#Guest #Author…Featuring Michele Tracy Berger…Topic: Cultivating Your Creative-What-Ifs…#BookBoost #Promo #Amreading @MicheleTBerger

Happy Monday, Intellectual Minds!  Ok, so perhaps we’re rubbing it in since we’re going on Day 9 of our vacation, so it may not be a happy Monday for you, but it’s most certainly a blessing. You woke up this morning and you’re reading our post, so that’s always something to be happy about!  Speaking of happy, boy are we excited about our special guest author, Michele Tracy Berger. She’s written a novella that you’ll see below and it ties in with her feature today. We loved it and we’re positive you will too! Show your love to our special guest! Wake up and let’s do this!

 

Cultivating Your Creative-What-Ifs

by Michele Tracy Berger

It all started with a “what-if” – a “what-if” that grew and grew into a creative project which I have poured myself into for over a decade.

What if a visit to the salon or your favorite hair product could kill you?

This “what-if” is the catalyst that led to the creation of my recently published sci-fi novella, Reenu-You.

When I got to graduate school in the mid-1990s, I began to make more space for a creative writing life. Around this time, the ‘Rio’ scandal broke out.

In case you have never heard of the ‘Rio’ scandal or don’t remember, here’s some background: a white owned company released a product known as Rio, billed as a natural alternative to traditional hair relaxers and was marketed almost exclusively to African American women. Women around the country began reporting horrible reactions to the product including hair loss, and burning and itching scalps. A class action lawsuit revealed that there was nothing natural, at all, about this product.

This story grabbed me. Over many years, I kept asking myself questions about why and how a scandal like that could happen and how different communities might respond to it. I speculated about the mindset of a company that not only deceived consumers, but endangered their health. I also thought about the complicated push and pull dynamics for women of color who use relaxers (myself included!).

I explored all of these questions in Reenu-You, set in our world during the 1990s. As I wrote this novella, I engaged with and humored my curiosity, following the paths that it revealed.

The story follows two main characters, Kat and Constancia. Kat, an out of work ski instructor, just wants to pack up her deceased mother’s things, leave New York City and return to Aspen. Constancia, a talented but troubled young woman, just wants to start her first semester of college.

They both use a new hair product called ‘Reenu-You’, billed as an all-natural, healthy and chemical free “hair tonic”—guaranteed to work better than an average relaxer. Within days, along with other women of color, they find themselves covered in purple scab-like lesions— a rash that pulses, oozes, and spreads in spiral patterns. Kat and Constancia find themselves at the epicenter of a mysterious virus spreading throughout the city. Is it corporate malfeasance or an orchestrated plot to kill minority women?

Kat and Constancia are forced to confront their deepest fears to save themselves and others.

The novella raises the stakes from the actual Rio scandal. It allows me to explore race, gender, the politics of beauty and corporate conspiracy. I also allude to the long and shady history of unhealthy beauty products marketed to women of color.

If you like science fiction, Reenu-You pulls from a range of tropes in the genre (e.g. out of control viruses, corporate conspiracy, paranormal powers, etc.). It also offers science fiction fans something new as hair and hair culture is often unexplored territory.

If you’re not a sci-fi aficionado, but like stories that explore female friendships then you’ll enjoy Reenu-You. I am very interested in the idea of the female collective. Kat and Constacia meet up with three other women of color (Pearlie, Doris and Sandra), and over the course of the story they have to unlearn some go-it-alone behaviors in order to navigate the crisis. In exploring friendship, I wanted to go beyond the best friend or sidekick trope and the ensemble model (usually of a mixed gender group), that doesn’t explore intimacy. I think there is something very special, powerful and potentially untapped in the nature of collective female friendships.  Reenu-You is about female friendships, unlikely heroines and hair!

I encourage you to pay attention to your mind’s “what-ifs”. Consider each “what-if” as a road sign, pointing to an avenue of possibilities ahead.

Our curiosities shape us and feed our creativity. When we follow the “what-if” path we may just find ourselves on an adventure!

I’ve sure enjoyed the adventure of asking “what-if” questions that has led to bringing Reenu-You into being.

 

 

Michele Tracy Berger is a professor, a creative writer, and a pug-lover.

Her main love is writing science fiction though she also is known to write poetry and creative nonfiction, too.

Her fiction has appeared in UnCommon Origins: A Collection of Gods, Monsters, Nature and Science by Fighting Monkey Press, You Don’t Say: Stories in the Second Person by Ink Monkey Press, Flying South: A Literary Journal, 100wordstory, Thing Magazine, and The Red Clay Review.

Her nonfiction writing and poetry has appeared in The Chapel Hill News, The Red Clay Review, Glint Literary Journal, Oracle: Fine Arts Review, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, The Feminist Wire, Ms., Carolina Woman Magazine, and Western North Carolina Woman, A Letter to My Mom, and various zines.

Michele is completely undone by the sight of pugs and has to restrain herself from collecting any item they appear on. She lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina with her partner Tim. Come visit her at The Practice of Creativity’.

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Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today! If you enjoyed Michele Tracy Berger, please feel free to comment on this post. We’d love to hear from you. Please come back tomorrow morning to check out author, RJ Joseph. Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

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#Guest #Author…Featuring Jason Malcolm Stewart…Topic: Black Zombie/Hollywood and the 80s #Voodoo Revival #BookBoost #Promo #SundayMorning @sabbathsoldier

Good Sunday Morning, Intellectual Minds! We’re on Day 8 of our vacation, and soaking up the rays and, of course, missing you like crazy!  You know, we may not tell you this enough, but Mello & June has the best fans! You guys truly Rock! And speaking of rocking it, our special guest author, Jason Malcolm Stewart, has a rather interesting topic to share with you this morning. So, sit back, relax and receive the word!  Please give Jason a warm welcome!

Black Zombie: Hollywood and the 80’s Voodoo Revival

In the beginning, there was the Zoumbie.

What began as a mixture of the ancient spirituality, chemical sciences and social control practices of West and Central Africa ended up stranded in the former home of the Arawak and the Carib by way of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  Just as water wears down stone, what started as historical reality became whittled into mythology. And where there were deep roots, the stalk that grew from that dark, fertile soil became forever altered by the gaze of the European Other.

The legendary flesh-and-blood inspiration for the modern cinematic motif arose and walked through the jungles of Haiti and other Caribbean islands in those days, allegedly bringing terror and destruction to those not wise enough to avoid the paths of voodoo, the false cognate for the misunderstood, syncretic systems of religion alternatively called Vodou, Vodun, Vaudou or Santeria.

So, naturally, someone had to make a movie about it.

In 1932, Hollywood came a’ knocking and our beloved Zoumbie  left his sun kissed isle to star alongside Bela Lugosi in the black-and-white Golden Age horror classic, White Zombie.  A title truly intentional in its contradiction.  Lugosi plays a white Haitian landowner who discovers from his black peonage the secret of Zoumbie creation through a process of hypnosis and drugs.

Lugosi then, of course, uses his powers to cement his control over the black populace while subsequently terrorizing his white neighbors, kidnapping a visiting American co-ed and daring her beau to brave the terrors of his plantation to save her.

The strange, occult powers of his character are almost of secondary concern to our heroes given his over-familiarity with the way of “natives,” causing the boyfriend character to exclaim that if the damsel-in-distress were to accidentally fall into the hands of the black workers “it would be a fate worse than could be imagined!” His comrade-in-arms admonishes him  strongly not to even consider such a horror.

Never fear… The movie going audience of 1932 was spared the threat of racial miscegenation when the aforementioned boyfriend confronts Lugosi and breaks the spell of the Zoumbie. All was again right in the world. Except it started a bit of a craze for more cinematic distortion of the Zoumbie tradition, the biggest of which was the mispronounced cultural appropriation of the Zoumbie name.

For a while, our hero held sway in the imagination of filmmakers wanting to explore the field of culturally incorrect exotica. He had regular work in those days, showing up in such forgotten gems as I Walked with a Zombie (1943) Voodoo Man (1944) and the Plague of the Zombies(1966).

Then came George Romero. And like a lot things in the 60’s, there was a changing of the guard.

With Night of the Living Dead,  the (pseudo) Scientific Zombie  became the king of the block and our hero was forced back into semi-obscurity, though perhaps Romero gave a slight nod of sympathy by casting Duane Jones as a protagonist who shared some heritage with our ancient hero.  But mostly, the original item ended sitting around the house, downing bottle-after-bottle of Red Stripe, waiting for his next close up.

Thankfully for him, the 80’s came along. And with it,  a “real-life”  novel length account from Harvard researcher Wade Davis called The Serpent and the Rainbow. Davis’ book, presented as his actual experiences with so-called “zombie masters” in Haiti during the final years of the  Duvalier dictatorship. And with its publication came the most pointed scholarly disagreement  since Carlos Castaneda’s “Don Juan” thesis that ate the discipline of anthropology  the 70’s.

How could it not help but start a new, focused sensation about the Zoumbie and the Voodoo system?

First up in  March of 1987 was Angel Heart. The all-star cast of  Mickey Rourke, Robert DeNiro and Lisa Bonet was steeped in both anticipation and controversy. It brought together two of the most respected “Method” actors of the era, one of whom (DeNiro) had already won his Oscar and the other (Rourke) was an odds-on favorite to be the next “great American actor.”  It also was greeted with tabloid buzz as Bonet was on thin ice with her TV dad and employer, Bill Cosby, for the erotic nature of the film. Angel Heart was nearly hit with the emerging NC-17 rating before some compromising cuts were made.

The film itself was an atmospheric exploration of the “Hoodoo” belief system, a near American cousin to Voudon and Santeria. The Hoodoo concept, prevalent in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, sets the background for the New Orleans location of Angel Heart, as Rourke is a noir-cut detective tasked with finding a semi-famous singer who doesn’t want to be found. The set up, while simple sounding, is a complete misdirection for twists and turns, including bizarre symbolism, weird sex and DeNiro as a Brill Cream infused version of the Devil.

The film, which got a fairly favorable critical reception, was less than a box office sensation, perhaps weighed down by all the expectations of fireworks between Rourke and DeNiro and the gossipy infighting over Bonet’s role. Angel Heart has grown in prominence in the decades since, with many fans citing it as a conversation piece for unconventional horror. However, the really frightening thing may be what happened to Rourke and Bonet’s careers after the film.

Hot on the heels of Angel Heart came The Believers. The May 1987 Martin Sheen vehicle attempted to explore the dangerous side of Santeria, the Spanish Speaking cousin of Vodun, as Sheen plays a skeptical psychologist who is drawn in to the world of Caribbean mysticism when his son is threatened by a group of evil Santeru.

While The Believers brought some big budget production values to the subject, the script and direction fell back into some dominant culture stereotypes as the ultimate villain revealed had only a flimsy link to the actual Santeria tradition. Apparently, Hollywood hadn’t found much new material for African traditional spiritualism in the interveining 55 years between it and White Zombie.

Fortunately for traditional  zombie  fans, the next year of 1988 contained a much more positive development as one of the decade’s  legendary “Three C’s” took on adapting Wade Davis’ book. Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow brought the spotlight back to the place where it all began for our beloved friend.

Set in 1980s Haiti, our hero (played by Bill Pullman) is a biologist/ anthropologist /chemist (the script is never sure which) who comes to the island nation in order to find the ancient, narcotic powder used by voodoo masters to put their victims into a state of living death.

For Pullman’s trouble, he is kicked, beaten, buried alive and has a nail driven through his scrotum. But for his tribulations, he manages to do something thought impossible. Bring the undead back to life a second time.

Released in Feb. 1988, Serpent took advantage of Hollywood’s renewed interest in voodoo during the end of that decade. The previous year had seen modest hits for such voodoo themed movies as The Believers and Angel Heart. Craven, at the height of his powers and popularity, dove into the trend by giving us the most “naturalistic” Hollywood zombie movie to that date.

Shot on location around Hispaniola in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Serpent still stands as a glorious, although slower-paced, exploration of the Haitian “voodoo” culture. The film takes considerable time to explain the theology and worldview of the Zoumbie Makers while also deviling into the

Freaky undead doings abound, making for some killer scenes. Zombie hands in pea soup, crazy chicks eating glass, a corpse-bride with a python tongue and the topper of an undead Paul Garfield pulling off his own head to throw it at a freshly risen Bill Pullman (one of my personal favorite horror moments of the 80’s). And while it wasn’t a big hit for Craven, it’s remembered fondly by many fans, despite its over-the-top ending.

Despite the flurry of interest at the end of the Reagan years, Hollywood quickly returned to the modern Zombie model, pushing out the Romero clones with frightening efficiency in the last 30 years. There haven’t been a ton of film exploring the roots of the original Voodoo (2005’s The Skelton Key comes to mind), but that’s not to say our hero’s time won’t come again.

You can’t go anywhere in the horror genre without finding a Romero style cliche showing its decaying head. After nearly 90 years, maybe the original article will finally get his due.  Maybe it’s time for Rick and Michonne to meet a Walker who doesn’t want to make them their next meal.

And maybe the next zombie apocalypse should feature something else than the requisite virus-gone-wild.  All those brains have to be hell on the hips.

Jason Malcolm Stewart

about.me/jaymal

Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today! If you enjoyed Jason Malcolm Stewart, please feel free to comment on this post. We’d love to hear from you. Please come back tomorrow morning to check out author, Michele Tracy Berger. Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

 

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#Guest #Author…Featuring Michael A. McLellan…Topic: Where Does Your Inspiration Come From…#BookBoost #Promo @MichaelAMcLellanOfficial

Greetings, Intellectual Minds!  Have you been enjoying our guest authors thus far? Sure you have! Aren’t they amazing talents! Yes, we’re on day seven of our trip, and I have to say, we’re feeling pretty good! Of course, we miss you guys, but we’ll be back before you know it. Since it’s the weekend, it’s time to get your reading groove on. What better way to do that than with our special guest author, Michael A. McLellan. Oh my, not only are you getting great subject matter, you’re getting two posts in one. Awesome stuff here, folks! I enjoyed reading these posts, and we’re sure you’re going to love them too! Let’s get this party started!  Here we go…

Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?

A common question posed to all fiction authors is: Where does your inspiration come from? It’s simultaneously an easy and complex question—at least for me. Normally I find myself giving short, one line answers that always leave me feeling like I should have said more. And since Kimberly has so graciously granted me an open floor today, I’m going to give you the long answer to this seemingly ever-present question.

I’ve written adult contemporary, young adult, post-apocalyptic, and historical fiction. In almost all of this work the underlying theme has been social issues. More specifically, how people treat each other. Inspiration comes easily and often. It bludgeons me over the head every single day. From loathsome internet trolls shaming a woman they’ve never met for wearing something they deem inappropriate for her body type, to children murdered while walking to school. There’s the heartbreaking opioid epidemic, the senseless gang violence, the political driven hate-speech from both sides of a broken government and a divided nation, there is racism, inequality, human trafficking, genocide…More material than I could use in a hundred lifetimes.

So there’s some inspiration, but why do I write about this stuff? Isn’t it depressing? Well, yes.

And no.

Writing about the things in the world that trouble me, cracking them open and examining them through the eyes of my characters, helps me understand them. From researching the subject to the actual writing, in a very real way it’s therapeutic. I’ve lived an extremely eventful life and have a lot of miles behind me—both literal and figurative—but I’ve learned more about the world, and myself, through this process than I ever would have believed possible. Make no mistake, though,  I don’t write to advance any agenda. My novels aren’t cleverly disguised sermons, and this isn’t non-fiction. I write stories inspired by real world issues, nothing more. In the end, I hope I’ve created something that’s both moving and engaging. If there are any take-aways, they are the sole property of the reader.

The subject matter of my inspiration may sound gloomy, but in the words of Lucy Ann Delaney, From the Darkness Cometh the Light. Through great adversity, the goodness and strength of the human spirit can be shown in all of its beauty. After all, there can be no heroes without villains. Having said that, I think it would be a fine day indeed when we no longer needed heroes in real life. I carry hope that we can become better at learning from our history. Everything we need to know about how to proceed into our future is laid bare and exposed in our past. I believe we merely have to have the desire to look at it, the courage to accept it, and the resolve to refuse to continue reliving the crappy parts.

About my books:

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My new novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, was released this spring. On the surface the story is about racism and gender inequality, and it is…sort of—Henry, a freed slave, flees west after committing a crime; Clara, a wealthy heiress, escapes her tyrannical father and her privileged but oppressed life in New York; a government conspiracy to eliminate the plains Indians—but at its core it’s simply about men and their—our—proclivity for power, greed, and violence.

My previous novel, American Flowers, is a contemporary action/suspense/drama which follows a teenage couple, Chris Shafer and Allie Laughton, through their downward spiral into drug abuse, and eventually crime. I think most people in the U.S. can relate to this story on one level or another. After all, there aren’t many people left here who haven’t been affected at some time by drug addiction.

My first novel, titled After and Again, is an adult/ young adult, post-apocalyptic adventure novel set three hundred years in the future. Our protagonist, fifteen-year-old Zack McQueen, finds a cave full of relics, including a strange device with a recording on it, that changes his life—and the world—forever.

So there it is. Now you know a little about what makes this writer tick.

Thanks for reading,

-M

 

Regarding Reviews

Not everyone is going to love your book. I just wanted to get that out of the way. No matter how well-written, cleverly plotted, and beautifully edited it is, some people are going to read your book and hate it. Sometimes there’s just something in your book that rubs one particular reader the wrong way. It could be a couple of missed typos, or the fact that your protagonist doesn’t like puppies. I read a review recently where the reviewer one-starred a book because the author began some sentences with And. Reading is very personal. This was a tough fact for me to accept in the beginning. I mean, I understood it; I could see countless examples, from the one-star reviews of The Grapes of Wrath to the people who found Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to be “appallingly unreadable.” But I really didn’t believe it. Not at first, anyway.

So your book received a critical or even negative review. Of course not all critical reviews are negative, and not all negative reviews are critical, but they can both be bruising to the writer’s ego if not viewed from the proper standpoint. It’s hard to look at your own work objectively, but you really have to try. Sometimes what may seem like a negative review is really a critical one. I’ll give you an embarrassing example from my personal experiences. It’s an extreme one, and I hope that not too many fledgling writer’s end up learning the hard way like I did.

It would be a gross understatement to say that I was completely naive when I published my first book. And, riding the honesty train a little farther, I can say that the novel had no business even being published in the form it was in when I chose to send it out into the world. Simply stated, it was a poorly edited first draft. This is one of the hazards of eager new authors having the option to self-publish their book with a few mouse-clicks.

But I’ll leave the possible pitfalls of self-publishing for another article (and writer).

So I released the book, and the reviews started trickling in. All of them were remarkably positive. Apparently I had written a decent story and, it seems, the typos and grammar issues (of which I was blissfully ignorant, after all, I’d thoroughly edited it) were either missed or disregarded by most of the readers.

Until…they weren’t.

I received a very critical review on Amazon where the reviewer ripped into the book’s “egregious errors.” At first I was mortified, then I was angry. How dare he bash my book after all of the shining reviews I received from other readers. Humiliated and defeated, I pulled the book and began reading it again. Oh, and  looky here, the guy was right.  Boy, did I hate him. We’ll also leave the hazards of self-editing for another article.

But…

I learned more from that four hundred word review than from anything else before or since in regards to writing. As I stated, this is an extreme example. The point is that you really need to consider a review on its merits before you decide whether it’s critical or negative. Mostly it will be plainly apparent if you’re being as objective as possible. My advice: If there is even the slightest possibility that you can learn something from it, then do.

Flat-out negative reviews seem to be a little harder to recover from. When negative reviews use subjective adjectives like lackluster, shallow, overwritten, pretentious, etc… it’s easy to take it personally, (I know, I have) and, in some rare cases, that may be exactly what it was written for. Valid critical reviews require your attention, and possibly some humility. They are, in a very real sense, tools, and in the long run will make you better. Reviews that say your writing is the worst form of insincere crap they’ve ever tortured their eyes with should serve to thicken your skin, nothing more.

 Some Do’s and Don’ts regarding reviews.

  • Don’t ever confront or argue with a reviewer. Even if you’re right it only makes you look small.
  • Do thank a reviewer for taking the time to read and review your work if you or your agent/publisher requested the review. This stands even if the review is negative—especially if the review is negative.
  • Don’t let a negative review get to you. Like I said, if you can learn something from it, then do. Otherwise file it away as one person’s opinion and forget about it.
  • Do be honest with yourself. It’s hard to do sometimes, but if you are, it will help make you better at your craft.

 Thanks for reading

-M

http://michaelamclellan.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelAMcLellanOfficial

Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today. If you enjoyed Michael A. McLellan, please feel free to leave a comment on this post. We’d love to hear from you! Please come back tomorrow morning to check out author, Jason Malcolm Stewart. Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

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#Guest #Author…Featuring Lance Oliver Keeble…Topic: #Rejection @Lance_O_Keeble

Hey Intellectual Minds! We’re on Day 6 of Mello & June’s Guest Post Takeover and we hope you’ve been enjoying thus far?! Even though we’re away, we miss you guys very much! But, we’ll be back in no time with book selections you love. However, in the meantime, get your favorite drink, have your eReaders handy and sit back and enjoy today’s featured guest author, Lance Oliver Keeble.  Let’s get to it. . .

 

Keebles Rules of Writing

  1. Write a lot
  2. Read a lot
  3. Finish what you write
  4. Find readers
  5. Rewrite
  6. Find an editor that is willing to kick you in the crotch.
  7. Pick up your ego
  8. Fix it
  9. Share it
  10. Be ok with rejection

Inevitably every author, no matter how many books they have written, published or sold will be asked by an aspiring author advice on writing. I did it. We all do. Funny thing is my advice is not too far off from those who advised me and those who advised them. Not to mention all those “well known authors” who have given advise in mass format. Upon examination, most of the rules are all similar. The only difference I can see is some of the rules are deeply tinged with the stinging bits of personal experiences thrown in based on trial and error.

There is no one size fits all to the formula. Yet, there are some things that are pretty close absolutes in those rules that must be adhered to get an aspirating author to his goals. One of which is my first rule, you must write, a lot. I myself have published. I have self-published one novel. Finished the sequel and I’m currently writing the third. Not to mention a couple of projects that are being hindered by my lack of time or poor time management, depending on any giving day. I also have several stories and poems in anthologies, magazines and blogs.

By no means am I successful in the traditional since. My advice comes from that experience, the experience of having more rejections than successes. Which brings me to my article and my last rule, get used to rejection.

Before continuing on about rejection, lets answer that burning question of success. What is your definition of success?

My definition is complicated but I will keep it simple because otherwise I will never finish this piece. I visualize my version of success as not just selling a million copies of my novels, though that would be wonderful. I would actually prefer a million loyal fans & readers. That to me is a better goal. I would also love to be respected, recognized and admired by my peers and luminaries as a singular talent and creative. So based on that goal, when I achieve that, I will probably write an entirely different type of blog, using the same advice I posted at the top.

So until than, let’s talk about something I do have extensive experience in, REJECTION!

We all hate rejection. We take it personally. I don’t know about you but I used to take it as a slight to my very existence. Come on, you can admit it, it is not JUST rejection, it is a deep seated well calculated plot to create pain, frustration and doubt that melts and dissolves your very core into primordial jelly. Like throwing a Popsicle into a volcano. It is the rejection of your looks, talents, abilities and character. A rejection that sinks us deeper into depression, leading us into a homicidal rage likes to which no editor could survive if they were in our presences. Just think of the Heart song, “If looks could kill”…

At least that’s how it feels.

What if I told you that most of the rejection you receive in your life has nothing to do with YOU. OK, maybe one of you, you know who you are, stop looking around, we can see you, especially now that the Internet has been compromised, Yes, you!

Back to taking rejection personally, what if it wasn’t, personal? What if rejection had nothing to do with YOU? What if the rejecter is flawed? Mind you, this way of thinking could cripple a large percentage of people who have succeeded and will succeed in the future because they use rejection as a motivator. For example, if you recall Michael Jordan, he used rejection to fuel an incredibly legendary career.

But, if that is ALL you have to fuel your drive to succeed or accomplish your goals, well now, fundamentally that can cause problems in the future. What happens to the individual who uses rejection to fuel their drive and then said person realizes and accomplishes their goals and their definition of success? That person could possibly become self-destructive or loathsome. Don’t believe me, consider any current wildly successful athlete, like Odell Beckham or successful music stars like Kayne West… Even the past is littered with those I’ve described. Consider Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson and their obsessive definition of success and acceptance. Wouldn’t you say it went too far? Maybe the lack of realistic goals and expectations was the cause of their detriment, I don’t know, but I do realize it was based on their fear of rejection, rejection rooted in their definition of success.

Back to rejection being personal. Be patient and hear me out on this. I tend to type how I think, which is all over the place.

I once knew someone who’s philosophy was, if you blatantly ask 100 people to have sex with you, there is definitely a good chance that at least one person will say, “Yes”. 1 out of 99 “No’s” was no sweat off that individuals nether regions. To this person’s philosophy, that one yes, was great odds?

Think about this, Baseball is the only popular sport where if you hit a baseball 20% to 30% of the time, you’re an all star! Conversely Basketball if you shoot 30% of your free-throws, save for maybe Shaquille O’Neal, no insult my man, don’t come over here and kick my ass, please, you’re not gonna be playing for very long. In Football, if you complete 30% of your passes, you will be out of the league before the next TV timeout! There are not that many sports that will tolerate thirty percentile in anything! OK, maybe soccer, shit, soccer is still difficult for me to conceptualize. It’s difficult for me to watch a sport where there is no scoring for a three whole hours. Maybe that’s why the fans go bunkers when there is a goal and when the game is finally over?

I can see why Baseball is America’s game. It is the only game you can eat, while playing and based on the statistics, celebrate mediocrity. It’s kind of crazy that sex is compared to Baseball. We have all heard the phrase, “Did you get to first base, second base, etc.?” Cause in these spots, sex, baseball, soccer, failure IS an option!!!

Hold on minute, maybe it’s not mediocrity that’s being celebrated, maybe there is something else. Let’s look at those low numbers. I open to suggest that those numbers are a measure of patience, endurance and tenacity. Maybe the skill level is so high or the competition so fierce, that its darn near impossible to succeed. So therefore that measurement of success is celebrated because success is so far and few between. Maybe what we are seeing is that it takes incredible skill to even hit a baseball 20% of the time. Could we equate that to writing?

I digress. What if the rejecter is flawed? That’s where we were right? What if those who say, “No” don’t even know what they are looking for? It happens in entertainment and sports all the time. You’ve heard the quote, “I am looking for an intangible.” Which is bullshit speak for, “I don’t know what I am looking for”.

What if the rejecters have unrealistic expectations? What if they are looking for that someone like someone they loved or dealt with in the past? Wouldn’t that make writing more like sex? You start out thinking you know what you want. You submit to who’s most available and you publish with who’s most interested in you. Only later to realize that maybe you could have been more discerning. In some cases you might even come to the epiphany that, well, you could have done better.

But like sex, don’t we need to experiment, endure missteps, so that we can, over time begin to develop an idea of what truly fits our needs, goals and desires? So consider this, publishers are doing the same thing? They don’t always know what they want until they find it. They have an idea of what they want. They try and then based on their definition of success and failure they continue to model against what they think works.

Let’s touch on repeating what works. What if what used to work doesn’t work any more? Like sex, you can keep doing that same tired routine but at some point if you don’t add some variety, things get stale. The routine becomes a chore. Next thing you know your flipping through Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health magazines for sex tips, and that is never good, trust me. So we as writers are always doomed to ask those we consider successful, what they did, so we can do it too.

Let me expound on imitating success. Here are some, I repeat, some of my favorite authors: Rod Serling, Orson Scott Card, Stephen R. Donaldson, Piers Anthony, Anne Rice, Chuck Palahniuk, Howard Chaykin, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Edgar Allen Poe, Homer & Dr. Seuss.

I admire them, all of them. I have often attempted to model my work after them, emulate them. I can NEVER truly be them. I can adopt things I learn from them. Extrapolate their style, work ethic, and ideals and meld them into my own style. But eventually ME comes out! Eventually what I do becomes my style. Right?

Which brings me back to the subject of rejection, we say to ourselves, “How can they reject me, I am just like this person or this person…I’m brilliant!” Mustn’t we realize it’s not US? It’s THEM? When you hear the word, “No!” or you receive it in an email, a cover letter or through no response or acknowledgement at all, should we really take it personally?

Here are some things you might want to consider doing when we’ve been rejected. First, we should go ahead and have our tantrum. It’s ok, be disappointed. I do it all the time. Then, ask yourself, “How could they be so stupid not to recognize my genius?” After which check and see if your work was technically sound. Ask yourself, “Was my query flawless?” Personally I hate queries. It’s a letter that must be kept to one or two pages and you’re required to describe the 5000 words or 150 to 300 pages of your creativity within those one to two page. Really, a letter bragging about how bitch’n an author I am? Just to get the queried person on the other end to want to read my actual work! Queries are a torturous extra step to lord power over you. At least that’s how it feels. In all actuality, it’s more than likely a way to weed through hundreds to thousands to millions of authors and writers that think they are the next New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner. Would you not agree?

Lets continue. So after we decide not to commit “Hara-kiri” and once you know that technically your gramar, punctuation, formatting and font is correct, and/or fits the stringent requirements of the publisher, who I believe think up these hurdles on a whim just to see who’s paying attention and wants an opportunity bad enough to follow the ever changing industry stipulations. Then you can be secure in your works overall specifications. I on occasion, question this, only because I have seen some awful stuff out there that has sold millions. This phenomenon puts into question, at least for me, these bullshit prerequisites asked for by potential publishers. I wonder how set in stone the dog and pony show for creative types really are. I know, I know, intangibles! Any-who! Once you believe you’re technically sound. Your query is good. You’ve covered the basic fundamentals of writing, “Beginning, muddle and end.” You have engaged your beta reader or readers. Than you have to move on to the next step, editing.

Editing can be great if you find an editor you mesh with, but let’s talk editors we most often have to submit our pieces to. I often wonder, “Why the title of editor?” It’s a crock! Publishers often expect me to turn in work that has been edited and proofread. If the work were interesting wouldn’t it behoove the editors to want to work with you and earn their editor credit, by fixing the minor flaws? Look I have often noticed publishers who’ve printed mistake riddle pieces and books themselves. So editing yourself so the editor doesn’t have to be redundantly comical! Or is it just me? Rant over. Style.

On to style: it seems to me that what it all comes down to, is the writer’s style and the reader’s preference. Again like lovers. You can find the perfect companion and your tête-à-têtes can be uninspired, awkward, possibly never getting in sync. You could find someone who rings all your bells and blows your whistles but there is no emotional depth, no true connection. So let’s just say that maybe, the editors, the gate keeps, don’t like your style, which again is a stinging affront to my talent and personality. Sigh.

Writing is more like sex than baseball. Writing is filled with lonely moments at home practicing by yourself, until you think you have perfected something. Once you are chock full of masturbatory loneliness, your desperation inspires you to overcome your fear and get out there and fumble around with someone other than yourself to see if you have what it takes, only to be rejected over and over and over until someone, you or they, lowers their expectations and gives in. The writer’s life, sad isn’t it?

That first experience can be underwhelming and filled with mistakes and pitfalls subjecting you with deep gut-wrenching buyers remorse. Leaving you walking away feeling used or a like you have settled. So you go back and practice alone, some more, until you get better and hoping right opportunity comes along. (God that’s embarrassing, how did we get here?)

Some writers will be lucky. They hit the ground running, working with established publishers, agents, and management. But with all that, they still have to apply all I have said earlier to finding their audience. There just is not guarantee, is there?

The odds of success as a writer/author are not worth mentioning here. This is about rejection. Not about overcoming the fear of rejection, because the fear of rejection remains, it’s always there, it never goes away. If it does, you cease to learn. You cease to appreciate what being an artist is all about. See, being an artist is about pouring your heart and soul into the things that move you, make you feel alive, the things that make you want to express yourself, mentally, physically, emotionally on paper. It’s what drives you to share with others, in hopes to find people like you who will appreciate what you have to offer. If you don’t have fear of rejection, tenacity, drive, and a hunger to connect with others, you as an artist cease to appreciate your gifts and those who would love to read what you have to offer. Wouldn’t you agree?

Let’s go back to discussing the “100 people rule”. We writers are desperate to share. The only way to share with others in our minds is Publish. For us, like the 1988 movie DOA, it’s publish or perish. Publish by any means necessary. But is that a good idea?

At some point in our writing careers shouldn’t we become a little more discerning or rebellious? Be more selective of the magazines, blogs or publishers we submit to? Even if we publish our own work, shouldn’t we be concerned with improving? Shouldn’t we concern ourselves with writing quality work, creating quality covers, finding quality printers, etc.? I mean print, lasts forever, right? Eventually we have to be rejected so we can learn to improve. Improvement is not a bad thing. Its how we get better at being us. Putting yourself out there allows us to connect with readers, editors and authors who we so hungrily ask advice from.

Connecting is important, especially readers. It only takes one out of a hundred, 10 out of thousand, and 10,000 out of a million to make an author a best seller. It starts with one. Stephen King had one fan, his wife. If it weren’t for her pulling Carrie out of the trash who knew what his fate would have been. Chuck Palahniuk and Paulo Coelho did not sell millions right away. Their initial publications barely sold 10k. But eventually someone saw something in them, an intangible and that ONE turned in to two and so on and so on.

When Stevie Wonder was discovered, they called him a little Ray Charles. When Prince was discovered he was considered the next Stevie Wonder. The world is always looking for the next. I am THAT next. YOU are THAT next! We must over come the fear of rejection. We must perfect our craft. We have to ignore the fear and put our work out there. It’s a way to discover ourselves and help others discover us. If your style fits what the world is looking for presently then the rest in timing and history. The thing is, you have to keep writing, submitting and failing. We have to remember to celebrate the small victories. You know, those times when you convinced that one person out of a 100 to say, ”Wow, this shit is pretty good! Who is that again?” Hopefully the answer will be, “Oh, That is so and so, they are gonna be the next…”

Thank you for reading, LOK

PS Maybe next time we can discuss procrastination fueled by fear…

Lance Oliver Keeble is an American Author whom at a very young age, fell in love with Art, Music, Acting, Writing and American Football. He participated in all of those activities throughout his young life. After a brief stint at CSULB, he became a firefighter to support his burgeoning family and because he loved helping people.

Lance is a long time fan of Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action, Thriller, Comic books, Graphic Novels and other various forms of fiction. Lance has a knack for many styles and genres and has developed a singular approach, many find difficult to stop reading.

Some of his favorite authors include; Rod Serling, Joe Nazel, Iceberg Slim, Nnendi Okorafor, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Stephen R. Donaldson, Piers Anthony, Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, Chuck Palahniuk, John Byrne, Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin, Dwayne McDuffie, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Homer, Dr. Seuss and his 6th cousin six times removed, Edgar Allen Poe.

Lance has published poetry in anthologies and in magazines. He has penned a superhero comic strip in 3 trade magazines for 3 years. A comic he is now developing into a Graphic Novel. Currently Lance is in the editing stages of the prequel to his current novel Globes Disease.

Lance continues to write and submit short stories. Currently he has Horror poetry in a few issues of 2016 Sirens Call, a short story titled “Nikia the Pandora” in the 2017 Super Hero Anthology titled Black Power and a short story titled “Tomb-Stoned Heart” in DGR 2017 spring publication. He is featured in a documentary “Colors in Darkness.

Lance Oliver Keeble is currently writing the 3rd book in his Globes Diseases series.

“LanceOliverKeeble@keebleink.com” he lit industries best kept secret, Lance Oliver Keeble, resides in Los Angeles, California. Where his blue collar experience and his diverse exposure helped shape his current style. A writer most his life, Lance is passionate for a variety of books, genres and authors. Lance Oliver Keeble’s current work is the Thrilling, Action, Science-Fiction, Horror Novel Series; Globes Disease. Do you have it?

Book info:

http://www.keebleink.com/purchasing-options.html

Social media:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLanceOliverKeeble

https://twitter.com/Lance_O_Keeble

https://instagram.com/keebleinkstagram/

Excerpts from his novel:

https://blumoonfiction.wordpress.com/tag/lance-oliver-keeble/

Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today. If you enjoyed Lance, please feel free to comment on this post. We’d love to hear from you. Please come back tomorrow morning to check out Author, Michael A. McLellan. Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

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#Guest #Author…Featuring Sage Adderley-Knox…Topic: I Make My Own Way…#BookBoost #Promo #YA #PNR #Giveaway @sageadderley

Good morning, Intellectual Minds! We’re on day five of our vacation and thinking ’bout ya! Of course, as we’ve stated before, we’d never leave you empty handed!  That’s just not how we get down at Mello & June. Oh no, we’re about making sure our readers always have something to enjoy!  And you know what, you’re in for a treat today!  Our special guest author, Sage Adderley-Knox, is an awesome writer and runs a very successful book touring company. You’ll be able to read all about her below. She has an interesting take on being an author. We like the way she thinks, and we’re positive you will too! Sit back and enjoy! Make sure you enter her giveaway! It’s a good one!

 

I Make My Own Way by Sage Adderley-Knox

I have been thinking a lot about the word author and how I am starting to feel disconnected from it. I would prefer to label myself a storyteller. The word author comes with all of these expectations – writing rules, a traditional path to follow or a self-publishing route that pretty much mimics the traditional route. It’s just not who I am or who I strive to be as a writer. I don’t care much about being a bestseller. My goal is to write a good story that makes readers feel something.

I wrote my first book a few years ago. It is a young adult novel called Invoking Nonna that falls under the paranormal and magical realism genres. The story was burning brightly within me, and it was a relief to get it out of my brain and on paper. After completing the manuscript, I had no desire to jump into the edits and begin work on a second draft. I wanted the story to cool. I needed a break. I wrote nonstop every day for a month until the story was complete. Then I got the bright idea to go on a physical book tour with a friend and rushed the entire book publishing process. I didn’t know better then. I look back now and think of how I should have done things differently, but I did my best with the knowledge I had at that time. My book went to print with way too many errors, and it haunted me the moment I held my ‘hot off the press’ book in my hands and came across error after error. It was depressing.

Typos happen. You’ll find typos in self-published books as well as books that come from the well-known publishers. They are a bummer no matter how you publish.

It messes with your confidence when you are promoting a book you aren’t truly proud of. It wasn’t until I wrote the first draft of my second novel, which is the follow-up story to my first book that I decided to go through Invoking Nonna and make the changes that had weighed so heavily on me. I also made the decision to have my cover re-designed. I simply wanted a fresh start with the second printing.

As I read through Invoking Nonna, I began to regain confidence in the story. I liked it. The characters made me feel, and I rode the wave of suspenseful moments. I was happy with it. I was proud of it.

Now, I am ready to work on book two. It’s time to go through the second draft with a fine-toothed comb. People ask when it is coming out. First, I said spring, then summer, and here I am halfway through July, and I haven’t moved a bit into the story and do you know what? I am completely okay with that. I don’t want to be the person to crank out stories just to rapidly build their list of works.

I want to feel an intense amount of joy when I hold my book in my hands and tell others about it. That means more to me than anything else. I want to focus on other writing projects, like zines, blogs, and nonfiction works; which is why I embrace the title storyteller. I want to tell stories my way and on my terms. I am dismissing the common rules and looking to make authentic connections with readers. I finally understand that you can build your writing journey to look however you want.

Invoking Nonna {Triple Goddess Series}

By Sage Adderley-Knox

Genre: YA {Adult Crossover} Magical Realism, Paranormal

Book Description

Maggie Sloan is a free-spirited teenager growing up in rural Georgia. Unlike her peers, Maggie is a witch and so is her mother. In addition to normal teenager rites of passage, she must learn about her family lineage and witchcraft. Her mother, Laura, keeps a tight lid on their family secrets – like the mysterious life and death of her grandmother who passed away before Maggie was born.

Practicing the craft will test solid friendships and introduce Maggie to new realms. While seeking the truth about herself and her family, Maggie is faced with danger from churchgoing classmates who will stop at nothing to make sure she is found out. Laura and Maggie strengthen their bond through witchcraft and work together to overcome their enemies. Are their magical gifts enough to keep them safe?

Praise for Invoking Nonna

“Invoking Nonna was a magical read, with a wonderful woven tapestry of female relationships. Maggie, a teenage witch just coming into her own, was believable and relatable.” – Lyndsay Johnson, author of Fire of the Sea

“Mix the need of self-discovery with learning about the tolerance (or lack thereof) of others and you, reader, have a wonderful book to get yourself lost in. The best part? It’s only the beginning of Maggie’s story (it’s only the first in a series!). “ – Celia Medrano-Ortiz, Book Fidelity Book Blog

Sage Adderley-Knox is the proud mama of three humans and a homestead full of animals. She is passionate about kindness, coffee, mental health advocacy, fat activism, and the DIY lifestyle. Sage is the owner of Sweet Candy Distro & Press, Sage’s Blog Tours, and writes the personal zine Marked For Life. She is also the creator of the body-positive zine FAT-TASTIC! Sage currently resides in the magical land of Olympia, Washington where she swoons over the breathtaking view of Mount Rainier.

Invoking Nonna is her first novel.

@sageadderley

http://www.sageadderley.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MyNameIsSage

 

Giveaway – 3 Print Copies of Invoking Nonna

Sage Adderley
 
Author of Invoking Nonna 
Zinester & owner of Sweet Candy Distro & Press 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today. If you enjoyed Sage Adderley-Knox, please feel free to comment on this post. We’d love to hear from you! Please come back tomorrow morning to check out Author, Lance Oliver Keeble. Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

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#Guest #Author…Featuring Ella J. Smyth…Topic: Taming the Dragon–A #Guide to #Dictation…#BookBoost #BookBuzz @EllaJSmyth

 

Hello Intellectual Minds!  We’re on Day 4 of Mello & June’s Guest Post Takeover! We hope you’re enjoying the topics you’ve read thus far! We have a very interesting guest post today. If you’ve ever wondered how to tame a dragon, or have been on a quest to figure that out, well look no further. Ella’s got you covered today! Please enjoy this very entertaining topic! Happy Reading!

Taming the Dragon–A Guide to Dictation

Every self-published writer knows that creating content quickly is key to success in today’s competitive market place. The faster you can write, the quicker you’ll have your first book or your first series.

There are several books on the market that will help you with this. My favorites are “2k to 10k” by Rachel Aaron, “Take Off your Pants!” by Libby Hawker, and “5000 Words Per Hour” by Chris Fox. I’ll link to all the books mentioned at the end of the post.

A common thread in all the books is the importance of outlining and dictating.

After getting serious about dictating, my productivity went from 1200 to 3500 words per hour (and still rising). It took me over six months to finish my first book from the moment I began writing it. My second book, largely dictated, took two months. And that’s even though I was lazy and distracted. I could have done it much faster, had I not taken days off when I didn’t feel like it or got sidetracked with other projects.

In this article, I’ll lay out in detail how I cracked the tough nut of dictation. I’m sure I have either ADHD or some other form of mental disorder that prevents me from concentrating on anything for longer than five minutes. If I can do it, so can you!

First Attempts at Dictation: Total Fail

I’d been writing for a couple of months when Monica Leonelle published “Dictate Your Book”. She was also interviewed on Joanna Penn’s podcast The Creative Penn. As a by-note—that podcast is required listening for any author who wants to get serious about their writing!

Monica explained in detail how her productivity exploded off the scale once she got comfortable with Dragon, the premier dictation software for Windows. I stress for Windows for reasons I’ll explain a little later.

I rushed out, bought her book, purchased a full price copy of the software for Mac… and crashed. I struggled with everything, from getting the software to recognize my accent to organizing my thoughts well enough to have anything to dictate in the first place.

I was so desperate that I contacted Monica via Twitter, and she very kindly replied with some great suggestions that helped a lot. I still had massive problems, however. I resigned myself to the fact that every writer is different, and not everything works for everybody. So I forgot about dictation and concentrated on learning the craft, writing on a regular basis, and publishing my first book.

2nd Attempt at Dictation: Much Better

Even though I’m a pretty fast typist, I never hit more than 1200 words per hour. Ever. Then a few months ago, I listened to yet another interview with Scott Baker which suddenly clarified a few things.

The lack of transcribing accuracy? Not my fault–the software for Mac has many known bugs that interfere with recognition and just generally drive users batty. One of the issues is the run-away cursor. You give a command, “Find [whatever word]”, and the cursor races through your entire document, with no way of stopping it. I literally walked away, made a cup of tea, talked to my mom for fifteen minutes, and the thing still wasn’t finished.

The fact that the software didn’t recognize my accent? Much less of an issue with the Windows version. Plus the training facility works a lot better. You dictate your text, then go through it and correct words that Dragon misunderstood. Next time, it knows how you pronounce it. Problem solved.

So I tried again. This time I bought the proper software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium. This program is often on sale for less than $100, so it’s worth keeping eyes and ears open. I highly recommend joining Dragon Riders on Facebook where sales are quickly announced. The group is a goldmine for information and best practice.

Using the windows version, I immediately got better. My word output increased from 1200 to 2000, some days even more. That still wasn’t enough, though. Part of the issue was that I would dictate, then immediately correct what I’d written. Bad idea. It screws with the correction feature of the program (so that Dragon can’t learn user pronunciation). And it slowed me down a lot.

Takeaway: get the Windows version Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium

3rd attempt at Dictation: Taking it Outside

I remembered both Monica and Scott enthuse about going for walks while dictating. I wasn’t initially keen on it—my neighbors already think I’m weird enough working from home and writing romances without letting them see me talk to myself. Then I thought, “whatever, it’s not their career.”

I purchased a lapel mic and a digital recorder and took it outside. Much better. It took away the constant going back over what I’d already written. The first time I went out, I walked for twenty minutes. But when I got back and hooked the recorder up for transcription, I got a nasty surprise. I’d only created 500 new words. My productivity had dropped from 2000 to 1500.

The reason were huge gaps of dead air while I was thinking of what to say next. My thoughts were scattering here and there. I couldn’t focus. I had no idea what to say next. It was painful. Then I read Libby Hawker’s book “Take Off Your Pants”. This opened my eyes to the importance of outlining. I used to sit down and just start writing. It felt intuitive, like a real writer would do. I never had much problem with “blank page anxiety” and could easily write ten-thousand words in several sessions.

Then I’d get stuck. My characters had acted themselves into dead-ends. I’d forgotten where I wanted them to be at the end of the book. Instinctively, I’d slip into clichéd tropes, over-emotional dialogue, ham-fisted characterization. Over the years, I’d started three books and abandoned them all a few chapters in.

Dictation requires you to decide beforehand what to write. You don’t need to have the whole book outlined in detail, but you should have a very good idea where you’re going with the next few thousand words. Once I’d gotten that into my thick skull, I created a rough outline, broke it into chapters, scenes, and eventually beats, and knew exactly what I’d be dictating.

So instead of walking around and feeling like my thoughts were behaving like cats that I wanted to herd into the same direction, I knew what beats I needed to hit in the next scene.

Beats

In case you’re not familiar with this term, it’s really easy: imagine you tell a friend that your car was hit by another driver today. The scene would be the accident. The beats are the details.

“I was driving along today when this guy in front of me started swerving from lane to lane. At first I thought maybe he was texting, but then I realized that he was crouched over. I thought that maybe he had a heart attack? So I stayed behind him but set my hazards and kept blowing my horn to alert other drivers. Then his head jerked up, and he hit the breaks. I had to stop suddenly, and a guy behind me hit my car.”

You’ve just created beats:

  • narrator is driving
  • guy in front not in control of car, maybe medical emergency?
  • narrator sets hazards and considers her options
  • sudden breaking
  • other car runs into narrator

You could write 100 words per beat and end up with a 500 word scene.
Takeaway: Dictation is so much easier when you know what you want to say.

Time to Talk to Myself

Now that I have the right setup, writing has become a pure joy. I outline all the key scenes, and this process gets easier every time I do it. I love outlining now—doesn’t mean that I won’t change direction if I feel like it, add more characters and side-plots, or come up with a completely different ending. Having a plot skeleton in place is awesome, though.

When I go for a walk, I know what scene I want to work on. I turn on my recorder and pretend I’m talking to a friend. I tell them what I’m planning to do, and what the beats are. This part of the recording is to warm up and get comfortable.

After I’ve done that, I begin a new recording. It took a bit of practice but I’m now very comfortable with adding punctuation as I speak (period) Just like that (period) (New line) (New line) I don’t bother with punctuating dialogue, though. That’s just irritating and easily added to when I edit later on.

Bringing It Home

When I get home, I plug the digital recorder into my PC and hit ‘transcribe’. Dragon does this automatically, and it’s kinda miraculous how the text appears on the screen out of no-where. This feature is only available with the Premium version so make sure you get Premium rather than the Home version!

Finally, you need to sit down and tell Dragon where it’s got it wrong. This is a little tedious but gets easier with time when Dragon learns your pronunciation. And that’s it!

Speeding up my word count means that I can produce a 60k novel in 20 days. Add weekends and days I don’t feel like it, and call it a month. A novel in a month. And it flows better, especially dialogue, than it ever did when I typed it all.

Word of Caution

Don’t give up too soon. It took me 2 YEARS to get to where I am now. I gave up again and again—if it weren’t for my stubbornness and constantly being told by other authors how much it changed their writing life, I wouldn’t have bothered. And IT’S SO WORTH IT!

Links mentioned in this blog post

Books

The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon: Using Speech Recognition Software to Dictate Your Book and Supercharge Your Writing Workflow by Scott Baker – this book has the best information on technical setup.

Dictate Your Book: How To Write Your Book Faster, Better, and Smarter by Monica Leonelle 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing: Revised Edition By Libby Hawker 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox

Podcast

The Creative Penn by Joanne Penn

Facebook Group

Dragon Riders—Authors Dictating

Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today!  If you enjoyed Ella J. Smyth, please feel free to comment on this post.  We’d love to hear from you!  Please come back tomorrow morning to check out Author, Sage Adderley-Knox.  Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

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#Guest #Author…Featuring Dariel Raye…Topic: Things My Grandma Taught Me/Seven Love Signals…#BookBoost #Promo #Giveaway @Pendarielraye

Welcome back Intellectual Minds! We’re rocking steady on day 3 of vacation, missing you like crazy.  But no worries, our guest authors got you! It’s always a pleasure to have you stop by and see what we’re up to!  And speaking of which, boy do we have a special treat for your eyes! If you’re lucky enough to still have your grandmother, you know how important a role it is she plays in your life! And if yours have passed on, such as ours, her memories will always live on through you. Special guest author, Dariel Raye, is sharing some of her grandma’s wisdom with us today. So, make sure you get comfortable and enjoy the read! 

In case you haven’t guessed it, I’m doing the Wonder Woman thing, but that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about today. I’m thrilled to be here, and I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks, MelloJune!

 Things My Grandma Taught Me: 7 Love Signals

Remember when Steve Harvey released “How To Think Like a Man?” Frankly, I love Steve and appreciate his honesty with women, but I was a little perturbed when the book became a bestseller because my Grandma had been telling me the same things since before I reached puberty, and she never made a dime. Now I realize not everybody had or has a Grandma like mine, but let’s face it, ladies, we’ve all wasted precious time on a deadbeat at least once in our lives. My heroes always eventually express their love in all 7 of these ways. Even though I write paranormal/urban fantasy romance, this really does apply to real, everyday life. Come closer, sit a spell, and I’ll tell you about the 7 love signals to watch for so you know you’re not wasting your time. I’ve got a thing for lists, so let us begin in random order:

1. He wants everyone to know you’re his.
Don’t mistake this for beating on his chest, handling you like a dictator, or posturing as if he somehow created you. Your man wants his friends and family to know that he’s with you, he wants to be seen with you, and he’s not trying to keep your relationship behind closed doors. He introduces you to his family and friends, and walks beside you instead of striking out ahead of you in public.

2. He listens to you and respects your opinion.
One of my pet peeves is a man who doesn’t value my opinion, and I hate to hear couples putting each other down, be it openly or subtly. I don’t want him to ask me about everything as if he can’t make a decision for himself, but when we’re discussing anything from politics to money, to what color tie he should wear, and he’s looking away, withholding verbal or non-verbal cues like eye contact, uh-huhs or mm-hmms, or discounting and disagreeing with me before I can finish vocalizing a thought, he’s gotta go.

3. He wants to do things for you. Talk is cheap.
Starting with my father, who was a contractor among many other things, the keepers in my life have always been men who let me know I don’t need to hesitate before calling on them when I need help. It’s one of the most important measures of love, the willingness to be there for you and help you do whatever you need. After I’d been divorced about a year or so, one of my old beaus looked me up and made contact. He verbally expressed interest in picking up where we’d left off when we were dating. Did I mention, talk is cheap? We went out a few times and started catching up on our lives, and I invited him over for dinner. During the course of our conversations, he told me he was an electrician. I’m a homeowner, and that translates to: there’s always something that needs to be done, fixed, or replaced. You know where this is going, don’t you? Long story short, I asked him to install an overhead light (that I’d purchased – I didn’t expect him to buy the thing), and although he agreed to do it, he acted as if he forgot. I forgot to return his phone calls or respond to his texts. Just in case you’re thinking that sounds harsh, fast-forward to a husband who calls you a nag just because you expect him to take out the trash or contribute to the household in some way. Point taken?

4. He not only tells you how he feels about you; he shows you.
Any man can say he loves you, but what’s he doing to back up those poignant words? How does he treat you in general? When he looks at you, can you see it in his eyes? Does he sound happy to hear from you when you call? Does he call you regularly and show concern for how you’re feeling? Does he make sure you’re able to get in touch with him in case of an emergency? Is he interested in what’s going on in your life even when it has nothing to do with him? Did I mention that talk is cheap? Words are nice to hear, but it’s all about his actions.

5. He’s protective.
Men and women often think differently, and thank God for both. We need one another. You might think it’s a brilliant idea to start showing houses after dark, but I can respect a man who cares enough about me to put his foot down and say “Woman, what are you thinking? If they have to wait until after dark to see the house, I’m coming with you.” Okay, so that was really specific, and when you’re in real estate, you can’t very well make a living without showing houses, but my point is that your safety is a priority to him. He wants to make sure you’re protected in some way, whether it’s accompanying you, making sure you’re trained in self-defense, or helping you get just the right automatic, pepper spray, and hand-knife. Folks are crazy, he knows it, and he takes precautions to protect you. Ultimately, he’s willing to offer his life for you, but we hope it never comes to that because we want to keep him around.

Born to protect, ruled by passion.

6. He supports your dreams.
This usually boils down to a time and space factor. For instance, if you’re an author, he doesn’t have to read your work, although that would be super fantastically awesome. As long as he gives you time and space to write in peace by taking care of some of the menial tasks we’re all too often forced to handle, he’s supportive. I once dropped a guy like rusty lead because he always wanted to take me out to do whatever he wanted, but he never showed for any of my recitals, concerts, or other performances. If the tables had been turned, I would have been his most loyal fan. Not only that, but he would have expected it. Same principle applies if you love to knit, read, or if you’re starting a small business. It’s about caring enough to perpetuate your personal growth, and providing that extra time and space to give you time and space to pursue your purpose.

What happens when a sheltered cat shifter falls for a time-bending fey?

7. He improves your life with his presence, and he’s generous with his resources.

This is actually two separate things, but I’m sticking with the number 7.

He adds something, a list of intangible somethings, in fact, to your life. Maybe he makes your heart lighter because he makes you laugh, or his strength gives you peace you miss when he’s not around. He’s the one person who can say “It’s gonna be okay,” and you believe him because you know he’s going to do everything in his power to make it so. He willingly shares his tangible resources with you. He doesn’t have to have a lot, but stinginess translates to selfishness, and selfishness has no place in a good relationship.

This list is certainly not comprehensive, and I’m sure I’ll think of something really important to add as soon as it’s published, but these are some of the main highlights and deal breakers. Wise women knew the rules long before we were born, but over time, many of us have slipped and fallen into stifling if not toxic relationships with deadbeats. That’s another post for another day. I’d love to hear about some of your “rules” and experiences in comments. Also, share this post with some of your friends. Nobody has time or energy to waste on unhealthy relationships, and we can all learn from each other’s successes and mistakes. If you’re so inclined, click my logo, cover collage, or right here for more info about me, my books, other people’s books, and my random musings. You can also find me on Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and for first dibs on everything, join my VIP Book Club. You’ll also receive 3 of my books when you join the book club. May you go forth and prosper like honeybees.

 

Two Heroes You Don’t Want To Miss

People always ask me who my favorite characters are, and I feel like a mother who’s just been asked to choose a favorite child. Can’t be done. Each one is different and pulls at your heartstrings in his or her own way, but no Mother’s Day award-eligible mother can easily or publicly say which child is her favorite.

That said, please allow me to introduce you to two of my most recent heroes. Of course, they possess all of my required qualities: loyalty, protectiveness, and more. Apart from that, each one is quite different. I love them, and hope you will as well.

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Broken dreams, an ancient enigma tainted by the past, a mystical bond beyond time and space.

Thrilled about receiving funding for her new outreach program, Jaci meets Andreus and embarks on a journey wrought with mystery and answers to questions that have plagued her for years.

Three years after the accident, Jaci Allen believes she is as lost now as she was the day she awakened to the sudden, tragic deaths of her husband and two year old daughter. Throwing herself into her work has allowed her to avoid the reminders of her broken dreams, leaving her dangerously empty inside, always seeking…something.

Accused and convicted of the murder of his adoptive mother’s husband at the age of sixteen, Andreus admits his guilt, but acknowledges to himself that his memories of the night the abusive man was killed remain incomplete at best.

Meeting Jaci ignites the awakening of Andreus’ frightening special gifts – gifts he has not only tried to hide from the rest of the world, but from himself. Can two shattered souls find a way to heal one another?

 

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About the set…

Dare to discover what lurks in the shadows in **New & Exclusive** paranormal and urban fantasy stories from your favorite NY Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors.

Under moonlit skies, witches, werewolves, vampires, demons, dragons, and more, battle not only for their mates, but to stay alive…

Fall for the alphas who play by their own rules despite the odds, whether century-old curses or forbidden love, or worse. For them, what lies in the darkness is worth the fight when it comes to romance.

Dangerous Beauty, Sexy Beast

Drayden saved her life— but her incessant need for vengeance could mean the end of his.

Thirteen years after the brutal murder of Treva Evers’ entire family, a cloaked stranger shows up just in time to save her from the same fate. When he disappears as quickly as he appeared, she is drawn into an underworld replete with magic and long forgotten customs, a place where nothing is as it seems, including her mysterious savior, and every word or action could result in brutal consequences.

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Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today. If you enjoyed Dariel Ray, please feel free to comment on this post. We’d love to hear from you! Please come back tomorrow morning to check out Author, Ella J. Smyth.  Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

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#Guest #Author…Featuring Tysha Jordyn…Topic: #Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt…#BookBoost #Promo @tysha_jordyn

What’s up Intellectual Minds?  We hope you enjoyed Author N.D. Jones guest post yesterday?!  We’re on Day 2 of our vacation, and while we’re sitting back and relaxing, it is our hope that you, too, sit back and enjoy this great topic by our special guest author, Tysha Jordyn. What’s love got to do with it you say? Nothing! Check out what Tysha has to say on how to deal with the four-letter-word that takes on many different forms for each and every individual.  Enjoy!

Love Doesn’t Have To Hurt

If you’ve ever been in love, like truly in love, then you know it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Better than ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Better than finding out that your favorite pair of jeans fit after slaving to drop those last few pounds — you get the idea. Being in love is like the ultimate high, and if you’ve ever been there, you know that the way you think and move is completely different in the face of true love. Unfortunately, you can’t enjoy the highs of love without the lows, and for some couples, the lows of love are beyond rock bottom and slip into a dark place that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy: abuse.

It’s no secret that abuse can manifest itself in many forms, can rear its ugly head through many acts, and it always stings a lot more when it’s served at the hands of someone that’s promised to love you to the ends of the earth. When this happens, it feels like a betrayal, and that’s exactly what it is. Whether you’re the abuser or the victim, the mere existence of the abuse is evidence of a betrayal of trust. When you give your heart to someone and agree to love them genuinely, you’re committing to protecting their heart from harm. This betrayal of trust leaves you with a gaping wound that feels as though it will never heal. It may even leave you feeling like you’re unworthy of love, but I can’t even let you fall into that trap, so let me help you side-step it. Yes, it is possible to find a healthy, genuine love after you’ve experienced the betrayal of trust that is abuse, and I’d like to share a few gems to help you not only find, but keep that well-deserved love.

  1. Break up with your experience.

I know this is easier said than done, but it’s important to be able to separate yourself from the abusive experience you’ve endured. Yes, you’re a survivor, and no, it was not your fault. Plain and simple. Your pain was something that happened to you, not something that defines you. You broke up with your abuser, so do the same with the experience itself.

  1. Remember that time really does heal wounds.

There’s no magic formula to determine how much time is needed to heal the wounds of your abusive experience, but it’s imperative that you give yourself time to process and work through your pain before diving into another relationship. It’s just as important an aspect of caring for yourself as making sure your body is fed and hydrated sufficiently. Think of it like this: if you go into a store with a full shopping cart, how will you have room for any new purchases?

  1. Red means stop. Know the flags.

Ever hear how a person has a “type?” That’s especially true in relationships, and in order for you to exercise self-preservation and avoid landing in another abusive relationship, it’s vital that you know what an abuser “looks like,” figuratively speaking. The danger of abusive individuals is that they’re often highly manipulative and cunning; they sell you a dream of a happily ever after (with a straight face), knowing good and well they have no intention of living up to the picture-perfect persona they hook you with. Once you know the red flags, you can nip the abuser’s game in the bud, keep it moving, and save yourself a ton of pain.

  1. Don’t cheat yourself out of a good thing.

Again, easier said than done. Once you’ve endured abuse, it’s very difficult not to look at your future potential mates as a reincarnation of your abuser. It’s hard not to blame a new suitor for the trauma inflicted by a past mate. Doing so is a clear sign of fear, and a good indicator that you may not be ready to get back out there in the dating pool just yet. No worries, because you’re free to take as much time as you need to push past that fear. It’s most important to focus on your well-being, and to make sure you bounce back from the trauma of abuse like the winner that you are. After all, you’re a survivor! There will always be fish in the sea, so focus on getting back to loving yourself first, and your happily ever after will come in due time.

You will always hear that love hurts, and yes, there will be disappointments and let-downs in love, but abuse is never okay. Rest assured that there is love after abuse, so know your worth and be ready and willing to embrace it!

Domestic violence is an issue near and dear to my heart, so I crafted a heart-wrenching story of one young lady’s journey from the lows of abuse to the highs of a fresh, new love. Crushin’ On A Boss spins a tale of this young lady’s journey to find herself while getting a taste of the highs of real love. Be sure to check it out and leave me a review!

Want free books? Visit www.tyshajordyn.com for more info!

Follow me on IG/Twitter: @tysha_jordyn

Visit me on Facebook: facebook.com/tysha.jordyn

Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today! If you enjoyed Tysha Jordyn, please feel free to comment on this post.  We’d love to hear from you.  Please come back tomorrow morning to check out author Dariel Raye. Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

 

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#Guest #Author…Featuring N.D. Jones…Topic: A Reflection on Self #BookBoost #Summer #Fun #Amreading @NDJonesAuthor

Hello Intellectual Minds! We’re away for the next two weeks, but our special Guest Authors will be bringing you great topics and fun giveaways to last while we’re on a much needed break. We miss you guys already, but we’ve left you in capable hands. One of our favorite authors is kicking off our two-week summer fun reading. Please welcome back to Mello & June, Author N.D. Jones. She’s a special friend of ours and graciously agreed to get this party started as only she knows how!  So, let’s give our special guest a warm welcome.  Without further ado, Author N.D. Jones…

A Reflection on Self

Death and Destiny, a paranormal romance trilogy with witches and shapeshifters, is my first full-length series. “Of Fear and Faith,” the first book in the series, was published in 2014. Sanura Williams, a fire witch, and Assefa Berber, a were-cat shapeshifter, are my heroine and hero of the series. From my early beginnings with the trilogy, I’ve grown along with my characters. And now that I’ve finished the series, with my upcoming release, “Of Deception and Divinity,” I can reflect back on my journey as a writer, as well as the winding turns my characters have taken under my thoughtful imaginings.

Isn’t that what life is about? Learning. Growing. Improving. What in your life have you accomplished that makes you proud or happy? What goals have you yet to achieve? What steps will you take to reach your goal(s)? What resources exist that will help you improve and move forward? Are you the reflection of yourself you want to see in the mirror?

As an author, mother and wife, I have to ask myself those questions, and much more. The answers are my driving force, especially the ones that are hardest to hear and to accept. Truth of self can be found among those you most trust. But also from individuals you don’t know well, or may not even like. All opinions not equally valuable, all compliments are not useful, and all criticisms should not be discarded.

An author receives all three, from friends, family, colleagues, and readers the world over. Hard truths, they can often be. But how an author chooses to reflect upon and use them is the difference between standing still and moving forward

I decided to share the video below, an acceptance speech given by Denzel Washington. When I first saw the video, his words resonated with me as an author who works hard to hone the craft of engaging storytelling. For me, inspiration comes in many forms, and hardly at all when I expect. But, often, when it is most needed.

Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win an autographed copy of “Of Fear and Faith”

 

What/Who inspires?

Thank you for stopping by and showing your love to our guest author today.  If you enjoyed Author N.D. Jones, please feel free to comment on this post.  We’d love to hear from you!  Please come back tomorrow morning to check out Author Tysha Jordyn. Until next time, Intellectual Minds, Keep on Reading!

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#Book #Promo…Love, Luck & Clusterf*ck…#BookBoost #Romantic #Comedy #OnTour with @HEAPRMore @BreeDahlia #HEAPR

 

LOVE, LUCK & CLUSTERF*CK by Bree Dahlia

is available for PRE-ORDER for only .99¢!

AMAZON | B&N

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LOVE, LUCK & CLUSTERF*CK by Bree Dahlia

Legal Series; Standalone

Romantic Comedy

Release Date: August 14th!

Would you give up your best friend for one night of passion?

From the author of the Legal series comes a hot and hilarious new STANDALONE.

I met him on the luckiest day of the year.

Of course, I wasn’t aware of his true identity at the time. I only knew him as the arrogant blond god who gave me a shamrock necklace. For luck.

 As if I needed it.

Okay, maybe I did. But it was presumptuous of him to assume I wanted his help – all because he made it his business to pry into my personal conversation.

I, Perry Sommers, want a life makeover.

I want to stop being so impulsive and start acting like a grown up.

I want to settle down and have a real relationship, instead of a series of clusterf*cks.

I want to fall in love. Just not with this man.

But love isn’t fair. It doesn’t care if someone is off-limits, and Stephen Davidson definitely is. I can handle that. Our intense chemistry tests me on a near constant basis. I can handle that too.

What I can’t handle is how much I’ve come to need him in my life. I never expected this infuriating hard-ass to become my best friend, but now that he has, I never want to let him go.

I can’t destroy the bond we share, but there is only so much a woman can take before she breaks.

Before she throws it all away for one perfect night.

** This friends to lovers standalone takes place six years before Legal. It does not need to be read in conjunction with the others in the series. **

 

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Bree Dahlia is an unconventional romance junkie. She loves reading it but adores writing it even more. Her stories range from lighthearted to sizzling with that satisfying Happily Ever After ending and a touch of the unexpected. She favors themes of friendship, forgiveness, and unconditional love with alpha characters and eccentric tastes.

She holds degrees that she does nothing with and has experienced a long string of jobs that have left her unfulfilled. Only as an author, has she truly found her passion. When not crafting stories in her small Wisconsin town, she hikes unbeaten trails, watches hockey games, and wishes she didn’t detest cooking so much.

Dahlia is her middle name. Her last name is more suitable for a horror writer.

Sign up for Bree Dahlia’s Newsletter!

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Connect with Bree Dahlia!

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#Cover #Reveal…Hidden Enemies…#BookBoost #Adult #Romance #Suspense @XpressoTours

Hidden Enemies
Andrea Bills
Publication date: September 12, 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

If Tayler Kline’s father was the king of the hotel chain business, then she was the princess. From the time she was born, she had been groomed to work for her father, and one day take over his dynasty.

Tayler had never questioned her predetermined life plans. Not until an explosion rips through Kline Industries offices, and during her escape from the explosion two men try to kill her. Luckily, for Tayler her dad had always been a paranoid man. The night before he had saddled her with her usual company issued bodyguard, Calvin. As chaos consumes Tayler’s life, there’s one person who remains her steadfast protector, Calvin.

Calvin’s first day on the job he had busted the then reckless seventeen-year-old Tayler as she snuck out of her father’s home. She had captured Calvin’s heart from that first moment. As much as he wanted her he, though, he knew there was no room for a poor boy from a small town, in the hotel princess’ life.

After two attempts on Tayler’s life, Calvin has no option but to take her and go on the run. With only each other to rely on, the run down motels, and dive bars they’re hiding out in have the attraction between them building. Calvin’s no longer the security guard that annoys her at every turn. He’s a man who has stolen one too many kisses, that have left Tayler breathless and riddled with desire. She’s the woman that can’t stop undressing him with her eyes, leaving him wanting more than he deserves from a woman out of his league.

Explosions rumble in and out of the bedroom in this romantic suspense. Will their years of friendship turn into more? Can Calvin figure out where the enemy hides, while he struggles to keep his hands to himself?

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Andrea spends her time while she’s not dreaming up friends and villains alike chasing after her two kids and husband at their home in rural West Virginia. Her guilty pleasure once the kids are asleep is to read. She reads everything she can get her hands on and then she reads it over and over and over again. Her all time favorite book is secretly tucked away under her bed looking very war battered from the hundreds of reads. The Power Series is her breakthrough series as an indie author. She attributes her writing skills to her overactive imagination, and her husbands wacky dreams.

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#Bookblitz…The Boy I Hate…#BookBoost #NA #Romance #Giveaway @AuthorTSullivan @XpressoTours

The Boy I Hate
Taylor Sullivan
Publication date: August 12, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Samantha Smiles and Renee Montgomery have been best friends for over a decade. They’ve shared laughs, secrets, and a mutual hatred for one person: Tristan Montgomery, Renee’s older brother. He was the guy every girl wanted, and every guy wanted to be, and it wasn’t uncommon they’d befriend his little sister just to get closer to him. Which was exactly how Samantha became Renee’s saving grace. She was the only girl Renee could trust not to fall in love with her older brother.

Until the one night Samantha spent with him alone, leaving her questioning everything she’d ever known about the blond headed heart-throb.

Years later, Renee asks Samantha to be her maid of honor. With no other option, Samantha is forced to drive cross-country with the focus of their teenage ire.

He was her first kiss.

Her only secret.

Can Samantha survive the trip cross-country with the reckless Tristan Montgomery? The guy who did what he wanted, whenever he wanted, without worry for tomorrow? Or will she discover a different side of him. One that’s sweet, funny, and maybe a little bit vulnerable. And fall completely and helplessly in love for the first time in her adult life with the one man who could cause her to lose her best friend forever?

Goodreads / Amazon

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Request a review copy of The Boy I Hate here!

She looked down to the parking lot, seeing his Mustang still parked below, and knew she was about to lose it. She headed for her own room, placed the breakfast on the nearby table, then rid of every last drop of patience, began pounding on Tristan’s door.

“Wake up you lazy bastard! Wake up, or I swear to God I’ll beat this door down with my fists.”

A large boom sounded from inside the room, and Samantha smiled with satisfaction as she continued to pound. “That’s right,” she whispered. “Get up you lazy ass—”

But before she could finish her sentence, the door was yanked out from under her. She stumbled forward, barely able to catch her footing, and slammed face first into warm, solid, skin.

She froze, because the glimpse she caught on the way down wasn’t one she ever thought she’d see. It was a very large, very bare, and very “Good morning” version of Tristan Montgomery.

“Please tell me you’re not naked,” she whispered, but it was mostly to herself, because she didn’t really need him to answer. She squeezed her eyes shut, took one step backward, and turned around.

They both stood there, quiet and still, and she tried to recover her heart. The sight of Tristan in nothing more than his birthday suit left her feeling dizzy. She’d seen many naked men in her days, though until now, the only one she’d seen in person was Steven. Especially this close up.

“Well?” he finally asked, when she remained silent.

Well? Well… Tristan was much…larger than Steven. Much larger in every way imaginable.

She cleared her throat, knowing her voice would’ve cracked otherwise. “It’s ten in the morning,” she answered with more confidence than she felt.

“And?” But his voice was thick and husky, and she could swear he was having as difficult a time recovering as she was.

“It’s time to go.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” she said, hating how the tone of his voice sent a shiver down her spine. “And you should really put some clothes on. The people of Utah don’t want to see…that.”

He chuckled, but shifted slightly behind her. “Hate to break it to you sweetheart, but a lot of people want to see that.”

She cringed, because she knew it was true. Like in high school, she knew women lined up to catch the barest glimpse of Tristan.

He moved quietly behind her, his steps so soft you’d never know they came from a man of his size. “You can turn around now.”

She raked her teeth over her bottom lip, taking the very corner and chewing it before turning to face him. He still had no shirt on, his feet were bare, but he wore a pair of old gray sweats resting so low on his hips you could tell he wasn’t wearing anything underneath.

“Aren’t you freezing?” she asked, feeling a shiver run through her own body.

“No,” he said, leaning against the doorway and crossing his feet at the ankles. A tiny grin teased at the corner of his mouth, and she knew he was having too much fun at her expense.

She turned toward the Mustang, not attempting to hide her irritation. “I brought you breakfast,” she said quickly.

“That’s nice of you.”

“It’s not nice. Just my way of getting your lazy ass out of bed.”

He threw his head back with laughter. “Are you always this pleasant in the morning?”

Pressing her lips together, she wasn’t about to let him to pull her into another argument. “We need to go,” she said, turning on her heels and opening the door to her room.

She walked inside, hoping the action would give him the hint to do the same. “I’ll have your breakfast waiting for you in the car.” But before she closed the door, she could swear she caught him smiling.

“My God.” she whispered, resting her forehead against the wall, taking in all the air she’d forgotten to take over the last two minutes. “Three more days. Just three more days of Tristan Montgomery.” She repeated the last words over and over, gathered up the rest of her belongings, and headed for the car.

Author Bio:

Taylor is mom of three young (or not so young) children she loves more than life. She runs them around endlessly, hoping she looks presentable enough to be out in public, and day dreams about fictional characters. Maybe she’s crazy, or maybe she craves the barbie games she played as a little girl a little too much, but that’s where her stories are born. It’s where they blossom, and grow, and eventually breath life on the page of her stories.

She’d love to hear from you. (Or I’d love to hear from you. I wrote this in 3rd person to sound cooler)

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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#Bookblitz…Crescent Calling…#BookBoost #Adult #UF #Giveaway @axelle_chandler @XpressoTours

Crescent Calling
Axelle Chandler
(The Crescent Witch Chronicles #1)
Publication date: August 9, 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Skye Williams is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life. Or so she thought. When she receives news of her estranged mother’s death, she must go to Ireland to claim her inheritance, but when she arrives in the tiny village of Derrydun, she isn’t prepared for what she finds nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.

Lumped with a funeral, her mother’s crystal shop, a moody goth girl for an employee, and a crumbling cottage with horrible floral curtains, selling up and getting out sounds like a great plan, but everything and everyone seems determined to keep her from going home. Skye doesn’t want any part of her mother’s life or the people of Derrydun until she sees the hot Irishman she’s been crushing on turn into a fox. More absurdly, he tells her her dead mother was a witch who battled evil fairies, there’s magical trees growing in the centre of the village, there’s a parallel universe where the fair folk live, and she’s meant to be the last defense of the magical peoples of Ireland. Turns out Skye Williams was never an ordinary woman. Not by a long shot. She’s the last Crescent Witch and has a destiny to fulfil. Whether she likes it or not.

The Crescent Witch Chronicles is a series stuffed full of Irish charm, myth and mayhem. Come on an adventure fraught with danger and forbidden romance…and the ultimate battle to save magic before it’s gone forever.

Goodreads / Amazon

That night, as Buddy kept me company, I fell asleep to the sound of wind howling through the trees outside. Plagued with dreams of wolves, I tossed and turned until I slipped into a deep slumber.

When dawn finally broke, I was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and my head was stuffed with cotton wool. I’d slept but not really. A heavy burden was over my heart, and my body had become twisted in the quilt, my feet trapped.

Ugh, I was all hot and sticky. I kicked, trying to shift the uncomfortable weight and turned over, but it didn’t budge. Lifting my head, my eyes cracked open, sleep still clogging my head. That was when I saw a lump at the end of the bed. A very large, man-shaped lump.

Now completely awake, I screamed, scrambling up the bed. It was Boone. A very naked Boone.

He started, his head shooting up, and when he saw me, he rolled and fell off the end of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Scrambling to his feet, his face turned a deep shade of crimson.

“Oh, shit,” he cursed, covering his junk with his hands. “Oh, cac.”

Cac?” I yelled. “I’ll give you bloody Irish cac!

Grabbing the lamp on the bedside table, I pushed up onto my knees and swung it with all my might. The plug popped out of the wall, and the shade barely missed Boone’s face, but the cord came around and whipped him directly on his bare ass.

He howled in pain and retreated across the room.

Pervert!” I shrieked.

“Let me explain,” he said, holding up his hands and leaving nothing to the imagination.

“Explain? What’s there to explain?” I shouted, trying not to look at his you-know-what. “You were asleep on the end of my bed…naked!” I swung the lamp at him again, barely missing his head. “You’re still standing there. I can see your meat and two veg!

“Oh, cac,” he said again. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way…”

“Find out what? That you’re a pervert, who sneaks into women’s homes butt naked?”

 

Author Bio:

Axelle Chandler is an Australian Urban Fantasy author. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne dreaming up nail biting stories featuring bad-ass witches, hunky shape shifters and devious monsters. She likes chocolate, cat memes and video games. When she’s not writing, she likes to think of what she’s writing next.

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#Bookblitz…The Last Dragon Rider…#BookBoost #Adult #Fantasy #Romance @ErrinKrystal @XpressoTours

The Last Dragon Rider
Errin Krystal
(The Wild Realms of Véneanár, #1)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: August 9, 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Trained as an elite warrior from childhood, the elven crown prince Flintathriël fights to bring a stop to a war that began before he was born. With the aid of his betrothed Sairalindë, a skilled mage and dragon rider in her own right, they must find the Book of Souls – an ancient and mysterious tome rumored to have belonged to the god Hath’Raal.

When the missing book turns up in the hands of Mnuvae, the bastard child of the dead king, Flintathriël finds himself fighting to not only save his people from this new threat but also trying to keep Sairalindë safe when Mnuvae takes over the dragons in her attempt to win back the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers.

The love Flintathriël and Sairalindë share shines pure and true, but when the smoke of the battle clears, will their hearts survive the aftermath of war or will their love become a casualty that cannot be revived?

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She began wrapping the cloth tightly about her, binding her breasts firmly, criss-crossing the gauzy fabric around her torso and across her stomach, tying it off at her hip. She shimmied into a pair of leather leggings and reached for her foot wraps. To other races—like the dwarves and humans—the elves lack of footwear was strange. The elven people had strong ties to the lands, their magic and mystique were inexplicably linked. Even those who did not practice magic felt the connection to nature, and the elven people had maintained the practice throughout their long history.

After binding her feet and leaving only her toes exposed, she tossed an olive green tunic over her head before quickly weaving her tresses into a thick braid.

Sivath was waiting, and Flintathriël was late. Again.

She was reaching for her leather jerkin when he finally appeared in her doorway.

Arms akimbo, he slouched against the frame, all lean muscle and sharp angles beneath his leathers. Silver-white hair fell across his forehead, hiding the dark arches of his brows as he gazed at her with silvery blue eyes. The mop of hair barely touching his shoulders. His coloring typical of the royal family.

Her gaze traced his tattoos. Sweeping vines encompassed runic symbols, curling downward from his bottom lip, winding and weaving their way down his chin and neck. She knew every line that twisted and spread across his shoulders, and across his back. Etchings that disappeared beneath his tunic and reappeared along his arms. She still remembered the day he received the markings, branding him Nuvian. The day she first gave herself to him, the day she truly became his.

 

Author Bio:

Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.

She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.

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#Bookblitz…Too Beautiful for Words…#BookBoost #Mystery #Detective @authronaldjames @RABTBookTours

Mystery, Detective
Date Published: July 2017
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Private Investigator, Sammy Shovel, finally gets the client of a lifetime and rushes to claim his jackpot, but he soon discovers—wealth and pearl coincide.
 
Beloved Golden Opportunities, CEO, Joel Ceja, is found murdered one foggy morning. Three months after Joel’s death the police are stumped, they still have no clues to his murder. Golden Opportunities’ employees feel they’re being stonewalled and decide to hire Shovel to assist the police. Sammy accepts, figuring it was nothing more than a local homicide.
 
However, in no time at all, he’s mired in international quicksand filled with a worldwide assassinations ring—and he wants out. But greed overcomes his common sense.
 
He runs from firefight to firefight to get to the truth, but his adversaries dupe him time and again.
 
You may deceive Sammy—some of time. But when he put’s it altogether—run bother, run for we all know Sammy’s a shoot first and ask questions later type a guy.

About the Author

 
Ronald M. James was born during the great depression, and as a toddler watched WPA men build a new street, from his home’s big front window. His playmates were a red rider wagon, a small black satchel and rocks. By using his imagination he had conversations with mythical street workers that bloomed into fashioned fantasies by age four. He used cardboard boxes to create fun spaces for his neighborhood playmates to enjoy and he kept telling stories all through high school. In college he abandoned writing and studied architecture. James had a successful architectural career and retired, however he wanted to keep his creative juices fluent, so he returned to his childhood story telling days and joined a writers group.

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#Bookblitz…The Grand Valley Series…#BookBoost #Adult #Contemporary #Romance #Giveaway @LioraBlake @XpressoTours

First Step Forward
Liora Blake
(Grand Valley #1)
Published by: Pocket Books
Publication date: November 29, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

A charming love story for romance and sports fans alike, First Step Forward is a sexy, heartwarming romp perfect for readers of Jennifer Probst, Kristan Higgins, and Julie James.

Second Chance Season
Liora Blake
(Grand Valley #2)
Published by: Pocket Books
Publication date: June 20, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Return to Liora Blake’s Grand Valley series with Second Chance Season, in which an avowed country boy with a family duty meets an ambitious city girl with even bigger goals and who shows him just what he’s been missing.

Garrett Strickland is unapologetically country, fiercely loyal, and perfectly happy with his job at the Hotchkiss Co-op. Garrett is all about living in the present and not dwelling in the past—even if he was once on his way to a lofty agricultural sciences degree that would guarantee the brightest of futures, only to end up back home when his old man died, leaving behind a debt-ridden family farm that was impossible to keep afloat. After that, it was easy to see why dreaming big wasn’t worth the heartache. And until he crosses paths with a city girl who’s hell-bent on kick-starting her own future, he’s sure that good enough is just that.

Cara Cavanaugh is ready for more from life, even if that means changing everything; including dumping her boyfriend of ten years, turning down a lucrative job at a major newspaper, and leaving behind the upscale suburbs of Chicago where she grew up. Now, she just has to pray that temporarily relocating to the middle of nowhere in Colorado will be the first step in building a career as a freelance journalist—all she has to do is prove she’s got what it takes to make a name for herself. Unfortunately, her tony country day school is as close to “country” as she’s ever been. But when a goodhearted guy who looks like he just stumbled out of a country music video offers to help, she ends up falling hard…and discovering that the perfect story is a love story. And it’s theirs.

Second Chance Season, book two in the Grand Valley series, is a charming, feel-good romance, perfect for fans of Jennifer Probst and Kristan Higgins.

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SECOND CHANCE SEASON

Despite her excitement over the upcoming Hotchkiss booster event, as we walk out to the truck, I’m on edge, waiting for the inevitable browbeating I’m sure she‟ll eventually remember to give me. Whitney does not disappoint.

“Just out of curiosity, was that necessary?” “What?”

I drop the tailgate on my truck. I know exactly what she’s talking about, but this feels like the kind of moment when you play dumb for as long as you can.

She won’t understand. She can’t possibly understand what it feels like to be a guy, fall for a woman harder than a box of rocks off a skyscraper, and hate having any other man within a three-state radius of her. It isn’t about trust or lack thereof, it isn’t about thinking she isn’t capable of handling herself—she can, because she’s amazing. And, all her amazingness is part of the problem. Amazing women are amazing. Men like amazing.

She sighs. “The whole ‘I’m here now’ bullshit. Garrett’s a good kid. I emphasize the word kid. There wasn’t any need to stick a flag in the ground next to my feet and proclaim my body to be a sovereign state recently claimed by you and your man-parts.”

I set the dormant oil in the bed and close the gate, then gesture for her to move around the side of the truck.

“I’m sure he is a good kid. But he’s also thought about bending you over the front counter in there and giving you his own personalized seed report, babe.”

As I open the passenger-side door for her, she freezes and screws her face up.

“There are so many things wrong with that statement. ‘Seed report’? Gross. He hasn’t ever thought about that.”

“He’s a guy. You’re a beautiful, interesting woman who, I guarantee, is totally different from what he’s used to. Different and unique fascinates us—and intrigues our dicks. So he’s absolutely thought about it.”

I sweep my hand toward her seat to urge her to get in the truck. She narrows her eyes and pins her gaze on me. I sigh. “What?”

“You’ve been such a Neanderthal over the last few days. First, the no-riding-shotgun thing, and now this. That’s also the third time you’ve called me ‘babe’. And I can‟t quite figure out how I feel about that.” She takes a step forward, putting one foot on the running board, but doesn’t climb in. “I think I should hate it, but I’m not sure. Say it again.”

I lean forward. “Get your cute ass in the truck, babe. I’ll turn your seat on.”

“Shit.” She climbs in and shakes her head. “I think I kind of like it. Look at me. Sitting in this ridiculous truck, just thrilled at the prospect of you turning on my heated seat, and my belly all topsy-turvy because you called me ‘babe’. Get me home. I feel a sudden need to burn some incense and renew my Sierra Club membership.”

 

Author Bio:

Liora Blake is a contemporary romance author living in Colorado.

When she isn’t writing, she’s likely baking cookies she shouldn’t eat, inventing elaborate excuses to avoid going for a run, or asking the nice barista to sell her another quad-shot Americano.

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#Book #Promo…Dead Storage…#BookBoost #Cozy #Mystery

DEAD STORAGE
by Mary Feliz
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pub Date: 7/18/2017

As a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald brings order to messy situations. But when a good friend becomes a murder suspect, surviving the chaos is one tall task . . .

Despite a looming deadline, Maggie thinks she has what it takes to help friends Jason and Stephen unclutter their large Victorian in time for its scheduled renovation. But before she can fill a single bin with unused junk, Jason leaves for Texas on an emergency business trip, Stephen’s injured mastiff limps home—and Stephen himself lands in jail for murder. Someone killed the owner of a local Chinese restaurant and stuffed him in the freezer. Stephen, caught at the crime scene covered in blood, is the number one suspect. Now Maggie must devise a strategy to sort through secrets and set him free—before she’s tossed into permanent storage next . . .

 
Mary Feliz has lived in five states and two countries but calls Silicon Valley home. Traveling to other areas of the United States, she’s frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem decidedly odd to the rest of the country. A big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, Mary strives to bring these elements into her writing, although her characters tend to take these elements to a whole new level. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and National Association of Professional Organizers. Mary is a Smith College graduate with a degree in Sociology. She lives in Northern California with her husband, near the homes of their two adult offspring.

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#Book #Promo…The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm…#BookBoost #Fantasy #Middlegrade #Giveaway @Sybrina_spt @SDSXXTours

The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm
by Sybrina Durant
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Everybody loves unicorns! OK maybe they don’t but for those who do, they will love this story about a little unicorn who was born into a tribe of magical, metal horned unicorns. The little guy has no magic and he has no metal but somehow he must save the tribe from an evil sorcerer. Read the book to find out if he can do it.

“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad?

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors.

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed.

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in  his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.

This chapter book is a collector’s dream containing page after page of lavish artwork. It contains nearly 100 pages of story text by Sybrina Durant and the same number of pages of magnificent water-color illustrations by Dasguptarts. This book, written by Sybrina Durant and illustrated by Dasguptarts, offers readers a visual feast of over forty beautiful water-color pictures that each span two pages. Forty-two – easy to digest two-page chapters are chock full of adventurous and entertaining morsels. This illustrated book will become a favorite of teen and older fantasy readers. A companion coloring/ character description book is also available at any online bookstore.

Hi! I’m Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe  author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you’ll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I’m so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books.

 Enjoy!

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