Friday, February 28, 2014

Wouldn't it be nice...

Thank you Kyra and Rachel for hosting this fun blog hop. I did it a couple of years ago and let's just say, things change!

My original cast for POP TRAVEL was Leonardo diCaprio as Cooper, Reese Witherspoon as Geri, and Aziz Ansari as Hasan. But as time goes on, I thought of some alternates - and I actually sent these actors/their agents a copy of the book! Why not?
          => Bradley Cooper as Cooper
          => Kate Hudson as Geri
          => Aziz Ansari as Hasan (still the best choice, so funny!)

As for BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, my MG Fantasy that comes out soon, I picture it as an animated movie. Yes, I'll be sending it to Disney/Pixar! Here is my dream cast (Sorry I didn't add pictures, but when I tried, my whole post was erased and I had to start over. Darn you, blogger!):

  • Jonah Hill or Andrew Garfield (latest Spiderman) as Gabe - a typical, brainiac teenage goblin, always picked on by all the other species, but is ready to rock the school by breaking the rules
  • Jennette McCurdy (Sam from iCarly & Sam and Cat) or Selena Gomez as Ona - not your typical ogress, she's smarter and prettier, and Gabe thinks there's something special about her
  • Will Poulter (We're the Millers) or Atticus Shaffer (the Middle) as Jordy - one of Gabe's closest goblin friends, and a complete goofball
  • Ryan Reynolds as Argus - Gabe's best friend, confidant, and idol, a real risk taker
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt as Rove - a brooding, Steve McQueen-ish werewolf, probably my favorite character (and one of my favorite actors)
  • China Anne McClain (Ant Farm, Grown Ups 2) or Ariana Grande (Sam & Cat) as Piper - positive and sweet harpy who can influence the emotions of those around her, another of my faves
  • Moises Arias (Despicable Me 2, Ender's Game) as Fuerte - strong, soft spoken dragon and Piper's boyfriend
  • Ryan Gosling as Vincent - debonair vampire, and Gabe's rival for Ona
  • Morgan Freeman as Professor Hardaway - old goblin, leader in the High Council and primary antagonist (gotta go big!!)
thanks to Laura Kramer for the illustrations!
It may seem like a lot of characters, but they are introduced in stages and they're all so unique, it's easy to keep them straight. Can't wait to talk about them more during the A to Z challenge - and there's more to my theme, so make sure you stop by on March 21st for the A to Z Theme Reveal hop!

And finally, my song for BBF is Move Along by All-American Rejects. "Even when your hope is gone, move along!"

But wait! The casting call isn't even the best part of this blog hop!
Kyra and Rachel will each pick a winner at random, and they’re giving away one of their favourite books that were turned into movies!

Rachel’s prizes: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
+ Choose one of Rachel’s ebooks.

Kyra's prizes: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 
+ Choose one of Kyra's ebooks OR an ARC of Game On Book 3

Who do you imagine playing the rolls in your WIP?!
Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fatefully Yours!

I can't tell you all how excited I am to meet Elizabeth Seckman in person!! Only a month, girl! And to help her with her latest release, I'm honored to give her the spotlight today! Here she is...

Cue Rocky music...Tara and I are in conference training.
You have to start out slowly. Doing the calendar page flips, checking the days against the kiddos' sports and to-do's. Careful! You could get a paper cut if you go too fast before you're in proper shape.

Once you've mastered that wrist action, it's time to exercise that budget because you have hotels to book and swag to buy. Yep, trim that fat, you have readers to bribe impress.

Whew. You're about done! You just have to take a few laps around the internet...spread the word to friends. Talk them into doing the conference marathon with you.

Take a breather, then order yourself a tee, just to show the world you've been there, done that.

Now seriously?

Tara and I are trying our best to spend some time with readers outside of the web. You know, grab the chance to shake some babies and kiss some hands...oh sorry, that's politics!

But still, the idea is the same. Get out and enjoy some face time with readers.

And sadly...conference training is just like everything else...there is work and planning involved.

March 28th- 30th, we will be in Atlanta, Georgia at The Novel Experience Event.

We started our planning last month (well, Tara started planning and sending me reminders of what all I need to you Tara!).

hotel room? check
books? check
swag? ordered cups and pens from Discount Mugs.
poster? Carrie Butler of Forward Authority is on it
tee shirt? check
exchange cell phone numbers with writer buddies? check and double check

I think I am ready.

I am ready, right Tara?

Fate Intended is the third book in the Coulter Men Series.  Trip is the last of the Coulter sons to find love. He’s a handsome man with all the skills a young spy needs to succeed. But when it comes to love, he misses the target. Jane is a sweet beauty who may or may not be wanted for murder. She’s hiding out as a cleaning lady when chance brings her and Trip together. It looks like a happily ever after is in the cross hairs until reality tries to destroy what fate has intended.

Elizabeth Seckman is a simple chick with a simple dream…to write stories people want to read.
Amazon Page

Thanks so much for visiting, Liz!

This conference is going to be a blast! We are ready! Ready, Freddie bo Beddy!
And it's going to be especially awesome to hook up with a bunch of online author friends!
And don't forget to check out this super awesome mega giveaway!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coming up blood roses!

So much good news today! So much to celebrate (if you're joining me on Friday for Vikki's weekly hop)

First! Here's a beautiful, but deadly, cover reveal! Nicole Zoltack's BLOODLUST, a NA epic fantasy romance.

In a world torn by prejudice and hatred, six races struggled for supremacy.

Barbarian-Princess Ivy is unwilling to allow her father to provoke the other races into war and forms an unlikely alliance with Lukor the goliath to save her people from utter destruction.

Unbeknownst to her, Lukor blames the barbarians for murdering his sister and plans on sabotaging her goal.

Almost despite each other, they grow to respect each other on their journey to decode secret messages from the trolls. But nothing Ivy can do will prevent the war as her father is blinded by Bloodlust and incites it himself. Not even killing him and becoming Barbaroness can stop the tide. And when Bloodlust claims Ivy, forcing her to kill everyone in her path, she must make a choice to destroy even Lukor, who she may have started to fall for and him in return.

It comes out Feb 24th! Add it on Goodreads!

Now, here are some great happenings around the blogosphere...
  • PK Hrezo's blog tour is going on right now for her book, BUTTERMAN, (TIME) TRAVEL, INC - all kinds of good stuff thru Feb 21!
  • the Movie Bloghop is next Friday - sign up! It's fun to pick movie stars for your characters!
  • A to Z Challenge in April and Theme Reveal blogfest Mar 21(just wrote my A post last night!)

As for me - Good news has been pouring in! I'm drenched!
  • Broken Branch Falls
    • finished the final proof
    • got a peek at the cover sketch - awesome!!
  • Conferences/Book Signings
    • March 27, I'm in at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta, GA! Yippee!
    • March 28-29, The Novel Experience event - I can't wait!
    • May 10, Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus, OH - I will be on a panel and get to party at the Governor's mansion!! And I finally get to meet fellow Ohioan, Julie Flanders!
    • Sept 20, Ohio River Festival of Books in West Virginia - again with Elizabeth! Woot!
    • swag! just got some items I ordered to pass out at all these awesome events! AH! It's so fluffy!!
  • AND I'm a winner! I won SK Anthony's book, KINETIC & bonus swag in the Share the Love giveaway! woo hoo!
Finally, if you need a laugh today, go check out Emilyann's movie mashup - hilarious!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

hearts and moons

Happy Lovey-Dovey Day! I'm celebrating love, friends, and my awesome guest today! (thanks, Vikki!)

Many of you already know about Crystal Collier's touchy feely (paperback) release of her book, MOONLESS and lots participated in the blogfest she held on Monday to celebrate. Well, I'm giving my answer to her question today, along with some great answers I gathered, hopping around - and to save time, I'm responding here and tweeting about it... and covering #FF at the same time! Efficiency at its finest!

The blog hop question was: 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?

Answers I collected:
Elizabeth Seckman - Thor, nuff said
Christine Rains & Sheena Kay both put Severus Snape! Plus a few more...
CR: Sirius Black & Dean Winchester, SK: Tobias Eaton (Four from Divergent!) & Arrow
Some ladies kept their spouses (ha ha, I mean awww!) - Kimberly Afe, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Tyrean
Kyra Lennon - Randy Orton?? hunky tattooed dude
Donna Hole - Connor McLeod, the Highlander (immortal benefits)
Heather Musk - the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant
Kim at Swagger - Clark Gable! A long time personal favorite of mine too
Brinda Berry - admired characters, Braden, Regulus, & Gansey
SA Larsen & Trisha - Mr Darcy, (Colin Firth, please!)
EJ Wesley - wife, did a great job combining descriptions of fictional characters
Chris Fey - Jared Leto (Jordan from My So-Called Life & leader of band, 30 Seconds to Mars) always been a heartthrob of mine, too
Ellie Garratt - Professor Brian Cox, a real stud of all trades, brainy & cool!
PK Hrezo - Legolas Greenleaf, elfen dreams!
Morgan Katz - Taylor Ambrose
Ashley Nixon - her boyfriend, Aladdin (aw!)
Heather Gardner - Malcom Reynolds - FIREFLY!

My celebrity crush has been Cary Grant forever. But I would need to know what's on the inside - that's why I picked my hub! (who happens to resemble Matt Damon - lucky me!)
And now, I am so excited to present Crystal Collier! She's going to enlighten us on a topic I've been considering lately - NEWSLETTERS! Help me, Crystal!

Tara, thank you for having me here today! I'm excited to share what I know about newsletters.

Why bother? Building a list is hard. It takes time. I've been building mine for about 6 months, and with some targeted promotions (contests and giveaways) have about 90 subscribers. Let’s keep in mind that some of those are just spam addresses people use when they want to sign up for free stuff. *shrugs* We all do it, right? Say 50% of those are great contact emails. Now say 50% of those people actually read the email. Now say 50% of those people decide to buy my next project. That’s approximately 11 sales for just sending out one email. Now, stretch that initial number of subscribers, and do the math. This is going to be one of your most powerful sales tools.

Where to start? For anyone who doesn't have a tech slave guru in house, a simple subscription with a service like Mailchimp is perfect. Here’s a post with 30 different services you can check out. Remember the #1 rule, DO YOUR RESEARCH. 

But why should people sign up? Think about this from a potential subscriber's view. A great way to incentivize people is to offer something of value when they sign up. Maybe that’s an exclusive short story. Maybe it’s an insider article for writers. Perhaps it’s a coupon or voucher for a book. Think about your audience and what would be of most value to them. Initially I gave the first 3 chapters of my debut novel and sneak peek at the cover—before it was released. Now I send out the cut prologue of MOONLESS—an exclusive tid-bit.

Make it easy. If a subscriber has to give you their home address, social security number, blood type, birthday, finger print, shoe size, best friends’ mother’s name…they’re not going to bother. If they have to click through two different sites, they’re not gong to bother. Put your sign-up right on you home page, very accessible. Make it PRETTY. Make it enticing. Most of all, MAKE IT EASY. Mine is on my blog sidebar AND the foot of every post.

These created by my hire-able in-house slave guru.
The guts of a newsletter. Great, now you've got a few readers, what do you send them? 

Content:  If you read web-wide advice, you’ll be told to include a body article, announcements, any special promotions or opportunities, and to customize it according to your individual personality/readers. If you’re big into cooking, maybe that includes a recipe. If you enjoy cars, maybe you share a dream model a movie racing clip. Get creative.
I’m centered around cheese, which for me means happiness, therefore my newsletter focuses on uplifting thoughts, freebies and funnies. Each time I send out a newsletter it starts with a greeting, very BRIEF news, then an inspirational thought or laugh. It always features visual aids, (because I’m a very visual person), a couple links to funny articles I've run across recently, an announcement of freebies coming up on my blog, and finally, one to two sentence book reviews on my monthly reads with cheese-head ratings. In my initial email I promise:
  •          Articles to make you smile
  •          Announcements of Upcoming contests and giveaways
  •          Quick links to tasteful “funnies”
  •          Opportunities to review books previous to their release date
  •          My monthly reads, rated in cheese wedges
  •          Excerpts from upcoming works
  •          Meeting characters behind the scenes
  •          The chance to influence stories in progress with early feedback
What should a newsletter look like? That's my newsletter to the right. When I was first getting started, I researched like crazy. Remember, your newsletter should reflect you, your personality, and should be identifiable instantly to readers. You also don't want it to be too busy. Keep it clean. I grabbed a piece of my blog banner, threw in my brand coloring, links, and of course, designed my cheese heads. Most services should have prefabricated templates you can use--just like blogging services.

Length: Please be brief. My time is worth a great deal. Isn't yours? If you have an extra long piece of information to share, give a paragraph or two with a link to read the rest online.

How often should you send out a Newsletter? Regular emails keep you in your readers mind. Still, if I get a regular monthly email from someone, it better have amazing content or I'm going to start ignoring them. On the reverse, if what I get is awesome, I’ll really look forward to it. Some authors only send emails when they have news, and that's perfectly acceptable. Once a month, once every six months, once every other month...figure out what will work best for you and your schedule. 

And there you have it! Any questions?

Crystal Collier, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 

You can find her here:

I enjoyed having Crystal here - Great post, girl!
Everyone gets extra hugs today - take as many as you like!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

something to talk about

First, the answer to my "Can you handle the truth?" from Jamie Ayers' blog tour for 18 TRUTHS. My 2 truths and a 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
#2 is the lie - I've never been to Italy! As a teen we had the privilege to travel with my dad on business to Scotland and spent the night in many strange and wonderful places, like a castle, and yes, I've seen Loch Ness (no monster, though). And before I got married, I fulfilled one of my bucket list destinations by going to Greece with my then fiance. It was actually a better experience than our honeymoon in Hawaii! Hopefully someday I will experience the pleasures of Italy!

Now, on with our regularly scheduled programming...

Welcome Blog Friends!
     This month's IWSG post is about Branding.
     When you hear McDonald's, you might think golden arches; Coke is red and a white swish or the contoured bottle; Disney might be Mickey Mouse; and Stephen King could bring to mind fantastic, creepy horror. Do you see where I'm going here? If we authors want to sell books, we need to brand ourselves.
     Last month, I talked about a signing gone bad. Well, I have another one coming up and a conference, too. I want to get some exposure, so I need to try something that will help me talk to a bunch of strangers. I'm going to transform myself into a character! Tara Tyler, Author will be a persona. I'm even going to wear a costume. Nothing like Comicon, but definitely different. Something futuristic to go with my Pop Travel - future spy action thriller. I'm very excited about it. And I'm hoping the people there will remember me and the presentation of my brand.
     Then in a few months, when my MG Fantasy comes out, I hope to do a brand for that series too. I've already got some fun ideas... I consider my brand "adventure seeker" - no matter the genre, it's got to be a thrilling ride! I'll see how it all goes and report back, and post pics of my alter-ego.

So what is your brand? What associations can you make for people to connect with you? Writing is the fun and easy part - what will you do when you get published? Are you ready to meet people?

And now for some news!
Our fearless IWSG founder, Alex J. Cavannaugh has not just one, but TWO big announcements!

First, CassaFire is on super sale for only .99! But only for a week! (Feb 4-10) Get yours now, since CassaStorm will be out this Fall!

My favorite review quote/blurb for CassaFire:

“Top Gun meets Battlestar Galactica

Second, Alex is about to have 2000 followers! Make it so! And he's hosting a giveaway. More fun for us! The Epic 2000 Followers Giveaway!!

Hold on! There's more!

Kyra Lennon is doing a revival of the WIP the Movie Blogfest
I remember doing this with Pop Travel - it's so fun to pick actors for our characters and theme music! Glad she brought it back.

I also wanted to share Peggy Eddleman's new cover for the second book in her Sky Jumper series:
Twelve-year-old Hope has always felt a little different from everyone else who lives in White Rock. She tries hard, but she doesn’t always think before she acts. She takes big risks. Sometimes her risks pay off, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes she fails.

Hope knows the most dangerous thing about living in White Rock is it’s so close to the deadly Bomb’s Breath—the invisible, fifteen-foot-thick band of compressed air that’s hovered over the earth since the Green Bombs of World War III. The citizens of White Rock live in fear of the Bomb’s Breath. Only Hope has figured out a way to go through it—and lived to tell the tale.

But when a massive tremor rips across the earth, the Bomb’s Breath begins to lower over White Rock. It’s up to Hope and her friends Brock and Aaren to make the dangerous journey far from home across the bandit-ridden Forbidden Flats to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains and obtain the one thing that may be able to stop it—before the Bomb’s Breath sinks too far and destroys them all. This time, Hope can’t fail.

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