Link of the Week – Click To Tweet

September 27, 2016

twitter-bird-1366218_960_720In this digital age, authors and entrepreneurs are tasked with marketing themselves on social media. Love it or hate it, Twitter is a big part of our society. In our community of authors, we often request that our peers throw us a bone and tweet about our latest book, a discounted price, a giveaway, or other general news. But even when we create the perfect tweet to share, our peers have to take the time to go to their accounts to do the sharing, meaning they just might not do it.

There is an easier way. Click to Tweet is so simple, there really is no excuse for not sharing. At Click to Tweet, write a tweet and the site will generate a clickable link. Once someone clicks the link, it will share your tweet to their Twitter status box. It literally takes mere seconds. Click to Tweet also tracks the activity of the link, too.

For giggles, here’s one for you to try.

http://ctt.ec/2s0rO

See…super easy! And thanks for the share!

https://clicktotweet.com/


Link of the Week – Be Paid for It, Yo

November 24, 2015

A few weeks ago, actor and cool guy, Wil Wheaton, wrote an article about the seven things he did to reboot his life. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome. And, the Huffington Post thought so, too. So much so, they wanted to repost it…for free. *snort*Depositphotos_21902879_l-2015

Today’s Link of the Week is his response—which is also pretty freakin’ awesome—to the online news aggregator’s suggestion that exposure outweighed compensation.

http://wilwheaton.net/2015/10/you-cant-pay-your-rent-with-the-unique-platform-and-reach-our-site-provides/

P.S. You are worth it.


Link Of The Week- Let Your Fingers Do The Talking!

May 27, 2014

Do you know how to type? What is you WPM? (words per minute) You don’t know?

Try out these sites- they have tests, free courses and games to improve your accuracy and speed! This is an essential skill to being a writer. If you can’t type very well or you make a ton of mistakes, you’ve lost quality time creating. Enjoy!Typewriters

 

 

 

http://www.goodtyping.com/test.php

http://www.typeonline.co.uk/typingspeed.php

http://play.typeracer.com/


Cherry Popping and Fizzle

May 22, 2014

Song of the Day: Shine by Sevendust

My cherry has been popped and I can’t help but feel, well, screwed. Last week, I attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. I’m no longer a RT virgin. Don’t get me wrong. I had an AMAZING time. The workshops, panels, socials, and meeting readers, had palpable energy and excitement, and all in the heart of New Orleans. It was crazy, fantastic. (Pictures of shenanigans coming soon!) I’m looking forward to attending again next year in Dallas.

SI ExifBeing a reader’s convention, I attended to meet and connect with readers. And I met some wonderful readers both young and old. But one of the focuses involving readers is the Giant Book Fair. This is where I feel cheated.

Let me explain. The Book Fair was split up into two rooms—one for the traditionally published and one for the digital first, small press and indie authors, such as myself. In a way, the separation made business sense because of administration. The traditional published books fall into the returnable category, meaning books sold could be returned to a bookstore—in this case Barnes & Noble, being the bookstore handling the fair. The indie, small press, digital first authors were selling their books on consignment. So in one room, B&N handled the sales, while in the other room the sales were handled by RT staff. I had no real beef with the set-up except that it made for long, nightmarish check-out lines for readers.

Call me naive, but the separation of authors didn’t become apparent to me until I actually arrived at RT and looked at the brochure. Being a virgin, I didn’t immediately recognize the problem. Not until the first few minutes of the signing did it become painfully clear.

From my vantage at my itty bitty table space, I could see hordes of people being ushered into the “main” ballroom, stuffing them in, really. No one, save a few friends and business associates, meandered into our room.

It was awkward. It was dismal. Questions of failure and suckiness flitted through my mind (and I wasn’t the only one). But not more than the shitty feeling of insignificance. This was compounded by the constant announcements reminding readers to visit the indie room, and the ill-informed volunteer who, bless her heart, explained to readers which ballroom to find the traditional authors and which to find the “aspiring authors”. Yeah…  I’ll let that sink in. It was even suggested (IE announced overhead) the indie authors needed to be patient as we wanted it that way, meaning we chose consignment thereby choosing separation.

So for 3+ hours, potential new readers and fans never made it to my table. Or by the time they drifted in, they’d spent their money in the other room. Frustration and disappointment abounded.RT book signing

The money spent on any conference or convention—registrations, travel, meals, incidentals and dollars spent on promo and swag—will garner no ROI, return on investment. It’s a truth. What I do expect from a readers convention is connecting with fans and discoverability. Hard to do when relegated to the kiddie table.

So what’s the solution? I’ve heard many opinions. One suggestion was to separate authors by genres only, not publishing criteria, making it easier for readers of that genre to find books they’d love. They do it with YA, after all. Another suggestion was to have the traditional published books and the consignment books held at different book fair time slots. And yet another approach I’ve heard several times is to have consignment authors sell their book directly from their table using a mobile point-of-sale tool like Square. I, personally, don’t like the idea of using a Square. From a consumer standpoint, I wouldn’t want to do this kind of buying with every author I’d want to purchase from. Human nature dictates that I’d feel like I’m spending a lot of money and I’d limit myself. All these ideas have their pros and cons, and they ultimately still separate the authors.

There doesn’t seem to be one right way that wouldn’t be without problems. But perhaps a page could be taken from the Romance Writers of America’s literacy book signing. It’s alphabetical regardless of how the authors are published, all the authors are in one room, and all payments are handled by the staff. Surely a compromise in payment administrations could be reached.

All that said, I wholeheartedly appreciate the hard work put in by RT volunteers, staff and organizers. With 700 signing authors and swarms of readers, pulling off the book fair was no easy feat. Let’s just hope lessons are learned and faulty judgment are not repeated. Otherwise, my cherry may find somewhere else to get love.

Thoughts? Comments?


It’s Pitch Day! Holly Atkinson with Samhain is our guest editor!

April 19, 2014

UPDATE:

There were only six viable pitches for Holly this editor shop. I’ll be sending them on directly to her, and I’ll send any authors whose pitch made it in an e-mail.

Thanks for participating, Happy Easter, and good luck to the lucky ones who made it in.

GO!!!

It’s been a while since our last pitch session!

Welcome everyone. Holly will be here tomorrow to look at the pitches that make it through today.

Remember to read the rules before you pitch. I really don’t like deleting pitches for foolish mistakes, but rules are rules. If you look back at past Agent/Editor Shops, I do delete if you don’t follow the guidelines. Even for something as simple as going over the pitch word count by a word.

SO now that that’s out of the way. Please wait to send your pitches in when you see the word go posted at the top of this post in big green letters! If you send it before that, I will delete it. I’ll post the word go around 10:00 am EST.

While you’re waiting, check out one of Holly’s authors:

ORIGIN by Dani Worth

Origin72lg

In the race for freedom—and love—there’s no holding back.

The Kithran Regenesis, Book 4 

After fourteen torturous years as a slave on a galaxy roving entertainment ship, Siri carries only vague memories of parents who loved her, Gwinarian food, and her beautiful home planet of Kithra.

When two space pirates burst into her owner’s room, the choice they offer her is all too easy: stay and face government questioning about the two intruders, or take a chance and go with them.

Claybourne and Anders had planned to help expose the pleasure ship owner’s involvement in Kithra’s destruction. But when they happen upon Siri, saving one of the last—and most beautiful—of the Gwinarian race takes precedence. 

Siri tastes freedom long denied…and temptation to succumb to the deep sexual tension vibrating between her and her two liberators. Clay and Anders take pleasure in letting her take the lead in rediscovering the power of intimacy. 

But there are more secrets to uncover, and Siri senses that the closer they come to the truth, the closer she comes to the most painful choice of all—to let her pirate lovers go.

Warning: Sexy human space pirates. An acerbic-tongued crew. A beautiful wounded alien woman. M/M/F sparks galore, and interplanetary intrigue.

Links:

Where to buy:

Samhain

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Find Dani at:

Website

Twitter

Good luck to everyone pitching today!

Candi


Best Practices for EBook Publishing with Mark Coker of Smashwords

August 7, 2013

Song of the Day: Prayer of the Refugee by Rise Against

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a workshop hosted by Northwest Houston RWA, my local Romance Writers of America chapter. The speaker, Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.

Now this is not the first time I’ve met Mark, nor the first time I’ve listened to him speak. But I couldn’t wait to hear him talk again. He has a very impressionable way with understanding the world of eBook self-publishing.

With his permission, I’m going to relay the notes I took from his talk on the best practices for publishing an eBook.

photo (22)

Mark and Jenn!

1. Write a fantastic book. Honor the reader with a great story and satisfy them by moving them to an emotional extreme. It doesn’t stop there. Make sure you are fanatical about the entire process, including the editing and packaging.

2. Create a great cover. The cover is not only the first impression on the path to discovery, but a promise to the reader. Use a professional cover artist, or, if you plan to do the cover yourself, make sure the cover is comparable to what New York publishers produce. Make sure your cover targets your audience. The cover is merchandised as a thumbnail. It should look great in that size.

3. A no-brainer, but warrants repeating. Write another super awesome book.

4. Give some books away for free. By doing this, you eliminate the financial risk new readers face. Free books builds awareness and trust. This especially works well for books of a series. If you have a series, at least one book should be free, even if for a little while.

5. Patience, it’s a virtue. Retailers force books out of print before they have a chance because new books are kept on the shelves for only a few short weeks. Most don’t have an opportunity to gain an audience, much less a fan base. EBooks are immortal…and changeable.

6. Maximize availability—don’t be exclusive. Play the field, play with everyone. If you are exclusive, you limit discoverability and become dependent on the site of the exclusivity. Oh, and by the way, retailers see no stigma in self-published books.

7. Build a platform. The larger your platform, the more power you have over your career. Connecting with readers becomes a form of currency. There is no single right way to do this. Use all the social media tools you feel comfortable with. Have a newsletter. Some will want to connect using blogs, but it is difficult to gain readership this way. However, once you do, they are yours for life. And here’s a biggie, offer a way for readers to connect with you at the end of your book, aside from your website. It simply makes sense, but is often overlooked.

smashwords style guide

Free! Click cover for your copy!

8. Architect for “virality”. “Spread the germ.” Get your fans talking about you. Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful way to discoverability. Book marketing is always going to stem from word-of-mouth. Utilize viral catalysts that makes your books more accessible, discoverable, desirable, and enjoyable—story, cover, title, editing, targeting right audience, book description, pricing, broad distribution, formatting, proper categorization, just to name a few. Eliminate the friction that limits the catalysts (think exclusivity, lacking cover, bad editing, etc.).

9. Unit volume is a lever for success. Every book sale has two benefits: money and a new readers. The latest survey conducted by Smashwords indicated that $1.99 was a black hole, not performing as well as higher priced units, and $3.99 was the current sweet spot for all genres. Proper pricing can maximize money made and the amount of readers. Keep in mind lower priced units will sell more units, and higher priced units will sell fewer, but the lower priced units under-perform as income and higher priced units will get you more readers. Of course, experience may vary and it is encouraged to play around with pricing to find what works best for your book.

smashwords marketing guide

Free! Click the cover for your copy!

10. Don’t worry about piracy. Obscurity is the bigger risk. Those stealing your books weren’t going to buy your book to begin with. Who knows, you may even gain a super reader out of it. Most piracy is accidental—a lending of a book, picking up a book at a garage sale, etc. This type of discoverability is effective and cheap! The best way to combat piracy is to make your book easier to purchase than steal. This goes back to distributing broadly and pricing fairly. And it doesn’t hurt to add a polite license statement in the book. (See Smashwords’ example in their style guide.)

11. Take advantage of Pre-orders. This will be available soon through all distributors. In short, list your book for sale before it officially hits the virtual shelves. Allow a sample to be downloaded. It is highly suggested books should be completely ready before listing it as a pre-order. Some retailers will credit all the pre-sales on the day the book comes for sale. This will possibly shoot the book onto various best-selling lists. Let me add here SHAZAM! Putting a book up for pre-order sale 4 to 6 weeks prior to release gives you, the author, a chance to market the book generating interest. Capture the reader and get them to buy while they are still fired-up instead of waiting until release day when they most likely have forgotten or are no longer as interested. Check out Smashwords’ blog post on pre-orders.

12. Practice partnerships and positivity. If you discover something that works well, share it with others. This builds friendships and a good reputation. Don’t be a complainer or behave badly. Everyone, including the marketing peeps at retailers, have Goggle Alerts. You will be remembered.

13. Collaborate with fellow authors. Short stories, bundles, or boxed sets are a great way to share, promote, and gain new readers with existing fan bases of your fellow collaborators. Plus the retailers like them and they sell well.

smashwords practices

Free! Click the cover for your copy!

14. Think globally. All retailers are expanding beyond the US. Aggressively. Over 40% of Apple sales are outside the US and looks to be trending higher. And these books are in English.

15. You are running a business. Business requires a profit. Most books don’t sell well, so control your expenses. Never borrow money to publish a book. Pinch your pennies. Invest in great service. If you can’t afford it, offer to trade services. Once you are profitable, reinvest in your business.

Whoa! That’s a lot of information. Absorb it! And to help, check out Smashwords FREE marketing books and style guides.

What do you think about these practices? Have you tried any? What has worked or not worked for you? Do you have other tips to share? Let’s hear from you.


Talk Back: do you track your manuscript rejections

June 3, 2013

On my Kindle: Once upon a Tower by Eloisa James

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


As I’m starting the process of submitting my manuscript to agents, which I haven’t done in a while, my brain is leaving the “I’m awesome/I’m horrible” state to a more realistic “I’m normal” mind-frame as my rejections start piling in.

Yep it hurts. And that why stumbling upon an article about rejections by author Tobias Buckell really helped me this week.

Go ahead and read it. I’ll stay here and wait for you.

Done? Helpful isn’t it?

I never done much in way of tracking rejections beside making sure I don’t submit the same story to the same person twice. But now I’m thinking of using some kind of spreadsheet for life.

Just as a way of reminding myself that rejections are part of the writer job and that there will never be a time in my career when I will no longer get them.

So tell me… Do you track your rejection? And how do you do that? Spreadsheet? Notebook? Your bedroom wall?

The floor is all yours! Let’s hear from you 🙂

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


It’s Agent Shopping day! Welcome Mollie Glick!

March 17, 2013

UPDATE: MOLLIE HAS SENT HER REQUESTS.

SHE MADE 14 REQUESTS FOR THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GREAT JOB EVERYONE!

ALL E-MAILS HAVE BEEN SENT!

 

Good morning everyone!

Welcome to shopping day at Agent Shop.

As always, I’ll start with the stats, winners, and my thoughts on this ‘Shop’, and then we’ll get to the pitches.

Pitches received: 38

Pitches accepted: 25

Pitches rejected: 13
• 8 – Too long
• 4 – Missing info
• 1 – Spam

Not bad, and not great. I’m only posting 25 out of a potential 30 pitch slots for an agent!

During every pitch session, I try to impart something that I’ve learned while doing this, and I try really hard to not be too repetitive. But I keep coming back to the same issues, and I feel I need to point out again, that following guidelines is one of the most important things you can do as an author! I had FOUR e-mails this time starting with “I don’t know exactly what you want…” or “I’ve never done this before…” and these people didn’t follow the rules. They are CLEARLY posted under the Agent/Editor Shop tab on the blog, and I can say with 100% certainty that one person who didn’t make it in will send me a nasty note. Happens every time.

Follow guidelines peeps. It’s really that simple! 🙂 Really!

That’s my moment of finger wagging. On to fun things!

OUR WINNERS ARE:
• The copy of PRIMITIVE NIGHTS goes to: Nicole Zoltack
• The $25.00 giftcard goes to: Kathleen S. Allen
• The Top Pitch Slot goes to: Marcia!

(Nicole and Kathleen, please contact me at candi_agent_shop at yahoo.com and I’ll send off your prizes!)

Congratulations to our winners and to those who made it into this pitch session. Good luck!

Welcome Mollie! Thanks so much for taking the time to come and visit with us. I hope you find something to your liking! If you do, simply e-mail me the pitch number, title and what you’d like to see from the author. Also, if you’d include how you’d like them to send it, that would be helpful. Please send them to dancillaw at yahoo.com

Happy shopping and thanks for spotlighting CREWEL! It’s now officially on my TBR pile. I. Can’t. Wait.

Here are the pitches!

***
TOP PITCH SLOT WINNER
#1
The Sourcerer
Science Fiction
45,744 words

Oh the Gemma Rays! They penetrate and repair and oops! What was that? That little bugga boo is gonna pay for bringing me out of my revelry? Snap! I’m back. Who am I? I’m a Sourcerer? What do I do? I source and sense and trap and even eradicate Noisers and Sounders who threaten the sanctity of the citizenry of Arco Pella, my town. My name is Merra. Need me to zap that Noiser or trap a Gandometer and relocate him to a lovelier home? That’s my job. I’m the best Sourcerer in the town of Arco Pella and If you need to get rid of those nasty noises which infiltrate and sublimate your lifestyle then give me a call or better yet Verra my assistant will take your information and your money. When Mr. Larch hired us to come to the old folk’s home I mean the retirement community and relocate the Flitter Flies he didn’t mention the Thing in Miss Tadpole’s room, the Thing I couldn’t see. I’m honed in on noises and sounds which enter my auric field but some Thing from an outher dimension I’m not trained to detect. Yet.

***
#2
STEAM CREW
Steampunk Fantasy
90,000 words

In an alternative Victorian world, ravaged by extreme climate, a proud arcane witch must team with a crafty airship privateer to prevent a coldblooded sorcerer from enslaving their world.

The DRESDEN FILES meets THE GOLDEN COMPASS, STEAM CREW is a dark and wild ride filled with mysticism, world-wide adventure, a crew of misfits, impossible engines, and exotic sensuality.

***
#3
The Gamekeeper’s Daughter
Victorian Era Historical Romance/subgenre Suspense.
109,000 words

Queen Victoria’s top assassin, Lord Alexander Stokes harbors his fair share of dark secrets. Chief among them is his love of bondage and discipline. When a damsel-in-distress appeals for his help, he ponders the consequences, yet her similarity to his first love intrigues him. He offers to help her with a single condition: that the beauty consents to play his games of dominance and submission for an entire year.

Given no choice, Mrs. Julia Foxworth agrees to his indecent terms. Anything is better than serving time for a murder she did not commit, especially when the real killer is stalking her. Despite her misgiving about being the mysterious masked man’s chattel, his raw masculine power lures her in like a hawk to her falconer.

Alexander learns she is his beloved Julia, the former gamekeeper’s daughter, he thought long dead. He’s been betrayed by her and his manipulative father. His heart darkens. Combating their deceptions, the lovers fight for the passion they once shared, amidst the threatening danger of Alexander’s nefarious enemies and her husband’s killer. Can they learn to trust one another and live long enough to know true love again?

***
#4
If You Can See Me
Paranormal Romance
132,022 words

Some curses stay with a family for generations…

Nate Bentley is a man on a mission. To rid himself of a house h considers a monstrosity before he falls victim to the curse that strikes all the men in his family before their thirty-fifth birthday. But two things stand in his way: a headstrong sister and a woman who can see spirits of the dead.

…it just takes the right combination to break them…

Phaedra Delaney is the woman with the gift. To communicate with the dead. She is also the key to breaking the curse that has bound her family to the Bentley’s for over a century. All she has to do is get a Bentley man to fall in love with her before he turns thirty-five. If only he didn’t take an instant disliking to her upon their first meeting.

Destiny and determination collide when these two powerful people meet and their lives become inextricably entangled with those of their ancestors. Can they break the curse before Nate reaches his next birthday? Or will he fall victim to the same fate that claimed his father – and every male in the family for the past one hundred plus years?

***
#5
Seducing The Courtesan’s Wife
Historical Romance
100,000 words

The daughter of an illustrious duke, Lady Violetta never imagined she’d wind up as a brothel madam, whoring out her husband to the rich wives of Montana.

Against her father’s wishes, she married dashing, debonair—penniless—Charles Ashford. She traded in her satin slippers and sumptuous ball gowns to follow her new husband on his quest for gold in the wild frontiers of America. Their fortunes plummet instead, sending them down a harrowing course where morals are a bygone luxury. A cruel twist of events tears them apart and Violetta returns to England, shattered and alone. She vows to atone for her sins. And she’ll never forgive him.

Seven years later, her respectable life is upended when Charles abruptly returns. He is hell-bent on wooing his charming ass back into her good graces—and into her bed. More darkly potent than ever, his carnal sensuality provokes her. Tempts her and unnerves her hard-won peace. But haunted by past demons, she’s sworn off love. When a dangerous enemy reappears, threatening to expose their sordid history, they must each choose their own path to redemption. Can Charles win her heart before her thirst for revenge destroys their chance for everlasting bliss?

***
#6
ABOVE THE GAME
Literary Fiction
70,000 words

Eliot MacKenzie dreams of escaping his small New England town of Granite Harbor. Suddenly, there is no more dreaming, no escaping. Eliot MacKenzie is dead.

His life is over but not his tale. Over a several year period in the mid 1990’s, Eliot narrates his story of grief, anger, conflict, estrangement and resolution as family members struggle to deal with their loss.

Eliot’s abrupt death shatters the deceptive harmony of his family’s life. His twin brothers reaffirm their private bond, but each pursues a separate path out of the rage and confusion rising from the loss of their older brother. Eliot’s mother contends with a second family crisis that not only provides escape, but also helps her deal with the death of her son. His father remains lost in the present and tied to the past as he indulges in one-sided conversations with his dead son.
Eliot alone exists above the game –confined to Granite Harbor forever.

ABOVE THE GAME presents adult issues narrated by an eighteen year old and renders teenage characters and their struggles as engaging subjects for the adult reader. The book was shortlisted for the 2012 Faulkner Society Novel-In-Progress Award.

***
#7
Bard’s Lair
Young Adult
121,878 words

Lil Jen is ecstatic at the prospect of working at the new resort. For three centuries Bard’s Lair has lain dormant the property overgrown with brush and bramble but a Prince now owns the Enchanted Lands. Sumo is taking names and handing out applications for employment. She’d rather be back on the Unsettled Seas on a ship but for now she’s the hostess at the Woodie the restaurant on property. Today she’s handing out applications to numahs and Murfles and Nots and even a few Trolls. But when the door opens and no one is there everyone starts whispering about the ghost on property. BeJewelled the former Mistress of the property is rumored to still grace the grounds and many swear they’ve seen her ghostly figure. Sumo isn’t about to fall for any old ghost story but when she attempts to close the door it won’t budge. Then it shuts on its own leaving Sumo in a very unladylike position. Life as a service provider since the War Between the States of service and servitude changed the rules. And did I mention Uran, MR T or the Dark One? Best keep your eyes on your valuables!

***
#8
Extreme Fear
Suspense/Thriller with a touch of romance
80.000 words

Macy Donavan battles a terrifying nightmare to protect her two-year-old daughter Faith from an intruder, and is knocked unconscious. When she regains consciousness, Faith is missing.

As the police widen their futile search, Macy struggles to pick up the pieces of an unimaginable life.

Urged to take a break she heads to an isolated cabin with a girlfriend to recuperate, with the hope of continuing her search, only to face her worst nightmare — times ten.

Trapped by a man she believed dead, he demands she play a game.

She runs, he hunts. There is no place to hide.

***
#9
Ink Pool Lullabies
Young Adult Suspense Horror
68,000 words

Sixteen-year-old Jackson Hart would rather put in overtime at the funeral home putting makeup on the dead than socialize with the in-crowd at school. When she finds out her new crush is only dating her for a bet, she’s devastated—but she’s not so wounded she’d seek revenge by killing him … would she?

After a car crash leaves him dead, Jackson tries to piece her memories of the wreck together, but each time she gets close to solving the puzzle, her mother shoves another pill down her throat to make it all go away. Despite the sheriff’s firm report, there was another girl on the scene—Jackson is sure of it—and now the apparition won’t leave her alone.

The spirit needs something from Jackson, and she won’t stop hurting people until she gets it. With the body count rising, and evidence piling up against Jackson, if she is to prove her innocence and prevent the next brutal murder, Jackson must confront the vengeful spirit and decipher the ghost girl’s cryptic message.

But what if everyone is right and the ghost girl doesn’t exist at all?

***
#10
Entry was removed.

***
#11
Ashes & Ice
Literary historical
100,000 words

In the heart of Five Points darkness and inhumanity reign unchallenged. Into the darkness come two young Irish immigrants forced to fight for survival against nearly insurmountable odds.

On the surface, fifteen-year-old Caitlin Walsh is a demure Irish lass; underneath she’s a bold, spirited young woman who backs down to no one. Not even God. Hot-tempered Johnny Dorlan flees Ireland, a death sentence on his head. He meets Caitlin on the voyage to New York,
where they begin a friendship constantly thwarted by her diligent father. Ten-year-old-going-on-thirty Finn Gallagher becomes a festering boil on Jimmy’s butt from the minute they meet. Caitlin, on the other hand, likes the young boy.

Jimmy would gladly throttle the smart-ass, but everything changes when the Great White Hurricane of 1888 slams into Manhattan and shuts the city off from the world. Then the three humans and an unusual Gypsy horse, are forced to work together to survive. Two of them can barely stop from killing each other and Caitlin is pregnant and due any minute. Putting aside their differences, though, may prove to be the least of their worries.

***
#12
Run For Your Life
YA Mystery
60,000 words

15 year old Evan accidentally takes a photo of a kidnapping in progress. But no one believes him, even the cops think it’s a prank. When his best friend is murdered and all the evidence points to Evan, he has to figure out who the killer before he becomes the next victim.

***
#13
Mercy
Paranormal Thriller – Adult
64,000 words

To the outside world Mercy seemed odd, schizophrenic even, but something evil tormented her. As her life-long friendship with Aaron blossomed into something more, it seemed like he was now beginning to get caught in the crossfire when the evil freaks came at her. Afraid that having him close would only continue to put him in danger, she decides the best thing to do is to push him away, to keep him safe, no matter how much it hurt the both of them. With her loved ones away from danger, and to be free to live and love, Mercy must be ready to put it all on the line…even her life.

***
#14
Grave Bound (Secrets, #1)
New Adult Fiction
97,000 words

Emily has lived a lifetime within a patriarchal commune. There are many rules, but the most important one, ‘keep it in the commune’, is the most difficult for her to follow… especially since the only people willing to champion her cause live on the outside.

When Emily learns her father has promised her to a perverted man who has plans that extend well beyond marriage and kids, she rebels. She refuses to marry someone who’d rather beat her than caress her.

A day of hooky that begins as a tiny act of defiance turns into a day filled with hope. After spending time with Levi, she finds true romance and sees a future filled with love and admiration rather than hate and submission. That tiny peek is enough to make it nearly impossible for her to go back to the commune and pretend she’ll ever be able to tolerate the life chosen for her instead of the life she longs for.

Fighting to escape the commune, its leaders, and her fiancé proves to be more dangerous than Emily expects. The secrets she knows will either follow her to the grave or send her – and Levi – there.

***
#15
A Question Of Faith
YA Paranormal
85,000 words

It’s not everyday you learn you’re the incarnation of magic.

After learning her birth mother sought the help of witches to conceive her, fifteen-year-old Crystal’s previously unwavering faith is shaken. God hasn’t been answering her prayers–she was.

Crystal’s limitless magical potential is put to the test when her boyfriend’s mother is in a life-threatening accident. Surely God won’t mind her using magic to help people, but Crystal worries her magic will damn her to Hell or, worse, prove she has no soul to condemn.

Too curious to abandon magic, Crystal attempts to fly and conjure fireballs. Playing with power attracts the attention of a dangerous witch hunter, who kidnaps her boyfriend and threatens her aunt. Shamans and witches hunt Crystal, desperate to use her magic to end a centuries-old war between the two magical races. Her magic is an uncontrollable time bomb. If Crystal can’t figure out what she’s capable of, she won’t merely fail to protect those she loves and end the war–she just might start the apocalypse.

***
#16
The Lady in the Mist
The Western Werewolf Legend #1
44,000 words

The Civil War took Sonja Brooks’ husband and left her alone. Unprotected and scared, she runs headlong into a life changing event when she’s attacked by a wolf. Her fate as a werewolf is sealed. When she stumbles upon Ty Loflin, a Rebel solider dying of his wounds, she nurses him back to health. He’s the perfect mate, but will he want her once he knows the truth?

***
#17
Comanche Haven
Romance/Western Romance
106,000 words

From the moment Celia, the emerald-eyed, Comanche half-breed, gets off the stage in Tyler, Texas, Seth Loflin realizes he is on a collision course with the past. She was his first love and now the Shooter Creek’s ranch boss can’t allow her to succumb to the danger that stalks her. Someone wants to kidnap her and sell her as a slave, but now that she’s in his protective arms, he intends to keep her safe. Celia can’t run back to the safety of her former life in South Carolina. And if she stays at Shooter Creek with Seth, she’ll be putting the man she has always loved and his ranch in danger of harboring a Comanche. But Seth refuses to leave her side, and his vow to protect her gives Celia the hope and courage she needs. Now she’ll fight for her new life with Seth…or die trying.

***
#18
Dr. Strange Love – An Erotic Short Story
Romance/erotic romance
8,000 words

Toni Reynolds loves her fiancé, Luke Campbell, more than anything. Still something is missing. They both recognize their love life has become predictable. Toni, realizes she’s not satisfied. She fears that she’s missing something and the closer her wedding date gets, the more unhappy she becomes.

It’s her secret though, until the night, Luke announces they’re hiring a sex therapist. Uneasy about a professional poking around in their relationship, especially one who makes ‘house calls’, Toni feels betrayed. Her love for and her trust in Luke win out as she agrees to meet the good doctor. Neither Luke nor Toni is prepared for the talents of Damon.

***
#19
Doctor Dearest – An Erotic Short Story
Romance/erotic romance
12,000 words

Sex therapy is a complicated business. A medical professional must remain impartial while developing a relationship with a patient. The fact a man enjoys sex thoroughly means he can’t always remain completely unaffected. His primal drive can range out of control and consequences may occur.

Damon, a.k.a. Dr. Strange Love, finds himself caring more for Billie Conners than is professionally prudent. The trouble with that line of reasoning is he’s willing to put everything on the line to save what he’s found.

***
#20
Priya in Heels
Multi-Cultural Women’s Fiction
86,000 words

Priya is the epitome of an obedient Indian daughter. Her loyalty to her parents is carved by their love and sacrifice, but the manipulations of her aunts pushes her to forge an even tighter bond. Priya will fiercely uphold her family’s honor and has done so by becoming a medical resident, remaining a virgin, and agreeing to marry her intended. Life is near perfect, her fiancé is tolerable, and her friends are the intervals of excitement she needs. The only thing that can derail her world is the sexy Irishman down the hall, the one who wants to get into her bed and shatter her walls. Logic is clear. Tyler is no good for Priya’s life plans. Love, on the other hand, is unreasonable and clashes with the carefully sculpted life her parents gave her. Maybe going after her heart isn’t such a big deal, or maybe it’s the thing that will unravel her world and leave her an emotional wreck.

***
#21
Singularity
YA sci-fi
66,000 words

Romeo and Juliet meets Battlestar Galactica: Jules is a Singular, the last of the cyborgs, and an incomplete one at that. Scientists hadn’t finished programming her when the Stellans attack Verona, her spaceship home. After the aliens wipe out her commanding officers, Jules is left to secure the bridge and defeat the Stellans by herself. Without knowing where anything is, how to pilot, or how to conquer the aliens, the outlook appears grim.

Clusters of survivors retreat to the safety of the wards. Jules is determined to do whatever it takes to save Verona, but several run-ins with the charming Meo challenges her human emotions. He’s the son of laborers—noble, brave, and the only person from the eastern wing who doesn’t hate her kind. Unfortunately, love doesn’t fit into the big picture when it comes to Singulars. Directed by master programming, Jules slips onto the invading alien ship to destroy it from the inside. Her chances of returning to Verona are slim, but when she discovers the truth, she must choose between hard-wired duty and compromised emotions, between accomplishing her mission and risking everything to save those she loves.

***
#22
Guitar God
YA—Contemporary Fantasy
195,000 words

Polly’s moment had finally arrived, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Barely a teenager, Polly had reluctantly accepted the role of human guardian of the Green. Now, about to begin college and leave her hometown and all the weirdness behind, fate calls her, except to save the

Green she must defeat Isaac, the boy she loves.

Isaac was the kid nobody liked until a mysterious faerie granted him his greatest wish. Now bestowed with incredible musical prowess, Isaac is loved and admired by all. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Polly is the only one who can save Isaac’s soul, but her first responsibility is to the Green. Can Polly save the Green and save Isaac as well?

Guitar God is a Jewish, suburban rock and roll fantasy with a 1970s soundtrack. It’s urban fantasy in the suburbs. It’s War For The Oaks meets Portnoy’s Complaint. It’s crossover YA for teens and their parents. It’s a world where the faerie folk walk among us, but we don’t know it. It’s about the magical places where we grew up. Maybe we knew about them or maybe we walked by them every day without even noticing.

***
#23
Mistress of Deception
Historical Romance—Regency period
99,000 words

Georgina Wilcox, daughter of the traitorous “Fox”, doesn’t agree with her father’s crimes against the British crown, so she secrets the Irish rebel’s plans to the Home Office and tries to help the men taken captive by her father—until the day a prisoner is shot dead in her kitchen and her own family beats her within an inch of her life. Georgina abandons her efforts. She knows she’ll pay dearly for any further deception. That is until she meets Adam.

Adam Markham, member of the Brethren of the Lords, a secret society, is captured and handed over to the muscle in the Irish radicals: Fox and Hunter. As his days in captivity grow, he finds himself fascinated by Georgina whose innocence and bravery breathe life into him. Adam comes to love this woman he assumes is their servant.

Georgina can’t imagine her life without Adam. To keep him, she must hide her true identity. The daughter of the enemy could not be trusted, let alone loved. When Adam unravels Georgina’s deceit, his sense of betrayal cannot be assuaged and Georgina resolves to undertake one more mission so she can prove to Adam that she is no Mistress of Deception

***
#24
Souls Entwined
YA Paranormal/Coming-Of-Age
56,600 words

Sixteen-year-old Rachel Wells’ world is turned upside-down when her new friend Billy links his mind to hers. Through telepathy and astral travel, he takes her in and out of the spirit world, develops her trust and awakens her desire for more spiritual adventure. It all feels so natural; their souls are connected, entwined.

Rachel hears spirits, and delivers messages from the dead. Billy taps into the minds of the living. Together, they form ‘The Psychic Circle’ to secretly explore the paranormal with a few close friends.

When Melody, gets involved, her jealousy of Rachel’s chemistry with Billy coupled with her obsession for black magic, is a lethal combination. It’s more dangerous than the group knows. Billy gets attacked by Melody during meditation, robbing him of his free will. Rachel helps Billy retaliate and break that bond. Unfortunately, the circle is compromised further by accidently opening a door to a malevolent spirit that attaches itself to Rachel through a Ouija Board.

Torn between forgiving her best friend who’s betrayed her, or defending her possible soul mate, Rachel’s choice will determine the direction her life takes and the sacrifices she makes – either loosing Melody or ruining her chance to find love.

***
#25
Extreme Fear
Suspense/Thriller with a touch of romance
80,000 words

Macy Donavan battles a terrifying nightmare to protect her two-year-old daughter Faith from an intruder, and is knocked unconscious. When she regains consciousness, Faith is missing.
As the police widen their futile search, Macy struggles to pick up the pieces of an unimaginable life.

Urged to take a break she heads to an isolated cabin with a girlfriend to recuperate, with the hope of continuing her search, only to face her worst nightmare — times ten.

Trapped by a man she believed dead, he demands she play a game.

She runs, he hunts. There is no place to hide.

***********************************************


As Good As The First Time… by Candi Wall

October 28, 2012

My Bliss Track for the week – Watching my children jump in the huge pile of leaves we spent hours raking.

My Bitch Track for the week – Why is there always that one person at a party that has to get so drunk no one else can have a good time?

So hubby and I went to dinner the other night at a restaurant we’ve loved since the day it opened. The first time we went, we sat in our chairs, having food-gasms over everything from the wine and salads to the HUGE prime rib that covered his plate. I had steak tips, sautéed onions and mushroom and a slightly spicy rice pilaf. I ended with a huge slice of cheesecake and hubby had the molten lava chocolate explosion thingy.

Let’s just say, we just about rolled our overstuffed selves out the door.

I was satisfied. I was hooked. I was coming back for more.

Then a funny thing started happening. We don’t eat out very often, but around our fourth visit, we noticed the servings weren’t as large. The lettuce wasn’t as finely chopped or fresh. The ultra thin curls of Parmesan cheese that used to top my caesar salad were just crumbles instead. We ate and left satisfied – somewhat. But it wasn’t the mind-blowing, euphoric satisfaction we used to gain from this restaurant.

And instead of screaming out this restaurant’s name the next time we went out, we questioned if we wanted to go there or if we wanted to try somewhere new!

Ruh roh Raggy.

Then – as with everything – I started thinking about writing. About how often this happens with authors I fall head-over-heels in love with. And how easy it could be to become lazy.

When the restaurant owner opened the doors, he/she had passion in their heart. They were pouring everything they had into the endeavor. They were willing to spends HOURS and HOURS perfecting what they were going to give to the public. Sound familiar? Then, over time, the restaurant gained a following. “They love me! They really love me!”

So what happened then? COMPLACENCY.

Complacency can kill a restaurant, and it can kill a writing career. Don’t let your characters wilt. Don’t downsize the intensity or conflict. Don’t rush to give a product  that might make your readers think about going elsewhere. Remember, as you perfect your craft and write more and more novels, to keep writing with your heart. Keep writing with the passion and drive that you had when you first started out. Yes, as we write and learn and become more sure of our talents, we can complete a novel faster and cleaner, but in doing so, it’s easy to lose the passion that drew our readers in the beginning.

There’s the thought for the day. Write with the drive and passion you had when you started out. Make it as good as the first time, and you won’t have to worry about your readers going elsewhere to eat!


Good Manners May Kill Good Writing

August 23, 2012

 You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you.  And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.  ~Arthur Polotnik

Manners make the world go round.

Imagine how many fewer world crises there would be if the people in power would simply remember their manners. Imagine a political race where opponents focus on applicable content and not resort to abysmal mud-slinging. They are the poster children for bad manners and we lose opportunities to listen to any real debate on real issues. (This happens worldwide and not just here in the United States, so don’t think I’m singling out our race to the big vote in November.)

Merriam Webster defines manners as “social conduct or rules of conduct as shown in the prevalent customs”. Manners are no longer only applied to real life situations but to our virtual world as well. Being writers we live an awfully big part of our lives in this world. Prevalent customs are still being formed as these new neighborhoods and villages continue to evolve. There are distinct differences between this world and the one of brick and mortar. I was surprised to have some of these distinctions pointed out to me this week and the possible backlash it may have on writers.

A blog that I like to follow, The Passive Voice, offered a rebuttal to another article written by Jacob Silverman entitled “Against Enthusiasm”. Mr. Silverman has taken the stance that honest criticism in the literary world is a dying thing and we are not any better for its demise. Passive guy vehemently argues that point. Being the polite, mild mannered person that I believe myself to be, I was quite surprised at being able to see both sides, but leaning towards Jacob Silverman.

Mr. Silverman believes that we are in the middle of an epidemic of niceness in this new online book culture. He cites an example of an author who has her first book coming out soon, but already has a loyal following on Twitter running into the thousands. The author is funny, delightful and engaging in this arena of social media. Because of that, she is retweeted, liked, and plus 1ed. (I don’t even know how to write plus oned!) A well known literary website follows her and has already picked her book for their monthly book club without ever having read a single word!

So far I’m congratulating the author on being a brilliant and personable marketer, then I come to his point. What if you are a reviewer or critic and you are part of this vast web of writers and fans? Are you willing to honestly critique the author’s work after watching her life unfold for the last year or so? What if you had been the recipient of some of her attention? What if she had praised you or had mentioned you with affection in a tweet? How honest will you be? He goes on to state that if you spend any time on Twitter or wading through blogs, you will drown in the “relentless enthusiasm that might have you believing all books are wonderful and that every writer is every other writer’s biggest fan.” Mr. Silverman believes that it is shallow, untrue, and will create an atmosphere where writers are more admired for their personal biographies or how they manage social media rather than standing on their own merits of being a good writer.

 

This made me stop and think.

 

He goes on to say that social media, which seems to be built largely on those retweets, likes, favorites etc., is akin to being a part of a worldwide slumber party. Anyone who doesn’t want to be on board the sugar train may be marked as unlikable or worse (gasp) unfollowable. So why is that positivity so bad? I like to be complemented. I like that my writing world is a warm fuzzy place to be. When I get published, I’d like my friends to toot my horn just like I’ve done for them. I don’t think anyone reading this blog would say differently. However, the constant applause makes it harder to hear any kind of dissent. While painful to hear, it is that voce of dissent that pushes us to be better and to make for a more “vibrant, useful literary culture”.

Passive Guy completely disagrees with this view point that was also shared by Dwight Garner in the Times. PG pulled a quote, “What we need more of, now that newspaper book sections are shrinking and vanishing like glaciers, are excellent and authoritative and punishing critics- perceptive enough to single out the voices that matter for legitimate praise, abusive enough to remind us that not everyone gets, or deserves, a gold star.” Passive Guy believes this sounds like the strap wielding father who tells the kids they’re being beaten for their own good. He goes on to point out that this is the absolute menace of criticism- that it represents a hierarchy that lords over the unruly artists.

 

I understand and agree with his viewpoint as well.

 

As with most issues in life, the loudest voices are often those on both sides of the extreme. I believe cutting someone’s work to the bone is not necessary. I also think living in a world where only sweet fairies give kisses isn’t reality either. I think good, honest, constructive criticism is necessary (although painful, I’m the first to admit). This is what pushes us to dig deeper and write better because we all want to be praised. We all want people to find value in our work.

If we only have positive feedback, I would suggest two things. One- much of what you hear if a lie or a colored truth. Two- we believe the compliments and become complacent. What do you think?