Monday, August 2, 2021

La creatividad ayuda

Son muchas las veces que me han preguntado: ¿Cómo te puedo ayudar con eso de tus libros?
 

La realidad es que hay MUCHAS maneras así que vamos por parte. 

 

Redes Sociales

 

Seguir a tu autor favorit@ en las redes es el paso más básico porque la realidad es que las personas responden a los números. Eso sí, darle like a las cosas ayuda aunque lo más que ayuda es dejar comentarios y compartir con personas (o en el caso de Instagram darle save). Darle share puede ser un repost/reshare/retweet o poner en los stories y de nuevo, todos estos detalles trabajan en conjunto para darle más visibilidad a ese artista, creador o autor que tanto ves fajándose. Los algoritmos en cada red van cambiando, ahora la realidad es que si interactúas, ayudas un mundo. 

 

¿Ves el anuncio de un libro que te gusta? 

 

Compártelo. 

 

¿Ves un meme cómico original de ellos?

 

Compártelo. 

 

Una frase en inglés que captura la esencia de esto es “Sharing is caring” y realmente aplica más de lo que te imaginas. 

 

Comprar, leer y reseñar

 

Hay muchas veces que se ponen los libros en especial con la intensión de crear interés y a menudo estamos haciendo todo por lograr esa venta. Hay veces que fluye más fácil o más a menudo que otras veces y eso es la naturaleza de la venta. Hay días bien buenos y hay días menos buenos. Para los autores independientes, corremos con TODOS los costos y cobramos según entendemos para que sea rentable. La meta siempre es la sostenibilidad a través de los libros y realmente es una meta intensa. Se puede, ahora hay que darle esfuerzo, promover y echar adelante. A veces me han tratado de regatear el precio de un libro. Entiendo que a la gente le encanta ahorrar y para algunos es casi un deporte. Por mi parte, no regateo y mucho menos en un evento. Si quiero hacer una oferta, trato de hacerla desde el primer día y más que nada, hago esto por respeto a los que me compran. Hay gente que en el primer día que van a una convención me compran y traen una energía bien bonita y les tengo demasiado respeto y aprecio para después bajarle el precio a alguien por eso de una venta. Me han dicho que son ventas perdidas y aunque tengan razón, más me importa agradecer y hacer lo correcto por la gente que apoya con gusto y gana. 

 

Ahora, después de la venta, pues hace falta que lean. Como mucha gente, sé lo que es comprar un libro y leerlo 3 años después. Soy un lector moody y cambio de parecer a menudo. Ahora, tan pronto termino un libro, lo reseño. Punto. Sé el trabajo que da escribir y publicar un libro y hay que vencer el “lo dejo para después”.  La importancia de una reseña es en tantos aspectos. Uno, da visibilidad y credibilidad a un libro. Segundo, he perdido la cuenta de cuántas veces una reseña me ha traído más lectores. En mi experiencia, casi siempre existe un efecto dominó y la diferencia entre que sean tres dominós o trescientos depende de la gente. He tenido mucha suerte de gente que me lee y recomienda ahora siempre hay espacio para más. Además, como lector reseño TODO lo que leo, sin excepción y siempre reseño honestamente. Reseñas de mentira hacen más daño que bien y siempre quiero que si alguien me lee, que reseñe honestamente. También, mis reseñas las trato de poner en la mayor cantidad de sitios posibles. Hay quienes reseñan libros en su blog o página de Facebook y ya. Yo dejo reseñas en Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, Google y a menudo menciono libros en las redes porque sé la diferencia que una recomendación honesta puede hacer. Btw, no cobro por esas menciones. Tampoco reseño porque sí y si tu hola mucho gusto es seguido por un déjame una reseña, catalogo eso de spam y no soy de responder a eso ni a gente que es demasiado insistente. Tengo una lista BIEN larga de libros a leer y soy moody. Le llego cuando le llegue y de verdad no hay mucha ciencia. Lo que me llame lo leo. Ahora si insistes e insistes, es más probable que tu libro salga de mi mesita de noche versus llegar a ella.

 

Háblale a la gente

 

¿Conoces a un maestro, bibliotecario, dueño de librería, booktuber, organizador de grupos de lectura que decirles de un libro pudiese ayudar a alguien? ¿Pues qué te aguanta? Cuéntales y hazlo con entusiasmo. En lo personal, he tratado de tener mis libros en librerías, bibliotecas, salones de clase, grupos de libro, etc. Son bien pocas las veces que se me ha dado un chance y siempre lo agradezco. Tuve la oportunidad de estar en paneles de autores en Dragon Con en Atlanta. ¿Quieres saber cómo conseguí esa oportunidad? Una persona le dijo a una persona que le dijo a otra persona que se lo comentó a una CUARTA persona y de alguna manera se me dio. ¿Sabes cuántos paneles he logrado estar en vivo en PR? Uno que me escribieron del Puerto Rico Comic Con a ver si me interesaba entrevistar a Claudia Gray (autora de Evernight y varios libros de Star Wars). Dije que sí sin pensarlo y en dos días preparé mis preguntas que tenía que someter antes del evento. Aparte de esa veintiúnica oportunidad, las demás han sido en paneles virtuales porque es bien cerrado el círculo y las oportunidades han sido pocas. Para el éxito hay que tener talento, ser perseverante y ser fajón, pero también hacen falta la suerte y conexiones. Mi suerte está en la gente que me da la oportunidad y me lee y las conexiones están en lo mismo. Esto aplica así mismo para más gente de lo que te imaginas. Si hay alguien cuyo trabajo te gusta y le puedes dar la mano, en confianza, pregúntale. 

 

Trae tu propia creatividad para ayudar

 

No te limites a lo que aparece en este blog post. Expresa tu creatividad como entiendas y ponte la pregunta a ti mismo: ¿Cómo puedo ayudar a esta persona? Yo he hecho giveaways de libros de amigos. Reseño en muchos sitios. Regalo libros de amig@s autores para cumpleaños, Navidad, etc. Si estoy en un panel en vivo y hay una oportunidad para mencionar las obras de otras personas, lo hago. He coordinado grupos para hacer paneles en vivo y seguiré inventando, porque me llena ayudar y porque no se trata de mí y mis libros solamente. A mucha gente se le olvida eso y lo entiendo. Escribir cuesta, duele y cansa por todas las cosas que tenemos que hacer. Sin embargo, siempre estoy dispuesto a ayudar a gente genuina. Así he logrado establecer algunas de las amistades más bonitas en esta aventura de escritor. Conste, no sólo con escritores. Con locutores, artistas, diseñadores, gente de producción, gente de eventos, de todo porque si alguien hace algo que ama, me llama la atención aunque no sea lo que hago. Si algo más se te ocurre, go for it y no te limites. Te lo agradecerán de todo corazón y ahí nos podemos poner a hablar de TODAS las maneras que se pueden dar las gracias. 

 

Por ahora, un abrazo y hasta la próxima vez que compartamos entre palabras.

 

JD

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Writer Wednesday: Liz Butcher

Greetings fellow humans and welcome to another edition of Writer Wednesday. As usual, I’m always happy to explore different genres when I interview authors, and for this week, why not dive into suspense mixed with a retelling with Australian author, Liz Butcher. 

 

1. Hey, Liz. Thanks so much for dropping by the blog for a chat. If there’s something I enjoy when reading, it’s broadening horizons in regards to genre and country and it’s always nice to meet a fellow author from Australia. What can you tell us about yourself and the writing community in your part of the Southern Hemisphere?

 

Thanks for having me! Always love meeting fellow Aussies—and fellow writers! I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived all over the country, but currently reside in Queensland. I’ve always been too shy to venture out to writing groups so all the writing friends I’ve made have been online.

 

 

2. NOTHING wrong with online friends and some of my closest friends are actually from online. Think about it, we’re friends because we read each other. How cool is that? Now in regards to your work, retellings have become popular in the last decade or so, though not all retellings are created equal. Sometimes, it feels as if authors rehash old ideas, give it a slight update, and voilà. In the case of Never Never, you DEFINITELY get the sense that you took a HARD turn somewhere to flip a well-known story on its head. What can you tell us about your take, why Peter Pan, and just how dark can in get? 

 

I’d never had any intention of doing a retelling. If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it, you know? But then I was asked to write a short story for a twisted fairytales anthology, but as soon as I started working through the concept for Never, Never, I knew it needed to be a full-length novel to do it justice. It’s more of a prequel than a retelling, I think! Just the premise of your children being lured out of their bedroom windows in the middle of the night is scary enough, right? So it made sense to me to turn Pan into a malevolent being…

 

3. Oooohhh, skin crawlies just from one description but I love that. One of the fun parts of retellings it to flip characters. Heroes become villains, villains become victims, victims become something else. What’s your trick to do a really good flip?

 

I think you really need to let go of everything you think you know about that character. Break them down to the very core of their motivations and go from there. 

 

4. Deconstructing a character. Interesting. So beyond the source material, it really shows you have some other influences. What other authors influence you and which works inspired you to go for this project?

 

I’ve always been a massive fan of Stephen King and Anne Rice, but I’m also inspired by a lot of non-fiction. I love reading about paranormal phenomena and fringe science. 

 

5. Hey, the broader we read, the better right? So as per usual, I like random questions and making authors visiting have a thinky think sooooo… you’re hired to do 3 haunted houses. It could be original haunted houses or messed up retellings, but you have to take something sweet and make it wicked. Describe those three haunted houses.

 

I would definitely love one to be Amityville Horror style. The combination of ancient burial grounds and a terrible crime makes for an enduring haunted house! The second I would do a retelling of Stephen King’s 1408, and the third I would love to do a haunted house that only appears to certain people and at certain times of the year. In fact, I think you’ve just inspired me to write this story!

 

6. Ha!!! What more could I ask for. To inspiration from anywhere. Back to your writing though. So some of your works take place in England, which is quite a ways from Australia. I’m always intrigued in how people do research for their works. Tell us a bit about Leroux Manor and how you tackled the research aspect of that one.

 

I would love to say I got to travel there, but sadly, no, ha ha! Instead I created a fictional town, and my research was based around the weather, the school year, and what kind of trees etc. are found there. Lots of scenic research!

 

7. Scenic research is such an underused resource and with YouTube and Google Maps the world is literally a click away. Another random Q: A local entertainment company wants to do an escape room and they want YOU to produce it. What’s in the escape room, what’s the challenge, and remember, no budget restraints, go wild!

 

I’ve always wanted to do an escape room! Though naturally, mine would have to be scary…Let’s say the challenge is to get out of the room before an ancient witch awakens and takes you as her slave for all eternity. The escape room would look like a mausoleum, filled with sigils and symbols. There would be apparitions, whispering voices and eerie sounds, some of which are clues and others not, so you always have to pay attention.

 

8. Hahaha. People will need something to calm nerves after exiting, for sure. I always enjoy making food and drink related questions to authors because I think few things unite us better than food or drink. If you had to do a 3 drink cocktail menu based on your works, what are the cocktails, what is in each, and describe the experience. 

 

What fun! Let’s see:

 

Fates’ Fury – Chambord, Tequila, Frozen berries

 

The LeRoux – Ink Gin, Blue Curacao, soda water, Crushed Ice

 

Never, Never – Green Fairy Absinthe, Sour Apple Liqueur, melted sugar, apple slices.

 

9. BOTTOMS UP!!! Nice selection. Another curious thing in each writer’s author journey is the people they connect with. Being from Australia, I’m sure there are different challenges, opportunities, and things unique to your experience. How has where you lived impacted your journey?

 

I don’t think it really has. The world of social media has led to so many connections with other writers that you never really feel like there’s distance or isolation.

 

10. I dig it and hey, you have a friend on this side of the world. Wonderful answers, Liz. Thanks so much for your time and now all that’s left is to tell people where they can find you online and where they can pass by to grab a copy of your books. 

 

Website: https://lizbutcherauthor.com.au

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lunaloveliz

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lunaloveliz/
Tiktok: @lunaloveliz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Liz-Butcher-1394868604152823/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13845425.Liz_Butcher

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/lizbutcherauthor/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00X6XN5O6

 

 

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So there you go, fellow humans. Thanks for dropping by and getting to meet another writer. Means a lot and I appreciate you sitting down for a read. Make sure you follow Liz on the links above and til next we chat…

 

Peace, love, and maki rolls. 

 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Writer Wednesday: Anna J. Walner

Greetings fellow humans and welcome to another Writer Wednesday interview. To keep things interesting and explore another genre, today we’ll be talking about our favorite blood suckers with Texan author, Anna J. Walner. 

 1. Howdy, Anna! Hope that hokey hello doesn’t put you off from chatting it up with us on the blog, lol. So tell us, who is Anna J. Walner, what are some of your claims to fame and why should people dive head first into The Uluru Legacy Series?

 

It’s a pleasure to have you ask! The Uluru Legacy Series takes readers to a new place within the genre of Paranormal Romance. I grew tired of reading the same things, and so I wrote something entirely different from what I’d been able to find. My own adoption story was given to our main character Amelia, and her journey to discover her heritage is where the story begins. But it’s far from where it will end!

 

2. I can definitely relate to wanting to write something different from the norm and it’s great when an author goes for it and freshens things up. And wow, what a compelling thing to add to the story. Keeping with our nosfe-favorites, there are a lot of things that draw me to vampires and what I’ve realized is that it varies drastically from one person to the next. What are some things you love about vampires and what things, well kinda suck?

 

Great question! I’ve always had a fascination with the supernatural elements of this world. Within each tale retold there lies a kernel of truth. I think for me the simple possibility of a society like The Colony existing in secret is alluring for so many different reasons.

 

The things that I didn’t like were the standard things you might find in a lot of contemporary tales. Especially within the YA genre. I didn’t want to go back to school, or be riddled with teen angst. I didn’t want vampires falling in love with vampires. I wanted something unpredictable and believable. The characters in The Uluru Legacy could truly exist and coexist with us and we would never know!

 

3. Believable is definitely the best and people respond to that. Actually, you won an award for your debut novel, Garkain. How did that feel to come out of the gates cracking? Has that initial push affected your plans for the series and how many books will be in the series?

 

Of course winning two awards was a confidence boost, without a doubt. But really the push to continue on, to keep digging deep and keeping up the faith came from an amazing support group of online friends I made while marketing. But the awards did give me the realization that it is a good book. I wrote a really good book. People will enjoy reading it. And they have!

 

4. That’s so lovely to read, and indeed, our tribes definitely push us to keep on keepin on. Your series seems to deal with a Matrix type of dilemma, either know or revel in the bliss of ignorance. What does knowledge mean to you and what role does choice play in the series? 

 

Speaking from personal experience, I sought out my biological mother and siblings with a desire to not revel in the bliss of ignorance, which I think I brought to Amelia’s character. She’s driven to find out more, open minded about the choices presented, but at the end of the day Amelia isn’t one to be pushed around. She makes her own choices.

 

5. I can get an idea of why people respond so well to your stories then. To offer a different type of question, I saw during June, there was a period where all proceeds from preorders of Garkain were donated to the Montgomery County Women’s Center https://mcwctx.org/ to benefit those who are in need to support for Domestic Abuse. Beyond being commendable to support a good cause, tell us, what does this cause mean to you, why do you support it, and why should others support it as well?

 

In April of 2019, I found myself in a dangerous situation at 6 months pregnant. A violent situation. I was unable to run, because he wouldn’t allow me. Unable to hide and call for help, because he had taken my phone. I did the only thing I could. I fought back. In doing so, I saved both my life, and my daughter’s life. Although that choice is not one I regret, I was charged with assault. Which only proves how the system can and does further punish survivors of domestic abuse.

 

I was lucky. I had a support system, a loving family and a place to go. Many women do not. And many women need help getting out of situations like the one I was in. Before they find themselves fighting for their lives. That’s why this cause is so close to me. Because I lived it. 

 

6. It’s crazy how messed up the system is. Still, that’s an amazing story and I’m just happy you were able to do the right thing, consequences be damned. I do hope people also give a check to that cause. Everyone deserves support and a chance to live. Anyways, back to books but thanks for sharing that with us. In the Uluru series, there’s the mention of THE Colony…is that the only Colony? If not (and without giving spoilers) how many colonies are there?

 

I can tell you that there are others around the world, which is within the first couple of chapters. Going into further detail would be spoiler territory. But we will explore it later in the series...  

 

7. LOL, I appreciate not getting the spoilers. And hey, it wouldn’t be an interview on For Writing Out Loud without some random questions, so here goes. If vampires and werewolves had to do a dance off, what music would each side play, and who would win?

 

Literally laughing right now! I would say the Garkain (vampires) would be a sort of dubstep crowd. While Larougo (Werewolves) would be more of a country vibe to their playlist. And Garkain would totally win. Except for Amelia, who can’t dance. She would be watching or laughing. 

 

8. Ha! Now I’m laughing and can imagine a lot of my two left footed friends relating. Beyond being a published author, you’re also a Mom, and that’s even more important to you. How has writing impacted being a mother and vice versa? 

 

I don’t try to let them impact each other. All of my writing, marketing, and editing are done after she’s in bed. Which makes for long nights! As a single mom, we’re very close, so she always comes first. She demands to come first LOL. She’s head-strong, just like her mom. 

 

I will say that I do spend a lot of time on my phone, so I may have to respond to an E-mail or take a call in the middle of our tea party. But she has a wonderful maw maw and paw paw who adore her, and they help me out at times when I have to dedicate a chunk of the day to an appearance. 

 

9. Here’s to that wonderful support system and hey, I’d happily take over a tea party lol Check my #Teactionary entries on Instagram. It’s a thing. Lol ok, another random Q: You are tasked with designing spa packages for vampires and werewolves, how do your pamper members of each race and what would the price tag be?

 

Hair cuts and trims for Larougo. Definitely focusing on the hair. Garkain get the full treatment, all luxury. Spare no expense!

 

10. Which is the way it should be :D There you go, friends. Thanks to Anna for stopping by and indulging in a little randomness though all that is left now is to roll the crimson carpet for her so she can tell us where she is at online and where you can find her books. 

 

Website:          https://annajwalner.com/

Instagram:      https://www.instagram.com/annajwalner/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/AnnaJWalner

TikTok:           https://www.tiktok.com/@annajwalner?lang=en

Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/AnnaJWalner

 

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Kindest thanks to Anna for her time and generosity to share about her life story and the stories in her books. Give her a follow and til next we chat, 

 

Peace, love, and maki rolls

 

 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Writer Wednesday: J.P. McLean

Greetings fellow humans and welcome to another Writer Wednesday interview. Today we’re going to be chatting with J.P. McLean about her Gift Legacy Series, which seems like the perfect gift for anyone who wants something light to start reading in the fantasy genre. Something I always enjoy with Writer Wednesday interviews is exploring different genres and inviting people to expand their horizons and empower their TBRs rather than limiting themselves to one or two genres and only the most popular authors. There’s a wealth of stories out there so let’s get cracking and talk about what shall possibly your next favorite read.  

 

1. Hey, J.P. Thanks so much for swinging by the blog to join us for a bit of book talk and written “chin-wagging” lol. How’s everything with you and what can you tell us about yourself?

 

I’m well, thanks. Got my vaccine jab, so I’m champing at the bit to kick this pandemic to the curb. The parties will be epic! I’m also looking forward to writerly things—like most authors, I’ve missed being able to attend book events and hang out in person with other writers and book enthusiasts (no offence, Zoom).

 

A little about me? I write full time from my home on Denman Island. It’s one of the northern Gulf islands off the British Columbia coast in Canada. It’s a small, rural island with 1,200 people and just 20 sq mi/50 sq km in area. We’re ferry-bound, so living here isn’t for everyone, but I find it a perfect environment for writing.

 

I wasn’t born with a pen in my hand, but I’ve always had stories in my head. I just didn’t know how much fun I’d have writing them down until one rainy winter when I found myself with time on my hands. It’s been ten years now and I can’t imagine my life without writing.

 

2. You, me, and a whole bunch of people are chomping to get back to a better way of life. I also think the parties will be epic, though also think we’ll have that Gollum period before we readjust and groom properly. My last book event was in 2019, we’re due lol. As for where you live, WOW. It’s like your LIFE is a writer’s retreat. So your work has been described as “fantasy light”, which I think is a pretty curious way to phrase it. How would you describe your books? What other series could people compare to? And what would you like to achieve with this series?

 

The fantasy light description came from early readers, many of whom were friends or friends of friends, who didn’t normally read fantasy. They had the perception that fantasy was Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. They were unaware that the genre had much more variety. My books were the gateway drug and now they’re hooked on the genre.

 

Some of my favourite fantasy series are set in current times: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, some of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy. I enjoy the immediacy of these books. Because I’m already familiar with the setting, it’s effortless to fall into the story and let myself get pulled along by my curiosity and my fascination with the magical elements.

 

That’s what I wanted to replicate in my writing. The Gift Legacy series is about a secret society of people who can fly. It’s set in the Pacific Northwest in contemporary times and is infused with familiar landmarks. The books centre around Emelynn Taylor, a young woman who doesn’t know she can fly until she falls from the sky.

 

3. I also love the concept of flying and this definitely sounds like my jam. You have had success and recognition with your short stories and your novel work. What appeals of each format and what challenges do you find in one that you don’t in the other? 

 

Long-form novels appeal to the part of me that loves sub-plots and a deep dive into characters, their motivations, and their interactions. There’s room in a novel-length book to explore all of that. The short story is more of a challenge for me. There’s room for only one plotline and one to three characters at the most. For me, writing a short story feels like I’m writing with one hand tied behind my back.

 

4. Curious way to see it. I think a short story is more like a single joke, whereas a novel can be a standup routine. Different challenges, but always fun. It seems you’ve also well known for your work with supernatural thrillers. As someone who writes in multiple genres, I always enjoy learning what fellow writers find inspiring and am curious as to what has drawn you to the genres you’ve written in so far and what else you’d like to explore. 

 

From a young age, I was drawn to the supernatural and all things magical. I think it’s because I’ve always secretly wished I could fly. Sadly, that hasn’t happened (yet), so the closest I’m able to get to it is to write about it. The genre I’ve not attempted yet, but hope to one day, is humour.

 

My primary sources of inspiration are other writers, music, and nature. When I read a passage that brings me to tears, angers me, or makes me laugh out loud, I need to figure out how the writer evoked that emotion. When a song stirs me, I pay attention to how the music and words work together to achieve the effect. And when I need a break, nothing soothes me more than a walk along the beach or through the forest.

 

5. I also dream a lot about flying and one of the reasons I love many movies by Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli). It’s just so fascinating. I think humor is also a huge challenge so look forward to seeing how you tackle that one. Well an interview on For Writing Out Loud always brings some random questionssoooo: If you had a book fort, what ten books would have to be in it for proper fortifications?

 

Ten! That’s generous. So much kinder than the three-book limit for deserted islands.

 

Let me see . . . book fort. My fort will be indoors, so no need for outdoor survival guides or foraging recipes.

 

1. For a foundation, I’d need a solid fantasy. A brick of a book. One ambitious enough to hold my interest for the duration, but it must also have a hint of suspense, some mystery and romance. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander would fit the bill.

2. And in the event the fort collapses in the wee hours of the morning and I have to rebuild, I would need some humour to lighten my mood. Thomas King’s Indians on Vacation would make me smile.

3. I’d pack something modern with enough superpowers to make my head explode. Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen would be perfect.

4. And what’s a fort without something spooky for nighttime reading by flashlight? Something by Stephen King, because, well, King. I think his recent book, Later, would work.

5. After King, I’d probably need something soothing to calm my frayed nerves. Poetry would help. Marrying all the Animals by Cornelia Hoogland.

6. I would include something local to remind me where I come from. Howard MacDonald Stewart’s Views of the Salish Sea.

7. An anthology would be useful for those times when I can’t concentrate on longer books. Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress.

8. And for when I’m feeling nostalgic, something older to remind me of what sparked my interest in the supernatural. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham.

9. Something in the thriller genre to make my heart race. Anything by KJ Howe, but Skyjackfor sure.

10. And finally, another fantasy to bookend my fantasy collection. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. 

 

6. Lol QUITE often people get asked about 3 or 5 books. I think 10 challenges you because you have the 3 or 5, but when you open to a couple more, it’s like oh my…this is just as hard and am always curious about the back half. Great lineup AND variety. Back to your books though. Our characters often hold a bit of who and how we are. How is Emelynn like you? How is she different? And what can people expect to learn from themselves by tagging along with her on this adventure?

 

You’re right! When I wrote Emelynn, I borrowed some of my own traits because I know them so well. Including those details adds believability to a story. Emelynn and I both have long, unruly hair, for example, which made it easy for me to bring that part of her to life. I knew how damp weather would affect her, how she’d pack a large-tooth comb and not a hairbrush, that she’d have a stash of hair elastics squirreled around the house. Emelynn also shares my lack of a sense of direction, so I knew she’d feel frustrated with maps, delighted with a GPS, and be resigned about getting lost.

 

But unlike me, she has an estranged relationship with her mother, she takes more risks, and she’s more naive where men are concerned.

 

Emelynn makes mistakes, she misjudges people, embarrasses herself, places trust in the wrong people. She gets knocked down time and again. But she always gets back up. What I hope people discover about themselves is that they’re stronger than they knew. That they too can recover from mistakes. And often, those mistakes make them stronger in the end.

 

7. Ha!! To unruly hair! Actually think you rock the unruly curls so cheers to you and Em. Dreams of flight are a common thing, though we often see it as liberating. Emelynn’s adventure is quite the opposite. What inspired this unique twist?

 

When I began writing Secret Sky, I started with a simple scene of Emelynn flying. I thought I’d try to capture what it would feel like to step outside on the deck, leap off, and cruise down the coast. But then the realist in me—the annoying practical side—shook her head. No one just ups and leaps from a deck without a) knowing they can fly, and b) knowing how to fly. And those questions begged more questions. How did she get this ability to fly? Who taught her? Are there others like her?

 

So, I set out to answer those questions. The answers ended up dropping Emelynn from the sky, almost drowning her, testing her judgment, and misleading her heart. It’s not a fluffy story. One of my favourite reviews says, “It’s gentle and lyric, and it’s dark and hard.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

 

8. Love that duality and that it goes beyond usual archetypes. Let’s shift gears though,  Imagine that The Gift Series will be offered in a gift box…what else is in the box? 

 

Oh my! It’s a large box. Inside is a super comfortable reclining chair (don’t worry—it’ll match your décor) and a side table. Resting on the table is a bottle of J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon, opened, of course, and a proper crystal glass. There’s a fluffed pillow, a soft blanket, and a pair of slippers. Oh, and a box of dark chocolate truffles. Possibly a big bag of kettle chips (because you’re going to be there a while).

 

9. That’s so cool and now I want a reclining chair to get my read on. And wine? Yes, please. You’ve lived in quite a few places and if life has taught me anything, it’s that every place we live in leaves something of us in them. What places have made the biggest impact and how has your current place of residence molded you?

 

The wonderful thing about living in so many different places is that it’s broadened my perspective. As a writer, it’s given me a wealth of references to draw on, from cultural norms, cuisines, living conditions, and attitudes.

 

The place that impacted me the most was living in La Colorada in Zacatecas State in the mountains of Mexico. My husband and I lived there for a year. We met the most resilient people, ate authentic Mexican food, shopped locally, and hiked unique countryside. I left there with a tremendous respect for the people and the pride they have in their country, their work, and their families.

 

The small island I call home today is ideal for writing. It’s rural and quiet (except during haying season and when the lambs across the road are separated from their moms). My writing perch overlooks the Pacific and in the warmer months when the windows are open, I can hear the waves. Our island is home to the Denman Island Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, which attracts world-class writers, and we have a wonderful bookstore, Abraxas, which is very supportive of local authors. And I’m fortunate to be part of a writing group that meets monthly to offer critique and encouragement. In short, everything about where I live has molded the writer I am today.

 

10. I really love that story. Being Hispanic, I’ve been able to learn so many inspiring stories from so many countries. And although Tex-Mex is nice, real Mexican food is glorious and quite different. I’ll have to ask for a picture of the writing view though. Sounds amazing as does the Writer’s Festival. And now all we have left is to roll out the red carpet and have you share where people can connect with you AND your books. 

 

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. It’s been fun. People can connect with me on my website at https://jpmcleanauthor.com. My books are available everywhere books are sold, and readers can find links to the retailers on my website. That’s also where they can download the first chapters of all of my books and get a free copy of my award-winning short story, Boone Park.

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And there you go, fellow humans. Another wonderful interview and another author to keep an eye out for, as well as check out her recommendations. Cheers To Miss McLean and til next we dive into a chat with your next favorite author.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Careful with ambassadors of Scama-Lama-Ding-Dong

If my snarky pictures seem somewhat familiar, it’s because I’m imitating ads that truly make my blood boil. 

Guaranteed results

Proven methods

SUCCESS

TRUST ME!!!!!

 

Well this is the flip side of those messages to tell you to hold your horses, take a deep breath, do some digging, and make sure whatever money you give to someone is an investment. The ads I’m making fun of are relentless and this post is to explain why I feel the way I do even without taking these courses.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I don’t want to mention the ads because if I do A. they get free publicity, which they don’t need, and B. website cookies and algorithms will work so I see the advertising even more frequently. When I do a book version including this post, I’ll gladly mention the name because the web can’t track words on paper…or so I hope. Back to the post. 



So I’ve seen these ads over and over and over and one day, morbid curiosity said CLICK IT. So I did. I did a quick check of the page and you know when something smells off in a restaurant or a supermarket? Well this smelled like sewage. Again, I haven’t taken the course so maybe it’s AWESOME, but I wouldn’t bet money on it. Here are a few reasons.

 

1. Click baity language. The ads and language are ALL designed to target indie authors new and old who are hungry to improve their sales numbers. Just a quick overview of their page you see that there’s a lot of flashy talk, but very little substance.

 

2. NO mention of name. The person in the pictures speaks in the first person…yet I couldn’t find their name on the site. Not in the about section. Not in the contact. Nowhere. If that doesn’t stink to high heaven, I don’t know what does.

 

3. A LOT of what I read on that home page was not unique…Dare I say, it was ordinary. As in painfully so. If that’s what I have as an indicator of the content within, then trust me, you can learn a hell of a lot more from fellow indies who give advice for FREE than paying for this seminar.

 


I’m writing this post as an indie who does have moments of struggle, where sales don’t always happen, where reviews are hard to come by, and as someone who gets a TON of junk mail and disingenuous approaches from people who want to scam me for reviews, edits, proofreading, formatting, and proven approaches to get more sales. I’m writing this because I know other indies who have paid hard earned money for services that were a bust or a full on scam and yes, you deserve better, damn it. I’ve gotten emails from people offering unlimited reviews for the cool sum of $800-$1,200 dollars. I wish I were making that up. Also, the range of price is taking into account the variety of “businesses” that have contacted me since it’s been more than one attempt to get me to shell out cash for reviews.

 


If you want to take a writer course, ask people you trust. If you’re starting out and aren’t sure, ask around, do some digging, be nosy, be inquisitive, don’t take half answers as an answer and by all means, suspect that most people want to shaft you just to get money from you. When I give advice, I don’t say THE 5 things you need to do, I say 5 things you COULD do because what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you and this could be for a variety of reasons. If you’ve been at the writing business a while and continue to struggle, please, don’t cave in to quick fixes and questionable courses. You deserve better. I know it sucks. I know it’s frustrating. Still, don’t make an impulsive decision just because someone’s advertising was slightly convincing. Many are not worth the time or money and the truth is that there are a TON of free resources online and courses for every budget. 

 

Think about it, if someone has PROVEN methods, they shouldn’t have much to hide yet many of these websites are sketchy at best. In regards to reviews, read the fine print. Many companies offer that service but only post on Goodreads. That’s because Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other companies track and monitor reviews and if something seems fishy, which these reviews ARE, they take them down. Goodreads isn’t the same since it’s technically a social media platform, and even though Amazon owns Goodreads, they don’t monitor that (they also don’t care about that platform much and it shows). 



As for editors/proofreaders/formatters, check to see who they’ve published. If possible, try and check to see if the author has social media presence and an author page. There is no end to the tactics people will use to try and get your money, always remember this. 

Are there good people out there? TONS.

 

Are there legit services to invest in? Of course. Ask me and I’ll tell you and show you things they’ve worked on. If not me, ask people you trust, but get references. Don’t trust a shady ad. 

 

Why?

 

Because there are people out there that don’t care about your goals, your dreams, or your desire to be read. They only know that pain, frustration, and desperation are good for business…their business. And you deserve better. 

 

Peace, love, and maki rolls

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Writer Wednesday: J.E. McDonald

Hey fellow readers and writers, here’s another installment in our Writer Wednesday series and today we have Saskatchewan local, J.E. McDonald. She likes to write paranormal romantic comedies and I can’t wait to find out what’s lurking within the pages of her new book. 

 

1. Hi, J.E. so lovely to have you on For Writing Out Loud. Tell us a bit about yourself and the Wickwood Chronicles.

 

Thank you for having me! I’m a mom of three energetic girls ranging in age from three to ten, and I love to write steamy romance, or what my girls like to call “kissing books.” I’m a music and Minecraft addict. In the summer my husband and I love to take our girls camping, which is looking more and more like glamping as we get older.

 

The Wickwood Chronicles is my paranormal romance series set in the fictional town of Wickwood, where strange things happen to ordinary, and not so ordinary, people. The first book in the series, Ghost of a Gamble, is about Zack Liller, a paranormal investigator who likes to keep to himself, and Bree Tisdale, a vivacious skeptic who thinks it would be a great idea to expose him as a scammer. Hilarity ensues, and of course, feelings get in the way.

 

The second book in the series that just came out in January, Ghost of an Enchantment, follows Stella Camfield, a witch who also works for the same paranormal investigation company as Zack. Everything turns topsy turvy for Stella when her best friend accidentally opens a portal to another dimension. And of course, there’s romance!

 

2. Sounds like a whole lotta fun and just enough kissing lol. Paranormal, romance, and comedy are three genres that might seem drastically different, but as a fan of mashups, I love the sound of that. If you had to describe the Wickwood Chronicles in culinary terms, what would be the main dish, sides, what would you pair with it, and what would be for dessert?

 

Well, anyone who knows me knows I love food, so this question is awesome! The main would have to be beef bourguignon, a classic French dish because I can’t seem to stop myself from including a bit of my French heritage into every book I write. It has a bit of everything, just like Wickwood, onions, potatoes, carrots, beef cooked to perfection, and it’s saucy, just how I like my characters. Now, most people might want creamy mashed potatoes as a side, but let’s do something surprising, just how I like my plots. Our side is going to be avocado, grapefruit and fennel salad, a mix of sour and savory. We’ll pair that with something to tickle our taste buds and funny bone, a bubbly red wine like a Rathfinny Blance De Noirs Brut. Such an unexpected and bubbly choice, but the pinot noir base would pair well with the beef.

 

For dessert, let’s remain on the French side of things with classic crème brûlée. This would be the prefect end to the meal because you need to crack that hard surface to get to the decadence underneath. In the third book of the series, Ghost of a Summoning, coming out in the fall of 2021, readers will learn more about what’s hidden beneath Wickwood’s quiet façade.

 

3. Damn…Now, I’m hungry. :) Wonderful descriptions and you’re definitely on my “Let’s share a meal” list of authors lol. Let’s go on, though. It’s odd to me that romance is such a polarizing genre, yet at the end of the day, a well written book exists beyond its genre. What draws you to romance? What are some challenges you’ve faced? And seeing as fans in the genre are pretty rabid, what do some of your biggest fans think of your work?

 

I wasn’t really drawn to reading much as a kid until I discovered romance novels. My mom was always reading them, so she’d have them lying around everywhere. I picked up my first one at age eleven or twelve and fell in love. (Pun intended!) Happy endings are something that I can’t seem to quit.

 

A challenge at first was shedding the stigma about romance novels I inherited without realizing it. Even back then, I didn’t admit to any of my friends how much I loved reading them. Now I absolutely don’t care who knows that I love reading and writing romance. It’s such a diverse and influential genre, empowering, especially for women.

 

I’ve had such great feedback from fans. They love that I tie my paranormal stories to realty. They love that I include humor. It fills me with contentment to know that my books helped someone escape for a little while, that I helped them laugh and feel good.

 

4. If it gets people to read, why not? And the whole snooty attitude many people have probably means they just haven’t read a good romance. Though not my go-to genre, I’ve found a couple of good romance books. Anywho, BACK to the interview because if we branch, we’ll need to send for help lol. Ghosts play a big part of your story, including paranormal investigations and unique abilities. What draws you to the paranormal, when would you say was the first time this clicked with you, and how important is it to your stories?

 

I guess the reason I love paranormal romance is because it’s such a freeing genre. Anything can happen to anyone. Any person from any background can be touched by the extraordinary. I can let my imagination run wild with these stories. I like creating characters who need to balance the normal with the supernatural.

 

I read my first paranormal romance decades ago, right before the big explosion of success for the genre. I think Sherrilyn Kenyon was the first author I picked up, and I loved how she interwove mythology in her stories, which is something I’ve also been drawn to. From the time I read excerpts of Homer’s Odyssey in high school (which everyone else seemed to loathe, but I loved), I’ve enjoyed mythology. Fairy tales, things that go bump in the night, it all appeals to me.

 

5. I love letting imagination run amok so cheers to that. I also enjoyed the Odyssey (the Iliad not so much). And hey, surprise! Your work has inspired a sandwich or pizza at one of your favorite haunts (yay paranormal puns). What’s on/in it, how does it taste, and does it include a free haunting? 

 

Oh! Another food question. Awesome! Let’s go with pizza. Because of the ghosts in my books, we’d need to start with a white pie base: ricotta, mozzarella, and Romano cheese seasoned with oregano and thyme. And because all my love scenes have a heat level of spicy, we’ll top with slices of garlic and chorizo, then sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes as garnish. Ta-da! Wickwood Pie, the perfect accompaniment to a slumber party at a haunted house. The garlic will even keep the vampires away. Ghosts not included.

 

6. What can I say? I love food and this is evident on what I post on social media. And MAN did I pick the right person for food questions. Anyways, you were brought up in Saskatchewan, Canada, which I didn’t know was called the Land of the Living Skies. How does your environment inspire/influence you and your work?

 

Daydreaming and open spaces affected me deeply as a child. We had this big hill in the yard of my elementary school. My favorite thing to do was lie face up on the top of it so the only thing I could see was the sky. It was like floating in the clouds. I made up stories in my head all the time and I think the openness of my surroundings, the prairies and the ever-present domed sky, only helped with that.

 

Topographically speaking, I’ve set Wickwood in a landscape similar to my hometown. There’s a river that cuts the city in two with lots of bridges. There’s farm land and rolling hills instead of mountains or a seaside. What’s unique to Wickwood that my city doesn’t have is two downtowns. There’s an area called new downtown that’s all about skyscrapers and business, then there’s old downtown that’s more about tree-lined boulevards and quaint little shops.

 

7. Ha! I like the idea of a new downtown. Also, it seems that Wickwood is quite the picturesque place…so let’s play off that word. If an artist painted a landscape of Wickwood, what would be in it and would Stella be in the picture? If so, what is she doing?

 

If we include Stella in the picture, she’d be surrounded by trees. She loves connecting with nature in a very tangible way. There’d be the river of course, and an oak or a magnolia tree. She’d be touching the tree to connect with it, and the wind would be whipping through her hair. The finished product would be very dynamic.

 

8. I like those subtle cues and Stella definitely seems super likable. Back to writing though. Like many authors, you have a daytime routine and your superhero writer at night alter ego. What does The McDonald Cave include, what is your super hero vehicle, and how does your family influence your stories?

 

The McDonald Cave is a chaotic vortex of screaming children. (That’s why I need to write while they’re sleeping!) Our thirteen-year-old super hero SUV is held together by optimism and wishful thinking, as well as a bit of spit and polish. My girls are full of imagination and energy, and on my darkest days, they lift me up and give me purpose. I’ve even used some of their inventive ideas in my books, but I draw the line at them picking character names. They’re horrible at it.

 

9. Ha ha ha. Hey, we all have our skills. Zak Bagans from Ghost Adventures calls you up and says, we’re doing a lockdown and you’re in it. Where will he meet up with you, what will you investigate, what’s so important about that place, and what’s on the belt buckle he’s taken specifically for this lockdown?

 

That would have to be at the Gravelbourg School in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. It used to be a convent, then was converted into a school. The ghosts of a woman, a boy, and a girl have all been reported. My dad went to school there, but insists it isn’t haunted. I’d love to prove him wrong. And with this being a former convent, I bet Zak’s belt buckle would be religious-influenced. I saw one with silver angel wings once and I think that would suit him to a tee.

 

10. Huh…Never noticed. I normally focused on how out there they were. Will have to give a closer look to see what other details I’ve missed. And voila, we have made it to the other side of this sit down. Thank you so much for your time and for swinging by our little nook of the net. Now, how’s about you share some links so people can tag along for the ride. 

 

Thank you so much for having me! It’s been a lot of fun. Readers can connect with me through my website at www.jemcdonald.net and at some of their favorite social media sites:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JEMcdonaldSk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JEMcDonaldAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jemcdonaldsk/

 

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As you can see, beyond a fun story, J.E. is definitely likable and man, if you need food recommendations, I think she’s definitely a go to person. Thanks for reading and feel free to connect with J.E. on her links. Til next time, 

 

Peace, love, and maki rolls.