Monday 30 November 2015

Why Writers need R&R…

Recently, my hubby and I just got back from vacation. We went on a Caribbean cruise for our 30th Anniversary—a trip that had been on our bucket list for such a long time. We also spent a couple of nights in New Orleans—love the energy and party atmosphere down there! This was also the first long vacation we took together (read: no kids in tow) in twenty-five years. Um, yeah. You read that right. Twenty-five years? That’s like 175 in dog years!

In the past, vacations were usually centered around family. We journeyed to our cottage with our son or camped up north with our daughters. Ah, the good old days of black flies and mosquitoes! That said, when you own a vacation home, you really become popular to family, friends, and long-lost relatives, especially in the hot, summer months. But when it’s time to pull in the boats and docks or put away garden furniture for the colder seasons, you can’t see their butts through the dust. Wink.

My writing seemed to flow with the seasons too. I’d wrap up stories and schedule a pile of blog posts by the end of June in anticipation for school wrapping up, the hot weather, and onslaught of summer guests. Although I loved seeing family and friends, it wasn’t much of a ‘vacation’ for me. You know what I mean. Someone has to cook, clean, fetch drinks, feed the pets, wash the clothes, grocery shop while others are sitting on the dock, sunning themselves with a cold one. By mid-October, I was finally back in my writing groove, working on the next novel, doing research, or picking up where I left off with my story. Oh, and don’t forget about all the book promotion and marketing an author has to do. No wonder many writers burn out!

I believe 2015 was my turnaround year—click HERE to read the full story. Every writer needs a year that shakes up things like one of those snow globes until everything settles and you can see clearly. What I saw was one stressed-out author who barely kept it together. We writers can only do so much. We need down time just as much as a doctor or accountant or a plumber. Vacations are meant to recharge us, take us away from our same old routines. We all need a period of renewal to calm our minds and rejuvenate our bodies. Play time is just as important as work time, even if you can get away for only a few days.

I found it - the 7th Arch of Atlantis!
Since I’ve returned, I feel renewed and relaxed, and certain things don’t bother me as much. I even unplugged from my phone during the entire seven day cruise. Egad! And you know what? Life went on, and the world didn’t stop turning because I wasn’t tweeting or sharing. Being away from my keyboard also gave me a fresher perspective on my work-in-progress too, and I was able sit down with no distractions and make a plan for the rest of the year. I’d forgotten why I started writing in the first place—yes I want to supplement my income (what writer doesn’t?), but also want to follow my dream, and do what makes me happy. And isn’t that why we’re all here on Earth in the first place?

So what about you? Do you have any plans for a vacation in the future? Are you ready to unplug and relax? Would love to hear your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!

Monday 23 November 2015

Book Tour: The Curse At Pirate's Cove by Rita Monette...

Follow the Tour for Reviews, Guest Posts, Exclusive Excerpts, and Spotlights!

“When one man’s treasure is another man’s curse"

Book Information:

Title: The Curse at Pirate’s Cove

Series:  Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, Book 2

Author Name: Rita Monette

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Adventure, Mystery

Tags: Middle Grade, Adventure, Pirates, Bayou, Louisiana

Length: Approx. 208 pages

E-book:  978-1-987976-02-1
Paperback:  978-1-987976-01-4

Re-Release Date: Nov.17, 2015

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

About the Book:

Nikki Landry is turning eleven years old, and is looking forward to riding her bike to school. That is until it falls apart. Papa can’t afford a new one. Is she doomed to ride the smelly old school bus from now on?

Hearing of an old pirate ship, and a legend about long-ago pirates burying treasure on a nearby swamp island, Nikki sees a way out. But when she makes a birthday wish for the pirate’s gold, things go terribly wrong. Did her wish trigger an ancient curse?

Join Nikki and her friends as they find themselves sailing away aboard a haunted schooner with ghostly pirates into the Gulf of Mexico … and into the year eighteen fourteen.

How will they ever find their way back home?

Pierre Part Louisiana

by Rita Monette

I have been spending the last few weeks in my home state of Louisiana, promoting my books and visiting relatives.

Today I visited my brother in the small town of Pierre Part, Louisiana, which also happens to be the home of Troy Landry of the Swamp People TV series, and where my series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, begins. No, Nikki is not kin to Troy—at least I don’t think so.  

The town is about as Cajun as anywhere in Louisiana. Folks there make their living in the bayous, where crawfish, crabs, and alligators are plentiful.

However, I came across one man that makes his living gathering old cypress and turning it into artistic creations. His name is Adam Morales. He says he is blessed to be able to see things in the old remains of cypress trees. Here are a couple of his creations... 

Many folks in Pierre Part still live in houseboats, just like they did back in 1956 where my stories begin.

This week is the release of book two, The Curse at Pirate’s Cove, which is set in the nearby town of Morgan City, and in the Atchafalaya Swamp, where Mr. Morales collects the cypress for his artwork. 

Follow the Tour:

Purchase Links:


Mirror World Publishing:


Barnes and Noble:

Meet the Author:

Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state.

Her middle grade series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, is based on tales told by her father—who made his living in those bayous—of reasons to stay out of the swamp.

She currently lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, she loves watching the many birds that make their habitat on the Cumberland Plateau, working in the garden, and frequenting waterfalls.

Social Media Links:

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Great Giveaways for the 2015 Holiday Season...

‘Tis the season to start thinking about giving and receiving, isn’t it? So what better way to kick off the upcoming holiday season with a Goodreads Giveaway and a chance to receive a Kindle full of over fifty tween reads via the Emblazon Christmas Giveaway! Sounds like Santa is coming early, doesn’t it?

The Emblazon Kindle Christmas Giveaway begins Tuesday, November 17th and ends Tuesday, December 1st. That’s two full weeks for a chance to win your adolescent a new Kindle pre-loaded with over fifty ebooks for your tween. Just visit HERE to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance win this awesome gift for your tween girl or boy!

I’ve also decided to create a Goodreads Giveaway for only Goodreads members in Canada and the United States so the winner will be able to receive a signed copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis in time for Christmas. The Giveway commences on November 18th and ends December  9th, so there will be plenty of time to mail the winner his or her copy. Wishing you all good luck and happy holidays! Cheers!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends December 09, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday 16 November 2015

Hit your Readers in the Heart…

In order for an author to be successful, he or she must have a successful author brand. Your brand is your name. It’s what people connect you with or think about when your name is mentioned. For example, Stephen King = horror, Rick Riordan = young adult myths and legends, JRR Tolkien = epic fantasy, Kelly Armstrong = paranormal romance, and Diana Gabaldon = time travel romance. I could go on, but you get the picture. Each name evokes a genre or a series, and each brand is high concept.

So how do you develop your author brand (name) into a household word that conjures creepy clowns or teen demigods or hobbits or sexy werewolves or time traveling standing stones and kilts? You need to hit your readers in the heart. Create a positive emotional experience so that they’ll become loyal readers and word of mouth heralds for each book you publish.

This strategy is the basis of social media. You connect with others because of what they say, pictures they post, or the experiences they share. Somehow, an emotional cord is struck, and you want to reach out to people and give them your support or a kind word or thank them for making you laugh your ass off for posting a cute dog or kitten video. Emotion connects us all, makes us human. And depending what you share or post, if people like what they read or see or hear, they begin to trust you. If you’re an author who writes books with animals as main characters, you can bet you’ll grab the interest of animal lovers all over the world.

One way to help figure out your ‘brand’ is to create a tagline for yourself, just as you would for a book. I did a lot of soul searching on this and decided that I wanted to conjure feelings of nostalgia with each book I write—give my books that ‘good old days’ spin. Who doesn’t like happy memories of their childhood? So I came up with: Escape to the past and have a blast. Simple and direct. I want my readers to escape from the mundane and be drawn into a familiar world where they’ll have a pleasurable and exciting experience. At least that’s my hope!    

When you find out what makes your audience tick, you’ve hit their sweet spot. You give them more of what they want. They need it. They crave it. Write it for them. Make them feel through your words. It’s what authors do. It’s what we crave.

So what about you? When it comes to reading, what hits your heart? What do you crave? Would love to hear your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!

Monday 9 November 2015

A Meal Fit for a High Priestess...

In my book, Legend of the Timekeepers—the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series—Istulo, a high priestess from the Black Land is a whiz when it comes to concocting potions and elixirs. But I bet she’d trade an arcane secret or two just for a taste of this mouth-watering ham and potato brew. Easy to prepare with a prep time of 20 minutes and cook time of 25 minutes, this heavenly soup will get a thumbs-up from even the fussiest high priest or priestess in your brood.

Thumbs-Up Ham and Potato Soup

3½ cups peeled and diced potatoes
⅓ cup diced celery
⅓ cup finely chopped onion
¾ cup diced cooked ham
3¼ cups water 2 tbsp. chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tbsp. butter
5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

COMBINE potatoes, celery, onion, ham, and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil. Lower temp to medium heat. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper. 

MELT butter over medium-low heat in a separate saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute.

STIR in milk lowly as not to allow lumps to form until all. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4-5 minutes. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through.

SERVE immediately.

Now, while you’re waiting for the potato and ham soup to digest why not put your feet up and relax with a good book? Ready for a trip to Atlantis?

Monday 2 November 2015

Promo Feature: YA Author Lisa Orchard's The Starlight Chronicles...

“The Starlight Chronicles”
The box set is on sale for $.99!


Lark Singer is seventeen years old and already on the way to a brilliant music career. But as she and her band, Starlight, gear up for a competition, life seems to be throwing her a few curve balls. The mysteries of her past seem to be unraveling, and she’s no longer certain she wants to know those answers or how knowing about her past will affect her difficult relationship with her mother. And when her best friend, Bean, changes things between them, all her plans for a musical future are placed in jeopardy. How can she balance her complicated personal life to keep her musical goals on track?


Gideon Lee
Lark Singer


Social Media Links:

Author Bio:

Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on books by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. Her first published works are the “Super Spies Series.” These stories revolve around a group of friends who form their own detective squad and the cases they solve. “The Starlight Chronicles,” is the next series that Lisa created with musical misfit, Lark Singer as her main character.

Lisa resides in Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on the next book in the Starlight Chronicles Series along with a few new ideas that may turn into stand-alone novels. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.