How to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book – Guest Post Written By Savannah Cordova

Every self-published author knows that getting your book out there isn’t actually the finish line; it’s really only reaching the three-quarters mark. The rest of the ride is all about making sure that the right people pick it up!

Without an established publisher, indie authors have to put in a little extra elbow grease — but that doesn’t mean the marketing journey has to be unpleasant. To help you out, here’s how to find new readers for your self-published book, and maybe even have some fun along the way.

1. Make sure your cover fits industry standards

We’re told not to judge books by their covers, but your cover is a crucial part of getting new readers to notice your work! In ebook stores, independent bookstores, Goodreads feeds, and more, your book will almost always be displayed alongside many other titles of the same genre… which means you’ll lean on your cover to help it stand out.

You want this cover to be professional and comparable to similar books, while remaining unique and eye-catching. At bare minimum, your cover should be professionally up to scratch — no clipart, no poorly formatted title text, etc. If it doesn’t appeal to readers in the first place, the following tips won’t be nearly as effective in getting them fully on board.

2. Choose your keywords wisely

On Amazon, you get to choose keywords for your book when you publish it. These are what readers will search up when they look for something, meaning that keywords are one of the most useful tools for directing your target audience toward your book.

Each book is allowed seven Amazon keywords, so do your research and pick those that have a decent amount of search volume, but aren’t too competitive; for example, a household-name bestseller on the first page usually means that keyword is difficult to rank for. And always choose keywords that represent your book — if your novel has no romance elements to it, for example, don’t select a romance-related keyword simply because the search volume is higher!

3. Discount and promote your book

The next thing that you can do to get more traction for your book on Amazon (and various other ebook publishing platforms) is to put it on sale. If any reader were on the fence about buying before, you knocking a few dollars off the price will certainly nudge them in the right direction.

Sales are also great for getting wider-scale promotion. Amazon already sends personalized emails about on-sale books to its customers, but what’s more exciting is that discounting your book can give you access to book promotion services.

Newsletter services like BookBub — which has millions of subscribers across multiple genres — are dedicated to spreading the word about book deals to readers. In other words, by cutting the price of your book by a little, you potentially open your doors to thousands of new readers!

So don’t be afraid to drop the price for a limited period. That said, the problem for many self-published authors often isn’t the money, but the accessibility of newsletter services that help make a discount work. Popular newsletters with huge mailing lists like BookBub and Freebooksy are very sought-after avenues, which means that the number of authors submitting their books far exceeds the slots available in the newsletter.

But all hope isn’t lost! There are plenty of promotion services out there, many of which are smaller but much less competitive — it’s definitely worth applying to a few of them to accumulate their effects.

4. Try a newsletter swap

Another way to access a new audience is to find another author who writes in the same genre as you and arrange a newsletter swap. This is pretty straightforward: in an upcoming newsletter, this author will promote your book to their subscribers, and you’ll do the same with their book.

This is why it’s best if the other author is someone with a similar follower base to yours — with a swap, each of you gets access to a new pool of highly relevant readers who might not have heard of you. Not to mention the added benefit of not costing a penny!

To be extra-effective, organize your swap around the time of your discount deals. We know that deals are a great promotional tool, and since you’ve already agreed to forgo some of your revenue anyway, why not make the most of this investment by compounding your sales boost with a newsletter swap?

In terms of finding a partner for this cross-promotion, you can discover plenty on Twitter’s #WritingCommunity, or simply by searching for books and authors in your genre. Remember to ask someone with roughly the same following as yours, and get to know them and their book first so that you can personalize your pitch to them.

If this swap goes well, you can carry on with other cross-promotions down the road — or maybe even work on a project together to pool your influences and increase visibility!

5. Reach out to “bookfluencers”

Another vital aspect to a book’s success is word of mouth; for most readers, nothing beats a wholehearted recommendation from a fellow bibliophile. Which is why you might also want to get in contact with the best-connected readers there are: Bookstagrammers, BookTubers, and yes, BookTokers.

These portmanteaus refer to influential readers on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok respectively. On such platforms, book lovers can display their books with style yet intimacy, which means that they’re incredibly popular and often trusted for recommendations… and one influencer’s TBR or book review will influence another, and another, and another. Done right, a bit of social media promotion can create a wave of enthusiasm for your book that just keeps rolling and rolling.

To promote your book, get in touch with some of these influencers — they often have a work email listed somewhere on their platform — and offer an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can also organize a giveaway with them, or suggest doing a live Q&A to show the friendly voice behind your book.

Hopefully these tips have given you a few solid ideas on how to market your self-published book and find new readers for it. It may take a lot of trial and error in order to find what works best for you, but just keep at it, and maybe one day your book will top the charts!


Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best resources and professionals. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.

How I Stay Organized While Writing a Story – Written By Sharon K Connell

Whether you’re a traditionally published or an Indie author/writer, whether you are the type who outlines your entire book or write by the seat of your pants, or even if you’re somewhere in between, a writer needs to be organized. That organization may look like utter chaos to others, or your writing space may lean toward the OCD type personality. It does matter, as long as it works for you and helps you accomplish your goals in writing.

Throughout the writing of my now seven books, my writing space has always leaned more toward the chaotic look to others. But I do know where everything on my desk is at the moment it’s needed. Well, maybe not every time, but it doesn’t take me long to find something.

From the beginning of my writing career, I’ve been an Indie Author, and I write by the seat of my pants. No outline beforehand is needed. When I first start to write a story, I start with a 5 subject spiral notebook or a 3-ring binder. Each section is labeled for quick access.

 

The first section is designated for my characters profile. Each character, starting with my main character and then as they show up in the story, has their own page, which is numbered. On that page, I write down everything I know about the character, starting with their appearance. As the story progresses, each time I give a specific attribute to or detail about the character, I list it on the page.

At the top of the page, under the character’s full name, is noted hair color and texture, eyes, height, physique, etc. Later I might add the kind of car they drive, where they work, and even how they drink their coffee. In this way, if it comes up again, the character doesn’t change their appearance or habits. A list of the characters and the page where their information is found is on the front divider for that section.

The next section has what I call a “Running Outline” of the story.

In other words, I mark the chapter and scene in the margin and give a brief explanation of what’s happening in that scene. The day and time, if changed from the previous scene, is also noted.

While I’m creating the running outline, I jot down all special events on a calendar. For instance, if my character is celebrating Thanksgiving dinner in 2020 with a friend out of town, and a fire breaks out which is pertinent to the story, I notate it on the calendar. If an important character shows up for dinner the next day, I notate it on the calendar. In this way, I can see at a glance how many days have elapsed from that event to the next without having to reread all my notes.

It helps to keep your timeline straight.

Major ideas are jotted down in the last section. That also becomes my catchall for all ideas, changes, things I need to check, etc.

The other two sections are used for research notes and misc. like things to check before sending the ms to the editor.

At the end of the spiral, I work backward on the pages to make notes for a book launch, book trailer, etc. Extra tabs come in handy here.

From the picture of my desk above, you can see that I have many notes hanging on my desk. These are information notes I refer to all the time while writing, so I don’t have to keep looking things up in my many resource books.

Being an Indie Author, I don’t have to keep to a strict schedule like writing so many words per day. But I do keep myself on a loose schedule. I know I want to have a new book published during the summer, and something smaller (novella, short story collection, etc.) at the end of the year. But I don’t stress over it. Since I’ve fallen into a pattern of doing the stories this way for the past two years, it now comes naturally.

I hope I’ve given you an idea of how to organize your writing system. Most of you seasoned writers probably already have your own organizational method, but maybe this will help one or two of the newbies on the block. J

Best wishes on your writing journey.

 

Here are the links to my books in order of publication.

A Very Present Help http://amzn.to/2yuF4eE 

Paths of Righteousness http://www.amazon.com/dp/1732923701 

There Abideth Hope http://www.amazon.com/dp/173292371X 

His Perfect Love http://amzn.to/2iCMALI 

Icicles to Moonbeams (Novella) https://amzn.to/2OfcHYi

Treasure in a Field www.amazon.com/dp/1732923736

Sharon’s Shorts~A Multi-Genre Collection of Short Stories https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732923744

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell

 

Here’s a comment or two about my writing to tempt you. J

“The author writes with a uniquely vivid and dramatic touch that keeps the reader engrossed in the narrative throughout. Her characters are strongly drawn, distinctly memorable, and wholly realistic. Her plot-lines are, in this writer’s experience, top-drawer in their nail-biting intensity.” From Author, Alan O’Reilly

“Connell knows exactly how to prime the reader for a knockout climax. She litters her scenes with genius, loaded details to heighten the tension. She increases the stakes with every page. Behind the humor and romance, she builds the danger until any little sound — elevator doors that open in the story and the phone that rings next to you on the side table — sends your heartbeat into a cardio workout.

“The edge of your seat may be frayed, but when your doctor remarks that your heart is healthy and robust, you’ll thank the suspense-induced cardio workout Connell gave.”~Andra Loy, ACFW Scribes member

Please take time to visit me on my website: www.authorsharonkconnell.com I’d love to hear from you.

 

Have Fun Writing for Children – Guest Post By Darlene Foster

If you like children and are quite childish, something I´ve often been accused of, then writing for children may seem easy and natural.

I began my love affair with words many years ago. Some of my fondest memories are being read to as a child, visiting the library, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I still have worn copies of favourite childhood books, such as The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables; and revisit these old friends from time to time. Books and children go together like toast and jam. Recently, one seven-year-old friend said to me, “Who doesn´t like books?” I never show up without books as gifts for my grandchildren. I am known as The Book Grandma.

It´s not surprising that I love writing stories for children.

While writing for children can be fun, it isn´t easy. It requires removing yourself from the adult world and thinking like a twenty-first-century kid (unless you’re writing a historical novel, then a kid from whatever century you are writing about). Fortunately, I like to hang out with kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends. I also enjoy reading children’s books to see what sparks the interest of today’s young people. Children notice things adults don’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s necessary to get into their headspace. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again – and what could be more fun!

Here are a few tips, based on what I’ve learned after writing eight middle-grade books.

  1. Kids like strong main characters, role models. Characters willing to take risks and sometimes mess up, but coming out on top in the end. Keep in mind the characters you liked as a child.
  2. Young people often act childish, but they can also be very mature, especially under pressure.
  3. The hero/heroine can possess extraordinary skills, but they still need to be real so readers can identify with them.
  4. Dialogue moves the story along, breaks up description and gets the reader to know characters better. Each character needs his/her own voice.
  5. Show emotion, don’t tell. This is true in all writing but especially when writing for kids. Instead of writing Jane was homesick, how about, Jane spent a lot of time looking at pictures of her family, often bursting into tears.
  6. Listen to kids talk so you get the lingo right. They are not teenagers so they won’t talk like them, not yet. They often parrot their parents and other adults around them.
  7. Watch movies and TV shows with kids in them, observe how they act and talk.
  8. Be aware that kids speak differently in different parts of the country, and the world.
  9. If you aren’t sure about something, ask a kid. I do this all the time. In fact, I have a street team of young readers from age 7 to 12. They are so helpful. Don’t ask a parent, they are the last to know how their kids talk or act!
  10. Kids are always giving me ideas. I keep a notebook and write down things they say and do, often incorporating these in my stories. They can be so clever too. Often wise beyond their years.

Writing for children is important because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. A love that doesn’t fade with time. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books.

So if you have been thinking of writing for children, give it a try. Have fun and let yourself be a kid again!

 Thanks, Aurora, for the opportunity to talk about something I’m passionate about. If anyone has questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments.


About Darlene:

Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. Darlene has won prizes for her short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies. She has also written a bi-lingual book for English/Spanish readers.

 Darlene grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where her love of reading inspired her to travel the world and write stories. Over the years she held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a home in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she likes to spend time with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Her books include Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021. 


Connect with Darlene:

website http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/darlenefoster
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/


 

A Halloween Poem – Written By Mark Egan

Even though there is no Halloween Poem Contest anymore in 2020, I got sent a beautiful Halloween poem that I would like to share with you, with the permission of the author, Mark Egan.


Picture courtesy of: http://preventioncdnndg.org/


‘Don’t Go Outside’

                                                            Mark Egan 2020

‘Don’t go outside’, the girl she said

And said twice more, ‘lest we be dead’

She feared a sprite this Hallows Eve

With an endless hunger for souls to feed

To garner strength from lives ashriven

From the essence of the living

‘Don’t leave me here’, the girl she begged

‘Tis a darkling night, one full of dread

A spooky, creepy graysome night

I fear that I might die from fright

And then I’ll pass beyond the veil

Myself a spirit who’ll moan and wail’

‘Don’t make a sound’, the girl did whisper

I feel it’s close, my hearts a jitter

I hear it’s tread, it’s cloven gait

It’s funeral march, it’s wicked hate

It’s gaping maw, it’s jagged teeth

It’s claws and arms, stretched out in reach’

‘I think it’s here’, the girl did say

Her voice a ghost, yet quiet and fae

I smelled her breath sour and sweet

I felt her heart a fearsome beat

‘Don’t go outside’, she once more said

She laughed and lunged, then I was dead.


(The copyright of this poem is with Mark Egan, please respect this poem as his property)

First Fantasy Newsletter Swap 2020

First Fantasy Newsletter Swap 2020

 


Welcome readers to the Writer’s Treasure Chest first Fantasy Newsletter Swap event. In this post, you will find books, sales, and giveaways by ten Fantasy authors. Not only that but you will have chances at getting free stuff if you subscribe to their newsletters. Please, look around and enjoy these wonderful books. Happy shopping and hopefully you will find a book to snuggle up with over the coming months.

Deals are good through:

January 22nd – 26th


Allison D. Reid

Two Books for $0.99!

The Wind Rider Chronicles is an uplifting Christian fantasy series that blends traditional fantasy elements with spiritual themes. Each book is a clean read that can be enjoyed by fantasy lovers of all ages.

Journey to Aviad
Elowyn lifts a strange silvery object from a woodland stream. Is it a medallion? A coin? Looking about curiously, she also finds a helm, a bow, broken arrows…and blood drenched soil. Something terrible has happened in this usually peaceful wood. Her world—the whole world—is about to change forever…

Into the Shadow Wood
Einar has lost everything: his home, his Sovereign, and his purpose. His friend Nevon died trying to fulfill a dangerous oath…one that Einar disagreed with, but now feels honor-bound to take up in his stead. The quest plunges him into the depths of the dark and twisted Shadow Wood where his strength, his beliefs, and his sanity are all tested. Will Nevon’s fate end up being his own?

Purchase Link: https://payhip.com/b/9pfe

Follow Allison @ the Following:

Website: https://allisondreid.com/
Blog: https://allisondreid.com/blog/
Newsletter: http://www.subscribepage.com/AllisonDReid
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JourneytoAviad/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AllisonDReid

FREE eBook with Sign-Up!

Get book 2, Ancient Voices: Into the Depths by signing up for Allison D. Reid’s bi-monthly newsletter.

Subscribe: http://www.subscribepage.com/AllisonDReid


Yvette Bostic

FREE on KU/$3.99

Magic can’t be real, right? Tell that to the werewolf glaring at me with his near-black eyes or the handsome vampire lounging in the corner.

Did I enjoy growing up rejected by everyone I encountered because of my physical abnormalities? Hell no! The only thing I ever wanted was to be accepted by someone. Not everyone, just anyone. A normal job and one solid meal a day would’ve been nice too.

You know that old saying, “Be careful what you wish for?”
Yeah, that one really sucks.

After a vampire kidnapped me, I suddenly became wanted by all the wrong people. Why would those blood sucking fiends want a deformed, malnourished woman who looked more like a little girl? The elemental mage who stole me from the vampires and forced me into a role I wasn’t prepared for, didn’t provide any explanations.

I thought I wanted to know the answers, but discovering the truth forced me into a fight for my life. One I wasn’t sure I could win.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V261CSV

Follow Yvette Bostic @ the Following:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The.Watcher.and.the.Sentinel
Twitter: https://twitter.com/YvetteBostic
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yvettebosticauthor/


J.R. Castle

PermaFREE Book!

A Different Kind of Love Story…
Start Your Adventure for FREE at your favorite bookstore:
If the Wizard of Oz swept you away and Narnia enchanted you, then follow the White Road Chronicles for a new kind of adventure.
Join Alyra as she undertakes a dangerous journey that leads her down an incredible white-stoned road with strange traveling companions. Together, they encounter a kingdom where nothing is what it first seems.

Purchase Links: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AIVX3UA or https://www.books2read.com/u/b6Q8yE

Follow J.R. Castle @ the Following:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/J.R.CastleFantasyAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jackie_Castle
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackie_castle_author/

FREE eBook with Sign-Up!

Get J.R. Castle’s latest book in her new series titled: “Veiled Blossoms” by signing up for her newsletter.

Subscribe: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/bp58tw32cr


Paris Hansch

FREE with Sign-Up!

A priestess, a dragon god – and a lie that threatens to destroy them all.

Celia is about to break her vow.

As the head priestess of the most powerful dragon temple in the empire – Celia is a shining example of knowledge, purity, and unquestioning loyalty to the imperial couple, the legendary dragon gods themselves.

Sworn caretakers of their citizens, the priestesses must awaken the power of the spirit arts in others and guide the next generations.

But all is not what it seems. Everything they’ve been taught, everything Celia knows, is wrong.

Following Celia’s disastrous visit to the capital, she is trapped amidst a chaotic scheme that spans over a thousand years beyond her lifetime… and is now faced with the ultimate betrayal.

Her Imperial Highness seeks to destroy Celia and her people – the very same people who serve her empire without question.

As the other dragon temple’s refugees pour in, Celia is forced to decide where her loyalties lie.

Will she make a final stand against a dragon god and protect her family, or will her loyalty to the gods last until her final breath?

Download Today: https://parishansch.com/lm-tls

Follow Paris Hansch @ the Following:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19254935.Paris_Hansch


K.M. Jenkins

99¢ Short Read

Aerigon has had a hard life. He never knew his parents and grew up on the generosity of others. As an orphan Aerigon has no true place to call home. When the Forest of Ferrês calls, he finds himself in a nightmare worse than the abyss. He will face evils and creatures man can only dream up in nightmares. Will there be a light at the end of the darkness or will he be lost to the shadows of Ferrês forever?

You have seen the light and a hint of darkness within the Forest of Ferrês. Now walk with Aerigon as he faces the horrors within. Journey to the dark side where kyres fear to tread. Read and find out if Aerigon can face the world’s darkest demons. Will he make it out alive? You will only find out in the 5th installment within the Tales of Ferrês story series.

Purchase Today: https://books2read.com/u/3LGVo5 or https://payhip.com/b/3wzs

Follow K.M. Jenkins @ the Following:

Website & Blog: https://authorkmjenkins.com
Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/y2i1x7
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkmjenkins/
Street Team: http://bit.ly/GodsAmongMen
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@authorkmjenkins/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkmjenkins/
BookSprout: https://booksprout.co/author/3717/k-m-jenkins
AllAuthors: https://allauthor.com/author/kmjenkins/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/K.M.-Jenkins/e/B07GDSWDK7
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/k-m-jenkins
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kmjenkins_specfictionauthor

FREE eBook with Sign-Up!

Get Story #2, in the Tales of Ferrês series when you sign-up for K.M. Jenkins’ Newsletter. Become a Dragon Ryder VIP Reader Today!

Subscribe: https://www.subscribepage.com/y2i1x7


M.C. Frank

Mermaid Giveaway!

“Darius.” It came out choking from his chapped lips, and his head jerked as he tried to look up into her face.
“What now?”
“‘S my name. Darius. Thank you.”
Of all the humans drowning around her, she had to be stuck with the one who bothered to mind his manners as he was dying. She bit back a laugh. “Well, good to know. Stay alive, Darius.”
“Death feels so warm,” he whispered, those brown eyes hooded as they looked into hers. “Didn’t know there were mermaids in heaven. Ice mermaids…So beautiful. Jewels for eyes, pearls for hair.”
Behind them, the great ship that had the words “Titanic” painted on its bow was cracking as it tilted into the freezing waters of the ocean.

Lorelei gave a frustrated sigh and tightened her hold on him.

Ice Mermaid is a Salt for Air novella about a mermaid who witnesses the sinking of the Titanic.

Download Today: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/51e4f378-e5e6-11e9-b1d7-47cf1f7f3075

Follow M.C. Frank @ the Following:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/mcfrankauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mcfrank_author
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mcfrank_author

FREE eBook with Sign-Up!

Subscribe: http://eepurl.com/cMExwX


Mary Duke

Epic Fantasy for $2.99!

Hey, this is Roselyn… Ugh. Why Do I do that? I hate how I always start these entries. I mean seriously; this is my journal. I’m easily two hundred pages in. It’s not like this is something new.
Anyway, I’m stalling. This is actually harder to write than I thought it would be. I haven’t even told my girls yet. I mean, how am I going to tell them I’ve fallen for one of the few people here who could kill me? One of the few people I promised my parents I would avoid at all costs.
How do I tell Evony that all I can think about is the son of the woman responsible for nearly causing her race to become extinct? How do I tell LIra, whose prophecies are taken with high regard by the Realm Keepers, that I’m ignoring her advice and meeting him tonight?
I know it’s wrong. I know I can literally have anyone else in this school, but I can’t get him out of my mind.
Something bigger is at play here.
How I feel isn’t natural; there’s no way.
So tonight, I’m going to meet him. Tonight, I will make Thayer tell me what the hell is going on.
-Until tomorrow … providing that Lira isn’t right and I don’t die the second he has me alone.

Purchase Today: http://mybook.to/FatedAllianceCI

Follow Mary Duke @ the Following:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iammaryduke
Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarysRealmKeepers/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/immaryduke
Instagram: https://instagram.com/immaryduke
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ImMaryDuke/

FREE Story a Month with Sign-Up!

Subscribe: https://www.subscribepage.com/Newsletter.MaryDuke


Sheena Austin

Fantasy for $1.99!

Michelle always knew the head cheerleader who stole her boyfriend was demonic. She just didn’t realize Janice was an actual demon. And that’s not even the most interesting revelation of Michelle’s eighteenth birthday—also, coincidentally, prom night. She also learns that she is a half-angel warrior. And nothing could make for a more satisfying birthday-prom than sending that demon cheerleader straight back to hell. Then she discovers that her parents didn’t die when she was 16, after all. They’re alive, and they need her help. What else is a half-angel warrior to do? She heads out to kick some demon ass. Lucky for her, she’s also got her best friend Jonathan by her side. But there are still things she doesn’t know—not only about this hidden world she’s discovered, but about Jonathan himself. And those things could kill her if she isn’t careful.

Purchase Today: http://mybook.to/TroubleDemonsCI

Follow Sheena Austin @ the Following:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SheenaAustinAuthor/

FREE eBook with Sign-Up!

Get Sheena Austin’s Fantasy story “Alexandria” when you sign-up for her newsletter.

Subscribe: https://mailchi.mp/7aa310cc1250/sheenaaustin


A.J. Alexander

Smashwords Deal!

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.

Purchase Today for $4.12: https://books2read.com/u/m2roOj

But Wait!!! Get 20% off through Smashwords when you subscribe to A.J. Alexander’s Newsletter!

Subscribe: https://us10.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0818e0b14c2fd98b084419df2&id=fe55729465

Follow A.J. Alexander @ the Following:

Website: http://www.aurorajeanalexander.com/index.html
Blog: https://aurorajalexander.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAJAlexander/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuroraJean_A
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aurorajeanalexander/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/authorajalexander
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aurorajeanalexander
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorauroraj/


Alice Ivinya

FREE on KU/$2.99!

Is forgiveness too high a cost to save a kingdom?Violet is hidden away by her father, a provincial lord, for having a deformed foot. She is tired of being ignored and longs to help her people, who have been abused and suppressed by the court for generations. Their ancient magic is almost forgotten.When she is caught up in a deadly rebellion, Violet is taken hostage by the king and dragged to the capital. A prisoner deprived of friends and family, she is thrown into a dangerous world of politics and strange magic, where men and beasts are bonded together. Violet realises she must quickly learn the rules of the castle in order to be a voice for her forgotten province. But the bonds that tie people are fragile, and true evil lurks in the shadows of the castle. As war and assassination threaten to break the kingdom apart, Violet realises that to save it, she must learn to forgive her captor. And maybe even allow herself to be loved.

Purchase Today: https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/4ece9e5a-b81e-11e9-9ba7-3f8319817f47

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Renee Scattergood Releases “Shadow Stalkers: Revolution, Part 1” Episode 23

Title: Shadow Stalker: Revolution Part 1 (Episode 23)

Author: Renee Scattergood


Bio:

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a storyteller by George Lucas but didn’t consider writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark speculative fiction.

She is currently publishing her Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and watching YouTube Videos with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes  1 – 6): http://reneescattergood.com

 

Contact Info

Website/Blog: http://reneescattergood.com/

Speculative Fiction Spot: https://specfictionspot.blogspot.com.au/

My Promotional Team Sign Up – Renee’s Shadow Stalkers: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16rTPYCAwDq5cpyxHfphx0-x6ka9C7DWoJsdgYa2CyAw/viewform

My Mailing Lists – Get a free book with each!

Monthly Newsletter: http://www.subscribepage.com/ReneeWrites

Giveaways & Goodies: https://www.subscribepage.com/reneewritesgiveaways

New Release Announcements: https://www.subscribepage.com/reneewritesnewrelease

Author Pages

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/renee-scattergood

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8507658.Renee_Scattergood

Social Media Profiles

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

About the Book

Description:

It’s the calm before the storm, and the storm is closer than Auren thinks.

Auren is successfully using her ability to control people’s minds and actions to take over Nadiria and finally bring an end to the Galvadi Empire, but there is a catch. The more she uses that power, the more she loses herself to it.

If she can accomplish her mission quickly, it will reduce the chance of that happening. The allies she has found are helping her move things along, but there’s a lot of work to do and horrors that Auren has not yet discovered that will make controlling herself nearly impossible.

Her friends and allies are growing concerned over her unpredictable violent actions, and Auren knows her time is running out.

 

Logine:

Auren is finally bringing an end to the Galvadi Empire, but she is succumbing to her power in the process.

Ebook $0.99

Available on Amazon or Read Free on KU from 6 September 2019

Available in Other Bookstores on 6 December 2019

Universal Link: https://reneescattergood.com/books/shadow-stalker-revolution-part-1-episode-23/

New readers to the serial can download Episodes 1 – 6 free here: https://reneescattergood.com/get-my-free-books/

 

Renee Scattergood releases Shadow Stalker: Coup (Episode 22)

 

Amazon Release Date:

today, August 2,  (Available on KU until 31 October 2019)

Expanded Distribution Release Date: 1 November 2019

Author: Renee Scattergood


About the author:

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a storyteller by George Lucas but didn’t consider writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark speculative fiction.

She is currently publishing her Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and watching YouTube videos with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6): http://reneescattergood.com

Contact Info

Website/Blog: http://reneescattergood.com/

Speculative Fiction Spot: https://specfictionspot.blogspot.com.au/

Promotional Team Sign Up – Renee’s Shadow Stalkers: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16rTPYCAwDq5cpyxHfphx0-x6ka9C7DWoJsdgYa2CyAw/viewform

Mailing Lists – Get a free book with each!

Monthly Newsletter: http://www.subscribepage.com/ReneeWrites

Giveaways & Goodies: https://www.subscribepage.com/reneewritesgiveaways

New Release Announcements: https://www.subscribepage.com/reneewritesnewrelease

Author Pages

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/renee-scattergood

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8507658.Renee_Scattergood

Social Media Profiles

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

About the Book

Living under the tyranny of the Galvadi Empire is torture, but Auren is determined to end the nightmare, regardless of the cost to herself.

Auren is once again a prisoner of the Galvadi on Nadiria, or at least that she wants Emperor Zavix to believe. It’s the only way to get close enough to him to kill him and then take control of the people.

To succeed in her mission, she must push her new power to the limit, but the more she uses her it, the more addictive it becomes. Unfortunately, stopping is not an option, but if she can focus on her goals, maybe she won’t lose herself.

Ebook $0.99

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VFQM7HN
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadow-stalker-renee-scattergood/1132571768
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Renee_Scattergood_Shadow_Stalker_Coup_Episode_22?id=70qjDwAAQBAJ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/shadow-stalker-coup-episode-22-1
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1473558101
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/949591

 

Top 5 Most Important (Yet Least Talked About) Tips for Writing Flash Fiction – Guest Post By Marie Korman

 

If you just want to know the top 7 or 10 golden rules for writing flash fiction stop reading now, open a new tab in your internet browser and Google, “Tips for writing flash fiction.” You will find dozens of articles that talk about the same rules over and over again, with only slight variation in presentation. These are all great articles, and I encourage you to read them as you won’t find that information here.

In this article, you will find the top 5 most important (yet least talked about) tips for writing flash fiction.
The tips below are the result of reading large quantities of flash fiction for years, both as a fan of flash fiction and as an editor reviewing stories for my clients.

So here is what have I gleaned from those countless stories and gallons of coffee consumed while reading them.

1. Hook

Wait you said you weren’t going to rehash the 7-10 golden rules? Hold that thought and keep reading. In Flash fiction, you must have 2 hooks (see I told you to keep reading)! The first hook has to occur in your title. Yup, that’s right, your title has to have a solid hook too! If your title isn’t enticing, thought-provoking, or the cause of an irresistible curiosity prompting the reader to venture further, then your 2nd hook won’t matter. Many readers cruise the titles to decide which flash fiction stories even to give a 10-second trial read. So unlike novels or even short stories, if the title doesn’t grab the reader relentlessly, then you have already missed the mark. Next, you need a story hook, a very strong one right in the opening sentence. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that placing the hook in the first paragraph will suffice, even if it is a decent hook. In flash fiction, you have to grab the reader right from the very first word and yank them through the story only releasing after the last word that appears in the text. Great flash fiction makes a reader feel exactly like that. Like they were grabbed by the collar and thrust into a new world, released only at the end of the ride. If a reader pauses while reading your story, it’s the kiss of death.

2. Never start at the beginning!

Flash fiction never starts at the BEGINNING of a story. Instead, it starts at the beginning of the most critical action sequence that occurs closest to the END of the story. In flash fiction, you have to start your story when something is happening and ideally at the highest point of the story arc. Just like any narrative, flash fiction needs a beginning, middle, and end with a solid plot. But you’re not going to have subplots. Focus on one plot and one main conflict. The conflict should be the most important one that happens in the broader storyline and acts as the driving force of the story. Therefore, the main conflict needs to appear almost immediately in flash fiction.

3. Tension/Tight Writing

In flash fiction, tension has to be strong and continuous. As such, tension has to present at various levels in every sentence. Every word and every sentence must move the story closer to resolution. Flash fiction by definition is typically under 1000 words. It is a unique medium, and it requires a specific storytelling skillset. Words often have to wear multiple hats, such as creating an action while also providing vivid visual details. You must be ruthless and make every word justify its place in the story and prove that it is adding essential value.

4. Don’t tell everything!

You need a solid storyline with very vivid details that can be shared in the least amount of words with all non-essential text eliminated. That said, the best flash fiction leaves some things out. It leaves clues to possible conclusions or reasons why, without stating the answer explicitly. It allows readers to draw their own conclusions, sometimes multiple conclusions about a single-story element. Good flash fiction digs its hooks deep into the reader’s brain, causing them to mull the story around in the back of their mind even when they don’t mean to think about the story. Don’t take it too far, however. Writers that leave too much of a gap or too much ambiguity just annoy readers, leaving them to feel cheated at the end like they wasted their time. Every reader wants some sort of solid resolution, so be smart in your approach.

5. Emotional Impact

All great fiction connects with readers on an emotional level. That’s what they’re looking for, and flash fiction is no exception. This is why you need to show, rather than tell, emotional attributes. Sometimes naming an emotion has its place, but showing an emotion builds a better connection with the reader. One way to create an emotional impact is to bake it into a twist ending. Many stories have a twist at the end, and it is almost an unspoken attribute of flash fiction. Readers like a story that leaves them with a punch in the gut at the end.

Now that you know how to write amazing flash fiction here are 6 paying sites where you can submit your stories!

1. Craft Literary -They pay $100 for original flash fiction. They also occasionally have contests.
2. Smokelong – They pay $25 and publish pieces under 1000 words.
3. Flash Fiction Magazine – They pay $40 for stories ranging from 300-1000 words.
4. Lamplight – They pay 3¢ per word, $150 max and 1¢ per word for reprints.
5. The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts – They pay $50 for stories up to 600 words. Submissions are open now from March 15-June 15, 2019 and the average response time is just 3 days!
6. Haunted Waters Press – They pay $3.00 for Penny Fiction, flash fiction stories told in exactly 19 words—no more, no less!


Connect with Marie Korman:

Social Media Links:

Website: https://trehpublishing.com
Wordpress: https://mariekorman.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-korman/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarieKorman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieKormanWrites/

Tales from a Modern Dinosaur. Characters from my Past. – Guest Post Written By Merlin Fraser

Last year, sometime in October, I published a hilarious story, written by Merlin Fraser. I named it “On a different note” and the ones who read it had a good laugh with Merlin’s humor.

With this guest post, Merlin shows us that he’s not ‘only’ a great writer, and has his well known, a bit rough humor; but he is also a talented author of great sensitivity and treasures his memories with a warm heart and a trace of sadness many of us would not have expected.

I wanted to share this side of Merlin with you and I’m sure you will read his guest post and find it as valuable and admirable as I do.


“And now for something completely different,” to coin a phrase, I pinched it from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in case you were wondering where you heard the expression before.

I’m sure you tire of my exploits with trees so a change of tack is required as I explore some of the many characters I have met during my country upbringing.

Journeying back to the 1950’s I think this character reflects a slightly cruel streak in our past due to a complete lack of understanding as to the causes of what is now considered a mental illness.

Bernie was a gentle soul never known to harm anything or anyone but to all he was cruelly known as the village idiot and to my everlasting shame I have to confess that as a kid I was no better than the rest.

To this day I have no idea what the problem was within Bernie’s brain, as I remember he was looked after an old lady at the far end of the village but as to their relationship, I have no idea. To her great credit, Bernie was always clean well fed and fairly well dressed in hand-me-downs’, presumably donated from other villagers.

Bernie would do odd jobs, take letters to the post box, that sort of thing and could always be relied on to hold one end of a long skipping rope for the girls or go in goal for a friendly football kick about. Although I suspect today’s parents would have a different view of a Bernie in the midst of their offspring and would probably demand his removal from the community, however, as I said Bernie was absolutely harmless.

For a while, he did the daily village paper rounds, until one dark stormy winter’s day all the daily papers were found thrown inside the door of the village church. With hindsight, I think that in that thunderstorm Bernie just got scared, panicked and ran home. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that was the end of the only paying job he ever had.

After that, the paper delivering job fell upon us kids, and we took it in turns to bugger it up as best we could but in a crafty way so as not to raise too much suspicion or acquire a thick ear. Whether this was a childish attempt to get Bernie his job back or just a piece of rebellion I cannot say, but in my case probably the latter. However, whichever kid had the duty Bernie was always a constant companion chattering away and pointing at anything and everything that caught his eye. Except on Sundays, his guardian always insisted Bernie went with her to church.

Not very far away from our village there was a large agricultural college and quite a few of the students had their own transport, mainly vintage motorbikes but there was the odd Ex Army Land Rover that could, somehow or another, manage to hold about ten students, more depending up the season or how drunk they were.

Back then, any such college was way beyond the means of the average family and the agricultural college more so and it seemed to be populated by the children of the landed gentry or well to do Farmers. In other words, ‘Privileged OIKS,’ who because of their often-rowdy behaviour would get banned from more and more pubs and have to travel further and further afield to get a drink. They used to invade our village pub on a regular basis. Now our pub landlord was a genial host, far more tolerant than many and more than happy to take their money, and it is the subject of money that brings me back to Bernie.

Most days, thanks to his never-failing routine depending on the time of day you could always find Bernie. If there were cows or horses in the fields close by that’s where he would be feeding them handfuls of grass stroking and talking to them.

As kids it took us ages to win the confidence of big animals, Bernie, on the other hand, was always surrounded by them. Even little birds would take food from his hands. While if it were me the little sods would sit on the ground about twenty feet away with their head cocked at that jaunty angle and that look in their beady eye that said, “you have got to be joking!”

On sunny summer evenings Bernie had a favourite seat on a wall across from the pub, he never went in unless he had found or was given an empty bottle and then he could reclaim the three pence deposit. From his perch, Bernie had a grandstand view of the pub and as he sat there in his own little world, he would sit swinging his legs and waving at all who came and went.

On the occasions when the invading hoards came from the college, some would try to engage Bernie in conversation, which was impossible. If he wanted something he would ask or more often just point, he talked, more often than not any response to your reply was never connected. Therefore, we learnt to simply listen and smile in understanding.

However, one Sunday evening there was much hilarity outside the pub close to Bernie’s wall and Bernie seemed to be in the centre of the action. To Alan, my best pal, and me it looked like the college students were picking on or making fun of him and we went to investigate. What exactly we intended to do was unclear since there was about twenty of them and only two of us and at that time there was a considerable age and size difference. Thankfully, it never came to that because as we got closer, we discovered that there was some sort of game going on and by the happy look on Bernie’s face, he was winning.

To explain the game, I have to take you back to pre-decimal British coinage, I won’t bore you with the confusing facts as to why there was 240 pennies in a pound or 12 pence in a shilling but the size of the coins of the day played a significant part in the game.

Therefore, a sixpenny piece was half the size of a shilling piece. A shilling was half the size of a two-shilling piece and there was another coin, which was called half a crown that was slightly bigger than a two-shilling piece and worth six pence more.

I’m already confused, and I grew up with this crazy system, but fear not it’s not critical because the game here is based upon size and as you can see from the above description size relates to value, all very logical, however, I doubt Bernie had any notion of logic.

The students seemed to be taking it in turns to challenge Bernie by showing him two coins of different sizes and demanding he chose one. Bernie always took the smaller coin and therefore the one of lesser value, this was the cause of the hilarity and so the game went on until the students tired of the game, they sweetly called ‘idiot baiting’ and returned to the pub to throw beer and darts at one another.

Allan and I tried as best we could to explain to Bernie the error of his decisions, even showing him the difference in size from the collection of coins he had won by playing the same game between Allan and me, Bernie just frowned and shook his head.

We gave up, well I did, Allan had one more question, “Bernie why can’t you understand?”

Bernie emptied his pockets and at a rough guess he had at least two pounds in loose change, by kids standards a King’s ransom in those days, he looked at us and said, ”If Bernie take big coin they don’t play with Bernie no more !”

I learnt a valuable lesson that day and I suspect Allan did too.

What happened to Bernie?

Sad to say I have no idea after I joined the Navy in the early ’60s my family moved away from the village. When I eventually went back for a visit a few years later he was gone. The old woman who looked after him had died and I suspect the local authorities moved in and sent him off to an institution somewhere.

Nowadays in the mad rush and tear of modern living, I often think of those far off days, it was a far gentler time, the pace of life was far slower, and I can’t help thinking the world is a sadder place without the Bernie’s and the gentle humanity of a close community.

Picture courtesy of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coins_of_the_pound_sterling

Guest Post By S. Jackson – Child Loss

I’m not the woman I once was…I know the hurt, the battle within.

I’m not the woman I once was… I’m not the mama I once was… but I’m me, please take me as I am, full of flaws… I know the hurt, the battle within.

My own mother was devoid of feeling towards most of her children, and I was the perfect black sheep in her eyes. She wasn’t affectionate, didn’t hug, or show love as I grew up. If she did show to any my siblings, I never once saw it. I told myself that I would the opposite with my own children if I were to be blessed by God and given the gift of children.

I was blessed with three boys and one daughter (from my second marriage). My first born died in utero (inside me), labor was induced, and Shane was stillborn. I was crushed and in an abusive marriage. My second son, Gene, was born ‘blue’, but he rallied around and with the grace of God, he is now a machinist. Sam, my youngest, was born and I thought life would be good. I lavished love, hugs, and kisses on both boys, and eventually left their abusive father. However, Sam ended up passing away at age five years old. I was broken, and full of shattered shards and bits of life, as we know it.

I’m not the woman I once was… I’m not the mama I once was…

– Many of you on social media know that I’m not who I used to be.

– I’m different now… a different ‘me’. It has been this way since October 1990.

– When I remarried, my new daughter never got the chance to know the ‘me’ before the new me. Rachel – you never got to know the first ‘me’ before ‘the new me’. I’m sorry you never got to meet the ‘first me’ – you may have liked that ‘me’.

– When Sam died, and after the tubes were removed, I rocked him in my arms for about 20 minutes. My body was torn apart and I could barely even breathe.

– I kissed Sam’s corpse over and over and messed up his lips (he had been intubated and required lip filler), and nothing was ever the same.

– I’m sorry to both my kids on Earth, Gene and Rachel, and to my husband, for always being there in my physical form, but yet now ‘really there’. Imagine a zombie mother living in the house and baking cookies yet she isn’t really ‘there’. A mother going to Boy Scout events, field trips, musical events, sports games, and the like, but one part seems missing.

– As each year passes by, I am more ‘there’ but know that moments do happen and always will happen. You see change is inevitable, and some parents change even more so.

– For us baby boomers who have lost, we also never had enough pictures, and never will. Thankfully the millennial generation, have tons of instant pictures thanks to electronics. Life has taught me that if you are a parent, just love your children, say it and show it every day. Spoil them from time to time, (as it doesn’t hurt to give a little sometimes), and those are moments to treasure. Don’t let only Valentine’s Day be a day of showing your love; make every day that day. You only have the here and now so make the most of it, and you won’t be sorry.


WORDS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT LOST A CHILD/ CHILDREN

“Does it get any easier after losing a child? Somewhat…
Is it possible for a parent to be happy their child/children are perfect in Heaven above… and feel peace with that? Sure… (It took me twenty-three years for Eli and somewhat less for Joshua.)
Can a parent ever “get over” losing a child? No. This is the KING of loss. We can be happy that they are perfect in Heaven and sad at times when we miss them the most.
Bereaved parents are continually re-writing each day, as they try to cope with their new “normal.” This won’t change. We will think of our loss when other children reach milestones such as their first tooth, first steps, first words, kindergarten, holidays, best friend, graduation, prom, falling in love, first kiss, learning to drive, getting married… the list is endless. There will always be reminders of our loss.
The WORST things you can ever say to a parent who has suffered the KING of loss, even after one, ten, twenty, or more years? “You should be over it by now,” or “Move on with life.” You see, we are moving on with life. We just do it one hour… one day at a time… re-writing life as we go along.”

~S Jackson, October 2014


About the author

Mary L. Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson, and she is a retired registered nurse, who won the coveted Leora B. Stroup Bachelor of Science in Nursing Award for outstanding clinical performance, community involvement and academic achievement in Nursing Award, while at Fort Hays State University. She is a Member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: The international professional organization for writers and illustrators of children’s literature, and Sigma Theta Tau International: The Honor Society of Nursing, which is the second-largest nursing organization in the world with approximately 135,000 active members. She loves spending time with her husband, Michael, who is also her co-author, A. Raymond; their son Gene, daughter Rachel, and first born grandchild, Austin.


Check out S. Jackson’s blog:

https://whenangelsfly.wordpress.com