Friday, July 1, 2022

Holidays and World Building by Diane Burton

 


Happy Canada Day to all our Canadian readers. I grew up in the Detroit suburbs and have fond memories of the amazing celebration of our combined holidays—U.S.’s Independence Day and Canada Day. Dad would pile us all into our red Ford station wagon and drive us over to Windsor, Ontario. We’d watch the fireworks on the Detroit River from a riverside park. Back then Windsor was a lot safer than Detroit. We’d spread blankets on the grass, bring out the popcorn and pop, and settle down to wait for the display to begin. The Windsor orchestra would play patriotic tunes. Then the best—the 1812 Overture complete with cannons booming and fireworks flaring in the night sky. So, Happy 4th of July and Happy Canada Day, everyone.

Our combined celebration reminds me of world building, one of my favorite things to do. Whether it’s in a science fiction adventure or a romantic suspense, readers want to be grounded in that world. Holidays can be used to give more information about where your story is set, without an info dump. In my book Switched Resolution, third and final book in the Switched series, the main characters are given the privilege of serving as honor guards at the opening of the Founders’ Day ceremony. Participating in the commemoration of the brave people who settled and tamed the wild planet is a great honor. But since their ship has been stolen by renegades, the officers must go after it. They are no-shows at the ceremony. Bad news all around. Disrespectful to boot.

If you’re describing a holiday, be sure to include the foods available. At Tulip Time, a week-long celebration of Dutch heritage in Holland, Michigan, food trucks offer a variety of foods, including many Dutch specialties. In your celebrations, are there parades? Carnivals? Is it serious or was it at one time? Has it disintegrated into an excuse for frolicking and getting high? Or is it religious? Play with the concept and see what fun you can have, rather, what your characters can have.

 

Enjoy this holiday weekend. Stay safe and have fun.

 


Blurb:

Actions have consequences as Space Fleet Captain Marcus Viator and NASA reject Scott Cherella discover when they switched places. Does the reserved Marcus have what it takes to imitate his smart-aleck twin? Despite help from his love, Veronese, Scott’s already been outed by two of Marcus’ best friends.

When rebels steal the ship with part of the crew aboard, Scott has to rescue them and retrieve the Freedom. The stakes increase when he discovers the rebels are heading for Earth. They know he’s a fraud and they want Marcus. The safety of the Alliance of Planets depends on Scott and his allies.

Switched Resolution, which wraps up the Switched series, takes the reader from Earth—where Marcus adjusts to a pregnant Jessie—to the starship Freedom commandeered by rebels, to the chase ship with Scott and Veronese aboard.

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

 

 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Out Now! Bentley by @meganslayer #summonabadboy @changelingpress #hotread #mf #romance

                                                                           Out now!



Bentley (Summon a Bad Boy 3)  Megan Slayer $4.99 /Sale Price: $4.24

Natalie’s ready to summon her very own bad boy and try her luck with love.

I call on the fates to bring my love to me. As I will it, so mote it be

Natalie Harvey wants a guy who not only understands baseball, but supports her love of the game. When she meets bad-boy first baseman for the Cougars, Bentley Turner, she can’t help but fall for him. He’s sexy, strong, athletic and irresistible. He’s her perfect man, but what if he’s not interested? The spark is there, and she decides to invoke the spell. Why not?

She’s ready to summon her very own bad boy and try her luck with love.

Buy it today
Changeling - https://www.changelingpress.com/bentley-summon-a-bad-boy-3-b-3363
Pre-Order Now
Amazon
Apple Books
Barnes & Noble
Kobo/Walmart

Excerpt:

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Megan Slayer

“I’d like someone to take me to the ballpark and not expect me to pay to get them in or get them up close to the team. Just to watch a game with me,” Natalie Harvey said. “I thought I’d find someone by now.” She glared at her friend Sarah. Sarah could be loyal and sweet, unless Sarah wanted something.

“I can’t help it that you’re hard to please.” Sarah fiddled with her watch. “You’re too picky.”

“I am?” She scoffed. “I don’t want to be used.”

“Well… don’t have a job that entitles you to special treatment and think men won’t try to get in on said special treatment,” Sarah said. “And I don’t want to go to yet another baseball game. I mean, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But right now, I’m testing something.”

“You’re…” Sometimes she wondered why she even tried. Sarah could be rather self-centered at times. “I happen to like baseball.” She liked all different sports.

“You’re the only one.”

“I doubt that.” The minor-league games attracted quite a few fans, because the games were just as exciting as the major league ones. Every player was hungry to show his skills, and every play mattered because it could prove the player’s worth to the next level teams. If the front offices or coaches saw potential, the player would ascend to the next level. Plus, the games were entertaining. Spectators were close to the field, the food was inexpensive as were the tickets, and the food was better than some restaurants.

“You have to pay attention to the various scores, players, transitions and all that for your work. Why would you want to go to a baseball game on your day off?” Sarah asked

“You mean transactions,” Natalie said. “Because I like baseball.” Yes, she worked weekends on the sports team for Channel 7, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t like sports outside of work. She’d scored tickets to the game and should be pumped to go -- except she didn’t want to go alone.

“Transactions, transitions… they’re moving back and forth.” Sarah waved her hand. “You knew what I meant.”

“I did.” She watched Sarah tap her phone. “By the way, what are you testing? The spell? It works. Karey got it to work and so did Mandy. It’s not a fluke.” Why didn’t Sarah see that?

“We haven’t gotten it to work in three months,” Sarah snapped. “There’s something wrong.”

“Yeah. Us.” She hated to be blunt, but Sarah needed the truth. “We keep picking up guys we know are shit. I didn’t try too hard with Dwayne and ta-da! He didn’t work. Nikki didn’t really like Callum, and that’s why that didn’t pan out. We’ve simply tried to keep you happy and have used the spell, but we’re not exactly finding our Prince Charmings because we’re not looking hard enough.”

Sarah’s glare could’ve cut through Natalie. “Excuse me?”

She’d gone this far and might as well finish. Sarah wouldn’t get the hint until someone spoke straight with her. “You’re so busy trying to get us hooked up, but you’re ignoring the choice for you. Why can’t we let this happen more organically?” Natalie asked. “Or give us the time and freedom to find our guy?”

“We have had success and will again, but I’m concerned it’s taking too long,” Sarah said and shook her head. “But there is no good choice for me.”

“No?” Natalie could think of at least one good guy. “Kurt means nothing to you? He’d give his right arm, leg and nutsack for you.”

“Right,” Sarah said. “He’s an annoyance, and he’s not that invested.”

“I suppose you’re right. He does have a girlfriend now,” Natalie said, intentionally annoying Sarah. “I saw them together two nights ago.” He’d been out with his sister, but Natalie wasn’t about to tell Sarah that.

“What?” Sarah paled. After a moment, she regained her color and smiled. “Good. He should move on.”

“Uh-huh.” Sarah still loved him, but her pride prevented her from giving him another chance. One day Natalie would ask what Kurt had done to make Sarah turn on him, but that day wasn’t today.

“This isn’t about me. It’s about you and Nikki. How about instead of going to the game, you come to the bar with us?” Sarah asked.

“I already have tickets, and I’m not wasting them.” At least not wasting one of them.

Sarah rolled her eyes. “You get tickets for free because of your job.”

“So?” That didn’t mean she should waste the chance to go. “I do have to keep tabs on the players.”

“Would you happen to be looking to hook up with one of those players?” Sarah folded her arms. “Some of those soccer players are pretty hot.”

“Baseball players are, too.” She shouldn’t have said that. “But they’re like other guys. They find out I’m a sportscaster and want things from me that I can’t give them. I don’t seem to find any decent guys. I meet athletes who want to get noticed and drunks who spill things and also want to get noticed.” She’d been kissed three times because she’d been caught on the kiss camera. Why did the person running the camera insist on putting her on the spot? The guys who’d kissed her weren’t attractive and none had her permission.

“I need to find someone for you for the spell,” Sarah said. “There has to be someone.”

She hadn’t heard a word Natalie had said.

“I need to go. Nikki’s waiting on me.” Sarah left the table and strode away.

“Thanks.” Natalie sighed. She’d been left at the table and with the bill… again. Next time, she’d tell Sarah to shove it instead of meeting her for lunch.

Natalie waved down the waiter who returned a moment later with the bill. She paid, then finished her tea. Fine. She’d go to the game by herself. It wasn’t like she’d never done it before. Most of the time, she tried to get in on the spectator play afterward. She’d played softball, soccer, basketball and run track in high school, then run track and played softball in college. She knew what she was doing on the sports field.

She walked out of the bistro, and her thoughts turned to Sarah’s dismissal. The spell. Sarah swore she’d hook up every member of their friend circle with their perfect guy because of the magic. The spell worked for two of the women, but they weren’t going to find high-class men by hanging out at a bar.

She shook her head as she started her car then drove across town to the baseball stadium. Of the many things she liked about having a minor league team so close was the ample parking. She never had to walk more than a few hundred yards, and the lot was well-lit. She locked her car and hustled up to the ticket window. Once she showed her credentials and ticket, she gained entrance to the facility.

Natalie strode over to the first-base side and located her seat. When she was on the clock, she liked to sit right at the edge of the field to better take in the action. Since she wasn’t working, she’d sit four rows up and simply enjoy the game.

She loved the atmosphere of a ballgame. The sounds of the crowd, the smell of the food, the excitement in the air. The Cougars scored quickly in the second inning, and she made a few notes on her phone. The sensation at second base, Dalton Cohn, had made three great catches and even managed two double plays with the first baseman, Bentley Turner.

Natalie watched Bentley Turner in action and couldn’t help but sigh. He had a temper at times, looked like he’d stepped out of a bar, and could swear a blue streak, but he moved with grace and had skills on the field. If he hadn’t injured his shoulder defending first base last season, he’d still be in the majors and probably racking up good stats. Instead, he’d been relegated to the minor leagues to rehab. She’d spoken to him a few times and loved the deep blue of his eyes and his easy smile. He could be cocky and pushy. Rumor had it he’d bedded women in every city and left a string of broken hearts in his wake. It could all be rumors, but...

 


Monday, June 27, 2022

Twisted Fairytales by L. A. Kelley

 


Twisted Fairytales

Covid, inflation, gasoline more expensive than champagne? Wouldn’t it be nice if life was like a fairytale? The heck it would, not if you know the real stories.


Cinderella

Cinderella’s tale has been around for over 2000 years. There are hundreds of versions dating back to ancient Greece and China. The Disney cartoon is the fluffiest of all with Cinderella barely able do anything except smile idiotically no matter how badly she’s treated. In the Grimm version, her name is Aschenputtel and her slippers are made of gold, not glass. In the original French, Cinderella’s slippers were fur which may not be fashionable, but a heck of a lot more comfortable. In both versions, she’s not helpless and weepy like the cartoon, but rather a self-sufficient girl with witch-like powers. She creates a magic tree and has the ability to turn invisible and control birds. The wicked stepsisters allow toe and heel to be cut off to force their feet into the glass slipper. The self-mutilation doesn’t work, and Cinderella marries the prince. During the wedding ceremony, Cinderella commands doves to peck out her stepsisters’ eyes. Talk about Bridezilla.

Pinocchio

Oh, that silly puppet. Good thing he has the blue fairy to pull his fat from the fire. Hah. Not hardly. At the end of the original story, Pinocchio is being chased by assassins. He runs to a house, screaming for help. In an open window is a little girl with blue hair, instead of a fairy. Her eyes are closed and her arms crossed over her chest. A ghostly voice says everyone is dead in the house. Pinocchio begs her to open up anyway, but the little girl says. “I’m dead, too, and waiting for the coffin to take me away.” Pinocchio starts crying, begging the girl for help, but the window closes. The assassins grab him and hang him from an oak tree. The end. Ha-ha. What a delightful tale. It should be easy to get the little ones to sleep after that.

Wizard of Oz: The Tin Woodsman

The Tin Woodsman started out as a normal guy named Nick Chopper who made a nice living chopping down trees in the forests of Oz. After his parents die, he’s lonely and falls in love with a Munchkin girl named Nimmie Amee, but she won’t marry him until he builds her a better house. In the original story, his sweetheart worked for a lazy old woman who wasn’t happy about losing a servant. In later editions, the lazy old woman is a witch, who’s still not happy, so she enchants his axe. When he swings the axe, he chops off his leg, so he goes to a tinsmith to build him a new one. Then he chops off another one. Back to the tinsmith. Then an arm. Then another arm, body part after body part. This guy doesn’t give up and the tinsmith is raking in the dough. Eventually, the axe goes through his heart, and the Tin Woodsman can no longer love and forgets about his sweetheart. What a charming children’s tale.

Bambi

As a child, I loved Bambi, the cartoon. Then I found Bambi, the book, at the local library, and checked it out. Ye gods, that was a mistake. The author, Felix Salten, was an ardent hunter who killed over 200 deer in his lifetime. He cheated on his wife, stole from friends and lost their money. He also believed in appeasing the Nazis and wrote a delightful pornographic book about a child forced into prostitution. What a swell guy. In Disney’s version, nature is idyllic. In Salten’s version a fox tears apart a beloved pheasant, a ferret fatally wounds a squirrel, and a flock of crows attack the young son of Thumper, called in the book Friend Hare. He’s left to die in excruciating pain. Friend Hare’s wife has her leg ripped off and also dies. Bambi nearly batters to death a rival begging for mercy. What does sweet Faline do? She looks on, laughing. Faline has a twin brother, Gobo, who was injured as a fawn and healed by men. He returns to the forest and tells everyone people are swell. Bambi thinks he’s an idiot and mocks him. Turns out he’s right. One day, they spot humans and poor Gobo goes out to say “Hi.” Naturally, he’s shot. The others run away to his wailing death shriek. In the end, Bambi knocks up Faline and then deserts her because stags don’t help with fawns. I wonder why Walt heavily edited the book?

So, the next time the kids ask to be read a fairytale, suggest a violent video game instead. It will leave them with fewer nightmares.


L. A. Kelley writes sci-fy and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. Her life is a twisted fairytale. 



Wednesday, June 22, 2022

June is Audiobook Month by Tena Stetler

 


Did you know June is Audiobook Month. I bet you did if you are an audiobook addict like me. I listen to audio books while cleaning house (a chore I hate), while running errands around town, and during road trips. Such fun.  I’ve enjoyed audio books since they were actually on cassette tapes, then CDs and rented them from the local library or used bookstore.

But did you know a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into those audiobooks?

I learned that first hand when I became an author and wanted to take the plunge into having my books made into audiobooks.

First, you have to obtain the audio rights, if you are traditionally published and your publisher doesn’t do audiobooks.

Then through auditions, you must find a narrator that fits with your plan, voice style, character, and budget, which after trial and error I found at audible. There are other companies, but for me, audible made the process fairly easy. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of work involved from the author’s end and narrator’s end.  

After production has begun, you will listen to a sample segment to make sure you and your narrator understand each other and discuss any special names, words or unusual pronunciation. Then you’ll listen to each chapter for any errors, send corrections, and do it all over again.  

COST is a substantial reason books are not made into audio. Some narrators will take a royalty share, which is the best out of pocket expense, but in some cases you get what you pay for. The other is royalty plus share, which means you still give a percentage of your royalty to the narrator but you also give them a stipend. This can, depending on the experience of the narrator, range from $150.00 Per Production Hour to well over $800.00 PPH and up. My first few audio books were narrated by people accepting only royalty share. Then I found Nikki Zakocs, she’s royalty plus but worth every penny. She’s narrated several of my newer books. She’s a professional and dream to work with! She doesn’t do Irish accents, but referred me to someone who did, when I needed it.

Now I bet you know more than you ever wanted to know about audiobooks and I just scratched the surface. Like writing books, producing audiobooks is a craft all unto it’s own. So next time you kick back, relax, and enjoy your favorite audiobook, know a lot of effort has been put into your listening enjoyment. It doesn't happen by magic! LOL  You can find my audiobooks at amazon. and other online retailers.

Samples of a couple of my recent audio books are below: 

Hidden Gypsy Magic - Gwen a wildlife rehabilitor, and Brock a veterinarian, discover the consequences of awakening hidden gypsy magic.   


A Witch's Quandary - A Broken Engagement leads to the discovery of stolen magic and malice with a little blackmail mixed in. Can they weather the storm? 



Chocolate Raspberry Magic - Fund-raising, Ice cream social, furry and feathered babies, romance, mystery, and magic what more could you ask for in a paranormal romance/mystery? A fun summer time listen whether at the beach or camping!



   

Thursday, June 16, 2022

New Paranormal Romance Anthology


It's officially the dog days of summer down here in South Carolina, where our highs are regularly in the triple digits. This means we're eating our weight in watermelon and catching up on our TBR stack that's been diligently growing since winter break because it's too hot to do much else. 

I've got a good mix of literary fiction, fantasy, and young adult fiction to keep me busy reading through this heat wave, whether that be inside where the AC is running full blast or at a hot, sandy beach on the weekend. But one that I'm particularly excited to read is Gateways to the Paranormal.

You'll see my name if you scan the contributing author's list, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what my fellow writer friends came up with. I love a good romance story, and what could be better than having 14 of them in one book? Given the state of the world, I'll take any and all happy endings I can get even if they are fictional.

Every anthology I've participated in has resulted in a slightly different approach (mainly because they've been completely different genres), so I'll tell you a bit about how I worked on this particular story.

I'm obsessed with mythology. I love seeing what types of stories and creatures have ruled the common folk's beliefs all over the world. I've done retellings of Irish folktales (in my debut novel, The Curse Breaker), Japanese and Middle Eastern folktales (Malfunction Junction), and a few more short stories/novellas that you'll see in the coming months if you follow my author page on Amazon. But for this anthology, I wanted to mix mythology.

When I first accepted the invitation to write for this project, I immediately wanted to write about a vampire. I know there have been a million vampire stories, but there's something in that mythology that keeps me coming back. Perhaps it's the versatile nature of these creatures, but either way, I knew right from the start that my vampire, Soren, was benevolent. 

From there, given that this is a romance story, he needed a love interest. So Lavender Collymore was born. Lavender is an over-achiever to the max, but she's not quite human either. Now with these two main characters in mind, as well as a word limit to honor, the pair needed some kind of problem to solve. 

I'm not opposed to bad vampires. In fact, they often add a lovely amount of tension to a storyline. In modern literature, we spend a lot of time reading Romanian vampire lore spin-offs, but they aren't the only type that exists in the world. In fact, there are many different kinds of blood-suckers, and Australia has some of the coolest monsters I've ever read about.

In their mythology exists a creature called the Yara-ma-yha-who. I'll let you google the full lore (you're in for a treat), but for the sake of this post, I'll tell you that these little guys feed on one victim again and again until they've fully converted their prey into another Yara-ma-yha-who.

Soren and Lavender obviously have to stop this guy from eating up their fellow townspeople. If you want to see if they were successful, preorders are up now (the official publication date is 6/17/2022). You can follow this link if you're interested.

Either way, I wish you the loveliest of summers. Stay cool and happy writing.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Kindle Vella and Me - A New Affair

I can't say if it will be a love affair, but so far I've enjoyed writing these serialized stories. I never thought I'd be interested in Amazon's new venture, but an author friend who'd been writing Vella stories hand walked me through the process, and lo and below, I suddenly had a venue for a collection of short stories I'd been unable to place.  I published each of the stories on Vella..

On Vella, the reader can access and read the first three episodes of a story free. If they want to continue reading from Episode 4 forward, they must pay in tokens. Amazon gave me 500 tokens that I'm using to read friends' and other group members' work.

My first story is Gypsy Ribbons.  This one is complete. I tried to upload the book video I created for Gypsy Ribbons, but Blogger hates me and said the minute video exceeded the limits. I've created book videos for the other stories, but alas can only show the one I've uploaded to YouTube. It isn't a Vella story but a novel from The Wild Rose Press, Life for Sale.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-0_M7Zlaok

I'd intended to share the videos, so this will be a short post.

My other stories are Haunted Summer (witch), Angels Unaware (angels), and Denouement (angel/Armageddon)., Here are the links for the stories on Vella.

Gypsy Ribbons -  https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Ribbons/dp/B09YQPSPDQ/  - paranormal romance, ghosts



 

Angels Unawares -  https://www.amazon.com/Angels-Unawares/dp/B0B2KTHQ17/ - fantasy/urban fantasy romance, angels



 

Haunted Summer -   https://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Summer/dp/B09YVKPKQ7/ - paranormal romance, witches



 

Denouement -  https://www.amazon.com/Denouement/dp/B09YVHRNSD/ - fantasy/urban fantasy romance, angels)



 Happy Tuesday the 14th!

Linda 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Happy Book Birthday to Strawberry KY! by Marilyn Barr

 

Two years ago, on the Strawberry Full Moon, the Strawberry Shifters released its first installment - Bear with Me. Alison & Grant's relocation to Strawberry, KY is where it all began. They discover Alison's magical talents aren't the strangest paranormal happenings in the creepy small town.


We've watched Bergan Pharma's IT department find love, come out to rural America, & create the unconventional family perfect for them in Book 2: Round of Applause. This MMF, LGBTQIA+ book is about coming out in rural America and the acceptance of Strawberry's first ethically non-monogamous throuple.

We've watched Rosie's boys grow from little boys mourning the loss of their legendary father to Frank Jr's internship on Seagrass Island. Many readers enjoyed Smoother Than Spumoni last summer and are concerned about skipping in the book order. Don't fret. Go Scorch Yourself is what happens in Strawberry while Alison is in Seagrass FL, setting up Frank Jr's internship. As fans know, Smoother Than Spumoni is what happens when he is on the internship. Chronologically, Scorch comes first but the two stories are only loosely connected with no spoilers.

 

Today, our favorite paranormal town welcomes Book 3: Go Scorch Yourself to the series. This cross between Frozen (Disney) and The Fall of the House of Usher (Poe) introduces readers to what happens in Bergan Pharma at night when the vampires run the company. The hierarchy of the peaceful vampires is blown to bits by Alison's non-magical, completely human, younger sister. What powers does a nursing student use to take on the vampires? Find out in Book 3: Go Scorch Yourself. 



What's next? Book 4: Rotten Apple is Ryan's tragic tale of betrayal, healing, family, and sacrifice. It was officially submitted to my publisher 9/2021 so I hope to hear if it will go into contract soon. You know I can't keep a secret so as soon as I know, you will.

Go Scorch Yourself Blurb:

Bad Girl Betty is ready to start her new nursing career after her boyfriend overdoses at her feet. Moving in with her sister was supposed to be safe, but now Sluagh and vampires are chasing her instead of unpaid drug dealers and detectives. Sluagh are monsters but the Vampire King is just a bully, and Betty plans to take him down. If only her scheme didn't involve getting close to his prince…

       Lucien Von Popescu, mild-mannered microbiologist and Vampire Prince wants to rock and roll all night and sleep all day. Too bad he is being blackmailed. When Lucien is ordered to secure an alliance by seducing Betty, he can't decide if it's a dream come true or his worst nightmare.

 


 

Excerpt:

“Look if you came out here to lord over me. Don’t waste your breath. I’m at my lowest…so…leave me alone.”

“I followed you because I am afraid Sluagh are going to attack. They are attracted to sadness. Your mournful call is bringing the cavalcade to our doorstep.”

“Oh well, heaven forbid I ruin your party,” she puffs between billowing breathes. She claws at her back as if she truly wishes to open the dress. She spins again and I am faced with the back of the dress. It hasn’t a zipper or row of buttons to loosen it.

I take a deep breath and stand behind her. “Tell me not to rip it,” I say with such trepidation that it comes out as a whisper. The wisps of hair on the back of her neck dance to my voice as the waves travel along her flesh. I tuck my fingers into the neckline of her dress, careful to only allow the backs of my fingers to touch her. Her skin is on fire and so silky I fear my callused fingertips will snag it.

“Release me,” she sobs.

A strength buried inside me surges forward and my claws extend from my nailbeds. I dip the black tips into the collar of her dress and yank. The material gives way, revealing smooth creamy skin to her waist. I have a heartbeat to catch my breath before she whirls around and slaps me.

 


Where you can get scorched by Betty & Lucien:

https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/8a14f968-b8c6-11ec-a134-17696200c11e

 


Special thank you to the critique partners who have been with me since the beginning. In 2019, Go Scorch Yourself was a printed manuscript which my friends and I giggled over in the local library. Publishing a book wasn’t a thought…and now look…

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Podcast a Day Keeps the Brain Rot Away by Keri Kruspe

 

Before I became a professional writer, through the years I had to endure extensive training for my job in customer service, compliance, and sales. You’d think that working in the same industry for over thirty years I wouldn’t need constant reminders about the same thing over and over.

But…you’d be wrong. I wish I had a photographic memory…unfortunately, I don’t. Good news is I’m not unique. That’s why most secular employers have their employees take online tests and courses for the same thing every year, regardless of their tenure in the industry.

Having said that, why would I think running my own business as a writer was any different? Add to the fact I’m learning my way around a different industry which includes on how to write, how to publish and how to market my work. While I have taken numerous courses over the years for all three areas, I have a tendency to get overwhelmed and forget most of what I’ve learned.


Enter my savior... Podcasts

One way to keep me up-to-date in the industry is to listen to podcasts. The best part is most podcasts are FREE. Filled with useful tips about how to be a better writer, but also what might make me a successful author who can make a living with it.

To that end, I maintain a steady diet of various podcasts geared to writers. For at least thirty minutes a day as I get ready for work, I’m listening to the latest episode of a podcast instead of music or the news.

Sometimes I’ll play it in my car as I drive to work as well. That way, I’ve made unproductive time the exact opposite. Podcasts can deliver some of the best ideas and insights available. An example is The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn. She’s been a pioneer in the indie industry, having done a podcast for over ten years. I could smack myself for not finding her earlier, but I’m really glad she’s with me now.

 I’ve enjoyed her interviews and insights for several years now. Lately she’s been on a “kick” about AI (Artificial Intelligence) taking over the industry. I would never have known that was even a thing if I hadn’t been listening to her.

How do I know which one to listen to on any given day? It depends on what I’m in the middle of. If I’m working on my first draft, my focus is on writing. When I’m cleaning that up, I’ll zero in on anything to do with edits. Of course, marketing is my weak point, so I’m always on the lookout for anything that might help me in this area.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this. So, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite podcasts that I’ve discovered over the years.


Here are the ones I currently listen to:

  • The Creative Penn - Joanna Penn
  • The Self-Publish Show - Mark Dawson/James Blatch
  • The Rebel Author Podcast - Sacha Black
  • The Dialogue Doctor - Jeff Elkins (I love his laugh throughout the show)

The newbies I recently found:

  • How to Self-Publish with the SPA Girls
  • Novel Marketing - Thomas Umstattd Jr

The ones I haven't had a chance to listen to yet:

  • The Sell More Books Show  - Jim Kukral/Brian Cohen/Abigail Dunard. 
    • I already follow Bryan Cohen. He introduced me to Mark Dawson and his SPF community
  • Helping Writers Become Authors - K.M. Weiland. 
    • I liked her introduction on her website. She claims she lives in "make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives on chocolate truffles and expresso". Someone I can totally relate to.
  • The Publishing Profits Podcast - Tom Carson-Knowles
    • He's the founder of TCK publishing. His name pops up a lot on other blogs or podcasts.
  • The Story Studio - Johnny B. Truant/Sean Platt/David Wright
    • They target not only authors but have a balance of artists and entrepreneurs.
  • The Book Marketing Show - Dave Chesson
    • I love Dave Chesson from Kindlepreneur. I subscribe to his emails.
I got this list from Authority Pub and their updated list of 2021. Even so, there are numerous avenues to check for yourself if you aren’t interested in these. Just type in “author podcasts” on your favorite search engine.



Should you consider doing a podcast?

In doing this research, I came across folks questioning whether or not doing a podcast was something an inspiring author should look into (the above podcaster, Thomas Umstattd Jr highly recommends it).

After all, podcasts have been around for over ten years. It’s well entrenched in mainstream and isn’t viewed as just another way of communicating with readers. It could be looked at as a way to connect and deepen the relationship between the author and their fans that email can’t compete with.

Consider this: Someone just finished your latest book. When they get an email from you, it’s hard to duplicate the feeling they experienced from you book. No matter how wonderful your email is, people don’t usually read long emails.

But people have extra time to listen to a podcast (like I do) because they can on their own time and not wait for something to be sent.

I came across this article by Stephen Campbell concerning this subject. Here is the list as to why he says podcasts are the future (even though this article came out in 2015, I found it relevant today).

  1. Podcasting allows readers to join you when they want to.
  2. Smartphones have brought podcasts into mainstream
  3. It's not just about the iTunes or YouTube - podcasting in the car is here to stay
  4. The power of subscriptions let people feel like they know and are invested in the real you.
So, should you start a podcast? Well, that's a totally personal decision. If you decide to do so, let me know. I'd love to join you every morning as I put my mascara on!

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

How do you prefer to "read" your books?


I think it's amazing that with the technology we have, there are so many ways to enjoy books! In physical books, we can get them in paperback, hardcover, and large print. Then there are ebooks that are available to read on pretty much any computer, laptop, smartphone, or reading device. Audiobooks, too! We also can sometimes choose between reading the written version and graphic novels or webtoons. And occasionally, some of these stories get turned into television series and movies. Do you have a favorite way to enjoy your stories?

I like a combination of all of the above.

There are some books where I have read the book (either print or ebook) then listened to the audiobook and later watched the movie. I did this with The Martian by Andy Weir and The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

There are some Webtoons I read (am reading) before watching the shows, like All of Us Are Dead and Hellbound. In the case of Sweet Home, I watched the show before reading the Webtoon, as I found out about the Webtoon later.

Right now though, I mostly alternate between reading one of the paperbacks on my shelves and one of the hundreds of ebooks on the reading apps on my phone. I have no preference between the two and need to wear my glasses to read both. I would love it if all the stories I enjoy and love got turned into movies or shows, but I know not all of them will.

What about you? What format do you prefer? And if you love a book, will you enjoy it in multiple formats?



Saturday, June 4, 2022

When It’s Time for an Update

 


We’re getting new carpet upstairs this week. Believe me, this was long overdue. But unlike this cute new mouse pad that I got for my writing desk, sometimes, changes aren’t that easy.

Most of us like to be comfortable and enjoy a predictable routine. The disruption and chaos to our home when we emptied out the rooms has been the biggest challenge. 


Now most of the items from the office have been stacked in our bedroom all week. This forced me to take a long look at what I’ve been holding on to for years. I kept some things for sentimental value, others because I might need that someday, right? Even if I haven’t looked at it for years and years? Or is it also saved digitally?


Nope. I don’t need all that.


This was a surprise because I hate clutter, and I’m always going through things. But apparently, paper products and binders haven’t been high on that list—until now. I’m hoping that once the carpet is complete and I’ve gone through everything (okay, most of the things, let’s not get too crazy. I don’t have all year, lol), I’ll be rewarded with a less cluttered office to write in. Since clutter reduces my productivity, this should be a good thing for all the writing plans I have for this year. 


Author Updates


This year has also been a time for other updates for my writing career. So far, most of these tasks have felt like I’ve been pushing an enormous boulder up a hill, but I hope to soon release it. Let’s just hope that the boulder goes over and down the hill and doesn’t roll back on me!


A few of these updates include:


  • A new logo for my cozy mystery pen name
  • A new pen name for my upcoming urban fantasy 
  • A new logo for the new urban fantasy pen name
  • Updates to my Maureen Bonatch website 
  • A website for my new urban fantasy pen name 

Why all of these updates? 


Because I have 3 new paranormal cozy mystery books coming out in the next few months. Then I’m planning for the release of the new pen name and urban fantasy books over the fall of 2022 into 2023. 


Stay in the Loop

If you want to stay in the loop for all these updates, sign up for my newsletter right here and/or join my Facebook group right here. That way you'll be the first to see the new logos and covers, as well as find out about release dates, sales, and other fun stuff!

Fun Stuff and Freebies

Fill up your TBR with some of these goodies!

Cozy Mystery Freebies: Click Right Here




Mystery Cozy and Clean: Click Right Here





What do you want to update this year? 

Just a small-town girl, Maureen Bonatch leads a double life. She lives in a magical world as a novelist, and as a nurse leader in reality. Maureen’s first novella was a paranormal romance published when blogs were a new-fangled thing. She’s since changed her focus to writing paranormal cozy mysteries as M.L. Bonatch and urban fantasy as Maureen Bonatch. 


While she’s not busy writing or doing nurse-things, she’s a mom to her twin daughters, bicycling in the beautiful woods of PA with her hubby, doing the bidding of a feisty Shih Tzu, and dancing as much as possible. She believes music can be paired with every mood, laughter is contagious, and that caffeine and wine are essential for survival.


Follow me on Amazon Right Here.