Monday, 9 December 2019

Let’s Get Your Holiday Cooking and Baking Started for FREE…

Who doesn’t love the holidays? You get to bond with family and friends, shop till you drop for that perfect gift, decorate the house to your heart’s desire, plan a meal worthy of gracing your table, and attend all those fabulous parties. Wait…hope I didn’t exhaust you already? Yes, we ALL love holidays and celebrations, no matter what time of year they fall, but it can get a little (okay, a lot) overwhelming when it comes time to prepare for those holiday meals and parties when you’re working a full-time job, and taking care of your family’s needs.

How about some relief from the stress and pressure of figuring out what to serve your hungry guests during holiday get-togethers, events, or celebrations?

Cue a holiday-inspired cookbook written by thirteen busy authors, of various ages and genres, who have created recipes that will make your life easy and simple when it comes time to prepare tantalizing appetizers, tasty beverages, mouth-watering cookies, and decadent desserts.

The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers is your go-to recipe book for entertaining over the holiday seasons, hosting events, or celebrating that special day. Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE?  

So why not have your cake and eat it too? Yes, pun intended. You’ve got nothing to lose, and time to gain when you download The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers. There’s a recipe for every holiday, celebration, or event in your life. Give yourself a gift this holiday season with a cookbook from thirteen writers who share their favorite recipes and tips to help relieve the stress in your busy life.

Wait, there’s more!

Love is in the air…and kitchen! Sweets and Treats for Someone Special is your go-to recipe book for entertaining on Valentine’s Day, hosting bridal showers and engagement parties, or celebrating that special event with your true love. Written by fourteen proficient and prolific authors, of various ages and genres, the included recipes offer a wide variety of mouth-watering treats, indulgences, and meals to satisfy your loved ones’ cravings and desires. If the thought of cooking a romantic meal or baking a sweet treat for your true love makes you tingly all over, then have we have a gift for you.

So why not have your just desserts? Literally. You’ve got nothing to lose and sultry memories to gain when you download Sweets and Treats for Someone Special. There’s a recipe for even the fussiest lover in your life. Give yourself a gift during the season of love with a sensual cookbook from fourteen writers who would love nothing more than to share their favorite recipes, and fulfill your deepest desires. Bon Appetit!

Both cookbooks are compiled by Sloane Taylor—a gourmet cook in her own right—and designed by mother-daughter duo HL Carpenter. The included recipes have been tested and approved of by the most finicky family members, and offer a wide variety of mouth-watering treats, indulgences, and meals to satisfy your loved ones’ cravings and insatiable hunger.

Download your FREE The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers cookbook at Smashwords and Barns & Noble.

Download your FREE Sweets and Treats for Someone Special cookbook at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.

OR head over to my Website and click your choice of cookbook (or both) to download your FREE PDF! Cheers and wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Holiday Season and a Healthy, Happy, and Prosperous New Year!


Monday, 2 December 2019

Authors: Are You Ready to Rock the Holiday Events…

Justine and I working the floor at the Christmas Market
In the late fall of 2018, I had the pleasure of attending a Christmas Market in the city of Windsor, Ontario with my publisher, Justine Alley Dowsett who owns Mirror World Publishing. This event was held on the first three Wednesdays of December starting at 4 pm and ending by 8 pm. I looked forward with anticipation to the throngs of new readers and holiday shoppers I would meet there. I had my bowl of candy good to go, and my trusty Santa hat washed and ready. I had my marker and giveaways at my disposal in preparation to hand out, or sign the copious amount of books I’d sell. And I had Justine, my amazing publisher by my side to help pimp our reading wares. Now, in the past five years of being contracted with Mirror World Publishing, I’ve found that Art Markets and Craft Shows are not for the faint of heart and may not be the best venue for authors. However, the three Wednesdays we worked during this holiday event proved to be worth it in the long run. I’d also like to remind all you hard-working authors that if you don’t get a sale at a particular show, fair or event, NEVER underestimate the power of connecting with future readers, and getting the word out about your books.

Below are 5 simple tips I’ve picked up from ‘working it’ at those Christmas Markets:

1. Usually potential customers (a.k.a. readers) are lured to tables when they see books. That’s a no-brainer. Make sure you have an eye-catching banner running across the length of your table and that your books are strategically placed on shelves or in stands (you can purchase these at any dollar store) and positioned together in the same genres.

2. Engage readers immediately and ask them what genre they like to read. Then, go for the sweet spot and ask them the names of their favorite authors. Since my publisher had an array of books and authors of different genres splashed across the table, we had a better chance at filling the readers’ literary needs. For example, some liked fantasy, others were avid young adult fans, so we steered them toward the appropriate section.

3. Have freebies on hand. Book marks, rack cards printed with your book covers and blurbs, and business cards are the staples. Last year, my publisher created mini sampler booklets of the first chapter of some of their books available to purchase, and stuffed them into Christmas stockings to hang off the table. Kids love taking these goodies home, and it gave the parents a chance to check out the book.

4. If children or teens are in tow, move to the front of the table and go for the candy. They’re already staring at bowl, so why not offer something that they love! Even adults love candy, so go with your gut and offer them a sweet temptation. NOTE: Make sure you ask the parent’s permission first.

5. Never ignore anyone, and always end conversations on a positive note whether they purchase a book or not. Hand them a business card, book mark, catalogue of your books, or a signed rack card if available, along with a smile. You never know. They might just buy your book after the holidays!

And so begins the Holiday Craft Shows this year!

BTW - Justine and I have decided to appear at the 2019 Christmas Market at the Windsor Crossings Outlet Mall the first three Wednesdays in December, 4 pm to 8 pm. So if you live in the Windsor-Essex area in Ontario, Canada, please stop by for a chat, peruse our books, and see if you can find that special gift for the reader in your family. At the very least, help yourself to a candy, and grab a book mark or booklet sampler. Happy Shopping!

If you’re an author who loves doing Christmas Bazaars, Art Markets or Craft Shows what tips can you add? If you’re a reader—what lures you to an author’s table at an event? Their book covers? The candy? The freebies? The amount of books offered? Would love to read your comments! Cheers, and thank you for reading my blog. Happy Holidays!

Monday, 25 November 2019

Author Guest Post: Double Trouble by Suzanne G. Rogers...


Back in the era of black and white television, The Patty Duke Show reigned supreme. The premise revolved around a rambunctious American girl (Patty Lane) and her identical, sophisticated Scottish cousin (Cathy Lane), who comes to live with her extended American family. Although the two girls resemble one another, they are polar opposites in terms of their tastes and personalities, thus leading to conflict.

Perhaps my memories of The Patty Duke Show might have had a little to do with fashioning the premise for my Victorian novel, Rake & Romance. Inspiration comes from unlikely sources sometimes!

The cousins in Rake & Romance may resemble one another outwardly, but they could not be more different. Blackhearted Lord Gryphon is ungentlemanly in every respect whereas his cousin, Cody Gryphon, is everything worthy in a fellow–and a hero.

Like the first novel in the Beaucroft Girls series, a ruse is involved. Sweet and lovely Juliet isn’t quite as daring as her elder sister, however, and her efforts to create a creditable ruse don’t go quite as she plans.
Enjoy a sneak peek! ~ Suzanne

Juliet’s plans to wed Lord Elbourne come to naught when she discovers he’s obliged to wed an heiress instead. To salvage her dignity, she enters into a ruse with the heiress’s brother, whom she views as a rake. Unfortunately, he’s also the most attractive man she’s ever met.

Cody Gryphon will do anything to see his sister Stephanie wed to Lord Elbourne, including entering into a temporary engagement with her romantic rival. Although he intends to return to Texas as soon as his sister is wed, he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Juliet’s charms. Can a rake and a debutante find their happily ever after?

EXCERPT

Cody looked dashing and sophisticated in his elegantly tailored clothes, and Juliet was seized with an attack of nerves. Nevertheless, she cleared her throat and gave him a direct glance meant to convey a businesslike demeanor rather than one of coquetry.
“I’d like you to ruin me.” Despite her best intentions, her words were immediately followed by a blush. Why couldn’t she be more dispassionate?
His eyebrows rose. “What?”
“Just a little ruination, mind you. Nothing that can’t be hushed up in a few months or so.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not understanding you at all.”
“You’re aware, of course, of the arrangement between Lord Moregate and your father regarding Stephanie and Lord Elbourne.”
“Yes. My father is quite keen on the subject.”
“What you don’t know is that Augustus has been widely expected to propose to me.”
“Actually, I’d heard rumors to that effect.”
Juliet’s eyes widened. “I hope Stephanie hasn’t heard those rumors!”
“Not of which I’m aware.”
A sigh of relief. “Good.”
“I’m sorry for any injury this arrangement has done to you. I can tell you’re quite partial to Lord Elbourne.”
“I am partial to Augustus, and would have accepted his proposal if he’d asked. But after a careful examination of my feelings, I can truly say I’m not in love with him.”
“You’re not?” His eyebrows drew together. “If your feelings aren’t injured, then what’s this about?” “Once society learns Augustus has thrown me off, I’ll become an object of ridicule. I mean to publicly throw him off before anyone hears about his engagement to Stephanie. For that, I need you to ruin me…ever so slightly.”
He looked at her askance. “Won’t your reputation be forevermore tarnished?”
“I’d rather be a little tarnished than humiliated, Mr. Gryphon. An earl is about to pass me over for another woman. Do you really think my prospects will be improved by such a spectacular rejection?” She averted her eyes. “If I’m to be ruined anyway, I’d rather choose the method.”
“Have you no thought to my reputation?”
She waved her hands, dismissively. “Stephanie says you’re a rake, doesn’t she? Therefore, nobody will think less of you than they already do now. Amongst your male acquaintances, I daresay the rumor of a passing indiscretion would be well received. Besides which, you’re leaving for Texas before too long, so what does your reputation matter?”
“Of course.” He folded his arms over his chest. “For the sake of curiosity, what sort of ruination did you have in mind?

BUY LINKS
Amazon - Google Play - Paperback

Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She's owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about Suzanne G. Rogers on her historical romance blog and her fantasy blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out her website for the Sweet Romance written by Suzanne G. Rogers.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Writers: Are You a Tortoise or a Hare…


We writers tend to fall into two categories. You’re either a tortoise or a hare. What do I mean by that? I guess what I’m trying to get across is that some writers write fast, and can crank out thousands of words in one sitting, while other writers are slower, and write at their own speed and pace to get their books done—even if it takes them years. I’m not talking about whether you’re a plotter or a pantser (writing by the seat of your pants), though you can find out more on that subject in this guest post HERE. I’m talking about whether a writer is prone to being a ‘hare’ (fast writer) or a ‘tortoise’ (slow writer). So, let’s get real, and be honest. Which one are you? A hare or a tortoise?

I must admit, I’m definitely a proud tortoise. Though I mentally (and emotionally) kick myself at times for being such a slow writer. A good day of writing (3-4 hours) consists of over five hundred words—a great day is over a thousand. I know a lot of my slow-downs happen when I need to do some research in the middle of a scene. It’s been suggested to me by the powers that be (my publisher) that I should just highlight the area where the research is needed, and continue on with my writing. Of course, boss-woman is correct, and what she advises makes a heck of a lot of sense. But…um, no. I want, correction need to KNOW what happens in that scene, and if I’m using the proper terms and things found in the time period I’m writing in to move the story forward. For me, finding the historically correct information is vital to finishing the scene. Sigh. I must be built that way.

At times I envy all you, hares out there, with your nimble fingers flying across the keyboard, and your devil-may-care attitudes. You’re the writers who get more than one book written in a year. I truly applaud you for that accomplishment. You’re also the writers who probably have a messy, mucky first draft, and need to go through many drafts to get your final story. Me? I usually have a clean first draft that’s closer to publication than the hare’s speedy attempt at a novel. My mantra in this crazy writing gig is, ‘Slow and steady progress assures success’. So I plod along like the tortoise, much like the one in Aesop’s fable, who ends up crossing the finish line to win the race against the confident, cocky hare. Perseverance, after all, will keep us writers going and going—like that pink Energizer Bunny. Or is it really a hare? Wink.

Confession time! Are you a tortoise or a hare? How has being either one effected the way you approach writing a novel? Do you love the process? Does writing energize you? Would love to read your input and comments. Thank you for spending time with me by reading my blog! Cheers, and have a great week!

For your reading pleasure, may I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to pack lightly.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Guest Post: Remembering the Importance of Trees by Carol Browne...

I’m a tree hugger and always have been. There’s something in my nature that draws me to them like old friends. How gratifying it is for me to see so many other people waking up to how important and precious trees are.

Photo by Studio Dekorasyon on Unsplash
Every oxygen-breathing organism on Earth benefits from the work done by these forest denizens. Their fallen leaves not only nourish the ground they stand in but also feed a network of fungi, plants and small critters essential to the circle of life. The trees hold the land in their roots, preventing soil erosion and landslides. They suck up water and protect the land from flooding. They provide shade, shelter and homes to countless animals, birds and insects. They give us fruit, nuts and medicine; wood for building and fuel. In the rainforests they even create their own weather.

Trees are amazing. And now we need them more than ever. Their ability to capture carbon from the air, to use and store it, while releasing life-affirming oxygen, is vital in the battle against climate change.

We must plant more trees. Anyone with a garden can do that. If you can’t, donate to an organization that will plant trees on your behalf and support campaigns to protect ancient woodland.

We have lost our connection with Nature, that fellowship experienced so profoundly by our ancestors. For far too long we have looked down upon primitive cultures that talked about nature spirits and the wisdom of trees. We dismissed the Druids for worshipping trees. It was all superstition. But we were wrong. The trees have been our allies all the time, even when we turned our backs on them. They remained the guardians of the planet and quietly went about the business of preserving its ecosystem. Now it is imperative we embrace them again as our friends and rediscover that lost connection, before it is too late.

There is a close relationship between trees and writers; don’t they provide us with the paper on which we write our stories? They can even give us the ink to write them with. Ink made from oak galls was favoured by scribes during the Middle Ages and Renaissance because of its permanence and resistance to water and it still enjoys a niche market today among artists.

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction, but dabbles in non-fiction and is a contracted author with Dilliebooks.

 Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Being Krystyna; A story of survival in WWII

It’s 2012, the year of the London Olympics, and for young Polish immigrant Agnieszka, visiting fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home is a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and the death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive, these are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.
Will Agnieszka find a way to accomplish her task, and, in this harrowing story of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links Dilliebooks - Amazon UK - Amazon US

Monday, 4 November 2019

Author Guest Post: Pondering Villains by Chris Pavesic...

I like to read writing advice from other authors. Many times, I find really great ideas that help improve my own abilities. For example, in On Writing, Stephen King (2001) recommends listening to music to help a writer block out the world and focus on the work at hand. I have multiple dedicated writing playlists for just this purpose.

Certain advice, though, does not resonate with me. For example—certain writers suggest modeling villains after people in your own life that you dislike. I would find that difficult advice to implement in my writing.

First—there is the time factor. Writing a novel generally takes time. Even if a writer aims for a thousand words a day of good, solid prose, the writing stretches into months. Imagine this time actively thinking about people you do not like. This would not be an enjoyable activity in my perspective.

As a writer, I want to like my villains. Not everything that they do—many of their activities to me would be morally objectionable. But I need to understand them—to know why they are doing certain activities so that I can put this down on the page. I need to sympathize with their motivations and to realize that, in most instances, the villains do not see themselves as evil. These characters need the same depth as the heroes or, in my opinion, they will never be more than a caricature.

In Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett (1991, p. 185) has the villain of the story, Lilith, make the following comparison: “She wondered whether there was such a thing as the opposite of a fairy godmother. Most things had their opposite, after all. If so, she wouldn’t be a bad fairy godmother, because that’s just a good fairy godmother seen from a different viewpoint.” Later in the story, readers learn that Lilith firmly believes she is the good fairy godmother and is not the villain. It’s a matter of perspective, and in her viewpoint, those working against her are evil. She’s trying to improve people’s lives, and those working against her are trying to impede progress.

This is not the only type of villain in literature, but it is the type that I tend to find the most interesting. It is why I can sympathize with Khan in Star Trek (both in Into Darkness and in Space Seed) and Loki in The Avengers while at the same time being morally appalled by many of their actions.

There are obvious exceptions to this—Sauron in The Lord of the Rings trilogy does not generate sympathy for many readers, (although Tolkien does give him a fascinating history in The Silmarillion that explains his fall into darkness) but the Nazguls always had a touch of sympathy to their story for me because they were tricked by Sauron into becoming the Ring Wraiths. The detail and care that Tolkien invests into the story keeps these characters from being caricatures.

Allow me to introduce you to my villains. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I did writing them.
4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Psychometry 101...

The second installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, Blackflies and Blueberries, features Hart Stewart—a teenage psychometrist who has no problem reading the energy imprints from an object like a ring or watch, but struggles with the most basic reading skills. In world-renowned, late psychic Sylvia Browne’s book, Phenomenon, she explains—“Psychometry is the ability to sense and interpret the living energy that’s been absorbed by inanimate objects. Perceptions of that energy can come in the form of visions, smells, sounds, emotions and even specific empathic physical sensations like pain, heat and cold.”

So how does this psychic ability actually work? By handling objects, the psychic receives impressions through clairvoyance, telepathy, retrocognition (knowledge of a past event that could not be learned or inferred by normal means), and precognition (future sight). The act of reading an object in this manner is called ‘psychometrizing’. The term ‘psychometry’ comes from the Greek words psyche, ‘soul’, and metron, ‘measure’. It was coined in 1840 by Joseph R. Buchanan, an American professor of physiology who saw psychometry as a means to measure the ‘soul’ of objects.

Supposedly the best ‘psychically’ conductive materials are metals. So jewelry would be great picks for a psychometry reading. If an object has been owned by more than one person, such as an antique, a percipient may pick up information about different people. Psychics who specialize in psychometry when working with law enforcement, for example, can hold an article of a missing child’s clothing or piece of jewelry and, by reading the child’s energy contained in that clothing or jewelry, receive images or smells or sounds from where the child is, sense whether the child is feeling frightened or is with someone who makes them feel secure, and/or perceive any injuries the child might have. Cue The Twilight Zone music.

Believe it or not, you’ve used psychometry at one time or another. Think about when you’ve shopped for a purse or article of clothing—you pick up the desired item, and depending on whatever feeling it gives you, there might be something about it that makes you put it back and keep looking. An odd feeling. A weird thought. A shiver. That’s psychometry. Or you’ll be house-hunting or apartment-hunting and walk into a place that’s perfect and ideal in every way, with the one exception that for some reason you can’t wait to get out of there. That’s psychometry too.

You may think of psychometrists as modern day time travelers. With one touch of an object in an antique shop or museum, they can be whisked away into another time period. Oh, think of the things we could learn about history and historical events. And think of the cold case crimes that could be solved. So the next time you pick up an object, remember that it always has something to say. Even if you don’t like it.

Ready to receive a little foresight into Blackflies and Blueberries, the second installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mystery series? Here’s a glimpse…

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder. Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice.

Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.