Posted in Blogging, New Year, New Book 2016, Uncategorized

Author Highlight ~Christie V. Powell~

This is my last post of the New Year, New Book 2016 Blog Tour. If you’d like to recap and check out every author, click here.

Today I’m featuring Christie V Powell, and her novel The Spectra UNEARTHED

Want to know what it’s about?

Read on to read the first chapter 🙂

Chapter 1: In the Dark

Most girls would be afraid to wander dark tunnels, but Keita Sage did her best to seem fearless. The soldiers who had dragged her into the underground maze were far behind. She could avoid the remainder with ease. Now she just needed to find an exit and she’d never have to feel the damp, oppressive air again.

This was turning out more difficult than expected.

A soldier’s steady footfalls echoed through the stone passageways. His surety must come from experience, not sight—no clan could see in the dark.

On the way in she had caught a glimpse of a concrete building, a squat toad at the mouth of his burrow. Surely the soldiers spent their nights, or their mealtimes, in the open air. This one would eventually lead her to the surface.

Her skin was tingling, a sign she’d been without light for too long. She was in no danger, not yet, but the worry lurked. Without either light or food, she would starve. If she felt the end coming, if she had no other option, would she let them find her? They didn’t mean to kill her. The soldiers had passed up countless opportunities for that on the long trek here. If she gave up, they’d provide light, or at least food. But the thought of trading freedom for life was repulsive.

Keita sensed a knot of men approaching her soldier. She growled, a sound that never left her throat, and edged back into the lonely darkness. Dodging one or two would be easy when she could feel their presence, down to the least motion of impatient, twitching fingers, but a large group was too unpredictable.

The darkness pressed against her eyes until she could no longer tell if they were open or shut. Even the chill in the air had a dreamlike quality, and the thought tickled in her brain. Maybe this was a dream. Last winter, the whole complicated season, was nothing but a bad dream. Any minute now she would wake up and walk out into the dappled sunshine and soft piney smell of the Inner Vale. Father—alive and well—would be bustling around the courtyard, and her biggest concern would be avoiding the escorts he insisted accompany her everywhere.

She was almost crazy enough to believe it.

Keita squatted on the cold stone floor, still feeling the men gathered further up the tunnel. A group of soldiers might mean that they were guarding something—like the exit. If the door was right there, just a few feet away, she might risk making herself smaller to get past.

A boot bumped a piece of gravel. A tiny noise, and yet Keita whirled around. She had sensed nothing behind her—no man, not even a rat or a toad. Sprite sensing was not easily fooled, and yet the feeling of being watched crept down her spine and tingled in her bare feet.

“You’re safe. I’m here.”

Keita almost screamed. Jasper Smelt, leader of her captors, was the last person she wanted to meet in a place like this. She jumped so badly that her head slammed into the rock ceiling.

A hand grasped her shoulder. “You all right?”

She jerked away, even as her mind, sticky as spring mud, registered that he wasn’t groping in the dark, that he had seen her jump. Somehow, impossibly, he could see through the blackness.

He could see her now.

“You don’t have to be afraid,” Jasper said. “I rescued you.”

To remain silent would prove her fear. Keita snorted. “You call that a rescue? To have soldiers drag me across the kingdoms?”

“I had to. I needed to get you before the other Stygians did.”

She grimaced. Competing to catch their prey sounded exactly like something a Stygian would do.

They’d murdered most of the royal families, and conquered all six Spectra kingdoms with no thought for the inhabitants there. Little more would surprise her. “I’ve got things under control,” Jasper went on.

“Come on. I’ll get you food.”

Keita blinked. “You want me alive?” “Of course. You can trust me.”

“Trust you?” She tried a derisive laugh, but it came out shaky. “I know what you’ve done. You joined the Stygians so you could take your father’s throne. Why would I trust you?”

“Because we were friends.”

It wasn’t quite true. They’d met during the four days of the annual Summit Council meeting, and she hadn’t seen him since. She could still remember the worst moment, standing alone except for the snowtipped mountains peering over the great stone wall. Their fathers were closeted together, deciding her future, and she could do nothing but wait. In her worry she did not hear the footsteps or sense his presence. The whisper in her ear came from nowhere: “It isn’t my fault.” By the time she’d turned to look, she saw only his back, clad in the bright colors of royalty, ducking behind a hut. Two months later, all six rulers were dead.

He was waiting for a reply. “You were closer to my brother,” she said. “If this was really about saving old friends, why didn’t you track him down?”

“He’s too…” Jasper hesitated, and then went on,

“Glen is too well protected. Stygians can’t enter the Summit after we take our oaths. You know that.”

She did, but she hadn’t realized he knew her brother’s whereabouts.

His hand returned to her shoulder, and his grip was stronger this time. He pulled, steering her back into the darkness, away from the soldiers still milling a few feet in front of them. For a second she considered breaking free, charging through those men with everything she had… but she didn’t. How could she fight people she couldn’t see?

She turned to Jasper again. “If I can trust you, will you tell me where we are?” she challenged.

“Sure. We’re in Nomelands, under the Scissor Point Outpost.”

She stiffened. Unless she was mistaken—which was entirely possible, curse her useless tutor—they were deep in the Nome kingdom, over a hundred miles from the city where she’d been captured. She’d known they’d been travelling for days—every time she regained consciousness, the scenery had become browner and drier—but she’d had no idea they’d gone so far.

As if reading her thoughts, Jasper added, “You’re safer this way. The others won’t look for you out here.” “I was avoiding them fine on my own. You don’t need to…”

“Donovan entered the search.” She stopped.

“He’s coming in person. Even you can’t hide from him.”

Keita wasn’t sure about that, but she did know that the mention of Donovan’s name caused panic among the royals who had met him. “So you’re betraying your leader?”

Jasper said nothing. “Look, you’re a Stygian. You work for Donovan. You aren’t supposed to help royals like me.” “I’m royal too,” he pointed out.

“But why did you join him in the first place?”

Jasper stopped walking. She turned in his direction, eyebrows uplifted—maybe the expression wasn’t useless, despite the darkness—and waited. At last he spoke. “Donovan didn’t tell us everything. He made a lot of promises. And he kept them too, just not… not like we expected. He doesn’t care about us. He’d turn on any of us in a second if he weren’t so busy chasing the remains of the royal families.”

Keita turned before her expression could reveal her thoughts. That must be why he’d captured her. He didn’t care about old friends. He was after a royal, any royal, so that Donovan would never stop hunting. She’d just been the unlucky one the soldiers had found first.

Jasper took her shoulder again and directed her onward. “You’ll be all right here,” he went on. “I know you don’t like the dark, but Donovan wouldn’t look for you here. And sometime, he’ll have to return to his own kingdom. You can come out then. We’re up in the mountains, just like where you live.”

Mountains? She remembered seeing tiny purple blobs on the horizon, but nothing that looked like proper mountains.

“You’ll see,” Jasper said, as though he could feel her doubt. “Glen told me all about your home. We’ve got pine trees, climbing rocks, everything. You can grow all the plants you want. I know you like that kind of thing.”

Telling Jasper all of those details did sound like something Glen would do. He never did know when to keep his mouth shut. “It sounds nice,” she admitted, “but I can’t stay shut up here. I can’t…”

“Don’t you want to be safe?”

She stopped walking. What would that be like, to be safe? To stop looking over her shoulder for the soldiers that always seemed to be chasing her, no matter how many times she dodged them? To leave the cluttered city behind, with its human gangs and sharp debris waiting to stab at her feet? Could it be possible to leave all the worry, all the fear behind? Would imprisonment be worth it?

Jasper’s hand slipped from her shoulder to her hand. His grip was stronger than she’d expected. “You’ll be safe here,” he said. “I promise.”

Keita had to remind herself that he was just looking for a hostage. “If being safe was so important, I wouldn’t have left the Summit. I left to help my friends, and they still need me. You can let me go free—Donovan will never find all of us.”

“He’d find you.”

“Maybe, but he can’t reach the Summit. Glen and the others are safe there.”

She felt his shrug through his fingers. “For now.”

“Not just for now! You said yourself, the walls repel Stygians. And they’ve got defenses—the traps and things—and he doesn’t even know where it is.”

“He knows.”

“He’s not royal. Only the royals ever knew…”

“I told him.”

For a moment she couldn’t speak. Then she leapt back, yanking her hand from his grasp. “You betrayed us!”

His hand guided her a few steps further, and then retreated. “I had to. The other royals wouldn’t let me forget what I did. If Donovan doesn’t stop them, they’ll come after me! They’re dangerous!”

“Well, they’ll be even more dangerous if you don’t let me go! I bet they’re coming after you right now.”

His pregnant pause drained her show of bravado. “I didn’t think of that,” he admitted. A strange jangling noise filled the empty tunnel. He was shuffling around in front of her, boots scuffing the stone floor. Keita took a step back. Whatever he was doing, she wanted nothing to do with it.

“I can handle it,” Jasper decided. “I’m stronger than those girls you were with. Donovan wouldn’t suspect I’ve got you, if I get rid of them. Or maybe I could barter with him, trade them for letting me keep you…”

Keita leapt. Her outstretched hand hit an unseen wall seconds before her body crashed into it. Metal jangled as wire links dug into her skin. Then she bounced back, landing hard on the rough floor. Shaking, she reached for the barrier. Jasper must have been hanging it while he was talking. The wire mesh seemed to grow straight from the rock, woven so finely that not even a mouse could squeeze through.

This changed everything. Nomes like Jasper could break through stone. Those who could not would be held in by a simpler door. No, this barrier was designed for a Sprite. He didn’t grab the first royal he could find. He was after her.

Jasper was breathing fast. “You tried to hurt me.” “I won’t let you harm them.” She shouldn’t be surprised he’d treated her that way. Her heart had no reason to be squeezing as though the feet of stone overhead were falling on it.

“You shouldn’t try to hurt me. I’m protecting you.”

Something sparked in the darkness. Then a face appeared, glowing sickly yellow. Keita had to edge closer to the glinting copper chains to see, but then wished she hadn’t. The flickering light made his face leaner, his eyes more menacing.

“You can’t fight a Stygian,” he growled. “We defeated the kings. We’re picking off the heirs one by one. Your friends are cowering at the Summit. They don’t dare stick their noses beyond the walls.”

He opened his hand. Flames danced on his palm. The flickering light captured her gaze, pointing upward with no fuel to feed it. He shouldn’t be able to do that. “Stygians have the abilities of all six clans. You can’t hurt me. You can’t even hide. We know your weaknesses. We know how to use them. Sprites are afraid of fire, aren’t you?”

Keita stepped back into a solid rock wall. She shouldn’t be showing weakness… but she couldn’t help it. Her memories were dancing in those flames. Grand trees, burning, toppling, dead. Sprites running, screaming, panicking before the blaze. And Father’s face, and what the fire had done to him…

“Don’t you see?” Jasper asked. “This is the only safe place for you. But you can’t try to hurt me. Then you’re no better than they are.”

Keita took a deep, shuddering breath, and forced herself to stand. Her trembling legs barely held her.

“What do you want from me?” she asked.

“I told you. I want to keep you safe.”

A door opened. In the rectangle of bluish light, Keita saw a dark form. Without the glinting eyes, his silhouette was familiar. For a second, she saw the quiet, reserved boy she thought she had known. Then the door shut, and the light was gone.

Nomes and Sprites? I’m in!

If you’d like to know more about Christie’s work, or give her a shout, here’s ways you can find her:

Facebook

Goodreads

Booklocker

 
Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway by #NYNB2016

 

 

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Loveliness in the form of an Award

Yep, you see my blog here….. Which means I’ll be posting soon! 🙂

BrewNSpew

A big huge thank you to spiritualjourney17 for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I am thrilled to accept and participate in this award. Please stop and visit spiritualjourney17 and join in the journey of self-discovery.

one-lovely-blog-award

The rules are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Display the award on your post.
  3. List 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 bloggers and let them know you have nominated them.

My 7 facts

  1. I am a Gemini
  2. I dream in vivid technicolor
  3. My favorite color is black and every color that goes with it. I guess that covers all colors, doesn’t it?
  4. I love vintage clothes
  5. I love art
  6. I love antiques
  7. It’s nice to meet you

My nominees are you, you and you! Oh, and you, you, you and you!

weelittlepenguin

thewhimsicalandwanderingsoul

theemmawoods

theshowmesisters

dailyinspiration

arcticsabrina

abrokenbluesky

The nominees are not…

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Why I fired my realtor.

This list is pretty funny…but I think I’d fire them too…

Drink Wine

Now here is a short list as to why I fired my realtor. I don’t think any further explanation is involved.

1. Always late to a house showing
2. Can’t go 2 seconds without checking the phone
3. Dressed inappropriately
4. Didn’t know shit about shit
5. I was having a bad day

Tip: When buying a home, keep an abundance of wine on hand.

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An Off Topic Post On An Off Day

I had a really great blog post scheduled for today. It was about scams that plague the writing world. I also have one more New Year, New Book 2016 Author Highlight as well.

So what has stopped me in my blogging tracks? My day job.

The picture above isn’t me, but it’s what I do. That’s right. I’m a dispatcher. I’ve been “manning the desk” for about seven years now and have taken calls as small as a raccoon in someone’s yard to listening to a dying man’s last breath, and everything in between.

Because of the nature of my business, I typically don’t disclose what I do.

But this week, I’ve been a bit on edge. I work for a small county that’s mostly farmland with small villages scattered through it, a county that’s a slightly smaller version of Knox County, Ohio, and sits right next to it. If you’re not familiar, Danville has made national news this week with the shooting and death of police officer Thomas Cottrell. My county is housing the suspect in the building I report to every workday.

I did not know Officer Cottrell, but my heart goes out to his family and his colleagues.

By the time this posts, many of my coworkers will be attending his funeral. A couple may have volunteered to patrol Knox County so that all of their officers can attend, I won’t know until I report to work tomorrow. I’ll be doing my best to take care of the three to five officers working in my county.

All week the same thought has resounded in my head, “That could have been one of my officers; that could have been us.” I work by myself three days of my five day workweek and keep track of between three to seven officers out of three departments, depending on the events of the day.  I can tell you something personal about every single one of the officers I work with, and I’ve met their kids, spouses, even pets.

Radios don’t work well in metal framed buildings such as schools, stores, factories, trailers and campers, and police departments. When they’re in these types of buildings, we rely on cell phones for our three minute check-ups. I have a lot of cell phone numbers memorized. The problem is that cell phone service can be just as bad, or the officer may not be in trouble, but can’t answer their phone. Of course, I send someone to check on them, but the system’s not perfect.

Officer Cottrell’s job may have been a police officer, but he was also a husband, father, and son. I wish his family deep condolences, and may his soul rest in peace.

To my first responder family out there (Police, Fire, EMS), please be safe.

Posted in New Year, New Book 2016, Uncategorized

Author Highlight ~Tyler S Harris~

And another one for New Book 2016 (#NYNB2016)

This time I’m featuring Tyler Harris, author of Immortal Peace. He was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1992, grew up in Arizona, and currently lives in Michigan.

 

You can get this book here.

It is difficult to imagine a story about zombies, vampires, or aliens that
has not already been told many times over. Immortal Peace, however, puts a
twist on the common genre of science fiction by combining the elements of
multiple well-known concepts. This story follows Mario Ramirez, a family
man in Chicago, as he and his family witness the world erupt when aliens
appear on Earth, not with a warning of waging war, but with a peace
offering. The Gift is a promising medicinal panacea. When scientists first
study the vaccine, they immediately find the potential value of the drug.
Unbeknownst to the world, this medicine has some latent adverse side
effects that are in no way beneficial. Now the world must wonder whether
the gift is a genuine act of kindness, or possibly the most complex
military coup known to mankind.

 

Posted in New Year, New Book 2016, Uncategorized

Author Interview ~ Nicole Sewell~

Here’s another interview for New Book 2016 (#NYNB2016), This one is of Nicole Sewell, author of Outside. 
Displaying Outside - High Resolution.jpg

Where are you from?

I was born in California, raised in Michigan, and currently live about twenty minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Most of my stories take place in Georgia. I may not have been born here, or raised here, but there’s something about the South that feels more like home than any other place I’ve ever lived.

 

Tell us your latest news?

I recently had my second child. She arrived the day after Thanksgiving, which was three weeks early.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message is simple: You don’t have to follow a path that someone else is forcing you down. It’s okay to think for yourself and forge your own way.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Probably Lauren Oliver or Jennifer Armentrout. And my critique partner, Amy. She has a book coming out in 2017. She definitely helped me take my writing to the next level. I read some of my old stuff from before I partnered with her and it’s totally cringe worthy!

 

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading an ARC of The Trouble with Family by Heather Hobbs. It’s due to release in March 2016 from Loomis Park Press. I’m also reading The Collector by Victoria Scott. And re-reading Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu. I love that book!

What are your current projects?

I have a few works-in-progress. One that I’m most excited about is a paranormal series. I have never written a series, but when the idea came to me I knew it was the perfect story to split into a series.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Keeping characters consistent is always a challenge. It’s tempting to bend a character to do what you want them to do, but if it’s contrary to their behavior up until that point, readers will pick up on it quickly.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of writing Outside was keeping Alaina consistent and having her gradually come out of her shell.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that you can’t force a story. If you try to write when you’re not “feeling” it, you’ll end up with a pile of unusable crap.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes. Beware of FILTER WORDS! If you’re not sure what they are, google it. There are a lot of really helpful articles about filter words. And get yourself a brutally honest critique partner. Or better yet, two critique partners who aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings. Also, make sure you have thick skin. If you can’t take criticism, you’ll never get better as a writer.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

A lot of times my plots and characters just come to me. Usually as I’m falling asleep or doing some kind of mind-numbing task, like cleaning the kitchen or driving. Then I get on Pinterest and create a secret board with photos and inspiration for the idea. After sitting on the idea for a few days, I send an email to my critique partners and run the idea by them. Writing out the summary in the email is usually when I am able to determine if an idea is feasible or not.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My mom read to me all the time growing up. She’d read me all kinds of books. I remember her reading me Mrs. Pollifax mysteries when I was in grade school. My cousins were all avid readers too and as we got older we would amuse ourselves by writing funny stories and fan fiction.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

I know what it’s like to be lose your faith and question beliefs you’ve grown up with. When I was writing Outside, I tapped into that confusion. My mom is nothing like Alaina’s mother in the story, but figuring out that my beliefs were different from hers and then having to tell her as much was absolutely terrifying. I used all those feelings and emotions when I wrote Outside.

 

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My main goal was to write a cohesive story with likeable characters and I think I did that. One of my most honest beta readers told me that the characters were so real to her that she wanted to hang out with them, so I must’ve done something right.

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?

The cult in the story, Shiloh, takes scriptures and twists them to mean what they need them to mean in order to retain control of the followers. I spent a lot of time searching for the right scriptures to use. I had to find ones that could be easily taken out of context. And to keep everything consistent, I only used the King James version of the bible.

 

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Strong voice and realistic dialogue. I try to make sure each of my characters has their own voice and that the main character in each book I write is significantly different from the last. Nothing aggravates me more as a reader than when an author I like releases a new book and the main character sounds and acts just like the ones in all their previous books. I’m not talking about books in a series, obviously.

And nothing ruins a book faster than lame, unrealistic dialogue. I do my best to write the way that people speak.

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?  If so, explain.

My book is not a “faith” story. I was careful to keep Jesus out of it because religion really is a touchy subject. I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their beliefs and I did my best not to step on any toes. I myself am a Christian.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Lauren Oliver is a favorite of mine. And Rainbow Rowell. I remember reading the first few pages of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and thinking, “Wow. I will never be this good…” She makes me want to be a better writer. Another book that really changed things for me was Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. The voice in that one stuck with me long after I finished reading. So did Kent McFuller. It was the first time I understood the term “book boyfriend.”

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I attempted to query an earlier version of my book and got some very positive feedback from agents. Ultimately, though, they all said the same thing: There isn’t room in the market for this story. So I shelved it and wrote another book (Emerson Hills. Releasing in October 2016). I queried that one and got the same feedback. So, I decided to self-publish. And I was going to, too. But after talking to my cousin, we decided to do one better: Create our own publishing company for all those YA and NA writers who, like us, had great stories but kept getting rejected by agents.

How do you find or make time to write?

I squeeze writing in whenever I get a quiet moment. I hold a full-time job and have children and a husband to take care of. I’m never alone and uninterrupted free time is rare. I frequently write scene ideas or bits and pieces of a story on my phone and email it to myself if I can’t get to my laptop. I write during breaks at work and during lunch. I write in bed at night. I get up early on Saturday mornings and write before anyone else gets up. Seriously. Any free moment I can find, I write.

Get your own copy of Outside at Amazon and Barnes and Noble  Right now, the special pre-order price is $.99. Will go up to $2.99 a week after the release.

Want to know more about Nicole? Check out her authors pages:

https://nicolesewell.wordpress.com

@Nic0leSewell

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14427788.Nicole_Sewell

https://www.facebook.com/nicolesewellauthor

Don’t forget to sign up for the raffle!

HTML tutorial

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Scammers, and How to Avoid Them

My  day job consists of telling people, “No, the FBI is not going to call you up and demand money be wired to China” and “I don’t care what they told you, no one is down the street with a car for you, waiting on you give them your credit card number for ‘taxes’. You didn’t win a car. It’s a scam, I promise.”

scams

What does this have to do with writing? Actually, a lot. Scamming happens in the writer’s world just as much as anywhere else. And if you’re a writer, especially an indie writer, you can’t afford to lose your cash to scammers.

So, here’s a Top list of scams to watch for:

Vanity “Contests”

This type of scam is almost as old as writing itself. The most common are the “poetry contests” that you enter with a nominal fee ($2-$10), but then the author gets a letter in the mail that their poem has won a place in the first few pages, and if they would like a copy of the book, along with a certificate it will cost $20-$30 dollars or more. Per book. Usually, they encourage you to buy a few to share with friends and family as well. Before the internet, these were ads in the back of magazines. Who knows, maybe they still are.

How to Avoid this Scam:

There are many, many legitimate writing contests out there. If the contest is a good one, it will tell you who is sponsoring, what the prizes are upfront, and where the winning works will be published. Check to see if there are previous circulations of the publication hosting the contest, or other ways to get copies other than through them. If not, that might be a red flag. Another red flag? If the contest doesn’t have a deadline, I’d reconsider.

 

Vanity Presses

Vanity presses are similar to contest scams, yet a bit different. These are companies that advertise publishing books for authors without “jumping through the hoops” of trad-pubbers. They usually demand an exuberant amount of cash upfront and require authors to purchase a large amount of their own work at a very high price. I Googled “vanity press scams” and got hits on these companies: Booktango, Inkubook, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, Wordclay, AuthorHive, Pallbrio, Author Solutions, and Hollywood Pitch. I’m sure this is just a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start.

How to avoid this scam:

But Emma, you’re an indie author! Doesn’t that mean you use a vanity press? Erm, no. I use Amazon and Smashwords for my eBooks, neither which collected money when I uploaded my novel. And I use a print on demand publisher for my paperback, which means that they take a percentage of every book purchased, as it’s purchased. I can buy my own copies at cost, plus shipping.

That doesn’t mean that every indie publisher is a scam artist. In fact, there are probably just as many reputable independent publishers as there are scams out there. Authors just need to do their due diligence. Be wary of any publishing company that requires a large sum of money upfront, doesn’t have any type of distribution plan, and can’t provide samples of their work.

Editing Scams

Everyone knows that good editing can make or break a work. Or at least they should. There are many ways to get quality editing, but for every editor out there willing to edit your work (for a price, of course) there are scammers willing to take your money.

How to avoid this scam:

Look at the editor’s website. Is it full of grammatical errors or awkward formatting? If so, do you really want them editing your work? What about their testimonials? Can you find works by the authors listed? How does their work look? Do they promise things not usually associated with editing, such as guaranteeing an agent or that your work will land on the desk of a big publisher? Make sure you ask questions like these when looking for an editor.

Generic Solicitations

Actually, I recently got one of these in my email. It went to the tune of “I checked out your eBook and think it’s really special. I’d like to promote your work on one of my sites.” And then it lists prices for things like tweets, likes of reviews, more than one five star ratings “from several different IP addresses”, even a full fledged 5 star review.  They never once mentioned my name, the title of my book, or where they saw my work.

How to avoid this scam:

Most advertisers don’t have to phish to get customers to purchase advertising from them. There are plenty of authors looking for advertising. Also, reputable advertisers don’t offer to do questionable things, like fake ratings. There are plenty of reasonable advertisers out there, and if you’re not sure where to start, join an author’s group and ask. Most are willing to give their advice. I have used Ask David before, and I use Copromote for free re-tweets. If I want Facebook followers, I volunteer to host parties on Facebook. They’re fun, and most people playing will like your page.

 

The Bottom Line

I know I didn’t cover all the scams that could plague a writer, but I’m writing a blog post, not a book. 😉 The bottom line is, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you’re not sure about a certain company or website, ask someone or post a question in a place where authors “hang out”. I’ve asked more than my fair share of questions and have always gotten valuable feedback. Never once have I felt shamed for asking for advice.

 

Posted in Blogging, New Year, New Book 2016, Uncategorized

Author Interview ~Ben Mariner~

Today for New Year, New Book 2016 (#NYNB2016), I’m posting an interview of Ben Mariner, author of Apocalypse Wow . I’ve checked out the book, and it is chock full of 90’s reminisce.  Check out this cover:

book cover.jpg

So now that we know a bit about the book, Let’s learn about the author.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
To some extent, I think that everything that happens in my books and all the characters are loosely based on people I know or things that I’ve experienced. It’s so much easier to write from experience than trying to create something out of nothing. For me, everything seems more natural when it’s grounded in reality, even if that things is so far outside the bounds of reality.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A Lee Martinez has always been a huge influence on my writing. His dry, sarcastic wit has stuck a chord with me from the moment I opened one of his books for the first time. He may not be the most famous author in the world, but his work is fantastic.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Alexis Radcliffe and her book A Vanishing Glow are amazing. I got the opportunity to read an ARC copy and I was just blown away. The world she creates is so rich and detailed, and the story is so well-crafted. Can’t say enough good things about her work. Everyone should be watching out for her in the future.

What are your current projects?
Right now I’m polishing the manuscript for the follow up to Apocalypse Wow entitled Apocalypse Wow 2: Apocalypse Wower. I’m hoping to have everything set and ready for an April 1st release date, so keep an eye out.

How do you develop your plots and characters?
I really just fly by the seat of my pants and let things develop themselves. Characters do what they want, and that drives the plot along. You can outline all day long, but if you listen to your characters and give them freedom, you don’t have to spend a single second on an outline.

We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?
What can really be said about Jack Winters? He’s a 30-something with no real direction and a heavy penchant for sarcasm and 90’s pop culture. A lot of myself lives inside Jack, but he’s his own person and makes his own decisions. I can’t say I totally agree with all of them, but Jack’s just this guy, you know?

A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?
The villain in Apocalypse Wow is more of a man-behind-the-curtain type. There are plenty of monsters and obstacles barring Jack’s way, but everything is tied back to one villain. I wanted to create a villain that is muddled by personal conflict. He’s just evil. Completely and totally. Once I decided that, it was easy to write. Just think about all the horrible stuff that’s ever happened and filter it all down to one entity.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Such a tough question. I think I’d have to say that my favorite part of the book is the chapter on the Afterlife Express. So much fun to write about an old-timey locomotive that can provide literally anything a passenger desires. Also, a digital version of Bill Nye the Science Guy makes a cameo.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Easy. Green Power Ranger.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I do a lot of features on other indie authors on my blog, so I encourage everyone to go there to find new author friends. Outside of that, I’m always available through Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads (in that order).

Blog: http://www.awriterguy.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/a_writer_guy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBenMariner
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1319987.Ben_Mariner

apocolyps wow

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Apocalypse Wow was just so much fun to write. I loved being able to break free of some of the overused tropes of the post-apocalyptic genre and even poke fun of them a little bit. Nothing, however, gave me more joy than working in all the 90’s pop culture references and creating a 90’s-centric playlist for each chapter.

How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
This could certainly be a long winded answer, but I’ll be brief. I used to hate the idea of an eBook because I love the feel and smell of a good print edition, but eBook allow readers to access your work from literally anywhere now. It’s a huge tool in the arsenal of the indie writer. Everyone wants to see their book in print, but having people actually read it is more important and I think eBooks encourage that more so than print nowadays.
As far as alt vs. trad publishing goes, I think whatever gets your book out there is best. Traditional publishing gets harder to break into every day and there are just too many great, free options to self-publish. Honestly, in the future, I’d like to see major publishing houses offer a self-publishing option similar to Create Space or Kindle Direct.

Now that you know more about Ben, I hope you’ll check him out. And don’t forget to check out other authors and bloggers participating in #NYNB2016. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your new favorite. 😉

 

HTML tutorial
 

Also, don’t forget to sign up for a Rafflecopter giveaway! You could win a great book.

Posted in Uncategorized

Not even I could do this post without smiling

Do you have a few seconds to help a blogger out?

itsgoodtobecrazysometimes

Because I am the shy and retiring type (get the title now) I probably haven’t mentioned that I have entered the UK Blog Awards.

And because I am so modest I very much doubt that I have done about 4 posts on the thing.

But if you did want to vote for me, you can do it here and I will send a cookie through the internet 🙂

http://blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2016/my-entry/itsgoodtobecrazy

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