Saturday, August 31, 2013

New #HORROR Release: GIGGLES by Mike Crane

Book blurb:

It was supposed to be a simple robbery. But when things go horribly wrong and a bank teller winds up dead, Chad and Ray need to keep themselves hidden from the law. They find a house where conveniently the family is absent. It should’ve been the perfect place for them to stay out of danger.

But there’s a greater danger lurking inside. A child’s sock monkey waits in the shadows and has terrible, awful plans for the pair.

From the author of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES comes a tale of pure terror and mind games.

Mr. Giggles is ready to play…

Buy links:

Friday, August 30, 2013

#Review: YELLOW CROCUS by Laila Ibrahim

   5 of 5 stars

YELLOW CROCUS follows the poignant story of Elizabeth Wainwright born to prosperous plantation owners and her black nurse, Mattie. As Elizabeth grows up, she begins to learn what it means to own slaves and she has a difficult time reconciling her love for Mattie with the treatment that slaves endure throughout their lives. When she witnesses a horrific incident, Elizabeth must either accept it as part of life being a mistress of a plantation or change the course of her life.

The author weaves an engaging story flawlessly told between Elizabeth and Mattie's point of view. The bond they share will be tested and I found it hard to put the book down. I wanted to know what happened next. That's the greatest compliment I can give an author. Ms. Ibrahim had captured my full attention and even after I finished the book, I found myself thinking about it. The book is full of heartbreak, joy, unimaginable sorrow and happiness as the events in pre-Civil War are played out. Highly Recommended.

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Interview with Chanda Hahn

If you were stranded on a dessert island what 3 things would you want?
A genie in a lamp, a hammock, and a book.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Right here in Portland Oregon.

What is your favorite drink?
Iced Blackout from Black Rock Coffee Bar

What is your favorite dessert?

What was your favorite book as a child?
Watership Down by Richard Adams. I was a heavy reader.
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Nancy Drew’s

What do you do in your free time?
I love writing, reading and making things like Jewelry and costumes.

Any Hidden talent?
I sing and play drums.

What made you want to become a writer?
I never wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a book reviewer, because I loved reading and recommending books to people. I had a fondness for classics and reader friendly books for all ages.  Something that any age would want to read, whether they were 10 or 50. But one day, I was really bored and I had an idea floating around in my head and I went for it. It’s been a learning experience, good and bad.

What made you want to write about the Brothers Grimm?
I liked the idea of them being collectors of stories. What made them travel and gather all of the different tales? What was their motivation for doing that? So I decided to create my own spin on it.

Who is your favorite character to write?
I love writing Jared’s snarky comments, and Nan’s quirky insane chatter.

What music do you listen to while writing?
I don’t listen to music. I like white noise, coffee shop noise, or I’ll put on a tv show and put headphones on to muffle it.

What are you most proud of?
My kids, my husband and then my books. In that order.

If you had to be stuck in any Grimm fairy tale, which one would it be?
I’d pick Sleeping Beauty, so I could catch up on all of my missed nights of sleep because of writing and wait for my handsome prince to wake me up with a kiss.

If you could travel in time, would you travel to the future or the past?
The past. I have no desire to know what the future holds, but I’m extremely interested in history, especially the clothes.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Biscuits and Gravy, but usually I just have coffee.

Night Owl or Early Bird?
Early Bird. I can not stay up past 9 unless I’m in the middle of writing a chapter.

Skittles or M&M’s
Mmmmm chocolate.

"Riveting! Fable is a wild adventure that sucks you in and doesn’t let go until the very last word. Mina Grimm is a pleasure. Buckle up—this isn’t your average fairy tale." -- Addison Moore   New York Times Bestseller

An exciting continuation of The Unfortunate Fairytale series, FABLE catapults us further into mystical lands of action, adventure and the fantastical. Mina is a spunky, courageous heroine you'll be rooting for until the dramatic ending."
 -Elle Strauss, author of the bestselling Clockwise Series

Book Blurb:
Book 3 in the UnEnchanted Series.

All that glitters is not gold.

When something precious is stolen from sixteen-year-old Mina Grime, she will do anything in her power to get it back, even if it means traveling to the dangerous Fae plane and battling one of the strongest fairy-tale villains yet.

However, nothing can prepare Mina for the dangerous obstacles she will face in the Fae world, or the choices she must make when love and life are on the line.

Direct purchase link on Amazon will not be available before release day but will be found here: 

Purchase links book 1:

Purchase links book 2:

Pronunciation: Sh-and-uh   H-ah-n

Chanda is the  author of the popular YA Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series which includes UnEnchanted and Fairest.  Both books have topped the ebook charts in 5 countries. She also pens YA epic Fantasy.

She was born in Seattle, Washington, raised in Nebraska, has lived in MN, IL and currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and twin children. She's a former children's librarian and children's pastor. Currently she spends her free time penning new novels and a daytime taxi driver for her kids.

Author links:

Grand prize giveaway Open internationally Prizes:
--25$ Amazon Gift Card
--A paperback of any of Chanda's books - winner's choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, August 29, 2013

#Excerpt: Annie Crow Knoll: SUNRISE by Gail Priest

Packard probably should have stayed in Rock Harbor after delivering his last haul and gotten Bud Nelson to look at the engine on Sophie. It wasn't running smoothly, but he’d wanted to get back. He'd been out fishing for a few days and wanted to check on Annie. Knowing that Bo was out there nearly every day helped, but Packard had gotten into the habit of making sure his young neighbor was safe and helping out whenever he could. He nursed Sophie back up the bay, figuring he could solve the engine problem himself the next day.
When Packard pulled into his dock, he noticed an unfamiliar boat in one of Annie’s slips. Instinct took over as he headed up his pier. People didn't visit by boat this time of year and certainly not at this time of night.
Following that instinct, he made a quick detour to the house and grabbed his father's shotgun. It wasn't loaded, and Pack hadn't fired it since he was fourteen. On his first and only hunting trip, he’d brought down a Canada Goose, much to his father's pleasure. However, when his dad pushed on the poor dead bird's chest and the escaping air made a honk, there was no joy in it for young Packard. He never hunted again.
I shouldn't have left her alone for so many days, Pack chided himself while crossing the field, feeling foolish carrying an unloaded shotgun. But if his gut was telling him the truth, and Annie was having a problem with an unwelcome guest, at least he could give the intruder a good whack on the head with the butt of the shotgun.
"Maybe you could use some help around here?" Pack heard the man’s voice as he rounded the back of Sunrise Cottage. He held back, though, giving Annie the chance to handle it herself if she could.
"No, I don't," Annie said.
"Ah, come on. You must need a hand. I could use a job, but I'd be happy to work a deal."
Packard's hands tightened around the shotgun. "I'm not hiring anyone."
"Well, then. Why don't you show me your cottages? Maybe I'll rent one," he added.
"We're all booked."
"That surprises me since I've seen your advertisement."
"Look, if you're really interested, come back in the daylight,” Annie said.
"So you're not all booked?"
Annie didn't respond.

Follow the Tour

We are giving away 5 swag packs (water bottles, key-chains, and bookmarks)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Interview with Margo Ander

Hi, Debra. Thank you so much for hosting me today! I try to keep up with Two Ends of the Pen, and I was delighted that you wanted to interview me as well as review my book. I feel honored to be here.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Definitely the Three Rs—Reading, Writing, and Riding. The reading and writing part are pretty much what you’d expect for a writer. The riding part is a bit more complicated. When I get on a horse, I can actually feel a deep change come over me, a sense of completeness so profound that it’s probably safe to say that if I’m not riding every day, I’m not in my right mind. Unfortunately, my horse Circe, the inspiration for Wyl’s horse Firebrand in my story, is twenty-nine years old now and has some age-related health problems that have us both grounded. Not only do I really miss the nonstop, nonverbal conversation that takes place between us when riding, but riding is my favorite form of exercise. I’m also a reformed adrenaline junky—I’m no longer suffering from immortality like I did when I was younger and did some really stupid things on horseback, but just getting on a horse still opens the window of opportunity for a sneaky adrenaline fix.

I also enjoy acrylic painting and pastels, hand-sewing and embroidering fun stuff like medieval garb, and tribal belly dancing. My elder daughter introduced me to manga and anime a couple years ago; I love Fullmetal Alchemist, Full Metal Panic!, and Dogs: Bullets and Carnage. Now she’s doing her best to get me hooked on Korean dramas, so the list of recreational interests just keeps getting longer, but finding time to indulge in them keeps getting harder and harder. I work full-time and write full-time, and my husband and I are virtually empty-nesters, so I’m trying to spend more time with him and take advantage of opportunities to spend time with our girls now that I don’t see them every day.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I bought a nice recliner with the proceeds of my first paid writing gig—a video script—and I’ve logged a lot of hours in it ever since. I do most of my writing now in a little room at the back of my house, with my keyboard in my lap and a big monitor about four feet away (so I can put my feet up in the recliner). My fifteen-year-old tortoiseshell cat, Cookie Monster, likes to hang out with me there. I play movie scores when I’m actually focused on writing or editing—nothing with lyrics. Pirates of the Caribbean, Conan the Barbarian, Batman, Thor, and Batman Begins did a lot of the heavy lifting for Rebel. If I’m plotting, I sometimes like silence, no artificial mood influencers. When I need to come up for air and reenergize, a good action-adventure movie helps get me back on track.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I used to be a dyed-in-the-wool pantser—it was exciting to chase off after every fresh inspiration and spontaneously adapt my stories to the challenge. Unfortunately, I like twisty, complex plots, so every story I wrote ended up trapping my characters in corners they couldn’t get out of. I finally got frustrated with going nowhere fast and my 2010 New Years resolution was to do everything differently—from focusing on just one story (I have fourteen series in various stages of development), to starting writing at 3 a.m. instead of 10 p.m., to plotting the story backwards—and as a manga!  The manga approach got me unstuck, but really didn’t suit the story. Everything else, however, affected my productivity so dramatically, I’ve never looked back. 

My initial outline is pretty bare-bones—I’d much rather be writing content than an outline, so I compromise by writing out every major turning point or emotionally-pivotal scene as a part of the outline process. With a nine book series, it’s the only way I can be sure all the puzzle pieces fit together. I make heavy use of Word’s bookmarks feature—a bookmark for every scene—and during the editing phase, I upload the manuscript onto my Nook, which shows the bookmarks as chapters in the Table of Contents. I hand-write the TOC and page numbers into a table, creating on the spot the most up-to-date and accurate outline of the story without wasting time making a new standalone outline. I use that to manipulate the flow of the plot and the various POV characters. With a 150,000 word manuscript, I feel an accurate outline and bookmarks are indispensable.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Funny you should ask! The Legend of the Spider-Prince series started out as a single book that I struggled to make work—the initial concept had been a simple retelling of Rapunzel from the witch’s point of view for my kids during a car ride, but I had to make some significant changes to the fairy tale world to support the very different version I made up, and no matter what I did when I wrote it out later, the opening drowned in backstory and world building.

I wrestled with that problem for years, and eventually realized that the main character was neither the witch nor Rapunzel, but rather a minor, yet pivotal, character from the end of the original story, and that the story itself was no longer Rapunzel. By the time I sorted out whose story I was actually telling, and how much room I would need to tell it, the original book had become Book 7, the beginning of the final trilogy in the series. It was very unexpected, but all the pieces just fell into place, and it was what it was. I was a little exasperated—my original intention had been to come up with a single, standalone YA novel instead of Yet Another series (and a more adult one at that)—but the story itself was too exciting to let drop.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I have a degree in English and a library of about one hundred writing books, but nothing can take the place of frank, knowledgeable feedback on your own writing. I’ve been seriously pursuing a writing career for over twenty years, but I can honestly say my growth as a professional storyteller stagnated until I began giving and getting critiques. Until two years ago, the only people who’d read any of my drafts were family, and of them, only my youngest sister is a fantasy reader.

I only learned about in August 2011 and immediately joined the Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop there. The first critiques I got back were a shock, but eye-opening and undeniably true. That experience kicked off a frenzy of improvement in my craft. I discovered this past January, and though the critique process there is different, the feedback has been just as helpful. I’m really grateful to have had the benefit of so many other authors’ insights. Lesson learned: A writer needs readers and feedback. You can’t grow in a vacuum.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I really wrestled with that decision. Self-publishing offers complete artistic freedom, but it’s non-writing and labor-intensive with a steep learning curve. Like a lot of authors, I’m far more interested in writing than running a publishing business, and it was tempting to team up with a traditional publisher. But the reality is, if you want to have readers, you have to do more than just write, no matter which route you take to publication—especially if you are unknown. Both paths have their pros and cons, but either way, you’re going to be doing some marketing.

The decision to go indie became a no-brainer for me just this April, when I finally asked myself the right question: What if I sold my first book to a traditional publisher, and it sold some copies, but failed to meet sales expectations?

The sad truth to traditional publishing is that a new author has about three months to prove herself before her book starts getting pulled from the shelves. I’m a series writer. If I sold the rights to the first book in this series, spent years jumping through the hoops of the traditional publication process, only to have my publisher pull the plug on Book 1 after just three months on the shelf—ironically, about the same amount of time as it takes for SEO to produce results!—I would be devastated, and the other eight books in the series would never get read. Even self-publishing, you can’t seriously expect to sell a series without the rights to the first book!

J. K. Rowling wasn’t an overnight success—I believe it wasn’t until her third book came out that the Harry Potter series really took off. (That’s when I bought the first Harry Potter book to read to my girls and discovered that there were some really good stories being written in the YA genre that an adult would enjoy.)

I’ve been writing all my life, and I don’t intend to stop, so I’m comfortable taking a longer view. I have a day job—it’s not like I need a publisher to spot me a loan against my future sales (an advance) to pay my bills. I think the Legend of the Spider-Prince series is a great story—even fifteen years after I came up with it, I still get excited about the story line and can’t wait to get back to work on the rest of the series. I think there’s an audience for LotSP, and I believe good things come to those who have the patience and commitment to do what needs to be done, including learning new skill sets like social media, marketing, and the like. It seems unrealistic to me to expect instant gratification in terms of sales. Since even the big dogs in the publishing world are struggling with discoverability, impatience for results seems counterproductive for a career writer.  

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I’m so pleased that that whole experience! As an indie author, I had total freedom to decide what my book was going to look like, something a traditionally-published, debut author has little or no say in—we’ve all picked up books where the cover had little to do with what was inside.

The hardest thing was coming up with what I wanted. Because I’d originally intended to traditionally publish, I didn’t have a war chest for producing my book and had deliberately tried NOT to think about what kind of cover it would end up with. So, once I made the decision to go indie, I decided to make my own cover. I’m a fair amateur artist, so I made about five different acrylic paintings, trying to get the cover right. I really enjoy painting, but none of those covers satisfied me. My cover painting style might work for a manga, but not for an epic fantasy. The truth is, all my energy has gone into becoming a professional writer, not a professional artist.

Once I recognized that fact, I scraped together a small war chest to pay for a cover. I googled “fantasy artist,” and started hunting through the Internet for a “real artist.” The portfolios for the first half-dozen artists I looked at made me feel my own covers weren’t so bad—which was discouraging because I didn’t want to use them. Then I saw Kirsi Salonen’s portfolio, and it was love at first sight. She’s a professional artist in Finland who is also working on a fantasy book series of her own. Her style reminds me of what I like about Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo, but with a fresh and exotic feel that is definitely her own. It just seemed to resonate with my story, and I stopped looking at other artists. On April 23, I emailed her to ask if she was interested in doing my cover, though I didn’t think I could afford her.

Happily, not only was she interested, but we were able to work out a deal at a price I could meet. I sent her the first two chapters leading to the scene I wanted for the cover, and mentioned a few of her portfolio pieces that captured aspects of the setting or character description. Finland is about eight hours ahead of me, so over the ensuing weeks, we emailed back and forth a series of sketches for comment and tweaks at my lunch time and her end of the day. I’m so thankful that she’s very fluent in English, since my Finnish is non-existent! She sent my first sketch on May 19, and on July 18, I had not just my ebook and paperback cover, but also a beautiful 18” x 24” poster of the cover, which is part of the prize in my Rafflecopter drawing for this blog tour. I’m thrilled with how well the cover turned out, and just laugh now when my family admits how relieved they are that I didn’t go with one of my own paintings!

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
This is an ongoing challenge. Trying to find a sustainable routine that allows me to do all the things I need to do is actually the real focus of my life right now. I’m not naturally a moderate person—usually, it’s all or nothing—and I did a good job of wrecking my health writing Rebel, which was my wake-up call for moderation. I have a pretty sedentary day job and combining that with 45 hours a week in my recliner with my keyboard, writing Rebel left me with twenty-five pounds I don’t need and as physically fit as a coma victim. Writing full-time, working full-time, and having a family life was and is a tough balancing act in itself. I had to make some hard sacrifices in my social life, and “free time” just doesn’t exist. Now marketing has been added into the mix, and I don’t foresee it ever going away. I know I’ll have to find efficiencies to make the best use of the time I spend promoting Rebel because the moment is fast approaching where the need to get back to writing the rest of Legend of the Spider-Prince is going to start eating me alive.

As to the marketing itself, I’m practically a hermit, so I’m not very comfortable with social media, but what’s the point in paying such a high price to write a good story, then balking at a little shameless self-promotion? I’ve been practicing putting the shameless into my self-promotion by telling people who I know don’t bite that I’ve published a book. It’s been actually kind of fun, babbling about writing Rebel and what I’ve learned about the book business so far—this is all very novel to me. I’m trying to look at this as the “reward phase” of publishing my book, getting to rebuild my social life by connecting with people who share my love for books and stories. In a lot of respects, marketing as just another aspect of storytelling—the story about my story. If I use that approach to marketing, I’m more comfortable with it. This is fiction, after all. People don’t need to read it. It’s entertainment, an enjoyable pastime, and Legend of the Spider-Prince won’t be that for everyone. People like what they like. I don’t ever want to make someone feel like they have to like what I write—I just hope that they do.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I’d like to pass on a great piece of advice I got from author Simon Hawke after I left the Air Force and decided to make a serious career of writing—don’t tell your story until after it’s written, or it may never to get written at all. Don’t squander the creative energy and excitement that fuels the writing process by telling instead of writing.

My own experience drives my next bit of advice: Don’t let your first draft be your manuscript. I’ve been there, so excited to finally finish a book that I just spell-checked it, boxed it, and sent it off to a publisher’s slush pile. (That was back in the Dark Ages, pre-Internet.) Oh, the things I didn’t know, that I didn’t even know I didn’t know! Whole books have been written on THAT subject but, bottom line, a draft is not the same as a finished manuscript.

Learn the different types of editing—developmental, copyediting, and proofing, and use them yourself. Learn the tools of the trade. There are two parts to being an author—having a story worth writing, and crafting a story worth reading. Don’t waste your time or money proofreading a first draft, thinking the result is a “professionally-edited manuscript.” Editing your own work is a part of the overall writing process. Good editors can take your story to the next level, but they can’t work miracles—garbage in, garbage out! That’s why you need to write another draft. Don’t expect editors to write your story for you. Give them a diamond to polish, not a rinsed-off bit of Coke bottle!

During the self-editing process, use a “style manual” like a good, professional editor does. As a matter of craft, you will learn a lot about the art of putting words together. My personal favorite is the Chicago Manual of Style because it allows me to be more concise. It is available and searchable online, so it doesn’t take up desk space. The simplest style manual to use is the AP Style Manual that journalists and business writers use. I use that one in my day job, and yes, switching between detail-oriented Chicago at home and simpler AP at work can make my head spin.

Whatever your personal taste in matters of grammar, style, punctuation, and a bazillion other arcane matters about the craft of writing, make a point of using a style manual as your guide. Then, when it comes time to have your work professionally edited, be sure to ask your editor or proofreader what style manual they use and why. If they can’t answer that—or if they give you a blank look!—I’d find another copyeditor or proofreader. I don’t expect perfection from any book, indie or traditionally published, but I can’t tell you how many indie books I’ve picked up that acknowledge a “wonderful editor” who was obviously a proofreader, leaving the book still in dire need of either developmental editing or copyediting or both.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on Book 2 in the Legend of the Spider-Prince series. Rogue picks up where Rebel left off. Wyl may not know how to play nice, but those who DO have their own agendas, and words can be just as deadly as weapons. This isn’t child’s play, and as Wyl becomes even more entangled in the dangerous web of magic, court intrigue, and revenge that is his life, the stakes ratchet higher, and it will take everything he has—and more—to stay in the game. 

Visit my website at: web site:

Thank you, Debra, for hosting me on Two Ends of the Pen!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

AFFECT vs. EFFECT by Grammar Girl

What Is the Difference Between Affect and Effect?
Before we get to the memory trick though, I want to explain the difference between the two words: The majority of the time you use affect with an a as a verb and effect with an e as a noun.

 When Should You Use Affect?
Affect with an a means "to influence," as in, "The arrows affected Aardvark," or "The rain affected Amy's hairdo." Affect can also mean, roughly, "to act in a way that you don't feel," as in, "She affected an air of superiority."

When Should You Use Effect?
Effect with an e has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but to me the meaning "a result" seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, "The effect was eye-popping," or "The sound effects were amazing," or "The rain had no effect on Amy's hairdo."

Common Uses of Affect and Effect
Most of the time, affect is a verb and effect is a noun.
There are rare instances where the roles are switched, and I'll get to those later, but for now let's focus on the common meanings. This is "Quick and Dirty" grammar, and my impression from your questions is that most people have trouble remembering the basic rules of when to use these words, so if you stick with those, you'll be right 95% of the time.

So, most of the time, affect with an a is a verb and effect with an e is a noun; and now we can get to the mnemonics. First, the mnemonic involves a very easy noun to help you remember: aardvark. Yes, if you can remember aardvark—a very easy noun—you'll always remember that affect with an a is a verb and effect with an e is a noun. Why? Because the first letters of "a very easy noun" are the same first letters as "affect verb effect noun!" That's a very easy noun. Affect (with an a) verb effect (with an e) noun.

"But why Aardvark?" you ask. Because there's also an example to help you remember. It's "The arrows affected Aardvark. The effect was eye-popping." It should be easy to remember that affect with an a goes with the a-words, arrow and aardvark, and that effect with an e goes with the e-word, eye-popping. If you can visualize the sentences, "The arrows affected the aardvark. The effect was eye-popping," it's pretty easy to see that affect with an a is a verb and effect with an e is a noun.

The illustration of the example is from my new book. It's Aardvark being affected by arrows, and I think looking at it will help you remember the example sentences; and it's cute. You can print it out and hang it by your desk.

So a very easy noun will help you remember that affect with an a is a verb and effect with an e is a noun, and the example will help you see how to use both words in a sentence.

Rare Uses of Affect and Effect
So what about those rare meanings that don't follow the rules I just gave you? Well, affect can be used as a noun when you're talking about psychology--it means the mood that someone appears to have. For example, "She displayed a happy affect." Psychologists find it useful because they know that you can never really understand what someone else is feeling. You can only know how they appear to be feeling.

And, effect can be used as a verb that essentially means "to bring about," or "to accomplish." For example, you could say, "Aardvark hoped to effect change within the burrow."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Interview with Emma Right

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Keeper of Reign Book 1 is a young adult/middle grade fantasy about a young Elfie, Jules Blaze, who lived in the Kingdom of Reign. The Elfies are a blend of Elves and fairies, and used to be big and normal, like us humans, but something triggered a curse and the entire Race was reduced. This happened centuries ago. Now, they just sort of accept life the way it's always been--much like us humans when we get used to a rough patch and don't do anything about it, and think, well, it's part of life to suffer. But, really, is it? 

In the story, Jules, the sixteen-year-old, wanted to take matters into his own hands, because he really believed he could make a difference. Except things spiraled out of control in his life as one by one his family member faced danger. Would this stop him from trying to make a difference? Would he stop trying because of obstacles? Should he stop trying? In many ways, Keeper of Reign, is an allegorical fantasy, in that it reflects our human plight. At what point do we allow the troubles of this world to stop us from doing what is right? What is good? That was Jules's journey to maturity and growth.

Do you have a favorite character?
Probably Jules Blaze, the sixteen-year-old protagonist. He tries so hard to make a difference but he has to face so  many obstacles and as a youngster he doesn't see the value of family and a safe home until these things were all lost. It was a lesson he had to learn, to gain wisdom and re-learn what was most important to him--his family and his Kingdom. He faced many conflicted decisions, but through perseverance and some smart moves he realized the importance of the Ancient Books and that he had it within him to overcome Whisperer, the main villain in Book 1.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I always like to stay current, and after studying the publishing atmosphere these days I felt that even after all the trouble of getting a literary agent, I'd still have to wait before the agent can sign up a publisher, and even then it might take a year or two before the book could be ready for the public. In addition, with the publishing climate right now, publishers don't dish out wads of cash any more, unless the writer is JK Rowling, and even if the author gets a tidy sum it doesn't mean the publisher would actually stand behind the book with enough marketing money and power. For the most part, they'd reserved that for the brand-name authors.

So what does that leave me? A newbie? I'd still have to market Keeper of Reign, as I'm doing now. And after all the hard work, the author only get about 10% of the royalties. Besides, this way, too, I feel I can get on the ground and see what readers have to say. So, taking all things into consideration, I thought I'd give self-publishing a shot. Besides, I'd always believed in the power of the little people. And I feel self-publishing could show that the author-entrepreneur can make it. 

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I hired a cover designer and we got our brains together and hashed out a plan. I felt the dragonfly lantern played an elemental role in the story, so we decided to go with the cover we now have. 

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I am more of an organic writer in that I have a story in my head, an idea I'd like to grow, and once I start with the character and the conflict, the story blossoms on its own. I just keep writing until the end. So I don't really outline--I just go with the flow. But then once I am done with the first draft, I do try to give it some kind of structure-- I go back to the piece  (about six-seven months later) to rearrange scenes and plots so that it has the traditional framework that is recognized as the basic architecture of what a good story should be--the 1/4-1/4/1/4/-1/4 structure.  

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, two actually. One is a creative writing professor at a university who has written and published about sixty books with a traditional publishing house, and the other is an editor and up and coming author, herself. 

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I learned that when I put my book out there, in the wide world of Amazon and beyond, I will get praises, but I will also get criticisms, and it's just a fact of life, but that was something I never realized before. No one single book is for everyone. Some people may be offended, some may be confused, some may actually get it. I took a look at some of the bestselling authors and their books on Amazon, and I see that they, too, get five and one star reviews, and they have been doing this for decades, made millions, and even won awards.  Not everyone can eat jalapeno, without hiccuping. But as long some people enjoy the book, that's what's important.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Right now I am just concentrating on Amazon. But Keeper of Reign 1 is also available in paperback at BN, and by the end of next month it should be in all the major e-retailers and hopefully in some bookstores, too. But I gravitate toward ebooks, myself, especially after I learned how many thousands of books get pulped each year. I think it's such a waste. But that's just me.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I pretty much use the big four--twitter, FB, blog tours, and my own website. I have never really tried to be involved in forums but maybe it's something I would look into eventually. There are just so many hours in a day, and I'd rather be writing stories.

What’s next for you?
I am  currently editing Dead Dreams, a young adult psychological mystery thriller, and that should be ready December 2013. And I hope to have Keeper of Reign Book 2 out early 2014. Some readers (book bloggers, mostly,) have asked me to write a prequel for Keeper of Reign. I might. Time is my enemy these days.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

#Pre-order Button is Here - SARA'S SONG by Sandra Edwards

Book Blurb:

**SARA’S SONG is a CRAZY FOR YOU novella featuring Sara Bronson, wife of British rock star Kirk Bronson.**

In the fall of 1984 Sara Bronson suffered the worst humiliation ever after her husband publicly claimed to the be father of another woman’s child. With the marriage over, but the press still hounding her nearly two years later, Sara leaves her native England for the States, where she’s accepted a position with a newspaper in Fireside, CA. In this small town, Sara expects to settle into a quiet, no-chance-to-be-recognized-here lifestyle. Then she’s saved, literally, by an oh-so-sexy firefighter.

Clay Darlington has lived his whole if in Fireside, save those few years at USC and his short stint in the NFL. But that was a long time ago. Ten years. He’s put all that behind him, and is now enjoying a quiet life as a firefighter back in his hometown.

Sara and Clay were destined to meet. Will things finally go their way, or will fate once again ruin their chances for happiness? 

Only .99 - PRE-ORDER your copy here:

Be sure to check out other books from best-selling author Sandra Edwards: