The Book Demolition Derby!!! Scavenger Hunt! May 5-May 20th 2012

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 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 nique313@yahoo.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?

6.  www.elainecantrell.com – Hope. Dreams.

7.  www.frederickjarceneaux.webs.com – Where is the setting of Mirrored?

8. http://eawest.mcphitty.com – What are her unusual pets?

9. http://www.lisakumar.com/ – Escape into fantasy and _______.

10. http://www.breaessex.com/ – Shadows and ________.

11. http://www.briclarkthebelleofboise.blogspot.com/oise.blogspot.com – _____ from the life of an author and speaker.

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.

20. http://joselynvaughn.wordpress.com/books-sucker2.htm – The things that give me joy (and _______).

21. http://www.patriciakiyono.com/ – Escape into a great ______ _______.

PRIZES:

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!!!

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Ghost Stories #6 – Haunted Schools!

I get a ton of hits on my ghost stories, so ya’ll must be enjoying them!  This week we are talking about haunted schools.  This is just a sampling as there are a ton of haunted campuses across America!  Makes you wonder if high school sucked because of adolescence or if it was the ghosts!

Pleasant Hall – LSU – Louisiana – There have been numerous murders and suicides or at least rumors of such in this formers women’s dorm.  These deaths have spurred ghost sightings and plenty of strange happenings over the years.  The most famous story is of room 312.  The story goes that a young woman shot her boyfriend in the face after an argument, thinking he was dead she ran up to her dorm and killed herself.  According to people who frequent this building, the woman still hangs out in the halls and particularly this room!

Lambertville High School – New Jersey – The school is now abandoned, but was first established in 1854.  It closed in the 1950’s after a fire.  Many brave souls have wandered the halls since the place closed and returned with frightening tales of the supernatural.  Creepy chalkboard art appears in one of the abandoned class rooms.  The screams of a little girl has driven people out of the building along with the sounds of moving furniture and footsteps.  It is said that at exactly midnight, you can hear the laughter of children through-out the school.  Some believe these are the ghosts of the children who were killed in a fire.

Nixon High School – Maryland – The school was built in 1965 and sometime during the 1980’s a teacher who was there preparing for the new school year was repeatedly stabbed to death.  She was later found in the bathroom down the hall.  Students report a presence in the bathroom and slamming doors.  Teachers have said they see the teacher walking the halls in the afternoons after the kids have left for the day.

Northside High School – Indiana – In 1927, despite the warnings of a local indian chief, the  school was built atop an indian burial ground.  People claim this chief still haunts the place warning people of the sacrilege that was committed there.  The apparition of a teenage girl is seen in the gym by dozens of students every year.  A janitor who died in the basement will working is still heard and seen there, and a construction worker who was killed during the collapse of the stage haunts the auditorium.

Nixon High School – Texas – IN the 1970’s a jealous boyfriend decapitated his girlfriend who was on the school’s dance team.  Witnesses have seen her headless spirit wandering the school and hear the sounds of the spurs on her boots.

With all of this activity on our school campuses, it’s a wonder we ever get anything done!  My high school wasn’t haunted that i know of, and I’m pretty grateful because being a teenager was hard enough!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

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

Coming May 2012 – Becoming Jolie from 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.

 

 

 

Demons and Fiction

In The Keepers, the villain is a fallen angel turned demon. He actually had human qualities and although he was evil, there was something about him that made readers pity him. Despite the fact the he was clearly on the wrong side, he wasn’t hard to look at and for a moment Jess was pulled in by his appearance and charm. In a lot of movies, the demons are monstrous creatures with no human qualities what so ever.  Even the demons I later wrote about in Jamais Vu, were horrible creatures made up of  decomposing mounds of flesh and bone.

So what exactly are they, and why do we find them so intriguing?

Demons have been defined as everything from fallen angels to evil spirits capable of possessing their human counterparts.  We even use the word to describe those with a great passion for something, such as speed demons.  Some people even believe that demons are just the manifestation of the evil nature that bubbles just beneath the surface of every human and that, that is why we find them so fascinating.

The original greek word “Daimon” didn’t even carry a negative connotation.  It simply meant a spiritual being.  It wasn’t until the Hebrew Bible that the word became something more malevolent.

Throughout history there have been many definitions of the word demon.  Here is a peek:

1.  Mesopotamia – There were 7 evil entities knows as storm demons.  They appeared as winged bulls and were considered to be God’s divine wrath.

2.  Ancient Arabs – The jinn were lower divinities with human attributes.  They liked humans and were peaceable by nature.

3.  Judaism – Demons were believed to do the bidding of the Angel of Death.

4.  Christianity – Christians have had a wide variety of definitions for the word demon.  They can be spirits that inhabit a person or place, fallen angels, unclean spirits or the followers of Satan.

5.  Isalm – Jinn coexist with humans and are not evil.

Demons can be painted in many ways and have throughout the ages, but one thing is for sure.  They always make great fictional fodder.

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

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

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

Bringing Back the Dead

Perhaps it’s a little soon after Christmas to go morbid on you, but I really enjoyed writing this one.  Hope you get a giggle.

One of the biggest reasons I think I have for writing paranormal fiction is the fact that I can so easily bring back those who have gone into the afterlife.  I really didn’t realize my fascination with this concept until I had completed a few manuscripts.  In The Keepers, there are angels who have the ability to jerk someone back from the edge of death, Jamais Vu is about a girl who can alter her dreams causing the dead to return, and even The Mulligan Man is about a character who has been dead for years.

If I went through each of my manuscripts and pointed out the similarities you would see my fascination with this subject goes deep. Of course, for me I think the recurring theme is partially a tool I have used in dealing with the death of my mother.  What if I could bring her back?  I’ve often said, I’d do anything for one more hour with her.

We get attached to characters in the same way we bond with humans sometimes, at least the dorkiest of us do.  It’s easy to be drawn to the fact that in the paranormal world, they can die and not be gone forever.

For fun, I thought’ I’d list some reasons not to bring back those who have crossed from this life into the next.  Let me know what you think and if you have ideas of your own:

1.  The dead never come back the same – In movies and books alike, the dead usually undergo a major personality change making them less likable than they were the first time around.

2.  They will try to kill you – Let’s face it, in the world of the Walking Dead and vampires, humans are just lunch…or dinner.

3.  Death is contagious – Ever seen the movies where those who cheat death are then stalked by it?  Ever notice everyone they know soon dies?

4.  Sometimes the dead want to be dead = wouldn’t it really stink to spend time learning a complicated ritual to bring back your best friend, only to find out she was quite comfy in her spot on the other side? 

5.  There will be another sequel – Sometimes we should just let sleeping dogs lie, just so we don’t have to read about those dogs again.

I had a blast making this list!  Add to it and let me know what you think about the dead and their return to our world.

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu & The Mulligan available on Kindle and Nook.

Coming soon:  Deja Vu and 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

Review for Hurricane By Jenna-Lynn Duncan

I anxiously looked around, my heart palpitating, just in time to see an alligator slink into the green algae covered water that was on either side of us. I swallowed hard, and my heart raced even faster. Alligators were a different type of predator—the one thing I was afraid of. Now I was on my own personal swamp tour. What if my kidnappers left me in the middle of a swamp with five of
them creeping up on me? I’ve had that nightmare before and—oh no, if my dreams really are a sign of the future—I couldn’t breathe now.

Excerpt:
Adriana couldn’t decide what was worse—that Hurricane Katrina was heading for
New Orleans, or that she might not survive her kidnapping to see its potential
effects. She had trusted Hayden, even fallen for him, and now he and his
brother Luke were taking her deeper and deeper into the Bayou. Why had two of
her classmates, the mysterious Boudreaux brothers, kidnapped her? Why had
Adriana’s dreams started predicting the future? Most importantly, would she
make it out of the Bayou alive…

My Thoughts:

Adriana’s mom has never been part of her life, and her father is slowly backing away.  Life with nothing, but a catastrophic hurricane looming down on the city she loves, allows her to yield to the opportunity to find out about another world that exists; a world she is a part of.  Being a lover of all things, Louisiana, made this one a no-brainer for me.  Jenna Lynn’s descriptions of the city of New Orleans made me long to walk the French Quarter and nostalgic for pre-Katrina days.  Jenna Lynn is a wonderful storyteller and you will be sucked into the new world she has created and left wanting more.

Don’t miss this one!!!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, The Mulligan Man Available @ www.astraeapress.com

Coming Soon:  Jamais Vu

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
 

 

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