Guest Post - Amy Mah


How did I create a vampire world?


Well, it all started when my publisher Nicholas Reardon of Reardon Publishing was looking for authors to write some paranormal novels, he wanted something funny to publish and wanted to use an as yet undiscovered author, and that is where I came in, Miss Mah to the rescue!
You would think creating a vampire world would be easy as everyone knows all about vampires and unlike doing a book on say a dryad, which apart from a numbering system is also a tree nymph in case you are interested. With a Dryad I could say she has six fingers on her left hand and likes to drink mead and very few people will shout and say no it is the right hand and she only drinks water,
But with vampires you have to see what has gone before you and then build on it, and that is what I did with my book: FANGS RULE a girls guide to being a vampire.
With vampires you do not have to tell anyone about the basics ……basics are .er…well……like ……….blood……sun light……coffins…holy symbols…….fangs …….. fancy cloaks …. And did I say blood? Yes? Well it is worth a second mention as BLOOD is what vampires are all about, as you read what people write about, things change our lovely long toothed friends can walk in sunlight, wear modern clothes, and even be a priest! Ok I know but it was in a very low budget film that I will not even name as it was ……..er………. crap ………So  lots of things can change but never the blood …….even if it now comes in bottles (True Blood).
Over the years I have read and seen lots of vampire books and films and some are so bad I wanted to go and bite the author or film director.
I once saw a film called the last vampire in New York that had the vampire walking about in the day light and shooting people instead of biting them………… if you have not seen it don’t bother,
………..I like films to have a plot and a reason for happening or they bore me, so when I have a world to create I try and step into it and take a look around ………… things have to happen for a reason …………. And always have logic to them no mater how odd the logic is …….. if someone can jump off a roof and land on the ground unharmed (Underworld) ther must be a reason and there must even be a reason for wearing long leather coats and is it the same as the cloaks in the past ……… the answer could be yes and in my world I can you give reasons.
So lets go back to BLOOD ……….step into my world and look back out at the odd humans as you join a teenage vampire trying to explain what life is like for a teenage vampire:
Wow, yes, blood. The taste, the feel and the pleasure of it... wowwwwww. (Sorry, getting a bit carried away again.) Humans always think it is disgusting how we can like blood so much knowing where it comes from, well, all I have to say is that they eat eggs knowing where they come from. And as to milk, well it's just perverted to enjoy milk unless you're a baby.
Forget the human movies about bathing in the blood of virgin teenage girls to keep young, it's rubbish - and besides, just where do you find virgin human teenagers now? And, like, are you going to ask them personal questions about their love life before you add them as a bath salt? I think not.
If you would like to know more about my take on the human world you can take a look at my blog http://amymahvampire.blogspot.com/
or better still buy one of my books at……………………  www.fangsrule.com
Amy Mah (Vampire)

Author Spotlight with Colette Duke



K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

C.D.  Hi, Katie, and thank you for having me. I’m Colette Duke, and I write science fiction romance. That sounds a bit like an addiction, doesn’t it? Well, most of the time, it is.

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

I absolutely cannot write a story without writing an outline first. I’ve tried to “pants” stories. They never work. And I have to have my office door closed so I don’t get distracted. My family has come to accept that when the door is shut, they don’t open it unless the house is on fire.

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

C.D.  There wasn’t one moment that sparked my desire to write novels—it was more an evolution. I’ve always been a voracious reader. When my kids were young, I couldn’t do much that required long stretches of concentration. But when I had more time, I tried writing in different genres that didn’t quite feel right. Then I started writing fantasy novels, but technology kept creeping into them. Finally I gave in and tried writing science fiction romance. Which is how Galaxy Command and the Beacon series were born. The first Beacon novel is in the outline stage and is set shortly after the three short stories that begin the series.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

C.D.  Science fiction romance. It’s the Star Trek fan in me. You can’t outgrow some things.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

C.D.  Every author who has sat alone at her keyboard for months or years and kept writing until she wrote a story people loved—and then did it again and again.

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

C.D.  I’ve been writing for so long, they think it’s normal for me to sit at my computer without blinking, moving, or responding for extended periods. That is normal, right?

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?

C.D.  My idea of appealing cover art is more similar to what twelve-year-old boys like than to what my readers like.

K.S.  What inspires you?

C.D.  Creatively? A stray thought, usually. What if you wanted to get in, get out, and get on with whatever you had planned for your day, but . . . airborne algae clogged the intake ports of your landing craft? What if trees were sentient? Just normal everyday stray thoughts, lol.

K.S.  Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?

You bet! This is an excerpt from Emerald 3: a Beacon short story. The entire story (minus a non-G-rated scene) is also available as a free read on my website (www.ColetteDuke.com).

Visible through the landing craft’s viewing window, a single mountaintop jutted like a pink castle from the thick mist that cloaked Emerald 3. Fioran adjusted the controls to ensure the craft stayed on course between the twin moons and well above the planet’s permanent cloud cover.
Emerald 3. It was an ill-conceived name for the giant ball of gray-white clouds. But recent probe transmissions indicated lush foliage on the planet’s surface, and someone in Galaxy Command had decided on the name.
A faintly green puff of mist rose in front of them. As the craft passed through it, warning indicators lit up.
“Something’s up with the propulsion system,” Fioran noted, waiting to see if the glitch would resolve itself after they left the green mist. Another warning light. “Lovely. Navigation system just went down.”
The landing craft bucked. She flicked off the autopilot and grabbed the manual controls. At least they were above the clouds, where they could see. Galaxy Command had wanted them to set down in the murk. When she’d refused, risking her promotion and her job, they’d agreed to extend the mission. She and Alohxi would travel on foot down the mountain to confirm the data collected by the probes, and back up again, instead of just moving explorations to a proper planet that wasn’t buried in clouds. Then they’d set the beacon to guide the colonists and get back out to the stars.
“You don’t question Galaxy Command,” she muttered. Who’d want to colonize this place anyway? Anyone living here would never see the sky. No wonder no life forms existed here, other than plants.
Alohxi, the only other crewman aboard, included in the mission for his empathic abilities, slid into his seat beside her. “Maybe next time you’re tempted to challenge authority, you’ll remember climbing down all these cliffs and back up them again, and you’ll keep your mouth shut and just land where you’re supposed to.”
“Only a fool would try to land without visuals. Surface is probably a swamp.” The elevation sensor dipped, and she pulled up on the controls. The craft responded, but it felt sluggish. Instead of climbing, it sank into the dense cloud cover. “Bring up the external sensors.”
“External sensors have failed,” Alohxi announced as the thick white clouds gave way to a denser substance that darkened the viewing window to a vivid green. “And the green stuff is back.”


K.S.  Where can we buy your book?



K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

C.D.  My site and blog are at www.ColetteDuke.com. Occasionally I tweet: @ColetteDuke.


K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

The best thing you can do for your career is write more books. But remember to live your life, too.

Katie, thanks again for having me on your blog. It’s been a lot of fun.

Hexes, hunks, and magical mayhem


Title: The Book of Lost Souls
Author : Michelle Muto
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Format: (print, ebook, or both) ebook and, it’s just $1.99!
Links to buy:

Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?

I love reading young adult urban fantasy. But, it’s much harder to find young adult that has some humor in it. I decided Toni Morrison was right – if there’s a book you want to read that hasn’t been written, you must write it. I still love a dark tale, but the idea of writing something lighter and fun wouldn’t let go.
The Book of Lost Souls is not only appropriate for teens, but tweens and adults seeking a feel-good story should enjoy it, too.

Tell us about the book cover. How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork?

I happened to come across it while going through iStock photo and thought it represented the magic that flowed from the books my main character, Ivy, used. I had never created a cover before, and sought help from fellow Indie author Same Torode, who tweaked the cover for me. Sam is awesome.

Synopsis:

When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy has heard it all before - that her father, who left when she was seven – was involved with the darkest of magic.

Making the rumors worse, someone uses an evil spell book to bring back two of history's most nefarious killers. Ivy's got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But she’ll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits that want her and her friends dead: the school’s resident bad boy and hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Nick’s offering Ivy more than his help with recovering the missing book – he’s offering her a way to ditch her scaly reputation as a lizard-lover. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and as Ivy soon discovers, it’s going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to survive long enough to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week’s end. 

Where can readers find out more about you and your work? 

Readers can find me on my blog - http://michellemuto.wordpress.com/
I’m on Twitter and I’m on Facebook

Marketing Basics - Responding to Book Reviews

If at all possible, try to avoid reading your reviews about your book. That will prevent you being tempted to respond to them. But, we’re all human and we want to know when someone talks about our work. I can safely assume that you will ignore this advice completely. 

So, once you’ve read a review on your work, you might be tempted to respond. The best advice I can give you for that is, no matter if they are good or bad, is to leave your book reviews alone.  

Firstly, reviews are not written for you, the author. They are the reader’s personal interpretation of your story. They need to feel free to share their thoughts, good or bad without fear of harassment. 

On bad reviews:

Not everyone is going to like your book. A bad review does not mean the reviewer is personally attacking you.  It’s simply an opinion from one reader. You’ve heard the old saying about opinions, right? Everybody’s got them… 

It’s human to feel upset when you receive a bad review. After all, you did labor over this project for countless months, revision upon revision. It’s ok to be angry, hurt, disappointed, and any other negative emotion that hit’s you. Your work is your baby and a bad review is akin to someone calling it ugly.  As the author, you feel like any negative is a personal attack on you.  Just feel it in the privacy of your own home. 

Lashing out publicly is never going to bring back positive results for you. In fact, it’s going to push people further away from you and your books.  Case in Point:  Recently, an author disagreed with a review posted by a blog Big Al’s Books and Pals (dedicated to indie books). What started as a simple disagreement between the author and the review blog, quickly dissolved into the author throwing a temper tantrum. This tantrum was tweeted, shared, linked and spread through the internet like wildfire. The author’s book took the brunt of the backlash and was flooded with thousands of negative comments and close to 100 1-star reviews.   

The internet is like an elephant, it never forgets. Any comments you make, whether bad or good, will be stored online, on servers, and can eventually be accessed and be dragged out again when you least expect it.
Instead of channeling the negative energy into an online temper tantrum, which will only make you look bad, why not try to look for something you can take back from the review. 

Did the reviewer point out any typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, etc? Think of this as an opportunity to improve your work. The nice thing about being an indie author is we have the ability to update and improve our work. With ebooks, it’s as simple as uploading a new file. The update cost us nothing and will correct the mistakes for any future books purchased. With POD books the same principle applies (but due to cost, you might wait until you have significant improvements before uploading new files.)
Read more tips and tricks in my handy dandy little guide.

Available exclusively on Kindle!

Rita Reviews: Karma and Melodies by: Katie Salidas

Rita Reviews: Karma and Melodies by: Katie Salidas:

Rita Reviews gives Karma & Melodies 5 stars!!
"This is a wonderful love story first and foremost. I usually don't go for vampire stories. In fact this is only the second I have ever in my life read that I truly enjoyed enough to reread it a second time. Ms. Salidas has done a wonderful job of weaving a story of struggle. Struggle with how you are, struggle with love and how to realize that despite the obstacle it is real and attainable."

Read more:
http://ritareviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/karma-and-meoldies-by-katie-salidas.html

Marketing Basics - Getting Book Reviews

Book Reviews


Never, ever, ever, ever, ( I can’t say this enough) ever pay for a book review.

For starters, they’re never truly unbiased. If you’re paying someone to review your book there is an expectation of a great review on your part. No one wants to pay for a 1-star review, right? And if you take a look at the review-for-pay services out there, you’ll notice a trend of nothing below 3 stars. Other people will notice this as well and they will recognize that your book is being misrepresented as “great,” when it might not be. (I’m not saying your book won’t be great.)

So, how do you get your book reviewed?
Do some research and look for blogs geared toward your genre.
This is an excellent place to start.
Find out the review guidelines of each blog and shoot them an email politely requesting they consider reviewing your book. Be sure to include your:

Genre
Publishing date and publisher name (if it’s you, say so. Be proud to be an indie)
Word Count
Synopsis
If there is any adult-related material in the book (Some sites will not review anything with sex or foul language. Best to state it upfront)
Format available (print or ebook)
Book Cover Image (People often judge a book by its cover so let yours help sell it.)


You’ll be surprised how many bloggers are out there, willing to look at your book. And it will only cost you at most, the book plus shipping. At the least, it could be as cheap as emailing a PDF.

Many of these bloggers don’t just publish their reviews on their blog. Often times they also publish them on well trafficked sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing, and on occasion, right on your Amazon.com book page.

Read more tips and tricks in my handy dandy little guide.

Available exclusively on Kindle!

Marketing Basics - Putting together a Press Kit


Once you know who you want to target, you’ll need to gather the tools necessary to market your work. A Press Kit is essential in the early stages.
You will need:

A good quality picture of yourself.
Your author picture is the only visual representation of you that readers see. You want to put your best face forward. The keg stand you did at your college party in 2000 might not be the best photo to use. You want something that is natural and shows you in your best light. Consider getting a few professional shots taken, or, if you’re on a budget, have a friend follow you around with a camera and see what kind of candid shots you can come up with.
Things to consider
Keep it current. You want a photo that’s been taken within the last year or two at most. Outdated photos are not going to be the most accurate representation of you.
Be the focal point of the photo. It might seem cool to go with funky angles or wild backgrounds but ultimately, you want your image to be the centerpiece of the picture. After all, it is your picture.
Show your personality. Just because you are an author, that doesn’t mean you have to show books in your picture. Your photo is a quick visual representation of you. What do you want people to see? Let your outfit, hair, and background all reflect you in some way.
An Author bio
Your author bio gives people a little more information about you, the person behind the book. Make it cute and witty, but keep it short.
Always write your bio in the third person. But give it some personality. Think about who’s going to be reading it. Who’s your target audience? Make it entertaining for them.
Keep it short and sweet. Under 250 words will do. No need for long-winded stories of your life.
If you have any noteworthy achievements, list them. If not, don’t worry about it.
Relate your bio to your work. If you are a paranormal writer, think of how to link the paranormal your life. That may be as simple as stating what drew you to the genre.
Business cards
All professional people use business cards, and as an author, you are a writing professional. It goes without saying that you need one. These are an invaluable resource for promoting yourself and your work.
These little slips of paper are your calling card. You’ll hand them out to everyone you meet and through them, build new contacts and potential readers.
Your business card should have:
Name
Title (use your genre here. Paranormal Romance Author)
Web Address/Blog Address
Email address
Phone Number (optional)
Fax Number (optional)

Promo stuff (bookmarks, flyers, post cards, etc...)
Freebies and giveaways are a way to build good will and can potentially bring people back to your work. Bookmarks are especially handy for this as they are a multi-use item.
And especially with bookmarks, they are a multi-use marketing tool. A bookmark is something we all use. By giving them away to people, you are planting a seed. That person may not buy your book today, but they might just use your bookmark when sitting down to read. Each time they use it, they see your book’s image and your information. That can eventually lead to a sale.
Each bookmark you create should have a few essential items on it:  your book(s) image(s), your name, and a place they can go to find you (Website or Blog).
You can create your own images using photo editing software and then send them to the printer of your choice. Remember to do your homework and find the best price for your printing needs (because chances are, you are just going to give them all away. Don’t break the bank on giveaways). The best bang for your buck I’ve found so-far is http://gotprint.net

A good quality picture of your book cover
This is the digital age; you’ll need some good photos to email as well as ones to hand out to perspective readers! Make sure your photo is 300DPI (Dots per inch) for anything that will be printed. For blogs and websites, you may want to have a variety of smaller sizes available. It’s always best to ask what size is needed before sending pictures off to anyplace.

A summary sheet.
A summary sheet consists of: Genre, publisher, publishing date, author, price, where to buy, and a short summary of the book. This is your handy dandy quick reference guide.

A media release (to announce your book)
There are a variety of outlets you can use to send out notice of your new release. Having one of these prewritten and ready to go is always handy.

Approximately 30 copies of your book for giveaways.
            Thirty is always a good starting number, you’ll probably give away more in your quest o get reviews but make sure you have at least 30 copies (digital & print) to share with potential reviewers.
These are your basic tools to begin your marketing quest.
Read more tips and tricks in my handy dandy little guide.

Available exclusively on Kindle!

Author Spotlight with Kevin Villegas




Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 
Thank you for having me. My name is Kevin Villegas and “The Sunwright Chronicles – Empire at War” is my first novel. I am currently working on the second novel in the series. Besides wearing the hat of an author I work in the banking industry. I have an awesome wife and two children whom I enjoy spending time with. I also enjoy computer gaming and various other games.
Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
I need music to write! I have my play list all set on Itunes, I’ve found if I try to write without music the material I produce is not of the quality I like. Music also helps get me motivated and I lose myself in the writing much faster with something playing in the background.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
I’ve always had the notion that I wanted to become a writer for as long as I can remember. Previously I had trouble staying on one story. After about fifteen years of tweaking the world of Tera and writing a lot of short stories my wife motivated me to get my idea’s down on paper. So my first novel was born.
What genre do you write?
Right now I am writing in the Epic Fantasy Genre.  
What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
My wife inspired me to start writing the novel. If it wasn’t for her I believe I would still be writing short stories and piddling around.
What does your family think of your writing?
They love it, they are very proud of me and look forward to the second book.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
I would say my ability to write eight to ten pages a day when I’m really motivated. The actual writing process for EMPIRE AT WAR only took me a month and half. I was churning out eight to ten pages a day. Things are going a little slower on the next novel since I am doing a lot of marketing for EMPIRE AT WAR, in spite of this I am still averaging six pages a day.  
What inspired you to write your novel?
Though the genre is fantasy I would have to say my love of history. I love anything that has to do with the Roman or Eastern Roman Empire. I also loved the elves of J.R.R. Tolkien. I took those inspirations mixed them up and created the world of Tera.
Can you tell us a little about your novel? 

I would actually like to provide a 5 star review from Amazon that I think sums up the book very well.

"This is a classically stylized book with a multi-character cast, set in a Romanesque backdrop of Emperors, Commanders and Legates. The fantasy element of magic and elves is effortlessly drawn and there are a surprising amount of strong female characters. The plot-lines intertwine with an even pace that allows you to feel connected to the characters portrayed. Political intrigue, romance and murder sit side by side with the main plot, which draws the reader into a world where honor and dignity are being regained in a kingdom being overrun by invaders and tyrannized from within.
The Sunwright's are a family positioned at the very heart of this epic tale, their influence filtering throughout this troubled kingdom. Tobias the elder brother, struggles to bring the kingdom back to its former glory, while his sister, Calia brings the gift of medical advancement to the kingdom at the cost of her own personal life. All the while, Pershing Sunwright, the younger brother, plots from the sidelines, as an advisor to the next potential heir to the throne.
Strength and honor, my friends, enjoy the ride." - 5 Star Review from Fable66

Where can we find your novel?
I would suggest Amazon.
Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
I keep a blog that is updated daily.
I post some interesting tidbits on the world of Tera that you will not find in the books. I also post all appearances and book signings I make.
Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
Just keep at it! Writing is a marathon not a sprint.