Tuesday, 21 November 2017

YA Book Tour and Guest Post: The Mystery on Lost Lagoon; A Nikki Landry Swamp Legend by Rita Monette...


FIRST PAGES by Rita Monette...

How important are the opening pages of your novel? VERY important.

First of all, you must keep in mind that busy agents and publishers will usually judge your writing and your book by the first few pages, and oftentimes by page one!

Also, readers, who might be grabbed by your title, tag line, and your cover blurb, still will judge whether they want to continue to read on by the first chapter, or even the first page. So you’d better work really hard at getting it right.

How do you do that? you might ask. Well here are some well worn tips to accomplish that.

Prologue or no prologue…that’s a good question.

Although there are quite a few great books on the market that use prologues to introduce their novel, many experts agree, that a good rule of thumb is to leave it off.

Instead of telling the reader your character’s background and motivations, use your writing skills to weave that information in, letting your reader figure it out.

I’ve been told most readers don’t bother to read prologues anyway. I know I don’t like them. I usually want to jump right into reading the story. So just jump right in writing it. But where DO we start?

Tension is the key.

Every movie-goer knows that the first scene of a film usually begins with a huge car crash, guns blaring, or a murder, then jumps back to why on earth all this went on. Many books begin this way also. But wild action isn’t always the key. Most times it’s tension.

On page one, feed the reader some intriguing questions they will surely want the answers to. What is your character doing, saying, observing, or thinking that makes the reader want to know what’s going to happen next, or what the character plans to do about the situation at hand?

The Character.

The reader will want to know something about your main character. What is he about? What does he want? Is he relatable or liked enough for them to want to know more and to invest the next few hours of their time in. What is he doing in that first scene that tells us something about his personality, his ambitions, his goals? First impressions count.

The Setting.

Give the reader an idea of the setting on that first page also. Where is your character? Is the time period important? What is the season? Is it hot, cold? Don’t let the reader have to figure that out as he reads along.

The Hook.

This seems like a lot to cram into a first page, but you want to draw the reader in from the very start. It’s called the “hook.”

Sometimes it takes many re-writes to get those elements in effectively.

Feedback.

Get an honest opinion from a person or persons…typically not your mother or spouse. Join a critique group or a group like Critique Circle.

About The Mystery on Lost Lagoon:



Legend has it… if you go onto Lost Lagoon, you never return.

Nikki Landry and her friends are off on a quest to track down the prehistoric-looking bird that’s been flying around a nearby swamp island. However, their plans get sidetracked when they meet a stranger in their small town who seems to have some secrets to hide.

The sleuthing group soon learns of a legend about a hidden lagoon. Is it all connected? Before they can find out, they are kidnapped by a mysterious scientist on a mission of his own.

Is there any truth to the legend that says if you go onto Lost Lagoon, you will never return? Is the eerie whirlpool that sits waiting to suck you in really a passage to another world?

Join Nikki, her friends, and one neurotic parrot, as they discover the truth behind the Mystery on Lost Lagoon.

Follow the Book Tour:
https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/11/schedule-mystery-on-lost-lagoon-nikki.html

Book Details:

Age Level: 6-12
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publication Date: November 17, 2017
ASIN: B076TVWSZ7

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Mirror World Publishing

Read an Excerpt:

The August air was steamier than a pot of boiled crawfish. Tiny bugs danced like fairies on the gumbo-colored bayou. Cypress trees on a nearby swamp island dipped their moss-draped branches into the still water, trying to stay cool. I had been sitting in my new tree house for days, trying to catch a cool breeze and pondering on how to turn a plain old fort into an official club house, when I decided what it needed most of all was furniture. My friend Spikes had come over to help me build some. He was pretty good with tools.

“I saw that strange bird again.” Spikes stood beside me with a hammer in his hand.

“What bird?” I asked, busy with trying to arrange some old boards in the shape of a table, just before they collapsed into a heap. “Drats!” I folded my arms in front of me.

“You have to lay them on the floor, Tomboy,” he said. “We need to nail them together first.”

“So you have to build it upside down?” I wiped the sweat off my brow with the back of my hand.

Spikes’ real name was Spencer Sikes, but I’d never heard nobody call him that ’cept for his grandpa. He was twelve years old, a whole year and a half older than me. I couldn’t imagine being almost a teenager. Me and him argued a lot, but we always stayed friends. He told me once he only liked me ’cause I wasn’t like other girls, and could climb trees, and didn’t mind getting dirty. He sometimes called me Tomboy instead of my real name, Nikki.

He grinned, showing his broken front tooth. “Yeah.”

“We need some nails.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of bent nails. “I was over at my grandpa’s yesterday. We took a boat ride out to Flat Lake, and I saw it flying around Pelican Pass, see.”

“Saw what?”

“The bird.” He sounded annoyed. “You know, the one that makes that screeching sound. The same one we saw over in Mossy Swamp.” He sat on the floor and began straightening the nails by laying ’em on their sides and tapping ’em with his hammer.

We had gone out to Mossy Swamp back in June trying to find out about a legendary monster, when we saw a big bird swoop down and make a horrible noise. Spikes had been bringing it up ever since...and I had been trying real hard to ignore him.

“Oh yeah.” I twirled the hair at the end of my braid. “The one you said looked like a dinosaur or something.”

“A pterodactyl,” he added. “Actually, the real name is pterosaur, see, which is a species of flying reptiles. So technically it isn’t a bird at all.”

“Why do you read all that stuff?” I sat on my bare heels across from him.

“It’s just interesting.” He squinted at me like it should be something I should be curious about.

Spikes was not very good at school work, and barely passed his classes, but he loved to read when it was something that caught his interest. In fact, he could become pretty darned obsessed on a subject he liked, usually ghosts or pirates. Seemed his new obsession was prehistoric creatures.

“So, what about it?” I asked, stacking my boards to the side. “I ain’t caring about no reptile-looking bird, unless it was to come after me or my dog.”

“I watched it fly in and out of the pass near Rabbit Island. I think it must have a nest near there,” he said, still banging on his nails. “And actually…according to a book I got from the library…their average wing span can get a little over twenty feet.”

“How big is twenty feet?” I asked, still not much caring as long as it stayed in the swamp where it belonged.

He looked around, then pointed. “Oh, longer than your houseboat, there.”

I poked out my lips. “You’re telling a fib, Buzzard. It wasn’t that big at all.”

“Well, it might just be a young one,” he said, “and you know what that means?”

I didn’t answer. He could go on and on forever, like he had something caught in his craw.

Buzzard was a nickname I gave him on my first day at Morgan City Elementary. He looked just like one sitting up on that great big branch of the coolest tree in the school yard. It was our first argument, on account of I had already claimed that branch for my own lunch spot. He learned real quick that I wasn’t the type to give things up that easy, and since nary one of us like to be called names, we only did it to annoy each other. Sometimes we could go for days using each other’s rightful names.

“That means its mama might be lurking around out there in that swamp, see.” His eyes got real big, like he actually wanted it to be so.

I gazed at him sideways. “Spikes you do know those things are extinct, don’t you? Miss Allgood taught us all about the dinosaurs last year. She said they’ve been gone since the Ice Age. That means it got too cold for ’em to survive. So there.”

“Well, I ain’t saying it is prehistoric or anything.” He nailed the boards together. “I just said it looks like one.”

“Oh, I see. Well, it’s probably just a big pelican anyway. Hey, can we stand the table up yet?”

“Not yet. We need braces on these legs so it won’t fall down. Go over to Nana’s shed and get me a couple smaller boards while I straighten some more nails out.”

Meet the Author:

Behind Every Legend Lies the Truth!



Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her “real” job as an administrative assistant for the State of Michigan, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write and draw. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. The Mystery on Lost Lagoon is the fourth book in her Nikki Landry Swamp Legend series, which is based on her childhood. Rita now lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.

Connect with Rita:

Website: 
http://ritamonette.blogspot.ca/

Publisher Website: 
http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com



Monday, 20 November 2017

YA New Release, Book Sale, and Giveaway: The Student and the Slave by Annie Douglass Lima...

Take a look at this exciting new young adult action and adventure novel, The Student and the Slave, now available for purchase! This is the third book in the Krillonian Chronicles, after The Collar and the Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard

The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

The Collar and the Cavvarach by Annie Douglass Lima
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: 


Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?


Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.


The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass LimaBook 2: The Gladiator and the Guard

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?


Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.

And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!


Book 3: The Student and the Slave

Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?


Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!


About the Author:
Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published fifteen books (three YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.


Connect with the Author Online:
Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com
Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon
LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn
Google+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus


Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of the first two books in the series!




Thursday, 16 November 2017

YA Book Release: Skavenger’s Hunt by Mike Rich…

You know those feel-good movies… the ones about unlikely friendships, classic sports moments, maybe a tear-jerking scene or two? Well, those are the kind of screenplays Mike Rich has had the great fortune to write. Best known for Finding Forrester (Sean Connery’s character was named after Mike’s high school English teacher), The Rookie, Radio, Secretariat and Cars 3, Mike wrote those stories because they’re ones he loves himself, and they’re the reason he decided to write Skavenger’s Hunt, his first book which publishes from Inkshares on November 14, 2017.

This middle-grade/young adult crossover is a stunning adventure back in time. From Mississippi riverboats to the streets of old Paris, Skavenger’s Hunt is a riveting tale rich with historical detail and fantastic appearances by real-life characters such as Mark Twain and Gustave Eiffel. It’s packed with colorful, charismatic historical figures and landmarks from more than a century ago; all part of an adventurous time-travel origin story surrounding the first, and greatest, scavenger hunt ever held.

Skavenger’s Hunt poses the questions: What if there was a magical origin story behind the scavenger hunts we all took part in as kids? What if there was one man, more than a hundred years ago, who held the first, greatest, most elaborate hunt ever? And what if that man’s name, Hunter S. Skavenger, was the reason—lost-to-history—for calling these hunts what we do today? Better yet… what if this greatest of hunts was never solved, but all the clues remained?

About the Book:

A stunning adventure back in time, from Mississippi riverboats to the streets of old Paris.

Skavenger’s Hunt is the story of 12-year-old Henry Babbitt; a good-hearted, intelligent kid still reeling from the sudden loss of his beloved father—a man who promised his son that one day they would sail somewhere, climb mountains, take part in great adventures.
Adventures that never were, unfortunately, after Henry’s father died in a car accident at West 96th and Riverside in New York. Adventures that Henry’s mother, Eloise, understandably tried to shield her only child from even thinking about anymore.
But when Henry’s eccentric grandfather, on a snowy Christmas Eve night, tells him the legend of the mysterious Skavenger and the lost clues the old man himself tried to find—it sets into motion a late-night enchanting moment that places Henry—and Henry alone—back in the year 1885. Back at the precise moment and location where the greatest of hunts was about to begin.
The adventures that never were…become the adventure Henry and his late father could never have dreamed of taking.
Henry knows the key to getting back home rests with Skavenger himself, and that the only way to meet the enigmatic puzzler is by winning the hunt that stumped thousands a century-and-a-half earlier. He teams up with a rag-tag trio of 19th century youngsters, each determined to solve the unsolvable for their own reasons. Ernie, orphaned when his parents were murdered in New York’s notorious Five Points. Mattie, a whip-smart girl able to match wits with the most brilliant of hunters. And Jack, who has the street smarts to know there’s something untold about Henry.
The elaborate hunt begins in New York’s Central Park, but doesn’t stay there for long. Those clever enough to solve the first clues journey throughout the still young United States, while others gamble on crossing the Atlantic Ocean for Europe. Iconic, historic locations await them – as does a cast of literary heroes, inventive geniuses and business legends. But also awaiting them is Skavenger’s lethal rival: the menacing Hiram Doubt and his malevolent Dark Men. Not only must Henry and Company solve every clue in the great contest—they’ll have to stay ahead of Doubt and his agents of danger to do it.
Praise for Skavenger’s Hunt:

"With Skavenger's Hunt, Mike Rich has adeptly tapped into the best of children's literature. His book takes us on a journey that both fascinates and surprises us and is filled with characters who are curious and generous and, at times, very funny. The world that Henry Babbitt discovers is every bit as mind-blowing as the world that Lucy Pevensie enters when she first walks through the wardrobe. I can't wait to read it again!" —Mark Johnson, producer of The Lion, Witch and the WardrobeBreaking Bad, and Rain Man

"A mix of magic and history that takes the reader on an utterly engrossing adventure! Skavenger's Hunt is an edge-of-your-seat gem that’ll keep you turning pages from start to finish. An impressive debut novel." —The Wibberleys, writers of National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets

"Mike Rich is, very simply, one of my favorite writers. Any time you sit down to read a script of his you know that you will laugh, think and be moved. He has the rare ability to create emotion without schmaltz." —John Lee Hancock, writer and director of The Blind Side

"Mike Rich writes stories with so much heart they almost explode. There's the work you know, like Secretariat, but also work on countless films you love that don't bear his name. Skavenger's Hunt is no exception." —Brian Koppelman, writer of Ocean's 13 and creator of Showtime's Billions

Meet the Author:
 
Mike Rich is a screenwriter best known for films like The RookieRadio, and Secretariat. His first movie was Finding Forrester, starring Sean Connery, for which he won the Nicholl Fellowship. Skavenger's Hunt is his first book.


Monday, 13 November 2017

YA Book Tour: The Wandering God by Joshua Pantalleresco...


Greater Worlds than These

Following the events of Stormdancer, The Watcher receives a vision in a dream of a city in turmoil. The dream haunts him, as does the voice that insistently repeats, 'Help me,' night after night. Leaving the safety of the tower of scientists behind, the Watcher and his friends embark on their final journey to locate the source of the message and come face to face with their most difficult obstacle yet: doubt.
Though they trust the Watcher, Kristen and the others can't help but fear that the voice in his head is driving him mad and leading them all to their deaths. Even the Watcher is afraid. He knows that listening to this voice risks everything he has obtained up until this point, but he can't help but continue to follow it, driven forward by curiosity and an  instinctive need.

Beyond volcanoes, rock people, and deserts of nothing but crystal, lies the City at the End of the World. And there, the Wandering God awaits...


Tags: Young Adult, Poetry, Epic, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dragons

Kindle version of the book is 161 pgs. long.

More info can be found on Amazon

Follow the book tour:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/11/schedule-wandering-god-watcher-book-3.html

Praise for The Wandering God:

“I can say with no hyperbole that The Watcher by Joshua Pantalleresco is, truly, an epic epic.” ~Dirk Manning, author of Tales of Mr. Rhee and Nightmare World

"Joshua Pantalleresco paints a stunning and vivid world through poetry and takes the reader on an adventure that is well worth a read." ~Christine Steendam, award-winning author of the Ocean series and Foremost chronicles

Read an Exclusive Excerpt:

this is a dream
I remember lying down, closing my eyes
reuniting with them all again
my family

now I'm here
looking up at a magical structure
pointing straight to the heavens
lots of little structures stand alongside it
all pointing up
flying chariots shaped like birds
soar in the air

the scene shifts
grounded chariots march with the birds in the sky
rolling boxes point their cannons toward the chariots
and fire
people look around in fear and awe

they fight and fight
spewing more fire from the tips of their guns
the chariots stay still in the air
defying us
no matter how much we fight them
we cannot hurt them

a blinding light shatters the sky
the chariots, structures, and boxes are devoured inside it
I hear a thousand screams of terror

and then all is still

the heaven-pointing structures tilt sideways
the boxes, chariots, and metal birds all forsaken
not one breeze blows by
there is only desolation

everything changes
I see myself atop the watchtower
looking into the horizon

wondering just what is out there

Purchase Links:

Amazon CA

Meet the Author and the Illustrator of The Wandering God:

Author:



Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff...and podcasts too. He writes poetry, prose, comics and other mediums as well as hosts his own podcast show Just Joshing available on Itunes. He lives in his own head most of the time, and likes ice cream and baileys.

The Wandering God is his third book through Mirror World Publishing. He lives in Calgary. His webpage is http://jpantalleresco.wordpress.com and his twitter is @jpantalleresco.

Illustrator:



Florence Chan is an illustrator, designer and 3D modeller from Calgary, Alberta, now living in Toronto, Canada. She is the illustrator of Marilyn Marsh Noll's 'Jonathan and the Magical Broomstick' and Joshua Pantalleresco's 'The Watcher' and ‘Stormdancer’ and has contributed to Jason Mehmel's comic anthology 'Fight Comics' as well as Damian Willcox's 'Dorkboy: 1995-2015 Two Dorkades and Counting'.

Her work can be found at www.florencechan.ca

Connect with Joshua:

Amazon US: 
Author Website: 

Monday, 6 November 2017

The Name’s Bond. Ravi Bond…

James Bond. The name invokes espionage, danger, martinis (shaken, not stirred) and a bevy of beautiful women with every spy adventure. Bond also conjures up something that men have drooled over for years (besides the women)—spy gadgets. In each Bond movie, master inventor Q hands James a few spy gadgets to ensure his safety, and save the world. In The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book 2 of my tween and teen time travel series, Ravi Sharma buffs up his cufflinks and straightens his bowtie to pretend to be Double-O-Seven before he’s even imagined by his creator, Ian Fleming. It was fun writing the Bond culture into this book, and quite an eye-opener when I went to research all the spy gadgets that were really created during World War Two.

Here’s a look at some of those outrageous spy gadgets:

One plan was to create synthetic goat dung loaded with anthrax as part of PROJECT Capricious in 1942. By using flies, the government hoped to infect German troops in Spanish Morocco in an attempt to stop Spain from joining Axis powers. Now that just sounds baaaad!

Another plot was to introduce estrogen to Hitler’s food in the hopes of eliminating his trademark moustache and affecting his baritone voice. Wait…that could have been an improvement! A deadlier plot included hiding a capsule containing mustard gas in flowers to cause blindness among Nazi generals inside the German High Command Headquarters. Yikes, spying is a nasty business!

Cigarettes laced with tetrahydrocannabinol acetate (Indian hemp). The compound works similarly to morphine and was used as a possible none-lethal incapacitating agent. When given to someone, the cigarette would bring about uncontrollable chattiness. Hmm…didn’t they realize that loose lips sink ships?
Knife in Pencil. Not great for a writer...

Knives concealed within shoes, lapels, pencils, sleeves and coins. Cameras small enough to fit into a match box; a cigarette case which exploded upon opening. Suicide pills (L-pills) hidden in necklaces or rings. Boy, these spy gadgets were playing for keeps!

This coal torpedo will warm you up!
Explosive coal or the “coal torpedo”, as it was also named, was invented by Capt. Thomas Edgeworth Courtenay of the Confederate Secret Service. Originally, it was a hollow iron casing (to look like coal), that was intended to be shoveled into the firebox of Union steam transportation ships, where it would explode. While Courtenay had approached the British War Office to further refine his idea, they turned him down. However, both the American OSS and the British SOE used forms of his original explosive during World War II. Maybe Courtenay should had gotten a patent…

The next time you squeal when you see a rat, spare a thought to the men and women of the Second World War. One deceptively cunning way to blow up enemy bases would be to fill dead rats up with explosives. The rats would be placed in factories close to enemy camps. When factory workers discovered the dead rodents they would throw them into the fire, ignite the explosives and blow up everything and everyone in the vicinity. However, the Germans discovered the rodent bomb plan, and consequently left the dead rodents to rot and spread disease. Even the Piped Piper couldn’t help them.
And finally, my favorite…
The original stool pigeon.
Today, we have satellite imagery and stealth airplanes for aerial reconnaissance. In the 1940s and 50s, we had pigeons. During the World Wars, carrier pigeons completed more than 95 percent of their missions—strap an automatic camera to one of those messengers, and you've got yourself a camera roll of discrete reconnaissance, ready for development. I can see Q cringe now. 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Book Tour: Building Your Author Platform Series by Tiffany Shand...



About the Series:

Titles: Building Your Author Platform, How To Write A Business Plan For Writers and The Author’s Guide To Book Blog Tours

Tired of hearing that you must start building your author platform straight away but having no idea how to get started? Becoming an author in today’s world has never been easier with the self-publishing revolution. But how does an author stand out in a crowded market?

Setting up and building your author platform before you even publish your first book is the best way for building a solid platform that will last and help you grow your tribe of fans.

In this series, I’ll show you all the fundamentals from building your platform from scratch, writing a business plan for long term publishing success and how to promote your book with a virtual tour.

Let’s get started on your publishing journey.

Tags: Business Writing, Web Marketing, Non-Fiction

Add to your shelf on Goodreads:


Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yL6gUV

Follow the tour to read reviews, exclusive interviews, guest posts, and to visit the hosts:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/10/book-tour-schedule-building-your-author.html

Read an Excerpt from each book in the series:

From Building Your Author Platform

What is an author platform?

When I first started my publishing journey back in early 2014, I had no idea what an author platform was or how to build one.

So what is an author platform? An author platform, as the name suggests, is a launch site from where all your book marketing takes place. A platform encompasses everything from a website, social media to readership. A platform is basically the number of people you can broadcast your message to.

Publishers don’t usually gamble on new authors who don’t already have a platform and an audience ready and waiting. If you already have an established platform and a readership, they are much more likely to take an interest in you.

Essentially, a platform is built out of a website and/or a blog, social media channels, and an email newsletter. It’s a direct link to your readers.

It’s the amount of influence you have over your readership, the level of visibility and authority you have in your particular genre, and your connection to your readers.

Authors can easily reach their fans on a global scale, thanks to the Internet. Gone are the old days of having to write letters or press releases. Now you can reach readers with a click of a mouse.

Do you need an author platform?

My answer would be: yes. In my opinion, every author needs a platform, whether they are writing sword-fighting fantasy, historical romance, children’s books or business guides. Every platform is different for each author, depending on their genre.

New authors need to have a strategy to launch their book and create a hype for it. Without any kind of strategy, it will make it harder for you to sell books or gain any real readers and long-time fans.

Some authors may say that they don’t need an author platform to sell books, and this may have been the argument for authors 50+ years ago. Writers aren’t just authors nowadays, especially if you are an indie author. Now authors have to be marketers and entrepreneurs. Having a solid author platform can help you market your book and leave you able to write more in the meantime.

When should you start building your author platform?

Ideally, it’s best to start building your author platform as soon as you start writing your book or at least before you publish your first book. Many authors don’t do this. I didn’t start building my own author platform until after I had published my first novel and this definitely made things harder for me to start growing my audience and building a readership. So the time to start building your platform is right now!

From How To Write A Business Plan For Writers

Why you need to treat publishing like a business.

Writers write books, but in this new world of digital publishing, they have to be a lot more than that. Writers have to be marketers and entrepreneurs. They have to build themselves an author platform, grow their readership, engage on social media, network and so much more. Writing a book is really only the tip of the iceberg.

If you become traditionally published, you may think that your publisher will do all the work for you, but that’s rarely the case. Publishers expect authors to market their own books and build their own platforms. If you don’t have a strong author platform in place, a publisher is unlikely to take much interest in you. It’s harder to get a traditional book publishing deal now, but not impossible. EBooks have provided authors opportunities that have never been open to them before.

If you decide to self-publish your books you are essentially your own publisher. Publishing is a business and has to be treated as such. You have to sort out things such as editing, formatting, cover design and marketing.

Although you can do some of these things yourself, some of it does have to be outsourced, and like any business that takes time and money.

From the moment you decide to publish your book, you became your own business. That’s right a business. Most writers just think they’re writing when they write their book – I used to think the same thing. They don’t think of it as the product it is.

I’m a writer first and foremost, but I also have to be a lot of other things.

Yes, it takes a lot of work to publish books well and get some profit out of it. But it’s also a very exciting and rewarding job.

You put a lot of effort into your book, why not put a lot of effort into yourself as well?

Unless you only write as a hobby and expect friends and family to read your book, you are a business too. A lot of writers don’t think of themselves this way. They think they are just creatives who love the art of writing. But there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy writing your own business plan too. It can help you to focus on your business and life goals too.

If you are someone who likes plotting out their novel chapter by chapter, scene by scene, then you’re definitely going to love writing a business plan. It’s a very similar process.

If you’re the kind of writer who just likes writing on the fly then there’s something in this book for you too. Having a plan in place can help you become much more focused and produce books on a regular basis when you have clear goals in mind.

Why do you need a business plan?

You may ask why do you need a business plan. I used to think this way myself when I first started my publishing journey. You may claim that you’re not a small business, which isn’t true. Writing isn’t like starting up your own company, but you are essentially your own business. If you’re the kind of author who does local talks, goes to book signing, or does workshops you’re already promoting yourself as a business.

Having a business plan will help you plan out your goals and the future you want by building a business around your books. It will also help you to make some money. A lot of aspiring writers believe the old myth about being a starving artist, but this isn’t true. You can make money from your writing if you go about it the right way.

You want to get paid for your hard work, don’t you?

Don’t get me wrong, you’re probably not going to make millions just from your books alone, but there are plenty of people out there who do make a decent living from writing.

From The Author’s Guide To Book Blog Tours

What are book bloggers?

Book bloggers have only been around for the past few years since the use of blogs became much more popular and website platforms became much more affordable for the everyday user.

Since the growth in popularity of blogs over the past few years, dozens of booklovers have taken to writing about their favourite books. A book blogger is someone who loves reading books and writes blog posts about it on their blog. This can include thoughts on books, excerpts and posts about different books and reviews.

The different blogs reflect their owner’s tastes and vary in focus. Many readers will read a variety of different genres; other blogs will focus on a specific genre such as romance, fantasy, or young adult, etc.

Different blogs will have different kinds of audiences depending on what genre that blogger chooses to read. A blogger who likes to read a lot of different genres will probably have an audience who likes the same thing and chooses the type of posts they read on that blog.

Not every blogger will want to read your book, don’t ask a romance reader to read your sci-fi novel to help you promote your book. Choose a reader who enjoys your type of book. This may seem obvious but a lot of authors mass email book bloggers in any genre to try and promote their books, regardless of whether that blogger reads their book’s genre or not. There’s no point in trying to contact them if they don’t like your particular type of book, it’s just a waste of your time and theirs.

Who are book bloggers?

One author asked me who book bloggers are; they are, of course, people who love to read books. They enjoy sharing their thoughts about the books they have read and write about it on their blogs. They can be male or female, and range in age from teenagers to people in their 70s. A lot of teenagers love young adult books because they can relate to that genre of growing up and trying to figure out who they want to be in life.

Some book bloggers are aspiring authors experimenting with their blog to see what reactions they get to their writing. The kind of blogger to look for really depends on your target audience. For example, my urban fantasy and paranormal romance books are aimed at women, but my non-fiction books are aimed at both men and women.

For most book bloggers, blogging is just a hobby and something they do in their spare time. They don’t generally make money from their blogs – or if they do it isn’t very much. But there are exceptions to this, there are successful, profitable book blogs out there. It’s still worth approaching some of the bigger bloggers as they may still be interested in your book.

Exclusive Excerpt:

What do your ideal readers want?
With fiction, they want to be entertained and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Reading a book takes them away from everything.
With non-fiction books, readers want to learn something new. What do they want to know? What kind of problem do they need fixing and how could you solve it?
Understanding what your readers like and need is an important step, and is something that most authors often miss when they are first starting out. Taking the time to get to know your readers and their needs can be very challenging, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.
You must recognise the fact that not everyone is going to like your book. It’s not a “must-read” for everyone and won’t appeal to every single person on the planet.
How to determine your author brand
Some good ways of doing this are asking yourself:
  • Why do you write what you write?
  • What message are you trying to share?
  • How do you want to be perceived and why is that important to you?
Identifying your target audience requires an understanding of the characteristics of a particular group of people and the relevance they have to your work before you do anything to promote yourself or your book. You must be able to know why you write what you write and who cares about what you write.
The key is to identify and research what the target audience cares about and recognise what you have to offer in order to benefit your ideal reader.

Meet the Author:



Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.

Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance. She writes both non-fiction and fiction, and love helping writers to build their author platforms.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s, she is now a freelance writer and professional editor.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.

Find Tiffany on:

Purchase link

Tiffany’s Website

Tiffany’s blog

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Goodreads


Monday, 30 October 2017

Halloween Treats and Paranormal Reads by YA Author Leigh Goff...

BEWITCHING HANNAH, an enchanting young adult fantasy set in Annapolis, Maryland, released its magic on September 17th, and is available in print and e-book on Amazon, BN.com, and MirrorWorldPublishing.com.

In the story, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald enjoys her carb-loaded snacks, including an Annapolis comfort food favorite—crab dip pretzels piled high with creamy crap dip that incorporates fresh jumbo lump crab from the Chesapeake Bay. This recipe is a Maryland classic that even fictional characters love!

Crab Dip Pretzels
@sallybakeblog
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. horseradish
½ tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced onion
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 (8 ounce container) jumbo lump crabmeat (not canned)
white pepper to taste
4 soft pretzels
2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese

PREHEAT oven to 350° F (175° C).

BEAT cream cheese, mayonnaise, and horseradish in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in garlic, onion, lemon juice, and hot pepper sauce.

GENTLY fold in the crabmeat, and season with white pepper to taste. Spoon mixture evenly over the pretzels, and sprinkle each with ½ cup shredded cheese.

PLACE pretzels in oven until cheese is melted and the topping bubbles, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Here's a peek at both of Leigh Goff’s exciting novels.

Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was descended from a troubled legacy of alchemy and dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial; however, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the secrets she must unlock – including one that reveals the location of an unimaginably powerful elixir.

Enemies will hurt her. Loved ones will make her vulnerable. And the impending prophecy that drives her to unleash her magic will cause her to unearth the sins of the past and doubt any promise of a future. Without knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive the game Fate is playing, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

Sophie Goodchild is a sixteen-year-old witch living with her eccentric aunt in the small town of Wethersfield, Connecticut—the sight of the first American Witch Trials. She is descended from a powerful black witch, but struggles with her erratic white magic while dealing with a mean girl witch clique known as the Glitterati, who love to make Sophie feel like she is less than they are.

Sophie is beautiful with wild waves of sable-colored hair, eyes the color of dark blue sapphires, and heart-shaped pillowy lips. More importantly, she is beautiful on the inside, although she hides it well behind her impatience and impetuousness, which makes her very relatable.

It is those heart-strong characteristics that lead her into trouble, and since she is ruled by her heart, she’s all in once she finds trouble. She is fiercely loyal, determined, and fearless and there is nothing she wouldn’t do or sacrifice for the ones she loves, especially when she learns of the true love curse her ancestor cast on the Mather family.

When Judge Mather, a descendant of the reverend who condemned Sophie’s witch ancestor to hang, finds out his handsome son (who has recently returned to Wethersfield with a sexy British accent and a face that could melt a black witch’s heart) has fallen hard for Sophie, things get even more dangerous for her. Dark secrets come to light and impossible choices are made as Sophie sacrifices everything, including her soul to save her forbidden true love.

Buy Links Disenchanted: Mirror World Publishing - Amazon

Buy Links Bewitching Hannah: Mirror World Publishing - Amazon

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.