • Don't make assumptions that the formatter will know anything you intended in your head. Give them instructions. Be specific if your book calls for special treatment.
  • No colored fonts, please.
  • No wingdings or emoticons. If you want a smiley, let the formatter know in the email where you attach your manuscript.
If you follow these guidelines, it'll speed up production of your book tenfold. Special things the formatter misses the first time around causes a re-do, and it just leaves you both stressed.

I hope this helps in some small way. Your formatter is there to make your dreams a reality. They're the ones that polish your baby before you show it to your friends, family, and the world. Help them help you!

If you're looking for formatting services, take a gander at IBGW.

Are you guilty of any of these?

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


Friday, September 22, 2017

Barnes and Noble Yanks Books - Smashwords Offers Solution

Happy Thursday, everyone! Well, what an interesting month it's been, eh? Let's get to the publishing news, just in case you haven't seen it. Strap in, grab your coffee, and let's get going!

Over the last month or so, B&N has pulled several Indie erotica titles off their platform. Authors who were hybrid experienced an interesting effect when their Indie titles dropped off, but their publisher titles stayed up. What are they worried about? Well, if you caught my post from a while back that tackled the subject of what content would be allowed in books, you'll know. If you missed it, take a look here.

So, it seems the taboo topics are under fire. Namely:  Age play, bestiality, dubious consent, incest or pseudo-incest, non-consensual sexual slavery, rape for titillation, underage, snuff, scat, necrophilia.

Some of those have "never" been allowed.

Or have they?

According to the Smashwords blog, few retailers will take incest or pseudo-incest, and iBooks won't take them at all.

I beg to differ. After a quick search on B&N, I found the time-honored (even made into a movie) Flowers in the Attic series. I read that series. Not only do the children locked in the attic (the elder brother and sister) experience a coming-of-age sexual happening, but their mother slept with her uncle to conceive said children (which is why the grandmother wanted the kiddos to disappear). Sorry for the spoiler for those of you that haven't read it and had planned to.

Once I checked that out, I went over to iBooks. Guess what?

Yeah. There it is, but iBooks doesn't take books with incest in them?

By the way, it's also available on Amazon.

Doesn't it seem an awful lot like it's just Indie published books that are being targeted? Why not yank V. C. Andrews' books from those same platforms? If there's a taboo topic, she covered it. I've read several of her series, and MANY of them have incest happening across all arms of the family.

Guess what else? There are no "warnings" of sensitive material on ANY of those.

But JO! Those are referring to EROTICA titles.

Are they? Now, since the Great Blocking of Indies, if your book is erotica or not, you have to say whether you used one of those taboo topics. Yeah, even for sci-fi or paranormal.


Do the publishers get to skirt all that? They do. It's obvious by what I've shown above. I'm positive there are others.

Smashwords is trying to provide a solution for Indies and restore trust with their retailers. Read about it on their latest blog post here, which is where the list of taboo topics above came from.

But, the bottom line is, Smashwords shouldn't have to. It's getting out of hand, and something needs to change.

If you publish fiction with one of the taboo topics listed above, please go update your books on Smashwords. It's now part of their ToS, and if you're caught not labeling them, you'll be banned from using them as a distributor.


Can you name a trad pubbed book with one of the above topics?

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


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Is it Wrong to Expect Readers to be Active Participants in the Story?

Happy Thursday! Today, we're gonna talk about description, how it might impact the reader, and what authors might or might not expect from the consumer. Ready? Grab your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

So, I'm on the phone yesterday with an author friend of mine, and we got into talking about what we expect from our readers. Both of us agreed that we write with the assumption that the person picking up the book has a brain and understands the basics of the world they live in.

For example: If you say someone walks into a bedroom, do you need to write out to the reader that there's a bed, or is that something you can expect them to infer by telling them it's a bedroom?

Several writers will go into great detail about the room's furniture, but those machinations are usually reserved for the times that it matters, right? Say, if there's something "off" about the decor, or if the bed is an antique and should be admired for a moment. Even if the scene calls for a description to tell the reader it's a male's room or a sex cave, that's okay. But if the character is just walking into a bedroom, is it really necessary to bog the reader down with minute details right off the bat?

Here are some other ways to work those details into the story without having an information dump--again, unless the character is actively admiring, or scrutinizing, the decor:
  • As the person is active in the room, they run their hands over things like the brocade on the chaise lounge.
  • When they tell someone else to sit, it could be noted they made the choice of where to place the person based on potential comfort level.
  • If the character lies on the bed naked, the satin sheets could feel cool on the skin.
  • While they're being made to wait, they can then notice one thing about the room and scrutinize it to give their brain a distraction.
There are several ways of describing a room's contents without going into infodump mode, as you can see above. Unless you're actively trying to slow the story down, is it really necessary to tell the reader everything that's in a common room (bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, etc...)?

I think, perhaps, we should give our readers a little credit and assume they have brains in their heads. If I read that someone is sitting at the bar in the kitchen, I have a pretty good idea of what that room will look like.

I've gone into description and when it's useful in this post, and I went into how to paint the scene in this post. If you're looking to heighten tension with description, here's a post I wrote a while back that breaks it down (this post also compares showing and telling).

What do you think? Do you expect a more active participation from your readers, or do you spoon feed them all the things?

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


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Writing Sprints - What and How

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today's post is informational. If you already know what writing sprints are and how to do them, then feel free to scroll on down to the bottom for the 411 part. For those of you that aren't familiar with sprints, let's get going!

With NaNoWriMo only a month and a half away, authors are gearing up to write furiously for the thirty days of November by plotting their novels and planning how to write 50k words.

Writing sprints are a solution! What's a writing sprint? Well, let's go into that.

A writing sprint is when you write as many words as you can in a set amount of time. Usually, they're set up like so and are done on some form of social media so everyone can comment their word count:
  1. You find a group of authors willing to sprint.
  2. Someone volunteers to be timekeeper.
  3. You set an amount of time (usually 15-30 minutes).
  4. Whoever the timekeeper is tells everyone to GO and starts the timer.
  5. Everyone writes like crazy people.
  6. Timekeeper posts STOP and requests word counts from participants (and posts their own).
  7. There's a five to ten minute resting period, and it happens again.
  8. Whoever has the most words gets a huge thumbs up (there are no prizes usually).
  9. It repeats for one to two hours (usually--I've seen folks do three or four).
That's it. So easy, right? I've seen people log upwards of 6k words during these sprints, so I know they work. Your word count isn't really the target. This is to get you writing, to get words on the page. Progress is progress.

So, to make it a little easier to sprint, I created a group over on FB. It's kinda quiet, but I'm hoping that will change--I have big plans for that group!

If you'd like to join up, here's the linky: Writing Sprints Group on Facebook

I hope to see you there!

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


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CRAY-Z Weeks - Updates and Such

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Holy crow, what a nutty few weeks it's been. Today's post is just a little what-not about what's been going on and why the blog has been so everloving silent. Ready? Grab your coffee (or tea), and let's get going!

So, after my London trip, I know you've noticed things have been rather quiet around here. It's hard to get back into the groove after being bombarded on all sides by people, but that wasn't the only issue. My husband was overly stressed, and he had to travel to another state to be with his father in his last few days.

Let me tell you what, trying to concentrate on anything when you wish you were with someone you love while they're going through a hard time isn't easy. I'd just come "down" from the overseas trip, and I thought I was ready to get back on the pony, when all this started.

Sad to say, my father-in-law took his last breath on September 11. I jumped right on a plane, and just returned home Saturday. Now, I sit here, wondering if I'm going to be able to get back on my schedule. I believe I'll be tweaking it today and starting fresh tomorrow. Some things worked, and others, not so much. But you never know until you try! I did well for a month or two, but a couple of things just weren't given enough time (like my blog), and I found myself scrambling to get it done in the short time I'd allotted. If you have suggestions for new topics, drop them in here.

That all changes this week. If you've been following me a while, you'll know I have two events at the end of October. I'll TRY to post during that week I'm on the road, but I'm making no promises. Keep up with my Facebook page, because I intend to have live video happening when I do my keynote speech. Yeah, it won't be me manning my device, but I promise it'll be live--October 20 at around 9am EST. WHEEEEEEEEE!!

On another note, Utterances is about 20-25k from being complete. That story is draining as hell. Very emotional. I'm gonna try like hell to have it out before Christmas. Send me good vibes! LOL!

One upside to all of this is that my road trip is with another author, Tia Bach, so we'll probably spend a good amount of time writing in the evenings. Maybe even plot new novels together. How exciting would that be? *grin*

As for events, these are my last for a lonnnnnng time. I'm only doing Roanoke Author Invasion next year, so if you wanna see me, you'll have to either come to OIBF or GLBB this year, or RAI next year. After that, I'm giving it a rest for a while and getting back to what I do best: WRITING.

November is NaNo month, and I'm planning to get back on my serial killer novel then. Anyone else going to write all the words that month?

Drop your NaNo name in the comments, and I'll give you a friend request/follow before then. Or, you can friend me here.

Well, I've chatted your ears off long enough. Time to get to revamping my schedule! That's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Great Lakes Book Bash 2017 Ticket Sale

Happy Saturday! Now, you know I wouldn't be bugging you folks on the weekend unless it was really important, right? If you're planning to attend GLBB in October of this year, you'll want to read this! Ticket prices are insanely low! Get your clicking fingers ready, and get going!

 ✬✬✬ ➡ TICKET SALE ⬅ ✬✬✬

Are you planning on attending Great Lakes Book Bash this October? Have you purchased your VIP tickets yet? Single day tickets?

Take advantage of our FINAL ticket sale of the year to save 50% off your purchase.

That makes your VIP ticket only $10!!!

VIP tickets gets you…
* A GLBB 2017 tote bag
* Admission to the event on Friday
* Admission to the informational sessions on Friday
* EARLY admission to the event on Saturday

Ticket link:

Discount Code: BOOK

Sale price only valid 9/2-9/4/17.

Great Lakes Book Bash
October 27 & 28, 2017
Radisson Plaza Hotel
Kalamazoo, MI

For more information visit

Attending Authors…

Abigail Grey
A.D. Saddler
Alora Kate
Amazeballs Book Addicts – 2017 OFFICIAL GLBB SPONSOR
Anjela Renee
Anna Reanult
Becca Vincenza
Bev Davis
CC Dragon
Charles Stern
Christina L. Barr
City and Book
Cover Me, Darling – 2017 OFFICIAL GLBB SPONSOR
D.B. James
Deedle Miyares
Delphina Henley
Diana Plopa
Donald Levin
Dora Badger
Elisabeth Popolow
Elizabeth Meyette
Ellie Wade
Emily Goodwin
Emma Shade
G.S. Scott
Heather Mullins
Indie Books Gone Wild
Janet Brown
Jen Cousineau
Jennifer Friess
Jimmy Leonard
✬✬✬ Jo Michaels ✬✬✬
Kacey Hammell
Kathy Coopmans
Kelsey Fox
K.L. Roth
KS Adkins
Kyleigh Castronaro
Linda K Sienkiewicz
Lindee Robinson Photography
Mark Love
Meg Farrell
Melanie Jayne
Melissa Keir
Misty Provencher
M.R. Polish – 2017 GLBB Keynote Speaker
N.J. Ember
Rachael Brownell – 2017 GLBB HOSTESS
Sanzaki Kojika
Samantha Cole
Sara Fiorenzo
Sarah Grimm
S.E. Brown
S.E. Summa
SF Benson
SJ Maylee
Skye Falcon
Stacey Rourke
Sylvia Hubbard
Sylvia Stein
Terri George
Tia Silverthorne Bach
Victoria Scott
Zoe Blake

As you can see, I'll be there! LOL! Will I see you?

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


Thursday, August 31, 2017

99 Cent Sale - All Three Books in the SoulTracker Series

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm telling you all about a wonderful deal on a boxed set by a lovely lady, T. G. Ayer. Get those clicking fingers ready, and let's get going!

99 cents for now! Grab it here!

About the books:

Title(s): Blood Magic, Demon Kin, and Blood Curse
Author: T. G. Ayer
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fiction
Length (print): ~668 pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle $0.99


If you hear a bump in the night, you'd better stay under your covers. In the DarkWorld it may not be something you'd like to meet.

Problem is, the creatures of your imagination aren't sticking to night's shadows anymore. They are everywhere; the people you work with, your teachers, even your friends. And they've been living that way for a long time.

You haven't noticed because they don't want you to.

You're much better off not asking any questions.

Unfortunately for Mel Morgan, master teleporter. She asks too many questions.

Mel Morgan is a Master Teleporter. She can move through the Veil into the otherworldly planes. A handy skill when looking for missing people. It’s a lonely job, but with her gargoyle partner she’s never minded lonely.

Until a certain super-hot Djinn walks into her life. He needs her help to find someone he loves. And Mel can never say no to someone in need. But the road to helping Saleem is fraught with secrets better left uncovered.

Can Mel and Saleem dodge demons and sorcerers long enough to save the ones they love?

When a business tycoon hires Mel Morgan to find his missing daughter, the SoulTracker is thrown headlong into twists and turns of unexpected deaths and unusual killers. But to find the girl in time to save her, she has to first understand the killer. Demonic or human killers? Mel can't decide which will be worse.

Things get a little complicated when she has to help find both a Panther Alpha's mother, and a reluctant Djinn Queen. Add to the mix an evil spirit plus her mentor Samuel sending her terrifying messages in the Ether. Save him, or else.

It's just all in a days work for a SoulTracker.

Mel's journey continues down dark paths as she is forced to find who put the curse on her. The closer she gets to the one responsible the more her health deteriorates and the worse the evil behaves.

Mel has to battle loneliness, illness and despair . . .

As well as fend of the evil dead.


What are you waiting for? Go get it!

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


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

London, Paris, and Chapter.Con

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Wow, was it ever an amazing week. Yeah, I'm gonna talk about a "few" (haha) things that happened, but I'm also gonna share photos. Not sure I've ever walked that much in my life, and I had a ton of experiences I'll never forget. Ready? Grab your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

I apologize in advance for the long post. So much happened. Not even sure I'll be able to do all this in one day, but I'm gonna try. If it says Tuesday up top, but it's actually Wednesday, ignore, please. hahaha!

Here we go!

As most of you know, I turned forty back at the end of July. Well, my husband and I decided we'd celebrate my birthday by running around Europe and attending Chapter.Con. Here was our itinerary:
  • Fly out at 9pm
  • Land at around 10am, check into the hotel and get settled
  • Tour Buckingham Palace and have afternoon tea at 1:30pm
  • Eat at a London farm-to-table restaurant at 5pm
  • Go on Jack the Ripper walking tour at 7pm
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by 11pm
  • Board Eurostar to Paris at 7am
  • Tour the Louvre at 11:30am
  • Explore Paris a bit
  • Dinner at Chez Francis at 6:30pm
  • Tour Eiffel tower at 9:45pm
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by midnight
  • Tour Notre Dame at 10am
  • Tour Versailles at 2pm
  • Board Eurostar to London at 9pm
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by 11pm
  • Best of London tour at 8:30am - Included St. Peter's, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham, Tower of London, Greenwich, and the London Eye
  • Have food at a local pub
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by 11pm
  • Tour Shakespeare's Globe Theater at 11am
  • Watch production of King Lear at 2pm
  • Unofficial meetup for Chapter.con attendees at the Hogarth pub at 7:30pm
  • Dinner nearby
  • Back in bed by midnight
  • Chapter.con at 8am
  • Did a little self-guided walking pub tour and had dinner at a pub
  • Film screening for the Lovely Witches Club at 7:30/8pm
  • Back in bed by midnight
  • Chapter.con at 9am
  • Public signing
  • Butterfly ball at 8pm
  • Back in bed by midnight
  • Fly out at noon
  • Land at 5pm
As you can see, we did a lot, and we saw a LOT, but it was absolutely amazing. I think we probably walked around thirty miles during our trip, but we're both in pretty decent shape now, so it wasn't too bad. Here are a few photos of our running around things (yes, we're a bit goofy sometimes):

Now, I want to talk about Chapter.con. I have so many things to say about this event, so try and be patient with me, please.

On day one, I wasn't sure what to expect. I set up my table with all the required things: books, sample booklets, swag, etc... But then, I didn't know what else to do until the keynote speaker, so my husband and I mingled and chatted with folks.

Opening the day was keynote speaker Samantha Young. She'd come all the way from Ireland, was so inspiring, and her story was so genuine. I loved when she teared up because of something a fan had said to her. It made her feel as though I could relate to her and showed her humanity in a very vulnerable way. After she spoke, we started the panels. There were so many people there that I didn't know, it was a little intimidating. I'm one of those people who will come over and shake your hand, but inside I'm totally cringing, wondering if you're going to reject me right away or listen too intently to my words and dislike me later--I have strong opinions, and I tend to voice them loudly (as you all know). It's strange being in a place where no one has heard of me or knows what I do. I get a very out-of-my-comfort-zone feeling.

But I met some of the most interesting people. Folks I'd known online for a long time, like Sophia Valentine (who arrived on day two), were there, but most of the people I'd never had much interaction with, if any. Let me tell you what, my fears were unfounded. Everyone was fabulous. There were people from all over Europe, yet I felt right at home. These folks instantly became forever friends, and we had a number of good laughs and some more serious discussions about books and publishing.

It was amazing.

Day two brought forth the fans and some of the other folks I was SO looking forward to meeting in real life. Gaynor Smith (from SASS and IBGW) and Chillie Martindale (from SASS) were there, and I had some real time to chat with the lovely ladies on Katie's Chapter.con team. Catherine Stine was the keynote speaker, and I learned several new things about her! What an interesting lady. Her bio could be 5k pages long, and it still wouldn't be enough.

By the time the Butterfly Ball rolled around, I was feeling one-hundred-percent at home and comfortable.

Even with the intimate number of people (authors, readers, etc...), there were several I didn't have a lot of time to speak with and wish I'd had more.

Then, something amazing happened, I won an award. It wasn't just any old award, and it wasn't an award for anything I'd written. No, this award was for the person who gives of themselves to the writing community, the person who goes above and beyond to help anyone in need, without expectation of anything in return but a smile. It was for the Most Inspiring Community Leader.

To say my surprise was genuine is an understatement. You see, I'd been lobbying for someone else to win that award. And I'd lobbied HARD. Why? Because she totally deserved it. Besides, I'm used to being nominated and not winning, so I wasn't gearing up for a big "holy crap, I won" type of speech. This led to me rushing up and grabbing the thing and running away like I'd been lit on fire. My words were stolen. I'm a little mortified, to be honest.

Now, I sit and look at that award, and I'm so tempted to put it in a drawer where I can't see it, so I don't give up or slow down in my efforts. I find that, oftentimes, human nature works against us, and when we win something huge, we tend to say, "Okay, that's it. I've done enough."

I sit here and tell myself, it's never enough. There's always someone out there in need of a helping hand. If I quit, will someone else step in? I'd hope so, but I'm not one to take that risk. Besides, it wouldn't be fair to expect someone to shoulder ALL of that alone.

I'm beyond humbled.

So, as I look back with fondness and tears welling in my eyes, I also have a heart filled with hope and joy for what the future will bring with all these lovely new people in my life. They're amazing individuals. If you ever have a chance to be groundbreaking and get in on something that will give you a lot of personal time with new authors, don't turn it down. Do everything in your power to make it happen. To attend years beyond the first isn't the same as being there when it all begins.

I hope you've all enjoyed my little post, and if you're new, welcome to the blog! I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better!

There are so many people I didn't mention above, but you're all in my memories and in my Facebook life! Depend on me stalking the ever-loving crap out of you!

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