I started my first novel in November of 2008. As most of you know by now, I’d always been a writer. I still have friends tell me they used my stories to turn in for grades in school. That thought scares me, because most of what I wrote back then was a little frightening!!
In April of 2011, I was going through a bit depression. I can remember the day that I got my first contract from Astraea Press vividly. I’d been at home suffering from a migraine and feeling sorry for myself. When I opened the email and saw the contract attached tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. Someone out there wanted to hear my stories!
The Keepers was published in June of 2011. I can’t even begin to tell you what it feels like to see your work on Amazon or to hold your novel in your hand for the first time. For me, the biggest thrill was putting that book in my Dad’s hands and saying here, this if for you and me and all we have been through together. Also, this was a very personal book for me. One about a main character whose mother had died of breast cancer and the damaged angel that came along to save her. This tale was so close to home that I was extremely nervous about sharing it, but tickled that I had the chance.
Everything wasn’t perfect. No, my first novel was quite the roller coaster ride. Somehow, the edition that was originally uploaded was not the one that the publishing company and I had spent hours pouring over during edits. I got a lot of great reviews, but then the die-hard readers started to mention editing errors and after much thought and support from Astraea, I pulled the book and it went back to editing. We literally had to start over!!!
During this time, Astraea put out a call for short stories which would be published with all monies going to the Japanese Tsunami Relief. This is when the Mulligan Man was born. I’d had a dream one night that I was standing in my front yard screaming, “I want a Mulligan!”. My son, Colton, and I jotted down ideas and characters and this fun YA Folk tale came to life. It is different from anything I’ve ever written, but one of my pride and joys because my son played an integral part of developing it.
The contract for Jamais Vu with Astraea soon followed and it was published in October 2011. Whirlwind right? Yes! And so much fun. I can’t talk about Jamais Vu without either crying or beaming. As though the cosmos was trying to make up for all that had gone wrong with The Keepers, everything with Jamais Vu was easy. There are over 25 5 star reviews on Amazon for this book and several four star reviews. Knock on wood, not one person has ever slammed it!
This book also had deeply personal meaning to me. My mother was playing with a gun she thought was unloaded when I was a toddler. She was shot and spent years recovering. My main character, Darby, also suffers this fate in Jamais Vu. I wanted to pay tribute to my mom’s story but give it a huge paranormal twist and I think this book did the job.
In February 2012, the follow-up to Jamais Vu, Deja Vu was also published by Astraea Press. Blessings! Blessings! Blessings! By this point not only did I have four book in the marketplace, but I also had developed wonderful friendships with readers, bloggers, reviewers, cover artists, editors and publishers.
It is such a rush. There are people out there who want to read my books! Before I ever considered getting published, the one thing I said was, “If I could just have a few fans who enjoy my work, I’ll be happy.” I’ve far exceeded that goal, and to each and ever one of you, I am eternally grateful and humbled by your love and support.
So that brings us to the middle of 2012, back to the time where I started last year. On July 9th, Becoming Jolie, my first Adult Paranormal novel will be published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. Also in July, The Watchers, the sequel to The Keepers will be published by Astraea!
So what else is coming? I’ve written the first novel in a new series called Magia Rising. I’m considering self-publishing that one in October. Next year, I know for sure this book will have a follow-up as will the Jamais Vu series. I’m also hoping to self publish a novel that I’m currently offering chapters of on my blog, The Awakening.
I’ve had some hard moments in the last year. Sometimes, I’ve been frustrated and overwhelmed, but mostly I’ve been filled with joy and love. There is nothing like meeting one of your biggest fans for the first time, getting emails from people dying to read your next work, hearing from young authors who just want someone to talk shop.
I hope that I can continue to offer you all stories that capture your hearts and imaginations! Today, I just want to say thanks! Every time you mention my book to a friend, share my Facebook posts or Tweets you are pumping new life into my crazy brain.
As long as you will all have me, I’ll be around!
Monique O’Connor James
Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/moniqueoconnorjamesauthor
Author of The Keepers – http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1331129226&sr=8-6
Coming July 2012 – Becoming Jolie from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing & The Watchers from Astraea Press!!!!
A fabulous group of authors has gotten together to offer readers the chance to win lots of signed books and PDFs for their collection! This is amazing! We hope you enjoy!
Here’s the scoop! Below is a list of web addresses for each author and a question from their website. Most of the questions come from the first page. (If a question comes from another page we will tell you where to look).
We made the questions as simple as possible. The idea is just to visit each website. Once you have answered all the questions email your list of answers to email@example.com. On May 20th, we will do a random drawing from the correct answers and you can win signed books or pdfs from these authors. (See prizes below.)
Questions and websites:
1. http://www.moniqueoconnorjames.com/ – In what state does Monique live?
2. http://www.kristinecheney.com/ – click on bio- what is the name of Kristine’s labra-doodle?
3. http://www.ginikoch.com/ – Making the world safer one _______ at a time.
4. http://sellery.weebly.com/– What is the name of the anthology Miller’s Daughter was published in?
5. http://jfjenkinswrites.wordpress.com – Click graveyard – what does Jillian keep track of here?
9. http://www.lisakumar.com/ – Escape into fantasy and _______.
10. http://www.breaessex.com/ – Shadows and ________.
12. http://www.thesupernovasaga.com/– Who is the publisher of Supernova?
13. http://murdersandmysteries.wordpress.com/ – What kind of dog is that on Lindsay’s blog? (hint – Lassie)
14. http://www.iris-b.blogspot.com/ – Dare to live your _______.
15. http://feliciarogersauthor.webs.com/ Click on about me. For what is love without _______.
16. http://www.lisaorchard.com/ click on bio – Where did Lisa grow up?
17. http://www.nancygideon.com/ Romance by any other _____.
18. http://www.loraleelillibridge.com/ – Ordinary People….Extra-ordinary ______.
19. http://www.sherrygloag.com/ – The ______ of romance.
21. http://www.patriciakiyono.com/ – Escape into a great ______ _______.
FIRST PLACE: 7 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS
SECOND PLACE: 5 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS
THIRD PLACE: 2 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS
FOURTH PLACE: 10 PDFS
FIFTH PLACE: 7 PDFS
SIXTH PLACE: 3 PDFS
Cheers and Enjoy The giveaway!
*** PS: I did everything I could to get the covers of the books to pull into this post and for some reason the preview button wasn’t working in wordpress! So here is a list of the books that are being offered just in case it doesn’t work!
Print: The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Spartan Heart, Secret Santa, Alien in the Family, Her Kind of Man, A New Dream, Mirrored, Sucker for a Hot Rod, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, Supernova, Seeker of Shadows and All that Matters
PDFS: His Chosen Bride, Aegean Intrigue, The Legacy, The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man, Spartan Heart Part One, Spartan Heart Part Two, Spartan Surrender, Secret Santa, Unfiltered, Legend of The Oceina Dragon, Legend of the Inero Dragon, Vala Agenda, Vala Heritage, Battlefield, The Sentence, Imperfect Beauty, Through the Rabbit Hole, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, A Body In the Attic, Emily Dahill CID, A Dog Gone Christmas, Journey to Her Dreams, Painted Lady, Love Octagon,The Super Spies – Cat & Lady Killer.
Monique O’Connor James
Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man
& Coming Soon: Becoming Jolie and The Watchers!!!
It seems that all authors treat reviews differently. Some read each one and take them to heart and others refuse to even look at them. It’s difficult to take something you’ve loved, nurtured, and sent into the world and allow others to cast their opinions on it. For those who don’t write, I would compare it to someone criticizing your child.
At least once a week, I see the following post on Facebook, “I received a one star review, and I’m crushed”. Well there’s hope! There are some things you should know about negative reviews and I hope this helps you put them in perspective.
First, I’ll start by telling you that I’ve had my share of bad reviews and most of them were caused by something completely out of my control. When my first book The Keepers was published, we worked tirelessly on editing it and then the worst of the worst happened. Somehow, between here and there the wrong document was uploaded and the unedited version was sent out to the masses. Being so excited and green, I didn’t even check my copy. (Yes, I know, I know.) So for over a month I was sending it out for reviews oblivious to the problem.
The first time I got a review back that said something to the effect of, “I couldn’t even finish this book it was so error-ridden” I almost died. No, not literally, but you know what I mean. I knew we had spent hours editing it, and for me this was a huge slap in the face. I thought it was a fluke, until a few more came in with the same comments. In tears, I pulled it from the shelf and my publisher graciously sent it back through editing. So you see, I’ve had my bout with horrid, nasty reviews and those reviews can still be seen on my Amazon and Goodreads pages.
I can’t lie, I was defeated at first. I thought there was no way to overcome the damage that had been done, and I wanted to just give up. Lucky for me, I can’t ever let anything go. I put the new copy up, went plugging along, and have since released another book.
So what’s the good news? One thing I did when I was distraught over the mark on my name, was I went to other author’s Amazon pages. I picked authors who were at the top of their genre rankings and studied their reviews. There was a very small percentage who had never received less than three stars, but for the most part, every author had at a few low scores, and even those who didn’t, had some nasty remarks made by readers and reviewers. What does this mean for you? If people selling 500 plus books a month aren’t losing momentum because of a couple of less than stellar reviews, neither will you.
Another thing I noticed about reviews that were less than complimentary, was that most of the time, the reader couldn’t pinpoint why they didn’t like the book. Maybe they didn’t connect with the characters, or the story moved too slow for them or two fast, but even they had a hard time putting into words why they didn’t like the story. (Imagine that this is better than – the story was so riddled with errors I couldn’t finish it!). Once long ago, when I first started my regular JOB a friend told me, “Not everyone will like you. Get over it.” I’ve taken this attitude with me into my writing. No matter how hard you try, not everyone is going to get you.
Yes, I know you are thinking – But I want everyone to get me! – No you don’t. I’m sure when you were writing one of the things you hoped for was a unique voice and to bring something new and different to the table. Some people just like cookie-cutter. They want romance to be boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, and they live happily ever after. They want your hero to be the kind of guy that has no flaws that everyone just falls for from the beginning. They want the same thing they’ve been reading for years, because they find it comfortable.
Since you were striving so hard to make your voice unique, I know that there are things in your books that not everyone will connect with and as writers we have to set our delicate egos aside and understand that it is OKAY! I’ve found that when you have stepped outside of the box you will no doubt get those nasty little reviews, but you will also develop a following of rabid fans that DID connect with what you were trying to say and the message you wanted your work to put out there. Wouldn’t you rather have those die-hard fans who yell your name from the roof, than just another reader that felt comfortable reading your work?
Finally, I’ll leave you with this. I get nervous when I have all five-star reviews. Yes, I said nervous. Right now on Amazon, Jamais Vu has all five-star write ups! I’m thrilled, because each one of those readers is passionate about how much they love the story. However, everything I’ve read says that when you do have a couple of lower marks, it lends credibility to your great reviews, because then it doesn’t look like you just rounded up your closest friends to tell the world how super you are!
I really hope that each of us can put aside any hurt and learn anything we can from constructive criticism. We learn from each other and our editors, why can’t we learn from those that didn’t exactly connect with our work?
Here’s to a future full of five-star reviews!
Monique O’Connor James
Author of: The Keepers, Jamais Vu & The Mulligan Man
all from Astraea Press.
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog during the 12 days of Christmas Blog Tour!
I hope that you are all warm and snuggly and that all your Christmas Shopping is done so you can enjoy the holidays! Many of you will be getting E-readers for Christmas and looking for books to download. Remember to check out Indie and Small press authors as you can find über talented writers for a fraction of the price!
Before I tell you about the prizes I’d like to tell you about my latest release Jamais Vu.
A gunshot echoes, thrusting Darby Lambert into a near death experience. Inside the confines of an ambulance, she meets “the man in white light”. He takes away the guilt, but makes her question everything. “You will see them,” he whispers, as he catapults her back into the real world where she is plagued with dreams of demons, nurses, and rock stars.
Why has He sent her back? Does she have the courage to rectify her sins? Given the chance, could you erase it all?
If you enjoy paranormal twists and turns and a little romance you will love this book. Check for the buy links below.
Now on to the good stuff! The contest will run from December 12-December 24, 2011 at midnight. Two lucky people who comment on this blog during that time period will be picked to receive PDF’s of Jamais Vu and my debut novel The Keepers. That’s right! All you have to do is leave a comment and you’re qualified!
I’d love for you to stop by my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/moniquejamesauthor and give me a like, but it’s not a requirement to win the prizes!
Finally, the linky link below will take you back to the list of authors who are participating in the blog tour and more chances to win! Have a great time and I hope your Holiday Season is filled with love and joy! Stay warm!
Monique O’Connor James
Amazon Buy Link for Jamais Vu: http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322063199&sr=8-1
Final Stop!!! The Keepers Blog Tour 9/1/11-9/11/11 Thanks so much for participating in my first blog tour! Please add my facebook author fan page (listed below) and comment on this blog. Once you’ve done those two things you will be … Continue reading
Sorry guys I could only find 40 this time. I hope to have 50 for you the next time I post the list. Be sure to share the blog (bloggers) on your FB and sites so you can use the free publicity!
These bloggers are all great people and very responsive to the authors that they review, interview, etc. Hope you enjoy! No pictures just great info!!!
1. Ressa – www.ressaempbra.wordpress.com
2. Thamy – www.franticreader.weebly.com
3. Kristina – http://kristinasbooksandmore.blogspot.com
4. Mandy – http://twimom101bookblog.blogspot.com
5. Katrina – http://www.pageflipperz.blogspot.com
6. Leanne – www.booksnmakeup.com
8. Dawn – http://dawn_hagen.blogspot.com
9. Jenn – www.romancing_the_book.com
10. Stacey – http://staceyeatonauthor.blogspot.com
11. Stacey – http://sassybooklovers.blogspot.com
12. Realteen Reviews – http://realteenreviews.blogspot.com
13. The Book Boost – http://thebookboost.blogspot.com
14. Sue – www.thewmreviewconnection.com
15. Cheryl – http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com
16. Renee – www.deepintheheartorromance.com
17. Bella – http://clusallnightpreview.blogspot.com
18. Kim – www.living-fictiously.blogspot.com
19. Tazzie – http://tazziebookreviews.blogspot.com
20. Lindsey – http://unitedbybooks.blogspot.com
21. Yoly – http://moonlightbeautybooks.blogspot.com
22. Shelly – www.shellygoodmanwright.com
23. Wendy – www.lovetiggibookreviews.blogspot.com
24. Susie – http://satinsbookishcorner.blogspot.com
25. Belinda – http://thebookishsnob.blogspot.com
26. Mindy – http://forbiddenreviews.com
27. Andrea – http://thesecretsanctuarybooks.blogspot.com
28. Brea – http://breaessex.blogspot.com
29. Cheeky Reads – http://cheekyreads.blogspot.com
30. Sheila – http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com
31. Kristine – www.spartanheartbyauthorkristinecheney.blogspot.com
32. Kyan – http://blog.liloqui.com
33. Devyn – http://devyn-dawson.blogspot.com
34. V Saewood Tice – http://saewood.webs.com/apps/blog
35. Mindy – www.bookscompleteme.com
36. Alaiel – http://www.libraianmouse.com
37. Amber/Sapphyria – http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com
38. Mera – http://merasyabooklist.blogspot.com
39. Chynna – http://www.the-gift-blog.com
40. Kati- http://klearsreviews.blogspot.com
41. Laurie – http://www.bona-fide-reflections.com/
Monique O’Connor James
Look out for Jamais Vu coming soon from www.astraeapress.com
You can currently get The Keepers at the above for $2.99 (ebook)
and The Mulligan Man for $1!!!!
With all the indie and small publisher authors out these days, sometimes the really good ones can get lost in the shuffle. Here’s a short list of books I hope you read. If you’d like to comment and let us … Continue reading
Dakota Trace sat in Ms. Myers’ third period English class. As usual, the woman had her blonde hair stacked high on her head. He watched the web of hair move in one heaping mound as she crossed the room. She reminded him of Marge Simpson, and had once told his class she slept with her head hanging off the edge of the bed to prevent her hair from getting matted. He imagined all the blood rushing to her face and the ensuing explosion, which would keep her out of the classroom for weeks. It had yet to happen.
The Mulligan man was written for The Japan Release Anthology Project at Astraea Press. All proceeds go to this charity. You can purchase it at the following link:
While I was out there were so many people who supported me, posted for me, and sent love that I have to do my shout outs on a blog! I do want to recognize all these peeps, and I hope you will add them to your facebook as they are great people to know.
Kristine Cheney, Shalisha Cooper, Kymberlee Burks-Miller, Kimberly Miller-Calleghan, Rute Canhoto, Bella Belikova Colella, Lindsey Lamson Kirk, Kristina Haecker, Anne Wallace, Erick D. Burgess, Stefan Ellery, Kathleen Ball, Marissa Rabalais Turner, Rhonda M. Perkins, Sandy Theriot, Crystal D Ward, Dawn Cope Hagan, Rue Volley, Mandy Anderson, Jennifer Comeaux, Shelly Goodman Wright, Denise Pujol, Tracey Panton, Terri McKibben, Leeann Gagon, Wendy Lovetiggi Gonzales, Corine A Belle, Katrina Whittaker, Paranormal Book Club, All Things Books, YA Indi Princess, Mandi twimom book blog, Paranormal Reads, Astraea Press, The Supernova Saga, Sassy Book Lovers, I love Books and Tazzie Book Reviews.
If I missed anyone so sorry, but you are loved and appreciated and I’ll figure it out and do a shout out soon! Thanks you guys your love and support means more than you could possibly know.
Now on to the Winners. Leeann Gagon won a PDF Copy of The Mulligan Man and Denise Pujol won signed bookmarks from The Keepers. Email me your email addresses and Denise your physical address to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hope everyone has a fabulous day!
Monique O’Connor James
Author of: “The Keepers”