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

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
 

 

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

10 Editor Nightmares

I feel like an expert on some of these!  The truth is, every writer has stumbling blocks that require hours of editing and practice to get past.  I’ve listened to editors and publishers complain about many of these and here is a … Continue reading

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
 

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

Next time your wondering what the two women in the booth are saying…El MexicaNOOOOOOO! – Adventures of the dynamic duo.

Tamara and I weaved through the parking lot headed for lunch.  We couldn’t go far because the glass company had just put a new windshield in my car, and the black tape didn’t, in fact, look like racing stripes. However, I think Tamara believed me when I told her it did, because she agreed to drive so I could pretend it wasn’t my car.  We were supposed to be running errands, but I was struck by a brilliant idea.

“Let’s go to that new Mexican restaurant.”  I said, as I hunched further down in my seat praying no one could see me.  Never mind that everyone knows my car because of the big sticker with my daughter’s name on it. I was still hiding.    

I’d like to go on record as saying Tamara readily agreed.  If she doesn’t want to do something she just says it, but she jumped on this idea, so I refuse to take the blame alone.  It’s always an adventure when we go places together so I really didn’t think anything about the fact that it took nine minutes to park.  Tamara couldn’t get the car between the two yellow lines, but this is nothing new.  I just kept wondering if the people in Payless Shoe Store were all gathered at the window watching her struggle to get more than two inches space between my car and the Suburban next to it. 

I tried to duck around the other side of the oversized SUV, but I heard Tamara say, “What are you doing.”  I just laughed and sprinted for the door.    

Now we should have known right away there was something off about the place.  No other females were  in the building.  All the waiters were male, and otherwise there was a table full of burly construction workers and a couple of old men in the corner.  Of course we both picked this day to wear summer dresses cut above the knee, and as we walked across the floor all eyes followed us to the table.

Tamara stopped in her tracks and glared at the table.  I snorted knowing she had no intentions in keeping her mouth shut.  The benches were hard wood and straight back, with slats on the bottom which were so far apart a small child might fall through them.  Her mouth fell open. “Do they expect us to sit there?” 

 Tamara chuckled under her breath and ordered our drinks.  “Did you see the way he looked at you? I think he wants to eat you.”  

Involuntarily, my body convulsed into a full body shiver as I glanced over at the table of construction workers.  They were all still, eyes wide, staring at our table.  Honestly, I felt like I’d drifted onto another planet where women were alien.  Tamara picks this time to lean across the table and say, “You know, I feel lucky that we haven’t been shuffled off to the human trafficking warehouse in the back.”    

“They won’t stop staring,” I say, as I send the table of goons the stink eye.  None of them react.  Maybe we are visiting another universe.

“Let’s just eat and get out.” Tamara slurped her Dr. Pepper while remaining focused on my face.    

This is the exact moment when the waiter comes back with our food and leans in once again. His hair scrapes my cheek, and I make a noise similar to a whale giving birth…or so I imagine.  Tamara opens her mouth, and I can see the words before they leave her lips.  “Why don’t you just lick her?”    

Mortified, I slide down, until I’m sure only the two old men in the corner can see my face turn blood-red.  The waiter smiles and slithers away.  I can’t think of anything to say so I shovel a bite of food in my mouth expecting to be saved by wonderful Mexican cuisine.  But, no.  The cosmos are not lined up for this cloud to have a silver lining.  I chewed carefully, as if the speed at which my mouth moved had some effect on the horrible taste pooling in my mouth.

Surely, I was overreacting, still freaked out about the run in with Senior Pervert.  Nope, that’s not the case, because as my eyes trail from my plate back to Tamara, she’s trying to look sophisticated while spitting her food in a napkin.  “Oh my God, are you kidding me?”  She didn’t scream, but it was close enough.

“Let’s just get the check and get out of here before I die.” I offer as I dig for my wallet.    

“I don’t want to pay for this.”  She complains while staring at her plate, which is still full. 

In a gust of wind, the waiter comes back and looks down at our plates.  He doesn’t ask if it was okay, or if there is something wrong, he simply whisks our dishes away and plops down the bill.  I know at this point I’m walking a fine line with Tamara.  There exists, in her psyche, a tiny line which once crossed, will send her into a raving fit.  She has that crazy corner smile. It’s getting close.

I whip out my card and push it to the end of the table and in swoops the man to rush it off.  In seconds, he’s back and we are scurrying for the door.  As we pass the cashier, he leans over and says something like, “MMMM, later ladies.”    

Tamara casts a wicked eye back at him, and I grab her arm and push her out the door.  In the parking lot, she was almost laughing, but still obviously irritated.  “We shouldn’t have paid!!”  

“Get to the car. Hurry before we have to go back.”

By now, tears are running down her face as she shoves the key in the ignition and looks up at the tape still on my window.  “You should have let him lick you…then we wouldn’t have paid.”

 

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