Monday, February 27, 2017

Another Award for She Dies at the End

It's horn tooting time!  Last Friday, I was thrilled to find out that She Dies at the End is a finalist over at the Wishing Shelf Book Awards in the adult fiction category.  This news was some much-needed encouragement at the end of a very challenging week.  The winners will be announced in April.

If you have not yet read my first novel, it is available for free for one more day over at Instafreebie.

And if you haven't pre-ordered She Marches Through Fire, please do so!  Pre-orders are so vital for increasing the visibility of unknown writers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcoming Linda Mims

Today, I'm pleased to be hosting fellow author Linda Mims as part of her blog tour for her recent urban sci-fi release, The Neon Houses.  You can view the trailer here:

From the blurb:

Dr. Noel Kennedy hears screams inside her head, but the screams aren’t hers. While preparing for her annual end-of-summer barbecue, Noel hears her young friend—twenty-year-old Zarah Fisher—screaming for her life. However Zarah is miles away!

Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath because Noel has a secret! It’s a secret that not even her husband Richard knows.

As the Deputy Chief of Schools of Gang Territory, Noel has perfected her life. She is a solid, middle-class citizen from New Chicago, Incorporated. New Chicago and Gang Territory have become vastly different societies since the early Urban Wars. Now, year 2087 finds New Chicago’s military-trained police determined to enforce laws that keep “gang people” out.

Harlem Pierce, a New Chicago police detective, has been warned to stay away from this case and he urges Noel to let it go. But a new killing involves Noel’s younger cousin and her boyfriend and links Noel to it in a startling way.

Who can Noel draw on? Must she turn to Warren Simpson—the menacing, treacherous boss of Gang Territory? Or … could he be the killer?

You can really get a feel for the novel from this excerpt from Chapter 4:

Noel fell back into the cushions of the transpo as Tigh started up the engine. When she saw him reach for the sky controls, she touched his hand.

“Will you drive by the park, please?” she asked.

“Dickey will worry about us taking so long,” Tigh said, referring to Noel’s husband. “There’s a barbecue going on at your place that we abruptly left. Your folks—my wife!”

“I know. Drive by the park anyway.”

Tigh stayed down on the pavement and cruised around the park so Noel could see the crowds gathered around the readers. Tigh pulled over so she could get a better look.

Years ago Noel had initiated Reading in the Park and she’d been a reader herself. More than half of the people in Gang Territory couldn’t read, but they enjoyed gathering in the park on a pleasant night as the stories were read.

Tonight, adults were in abundance as Iris Middleton, a popular reader and one of Noel’s favorites, read from a new mystery. Her reading assistant sat poised to pick up at Iris’s signal so that Iris could rest or get a drink.

Noel lifted a finger of salute to a few of her former students and they nodded back as they reclined in the arms of a lover or co-habitant or sat in small groups with their families as dusk settled in around them.

Guards frisked people at the entrances and patrolled the grounds to prevent weapons being brought into the park. The reading program was just two years old and so far no one had been killed, but Noel knew that as soon as a violent act occurred, her husband, the mayor, and their supporters would move to stop this activity.

Tonight, all was quiet. Minstrels played soft music and the smell of buttered popcorn clung to the air. Noel wished that she could sit and listen to Iris but she knew that Dickey and her family would be waiting at her home in New Chicago. She motioned for Tigh to take them up and back to the world from which they’d come.

That world was New Chicago, Incorporated, where Noel had been born and raised. Every time she drove or flew into her hometown, no matter where she’d been, she felt exhilarated and privileged. Now, as they zoomed past other cars flying along in the designated zone, she reminded Tigh to rein it in.

He had laid out the power of the transpo while flying over Gang Territory and she’d loved it, but here, flight patterns were much more controlled.

More citizens had auto planes and some even opted for the solo type body planes where the driver was enclosed in a titanium suit fitted to their bodies and equipped with controls. The body planes allowed them to zip through the air right along with the cars and planes.

“I need to get one of those body planes,” she said to get a rise out of Tigh.

“Kathy would have a nuclear if I bought one,” he said.

“Don’t use Kathy as your excuse. Your wife might be waiting for you to break out your wild side.”

Tigh laughed at that.

“You and Dickey have the adventurous sides, not Kathy and me,” he said. “I don’t know why you visit the Space Colonies so often.”

“We don’t go that often. I’ve only been twice and it was with Dickey on business.”

“Kathy and I don’t feel a need to leave earth,” Tigh said.

“When you do, just say the word and Dickey will have it cleared for you. I’m sure Kathy has been waiting for some spontaneity.”

“Well, Kathy better find her spontaneity on the ground,” Tigh said.

Noel laughed.

“How many times have your folks been to space?” he asked.

“They met off planet. Daddy was an inspector. My mother was an agitator. They met, clashed, fell in love, and had me!”

“Too much information,” Tigh said shaking his head.

Noel chuckled at him and shook her head.

“Poor Kathy, married to a prude.”

Ethni LeDoux Reed reclined against the cool stones of her daughter’s porch balustrade and enjoyed the camaraderie of her friends Leah Palmer Granville and Season Foster Duchamp. Decades ago the women had vowed to never take their husband’s last names, but since they’d gotten older, they’d married the two surnames and wore them as merit badges.

They had successfully solved world crises, started and maintained successful second careers, and in Ethni’s case, raised a child. They were thick-as-thieves and they listened intently now as Ethni got down to the real reason she signaled them to join her.

“Noel and I were in the kitchen last night,” she said in a quiet but animated voice. “I was reaching for a potholder when my hand brushed her arm. The current coming from her was so strong that I swayed and when I looked around, Noel was holding onto the edge of the counter so tightly her knuckles had turned white.”

Leah and Season gasped. Noel was as close to them as their blood nieces.

“At first I thought she’d hurt herself—cut her hand with the knife or something—but when I saw her eyes, I could tell she wasn’t hurt. She was having an experience.”

Leah placed her hand over her heart.

“Noel always keeps such good control,” Season said.

“Unless she’s heavily invested. You know how she felt about that girl.”

Ethni described for them what Noel had heard during her “experience”.

“She couldn’t rest until she got Dickey to send the police over there last night. They searched and luckily, the girl had a chip. In the wee hours this morning, they found her body in an abandoned house in shanty-town.”

“Did they wonder how Dickey knew?” Season asked.

“I told him to say that Dr. Kennedy expected the girl. She had promised to come over and help with the barbecue and she would never have caused Noel to worry.”

“What else could you say?” Leah agreed. “I wonder if this is the beginning of what we’ve been expecting.”

Ethni sighed.

“The Circle meets next week,” she said, shaking her head. “When we all see the same thing, it’s time to put it all together and see what it is.”

Season nodded.

“I’ve seen Noel,” she confided. “But nothing and nobody else.”

“Me too,” said Leah. “Just Noel’s pretty little face.”

“Don’t say anything to anybody,” said Ethni. “Cam doesn’t even know. There was no need to worry him yet. It might be nothing.”

Ethni spoke of her husband and Noel’s father, the second Ph.D. in the family, Cameron Reed.

“We know it’s not nothing, Ethni. If Noel felt this girl’s terror and heard her death screams, then something is coming.”

“Men like to have an opponent—a villain they can grapple with,” Ethni said. “Cameron can’t fight what he can’t see. I’m not going to worry him yet.”

They nodded in agreement.


Author Bio:

Linda Mims started creating tales in her head as a child. At age 12, she knew she was onto something when she sold a story to her grandmother for a quarter, but it was her dad’s more practical advice, to get a good education and find a real job, that she followed.

After retiring from her “real job” as an educator, Linda began her writing career as an indie author. The tale of The Neon Houses was born out of a careless comment that people had lost interest in reading. The joke was that decades from now we’d need to hold reading nights in neighborhood parks for citizens who wouldn’t be able to read.

Linda rolled that idea around in her head until it turned into a whole society of have-nots. Once the idea got rolling, she worked nonstop until she’d finished the first draft. Writing is now her real job!

Linda Mims resides in a small suburban town 30 miles outside of Chicago, IL where she likes to cook, garden, and blog, sometimes simultaneously. She is married to her long-time love, has two grown daughters and one bossy, bichon-pom, Alexis.

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Please feel free to leave questions and comments for Linda in the comments, and happy reading!

"The tour sponsored by"

Monday, February 20, 2017

Upcoming Release from S.J. Hermann

There is big news from YA paranormal author S.J. Hermann.  The third installment of his acclaimed Morium Series is now available for pre-order.  Say hello to Terminus.

Book blurb:


One final confrontation between friends... One final outcome.

In the finale of the highly rated supernatural thriller series, The Morium Trilogy, Lexi must not only fight the evil that resides within her, but also struggle to keep her relationship with Kyle from falling apart. Unknown to Lexi, Nathan is planning to exterminate not only the remaining bullies, but the entire town as well.

In the end, what will Lexi and Nathan choose... FRIENDSHIP or REVENGE?

Can they fight their inner demons and preserve what matters most?

Special Pre-Release price of $0.99

Sounds pretty exciting, right?

I'll let the author give you a feel for the series as a whole in his own words:

After I finished writing final book of the Morium Trilogy, I paused and reflected back as to why I wrote these books. It was more than releasing the one scene that played out in my head; the foundation in which Morium was built upon. I wanted to tackle tough subjects that teenagers may face on a daily basis. The emotional pain that lay buried deep in the conscious of their fragile minds as a result of relentless mental torture. How it might mold them into someone they never desired to be. To do unimaginable things to others, or to themselves.

I dig into sensitive topics that readers may have a hard time reading. Even though these books are YA, I don’t sugar coat. My goal was to provide an entertaining read while bringing forth serious problems; bullying, self-harm, addiction, loneliness, dealing with loss, sexual abuse and hiding your true self for fear of what others may think. Since it was integral to the story line, my writing had to be raw and to the point, for doing otherwise, would have lessened the impact.

Is this a dark series? Very. Is this a series for those younger than fifteen? Probably not. Give any teenager that has bottled up anger and give them the gift of supernatural powers, they will lash out any way they can.

None of this could’ve been possible if not for strong and developed characters. Alexandria (Lexi), Nathan, Stacy, and further in the trilogy, Renee, have their morals tested; fueled by abilities that two of them believe are an entitlement. I want readers to ask themselves how they’d react if they were walking in the shoes of the main characters. As I laid the groundwork for the trilogy, my personal demons from the past had me questioning my own morality. What would’ve I done?

Learn more about Hermann by visiting

Saturday, February 18, 2017

RWISA Blog Hop

Today I'm thrilled to be featuring author Rea Nolan Martin, a fellow member of the RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors).


How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for fifty years.

How many books have you authored? Please give us up to 3 titles.

I’ve authored 4 books and many more published short stories, essays, and poems, as well as edited literary journals. My 3 titles are: The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright; Mystic Tea; The Anesthesia Game.

Do you have a writing schedule?

I generally write in the middle of the day for about 4 hours, sometimes longer.

You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS—INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?

Hopefully, for the quality of my work.

Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?

What separates me from some authors is the depth of character I seek and the way the plot derives organically from character development and behavior. For me, this is what makes a story come alive. This is what allows a reader to step into the story and relate to it on a human level. These are the stories I like to read, so of course, they’re also the ones I want to write.

If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?

Anne Tyler. Every book she’s written is a masterwork of character development.

Are you a die-hard INDI writer who loves having complete control of your work, or if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?

I work with an indie publisher which is a wonderful small publisher. I’ve been approached by others, and would possibly consider a larger publisher only if they were to guarantee the marketing piece, which is so time-consuming. However, sadly, even the largest publishers do very little author promotion these days, so it’s unlikely that I’d move.

As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself moving into more and more complex scenarios as far as characters and situational plots are concerned. We always have to challenge ourselves, after all!

What is ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?
My (genuinely) honest reply would be RRBC because of their relentless support.

What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?

To really fulfill any gift, skills must be acquired. Too many writers dive in without really understanding the craft. So, I would say, take classes; attend conferences; and read, read, read before you even think of publishing.

Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?

I wouldn’t judge how good a work is by the time it takes to produce it, though it’s tempting. Having said that, I do think that for most authors, fast production equals less plot and character development and more errors. This is actually a choice (whether conscious or subconscious) of quantity over quality. After all, not everybody aspires to write quality literature. (Not everybody even knows what quality literature is.) If an author has never read quality literature, s/he has little hope of producing it.

If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why?

I would never allow a book of mine to be published until I had personally scoured it scrupulously many times over for the tiniest of imperfections, not just grammatic, but also story-related. Then I would be sure that trusted associates had also scoured it with the same critical eye.

In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”

Great books can exist in any genre. For me, it’s one with depth and complexity on many levels, even down to the characters’ names. Everything should have meaning in the context of a particular story. Absolutely nothing accidental, random, or tossed in for the fun of it.

If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing and proofing issues, what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?

If I received a review that stated my book was overrun with grammatical errors, I would immediately withdraw it and make the necessary corrections. Then I would apologize to my readers for my carelessness.

You can follow Rea at the following:

TWITTER HANDLE: @reanolanmartin



More wisdom from Rea:

How to Find Your Author ‘Voice’
In the world of contemporary publishing, Voice may be the trickiest and most overlooked aspect of a story. But the truth is, if you want your story to rise above the hoard of others, you must gain a handle on the Voice, not only of individual characters within your story, but of the story itself.

Let me back up.

A few years ago, I taught writing at a New York college. Because it was a Master’s program, some of my students had already published small pieces, and others aspired to do the same. All the students were talented, but it was easy for me to spot the most likely to succeed by the ‘Tone’ or ‘Voice’ that came through even in spontaneous writing exercises.

What is this mysterious element?

Voice is that illusive aspect of a story that keeps a reader reading, even if other aspects of the story aren’t quite developed. It’s the unmistakably unique fingerprint of a specific author. Voice is how an author enters the mind of a character and inhabits it. It’s the pace, rhythm, and spirit of a story. Voice is what brings not only the story to life, but breathes air into each line of description and dialogue.

Even though I was often told by my own professors that I had distinct Voice, the first time I fully understood the concept was when I picked up a novel by a particular Southern author.I was instantly blown away. He had a Voice so powerful it jumped off the page, making me question everything I’d written up to that point. It was like the difference between a crude figure etched on a cave wall and a cinematic opus. That novel (and everything else he wrote) helped me to up my game.

One thing I can tell you from five decades of writing, editing, publishing and teaching, is that it is impossible to produce a great story without a great Voice. To find yours, read all you can by authors whose styles you love. Then write and write and write until your own Voice comes into focus and becomes clear, distinctive, and consistent.

If I were a writer starting out today, I would not attempt to publish a single sentence until I developed my Voice and knew how to use it.

Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members! Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub.

Friday, February 17, 2017

InstaFreebie Potpourri Promo

If you're reading my blog, I know you love books.  And everyone loves free stuff.  So today's post should definitely stir up all your avid reader passions.

I'm participating in a huge, multi-genre Instafreebie promo this week, February 17th through the 24th.  You can find the complete list of participating books over on author Jill Hendricks' blog.  She Dies at the End is listed in the paranormal section.  There are almost 90 books in every genre save erotica.  There is truly something for everyone here, probably several somethings.  So, take a break, relax, and let your fingers do the FREE shopping.  And feel free to help spread the word!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Chanticleer International Book Awards

I'm so excited, y'all.  She Dies at the End is on the short list in the paranormal category of the Chanticleer International Book Awards!  From this list, they will choose five category winners.  It was a lovely surprise to find in my email when I stepped off of a cruise ship and back into the real world.

If you haven't yet read my multi-award-winning first novel, you can grab it for free all month right here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Paranormal Profile: Rosemary Johns

One of the pleasures of being a writer is getting to know other writers.  There's a of of activity in the world of supernatural and paranormal fiction, and one of the authors making a splash is Rosemary Johns.  Blood Dragons and Blood Shackles are the first two books in her Rebel Vampire series.  The third installment, Blood Renegades, is due out in June, 2017.

This popular and well-reviewed series follows a vampire named Light.  His world is turned upside down when vampires become prey, enslaved by human beings.  He must battle for both his people and his heart, naturally.  Sounds awesome, right?

Underground Book Reviews had this to say:

5* Highly recommended: For anyone who is just looking for something a bit different, a bit edgy, something that will amuse you, frighten you and take you on one hell of a journey into love, death, humanity, and monsters.

Here is a peek at the blurb for Book 1:

Escape into a supernatural world of love, revenge and redemption.

There are three people in this affair...and two of them aren’t human.

In a divided paranormal London, Light is the rebel bad boy vampire of the Blood Lifer world, with a photographic memory. And a Triton motorbike. Since Victorian times he’s hidden in the shadows with Ruby - a savage Elizabethan Blood Lifer. She burns with destructive love for Light. But he’s keeping a secret from her, which breaks every rule in Blood Life. When she discovers the truth, things take a terrifying turn.

1960s London. Kathy is a seductive singer. But she’s also human. Light knows his passion for her is reckless but he’s enchanted. Yet such a romance is forbidden. When the two worlds collide, it could mean the end. For both species.

When Light discovers his ruthless family’s horrifying experiments, he questions whether he should be slaying or saving the humans he’s always feared. What dark revelations will Light reveal at the heart of the experiments? Will he be able to stop them in time? The consequences of failure are unimaginable. Unless Light plays the part of hero, he risks losing everything. Including the two women he loves.

A rebel, a red-haired devil and a Moon Girl battle to save the world – or tear it apart.

Johns has quite an interesting background. This British author has studied history at Oxford University, run a theater company, and worked with disability charities.

Friday, February 3, 2017

RRBC Rave Awards

The members of Rave Reviews Book Club have been anxiously awaiting the results of the 2016 Rave Awards.  Finalists were placed on the ballot in December in a number of categories; the first, second, and third place winners were finally announced this week.  You can watch the video announcements here.

I was lucky enough to place in three categories: Best Trailer, Most Creative Tweets, and the big one, Book of the Year!  I'm so pleased.  I've only been a member of the club for about a year, and so to be recognized by my peers is very touching.

Here's the full list.  You should do yourself a favor and check out these talented authors.  And consider giving Rave Reviews Book Club a try.  You get out of it what you put into it.

Most Creative Tweets

Jan Sikes
A. M. Manay
Stephanie Collins

Best Book Cover 

The Anesthesia Game by Rea Nolan Martin
Angel of Death by Jennifer Hinsman
A Perilous Thirst by Rhani D’Chae

Best Book Trailer 

Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks
If Only There Was Music: The Poetry of Forbidden Love by Nonnie Jules and Giani Jordan
She Lights up the Dark (Novemeber Snow Book 2) by A. M. Manay

Best Blog Site 

Watch Nonnie Write by Nonnie Jules
Fiction Favorites by John Howell
Entertaining Stories by C. S. Boyack

Most Giving Hands 

Nonnie Jules
Marlena Smith
Jan Sikes

Most Supportive Member 

Wendy Scott
Stephanie Collins
Nonnie Jules

Member of the Year

Jan Hawke
Wendy Scott
Stephanie Collins

Top Reviewers 

Karen Ingalls
Joy Bamijoko
Gwen Plano

Top Recruiter 

Stephanie Collins

Book of the Year 

Type and Cross by Staci Troilo
She Dies at the End (Novemeber Snow Book 1) by A. M. Manay
The Playground by C. S. Boyack

Thursday, February 2, 2017

This book trailer is on fire

Time for another reveal!  Today, it's the book trailer for She Marches Through Fire (November Snow Book 3).  Take a look, and let me know what you think in the comments.  You get bonus points if you can figure out who is doing the singing.

The process of making a book trailer is an artistic endeavor just as much as is the creation of the book itself.  You go hunting for images that evoke the feelings and scenes from your writing, modifying them or discarding them until you have a collection that creates the effect you desire.  You try to hammer out text that entices without revealing too much about the story.  You have to be careful not to make the trailer too long, without making the words go by too fast to be read.  Then you have to choose the music.  You have to find something you are allowed to use that also speaks to what happens to your characters in the course of your story.  Then you refine it, with the help of your colleagues, until it is ready to be shared with the world.

Have you ever tried to make a book trailer?  What are your tips?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Implosion of the Independent Adoption Center

For the last 24 hours, I have been watching the implosion of the adoption agency that helped create my family.  The Independent Adoption Center, popularly known as IAC, was a pioneer in open adoption as well as in serving LGBTQ families well before that became socially acceptable.  They abruptly closed their doors yesterday, leaving an unknown number of expectant parents and over 500 currently waiting prospective adoptive families in the lurch.

We chose IAC because we thought them the most ethical of the agencies we researched and visited.  I was much more naive in those days.  Now, I am more aware of the ethical issues and corruption involved in all forms of adoption, including domestic open adoption.  I do believe that the social workers at IAC did their best to act in the best interests of the children they placed and of their birth families.  However, the amount of money involved in facilitating adoption is so high that it can't help creating perverse incentives as well as environments where malfeasance can fester.

We don't yet know the exact sequence of events that led to this unfortunate outcome.  Many IAC families and alumni have speculated for years that the place was becoming a Ponzi scheme, with an ever increasing waiting list and ever falling placement numbers.  Many of us were skeptical when they opened a number of new offices across the country, thus increasing overhead.  Many of us questioned the quality of the outreach efforts and relationships formed with expectant parents seeking adoption for their children.  Many of us raised our eyebrows when they doubled their fees in the last two years.  Unfortunately, when concerns were raised to staff and to the board, not much seemed to come of it.

While our first adoption attempt was successful, we eventually gave up on our efforts to adopt a second child.  We had grown disillusioned with the staff turnover and how heavy the case burden seemed to be on each counselor.  It didn't seem like anyone in the adoption triad was getting the kind of support we remembered from out first placement.  It just didn't feel like the same agency anymore.

I am sad for everyone who has suffered due to IAC's closure, and selfishly relieved that we got out when we did.  I am especially angry on behalf of birthparents who were promised lifelong access to counseling.  I hope the agencies and service providers that remain can learn from IAC's mistakes and mismanagement.