Monday, September 22, 2014

Overlooked and Underrated

This title applies not only to Alex's blogfest, but also to the small book fairs out there. Let me tell you about the little old Ohio River Festival of Books I had the privilege of going to this weekend...

Positives of going to a smaller book event:
  • The ratio of books sold to people passing your table is awesome!! (showing off my math skills - I estimate 30% of the patrons bought a book! And more said they would online, yay!)
  • You have more down time to talk with other authors - lots of info to share!
  • You don't have to worry about a mad rush when you leave to use the potty.
  • You get to see some lovely country on your drive to Smalltown, USA
  • You learn to research better...
  • And the best part of any book event - You meet new authors and readers!!
  • Check out more pictures on Facebook with my super cool friends, Elizabeth Seckman & Carrie Butler

Now for Alex's Underrated Treasures Blogfest
post about your favorite unknown –

MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK

I'm into music the most, so I'm linking to some of my favorite songs that didn't get overplayed (and thank goodness!)

Change by Churchill

New Low by Middle Class Rut
(Cooper's song)

Unity by Shinedown

House of Gold by twenty one pilots

Comeback by Redlight King
(my inspiration for my short story in CQ's anthology!)

I'm looking forward to reading what participants have to say and finding some gold that got overlooked!


And one more Underrated Treasure is Tammy Theriault!! She's always doing super fun interviews with others, so I wanted to interview her for a change! We did it Broken Branch Falls style...

This is the story of Feistytude the werewolf and Trong the goblin. These two sixteen year old girls live in Broken Branch Falls. Of course, Trong is a math nerd. And Feistytude is a spunky writer.

After school one day, the girls were walking to the square, talking about everything and nothing…

Trong had something on her mind, but didn't know how to ask her friend. So she asked a random question instead. "Hey, Feisty, what's the craziest thing you've ever done?"

Feistytude's yellow eyes scoped around. She grasped her books closer to her perfectly perky wolf chest and whispered, "Trong, I can't say. There's little wolverines around. But, I will forewarn...don't drink the water below the border in the Troll sector. And by water, I mean 'water.' You may end up passed out, dragged out, and brought home by warm furry friends from the den." Her eyes blinked slow, finishing them with a roll. "Besides, that was ages ago when I was young, stupid, and forgot my howling morals. It's all a journey, right?" Feisty pulled on the back of her red stiletto heel, adjusting them. "Just don't ask me for more crazy stories, I have too many to...shed."

The shorter, green-faced Trong straightened her glasses. "Exaggerate much? I always knew you were a drama queen. But that's why I like you. The craziest thing I ever did was TP some friends' houses." She covered her mouth and quickly changed the subject. "Do you have any homework tonight?"

Feisty clawed at Trong's shoulder with a quick swipe. "That was my house you TP'd, ding bat! And it took me until midnight to clean it!" She regained her composure and kept in stride with Trong who was rubbing her scratches. "I will say this, that was some dang good two-ply. Even my wolf bro said something about 'no more dingleberries'."

They both giggled hysterically. Feisty nearly drops her books, tripping over a purple caterpillar she didn't see yelling at them to be quiet. "Stupid Grotto Caterpillars. Think they know everything, writing up the school curriculum each year. I'm up to my pointed ears with Creative Writing homework now! And you know I only took that to be closer to Chet Cheetah. Meeeeeow!"

Trong stomped her foot. "Hold on. First of all, it was dark, I can't see in the dark like you. Second, watch it! Scratch me again and I won't critique your homework assignments anymore and you'll flunk out! By the way, that story about Emily was really good. Um, did your brother know it was me?" She blushed a deep shade of purple and kicked a stick. "I mean, you should ask your brother why they call Chet cheetah, it isnt because he's cheesy!"

Licking her orangey padded fingers after scarfing down some puffs from her backpack in a nanosecond, Feisty replied, "You're so corny. Of course he knew it was you! Only you would make sure each roll of TP careened around each den rock and tree in perfect symmetrical lines. And the cheetah rumor is because he's really quick with his girlfriends."

Trong's jaw dropped open.

Feisty gasped, realizing what she said. "Oh my fleas! I didn't mean it like that! I meant that I'll be next in line because he doesn't keep girlfriends long." She hung her head down. "Something about how he's trying out speeding through the dating pool."

Trong rolled her eyes.

"Don't worry, Trong. I'm a wolf, not a bat. I won't let him leave me hanging or high and dry."

Trong pointed down her throat. "I think I'm going to gag. Just don't let Chet pull the wool over your eyes. Then you'll be a werewolf in sheep's clothing!" Trong laughed so hard she snorted, which made her laugh even more and she had to hold her aching belly.

Feisty's eyes flashed red, but seeing her friend cracking up made her join in. The two friends couldn't stay mad at each other for long, they were always painfully honest. They entered the pizzeria to see and be seen.

The End.

She looks like a spunky werewolf!
Here's a little about what Tammy is currently working on.
I'm in the middle of two writing projects. One with my writing bestie, Elizabeth Seckman. It's all about virgins, the worth of "cherries," and 4 best friends. The second is a spin off from my alias PIMPBOOKMAMA that I do on my blog to pimp others' projects. Think Legally Blonde but for the writer, not lawyer. It's definitely just as comedic and totally lethargic. And on the flip side of all that, my first book, Living Runaway, I'm shrinking a two part series into one. Meaning deletions all over the place, and tons more writing to cram it all into one book. But, I'm in no hurry to tackle that sweat bath. Not...at...all!! So how do I stay so awesome you ask? YOU tell me! I only see awesome surrounding me when I look at all of ya'll!!

And finally, another shout out for our SHELFIE SELFIE BLOGFEST still going on - post yours by October 6th to win! Check out the entries:
A shelfie with the latest of my friends' books

Ellie Garrett

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I now pronounce you dead

Big news for two of my friends today - Elsie Elmore and Carol Kilgore

First, I interviewed my CQ buddy Elsie and she wrote this sweet intro for it...

Tara and I met several months ago through the online writing community; and it really is a community, isn’t it? I was excited for her release of Broken Branch Falls, an MG fantasy through Curiosity Quills. She was also super helpful with my rafflecopter questions. She’s quite in-the-know.

So anyway, Tara, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog for this grand interview during my release tour for The Undead. I’m strapping on my seatbelt now… Okay, let’s do this.

What is your favorite pizza topping? 
People, prepare…. what I’m going to share is often not a crowd pleaser… my favorite pizza topping is… fresh mushrooms. Are those oohs or ughs I hear? Fresh mushrooms add a layer of savory flavor to whatever they’re paired with… especially sausage, but can perfectly dress up a cheese pizza. Canned mushrooms, however, need not apply.
Hey - I like mushrooms! I thought you were going to say anchovies!

In the future, no one has dull hair – what color would you like to dye yours?
I’d love to say red because it’s my favorite color, but I couldn’t pull off red. I’d have to go with a rich chestnut brown... you know, with the light undertones.
Not bright enough, toots! At least have some sparkly glitter in it!

Where is your favorite place to vacation? 
I think instead of a favorite place, I have a favorite group to vacation with… and that’s my family. We’ve had awesome times at the beach, at the mountains, and on road trips to other states. So I’m less about the destination and more about the journey.
Good answer - the company you keep can make or break the vacation no matter where you go!

What's your favorite song to sing in the shower? 
Ha! I sound like hyena during puberty when I sing so I typically don’t sing in the shower or ever. It’s sort of a public service thing. However, in the privacy of my car, I will sing the first few lines of Fancy by Iggy Azalea when it comes on the radio. Jimmy Fallon has forever made this a “stuck-in-my-head” kind of song. Thanks, Jimmy.
I love Jimmy Fallon. He got All About that Bass stuck in my head!

What's your favorite adjective?
Awesome question. My favorite adjective is… WONKY. It’s like this subtle little word that can mean something is slightly wrong or majorly messed up, depending on use. Yep, no doubt. Wonky. (And I have been known to stretch that into WONKIFIED when the proper situation presents itself.)
A good choice, love the sound of it. Lately I've been using FLIPPIN, but I don't know if that counts as an adjective.

Briefly describe a typical day as a teenage grim reaper.
The daily routine of a grim reaper depends mostly on the territory they’ve been assigned. More populated places have more people, which means death lurks around the corner. In smaller cities, like Martin where Eric has been sent, a dwindling population means less work so there’s time to kill. 
Grim reapers receive their assignments on their phones. When a face pops up, so does a time frame and a location. They have to find their target and touch them to initiate the process of death. Once they’re marked, they’re easier for death to find them. And he always does.

With a deadly touch, mingling with humans can be extremely tricky for grim reapers, so most don’t. They’ve learned to exist in the fringes of life and keep a low profile. Eric isn’t like most grim reapers. He tends to push his luck and his boundaries. His current assignment has offered him access to his one passion and weakness, music. He figures a way to incorporate joining a band into his job so he spends some of his free time doing what he loves and what’s forbidden… play music.
COOL!
And that leads us to the purchase info for THE UNDEAD by Elsie Elmore!!

Amazon US  ==  Amazon UK  ==  B&N

Plus a couple of GIVEAWAYS!


Now, it's Carol's turn...

SECRETS OF HONOR by Carol Kilgore - out now!

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

PURCHASE LINKS

Carol sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:



And once again, don't forget to click a shelfie selfie for our contest!
My desk shelfie - back by request - I have books spread
 all over the house, so this is the best I have for now...
I'll put up my Selfie Shelfie next week!

Check out the entries we have so far!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I can't believe it's already time to go to the Ohio River Festival of Books this weekend! Anyone in the Huntington, WV area, please come see us! Very excited to hang out with Elizabeth Seckman and Carrie Bulter!! Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's in the Soup?

Today I welcome Mary Pax on the release day for THE RIFTERS! She's like the old woman who lives in a shoe - she has so many books out! But she's not old and lives in slippers... but I'll let you read more about her in this fun interview...

What was your worst subject in school?

I had a really time with math once I reached Algebra. I usually stayed after school or met my teachers during lunch for extra help. I’d struggle most of the school year, then pass the state-wide final with 95% or better.

Aww. I would have tutored you. And that's a great result!
Can you share an embarrassing moment?

Hmm, in grade school, I ate everyone’s tomato soup at lunch once. I loved tomato soup... until I got sick. Really sick. I didn’t eat tomato soup for years after. I eat it now, though, and love it again.

Too much of a good thing...
Would you tell us about your favorite critique?

It was good rejection that led to my publishing career. Good critique has definitely made me a better writer.

That's the best! I live for feedback.
Does your family have a favorite line or saying?

‘Black Creek’ - refers to a story told and heard way too many times started by my father who told us his story about rowing up Black Creek (off the Niagara River in Ontario, actually) with his brother as a kid. That was it. There’s nothing else to the story. But he told us thousands of times.

I think every family has a story that goes no where like that, but always gets a laugh when it's mentioned.
Here's a curious question, What's your favorite cliché?

I suppose I live one as a writer who’s in my slippers most of the day living a fairly solitary existence. I don’t drink much, though. Just a celebratory beer when I finish a novel. And I had to give up caffeine.

Slippers are awesome! And I'd get so much more done if I had a solitary existence... but no caffeine? AHHH!
If you could travel through time (like they do in the Rifters) where/when/why would you go?

I would travel to Sumer and the dawn of civilization, because I am obsessed with Sumer. I have been since I read Gilgamesh in a lit class in college. I have fifteen books on Sumer including collections of their literary work (the birth of written fiction) and workbooks to learn Cuneiform and another on Sumerian grammar. Yeah, obsessed much. lol

That's quite a unique obsession!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary! And I love the sound of your book - always like to read about other's images of time travel or other sci-fi stuff!

THE RIFTERS by M. Pax:

The Gold Rush trickles to a fool’s quest and a string of stagecoach heists. In 1888, Earl Blacke decides to make a new start and become a better man. He escapes into the mountains, heading north. In the wilds of Oregon, a rift inside an ancient volcano opens and sends him into the future, into the present day. It also shaves forty years off his age, forty years to live over again and atone for what he’s done.
Starting over is hard to do.

In current day New York, Daelin Long’s dream job at a publishing house goes the way of the dinosaurs her sister chases. With no money and nowhere else to go, Daelin accepts the librarian position in her sister’s dinky town in the middle of Oregon. Nestled inside ancient volcanic peaks, the town of Settler holds onto many secrets. Residents roam the streets with weirdly fashioned devices, and odd lights pulse in the night skies. People whisper of a phantom outlaw and start dying, murdered and missing their heads. On top of it all, Daelin’s sister is missing, and Daelin doesn’t know who to trust.

Earl knows more than he’s saying. He shares a notorious history with the phantom, one he’ll see remains buried. Keeping Daelin’s sister’s secrets is his only chance at redemption, and the only way to keep this world safe.

And to start, Book One is free!
Download from:

Plus, take advantage of the preorder special on Book Two, THE INITIATE. Only 99 cents via preorder from Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Googleplay. Preorder

Author Bio: M. Pax-- Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers, and one of her cats has a crush on Mr. Spock. You can find out more by visiting her website: mpaxauthor.com



And y'all don't forget to enter our SHELFIE Blogfest! It's easy!
The list of entries is growing...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to measure success

It's September! Yay! I love Fall.

It's also time for another installment in the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

This month, I ponder about why I started writing. How will I know I've "made it?" I never intended to be a #1 best seller, or have my book made into a movie (though, heck ya that would be awesome!). At first, I just wanted to be published. Then, I was hoping to be in bookstores and get a few more fans than my friends and family... I'm doing as much as I can to put myself out there, but I'm a worrier. Is all this effort worth it? I guess we all need validation, especially from others. Looking at the bright side, I really appreciate the reviews (every last one). I will just have to keep plugging away - it's not in me to give up. Thanks for listening!

What do you do to keep yourself moving forward?

Today is also the release day for my sweet friend, Elsie Elmore. I tempted you last month with her cool cover, now THE UNDEAD - PLAYING FOR KEEPS is out!

The Undead: Playing for Keeps, by Elsie Elmore
Genre: young-adult, paranormal-romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: September 3rd, 2014
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson

When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.

While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny might be altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.

Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.

About The Author:
Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.
With a science education degree from NCSU, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.

Find Elsie Elmore Online:





And lastly, show us your SHELFIE! Grab your phone and snap a selfie with your book, or in front of a bookshelf, or take a pic of a bookshelf... anything to do with books! We need entries!


So far, we have:
Ellie Garrett
L. Diane Wolfe
Gina Stoneheart
Stephen Tremp

Here's a sample from my desk - my muse shelfie!

Come on! It's fun! And so many super fantastic prizes!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 1, 2014

Let Me Know & World Building, take 2

Though my final blog tour stop had a mix up, I'd still like to share my World Building post!

Here are some things to consider when building a new world:
government            school                religion
geography            religion            history
traditions & holidays        slang, fashion & pop culture
transportation & technology

Now, some might be intimidated by the thought of creating a whole new world and having to make up all this background. But, it's not as hard as it may sound... 

When developing these pieces of your world, you don't have to start from scratch. Just look at the world around you and tweak it. By keeping your world grounded with some familiarity, readers can relate to it easier.

The hardest part is introducing your world to the reader. You can't just spell it out for them, you have to incorporate it into the story without confusing or boring them. The author knows the history and background info, but some of it may never come up in the story. Characters live in the moment. Do you think about history on a daily basis?

Here are a few suggestions for incorporating background nuggets into your story...
  • write the scene as it would happen and when a new place, term, or activity comes up, you can elaborate on it - but don't force descriptions into a scene
  • slang can be emphasized by facial expressions or actions so the reader knows what it means
  • let the reader in on a character's internal thoughts and opinions about what's going on, the government, a situation, etc - that also helps with character development
The most important thing about building a new world is living in it in your head. Make the experience come alive. If you imagine being there, you will think of subtleties that will help the reader enter the scene with your characters!

Do you have any thoughts or advice on World Building?

And now, a HUGE THANKS and a BIG HUG
to everyone who helped me spread the word about Broken Branch Falls!
The WINNER of the $25 GC,
chosen randomly from the many reviewers, interviewers, and blog tour hosts,
is

KATIE TELLER!!

Thanks and hugs to everyone who stopped by my posts!
The winner of the August Raffle is below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait! I must share - Stina Lindenblatt's dramatic sequel YA release is here!

Blurb for LET ME KNOW

Amber Scott thought her screaming nightmares would end now that her stalker is locked up and awaiting trial. But they return when her slam-dunk case starts to fall apart. Explicit letters she allegedly wrote surface, suggesting she was the mastermind behind her assault, a willing victim.

Amber only feels safe in the arms of her boyfriend Marcus, the one person she can lean on. Until damning evidence from Marcus's past collides with the case and the media circus drags them both down. To protect Amber's reputation, Marcus has only one option: end their relationship. He won't risk further damage to her case, even if it means breaking her heart.

Amber has to find the strength to step into the spotlight and bring awareness to victims' rights before she's convicted in the court of public opinion. And she's really not sure what's worse—that her kidnapper could walk free, or that the seemingly endless attention and speculation will drive Marcus away permanently.

Where To Find The Book:
Nook         Amazon         KOBO         iBooks        Goodreads

Check out Stina's first book from Amber and Marcus' journey,
Lost in You #1, TELL ME WHEN

And we already have our first entry in the Shelfie Blog Hop!

Check out Ellie Garrett's jam-packed shelfie of awesomeness!

Plenty of time to add your own shelfie selfie!