Friday, March 29, 2013

The A to Z Challenge Begins Monday!

The A to Z Challenge kicks off Monday!

All of my posts are scheduled and ready. I’m a co-host this year and wanted to be prepared. My schedule is light otherwise, with only one speaking engagement. I’ll probably be late visiting anyone that day since it’s a morning seminar.

Just a reminder, the A to Z Challenge is blogging the letters of the alphabet six days a week in the month of April. It’s a great way to meet new bloggers.

Start with A on April 1st, Then B on April 2nd...

We post Monday thru Saturday. Sundays are a no-blog/letter day.

You can go freestyle or pick a theme, but the topic of your post must reflect the letter of the day.

Visit 5 blogs a day (or more) starting with the blog after yours on the list.

Short posts are essential! And no word verification

If you’re participating, be sure to grab the badge above and link to the A to Z Blog.
The hosts of the A to Z Challenge are:

Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out
Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Tina Downey at Life is Good
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0
Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie
Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse
Matthew MacNish at The QQQE
Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small
Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs
Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia
L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick
Nicole at The Madlab Post

My wonderful team of helpers, Spunky’s Soldiers, are:

Laura Marcella
Sia McKye
Golden Eagle
Clarissa Draper
Jo Wake
Tyrean Martinson
Gwen Gardner

For more information on the A to Z Challenge, visit the blog.
If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time! Don’t miss out on the fun.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Christine's Odyssey

Howdy. I’m glad you’ve stopped in. My name is Christine and although I’m only eleven, I’m what some adults might call precocious. A lot has happened in my life, some of it bad, but like my dad used to say, good things can result from the bad stuff that happens to us.

To help me celebrate overcoming my challenges, a great gang of authors have teamed up and will be giving away copies of their books. Sweet, yes?

For a chance to win a pair of the books listed, you can do anything included on the Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. However, for those who’d like to win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Voucher, hop on over to the Jamaican Kid Lit Blog to enter for that.

Anyway, I tend to talk a lot, so before I carried away, here’s my story:

Raised in a hotbed of arguments and fights, eleven-year-old Christine Simms is the victim of her mother's cruelty. A domestic dispute ends in tragedy, sending the family into a tailspin.

A shocking discovery sends Christine on a quest to find the stranger who left her behind in Jamaica. Determined to unravel the mystery of her birth, Christine uses every tool at her disposal and treads with courage where no child should.

Thanks so much for dropping in! I hope you win the novels of your choice. I should tell you that you get to choose books based on how the Rafflecopter does the drawing of the winners. So, if your name comes up first, you get to say which pack you want.

Available in ebook format at AMAZON

J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican, who is always on the hunt for story-making material.

She writes romantic suspense, women's fiction and young adult novels. She is the also the author of Contraband, Dissolution, Distraction, Don't Get Mad...Get Even, Giving up the Dream, Retribution and Hardware (written under the pen name Jayda McTyson.)

Visit her on the web at her BLOG

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 25, 2013

Introducing Spunky's Soldiers

With one week until the A to Z Challenge begins, I thought I would introduce my helpers, otherwise known as Spunky’s Soldiers.

Laura Marcella
Her blog is Wavy Lines and yes, she has a thing for zebras. Laura is an avid reader and a writer with publishing dreams. She’s young and still excited about the world. May you never lose that, Laura. She’s been an online friend for several years and I’m grateful she’s one of my soldiers.

Sia McKye
Sia’s blog features other authors and book reviews. In her own words: “SHARING THE LAUGHTER AND THE TEARS, THE GLITCHES AND THE TRIUMPHS, AUTHORS FACE IN THE PURSUIT OF THEIR AMBITION TO WRITE.” She is also a writer, and understands both sides of the equation. You’ll also get a little taste of the Highlands when you visit her blog!

Golden Eagle
Golden is the smartest teenager you will ever meet. Visit her blog and you will be amazed it is written by anyone under the age of 40. She loves the sciences and reading, and she’s willing to share her knowledge with the world. Golden Eagle is probably the most responsible soldier I have!

Clarissa Draper
Clarissa is a mystery writer and author of The Sholes Key. She’s also an avid reader and know a lot about the craft and other programs and details writers might need. Clarissa has been an online friend for longer than I can remember, and I know she’ll do a great job helping me with the A to Z.

Jo Wake
Jo blogs about travel and things that are happening in the world, including hers. She always offers a tasty recipe, too. She’s originally from the UK and currently living in Canada, but she spent time in N. Carolina, so we know a lot of the same places. Jo already blogs daily and brings consistency to the team.

Tyrean Martinson
Tyrean is the author of Champion in the Darkness, a Christian fantasy. She’s a Christian and home schools her kids. She loves fantasy, science fiction, and adventure. (Homeschooling kids sounds like an adventure to me.) She brings a joy to the blogging world and gets involved at every opportunity.

Gwen Gardner
Gwen it the author of Givin’ up the Ghost. In addition to maintaining her blog, she co-blogs at Partners in Paranormal and maintains a site for Indie authors, offering services such as editing. Her next book, A Guilty Ghost Surprised, comes out this June. I love her last name, as my favorite character in my own YA series boasts that name!

Please say hello to my wonderful team of ladies!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The A to Z Challenge is Coming and the Big Reveal

The A to Z Challenge is blogging the letters of the alphabet six days a week in the month of April. It’s a great way to meet new bloggers. Here’s how it works and some tips.

Start with A on April 1st
Then B on April 2nd
And so on

We post Monday thru Saturday. Sundays are a no-blog/letter day.

You can go freestyle or pick a theme, but the topic of your post must reflect the letter of the day.

Visit 5 blogs a day (or more) starting with the blog after yours on the list.

Short posts are essential!

Turn off word verification. (Or you won’t receive many comments.)

All of the co-hosts have helpers this year and we will be monitoring the list for non-participants.

Be sure to grab the badge above and link to the A to Z Blog

Your hosts:
Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, Tina Downey at Life is Good, DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0, Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie, Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse, Matthew MacNish at The QQQE, Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs, Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia, L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick’s Tips, and Nicole at The Madlab Post.

For more information on the A to Z Challenge, visit the blog. If you haven’t signed up, click HERE to do so.

Today is also The Big Reveal, hosted by Mina Lobo.

In staying with the theme of my blog, and since my book How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now came out last month, publishing and promoting tips for writers and authors will be my theme. I’ll also feature a daily photo from my collection (I’m a professional photographer by trade) that coincides with the letter.

Are you participating in the A to Z Challenge and what’s your theme?

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Tope Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest

Hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join the fun and post your ten favorite movies.


I remember seeing previews for the movie, and a music video of “Is Your Love Strong Enough,” and experiencing chills. Surely, the movie isn’t as dreamy and gorgeous as the preview and video? To my utter delight, this fantasy epic fulfilled my expectations! No, it’s not a perfect film. And the director’s cut didn’t make it better, as some scenes were missing and the haunting Tangerine Dream soundtrack removed. However, this has remained one of my most favorite movies for almost thirty years. And yes, I cry every time when they find the dead male unicorn.


This movie not only blew me away back in 1984, it sparked a fascination and admiration for James Cameron’s directorial style. Like all of Cameron’s films, at its heart, The Terminator is a love story. Separated by time and brought together for barely one day, Kyle and Sarah’s love and struggle to survive stirs the soul. I enjoyed the following two sequels (and pretend the fourth never happened) but the first movie remains my favorite to this day.


I recall that fateful day star Brandon Lee (son of Bruce Lee) was accidentally killed on the set. It seemed doubtful it would ever come together, but the crew finished the movie without Brandon, and in the spring of 1994, released an incredibly sorrowful tale. Based on a graphic novel of the same name, which was also inspired by true life tragic events, The Crow gains its power from Brandon and the performance of a lifetime. Perhaps knowing this was his final film - that his death, on top of the death of the original creator’s fiancĂ©, was ingrained into the movie - made it all the more powerful. The Crow is a moving tale of love and revenge.


Yes, the 1981 animated film. It’s my guilty pleasure movie! I saw it eleven times in the theatre, owned a bootleg tape, and now own it on DVD and Laserdisc. I loved the soundtrack. (I have three copies of that!) While the animation was an odd blend of good to sub-par (due in part to eight different studios working on segments of the film) the visuals and music really stuck with me. Ultimately, my love of this movie has to do with the final segment - Taarna. The story of Taarna, a warrior willing to sacrifice herself to vanquish evil, really struck a chord in my heart. I also own the making of the movie book, the t-shirt, two official movie posters, and my D&D character was called Taarna.


Since it is ultimately one long movie, I’m listing the trilogy as one pick. These films were so majestic, so well-done, so true to the spirit of the books, it’s incredible. (And even better, they skipped all those boring pages of description!) No need to describe them, as everyone has seen LOTR, but it’s the ultimate fantasy story. Fellowship is probably my favorite of the three, and my favorite character is Pippin. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out with Pippin and cause trouble all day?


This is my favorite Disney animated film! One of the last cell animated movies ever made by the studio, this film takes full advantage of its humorous cast. Almost every line is a laugh riot! I quote it all the time - “Uh-huh! Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!,” “You threw off my groove!,” and “I win!” Love the character of Kronk! Sting’s song at the end is great, too.


I’ve been a Muppet fan since Kermit first sang “It’s not easy being green.” Loved the TV show, loved all the movies… This one hits a special note! Made in honor of the late Jim Henson by his son, Brian, the Muppets tell the tale better than any. We watch it every Christmas Eve, reveling in the music, laughing at the humor, and yes, crying at least twice during the course of the movie. The perfect Muppet film!


I never read the comic strip, but I adored the movie. RJ’s tricks to entice the other animals to forage in the human’s domain result in some priceless adventures. Hammy the squirrel is easily my favorite - probably because I’m just about as hyperactive. (Although I’ve tried energy drinks and they do not make me so fast the world stops - darn!) Great cast, too.


I loved the first one, thought it dipped for the second, but the third one was the best! A circus was the perfect setting for the cast of characters, and introduced several new ones. The sea lion was adorable and had such a genuine heart. The big performance just popped off the screen in 3D. I wish there really was a circus act like that! Keep making them, I’ll keep watching them.


This movie came out the year I was born and as a child, I watched it every time it came on TV. I also owned the movie on record, so I listened to it repeatedly. (This movie was a big influence on my love for animals, especially cats.) This is the true story of Elsa, a lion raised by George and Joy Adamson, and then trained to return to the wild. The movie will tug at your heartstrings, and while it has a happy ending, I watch it knowing what happens to Elsa just a few months later. Needless to say, I spend half the movie crying. My husband says I’m not allowed to watch it anymore…

Friday, March 15, 2013

Developing Contacts for Book Promotion, Passing Time, and Blog Blitz

I visited Jessica Bell’s blog this week with a detailed checklist of contacts you need before beginning book promotions. Even if your book is already out, the list will give you some fresh ideas.

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre By Ellie Garratt 

Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.

In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop.

A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter?

Book Links:
Amazon UK

About The Author:

A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time is her first eBook collection and contains nine previously published stories. Her science fiction collection Taking Time will be published later in the year.

Author Links:

D.L. Hammons came up with a wonderful idea:

"Everyone knows I like to try new and different things, so today I present to you the BLOG BLITZ. Here’s how I see it working. Sign up on the linky list below, making sure to record your email address, and you’ll instantly become a member of the Blog Blitz Team. Then from time to time, I will select a deserving blog (that must be part of the Blitz Team) and a specific date. I will then email the team members that information and on that date we all will go out of our way to visit that blog and leave an encouraging comment on their most recent post. I'm talking about hopefully a 100+ comments appearing out of the blue in one day!

"At first I'll pick who gets blitzed, but then I'll start taking recommendations from other members for deserving targets. My only restriction about who joins the Blog Blitz Team is that your blog cannot be primarily for commercial gain."

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Multi-Genre Author with Susan Whitfield

Now that I’m a multi-genre author, I thought I’d explain how I became one. When I started writing seriously back in 2004 I knew I wanted to write a mystery because, after all, that’s what I enjoy reading most. So I wrote Genesis Beach, which began as a short story and turned into a novella because I didn’t have enough room to tell my story. Eventually the book became a novel, by the sheer numbers under consideration by a publisher. In it I introduced Logan Hunter, an intern for the SBI, (NC’s equivalent to the FBI).

When I fell into that dark area called “writer’s block”, I whipped out fresh clean paper and started writing another book about Logan Hunter, set in another area of North Carolina. This time she was a full-fledged SBI agent and I challenged us both by having her track down a serial killer in western North Carolina. Just North of Luck remains my most graphically violent novel.

I added Hell Swamp and Sin Creek to the mix, giving Logan plenty of heinous crimes to investigate. Along the way I added some awkward romance and showcased different parts of North Carolina in each book. Now that I’m writing the fifth book in the series, I’ve aged her and certainly she has matured into an experienced agent not to be underestimated.

But after the fourth mystery, I wanted a diversion, so I wrote a women’s fiction, Slightly Cracked, the plot of which I’d be carrying around in my head for some time. It’s about life-long friendship with plenty of hilarious antics to be sure.

I also authored a unique cookbook featuring recipes from mystery writers across the country who graciously shared family recipes with me in exchange for promotion under each one.

So now I’m “multi-genre”. It just happened. I don’t have the space here to expound on my journey, but I can truthfully say that I’ve enjoyed the ride. I hope to write another women’s fiction soon and I’m already doing research for an historical mystery. Maybe I bore easily but I suspect that there’s more to it than that. I’m having the time of my life learning new writings skills and techniques and experimenting with new characters and even new genres.

It’s kind of what makes me tick. Is multi-genre for everyone? Probably not, but I’m enjoying myself and discovering that I can not only make readers squirm with discomfort but also make them giggle. Now that’s priceless!

Find Susan Whitfield here:

Friday, March 08, 2013

Window of Opportunity Before a Book's Release and Thinking Beyond Your Blog's Genre

Spunky is out and about today!

The last stop in my blog tour went live yesterday at Patricia Stoltey’s blog. I covered the window of opportunity for marketing before a book’s release.

Today I’m also over at the A to Z Blog discussing the advantages of thinking beyond one’s blog genre.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased my latest book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now! From writing to publishing to promoting, may it guide you down the right path.

And since it is nearly spring, I leave you with some spring flowers:

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Now that my book has been out a month, I can breathe a sigh of relief! The response has been wonderful. So have my tour hosts. My final guest spot at Patricia Stoltey’s 

I’m pleased so many have found my book helpful. Publishing and promoting have changed so much in the last ten years. There are many opportunities not available even five years ago. Of course, there are just as many pitfalls. That was the purpose of my seminars and my book. Trust me, I made enough mistakes. You guys don’t need to make that many.

For those of you struggling to find a publisher or overwhelmed by the marketing required, don’t give up hope! There are so many options now. You don’t have to find an agent. You don’t even have to find a publisher. But you do need a business owner mentality no matter what path you take. And with all the resources out there, you will find your path.

Sometimes your path will surprise you. I started writing fiction. (YA, although now it would be New Adult.) But after two successful non-fiction books, I think I am better suited for that genre. I might venture into fiction again one day, but for now, I’ve found my path.

Have you found your path?

$14.95 Trade paperback ISBN 978-0-9827139-5-2
$4.99 Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-9-0

Purchase at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Kindle UK, and Powell’s.

Monday, March 04, 2013

A to Z Interview and Boomtown Craze

Today I am over at the A to Z Blog for “Getting to Know You’re a to Z Challenge Co-Hosts” segment.

A Grand New Age of Boom or Dust?

Boomtown Craze, Book 3 in the Backworlds series by M. Pax is here!

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe.

To secure his future, Craze must propel his world into a more prosperous era. Only days away from the grand opening of his new and improved tavern, he is confronted by a loony Backworlder intent on mucking up his plans. Gaunt and trembling, she claims her spaceship is possessed. She also has a connection to the underworld that shakes loose the dark past of one of Craze’s closest friends. It all threatens to end Craze’s prosperity before it begins.

Meanwhile off world, Captain Talos works desperately to outwit the mercenary Jixes and lure them away from his and Craze’s budding prospects. The mind-control weapon Talos uses against them is wearing thin, and his next move may be his last.

Will Craze and Talos’s efforts bring about a grand new age of boom or damn them to forever struggle in the dust?

Available in ebook at: AmazonUS / AmazonUK / B&N / Smashwords

Congrats, Mary!!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Book Festivals and Meeting Author Friends

Last weekend I attended the second annual Book ‘Em NC. It was a wonderful time and I got to meet up with several author friends.

The big treat was meeting Carolyn Howard-Johnson, the Frugal Book Promoter herself!

I’ve known Carolyn for years through our online connections, but this was our first opportunity to meet in person. She is THE book promoting expert, with numerous books, websites, seminars, and media appearances. Carolyn was also gracious enough to supply a blurb for How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now! -

“She gives an unbiased take on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing and self-publishing and publishing paths that combine the two… It's the perfect book for those who want an overview to begin the decision-making process.”
- Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning series of how-to books for writers

Here we are with author Linda Morelli:

I also got to spend time with some other cool authors:

Author and fellow cat lover, Judy S. Walter:

Fellow NC author, Susan Whitfield:

Author, poet, and long-time friend, Denise Sutton:

Author and illustrator, Bonnie Watson:

What authors have you been hanging out with lately?

$14.95 Trade paperback ISBN 978-0-9827139-5-2
$4.99 Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-9-0

Purchase at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Kindle UK, and Powell’s.