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

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

SSS – The Mulligan Man Short Story

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: 

http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=1011841&mode=product&product=5192906

Cheers! 

Monique O’Connor James
Author of:  “The Keepers” and “The Mulligan Man”
 
Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 

Marketing Hints &Tips

I don’t think any author should have to pay to find out how to market their book.  There are authors out there who guard what they consider secrets as though you may use their advice to sell the last book ever read.  The truth is the more books that sell in our genres, the better the chance we have for selling our own.  For this reason I think marketing should be an open discussion between writers.

I get asked a couple times a week for marketing advice.  At first it shocked me, because I was floundering and am still trying to develop a marketing strategy.  I don’t mind at all sharing what I’ve learned and I hope it helps.

These ideas are not new, patented, or earth shattering.  You may use some and think others are a waste of time.  The idea is to come up with a plan that works well for your books. 

Before I go on, I want to clarify that except for a lucky few exceptions, most authors need to have several novels available to purchase before they will see a real jump in their numbers. Having said that, the most important thing you can do is WRITE!

Cross Markets

Your first plan of action should be to identify your cross markets.  For instance, The Keepers is a paranormal, YA/Adult crossover Romance.  I never considered it spirituality/religious, but Amazon categorized it this way giving me another cross market.  We know we should approach the young adult market, paranormal readers, and romance lovers, but who else?  Well Jess in The Keepers deals with the death of her mother from breast cancer.  This leads us to breast cancer patients and survivors and grief and recovery readers.  Jess’ brother is alcoholic.  This allows us to approach people who’ve dealt with this addiction.  As you can see going through the themes and plots in your book will help you identify which cross markets you need to approach.

Good Reads/Manic Readers 

If you haven’t done so yet, sign up for Good Reads and Manic Readers on their websites.  Good reads of course offers you a place to put your books up and showcase your reviews.  It also has a comment section under your books where you can post sales, contests, or other important news about your books.  I’ve also found that the reviewers on this site are very responsive.

Manic Readers site is awesome. For free you get to create your own Author Page showing your books, links, an author bio, and for $5 a month you can post your contests and news. And they make it simple to request reviews from several bloggers/review sites.   They also have a monthly newsletter and large fan base on Facebook and Twitter.  So check that out for sure.

Tag your books

Both Amazon and All Romance have options at the bottom of your  book info screen to tag your books with words and phrases which would show up in their search engines and recommend your book.  I saw on All Romance that a lot of people don’t use this feature, but anywhere you can tag – you should. (For All Romance you have to sign on to the site to tag your books.)

Friends and Family 

As we always say word of mouth is your best friend so use the people who are close to you to help you market.  Send a text to all your friends and ask them to share your post.  Don’t do it everyday, but if you do it once every couple of months they probably won’t mind and you will get some positive responses.

Contests and swag

Readers love to be included and interactive.  I love to be included too!  Even if you think no one is reading your blog, post contests.  You’ll be surprised once words spreads how many people respond.

Twitter 

I have to admit I was terrified of twitter.  If you haven’t started tweeting, do it now.  There is a huge community of readers and writers on twitter and they don’t mind retweeting your sales, contests, etc.  Don’t forget to post things about your life.  Readers want to get to know you and you don’t want to be a spam-bot.

Budget for some cover ads, etc. as soon as you can. 

Deep in the Heart of Romance, Book Boost, Kindle Blog – there are a ton of opportunities and some of them are pretty cheap keep an eye out.

Make friends with the author and reviewers on Facebook and Twitter. 

Don’t use them. Actually, make friends and support them.  They will reciprocate, I promise.  They also offer interviews, guest posts, and contests with your books.

Author Bios 

Give the reader of your book info on the novel, but share something personal too.  They want to know who you are! If there is a place for an author bio – use it!

One of the most important things to remember is people will always remember when you are nice to them.  Excitement is contagious.  If you are excited about your work, others will be too! 

It may take sometime to build a marketing plan, but just keep at it and in time you will find what works and what doesn’t.  Hope the information helps!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James
Author of:  “The Keepers”
 
Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 

Fan-tastic #3 Mandy Anderson

I first met Mandy on Facebook and accosted her for a review.  She runs the book review blog Twimom227 Book Blog (http://twimom227.blogspot.com).  She read The Keepers and fell in love with it and we hit it off! Okay we hit it off before she fell in love, but it doesn’t hurt that she likes my book 😀  Ya’ll check out her blog and follow her on Facebook.

When did you first develop your passion for reading?

Mandy:  I am guessing my love affair with books began back in elementary. I always loved Library Day…just being around all those books was so magical to me. I could get lost in all those books.

Me too!  You know the other kids thought we were nerds! What are your hobbies?

Mandy: READING! I also love to sew. I have an etsy shop that I really need to go put more stuff in. So if I could ever make myself put down a book, and go to my sewing machine..I might have more money in my paypal acct.

Who is on your list of favorite authors?

Mandy:  I would say Amanda Hocking and Jennifer Laurens. I love Amanda Hockings work. But also to be a great author, it takes more than great writing. I think it also takes being a great person and interacting with your readers. And Jennifer Laurens is just that. She is always tweeting and commenting to her fan base. I have seen first hand a Best Selling author be absolutely rude and flat-out mean to her followers. Its sad really.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my best friend when I finish reading a book….do you do that?

Mandy:  Yes, absolutely. In fact that is why I don’t do well with short stories. I get too attached and want to read all I can. Take for instance your book The Keepers. I just finished your book and am already itching for more of Jess and Justin.

Out of all the books you’ve read if you could have dinner with a character who would it be and why?

Mandy:  Ooooh that’s a good one. But also a hard one to answer. I think I would love to have dinner with Colin from Jennifer Laurens’ Overprotected or maybe even Tamani from Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series.

What are you currently reading?

Mandy:  I just started The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Any strange habits while reading? I

Mandy:  sometimes I skip paragraphs when I think its dragging…then find myself missing some key info a few paragraphs away…so  I then have to go back and re read it. 

How much description do you like in a book?

Mandy: A good amount…just not a whole bunch..cause then I end up getting confused or bored.

Anything else about you, you’d like to share with us? 

Mandy:  I still like going to the library and getting lost in all those books. And I love that my girls enjoy reading too.

If you would like Mandy to review your book, you can email her at Twimom101@yahoo.com.

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

Buy Links:  http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662245&mode=product&product=4435578

Characters to Love

While I’m on vacation I thought I’d leave you with a couple of blogs so you don’t completely forget me!

Every couple of days in the writer/reader community on social media the following question is posed:  Who is your favorite character and why?

We all aspire to have a character or two that gets mentioned in every one of these threads.  How does one create characters who stick with readers, you ask?  If you google the question, you will get the same answer phrased a million different ways. But, I believe there are several things which come together to make  life-like and lovable, heroes/heroines and villains we can love to hate. Most of them are not covered on these lists.

If you’re like me you love to people watch.  Every person in the world has some habit or idiosyncrasy which makes them unique.  Remember in the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, when Jane realized the other spy was John?  She saw him wiggle his leg in a video and recognized him immediately.  These things make people interesting to look at and endear them to our hearts, whether we know it or not.  Does your hero chew on his thumb?  Does your villain bite his lip right before he tells a lie?

You can tell tons about a person by the way others react to him/her.  Does your heroine adore your hero?  Or does the sight of him make her skin crawl?  Your readers will react to all of characters’ feelings about each other, so craft these thoughts carefully.

What goes on  in your MC’s head?  I find the thoughts and questions which formulate inside a characters mind really tie me to them.  Make sure you sprinkle some of this inner dialogue in your story so your readers know precisely how he/she thinks.

When you are writing dialogue make sure you take into consideration the players background, accent, and geographical location.  Read it aloud and ask yourself if that person would really say those things.

Finally, have the character achieve some emotional or intellectual growth throughout the story.  The person doesn’t even have to be aware they have changed. However, within the paragraphs of your tale you can illustrate the differences in their reactions and ideals from the beginning of the story to the end.

Hope these suggestions help!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 
Check out my novel The Keepers at Amazon, B & N, Astraea Press, or my website www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Debut Novel Supernova – Interview with author – Crystal D Ward

Crystal and I met years ago on a website called www.textnovel.com.  The website was set up for new and indie authors to post their novels and get feed back.  It also hosts an annual contest for a contract.  As soon as I read the first chapter of Supernova on Textnovel, I was hooked and knew I’d love Crystal.  We hooked up on facebook and have been fast friends ever since.  We both just happened to sign contracts with Astraea Press this year, and Crystal bestowed the pleasure of critquing her work on me.

As you probably know I suffer from ADD, in a bad way.  A book has to really grab my attention for me to finish it.  If you see a five star review on a book from me, then the book earned it.  I give Supernova those fives stars.  I was attached and could relate to the characters right away, even though the premise of the novel is fantasy.  I hope you enjoy my interview with her and please check her out on FB, Astraea Press and Twitter.  Her book will be released in August 2011, so keep an eye out and buy this one!

When did you start writing and what inspired you to write?

Crystal:   Well, I’ve loved to write since I was a little girl.  I still have some of my stories from back in the day.  My first big one that I was proud of was about farm animals. LOL  I
think it was in 5th grade I decided I wanted to write screenplays.  I went through that phase
for a few years, wrote a few, and even tried to get an agent in the 7th grade, but of course nothing came of it. LOL

My first year of high school, I joined the drama club and instantly fell in love with acting.  Writing was put on the backburner, but it was still present. After I graduated I tried to pursue my dream of acting, but it didn’t work out too much. ;- )  I tried writing
a screen play again and submitted to probably five million places.  I kept getting told I was “too wordy” for screenplays.  After failing at that for a while, I developed the dreaded writer’s block for years.  It wasn’t until after I read the Twilight books did I feel the need to write again.

So, I give credit to Stephenie Meyer for writing four fabulous books, which I’m in love with, for getting me back out there AND to all the people who said my screenplays were too wordy.  I guess books were the ticket all along! ;- )

 You have very unique names in Supernova. Where do you come up with
your names for characters? Do their names influence their personalities?

Crystal:  Yeah, I totally love my names in the book.  Evania was almost going to be called Layla, because I love the name.  Then I decided, if I was really going to dedicate my time to writing it, I couldn’t just pick random names.  I wanted them to mean something.  So where does one go to find out the meaning of a name?  A baby name website of course! :- )  I picked http://www.baby-names-and-stuff.com/.  It helped out tremendously!  With most of the characters, I looked up meanings, not names first.  With Evania, I looked up fighter and when I saw it, I instantly fell in love.  Desmond’s name was fate actually.  I don’t know why, but in the back of my mind, I always knew Desmond would be named Desmond. When I looked it up on the site, it didn’t really give me a meaning, but it originated from Ireland.  I kept looking until I found out it meant “gracious defender”.  Pretty perfect. :- )  That’s how I did all the names in the book, except for a few.  The only two personalities I would say are influenced by their names are Alec and Gedeon.  I have more detailed descriptions of all of the names on my website.

Is Supernova Part of a series?

Crystal:  It absolutely is. :- )  I call it The Supernova Saga.  There are four books in the series, which have been completed and are in the editing phase.  All four took me exactly a year to write.

Was Supernova your first novel?

 Crystal: Yep, it was, but my first writing expedition, no.  That’d be my screenplays, collecting dust upstairs. ;- )

Was any of the story drawn from real life experiences?

Crystal:  I wish I had a Desmond in my life! LOL No, it’s truly all fiction.  It’s
funny though, my mom was going to read Supernova, got to the third page, found
out Evania had a drug problem, and then called me.  “Do you have something you want to tell me, Crystal?”  LOL I said, “It’s not a biography, Mom.”

I totally understand, my dad call me Jess after my first heroin for weeks.  Do you plan to write books other than Supernova and it’s sequels?

Crystal:  Yes, absolutely!  I started a book called Black Dawn back in January. It’s another Urban Fantasy Romance. Also, there’s one called Without Hesitation I started a few years
back.  I bounced around writing it, so right now it makes no sense, but I’m sure I’ll get back to it one day.  I have lots of ideas for other books too, plus I want to make one of my screenplays, Because of You, into book form as well.

How did you find your publisher and what made you choose them?

 Crystal:  My good friend, fellow author, and writing Mama, Monique O’Connor James suggested them.  Love ya, lady!  She had gotten signed with Astraea Press and I found out through Facebook.  I messaged her to tell her congrats and we got to talking.  I told her about this other publisher I was waiting to hear back from and she told me about Astraea so I figured why not. :- )  I submitted, then a few days later, Monique said I should email Stephanie Taylor, the Editor in Chief of Astraea, and tell her to hold off on my submission because she was going to help me with editing Supernova and whatnot.  We got to work on that, then I received an email from Stephanie a few days later saying she had told her reader to wait on my book, but the reader must not have gotten the message because she read it and loved it! :- )  She attached the contract with the good news.  I got the email at work, cried happy tears, then had to man up and get my work done. ;- )

Any crazy quirks in your writing process?

 Cyrstal:  LOL Oh, yes.  I can write anywhere, and I mean anywhere.  I have a spare room with a desk and all that, but I rarely use it.  I wrote most of Supernova from my bed, but
I’ve also written in every room in my house, at my mom’s, sister’s, friend’s, airplanes, airports, laundry mat, and of course, in the bathroom.  LOL I’ve written some pretty profound stuff sitting on the toilet.  I also have to have something on while I write.  I can’t write in the dead silence.  Usually I have the fan on or television turned down low.  And I have to be doing something else as well.  I’ll have Facebook open, and check that randomly between sentences.  I’ll be like, “Okay, you two kick each other’s butts for a moment, while I comment on this status.”  LOL True story.  Also, whenever I knew I had a big, emotional scene coming up, I’d talk it out to myself in my car.  I’d pretend I was Evania or whoever and literally go through the emotions, crying, yelling, and all that fun stuff.  LOL When I did it at home, my cat stared at me like I was insane.  With everything she had to put up with for the year I wrote the books, the last one will be dedicated to her. :- )

If you could have dinner with one of your characters who would it be
and why?

Crystal:  Desmond, hands down.  He is one hot hunk of man.  Plus he can cook and I
can’t so I’d request some home cooking. ;- )  And with all his travels, I’m sure he has plenty of stories to tell.

What kind of music do you listen to while writing?

Crystal:  I don’t listen to music while I’m writing, but I have a crap ton of
songs that inspired Supernova.  I like the hard, new rock kind of stuff.  Some
of my favorite bands are Shinedown, Skillet, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days
Grace, and Red.

Hope you enjoyed the interview.  Check out the blurb below and a contact info for Crystal.

Blurb-

“I will show you the possible in a world of impossible.”

Everyone is born for a purpose, and for Evania Laylen, that vocation is
about to make itself known.  Guilt ridden
after the death of her parents, Evania sinks into a deep depression and serious
drug addiction.  Giving up, she’s ready
to say goodbye until the enigmatic Desmond Kane enters and shows her the life
she was born to live.  Thrust into a
secret, action-packed world of good versus evil, Evania becomes faced with a
choice: Embrace the new, meaningful life where epic love begins, or follow
through with the morbid plan of being with her parents again.

 About Me-

The first story I ever wrote was about farm animals. . .  I was eight. With no real training in the writing area, I’m a work in progress, learning as I go, and am just fine with it.
:- )  I live in Southeastern Ohio with my old lady cat, Princess.  Until I strike it big, I’m a restaurant manager, who can’t cook at home, and is obsessed with Arizona Green Tea, string cheese, and the color orange.  I’ve lost count how many times I’ve changed what I want to be when I “grow up”, but for the first time in my life, I know what I want, and I won’t give up until I get it.

Contact Crystal at:

website- www.thesupernovasaga.com

facebook fanpage – http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Supernova-Saga/180936018622508

Add my cover for The Keepers as your Profile Pic and Win!!!!

I was goofing on FB and tried to hypnotize everyone into adding my cover as their profile picture. What do you know?  It worked!! I’m leaving to go on vacation 6/16, so I’ll make this a quick contest with a great prize!  Here’s the deal.

1. Make sure I’m your friend on FB (not part of the contest, but it makes it easier).

2. Make the cover for The Keepers your profile picture until Friday July 15, 2011. 

3.  Send me a message or comment me that you did this. 

4.  I will do a random drawing Friday afternoon 6/15/11 for the winner.

Winner receives:  Drum Roll Please…………………………………………………………………

(If you are confused about how to do this go to my profile pics and click on the cover (or cropped cover) and click make this my profile picture.  If you already have one, win it as a gift for someone else 😀

A signed copy of The Keepers IN PRINT

Have Fun and Good Luck

Cheers!!!

Monique O’Connor James

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

Winner of Signed copy of The Keepers!!! And a snipet of a review!!!

So we didn’t make it to #1 of course we still have…all of time to get there!  However, the love you guys have been spreading for my book and me has been priceless!  STACEY CLIFFORD won the signed copy!!!!!  Ya’ll keep an eye out I’m sure to give away more!!

Stacey email me your address so I can get your copy to you as soon I get them!!! Hopefully Late July!

I also wanted to share some comments I got from Katrina Whittaker who gave The Keepers a 4.5 star rating on good reads.

“Loved The Keepers !!!! Will post a review soon ;;) Such a fantastic unique story… a different concept for the angels… But i loved it !!! Paranormal angels and romance blended to quicken the heart beat with every page.. Elements of God – but I found this refreshing and somewhat inspiring.. Background info was great and all characters well placed and put forward. Smooth flowing dialogue and enough suspense, and romance to keep your interest piqued throughout ! A definite must read or to add to your tbr pile.. ”

You can’t beat that kind of endorsement eh?

Guys I’m doing Fan-tastic Fans once a week on my blog and would love to interview some of the fans of The Keepers just to throw the spotlight back on you. You can be a reader, blogger, reviewer, whatever, just email me at nique313@yahoo.com and let me know you are interested!!!!

Lots of Gratitude!

Love Ya!

Monique O’Connor James

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

Thank you Contest for The Keepers!!!!!

Heading for #1??!!!!

The last time I checked The Keepers was #3 on the list for Teens/Spiritual and #1 on the Hot New Releases!  My dad keeps me updated when I’m busy and forget to check so I’m pretty aware of where things stand! 

I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am to all those people who have supported me, posted for me, bought my books, and sent encouraging words.  My friends, family, fans, reviewers, bloggers, etc, etc, etc, have all been so gracious and I’ve made tons of new friends.

If The Keepers makes it to #1 on Amazon I’m giving away a signed copy.  I should get the print copies at the end of July and I will mail it to the Winner at that time!  All you have to do to participate is comment below!  I’ll draw from everyone who comments! 

Please repost on Facebook and Twitter and tell your friends so we can hit that #1 spot!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1  Here is the Amazon link.

Also don’t forget to add my facebook pages to keep updated on coming releases!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=511255176  and

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Monique-OConnor-James-Author/151581321573144 – Author page.

Thank you guys!  Love your Guts!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

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