Friday, January 31, 2014

Lie Detector Test!

It's Friday! Celebrate the good times! (with Vikki!) And I apologize in advance, this is a long one!
Here are my little celebrations:
  • my oldest son is doing great on the Freshman basketball team!
  • temperatures have risen!
  • I'm going to The Novel Experience reader/writer conference in Atlanta (Mar 28-30) - and so is Elizabeth Seckman! A few others are working it out, maybe you can too! It's a huge signing party!
  • And Saturday (Feb 1!) I'm in the Author Spotlight at Kimberly Afe's blog! Yay! She gave me some good questions. I'd love to see you there.
I'm also celebrating the release of my friend and fellow CQ Author, Jamie Ayers and her YA Paranormal, 18 TRUTHS! Sequel to 18 THINGS. To help her celebrate, I'm participating in her fun blog hop and giveaway (see below) Here's my entry for the hop. See if you can guess which of these three things about me are true and which one is the lie:
  • I've spent the night in a castle in Scotland
  • I've ridden in a romantic gondola in Venice
  • I've walked my legs off in the Acropolis in Athens 
As a special bonus, Jamie is meeting Conner and Olga at Dairy Treat. What better way to celebrate their journey than with an ice cream cone! (And Tara is the commentating fly on the wall)

J. Conner, we only got to know you a little bit in the first half of Olga’s journey. So for those who haven’t met you yet, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

C. Yo. My name’s Conner. I was killed by a lightning strike/hypothermia combo, then spent over a year in the Underworld until I got to see Olga again. I changed a lot while I was there – for the better, I think. But recently, not so much. I’m not sure what’s going on with me.  *licks ice cream cone while I swoon, until Olga elbows me in the ribs*

(I can't imagine being stuck in the Underworld! And hey, he's hot! Glad he came back)

O. No worries, I’m working on a way to help you. *gives Conner a one-armed hug*

(I bet you are!)

J. About this past summer though, from the moment both of you found out the other was in the Underworld, things drastically changed. Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have done differently?

O. It’s better to know the truth about things than live a lie—

C. Which is what I’d been doing my whole life by hiding my true feelings for Olga—

O. And what I did when I kept the truth from you this past summer. I regret doing that.

C. And I regret my reaction to hearing the truth the first time. You’ve been my best friend since kindergarten. I shouldn’t have reacted that way.

(Live and learn, kiddos! Good for you!)

J. I agree with that assessment, but don’t beat yourself up. Nobody’s perfect, not even Olga with her freakishly high IQ.

(Listen to Jamie!)

C. She’s pretty close to perfect though, not to mention insanely hot.

O. *blushes* He says that to all the girls.

C. But with you, I actually mean it.

(I think we'll need some proof to back that up, I've heard those lines before too…)

J. Aww. Now Olga, I know you’d planned on telling Conner your real feelings for him the night of Junior Prom. Conner, before you died, had you ever planned to tell Olga you were in love with her?

C. Looking back, I’ve always loved Olga—she’s my best friend; the only person I told all my secrets to, who could make me laugh when I was pissed, who I played all my new songs for first. She completely understood me. But I think I was just too immature before the lightning strike, and I couldn’t really see with my ‘friend’ lenses on. She’s definitely the most beautiful person I know, inside and out. It just sucks it took me dying to realize it.

(Lucky you got to come back, dude!)

J. Sadly, a lot of people don’t realize the truth until it’s too late. Olga, describe Conner in 3 words.

O. Confident, playful, and passionate.

J.*coughs the word ‘sexy’* Okay Conner, your turn!

(*cough* seconded)

C. Driven, caring, and sexy *smirks at Olga*

J. After everything that happened in the Underworld, at Limbo and Juvie and afterward, was there ever a time you lost hope?

C. Yeah, I lost hope. I couldn’t believe how royally I screwed up. Seeing Olga again was the only thing I had to hang onto.  

O. I lost hope as soon as I showed up to the estate and saw Sam.

J. Oh, yes, Sam. You were introduced to some colorful new characters this past summer, and he’s at the top of the list. What would you say is the bravest thing you’ve done?

O. I broke every rule in the spirit guide handbook to go after Conner. I made a deal with Sam, which was also the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, but it also took me being brave, I guess. Then I fought off some problematic demons.

(There's always a catch in every deal!)

C. I can’t top that one. Olga is by far the bravest person I know. As for me, after thirteen years, I finally told Olga I was in love with her.

J. Again, awwww! For those who have yet to embark upon this journey with you *points to Olga, then Conner* and Nate *Conner glares at me* What? Nate is part of this journey, whether you like it or not, Conner. Olga, tell us what can people expect?

O. Expect a complicated road filled with frustrations and surprising revelations, twists, and turns. Expect romance. Expect heartache and tears. Expect laughs. Because even though Nate and I spend our summer in the Underworld, we have some really fun moments.

C. Hey, we have some fun moments together, too!

O. Of course, that was implied since you’re here with me now. And if we didn’t end up having some fun moments together, then this whole summer in the Underworld would’ve been a complete waste of time.

C. Word. You ready to head out? We have some peeps waiting for us.

J. Yeah, we’re all done here. Thanks for meeting with us today! You two take care of each other. 

(Yeah. Such a cute couple! Very mature - but they've been through a ton!)

Thanks, Jamie for sharing that interview! It was fun! And now, here's some info about 18 Truths...

Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing which path to take is impossible.

Olga ended her senior year totally in love with Nate, enjoying their new romance and about to attend the university of her dreams. Now, she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, with charmingly witty and powerful angels, and problematic demons, trying to rescue Connor, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident.

But Nate is there too and has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides, and Olga’s feeling hurt and jealous. Nate's mysterious behavior has Olga questioning everything she believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart. 

Only one thing is certain: the chilling truths uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched. 

Jamie Ayres writes young adult love stories by night and teaches young adults as a middle school teacher by day. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband and two daughters. Her books include 18 Things and 18 Truths.

Jamie's links:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 27, 2014

Symposium Synopsis

Happy Monday!

Hope you all have had a great week! The year is off to a smashing start with all the books coming out and the wonderful marketing symposium last Monday. I got so much encouragement and awesome advice! And made more new friends, too. Today, I wanted to share some of the things I learned in a condensed format for you.

Marketing Tips that Work!
  • The Number 1 tip from several participants is KEEP WRITING!
  • from Jeremy and Roland - Find your readers and connect with them!
  • from L. Diane Wolf - Get early book reviews to create buzz and talk to book clubs
  • from Sandra - Slash prices! Here are some great bargain book sites:
  • from Julie Flanders - she used the April A to Z challenge to subtly promote by giving cool facts about Alaska where her book takes place - I love that idea! (btw, sign-ups start TODAY!)
  • another popular tip was to make a book trailer or catchy video - you never know what will go viral! and that goes with my last tip
  • from Nicki Elson - many do giveaways using Rafflecopter and use Twitter or Facebook shoutouts for entries, right? Well, Nicki added "view my book trailer" for entries. So we need to get creative with those giveaways!
Inline image 1

I also wanted to tell you about my good friend, Mish, who will be celebrating her third year of blogging next month! Please join her for a fun blog hop celebration Feb 18-21!

Monday, January 20, 2014

don't hide, have pride!

The Online Marketing Symposium is here!
Your fabulous hosts:  Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee,Jeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

We are supposed to share marketing ideas we've used and tell what worked or didn't work. And it doesn't have to be writing related. Promotion is promotion and it's all TOUGH!

So, first, my bad news.
My Detroit signing was a bust. There. I said it. But, I have to say, I wasn't too disappointed because I didn't do much to promote it. It was a holiday weekend, I was quiet and mousy and shy with the few strangers who came in to buy coffee, and I didn't do any advertising otherwise - I depended on the little coffee shop to promote.

It was a sad event compared to my other events which have been pretty good. I did the same thing I did before, but my connections in Detroit are much fewer than here in my home town. I wanted more traffic, but didn't really do much to bring it.

So, I learned from it! I'm going to have to reach past my friends and family and actually talk to strangers and be confident and put myself out there! I have had several opportunities to tell people I wrote (& published!) a book, but I feel like I'm bragging. I had to work at a concession stand with some other moms I didn't know very well. It was deadly quiet several times and I thought about bringing it up, but I didn't. I really need to get over that. It's so hard to promote yourself!

I also realized I needed help on the right way to go about organizing a proper book signing. So, I researched! My book launch party last July was a great success because I followed a plan. Now, I will follow another plan for future book signings. It's the only way I'm going to break the buddy barrier.

Here are some links I found that had great tips for a successful book signing event:

The Tricked Out Toolbox
Authors and Speakers Network
Writers Weekly
Balboa Press

I look forward to trying them out! I'll be in the Atlanta area March 24-28. And when I set up my signing, I'll let you all know! I hope I can meet some more writer/blog friends! (and see Sherry Ellis again! She came to my Cinci party on the day she was moving to ATL!)

I also look forward to reading more tips through this awesome blog symposium! Thanks for organizing it hosts!

And one more helpful thing! I came across this great opportunity if you are looking for a critique partner!

Megan Grimit is hosting a Twitter Critique Partner Matchmaking Party on Monday January 20. (TODAY!)

What: A chance to pitch your book to a bunch of like minded writers
Where: Twitter, of course!
When: January 20th from 10am-10pm EST
And You’re going to need:
  1. A twitter pitch (140 characters or less to include the #CPMatch hashtag)
  2. A few labels (this is my fave part!):
For the purpose of easy identification, please include (abbreviated for your convenience) a little about your critiquing style. (Note: These are for how you critique others work, not what you need for your own.)
  • Do you get straight to the point- STTP
  • Fan of the compliment sandwich- CS
  • Are you brutally honest- BH
  • How about a good copy editor- GCE
  • Or are you more of an attention to detail type: ATD
  • Maybe a critique partner beginner: CPB
  • Plot hole hunter: PHH
  • Do you give great big picture notes: BP
  • Are you a few of these things? Go ahead and list as many as will fit in your pitch.
Here's an example of a #CPMatch pitch:

Trapped among bleeding walls, psychotic passengers, and manifested fears, can Olivia escape with her life? YA #CPMatch CS ATD

On the 20th, simply search through the feed. If something looks interesting, DM the person and get to know each other a little better. See what you have to offer each other. Then, SWAP A SAMPLE CHAPTER. You’ll never know if you really mesh well unless you see some feedback first hand. Give it a try and spread the word!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A visit from a Muse

Today, I'm highlighting
Kimberly Afe

Kimberly blogs over at Meetings with my Muse, and on Saturdays she hosts other authors in a segment called, what else, SATURDAY AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT! Check it out or sign up for a spot yourself. I am excited to be there on Feb 1. Yay!

Kimberly is also a fellow MG/YA sci fi/fantasy author, and her book THE HEADHUNTER'S RACE is available now. Here are the details. (I love that cover!)

Sixteen-year-old Avene was sentenced to prison at thirteen for a crime she didn't commit. Now she has a chance to win her freedom back – if she enters the Headhunters Race. Second prize isn't so bad either, an upgrade to the Leisure Prison if you make it to the finish line. To win either prize, Avene and the other prisoners must navigate one hundred and fifty miles of dense forest, desert, and worst of all, cannibal territory.

With a mechanical collar timed to strangle the prisoners if they're not back in nine days, Avene allies herself with seventeen-year-old McCoy, another prisoner that insists on helping her at every turn and a boy she's trying hard not to fall for. Together they battle nature, other prisoners, and the timed death collars to win the coveted prize. But when Avene is tested with one deadly conflict after another, she realizes there is more at stake than winning her freedom – first she has to survive.

Author Bio
Kimberly is the mother of two awesome kids, wife of the nicest man in the world, and her dog's best friend. She works by day and writes middle grade and young adult science fiction and fantasy novels in her spare time. She lives with her family in the beautiful Sonoran Desert.

Where to find Kimberly:

Website     Goodreads     Twitter     Facebook     Blog     Amazon

And an added bonus, Kimberly has a great story behind her...

Journey to Publication

The Headhunters Race has a bit of a long journey.  The idea was born on June 26, 2011 after a Zelda game commercial inspired me.  The commercial was brilliant and I thought why can't they make a movie that cool?  And then I thought, why don't I write a cool adventure myself!

So I brainstormed this story with my son over a dinner of spicy spaghetti a couple of nights after the idea came to me.  We worked out the entire novel:  the characters and their motivations, the world, and the details of the race as I frantically wrote it all down.  My husband and daughter also helped me brainstorm items that I needed worked out.  I then spent a little while playing around with Avene's voice and then wrote like crazy.  I finished in December of 2011.  I actually started having critique partners read it in November of 2011 and began querying agents in January of 2012 after more revising.  I also entered it into a few popular contests around the blogosphere in early 2012.  Then I took a very long break due to life circumstances with hubby’s heart and moving.  Early this year I got back into writing.  I’d been thinking about self publishing for quite awhile so when querying a few more agents and a handful of publishers didn’t work out, I decided to go for it, and now, 2 1/2 years later, the book is out there!  Wahoo!

I applaud Kimberly for taking the leap into self-publishing.
Thanks for stopping by and supporting her!

What sparked the idea for your WIP?
Make sure you visit her if you're interested in being spotlighted.
And have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

support fest!

New year, new releases, new fests!
Here are some fun, educational, and profitable for you blogfests coming up!

First, there's an awesome event coming up on Monday 1/20
What Works - Online Marketing Symposium
A blogfest with information you can use! Hosted by Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee, Jeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

In this fest, authors will share what has worked and what hasn't to help us all get better at promoting our books, and ourselves. Join in, even if you haven't tried anything, you might have an idea to share! And it's not just for books - it can be anything, like business, or non-profit events, too. It's tough getting the word out! I hope to see you at the first ever Online Marketing Symposium – sign up here!

In honor of the quickly approaching Valentine's day, Unicorn Bell, a fantastic writer's critique site, is sponsoring a Meet n' Greet Blogfest called Love Is In The Air, January 20 -24th. Hosted by Charity Bradford, published author and UB moderator.

It's a celebration of that little thing called love. Be it steamy or sweet, puppy, kitty, teen, aggravating, first kiss or final goodbye, let your scene tug at our heartstrings. Share your lovey dovey moment on January 20th!

18 Truths high resolution image

Friend and fellow CQer, Jamie Ayres 2nd book, 18 TRUTHS, releases January 28th. She's having a blogtour and blog hop titled What's Your Truths? from Jan. 21st-March 4th. There will be tons of giveaways! It's a fabulous YA series and I'm happy to offer prizes and host her as part of her blog tour later this month (1/31)!

Crystal Collier is another friend with a release about to pop! MOONLESS is coming out February 10. It's a YA historical paranormal. And on that special day, she is hosting a Moonless Release Blogfest along with PK Hrezo, Tammy Theriault and Michael Di Gesu.

Their blog hop question for you is this: If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, who would you beg your parents to set you up with? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.) Who and why? 

Friday, January 10, 2014

He Blinded Me With Science - by Brinda Berry

I love science and have gotten hooked on the Big Bang Theory - so when Brinda showed me this awesome post, I was excited to share it with you all! Here's Brinda!

I'll confess any day of the week to being a science geek. Wearing the geek banner proudly, I listen to science podcasts, watch the Discovery Channel, and marvel at exhibits in science museums. Admittedly, I'm not Sheldon Cooper (of Big Bang Theory TV show) geeky, but I do love technology.

A fascination with science is something that Tara and I have in common. Naturally, we've both included versions of futuristic technology in our novels. In my new release, Watcher of Worlds, Mia Taylor and her friends are exposed to many exciting and new technologies that may or may not be far from reality.  In one scene, there is a demonstration of quantum levitation.  This was one of my favorite scenes to write because I love the possibilities of using this very real technology in the future.

Writing this scene wasn't my first exposure to quantum levitation. When my son was younger, he did a science project and built his own quantum levitation maglev track. We still have it in our attic. Just talking about it makes me want to dig through all the goodies stored up there. Or maybe not. I don't have to wade through attic boxes to see a demo. We have YouTube! Check this out.

Thanks for having me here today at Tara's place. Science geeks unite!
It was my pleasure. That is so cool! And I can't believe your son did a science project on it. Brilliance runs in your family! 

Here's more about Brinda and her cool, new YA Sci Fi book! (check out the first two books in the series, too!)

Watcher of Worlds

By Brinda Berry
Whispering Woods Book 3
ISBN: 978-1-941133-00-2

Senior year should bring fun, friends and happiness. Not portals, treachery, and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Mia Taylor, gatekeeper to an interdimensional portal, wants nothing more than to heal from her romance gone wrong. Illegally falling for her co-worker Regulus had been a huge mistake. But when Regulus goes rogue to hunt down a murderer, Mia must forget her broken heart and use her unique abilities to save him. Traveling across dimensions, she enters a strange and hostile world where a rebel faction holds the key to their escape. Her gift of synesthesia is in high demand, and a secret organization of the otherworldly kind has her in their sights. But sabotage and murder may be the least of her worries. Her ex-boyfriend wants a relationship. Her dad wants her to act normal. Her friends want her to stop moping. Who knew faking happy would be the easiest part of senior year?

 On Amazon /  Kobo  /  All Romance /  B & N   /   Renegade YA


Brinda Berry is the author of The Waiting Booth (Whispering Woods #1),Whisper of Memory (Whispering Woods #2), and  Watcher of Worlds (Whispering Woods #3). She also contributed a short story to the anthology, Wild at Heart, Vol II.

Currently working in higher education administration, she spends her days thinking of ways to improve education for college students. Brinda spends her nights devising exciting tales that involve teens who might be saving the world.

Connect with Brinda on the Web:


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Listen to your Heart

Hello friends and writers!

For this month's Insecure Writer Support Group post, I am encouraging you all to keep going.
  • Many things in life get in the way of our dreams and goals.
  • And sometimes things come up that force us to change > direction <.
  • But these ObStAcLeS, these tragedies, these seemingly INSURMOUNTABLE difficulties only make us stronger!
  • We don't always know what's best for us. And having to work for what we want makes the achieving that much sweeter.
  • So keep going, and soon you will say - I did it! I overcame! I reached and strived and didn't quit and I made it!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you leave a little more determined!

And if you can come back Friday, I'll have my first guest post of the year - Brinda Berry!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Reach for your dream in twenty fourteen!

Happy new year, everyone!

Have you made your resolutions?
Uh, I didn't even get Christmas cards out this year, so I'm not bothering with resolutions... My attitude this year - Do what needs doing and try my best with the rest. I have so much to do, if I get half of it done, I'm happy!

And I don't know if you noticed, but I'm changing my blog this year. When I started it four years ago, I was new to writing, looking for advice, and journaling about the things I learned. Now that I'm published - still feels funny to say that! I'd like to help others with the hardest part of being an author, promotion!

I already have some authors lined up this month and beyond! I'm very excited about it! And I'm asking them for more than just a link & a blurb, so people won't get bored and say, I've seen that all over already... Gotta keep it fresh!

I'm open to cover reveals, launch tours, release announcements, guest posts, etc - if you loved a book and want to rave about it, I'll post your reviews, too. All within reason.

Just send me an email: taratylertalks => at => gmail dot com
and we'll talk!

(ps - don't forget the first IWSG meeting of the year is Wednesday, 1/8/14! you can also follow for more encouragement on facebook!)

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