Monday, 30 May 2016

A Glimpse into my Writing World…

I thought I’d try something completely different (cue the Monty Python music), and give my readers and followers a glimpse into my writing world by asking my ‘author’ self these five fun questions…

1.      Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?
Hmmm…unlimited resources? I honestly don’t know how to answer that because I DO have the perfect writing environment. But if I had a choice, I’d like a condo in Florida for the winter months, so I could continue to enjoy the warm weather all year round! After all, didn’t Hemingway have a place down there? Grin.

2.      Where do you actually write?
I set up a writing office in my home. Since we’re empty nesters, one of the bedrooms was a perfect fit to fill with my book shelves, books, a reading chair, L-shaped desk, computer, printer, and story board. I don’t have a great view, but I figure it helps keep me staring at my computer and pounding the keys. Wink.

3.      How did you come to write The Last Timekeepers series?
Both the idea and inspiration came to me through a dream I had around 1998. In this dream, I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. At that time, I was writing a paranormal romance (before there was a distinct genre) and had no intention of writing a middle-grade/young adult book like The Last Timekeepers. But this idea kept growing in my mind, and wouldn’t leave, like some mystical force pushing you from behind. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. I’ve always loved the time travel genre, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. It was a no-brainer for me.

4.      What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
Hardest part? I think starting from scratch and learning the process of actually writing a book. I’m strong at dialogue, so that part wasn’t a problem, but I lacked in novel structure and how to construct a novel. I had to learn from the ground up, so I went to night classes, joined writing workshops, read books on writing to hone my skills enough to get the first draft done. And then when the book was complete, I had to learn how to edit, revise, and redo. This part of writing a novel is an ongoing work in progress! LOL!

5.      What is your favorite late night snack?
I’m gonna say a bag of party mix—the cheesier the better! I do love my salty snacks! And thankfully, I don’t indulge that often.

The writing business can be messy and hard at times, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Giving readers a small glimpse into an author’s life can provide an avenue for engagement, life-long connections, and fans for life. Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Book Blog Tour and Guest Post: Black Lightning by K. S. Jones...


About Black Lightning:

Life moves on — no matter what...

Following his father’s puzzling disappearance and his mother’s death, ten-year-old Samuel Baker goes through the motions of living in a world turned upside down. He wears an Apache talisman, a long ago gift from his father, in hopes its promise of strength and guidance is true. But what he truly wants is the power to bring his parents back. 

Heartless Aunt Janis is elated at the prospect of becoming Samuel’s legal guardian. She is sure an orphan boy will elicit such an outpouring of public sympathy that her husband will win his Senate bid by a landslide. But when Grandpa Tate arrives, things don’t go as expected, especially when black lightning strikes!


From the award-winning author of Shadow of the Hawk

Title: Black Lightning

Author Name: K.S. Jones

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Length: Approx. 132 pages

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing (www.mirrorworldpublishing.com)

Follow the Tour for Reviews, Guest Posts, Exclusive Excerpts, and Spotlight Posts:


~Black Lightning and its Apache influences~

A century ago, the word “Apache” would have conjured up images of warriors on horseback with whoops, hollers, and painted faces—worthy adversaries and fierce fighters trying to protect their families, their land, and their life-way. In my new middle-grade novel, Black Lightning, a modern-day (although rural) Chiricahua (cheer-uh-kaw-wuh) Apache family is integral to the story, adding flare to the tale with their traditional ways in a contemporary world.     

The Chiricahua are most closely associated with an area in southeastern Arizona known as the Chiricahua Mountains. Within this mountainous range is the Chiricahua National Monument, which today is part of the National Park Service. It is an amazing architectural wilderness of rock pinnacles and formations, once known to the Apache as the “Land of Standing-Up Rocks.”

Storytelling has always been important in the Apache culture, and Chiricahua children are expected to be well-versed in the oral traditions and lore. These storytelling sessions are often held for the benefit of the kids and usually take place at night. Can you imagine sitting outside under a starry night and listening to the story about a race of “supernaturals” who inhabit the nearby mountains? Or maybe hear the story of a girl who married a water monster? Or learn about a place that opened a door where no door had been before?

And sometimes, Apache men and women wear amulets, or talismans, made from wood struck by lightning, called tzi-daltai. Among other virtues, it is believed the wearer can learn things from the tzi-daltai and know the right direction when lost. Most amulets are made of wood, shaved-thin and incised with a simple human form then decorated with lines to signify lightning. Some even believe lightning talks to them, while others think the flash is the flight of the arrow thrown by the Thunder People. Talismans can be worn like necklaces or carried.

Black lightning, although not a rendering of Native American lore, has gained recent recognition in the science world with what scientists are calling “dark lightning.” And given the fact that the American Southwest has some of the most spectacular thunderstorms on earth, where better to imagine the phenomenon and its potential? To a storyteller, Native American or otherwise, the possibilities are endless and interesting!

More information related to the book BLACK LIGHTNING can be found on my Pinterest page! https://www.pinterest.com/ksjones/black-lightning-by-ks-jones/

Read an Excerpt:

Samuel stood beside his mother’s rain-speckled casket. He had cried his tears dry, so there was no point in trying to find more.

“Chin up, young man,” Aunt Janis said as her fingers nudged Samuel’s jaw upward. “Death is just part of life, and our photographer needs a good picture of you for the newspapers.”

A camera flashed, leaving Samuel’s red and swollen eyes burning as if stung by the sun instead of grief.

So many important days had come and gone without his father, but surely he would come home today, wouldn’t he? Samuel closed his eyes. He pretended his father was beside him holding his hand. They had a right to hold hands, he told himself. Not because he was ten, but because it was his mother’s funeral. Two years had passed since his father left, never to be seen again. Vanished, was the word his mother had used. Into thin air, she’d said.

“Take that silly thing off.” Aunt Janis flicked Samuel’s wood and bead necklace.

“No,” he said and shook his head. “My dad gave it to me.” It was a pinewood tile, the size of a domino shaved nickel-thin, which hung from a leather cord around his neck. Burned onto the front side of the wood was a lightning bolt. Its flipside bore the blackened imprint of a tribal dancer. It had a turquoise nugget and a shiny black hematite bead strung together on each side. His father had given the talisman to him with a promise: It will guide you and give you strength when you need it most.

Today, dressed in a black suit and starchy white shirt, Samuel wore it in hopes the promise was true.

As mourners gathered, Samuel’s friend Brian came to stand beside him. “Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” Samuel answered without taking his eyes off the casket.

“Is that the necklace your dad gave you? You don’t usually wear it.” Brian’s wire-rimmed glasses slid down his straight arrow nose. He pushed them back up the bridge with one finger until they encircled his eyes again. “Can I see it? I promise I’ll give it right back.”

“It’s not a necklace.” Samuel pulled the leather cord off over his head, mussing his overgrown blond hair. “It’s a talisman.” He handed it to Brian. “My dad said it would help me, but it hasn’t done anything yet. I think it was just one of his stories. It’s probably just an old piece of scrap wood with a couple rocks tied to it.”

Brian shrugged after examining the piece then he handed it back to Samuel. “I think it’s cool. You should keep wearing it anyway.”

Nodding, Samuel hung the talisman around his neck again, but this time he dropped it down beneath his shirt where it was no longer visible. It felt warm against his skin.

“Has anybody told you where you’re going to live now?” Brian asked.

“Probably with Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack.”

Brian frowned. He kicked the tip of his shoe into the muddy soil. “They live so far away. Why can’t you just stay here and live with Mrs. Abel? She doesn’t have any kids.”

Mrs. Abel was their fourth grade teacher. She had plainly stated to all who would listen that her job was to teach the proper use of the English language to children who behaved properly. A babysitter, she had said, she was not. Today, she stood in the rain with the other mourners, eyeing the ground where the hem of her long, gray dress lay caked in mud. Tufts of brown hair jutted out from under her pink plaid scarf. Even though she stood a few feet from him, she had not spoken to Samuel since his mother’s death. Few people had. Everyone had words for Aunt Janis and they talked to Uncle Jack, but no one but Brian and a few classmates had spoken to him. Maybe talking to an orphan was harder than talking to a normal kid.

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing
 http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/black-lightning-ebook

Amazon
http://amzn.to/24H7yrY

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-lightning-ks-jones/1123660287?ean=9781987976120

Quote:

“If you’ve forgotten the magic that lives in a child’s heart, this book will remind you. Black Lightning is a rare and beautiful mythic journey about one boy’s struggle with paralyzing grief and the powerful bonds that can carry a person through this world and beyond...” W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear USA TODAY and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors of People of the Thunder

Meet the Author:


Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.

Visit K.S. Jones:







Monday, 16 May 2016

Audio-Book Review: DANIEL THE DRAW-ER by S.J. Henderson…


Since I’ve heard so much buzz about audio-books, I thought I’d try my hand at reviewing one, and downloaded the Kindle Audible App to my smart phone. I received a DANIEL THE DRAW-ER audio-book as a gift some time ago, and have finally gotten around to listening to it. What a surprise! Such a different experience than sitting on the couch with your feet up, flipping through a book. Relaxing, yes, but not productive. Instead, I plugged into my phone to ‘listen’ to a book, while getting my housework done. The hours flew by, and I managed to finish the book in record time! Who knew technology could help you get rid of your To-Be-Read pile so quickly? Technology rocks!
  
So what did I think?

This is 4 Star Fun for Kids! Narrated by Jay Prichard, I found that he did a great job bringing S.J. Henderson’s characters to life, and loved the way he created a multitude of unique voices. A story about love, friendship, and sharing, Henderson pushes the boundaries of a child’s imagination and mixes in the problems children have in the real world today. I believe kids will really enjoy listening to Daniel’s adventures on long car rides or bedtime or even while they’re doing household chores.

DANIEL THE DRAW-ER Blurb:

"This is no ordinary pencil,” says the cat sitting on the end of nine-year-old Daniel’s bed. "It's magic." 

Everything Daniel draws with his pencil--flying dragons, Octobears, and pizza-loving aliens from the planet Beezo--comes to life. It’s pretty awesome until the pencil draws a line between Daniel and his best (and only) friend Annie. 

Come along with Daniel and his fantastic creatures on this fun-for-the-whole-family journey as he discovers that friendship is the greatest magic of all.

Author Bio:

S. J. Henderson is the author of the children’s book DANIEL THE DRAW-ER, as well as several not-yet-published Young Adult novels.
S. J. lives in Michigan with her husband and four wild boys. When she is not writing about talking cats and magic pencils, S. J. can usually be found riding one of her family’s horses or drinking a little bit of coffee with her creamer.

Buy Links:

S. J.'s store (autographed paperbacks):  www.sjhenderson.net/store/

Connect with S.J. Henderson:

Friday, 13 May 2016

Cover Reveal: This Night Sucks by Elizabeth J. M. Walker...

I am excited to present the cover for Elizabeth J.M. Walker's upcoming novella,

This Night Sucks!



First, here is what This Night Sucks is all about:

Lana is a high school senior enrolled in Vampire Education – a class to teach students about the very real presence of vampires in the world. Lana and her classmates don’t really expect to meet up with any undead bloodsuckers. Vampires are a lot like other scary things that supposedly exist but you hope you’ll never come across: nudist colonies, mad cow disease, and your parents’ sex life.

What is part of Lana’s everyday reality is navigating through one last year of high school while desperately trying to be less nerdy. She still loves spaceships, fantasy novels, and cat stickers, but she also recently got her braces removed, grew boobs, and is working on the makeup thing. She never expected her crush-of-a-lifetime Pete to even notice her – let alone ask her out on a date. 

The date is going great until Pete’s ex-girlfriend Katy shows up, all bloody and pissed off. Lana quickly realizes that Katy is not just her ordinary bitchy self – she has been turned into a vampire. After a near death experience, Lana learns that she is changing into a vampire too.

Lana needs answers, and the only way to get them is to find the vampire who started the chain of events – and to find him before sunrise... 

Are you ready for the cover?


Book Details:

From the author of She Dreamed of Dragons

Title: This Night Sucks

Author Name: Elizabeth J.M. Walker

Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Comedy

Release Date: June 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing 

Meet the Author:


Elizabeth J. M. Walker lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has always loved books and writing. As a teen she discovered zines, which inspired her to publish her own litzine of odd fairy tales for over a decade.

She Dreamed of Dragons is her first novel.

Connect with Elizabeth J.M. Walker:

Facebook: 

Amazon US: 

Amazon UK:

Publisher Website: 

Author Website: 



Monday, 9 May 2016

Resonating with your Readers…

Note to readers: Originally posted on Lisa Orchard’s blog.

If you write it, readers will come. Or so you thought. But what if your readers don’t come? Worse yet, what if they can’t find you in an ocean of authors begging and bartering for attention? Writing is hard work. The business of writing is even harder work. So how DO you RESONATE with your READERS? I think the key here is that you have to RESONATE with YOURSELF first. Think the Law of Attraction: like attracts like, and you’ll know what I mean. You attract what you want (or don’t want) through your thoughts and feelings to create your life circumstances.

Let’s start by defining the word resonate:

Resonate: to be resonant; resound. To produce resonance.

Hmmm…let’s look up resonant and resonance:

Resonant: resounding or reechoing. Increasing the intensity of sounds by sympathetic vibration. Full of, characterized by, or intensified by resonance.

Okay, then. Sit tight. I narrowed down the next definition to reflect this post specifically for writers:

Resonance: an underlying or pervasive quality or a particular type, especially in a work of art or literature.

And just for fun, here’s what my thesaurus says about the verb resonate: echo, reverberate, resound, ring, vibrate, boom, have far-reaching effects, impact, have deep consequences.
 
Now we’re getting somewhere! In order for authors to build a readership, they have to LOVE what they write. They have to be passionate about what they’re writing. Don’t do it for the money, that affair won’t last. You’ll run out of steam before you even get out of the station. Remember Amanda Hocking? She was deemed an overnight success with her paranormal romance books. Um. Yeah. No such thing as an overnight success. That girl had a tough day job, then came home, did what she loved to do (wrote and published books), and sold over a million copies of her ebooks. Amanda is considered one of the exemplars of self-publishing success in the digital age. Her books also resonated with readers because of the genre made popular by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight explosion. Boom!

Here’s the BIG question: Who are you writing for? If you answered ‘ME’, that’s a step in the right direction to create resonance with readers. Write what you want to read, what makes your heart sing and vibrate (resonate) to a different beat. There’s an old saying, ‘Do what you love and the money will come.’ It certainly came for Amanda Hocking. And it will come for you too. As long as you permeate the publishing world with books written from your heart.

What genre do you love to read? Are you writing what you love? Or are you writing what’s popular or trending at the moment? Would love to read your comments! Cheers!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Come Celebrate my 5th Blog Anniversary with 2 Goodreads Giveaways…

Authentic 1977 Star Wars Poster
Luke Skywalker Day—a.k.a. May the fourth—is a milestone for me. It marks the 5th Anniversary when I started this blog and ‘stepping out into the world’ as a serious writer. I remember I was quite scared at the time – terrified actually. I knew nothing of blogging, and hardly anything about navigating cyber space. My computer and technical skills were meager, and my author platform was nil. The only social media account I had was Facebook, but I barely used it, and I had no clue about author branding. Now, five years later, I can honestly say I’ve come a long way, baby, and I have so many people to thank for that giant leap of faith.

So to celebrate my 5th Anniversary, I’m having an International Goodreads Giveaway for both my books, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and the prequel to my young adult time travel series, Legend of the Timekeepers. It’s just one way I can thank my readers, as well as give back to the reading community of Goodreads. High fives and thank you, readers, I wouldn’t be doing what I love without you!

May the Fourth be with you! And if the Force moves you, please enter my Goodreads Giveaways for a chance to win one of my autographed time travel tales and signed postcard starting May 4th. Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!






Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends May 23, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith

Legend of the Timekeepers

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends May 23, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, 25 April 2016

Publishers On Demand…

The term ‘On Demand’ has become a household name. At the push of a button, Netflix offers subscribers a huge variety of movies and TV shows to watch at their leisure. Google play provides you with your favorite music, movies, TV shows, magazines or books too. They all dangle the ‘first month free’ or ‘free trial’ carrot, then lock you in with a monthly subscription anywhere from $9.99 and up. Amazon is also on board with their Kindle audible books, offering a free download when you try them out for thirty days. After that, it costs the subscriber $14.95 a month. Boy, it can sure get costly subscribing to all those On Demand sites!

That said, have I got a DEAL for you! My publisher, Mirror World Publishing has decided to keep up with the times, and offer MEMBERSHIPS to readers for the low price of $19.95 a year. But wait! If you decide to nab your membership during this month (April 2016), you get it at the phenomenal rate of just $14.95 a year! So what do you get with your year-long membership?

Check it out:


Not a bad deal, eh? Did I mention that Mirror World Publishing is also doing a giveaway? The Rafflecopter entry form is on their homepage: www.mirrorworldpublishing.com.

Seems everyone is streaming or downloading something whether it’s movies, music, or books. In this digital age, authors (and publishers) have to keep up or they’ll be lost in a cloud of virtual dust. Are you liking this new age of ‘On Demand’? Do you miss getting out and having the physical experience of going to a movie or buying a book at a bookstore? Things are sure a-changing! And change is good, right? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!