A Day In the Life…Pass it on.

I stole this idea from the blog of Kimberly Kinrade.  I enjoyed hers so much I thought yeah, we should all do that!  The question that I get asked most as a writer is…”How do you have time?”.  If you read Kim’s blog you will see she doe  A LOT.  I don’t have nearly the projects she has going, but I do work full-time! 

The whole point behind this is that if you WANT to do something you can find time to do it.  I think that 99% of moms are  super moms.  You may not be writing books, but how many things did you volunteer to do at the school this year?  How many friend’s weddings/birthdays/christenings/retirement parties, did you help plan? 

So here it is, a day in my life!  I’d love to read yours:

6:00 AM – alarm goes off – Keith is long gone by now so I roll out of bed and stumbled towards the kids room where I flip on the light and rip the covers off of them.  Baby girl will inevitable swear she didn’t sleep and a twenty-minute argument ensues.  If I give up and leave the room they will get dressed, so I do.  Back to my bathroom to dress, then feed the animals, pick up all the trash the kids left all over the house and scoot them out the door.

7:00 AM –  Kids have been dropped off and I start my hour commute to work.  This is usually when I catch up with my best friend or call my Dad.  Sometimes I have literal conversations with said BFF and others we are talking about characters in my latest work in progress.

8:00 – AM  Sign in at JOB – I go through all my outstanding work, check renewal dates, scream, cuss and cry.  This goes on until Noon when I finally get from behind my desk.  (Now we all know that in here somewhere you get a call from the bill collector, the kid at school that forgot their project, and your husband who wants you to keep a mental list of things to pick up at the store – go Blackberry!)

Noon:  Grab a bite to eat and walk around with a notebook jotting down ideas for blogs, my WIP, or books that I’m helping my friends critique.  Sometimes I get to sit down and write and at this point I do it long-hand, in a notebook, as people walk by and say,  “What ya doin?”

1-4:30 – More Insurance work.  Every now and then I get to slip in a blog or read a chapter for a friend and do a quick critique.  In the mean time, I’m jumping on and off Facebook because you have to keep up with the readers, bloggers, reviewers, and fans.  I try to share something, say hello, and make sure my reviews/blogs/etc, posted.  Facebook will suck you in and so will Twitter!

5:00 PM Home – Hour and half commute home if there is no wreck on the Interstate! Thank you Lord, Keith cooks!  Homework check and a quick episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, unless of course Keith gets the remote then we are watching Two and Half Men reruns. 

6:00 PM – The kids have generally lost interest in me by now and are on computers and cell phones.  I get to write for about an hour!

7:00 PM – Facebook sucks me in for 30 minutes until I peel myself away and go make sure everyone is bathed and hang out with Keith for a bit.

8:00  PM  Write blogs for the following week, send review request off to bloggers, try to check my publisher’s websites and do some critiquing.

9:00 PM Must hang out with Keith.  Kids are usually in bed (ours or theirs).  We watch some show about hillbillies with no teeth that make moonshine in the mountains.  Keith is snoring by 9:45.

10:00 PM – Until  – I get to write again!  I usually write between 10 PM and whenever.  I try to get in bed by midnight, but if I walk in the kitchen and the dishes need to be done or there is a pile of laundry that needs to be folded it may be later.  This is the worse time to get sucked into Facebook so I try to stay away!

Finally! Bath and sleep only to hear the alarm go off again before I’m really sleeping.  As Kim said in her blog, this doesn’t account for sick kids, laundry day, family night, time with friends, and the unexpected things that happen every week. 

The truth is, if I’m not doing something 24/7, I’ll go insane…so I was thinking about going back to school….Hmmm.  🙂

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

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Paranormal Addiction

What is it that keeps us buying paranormal books and staying up all night as we stand in line for tickets to paranormal movies? Is it because they are created around characters that aren’t quite human?  I’ve thought about the reasons I’m sucked into a well planned and plotted storyline and how these things fuel my addiction to the genre.  Read over them and add your own.  I’d love to hear from you.

1.  The Characters – There is a whole brood of paranormal personalities to fall in love with from Demons, Vampires, and Angels like the ones in The Keepers, to characters who possess some psychic or mystical power like Darby Lambert, in Jamais Vu.

They all give our imaginations room to wander and grow.  If you are like me, you love nothing more than a character who you didn’t expect, one who isn’t average.  Because we are curious about things we don’t quite understand, we are drawn to the stories of these people and creatures and the way they live, love, and overcome obstacles in their lives.

The Settings – Paranormal worlds usually take place in a setting that has a  personality all its own.  The Keepers is set in The French Quarter, in New Orleans, where the architecture and night life seem to jump off the page.  Jamais Vu takes place in St. Francisville, Louisiana, amongst creepy sugar cane fields and aging plantation homes.  Both of these locations reel you in through well described scenery and the effect the places have on the characters. We like locals that provide us with the ability to become a part of them.  As readers we expect to be sucked into our characters worlds and feel exactly what they do.

3.  Plot Twists – The paranormal genre isn’t ruled by the limitations of humans.  We can expect surprising turns allowed by the characters’ supernatural gifts. I think we have become spoiled by this as we expect more than the average boy meets girl story.

What are the aspects of the paranormal genre that keeps you coming back for more?  Do you watch paranormal movies and TV shows?

There are many great indie and small press authors out there waiting to thrill you with their tales.  Who are some of your favorites?

Enjoy your addiction.  I know I do!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu & The Mulligan Man available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

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

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

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

Top 41 Top Bloggers and Reviewers!!!

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

7. Tanya – http://speedyreader-allthingsbooks.blogspot.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/

Cheers,

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!!!!

Misused and Abused…Words That Is!

Okay so there are several words we all tend to misuse and abuse!  I feel it is my duty to stand up for these words and champion their proper usage.  After all, if I don’t make a statement who will?  Tee Hee

1.  Adverse – unfavorable                      Averse – reluctant

2.  Accept – receive                                 Except – excluded

3.  Affect – influence                              Effect – bring out

4.  Allusion – indirect reference          Illusion – false impression

5.  Capital – city or money                   Capitol – building

6.  Elicit – bring out                              Illicit – unlawful

7.  Immigrate – go into a country      Emigrate – exit a country

8.  Principle – basic truth                   Principal – head of school/sum of money

9.  Than – Comparison                       Then – time

10. There – specified place    Their – possessive pronoun   They’re – contraction for they are

11. Lie – recline or rest                       Lay – put or place

12. Set – place or set                           Sat – seated

13. Who – person                    Which – not a person           That – things or class of people

14. Supposed to:                                Keep the “D” at the end!  (Not suppose to)

15. Used to:                                         Keep the “D” at the end! (Not use to)

16. Toward:                                         No “S” at the end

17. Anyway:                                         No “S” at the end

18. Couldn’t care less                        Make sure it’s negative (not could care less)

19. Chest of Drawers                         Not Chester Drawers

20. For all intents and purposes    Not for all intensive purposes. 

 

Cheers!!!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13

WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com

Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511255176

Author Page:      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monique-OConnor-James-Author/151581321573144

 

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

A Rose by Any Other Name

I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I’ve always been obsessed with names. When I was eight or nine years old I used to make lists of names from the credits that rolled on my favorite TV shows.  … Continue reading

5 Tips for Writing Dialogue

Sometimes dialogue can be tough!  Below are a few quick tips to help you get over the hurdle!  1.  Listen up – Every person has a different way of speaking.  Our accents are influenced by our geographical locations and our … Continue reading