Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The New Year's Post


Because we all want to reflect, wrap up and move on.

What I published

I published three books this year. Yeah. And that furthered my resolve that I needed to keep up the ambitious pace I set for myself.

What I wrote

...so I wrote three more books this year. We're still in the universe of The New Pioneers, but I've added a bunch of new characters. All of them are introduced by people you've already met and one of them has been teased. I am excited about the direction the series is taking on and I can't wait to release Book 6. It's a short story that will use a character everyone wanted more of to segue into a subject everyone said I should write more about. (Need a hint? Check my Twitter feed on the right!)

What I read

I read...a lot!




















What can you recommend?

What I watched

I finally gave into my Netflix account when I realized that old Hawaii Five-O and The Rockford Files were on. God, I love Seventies hair. Why do I need to watch so many mysteries? Hmm...

What I'm thinking

In 2007 I wrote four novels. In reality, I wrote four novels in about four months. (Not coincidentally, this was before I joined social media, although I did keep a blog.) I enjoy social media, but I, like many other writers, stressed about which platforms to be on and how to conduct myself while there. So it was a little bit of a relief that Facebook changed its policies to make promotion more difficult. After some research and consideration, I decided to focus my professional efforts...here. (I already posted about some of the changes I’m making to this blog.)

If you’ve been paying attention to publishing news, “suddenly” indies are making less money than we were before. Mark Coker lays out the entirely reasonable proposition that there is now a glut of indie books that exceeds the demands. Having lived through the Dot Com, Real Estate (and even the Mind Body) bubbles, I would say Coker is correct. I would also say that his advice to stay the course and keep writing (and improving) is the only thing we indie writers can do. It’s good to be aware of what opportunities and limitations we have (Kindle Unlimited looks like a good place for shorter works, but overall readers seem to like longer works), but there’s no point in getting worked up over what we can’t control.

What I'm planning

  • My wheels are spinning around the plot for Book 9, and I’ve already started making notes and writing snippets here and there.
  • I’m hoping that I can place more ads on certain sites, but I will definitely be offering more giveaways, particularly on Goodreads. (As always, review copies are free at all times.)
  • I’ll be reading and reviewing three books a month…(yikes!)


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Joining the 21st century

Finally got a tablet, and to no one's surprise but my own I'm reading more.

By nature, I tend to be thrifty, and the fact that I'm a writer when I'm not a stay-at-home homeschooling parent only exacerbates that. I am also a Late Adopter when it comes to technology; I prefer to let other people pay the premium for being the first in line to acquire something and then work out the kinks for me.

Several years ago I had a Blackberry when everyone else was oohing and ahhing over their new iPhones. I was ecstatic about how much I could get done with the tiny keyboard, and I knew that the virtual keyboard wasn't going to cut it. (Stints on my husband's Android smartphone confirmed this.) My primary needs for any kind of device are to read and write. If I can't do those things, there was no reason to invest a lot of money in a smartphone or tablet.

I was willing to muddle along with my laptop until a few months ago when my children's wear and tear damaged the screen hinge to the point that it wasn't comfortable to use. While I could use our computer to a point, my husband needs it more than I do. (Since he's the bread winner of the family, I have no problem saying that.) As my usage of that machine would cut into his productivity, I felt justified finally getting a tablet.

Last week, after weeks of research, I walked into Best Buy and picked up this ASUS model. (I can't link you to the Best Buy page because apparently they're not listing it on their website anymore.) That night I went home and ordered this keyboard case. I will admit that this is not the prettiest case on the market, but it gets the job I need done.


We're in the middle of "the holidays" so I haven't had a chance to write anything extensive on it yet, but I have written five reviews on it. I've also transferred most of my Works in Progress on to it so I can make edits and additions.

More importantly, I've used it to read a lot more than I was able to before. When other authors were sending me their ebooks, it wasn't a portable experience for me unless I printed out a .pdf copy. (I do not recommend this.) Suddenly e-reading is much more enjoyable, and I look forward to reading and reviewing a lot more.

(I'll also add that it makes homeschooling a lot easier: there are a bunch of library books my sons have been able to read on the Kindle, and the Netflix app makes it very easy to watch documentaries.)

So with that new development in mind, what do I have next up on my reading list? The Moon Spinners by Mary Stewart, which I got from...my library. Why? Because it's not available in e-format yet.


Ah, technology!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Destiny (The Tranquilli Blood Line Series) by Celia Breslin (Giveaway)


 photo Destiny-Blitz-Banner.png
 photo Destiny.jpg
Title:  Destiny
Series: The Tranquilli Blood Line Series #2
Author:   Celia Breslin
Published:  November 3rd, 2014
Publisher:   Champagne Book Group
Word Count:   74,000
Cover Artist:   Ellie Smith
Genre:  Urban Fantasy Romance
Content Warning:  Sexual situations, violence, and profanity
Recommended Age:  17+
Synopsis:  In HAVEN, San Francisco nightclub owner Carina Tranquilli survives a vicious attack by her vampire family’s longtime archenemies. Several weeks later, as she struggles with PTSD and survivor’s guilt, supervillain Dixon resurfaces and kidnaps two of her best friends. To save them, Carina must comply with the evil bastard’s unusual demands. The kicker? She must tell no one what she is up to.
Meanwhile, she has a new dance club to open for the preternatural community, a fated soul mate acting secretive and distant, and a sexy, new, undead friend who’d love to take Alexander’s place in her heart and bed.
Blackmailed, betrayed, tempted…sometimes destiny has a wicked sense of humor.
About the Author:
 Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for vampires, werewolves, and the Fae. When not writing, you’ll find her exercising, reading a good book or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies.
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • One lucky winner will receive an eBook copy of Haven (Tranquilli Bloodline #1) and Vampire Code
Giveaway is International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A couple of changes here

I've made a couple of decisions about how this site is going to be run.
  • First, as of December 11th, all blog posts will contain original content. I love to help my fellow authors promote their work, but after a year of participating in blog tours, I don't think posting the same boilerplate post is helping anyone. I will happily continue to participate in blog tours if 1) authors are willing to write an original guest post or 2) I've read the book and can interview the author. Ultimately, I think this is a better move for this blog and whomever I'm posting a promotion for.
  • Second, and this was a hard decision to make, my reviews will be posted on Amazon and Goodreads. When I have a new review I'll point you to Amazon. Google does not like repetitive content, and I know that I do more good for authors by adding to what other customers see on Amazon than here (as awesome as my blog is). 
  • However, I do plan on writing about "themed" books I've read if one presents itself. That'll be both for both fiction and non-fiction. I'm pretty excited about this, and I think it has the potential to be more interesting than my reviews.
This will probably mean that there will be fewer posts, but I hope not by much.

To quote one of my favorite writers, let's make the internet a better place!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Indie and Small Press Author Blog Hop! (Giveaway)


I'm very pleased to be part of the Indie and Small Press Author Blog Hop today. I'm giving away two (2) e-copies each of The Smartest Girl in the Room and An Engagement: A New Pioneers Short Story. All you have to do to enter is subscribe to my newsletter. (Promise: I only send them out to announce a new publication.) Want to get an extra entry? Subscribe to my blog!

Please visit the other blogs participating in the Blog Hop and enter to win more great prizes!


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Aftermath (The AfterWorld Saga) by Sandy Goldsworthy (Giveaway)

Aftermath Blitz Banner
Aftermath
Title: Aftermath
Series: The AfterWorld Saga
Author: Sandy Goldsworthy
To Be Published: December 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Page Count: 361
Genre: Paranormal Romance Action Adventure
Content Warning: Adult language, violence, and sexual content
Age Recommendation: 14+
Synopsis:
After losing her father, Emma Bennett moves to her aunt’s small town of Westport to finish out her senior year of high school. Emma wants to forget the pain and loss of the past few weeks, finding relief in the company of Ben Parker—a local boy who she has an instant attraction and uncanny connection with. When Ben seems a little too preoccupied with other responsibilities and has no time for her, Emma turns to the town’s hottest flirt—Lucas Crandon—for affection. Unfortunately, she realizes a little too late that, sometimes, bad boys really can be bad for you.

Life as an undercover agent for the Afterworld’s Bureau of Investigation isn’t an easy job. When Ben Parker finds his soul mate, Emma, in a small town, he finds himself forced to choose between doing his job or rekindling a relationship with the love of his existence. After Ben is notified that a notorious immortal is loose somewhere near Westport, he realizes that his love life will just have to wait. There is a criminal to apprehend before he can have his girl.

When lives are at stake and immortals are on the loose, can two soul mates find their happy ever after?



Sandy Goldsworthy was born and raised in a small Wisconsin town. Her passion for writing began when her high school English teacher inspired her to be more descriptive in her work. Today, Sandy is writing the second book of Emma and Ben’s story. When she’s not writing, Sandy enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, and two children, Brittany and Kyle, or playing with her English Mastiff, Miles.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Saturday with @HylanderDiner

I'm at the Hylander Diner (aka Mary Pat Hyland's blog) today, talking about some of the time-tested small-business rules Indie Authors need to start thinking about.

If you're a fellow indie, I'd love to hear what's working (so far) for you; and if you're a reader, I'd REALLY love to hear about what strategies (pricing, distribution, you name it) you've appreciated the most.


Small businesses are the engine of our economy...and 8 out of 10 will fail within the first 18 months.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Historical Wednesday: The Korean Edition

You know what Romance, Chick Lit and New Adult authors like to talk about? Anything you can think of.

Fellow romance author Victoria Barbour features me on her blog today, giving my two cents (or 1000 words) about Korean history. As you know, this is a subject that's near and dear to my heart. Please check it out.

I mean, you can just guess what's going to happen by looking at this map...


Sunday, November 23, 2014

In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories by Mary Pat Hyland (guest post, giveaway)


NEW RELEASE: In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories by Mary Pat Hyland

PRICE: $2.99 / £1.92 / EUR 2,68

GENRE: Short Stories, Humor, Literary

SYNOPSIS:

By the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers in New York’s Southern Tier lies a verdant valley called the Triple Cities.

The shoe factories that originally drew thousands of immigrants from across Europe have long moved on.

What remains are the distinct ethnic flavors of a gritty community determined to overcome economic woes, adapt to the rapid changes in society and find true meaning in life.

Consider these eighteen stories as pages ripped from a sketchbook. Some are quick studies; others are more detailed portraits inspired by observed characters, whispered gossip, overheard conversations and the local lore of the residents whose neighborhoods are framed by the gilded Orthodox Church domes that span this valley.

You’ll find that each tale has its own tone: some are humorous or poignant, others are surprising and haunting.

AUTHOR BIO

Mary Pat Hyland is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author and has published six novels and a collection of short stories. Her stories have appeared in the anthologies Seasons Readings and Lost Love Letters: An Indie Chicks Anthology. In 2013 the Arts Council of Yates County selected her as an Artist in Residence. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and has worked in the commercial/fine art, journalism, education and culinary fields. Mary Pat resides in upstate New York, the setting for her novels, and enjoys organic gardening, gourmet cooking, visiting the Finger Lakes
and teaching the Irish language.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

PURCHASE LINKS

U.S. | Canada | UK | France | Germany | Spain | Australia | Italy | India | Japan | Brazil | Mexico | Barnes & Noble | The Author’s eStore

Why my new book would appeal to people who don't normally read my genres

By Mary Pat Hyland

My latest novel, The House With the Wraparound Porch, was five hundred pages long and nearly took the starch out of me, as my grandfather used to say. Writing and editing the book took two full years and the subject matter was so close to me that it drained me emotionally as well.
I had the idea for a new novel in the wings, but decided I needed a change of pace. Over the thirty years I’ve been writing, when ideas came to me, quite often I would write them out as a short story first. At least two of those “grew up” to be novels when I revisited them for editing. There are others lying around that were magazine story contest entries. A pile of these has been collecting in a file on my hard drive. It was time to compile them into a single work, and that’s how In the Shadows of the Onion Domes was born.
Although a reader may prefer to spend the time it takes to meet all of the characters in a big novel and see where the plot will take them, sometimes life is too busy and you put off starting that book until the perfect moment arrives. In the meantime, allow me to open my “box” of a Whitman’s Sampler-style collection of stories. Some you’ll find nutty and funny. Others will give you something to chew on.
This collection of eighteen stories represents various genres of writing that interest me: family saga, chick lit, suspense and humor. They vary in length and style. Two are sudden fiction, less than 500 words each. Consider these as sketches of a single scene. One story, “The Reluctant Magnolia,” is a novella, and it’s guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings.
A connecting thread winds through all these stories and that is the location. Each is set in a differing neighborhood of Greater Binghamton in the Southern Tier of Upstate New York. This area has a strong mixed-ethnic flavor with residents who have a gritty determination despite the many economic downturns the community has suffered. I know the area well because it is where I grew up and currently reside. One of our most famous residents was Rod Serling who was also inspired by these neighborhoods to write and direct The Twilight Zone for TV and later film. And yes, some of my stories do have that Twilight Zone-y vibe.
As in my six novels, you will find memorable characters and fun, snappy dialogue. Some tales will also transport you immediately with their detailed descriptions of the scene and setting. The big difference between this book and my novels: you can read several stories in one sitting. Or if you have discipline, savor one a day.
Why not break out of your book comfort zone and give these stories a read? Like a box of chocolates, the unexpected flavors may delight you.

GIVEAWAY

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway contest to win an autographed copy of In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, copies of her ebooks or a piece of original art created by the author.

In the Shadows of the Onion Domes Rafflecopter giveaway