10 Things Every New Indie Author Should Know

1.  It takes time to build a fan base – Go into your journey remembering why you write.  Most of us write because it makes us happy, because we are compelled to do it, and because there are people who love our stories.  People will be attracted to your enthusiasm, but give yourself and your work time to grow a following.

2. The odds are, it will be difficult to sell books, at first – Remember that you are not with one of the big six publishers who would throw money and advertising behind your work.  YOU have to do it all.  However, you will get a longer shelf life being on your own, and get to interact with amazing fans.

3. You will get bad reviews – There are many reasons for this.  Maybe the person just didn’t connect with your work.  There is even a small group of authors who try to sabotage each other.  You can’t make all of the people happy all of the time.  I promise it will hurt, but keep in mind that you evoked enough emotion to make someone take time out to write something negative.  Have a pity part, but move on.

4. Cover art is important I was recently asked by an author if he really needed to hire a cover artist.  The answer is always a resounding, YES! The cover is the face you will present to the world as far as your book is concerned.  A lot of people choose the books they read based solely on cover art.

5. Editing is not the place to scrimp – I made a rookie mistake and contracted with a publisher who refused to edit my work.  In the end, I pulled the book and had it edited myself.  Most people can not edit their own work.  Find a publisher that does both content edits and proofreading because bad editing equals bad reviews.

6. Don’t jump on your first contract without reading the contract – Also have someone you trust review it before signing on the dotted line.  This seems like common sense, but in the excitement of receiving your first offer you can make huge mistakes that take away your rights as an author.

7. Surround yourself with AWESOME – We are very fortunate to have a community of caring and talented indie and small press authors that are willing to help out newbies. These people can make or break you.  Forge genuine symbiotic friendships and you will go far!

8. Research your work – Most of us write fiction, so we are free to create our own worlds and twist and tweak the one we live in. Regardless, it is important to know the subject that you are manipulating. We living in a glorious time when you don’t even have to leave your house to get reference materials.  Use them!

9. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – Last Halloween, I wrote a horror short.  I usually write spooky, but this story tested my abilities, because I wanted to scare the pants off my readers without being gory.  That short story was über popular, and I got great feedback. Try not to ever pigeon-hole yourself in one genre.

10. Don’t be afraid to give your books away – Keep in mind that the more people who read your work, the more others will hear about it.  You can also write those giveaways off on your taxes! Another quick word about SWAG – there is nothing wrong with doing giveaways, but you will probably be struggling to make money for a while.  Make sure that you are getting your fans addicted to your words and not just what they can get from you.  True fans will want to read your books.  Having said that, I do other types of SWAG giveaways a couple of times a year, but don’t break the bank trying to buy fans.

I hope these little tidbits help, and I’m always available to answer questions or help out.  Most of all, have fun with your writing journey.

Don’t forget to check out Bayou Brew Publishing and give us a like on Facebook.

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy with Cajun Flavor!

Please check out my latest novel Black Water Bayou on Amazon!

BWB_MoHo

Gabe was raised to trust his intuition and rely solely on himself. Troubled and alone, he’s spent his life haunted by night terrors, and turmoil over where he came from rages in his soul. Always the lonely hero, he never saw Frannie coming. Under the fury of a southern storm, she blew into Gabe’s life and changed it forever.

Can she tear down his walls? Can he save her from herself and the demons that are after her family?

As the past catches up to the present, long kept secrets are revealed and families are salvaged while evil pours into the waters of an abandoned bayou. No one could have seen the dark forces true power, but one man was marked to battle them.
Can Gabe make amends with his past, or will the devil win his soul?

http://www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

http://www.twitter.com/mjames13

http://www.facebook.com/moniqueoconnorjamesauthor

http://www.facebook.com/monique.o.james

Other titles available from Monique O’Connor James – The Keepers, The Watchers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man, Musical Scares, Becoming Jolie and Magia Rising

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Christmas Blog Hop 2012

2012 Christmas Blog Hop

Hi Everyone! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!!
I hope you love the hop! Make sure you visit all the participating blogs and enter their giveaways as well as mine. Have fun and remember to leave comments 🙂 I will pick a comment at the end of the tour for an EXTRA giveaway.
Here are the other participating blogs my Rafflecopter is also below!!!
18. Casey Crow

Try this link….
<a id=”rc-95c2a32″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/95c2a32/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Rougarou (Loup Garou) – The Cajun Werewolf

 

Here in Louisiana we have our own were-wolf like creature who stalks the swamps.  The Rougarou is a beast who people have described as having the head of a wolf and body of man.  It is believed that if one is bitten by the fiend or even stares into his evil gaze, they will be transformed into this walking nightmare themselves.  The only cure for this ghastly curse is for the victim to keep his condition a secret for a week and a day.  If the individual manages this feat, then both they and the rougarou who attacked them will be freed from the monstrous form.

Legend says that the best way to protect one’s house from the rougarou is to place 13 small objects in all the windows and doors.  Apparently, the creature can only count to twelve and will have to start again becoming so preoccupied that he doesn’t noticed the coming dawn.  Once the morning approaches, he will be forced back into the swamp to hide form the sun.

French Catholics have often used the tale as a caution to young ones who want to break lent, as it is said that anyone who breaks lent for seven years will be turned into a rougarou. (I think I may be in trouble!!!)  How’s that for a reason to eat meat on Fridays?

Hope you enjoyed a little insight into our very own shape-shifting legend.  Here’s a Halloween surprise for all my readers and fans:

Magia Rising will be FREEEEEE! on Amazon 10/31/12-11/2/12!  Hope you enjoy! Tell your friends and Happy Haunting!

Magia Rising Link

  Blurb:

New Orleans is teeming with warring witch clans. Their world goes unnoticed by
the people of the city,unseen by the masses. Nixon was one of those people,
oblivious to the battles brewing around him. That is, until his eighteenth
birthday.

Abandoned and on his own after the deaths of his parents…he’d
grown used to being alone. Now he’s discovering strange powers, learning secrets
about his ancestors, and falling for the wrong girl–or is she the right one? In
this new world he can trust no one…even the dead tell lies. Friends are
enemies, and enemies hide the truth. Who can he trust? What’s real and
what’s illusion?

 

 

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Author of:  The Keepers, The Watchers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man, Becoming Jolie & Magia Rising

Coming Soon:  Musical Scares and Black Water Bayou

Huge Giveaway – Magia Rising Launch!!!!

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

Have fun!!!!

Image

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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!!!

Ghost Stories #8 Haunted Baton Rouge (My Home Town!!!)

Highland Road Near Lee Drive –  As a resident of Baton Rouge, I can tell you that Highland Road is beautiful.  Some wealthy residents make their homes on the bluffs and golf courses along this stretch of road.  In the months of September and October, our police stations are inundated with calls about ghostly sightings here.  Injured confederate soldiers hobble along the street during the fall months drawing much attention.  Reports say their injuries are horrific and most have missing limbs and are covered in blood.  (Nope never witnessed it!)

The Spanish Moon – At this nightclub patrons have witnessed beer taps turning on by themselves and plates and glasses flying through the air (and it wasn’t a bar fight).  In the 1920’s the building was used as a makeshift morgue, but it was just over thirty years ago that the place was used as a wino flop-house, and this is the era from which most believe the spirits originated.

The Old State Capitol – Our Old State Capitol Building looks like a castle and is one of my favorite places in the city.  The ghost of “Pierre”, a senator from a by-gone time who died of a heart attack during the discussion of a hot political issue.  Motion sensors set off the alarms in the building and nothing can be found on the security cameras.  He has also been seen in the room where the Senate once met.  Perhaps, he’s only waiting to finish his argument?

 

Old State Penitentiary – This building now houses the headquarters of the Louisiana State Police. What was at one time the execution chamber and morgue is now offices.  Here radios turn on and off and prisoners from the past roam the hallways. (Guess their just happy to get out of their cells.)

 

 

Guaranty Income Life & Broadcasting- The morgue of Baton Rouge General Hospital was once located on the bottom floor of this building.  Now the morgue freezer serves as file storage.  It is said that at night the temperature of the first floor drops several degrees and that the elevators run unmanned.  Security guards refuse to visit the first floor because of the strange noises that can be heard at all hours of the night.

Hope you enjoyed!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

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

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

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

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

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

Ghost Stories #5 – The Haunted Roads and Streets of America

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of haunted roads. What could be creepier than cruising down the street and seeing an apparition?  Here are a few roads and highways across the country you may want to check out when you’re out on ghost hunting adventures.

Hwy 666 – This highway runs through Utah, Colorado, Arizona & New Mexico.  In 2003, the highway was renamed Route 491, but the name change hasn’t stopped the rumors that this could be the true highway to hell.  People driving along this stretch of road have reported headlights that come up behind them at great speeds.  When the driver pulls over to let the vehicle pass, it vanishes before their eyes.

Some believe the highway was built on indian burial grounds.  Native American tradition teaches that once a medicine man passes away, he can become a skin walker and transform into various animals.  These animals have been known to dart out in front of vehicles, and it is believed they are issuing a warning for the travelers to end their journey on the highway.

Many people have witnessed a pack of dogs deemed the hounds of hell here.  These beasts can run as fast as the vehicles they are chasing and have the power to shred tires.  Perhaps the scariest of all the claims is that people simply disappear on this road, sometimes leaving their cars and belongings behind.

Archer Avenue – Chicago – Archer Avenue runs through the City of Chicago.  it is said that the ghost of a young, blonde girl named Resurrection Mary roams this street near Resurrection Cemetery.  A man once picked the girl up and danced with her all evening before giving her a ride home.  Near the cemetery she darted from his car and disappeared just before the entrance to the graveyard.

 

 

 

Boy Scout Lane – Wisconsin – It is said that in the 1950’s a scout troop was murdered here by their troop leader while on an overnight camping trip.  People who travel this road have seen the ghostly apparitions of bloody children.  Another variation of the story claims that one of the boys dropped a lantern and the boys were burned to death.  Reports of screams and smoke are rampant in this area.

Clinton Road – New Jersey – The story here is that a boy was playing on a bridge and fell over and drowned.  It is said that he will appear if you drop a coin into the water below the bridge.  Some claim he has pushed some visitors over the side of the bridge.

This road also boasts sightings of phantom vehicles, headlights with no car attached, and a ghostly Camaro driven by a blonde girl who reportedly died in a crash on the road.

 

 

Highway 11 – Alabama – Lonnie Stephens was falsely accused of killing his girlfriend.  The real killer was eventually found, but not before Lonnie escaped from a chain gang and was hit by a car trying to hitch a ride along this highway.  His ghost is often seen with arms outstretched pleading for someone to stop and give him a ride.

And of course, you knew i’d have to include a road from my home state!  There are many haunted roads in Louisiana and maybe I’ll dedicate an entire blog to them.

Canal Street – New Orleans, LA – Canal street at City Park Avenue once marked the outer limits of the city.  The most intriguing aspect about this locale is that this is the place where thirteen cemeteries converge.  Just beyond this spot is part of the roadway that used to be The New Basin Canal.  When the Irish and German immigrants who built the canal died during its construction, they were buried right where they fell.

The list of supernatural encounters in this area is long and includes:  spirits of the dead walking hand in hand; disembodied voices who speak to those at a nearby bus stop; the ghost of a young girl who runs directly into oncoming traffic; ghostly funerals that pass through the closed gates of the cemeteries; and many other restless spirits who approach both the locas and tourists.

Have you ever experienced a ghostly apparition along a highway?  Share your story with us!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

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

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

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

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

12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour

 

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog during the 12 days of Christmas Blog Tour! 


I hope that you are all warm and snuggly and that all your Christmas Shopping is done so you can enjoy the holidays!  Many of you will be getting E-readers for Christmas and looking for books to download.  Remember to check out Indie and Small press authors as you can find über talented writers for a fraction of the price!

Before I tell you about the prizes I’d like to tell you about my latest release Jamais Vu.

Blurb: 

A gunshot echoes, thrusting Darby Lambert into a near death experience. Inside the confines of an ambulance, she meets “the man in white light”. He takes away the guilt, but makes her question everything. “You will see them,” he whispers, as he catapults her back into the real world where she is plagued with dreams of demons, nurses, and rock stars.

Why has He sent her back? Does she have the courage to rectify her sins? Given the chance, could you erase it all?

If you enjoy paranormal twists and turns and a little romance you will love this book.  Check for the buy links below.

Now on to the good stuff!  The contest will run from December 12-December 24, 2011 at midnight.  Two lucky people who comment on this blog during that time period will be picked to receive PDF’s of Jamais Vu and my debut novel The Keepers.  That’s right! All you have to do is leave a comment and you’re qualified! 

I’d love for you to stop by my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/moniquejamesauthor and give me a like, but it’s not a requirement to win the prizes!

Finally,  the linky link below will take you back to the list of authors who are participating in the blog tour and more chances to win!  Have a great time and I hope your Holiday Season is filled with love and joy!  Stay warm!

Linky Link:  http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=109862” type=”text/javascript”></script>

Monique O’Connor James

www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Amazon Buy Link for Jamais Vu:  http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322063199&sr=8-1