Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Word Count Wednesday--I'm Happy!

This week went so much better than last week! I'm almost back on track and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  (And I love all the sunshine we've been getting lately. It makes me feel happy).

And here's a video to help in your own feeling of happiness.  :)


I wrote 8442 new words this week and did a boatload of editing.  It feels sooooo good. I'M HAPPY!

How did you do this week?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Two Marketing Tips for Authors


I recently discovered two little things that authors listed on Amazon can do to up their visibility.

First, every author should have an Amazon author page.  (Click here to see mine)  In the upper right hand corner there is a spot where people can "like" your page.  I'm told that your number of likes factors into the algorithms that Amazon uses. Simple to do and every little bit helps, right?

The second tip is getting into more subcategories on Amazon.  If you've uploaded your book to KDP, you know that they offer a spot for you to plug in seven key words for your book.  This is how people will find your book and how you can be seen in more subcategories.  But how do you know what is the best key word to use?

You need to go here for Selecting Browse Categories.  Now scroll down and click on whatever category your book is, "Romance" or "Mystery" etc.  Then a whole bunch of subcategories with keywords will show up and you can update your books and the keywords you have listed.  This is such a great thing when you know about it, because it ups the chances of your book being seen in those categories, and the more people who see you, the more potential you have for sales.

I love getting little tips like this that can help an author stand out in the ocean of books on Amazon.  I hope it helps you, too!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Double Book Review and Giveaways!

Fortune Cafe Tour




Today I am so excited to tell you about some awesome books.  (Be sure to scroll all the way down for the second one!) The first book had a unique premise for me, three parts of a novel, by three different authors, all revolving around The Fortune Cafe.  And they are three of my favorite authors, so it was a double bonus!

The first part of the novel was about Emma, a waitress, who meets up with her best guy friend from high school and boy has he changed.  He's there with a girl, though, and while Emma is trying to keep from staring at him, his date has a meltdown and starts throwing food.  It was seriously one of the highlights of the story, so funny.  But even though Emma might be interested in possibly reconnecting, she's got a few secrets of her own that might send Harrison running in the other direction.  A great story with lots of depth and fantastic characters.

The second part of the book is about Lucy, who is meeting with her fiance's parents for some final wedding preparations---but her lucky jade necklace breaks during the lunch.  After that, everything in her life seems to go downhill.  She reaches her lowest point, crying on the stairs of her apartment building, when Carter, the guy who shares an apartment balcony with her, shows up and starts to show her how being unlucky can be a good thing. I really enjoyed the story between these two. Very down-to-earth and relatable characters.

The third part of the novel is about Stella, who meets a divorced man and his little girl.  She's taking care of her sick mother, though, and doesn't really have time for anyone in her life---or so she thinks.  Evan is a chef and would really love to get to know Stella more, but is worried about how he could manage a dating life and a child.  Lots of nuances in this story and some great dialogue.  The dishes he cooked sounded delicious, too! (Yeah, I wanted some of the cheesecake to munch on while I was eating. It seriously sounded incredible. *le sigh*)

I really enjoyed all three stories and hope the authors will do another compilation like this in the future.  Two thumbs up!

Here's the back copy:
 
The Fortune Café
a novel in three parts

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidently cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?




JulieW

About the Authors Julie Wright started her first book when she was fifteen. She’s written over a dozen books since then, is a Whitney Award winner, and feels she’s finally getting the hang of this writing gig. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating writing, hiking, playing on the beach with her kids, and snuggling with her husband to watch movies. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. She hates mayonnaise, but has a healthy respect for ice cream.


 
MelanieJ

Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a sometime blogger who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies and pines after beautiful shoes.

 
HeatherM

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore, her latest is Finding Sheba. Under Heather B. Moore she writes romance and women’s fiction. She’s the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. Other women’s novels include Heart of the Ocean, The Fortune Café, the Aliso Creek Series, and the Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology Series.


Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway



Righting a wrong


The second book I wanted to tell you about today is the third installment of the Ripple Effect Romance series, Righting a Wrong.  This one is about Jace, the guy from the last novella that seemed to get the short end of the stick.  I loved his character so much more in this novel than the last one, since we could delve into his feelings a bit more.  Jace has always wondered about Cambri, the "one who got away" from him after high school. They'd been best friends in high school, he wanted more and kissed her, and then she ran away to go to college and seemed like she never looked back.  But now she's returned to take care of her sick father and since the town is so small they are bumping into each other wherever they go.  

Cambri regrets how she left Jace and wants to explain, but doesn't know where to start.  She's also dealing with family issues that bleed over into her insecurity about whether she was right to leave or not.  Lots of emotion in this story and I liked that they already had a history to build on.  A nice addition to the series.

Here's the back copy:

Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson Seven years ago, Cambri Blaine fled her small hometown of Bridger, Colorado after her senior year ended in a fiasco. Only Jace Sutton knew the real reason why—that she was a spineless coward. Now, seven years later, her father's been in an accident and needs help, and Cambr has no choice but to return home. So with trepidation, she takes a leave of absence from the landscape architecture firm where she works and boards a plane, hoping against hope that Jace is no longer around and that the past can stay where it belongs—in the past. If only life worked that way. Jace never expected to see Cambri again. After she’d led him on, bruised his heart, and left town without a backward glance, he was forced to pick up the pieces and try not to hate her for it. Eventually, he put it behind him and moved on, creating a life for himself in his beloved hometown. But now that Cambri is back and looking more beautiful and sophisticated than ever, some of those old feelings resurface, and Jake instinctively knows, for the sake of his heart, that he needs to avoid her at all costs. If only it were that easy.


Rachael

Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


Updated Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love." Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver Book 6: Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/28/14 a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Indie Extravaganza of Books and a Giveaway!

Indie Extravaganza: New Book Releases You Should Check Out - PLUS Gift Card Giveaway! Looking for some great NEW indie reads?


There is an Indie Extravaganza going on today and I thought I'd let you know in case you were looking for a new book to read at a great price.  (I haven't read any of them, but some of them look really good!)

Click here to see the titles


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guest Post by Debra Erfert---From First Page Friday to Publishing Contract

I’m totally honored to be writing a post on Julie’s blog this morning. I’ve followed Julie Coulter Bellon’s career since she was part of Six LDS Writers and a Frog blog seven years ago. That was my first exposure to any blog. The whole concept of reading posts written by other writers, and then having a chance to leave a comment just blew my mind. It took me a while to work up the courage to actually leave a one-sentence comment. Even then, my hands sweated and my stomach churned with nausea as I wavered with my decision about hitting the enter button. And then I worried myself into a headache that it would be met with ridicule because it sounded stupid. I worried needlessly. All the people over at the Frog Blog were especially sweet people, and made me feel intelligent and talented. It broke my heart when, two years ago, they said goodbye to their faithful followers. Fortunately, Julie created her own writers blog and has posted every flippin’ Monday through Friday (and some Saturdays) since then. Awesome dedication.

Up until a few months ago, part of Julie’s routine on Fridays had been a fun interactive post called First Page Friday. I had several submissions. One in particular, RELATIVE EVIL, got a great critique from the national editor, Ms. Shreditor (yes, we never knew her real identity). I had dreaded ever getting her as a critiquer. Her brutally honest style scared the heck out of me, although anyone who could read could tell she knew her stuff. I prepared myself for a beating that morning. What I never expected was the uplifting glow I felt after she praised my first entry. Ms. Shreditor went as far as calling me “an evil genius!” A what? Oh! My! Heck! It was at that point I knew she liked it. I actually got up out of my chair and danced around saying, “She liked it! She liked it!”

I signed a contract for RELATIVE EVIL with Hamilton Springs Press/Xchyler Publishing in March. They love that first page, and I love my new publisher and the good people who work there. Thank you, Julie, and Ms. Shreditor, for helping me get my book published.

I can tell you, my journey thus far hasn’t been easy. It’s been plagued with self-doubt and bad decisions. I wrote my first novella eleven years ago. It’s a good story, but written very poorly. What did I expect? I didn’t even know what a dialogue tag was, or what protagonist meant. It’s taken me years of writing dozens of short stories, thirteen full-length novels, as well as taking classes at writer’s conferences to develop my technique and to fully understand the structure of a story.

But that didn’t stop rejection notices from filling my inbox, until two years ago when I had two offers from two different publishers for two books within a day of each other. I was elated—and foolish. I’d never signed a contract before, and I didn’t know what to expect.

No, that isn’t exactly true. At the very least, I expected the person who made the decision of making the offer of actually reading my manuscript. I came to find out that she never did. Through the horrific editing process, one that nearly broke my spirit, as well as my sanity, her lack of essential knowledge about the characters, plot, and delicate subplots, showed through in the (nearly) finished draft, a story that, at that point, I was embarrassed to have my name attached to. The continuity in several subplots had been severely damaged, and the romance had been deeply cut back. I was in tears. When I questioned my editor about that, I was told (essentially) to keep working or they’d cancel the contract.

I accepted the cancelation(s), and had both books’ rights returned to me the next morning. (Okay it wasn’t exactly that easy! I had to fight for those cancelations.) I felt so relieved even knowing my writing career had been set back by at least two years. And it has been almost exactly two years since then that I signed with Hamilton Springs Press/Xchyler Publishing.  I also have had an offer of publication for Changes of the Heart, but the contract isn’t what I’d like, and I’m probably not going to sign with them (Again, I’m not going to divulge the name, but don’t worry, it’s not a “big 5, but a smaller, independent publisher). This time around, I may become a self-publisher, because I can. I know people who are successfully indie-publishers. Hello, Julie! 

If you are just starting out on your writing journey, go to writer’s conferences and take classes. Never stop learning! The many talented authors giving their time to teach is more than worth your time of attending. There are many conferences in which to choose. And take it from me; don’t stop writing after that first story. Write a second one, and a third, for every book you get under your belt, you learn important key parts that make a story great.

Good luck! Never stop writing!
Debra





Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Word Count Wednesday With Words People Hate

Family stuff is kicking my butt this week.  Seriously.  Butt kicked.

(I know some people hate the word butt.  Sorry. Please don't be offended.)

My word count was dismal.  My emotional self was hollow.  The only motivation I felt was when I was in my bed about to go to sleep and I would think, "dang, I really need to write this and this and this."  Right before my exhausted body said, "ain't happenin' sister."

So, even with all my good intentions, my word count sucked.

(I know some people hate the word sucked. Sorry. Please don't be offended.)

I am going to try to get some serious word count in this week before I meet with my critique group again. But we'll see how it goes.  Real life, mom life, wife life, they are all taking over my writing life at the moment. I have noticed in the past, though, that when my writing life is doing well, the rest of my life seems to follow suit, so I'll maybe try that and see if it can work for me one more time.

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

RONE Award Public Voting Round is Open!


The public voting round of the RONE awards is open and you can go vote!

(And yes, my novel Pocket Full of Posies is in the running.  But you aren't required to vote for it.  Although I'd really like it if you did, because the top 4-6 books in each category will go on to the judge's round.  So this is an important round.)

How do you vote you ask?  Well, there are two ways:

You can click here and you will be taken directly to the poll.  You have to subscribe to the magazine in order to vote, but it's a great magazine full of reviews and stuff for readers and writers.  They also don't give away your email addresses, so that's nice, too.

Or, if you are having trouble subscribing, you can send your vote via email to Ana Smith at anasmith@indtale.com   You can put RONE Awards in the subject line and then just say "In the Suspense/Thriller category, I vote for POCKET FULL OF POSIES by Julie Coulter Bellon."

One vote per email address.

Voting ends April 13th so you don't want to put this off.

(And thanks to all those who read my books, support me, and who do things like this. You are awesome!)