18.8.16

#BookReview ACCIDENTALLY ME by @kim_karras #BlogTour

I don't usually do reviews here, but I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of this review tour—and even more excited when I downloaded the ARC and was simpatico with the main character on page one.

ACCIDENTALLY ME by Kim Karras


“Maybe, just maybe, if I can convince Dad that I’m in enough danger at home, he won’t mind shipping me to California for school. But there’s only one problem. If I hope to pull this stalker scheme off, I’m going to need more than just a scary story.”

Sabrina has been trying to be the perfect child her whole life to convince her parents that she’s more than just an “accident.” Now she is desperate to go to her dream college, but her parents want her to stay close to home. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Sabrina must team up with an unlikely ally to get what she wants. But she can’t let her parents discover her plan. If she wants to maintain her perfect image, Sabrina must break rules that even her rebel sister keeps . . .


MY REVIEW


In one word, I'd call ACCIDENTALLY ME by Kim Karras delightful. In a lot of words...

Sabrina's the kind of quirky character I'm immediately drawn to. She's over-confident in some ways and so-not-confident in others. She's smart enough to have received a scholarship to the college of her dreams but dumb enough to think she can pull off a pretend stalker situation. She often comes across as younger than her 18 years, sometimes unbelievably so, but overall, I found her naivete refreshing. 

The story is told in first person, and I think that was a perfect choice because it lets us see inside Sabrina's skewed perception of herself and everything around her. It also allows her subtle brand of cheeky wit to shine. For Mom, no crisis can compete with the urgency of hot rolls in the oven. She's sometimes harsh in her entertaining observations of her family, but what 18 year old isn't? Eventually, she cuts her sister some slack, and the growth in that relationship is one of my favorite aspects of this story.

Another favorite aspect—Calvin. I adore him. He's so complex and intriguing. Just when you want to love him, you realize you shouldn't. And just when you're fixin' to hate him, you can't. At least I couldn't.

The flow of the writing is smooth and fast yet still allows for original and vivid description, almost always mixed with humor:

We are huddled together on Paul's front porch like would-be trick-or-treaters, costumed as the perfect family. The word "coif" comes to mind—and I'm not just talking about us women. Heather has teased so much gel into Mack's fine blonde hair it's as if he's wearing a hair helmet. Or a mace. I inch away from Mack so as not to puncture myself on one of his sharp, stiff spikes of hair, wondering if there isn't something willfully aggressive about the way Heather's transformed him into a weapon. Love is a battlefield, indeed.

I highly recommend this story to those who enjoy clever writing and quirky characters. 


3.8.16

Is It Wrong... #IWSG

Happy August, everyone! Lately I've been learning a lot about marketing from successful indie authors. It's truly amazing and wonderful how much sharing goes on in the indie author community, and I've definitely picked up a lot of solid, actionable advice.

But taking all this in has brought on a brand new insecurity for me. This solid, actionable advice is usually couched amid language like, "How to make a living at writing." And I realized ... I ... I don't aspire to make a living from my writing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in for doing what I can to help readers find my books, and if a living's-worth of royalties ever drops on top of me, I'll gladly accept every dime. But I don't want to devote myself full time to writing and marketing. I just don't. I like having a job that's separate from my fiction writing, and I like the freedom to blow off writing and marketing for big chunks of time.

Is that okay? Am I still a writer even if I don't aspire to ever be full-time at it? Or am I just a slacker?

And now for the two-part IWSG question of the month!

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer?

Professor Burbage and the Potions Master, a novel-length Harry Potter fanficiton. The embarrassing thing is, I wrote it before I learned that fanfiction was even a thing.

Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

Lucky for me, fanficiton is a thing! Burbage lives over at fanfiction.com,  The beginning of the sequel is there, too - which I fully intend to finish one day.



This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.



1.8.16

Nice Abs! Cover Reveal for SPIKED, Book 3 in the Blocked Series by @JenLanebooks

Congratulations to Jennifer Lane on the completion of her wonderful New Adult sports romance series. SPIKED is the third and final book. As Jennifer's critique partner, I've had the pleasure of already reading a draft of this story. You all are in for some great drama and fun in this final installment. SPIKED won't be released until October, but I have the cover for you today...

✯✯SPIKED by Jennifer Lane✯✯

Cover Reveal
The cover for book 3 in Jennifer Lane´s Blocked Series!

jennifer lane spiked cover

Spiked Blurb

They say
University is the time
To find yourself
But I don’t need to find myself
Just want to find you

After watching his older siblings find their love matches at Highbanks University, Mateo Ramirez feels unlikely to follow in their footsteps. What girl would want him? Unlike his brother and sister, he battles diabetes and chooses music over sports. But at least he can write songs about his life—and the girl who caught his eye when their parents ran against each other for US President.

Hey, chica! Come conmigo
And baby, why don’t we go
Down under the bridge to the water
With you it can only get hotter

Jessica Monroe is a talented swimmer who dreams of representing Team USA at the Olympics. When she earns an athletic scholarship to Highbanks, she’s excited to attend the same school as the cute boy she met two years ago: Mateo. Too bad he’s not around when a teammate spikes her drink. Jessica may never trust men again.

Trust
Is a hard-to-earn thing
Just
Try to keep listening
Swallow
Down all of the unjust
Hollow
My chest, my heart will bust

College years are the time to shake off the past and find your future. But will that future find Mateo and Jessica together? Dive in and immerse yourself in the eagerly anticipated conclusion to Jennifer Lane’s Blocked trilogy.

Pre-Order your copy today: https://goo.gl/CTKw7g

jennifer lane banner

Check out the Blocked series on Amazon and catch up before Spiked releases!
Also FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Blocked:

Aced

Streamline:
With Good Behavior:
 
Join the Online Release Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/823926984404510/
Jennifer Lane on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenLaneBooks/
Cover Reveal Hosted by Raven Publicity:
 

28.7.16

An Extra Gorgeous Cover Reveal - Tempting Jo by @Nancee_Cain #AmReading

It's my pleasure to be part of the cover reveal for Nancee Cain's upcoming release, TEMPTING JO. 



It's the sequel to her beautiful, funny, and sexy SAVING EVANGELINE



You know I love me a good cover, and this one...oh, it's outstanding. 



I could stare at it for hours and hours and hours.



What's that? You'd like me to stop yammering and show you already? 



Here she is!



TemptingJoCover (1) 

93ea2-goodreads

Forbidden love is hell... 

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God's gift to women--and she couldn't be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms--and bed. 

 Over Rafe Goodman's dead body... 

 Rafe, Jo's best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he's always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo's caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo's going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.


 
Excerpt
To my surprise, Mr. DeVille scratches Atticus behind the ears instead of pushing him away. “Since we’re stuck here, what should we do?” Finished with his sandwich, he wipes his mouth with his thumb. I’d have been more than willing to lick it clean for him.

A pounding on the door interrupts us. Dadgumit, just when things are about to get interesting with Mr., er, Luc. I scurry to the door, intent on getting rid of whoever it is. I find Rafe holding a bag of food and two cups of coffee.

“Hey, I figured your power was still out, so I brought you some coffee and breakfast.” His eyes scan my small apartment, narrowing when he spies Luc.

Mr. DeVille smirks. “What impeccable timing. Goodman, is it?” He casually swings his legs over the side of the bed and steps into his pants.

“Yes, sir.” Although polite, Rafe’s voice has an edge to it. The tension in the air snaps like an impending storm. “The roads are clear, although Mrs. Cabot called and said not to come to work today since schools are still closed and the power remains off for much of the area. Here included, I see.”

“How astute of you to notice. No wonder I pay you the big bucks. Of course Mrs. Cabot said to stay home. It isn’t her losing money, is it?”

Mr. DeVille pulls off my sweatshirt, revealing those cut abs. I stare unabashedly, and Rafe snaps his fingers in front of my face. Luc buttons his shirt, glaring at Rafe the entire time.

“Well, Friday. Thank you for the hospitality. I’m sure since Goodman flew here on the icy roads to check on you, I’ll have no problems getting home. I suggest you take today to study for your classes, and remember I’ll be more than happy to help with your homework assignments.” His eyes flash with desire, and my cheeks heat.

Rafe snarls, looking positively feral.

“A-Are you sure the roads are okay? Would you like a cup of this coffee before you go?”

“I only brought two cups,” Rafe protests.

Shocked by his rudeness—and to our boss, no less—I quickly offer, “Mr. DeVille can have my cup.” What has gotten into him?

Ignoring Rafe, Mr. DeVille turns to me as he shrugs into his coat. “That’s quite all right. Thank you, Friday.” He gives me a conspiratorial wink and a smile.

Rafe, in comparison, receives a cool nod. The hair on my arms stands on end when Mr. DeVille stops and turns to face my friend. I must be having some sort of low blood sugar event because I swear it looks like the rims of his blue eyes have turned the color of a hot stove eye. I blink and find him glaring at Rafe, and the look is returned in kind. Good thing we aren’t living in a century past. If we were, I’m quite certain there would be a duel at fifty paces. He leaves without saying another word. 

Rafe slams the door with a muttered, “Good riddance.”

I cross my arms in front of my chest. “Thanks a lot.”

“You’re welcome.” He ignores my sarcasm.

I sigh and gratefully accept the warm to-go cup. I can’t stay mad at him for long; he’s my best friend. 

And he has coffee.

To add Tempting Jo to your TBR list, go to Goodreads!

  nancee

Author Bio: During the day, Nancee works as a nurse in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge. Authors are her rock stars, and she’s been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list on her e-reader qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder. Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film, or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)

Giveaway

Enter to win a tempting mystery prize including signed books by Nancee & others!

27.7.16

Oh the Places You'll Go #Bloghop #Giveaway #backtoschool #bts


Welcome to the Oh! The places you'll go! Back-to-School Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island.

So,,,,why did I think having college-age kids would mean summers would slow down? It's actually crazier than when they were little because my life's moved on to include a day job and a writing career that don't take the summers off—but the kids show back up and a whole new layer of activity dashes any hope of routine. At least it's a good kind of crazy. :)

Still, I look forward to a few weeks from now when they'll be back into their routines and I can get back to mine. One of my favorite things to do with a little extra "me time" is to escape into a good book. If you want to escape into a light, chick-litty romance, The Romance Reviews has selected my latest release, WHEN IT HOOKS YOU, as a Top Pick! The story's set in fabulous Chicago but it also includes a tropical location if you're looking to get a little further away.


PRICE DROP during the hop!
Download for only $2.99 until August 10.
Three dates. It was only supposed to be three dates—he was only meant to be a fling. I didn’t want to feel all of this for him. And I certainly hadn’t counted on him keeping such a deal-breaking secret from me.

Till death is too long for Trish Cerise. The twenty-seven year old receptionist is tired of men asking for her forever when she just wants to keep things light and fun. World-traveling businessman Adam Helms steps off the elevator and into her life with his own reasons for keeping relationships at a safe distance. Together, they’re destined for the most glorious short-term romance in history…until they break their own rules and Trish learns something about Adam she wishes she never knew.

I know a future with him is impossible, but how do you break away from such an intense, consuming, heart-crushing love when it hooks you? ~Trish

~.~.~

What goes great with any kind of escape? A warm—or iced—cup of something yummy from Starbucks. My prize for the Giveaway Hop is a $5 gift card to Starbucks. I'm sponsoring this prize and will send the winner an e-gift card directly from the Starbucks site.

Hosts and other bloggers aren't responsible for sponsors who don't send prizes.


20.7.16

#ComedyBookWeek: Review of THE SECRET NOTEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Liz Hedgecock


Welcome back to #ComedyBookWeek, an annual online celebration of humor in writing. Today I'm reviewing one of the books featured in this event: THE SECRET NOTEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Liz Hedgecock.

Before we begin, let's set a little atmosphere, shall we? This photo was taken at 221b Baker Street last fall. As you see, Sherlock and Watson are still very much engrossed in cracking cases.


My Review
This book of short stories had me at the prologue, when we learn of the discovery of Watson's secret notebook at the site pictured above, now a museum. When you tour the museum you really do forget that Holmes was a fictional character, so it's easy to believe some old relic might be found hidden in a secret compartment of a drawer.

These newly discovered stories are from the duo's sleuthing partnership, so they're lighter fare than what we see from them later on. It's entertaining to watch Sherlock puzzle over cases such as how to divert the innocent honesty of a child from becoming an international incident, and what happened to the prize inside a Christmas cracker? What I most enjoyed about the passages in the Secret Notebook was the classic, dry Sherlocky wit.

Since they're all very short, these stories are perfect to have on a mobile reading app to pull out whenever you have a few minutes of waiting in store for you.


THE SECRET NOTEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Liz Hedgecock

Meet Sherlock Holmes before he was famous!

The discovery of a maroon leather notebook hidden in the great detective’s sock drawer caused a sensation. Now readers can join Holmes and Watson on a romp through 19th-century London, in 29 new and remarkable early cases.

These humorous short stories feature appearances by Mycroft Holmes, Inspector Lestrade, and other familiar characters, as well as cameos from several well-known Victorians. They also contain numerous historical liberties.

Can Holmes and Watson solve the mystery of Mornington Crescent? Why are all the policemen whispering at Scotland Yard? Is the world prepared for the case of the Giant Rat of Sumatra? Read The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes to find out...
* Amazon US (FREE in Kindle Unlimited) * Amazon UK

 See the full #ComedyBookWeek schedule of events to hop around the blog-o-sphere for more interviews, reviews, and excerpts with heart & humor.
  

Tomorrow:
We'll walk deeper into the woods at Nancee Cain's blog.


~.~.~

On a separate note - don't miss the Amazon Romance Author Giveaways
hosted by Love Kissed Book Bargains.
July 18 - 31



18.7.16

Quickie Interview with Author Karen Tomsovic for #ComedyBookWeek



Welcome to #ComedyBookWeek, an annual online celebration of humor in writing. Today, I'm interviewing Karen Tomsovic, author of feel-good romance in contemporary urban settings. Congrats to Karen on her brand new release, HEART THROBS!

Those of you who've frequented my blog know that there's one question I can never resist asking an author...

Q. Nicki: If you had to pick one song that best captures the essence of HEART THROBS, which song would you choose and why? 

A. Karen: Since this is for an event about comedy, I suppose I should come up with something funny. But the “soundtrack” in my head for this couple is actually quite romantic. And comedy isn’t just jokes; it’s also form. Heart Throbs is a romantic comedy and one of the genre's tropes—whether in Shakespeare or Hollywood—is to have some sort of big wedding scene, either at the climax or as the happy ending.

While writing the first draft, I would listen to this CD of flamenco versions of popular love ballads. It was a CD recommended to me by a co-worker who was friends with the musician who recorded it and it quickly became a favorite of mine. So as I was writing I kept visualizing my couple, that would be Amanda and Darrell, dancing to this music in several scenarios: at their reception and then in the bedroom on their wedding night, and later still as newlyweds on some sunny terrace in a mountain setting.

Darrell’s a bit of a clown and merely a passable dancer, but Amanda’s more refined and graceful on her feet. She classes him up, but in dancing as in their life together, he proves himself worthy to be a suitable match for her.

HEART THROBS by Karen Tomsovic


Famous friends become much more...

Twenty-nine-year-old Amanda Monroe is about to make her white picket fence fantasy come true. The New York actress vows to wrap her role on a hit sitcom, marry the non-actor of her dreams, and put down the roots she’s always wanted—all before she turns thirty.

But when two irresistible movie stars come to guest for a week, one a leading man with a juicy role to cast and the other an old flame, Amanda finds herself torn between the life she says she's always wanted and an even brighter future.

 See the full #ComedyBookWeek schedule of events to hop around the blog-o-sphere for more interviews, reviews, and excerpts with heart & humor. 

Today I'm at:
&



~.~.~

On a separate note - don't miss the Amazon Romance Author Giveaways
July 18 - 31



6.7.16

A Whole New Meaning for "Indy" Author #IWSG


A couple of weeks ago Raiders of the Lost Ark came back to the big screen at a theater by my house It was SO exciting. It was also the first time I’ve seen the movie since hearing the infamous Amy Farrah Fowler theory on the film. If you don’t know, the fictional neurobiologist says the movie has a glaring flaw in that Indiana Jones has no impact on the outcome.

Do you ever feel like that as a writer? Like no matter how much time and effort you put into crafting stories, putting them out into the world, and then implementing brilliant marketing strategies, you always end up in the same place? Like all your work has no impact whatsoever on the literary world, much less your bank account?

Yeah, me, too. But then I figured out that Mizz Fowler's theory is full of monkey poop. Allow me to explain...

I had a new book release on June 15, and it had an awesome opening week. Amazon rankings like I've never seen before. All this without the help of a romance publisher, which I for too long convinced myself would provide the support, expertise, and credibility I'd need to succeed. And then guess what happened - Nickiana Jones friggin' smiled.

Y'know how whenever Indy allows himself a smile, a moment to revel in his success things suddenly take a downward turn? Yeah, that. Moving into week two, I realized my opening week sales wouldn't propagate all on their own. I couldn't just sit back and expect more and more new readers to continue to find my book. And THEN during my struggle to accept that I must regroup and continue to work my bum off, I saw the flaw in Amy Farrah Fowler's reasoning.

The point of Indiana Jones isn't that he succeeds in his quest to find the Ark and bring it to a museum for research. Nope. The point of Indy is that no matter how many times that man is shot down, beat up, bested, and thrown to the snakes, he gets up, resets his sights on his goal, and goes after it again and again and again.

Maybe I'm just too stupid or stubborn to give up, but I choose to be an Indy author. He may not always win, but he has way more fun that Belloq, right?

As part of my ongoing quest to figure this publishing thing out...
(you may need to think back to your pre-writer days)
&

THANK YOU!

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.

)


2.7.16

Dawn's Reading Nook: The Fourth of July FacebookHop and Giveaway

Dawn's Reading Nook: The Fourth of July FacebookHop and Giveaway: Welcome to the Fourth of July Facebook Hop, hosted by Love Kissed Book Bargains! With tons of prizes from over 100 authors and bloggers ...



15.6.16

Sneak Peek Inside NEW RomCom Release WHEN IT HOOKS YOU #SummerLovin




Today's the day my newest Chick Lit/Romance hits the e-stands at Amazon. We're welcoming it into the world with a review tour, hosted by the fabulous Lady Amber's Reviews. Visit any of the review tour posts linked below (on or after the day indicated) to enter my giveaway - prize is a $10 Starbucks Gift Card & a Beaded Bookmark, just what you need for settling into a good book.

But first, I think it's only fair that I answer the question I always ask of my visiting authors:

Q: Name one song that best captures the essence of WHEN IT HOOKS YOU.

A: Easy. "Friday I'm in Love" by The Cure. The bouncy beat with just a touch of the band's trademark melancholy matches the mood of the story. And the sentiment is perfect for a girl who decides to commit to a life of no commitments. She's free to fall in love with a new guy every Friday. At least that was the plan... 


~ . ~ . ~



WHEN IT HOOKS YOU Review Blitz
(I'll update links directly to the reviews as they go live - bolded blogs are those that've actually posted.)

6/15


6/16

6/17

~ . ~ . ~


I love the second-guessing that goes along with tiptoeing into a new relationship, don't you? Love stories would be pretty boring if both parties strutted into the whole thing with perfect confidence. But our boy Adam shows signs all along that his struggle is beyond the usual. He has very good reason to be cautious about this budding romance with Trish. Unfortunately, she ignores the signs and finds out his reasons too late.  Here's an excerpt that shows some of Trish's and Adam's early tiptoeing.

Excerpt from WHEN IT HOOKS YOU

Trish saw Adam Helms’ name on the visitor list, and her perfect posture sagged. She’d hoped he’d get in touch before his next trip to Chicago, but she hadn’t heard a word from him. Now he was here and hadn’t even attempted to make any plans with her. She could only interpret that to mean he wasn’t interested in a second date.

Probably for the best, she told herself. Not like it could go anywhere, anyhow. Yet she couldn’t deny she’d been hoping for more than a few transient moments with him as he entered and exited the office. Something about that man intrigued her. But if he didn’t find her to be equally intriguing, what could she do about it?

She was pleasant but reserved when he arrived. “Good morning,” she said, keeping any hint of flirtation out of her smile. “You’re a third timer now, so Michael asked me to send you directly to the conference room.”

“Thank you,” was all Adam said before disappearing behind the door to Michael’s side of the office.

Trish lost count of how many times her eyes went to that same door during the next ninety minutes. When Adam finally emerged, she was at the small kitchenette off to the side of the lobby, pouring coffee for a waiting client. She watched him glance at her empty chair. Then his eyes roved the room, stopping when they landed on her.

She immediately redirected her attention toward the other client, walking across the carpet in a practiced saunter—not too provocative, but not completely innocent, either. “Here you go, Mrs. Beneficence. Please let me know if you need anything else. Stephanie should be ready to meet with you in a few minutes.”

When she stood straight and turned toward her desk, Adam’s gaze flicked abruptly away from her, like he’d been caught staring. “Can I help you with something, Mr. Helms? Would you like a bottled water for the road?”

“No…I…” His captivating eyes were back on her. “I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye.” He stayed rooted where he stood, looking considerably less haggard than he’d been the last time he’d exited the office, four weeks earlier. Today he was poised and collected, debonair in his perfectly fitted dark suit.

His lingering attention caused Trish to waiver in her coolness. The earnestness in his expression certainly seemed to indicate he wanted more than transient moments with her, as well. She shook it off, resisting the urge to read more into his look than was actually there. He hadn’t called. He wasn’t interested. That was that.

She continued on to her desk and lowered into her chair. “Well, goodbye then.” She gave him a dismissive smile and focused on her computer screen. It felt awful being outright rude to him, but what did he expect? She was embarrassed at having been so forward about adding her name to his contacts. He’d probably deleted her information before he’d even gotten to the hotel.

“Goodbye,” he said. She didn’t look up from her screen, but in her peripheral vision, she saw him spin on his heel and stay hidden behind the plant until the elevator dinged and took him away.

Ten minutes later, with Mrs. Beneficence ferried to her attorney’s office, Trish’s phone buzzed with a text from an unknown number.

What was that?

Who is this?

Adam Helms

Oh

I repeat—what was that?

What was what?

In the office. Why could we hardly talk to each other?

I didn’t realize you wanted to talk.

I didn’t want to not talk.

Huh?

I don’t know what I’m saying.

A few seconds passed with Trish not knowing how to respond. Her phone buzzed again.

I want to see you.

Her heart thudded against her ribcage, and her cold bitch mode melted away to be replaced by coy flirt.

You just did, silly.

Again. I want to see you again.




1.6.16

Too Much Information #IWSG #AmWriting

Do you ever feel like this?


I'm trying to be a good little author and learn more about marketing so that my books can find their audience, and it's awesome to have all these online resources literally at our fingertips, but MAN! There is so much freaking information out there! And everything's always changing, advice often conflicts, and it's just plain impossible to absorb everything.

So I'm simplifying. I just opted out of a whole bunch of Facebook groups, staying in only those I've actually found to be helpful in the past, and I'm going to focus on learning one tiny new thing at a time rather than trying to learn everything and thereby learning nothing.

My latest tiny new thing was to figure out Twitter cards. I noticed that some Thunderclap auto-tweets include a nice picture, some have no picture, and some have really awful blurry pictures. Websites that are set up correctly for Twitter cards are the ones that get the fabulous pics. That's why it's always safest to link back to your own site---assuming it's all set for Twitter cards, that is. I won't overload you with the details, but I have a Wordpress site, so if you have one, too, and you want to learn how to make sure its Twitter cards are nice & shiny, I found this article SO helpful (scroll to Yoast SEO plugin).

And hey, speaking of Thunderclap, would you please, please join mine?

THANK YOU!


This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.

)


4.5.16

Thoughts on Thunderclap #IWSG #AmMarketing

Thank you all for your feedback on last month's Insecure Writers Support Group Post in which I whined about wanting low-commitment marketing ideas for my book launch. So many of you suggested setting up a Thunderclap, that I decided to go for it.

I'd avoided setting up my own Thunderclap after watching other authors struggle to come up with the 100 supporter minimum. (If you don't know what a Thunderclap is, you can read more about it here.) No matter how big an author's following is, it's shockingly damn hard to get 100 people to sign up for an auto-post. Then I remembered the secret weapon author Cherie Colyer told me about...

There's a Facebook group called Thunderclap Campaigns - it's authors helping authors by supporting each other's Thunderclap campaigns. Everyone posts links to their open campaigns in a post and in comments, and we all clicketty clack to help each other get to 100 and beyond. It was so freeing to not feel like I needed to continually hound my followers for support. (One thing I'm absolutely DONE with is hounding people. The only thing it ever succeeds at is making me miserable.)
.
Benefits of Thunderclap

Besides the obvious - leveraging your social network reach with a boatload of posts going up around the webosphere at the exact same time - I noted these other benefits of doing a Thunderclap,

  • Drumming up support gives you a reason to post about your book without saying, "Hey, buy my book.". 
  • Supporting other authors in the Thunderclap Campaigns Facebook group is a quick and easy way to keep your Twitter feed active.
  • It's fun to watch the number of supporters and social reach go up! It's easy to get discouraged in today's glutted book market, so it's nice to have something positive to focus on during the tense days leading up to a release.
  • It was fun interacting with authors in the Facebook group. (Warning: if you participate in the group, your Facebook notifications will be out of control for a while because you'll get notified every time someone leaves their link in the same threads where you left yours.)

Thunderclapping Tips

  • If you're an author, join the Thunderclap Campaigns group on Facebook and actively support other authors and leave your link in the comments.
  • Really think about the message you want auto-Tweeted/posted. Don't waste the opportunity. Know what works with your audience. Simply shouting 'buy my book" does not work.
  • Take time to design an eye-catching graphic for the Thunderclap - it'll be visible whenever someone Tweets that they've supported your campaign and is another opportunity to get your book cover & tagline in front of people. 
  • Consider what time you select for your mass post. A lot of people seem to choose noon EST. Supporting lots of authors through the Facebook group means I've had a lot of Tweets piling right on top of each other at exactly noon EST. I'd imagine it's more effective to not be lost in a pile of other auto-Tweets.    

Did it do any good?

Meh. I don't know. Release day wasn't horrifying, and I didn't have many other marketing efforts going, so I'd say Thunderclap helped me do at least as well on release day as I've done with other books for which I'd put in a lot more marketing time and effort. Here are my results:


So, does 230 clicks mean that 230 people clicked on the link in my Thunderclapped post? If so, that's not bad for something that's free and easy. Yep, I'll definitely do it again - THANK YOU, fellow IWSGers, for giving me the nudge to try something new! 


)

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.


28.4.16

New Adult Scavenger Hunt, featuring exclusive excerpt from 738 Days by @StaceyKade #NewASH

April 28 - May 1

***The Hunt is now closed***

Welcome to Spring 2016 edition of the New Adult Scavenger Hunt!

The scavenger hunt includes exclusive content from fabulous New Adult authors. As you hop around, collect the lucky numbers on each post and add them up to enter to win one of three HUGE prize packs of paperback books. But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours! If you're just getting started, go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt website for instructions. 

There are three teams, each with its own prize pack. I'm excited to be a part of Team Purple, which means I get to feature exclusive content from Stacey Kade, one of the other Team Purple authors - I think you'll find her book quite intriguing. At the end of this post, I'll send you to Lisa Swallow, another awesome team member, for more good stuff. 


Just want to clarify that my book included in the Team Purple giveaway is a paper copy of the original version of Three Daves—the retro version when Jen and her boys were back in the 80s. In the new version, they’ve been transported to the new millennium and each Dave’s been given his own novella along with a host of other updates (including sexy new covers). 

~.~.~.~.~

Meet Stacey Kade

The daughter of a minister and a music teacher, Stacey Kade grew up reading Harlequin romances on the sly in the basement. Her obsession with IMDb and the entertainment industry in general means no one will play her in Scene It or Hollywood Game Night anymore. Her one brush with fame was possibly seeing Billy Crystal in an airport once.

Stacey's Website

Stacey's Blog


~.~.~.~.~

738 DAYS by Stacey Kade

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he’s sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

With charm and heart, Stacey Kade takes readers on a journey of redemption and love.

Pre-order 738 DAYS here.

I wasn't kidding when I said intriguing, right? For the Scavenger Hunt, Stacey treats us to the exclusive excerpt below. 


~.~.~.~.~

Exclusive Excerpt from 738 DAYS by Stacey Kade

But I make my way out of my room and into the hall, heading for the stairs, expecting to find my family gathered in the kitchen, or if there’s a guest, maybe the living room.
 
Instead, in a repeat of earlier today, they’re gathered at the base of the stairs in the foyer. Only this time, it’s not just my mom and sisters, but my dad as well. And they’re not facing off against each other, but standing in a single line of solidarity—Mia, Mom, Dad, and Liza—which is . . . unusual.

Then I see the only other person present.  

Their seeming opponent—the mutual enemy that has drawn them all together—is one guy, standing with his back against the door, his head ducked down, the brighter gold bits in his dark blond hair glinting in the foyer light, and his hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans.

Chase Henry.

My breath catches in my chest, and I wait for the panic bees to swarm up and start stinging.
But my insides are strangely calm. My heart does a quick little skip, but that’s all. Instead, I feel that weird flicker of . . . what?

Connection, maybe. Which is ridiculous because this Chase Henry is not “my” Chase Henry, for lack of a better term. I know that.

He doesn’t look as he did in the poster or my memory. He is taller than I imagined. I can’t see much of his face, just the left side of his profile, which is mostly in shadow anyway, but he seems tired, older. There are lines by his mouth, as if he’s been unhappy lately or spent a lot of time frowning.      

He’s wearing a battered work jacket over his T-shirt now. Nothing like the slick leather coat he wore in the poster and, therefore, in the room with me.

And yet, I can’t shake that feeling of a link, a bond, when I look at him. And with it, the odd sensation of being able to breathe deeper, like part of me was somehow waiting for this and can now relax a little.

Also a completely ridiculous notion. But this one sort of makes sense, in a crazy way. Chase, my version of him, was my security blanket. I needed him, a representative of home and the hope I was too afraid to allow myself (again, according to therapists galore), so my brain created him.

The real Chase in the foyer below physically resembles the protector I created so I’m reacting to him in the same way.

As if sensing my scrutiny, Chase looks up at me, those familiar dark blue eyes taking me in. 

~.~.~.~.~

Bonus Prize
In addition to the HUGE prize packs of books, some of the authors are hosting their own individual giveaways. I'm one of those authors. ;) What're you gonna need with all those new paperback books in your prize pack? A bookmark, of course! My prize is a beaded leather corset-charm bookmark. Enter to win it in the Rafflecopter below - this giveaway will stay open until Midnight EST on May 1. 




 Sorry. The hunt is now closed. 
If this isn't your final Team Purple stop, visit author Lisa Swallow's site to continue reading (posts may start to disappear). Be sure to look for my exclusive excerpt from DAVID: SOPHOMORE YEAR along the way. Have fun!

Also visit Team Blue & Team Red (posts may disappear).
The New Adult Scavenger Hunt is open from 4/28- noonEST 5/1



11.4.16

Rain Rain Go Away Hop #AprilShowers #amreading


Welcome to my post for the Rain Rain Go Away Giveaway hop, hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island.

What's the best thing to do amidst April showers? Curl up with a good book, of course! My giveaway is a $5 Amazon gift card and your choice of a Kindle copy of either my chick-lit romance VIBRIZZIO or my women's fiction/love story DIVINE TEMPTATION.

The Prizes


On the last day of this hop, THREE DAVES parts 1-3 will be released to the world! Party on the campus of Central Illinois University with undergrad Jennifer Whitney as she learns about life and love through her adventures with three guys named Dave.

Special Pre-order Pricing through April 26




Jennifer Whitney always expected to save her virginity for that special someone. But the nineteen year old college sophomore is tired of waiting for the universe to bring him to her—especially while everyone around her is gaining valuable experience in the bedroom…and in the library stacks and in conversion vans…

Afraid of falling behind, she decides to lose her virginity to her friend David, someone she’d never ever risk a romantic relationship with after what he did to her. Trouble is, she’s been crushing on David since freshman year. Can she really take that step with him and not fall into the trap of hoping things will turn real?

“I asked my interior designer to give me something appropriate for defiling virgins.”
~David




With solid sexual experience under her belt, Jennifer Whitney is determined to return to her good girl status until she meets the right guy. Sexy super-senior Dave is not the right guy. But his mesmerizing eyes and sensual swagger have a way of making up for that—especially when he gives Jen the kind of attention she never dreamed she’d get from someone like him.

Her roommate doesn’t like him. Her friend David isn’t his biggest fan, either. But neither of them understand the persuasive powers of Dave’s delicious tongue and his tiger-like growl. Jen’s proud of herself for resisting his many temptations, yet she knows Dave won’t stick around forever if she never gives him anything…

“Come on, good girl. Be bad.”
~Dave





Big D is wonderful. Big D is perfect. Big D is taking way too long to make a freaking move. Self-proclaimed good girl Jennifer Whitney never thought she’d be the aggressive one in a relationship. But what choice does she have when her big, beefy hunk of a boyfriend treats her like fragile glass? She knows she can’t let him keep thinking she’s a virgin, but no way can she explain how she lost it, especially when D’s already suspicious of her friendship with David—the guy she lost it to.

By the end of senior year, Jen thought she’d have it all figured out. Instead, she’s forced to rethink who she is and what she wants during one crazy weekend when she has a close encounter with all three of her Daves.

“Of all the fraternity houses on campus, you had to walk into mine.”
~Big D


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: hosts & participating hop bloggers are not responsible for sponsors or self-sponsoring bloggers that do not fulfill prize obligations.

Thanks for stopping by. Now, hop on, my friends, and win many great things!

 ---

6.4.16

Leveraging Time #IWSG #amwriting

In the first IWSG post of the year, I vowed to spend more time on writing and less time on all the other stuff that goes along with being a published author. So far so good. I recently finished the first draft on a new novel---hooray! But now comes the true test of my focus on writing.

As you may notice in my sidebar, I've just had three new novellas go on pre-order (a reboot of my debut novel). I've got to do something to promote them, but I've also got to be a ton more efficient with my marketing time than I've been in the past. That's were you come in...

I'd love any tips you have on effective ways to get the word out on a book that don't suck up exorbitant amounts of time. What promotional efforts give authors the best bang for their buck and minutes.



)

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.


18.3.16

#London Inspirations for WHAT THE CLOCKS KNOW by @RumerHaven - Out Today!

Remember when I went to London last fall? I mentioned that I was staying with my favorite author in the whole wide world. That author is ... Rumer Haven! She also happens to be my sister - which is one reason she's my favorite author. The other reason is because she's a damn fine writer. I'm excited to have her here today to tell you about her latest release, which I can't wait to dig into this weekend.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Nicki! As you know from your own London travels, this city is loaded with hauntingly beautiful and beautifully haunted sites. I had always wanted to write a ghost story, but it wasn't until I moved here that I found myself surrounded with inspiration. It's the perfect setting, and I think the ghosts quite fancy it, too. :)

But that's the city in general. As for the settings within the setting, What the Clocks Know takes place in several London locations that I've frequented. Here are my top 5:


1. Brompton Cemetery



"Who is Charlotte? The name on a local gravestone could relate to Margot’s dreams and the grey woman weeping at the window," quoth the book summary, and yep, Charlotte is real. The life I've created for her is only a figment of my imagination, but I took my character's name directly off of a gravestone at Brompton cemetery and decided to send my protagonist Margot there, too, for a few key scenes. This was one of the first spots I visited on my first full day after moving to London. I stumbled upon it purely on accident, and it's been my favorite, most peaceful place ever since.

2. The Troubadour Cafe

The Troubadour is an iconic establishment renowned for its music scene. It's the first place where Bob Dylan ever performed in London and has also seen the likes of Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Elvis Costello. Founded in the 1950s as part of London's coffee house revival, one can only imagine the creative and intellectual minds that have converged here over the decades, and I personally find it a wonderfully cozy place to read and write with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Hanging out there with author Nicki Elson is pretty awesome, too! I just had to send my Margot there as well for one of the book's scenes.

3. Ye Olde Cheschire Cheese




While not mentioned by name in the book, this is the old pub that Margot marvels was rebuilt in 1667 after London's Great Fire of 1666. With cellars dating back centuries even before that, this quintessential pub is tucked just off the beaten path of Sweeney Todd's Fleet Street. Charles Dickens was a regular there, and it'll always be one of my top London favorites. When Margot runs into a friend near St. Paul's Cathedral, I send them to Ye Olde Cheschire Cheese for warm lunch, ale, and shelter from the rain.

4. Camden Catacombs

Okay, so I've only seen pictures of these on the Internet, but I've visited the Camden Stables Market a few times. The "Catacombs" were actually underground stables, as horses were needed for the railways and towing barges along the canal. As they can easily flood, these subterranean tunnels are closed to the public, so I could only let my imagination wander down there with Margot. But if you go to the nearby Proud Camden club, you can have a private party in one of the stables there! An edgy art and music mecca, this neighborhood was home to Amy Winehouse and has a vibrant day and night scene. It's also the namesake of the fictional Camden Court apartment building in my debut novel, Seven for a Secret.

5. Churches: St. Paul's Cathedral, Chapel Royal, St. George's Chapel


I'm making this a three-in-one deal, as none of these churches are settings of actual scenes in the book. However, they all do appear in Margot's journal entries as she chronicles her experiences in and around London. St. Paul's readily becomes a beacon of sorts to her, standing tall and benevolently in the city's center. She writes about going to a debate there, which is based on a series of such that I attended myself soon after moving here. The cathedral reappears later in the story, too, as the backdrop to Margot's lunch with her flatmate.

The Chapel Royal is located within Hampton Court Palace, which itself is located just outside London near Wimbledon and was Henry VIII's favorite palace. Margot visits here early on and writes about the oval above the altar, a symbol of rebirth. St. George's Chapel is located at Windsor Castle, residence of the current Queen Elizabeth. Her parents and other royalty are buried in the chapel, including Princess Charlotte, whose 19th-century monument appears to Margot in a dream.

Welp, that's it for my little London tour today, but I hope you'll visit these places, too, someday--if not in person, then in What the Clocks Know!

~ * ~


About What the Clocks Know: Finding a ghost isn't what Margot had in mind when she went ‘soul searching’, but somehow her future may depend on Charlotte's past. Woven between 21st-century and Victorian London, What the Clocks Know is a haunting story of love and identity. A paranormal women's fiction, this title is available as of March 18, 2016 from Crooked Cat Publishing.

"A unique tale of the paranormal – as beautiful as it is haunting." ~ Shani Struthers, author of Jessamine and the Psychic Surveys series

 

** Add it! **
** Read it! **

~ * ~

Author Bio:
Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (in which a Jazz Age tragedy haunts a modern woman’s love life), and her award-winning short story “Four Somethings & a Sixpence” (about a bride who gets a little something she didn’t register for) was released in 2015. What the Clocks Know is her second novel.

Learn more about Rumer at:
Website * Facebook * Twitter: @RumerHaven