Apr 21, 2014

#Giveaway & What inspired me to write Choices by Sheila Bliss: Guest Post



Guest Post by Sheila Bliss

            There were so many things I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a TV news anchorwoman, a fashion designer, a news journalist, a nurse, a teacher and a psychologist. That’s quite a variety. I wanted to make sure I had all the bases covered. I was also a voracious reader. My entire family was. Memories as a kid always involved a family member reading a book. My dad, my mom, and my older sisters. The best vacations also involved sharing our responses to whatever book one of us was reading at the time. My family instilled in me a huge love for reading. It was also my escape. My childhood was lonely at times and broken. Reading allowed me to escape the loneliness and I found solace reading about people who experienced a similar pain between the pages of a book. The words breathed life into these imaginary people that I wanted to be friends with, that I wanted for family. It also sparked a deep desire to create those same feelings of connection, relief and escapism for another person. Ultimately, I wanted to create and help people in the process. Teaching called the most to me at the time of college major declaration, though. My fear of failure was strong, so strong I allowed it to overshadow my desire.  So, I went with door number two or six if you count all my other options. I could still be creative and I loved working with children, especially children in impoverished areas. Although if you talked to my family they would swear I became a teacher just so I could boss people around. In the fourteen years I taught, I felt restless, I still felt a deep yearning to explore something different. I’m a goal oriented person. I like challenges and I wanted to challenge myself to something bigger. I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to write.

            I always wrote something, really bad poetry, random thoughts, character names, gratitude journals, quotes, lesson plans, wish lists and ideas for novels. I started my very first scrapbook when Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married in 1981 at the age of thirteen. I cut out pictures and wrote my own bubble quotes for each picture. I was so proud of myself. I kept going from there, writing diary entries, taking creative writing classes whenever I could in high school and college, keeping journals that were cathartic and therapeutic during some dark days in my early twenties when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that was incredibly exhausting and as equally painful. I took a break from teaching sixth grade in West Philadelphia so I could figure out how to tackle this auto-immune disease, went back to school to procure my master’s degree and started my family. When my oldest who is now sixteen, was ready to begin school I went back to school with her and started teaching Kindergarten. I’ve been there ever since. I love teaching. I love Kindergartners. They are my absolute favorite, but my yearning and restlessness was increasing and suddenly my reading choices were changing as well. My girls started talking about this book Twilight. I had no idea what they were talking about and I insisted that I read it first before they did. I was hooked, but what interested me more than anything was Stephenie Meyer’s personal story about how she started. She inspired me to sit in my girl cave, as my husband has affectionately dubbed it, and write something more than lesson plans. She gave me the courage to put my ideas that gnawed at my brain on my computer screen and actually save it and then have the nerve to label it. It was reading Jamie McGuire’s personal story that gave me the balls to self-publish it. I never met Jamie. She wouldn’t know me from Eve, but her story, her advice she posts on her blog, inspired me to not be afraid. She held my hand even though she didn’t know it or me. For the first time in my life, I was truly going to live by my own personal mantra, feel the fear, but do it anyway. It was time for mommy to practice what she preached to her little people at home. It was time to go big or go home. The clock was ticking and it wasn’t the female one, it was the life one that kept chiming through the night, through the fog of my dreams.

            I started Choices in 2009. It’s taken me five years from beginning to the end product you’ve purchased on Amazon. I wrote during the summer months, during holidays, weekends, days off and sometimes these characters hijacked my sleep and I wrote all night and then taught all day. I’ve had some major bumps in the road, some huge failures and some huge successes writing this book. Some people are shocked at the subject matter because I’m a Kindergartner teacher, but honestly that’s not all I am. I am a creator. I wanted to write something outside my realm of knowledge. Some of my friends were shocked and couldn’t understand why I didn’t write a children’s bookum, because I didn’t want to. I wanted to write something real, something edgy, something dark, yet promising, hopeful. I wanted to write a big romance, but not a typical romance that’s sweet and neat. I wanted to write something gritty and real. I wanted to write a story about a strong woman who’s had some strong situations that forced her to feel out of control and her response to it. I wanted to write about a character that was forced to really examine her life. I wanted to write a story that forced this character to ask herself the question no one wants to ask themselves, am I happy or am I lying to myself and believing the lie? Am I just going through the motions? I wanted to write a story about how a woman doesn’t have to sacrifice everything about herself in order to save someone who isn’t interested in saving themselves. When is enough? When do you draw the line in the sand and say I need to take care of me now. Life is hard. Life gives you cards you don’t want. Life is unfair. Life is real. Life isn’t pretty sometimes, but it does give you choices. So, therefore, I give you Choices. 


                              Book Blurb
One never truly knows what goes on behind closed doors in a marriage. On the surface Laurel Brittingham’s life is idyllic but when you dive below the sparkling facade and submerge yourself within the murky, slimy sand at the bottom, life is never as it appears.
Laurel is a devoted, loving and loyal wife and mother. She married her high school sweetheart and created three new young lives during her marriage to Paul, all the while denying and avoiding the role his demons played in their marriage. Laurel’s only saving support system, other than her three children is her rewarding career as a nurse and her three gal pals that she cherishes beyond words. Addictions, anger and emotional abuse are the cornerstone of her marriage until one day life presents an interesting choice. 
Laurel wasn’t looking for him, she wasn’t seeking him out. Laurel was loyal; for better or worse, weren’t just vows they were a way of life. Fate or destiny introduced a much younger man into her life; a much younger man who was also the son of a good friend. Brandon turned her world and her heart inside out and upside down. Their love was undeniable and soul mending. 
Unfortunately, everything has a price. Their relationship unravels a web of lies, betrayal, abduction and deceit. What Laurel doesn’t know is how close to home this ugly web of lies comes. Laurel begins to travel down a path of shocking truths with twists and surprises she never fathomed, even saving a soul she never thought possible. She’s forced to make choices that will affect her family, her friends, and her happiness, but more importantly may destroy the very life she holds dearest.

                           
                              About Sheila Bliss

This independent author enjoys writing books about circumstances that shape a person's life and that life is all about the choices we make.
She hopes that you enjoy reading her first novel Choices as much as she's enjoyed writing it!


                                  Get in touch


Apr 20, 2014

Sneaky Sunday: Legally Undead, by Margo Bond Collins @Margobondcollin



coming soon world weaver

Blurb

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.
Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.
But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancĂ© Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.
As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.
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Excerpt


The ballroom was packed. More people had arrived while we were getting dressed. Women in sequined dresses and men in tuxedos sat around almost all the tables. Some of them were even eating. Couples crowded the dance floor. The band was indeed very good–they were playing a version of “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to” and the lead singer, a tall woman in a slinky black dress, had a deep, smoky-sounding voice.
It would be easy to be charmed by this setting, by all the elegance that surrounded me.
Of course, all the vampires that surrounded me weren’t quite so charming. They were terrifying.
And in a room full of people, I discovered that it was easy to tell which ones were vampires and which ones weren’t. Some of the humans were easy to spot–the ones who were eating food were easy to pick out as humans, of course, and many of them had bandages or fresh wounds on various parts of their bodies. The parts where the veins ran close to the surface: the neck, the crook of the elbow, the wrist.
There were other humans there, too, though, humans who weren’t eating and who didn’t have any visible blood-donation marks. But they were clearly human, just as some of the other people moving around the room were clearly vampires.
The vampires tended toward pallor, of course. And occasionally one flashed a fang here or there, particularly when they laughed–an effect I found chilling. They were mostly extraordinarily beautiful, but then, so were the humans. Deirdre seemed to like surrounding herself with beauty.
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Add Legally Undead to your Goodreads Bookshelf:

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About the Author

Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.
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Connect with Margo


Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy



Apr 19, 2014

@OEBooks Blog: The Best Places, and Methods, to Find Good Books

I thought this was something really worth reblogging.
Thank your RYCJ, this is really awesome.




Readers use many metrics to gauge how they find and select books. Some select books based on verbal recommendations. Some look at the number of reviews, or the ratio of favorable reviews. There are those who lean on pulling from best-seller lists, or selecting books published by major publishing houses. And then there are those readers like me, who must dig deeper.
Discussion-boards are one of the best methods to find Good Books, and this includes Indie Books primarily. I made the discovery a while back after visiting an Amazon discussion board; so make this my number one resource for finding good books. And not only on Amazon, but this goes for many social media boards; Goodreads, SheWrites, Blogs, or anywhere writers, write.
More so than reading into commodities like writing style; grammar, syntax, and typos, I’m foremost digging into the thought behind the words, coupled with the style. In that long ago discussion where I was first hipped onto this, the topic was on memoirs and how many memoirists do not properly research their memoirs. And I know… everyone, please say it with me… “Whatdt!?!”

Read more: OEBooks Blog: The Best Places, and Methods, to Find Good Books



I Would Strongly Encourage You To JOIN This Book Club: #RAVEREVIEWSBOOKCLUB


I've never belonged in a book club. I think mainly because I hate feeling obliged to do stuff. I'm a more a wing it kinda girl... so things like clubs make me weary, that is until I came across #RAVEREVIEWSBOOKCLUB. 

I came across them via a blog post and I reblogged...but it wasn't until several weeks later that I went, checked them out and really like what they were about. It's more a club for authors supporting their peers in a structured , disciplined manner  really  than in the traditional sense. Helping them with drives to get sales and climb the all so important Amazon ladder. This is what I conclude from what i see happening anyway.

I think any author who is not convinced about making sales from social media should really study this group. It works. and i think what I like even more is how much initiative and ingenuity they have. Since I joined I can not tell you how many different ways we have been recruited and encouraged to promote members' books and there are always astounding results in sales reports etc..

So even though I'm not a writer...the fact that I can promote writers whose work I am passionate about (#Indie), means I fit right in.

I especially love the fact that reviewers have to buy the books recommended rather than get them for free. This is real authors helping authors work, because yours could be next. Can you imagine, in a group of 300 authors, if only 100 buy your books what that means....

So I just want to say if you are an author and you want a place that is exceedingly supportive and will help catapult your career, then join RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. 

If you want to get to know incredible writers and effectively help promote them with your blog and tweets and I must mention.... gain followers and a reputation as an awesome supporter....and more importantly become involved in a structured, purposeful manner, again, JOIN this group.

Oh and by the way do mention I sent yah! You know I love being a darling!

Apr 17, 2014

How Not To Bungle Your Google Plus Sharing & O is for Out of #AtoZChallenge...sadly

I started off with all the best intentions but I'm afraid I juts cannot keep up with the #AtZchallenge although I really would have loved to complete. 
I'm really sore about this point.
But on the other hand....my big L on the forehead concerning the challenge is all due to unexpected projects which came up for Fabulosity Reads Book Tours. If you have organised tours and giveaways, then I do not have to tell you how time consuming prep work is, add to that multiple authors and huge giveaways drives for more than one project at once.

So it is a bittersweet situation.
I'm sure you also understand though when I say clients come first because they pay for the service.
It's not negotiable.
So maybe next year I will be able to so both business and pleasure. I hope.


There are couple of things I've noted in social media sharing and I wanted to bring your attention to them to in case they never occurred to you. I come across them too often lately and they hinder sharing capabilities for those who want to help you with a share of your blog or book post.
Today lets gook at Google Plus.

QUESTION:
Are you optimising your Google+ posts for sharing or bungling?
There is easy help if the latter.

May people on Google Plus seem to not be aware that when you publish a post, you need to select your target audience with each post, with each click of the SHARE button.
For most people, the default sharing icons are set on Circles and maybe Extended Circles. so I thought let me explain what the different features mean and you take it from there..

Circles: This means you are limiting visibility to the people you have let into your circles.

Extended Circles: This means people you don't know (those in the circles of those you have included in your circles) will be able to see your posts on the profiles of their friends (those in your circles).
Example: If Mary is in my circle, when I share a post and tag people in my circles and extended circles, it means Mary's circles will see it on her profile too.

Public: Anyone can come across the post, whether it related to them somehow or not.

PUBLISH vs EXTENDED SHARING.

One of the biggest differences between a Public and Extended Share is in how google indexes it for searches in its engine.
A public share can be found by anyone searching for that word.
An extended share means for the person to come across the post in their google search, they will have to have been part of the original sharer's extended circles and be logged in when searching. Quite limiting for promotional purposes if you consider the scope of the internet.

So make sure you are not only enabling sharing to yours and extended circles but to public as well.
Do this by selecting *public* as well as your circles and extended circles in the tag box. 
In practice, this would allow me, for instance, to share your post in communities where I have membership with people you may never come across.

This would only expand your reach.
*Don't forget to also set your blog post settings to "publish" so that they go to the write place when it autoshares.

I recommend that you also follow this useful blog about Google Plus only:
http://www.googleplusdaily.com/ 
This site helps brings a lot of insight and knowledge my way, in small digestible doses.

Have an awesome day.
If you found this post useful or informative please help me with a SHARE.


My Goodreads Bookshelf: I've Read:

Song of Solomon
American Gods
Anansi Boys
Temptation
The Pursuit Of Happiness
Fearless Fourteen
To Love, Honour and Betray
Covet
Career Girls
The Graveyard Book
French Quarter Nocturne
Lightning Bird: The Story of One Man's Journey Into Africa's Past
The Clan of the Cave Bear & The Valley of Horses
Dreams of a Dark Warrior
Blood Reaction
Coraline
A Love Rekindled
Sushi for Beginners
A Spy at Home
Priide and Prejudice


Wendy Ewurum's favorite books »