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[Writing 101] How to Write A Review

For author’s reviews are our lifeblood. Hearing what our readers are saying and how they felt about reading our novels is all key to our growth and development.

From a marketing perspective, it lets us know the trends of an ever changing market and how we can follow it.

If you read an author’s book, please take the time to leave a review. It can be a quick one as we know life is busy.

I will write a more detailed article later. for now, check out this awesome article by A Writer’s Path!

 

 

by Doug Lewars Book reviews are a fact of life. If it’s your book being reviewed, they’re nice if they’re positive and decidedly unpleasant if they’re negative. Every book is going to have a few negative reviews. That’s a fact of life because people are different, have different interests, enjoy different things, and […]

via How to Write a Book Review — A Writer’s Path

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[Book Marketing 101] Hybrid Marketing

When approaching the world of an indie or self-published author, what is the biggest line of questions you often hear or ask yourself?

  1. How am I going to market this in an ever-growing industry?
  2. How can I make my book stand out against so many others on Amazon?
  3. How can I market on a budget?

These are just a few questions that can be terrifying when one is just starting out.

So often we are tempted to pour what funds we have into online ads on Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. How about book promo sites? Surely those will help, right?

The answer is YES, those DO help BUT they should NOT be the primary way of Today Ismarketing. These are all online marketing techniques and can help in building exposure but how many times have you honestly gotten on your social media and clicked on a buy button or link? Probably not often. I know I don’t.

To further explain, how long does it take the average publishing company to get back to their queries? Sometimes rather quickly for smaller press but not for the big dogs like Penguin, right?

This is the same as online. So often we see such high volumes of tweets, photos, Facebook posts, etc covered in book promotion. Sometimes those can get overlooked.

Fear Not! Hybrid marketing is your friend!

Here’s a not-so-secret, secret. Publishers, agents, interviewers, and scouts all attend LIVE book events and conventions!

This where hybrid marketing can come in handy. As previously mentioned in another article, social media is a wonderful tool for staying in touch with your readers and mentors. However, be willing to leave the computer and go out and meet people. Our readers are out there!

In order to utilize this truly powerful tool, one has to understand what it is.

 

Simply put, hybrid marketing is the utilization of both online and offline marketing techniques in order to draw in an audience and build not only your author platform but reach your potential readers!

How it can be used

 

Book SigningWhere_ Half Price BooksWhen_ 51218What time_ 1pmYou can reach out to venues you know will want to help you promote and sell your book.

These can include bookstores, libraries, book festivals, conventions, bloggers, and reviewers. The list goes on! Who is it that is in your target audience? Knowing this can help you better understand how to incorporate this technique into your own marketing planI cannot stress the importance of a solid marketing plan! If you do not have one, it is likely you will fail!

Hybrid Marketing Expands Your Network

You signed a deal with your local bookstore to appear for a signing. They’re happy to have you! You get there and shake the hands of a manager or event coordinator and BAM! A networking bond is formed and it’s all because you left the screen and shook a hand! The beauty of it is, they’ll often ask you to come back! So now you’ve made a bond with an individual who can be a long lasting relationship in your career as an author and who knows, a loyal fan!

Make Your Online Marketing Work for you when You’re on Vacation

This is when social media and online ads should work for you. When you find you’re wearing down and need those couple of months off or you know you’re going to be at a convention all weekend, make your ads work! You can meet your readers and get your book promoted at the same time. For example, say you’re getting a small press table at a major convention. You know you’re going to be gone all weekend. Start up an ad on Amazon! The cost can be as low as 3$ a day at .03 per keyword. You don’t spend a dime unless someone clicks! Run a promo through sites like Whizzbuzz books for a whole year at a low price. Make sense? You’re not beating down Twitter with “Buy My Book” tweets and folks are still seeing your book.

 

Hybrid Marketing Gives Attention to Your Amazon, Goodreads and Websites!

So often, people want to take a free bookmark or a business card with an author’s contact information including their website. Always stress your website as your central hub! Think of your social media, Amazon and Goodreads as webbing. They all should be connected to a central hub or your author website! Appearing in person at book signings, author appearances, readings, etc can give you a chance to bring attention to these pages! It is an offline marketing technique that can really help!

John J. Doe
Always have a business card

Do not overspend! Budget your Ads and never go over 100$ at a Live Event….at First!

Marketing can be an expensive endeavor if the audience isn’t where you are. It may be trial and error at first which can either be beneficial or not. It happens! BUT! Here is where knowing ahead of time can help. For live shows, start small. I recommend to start with what are called Small Press tables. They rarely go over 75$ and often come with two badges for conventions or a table space at festivals. This can help you build yourself a platform while networking with others who may want to talk to you about your book. These have been crucial in my own journey so I promise, I have seen the results!

Hybrid Marketing Shows Professionalism/LongevityToday Is (1)

Say an author appears at a panel and gives you their knowledge. They are building their rapport with their readers because it gives them a chance to meet and greet them to ask questions in person. Showing up to speak at conferences with confidence shows a level of professionalism. Potential agents and publishers often see these traits and will seek out the author to speak with them. The fact that the author has taken the time to research market trends and how to go about marketing their book scores high because they tend to want to know the longevity, especially in indie and self-published authors, to continue their craft and market wisely. Think of it this way, when you go to a job interview, a question you might get is “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s a question we often don’t know the answer to and can cost a position. This is no different in the world of literature.

It Gives Power to the Author’s Most Powerful tool: Word of Mouth

When you meet the eye and shake the hand of someone watching as you sign your book and include a free bookmark, that person will go to their friends and let them know they just a good book from a really kind person! This is word of mouth and it is the most powerful tool in an author of any publishing field’s toolbox! Get your readers talking! They’re giving their time to read your book in a sea of books! Hybrid marketing can help your book reach multiple audiences and they will love your signature!!!!

Most Importantly: NEVER GIVE UP!! Marketing is a process!!! Very rarely are you successful right off the bat. That’s okay! Remember you wrote your book baby because you wanted to tell a story!


If these tips help you and you will like to see more, why not follow us either on Bloglovin, email or right here on WordPress? Feel free to share your own as well!

Have you found something that works for you, got any more questions, just want to chat? Hit us up at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com

***Want to write for the blog? Suggest a book? Get a review or interview? We invite you to check out the policies first and if you want to, go ahead and email us or contact us via the contact box!***

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[#NaNoProMo] Budget Social Media; Invest in Live Events

“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” (ie an author’s laptop/PC/Desktop)


Okay, we all know the famous quote above. But I digress. Why I used it is because for some strange reason, we author types (especially us indie published types), have a tendency to avoid our fellow man. Why do I say that? Because until recently, I had the same tendency. We hide behind our laptops and delve into the world of social media, book promo sites, book blitzes and blog tours and still we hope to hit the best-selling list overnight.

Now, before you jump on the “But Blaise, what about so-and-so?” or “What about e-commerce?” band-wagon; let me elaborate because this is something I have heard coached to me by many business coaches in many different seminars. Social media is critical in growing an online presence but it should NOT be your only point of contact. 

If you don’t believe what I say is true, I can go further. As an indie game concept artist, I had the privilege of speaking to a character designer for Marvel, yes that Marvel. In the skype call he told me two things:

 1) Always keep your social media updated frequently

2) Start attending conventions

 To go on, an author I love and is possibly the greatest influence on my own journey, you’ve heard me mention her before, Kristen Martin says that attending book related events is a great way to build your author platform because you are putting yourself face to face with potential readers, other authors and publishers to learn from them.

Those are not your exact words, I know, Kristen.


Without further ado, here are five reasons why I think that events are crucial to building your platform.

  1. Gives your readers a face: How many of us get a thrill from meeting our inspirations face to face? To get to actually talk to them about their accomplishments or ask them their advice or comment on their books. How many of us like to get our books signed in person and shake their hands? I know for me, that is an amazing feeling because it reminds me that the goals I’ve set are possible because so many times they tell me that they felt the same and went through the same trials and doubts. Your readers will be the same. They want to meet you, talk to you, get their books signed personally and learn from you.
  2. Chance to meet some mentors: Not only can you meet your heroes, but you can network with authors that want to mentor and read your work. They are willing or can point you towards potential referrals or possibly network you with the company (if they’re traditionally published) that they published with. Do not be naggy or begging about it but it is a possibility. You can ask editors questions and learn what they look for so you can edit your next manuscript or receive discounts on their services. The possibilities are endless.
  3. Huge Network Opportunity: Guys, you’ve heard so many say it, I know you have. Networking is crucial for book sales and marketing. I have learned this through so many authors and business webinars that it is not even funny. Conventions and book festivals are an amazing way to meet new authors, potential returning clients and contacts for your books and blogs. Yes, social media is great for turn-around and growing email lists but how hard are you working when you could spend the money you spend on Facebook ads to go out to the convention or festival and manually do what Facebook pays people to do. For example, my last ad campaign for Blessing of Luna reached over 300 people. Sounds great, right? I thought that too until almost all of those reached were paid to click and address ads. Talk about a let most-of-the-important-things-in-the-world-accomplished-by-people-who-kept-trying-when-there-seemed-no-hope-inspirational-quote-julie-flygare-narcolepsy-spokesperson-author-speakerdown. Budget the post boosting and splurge on the cons and festivals.
  4. Inspiration time: You want to talk about a plethora of inspiration? Events like cons and festivals are always full of groups of people who don’t know each other from Adam or Eve but get together and talk about common hobbies, strategies that worked for them or guys, can we say book swaps? Guest blog post opportunities? Maybe even a blog tour? Book blitzes? And these folks might be willing to do it if you do it for them. Why would you not want to meet and greet these folks? Book ideas abound, collab opportunities. Everything you read about in self-publishing blogs for marketing is just 100$ away or you can sometimes get early bird specials if you sign up early.
  5. Scouting opportunities: Guys, this is a big one. Huge. Almost every convention you go to, there are scouting opportunities. Publishing companies, editors, freelancers, etc are all there. They are looking. You actually get to talk to them instead of waiting five months for an email. Some of them will even look at your proposal on the floor if they’re open to it. Again, don’t be pushy, they’re busy and have so many folks wanting to get looked at. I can say this because I’ve seen them in person at conventions like A-kon. They are there but you aren’t going to meet them behind your laptop.

***For #NaNoProMo, I want to add some great ways I’ve found to offline market that have worked for me personally!***

  1. Book store appearances – Seek out your local bookstores or those in closeAdvertFlier proximity and call them to see if they will allow you to sign and sell your books in their stores. You would be amazed how excited so many of them are. Plus, you have gotten into the system. They’ll most likely ask you to return again for subsequent titles.
  2. Conventions – These are not just for science fiction, cosplayers, etc. I sold out of my book and had to switch to invoicing. Many interviews I got were from attending a convention. You meet other authors and build life long friendships.
  3. Book Festivals – You may or may not sell in a room full of other authors but hey, it’s a great thing to look at. You get to meet and network and get your book out there and do some book and review swaps.
  4. Libraries – Donate to libraries! Again this is a great networking opportunity and they want authors to come in and talk and read!
  5. Pass out ARCs – Free titles may seem like it hurts like heck but ARCs are a great review opportunity and who says no to free books?
  6. Ask for reviews – This was the hardest one. I was so nervous about sounding like I was begging but you would truly be amazed how many of them are willing to offer Businesscardtheir feedback and reviews. You never know if you don’t ask.
  7. Pass out business cards – Always have a PROFESSIONAL* business card! You can pass them out to so many people! Many are more than happy to take them and even ask if they can take them. Be sure to include Amazon and website links!
  8. Book swag – Book marks are a great tool to get your book’s cover out there and heck you can offer them for free. Many people are more than willing to take them and often couple your book with them!
  9. Make Fliers – You have to be willing to hoof it. Take the days you have off, open word and use a template to make your fliers. Starbucks is amazing with their community calendars and they’re everywhere!!! Grab a coffee, post your flier and head on to the next location. If you have an event at a bookstore, ask the manager if they provide fliers. If not, ask them if they’d be willing to use yours!
  10. Name Drop your book/ Tell them you’re an author! – Guys, I know this sounds strange but I kid you not. Blessing of Luna has been sold at restaurants, grocery stores, and even at the end of an event. I just approached someone in the romance isle and starting talking! Always have a book! You would be amazed what can happen!

* What I mean by professional is always have a .com, .net, etc. It has an air of professionalism and ongoing pursuit. Invest the money. Many domains like Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, WordPress, etc have their own hosts.

So, I hope this has helped you. This knowledge was gleaned from trial and error, seeking mentorships and just asking managers and professional marketers. The cruel and harsh truth is, our market is saturated but it doesn’t mean we have to fight each other. There are readers who want to read our work, heck, maybe both of our books if we work with a partner to promote our books. Social Media is a black hole that is necessary for an online presence but at the same time, offline marketing gets you out there! Try for yourself!

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[Book Blitz Open for Sign Ups] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

Blessing of Luna banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 11 till 17 June. See the tour schedule here.

Blessing of LunaBlessing of Luna (Wolf Gods #1)
By Blaise Ramsay
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: April 20, 2018

Blurb:
Damien Pierce wasn’t like normal people. Since he was young, he learned that he had the uncanny ability to heal himself almost immediately. At fifteen he astounded the small town of Big Timber, Montana when an SUV hit him only to find he survived the encounter without suffering any major injuries.

After moving away for ten years, losing his mother and slipping into a deep sense of depression, Damien’s father moves them back home in an attempt to give Damien a sense of normalcy.

Enter Jillian Styles, the immortal, beautiful lycan that has been looking for the soul of her long, lost lover who after many years of being reborn into new bodies, his soul simply vanishes into the tides of time. When Jill first sees Damien, she knows immediately he is the one she had been looking for.

When an old enemy begins re-igniting the flames of a centuries old war, Damien must come to grips with a cruel fact that he is not human while nurturing feelings for the beautiful woman who captured his affection.

Now Damien must delve deeper into the world of the supernatural with the help of the mysterious Alexander Kain and Jillian. He’s about to learn, the secret sleeping within him is much more than he ever could have imagined.

You can find Blessing of Luna on Goodreads

You can buy Blessing of Luna here:
Amazon e-copy
Amazon Paperback
Blessing of Luna is available to read with Kindle Unlimited. A portion of the proceeds of each book sold will go to a charity.

The first five chapters are available to read for free are on Wattpad.

Blaise RamsayAbout the Author:
FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor’s in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn’t for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her Instagram, twitter, Facebook and blog.

You can find and contact Blaise Ramsay here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Blessing of Luna. One winner will win both an e-copy and paperback copy of Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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[Open Book Blitzes] Blessing of Luna

BlessingOfLunaBlitzBanner-1

Letting you all know about the open upcoming blitz opportunities for Blessing of Luna! There is one being held by Lola’s Blog Tours and Xpresso Book Tours!

If you would like to sign up to host the blitz, please head to the links above!

Giveaways are included in both events!

I am also still seeking folks who are willing to review the book! I can offer ePub, Mobi, Pdf, and physical copy (if necessary)! Reviews for Goodreads, Amazon, email or a mix are more than welcome! All reviews are posted on our website! Anonymity is more than okay. We can blur out your full name!

Blessing of Luna banner

A portion of every single book sold in any format will go to The Wounded Warrior Project and Carry The Load! As you may know or learn after reading, the main character suffers from PTSD. So many of our soldiers including my own husband has to cope with this debilitating problem. It is something serious that needs to be taken as such. If you believe the same, help us bring awareness! 

 

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[Book Review] Tattoo by Michelle Rene

525de6_15ce3041c29d4b6888f3a0f52ccd8b27_mv2Tattoo

 By: Michelle Rene
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Age category: New adult
Release Date: January 3, 2018
Blurb:
A mysterious young woman appears in a cynical age. Why is she here … and will she survive long enough to achieve her purpose?
 
Judgment Day was not as advertised. Instead of fire and wrath, our histories suddenly began to appear as tattoos on our skin.
 
No one could hide their past deeds anymore, unless they visited an illegal tattoo artist, who could replace their sins with unmarked skin. Years later, a young woman appears, entirely unmarked. No one knows what her appearance means, but a small band of people find themselves drawn to her, ready to set off on a quest whose purpose is as unknown as the young woman’s past.

The Review:

Where to begin? Honestly, I have no clue. I have never read a book like this. It is truly one of a kind. The story begins with a truly spectacular mechanic that automatically caught my attention because I love when higher powers get involved with human affairs.
The writing of this novel was nothing short of poetic. I adore how it was organized. I honestly felt like I was watching the movie, Crash. The author takes multiple points of view and converge them onto the single subject of the novel itself. It doesn’t follow the typical heroes journey which has become expected in today’s literature.
The main character Jane had very little interaction that allowed for much character building BUT in the end, very little is known about her to begin with. I like this about this character. It’s something completely new to me. She has the uncanny ability to take people from completely different aspects of life and bind them together in a unified purpose.
Amazing! Different stories from different points of a view all thrown together by a single inciting incident! But it’s not the typical, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter formula!
There wasn’t much world-building which is something that usually bothers me but in dystopian novels it tends to be less of an issue. Especially for this book where everyone’s life stories are literally pasted on their skin. The justice system simply has to read what a person has done instead.
Something I found truly astonishing was how the whole story occurs following Judgement Day. Something often eluded to in things such as zombie apocalypse, plague, Mad Max style as something truly terrifying. Don’t get me wrong. Having my sins plastered on my skin for all to see would be a fate worse than death. This is what I really liked about this adaptation. The punishment wasn’t something so devastating. Rather it was something simple. It was simply the removal of someone’s privacy.
It was also really hard to sit down and find the usual errors. Ms. Rene takes great care to make her writing great. Critique for this book, other than the cliffhanger at the end was really difficult to find. It’s not something I see too often.
If I truly were to sit down and rate this novella, it would hands-down get 4 stars. It’s unique, yet simple and uses a writing style so rare in today’s literature.
four-stars
If you are a fan of dystopian fiction or the amazing movie, “Crash”. You will love Tattoo. I am awaiting the sequel with great anticipation.
You can find Tattoo on Goodreads, Amazon, or the author’s website.

About the Author:

Michelle Rene is a creative advocate and the author of a number of published works of science fiction, historical fiction, humor and everything in between.5b36776dbae59363b84a248cd074b2a5

She has won indie awards for her historical fiction novel, I Once Knew Vincent. Her latest historical novel, Hour Glass, released February 20th to rave reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.  Her experimental novella, Tattoo, releases March 7th, and not only does it have a starred review in Publishers Weekly but will be listed in Foreword Reviews top eight sci-fi/fantasy books this spring.

When not writing, she is a professional artist and all around odd person. She lives as the only female, writing in her little closet, with her husband, son, and ungrateful cat in Dallas, Texas.

Find Michelle on her social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Website

 

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[Book Review] Most Special Chosen

The Most Special Chosen
This is my stop during the blog tour for The Most Special Chosen by Rachel de la Fuente. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. Read the whole post to discover more about this book, find some links to some character interviews, some video teasers and there are two giveaways! The blog tour runs from 5 till 18 March. See the tour schedule here.

The Most Special ChosenThe Most Special Chosen (Exalted Bloodlines #1)
By Rachel de la Fuente
Genre: Paranormal Drama/ Paranormal Romance
Age category: New Adult/ Adult
Release Date: March 3, 2018

Blurb:
Elysabeth Vance is so determined not to be lost in her obsession that she refuses to see what’s right in front of her.

Damien is so afraid of ruining his only chance at happiness that he’s blind to Elysabeth’s obsession.

Once they open their eyes to what they have, nearly incomprehensible secrets will be revealed. After all, fate happens, even if you don’t believe in it.


The Review:

 To begin, I really enjoyed the way the book was written. Often I find when an author writes in the present point of view, it can be hard to remain in it. I loved the plot and the twist the author added to the story that took it out of the average vampire/human love trope.

 Damien was an amazing character and so handsome, I found myself wanting to fall for him myself. This being said however, I found the relationship between the two characters incredibly rushed. While I get that the two were “made for each other” according to the lore the author portrays, there were certain dynamics I would have liked to see put in place. For example, maybe Elysabeth could have fought her draw to Damien by trusting Shawn’s advice instead of fighting Shawn so hard. It was almost too easy for two complete strangers to fall into such passionate love.

 The very fact that the protagonist had such an obsession with vampires almost made Damien’s appearance a bit too predictable. I do like however, the slow burn the author put in place. Obviously, the two were sexually attracted to each other but Lys did a great job at holding back her desire.

 There was also an obvious lack of world building. I am an avid fan of being able to feel the heat between the bodies of the characters in moments of passion, I just didn’t feel that in their one moment they had. This is also something I wanted more of. A single passionate scene between the two almost curbs their “addiction” to each other. I loved how Damien drank from her. I could tell it was a sensual thing. Something I think needs to be passionate with a vampire but I would have wanted more emotion in it rather than a brief sentence such as “Damien drank from me”.

 There was also a definite lack of conflict. The story became next to repetitive with little to no conflict. I did like how Damien had to step in and protect Lys from the rogue vampires but I would almost want more than that. Something that almost made Damien want to use his over protective nature of Lys. The characters were all over each other. There was no resistance. It can lead a reader to possibly get bored with the dynamic.

 All this being said, I loved the mythological aspect of the book. It was a twist I rarely see and love as a history major. I loved how the vampires fell in love with their own goddesses. It played perfectly into the dynamic. Very lovely and well wanted plot twist.

 If I were to rate this title I would give it 3 stars definitely. I would love to read the second book for sure. I would however like a little more character development, world building and conflict. I think adding those things would make this series a best seller.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-19-at-3.06.19-PM-666x408


You can find The Most Special Chosen on Goodreads

You can buy The Most Special Chosen on Amazon

Meet the characters!
The author did some character interviews with her characters on her blog, check them out:
Selene Delanciennes
Shawn Dooley
Damien Delanciennes
Elysabeth Vance

Video Teasers
And check out these two video teasers on YouTube:
Video teaser #1
Video teaser #2

Rachel de la FuenteAbout the Author:
Rachel de la Fuente (meaning of the fountain) lives in Maryland with the love of her life and two furry children that meow. The Most Special Chosen is her first novel, but it’s hardly her first story. She’s been writing since elementary school, and telling stories since she could speak. She is an avid fountain pen enthusiast with a bit of an ink problem, and often writes book notes and sections of stories by hand.

Rachel was born and raised in southern California, but spent many summers with family in Mexico. Her parents loved traveling, so she also spent many vacations in various locations, soaking up foreign cultures and sights. She still loves to travel, and is committed to crossing all of the locations off her bucket list.

Rachel is a proud Slytherin, and when not writing, spends much of her free time reading, cross stitching, and watching documentaries.

You can find and contact Rachel de la Fuente here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
YouTube
Newsletter

Giveaways
There are two giveaways during the blog tour for The Most Special Chosen! One of the giveaways is US Only and the other one is open International.

US Giveaway
One winner wins the following prizes:
• A signed copy of The Most Special Chosen
• An eBook copy of The Most Special Chosen
• A sheet of Exalted Bloodlines series round stickers
• An Exalted Bloodlines logo cutout sticker
• An eBook copy of Elysabeth and Shawn, the Prequel Series
• A bookmark with The Most Special Chosen tagline

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
International Giveaway One winner wins the following Prizes: • An eBook copy of The Most Special Chosen • An eBook copy of Elysabeth and Shawn, the Prequel Series For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway


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[Book Review] Making Bad Choices by Rita Sadling

Making Bad ChoicesMaking Bad Choices
by Rita Stradling
Genre: Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: 10 January, 2017

Blurb:
[Recommended 16 + this is a mature YA or New Adult book]

Culter Fuller came back into my life on the day my mother died, as if losing my mother wasn’t bad enough.

We hated each other since childhood. Well, I hated him. He had a very different story.

When I moved to my dad’s house to finish my last semester of high school, we went from bitter enemies to. . . something else. He was suddenly everywhere, occupying my space, determined to pull me into his life, filling me with thoughts I knew were wrong.

I knew that soon we would cross a line that should never be crossed.

I knew crossing that line could have very serious consequences; because Culter Fuller wasn’t just any irresistible boy, Culter Fuller was my stepbrother.

But, I was always very bad at making the right choices.

 


My Review:

First off, very cute story. I am usually not one to like a good taboo love story but this one was very cute. I actually adored how possessive Culter was.

The book was decently written and read well. Good pacing and some really swoon worthy characters. I truly loved Tyler. He sounded hot. Culter was just…. swoon. I loved his name choice.

Unfortunately, it became a bit repetitive. Day to day school is a-ok for teenagers who are probably suffering from some senior-itis and just want to get the heck out of dodge. Totally get it and didn’t mind it. I just wanted a bit more tension.

There was sexual tension and slow burn like crazy and I loved it but there was very little external conflict. Aside from the alpha female who had a crush on the protagonist’s love interest and the loss of her mom, everyone automatically just accepted Cassie. Not to say that isn’t good but if that was going to be the case, add the tension somewhere else. Maybe a really strong rival actually willing to fight Culter over Cassie? I’m not sure. Just something to give that could really ignite the inciting incident.

For example, there was a moment where Cassie almost got into a car accident. That was the perfect Darkest Moment. It could have really been used to draw out the flaming passion in both characters. Cassie could have been hurt, Culter could have felt he almost lost her and gone to her bedside and been openly honest with her. It would have been amazing and really could have added some action.

Also, as a romance reader and author, I want some hot, passionate, burning love scenes. For a new adult, this really didn’t deliver. I feel it read more like a Young Adult novel. The author created some slow burn for sure. So many times I wanted the two to make love only to have it ripped away (I liked that). Then when they finally were able to, I was really wanting more. The feel of Culter’s body. Some heat between them. How Cassie felt, what she smelled. Just some details to set me ablaze.

So many things were there. Basic outlines which could have been used to really make this a hot, passionate conflict which just fell short. I would have actually liked less dialogue and more conflict.

If I were to rate this book. I would give it 3 stars because I really did like the storyline and saw the potential. Maybe for the next book, really dig into the details to make the story stronger.

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Making Bad Choices Teaser 1

You can find Making Bad Choices on Goodreads

You can buy Making Bad Choices on Amazon

View the book trailer here

Making Bad Choices Teaser 2

The Playlist for Making Bad Choices
This is the playlist for Making Bad Choices:
1) The Temptations – My Girl
2) The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
3) Bright Eyes – The First Day of My life
4) Modern English – I Melt with You
5) Elton John – Your Song
6) The Lumineers – Ho Hey
7) Stand Inside Your Love – Smashing Pumpkins
8) Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns n’ Roses
9) Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
10) Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars
11) BØRNS – Electric Love
12) Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
13) Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Me Feel
14) Joshua Radin – I’d Rather Be with You
15) Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed

You can listen to the playlist on YouTube

Making Bad Choices Teaser 3

Rita StradlingAbout the Author:
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

You can find and contact Rita here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


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How “The Greatest Showman” Can Help an Indie Author!

Okay, so most of the time I like to book geek out in these blogs but after seeing “The Greatest Showman” featuring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, I just had to blog about it.

Guys, it has been such a long time since I was so in love with a movie, I actually shared the title. However, this particular movie was as beautiful as a book to me. It was all about dreams and what trials you have to face in order to become what you desire to become.


 

thegreatestshowman

What Authors Can Learn from the movie

The way the movie starts shows the true genius of the screenwriter. It begins with a wild scene featuring the final dream PT Barnum had for himself. Of course, the 20th Century took some creative liberties but instead of subtracting from the power of the scene, it actually enhances it. The CG of the animals brings out the characters who interact with the graphics flawlessly. I would recommend this movie to anyone who dares to dream!

It begins with a dream… Something burning inside

Moving on, the movie begins with a dream that does not seem obtainable. Phineas T. Barnum is the son of a tailor in love with a higher class girl named Charity whom he makes laugh. The two quickly strike a childhood romance which blossoms into their adulthood. Barnum is an innovative genius stuck behind a dead end desk job he gets fired from.

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P. T. Barnum:
They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy
They can say, they can say I’ve lost my mind
I don’t care, I don’t care, so call me crazy
We can live in a world that we design

Doubts Can sink in…What Can you do for your readers?

He begins to doubt his dreams until the inciting incident when he decides to buy a wax museum. His two young daughters, after finding he is struggling to gain attention, tell their dad he needed something alive to draw people in.

“You need something alive. Something sensational.” — Carline Barnum

Guys, this is crucial! As an indie author, I have learned the value of thinking about the readers over myself. It has to be about the book first, then it has to be about them.

hughjackmangreatestshowman
“I see a soldier, no, a general riding across the stage with a sword and a gun, and… and… and the most beautiful uniform ever made. People will come from all over the world, and when they see him, they won’t laugh. (Charles opens the door) They’ll salute.” 

There will be dry spells…Find Your Team!

Back to the movie, so seeing he is struggling in sales, what does Barnum do? Does he give up? NO! He gets real people often overlooked by the common crowd and brings them into his museum at the time. First though, he has to go out and find the attractions! He does his “hoof work”.  What happens, he gets his team together! Then people begin coming in and he starts seeing results!

This is a perfect strategy! Realize you may not see sales right off the bat. There are dry spells but keep working! Your book is NOT going to sell itself! You have to work! Find your team! Market with fliers! Give books to libraries and build bonds and networks!

TheGreatestShowman (1)
Lettie Lutz:
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

There Will Be Haters…What can you do in the face of bad reviews/press?

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“Hyperbole isn’t the worst crime. Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much.” — P.T. Barnum

In the movie, Barnum had his fair share of haters and doubters in his dream. The newspaper mocked him. The critic called him a fraud, a poser, a humbug. What did he do? Did he give up? Absolutely not!!!  He made a golden crown with the words “Prince of Humbug” on his top hat. We, as authors have to face it. We are going to see a horrible, maybe even hateful review. It can be crushing! Again, be like Barnum! Contact them and laugh it off in a respectful way or ignore them. P.T. did and look at his legacy! We still enjoy his marvelous show all over the world!

Charity Barnum:
“However big, however small. Let me be part of it all. Share your dreams with me.”

Do NOT Forget Why You did it in the first place!

A powerful point I found in the movie that really resonated was the part when the character of Barnum in the movie forgot why he chose to what he did in the first place. He sunk into providing what the common audience wanted instead of what he loved to do. Authors tend to do this too. They forget why they chose to write in the first place. They choose to get “blinded by the late” as P.T says in the movie instead of doing what they love and remembering why they love it.

It isn’t easy….but it’s worth it!

The praise for this movie can go on and on but the truth is there. It is all about dreams and what it takes to reach them. Guys, being an indie author is not easy. Never will you see those words here. It is a ton of work but in the end, if you keep going even through the desert, you will see results. Just remember why you published in the first place. Why you decided to pick up this passion in the first place. Then you will have your greatest show and have everything you ever want and need!

 

“The noblest art is that of making others happy” — P.T Barnum

 “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” — P.T Barnum

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[Author Interview] Mark Engels, Author of Always Gray in Winter

 

9781945247194By: Mark J. Engels

Genre: Paranormal Sci-Fi Thriller

Age category: Adult

Release Date: 8/10/17 (trade paperback); 10/1/17 (ebook)

 Blurb:

A distant daughter. A peculiar device. A family lineage full of secrets. When werecat Pawlina Katczynski finally resurfaces, her location previously unknown to anyone close to her, the reunion is short of welcomed. Instead, she finds herself thrust tooth and nail—tooth and claw—into a feud between opposing werecat clans as her family and their enemies reignite a battle that has raged for years. Always Gray in Winter invites the reader to join the feud and see if blood is truly thicker than water…


The Interview:

1) How did you get the idea for your book?

I’ve been a fan of anime, manga and anthropomorphics for over thirty years.  My muse came to me one night at work, imploring I write her story. When I ignored her, she “charmed” me with fangs and claws.  And told me her name was Pawly.

2) As a small press author, can you describe your experience through the process?

I’d been on the publication trail for some while before I got a couple small press offers, so I had some idea of what to expect.  Every small press is different, and each is at a particular stage in their development. My publisher had been around a couple years before I signed on, though at the time they were in the middle of an expansion and eager to sign new authors.  We negotiated a number of terms in the contract, which I had come to understand by talking to other authors, agents and editors I’d met during the query contests and Twitter “pitch parties.” And what I’d learned helped establish just exactly what my publisher and I came to understand we could expect from one another.

3) When you wrote your book, did you know you wanted to get it published or was it something you started as a hobby?

After having been an anime, manga and anthropomorphics fan for so long, I wanted to give back to the fandoms I’d come to love, through which I had found such joy and made so many dear friends.  Wanted to create content after consuming it for decades. Because I thought my characters and concept were kewl and labored under the delusion others would too.  I was determined to take their story to a wide audience, which was the main reason I queried agents and, later, submitted to small presses.

4) What was your general writing process?

I’m an electrical engineer in my day job, specializing in the design, construction and commissioning railroad and rail transit signal and communications systems all over the United States.  An iterative design process is second nature to me, starting with the abstract and working toward the specific. So I can’t not be a plotter, really.  I laid out a series outline in prose form detailing three generations of my werecat protagonist Pawly’s family, from the height of the Cold War to the present day.  Then I figured out a starting and an end point for the first book, which takes place in media res.  Drafting came next.  A year or so later I was ready to begin my edits.  I’d both joined a real-life writer’s group by then and picked up a copy of Browne & King’s Self Editing for Fiction Writers.  Boy howdy, did both of those underscore just how much editing I needed!  About another year’s worth, in fact.

5) How many hours a day do you devote to writing? If you have a day job, how do you find the balance to write?

“Balance” is not found, as if one is out in the woods looking for berries or mushrooms.  Balance is struck, it is made, it is hard fought. And it is always a compromise. Along the lines of “this isn’t he arrangement everyone likes most, this is the arrangement everyone dislikes least” more of then not.

I’m very fortunate that I enjoy my day job for its intrinsic value (I play with trains and electronics all day, yay!) and make a decent living for my family doing it.  I do work full time, though, and during business hours the job needs must be my priority. I’m also a father and husband. Every night after my son goes to bed, I devote two or three hours to “writing”, but I don’t use such a narrow view as “words on a page.”  Research is writing, mentally picking away at the Gordian knot my plotlines have bunched themselves together into is writing, dispositioning critique partner feedback is writing, reading other’s books is writing, platform building is writing, etc. Many activities don’t get words down on a page but are part and parcel of my writing process nonetheless.  To help make sure the words I do get down are the right ones, and that those words have a fighting chance of reaching their audience.

6) When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Who were some of your inspirations?

I really didn’t set out to be an author, or a writer for that matter.  It just sort of happened. Being an anime and manga fan at the dawning of the Internet age, I came upon newsgroups, bulletin boards and mailing lists where I could meet and get to know fans of one particular franchise or another.  On a couple of occasions after a dramatic shift in a story or after its conclusion, I felt that the creators had left “money on the table”, leaving characters undeveloped, plot threads twisting in the wind or entire stories gone untold.  So I set about to fill in the spaces between with fanfiction. Including several novella- and novel-length stories.

My books aren’t all that different.  I came to know an artist featuring anthro characters whose work I adored, who wanted to release a web comic featuring them but wasn’t sure how to begin.  He was struggling with his antagonist’s motivations especially. We began a dialogue about same with an outline I’d prepared and expanded into a complete story arc.  After sitting down at a convention together over coffee, he told me “this sounds like a great story, but it’s not my story” and that was that.

Or so I thought.  I was fully prepared to put the experience behind me and go on with life, but my muse had other ideas.  She came to me and started shredding away at my consciousness, insisting I tell her story. And that of her family.  Turns out my muse she be a werecat. One who looks strikingly like my story’s protagonist, in fact. Pawly makes a convincing argument with fangs and claws.

7) How long did it take you to write your book?

A year to draft, a year to edit, a year to query/submit. Nearly another year before release during which time I built out my web site and social media presence.

8) When you wrote the book, were you trying to make it a stand-alone story or are there any sequels planned?

After I finished my series outline, I sent it around to some friends and fellow writers in the anime fanfiction communities to get their feedback.  All of them thought the premise outstanding and unique, and all exhorted me to not to try to cram the story into one book. So after spending a fair bit of time re-organizing my outline, I’ve determined I have enough plot points to cover at least three books.  Or four should I decide to dive deep into Pawly’s family history.

9) As you know this is blog is mostly geared towards authors trying to get their platforms built, market their books, focus on personal promotion, etc. What are some of the best ways you would advise our readers to market their books? To get themselves out there and get on podcasts, guest posts, etc.

“Best ways?”  Uhm, I’m not all that sure I know, truthfully.  Because marketing is every bit as much subjective as editing and critique.  What worked for them/there/then (that is to say, for me or for any other author) may not be useful nor effective for you/here/now.  If one desires to write a book in a specific genre, while reading deep in the genre, pay attention to what successful authors in that genre have done and are doing to build their platforms.  All of it is worth considering, even if some of it might not work well for you.  Or for your book.  You’ll be prepared to make an informed decision yea or nay.

That said, I believe successful marketing strongly correlates to an author’s willingness to build relationships.  Especially online ones, where so many of us find and reach our audiences. There is a lot of awful out there on social media, but there are also pockets of like-minded creatives eager to make new friends.  “Getting yourself out there” is salient advice, though I would qualify “early and often.” Writing is frequently a solitary exercise, and I’d suggest one run silent and run deep while one is developing their first draft to avoid distractions.  Though it’s high time to seek out other creatives once the story has something of a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Start working on a query letter right then; there are all kinds of query contests online to help with that.  The friends I made there (and on the Twitter “pitch parties” once the manuscript was complete) today number among my most valued critique partners.  And my most ardent supporters.

The same folks ought to come in real handy as you’re going through editing your own book prior to submission or publication.  They can also help make suggestions as to agents or editors that may really enjoy your book, or help refer you to their trusted resources if you decide to self-pub.  Because having done so, getting on the podcasts and guest posts was fairly simple. I just had to ask my friends who asked their friends.  Voila!  They were glad to have me.

10) As a writer, we all know we are bound to deal with harsh book reviews from people who just don’t like our work. How do you go about dealing with “bad press”? For good reviews, do you tend to reach out to the reviewer and thank them?

I make it a point to reach out to reviewers who take time to share what they liked about my book, what maybe didn’t work for them, how my book made them feel–good or ill.  Though never as a comment to the review itself; those are written by readers for readers.  Author responses to such are seen by many as rude, seen as an intrusion into a private conversation between readers.  To the extent possible, I use the reviewer’s handle to track down an email address or social media link where I can reach out and thank them.  Because I find even disparaging remarks often provide unique opportunities to consider what most to improve in my future work.

“Bad press?”  I leave it lie and recommend every author do likewise.  Nothing I say will change their minds about my book, and it’s not my place to try.  I’ll only wear myself out in doing so. Besides, a reader’s opinion is just that. One person’s opinion, to which they’re entitled.  And I’m entitled to respond with but a shrug and move on.

When bad press does come, I endeavor to remind myself of a couple key principles: first, that the book I had in my heart to write may decidedly not be the book any one person had in their hearts to read and, second, that that is okay.

11) Your first book is a mystery/ thriller, is there a reason you chose this genre?

Just happened to be the book I had in my heart to write, of course!  The sort of book I had in my heart to read but couldn’t find.  It was only after I’d written the book that I began to bill it as a “paranormal sci-fi thriller”, because I had to assign it a genre for query contest and Twitter pitch parties.  Up until that point, I was complete clueless to genre conventions and subtleties (and, frankly, I’m still figuring them out.) All I knew was that my story was my story, though I set about to understand them by necessity when I began to pitch my book.  Contemplate just what sort of audience I would endeavor to reach out to. And how best to engage them.

12) What are your views on writer’s block? Do you believe in it? If you do, do you have ways to cope with it that you would be willing to share?

Yes, writer’s block is a thing.  A thing I fear, actually, which is in part why I do so much work up front plotting.  If I know the story has a defined beginning, a middle and an end, then I can just plow through the places where the story drags and sags.  Because I can always edit later! Pantsers suggest that doing such layouts stifles creativity, to which I can only say “to each their own.”  This is what I do and why I do it, and it seems to work for me. Your mileage may vary.

What does seize me up from time to time happens after I’ve gotten feedback from my critique partners.  They’ll point out what works for them and what doesn’t, and I’m always grateful when they do. When several of them point out one particular thing that didn’t work, that suggests strongly there’s something there I need to fix.  But it’s always a struggle–I gave it my best!  A bitter pill to swallow that one’s best isn’t good enough.

Or, as I’ve come to understand, it’s not good enough yet.  I’ve found that if I put away the feedback for a period of time, like a couple weeks or sometimes even a month or two, then when I come back to it I can more better see what the issue is.  Often with such clarity arrives the answer unbidden to the problem that had me stymied.

13) What time of day do you find is your “creative time for writing”?

Evenings.  After my grade-school age son goes to bed and before I crash.  To those who write early in the morning, God bless yer pea-pickin’ hearts.  That just doesn’t work for me. I find I need a full day of doing unrelated stuff to get my brain “spun up” fast enough so I can write.

14) Do you have some advice for the new authors that may be reading this post right now?

The book that you have in your heart to write may not be the book any one person has in their hearts to read.  And that’s okay. You’re okay.  Your story is okay, though always be willing to take into consideration points-of-view that might be hard to hear.  Because often those help you figure out how to tell your story even better.

What’s worked for them/there/then may or may not be practical, feasible nor helpful for you/here/now.  Don’t let anyone tell you your way is wrong.  Your way is your way, every bit as valid as you are.  Consider other people’s successes and failures as you soldier on, keeping Bruce Lee’s timeless advice close to your heart:

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

Reach out.  Put yourself out there.  I know it’s a daunting prospect to introverted types, but I believe doing so will pay dividends for people like it has for me.  Query contests, pitch parties and forums like Absolute Write’s “water cooler” forums are great ways to learn things and make friends.  I did just that and now have a cadre of resources I can depend upon to help me write, edit and promote my stories.

15) Last but not least, what are your future plans now that you have published your first novel?

“I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

*eyes royalty statement*

Well then, maybe not.  Back to working on my next werecat book…


You can find Always Gray in Winter on Goodreads 

You can purchase Always Gray in Winter on Amazon 

Read an excerpt!


About the Author 

Boyhood interests in trains and electronics fostered my career as an electrical engineer, 120c9a380f5682af4516508841a3af37designing and commissioning signal and communications systems for railroads and rail transit agencies across the United States. Authoring rail industry trade magazines articles led me to write novel-length fiction, inspired by my beloved anime, manga and anthropomorphic fandoms. Growing up in Michigan never far from the Great Lakes, my wife, son and I live in Wisconsin with a dog who naps beside me as I write.

I am a member of Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state’s oldest writing collectives, and the Furry Writer’s Guild, dedicated to supporting, informing, elevating, and promoting quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators.

 

Find and contact Mark Engels here:

Twitter / Facebook / DeviantARt / linkedIn / Website

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[Book Review] Raindrops on Roses by Millenia Black

Raindrops on RosesRaindrops on Roses (Favorite Things #1)
By Millenia Black
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Romantic Suspense
Age category: Adult

Blurb:
A Searing New Trilogy from the #1 Bestselling Author of The Great Pretender

What happens when his ex just won’t let go?

Mayfair Island, Florida. Grief-stricken after the sudden loss of her beloved grandmother, an enduring but reclusive Hollywood icon, young Priscilla Bauer finds herself adrift and looking to find solace in the arms of her vast inheritance, when she meets the kind and considerate corporate brand designer, Michael Frost—a drop dead gorgeous beacon of light in her all too dark night.

Falling hard and falling fast, Priscilla has no idea she’s stepped into dangerous territory…someone else has already branded Michael Frost her very own—with no intention of letting him go!

Love. Loss. Jealousy. Vengeance. Passions are high but bitter vengeance gets even higher in this razor-sharp love triangle you won’t forget!

With Raindrops on Roses, the captivating Favorite Things Trilogy takes flight!

Blue Satin Sashes (Book 2) and When the Bee Stings (Book 3) are now available!

You can find Raindrops on Roses on Goodreads

You can buy Raindrops on Roses here:
Amazon
Amazon Paperback

You can watch the book trailer for Raindrops on Roses on Youtube

Raindrops on Roses teaser

Later books in the series!
Blue Satin SashesWhen the Bee Stings
Blue Satins Sashes (Favorite Things #2)
Amazon kindle
Amazon Paperback
Goodreads

When the Bee Stings (Favorite Things #3)
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
Goodreads

 


The Review:

This book was very interesting. I really liked how it started with the meeting of the two characters. Both already had such tough internal and external conflicts which really gave me the feeling that their eventual romance would struggle to get off the ground.
The book begins with the two characters engaging in a passionate night which ignites the fires of desire between the two of them. I like how it almost seems to work backwards in a way.

The format in which it was written really made the story easy to follow.
I really liked the twisted love triangle as well but almost wanted a bit more conflict on that front. The circumstance (which I won’t say because spoilers) that caused the trouble between Michael and Amber really hit home because it is something I experienced personally in my family.

Something I really would have liked to see more of was a bit more tension and more world building. I really like to feel immersed into a novel and I really didn’t feel that with this book. Although I have experienced a similar experience in my family, I felt like an observer rather than a participant.
That being said, I definitely will be returning for book two. I would like to read more of this author’s books.

My rating:

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Praise for Millenia Black:
“Intensely intriguing and deeply riveting, Black’s latest is a first-rate page-turner that will draw you in from the very beginning and never let go.” —Sheri Melnick, RT Book Reviews, Top Pick

“Ms. Black is a talented writer, and I can’t wait to read many more of her books…” —Carol Ann Culbert Johnson, MyShelf.com

“Millenia Black is a mistress at neatly laying out each part of the story, like building an elaborate building that forms a fascinating whole. She clearly and succinctly draws verbal pictures of each character and their interrelationships with each other. It is masterful…” —Jeri Neal, The Romance Reader’s Connection

Raindrops on Roses teaser

Millenia BlackAbout the Author:
No one does family and relationship drama quite like bestselling author Millenia Black! Heralded as a double life and relationship expert, she’s been a featured guest on radio shows across the country, discussing the 7 Smoke Signals Your Man is Living a Double Life.

Millenia lives in Florida where she’s currently unmarried and has never dated anyone living a double life…

She thinks.

You can find and contact Millenia Black here:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Pinterest
Youtube


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10 Rules For Success — Jay Colby

I decided to share this post from Jay Colby because he offers some really good advice on success and how to reach it. I highly recommend giving him a follow because he offers a large amount of useful and uplifting information.

I have always been infatuated with successful people. I constantly read about their processes, habits, philosophies, behaviors, and what influenced their success. Not only do I find it motivating, but by understanding how and why successful people do what they do it helps me to strive for success. As I have researched over the past […]

via 10 Rules For Success — Jay Colby