Monday 25 May 2015

Virtual Book Tours 101…

In anticipation for the upcoming re-releases of both my MG/YA time travel books with Mirror World Publishing, I’ve decided to hire a book promotion specialist to help with the process of setting up and running a book blog tour. I’ve learned in the past that for me, it’s easier to delegate rather than take on certain tasks. However, if you love the thought of being in the driver’s seat and setting up your own book blog tour, then this post is for you.

Below is a 15 point checklist for planning your virtual book blog tour. It’s not rocket science, but it will give an author an idea of the different steps that are needed to pull off a successful book blog tour.

·         Make sure you plan at least 2-3 months in advance.
·         Determine your goals for your book tour. Remember you’re bringing awareness to your book(s) so make sure you’re clear on what you want to get across to potential readers.
·         What type of tour will you be running? Book blast? New release?
·         Determine the length of your tour and the tour dates.
·         Are you going to run a contest during your book tour?
·         Decide whether or not to offer giveaways or discounts. I usually use Rafflecopter to run a giveaway. It’s easy and picks the winner at the end of the tour.
·         Make a list of prospective hosts and research them. Hint: pull from your well of blogger author friends who write in the same genre as you do. You’ll be able to pay them back when they do a book tour.
·         Write an invitation and send to your top prospects.
·         Correspond with hosts and send confirmations.
·         Set-up a schedule of tour stops.
·         Post schedule on your blog or website.
·         Plan your promotional strategy, and include your tour hosts. Some may want to do a review. Others may want to share an excerpt. Do up a top ten list or dream cast based on your book. There are plenty of ideas to draw from!
·         Write articles/posts and send to your hosts at least ten days in advance. Don’t forget any images you may want to include.
·         Set-up a daily routine to follow during your book tour.
·         Finally—this is a must—make sure you COMMENT on each of your host’s blog. Check in periodically to see if anyone has commented, and reply to them. This is a common courtesy, and your hosts are going out of their way to help support you and your book.

BTW—my virtual book blog tour for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis begins June 17th and finishes on June 26th. I’ve hired Sapphyria’s Book Promotions to do most of the leg work on this one. It should be a blast! I’ll be posting the tour schedule on my blog in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thanks a heap for reading my blog. Authors, if you have time, please leave a comment and share how you go about organizing a virtual book blog tour. If you’re a reader, please share what you enjoy about virtual book blog tours? The giveaways? A chance at winning an awesome prize? Engaging with the author? Finding a new author? I’d appreciate your input. Cheers! 

Thursday 21 May 2015

YA Author Leigh Goff is not your average milk and cookies writer...

Leigh Goff is a talented Young Adult author who blends fantasy and romance into her remarkable stories. Her latest book Disenchanted releases through Mirror World Publishing in print and eBook on June 1. The kitchen is all yours, Leigh!

These cookies are just what a white witch like sixteen-year-old Sophie Greensmith from my debut YA fantasy, Disenchanted, would bake after a long day of concocting potions with exotic flowers from her aunt’s enchanted garden.

Disenchanted takes place in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the home of the first American witch trials (not Salem!). As descendants of the original witches, Sophie and her aunt practice white magic and work in a little shop called Scents and Scentsabilities. Their organic bath and body products like Tulips to Kiss Stick to lushify lips and Forever First Love Lip Balm to lock in that true love are crafted to benefit the ordinaries in town. However, not all of the ordinaries approve and when danger catches up to Sophie, she’s left with an impossible choice—turning to black magic, a forever choice, to save the life of her forbidden first love. Will her true love still want her when her heart is touched by darkness?

This yummy recipe from the Foothill House B&B in California includes ginger to soothe the stomach, cinnamon to reduce puffiness, and walnuts to help you deal with stress.

Foothill House Sweet Dreams Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1½ cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Cream butter and mix in brown sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt and blend into butter mixture.

Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts (Sometimes I leave these out or substitute pecans.).

Refrigerate until dough is firm.

Lightly grease baking sheets.

Break off small pieces of dough and roll into 1" rounds. Dredge in powdered sugar.

Arrange on prepared baking sheets at least 2" apart.

Bake 10 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes on the sheets before transferring to racks to cool completely.

Store in airtight container. Yields 6 dozen cookies

Here is a brief intro to my novel that appeals to people of all ages. I hope you like it, too.


A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice...

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families' wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch's true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

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 Musa Publishing in December 2014. 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.

Monday 18 May 2015

Happy Victoria Day! We are Amused...

When I was a girl, I used to call Victoria Day, ‘Firecracker Day’ for obvious reasons. I always loved going to watch the firework displays with my family during my childhood. There was something nostalgic and magic about it. Loved getting those sparklers and writing your name in the air with them too! Ahhh, the good old days…

But was it really that good back then for Queen Victoria during her reign? This got me thinking about her Royal Highness Vicki. So, I thought I’d do a little digging on some facts you may not know about her. This is what I found:

1. She was barely five feet tall. For an outspoken broad with an imposing reputation, this tidbit surprised me. In later years, her girth almost caught up to her height. Some accounts claim she had a 50 inch waist by the end of her life. Queen Vicki would have been a shoe-in for the Biggest Loser reality show!

2. She proposed to hubby, Prince Albert, and not vice versa. Vicki was only 16 when she met her first cousin Albert (yup, they were related) and was immediately smitten with him. Her uncle Leopold suggested that she propose to Albert since she was the queen, and he couldn’t propose to her. Guess it must have been true love—after all, they had nine children together!

3. She was raised by a single mom, and later became a single mom herself. Her father, Edward, Duke of Kent died of pneumonia in 1820 when poor Vicki was less than a year old. She was left to be brought up by her mother who was under the influence of her advisor, and not out for her daughter’s best interests. When Vicki was crowned queen, she booted mommy-dearest out of the limelight and to a distant set of apartments. Oh yeah, and she fired that useless advisor too. Royalty has its perks.

4. She was the first known carrier of hemophilia, an affliction that would become known as the ‘Royal disease’. Who knew marrying into the family gene pool would weaken it too? Hemophilia is a blood clotting disorder passed along the maternal lines within families; men are more likely to develop it, while women are the carriers. Bummer. Sufferers can bleed excessively, since their blood does not proper coagulate, leading to extreme pain and even death. Her son Leopold and three of her grandsons died from the disease. Presently, hemophilia appears to be extinct in the European royal lines. Someone got smart enough not to push the DNA envelope anymore.

5. She had at a least six serious assassination attempts made against her during her reign—most while she was riding in a carriage. At least two of the trigger-happy gents were found not guilty by reason of insanity. Another would-be assassin fired a gun loaded with paper and tobacco at the queen, but the charge was insufficient. Hmm…maybe he should have been chucked in the insane asylum too. One man even tried to hit the queen with his cane. She wasn’t amused. However, looking for the silver lining, every time there was an assassination attempt on Queen Vicki, her popularity soared among the British public. In these days, guess that would be the same as getting more likes on Facebook. Go, Queen Vicki, go!

6. Finally, she was an artist and writer. Knew I liked the old broad! Queen Vicki began drawing as a child, and throughout her life continued to sketch and paint. She also enjoyed writing, and wrote daily entries in a diary. Her daily journals eventually spanned more than 120 volumes, and this Queen Bee wrote about 2500 words a day. Can you say prolific?

Whatever you decide to do this Victoria Day, take a moment to think about how far we’ve come since Queen Vicki’s rule, then give her silent thanks when you see the burst of color streaking through the sky as you watch the firework display with your family or friends. Salute!

Friday 15 May 2015

Book Blog Tour: The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality...

Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 937293645
Genre: fantasy, action and adventure

The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality

The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality takes the shape of a fantasy story full of action and adventure. There is a small kingdom set aside in time and space, saintly king, evil duke, prophecy and unlikely hero.  The book is about a real kingdom set up in the present day by a wealthy eccentric in the Canadian wilderness; there is no magic, no bizarre weapons or fantastic creatures. Everything that takes place is the story is possible and plausible. Among other things it’s a serious book about the human predicament and lies across several genres, or maybe falls through the cracks between several genres, and that's what makes it unique.
When Gahan started writing The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality, it had a different title, certain characters, which were present in early project ideas, didn’t make it into the final work. Several scenes took place in locales that disappeared. Gahan was not afraid to just mess around and try all sorts of different approaches because that is the magic brew that what you are looking for will arise out of.  He recommended that other authors work on paper with a ballpoint pen. Writing involves many changes, scratching out and writing between the lines before you ever try to type it out on the computer. Whatever you do have fun and be patient with your creation.

He had created living characters the same way he used to create characters as a ‘method’ actor in his previous career in the theatre. Through the characters own ingenuity and perseverance, chapter-by-chapter the new story unfolded. Some of them lost their lives solving the problem, and he regretted he was not being able to save them, but they made their own decisions. The only veto power he exercised was if they decided to sit down to eat and talk things over and the action began to drag, he would send in a messenger with some bad news to bring them to their feet again.

There was also a time during which he had to set the whole project aside. This made the story ten times better.

Teenagers and adults who enjoy King Arthur-like stories, castles, battles and life-threatening quests will enjoy this Arthurian saga. The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality is not only an escapist adventure but at times creates cultural controversy.

Gahan Hanmer's creativity and gift for storytelling came from his background in theatre. Creativity ran in the family, Gahan mother and uncle were well known actors. He developed his talent exclusively as a theater artist, working with many inspired teachers and directors

The result was the following:

What Readers are Saying...

"The mark of a modern classic is a story line handled with such originality that it cannot be imitated. Like Lord of the Flies or The Last Unicorn, The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality is in a class by itself; it is one of a kind. --- Diane K. Stevenson, PhD "

About Gahan Hanmer
Gahan speaks French and Spanish and has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University. He unintentionally became a grown-up raising two beloved daughters and now lives in the high chaparral desert of California. The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality is available at: Amazon, and on his website.  Ask Gahan Hanmer questions by visiting his website at
Book Excerpt

Sir Leo was glad to see me and shook my hand warmly. I had caught up with him in the field outside the walls where he was practicing with a bow and arrow. “Do you shoot?” he asked me.
“I haven’t since I was a boy.”
He handed me his bow and quiver and watched me put two arrows in the target and scatter five or six others in the grass beyond it.
“That was not too good,” he said, holding out his hand for the bow. In one fluid motion he nocked and drew and loosed and that arrow sprang into the bullseye like it couldn’t wait to do anything he wanted it to.
“That’s fantastic, Leo,” I said, and he grinned with pleasure. “How did you learn to do that?”
“Well, I taught myself. Or you could say I learned it from the birds. Have you ever wished you could fly?”
“Who hasn’t?”
“I made myself miserable with envy watching the birds when I was a boy. But when I discovered archery, I realized there was more than one way to ride the wind. If my body couldn’t do it, my spirit could. Here, take this arrow and throw it at the target.”

This Giveaway is open Internationally.
PRIZES 1 Winners will each receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 11 May 2015

Spotlight on a Book Series: Kai Strand and Super Villain Academy Series…

I want to thank and welcome wonderful and prolific middle grade and young adult author, Kai Strand for sharing her personal experiences on writing a book series and showcasing her YA fantasy/speculative series Super Villain Academy series with us on my blog today. So let’s get this interview with Kai rolling…KAPOW!

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Super Villain Academy series, Kai?

The inspiration started with the first book only. It was early on November 1st. I was sitting down to start my NaNoWriMo novel (write a novel in one month – nuts!). For the first time I’d outlined so I could be more prepared for fast drafting. Well…yeah. When I sat down I was struck with the thought, “Who trains the bad guys?” and Super Villain Academy was born. It turned into a series when the ending refused to change from a set up of a second book. So I decided I’d call the series Super Villain Academy and changed the name of the first book, King of Bad.

It’s amazing where authors get their ideas! How many books are you planning to write in this young adult fantasy/speculative fiction series?

There are three in the series. Polar Opposites is the second. Super Bad (releasing May 6th) is the final book.

Looking forward to it! What sets Super Villain Academy apart from other series in the same genre?

So many of the super hero/villain books are set in a middle grade setting, but these are definitely written for young adult readers. I like to call them PG-13. Also, my supers are born with their powers, not made into supers with a shot of gamma radiation. They discover them at different times in their lives, so some kids have been going to SVA (and other academies) since they were as young as twelve and others don’t join until they are sixteen or older.

You seem to have books for every age group, Kai! How long did it take for you to start and finish each book from Super Villain Academy?

King of Bad took the longest. Turns out when you write an entire novel in one month, it can be pretty messy! It took me five years to clean it up and get it under contract. Though, I wasn’t working on it exclusively. I don’t write only one book at a time. The other books took less than a year each to get them written, revised, and through the publishing channel.

Wow, I admire your stamina. What are some of your favorite book series, Kai?
·         Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series
·         Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls
·         Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus series
·         I’m really enjoying Brigid Kremmerer’s Elementals series. Close to teens with superpowers like my SVA series, without the super hero/villain aspect.

Great picks! Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write a series?

One of the benefits to writing a series is you really get to know your characters. Truly understanding them like that allows you to write them into and out of some crazy situations. It was very hard for me to finish the last book in the series because I loved writing those teenagers so much!

On the flipside, writing a series can feel limiting when you want to branch out. As I mentioned, I don’t write one book at a time, but even so, at the beginning of last year, I found myself plotting out the year’s writing projects and there wasn’t one new world or main character I was going to be attacking and I said to myself, “Whose idea was it to write series, anyway?” So be sure to throw a standalone into the mix now and again to keep yourself sane.

LOL! I’ll remember that sage advice. What’s next for Kai Strand the author?

Ha ha. A standalone. Currently titled EVERYTHING. YA romance. I loved writing Save the Lemmings (MG contemporary) and Finding Thor (YA romantic suspense). And because I don’t like to do the same thing twice, I’ve decided to change the way I write this newest one and really take some time with it. I don’t know what I expect to get out of a slower pace, but I suspect it will be different.

You certainly are an author of many talents, Kai, and I really admire that about you. Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—IF you could time travel into Earth’s past, WHO would you love to meet, and WHY?

I would become Mozart’s scribe. Oh my gosh, how much I would love to watch him compose. His mind must have been a marvel and I have always wanted to know how he got all of the layered, complicated music out of his head and onto paper. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’m taller than him – doesn’t happen often for me, so YAY!

Thanks for having me, Sharon!

You’re very welcome, Kai! And congrats on completing your awesome series! Bravo!

Super Villain Academy Books:

King of Bad (Super Villain Academy Bk 1)- Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. Is Jeff bad enough for SVA?

Polar Opposites (Super Villain Academy Bk 2) - Heroes and villains are balanced. After Oceanus is kidnapped, Jeff learns the supers are so balanced, they no longer care to get involved. Ironically Jeff’s superpowers are spiraling out of control. Will they find Oci before he looses it completely, and will they find her alive?

Super Bad (Super Villain Academy Bk3) - The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.

About the Author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,

Thursday 7 May 2015

YA author Krysten Lindsay Hager’s Dream Cast List for Best Friends…Forever?

Landry Albright: Ashley Benson
Vladi Yagudin (<3): Ross Lynch
Lucy Albright (Landry’s older cousin):  Becky G
Kendall Ivanov (takes Landry under her wing): Sarah Hyland
Ashanti Russell (BFF): My original image for Ashanti was Letoya Luckett (original member of Destiny’s Child) and I pictured her at 14. Now I would pick China Anne McClain
Halle Gephardt: Yara Shahidi
Kyra (girl in Ingénue competition): Kat Graham
Tad Johnston: Calum Worthy
Peyton Urich (BFF): Bella Thorne
Thalia Zimmer: Ciara Bravo
India Allen: Stephanie Scott
Tori Robins (former BFF): Laura Marano
Ericka Maines (former BFF): Ariana Grande
Jeremy (Has a crush on Devon): Peyton Meyer
Mr. Allen (India’s dad): Nolan North
Rylan (stylist at Ingénue competition): Tyler Blackburn
Talisa Milan (Landry’s favorite model): Jennifer Lopez
Devon Abrams: Selena Gomez
Yasmin McCarty (popular girl with a crush on Vladi): Victoria Justice
Arianna Seymour: Dove Cameron
Mr. Albright (Landry’s Dad) Ty Treadway
Mrs. Albright (Landry’s mom): Darlene Vogel
Landry’s Grandma Albright: Michael Learned
Landry’s Grandma Dombrowski: Blythe Danner
Landry’s Grandpa Dombrowski: Alan Alda
Jem Jade (Little Rose model): Shay Mitchell
Mrs. Urich (Peyton’s mom):  Sharon Osbourne
Mr. Urich (Peyton’s dad): Harrison Ford
Kyle Eiton: Austin Mahone
Doug (Devon’s crush): Spencer Boldman
Best Friends…Forever? (Landry’s True Colors Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
I have always loved reading books that use humor and have realistic (and relatable) characters. I decided to write the book I wanted to read when I was reading YA and I’m overjoyed it’s now a series where people can follow along on Landry’s journey through dealing with friendships, the ups and downs of school, crushes, relationships, and insecurities. Sure, going back to that time in my own life was a little crazy, but lucky for me there weren’t camera phones to capture me dancing in the school talent show…while wearing jean shorts. If you’re not cringing yet, let’s just say I also had a moment of “genius” where I thought my super dark brown hair would look amazing with “Sun-In” highlights that actually turned my hair a lovely shade of copper. Sigh.

The Landry’s True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Children's Books on Values. True Colors is an international bestselling book.

Tag line: Good friends have your back, but some go behind it.

Blurb:  Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.

Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?

I got ready for bed and then stopped to check my social media page one more time and that's when I saw it — another picture of Peyton, India, and Devon hanging out. They were sitting on the couch with their heads scrunched close together and laughing. It was a cute picture, but then I saw the caption: So glad we could all be together for the holidays. Love these guys soooo much! Best friends forever. #Alltogether #Threemusketeers #BestFriendsForever #ThreeBestFriends #ThreesCompany. 
My heart sank. It was India’s caption and anyone who read it would think what a closeknit group of friends and not realize anyone was missing from that photo. Sure, I was in another state, so naturally I couldn’t be there for it, but the way India wrote that made me feel so left out. I mean, what did she mean by the "ʺThree’s Company"ʺ hashtag? And sometimes people tagged friends who weren’t there in pictures and added, "ʺWish you were here,"ʺ but there was no mention of a fourth member of the group.

“Ready for bed, hon?” Mom asked coming into my room.

“Yeah, just signing off.”

“Okay, sleep well.”

I got into bed and hoped I was reading into things, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.


Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

What people are saying about True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book One):
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: "This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!"

From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren't everything. This book is related to every teen's problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”

Buy Links:

Amazon international:

Connect with Krysten:

Monday 4 May 2015

Celebrating my Fourth Blog Anniversary…Then and Now…

May the Fourth be with You...
ALL SYSTEMS GO! (First posted May 4th, 2011)

May the ‘Fourth’ Be With You!

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. After all, it is Luke Skywalker Day.

First, let me introduce myself—my name is Sharon Ledwith and I write young adult fiction. My genres include: time travel mysteries (kind of like a mesh of fantasy with a splash of sci-fi meets Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys), as well as paranormal stories where teens deal with psychic powers like psychometry, telekinesis, animal communication—stuff like that.

My intention of this blog is to:

#1 Get you to know me as a writer, and post my experiences as an indie publisher of eBooks.

#2 Introduce and showcase my stories and characters.

In a nutshell—market myself and promote my work.

That’s it really. You see, writing is all about the reader. My goal is to influence and empower today’s youth—the next generation—through the stories I create. I believe everyone is here at this time with a mission and a purpose, and every child has something to add to our evolutionary advancement. Children truly are the keys to our future. It is my hope to unlock this portent.

Wow! To be honest, I was so afraid when I started blogging and putting myself out in cyber-space. Reading my first post over again, I realize that I’ve come a long way in my writing journey. Back in 2011, I didn’t have a publisher and was still querying agents and publishers. This blog and my Facebook account was the beginning of my online presence, and I really felt like a fish out of water. But I kept blogging and posting on Facebook. I learned to share interesting and helpful posts for other authors as a way of connection. I figured out what works for me and what doesn’t—still an ongoing process, I must admit! And I continue to work on my author brand and platform through blogging and networking with other authors, readers, publishers, and bloggers.

I’ve also gotten better with time. Go figure. My intention has changed a lot since that first blog post. I’m much more confident and tech savvy then I was. Now I’m a published author, and represented by a literary agency. I’ve also learned to adapt to my environment, and go with the flow through the ups and downs of the publishing industry. So what have I learned in the last four years? In grand Oprah-like fashion, I’d like to share with you what I know for sure:

·         I’ve realized that I do NOT want to be an indie publisher, but rather be part of a publishing company. I’m more of a team player and had to figure that out for myself. I like having the support of a publisher behind me. Plus I didn’t have to look for, and invest in an editor, cover artist, and book formatter.
·         I’d rather write blogs that uplift or help authors and readers.
·         I love showcasing middle grade and young adult authors and their books and/or series on my blog for readers to find.
·         I enjoy doing Goodreads Giveaways. I’ve connected with so many readers this way!
·         Book blog tours are exhausting. I’ve learned to delegate blog tours to the professionals whenever possible!
·         Trying to fit into other authors’ shoes is painful and unproductive. Stand in your truth.
·         I can only be one place at a time. Too many social media accounts = too many distractions and not enough writing time. I decided to stick with Facebook, get on Twitter, join Google+ and Goodreads, and occasionally share on LinkedIn. That’s it!
·         I blog every Monday. I used to do it twice a week, but couldn’t keep up. I’ve learned being consistent keeps you out there and creates an audience.
·         I’ve learned to develop a positive mental attitude. Trust me, a PMA will keep you afloat on the days you just want to throw in the towel.
·         I’ve learned from other authors. Success leaves clues. Follow the clues.
·         Finally, I’ve learned that writing is both a business and a passion. It requires wearing two different hats. You need to juggle these hats if you want to be a successful author.

Where the Magic Happens...
I still believe writing is all about the reader. And I still hope to influence, uplift, and empower through my books. My personal motto is: I write to make people’s lives better, create something of value to make them smile. May the fourth be with you, everyone! Cheers!