Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guest Blogger: Kelly Abell




http://www.amazon.com/Blackheart-Point-ebook/dp/B003KGBGUO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367337933&sr=8-1&keywords=blackheart+point+by+kelly+abell


Writing Paranormal Romance
By Kelly Abell

I consider myself a multi-genre author in many respects, but I’ve always had a love for the paranormal. Not books that involve vampires or werewolves, but ghosts and spirits. Have you ever wondered what happens if someone gets stuck on their way to the hereafter. What if they have unfinished business or they just love someone too much to leave them behind until they know they are safe and able to function without them. I’ve heard so many stories from friends who have lost loved ones and had so many strange things happen after their love has departed.

I have a very special friend who lost her husband several years ago. Before he died they both had a love for yellow butterflies. He would take pictures of them whenever they showed up in the yard or if they were on a walk. During his life, Bob (not his real name) was very involved with all the sports his children participated in, but lacrosse was his favorite. He spent a great deal of time coaching both his son and daughter on proper technique. After he passed away, his daughter began to notice that during every game she played she would always see a yellow butterfly. In fact one landed on her shoulder at the end of a game they’d won. They believe, and I happen to agree, that this was a sign from Bob that he was still there, dropping in to say hello and making sure all was well.

In my short story Blackheart Point, Michelle Watling is on the run from her past straight into her destiny. Becoming the new curator at Blackheart Point Lighthouse was her dream job. And the fact that it was in Maine and far away from her past was even better. On the day she arrived it felt like she’d come home. Never had she been so comfortable in a place, oh and by the way, it’s haunted. Sam Blackheart was a pirate in the early 1700’s. Never good enough to marry his lady love, he turned to piracy to raise his fortune and come back to New England and marry the one woman who’d captured his heart. When he returns he finds her father has married her off to some Duke in the Old Country. Sam dies at sea trying to reach his love. Now he haunts the lighthouse hoping for her return, and her resemblance to Michelle is uncanny.

Do you have a ghost story or experience you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it!
Best wishes,
Kelly Abell

www.kellyabellbooks.com
www.twitter.com/kellyabellbooks
https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kelly-Abell/83527376788

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Release: Deep Dark Secrets



Hi Everyone,

My new story "Deep Dark Secrets" is now on Amazon!


Evan Sanders was destined to a life of fighting. He wasn’t an ordinary man. He was a lycanthrope. Not only was he a werewolf but he was the pack’s leader. His mission in life was to protect humankind from vampires. Everything was on track for their big gathering of the full moon. Battle plans were laid out for the upcoming war between the werewolves and the vampires. Nothing would get in the way.

That’s what he thought until she walked into his life. 
Cheyanne Willows was banging on his door one night needing help. She was on the run from vampires. 

It wasn’t long before Evan learned that Cheyanne wasn’t an ordinary woman. She had no clue how powerful she was or why they were after her. He had to protect her from the vampires.

How could Evan focus on the battle and protect Cheyanne at the same time?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guest Blogger: Tell Cotten


Welcome my guest today author Tell Cotten.



Please tell us about yourself
Besides writing, I’m also in the ranching business. I’m a descendant of the Goodnight family, and I’m also a member of the Sons of the Republic. My wife is Andi, and we have two kids, Klancy and Ethan.
I also enjoy a few hobbies. I’ve played and taught guitar for over twenty years, and I’m also an avid chess player.

Tell us about your latest book.
CONFESSIONS OF A GUNFIGHTER is a fast paced western that is character and dialogue driven. It tells the story of Rondo Landon. At first Rondo is a kind hearted, innocent youth. But he grows up quick as he is put into difficult situations, and along the way he makes many wrong decisions. Ultimately, CONFESSIONS OF A GUNFIGHTER is a story about redemption.

What can we expect from you in the future?
A sequel of sorts is in the making. I say ‘of sorts’ because Rondo actually isn’t in this one. Instead, I focus on Rondo’s cousins Yancy and Cooper, who are also in CONFESSIONS OF A GUNFIGHTER.

How do we find out about you and your books?
Here’s all my links.
My blog/website http://tellcotten.wordpress.com/

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Tell-Cotten/e/B00BTNWC4Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1363220555&sr=8-1

Barnes and Nobles http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/confessions-of-a-gunfighter-tell-cotten/1113818966

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/256428

Solstice Publishing http://store.solsticepublishing.com/confessions-of-a-gunfighter/

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Guest Blogger: Mary Collins






Please tell us about your latest book.
Winter at Naples Island is a romance novel. Anna Marie got pregnant at 17. When she told the father, he ran out on her, saying he didn't want to have anything more to do with her. Her pregnancy shamed her parents and they sent her to live with her grandmother in another town. When she refused to give the baby up for adoption, her grandmother put her out. Anna Marie took her baby girl and moved to the projects in Memphis, paying her rent and buying food with a welfare check. Later she found a job, wanting to give her child the best life she could. Her daughter grew up to be an actress and became famous, giving back to her mother for the years of sacrifices she’d made. However, she couldn’t give her the thing she wanted most…the love of a man. You can go to my website to read the first 3 chapters. www.maryco.webs.com
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on several new novels and plan to have one finished by the end of summer, depending on my muse. LOL! I’m considering making it a Christian story.

How do we find out about you and your books?

Why did you decide to write romance novels?
I’d like to say I’m an expert on romance, but that would be a huge lie. LOL! Actually it’s the other way around. I’ve had 2 failed marriages and I’ve lost count of the failed relationships. I guess I’m a dreamer and like to play out the perfect romance in my mind. Once, I tried writing a science fiction and the story didn’t come to me easily, so I give it up.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Hardly none…it’s all fiction. If I wrote about my life experiences it’d be so boring, no one would read it. LOL.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
Unlike most authors, I never thought about writing novels until about 7 years ago. I’ve always played out stories in my head and thought about writing short stories for magazines, but never thought I could write a story long enough to qualify as a novel. Once I began writing my first novel and found the story just kept on coming, I couldn’t wait to submit it. Since then, I’ve written 8 novels; seven published by Solstice Publishing and one published by Just Fiction Edition.
 
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
Some come easier than others, taking only a few months to finish. Some have taken a year or longer. I’ve learned through experience not to rush.
 
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I’ve tried making schedules, but they usually don’t work for me. Sometimes I go for weeks without writing a word, other times I’ll write a whole chapter without stopping. I just play it by ear.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?
Once I begin a new story, I can’t wait to get everything done and sit down with my laptop. It’s like going on a date or to a party. I want to hurry to be with my characters and see what the night has in store for us.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
I live alone and screen my calls. Of course, when my grandchildren call, I forget about my book and make time for them. They’re my priority. I’m sure you grandmothers know what I mean. LOL

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I go for a drive in the country, work a Sudoku puzzle or hang with friends or family.

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
Other than money…LOL, seeing people happy and knowing someone is reading my books motivate me.
Where do your ideas come from?
For twenty years, I traveled all over the country with my job. In talking to people, I found everyone has a story and if you’re a good listener, most are willing to share. Of course, I also have a vivid imagination. LOL.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
Yes, being a Christian, I feel uncomfortable writing or reading about sex. And I think about my readers. It would offend some.

What kind of research do you do?
When doing online research I usually go to several sources to be sure my info is correct. If I know someone who can give me first hand info, I’ll talk to them. 

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
Yes, I’m thinking about writing Christian Romance or YA.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I’m the mother of 3 wonderful children and the grandmother of 5 beautiful grandchildren. I graduated Etowah High School, Godsey’s Beauty College, Cleveland State Community College and Branell Business College. I don’t really have a hobby at this time, but enjoy a lot of different things.
 
Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero. Type of heroine.
Dessert
Fav Dessert – strawberry short cake    Fav City – Memphis Tennessee   Fav season – Spring
Fav hero and heroine – Military

What are some of your favorite things to do?
I enjoy simple things like watching it rain or snow, hanging with friends & family, shopping, working puzzles, watching good movies, reading a good romance story, traveling and much more. I learned a long time ago, it’s not what you’re doing, but who you’re doing it with.

Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
My fav author is Danielle Steel. I have so many fav books, I can’t pick only one.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
James Patterson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, & too many more to list.

What do you think of critique groups in general?
Good idea. I’ve given some thought to starting one in my area.
 

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully, enjoying my great grandchildren…if I ever have any and counting the millions I’ve made in book sales. LOL

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
I buy copies for family and friends, but after the editing process, I don’t read it again.

Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
Casino is m fav book.
What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
Easiest – Out of The Blue     Hardest – My Sister’s Keeper     most fun – Casino

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
The story comes first for me. Sometimes after writing a story I’ve gone back and changed characters.

What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Couples that fit together, love, faithfulness and trust, romantic setting, correct timing.
 
Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
Yes I’ve experienced it plenty. Once I didn’t write anything for over 2 months. I don’t get stressed over it. It gives me time for other things that I enjoy doing. I think sometimes your muse needs a rest.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Having a fan tell you how much they enjoyed your book.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Probably sitting on the couch watching TV, Lol…just kidding. I don’t know what I’d do with all my free time.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Don’t give up. I sent out a lot of query letters before getting my work accepted.
 
 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Blogger: KateMarie Collins

Welcome KateMarie Collins!!!





Please tell us about your latest book.


  My debut novel, 'Daughter of Hauk', came out in March of 2012. It's dark fantasy, with some definite adult themes. It centers around the concept of being given a second chance and what we can do to correct things we've done wrong.

     I submitted another novel, "Lily", in December and haven't heard back yet. While still fantasy, this isn't nearly as dark as 'Daughter of Hauk'. It's more about the main character, Lily, finding her own strength to escape an abusive past and be the person she was born to be instead of a pawn to be used by others.

     'Son of Corse' is the sequel to 'Daughter of Hauk'. I'm on the final chapter of the first draft now, and hope to send it off to my crit partners/beta readers by the end of January. I don't expect to submit that one for another 4-6 months.

What can we expect from you in the future?

     Hopefully, a lot! 'Daughter of Hauk' is book one in a planned trilogy. 'Son of Corse' is almost ready to go to my editing friends for them to work their magic before submitting it. While I wait for them to share their wisdom, I'll start the third book in the series.

How do we find out about you and your books?

      The easiest way to find me is my blog, http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress.com. I'm also on FB (http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492?ref=hl) and Twitter (@DaughterHauk).

Why did you decide to write fantasy novels?

     I'm a complete nerd! I love to escape into fantasy worlds. I still play pen and paper Dungeon & Dragons every week, my husband and I read comic books, and I'm a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. In the SCA, I spend my weekend re-creating the Middle Ages. I'm in my 40's and still play dress up!  LOL

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

      More than I'd care to admit to. My writing is very much a form of therapy for me, and has helped me let go of some personal demons far easier than counseling ever could.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?

     I've always liked to write, but I never thought what I put down was 'good enough'. By the time I started high school, I saw my talent as nothing more than a way to get through essay tests. When I first wrote the email that eventually morphed into 'Daughter of Hauk', it scared the daylights out of me! It was the first thing I'd written that I liked and thought was good. Once the muse came out of the cage, though, she refused to go back in.

I grew up hearing a lot of people say that creative arts were fine as hobbies, but not something that you pursued as a career. There was always going to be someone else who was better, who would get the shot, that it was better not to try and be disappointed. I didn't want my two daughters to grow up thinking that way. I wanted them to take the shot and go after what they were truly passionate about, even if scared them to try. The easiest way for me to teach them this was to swallow my own fears and try myself. 

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?

     Eeep! It varies for me. The first draft of 'Daughter of Hauk' was completed in less than four months, but I've been trying to finish 'Son of Corse' for the last four years! "Lily" took about 2 1/2 years, I think, to get the first draft done. If I'm in the mood, my fingers just fly. When I'm forcing it...it's not pretty.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?

     I try to schedule time each day, but I tend to have more fun (and the story is better) if I'm in the mood/go with the flow.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?

     I tend to form scenes in my mind, get down certain particulars, and then go write. But, if the muse takes hold, I can be on my computer for hours at a time.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?

     They're really good at recognizing I'm in a writing zone. I'll shut my office doors, crank the stereo, and get going. Every now and then, one of them will peek in on me. If my eyes are closed and the fingers are flying, though, they just walk back out.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?

     I love to play Dungeons & Dragons. There's the SCA, as well. I'm also a big fan of hour long soaks in my bathtub. I'm a fairly social creature (when I'm not writing), so hanging out with my friends and family is a great recharge for me.

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?

     First and foremost, my husband and kids. It's an amazing feeling to know you've done something that made them proud of you. As to writing, it's a lot of proving people wrong. I grew up in a time where you were told to suck it up if you got teased/bullied, and it happened a LOT. I've done something many of those individuals thought I'd never do, and being able to beat that kind of negative thinking down is pretty powerful.

Where do your ideas come from?

     Lots of places! Some come from Dungeons & Dragons games, others come from prompts put out by my online writing group. We have weekly challenges (optional) where a topic is thrown out and you do your take on it. "Lily" started as one of those, actually. And she just would not shut up! LOL

Do you feel humour is important in fantasy and why?

     I think humor is important in ANY genre! You need to give readers time to relax, laugh a bit with the characters, before you send them through the next round of tough stuff. There's a running joke between the characters in 'Daughter of Hauk' that I never explain how it came about, but it helps to diffuse tension and gives the reader a very good sense of how long these people have been friends.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?

     Romance is great, but I'm not a fan of erotica. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the genre, I just don't care to read it. Romance happens in real life, so having it show up in books is inevitable I think. Love can be a very powerful motivator.

What kind of research do you do?

    Um, what's research?  LOL If I come up with a section where I have to get something right (geographic location, for example), I'll go and make sure what I think is right is, truly, right. The details like that are important. Because you never know where your reader is from. Remarking that you can see the Grand Canyon from a hotel room in Phoenix, for example, would make a LOT of people scratch their heads.

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?

     I've got an idea or two for some urban fantasy stories, but I don't know that I'd stray far from that genre. I like making things from scratch.

What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing?

     My husband is very supportive. He has no problem giving me time when I'm on a writing tear, even if he'd rather get out of the house, to get my thoughts out of my head. He's my main sounding board. I can start throwing plot ideas at him and he can give me suggestions that I hadn't thought of and takes the book into a whole new direction.

Do you ever ask him/her for advice?

     On general stuff, yes. All the time. 

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)

     We live in Seattle Suburbia with our two daughters and three cats. One of the cats, Athena, is 15 years old but doesn't even weigh 5lbs. She stopped growing when she was about 6 months old. She LOVES to sleep on me, and will often insist on having her naptime while I'm writing. It took a few tries, but she did figure out a way to sleep and my hands stay free to type. 

     I have Associates and Bachelors degrees, both in theatre. I loved the technical aspects of the subject - props, stage management. Getting me onstage was, um, interesting! I may not be doing theatre any more, but I learned a lot from my time backstage. I've got the tools to deal with just about every personality type out there, and I was able to create a public persona fairly quickly once my book came out.

Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero. Type of heroine.

     Cheesecake, Seattle, Spring, Strong and supportive, Even stronger and holds to her ethics.

What are some of your favorite things to do?

     Write, read, watch movies, do research into medieval history, build Lego sets, sew

Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?

    One of my favorite authors (I've got several) is Nick Pollotta. He's the only guy who can make me laugh out loud while reading. That, or groan loudly because I can't believe he went there with a particular pun. My favorite book of his was one he co-wrote with James Clay called 'That Darn Squid God'. Wonderfully written, but don't try to drink anything while you read it.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?

     Patricia Kennely Morrison, David Eddings, Stephen Boyett, Gregory Browne

What do you think of critique groups in general?

     They can be very good, if the critique guidelines are clear and followed. I don't get anything more from a 'that was good' comment than one that says "this stinks". Even a simple, "this didn't work for me, but I can't think of any suggestions" is better. With the online group I'm part of, our one hard and fast rule is never give a crit you wouldn't want to receive. Be constructive, but not snarky.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

     Hopefully, I'll have more books out with Solstice and a larger fan base. Even if my writing really takes off, I can see myself still in my office during the day trying to write while some cat naps on or near me.

How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?

     I started writing in June of 2008. I've always had a desire to do something creative with my life - theatre, dance, writing - but it took some time for me to stop listening to the voices from my childhood that said I couldn't and begin listening to my friends and family who said I could.

How many books have you written, how many have been published?

     I've completed two novels. "Daughter of Hauk" came out in 2012, and "Lily" is still under consideration.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?

     Yeah, I did :) We have two copies around the house that are special ones. My copy sits on a display rack above my desk, a constant reminder that I beat my own self doubt. The other copy is signed especially for my husband and sits in our bookcase, protected by the box it came in.

     Oh, and there's a copy on my Kindle and his iPad :)

Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?

     I think I'll always be fond of 'Daughter of Hauk'. There's a lot of me in Arwenna, more than I'd probably admit to, and I've had a few times where words I put in the book have come back to haunt/help me.

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?

     "Daughter of Hauk" was the fastest, but there are sections that were NOT easy to write. Each of the books I've written, or are writing, have moments that were either fun or hard to write, so coming up with a favorite would be almost impossible.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?

     The situation. I'm a huge fan of 'what if' in writing. Give me a situation and my mind will start playing with the possibilities.

What are the elements of a great fantasy for you?

     Details, details, details. I want to get lost into the world the author creates. Your character is going into a cave? I want to feel the rough stone walls or uneven dirt floor. I want to know what they feel, what they think, as things happen. Not just the bad, but the good.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?

     There's some thing that I've done to my characters that mirror some of my own past. Those were not fun things to write. But, they advanced the story and helped me deal with those particular demons. The easy parts are dealing with interpersonal relationships/camaraderie. I've been blessed with some amazing friends and I love using banter between characters as a way to show how they care for each other.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?

     Oh, yes! I think every writer has! Sometimes, my subconscious works it out when I sleep and I'll wake up knowing how to solve a problem. Those are the good days! Other times, it may take me weeks or months of thinking about a scene before I can transfer it to reality.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

     Knowing I did this on my own. That there is something I created out there that others find worth reading, maybe even praising. And that's something no one can ever take from me.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?

     Laundry, dishes, or cleaning the house. LOL I've stayed home with my girls for over a decade. Managing the house and the various activities they're in is still my primary job.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

     Don't be afraid to hit that 'send' button and submit your work. Sure, you'll get some rejections along the way. But you'll learn from those. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is simply getting the courage up to submit our work to a publisher.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Guest Blogger: Yasir Khan - Discussing Google +

A Practical Checklist for Maximizing the Impact of Google+ on your Search Ranking

There is much discussion everywhere on how Google+ is playing a crucial role in enhancing search rankings. You don’t want to miss out on taking advantage, do you? Here is a practical checklist to help you maximize the impact of Google+ on search rankings.


  1. Create your Google+ Profile
The most obvious and the first box to be ticked on the checklist. Complete your Google+ profile with care. Take time to optimize with appropriate keywords, making it easy for your Google+ profile to show up when the relevant keywords are searched. Include keyword anchor texts in your profile, pointing back to your website to receive SEO juice that can bump up the rankings.


  1. Add the +1 Button to Your Website/Blog
+1 is the recommendation button from Google+. When your content receives high number of +1s, Google considers it a measure of relevance of your content for the particular search term and pushes up the search ranking suitably. Besides social signals, +1s also influence your ranking on the personalized search results. When users are logged into their G+ account, the results +1ed by their friends occupy higher positions. Naturally, the more +1s your content gets, greater the chances of this happening.
Make sure that you add the +1 button prominently on your website or blog making it easy for people to +1 your content.


  1. Set Up Your Authorship Profile with Google
To set up the authorship profile, link your content to your Google+ profile using a verified email address or using the “rel=author” parameter. This verifies to Google that you are the author of the content and your author information along with your profile photo shows up alongside the results. Thus even if your result is not very high in the SERP, it stands out due to the author annotation.  This pushes up the click-thru rates, which is the ultimate aim in any case.


  1. Share your Content on Google+
Content on Google+ is indexed lightning fast. Share links to new posts immediately on Google+. Because of being indexed faster, the chances are high that people will become aware of it and click thru to your site to read the content, even if the post by itself has not yet been indexed by Google. This is particularly crucial if you have time sensitive information or if you are privy to information that is not yet common knowledge. Use Google+ to maximize your advantage. Besides, the surge of traffic to your site will also increase your search rankings.


  1. Be Active on Google+ Consistently
You may not have something to share everyday and you should not too. You can share others’ content, comment on others’ posts, connect with peers, etc. These activities help you gain more followers, which is good for SEO. Because when more people add you in their circles, your content gets wider exposure, increasing the chances of +1s and sharing, which lead to higher search rankings.

Do you think more points can make it to this checklist? Please add in the comments and I will update this checklist.

This post was written by Canada’s top SEO expert Yasir Khan. Click here to view comprehensive SEO services, offered by Yasir’s SEO company Quantum SEO La