Friday, 29 August 2014

Day After Disaster Blog Tour with Sara F. Hathaway

Today as part of her blog tour for Day after Disaster, Sara F. Hathaway is sharing her experience as an author. Check out her website and blog.

Author Sara F. Hathaway publishes Adventure Novel Day After Disaster

What made you decide to go Indie and self-publish?
I self published after extensive research. I learned how rare it is to be picked up by a traditional publisher without a sales record. 

What do you think is the benefit of going Indie and self-publishing your own work?
The biggest benefit I see for self publishing is retaining the rights to your own work. The work will not be altered by a publicist. If there are future earnings to be had they are all yours.

What do you think is the biggest challenge an Indie author faces?
As an indie author, there are many challenges to face. First of all, an indie author must weed through the myriad of publishers to find the one that will honor their promises and not include many hidden charges. Secondly, an indie author must understand that their book is their business and should be treated as such. This means having a business plan and a financial layout for your project before you get started. The third and most challenging aspect is marketing. This can be a rather expensive endeavor. It really pays off to research, research, research! There is so much information out there that can be found for free, as long as you are willing to find it and put it to use. An indie author faces many struggles but with a little hard work they can be tackled.

What are you working on right now?
I just launched my first novel, Day After Disaster, on June 3rd. This is book one in The Changing Earth Series. Day After Disaster is an apocalyptic, adventure in which a dynamic woman, mother and wife struggles, against all odds, to find her family, dead or alive, in a world being tormented by Mother Nature.

What advice can you share with other Indie and aspiring Indie authors?
Stay inspired, keep writing, marketing and dreaming!

Which authors inspire you?
My major inspiration is Jean M. Auel. I found her series, The Children of the Earth, absolutely enthralling. She presents survival in a prehistoric world. Her descriptions of the natural settings are vivid. She blends in historic artifacts and paintings with her fictional story. She details the use of herbal medicines, which are all accurate. Her stories really fired my decision to write my own books.

What genre are your books?
Survival, adventure, apocalyptic.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?
I write in that genre because I have always wondered what if our world collapsed. It is so fragile and we all take it for granted. How would humans adapt and survive a world wide catastrophe? These questions culminated to a story and Day After Disaster is the beginning of that story.

How much research do you do when you write?
I do a lot of research. A lot of my research centers around what I enjoy reading anyway, which is survival techniques and our natural environment. I also do character research to find new and interesting people to include in my stories.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I never decided to become a writer. I wrote for fun because I had the story in my head. It took me a long time to complete my novel because it was just a hobby while I was attending college, starting a family and then starting a career. When I became pregnant with my second son, I had lots of time on my hands so I finished my book. I never intended to publish it but my mom encouraged me to do so and here I am.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I spend most of my days now taking care of my two kids, Fletcher and Christian, and marketing my book. I try to block out at least three to five hours a week to write in my next book.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
The cover for my book was designed by my publisher, Tate Publishing. I gave them an idea of what I had in my head and they gave me a couple of options to pick from. I absolutely loved both of the ideas they presented but I chose the one I did because it captured my character perfectly, it was unique and very eye catching.

How do you market your books?
I market my book extensively through social media. My novel is available in a couple of local book stores and I have appeared in a few of newspaper articles. I also get booths at local events but I really enjoy harnessing the power of the blogging world because it gives an authors so much more exposure to the people that are interested in their material.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Marketing has filled up a lot of my writing time. I have been immersed in marketing research so I can find the methods that will provide the most exposure for the lease amount of funding. This may be a big downside of self-publishing, I have had to become a marketer as well as an author.

Find Day After Disaster on Amazon and Goodreads

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A Rocking Interview With G.P.A.

Today we have author and poet G.P.A. sharing his experiences with us. Checkout his website, or find him on Youtube, Amazon, and Press Release Point.

What made you decide to go Indie and self-publish?
Poetry, unless it is performed, is regarded in some circles as archaic or a dead art. Since i didn't have a "name" or was a celebrity, this way was the most viable option.

What do you think is the biggest challenge an Indie author faces?
Getting past the stigma of being an indie author first and the challenges that go with that label. But money to do the necessary things(promoting,travelling, etc) is a HUGE challenge.
What are you working on right now?
I am finishing Summer with Bobo(Here Comes the 6th Grade) and beginning work on Revenge of the Orgasm(The Hedonistic Diary). Also, I'm completing a live album of my performances.

What advice can you share with other Indie and aspiring Indie authors?
Write and read,write and read, then travel even if it is inside your own city. Experience new things. All of this enhances your writing.

What genre are your books?
Poetry that runs the gamut of topics(General, Children's, and Erotic).

Why do you write in the genre that you do?
I believe that I have been chosen to carry the torch for Poetry. I am her Champion.
Hi, My Name is Bobo.: (A Weekend in the Life of a 5th Grader) (Step into the World of Bobo)
How much research do you do when you write?
It has been said that there is a lot of detail that goes into my writing That is the case because I read,surf the net, watch movies, and listen to music to enrich the poetic experience so that it is cinematic.

When did you decide to become a writer?
In a federal camp in 2007, August 28th to be exact. 

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Whenever the mood hits or a deadline looms in the distance is when I write. But late nights and early mornings are especially gratifying times.

Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
For me and the Poetry I pen, a combination of both is highly effective.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
My choices on what is put on paper, in a book, or performed are more careful. It has to all be in tune, the work and how I feel about it.
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How do you market your books?
I USE EVERYTHING THAT IS AVAILABLE AND WORKS FOR ME. Do the same. Helpful hint i just threw out. 

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Marketing is nonstop. It occupies the beginning, middle, and end of the writing process.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?
Greatest tool available.

Is there anything else you would like to add that you haven’t included?
G.P.A. is in the conversation of being one of the greatest poets ever. He is Poet,performer,author,storyteller,host, and innovator. Keep your eyes on him!! Thank you for this opportunity.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A Petition to Add More Hours to the Day

...Because there needs to be more!  Right?

My high school calculus teacher (who was the awesomest*, by the way!) once decided to dedicate a class period to time management instead of higher mathematics.  He had us do this simple little exercise:  Write down all the things you do each day, and how long you spend on them.  Everything from teeth-brushing to sports practice.  Don't forget sleep.

OK, class.  Get out your paper 'n' pencil, and write it all down.  ;)


Alrighty....  Anybody come up with more than 24 hours? 


...So how does that work?  Hint: the first thing to go is usually sleep.

Most of us Indie authors are working at least two jobs.  Author.  PR rep.  That's before you consider that many of us have a day job as well.  So that's three.  Now, add in a personal life.  Perhaps a family.  Friends.  Either we are seriously over-achievers, or we simply love writing so much that we are willing to grind ourselves into the ground for the mere hope that someone out there will read and connect with our writing.

Now, you may ask if I have a point.  Am I saying that readers should appreciate how much Indie authors put into their work?  Am I asking Indie authors to look after themselves and try to get the rest they need and deserve?  Am I advocating cutting out the unnecessary crap that doesn't seem to be selling any books?  

No!  I am petitioning to add more hours to the day because I want to do it all!  Indie authors, are you with me?  Sign my petition by commenting below and telling us how many hours are in your day?

*Yes, I know that's not a word.  It is now.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A Rocking Review of Gold-Diggers, Gamblers And Guns

Gold-Diggers, Gamblers And Guns (A Jazz Age Mystery #3)
Genre: Cozy Mystery/ Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 Guitars

During Prohibition, Galveston Island was called the "Free State of Galveston" due to its lax laws and laissez-faire attitude toward gambling, gals and bootlegging. Young society reporter Jasmine (Jazz) Cross longs to cover hard news, but she's stuck between two clashing cultures: the world of gossip and glamour vs. gangsters and gamblers. 
After Downtown Gang leader Johnny Jack Nounes is released from jail, all hell breaks loose: Prohibition Agent James Burton’s life is threatened and he must go into hiding for his own safety. But when he’s framed for murder, he and Jazz work together to prove his innocence. Johnny Jack blames her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis speakeasy, for his arrest and forces him to work overtime in a variety of dangerous mob jobs as punishment. 
When a bookie is murdered, Jazz looks for clues linking the two murders and delves deeper into the underworld of gambling: poker games, slot machines and horse-racing. Meanwhile, Jazz tries to keep both Burton and her brother safe, and alive, while they face off against each other, as well as a common enemy. A soft-boiled mystery inspired by actual events.

Why It Rocked

This is the third installment of the Jazz Age Mysteries. Since each book involves its own mystery, they can each stand alone. However, you might enjoy them more if you pickup book one, Flappers Flasks and Foul Play, book two, Bathing Beauties, Bootleggers and Bullets. These books explore a very unique time in American History, the days when alcohol was prohibited. This gave rise to gangsters and all sorts of illegal activity and these books follow a society reporter on the hunt for a good story and the Federal agent tasked with enforcing Prohibition.

I think this is the best one yet. Lots of action, higher stakes and even more romance (which I love). This starts with an attempted murder and then turns into a murder investigation and then things really get out of control. Some questions from the first two books get answered and resolved. I love all the Jazz Age references and found this to be a great mystery read.

About Ellen

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles, essays and short stories have been published in a variety of national magazines. During college summers, she worked as a reporter (intern) for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.
A flapper at heart, she's worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine, and was active in WICI (Women in Communications), acting as president her senior year.
Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play is her first novel, published in 2012, followed by the sequel, Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets, released in May 2013. Gold Diggers, Gamblers and Guns is the last novel in her Jazz Age Mystery series, published in May, 2014. She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts, and visits Galveston whenever possible. 

Website/ Facebook/ Goodreads
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Monday, 25 August 2014

My Top 5 Books Every Indie Should Read

Here at Rock The Book we review Indie books and we present tips, tricks, and tools to help Indies out. This post is going to mash up those two concepts with a look at books that have helped me on my Indie journey.  All of these books have been instrumental with my own self-publishing and are guidebooks that I reference again and again.
Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should (Let's Get Digital, #1)
Let's Get Digital 
by David Gaughran
This is the book that started it all for me.  In this book, Gauhran gives you the reasons why you should self-publish and the tools you need to get your manuscript published. If you are siting on the self-publishing fence, this will give you a much needed kick in the pants.
Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success)
Write. Publish Repeat 
by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant & David Wright
This informative book tells you all about the wonders of product funnels and how to keep your readers coming back. Definitely not an introduction to self-publishing, this book helps you set long term goals for your work and gives you the motivation to stick with it and keep on writing. Check out my full review of this book.
Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Digital, #2)
Let's Get Visible 
by David Gaughran
Gaughram makes my list again with this book on selling your self-publish work.  He decodes the mysteries of selling rank, best-selling lists and the wonder of tags. If you have a title published and want to boost its sales, this is worth a look. Check out my full review of this book.
Book Marketing is Dead: Book Promotion Secrets You MUST Know BEFORE You Publish Your Book
Book Marketing Is Dead 
by Derek Murphy
Book marketing often scares authors who would much rather write than market their work. In this book, Murphy breaks down the process into three stages that can be beneficial to a newbie or a more experienced author. When you finish this, you will have a plan in place of what to do to market your book. Check out my full review of this book.
Indie Authors Guide to the Universe
The Indie Author's Guide to The Universe 
by Jeff Bennington
This book has a little bit of everything. If you are only going to pick up one title, this would be my pick. Because it covers just about everything from why to self-publish, how to self-publish and even some marketing tips, this books lacks a little depth. Then again, it covers everything! Check out my full review of this book.

So there you have my top five books on self-publishing. If you are an Indie, or are contemplating becoming an Indie, you can't go wrong with checking out these titles.
Do you think I missed a title?
Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Are we undervaluing ourselves?

I’ve seen so many debates about this. A lot of different people have voiced their opinions, a lot of it done on forums and message boards, so often it’s hard to know the truth of the matter.
It comes down to this – what is the best price for your ebook?
On one side is the argument that as an indie author you are asking a reader to take a bit of a gamble on you. They may never have heard of you before, they have no big traditional publisher telling them that you’re worth a few bucks of their hard earned cash, and they’ve possibly encountered bad indie works before. By pricing low they are more likely to take a gamble. After all, it’s only .99c or $1.99. If the book is bad then they don’t feel like they have really lost out much.
But on the other side is the argument that by pricing low we might actually be undervaluing ourselves, and by doing so ensuring that others undervalue us too. The argument here is that by pricing more on a level with the traditional publishers we send out the message that we are as good as those books, and readers respond to it.
To be honest I don’t know where I personally stand on this argument yet. I have had my book free, I’ve had it priced at .99c and I’ve had it at its usual price of $2.99. I didn’t see any rise in sales from the book being priced low, and although free promo days always seem to result in a nice bump in sales, I know that most of the 1,000 or so people who download it may never read it.
$2.99 seems to work quite well for me. It keeps me above the really cheap (and possibly trashy?) .99c books, but also doesn’t deter readers from taking a gamble on an unknown author.
But I always wonder if I shouldn’t be valuing myself higher, and in turn readers will value me higher too…
What do you think? Authors – what pricing strategy works for you? Have you ever considered upping or lowering your prices? Readers – what do you think when you see a .99c book – do you think ‘bargain’ or ‘trash’? Does a high priced ebook by an unknown indie author put you off? We’d love to hear what you think!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

A Rocking Interview With Jane Dougherty

Talented author Jane Dougherty has published three books: The Dark Citadel, The Subtle Fiend, and, launched yesterday, Beyond the Realm of Night.  The Dark Citadel is free on Kindle today, August 21st, and is such a good read. Grab it up, folks!  Jane has also published a short story collection entitled In the Beginning.


Jane agreed to let me interview her to celebrate the release of her newest book.  I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed the chance to ask some questions about my newest favorite series.

Jane, you’ve written some amazing books.  Can you please tell us about the inspiration for your Green Woman series?  How did it get its start?

After my youngest child was born I was housebound for quite a while. We were living in a small medieval town in Picardy at the time, and for entertainment I relied on the books my kids brought back from our rather gorgeous local library located in a thirteenth century abbey. Two of the children were keen fans of fantasy, which is how I was introduced to the genre. Much of what I read was repetitive and predictable (mages, female healers, kings and princes, dragons etc), and when my two fantasy fans began to complain that they’d read everything of any interest in the library, I decided that I would have a go at writing something different, something without the elements they were getting sick of, and something with a bit more moral involvement.

I had a single visual image that started the story off, of a classroom full of grey-veiled schoolgirls. One of them was looking out of the window, trying to see beyond the gloomy, sand-filled atmosphere outside. I called her Deborah, and decided I was going to write her story.

Having read both The Dark Citadel and The Subtle Fiend, I am seeing a juxtaposition between an incredibly harsh dystopian society and the possibility of a utopia to come.  Can you tell us a little about this contrast between the two?  Will we see more of the utopian aspect in Beyond the Realm of Night?

Ah, you’ll be wishing you hadn’t asked me such a leading question! The utopian aspect is really at the heart of the story. Providence is bankrupt as a society. There is nothing worth saving in it. Its citizens live beneath a hermetically sealed crystal dome, surrounded by a sterile nuclear desert. According to the Elders that’s all there is, and all there ever will be, Amen. The social structure is based on all the worst notions humankind has come up with. In my opinion, of course—there are people who like the ideas of powerful organized religion, strict social order, strong police force, and the suppression of women’s rights. The Elders have boxed Providence into a prison of ignorance and bigotry, which is exactly the kind of society the king of the demons approves of. But there is an alternative.

One of the aspects of many fantasy stories I’ve read in recent years is a lack of vision. Yes, we can usually agree on who is the villain. It’s much more difficult to say exactly why the villain is worse than the average fantasy world ruler who tends to be an absolute, hereditary monarch in a society where nobles rule over insignificant, rather brutish peasants. The Dark Lord upsets this natural order and has to be defeated. Why? So the ‘rightful’ rulers can sleep easy again? 

In The Green Woman series I wanted to create an alternative to the awfulness of Providence and all it stands for. But not a milder replica of Providence. I wanted a real Utopia, based on sharing, equality, compassion, and respect. As well as being an unashamed feminist pinko, I’m also an ecologist (or eco warrior as my children put it when they get really exasperated) and one of my daydreams is trying to work out how a society would work without heavy industry, industrial farming, gadgetry, and still have a reasonable level of comfort and health care. The Green Woman takes us to the brink of its creation, a merging of hopes, dreams, common sense, and magic. The next series, Angelhaven, is about how my Utopia works, what goes right, and what goes wrong. 

Your books are deeply rooted in mythology.  I would love to hear some more about the mythological influences and how they shaped the story.

Mythology for me has always been strongly associated with religion. I was brought up an Irish Catholic with a healthy dose of myths and legends that were, more often than not, transcribed by Christian monks, which gave them an air of respectability. My dad had a thing about the Norse legends, my mother’s mother loved the Greek myths, while regarding them as interesting stories. The Irish stories are, as we all know, historical fact. :)
So, between church, the priest, and stories of Niall of the Nine Hostages, Atalanta, and the murder of blind Balder, I have never tried to work out what is truth and what is invention. Once you realize that the bible stories crop up in all sorts of other mythologies, that many of the symbols are common to dozens of religions, it becomes easier to take out the religious element and see that since the dawn of time human beings have invented stories to explain their world. Apples, gardens, floods, plagues, fires, resurrection, underworlds, afterlives, are in many cultures’ stories, they all strike a chord somewhere, and they form part of our inherited humanity. Stories that make up a mythological foundation to our culture are as essential to us as oxygen.

The Green Woman is about recreating the world after its destruction. Rachel, and later Deborah, brings back the physical world that was lost, but also the imaginary world of stories that have formed our dreams probably since man learned to communicate with speech.  

Your characters are named after biblical figures, Greek gods, and so on.  Did you have specific reasons for choosing these names?

There is a fair bit of symbolism in The Green Woman, and the use of names drawn from several mythologies is an example. The Elders are not representative of any particular religion, rather Religion as a concept of social control. The aspects they particularly like are those that keep the population firmly subjugated, like keeping women ignorant, veiled and out of the way, taking away even their right to bring up and love their own children. Each man is born to a particular station in life with no hope of ever changing it, and the Wise God is to be thanked for providing everything from electricity to a servile underclass. The Book, in which all the rules and laws that govern this theocracy are set down, is a mish mash of usefully repressive concepts from dozens of religions. Children in Providence are given names used by all these religions and mythologies, or as many as I could get my tongue around.

You have an amazing gift for bringing characters to life.  I love the way that everyone grows and changes as the story progresses.  Do you have a favorite character, and why?  (I think I am torn between Jonah and Hera.)

That’s a difficult one. It’s a bit like being asked which of my children I like the best. I might have a favourite in terms of personality but I’d never admit it. Jonah is an obvious choice. I love Jonah. I love him so much I couldn’t bear to let him go. As soon as I finished The Dark Citadel I had to write his back story to show a deeper side to his character, how it was formed, and how he felt about the destiny he didn’t fully understand but was willing to accept regardless.

A character I also very much like is Brigid, Zachariah’s mother. I know it probably sounds strange to choose a secondary character, and somebody’s mum to boot, but she plays an important part in the story, she is full of energy and moral integrity. She drags those two little kids around and keeps them safe, she’s gentle and she’s strong. Her role increases as the story unfolds. As one society falls apart and another, more caring society has to be created, people like Brigid become the examples. Maybe she’s the kind of mother I wish I was. I haven’t her patience, I’m afraid. 

Honestly, I thought your second book was even better than the first, which is really saying something!  Did you find it difficult to keep up the momentum when you moved into writing your second book?  Can you offer any advice to authors who are embarking upon that second-book journey?
It’s quite often said that the second book of a series is the least good. The author sets out the story and hooks the readers in the first book and brings the story to a climax in the third. In between is often waffle disguised with a thin plot line. I’m thrilled you think I escaped the pitfalls of the dreaded second volume, Kate, but it’s probably because I cheated. 

The Green Woman was originally a single volume. The first publisher I sent it to said it was too long and too complicated. So I chopped it into three parts. After messing about with it for suitable cut-off points, I decided to take the whole thing apart, keeping back the chapters that told the story of what was going on in Providence and putting them in a separate volume. The chronology was tricky as the events of The Subtle Fiend are more or less contemporaneous with the events of the second half of The Dark Citadel and the beginning of Beyond the Realm of Night.

It meant that Deborah and Zachariah, the main characters of The Dark Citadel, don’t figure to any great extent in The Subtle Fiend, and two secondary characters, Hera and Amon, get the big parts. I was afraid people would complain that they don’t get to see the heroes of the first volume, but it gave me a chance to build up the other characters who go on to play a big part in the story. Hera doesn’t have Deborah’s inherited role or the power that goes with it—she’s just an ordinary, timid, modest schoolgirl of the kind Providence approves. But she has such a lot of courage waiting for a chance to express itself. Same goes for Amon. As a career soldier he should have been immune to the gentler human emotions, but…well, he isn’t.
There is such a lot happening in Providence, that if the reader was having to follow Deborah’s equally momentous story at the other side of the Great River, they might well find it confusing. The third volume brings all the main characters together, so anyone who is really pissed off about it will just have to hurry through volume two to get to the third part. 

Maybe that’s the secret to writing a second book as good as the first one—write the whole story arc first as a single story and break it into three logical parts. They might be chronological breaks, three different points of view, or three steps in the journey. As long as the middle isn’t just padding between the beginning and the end, it should work. After all, we are taught how to write essays at school where the beginning sets out the problems and the aims, the ending wraps it all up, but the main part is the middle where the argument is set out in detail, the battles fought and the sense of the story made quite clear.

Please, please tell me that Beyond the Realm of Night is not the end of the Green Woman series.  Please???  (I will beg if I have to.)

Beyond the Realm of Night, while ending on a suitably final note (I promise—not the hint of a cliff-hanger), has an epilogue that suggests there is more to come. You can’t keep a good demon down, and my utopia is still only a beautiful dream. There will be a follow-on series, Angelhaven, set three years later, with characters three years older. Makes them New Adult, I suppose. I won’t say more than that about the story, but I have completed the first draught of the next two books. Following my own advice though, I’m going to have to get to the (very complicated) end first, then go back and rearrange it all!

Thanks so much for answering my questions, Jane.  I can't wait to read Beyond the Realm of Night


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Think Tank: Authors, Bloggers, Readers wanted

Hey everyone!  While trying to decide what to write about this week, I realized that we had an idea a while back that has not really taken off yet, and I would like to try to get it going (with your help).  This won't work without you, so check it out and see what you think!

The idea:

An online think tank composed of authors, bloggers, and readers.  We'll tackle some of the tough questions of Indie publishing, hot topics, and what-worked-for-you sort of things.  All you great thinkers will put your minds together, and we will publish your answers to the questions.

How it works:

Sign up with your email here.  We won't spam you, sell your info, or anything like that.  Every once in a while, you will be emailed a question from Rock the Book.  We'll try to give you plenty of time to answer it.  If you don't have time, or you don't like the question, then simply don't reply.  If you would like to contribute to the post, reply with your answer.  Include a link to your site if you like.  You receive credit for your work.  We reserve the right to edit spelling and punctuation errors, and to cut excerpts (if everyone sends us twenty-page answers, it might be a little much).  All the answers received will be compiled into the post.  It's kind of like a mini guest post.  Hopefully all our participants will remember to share, which translates to exposure.  Exposure is good.

Pretty cool, huh?  I hope we can get some interesting discussion going soon.  So, if you have a couple of minutes now and then to be part of the RTB Think Tank, go ahead and sign up!

Breaking News:  

Jane Dougherty is launching her third book in the Green Woman series today.  Congrats, Jane!  *Waves and jumps up and down like a rabid fan*  If any of you read my 5-star review of Jane's first book, The Dark Citadel, you know I absolutely loved it.  Well, guess what?  To celebrate the launch, The Dark Citadel is free on Kindle August 20th and 21st.  It doesn't get any better than free.  And this book is truly amazing.  If you don't believe me, check out Jane's other reviews from her other rabid fans.  So go here and get it now:  The Dark Citadel on Kindle.  Tell your friends, and your friend's friends.  All you fellow Indies out there, let's support Jane's launch!  And... come to the launch party Facebook event at : Beyond the Realm of Night Launch Party  Last thing: check out my special interview with Jane tomorrow to learn more about the inner workings of her amazing stories!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Rocking Review of The Mirror Stage by J.J. Stone

The Mirror Stage (The Imago Trilogy Book 1)
Genre: Mystery/ Suspense
Rating: 4 Guitars
Find it on Goodreads


Ada Brandt wants everyone to think she’s normal. A writing professor at a local Seattle college, she personifies the saying “those who can’t, teach” after a few failed attempts at becoming an author led her to the classroom. She owns a chic little house, drives a sporty car, and comes home to her dog after a long day at work. You’d never know she’s the daughter of one of Seattle’s most infamous serial killers — a fact Ada has labored her whole life to bury. 

Then the FBI’s BAU team arrives to investigate a recent murder spree and Ada is strong-armed by the BAU’s bull-headed lead agent James Deacon into helping with the investigation. As Ada and the BAU dive deeper into the case, two things become glaringly apparent: this is not a typical murder case, and catching their suspect is only the beginning of an investigation that will alter the lives of everyone involved. 

The Mirror Stage is the first installment of The Imago Trilogy and is J.J. Stone’s debut novel.

Why It Rocked
I loved how this book came at you from multiple angles. You get to see things from the perspective of various FBI agents, the killer himself and our heroine Ada. I sometimes find this distracting, but the multiple points of view really add to this story. Ada is quite an interesting character. Her father is an infamous serial killer and twenty-five years after she witnessed her father killing her mother, she is asked to be an analyst by the FBI in a series of murders that reach a little too close to Ada's home.  I enjoyed seeing how although she continued to struggle with her past, she is able to provide important insight to the investigation. Even though you know who is behind all of the killings, there is still a sense of mystery as you come to realize that there is more going on. My only complaint and its a little one, it that it ends. It felt like the connections between the characters were just starting to get solidified and just as we become aware of a greater threat, it ends and on a crazy cliffhanger. Since this is supposed to be first in a trilogy, I look forward to more in this series.

A Rocking Review of Arcadia's Gift by Jesi Lea Ryan

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Rating: 4 Guitars
Find it on Goodreads

When sixteen year old Arcadia "Cady" Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom's spiraling depression and her sister's boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan's around, Cady can almost pretend she's a regular girl, living a regular life; when he's not, she's wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning...

Why It Rocked
So this starts off slow and sad but once it gets going, it really takes off! There is quite a bit of time setting up how Arcadia and her family deal with a tragic loss but it is through that loss that Arcadia discovers her unusual gift. As far as paranormal stories go, this was original and enjoyable. I've heard of empaths before, but seeing it play out in the middle of a tragic event was fascinating.  In fact, once Arcadia starts to learn how her gift works, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The love story was great and the ending is abrupt and leaves you wanting more. The good news is the sequel is just as good, if not better!

Keep On Rocking

This is the first book in the trilogy. Then next book is Arcadia's Curse and there is a short prequel called The End of the Line. The prequel is FREE and puts things into an entirely different perspective. This series gets better with each book and the teaser prequel has me chomping at the bit for more!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Amazon, Hachette, Pricing, and You

If you are an author who publishes with Kindle Direct Publishing, you might have gotten a lengthy email last week from Amazon.

The email recapped how the advent of paperback novels revolutionized the book world. Books suddenly became more affordable and available to a much wider audience. Critics feared the lower prices would ruin the publishing industry, but we now know that just wasn't true. 
A parallel was drawn with today and e-books. Often, these books are cheaper than paperbacks and much cheaper than hardcover editions. Sometimes they are even free.  Once again critics (AKA: the Big New York Publishers) believe this will harm the industry.  Some are actively fighting e-books by making a digital copy just as, or almost as expensive as the printed copy.
This is ridiculous since an e-copy of a book is significantly cheaper to produce than the printed copy. The email went on to identify one publishing group in particular: Hachette.

Amazon’s response was a call to action. They want authors to email the CEO of Hachette, Michael Pietsch at  and copy them at:

They ask us to consider including these points:
- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for e-books. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.
I don’t think Amazon’s motives are entirely altruistic. If you have been paying attention at all to pricing and Indie sales, you know lower prices can translate into more sales which will put more money into Amazon’s coffers.

Whether or not you decide to email Hachette, it’s up to you.

What does this mean for Indie Authors?
We already have an edge over the big publishers by having the power to set our own prices! Use that power responsibly by setting competitive prices.  You know the drill. Look at what a similar title in a similar genre is selling for and price accordingly.

This little lesson in the history of the publishing industry has confirmed my belief that the future in publishing is the e-book. 

Today is a good day to be an Indie!