Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome to Parson's Cove!

Parson's Cove, NC is the fictional town that serves as the setting for Of Dreams and Shadow.   I thought I'd share a little about its origin.  After all, there are places in Onslow county that inspired it.  One of those is Yopp's Meeting House.  Yopp's Meeting House is located in Sneads Ferry, NC. and while it doesn't appear in my story,  it's a place that has always caught my attention.  When I was a little girl, the place creeped me out.  It always looked spooky - sitting off the road, surrounded by shade trees and a cemetery.  As I grew older, its history intrigued me and I knew Parson's Cove had to have an old building of its own.  

Yopp's Meeting House
Sneads Ferry, NC

I visited areas in Onslow County looking at old structures.  The Pelletier House in Jacksonville was one of the ones that I studied.  I had it in mind when I described Parson's Cove's - Henderson's Merchantile.

Pelletier House
Jacksonville, NC

I could imagine a building a bit wider than this one sitting just across the road from the river, waiting for fisherman and sailors to come inside and spend their money after a long voyage.  Such old buildings hold secrets and it's the same with Henderson's Merchantile - one visit marks the beginning of the end for someone in Parson's Cove. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Weekend Tourist - My visit to Swansboro, NC

If you're looking for something to do in Eastern North Carolina, a drive to Swansboro might be just what the doctor ordered. Swansboro is situated on the banks of the White Oak River.  It has a beautiful downtown area with wonderful shops and restaurants.



If shopping and dining isn't your thing, then a stop at Hammock's Beach State Park might be. 

There's not a lot as far as exhibits in the Visitor's Center, but little kids will be entertained.  

For the outdoor enthusiast, there are kayaks and a ferry to carry you to Bear Island.  Bear Island is perfect for exploring and enjoying nature at its best.  If you like primitive camping, then this could be the place for you. 

Go on!  Get out there and explore Eastern North Carolina!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Review of The Bond (Sphere, Episode 2)

 by Isaiyan Morrison

The Bond Episode Two Cover.jpg


As a new Carrier in training, Tayla has a lot to learn. Still unable to accept that her mother who walked out on her and her father years ago was a Carrier herself, her new friends, Darrien, Sina, and Iris, began to reveal how important her mother was in the Carrier world. However, their explanations only create more questions about her mother and why she secretly passed her gift onto Tayla at such a young age.

Still trying to get used to the fact that her gift is the strongest gift that any Carrier could possess, Tayla finds herself the center of an up and coming war between Light and Dark Carriers. She meets Cody, Darrien's older brother and enemy who tells her that not only will her gift bring destruction if she chooses a side, but by not choosing a side she can be like him - a Rogue Carrier with no allegiance.  

Learning now that her power can tip the scales in the up and coming war Tayla is forced to choose. Will she fight for the Light Carriers or will she fight for the Dark Carriers?

What did I think?

In The Bond (Sphere, Episode 2), Isaiyan Morrison continues the story of Tayla, a teenaged girl who is coming to terms with the fact that she, like her mother, is a Carrier.  The story moves quickly and is full of intense action.  The introduction of Cody, a rogue Carrier, only added to the fun.  

Ms. Morrison continues to do a good job weaving in the backstory while offering tantalizing hints of what's to come.  She has set the stage for the next installment and I look forward to reading it!

While not yet available, The Bond (Sphere, Episode 2) will soon be released.  For more information regarding the release date, be sure to check Isaiyan's website-   

This is a serial with each episode roughly between 14,000-18,000 words long. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Building My Online Presence

It's been just over three years since I started my novel.  I'm sure some of you can relate - working, family, etc.  Sometimes, it was just hard to fit writing time into the schedule.  I stuck with it and when I finally finished the edits and the rewrites, I was relieved - that was short lived though. Choosing to self-publish seemed like a viable option - one that offered control to me.  What I didn't realize was the hard work that comes with that choice.

Anyone can self-publish a novel but what we all want is to have our efforts recognized - and by that I am referring to "sales."  I have spent hours scouring the internet looking for information regarding self promotion and marketing.  Time and again, so many offer the same advice:  offer quality content, build your platform, and increase your online presence.

Quality content - I offer writing tips and updates on my journey in self-publishing.  The problem...I bet you do too.  It's like being a diamond among diamonds - I can only hope that my post glimmers enough to cause a reader to choose it out of all the other possible choices.

Build your platform - I've got a website and a blog.  I joined online communities.  I have an author page on Facebook and I'm on Goodreads.  My question is this:  Short of hiring your own social media specialist, how does anyone find the time to do it all?  I understand that "working social media" increases my online presence but like many of you, I work a full time job.  I come home and prepare dinner for my family. I pick up my son from practices and attend his games.  I help with homework.  You get the picture - it's probably very similar to your life.

It would be wonderful to stumble across the directions guaranteed to make my novel a must read...but as of yet, I haven't found them.  Instead, I'm trying to put together a marketing plan - starting with sending out media kits to area newspapers and magazines.  I've created a book trailer which I'll post on Facebook and my website and I'm looking at virtual book tours.  While I recognize the questionable use of both book trailers and virtual tours - I don't live in a metropolitan area and for me, a chance to increase my presence is worth it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

YA Fusion: /LoveHateAngerDevotion - AKA That Thing Called Emo...

YA Fusion: /LoveHateAngerDevotion - AKA That Thing Called Emo...: The success of a book has a lot of contributing factors. A killer plot. Enticing characters. Cool settings. Unique idea… But one factor...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Review - Sphere (The Carriers, Episode One) by Isaiyan Morrison

Just finishing graduating high school, Tayla Wyatt looks forward to heading off to the same college her best friend Sara was accepted to. This is her only way to get away from her family's troubles and the fact that her mother walked out on her and her father over a decade ago.

The day of her 17th birthday they meet Darrien, a shy eighteen year old boy who reveals to Tayla that she's descended from a long line of Carriers, humans endowed with special abilities or "gifts" and that her gift she has yet to harness is the strongest gift of them all. Tayla doesn't believe him. After all, no human in the world has special powers, or do they?

Things suddenly take a downward spiral turn as Tayla finds herself immersed in their world. Still questioning why her mother left her, she must also come to grips with the fact that her gift may not be a blessing but a curse.

So what did I think?

There's no warm and fuzzy lead up here - Isaiyan Morrison drops the reader into a tense situation in very first paragraph.  It left me feeling as though I was playing catch up...and I think that worked. The main character Tayla is like many teenagers - likable, vulnerable, and confused.  I found myself relating to her and her doubts.  

I thought Ms Morrison did a great job giving voice to the cast of characters.  There was no mistaking each character's personality but it was actually the villain who caught my attention. He was arrogantly evil and I loved him.

It can be hard to weave important information into a story and not have an information dump especially when the reader steps into an already accelerating story.   I thought Ms Morrison did a good job filling in the back story.  There was a small dump in the beginning but as the story proceeded, I felt like she got better and better.

My biggest complaint is also my biggest compliment - the cliffhanger!  I scrolled down my kindle looking for the next paragraph - but it wasn't there!  Dang!  The disappointment...

My recommendation:

Don't let the fact that this is a serial keep you from reading it.   If you feel lost in the beginning, don't worry.  It won't take long for you to figure out the who's and the what's that make this story work.  Sit back, get comfortable and enjoy the read!

This is a serial with each episode roughly between 14,000-18,000 words long. 

Smashwords Link

Amazon Link

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Self Publishing Update

I finished my revisions - and oh my gosh - the relief!  Hopefully, I found everything - that all my i's are dotted, my t's are crossed.  I feel as though a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. So now the wait is on - if everything goes right, Create Space will be sending me a revised proof one day next week.   Now on to the next phase-getting my manuscript formatted for an e-book.  I started that tonight - activated my account - and then realized I don't have a separate ISBN.  So, I'm at a standstill - because I can't remember how I purchased the ISBN at the beginning of this adventure.  As frustrating as this is, there is a bright side.  The journey has been long but I can see the finish line and it's a wonderful sight!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Use Your Dashboard!

This is a cautionary (but true) tale:

I read the email - make my corrections and upload.  The plan was simple.   I spent July 4th, in front of my laptop, editing my physical proof from Create Space.  And this morning (the 5th)  I was going to upload the corrections and then search the internet for book reviewers, etc.  The plan would have worked if I'd gone to my project dashboard instead of assuming I knew the process .  Silly me.  The hours I spent correcting my manuscript were wasted.  Had I checked my dashboard, I would have found the formatted version Create Space wanted me to use. 

So my Friday went like this - Instead of sending off inquiries to reviewers, I spent the day making the corrections to the formatted manuscript.  I saved the changes, X'd out of the document and BLAM! I was kicked off the site.  I hate spotty internet and with the rain and the heat in our area, it seems our internet service is working beyond capacity.  I tried to go back in - but couldn't.  Create Space had blocked my access....  I can only hope that somehow, the changes made it....Otherwise, it'll be day three....

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Self Publishing Update

Update on self publishing process: 

I received the proof copy of my novel.  Honestly, I am blown away by the number of tiny errors I've found - especially considering how many times I went over the manuscript before submitting it. Not only did I go over it but I had very knowledgeable people read it including writers/editor. Can you say stressed?  Thankfully, Carol Ann Ross (author of The Days of Hairawn Muhly) gave me a break and finished looking for the errors.  Now it's just a matter of revising.  I'm sure you can guess how I'll be spending the 4th of July.  

As I am self published, I don't have a marketing department behind me.  So I'm thinking about a virtual book tour...and I've been looking at a company called Enchanted Book Promotions.  If you promoted your novel using a blog tour, what was your experience?  Is it something you'd recommend?