NEW RELEASE! The Benevolent Light: Book Five of the Aspen Series

RothanCover2updatedAhhh…It is so good to be back. I have admittedly been so stressed about this book being finished, I have done little else!

I appreciate you all for sticking by me, kicking me in the rear from time to time, and making this event possible. I have to send out a special “thanks” to my good friend, Cheryl Alleway, for her positive emails when I needed them the most.

You know, I didn’t really think I would make this deadline. Two weeks ago, I had about a hundred pages to go and I hardly worked on it at all on our trip to Forks, WA. This past Friday I was still shy about sixty pages from where I wanted to be and from where I envisioned the end. Sunday morning, I wrote the remaining last few pages and was able to close the laptop, breathing a deep sigh of accomplishment.

Now, I find myself torn. My head is in Aspen’s world right now and yet I long to work on other projects and postpone the last book of the series, The Key of the Kingdom. I am thinking that I may work on some other ideas for a few months and come back to Thorne and Aspen when I am not so worn out. Six long books with little other work in between is a lot.

So about a book tour… Well, I have given this a lot of thought. I would like to have one, but I felt it a little unfair so deep in the series to expect bloggers to get acquainted with all five books, so I have foregone the tour for now. I have some fun ideas, so just because we aren’t having a blast hopping around the bloggesphere, doesn’t mean that I am discrediting it at all. I am just wanting it to be fun for everyone…including the bloggers who take the time to post about my work.

(If you are a blogger and would like to participate, feel free to let me know.)

So for now, know that I love each of you dearly and appreciate the time you take to read the story that has been working its way out of my head for many years now. To think that it took me nine years just to write the first book alone…that is a long time. I hope you hold as deep a love for my characters as I do!

Darkness shrouds the Darktowers as they press forward, the familiar cliffs in the forefront of their minds as their journey comes close to the end. Rothan sits over his mound of gold, the devil in command of his army with his evil eyes seeing each shadow, every corner, any opportunity with which to gain power, to flaunt the tree upon his palm and take what he covets most. And through the storm that brews, the light fades until the blackness chokes all in its path. A battle of wills dictates which path will be taken and when the torment ends, Aspen finds one brilliant shaft of light. A benevolent light. The most beautiful beam of light one has ever seen.

“I wanted to hear that you had perished…that I was free to keep her here as the symbol of peace and order, of love and light. You are the one flaw in my plan. But one day, one day…you will no longer own her.” ~King Rothan

Don’t worry, links will appear tomorrow, the official first day to have your own copy of The Benevolent Light… September 17th 2013!

Happy reading and God Bless!!

RETURN TO CARDAMOM BOOK TOUR!

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I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in a book tour for the new release, Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne Grasso.

You can read my thoughts on the book in the post on my website, one of the stops of their tour! Help spread the word…this was a cute little story for middle grade children!

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Life is sweet for Caramel and things are finally getting back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be for a telepathic elf who can train trees and control computers, but she soon finds life on Cardamom is not all cupcakes and apple cider. A saboteur is hiding in the rainforest canopy, and the elves’ precious cardamom export has been wiped out. Caramel is certain it’s another trick of Alexander222 and her Aunt Isabel, but no one will believe her, and the clock is ticking. She must expose the saboteur in time to save the crop or the Elves of Cardamom will lose their livelihood. Caramel won’t rest until her theory is proven. While she is on the hunt, she makes a shocking discovery, one that will change everything.

Interview With Cheryl Alleway on Of Blade of Valor!

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The life of a writer can be mysterious. They all have a method to their madness and here is a peek at the lovely Cheryl Alleway’s process. You can see her expressions, the wheels spinning as she reveals some small secrets. It isn’t every day that you can pick an author’s brain.

I feel that the vast majority of readers only see the finished product and not the amount of time spent in creating the book they hold in their hands. Books seem to just magically appear on shelves. This video is to show you the passion of the author, the drive, and the thought process. One simply does not sit down and write a 500 page book overnight.

The next time you hold a book and thumb through the pages, keep in mind that each new book is a struggle for someone just to bring it to you. Countless hours spent in thought, writing and editing so you have a piece of entertainment.

Every author is different. They think different, they write different, they choose different genres. In my mind, there are no rules when writing fiction. It is a free area to put down on paper the story that invades your mind. Just because one writer doesn’t write according to how you think they should, doesn’t make them inadequate…it makes them an individual. I know of some out there perfectly happy to demean another writer for not adhering to an invisible set of rules and I strongly criticize this with all my being.

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Cheryl’s book defies many traditional ideals and that is what I find so endearing about it. For me, when someone can spin a tale around actual events and pull you into the story, that is a great read. Technicalities do not appeal to me and I applaud those who are willing to step out of the cookie-cutter mold and do something so intriguing and interesting you can’t help but fall in love with it.

Enjoy this video!

Tomorrow’s post is by the very sweet, quite humble author Cheryl Alleway. Please feel free to share your thoughts with her! 😀

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TOUR STOP #4! Of Blade and Valor!

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Tour stop #4 for Of Blade and Valor by Cheryl Alleway is with author Neil Newton, who features the book One Time on Earth. We are so thankful to have his participation on this tour and he wrote a beautiful sort of review that exposes his emotions on the subject of historical fiction and bringing to life successfully. Cheryl does this in her new release, Of Blade and Valor and Neil will tell you as well.

When you visit, please comment so we know you were there! 😀 We want to enter you in the drawing for some great prizes!

So here is the link to Neil’s post: http://neilnewton.co.uk/novelist-cheryl-allway/
Please take a moment to check out his work as well!

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Of Blade and Valor Book Tour!!

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So I must call upon all me fellow bloggers and readers…even authors.

Today is a really special day for a great gal that I have really come to admire. It is her day…the day her book is brought to life. She has walked carefully out on the plank and stared down into the waters swimming with the sharks of the literary world, but seeing her dreams on the ocean floor, jumped right in. This girl has put in countless hours preparing, learning, and writing for all of you.

The problem we face, as writers, the the lack of support from the very people who read books.

So I am asking you all to get involved today. Visit the post that will kick off Cheryl’s tour and participate. Download your copy and be entered to win prizes! We were able to pull a bunch of bloggers together to make this tour a lot of fun for you as readers. Click here for the schedule of stops!

We beg you, yes this is me begging, to share this among your audiences and help to propel this young woman to great heights.

When it is your turn to sit in the spotlight, you know we will be behind you as well! We appreciate your support! Feel free to reblog the Twisted Willow Press post today!

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Happy Birthday to me! My eBooks are Free!

So I was born on June 18th, 1973. According to my kids, I am old. According to my body, I am old. According to my mind, I am old. But according to my heart, I am young. I will always be young.

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To help me celebrate my big 40, I am putting my eBooks on sale for absolutely nothing and this is only on my birthday.

With the release of The Benevolent Light happening soon, now is the time to catch up on the rest of the Aspen Series.

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Beginning at one minute after midnight, well, my time of course, you will be able to take advantage of such a sale. Don’t wait! Being able to break my own records of the most downloads would be such an amazing feeling on a day such as my own birthday. 😀 These downloads will be available on Amazon.com in Kindle books.

I want to thank all of you for following me here. I hit a very cool 100 followers just yesterday. Thank you for reading, thank you for believing in my dreams for me, and thank you for being fans. I think that the greatest experience would be to meet you all in person…spend a few hours just talking. That would be amazing because it is you, my readers and fans, that keep me going. You make me want to keep plucking away at the keyboard, one scene at a time and one chapter on top of another. It is true that I write for myself…but I suppose I also write for acceptance, for entertainment, and for your approval. It makes me most happy.

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When I blow out the candles and laugh with my family and friends, I will think of those of you who have read my work and who have raised me to where I am today.

I am forever grateful…

September 17th, 2013! Release Date!

So after much hard work and beating myself up for not making my May deadline (that was the deadline in my mind), I am finally ready to set a date in stone.

September 17th, 2013, The Benevolent Light will be available via Kindle or paperback. I can authorgraph your digital copies or send you signed editions of the paperback!

For those of you interested that may not be caught up with the Aspen Series to date, my birthday is June 18th. Yes, that is Tuesday and I will put my books on sale through Amazon Kindle for the day. So not just “happy birthday to me”, you can score as well! Keep watching for freebie information and pass it along!

As the date gets closer, there will be some fun activities to participate in and possibly learn even more about me in the process.

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Darkness shrouds the Darktowers as the press forward, the familiar cliffs in the forefront of their minds as their journey comes close to the end.
Rothan sits over his mound of gold, the devil in command of his army with his evil eyes seeing each shadow, every corner, any opportunity with which to gain power, to flaunt the tree upon his palm and take what he covets most.
And through the storm that brews, the light fades until the blackness chokes all in its path. A battle of wills dictates which path will be taken and when the torment ends, Aspen finds one brilliant shaft of light. A benevolent light. The most beautiful beam of light one has ever seen.

Have a peek at the trailer:

Book Release: Of Blade and Valor JULY 12th, 2013!

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Well, hello again friends!
I wanted to scream out to my awesome community that Cheryl Alleway is releasing her book “Of Blade and Valor” on July 12th, 2013.

Some of you may know that I also have a small publishing house and she selected me, as Twisted Willow Press, to represent her!

I have read this manuscript from beginning to end and I absolutely love the storyline. With a few tweaks and a few edits, we are excited to send it out into the world. 🙂

You can read all about it in this post at Twisted Willow Press.

I encourage you to take just a few moments today to welcome Cheryl and share her voice with your circles. That is how it all works. Just as life has a circle, so does authorship. If you can’t reach out and support your fellow writers, neither will succeed.

Keep on the lookout for fun activities as the big day gets closer!

What’s The Deal With Reviews?

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When we first get a book out on the market, we tend to be all about giving copies away, swapping stories, and review exchanges. Are reviews important? Of course they are. They are also the hardest piece of advertising to acquire. Why is this, you ask? Well, let’s examine the ‘review’!

1. While reviews are wonderful to own and use as someone to vouch for your work, there are ways to gain them and ways to use negatives to your advantage. You want reviews to be genuine, without harming your reputation.
One way to get those glowing reviews is to ask the people close to you to please give their thoughts on your work. Avoid using the word ‘review’. There are a lot of people who are not confident in their literary opinions and asking them to formally review your work will scare them to the point of not giving even a few words.

2. What is it about people and negativity?
Okay. Take a moment to think about this. How many times in your life have you called up the restaurant you just had dinner at and told the manager that they did such a great job? Did you commend that waiter or waitress that had been on their feet for hours on end, smiling and kissing your rear, and accommodating your every wish? What’s that? You think your tip says it all? Well, I can tell you that your words of praise mean more to that waitstaff than any amount of money you left.
But, how often do you complain about the service? Does it compare to the amount of times you call the restaurant with positive thoughts? As a fellow human being, I highly doubt that many people give kudos where they are due. Spouting one’s opinion of how they were wronged is our nature. We want others to know, without a doubt, that you were disappointed in them.
That is a lot how reviews work. People may read your work and like it. In fact, I know there are people out there who like your stuff. They are content. They found their new favorite author. They love your world. But do you think they will all take the time to spread the word? Sorry, no, they will not. In fact, you will get more people spout off to the world the reasons they hated it. It is their opinion and they want the world to know all the reasons they should not enjoy themselves by reading your work.

3. When you get a bad review, do you sit and cry?
Well, I have. You know, how dare they rip a hole through your soul by saying the editing was terrible? Who are they to be the judge of your style? Don’t they realize that your work is like your own child and when they bad mouth it, it is the same as putting your baby down?
No, unfortunately, many people don’t care how they come across, nor do they think about the effect it will have on your psyche. There is a way to be constructive and the general population does not think about that. They are only telling everyone else about their feelings. Being a crusader of “freedom of speech”, I understand that fact. Being a writer, I get a little sensitive sometimes.
What to do with those less than desirable reviews that lurk on your Amazon page? Hmmm…
Broadcast the daylights out of their little blunder. Rip it apart and ask your followers how they feel about those statements that haunt you. Wear it like a badge of courage…for it takes courage to be able to display those sentiments and move forward.

“This ebook suffers greatly from a lack of editing. The author has people speaking in idioms which would never have been used in medieval times, and also fails often to show who is speaking, thus creating confusion. The grammar used also shows the author’s need for a competent editor. Nevertheless, the story line is very good and if the author were to invest in the services of a good editor, the book would probably be successful.” ~N.F. Duncan

What would you do with a review like this. I know, hard to say when you might not have had one. While I feel that this person had no respect for me as a writer, I had to think about some books that I have read in my lifetime where I might have felt the same. I don’t like every book I have read. But you had better know that I would never add the extra jab of “competency”. To me, that is like giving the finger to an author. Do I know that my edits were lacking? Yes I did. I still published it knowing that? Yes I did. And you know what? Among the hundreds of readers who do enjoy my work, there are only an amount of haters that I can count on one hand. Does that mean I am tooting my own horn? No, not exactly. I am simply saying that there will always be those who can’t wait to smear another’s name in the dirt and you have to dust yourself off and move on. Do I agree with this reader’s opinion…no. While I know that there could be better edits done, I chose my style carefully. My characters speak in a way that my modern readers can relate. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. It makes my readers feel according to my characters. Is that my opinion vs. their opinion? No, because I have other positives to outweigh the negatives.

“Noble Courage by Daisha Marie Korth is a great read. Korth is amazing in her character and plot development. Throughout the entire book I felt as though i personally knew every character, and that I was right there with Aspen and Thorne. Once I picked up the book it was impossible for me to put it down, and this is true for the whole series. If you are looking for a series that you can fall in love with from the very beginning then this is the one!” ~M.R.H.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they were all like that? lol

4. Avoiding the Soul Crusher review:
There is no perfect formula for getting others to leave positive thoughts. However, you as the author can plant the seed of positive thoughts. When asking people to pick up your book, tell them you look forward to hearing how much they enjoy it. Explain that you are honored to have their readership and that if they like what they read, to jot down their thoughts for you. Publicly thank those who give great reviews so that others will catch the air of happy thoughts. You don’t have to try to cover that you had a bad review, face it and back up your work with the good ones.

5. Do not swap books and offer to review another author’s book in exchange for one on yours. This leads to less than honest reviews on both parties. Many will stall in making their statement until they get your back. Then, they will mirror what you had to say. Believe me, it happens. Perhaps not every time, but it will. When you are in a position of leaving a review, use the sandwich method and avoid using words that are unnecessarily harsh. We are all human beings here, we all have hearts and feelings. There is absolutely no reason to purposely destroy another person with your bad manners. If you review another’s work, make sure you don’t expect a glowing review back. Do not GIVE one to receive one either.

6. The Sandwich Method:
Stating true and factual statements in an appealing manner. Begin with a positive, such as a feeling it stirred within you, avoiding giving the entire story away. Mention things that may need improvement. You could say, “I just wish the editing had been a little more thorough because it interfered with how I read the story.” Close with another positive statement to leave the prospective reader with a sense of adventure having not made up their mind for them. That is NOT your job. There are always positives in everyone’s work, you need to be open minded enough to find them. Being honest and yet productively critical can develop an author into a better writer. Just being an @$$&*^@ could make a writer quit forever. Why should that weigh on your shoulders?

We are in the business of entertainment. If you write fiction, the world is yours! There are no laws, there are no rules, save one: It has to be believable. You could write about white cows that squirt strawberry milk in the chocolate hills, for all I care…but I have to smell the strawberries and taste the chocolate grass. If you write non-fiction, I’m sorry, but you have to be accurate. Be sure your facts are straight and when interjecting your opinions into the mix, be sure readers understand that and know your professional ability to back yourself up.

Think about these points when you review another’s work. It is not professional to be mean to another author intentionally and people will pick up on your pessimism. They will not follow you, nor will they read your work. Do your fellow writers a favor and provide healthy criticism that is attached to your name.