Monday, September 30, 2013

A Cover Reveal and Paperback Release

A ghostly cover reveal:

A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.

Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.

Why? ...

Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out.

But, it’s not at all what she expects ...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.

The Ghosts of Aquinnah will be released by Ink Smith Publishing
on December 5, 2013

Find Julie Flanders:
Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads


Color me a paperback release:

Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of.

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

You can pre-order Colors Like Memories at MuseItUp Publishing, or find it on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Ebook copies are also available on all vendor sites!

Meradeth is also holding a giveaway so be sure to check it out.

Find Meradeth Houston:
Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

October is an exciting month for book releases and cover reveals and other fabulous things. If you haven't imploded from all the great up-and-coming excitement, then click here to check out some serious cool I had to share. Can you beat that for cool? (Okay, so you know I'm a geek, right?)

And DON'T FORGET this Wednesday is the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It will be a super special one so don't miss it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why Bad Reviews Don't Bother Me and Shouldn't Bother You

Because I throw everything I have into my stories and my writing means so much to me, I thought I'd have an exceptionally hard time when it came to reviews. I expected my heart to rip in two at any slightly negative comment coming my way. Certain I'd lose sleep for days, I readied my emergency stash of chocolate.

Instead I found myself totally fine with the whole process. Sure, I won't deny the initial sting when I found someone who didn't like one of my stories, but I got over it pretty fast--way faster than I ever could've guessed. Surprise made me work out the reason for my duck's back reaction and I thought I'd share why bad reviews don't bother me and shouldn't bother you.

Confidence in the story. If I'm not completely happy with my story, I won't put it out into the public forum. To have the confidence to put it out there, I first need to make sure it's the best it can be--by sending it to critique partners and beta readers, using the expertise of professional editors, and listening to their advice. Let's not forget the benefits of learning the craft, attending workshops and conferences to develop the craft, and writing more than just one story. If I like my story, then it won't matter as much what other people think.

We can't please everyone. It's often just a matter of finding your audience. Often reviews come from readers who picked up the book for free and who would not have normally read a story in that genre. I can shake them off because it's not personal, whether the reviewer tries to make it personal or not. Not every story will suit the same audience either.

Bad reviews validate good reviews. When I check a novel's reviews before I buy and it only has glowing five star ratings, I'll skip the book because this tells me only the author's friends and family have given a review. I no longer trust the good reviews. Every book gets some bad reviews. It's inevitable and it's needed for a balanced representation of the novel.

We can learn from bad reviews. Some less than shining reviews can be truly helpful through the constructive criticism they offer. Rather than getting upset, or dismissing them in a huff, it's worth rereading them to see if something can be learned from them.

Not all reviews are honest. I find it difficult to get upset over a review that was written out of spite, a need to knock down the competition, or a general grumpiness due to quitting caffeine the day before. Because most readers of reviews can spot these types, they bear little weight. They tend to reflect more poorly on the reviewer than the story being reviewed. Whatever a person's motivation behind writing a bad review, if it's not an honest review, then it can easily be dismissed. Perhaps a small chocolate can help wash away the negativity.

Getting upset dulls the shine. It's just not worth wasting our precious time getting upset over the little things. Yes, bad reviews count as the little things. If you're being reviewed, that means you're published. Celebrate that instead.

How do you handle--or think you'll handle--bad reviews? 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alex J Cavanaugh: I Didn’t Want to be an Author

Today is a very special day. I'm deeply honoured and pleased to welcome here, the irrepressible, Ninja Captain himself, Alex J Cavanaugh
Take it away, Alex

I Didn’t Want to be an Author
It’s true! I wasn’t one of those people who’d dreamed of being an author since I was young. I enjoyed writing stories as a teen, but writing a book just never crossed my mind. Music was a greater passion and it was my college minor. After college, even that was put aside as I ventured into advertising and design and eventually computer work.

Several years ago, I found an old manuscript in a drawer. It wasn’t complete, but it was the longest thing I’d ever written. Created when I was a teen, it was awful. But I remembered the characters well, as they’d appeared in a few other stories. Despite the terrible writing, the characters were solid, so on a whim I started to write a brand new story.

A year and a half later, and after torturing my two test readers and my wife (who still read my manuscripts to this day – bless them!), I finally had what I thought was a much better story. My wife then prodded me to submit it for publication. I started researching online and quickly decided agents were out of my league, especially as I had no other writing credits. (And I didn’t think working on technical manuals would count.) So I made a list of science fiction publishers and started there. After numerous rejections, I widened my search to include more genres, and finally Dancing Lemur Press said yes.

And then I heard the scariest words ever – you need to get your butt online and build a platform.

Somehow I managed to do that through blogging and Twitter. CassaStar was released and I stumbled my way through a blog tour.

After it was over, I heard the next scariest words ever – when is the sequel coming out?

Sequel? What sequel? I only planned to write one book. Somehow I managed to stumble my way through another manuscript, relying on an old short story to get me through. With the help of three critique partners, I polished it and sent it to my publisher, and they set a release date.

A funny thing happened not long after that – almost a year after its release, CassaStar soared up the Amazon charts. It hung in the top one hundred for science fiction for months, which blew my mind. With CassaStar doing so well and CassaFire just two months from its release, my publisher asked if I could write one more and make it a trilogy.

I labored over the outline for months. By the time I actually started writing it, both of my books were Amazon best sellers and had soared to the top of the charts in the UK as well. Talk about pressure! I had to end the series with a bang so I wouldn’t disappoint the fans. Now I know why authors have meltdowns…

I never planned to become an author. And yet, here I am now, with three books to my credit, as CassaStorm was released on Tuesday. It’s been the craziest journey but a total blessing.

So, beware those old manuscripts hiding in drawers. You just might open Pandora’s Box and find yourself in the unlikely role of an author!

Thanks again, Lynda – you rock!

By Alex J Cavanaugh
From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.”
– Edi’s Book Lighhouse

…the racial conflicts propelled much of the plot in this story, driving home a message that's relevant to our own world and giving the book an interesting texture.”
- C. Lee McKenzie, author of Alligators Overhead

Cavanaugh has created wonderfully moving moments of great poignancy… CassaStorm could have been a dark story full of hardship and angst, but instead it's a cleverly balanced story about hope and triumph.”
- Lynda R. Young, author of Make Believe

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website, Twitter, Goodreads

Book trailer

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CassaStorm Launch

Three cheers for Alex J Cavanaugh, Ninja Captain Extraordinaire. Today is the grand launch of CassaStorm, his third book in the super great Cassa science fiction series. It’s a fab read. My review is here on Goodreads.

To celebrate release week, Alex is giving away prizes.
Check it out here on his blog.

I’ll be back on Thursday with the Captain himself honouring us with his cool ninja captainness. He’ll be telling us why he didn’t want to be an author. Be sure not to miss it.


Have you read CassaStar and CassaFire, his first two books yet? Are you eager to snatch up the final one in the series?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cover Reveal: Sacrifice Her

The day has finally come. Time to reveal the cover of Sacrifice HER. Be amazed.

Title: Sacrifice HER by Sheena-kay Graham

Goodreads: Sacrifice HER

Release Date: December 2013

Summary: When a city is at stake is the life of one sixteen-year old girl worth risking thousands? Deidra Moore goes on the run after escaping from a group of human sacrifices for Bane: God of Gore. She doesn't believe he exists and sees uncertainty in the scorching desert as a better alternative. But Faux City isn't finished with her and their leader Lord Brinn is ordered by Bane - through one of his maiden worshipers- to bring her back or face dire consequences. In the desert Deidra meets a wanderer named Kane and as feelings spark can they find a safe place to lead a new life before Lord Brinn and his soldiers catch up with them? Yet the question remains. Does Bane really exist and if he does what will happen if either side succeeds or fails? Told in alternating perspectives of both the runaway servant girl and the blonde strong willed leader.

Author Bio:

Sheena-kay Graham was never meant for a traditional job behind a desk. Her childhood career plans included becoming a ballerina, actress or someone who helped people. So naturally she decided to be a writer who writes from her bed. Yes, no desk for this Jamaican book lover. No matter if it’s reading, writing or using the get the gist. The love of the written word has always been with her leading to stories, novels, poetry and way too much fan fiction. This Christian woman can be found trolling Amazon online, in local book bookstores, watching movies on the big screen, or in her bed, or reading/writing/on the laptop...again in her bed. Mainly writes YA fiction and is ready to unleash her creativity to wow the masses.


Cover Design: 
Image of woman with flowing hair (purchased): © Transfuchsian |

Cover Designer:  Langao @

And for a final bit of wow factor. Look at what Sheena got for free without asking.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Online Etiquette for Authors

While social media and online marketing isn’t such a new concept anymore, it does help to sometimes refresh the ole writerly brain on how best to interact over the intertubes. Below are my quick tips to get it right:

Double check what you’ve written before pressing the send/publish button. Those typos can make you look unprofessional and the grammar errors can make you want to go hide in the closet for a few days—and we all know a closet is not the most inspirational place to write.  

Don’t do online what you wouldn’t do in person. Heck, don’t do some things you would do in person too! Use commonsense and courtesy, and avoid those flame wars by avoiding inflammatory language.

Don’t say anything online while you’re angry, drunk or on pain medication. Come to think of it, maybe at times like those, the closet isn’t such a bad place after all.

Be the real thing. If you try to be someone you’re not, then it will show and you’ll come across as disingenuous. No one wants to be accused of being fake, not even this closet-dwelling recluse on a chocolate binge.

Use your author name. As much as ‘AngelsRock’ sounds cool for an online name, even if your stories are about angels, it’s yourself you want to promote. People will connect to a real name over a gamer tag, or even no name at all.

Be available. The whole point of social media is the social aspect. You want people to find you, even contact you. So that means, along with your author name, you’ll need to provide an email address or some other way to connect with you. You'll need to be present on those sites too, rather than relying heavily on automated or prescheduled posts.

Avoid the hard sell. It doesn’t work and it turns people away. Go go double jeopardy.

Talk about other things than your books. Yes, there are a gazillion other things to talk about than the awesomeness of your book.

Cross promote, but don’t only cross promote. If all you post is promotional stuff, whether it’s for your book or someone else’s, people will grow tired of it.

Be generous. Listen to what others have to say and look for opportunities to help.

Thank the people who have helped you. This might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many authors forget to do this. So I’ll say again, if someone has gone out of their way to help you, even if it’s a little thing, then don’t forget to thank them … or into the closet for you!

Can you think of other etiquette do's and don'ts for writers? What's been your standout experience of writers who get it right or wrong?

Photo: A pic I took at IKEA. Think closets. Okay, so it's a thin connection, but I amused myself.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Finding Inspiration in the Success of Others

Ian Irvine is a successful Australian author who has written 29 books, including an internationally bestselling eleven book fantasy series: The View from the Mirror Quartet, The Well of Echoes Quartet and The Song of the Tears Trilogy.

He took 17 years to find success and wrote 21 hard drafts to get his first book right. He worked hard for what he wanted and he didn’t give up.

His advice: be patient. Don’t be in a hurry to get published. Enjoy the process. Learn, get it right, indulge, experiment, and keep writing.

Which authors inspire you to keep going?
This post was written for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. Come join us!

Today is the second anniversary of the group. Alex J Cavanaugh, Ninja Captain and founder of IWSG, will have a very special, super exciting announcement over at his blog.

I’m down with flu for the second time this year (how rude!), thus the shorter than normal post. If happy thoughts and chocolate were to come my way, they would be graciously accepted.