September 27, 2017

September #InkRipples: World Building

This has been a busy month. My daughter got married, school started, and it took me forever to find my motivation to compose this post. Does that happen to you sometimes? You just simply don’t feel like it? It isn’t the topic. I love building worlds. It is among my top favorite things about writing!

To me, world building is in the details. The small things that are mentioned casually. For example; if my main character is a slob and he’s lost his keys, I would show him flinging empty take-out containers and candy wrappers aside looking for them in order to give the reader the visual of his messy setting—his world. If he was a slob in the future, I might have him bark a command to his smart room asking where he last tossed his keys. Small details sprinkled throughout the text creates the world stealthily so the reader doesn’t even see the image form in their head.

Fantasy and Science Fiction often require a bit more of an in-your-face presentation, especially in the beginning, in order to set the reader solidly inside the strange new world from the get-go. In my [currently unavailable] middle grade novel, Beware of the White, I built a whole underground world. It was so much fun to imagine what types of species might live underground and how they would adapt to their circumstances. There are neon beings—like the fish that live way, way deep down in the ocean—who light up. There are water beings that thrive on the pollutions and toxins in water, who have naturally become part of the filtration system. But a huge amount of the world building had to be edited out of the final version of the book. Though it was important for me, the author, to have a thorough understanding of Concord, it was yawn inducing for the reader. I introduced Concord’s otherworldliness as Terra entered the city, but then, after that, I sprinkled the details throughout.

Other worlds are more like ours, so the differences can be unfurled slowly. In my speculative fiction series, Super Villain Academy, we have people living in a contemporary setting. Everything seems normal until they start wielding super powers. Same with my middle grade fantasy series, The Weaver Tales. That is set in a quaint mountain village – where everybody speaks in story. It’s very light on fantasy, so the world didn’t have to be built, so much as the setting had to be defined. But since a gnome-elf shows up to grant a wish, there is some world building that had to be done. For a reader to accept the unusual in stride – for a blue skinned gnome-elf to suddenly appear at a wishing well, or for a teenaged boy to leap over a six foot fence and shoot fire from his palm - the world has to be built around it or your reader will just stop reading.

Other than Hogwarts – what are some of your favorite literary worlds?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

September 15, 2017

Don't Be Closed Minded. Read a Banned Book. #Giveaway

On this list, compiled by the ALA, of the top 100 challenged books of the decades 1990-1999 and 2000-2009, I've read:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Adventure of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Dead Zone
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
Fat Kid Rules the World
The Giver
Harry Potter (series)
The Hunger Games (series)
The Kite Runner
The Lovely Bones
Olive's Ocean
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
That Was Then, This Is Now
Thirteen Reasons Why
Twilight (series)
A Wrinkle In Time

I would recommend any of them, but especially the titles I've linked. The thing with me and banned books is that I don't get it. The banning thing. Why would you ever feel the right to keep a book out of the hands of other readers? Why would you feel you have the authority to say what some can and cannot read? Do you have the right to voice your opinion? Absolutely! If you think the book is inappropriate somehow, tell people why. But to pull it from shelves or distribution? Absolutely not. Are there books I've read that I don't recommend? Yes. Am I feeding the banned book bandwagon by not linking all the above titles? No. I simply didn't enjoy the books enough to recommend them. You might like them, so if their blurb sparks your interest - go for it.

The only readers I ever felt I had authority over were my underaged children. I tried to steer them into reading books I thought they were emotionally mature enough for - and that decision was different with each child. However, once they got past about 16 or 17, all bets were off and they could read whatever they wanted with or without my consent. Hopefully, knowing that I was ALWAYS available to talk to if a subject rocked their world in some good or bad way. Books are the SAFEST place for people to be exposed to controversial subjects. I would much rather learn about subjects such as; prejudice, incest, and brainwashing by reading about them. Reading helps you avoid repeating ugly behavior or falling victim to it. It also opens your mind to how to be a more compassionate, giving human being.

Harry Potter did not teach me how to practice witchcraft, but it did demonstrate how to overcome insurmountable odds. I didn't start killing contemporaries after reading The Hunger Games, but I did see how to hold onto my compassion in harrowing circumstances.

Don't be closed minded. Read.

To celebrate banned book week, I'm giving away an electronic copy of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - one of 2016's top 10 most challenged titles and a book I absolutely LOVED! To enter simply leave a title of a banned book you've read & would recommend in the comments. I'll choose one random winner on October 1st. Open Internationally. Must have an email address so I can contact you and award your prize.

Visit Bookhounds for more banned book week fun.

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September 6, 2017

Inspiration Behind The Alien Mind by V.L. Jennings

I'd like to welcome V.L. Jennings to Strands of Thought. She's here to share an excerpt and an interesting behind the story, story from her young adult sci-fi, The Alien Mind. Take it away, Virginia.

Rivi's eyes swept the launch crater to watch the hundreds of Aunantet and human children bustling around the ships.
“We're not all going, are we?” Rivi asked, her voice catching in her throat.
“No, dear,” Ankh answered. “Just you children and about fifty pre-selected Aunantet. The rest of us will stay. This is our home planet. We'll be fine.”
“Is something wrong?” a senior administrator asked, making his way over to Ankh.
“Not really,” Ankh answered, turning back to Rivi. “Rivi, you need to get in your ship now, with the others. The sooner we get you away from here, the safer you will be.”
Rivi nodded and then frowned, putting her hand to the side of her head as if she had a headache.
“Wait, Administrator!” Rivi exclaimed, worry etched across her face. “Does the main computer have the ability to shut down launches?”
“I think so, but—”
Rivi paled.
“What is wrong, Rivi?” Ankh asked.
“Call as many comp amalgamators as you can gather and meet me in the central computer room,” Rivi said, then ran off toward the double doors in the side of the crater that led back into the complex.
Ignoring the shouts calling her back to the launch arena, Rivi ran down corridor after corridor and through a few door-walls until she reached the complex's main computer. Not far behind, Ankh and Enuet entered, followed by the administrator and another Aunantet.
“Rivinaig, I could only find Enast,” the administrator replied as he came through the wall.
“What's going on?” Enast asked.
“We've got to work fast to keep the Aruk out of this system as long as possible so the ships can leave,” Rivi said.
“Rivi, you've got to go get on your ship with the other children,” Ankh exclaimed. “We'll take care of this.”
“I can't leave, Ankh. If I go, the ships will not be able to leave. Enast may be a full-grown Aunantet, but she cannot keep the Aruk out on her own. If you try to do it manually, it will be too slow. I can already feel the Aruk hacking into the system.”
Enast nodded in agreement, as she, too, began to feel the problem.
“All right. Go ahead,” Ankh responded.
Rivi closed her eyes and allowed her mind to amalgamate with the computer, her thoughts merging into the flow of data and calculations. As soon as she sensed Enast's presence, Rivi began to coordinate her defensive attack with the adult Aunantet's. Together, they closed down and repaired every attempt the Aruk comp amalgamators made at shutting down the launches. Rivi could tell that she and Enast were outnumbered when it came to defending the complex's computer systems. There were quite a few comp amalgamators on the Aruk's side trying to break into the computer. Rivi strained her mind to keep ahead of each attempt to sabotage the launch.
The complex began to shake and rattle as the Aruk began their attack, making it even harder for Rivi to concentrate. She struggled mentally to maintain her concentration and stay united with the computer's systems. Without warning, Rivi felt Enast reluctantly break away from the computer system and retreat into the safety of her own mind in exhaustion. Rivi, even more determined not to give up, sat down slowly on the cool floor, careful not to break her connection.
Rivi tapped into the computer's launch system to see how much longer it would be until all of the children's ships were launched. The slow speed of the launch worried Rivi. She didn't want to let anyone down. The Aruk comp amalgamators were increasing their fight to hack into the system. Rivi shuddered as the amalgamators resorted to trying to attack her mind with computer viruses as well while she fought to protect the computer system.
Finally, a particularly large blast shook the complex, forcing Rivi to break her concentration and pull out of the computer. As she retreated to her own mind, Ankh put a steadying hand on her shoulder and pointed to the statistic screen hanging on the wall above her head.
“You did it! All of the ships have left. They are safe now,” Ankh said, and Rivi smiled.
Rivi stood and rolled a cramp out of her neck. She shook hands with Enast, who still looked a bit exhausted.
“I'm sorry I couldn't stay in longer to help. Sudden noises have always created problems with my concentration,” Enast apologized.
“That's all right. Without your help, I wouldn't have had enough strength to hold out in the end,” Rivi replied with a gratified smile.


I was 17 when I started writing The Alien Mind. Visionary From The Stars was finished first but wouldn’t be published till later. I loved shows like Star Trek Enterprise (the one with Captain Archer). I would watch that show almost religiously. My father and I shared a love of sci-fi and space travel. Movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon were on the top of our ‘watch together’ list. Occasionaly I had conversations with him pertaining to hypothetical space travel and I was inspired to check out some quantum theory books from the local library. The ideas sort of just randomly came to me in pieces and I wove them together.
The interesting thing to me though, is that my characters took on a life of their own. I mean, that’s to be expected right? Except here we are 11 years later and they STILL inspire me to do bigger and better things with my life. They still surprise me with new stories too. It is through their story that I am learning more about myself in the process.
You see, growing up I had no thoughts of working with electricity, though I did like computers. I find it increasingly odd that it turned out to be Rivi (from The Alien Mind) and Laurie (Visionary From The Stars) that would inspire me to go into electrical engineering. Rivi has the ability to 'talk' with computers as well as manipulate electricity. Laurie is the ship’s engineer. (My career choice should have been blatantly obvious but it wasn’t, at least to me).
About three years ago, when I was trying to figure out what degree program I really wanted to get into I began to realize that the main characters from both of my books were both electrically inclined. I had toyed with building circuits when I was a teenager, and I had no problem rewiring things around the house but it wasn’t until I began the republishing process with PDMI Publishing (now closed) that I began realizing that maybe Rivi was, in a sense, trying to tell me something. So the fall of that year, when I was busy launching The Alien Mind through PDMI Publishing I also began my degree program in Electrical Engineering.
In my Digital Circuits class we are learning more about how computers communicate with binary. Hexadecimal and AskII are also some of the code languages we are learning. I am coming to the realization that computers must do a whole lot at once just to accomplish a single task, they ‘think’ a lot faster than we can. I can't help but wonder what it must be like to be Rivi, to think like she does, to be able to communicate in 1’s and 0’s and understand it.
I am continuously finding out more about her and in turn she is revealing to me more of myself. I don’t always understand her… and I WROTE her! That is a really weird feeling, and not one I ever expected to happen as a writer. She and I are working on a sequel to The Alien Mind and I can’t wait to see where she will take me!
In the meantime, remember I mentioned that PDMI is now closed? Well, I’m happy to announce that I’ve re-released The Alien Mind with new covers, formatting, a deleted scene, and a forward written by Author Karina Fabian.
You can find them here:
Will be priced at .99 on Amazon till January 1! Normal retail price is 2.99

August 30, 2017

Spotlight on The Lost Knight by Candy Atkins + #Giveaway

  The Lost Knight by Candy Atkins How am I supposed to save the world when I'm not strong, not brave, not smart, and not particularly good at most things? I ran away from home the day after my thirteenth birthday when Auntie and her weird friend attacked me. Now I'm on the run with the Grim Reaper and a scary soldier. And I'm no longer on Earth. They were expecting me to be a Knight. The savior that's supposed to stop a war and prevent the invasion of Earth. But I'm not. They grabbed the wrong girl. I just don’t know how to tell them.  
  Praise for the Book:

#2 on GoodReads Middle Grade Novels of 2016 5/5 Stars “Like Harry Potter meets The Labyrinth.” -Author Adan Ramie 5/5 Stars “Candy Atkins takes us on an epic adventure reminiscent of the novels of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.” –GoodReads/Amazon Reviewer
5/5 Stars “For all you Potterheads or Harry Potter geeks, how can you not fall in love with this story and appreciate the fact that it is a female lead.” –Rising Indies United
Three full chapters are free online: Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three
This is a partial excerpt from Chapter One:
I grab the box of midnight-purple hair dye from my book bag and squeeze my way down the narrow, overstuffed hall into the only bathroom in our apartment. The shower hasn’t worked since it was turned into a storage closet, so I clear the sink of the old cat food cans Auntie has stockpiled, turn on the cold water, and dream about the day when I’ll have my own apartment with a shower, hot water, and food. “Agatha, are you still pouting?” Auntie yells from her recliner. ”I told you, Uncle will pick something up when he’s done with work.” My foster parents, I call them Auntie and Uncle, are not what I would describe as parents, or even aunt and uncle, they’re more like babysitters. Uncle hasn’t been home for three days, and I doubt she believes he’ll be here tonight. She just wants me to tell her that I’m okay with her not picking up dinner. I’m not. Today is my thirteenth birthday. It’s not like I was expecting a cake, but something to eat would’ve been nice. After I dye my hair, I take a shirt from the pile of laundry I’m standing on, wrap it around my head, and carry the remaining hair dye back to my bedroom. I love my tiny room, mostly because I’ve been sketching and painting jumbled and disjointed art on these walls since I was old enough to grip a pencil. Part of the reason I chose what the box calls boysenberry for my hair is because the extra dye is the perfect hue for the raven I’m painting on my ceiling. Dipping the number-three flat brush into my dye calms me and all is forgiven. Auntie’s not a mean person, she’s just a bit off. Being angry with her is like being mad at one of the cats—pointless. I wrap a blanket around my shoulders and open the window. Queens is especially chatty tonight with the noise of cars, people fighting, dogs barking, and the laughter that only I can hear. I stand on the bed and fill in the gentle face of my birdie while humming along with the chorus of voices outside. Tonight, the singing is boldly wafting through my window. I can’t understand the words and don’t know the tune, but the music is sweet and peaceful. It’s sad that I can only hear my songs some of the time, when I’m tired and relaxed, and sadder still that no one else can listen with me. My dye runs out long before I’m satisfied with my raven so I give up and climb into bed. The song I’m listening to now is particularly soothing, a hymn or possibly an opera. Maybe one day I’ll be a great songwriter or something. A muffled thud near my window startles me from a sound sleep. There’s an eerie red glow casting moving shadows across my room. I blink a few times to make sure I’m not still dreaming and follow the source of the light. Just to the side of the foot of my bed kneels a tall, hooded figure with luminescent red eyes. It’s stroking the long ears of a much smaller creature that looks withered and dying. I’m not scared, which is weird, but it might be because I’m not sure I’m awake. I turn on the lamp to make the dream disappear and end up blinding myself. When my eyes adjust, I see the sickly green skin of a long-eared frog-boy lying on the floor and the tall cloaked being that’s cradling it. The tall black monster who closely resembles the Grim Reaper appears to be even more stunned than I am. We stare at each other while my brain struggles to figure out what I’m looking at. These things don’t exist, so how can I be seeing them so clearly? The black-hooded creature never takes its red eyes off me while it stands and lifts the small sickly frog-boy off the floor. “Agatha?” it whispers. This monster is actually in my room! My insides seize, trapping my scream. What is this thing and how does it know my name? I want to run, but I can’t move or look away. My fluttering heart stops when my door flies open with a crash. A scream unseals my lips, amplifying my terror. Auntie charges in, wielding a large kitchen knife. She’s yelling in her nutty made-up language, but it works. The creature jumps out my fifth-floor window, taking the frog-boy with him. She whips around toward me, still holding the knife, and looking like she means to use it. “What did you see! What was that? What were you doing!” Auntie has her kind moments, but she’s crazy. I mean, truly mental. Whatever just happened, she mustn’t know that I saw it too. She probably suspects I did, but if I confirm it, she’ll nail my window shut and my songs will disappear forever. “I had a nightmare. Was I yelling in my sleep? Did I wake you?” I’m trying to sound calm, but I’m failing. She takes a few deep breaths while she sizes me up. She pauses and tilts her head to the side. “There was something here. I saw it. Did you see it?” “What was here? What did you see? And what’s with the knife?” I want her to tell me if she saw the Grim Reaper and a dead rabbit-frog-boy at the foot of my bed. If she saw them too, then I’m not crazy. But then again, if I see the same thing as a crazy person, we’re probably both insane.  
 Author Candy Atkins

Candy Atkins is a full-time writer who lives with her husband and two kids in Orlando, Florida. She’s an avid reader and lover of all things fantasy and sci-fi. Her debut novel, The Lost Knight, is volume one of the six-part Lost Knight Series. Her life’s journey has taken her from dining with the President to being on food stamps to running her own company. And since all author bios end by naming and quantifying pets... she also enjoys spending time with her boxer, Butler, and Wynona the cat.
      amazon or paypal $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 9/24/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 25, 2017

Perfectly You by Robin Daniels +Giveaway

  Perfectly You by Robin Daniels Ivy Nixon is the student body Vice President at Franklin High School. Each year, the school holds a date auction to raise funds for the senior class graduation party, and this year, Ivy’s in charge. Planning the event is a huge task and Ivy is determined to prove she can get the job done right. Unfortunately, she’s still one participant short and her deadline is looming. Andy Walker, her cute but socially reclusive art class table mate, is her last resort. He may not be popular, but he’s funny, talented, and full of surprises. With a makeover and some major social marketing, Ivy is sure he could fetch a decent price at the auction. Andy reluctantly agrees to help, but the more time Ivy spends with him, the more her feelings shift from professional to romantic in nature. To top it off, she’s done her marketing so well, that other girls are starting to notice Andy too. Come auction time, will Ivy be able to let him go to the highest bidder? Or will she find a way to keep him for herself… Content Description: This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels set at the same high school. It contains minor language, innuendo, and crude humor, some steamy kissing, a party scene where underage drinking is taking place, and a brief but tasteful conversation about sex. The author has attempted to write characters who make good choices in questionable situations, in effort to keep the content appropriate for teens. This book contains no sex, written or implied, and no explicit language. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

 EXCERPT: "Probably not," I conceded. "Looks like I can kiss my dreams of being on the PGA tour good-bye. What am I doing wrong?" "Now you're asking?" Andy laughed. "On the last hole?" "Better late than never." I shrugged and gave him a toothy grin. "Hang on a second." He sank his last ball in two, then waved me over. "Ok, come here. Let Lilly and Jake go while I show you what to do." I walked to the edge of the green, club in hand. He stood close behind me, wrapping his arms around mine. Then he gently positioned my hands on the handle of the club. I'd always thought it was cheesy in movies when a guy showed a girl how to do something rather than just explaining it. The move was so obvious. But now that I was in that very situation, Andy's body pressed against mine, his yummy cologne assaulting my nose, I didn't care if it was cheesy. "First of all, you're gripping the club too tightly. You need to relax." He leaned over my shoulder and spoke softly against my ear. His breath tickled my neck, and my brain got fuzzy. "Next, you need to stop swinging like you're trying to drive the green. You have to finesse a putter. Swing it more like a pendulum and less like a baseball bat." He chuckled, then started swaying my arms back and forth with his. "Like this, can you feel the difference?" "Mmm-hmm," I lied. I was trying to pay attention, honestly, I was. But his closeness was making it extremely difficult. I couldn't feel anything beyond the warmth of his body and the softness of his lips grazing my ear. Was he trying to help me or distract me? My mind wandered until he pulled away and walked around to face me. "Finally, you need to aim." He smiled. "That's when you look at the ball, then look at the hole, then try to put the ball in the hole."


Author Robin Daniels Robin Daniels is a wife, mother of five and avid consumer of books. She loves reading SO much that she was actually grounded from it as a twelve year old. No Joking! Her mom caught her reading when she was supposed to be cleaning, which was a common occurrence. At that point mom took the books and instructed her to go watch TV or play outside like a normal kid. Robin is a sucker for home design shows and magazines, watches way too much Netflix and has a very codependent relationship with with a certain diet soda who’s brand shall not be named. (Though anyone with a similar problem could probably guess which one.)
  amazon or paypal$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 9/15/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 17, 2017

Change the Conversation. Embrace the Vulnerable.

Warning: Rare personal post

I’m not a political person. My mind doesn’t work that way. I know what I believe in and vote to support that, but if you ask me to explain it to you, my tongue ends up in some strange political knot. There is a political disconnect somewhere between my brain and my mouth.

But I know hate.

During the presidential campaign one of the things that worried me most about Trump was how his actions stirred up the haters. Bigots, racists, oppressors, those who feel they are somehow better than others were feeling empowered by the man’s actions. When the surprise of his win wore off, the dread settled deep in my gut. I knew a lot of things would go wrong with him in office, but my biggest concern was how he empowered mean spirited people.

A president can negate laws and policies meant to protect people. He can put laws and policies in place to further his own agenda and they will have an impact on our lives – but on a higher level. Plus in four years when he’s voted out, the next president can undo everything he did. Our system is a pendulum to protect us – on that higher level – from a president who swings too far to one side or another.

But empowering the bigots and the racists brings it to street level. It plops it right smack dab into our neighborhoods. When he was elected I know I wasn’t the only one who worried about that. So, what happened this weekend was, on the one hand, no surprise. Don’t get me wrong; it’s shocking that we live among a populous that vehemently believes anybody is inferior enough to deserve oppression. Though I truly don’t want to accept there are still so many people with narrow minded, warped, and truly mean thinking – Trump already exposed that during his campaign. So the violence this weekend was just a matter of time.

The thing that worries me is the inflammation. A huge gaping wound was torn open in America this weekend. It’s surrounded by tender, inflamed people who are more likely to become infected and make it worse rather than better. We know our leader is not going to step forward and strongly denounce these actions. So, without proper leadership, we must figure out how to take control ourselves. How do we reject the power given to the haters and create a society of tolerance and acceptance? With more hate and vitriol? No.

Lead by example. Speak up, but instead of shouting, speak with strength and conviction. Why point a finger at people who voted for Trump? That will only put them on the defense. Instead, share a personal experience of how the shift in our culture has impacted you, your family, or friends. Make it real. People react better to stories than to accusations.

We need to change the conversation. We need to protect the vulnerable. Reach out to those in your life who are especially vulnerable; people of color, lgbtq, Jewish, women, (who else, the list seems to grow daily anymore!) Reach out and let them know you love and support them. That you are a safe place for them when they feel threatened. Bullies give up when their target is well protected. As a community, we can warn the haters off.

I’m so sad that we are in this place again. Looking at the images and reading/watching the unabashed hate makes my heart hurt. But at the same time, the fact that we – as humans – continually repeat this repulsive behavior makes me realize that it will always, always be a fight we must wage. Maybe what we learn from our past isn’t not to oppress, but how to oppress the oppressors. It isn’t our leaders who do it. It is the people. It is US. Embrace the vulnerable and stand strong against the haters. Don’t even give our inept leader the time of day. Each time we rise to the bait, we reward his attention monger antics. He doesn’t deserve our anger. Put that energy into the street fight.


August 10, 2017

Cover Reveal of This Life Isn't Mine by Dominique Laura + #Giveaway

I'm excited to share the cover for the upcoming #YAcontemporary, This Life Isn't Mine by Dominique Laura.
About the book:
Most nights, when I close my eyes, my dreams are filled with memories from my past life, the one I lived before this. I remember who I was and the people in that life, and I don't want any part of this one. Everly Hope Davis isn't who I want to be, but she's who I am. In the beginning I fought against her and everything in her world, but it's impossible to hate something when you're living it every day, when the people involved make it a life worth living. I'm trying to make the best of it now, but deep down I know this life isn't mine.

Preorder link: (PREORDER FOR 99 CENTS!):

Cover designer: Liv's Lovely Designs

Twitter: @DomLauraWrites
Instagram: DominiqueLauraWrites
Amazon Link:

Giveaway HTML: a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 7, 2017

August #InkRipples: Author options in Publishing

A quick side note before I get into this month’s topic of author options in publishing. Several lovely bloggers helped my alter ego, LA Dragoni, celebrate the release of Guardian’s Touch with a blog tour and giveaway. Be sure to stop by their blogs TODAY to read my words of wisdom and enter to win one of three great prizes. Today, Monday, is the last day.
Katie Carroll
Meradeth Houston
Beverly McClure
Patricia Lynne
Joan Curtis
Erin Rhew

I’m going to try and take a different approach to this month’s Ink Ripples topic and see if I can address how the expanded options for authors in publishing has impacted the reader. At least from my viewpoint.

Back in the day, not all that long ago, authors really only had one option to achieve successful sales in publishing. The big six (there used to be six, now there are…five?) Anyway, since Amazon paved the way to making self-publishing not only affordable and attainable and others like Smashwords, and Draft to Digital, etc, followed, it also opened the gates to achieve sales success, all sorts of possibilities have opened up, including many small press publishers, and as a result more books are published each month than ever before.

What does this mean to readers?

Selection. Just doing a generic search on Amazon for a few genres I come up with more books than a reader could browse in a lifetime, let alone read. Paranormal Romance: 122,765. Science Fiction & Fantasy: 382,555. Oh, here. I might have stumbled upon a niche market. Young Adult Contemporary only pulls a result of 43,446. Ooo – wait, even better is Time Travel Romance, which only returns 13,130.

I have books published/to be published in each of these categories. Let’s say a reader is interested in my Super Villain Academy books, but can’t remember the name of any of the books – or they heard someone talking about my time travel romance and can’t remember it’s title or the pen name I write under. How are they supposed to find it?! Sure there is a lot of selection, but how do readers narrow it down? Eenie meanie, miney, moe? Throw darts at the screen and see what they hit? Selection can be good and it can be overwhelming.

Price. Competition often drives prices down. Maybe not so good for the authors, who would like to get paid for all the work they poured into that book, but it’s great for the readers. 99¢ is the new black and readers are taking full advantage of it. It isn’t even too disappointing if they end up with a poorly written book or a one that wasn’t edited at that price. And it is a good way to see if you want to invest a whole $3.99 on one of the author’s other books. However, because authors aren't making money, they are more likely to stop publishing altogether, which will impact that author's fan directly.

Services. This is actually a pretty sweet deal for readers. There are now a ton of FREE newsletters readers can join where, when the reader signs up, they tell the newsletter what types of books they are most interested in and they get a daily/weekly email with a list of books in those categories. That helps the reader find new authors or even publishers who they can then stick with. The reader can weed out the newsletters that don’t send suggestions they are interested in and only continue to receive the ones they deem more reliable. Bloggers are also AWESOME. If readers take the time to try a few different bloggers who review books they are interested in, they’ll find one or two they can rely on to feel the same about a book as they do.

Quality. Back in the day it used to be that only quality books were found through publishers and self-published work was generally crap. The waters have been so stirred up now that you will find self-published crap, small press published crap and crap from the big five. But guess what – it also means you can find quality work across the board too.

The interesting thing is most of the time the reader isn’t really aware of how the book got into their hands. They just know that the cover or the blurb or a recommendation from a friend/bookseller/librarian caught their attention. Most readers don’t say, “Ah, but who published it?” before deciding to pick it up.

What do you think? How has the expansion of authors’ options in publishing changed life for the bookworms out there?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.