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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our Yankee Book Swap Christmas Tradition

In my corner of the world -- Canada's east coast, to be exact -- we're not known for being overtly alpha in our dealings with others. We're a pretty beta bunch out here.

What's to get worked up about? Times are tough, but for us times have always been tough. Our forests grow on rocks, for heaven's sake.

Which takes me to my writer's group, the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, and our annual book swap tradition which takes place during our Christmas Potluck party.

Not only are we a collection of east coast Canadians, who as we have established, are pretty chillin' about most things. We are also a group of writers, recognized widely as introverts by nature in most cases. Not only that, but we're romance writers, who love happy endings and have the optimistic outlooks that go with that preference.

However, when it comes to the book swap part of our Christmas Potluck, the gloves come off and it's time to laugh until we're crying as we ruthlessly steal one another's books.

How it works is this:

Everyone brings a wrapped present, usually consisting of a few paperback books or a hardcover book, either romance titles of any subgenre or a craft-of-writing book. Note: the craft-of-writing -- and lately the business-and-marketing -- books are usually the most stolen gifts.

The gifts are all piled together until the end of the party, when the number of guests is counted, then everyone picks a number and proceeds to choose a gift from the pile as her number is called.

The early number-holders open the gifts and show them to all so the following guests can figure out if they want to open a new gift, or if they want to steal.

If someone steals your gift, you can choose to open a new gift or you can steal someone else's gift. This can lead to a round of stealing that leads to raucous laughter at such feats of keeping track of which book went where, and at sheer daring-do.

Book steal in progress

Stealin' giftz

Shock and delight at who is doing the stealing

Applauding a well-played steal

A much-stolen book finds its final owner

To the victor goes the spoils!

Monday, December 15, 2014

She's a librarian and she can see dead people . . .

The Awakening Book 1 The Bloodmane Chronicles by Sara BrookeToday's Sneak Peek is from the paranormal (with romantic elements) The Awakening: Book 1 The Bloodmane Chronicles by Lachesis Publishing author Sara Brooke. The Awakening is a compelling and riveting book about a librarian who discovers she has the ability to perform exorcisms on people who are possessed by demons.

Everything she knows . . .
Renda Bloodmane is a quiet librarian, who lives a quiet life, in a small quiet town in Florida. Her days consist of going to work (which she loves) and watching old Hollywood movies with her dog Jane (which she also loves). Her life is just fine, if a tad on the dull side. So, when her best friend from college, Bobbie Trillo, invites her to visit her family in Georgia, Renda decides a vacation is in order. Bobbie has moved back in with her mother and brother after her parents’ divorce. Things aren’t going well for her mother, and Bobbie needs Renda’s friendship and support.

Everything she believes . . .
Renda soon discovers that there is a lot more going on in the Trillo household than meets the eye. The moment she sets foot in the Trillo home, Renda starts seeing ghosts everywhere she turns. But one very unique ghost stands out from the rest. A sinfully attractive man named Cole, who died more than one hundred years ago, begins to haunt Renda’s every thought. He warns her there is evil in the house and it’s attacking Bobbie’s mother. Only Renda can stop the demon from taking over and destroying the entire family.

Will never be the same . . .
Renda can’t believe she’s seeing dead people. She can’t believe she’s attracted to a dead man. And most of all, she can’t believe that she’s the chosen one who has to fight a centuries-old powerful demon. But there is more to Renda Bloodmane than even she realizes. Her quiet, ordered life is about to change and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

I didn’t actually see anything strange at first, but the temperature around me felt like it had suddenly dropped several degrees. Goose bumps popped up on my arms as the cooler air surrounded me in a chilly embrace. Taking a deep breath, I briskly rubbed my skin to warm up and continued pushing the cart.
When I turned down the aisle, I was surprised to see a man standing with his back to me. He was looking down, and appeared to be reading something intently. At first, I didn’t notice anything strange about him, but as I moved a bit closer, I saw a big red stain on the back of his shirt.
It was blood.
My heart started beating quickly and a list of things to do raced through my mind. I wasn’t sure exactly how long it would take for the paramedics to arrive, but clearly the man didn’t realize that something was wrong with him as he was simply standing in place, reading a book.
Dropping the novel I was holding into the cart, I started to approach him. “Sir, I think there’s something wrong with your . . .” But I never finished my sentence, because as soon as I started speaking, the man turned around to face me.
He was in his mid-thirties and looked calm, almost disinterested. But that was probably because I couldn’t see most of his face. It had been blown away by something brutal . . . maybe a gunshot blast.
It was unbelievable, but I was looking into the face of a person who couldn’t possibly be alive. Blood dripped down from a gaping hole in his forehead and covered most of his face in a red sheen. Part of his mouth was missing, and a smiling, skeletal profile gleamed at me under the library’s fluorescent lights.
My mind told me to run. Flee. But then another part of my brain suddenly came alive, filling me with a sense of calm. It was a feeling that I’d never felt before. And in that deep, strange calmness, I heard a gentle, masculine voice speak to me.
I wanted to read for a while.
As soon as the voice entered my brain, it left just as quickly and for some bizarre reason, I didn’t want it to go away. Because somehow, I knew that if the voice disappeared―so would this strange, dead corpse . . .

You can get The Awakening at Lachesis Publishing, as well as amazon.com, barnes and noble, kobo, and iTunes.

Sara Brooke is an Amazon bestselling author of horror, paranormal romance, and suspense fiction. A lifelong avid reader of all things scary, Sara’s childhood dream was to write books that make readers sleep with their lights on. She hopes that isn’t too troubling for the thousands of readers worldwide who have purchased her books. Sara resides in beautiful South Florida. 
You can Like Sara's facebook page  - called, The Bloodmane Chronicles . Connect with Sara on facebook and on her website. Sara welcomes feedback and questions from readers.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Facebook's 2015 Fee Rollout For Author Pages

Writing coach Edie Melson shared this Facebook update over at her blog this week:

She outlines the planned rollout to charge fees for business pages that have previously been free of charge on Facebook. This not only affects brick and mortar retail stores, but authors and their author pages as well.

I imagine this will lead to an enormous outcry and backlash from the legions of authors who have been happily using the free service for the past several years -- myself included.

However, I want to put this out there.

I'm certain that many of you have paid for blog tours, spots on Book Bub, etc. when promoting your new releases.

Facebook has been a proven source of promotion for many years. They are now a publicly traded company and must generate profit.

Each author is also a little business that must generate profit. We've been happy to use Facebook for promo while it was free. Will we continue to do so once Facebook treats us like the businesses we are and charge for its service?

The marketplace will tell the tale.

Will authors abandon Facebook en masse and find another free source of promotion? Will authors pay for Facebook's author pages? Will we discover that paying for the exposure works for us? Will we pay the fee and discover it's a money pit?

Only 2015 will tell the tale.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sting on Broadway ...


From the Writing Desk of Christine Mazurk

STING. One of my favorite musicians. I've attended many of his concerts, including his 60th Birthday Bash three years ago at the Beacon Theatre in NY. Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Downey Jr. and more helped celebrate his big day. We thought nothing would outshine that, but earlier this year we sat in row three of his concert with Paul Simon. The next morning we had a brief conversation with his lead guitar player, Dominic Miller!! What a thrill.

Now, he's on Broadway! His musical The Last Ship opened on October 26th, and he's sat in the back of the theatre every night to watch. But mixed reviews and loss of money have prompted him to take to the stage. He feels a need to "tow his ship" and save the day. As of last night, through January 10th, when he begins his European Tour with Paul Simon, Sting took over the role of Jackie White, replacing his long-time friend, Jimmy Nail, who will rejoin the cast when Sting goes on tour.

Will he draw the crowds? Will his performances save the show?

Read more details in the Blog post posted December 8th by Peter Marks from The Washington Post on www.sting.com.  

It's a beautifully written post that captures the true soul of this rock-star, husband, father, grandfather, and leader of causes, most notably The Rainforest Foundation.

Learn more about this fascinating man, including the fact that he's preformed on Broadway before. He starred as Mack the Knife in a revival of The Threepenny Opera in 1989. Who knew? I knew he starred in movies, but I'm surprised to learn he played on Broadway.

                                                                            His music is currently playing in the background, helping my muse gear up for the day. I have only a few chapters left to finish Passion's Spirit. So, please check out the post while I get back to work.

Happy Holidays!!!   

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Can a Notorious Regency Rake Make Amends Without Losing His Chance at Happiness? Plus Secrets of Writing to Success

My fellow Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada member Deborah Hale has a new release: 

"A baby is left on Jack Warwick’s doorstep. And the notorious rake doesn’t know if the child is his. Jack shares a Mayfair town house with two friends, and a note left with the baby suggests one of the three bachelors is the father…but which one? And who will care for the child until they can locate her mother? 

Jack can think of only one woman he would trust with such a delicate task. Annabelle Robb, the penniless widow of his cousin, has been too proud to accept his financial support. Enlisting her help with the baby is the perfect excuse to provide for the woman who was once his dearest friend. 

Annabelle agrees, with great reluctance. She cannot turn her back on an abandoned child, for both she and Jack know the pain of being unwanted. Yet she fears rekindling her old feelings for him, which were once far more than friendly…until he broke her heart 
Though Jack cannot be certain he is the baby’s father, his growing affection for the child makes him vow to reform his ways. Yet the more time he spends with Annabelle, the more he is torn between a sense of duty to find and marry the child’s mother …and his growing desire for Annabelle." -- deborahale.com 

~~~                                                                                                                                      ~~~

My other friend and fellow Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada member Cathryn Fox also has a new release, along with authors Riley J. Ford, Geri Foster, Lisa Hughey, A. C. James, Kathy Kulig, Sarah Makela and Caridad Pineiro:

"Eight New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors share how to build a successful writing career. 

You'll also hear directly from today's cover artists on what makes a book cover eye-catching. Plus, an author's assistant shares her perspective on hiring a virtual assistant.

Write to Success covers all those frequently asked questions every new indie author wonders about self-publishing and has strategies for the advanced self-publisher.

Writing, editing, cover art, formatting, marketing, street teams, multi-author collaborations, and contracts can make your head spin. But this book gives you all the tools to professionally publish and market your book. 

It also contains a directory that lists recommended books, blogs, editors, cover artists, formatting resources, and web sites.
  • SPECIAL BONUS: Included in this e-book is the Indie Word email loop which lends support, accountability and encouragement as you take the plunge into
    " -- Amazon.com