Huge Giveaway – Magia Rising Launch!!!!

Come help me celebrate the debut of Magia Rising by clicking on the giveaway link below!!! You have a chance to win A $25 Amazon Gift Card, Mardi Gras Beads, and PDF Copies of Magia Rising!!!!

Have fun!!!!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway


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A Year in the Life of an Author

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!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511255176
Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/moniqueoconnorjamesauthor
Twitter:  mjames13

Author of The Keepers – http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1331129226&sr=8-6

Jamais Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Deja Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Deja-Vu-ebook/dp/B006X3133G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

The Mulligan Man – http://www.amazon.com/The-Mulligan-Man-ebook/dp/B005ES06M0/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Coming July 2012 – Becoming Jolie from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing & The Watchers from Astraea Press!!!!

Writers Corner – What Do You Mean I Have to Blog?

So, the publicist and marketing personnel at your publisher have suggested, or insisted that you start a blog.  Not just start one, but create interesting and informative posts on a regular basis, and do it with a smile! After you finish screaming and you have pulled out the last clump of your hair, take a deep breath.  Everything is going to be okay.  I promise.

There are a gazillion blogs on the internet, and every topic known to man has been covered over and over again.  This begs the questions, does anyone really care what I have to say? What am I going to blog about?

The short answer is, Yes! Your readers are interested in what goes on in your life and how your crazy mind works.  And as for what you going to blog about – well there are some easy ways to generate ideas, so again, breathe.

1.  Create Tags.  The most helpful advise I’ve gotten about blogging ideas was this:  Make a list of fifty to a hundred tags related to your books.  Yes, you can do it! It’s not as hard as it sounds.  Make sure you consider every character and subplot in your book when you compile the list.  Once you are finished, you will have a plethora of words that can help spark ideas for blog topics.  Try it!  It works!

2.  Read lots of blogs posted by your fellow authors Sometimes in their blogs they will pose a question or make a statement that you don’t agree with.  Use this opportunity to respond with your own thoughts.  Make sure you link to the original post, especially if you use direct quotes from it.

3. People love lists.  Lists are easy to scan and provide a wealth of information in a short amount of time.  List the best comments you’ve received, your favorite Facebook statuses, the best books you’ve read, the options are endless.

4.  Give away your secrets.  People appreciate help and like to know that there are others in the same boat.  List your resources and provide links when you share information so they can access the sites easily.  Include blogs and web pages that you can’t live without, and then sit back and wait for the kudos to fill up your comment box. 

5.  Share other author’s reviews, excerpts, interviews, etc.  If you’re tired of seeing these types of posts, create a list of ten of the most intriguing book trailers, or your favorite back cover blurbs.

There are many ways to grab your audience’s attention.  Don’t sweat it! If I can do it, I know you can!  Now that you have a few ideas get to work and have fun!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man published by Astraea Press

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Ghost Stories Part II – LaLaurie House – Royal Street New Orleans

The Lalaurie House is located in the French Quarter on Royal Street.  This story is pretty gruesome and not for the faint of heart, for sure!

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Delphine LaLaurie and her husband took up residence in the house in the 1830″s.  As soon as they moved into the house, they became darlings of the New Orleans social scene for whom they hosted lavish events at the home.  The lady of the house, Madame LaLaurie, was described as sweet, gracious and easy to get along with, and her husband was a highly respected business man.

Even though Delphine was well liked, when the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, started doing her hair, they became fast friends.  It is believed that Marie was instructing Madame on the ways of Voodoo during their time together. 

Delphine LaLaurie kept a sizable group of slaves to help her run the house.  At first, nothing seemed awry, but then gossip began to spread about the Madame’s abuse of her indentured servants.  The people of society ignored these claims, until they saw Delphine chasing a young slave girl through the house, a chase which culminated with the girls death on the cobblestone three stories below.

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The death was deemed by law enforcement to be an accident, but the incident set off a chain of events that later exposed the woman’s dark side.  An old slave woman angered over the death of the young girl set fire to the house.  It is said that when firemen came to put the blaze out, the old maid ran out to them begging them to “set the poor souls in the attic free”. 

That day upon inspection of the attic a horrific scene was found.  Dead and half-dead slaves, men, women and children were chain to the walls having suffered various forms of torture.  Some of the slaves were forced to stand for days or weeks with their heads and arms in the stocks.  Their eyes were gouged out, tongues removed, mouth and eyes sewn shut, and ears and noses cut off. Soon after the fire a violent mob grew calling for Madame LaLaurie’s blood, but she escaped from the city in a horse-drawn carriage before they could find her.  The home was renovated many times over, but no one ever thrived there for any length of time.  In the Twentieth century, it was converted to apartments, but not long ago it was under renovations again. 

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There are documented incidents of people both seeing and hearing the ghosts of the tormented slaves.  People also see the servants who were still working on the day of the house fire, and they go on about their daily chores as though they are still alive.  Running along the corridors, slamming doors and shouts are heard often, throughout the house. 

As people pass down Royal Street they have seen the ghostly spirits peering from the attic windows and heard their tortures moans.  Next time you are in the French Quarter on Royal Street, check out the old house and let us know what you see.

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, and The Mulligan Man published by Astraea Press.

Coming 2012 – Becoming Jolie – from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.

 

 

 

Deja Vu Debut 1/12/12 Giveaways!!!!!

You probably know by now that Jamais Vu’s follow-up, Deja Vu, will be coming out tomorrow 1/12/12.  I have lots of giveaways going on right now and just wanted to do a little run down so you don’t miss anything.

Okay first,  if you purchase Deja Vu on 1/12/12, email the receipt to nique313@yahoo.com and I will give you the choice of a PDF of The Keepers , Jamais Vu or The Mulligan Man!  Two for One!!!!  This is for 1/12/12 only.

Next, Rachel Van Dyken had a fabulous write-up about the books on her blog.  If you comment on her blog, I will draw someone on 1/12/12 o receive a PDF copy of Jamais Vu or Deja Vu (Your choice).

Okay last one for now.  We are playing throw me something mister on my facebook page.  Change your profile picture to the cover of Deja Vu above and yell “Throw Me Something Mister” on my page!  On Saturday, 1/14/12 I’ll draw for several winners and the prizes are the collectors beads below and maybe even a couple of PDFs!

Have Fun! Thank you all for always supporting me!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, The Mulligan Man, Jamais Vu and Deja Vu published by Astraea Press

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Ghost Stories Part 1 – The Myrtles

I’ve decided to insert a series of ghost stories into my blog purely for your enjoyment.  I’ve gathered these from here and there, and as far as I know they are told in earnest.  If you’re like me the thrill comes just as much from speculation as seeing or hearing something!

I’ll start with one of my favorite places in the world, The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  The Myrtles websites touts it as one of America’s most haunted homes.  Here in Louisiana, it’s a popular place to spend Halloween night, if you have the cojones. 

The home was built circa 1796 and the stories about the ongoing hauntings have websites dedicated to both debunking and proving their validity.  Whatever you believe, visitors and paranormal investigators alike claim to have witnessed the sights and sounds of a truly haunted house.

Here are some of the ghost who haunt The Myrtles:

1.  Chloe – A slave who allegedly poisoned two children and was subsequently hung on the property.

2.  The ghost of those children have been seen playing on the Veranda.

3.  William Drew Winter – lived at the Myrtles in the Mid 1800’s.  It was reported that he was shot on the porch by a stranger.  William left the porch just after the shooting and began to make his way to the second floor.  It is said that he died on the 17th step and that the sound of his footsteps can still be heard.

4.  The ghosts of several slaves have approached visitors asking if there is any work for them.

5.  People have reported that the grand piano in the home often plays by itself.

Even with all the spooks who hang around, The Myrtles is one of the most beautiful plantation homes in South Louisiana. Put this one on your list of must see locations should you find yourself in this neck of the woods!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu and The Mulligan Man available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Coming Early 2012:  Deja Vu; Coming Summer 2012:  Becoming Jolie

So you got a bad review?

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!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of:  The Keepers, Jamais Vu & The Mulligan Man

all from Astraea Press.

http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_4

http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=pd_sim_kinc_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mulligan-Man-ebook/dp/B005ES06M0/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

The Keepers Blog Tour Final Stop 9/11/11

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

Publicity Package

So you wrote a novel.  Now what?  One of the things you will need to do is market your book.  Part of marketing requires you to send your book and information about yourself to bloggers, reviewers, interviewers, etc. 

The process can be made a bit simpler if you prepare a publicity package before hand.  This way when each person asks for these items you will have them all in one place. 

Attached each of the following in a separate document and place in a file on your computer:

Author Bio – Give the readers a little personal information about yourself.  They want to get to know you!

Photo –  Yes your readers want to see what you look like! Your relationship becomes more personal when they can put a face with the name.

Book Blurb – Set up a document with a blurb about each one of your books.  (The back cover blurb works perfect for this).

Cover Art –  Save each of your covers into a separate file.

Excerpt – Save an excerpt from each book into separate documents.

How to connect – Create a document with all the information about how to connect with you on the internet: email addresses, facebook pages, twitter accounts, etc.

Buy Links – Create a document with information/links on where to purchase each of your books.

ISBN – Create a document with your ISBNs.

Trailer Links – Create a document with each of your book trailer links.

If you have these items saved on your computer, you will be able to easily access them when the information is requested by a reviewer or blogger.  You may consider creating a document also, that has frequently asked questions and answers.

Hope this helps you as much as it has helped me!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 

 

Six Sentence Sunday – Jamais Vu Coming in September!

Enjoy this excerpt from Jamais Vu….Coming Soon.

Someone had forced me to doubt myself, and it was difficult to find my self-worth again. In past conversations, I’d rallied against the selfishness of the act of taking one’s own life. I’d sworn I’d never be the person who cared so little about others as to act on those thoughts. Yet, here I was in the parking lot of my shrink’s office, contemplating what could have driven me to do the very deed I’d mocked. He was wrong. There was no possibility I’d shot myself on purpose.

Jamais Vu will be out in September 2011!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com