Laura Howard: May 2013

5/30/13

Seriously? A SERIES???



Greetings readers! My blogging prowess has been utterly lackluster in the weeks following the release of The Forgotten Ones, for which I apologize. Hopefully today's guest post redeems me in your eyes!

Anna Cruise has been writing and drooling over boys since middle school. Lots of years have passed but some things never change...





Did you just type The End on the manuscript you've been slaving over? Did you shed big, sloppy tears as you typed the final words of your denouement? Did you drag your feet—endlessly—while hammering out those last pages, simply because you didn't want to say goodbye to your characters?

Well, guess what?

You don't have to say goodbye. And you shouldn't say goodbye.

I know what you're thinking. Wait a minute. I just finished this goddamn book. What the hell is she talking about?

I'm talking series. 

Yep. Series.

Right now, you're thinking: Uh, I wrote a stand-alone book.

I'm here to tell you there's no such thing. Every single book can be turned into a series. Every single one. And even if you wrote a book that you had no intention of continuing (like, you didn't put in one of those annoying cliffhangers...your book actually has an ending!!) the simple fact is that you can always continue the story. There is always a loose thread, a place to pick up, a new idea to explore with the characters you've gotten to know so well. It doesn't have to pick up where the previous book ended. It's not a straight continuation. Maybe it's a storyline that didn't get fully explored. Maybe it's a minor character that deserves a bigger story. Maybe it's a different point in time. But you can find that thread and weave it into something bigger. 

Look, series sell. Big time. Readers want more stories. Because, just as you've gotten close to the characters you gave birth to, your readers have formed attachments to them, as well. I can't count how many reviews I've received where people mention how they wanted the story to go on, where they've actually docked me a star because they simply wanted more story. These characters become friends...friends that they don't want to let go of, you know? 

So, should you write a series just to satisfy your readers? No. Because you'll benefit, too. Not simply in sales (do you know what the click-through factor is when you hyperlink the next book in your series in your e-book file? Me, either. But it's good.) but in reader loyalty, too. Your readers will become deeply invested in the stories you weave and that means they'll become pretty invested in you, too. Your fan base will grow, your interaction with your readers will grow (as long as you engage along with them) and your sales will absolutely grow, too.

There you go. Congrats on typing The End. 

Now sit your ass back down and type Chapter 1. 

To the next book in the series you didn't know you were going to write.

Because, trust me...your readers will want it.




I love reading series, even though it can be hard to wait for the next installment! 

How do you feel about writing series?

5/25/13

Love Notes by Heather Gunter

Love Notes by Heather Gunter

Young Adult Contemporary






How do you cope when the people you care for hurt you the most? When the way you feel on the outside, smothers you on the inside. And when you are left to face your demons alone, will you learn that only you have the power to overcome them?

Charlie has never had it easy. Between the constant moving and the incessant fat comments and jokes from her father, her self-worth is nonexistent. Her reflection in the mirror shows her nothing but a plain Jane. Music is the only thing that keeps her sanity in check.

Charlie catches the eye of the town star quarterback, Maverick. With her curves, her brunette hair, and the voice of an angel, Maverick has never met anyone like her. Everything that is different about Charlie just makes Maverick like her more. Unfortunately, Charlie doesn’t see it herself.

Proving it to her may deem harder than he thinks, especially when tragedy strikes and tears them apart.

Now standing on her own two feet she may finally learn exactly who she is, what’s she’s capable of and how very un plain Jane she really is.


Excerpt:


I turn to Will, “Dude was that really necessary?” Will just throws his quirky smile up and shrugs his shoulders.

“Couldn’t be helped bro. It looked like you were drooling all over yourself. We are talking baby drool bad. And I, being your best friend and all, am here to help keep you from the massive embarrassment you were fixing to bestow upon yourself.”
I hang my head, stare at the floor and smile. “Can’t help it Will. I like her, I like her a lot.”
I knew I wouldn’t catch any ribbing from him, considering his infatuation with a certain red head.
Will starts chuckling, “Yeah, yeah, I know. I could tell. You forget, I’ve known you since diapers. I have to say though Maverick, I’ve never seen you so, so....Twitter paited.”
Nice. A Disney reference.
“You ass,” I laugh, and playfully punch him in the arm and grab him into a headlock. Of course, it doesn’t faze him and he’s laughing like the tool he is. I let go and he finally stops laughing and turns serious, like the switching of a light.
“Nah, seriously dude, I can tell you like her. She’s hot Maverick, and seems really nice. She also doesn’t seem very into herself, which is rare. Plus, I also saw her walking with Tori earlier. So I know she’s got to be cool.”
I instantly feel a pang of jealousy. I must have gotten a look on my face and Will can read me like a damn book.
“Now, now don’t get all territorial and go pissing all over her. That might turn her off,” he says. I simmer down because I know he still has feelings for someone else. It was the fact that he noticed. But then again, anyone would notice. How could you not? I just don’t want any competition. The thought of someone else with her was driving me insane.




When not writing or updating her Into the Night Reviews book blog, you will find Heather curled on the couch reading, surrounded by her children and four dogs. Her cravings for music and books are insatiable. One of her favorite things to do is sing and used to have a dream of becoming a singer. The dream has since changed and is now to become a full time writer. She holds a strong anti-bullying conviction and voices it regularly. She resides in Canton, GA with her husband, 3 boys, 4 dogs, 1 cat and 2 ferrets.


Links:

5/23/13

Presenting Morgan Media and MY Animated Bookmark for The Forgotten Ones







I LOVE this amazing Animated Book mark from Rachel Morgan of Morgan Media. 

I first met Rachel after I saw her book covers via Twitter. They were so gorgeous I asked her who designed them. I was blown away when she told me she did. 

Now she's offering her talents to the indie world, be sure to check her out!





Morgan Media is a small business offering quality services to indie authors at affordable rates.


Message from Rachel Morgan, the founder of Morgan Media:

"I'm an indie author, and it's taken me many, many, MANY hours of work to figure out how to navigate every step from finished manuscript to published work. There's the ebook formatting and the print book formatting and the ebook cover design and the print book cover design. Then comes the marketing--of both yourself and your book--and for that you need blog tour buttons and blog headers and Facebook fan page cover images and artwork for bookmarks and button badges and postcards and whatever else you might want to give away as part of your book launch. All of this takes a spectacular amount of time that you probably don't have, especially if you're busy promoting one book and trying to write the next one. So why not get someone experienced to take care of most of these steps for you? That's what Morgan Media is for."


Find Morgan Media in the following places online: 


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5/18/13

Six Questions Double Feature with Amy Miles and Danielle Bannister


Good morning, writer friends! 

It's Saturday and I have a special treat for you. Instead of just one Six Question guest, I have two~ Amy Miles and Danielle Bannister!
            


Amy, you’ve always wanted to be a writer, while Danielle came into the writing world a bit *cough* later in life.  Do you recall the first thing you wrote?

Amy:  I sure do.  I began writing in grade school and had dragons attacking a fair maiden, who of course was later swept off her feet by a dashing knight.  Kissing always ensued.

Even at a young age, I was obsessed with danger, adventure and torturing my main characters.  My writing did eventually progress into writing my own version Nancy Drew Mysteries and then into the fantasy realms when I was in high school, but my passion for make-believe began long ago.

Danielle: The first real thing I wrote, honestly, was the first chapter of Pulled. I went to school to act, not write. Once I caught the writing bug though, I was hooked. It does mean, however, that I’m behind the curve in terms of learning about the craft so I’m trying to play catch up!


At what point did you start feeling it was okay to call yourself a ‘writer’?

Amy:  Calling myself a writer was never hard.  Thinking of myself as an author was a different story.  At what point are you considered an author?  When you write “The End” on your first rough draft, trudge through countless edits, and finally hit publish on Amazon Kindle?  Or is it when you complete your second book?  Third?  A series?

I think this question is answered differently for every writer.  For me, I didn’t feel like an established author until after my third book recently came out.  Probably had a lot to do with the fact that I take great pride in Defiance Rising, because it was technically my first book.  Now, I feel proud to tell people that I am a full time indie author.

Danielle: It took me awhile, actually. I was enrolled in the Maine branch of the National Writing Project, and I still couldn’t call myself an author. It wasn’t until I got in the mail a little white cup that said ‘Writer’ on it that I actually felt like I had the right to call myself a writer. So lame, I know!


Can you bring us back to the first book you published on Amazon. What was it and what was that experience like?

Amy: Oh my, it was a nightmare!  Probably not what you expected to hear, huh?  Seriously though, it was pure torture to figure out how to properly format a book, upload a book cover and do everything in-between.

People sometimes get the idea that being an author is glamorous, and trust me it has it’s great moments, but learning how to publish a book for the first time is not one of them.  I distinctly remember wanting to bash my head against a brick wall for days on end as I tried to wade through the complicated jargon.  I’m not exactly your most computer savvy person!

My first book I released was Defiance Rising.  It had a different cover and a completely different storyline.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that what I thought was a good book was far from marketable, so I pulled it off, did some more research and began writing FORBIDDEN.

It was a great lesson to learn and I’m thankful I learned early on.

Danielle:  Mine was Pulled. I didn’t know Amy at the time. I actually met her by asking her to review my book on her blog page. 
We became friends on Facebook after that and started chatting everyday.  But I digress; publishing for the first time on my own was terrifying! I really had NO clue what I was doing, to be honest and it took several months of tweaking Pulled before I was happy with the final product. I have learned a ton since that first publishing and will continue to learn with every book I write! There is a great support among Indie Authors who are, for the most part, eager to help new comer so that they don’t need to feel as lost as they did. At least, that’s how I’m seeing things.

With several novels between the two of you, what is some advice you might give those just starting out as an Indie Author?

Amy: The best advice I can give is to write what you love.  Yes, it’s important to know your market, but you don’t have to follow the money train to stand out.  Be yourself.  Do your thing and people will notice. 

I learned a hard lesson with FORBIDDEN on the importance of hiring an editor.  In the beginning, I didn’t have the money to pay for an editor so I figured I’d do it on my own.  Big mistake!  Editors don’t just look for typos, they look for character development, holes in your plot and inconsistencies that you are too close to see for yourself.  Find an editor that gets you and gets what you’re trying to accomplish and you will be thankful you did.

Another crucial point is your book cover. Pick something that captures the feeling of your book’s theme or character.  I have met my fair share of “book whores” and they will be the first to tell you they only buy a book if the cover appeals to them.

Danielle: The best advice I ever got was summed up by writer Ron Carlson, who said that want-to-be-writers are often ‘distracted by things they put in their own way, all day, all the time: leaving the room to get coffee, checking the mail, get coffee, walk the dogs, go to the bathroom, get coffee, look something up, get coffee. The writer is the one who stays in the room.’  I never knew how hard just being at the computer and actively writing actually was until I had to do it!

You are currently working on a couple of projects. Can you tell us a little bit about them—spoiler free of course.

Amy: Oh my, I am always working on something.  Usually more than one thing at a time. 

I’m currently diving into the final draft of a new novella, FACELESS, that will jump start readers into my Cherished Hearts inspirational romance books.  I’ve always had a passion for inspirational romance, but up until this point have always remained in the fantasy realm.  It’s great to break out of that every once in a while.

I’m also obsessing over the completion of my Arotas Trilogy.  REDEMPTION has a lot going on, with several POV shifts and tons of action so it’s kicking my butt right now!  As soon as I finish with REDEMPTION, I will be jumping straight into the prequel, IMMORTAL ROSE.  I hadn’t actually planned on writing this book but so many of my fans wanted to know Fane and Roseline’s tale, so I caved.

I’m also currently working with Danielle on NETHERWORLD.  This joint venture has been a lot of fun, melding romance with fantasy and of course banshees ROCK!  I’ve having a blast designing the underworld and playing around with some mythology.  It’s a good thing Danielle loves writing about human’s cause there is no way I would give up working on the hot and steamy, Aed, god of the Netherworld!



Danielle: Amy and I came up with the idea to co-write Netherworld almost as a joke. A sort of ‘We should totally write a book together!’ But the more we chatted about it, the more it makes sense. We write in completely different genres, I do romance she does fantasy. So we thought what if we had a fantasy sort of character fall in love with a human character?  We tossed out some ideas and soon the Netherworld was born. We’ve just started drafting the early scenes and I’m really excited about what we’re coming up with! The Netherworld puts us into the world of the Banshees, the mythical creatures sent to carry the dead to the other side. The Banshee’s are supposed to be unseen by the living, but one mortal sees a banshee. What happens when they fall in love?  It’s soooooo cool!  She writes the fantasy parts, I write the human parts! It’s perfect!

Between the two of you, you have a pretty large fan base. What would you say is the ONE question they want answered most, and are you willing to answer it here?

Amy: There are several burning questions that I hear quite often.  Will Gabriel and Roseline end up together? Does Sadie live?  Will Bastien return in the sequel to Defiance Rising?  Am I Team Bastien of Team Eamon!

If you have read my books, you know that I don’t make romance easy for my characters.  Life happens, people get hurt, hearts get broken.  I love a happy ending just like the next gal, but I also like realism.  If my characters are going to be happy in the end, they are going to go through some tribulation along the way.  Also…I hate to be predictable.


Danielle: I think most people want to know if Pulled Back Again will finally deliver the happily ever after ending they are looking for. All I can say is…maybe? Ha!


You are both going to an event in Tennessee in January called UtopYA. Can you give the readers a little info about what this is and why it’s so cool?

Danielle: I’ll let Amy handle this one!

Amy: UtopYa is one of many conventions that are being held this year to enable readers to meet up with some of their fave authors.  

For those of you who were lucky enough to get tickets before it sold out, you will get to attend panels, chat with authors, buy books and attend a fabulous award’s ceremony.  I, for one, can’t wait to go dress shopping for this event!


                            

5/15/13

Kiss of Fire and Eyes of Ember by Rebecca Ethington Just 99 Cents




Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn't know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn't want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won't let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to.

The scar is the reason she is being hunted.

If only she knew that she was.

If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air.

Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.




“Loved the world, the concept, all of the characters (good and bad), and just everything about this story! On to the next one!” -Jena, Shortie Says

“I loved this book from the very first lines… I think it will be hard to move on to another story for a while. -Steele Reviews

“It’s amazing and left me at the edge of my seat through the night as I read.” - Zach’s YA Reviews




On May 15th - 16th Kiss of Fire will be free on Amazon!


Can also be found on Barnes & Noble


Book 2 in the Imdalind series!



Joclyn is in hiding, hunted by the man she still desperately loves. Ryland is gone, his mind erased, no memory of Joclyn remains. But, Joclyn’s heart desperately begs her to hold out hope. While, in reality the black eyed monster that possesses him, attempts to kill her over and over.

If it wasn’t for Ilyan, Joclyn would be dead by now.

Ilyan. The man who once stalked her, is now Joclyn’s protector, the only thing she has left. He protects Joclyn from the men who seek to end her life, and while she is haunted by dreams where Ryland begs her to break the bond between them.

Ilyan is there. Always there.

Ilyan trains and prepares her, teaching her everything she needs to know in the hope that one day she can avenge Ryland, if not protect herself from him.

And then there is her father.

The man who has never been there, is suddenly responsible for everything. And who he is has made Joclyn into something she never wanted to be.

The Silnį»³.






"If you like magic and paranormal books you NEED to read this series." - Book Briefs

"Eyes of Ember was so amazing! I can't even put into words how amazing. It's Brilliant." - Imagine a World







Get your copy of Eyes of Ember for only $.99! 


Can also be found on Barnes & Noble




Rebecca Ethington is a story teller and author from Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been telling stories since she was small. First, with writing crude scripts, and then in stage with years of theatrical performances. Rebecca’s first stint into the world of literary writing, The Imdalind Series, was released in October 2012 and since its release each book has been found in several top 100 lists on Amazon. Rebecca is a mother to two, and wife to her best friend of 14 years. Her days are spent writing, running, and enjoying life with her crazy family.









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5/13/13

The Forgotten Ones is 99 cents This Week!


The Forgotten Ones

The Danaan Trilogy

Book One


is now available exclusively on Amazon!

And until May 19 it's only 99 cents!



Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.








About Laura Howard



Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.


Connect with Laura:

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5/11/13

Six Questions with Tricia Zoeller

Happy Saturday! The view from my picture window today is filled with every shade of green imaginable. I hope you're enjoying Spring wherever you are!

Please help me welcome lovely debut author Tricia Zoeller to Finding Bliss.



5/8/13

Cover Reveal: Come What May by Faith Sullivan

Title: Come What May (Heartbeat #2)
Author: Faith Sullivan
Expected release date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult









5/4/13

Six Questions with Alicia Wright Brewster



Bonjour, and Happy Saturday! This is my first Saturday as a Published Author! Yes, you did read that right. In case you didn't hear, I went ahead and published The Forgotten Ones on Monday. I am so excited and it's all been great. Especially the reviews that have been coming in. 

Today I have Alicia Wright Brewster, author of Echo, in the hot seat for Six Question Saturday. Welcome to Finding Bliss Alicia!