Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review of Torn by Erica O'Rourke

Review of Torn by Erica O'Rourke

June 28, 2011

Genre: YA Fantasy

Everyone has secrets.

Even best friends.

Swirling black descends like ravens, large enough to block the glow of the streetlights. A dull roar starts like a train on the 'L', a far-away rumbling that grows louder as it pulls closer, until it's directly overhead and you feel it in your chest, except this doesn't pass you by. Verity, white-faced and eyes blazing, shouts through the din, "Run, Mo!"


I can't even begin to express how much I loved this book. It has everything that makes a great book - suspense, romance, and tons of twists and turns that'll have even the most finicky reader hooked. I adored the main character Mo because she was so quirky which is what made her likable and real. I was disappointed when the book was over and I am eager to read the next book in by this series.

Buy Links

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Judging Books by Their Covers (Come on...You Know You Do!)

With the big cover reveal for my upcoming book, Defy, on my calendar for the 29th, I've got book covers on the brain. It thus occurred to me that I should write a post about this topic. Why not, right?

Authors, I don't think it's possible to overstate the importance of having great covers for your books. Why would you go through all of the toil and trouble to write your (totally amazing) stories and then not invest in a spectacular cover? That would be akin to wrapping the perfect gift in crumpled and torn newspaper and tossing it carelessly at the intended recipient.


If you're like me, the extent of your book cover design experience extends to, well, absolutely nothing. (I mean, I did personally craft the ballet slipper-shaped cover of my fourth-grade story The Dancing Spider, but that's not what we're going for here). Thus, you'll want to hire someone to design your cover. The cost for this ranges quite a bit, but you can safely expect to pay between $300 and $500 for a custom design.

Yes, it's an investment...but if you have a great cover and a totally amazing story, the cover will more than pay for itself. Trust me on this! I was so green when it came to social networking, book promotion and marketing when my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy came out that it's a miracle I got any sales. But the fact is, I did. And the reason for those early sales was my covers.

Some items of note when it comes to your book's cover:
  • Browse bookstores and identify a selection of 5-10 books that have covers you love. Your cover designer will want some direction to be sure she creates a cover in line with what you envision, and providing these examples will help.
  • Make sure your cover design suits your genre.
  • Be open to suggestions by the designer.
  • If you have a website or blog, carry your author brand into the cover design. You can do this through font and color choices.
  • Opt for a cover design that looks just as good in the mini-version that appears on and other websites as it does as a paperback.
  • Request multiple file sizes from the cover designer so that you have them for promotional and printing needs. Most established designers do this without you having to ask.
  • Review any contracts you sign to ensure you retain the rights to the final cover design.
Designing the cover for a book you've written is by far the most fun part of the publishing experience. There are a number of points I could make about cover style, but they vary a lot by genre and even individual taste. The bottom line is that if you have a beautiful cover and a well-written story, you will get sales!

Readers, what do you like in a book cover?

Monday, March 26, 2012

New release: Bewitched

I'm thrilled to announce that my new book, Bewitched, is now available in all major ebook stores. I hope you'll check it out. Thanks so much. Jayde

Amber Reed is a dead girl walking.

Having just been turned by her vampire boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Amber Reed is bestowed with the ability to see ghosts. Between trying to figure out how to control her bloodlust and solving the mysterious disappearance of a friend, Amber realizes someone wants to step into her shoes so badly, they'll do anything to take her place.

When one secret after another pops up, the only person who believes her is her enemy, Devon. Amber can't figure out if he's here to help or save his own immortal race from losing the ancient war against the vampires. What she does know, however, is that she can't resist his good looks just as much as she can't help becoming someone else...

In a world of dark magic and ancient enemies, three powerful courts fight for supremacy, and Amber might just be the pawn in winning this war forever. But how's a girl to survive when everyone wants her dead?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to write a kiss

Did you see the title? I'm taking a wild leap of faith that you have encountered the delight of a lovers lips upon yours. If you are reading this and you have not kissed that special someone yet.... this assignment might be beyond your realm of expertise.  I advise you to run to the mall, store, Jiffy Lube and find someone to plant a big kiss on..... once you've mastered it, come back.

Writing a romantic kiss is one of my favorite things to do.  A kiss can be something simple, like when you kiss your parent good-night.  The kiss can be something to do out of obligation, like kissing grandma good-bye.  A kiss can be sloppy, slimy, sweet, passionate, incredible, and down right hot.  If you're lucky, it will be all of the above at the same time.  When writing out a kiss, decide what kind of kiss it is first.  I am surrounded by teens and I asked my best friend's daughter... what is the best way for a guy to kiss you (hand on the face or back of neck was her answer).  I ask my teen son...he doesn't give me many answers (LOL).  Once that is done, search your memory bank for that kiss that made you feel the same way you want your character to feel.  Close your eyes and think about the beginning, middle and the start writing it out.  

Once you've written the kiss, read it out loud.  Does the feeling come across with the words?  Remember things like touch, smell, place and the mood. Here is a kiss from The Light Tamer - the female lead is Jessie and the male is Caleb - they are 15 and 16 years old.

He turned to face me, his big brown eyes heavily hooded, he put one hand on my face and we both shuddered at the same time.  “I want to kiss you, I want to feel what it’s like to have your lips on mine,” he whispers back to me.
            I let out the breath I’d been holding.  Is he serious?  Caleb, this gorgeous guy wants to kiss me.  I want him to, what if I do it wrong?  I’ve never kissed someone before; do I smash my face to his?  What if I make too much spit and it’s sloppy?  What if I don’t know how?
            “Jessie?  May I?”
            He leaned all the way in, and I lean forward to him and our lips met.  Soft and warm, sweet, with a taste of peppermint.  His hand is still on my face and that warmth has taken over my soul.  Two people kissing for the first time.  My tummy tingled, my lips almost burn at his touch and it was then, I hear him.  I heard him inside of my head, or inside his, I don’t know, but I heard him.  He was thinking about how soft my lips felt, and how tongues grossed him out…but not now.  He thought about my hair and how pretty my blonde hair looked draped across my tan shoulders.  He thought about this moment was the best first kiss ever.  His first kiss.  I pulled back away from him.  I look at his face and can see his admiration of me.  Damn, that was great!

I hope that helps you out.... I advise you to practice kissing so you have an arsenol of scenes to choose from in your head.  Happy Spring and have fun putting your two lips out by the tulips of love... (cheesy huh?)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Talisman books Makeover and Onyx Talisman Blog Tour

I'm excited to show off the new covers of the Talisman Trilogy:

And The Onyx Talisman is on TOUR! I'm excited and so pleased to be partnered with the greatest group of book bloggers EVER! Here's all my fabulous bloggers:

March 19- Two Chicks On Books (hostess who's the  mostest)

March 20- Books Complete Me

March 21- Live to Read

March 22- YA Bookmark

March 23- Confessions of a Bookaholic

March 24- Proud Book Nerd

March 25- La Femme Readers

March 26- Yara @ Once Upon A Twilight

March 27-Katie’s Book Blog

March 28- Kristie Cook

March 29- Nightly Reading

March 30- VLSimplicity

March 31- Book Reader Addicts

April 1- Red House Books

April 2- Reader Girls

April 3- Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

April 4- YzhaBella’s Bookshelf

April 5- Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

April 6- The Bursting Bookshelf

And we have fabulous prizes!!! Click on a link and enter for books, ebooks, and even a KINDLE!!!

Hugs, Brenda

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interview with Victoria Simcox

Q: Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose children’s fantasy to write?

 A: Ever since I was a small child I have always loved fantasy and fairy tales. Now that I’m an adult, juvenile and young adult fantasy fiction are still my favorite genres to read. I chose to write a children’s fantasy because I have a great imagination that I felt I’d like to put to good use. I also love children and the fact that they have such vivid imaginations and a sense of wonder. Being an elementary school art teacher, I get to hear all about the books my students are reading, and I love how excited they get when they explain their favorite stories to me.

Q: Did you outline before you wrote your book or did you just go with the flow?

A: I definitely go with the flow, but I do plan things loosely and I do go back through my manuscript at times to change situations and plots.

Q: Who was your favorite character in The Magic Warble and why?

A: I have many favorites, but one I loved creating was Werrien, because in the beginning of the story he starts out as your typical good looking, self centered teenaged boy, but as the story progresses he becomes kinder, more sensitive, but yet still mentally and physically strong.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?

A: I remember I was sitting in the movie theater watching the first Harry Potter movie when I envisioned my main character Kristina walking down a snowy sidewalk. At the time that’s all of the story I had. I went home that night and wrote my first page not knowing where the story would go.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your wonderful new book?

A: Yes, for sure! . There are also quite a few reviews on .

Q: Is there a sequel in the making?

A: Yes. It is called "The Black Shard." I would love you and your followers to check it out a

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Newbie Alert!

So, who is Amy Maurer Jones?

Well, I'm a YA author, a wife, mother and lover of furry creatures of all sorts and a school teacher.
Allow me begin by saying thank you to the wonderful team of authors who make up The Writer's Voice. It is such an honor to be included in your ranks and I am very excited about my first post here.

I am the author of The Soul Quest Trilogy, a paranormal romance series geared toward middle grade to high school age kids. The Soul Quest Trilogy is about a group of teenagers who have been commanded with Spirit by the Great Spirit, Hala. If you think it's difficult being a teenager, try being a teenager who was born destined to save the world from soul sucking Daevas and their mutant progeny Aengels. These demon - like, fallen spirits are some seriously bad dudes and dudettes! The teenage Oracles are having a hard enough time trying to survive their freshman year of high school when they begin to discover their supernatural powers and the responsibilities that go along with being a Spirit. Liv, Laith, Brayan and Meena want more than anything to be normal teenagers. Yeah, good luck with that!

Books! Books! Books!

Soulless: The Story of Shayan is a prequel to the series and it gives the reader the background story or explanation of how Daeva's and Aengels came into existence. It explains how one particular Spirit fell into darkness. (Published October 2011)

Soul Quest is the first book in the series. In this book the four teenage Oracles, Liv, Laith, Brayan and Meena meet one another as freshman in high school and discover their unique powers and destiny. (Published February 2010)

The Guardians of Souls is the second book in the series. In this installment the Oracles are a little less naive and they have gained greater control over their abilities. They set out in search of the Daevas to finish what they started in book one. (Published July 2011)

Soul Deep is the third and finally book in the trilogy. In this segment the Oracles will finally prevail but not before they come face to face with a very dangerous, mythical creature lurking within the depths of the Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. (Coming August 2012)

I'm more than an author...

When I'm not writing you can find me chasing after my husband and children. I feel very blessed to be married to my own version of Edward Cullen. Kelly, my husband of fifteen years, is the love of my life, my true soul mate. Our children, Olivia (11) and Keaton (8) are the most beautiful, brilliant and talented kids in the entire world (I'm not biased AT ALL, LOL!).  We share our happy household with several playful, slobbering pals, Duke (a boxer-lab mix), Odie (miniature dachschund) and Blackjack, or Blackie (black kitty).

When I'm not screaming at them to do their homework, practice the piano or put thier dirty undies in the hamper we have a great time hanging out together. We love to play Apples to Apples, Mario Cart and throwing frisbees.  

When I'm not writing or spending quality time with my family, I'm teaching high school students about theater arts and dance.  We are always busy learning and getting ready for something exciting. Just last week we held a school wide talent show to raise funds for the Art Department. We had a blast doing it and raised supplementary funds for our programs!

Next weekend we will participate in the largest Arts Festival in the state of NC. My county hosts this festival annually and it features performances by our middle and high school band and choral programs and our high school theater and dance programs. You can also find a huge display of art work from students of all ages, kindergarden through high school.

We also anticipate our annual spring musical in early May (this year's performance is Into the Woods) followed by the annual spring concert, a showing of our students work and progress through out the semester.

So, how does a school teacher become a writer? 

Dancing, acting and writing are all forms of communication. Each form requires exceptional creativity and passion to inspire and impress an audience. I have enjoyed a passion for reading, writing, and the arts since I was a child. As an adult I have enjoyed having the opportunity to share my passion for the arts with children. It only seems appropriate that delving into the world of teen fiction would be the next logical step in my life.

I guess what I'm trying to convey here is that I'm all about kids, education and family values. As you can see I'm a very busy lady and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my full life. If you would like to learn more about me or my books you can check out these links! I hope that you will! I hope that you will comment on this post and say hello, tell me about yourself and/or what types of books you love.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Interview with Samantha Young

Welcome back Samantha Young and thank you for stopping by to visit!
So, who gets to read your manuscripts before you submit them?

Before I self-publish a title I have my editor, my mum and a friend read through it. They point out any anomalies, ‘issues’, inconsistencies and anything they might not ‘get’ and together we tighten the novel right up. They’re all very blunt so I’ve developed a pretty thick skin :-p

Do you have a day job? Do you hope that writing will be your full time career in the future?

I am exceptionally blessed. Writing is my full-time career and I hope it continues to be my career long into the future.

What are you working on now?

At present I am working on my new series, Fire Spirits. This series is a YA Paranormal Romance based on the legends of the Jinn. The first novel Smokeless Fire is well into its editing stages and will be released Oct 21st. I have an awesome Smokeless Fire Blog Tour kicking off on Oct 17th-Oct 28th. If you’d like to know more check out

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

Reading. It’s great because I can also talk myself into believing that it’s not procrastinating (which is totally is) because I generally read YA books and adult paranormal so I just tell myself I’m researching my genre. Hehe. 

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?

I don’t really have a singular place where I do my best writing. I do tend to write in my bedroom, however, because I don’t have an office at the moment. All I can say is that I’ve discovered I can’t concentrate if I’m in a messy room. I don’t know what it is but it’s like a messy room seems to equal a messy brain. I’m not really a neat freak either but I definitely need to keep my bedroom tidy if I’m planning on writing.

If you could live in one book for a day, what would it be?

I’d love to live in the world of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I just love the characters and the vampire lore and… well… not to mention the exceptionally delicious men. I know the Strigoi are terrifying so we’ll just pretend it would be book one I’m living in at the academy where they can’t get in (yet). I think it would be so cool to live in an old historical academy where my classes either consist of learning magic or training in martial arts. Plus… there’s always the off chance I’d bump into Dimitri Belikov. Yes please!

Thank you again Samantha and a big thanks to everyone reading!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why Werewolves?

Why Werewolves?

I'm a 32 year old wife and mother, and yet I write young adult paranormal romance. I'm not shy about it. Everyone who knows me knows that I've written Prince of Wolves, and most of them have gotten it; out of love, sympathy or because they are genuinely interested in the genre'. I do get asked on a regular basis, why werewolves?

My usual response is just- it's what I'm interested in, what I like to read. That of course is a pretty generic answer so here I will try to clarify, add a little color if you will.

Werewolves are the "bad boys" of the paranormal world. Not to say that vampires don't play their wicked part. But werewolves are the muscle, the outsiders with attitude. They never walk away from a fight, they always finish what they start and they have a forever kind of love. They have a presence when they walk into the room that makes people want to step back and take notice. They are aggressive, brave, dominant, protective, faithful and loyal to their family. I'm fascinated with the pack dynamics that can be incorporated into their stories. I think that often their characters are very redeemable because of their animal nature and I love the ability to stretch a character's boundaries with that animal nature.

Another concept that appeals to me and I think others tend to enjoy is the whole "true mate" concept, which in any werewolf book is a huge selling factor. The little girl in all of us wants to meet "the one", wants to fall madly in love and live happily ever after. There is something so romantic and inspiring about the idea of their being a perfect soul mate for you. The great thing about writing about werewolves is I get to shape that love, give life to the partnership and idea of soul mates.

For any of these ideas to work there has to be on simple ingredient...Magic. The reason I think a paranormal love story is picked over the non-paranormal is because of the magic and intrigue that is behind the paranormal world. Consider Disney, would they be near as successful had they not appealed to the imagination and curiosity of their viewers by incorporating magic into their movies? And believe it or not werewolves are the embodiment of magic. How else but through magic could a human's complete DNA change in order to make him also a wolf, a completely different species...magic.

All that said, there is still one more aspect that appeals to me and that's the ladies who love them. I think it takes a special female character to win the role of the mate. She has to be strong but vulnerable, beautiful but flawed. She has to be able to stand on her own two feet as a person, but not be complete without her werewolf mate. She needs to be able to understand his struggles and accept his alpha ways, but not be a door mat. It's a high calling. I think the female lead is one of the hardest to write. Usually she doesn't start out with many of these qualities but grows into them as the story unfolds. If she's too bold readers find her obnoxious if she isn't bold enough she is seen as weak and not worthy of a strong male. She definitely has big shoes to fill, but when you find a book with a female lead with those characteristics it's such a fun and exciting thing to watch.

So that's why werewolves. Maybe to all those who asked me before and received my polite short answer, this gives them a little more insight into me as an author.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Visiting Old Friends

It's rare that I get to write about characters I've already written about. My four currently published books--Something to Blog About, Troy High, The Boyfriend Thief, and Surfacing--are all completely separate from each other and involve all new characters.

But right now, I'm having fun getting to know characters I've already known for a while. I'm working on editing a sequel novella to Troy High. I know these characters. I've spent so much time with them already that I don't have to write out all new character bios and figure out who they really are behind the words. I know their motivations, so I know why they do the things they do.

It's a fun experience for me. It really is like going back to visit friends I haven't seen in a long time. I'm catching up on their lives since the book ended and seeing what it is they want now. 2012 is apparently my year of sequels--once this novella is done, I'll be working on a sequel to Surfacing, and so I'm looking forward to getting back in touch with the characters from that book again. I'm sure it might feel a little strange once I get back to working on all new books after writing about characters I already know so well!

As a writer, do you often write about the same characters or do you prefer new people and worlds? As a reader, do you like standalones or do you want to get to know characters better over the course of many books?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Liking Goat Cheese (and Other Strongly Flavored Things)

I'm just going to admit it. Why lie? I read all the Amazon reviews of my books. 
Yeah, I know we're not supposed to care what others think about our work, that we're supposed to create without reference to the whims and tastes of others, that we should have broad shoulders and big girl panties and all of that.

Whatever. I read 'em anyhow.

Sometimes the things readers write about my book aren't happy-making for me. But if our books are like our babies, it is probably best to think of publishing them as an act of giving up our "baby" in some form of closed adoption. We don't get to keep our baby and give it away at the same time, you know? A fortunate parent might just be able to sneak glimpses, though, and I suppose that is (in part) why I read my reviews. It's a way of observing our "child" out on the playground: "Oh, look! She made a friend!"

Of course, more happens on the playground than just making friends . . .

And that is where I find it helpful to remember goat cheese. Now, my sister is one of the biggest fans of goat cheese you could ever hope to meet. She likes it all. Fetas, chevres, cheddars, you name it. She would like to have dairy goats so that she could make her own goat cheese.

And then there's me.

She orders this gorgeous looking salad and I think to myself, "How yummy does that look?" and I try a bite. Ew! Yuck! Cup of water, like, yesterday!! You see, I do not like goat cheese. I don't like feta on my salads. Don't care for chevre on my bagel. Maybe, just maybe, if you cover up the odor taste of a very fresh, very mild chevre with some cumin and lots of garlic, I can just about handle it. With a nice, full-bodied red to wash the taste away. Because here's the thing: not everyone likes goat cheese.

So what does this have to do with me reading reviews? Well, one time I got a rather sad-making review of my book. The reader didn't enjoy it, didn't get it. And told everyone on the interwebs. I threw a pity party but made the mistake of inviting my sister. She wasn't having any of it. "Hey," she said, "It's just like you and goat cheese." I stared at my sister, who is very intelligent and not particularly given to spouting random non-sequitors. She rolled her eyes and explained for me. "Not everyone likes goat cheese. And not everyone who reads your novel will like it. So get over it already."

Now, when I read my reviews, I simply remind myself that not everyone likes goat cheese and that sometimes it is good to have a reminder for not-goat-cheese eaters that "this product is known by the state of California to contain goat cheese." Or, um, "this book contains the following things I didn't like, in case you don't like them either."

And for those of you who have popped over to Amazon to tell others how much you loved Rippler or Chameleon or Unfurl, thank you so very, very much. Your words make me cry at times as I look out over the "playground" and see my children making friends.

Okay. Quick completely unscientific survey: How many stars would you, personally, give to goat cheese on a scale of 1-5? Post in comments for a chance to win a gifted e-copy of one of my books (your choice of title).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Achieving Balance (a.k.a. Trying to Do it All)

As I gear up for the big Defy cover reveal on March 29th, I frequently find myself spinning in circles trying to get everything done. If you know me, you know this is rather unusual. I'm a Type A who takes planning to a whole other level. So this feeling of spiraling out of control has been more than a little disconcerting!

Like many indie authors, I have another full-time job. My wedding planning career absorbs my day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with a one-hour break to go and pick my daughter up from Kindergarten. After 6:00 p.m. comes family time with my husband and daughter. We make dinner and catch up on each other's days. My daughter goes to bed at 8:00, and I usually work on author tasks from then until 9:00, at which time my hubby and I watch a TV show or tackle chores. By 11:00, he's in bed and my writing tasks begin.

Yes, it's after 11:00 p.m. as I type this. Yes, I have to get up early with my daughter in the morning. Don't judge.

Oh, can judge! The truth is, this isn't a healthy lifestyle. While I am taking care to watch what I eat and going for three-mile walks three times a week, I'm operating off far less sleep than I did back in July of last year before my books were published. But, as I tell my husband, I've got to do what I've got to do. And I truly wouldn't change thing (except add more hours in the day!).

I'm wise enough to know that there are ways to find balance even in the craziest life circumstances. After realizing how much I had to tackle in the coming weeks leading up to the cover reveal, I took some steps to keep from derailing. There are almost always ways to achieve a goal. Here's what I've done:

1. Hired a book tour organizer. I'm still a relative newbie to the whole author deal, so I've been doing all of my own marketing and promoting. My author friend, Bethany Lopez, however, recently hired a couple of blog tour organizers with varying success. Based on her advice, I've started working with YA Bound, and Trisha Wolfe has been absolutely wonderful! I'm now excited rather than stressed about the kickoff of the book tour on April 30th.

2. Taken people up on offers of help. I've always been one who is happy to offer a helping hand, but I'm reluctant to accept one when I need it. Not now! When I needed a fresh round of beta readers to firm up Defy, for example, I turned to some of my writer friends who I trusted to provide honest feedback. Thanks to them, I know I'm producing an amazing book...and that's one less stressful thing to have on my plate with the launch looming!

3. Scheduled some time off. Okay, it won't be until July, but I'm still thrilled about it! That will be one year since the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy was published. Just knowing that the down-time is on the horizon will help get me through these crazy months ahead.

4. Scratched things off my list. My husband pokes fun at me because I have lists for everything. He's a tech geek, so when he sees my multiple Word docs open on my laptop it does this weird thing to a vein in his forehead. Anyhow, there is a serious feeling of accomplishment in scratching off even the smallest list item. Trust me on this!

On that note, I'll scratch off my "Write a post for The Writer's Voice" list item and thank you all for continuing to follow me on my journey. For my next post, I'll have an excerpt from Defy as I prepare for the cover reveal just two days later!

What do you do to achieve balance?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ten reasons why we love books

With World Book Day having just passed, I thought I’d compile a list with the top ten reasons why we love books. Feel free to chime in.

1. Books enrich our lives. Reading is the perfect hobby; one that can be easily done anytime and anywhere, and doesn’t require much preparation.

2. They’re tangible records of our world. They hold knowledge and wisdom.

3. Books are a means to escape. No matter how much we love our lives, it’s nice to escape into another every now and then.

4. Books offer lots of new experiences. We get to be someone else for a while, visit new places, and experience events we might never get a chance to experience in real life.

5. Books are a constant source of inspiration and meditation, a way to relieve stress and forget about our problems and limitations.

6. Even fiction books often teach us something about other people and their perspectives.

7. Books show us what the opposite gender feels and thinks.

8. They challenge our views about the world and broaden our horizons.

9. They help us bond with other people with a similar taste in book clubs and reading groups. They help us bond with our children when we read a bedtime story to them, and with our friends when we discuss or recommend a good read.

10. Books offer a way to fall in love times and times again, both with new characters and new worlds.

Jayde x

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Indie Authors - How to have a book signing or Meet the Author - event

So you've self published a book, now you can sit back and count your Benjamin's right?  Unless you already have been mainstream and have a fan-base, that isn't going to happen.  You want people to know your name, believe in you (other than your mother), and can put a face with the name.  That means buy some lip-gloss (if you're a guy, you can skip that step), take care of the unibrow (guys, that's you), iron your clothes (seriously, don't skip this step), buy hand sanitizer (you gotta shake some hands) and get ready to sell yourself.  Hold you gonna do that?  Here's how you're going to do that...first and foremost, BELIEVE.  You can't sell yourself if you don't believe in the work that you've done.

I know we all think of fabulous signings with lines out the door to meet you. Indie authors are more accepted now than ever before.  Readers don't really know the difference if you sell yourself correctly.  If you don't have a physical book, you can have a "Meet the Author" event.  I'll address this part first.  I'm not going to cover the issue of having a GREAT cover, because you know that already.  Go to and order some postcards and a banner with your book cover on it.  I suggest getting the small one.... I ordered the medium size and wish I'd gone smaller, watch for sales, they have them often.  On your postcards, have your website, email address and where they can buy your book.  (Barnes and Noble, Amazon..etc.).  If you went through Smashwords, make a coupon code that is good for a week.   My books are young adult, so I wanted to do a signing where young adults go.  I called a trendy used bookstore that college kids go.  They said yes.  You'll be surprised how easy it really is, once you get the guts to call.  I try to go ask in person but if not, I send an email with all of the details and my website.  I contacted the mall in the town I live in and asked if I could come in and they too said yes.  One thing about my mall, if I had actually been selling a book, I would have had to pay them to have it.  Make up a flyer about your signing and go to places and hang it up.  Your hairdresser, your day job, ask places that your target audience go to if you can put it there.  If you have a local Shopper style newspaper that gives free ads for 'things going on around town' put it there.  I mailed postcards to all of my friends with a reminder of the event. You have to work hard for it, but hopefully it will all pay off.  I brought my laptop and played my video trailer on a loop (it continuously played), people came by to watch the video and others stopped by for free postcards.  I gave the coupon code to people to get the book for free.  Yes, you have to give away a lot of copies to get the fans you want for the long-run.

I'm a believer in having a physical book to sign.  I used Createspace for mine.  It was not expensive.  I paid $39.99 for the pro-plan.  Once I formatted the book and passed the edits, I ordered a proof and now I have a beautiful book to sign.  The books cost me about $4.50 each to have made and shipped to me, and I sell them on my website.  I give them away on blog hops and I have book signing where people buy the book and I sign it.

Let me give you pointers about talking to the public.

1.  You are the one that knows the book inside and out, your enthusiasm is what will sell it.  Be clear, be concise and be HAPPY.  They don't care if your life sucks, pretend it doesn't and sell that book.

2.  Bring a couple of people with you that have read the book.  Make sure they're happy too.  It helps if they've read the book and chat-up your book to people.

3.  I know we hate comparisons, but sometimes you have to compare yourself to someone they've heard of.  If your book is similar to Hunger Games, tell them.  Say something like, "Do you like Suzanne Collins Hunger Games?  If you did, you'll enjoy this book.  I love her writing style and people have said that my style is very similar."  Sadly many people will tell you they don't read books, or your genre.  That's okay, because they probably know someone that does.  Give them your postcard and ask them to pass it along.  I always give a person two, one for them, one for a friend.

4.  I was a smoker years ago, and one thing I can't stand now, is the smell of smoke.  I know what it's like to be nervous and want to chain smoke and if that is what you need to do, do it.  Put on a shower cap over your hair and a raincoat on for you won't smell like it.  If you write YA books, you want to set an example and I've yet to know a smoker that is glad they started.  You don't want a kid to go home and say "Well, Gina the author smokes, so it must be okay."
5.  If a glass of wine is needed, go ahead, but just one.  Don't show up drunk or tipsy.  That is a train wreck that you want to avoid.

6.  Smile, you need to enjoy the moment.  You worked just as hard as a mainstream author but you don't have a publishing house with their name on the line, your's is.

7.  You're an artist so you don't have to wear a business suit.  Business suits are nice but intimidating to teens.  The low-cut number is a no-no too.  They don't want to buy a book from a boring grown-up in a suit.  Guys, no suits.  Khakis and a polo is great.  Gold chains and shirts unbuttoned with a bunch of chest hair hanging out won't impress a teen (or many women).

8.  No gum.

Good luck, and if you have suggestions - please comment :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Onyx Talisman by Brenda Pandos Blog Tour

I'm excited to announce the upcoming blog tour for the third and final book in the Talisman Series, The Onyx Talisman. It's a fun-filled event with giveaways of books/ebooks and a chance to win a Kindle.

If you haven't had a chance to read the other books, The Emerald Talisman is free on Nook/Kindle right now, and  The Sapphire Talisman is only $2.99.

Onyx Blog Tour
March 21-  Live to Read
March 22- YA Bookmark
March 24- Proud Book Nerd
March 25- La Femme Readers
March 26- Yara @ Once Upon A Twilight
March 28- Kristie Cook
March 29- Nightly Reading
March 30- VLSimplicity
April 1-  Red House Books
April 2- Reader Girls

Come join the fun starting March 19th!

Hugs, Brenda

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why Fantasy?

Delving into foreign terrenes within mystical worlds is so much fun for me. It's no doubt my Austrian, imagrant mother's folklore and fairytale telling was what triggered my first love for fantasy. She sure had a way of comunicating those Grimms-like tales to me that would take my imagination traveling right along with the characters she brought to life. Later, in my preteens, the tables turned, and I read fantasy novels to her, our favorites being, The Chronicles of Narnia. I can remember that special time when I was around twelve years old; my mother would cook dinner while I sat at the kitchen table and read to her.

Now that I'm an adult I love to write as well as read fantasy. Why, you may ask? There are no set rules in the genre, imagination is limitless. I can create my own world or enter someone else world where anything can happen. For me, writing fantasy is a way of escaping the everyday grind in life. Don't get me wrong, though, I'm not complaining about my life. I actually love my life and know that I've been very blessed with a wonderful family to boot. But God also gave me the ability to create and that to me is very exciting. Escaping into my story gives me such a sense of freedom. I see myself tagging along, like a reporter, with my characters; they of course can't see me, I can only see them.

My love for reading fantasy has inspired me to write my novel, The Magic Warble, a story geared toward middle grade readers, though I have been told by many adults, that they, too, have enjoyed it, just as much as they would have if they were still a child.

Along with the adventure, intrigue and suspense, I have weaved a message of hope, perseverance, friendship and loyalty into my story. My personal hope is that you will want to join my main character, Kristina along her journey as she travels with a fellowship of characters such as gnomes, dwarfs, fairies, talking animals, and a prince, to fulfill a crucial task that will change the destiny of a magical land.
Lastly, I'd like to mention that now available for purchase, is my second book in this series, The Black Shard, .

I'm hoping to have 3, possibly 4 books in the series. In The Black Shard, Kristina goes back to Bernovem and partakes in another great adventure with her Bernovian friends, and best of all she is invited to travel with Werrien to his homeland, Tezerel. This book is also very adventurous, suspenseful, has magical characters, evil villains, a heroin, and is even spiced up with romance.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Inteview with Amy Kathleen Ryan

Give a warm welcome to guest author 
Amy Kathleen Ryan!

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?

Honestly, nothing specific other than the feeling they've just read a really good book. I hope that the story and ideas will stay with them for a while after they're done reading, but truly I think no book is the same for any two readers. Different people see different things. The best books are those that don't try to control readers too much, that allow people to draw their own conclusions.

Do you feel that aspiring writers should start out by writing what they know?

Yes and no. I think that people need to write the story that most burns inside of them to write. Usually what ends up happening is that they use what they know to build the story, whatever that may be.

How do the novels you write differ from the novels you enjoy reading?

Good question. I think I try to write books that I would enjoy reading. That's my only aesthetic. I like novels that don't get too bogged down in ponderous detail, that have a swift story that holds together logically, and that has interesting characters who behave in believably unpredictable ways. That's what I try to create when I'm writing.

If you could choose any part of the world to live in for just one year, where would you go and why?

I've always wanted to rent a chalet in Switzerland for at least a few months. I could hike in the mornings and write in the afternoons, or vice versa. But I'm a wandersome spirit. There are a million places I want to see someday.

What are your biggest concerns about people around the world currently?

We are losing the ability to talk to people who do not share our ethos. America especially is becoming frighteningly fragmented, and it's harming our political process. I think we've forgotten that, as a people, we share much more in common than what separates us. We are still one nation, and we've got to stop letting our leaders poison our dialogue with each other.

Thank you Amy for the wonderful interview and a big thanks to all of our readers for stopping by!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Guest Author Trinity Faegen

 A warm welcome to Trinity Faegen!

Are there any other art forms that inspire you when you are writing? Do you listen to music, look at art pieces for ideas or watch dance and gymnastics? 

Hands down, music. Nothing makes me want to write more than music. I listen to it all the time, and most of my plots came to me on solitary road trips, speakers at volume 10.

What is your biggest and hardest to ignore distraction? How do you cope with it?

Had you asked me this question six months ago, I’d have said the Internet. Now, the answer is fine-tuned: reviews on the Internet. I almost couldn’t finish book 2 in this series because of a few extremely bad reviews of book 1. I’m not talking about critical reviews. Sure, I wish everyone would love my book, but that’s not realistic. If someone doesn’t like it and enumerates why in a civilized manner, I’m happy they gave it a go. But it’s very hard to live through the book/author bashing kind that are meant to be hurtful, all in the interest of being witty and clever. Writing book 2 with those people looking over my shoulder was paralyzing. Author friends managed to smack me upside the head enough times that I can now stay away from places where these ‘reviewers’ have their fun at authors’ expense. The muse seems a lot happier.

Is there one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you before you started writing? 

Don’t listen to advice. Learn the craft, educate yourself about the business, but don’t seek advice, because everyone’s journey is different. Make your own way, write the book only you can write, then wish for luck. It plays a much bigger role in publishing than anyone cares to admit. Right place, right time is true – just make sure you have a good book when that opportunity presents itself.

Do you write in or out of sequence? What part of your novel comes first? What comes last?

To me, writing a book is very similar to watching a movie. I start at the beginning and end at the end. Writing out of sequence would make me nuts.

How do you choose your main character? What about perspective? Do you tend to write in third or choose the character telling the story based off of part of your plot?

My adult fiction is in first person, which made it a no-brainer who would be the main character. The Mephisto books are in third, alternating between the hero and heroine. They both have story arcs and growth, so I’m not sure we could call either of them the main character. I’m working on a YA project right now that’s first person. It all depends on the story, I suppose.

When you are reading, what make a character compelling to you? Is it the same aspects that make a character you are writing compelling?

A character has to feel real, and they have to have what romance writers label GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict. Debra Dixon teaches GMC , and wrote a book about it. The character has to strive for something, needs a reason to pursue the goal, and the plot to the story, and their growth, are the roadblocks keeping them from what they need. Of course, a lot of times, the character realizes in the end that what began as their goal is no longer terribly important. Or perhaps it is. It’s the journey of that character that makes them compelling. If they feel real, if the author has done her job and made me care about them, I am flipping pages as fast as possible to see if she reaches her goal. I keep this in mind in anything I write. Without GMC, there’s no reason for a reader to keep reading.

Thank you to everyone reading and to Trinity for the interview!
(For what is it worth, I LOVED The Mephisto Covenant and can hardly wait for the sequel!) 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words...

A picture is worth a thousand words, but if you are an author, you have to find a picture that is worth 100,000 words and well, that….is not easy.

I remember the first time I saw the original cover of the Insight series. I was paralyzed with shock. The image of the electrifying sun was right there in the center, but all I could see was name. My name was on the cover of a book. Magically this cover had taken a word document that I had worked on for almost a year and turned into a novel.

I texted the image to everyone I knew. They all laughed at me when I said “you have to tell me if this is good – because I can’t see past my name.” The excitement was almost too much. I was really doing this; I was going to publish a book. I was going to let people I had never met read my work. Having that reality in front of you, realizing that the word author would be associated with your name has got to be one of the most exhilarating emotions that has ever existed.

Those of you who have followed me know that I did publish with that cover, but then year later I changed the image of my series. Why you ask, well, for me writing has been a learn as you go kind of thing , and I learned that the first cover of a series not only sets the stage for your novel, but everything that will follow in that series.

When I Okayed that first cover, I wasn’t thinking about the next covers in the series, even though three of books were already written.  When it was time to create the next cover, that sun the one that was so bold ,was placed on Embody as well.  Sure there were other elements added to it, but that sun had become a brand, one that I was not sure I wanted, simply because that sun represented a medallion in the series, a medallion that was important, but not the core of the story.  So where does one go from that point, when your name is on cover, you have a trade mark, but it’s not one that is quite as fitting?

You start over. I made it through the changes of my first two covers with the help of a great friend who saw my series the same way I did, and in the end I felt like I was on the right track, that I had an image, a brand, that could represent all of the aspects in my series.

Some writers like our beloved Emma Michaels are blessed with multiple talents ( Emma was the one that spotted the smoky girl currently on the Insight series – she was the one that not only inspired the changes in my covers but helped bring them to life). Authors like Emma have that ‘eye’ that allows them to create their own covers, to play with countless images and ideas until they have found or created ‘the one’. Others like me have to find away to explain their vision to a graphic designer, and then that designer has to figure out away to create what is in your mind.

Sounds simple doesn’t it. Not really. Actually not at all. There are a lot of reasons this is hard. One scene has to capture every one of your words, and it has to be powerful enough to allow you stand out from the thousands upon thousands of covers in your genera.

Basically you have to come up with an image that will cause people to pick the book up off the shelf (or stop their scroll on their e-reader) and lead them to read the summary. If a reader glances at your summery chances are, they are expecting your cover to match those words in some way or at least intrigue them enough to know what is under that image. You have to find an image that a reader can look at once they are done reading the novel and understand completely. Those are a lot of variables and they bare more weight than I can explain with simple words.

You would think that three covers in, five if you count my two remakes that creating or deciding on a cover would be simple at this point. That I could point to a few stock images, put a few flowery words on an email, and shazam a perfect eye-catching cover is emailed back to me, and all is right in the universe, but dare I say it has gotten harder with time.

On my learn as you go journey in writing I realized that though it is said to ‘never judge a book by its cover’ readers can’t help themselves. The cover is the first impression. On blogs when a novel is written about, more than likely the cover will be mentioned, and given a star rating like the book. Across every social media that cover will appear in streams, comments, likes, retweets, and pins will all be made. Knowing and understanding that now makes me weigh every decision very heavily when it comes to my covers.

Currently I am working with an artist to create the cover for my next release. This will be the first book in a new series, so it’s ground zero. What I put on the front of this book will be a leading image, one that will basically dictate the mood or ambience of every cover that comes in this series.

What questions or ideas are going through my head at this point? Things like should there guy be on there? How many YA books have guys now? What about the girl? Can I find a girl that looks like my girl? If I come close can she be altered to kind of look like her?  Do I want to commit to a physical image of a girl/boy – or do I want to allow the reader to see them their own way? What about a guitar? Music is the core – I should have music, but wait there are also dark shadows – how could I make that work? Should I have smoke on this like with Insight? Both of my series will connect so that might be a must. What kind of background? What if I go way different from my last covers and have some deep dimensional  kind of look with all kinds of things that would bring the book to life? It did storm a few times in the book, maybe I should have a storm – but if I have a storm will they think that that this book is set completely in a storm scene – will a storm be a warning that something bad/good is going to happen, because that is not the case. How bold should the title be? Maybe I should just have something simple and build on it in later covers. What if I layer images on top of one another – but what images should I use?

Those are just a few of the millions of questions that have been going through my mind over the past few months. Thankfully I have an artist that is basically willing to try anything and brave enough to tell me I am insane at times.

I have come so close to saying ok that is the one, but there is always a gut feeling that tells me to try one more idea. Perhaps it’s because I still have nine weeks before the release date, or it could be that I’m paranoid – who knows : )

So, writers do you go through something similar to this with your covers? Readers what covers do you love? Do you like to see images of boys/ girls? Or would you rather have some suggestive image on the cover? What really gives you a strong first impression?
 Hopefully by my next post I will have a cover to share with all of you, along with a summary  *fingers crossed*!