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1. Uninvited is Unbelievable

Uninvited is Unbelievable 



So recently I picked up the YA fiction novel Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. Let's just say, the book was permanently glued to my hands until I finished. It was that good. Filled from cover to cover with an intriguing story, thrilling action, and witty dialogue, the book takes the reader on a wonderful ride and never lets go. So, without further ado, here are the top five things I loved about Uninvited.

1. The Plot is Scary Good

It's so unique I can't take it. Told from the POV of an "HTS" carrier (Homicidal Tendency Syndrome; aka: The Kill Gene), the plot twists and turns through the multitude of possibilities in a world where violence can be traced to someone's DNA. It's truly original and completely engrossing. 

2. The Characters are so Real 

Not only does the main character, Davy Hamilton, drag you in with her unique voice, but every character she meets does as well. They all have distinct, wonderfully written personalities, and the dialogue is to die for. 

3. The Romance is Gripping

So, we've got the whole homicidal thing going on- super cool. But then you add romance to the picture? It all just fits together beautifully. Amidst a crumbling world full of violence and a power-hungry agency fixed on her demise, Davy manages to fall in love in the last place she thought possible. Hopeless romantics beware. 

4. The Action is Awesome

This book is packed full of thrilling action scenes, and boy are they awesome. From fist fights to armed guards, every page is a surprise, and not one that you'd want to miss. 

5. It's Scientifically Spooky

The way Jordan weaves the tale is genius in that it all seems so real. Before each chapter is a short blip about HTS, and the way its described seems so plausible you can't help but shudder. It's truly a work of art, and utterly addicting. 

And there you have it! Five reasons why my latest read was so fantastic. Pick up a copy of Uninvited by Sophie Jordan, and I promise you that you'll be hooked. 

Best and happy reading,

-Ashley Dawson 

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2. Sort of Social- A Writer's Life

Sort of Social- A Writer's Life 



So lately I've been hitting my book hard, editing like a wild woman and throwing literary caution to the wind. In short, I've been sitting in a lot of coffee shops and ordering a lot of mochas. Needless to say, in this blast of creative power I've noticed a sort of shift in my social life (or what I like to call my social life): It's mostly comprised of fictional characters, (and a few chatty baristas). So here's a list of the top 5 things I love about my social life as a writer, mochas and all. 

1. People Don't Ask What I'm Doing

Whenever I'm writing furiously at my laptop, people don't even try to interrupt. It's like some wonderful veil has been drawn over my Macbook, and if the outside world were to intervene, what I'm working on might implode and destroy everything in the tristate area. It's great. Life lesson: look like you're doing something important, and no one shall question it. 

2. All of the Baristas Know your Order

Seriously. All of them. Anywhere you go. It's like some magic wizard arrived ten seconds before you and whispered the words "Skinny Peppermint Mocha" into your barista's ear. Not only that, but they know your name, where you work, and ask if you finally finished that difficult chapter that was giving you grief? Why yes, yes I did. And I'd like an extra shot with that.

3. Your Fictional Characters Never Run Out of Compliments

And they all love you. No matter what they always have a copious amount of good things to say to make you laugh, smile, and cheer- and you can write them into any situation and conversation that you want. Talk about interactive companionship.

4. Your Friend Circle is a Glorified Book Club

Most of your friends are avid readers, too, and you all share your latest finds. It's not only great to discover new reads, but cheaper than driving to the nearest book store and opening your wallet everyday to get your literary fix. Also, it helps that you have exquisite taste in books. Just saying.

5. Your Friends Understand the Importance of Alone Time

While you love them to death, every writer needs a large amount of time dedicated to her work in order to survive. Luckily, your friends all know this and leave you to your manuscript when needed. Not only that, but most of them pop by with hugs and junk food to help keep you sane. Best friends ever. 

And there you have it folks- the 5 things I love about my literary social life. So count your many blessings my fictional friends, and have at that manuscript! 

Best wishes and happy reading,

-Ashley Dawson


Check Ashley out on social media!

https://www.facebook.com/ashley.dawson.1690

http://www.wattpad.com/home

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3. BIC Writing Method can work...right?

Butt in Chair- Get it Done With Minimal Hair-Pulling

http://acronymsandslang.com/definition/336655/BIC-meaning.htmlSo, as every avid writer knows, there are various "full proof" methods for beating procrastination and writer's block, and getting down to the nitty-gritty of story telling. Despite this helpful array, I tend to gravitate toward the old fashioned "Butt-in-chair" method, that is to say, sitting on my rear end long enough to lose feeling in my legs and run out of coffee money. Laughable? Yes. Silly? Maybe. But keeping my bottom in a chair and my hands on the keys for hours guarantees that I'll have at least something to show for my numb posterior at the end. 

Let me take you through the five reasons why this method can work: (though it may be a pain in the butt literally as well as knock out back, legs and sanity but only if you are over the age of 40 :)

1. It Minimizes Distractions 

Now, note that I said minimizes and not "eliminates" or "destroys." This is so because, despite the fact that we have made the pact to stay in this chair for hours, we as writers tend to get distracted by any and every idea in our heads that may lead to, oh I don't know, a trip to Walmart for an embroidered notebook that may "further organize our ideas". Right. Try again. However, imagine how much more difficult it is to be distracted if you're sitting in an empty room, placed firmly in a chair with a blank screen in front of you. No people, just sitting and writing. Much better. 

2. It's Easier to Snack

Let's face it, any good book is written with a plethora of dried figs and yogurt raisins. Well, the snacks vary (more like MMs and candy corn), but you get the gist. I like this method because it allows me to pack all of my favorite snacks into a giant bag and camp out in front of my computer. Healthy? Maybe not. Good incentive? You bet. I promised myself I'd sit in this chair until I accomplished something, and if I have easy access to food, all the better. 

3. It's Hard to Nap

Okay we've all been there. It's 6pm and you're in your bed with your computer, when suddenly bam- lights out. No warning required, your body sees words on a screen and just goes into hyper sleep drive (HSD for short, there will be a blog on the treatments for Hyper Sleep Drive in the future, rest assured). However, with your rear end in a very cold and uncomfortable chair, you may just have a chance at staying awake long enough to clean up that last chapter. 

4. Coffee/Tea

Any excuse I get to buy a latte, I take it. But here we have the perfect formula for caffeine consumption: a goal, a chair, and a possible all-nighter. As a writer I love my coffee, but when I'm sitting down for hours at a time and need to stay focused, there's nothing better than a hot mug and a dream. 

5. My Kids Won't Bother Me

I don't know about you, but I have kids that love to walk up and ask me how I'm doing. This will immediately cause me to lose my train of thought and throw me deep into the dark abyss of writing purgatory, where ideas wave goodbye to me over the vast expanse of a never ending ocean of book sadness. Not good. But when I turn off my phone and seclude myself in my office with a chair, immediately this interruption is no longer a threat. I can be the caffeine hogging, idea pumping writer that I so need to be. (This one is not proven yet though :)  Because my kids can open doors!

Well there you have it folks- all the reasons why sitting yourself down and forcing yourself to write will make all the difference in the world. Simply finding a chair and making the time is the hardest part, what with all the distractions of life, (and doughnuts), but it's what being a writer is all about. 



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4.

Extraterrestrial Extras- Why Aliens Rock My World 


So recently I picked up The Paper Doll series by Stacey Kade, and all I can say is wow. These books are fast paced, thrilling, and seriously addicting. As far as science fiction YA goes, it's an out of this world win. 


Now, while reading, the series got me thinking- how fantastic is an alien/human hybrid for a main character? YA has seen it all: vampires, werewolves, sirens, robots (all equally captivating, by the way); but this is one of the first books I've picked up where an alien has felt so real, so downright human. Ariane Tucker is not only a powerful extraterrestrial being with mind powers and a thirst for freedom, but a human teenager with a passion for relationships and emotion.
            This being said, it's interesting to dive into the wonderful realm of other worldly YA protagonists. I think there's something very intriguing about a nonhuman functioning as a human character, interacting with other teens, and surpassing the spectrum of emotions that human beings can feel. At the same time that Ariane can tap into her human side, she has various conflicting thoughts and feelings emanating from her alien DNA as well, and this makes her not only a very believable character, but oh so relatable. How many of us struggle with differences within ourselves everyday? We may not be alien hybrids, but we sure do feel like that sometimes.
         Perhaps this is what makes a half alien half human main character so appealing- she's both alienated and connected to society in so many different ways. We can look at Ariane as a young girl to be respected for her strength, power, and determination, but also as a compassionate and confused teen growing up in a crumbling world. Everything and everyone she knows around her is unstable because of who she is and what she can do, and yet she still has time to fall in love and undergo the stress of human friendships and relationships. This is what makes an alien character so fantastically real: we are all aliens in some way or form to one another, and yet we're all human, making and breaking bonds in our everyday lives. 
          So, needless to say, this book rocked my socks off. The sequel is no less exhilarating, delving deeper into Ariane's quest for freedom and humanity, as well as sweeping the reader along a thrilling journey into the realm of a fictional government and evil multi corporation. 


As far as YA fiction goes, Kade has delivered an action packed, other worldly win, and I'm so lucky to have picked the series up on a whim. It was a change in pace when it comes to not entirely human protagonists, and I loved the integration of both alien and human DNA into Ariane's character- it made her a source of strength from a completely unique POV. 




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5. Why Stacey Kade is out of this World!

Extraterrestrial Extras- Why Aliens Rock My World 


So recently I picked up The Paper Doll series by Stacey Kade, and all I can say is WOW. These books are fast paced, thrilling, and seriously addicting. As far as science fiction YA goes, it's an out of this world win. 

Now, while reading, the series got me thinking- how fantastic is an alien/human hybrid for a main character? YA has seen it all: vampires, werewolves, sirens, robots (all equally captivating, by the way); but this is one of the first books I've picked up where an alien has felt so real, so downright human. Ariane Tucker is not only a powerful extraterrestrial being with mind powers and a thirst for freedom, but a human teenager with a passion for relationships and emotion.

This being said, it's interesting to dive into the wonderful realm of other worldly YA protagonists. I think there's something very intriguing about a nonhuman functioning as a human character, interacting with other teens, and surpassing the spectrum of emotions that human beings can feel. At the same time that Ariane can tap into her human side, she has various conflicting thoughts and feelings emanating from her alien DNA as well, and this makes her not only a very believable character, but oh so relatable. How many of us struggle with differences within ourselves everyday? We may not be alien hybrids, but we sure do feel like that sometimes.

Perhaps this is what makes a half alien half human main character so appealing- she's both alienated and connected to society in so many different ways. We can look at Ariane as a young girl to be respected for her strength, power, and determination, but also as a compassionate and confused teen growing up in a crumbling world. Everything and everyone she knows around her is unstable because of who she is and what she can do, and yet she still has time to fall in love and undergo the stress of human friendships and relationships. This is what makes an alien character so fantastically real: we are all aliens in some way or form to one another, and yet we're all human, making and breaking bonds in our everyday lives. 

So, needless to say, this book rocked my socks off. The sequel is no less exhilarating, delving deeper into Ariane's quest for freedom and humanity, as well as sweeping the reader along a thrilling journey into the realm of a fictional government and evil multi corporation. 

As far as YA fiction goes, Kade has delivered an action packed, other worldly win, and I'm so lucky to have picked the series up on a whim. It was a change in pace when it comes to not entirely human protagonists, and I loved the integration of both alien and human DNA into Ariane's character- it made her a source of strength from a completely unique POV. 




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6. This book was "Made for You" by Melissa Marr

So I'm going to begin by saying that there isn't anything about Melissa Marr's latest novel that I don't love- it's action packed, thrilling, and the romance is completely enveloping. Late night binge reading perfection, to say the least. 

Here is a list of the top ten things I loved about Made For You, by Melissa Marr:

1. The Thrill Never Dies 

There isn't a moment in this book where I'm not enthralled. It's a true to the name page-turner, delivering heart stopping thrills and twists with every chapter. I read it in twelve hours later. Needless to say, it kept my pulse racing. 

2. So Much Romance, So Little Time
The romance between the lead characters in this book is real enough to spark a very large campfire. Without even meaning to, I found myself so engrossed in the main couple's connection that their pain was my pain, their joy my joy.

It. was. awesome. 

The emotions were real and intense, and kept me reading like a true addict. 

3. Every Encounter Counted

There wasn't a single moment where I wasn't left guessing without a purpose, or the intricacies of the plot weren't intended- every word between every character was carefully plotted out and calculated. With each flashback, I gasped and connected the dots and this kept me so enthralled I forgot to eat. Or sleep. Or breathe at times. 

4. The True Southern Hospitality

There's no doubt in my mind that Melissa Marr has spent a great deal of time either in traditional Southern homes or researching them - because every encounter with true Southern men and women was oh so hysterical. It was hilarious to read some of the refreshing observances that the narration made on Southern hospitality and customs, down to the homemade lemonade and sugary smiles. 

5. It was Superbly Chilling

Each moment of this book ticked away like a chill down your spine, and never stopped questioning your sanity. It's the kind of story that will make you look behind every shower curtain and think twice before walking home by yourself at night. In short, the paranoia was so well written it keeps the reader on his/her toes. 

6. The Dialogue is Genius

Yes, genius. Every quip and witty comeback is wonderfully placed, and all of the characters work so well in tandem with each other it's easy to get caught up in their drama. That's probably why the thrills work so well- the dialogue is so sweet and dangerous at the same time. 

7. Superbe Pacing

As readers, pace is key. Without a good pace and steady feel, a novel can quickly be returned to the shelf. However, Made For You delivers a fast paced punch. The moment you pick it up, it has you; and after that there's no turning back: you're swept along faster than you ever expected. 

8. The Tiny Details

From the obscure meaning of various types of flowers, to the numerous Biblical allusions, Melissa Marr weaves hundreds of tiny facts into this story. They're not only impressively accurate, but add to the bone chilling reality of the plot itself. 

9. It Lets You Into the Mind of a Stalker- and Doesn't let  you Go 

Not only does the narration allow the reader into the innermost musings of a serial killer, it keeps you there. Perhaps the most enthralling thing about Marr's writing style is her ability to change POV so effectively, making you feel like you just changed minds with ease and comfort. From Eva to her best friend Grace (even the name is cool ;) - even to the killer himself - the internal narration of each character is fantastic. 

And Finally, 

10. The Setting was Just Plain Spooky

Let's face it- there isn't much about the old south that isn't a little bit scary. But set in the town of Jessup, North Carolina, this book just takes setting to a whole different level. A small and traditional Southern town, Jessup is exactly the opposite of where you would expect a thrilling story like this to take place- making it all the more horrifyingly brilliant. 

So there you have it! Ten reasons why Melissa Marr's new book, Made For You, absolutely floored me! If (and when) you pick it up, be prepared to not put it down for the entire day. 

Trust me, it's made for you. 



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7.

Read Like No One's Watching 

   We've all heard of that classic saying- dance like no one's watching. But what about reading? Every hard core reader has those moments when you just can't hold in the giggles or the gasps as one of your precious characters steps out of line, whether in a comedic or a heart-wrenching way. So why hold back? Here are five ways to let your newest literary obsession lighten your mood, just by pretending like you're the only reader in the room: 

1. Laugh out Loud


Instead of silently chuckling at [insert snarky heroine's name here]'s newest quip, why don't you just unleash your inner nerd? Who cares if everyone in the late night study room hears you snorting- maybe they'll ask what you're laughing at and grab an extra copy. 

2. Don't Withhold Information 


If you just can't keep your mind off of your newest book find, tell everyone! Friends, family, that kid who sits next to you in that really boring Art and Culture class you're only taking to fill credits- spill the juicy details of Katniss Everdeen's latest exploits regardless of the audience. Perhaps you'll find that a lot of your friends are obsessed with similar fictitious characters. 

3. Make Time for Fiction


Just because everyone is working hard on some project or another doesn't mean you can't read that new YA dystopian thriller you splurged on- go for it! Don't let deadlines or stress keep you from your sacred reading time. Just be sure to plot out time on your calendar to finish it all, and take breaths in between to read a few chapters; nothing clears your mind and refreshes you like a hardy thriller, packed with breathless romance and suspense. 

4. It's Okay to Gasp


Let me guess- the lead love interest just introduced an amazing plot twist and you can't help but yell? Yep, sounds about right. Not to sound like every other Disney crazed fangirl on the face of the Earth, but in this circumstance just "let it go." Throw that book down and gasp so loud the person next to you raises his eyebrows. It's okay! Whatever you're reading is worth the exclamations and a few weird looks ;) 

5. And, Finally, Remember to Smile


When you finally turn the last page of that fantastic novel you picked up twelve hours ago, (because, let's face it, you stayed up well into the night to finish), lean back and have a smile. Because hey, whatever you just read straight through without a breath is worth a few moments, right? Just take a second to appreciate the awesomeness that was that story, and savor the moment after a solid reading binge- trust me, it's worth it.



So there you have it folks- a few things to help all of us readers while we're out in public. Not that we're every actually aware of our surroundings in the first place, of course. So lean back, relax, and remember to smile, because the people around us will probably realize we're in a different world at the moment anyway. 


Best wishes and happy reading,

-Ashley Dawson 



Check out Ashley on social media! 


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.dawson.1690


Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/mystories



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8. Podcast/Interview on Good Reads Mad Reads Radio

Come listen to my interview on Good Reads Mad Reads Radio about writing, conservation themes, marketing, and publishing. 

Thanks Marina Hume! :)


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-reads-mad-reads-radio/id909844431?mt=2

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9. Top Summer Reads (Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt)

Here are my top reads for the summer!


1) Taking by Kimberly Derting

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas 'n' Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn't aged a day.
Everything else about Kyra's old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.
Confused and lost, Kyra isn't sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin's annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra's father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

2) Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her. Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

3) Vengence by Megan Miranda
Falcon Lake will have its vengeance.
When everyone thought Delaney was going to die, Decker made a bargain. Anyone but her. Everyone but her. He never realized someone might actually be listening.
Carson pulled Delaney out of the frozen water of Falcon Lake, and he died on the side of the road with his mouth pressed to hers. Troy tried to recreate Delaney’s accident, and the lake took him instead. All the talk about a curse doesn’t shake Decker, until yet another unthinkable tragedy strikes and there’s just too much coincidence and death for Decker to take . . . and too much anger.
Because Delaney knew it was coming, and she never said a word. Falcon Lake still has a hold on them both, and Decker can’t forgive Delaney until he knows why.
4) Intuition by CJ Omololu
With every new vision from her past lives, Cole understands more about who she is in this life...and her love for Griffon grows as quickly as her unique Akhet abilities. Able to sense people's innermost emotions, Cole is a much needed asset to the Akhet's worldwide plan. Then she meets a young millionaire named Drew who reveals a startling connection to Cole's life in Elizabethan England. His intense desire to restore their past confuses and excites Cole but his affections complicate her plans with both Griffon and the Akhet. 

When her best friend Rayne is endangered by Cole's carelessness, Cole must find a way to save Rayne and prevent the Akhet's plans from falling into the hands of people out to destroy the world. Only by trusting in herself and her newfound abilities can Cole fight for her friend, her love, and her rightful destiny.

5) Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.
At school, nobody sees the scratches or her pain. The only person she connects with is the mysterious Captain Lyric, who writes song lyrics on her fourth-period desk for her to complete. With pencil marks and music, Alexi carves out a comfortable space for herself as she and the Captain finish each other’s songs – words on a desk feel safer than words spoken aloud.


But when Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend who understands her better than anyone. He has secrets of his own and knows all about suffering in silence. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally speak up


Now for the Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt

The Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt will run from TODAY until midnight on SUNDAY (19th July). To enter to win FORTY signed paperbacks by a wide range of authors PLUS $30 worth of Amazon Gift Cards, simply hop around ALL participating stops, collect all of the highlighted numbers (mine is 11!), add them together, and then go enter the requested details along with your calculated answer in the ENTRY FORM

You can find more information on how the stop works HERE. All stops will direct you to the next place to hop across to. And don’t worry if you get lost, because the entire list of participating authors can be found HERE.

Or, if you have all of your numbers and are ready to enter, then hop across to the Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt Entry Form.

In this post, you should have your number (Your number is:  11 I recommend this is displayed in a different colour to the rest of the text in your post, and made bold to make it easier to spot.)

Comment here for a chance to win a set of 3 Sweet Evil trilogy bookmarks from Wendy Higgins




Your next stop is Wendy Beck.


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10. My writing and writing process - blog roll style

Kimberly Derting tagged me in a blog roll to talk about writing and the writing process.

(She talks about hers here...and I loved her answers! :)


1. What am I working on?
Oddly enough, I am working on a couple of picture book projects and a middle grade series. I am also continuing the Untraceable series into Book 4. (Book 3 just released in June)


2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I usually write very dark teen thrillers. For some reason, I need a short break from those so I'm veering off my main path to have some fun in different genres. But my heart is in YA thrillers.


3. Why do I write what I do?
I love thrillers in general so I love writing them. It's most of what I read and watch on movies. If someone doesn't die or isn't being chased, it's hard for me to get into it. Though I'm getting better about branching out some :)


4. How does my writing process work?
I used to be a pantser but it would take me much longer to finish a book. So now I have a process that seems to work for me. I create a logline and synopsis. Then I do a strawman outline. I pretty much write from that outline (keeping it open so I can make changes along the way.) The simple process gives me structure yet flexibility to be creative.


5. How does my writing process not work?
It works for me :) Right now....at least I think it does.


Three other tagged authors...

Amy Evans - author of one of my favs, Clicks.

Elle Strauss - author of the awesome Clockwise series (and author of Lee Strauss' Minstrel series)

Karen Hooper - author of the gorgeous Kindrily series.



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11. Friday the 13th - hert are 13 other funny superstitions

Friday the 13th is called  a day of bad luck. 
Friggatriskaidekaphobia is when someone is afraid of Friday the 13th. Evidently this affects almost 20 million Americans. Even though none of them can even say the word. 
Triskaidekaphobia, which is the fear of the number 13. 
I like to at least pronounce the fears I have very clearly.
There is always one Friday the 13th each year and at most, there can be three in one year.
So why worry - it's only 3 days of the year. 
That means you have 362 other good days to worry about  these 13 other funny superstitions we hang onto:
1. Make sure you cover your mouth when you yawn. Um this is just common sense. An open mouth doesn't attract demons, but it is rude AND likely spreads germs.
2. Don't open umbrella in house. Again I think this is just common sense. You'll poke your eye out - or that of someone close by.
3. Get in and out of bed on same side. This is easy when you sleep with someone. But what if your bed is against the wall. I say jump out of bed with a smile and it should offset the omen.
4. Bird poop on your car means you will be rich. Trust me this is not true!
5. Using mirrors makes you soul-less. Gosh we better hope this isn't true! - especially in Hollywood. Well...maybe there it is true :L)
6. Wish on a star. We all do it. Then again, most of us may be silently praying it isn't a huge meteor barreling toward Earth!
7. Don't use new brooms because you can sweep out good luck. I say why not vacuum? It's automated anyway. Then you save yourself the worry.
8 - Crossing fingers was supposed to be in symbol of the cross and bring good luck. Now we just use this to tell a white lie and thin it is OK. :)
9 - Rabbit's foot brings good luck. Yeah, let's ask a rabbit if he thinks this is true. Bet he says no and asks you to let him go.
10 - Knock on wood  because it is thought spirits lived in trees. Since we all knock on our processed wood in our homes, the spirits are either already angry we stole their tree or were killed off anyway. 
11. Break a mirror. Well, you shouldn't be looking in one anyway according to #5 so this may save you.
12. Itchy palms means you are greedy about money? I say if you have any itch for very long, you should go to a Dr.
13. Tossing salt. This just makes a mess and could injure the patrons behind you.
I declare Friday 13th my lucky day - starting today!

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12. Some great indie releases for June!

In addition to Unstoppable, here are a few new June releases to note:


Girls on Fire Box Set 



Come out this week! 10 award-winning, critically acclaimed YA authors have brought together 10 amazing heroines in the GIRLS ON FIRE boxed set.
Oceans Deep - Box set releases today!

OCEANS DEEP - Twelve Young Adult romance novels for the price of ONE! Join us to celebrate sun, sea and love in support of World Oceans Day 2014. All proceeds go the The Ocean Project to support ocean conservation and environmental education. Comprised of young adult romances in a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, contemporary and mythology, the books all have one thing in common: they leave readers more in love with the ocean than they were before. 

Novels donated by authors: Lani Wendt Young - Telesa, Elle Strauss - Seaweed, Kristen Day - Forsaken, Karen Amanda Hooper - Tangled Tides, Amber Garr - Promises + Betrayal, Cheri Lasota - Artemis Rising, Heather Allen - Just Breathe, Nikki Godwin - Chasing Forever Down, Leigh Talbert Moore - Dragonfly + Undertow, Amy Evans - Clicks 


A Beauty So Beastly by Rashelle Workman

Preorder Now

What happens if the beauty is also the beast? 

The stunning Beatrice Cavanaugh is considered American royalty. She has everything except the ability to love. Cursed on her eighteenth birthday, she becomes more beastly than ever, having a newfound craving for raw meat, and an undeniable yearning for the night. Bitterness is her only companion. 

After accusing a maid of stealing, a disgustingly kind and exquisitely handsome guy named Adam shows up asking Beatrice to drop the charges against his mother. 

Infuriated by his goodness, Beatrice vows to break him. Destroy him. Make him hurt the way she hurts. So she agrees. On one condition: Adam must take his mother’s place as a servant in the mansion. 

Because Beatrice won’t stop until he’s more beastly than she is. 



The Swift By Ali Cross (middle grade)

How far would you go to save the ones you love? 

The night eleven-year-old Pete planned to shoot the winning goal in the championship hockey game was the same night his dad was lost at sea. Now, eight months later, his mom still cries all the time, his beloved grandfather, stricken with Alzheimer’s, can’t even remember him, and they’re about to lose their crappy old house to the bank. To make matters worse, his twin brother Henry blames Pete for all of it. After all, they were a family of fishermen—if Pete had gone to help on the boat instead of to the game, their dad might still be alive. 

While searching the attic for stuff they can sell, Pete finds a battle-torn ship-in-a-bottle. When he and Henry show the bottle to their grandpa, the three of them are transported back in time—on board the very ship that’s going down. 

Battling pirates and the raging sea, the boys must learn to work together to help their grandpa save his past. If they don’t, they won’t have a future to return to.


Beautiful Stranger by Alicia Kat Vancil



Patrick Connolly is about to get the one thing he has always wanted…kinda.


We all have that one thing—that one thing we wish for on every first star of the night. Wealth. Fame. Love. For geeky artist Patrick Connolly, it is the attention of his beautiful and seemingly unattainable classmate Nualla Galathea. There’s just one problem—he’s got less than a snowball’s chance in hell, and that’s being generous. 

However, when a heated argument erupts in the halls of Bayside Academy forcing Patrick and Nualla’s paths to collide, Nualla surprisingly jumps at the opportunity to be his date. Patrick may think his wish has just come true, but this gentle boy will need more than artistic talent to combat the deadly secrets lurking behind his dream girl’s veil of normality. Like the fact that she isn’t even human. 


For other great indie books, visit The Indelibles.


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13. Unstoppable Official Summer Blog Tour

Unstoppable Official Summer Blog Tour

As you all know, I love bloggers. They have always been so wonderful in supporting me and my books. Here are some great upcoming articles and interviews that you may (or may not :) find interesting. Follow along for some 411 and giveaways!

This week:


June 5th - Dorothy Dreyer, We Do Write, Guest Post: "The rise of powerful female characters in teen fiction." 

June 6th - Shannon O'Donnell, Book Dreaming, Guest Post: "Creating a peaceful writing environment: here's how!" 


June 7th- Huntress (CD Coffelt), Spiritcalled, Guest Post: "Advice for young authors." 

Coming Up:

4. June 9th - Heather Robbins, SupaGurl Books, supagurlbooks.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "Get to know your character- walk in their shoes for a chapter." 

5. June 10th, June 11th (review) - Page Eberhardt, One Book At A Time, http://onebooktime.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "The Rising Realm of Self Publishing." 


6. June 10th, June 17th - Lena Marsteller, The I Love Books Club, http://ilovebooksclub101.blogspot.com, Review and Guest Post: "How to write a gripping YA thriller." 

7. June 10th- Heather D Rosdol, Buried in Books, http://wwwBuriedinBooks.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "New Indie reads and why we love them." 

8. June 10th- Louisa Paarskmart, 23 Diamond Ridge Place, http://writingcrazyme.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "What makes a good YA protagonist." 

9. June 13th- Kai Strand, Strands of Thought, http://kaistrand.blogspot.com/, Character Interview

10. June 16th - Meradeth Houston, Write Stuff, http://meradethhouston.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "Being a literary composer: the perks of using music in writing." 

11. June 17th- Jenna, Avid Reader Musings, http://avidreadermusings.com, Guest Post: "Creating a strong character: what you need to know." 

12. June 18th- Emily Davis, Goodreads, http://goodreads.com/user/show/3142762-emily-heinlen-davis, Review

12. June 19th- Kelly Polark, Kelly Polark, http://kpolark.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "How Marketing and Writing work together." 

13. June 20th- Sheila Deeth, http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "How to prepare for a book release: the ins and outs." 


14. June 21st?- Jamie Johnson, Fantasy Book Chick, http://fantasybookchick.blogspot.com, Guest Post: Cover TBD


15. June 23rd- Elana Johnson, Elana Johnson, http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "Indie blogs and why they're hot." 

16. June 25th- Brooke Bumgardner, Brooke Blogs, http://brookeblogs.com: Guest Post, "An author's walk through the woods: how writing and nature compliment each other." 

17. June 27th or 30th- Britney Wyatt,  Living Fictitiously, http://living-fictitously.blogspot.com, Guest Post: "A hint of Grace- the animals in her life and why they matter. "


18. Date TBD - Liz Ziolkowski, Fictional Candy, http://www.fictionalcandy.com, Review


19. Date TBD (Before Xmas)- Sharen Seiple, Bookend Crossing, http://bookendcrossing.blogspot.com/, Interview

If you would like to join in the summer tour, go here! We would love to add you :)

If you would like a free ebook to review, please fill out form.






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14. Unstoppable Launch Party - Get the word out for new ereader!

Today (June 3) is the official launch party for Unstoppable!

Here are today's events going on all day! (all winners chosen at 10pm EST!)

Unstoppable Twitter party! Share your favorite quotes, ask me a question, or post about series on Twitter using the hashtag using #Unstoppableparty. We will randomly choose winner for a full NOG paperback package including one of a kind series coffee mug! (Domestic only)

Unstoppable Pinterest party. Grace loves animals. Share your favorite images of animals you love on your Pinterest page and send us a link. We will enter you in a drawing for a free ebook of a three NOG ebooks including Unstoppable.  (International)

Unstoppable Facebook Party! Share and comment the post on my facebook page about #Unstoppable and we'll choose a winner for a lot of 5 teen thrillers (Hysteria by Megan Miranda, Taking by Kimberly Derting and others.) (Domestic only)

Untraceable Tumblr takeover! Reblog this post on your Tumblr and send link to be in drawing to win 10$ amazon gift card or other bookstore gift card of 10$ (your choice) (International)

Share the Love - simply share the love below for chance to win the new Kindle paperwhite (or ereader of you choice for equal value 119$.)

9 EST Twitter chat with @SRJohannes on #Unstoppable. Discuss any topic of your choice from the book to writing to indie pubbing. Special giveaway of NOG package PLUS one ebooks from the Indelibles


Get the Word out for a Kindle paperwhite (119$)!


Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."


Unstoppable - Book 3 Summary

After everything that has happened, Grace moves to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee, and hang out with old man Rex, Birdee's "friend with benefits". Grace quickly befriends Dylan, Rex's nephew, and Dylan's girlfriend, Sadie, who is a die-hard teen activist. Sadie spends her time leading protests against the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for animals or the flimsy law.

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace and her friends rescue an abused—and endangered—Florida panther. She and Birdee spend time rehabilitating the animal. But when the panther runs off, Grace follows it to Uncle Bob's, a large roadside zoo they all have been protesting. One that is illegally filled with a variety of endangered and exotic animals. Before she can rescue the panther, she and her friends are kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. 

Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace and her friends are offered one chance at survival, but only if they reach civilization before being caught. With a small head start and very little supplies, only time and skill stand between the hunter and the hunted. But out in the Everglades, there may be more dangers than Grace realizes.

Against all odds, Grace must make it out alive and win, or everything she holds dear could be lost.

On Sale Now! 

Unstoppable is on sale in ebook. The paperback releases later this month. 

(Note: if you have another ereader device - see these instructions for getting a Kindle ebook converted to your ereader. It's easier than you think.)

If you haven't read Untraceable or Uncontrollable, you can get them in paperback and ebook at all major booksellers including AmazonAppleSmashwords, and B&N.

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15. Unstoppable is out!




Unstoppable is the third book in the award-winning and critically acclaimed "Nature of Grace" series. 

Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."
If you like a page turner, you will love this series!

Unstoppable - Book 3 Summary

After everything that has happened, Grace moves to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee, and hang out with old man Rex, Birdee's "friend with benefits". Grace quickly befriends Dylan, Rex's nephew, and Dylan's girlfriend, Sadie, who is a die-hard teen activist. Sadie spends her time leading protests against the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for animals or the flimsy law.

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace and her friends rescue an abused—and endangered—Florida panther. She and Birdee spend time rehabilitating the animal. But when the panther runs off, Grace follows it to Uncle Bob's, a large roadside zoo they all have been protesting. One that is illegally filled with a variety of endangered and exotic animals. Before she can rescue the panther, she and her friends are kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. 

Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace and her friends are offered one chance at survival, but only if they reach civilization before being caught. With a small head start and very little supplies, only time and skill stand between the hunter and the hunted. But out in the Everglades, there may be more dangers than Grace realizes.

Against all odds, Grace must make it out alive and win, or everything she holds dear could be lost.

On Sale Now! 

Unstoppable is on sale in ebook. The paperback releases later this month. 

(Note: if you have another ereader device - see these instructions for getting a Kindle ebook converted to your ereader. It's easier than you think.)

If you haven't read Untraceable or Uncontrollable, you can get them in paperback and ebook at all major booksellers including AmazonAppleSmashwords, and B&N.








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16. Paint Me by Sarah Frances Hardy

This is a cute PB and finally out!



Red, blue, and yellow are just the tip of the iceberg when you have a good imagination. In this colorfully illustrated story, a young girl makes her way through the day—first painting a portrait of her dog, and then painting anything and everything she can find. 

With a simple, affectionate plot that teaches colors and embraces the “creative process” for many kids, Paint Me! offers a message of love and discovery.

Featuring a heartwarming story and simple yet striking illustrations from author and illustrator Sarah Frances Hardy, Paint Me! encourages children to explore their creativity and express themselves while learning their primary and secondary colors. For parents who remember reading Harold and the Purple Crayon when they were young, or for those who love more recent books about art such as Beautiful Oops!, this is one sweet story you won’t want to have missing from your library.

Children's book author/illustrator

coming soon . . .

DRESS ME!
Sky Pony Press
Spring 2015

PAINT ME!
Sky Pony Press
May 2014

Viking Children's Books 

Spring 2012

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17. May Kindle Fire Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash! The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

Kindle Fire May
 
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

 
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
 
  May Kindle Fire Giveaway Sponsors I Am A ReaderFeed Your ReaderAuthor Rachael AndersonAuthor A. WrightonFairiechick's Fantasy Book ReaderKindle and MeAuthor Kimber Leigh WheatonA Bookish GirlThe Bookish BabeLori's Reading CornerLeahSay's ViewsStacy Claflin, AuthorGeneration iKidKelsey KetchLaurie Here - Contemporary Fiction and MORELaunching Sisters to WitchCampNovel MomentsLia FairchildCrystal's Tiny TreasuresZharmae Publishing PressLuthando CoeurF.W. FifeJabari & JaserLSM BooksBarbara SilkstoneOnce Upon a YA BookAuthor Alecia StoneReviews from a BookwormLiterary SweetAuthor Rae Z. RyansBonnie Blythe's Pure RomanceBella Street's Weird RomanceAuthor Inger IversenBuried Under RomanceAuthor M.A. GeorgeSMIBookClubTressa's Wishful EndingsMother Daughter Book ReviewsHelen Smith (author)Lena SledgeBook Reviews And GiveawaysAuggie TalkKelly's Lucky YouJetpack DragonsGin's Book NotesLife of a WriterExtaordinaryreads News LetterShannon and Elm BooksThe (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something year Old GirlSR JohannesAuthor Steven BrownAuthor Rosanne RiversHeather Gray (Author)The Reporter and The GirlAuthor FA MichaelsFree Bookster  

Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups  

  Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash. Ends 5/31/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary.

You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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18. Writing Lessons from the TV Show Dexter

I just got into the TV show, Dexter.

I never had Showtime before so I couldn't watch it and the entire 8 seasons is now free on Netflix. (woot woot! I know what I'll be doing over the summer.)

This is the. best. show. evah!

If I could write books like this - I would be a bestseller for sure!

I'm learning so many writing lessons from this show that I wanted to share:

Top 10 writing lessons from Dexter:

  1. Character arc - The character arc in each show let alone every season is amazing! Each character changes a little. in each episode.
  2. Dexter. The man perfect for this character - smart, hot, funny. So relatable that the whole serial killer thing is overlooked or accepted and you don't really know why or how it happened. :)
  3. Tension/Pace - Each chapter should have some tension or suspense. Even in books that aren't thrillers, you need to keep the reader turning the page. The suspense is killing me - every show has an amazing cliff hanger and i find myself saying "just one more episode."
  4. Voice - Each character should have his/her own voice. This is what makes each person special and relatable. Every character has their quirks, flaws and lovable moments.
  5. Character Development - Every character should be fully developed with backstory and motive. Each character from Dexter, to his sister Deb, to the "reborn cop" Angel, to the other forensic scientist, Vince. Each is unique.
  6. Villain - Your antagonist should be relatable. Not that Dexter is the antagonist but he should be. he's a serial killer yet somehow you root for him not to be caught.
  7. Setting. Your setting should invoke some emotion. Dexter is set in Miami. Everyone is always hot and sweating which adds anxiety to everything they do.
  8. Romance - Dexter started out awkward and has become more sexy as the shows go on. He's had a couple love interests but they were very purposeful in his character development which I find refreshing. It's not just love on the side. Each plays an important role in his arc.
  9. Reveals/Surprises. The reveals should be well placed and strategic. It all has to make sense in the end. So far they have done a brilliant job of reveals and I find myself going "I did not see that coming."
  10. Hook - You need a great hook as the foundation of any story. The idea of a serial killer killing bad guys is brilliant. 
You need to watch this show, esp if you are a thriller writer. The lessons are endless.

I heard there were Dexter books so I may check that out just to see how it plays out in the writing vs script.

Have you watched Dexter? What do you think? What is your favorite lesson from the show?

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19. IndieReCon 2014 starts Tues! It's free and online

15 reasons why you should register for IndieReCon Today!



1. Keynote speakers J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler are hosting a two hour chat to honestly answer any questions you have.

2. Find out how to face your fears and how to focus on your writing, being creative, and writing to your readers with Bob Mayer, Alicia Vancil, RaShelle Workman, Susan Kaye Quinn, Orna Ross, C.S. Lakin, and Rachel Aaron.

3. Find out all the nitty gritty details on self-publishing basics like pricing, distribution, and formatting from top industry professionals like Miral Sattar, Peter Bowerman, Joel Friedlander, and The Passive Guy (David Vandagriff).

4. Build your marketing skills and publicity skills with K.P. Simmons (InkSlinger PR), David Gaughran, Lori Culwell, Michael Alvear, Jim Kukral, Joanna Penn, Angela Ackerman, and Martha Carr.

5. Chat with bestselling authors Chelsea Fine and Chelsea Cameron on how it is to be a hybrid author. In addition, you will hear from Lara Perkins (Andrea Brown Literary agent) on how it is to agent hybrid authors and find out secrets (including information about audio books) from some bestselling indie authors that make up the Indelibles.

6. It's FREE!

7. We have fun contests!

8. Since it's online, you can stay in your PJs and we won't laugh at you. :)

9. There are huge giveaways! Yeah... HUGE! (Hint - Begins with a KO and ends with a BO :)

10. Learn about awesome organizations that support indie authors including: KOBO, IndieReader, Shelf Unbound, Indelibles, Author Marketing Club, AuthorAd Network, Alliance of Independent Authors, Goodreads, and Bibliocrunch.

11. Discover some great new indie authors to read.

12. Join our live podcast with the guys from Write Publish Repeat (Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David Wright)

13. Did we mention it's FREE?

14. Because it will be epic! (At least we think so.)

15. Find out tips in how to maximize your book exposure with leaders from Goodreads, Kobo, Smashwords, IndieReader, and Amazon.


Every single blog post, chat, vlog will be packed with all the information you need to help you on the self-publishing path.

IndieReCon will help you learn all the dirty secrets about the indie pubbing industry and help you succeed.

February 25-27 from 10 am -10pm EST times.

Tell your friends!

Hang out with us all day. Hourly posts. Tons of chats. A few vlogs and webinars. Check out the amazeballs online.

If you want to receive updates on the conference, go to our web site and enter your email up in the left sidebar to register and receive updates so you don’t miss out!

See you there!


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20. Go For Gold by Shannon Delany


Watching the Olympics, I'm struck by the importance competition holds in human culture--and in books. Every day there are several thousand new books published. The fact we can find anything amid such a sea of words never ceases to amaze me. 

So how do any of us get our book noticed and then keeping getting our books noticed? I wish I knew some formula for an author's success, but I don't think there's a foolproof one so I think the best thing we can do--ever--is our best. 

It's what I've tried to do since my first novel, 13 TO LIFE, came out in 2010. I keep pushing myself and I have two very different series to show for it. 

So, if you asked me… 

Write your best book. Love it. Be passionate about every stage of its creation. And most importantly? Write the book you want to read--the book in your heart. 

I believe we all have an amazing story to tell--do it and don't let anyone stop you. 


About the Author:
Find Shannon and her 13 TO LIFE series and WEATHER WITCH series on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, and at ShannonDelany.com. And this year? Follow her as she builds a picture book with a talented singer-songwriter!

Destiny and Deception:
The sensational fourth novel in the 13 to Life series sees Jessica and the Rusakuvas fighting to overcome one of their biggest challenges yet.

With the threat of the mafia seemingly gone and the company's headquarters in Junction destroyed, Pietr Rusakova is adjusting to being a normal teen and Jess is realizing normalcy may not be what she wanted after all. But both Jess and Cat know the truth--that normal can't be taken for granted. When a new danger stalks into their small town, Alexi decides he must overcome his issues with the mother who abandoned him to be raised by wolves and make a brand new deal to save his adopted family.

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21. Author Branding 101 by Louisa Clarkson

Today on the blog we have Louisa Clarkson of Indicated to give the 101 on author branding, an important step in marketing your words. Without any further ado here is Louisa!
____


No doubt you’re familiar with brands, their advertising slogans and logos (unless you’re a troll living under a rock bridge). Like McDonalds for example, is highly recognizable with the golden arches, the red and yellow and their branding statement “I’m Lovin’ it”.

From a marketing perspective, the colors and branding statements helps customers recognize it and influence them to buy the products. Red means passion and love, it stands out, and is used to stimulate people to make quick decisions. Yellow is bright and sunny, grabs attention and evokes feelings of happiness and joy. “I’m Lovin’ it” implies you will enjoy the food.

Branding is a brilliant and important tool for authors too. Our writing style, book themes/genre, covers, our author website(s), branding statements, and even our personalities, all shape our brand. Let’s look at these things in more detail, and start building a brand that knocks Stephanie Meyer from her perch!

Writing Style

Your writing voice, writing style, tone and even choice of words, is what a reader bonds and fall in love. No one else writes the way you do. These component make your author style unique, and helps your readers recognizes your writing.

Two examples of very distinct writing styles are Doreen Virtue, author of Healing With the Angels, who has a very motivating and inspiring style and tone, which compliments her self-help and spiritual brand. While Eion Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl children’s series, has a very tongue in cheek voice that tickles a child’s funny bone.

Books Themes and Genre

The genre(s) and themes that you write about is what readers will associate with you, and what they’ll expect from you in future. For example, Stephen King is synonymous for horror, supernatural themes, and a few drama novels. Readers would never associate Stephen with comedy. That would be like McDonalds selling pizza!

For those of you published in multiple genres, or if you’re planning to write in more than one genre, it’s recommended to use pen names to separate the brands, unless your books have a common element such as magic or fantasy that filter through them. Start small with one genre and build a fanbase, like Stephen did, then expand into other genres.

Book Covers

A book cover, its artwork, font and colors should reflect the tone, style and genre of the book(s). For example, on Suzanne Collins Hunger Gamesseries, every book features a Mockingjay, which is a distinct symbol for these books, and is even used for the film posters. Each book also uses the same square font for the book title and author name, and a different color to reflect the tone. Book 1 has a black cover representing a bleak society, hopelessness and oppression, typical of the dystopian genre. Book 2 is red which is symbolic of war and fighting back. Blue features on blue to show hope and freedom.

These elements need to be kept consistent when publishing a series to help the reader identify your books and brand. If you self publish, try to use the same cover designer to maintain the style. 

Author Website

The function of the author website is the same as the book covers. It should convey to any visitors the style and tone of your books, reflect aspects of your personality, hobbies or interests, and it can feature a logo to represent your brand. Here’s a cool website by paranormal romance author TF Walsh, which reflects the romantic and supernatural elements of her books, and her love of everything fantasy. The black gives a creepy and dark tone, while red highlights the romance and passion.

Branding Statements

A branding statement defines who you are as an author, the types of books you publish, aspects of your personality, who your target audience is, and helps readers to find you. For example, mine is “crafting whimsical, inspiring fantasy adventures that keeps tweens reading for days.” I could have used John Grisham’s Number 1 Bestselling Author, but it’s boring (zzzzz) and doesn’t tell me anything about his books.

Personality and Perception

Part of an author’s job is to build a public image that reflects their personality and brand. Aussie author Morris Gleitzman has a cheeky, fun brand, which supports his humorous children’s books. This is what draws readers to him and keeps them loyal. But if he were to go and post rude or adult’s only jokes on his social media accounts, there’d be public outrage. Always remember who your target market is and who might be reading.

Branding is such a huge topic, and this is but a small, but important part of it.

I’d love to know what your branding efforts you’ve made. Do you have separate brands for your books? Have you created any distinct features on your covers or logos? C’mon. Share you branding statements, so I don’t feel like such a dork! If you don’t have fun, then make one up. Promise I won’t laugh.


About Louisa Clarkson:

Louisa Clarkson is the author of The Silver Strand, the first in the Mastermind Academy tween fantasy series for 9-12 year olds. Creative endeavors called, and she left her Environmental Engineering career to study a Masters in Creative Writing and pursue her writing dreams. In the months she spent researching how to promote her novel, she found bits of information here and there, but no complete author resource. As such Indicated was born. Indicatedfeatures book promotion guides and a comprehensive database of where to find book promotional opportunities like book review bloggers, free and paid advertising opportunities, guest posts, authors interviews and so much more.

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22. Indie Publishing in YA (Special FREE Event offered by ALLi - the Alliance of Independent Authors))

YA and Children's Authors - Live Self-publishing Q&A Session (Hosted by ALLi - a IndieReCon sponsor)

Next Tues 18 March 3pm EST / 7pm GMT   - All Welcome! 

Are you a children's or YA author thinking about self-publishing, or already self-publishing? 

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is hosting a FREE live Q&A session on YouTube on Tuesday 18 March where ALLi Director, Orna Ross, will be fielding your questions to Shelli Johannes (AKA S.R Johannes) who writes for the YA/New Adult markets, and Karen Inglis who writes for pre-schoolers and up to age 10/11.

Send us your questions

If you'd like to ask Shelli or Karen about any aspect of self-publishing for their markets,please add your question on this form in advance and we'll try to include your question in the schedule.  

You'll also be able to comment during the session using the YouTube chat functionality.

We hope to see you there - just turn up to http://www.youtube.com/user/IndieAuthorALLi at 3pm EST / 1pm PST / 7pm GMT    

Note: You do not have to be a member to attend. But if you are interested in joining ALLI, you can do so through the button on Shelli's web site for a 10$ discount (89$)
   
Guests:

Shelli, based in Atlanta, is a YA writer, the award-winning author of Amazon bestselling thrillers, Untraceable and Uncontrollable After earning an MBA and working in corporate America for over 15 years, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She organizes the highly successful indie author online conference, IndieRecon, and is a founder member of author co-operative, The IndeliblesUnstoppable (book 3 in her YA thriller series) is scheduled for May 2014. Shelli is YA advisor to The Alliance of Independent Authors.

Karen, who lives in London, was an early adopter of children's self-publishing in the UK and has successfully placed her three children's books The Secret Lake, Eeek! The Runaway Alien and Ferdinand Fox's Big Sleep in bricks and mortar stores in London and sold over 7,000 books across Kindle and print. She has also recently self-published a children's book app.       


Please tell your friends :)




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23. Rashelle Workman's Season 2 is coming :)

It's coming. April 19th. Whoot! I'm so excited to share this series with you.

Rashelle is a great friend and her first season has done amazing! You have to get it!

It's so popular - she's doing a whole other season! yay!

The first book in the second season of Blood and Snow is entitled VAMPIRE LIES. I'm releasing the volumes a little differently this time. Instead of 12 smaller volumes and a bunch of short stories, there will be at least three full length novels.

You can pre-order book 1 by clicking HERE.



In Season 2 there will still be plenty of Snow White and her true love, but the story will be told from Jasmine's point of view.

Here's this summary: 

Genre: YA Fractured Fairytale
Blood and Snow Season 2
Book 1 ~ Vampire Lies

*** Eyes like violet sapphires. Wings of smoldering fire. Consume your true love's blood. Become the Eternal Vampire. ***

Once upon a time there lived a vampire with wings and the genie who loved her...

Born of the seven magics, Jasmine is different in every way, including the obnoxious wings on her back courtesy of the original Vampires. She wants to be normal, to be a regular teenaged girl.

When a gorgeous dark-haired boy named Laeddin shows up and promises to sneak her away from all her problems and hide her in the human world, she agrees. 

But an evil lurks in her nightmares, a man with red eyes. It doesn’t take long for Jasmine to realize that no matter how far she tries to run from who she is, he’s only a dream away. He wants her. He needs her. He acts as though he loves her. 

It’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between the path that’ll lead to her happily ever after, and the path that’ll lead to her destruction as well as all magic.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be entered into my monthly drawing. Click HERE

Have you read the first season of Blood and Snow? If not, Amazon is running a special right now where you can get all 12 volumes for only $1.99. Get it HERE

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24. 10 ways to write a page turner!

There are 10 easy ways (in my opinion) to keep up the pace (or suspense/tension) of a novel. This can be for any book to keep the reader clipping along and turning the pages.

10 steps to a page turner

1) Create short chapters - most of mine are 1500 to 2000 words. (It can't be 250 word chapters with 1000 chapters in the book. Thats' just annoying :)

2) End on the conflict, forcing the reader into the next chapter. (I call it the inverted climax curve! I'm smart huh?)

3) Keep your narrative short. At the end, go through and cut back scenes with too much setting or exposition. I say try to cut them in 1/2. (Actually, I should do this in my conversations as well. I'm sure my friends would appreciate it.)

4) Use short sentences when you want reader to feel rushed into reading. Longer sentences help to slow it down and create tension as well as a break before you ramp back up again. (I call this the roller coaster feeling. Make your reader sick :)

5) Add a ticking time bomb. This can be an actual time countdown or a lead in to knowing something is coming soon. (This even works in the ebay auctions I bid on. There's just something about a clock that creates stress.)

6) Create a strong opening line in every chapter that yanks the reader in. (I tend to spend more time on this than I do finding my dangling modifiers. I do not recommend that :)

7) Create strong closing lines that tease the reader to turn the page. (Do not let them put that book down! If you have to drag them on to the next chapter by their bookmarks)

8) Torture your MC - have her make mistake so actions get thrown back in her face. (I talk to my MC. "Oh you think that's bad, wait until I give you this!" I know I'm nutzo)

9) Raise the stakes each time it looks like resolution may be about to happen. (Give your reader the feeling of "oh thank God" and then take them to "WHAT the hell!"

10) Allow room to breathe. (You don't want them to pass out. Not good PR....But not too much room :)

Feel free to ask me questions! :)

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25. Mark your calendars: Unstoppable - June 3rd!

The release date for Unstoppable is June 3rd!

At that time it will only be available in print and at Amazon. 

To catch up on the series - Untraceable is currently free and Uncontrollable is $3.99.

You can add Unstoppable to your Goodreads 

If you would like to be a part of the summer blog tour - sign up here.




After everything that has happened, Grace goes to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee. Even though she is now home-schooled by her bird-obsessed grandmother, the move gives Grace time to relax. She learns to scuba dive and starts boating with old man Rex, Birdee's casual friend/boyfriend. 

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace rescues an abused Florida panther, currently on the endangered list. The more she dives into the animal’s horrific condition, the more she ventures into the underground world of the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for the law. Eventually, she stumbles upon one large roadside zoo filled with a variety of endangered and illegal animals. 

Before she can gather evidence and report her findings to the authorities, she is kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace is offered one chance at survival. With a one-hour head start and very little supplies, time and skill are now all that stands between the hunter and the hunted.



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