Introducing: Rissa Blakeley, Author of the “Shattered Lives” Series

be different

First, I want to thank Christina for inviting me to write a post for her blog. I hope she didn’t hear or see me laugh maniacally while rubbing my hands together.

Second, I’d like to ask you, the reader, a question…

Have you ever asked an author what genre they write? I’m going to take a wild guess and say yes. Have you ever looked at them oddly when they spit and sputter, trying to explain what genre?

This is my life.

I’ve always had issues finding where my books fall, genre-wise. My series, Shattered Lives, was difficult to place. When readers asked what genre it was, I couldn’t figure out what to say. After Broken Dreams had been out nearly a year, I went with post-apocalyptic with a paranormal twist. It seemed fitting. Originally, I marketed it as paranormal romance, but that didn’t stick due to the lack of…romance, I guess. They are in survival mode. Who has time, or resources, to light candles and put on some Barry White?

I used to try to keep the presence of zombies…or undeads, as my characters call them…in Shattered Lives in the background. I didn’t want my books to be stereotyped for one main reason: Shattered Lives is not about the zombies. It’s about relationships, overcoming real-life relationship situations, and moving forward. Take out zombie and insert…a man eating cheeseburger that lures you in with its delicious cheesy aroma, all while leaving a trail of floppy pickles behind. I find this utterly terrifying due to the fact that I am an unapologetic cheeseburger junkie.

All silliness aside, I like to change people’s minds. I like knowing they walked in blindly and came out with a new perspective. Many have, and that brings me to a level of happiness with my writing I never thought I could obtain. I suppose some would look at it as deceptive, but I see it as a surprise plotline. I love a good plot twist. I want to be kept guessing and yelling, “What the ^@#* just happened?!”

Am I the only one?

As of June 7th, I published my sixth novel. While still working on Shattered Lives, The King’s Fate (Corvidae Guard #1) is an entirely new series and genre for me. I did it again, folks. I found it difficult to place. I started off thinking it would be a true paranormal romance, but was left with something along the lines of dark fantasy/dark fairy-tale/paranormal/paranormal romance… This could take all day. Due to the presence of Fae, Angels, and Vampires, The King’s Fate is more grounded in the fantasy genre than anything else.

I think I will always wonder where my books and I fit into the writing world. I’m not one for being boxed in, nor do I like someone pointing a finger at me, telling me what kind of writer I am. As I continue on this path, the forks are aplenty! My writing and I are always evolving, never fitting into the popular scene, but keeping true to myself. There are a lot of authors who write what’s popular to get on that wagon. That’s great for them, but for me? It’s not likely to happen. It’s not that I’m being unconventional. It’s just who I am. Unless I’m driving the bandwagon, I’m not going to hop on it.

That is how I came up with the #BeDifferentReadDifferent tag. It encompasses me and my writing. Does it bother me that I can’t seem to place my finger on the right buttons? Yeah, sometimes, but then it reminds me of who I am as an individual. I am unique and I see my writing in a similar manner.

While still edging on being an amateur, I feel like I’m transitioning. Not only with my writing, but myself, as well. I’m not quite there yet, but much farther than I have ever been. My writing has changed tremendously since I first decided to put pen to paper. I started as one of those readers who say, “How hard could it possibly be to write a novel?” I was wrong…so very, very wrong. I am thankful to all the individuals (special shout-out to the Dragon Mamas) who have helped me get my name out there, who have helped me develop into the author I am today. I’ve learned so much, and I plan to continue to grow.

I want to keep learning, keep transitioning, keep writing books outside the norm. I feel as if I can keep digging, I will make it to the other side. I hope to see you there.

-RB


Rissa Blakeley is the author of the paranormal series, Corvidae Guard, and the post-apocalypse saga, Shattered Lives, which features a paranormal twist. Her short story, A Little Taste of Naughty, was part of the best-selling anthology, Just Desserts.

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A native New Yorker, Rissa is now a Georgia transplant, who is completely addicted to black coffee, La Croix and obsessively listens to songs on repeat. Her days are full of characters screaming for more scenes, cats living up to their Harry Potter namesakes, a lazy dog, a teenage daughter bringing Emo back, and a Viking husband, who finds her puns less than funny. When Rissa isn’t writing, she can be found procrastinating on social media.

LINKS:

Website: www.rissablakeley.com

Newsletter:  http://mad.ly/signups/123912/join

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rissa-Blakeley/e/B00K042WWU/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=rissa+blakeley&sitesearch_type=STORE

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorrissablakeley

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rissasarmy/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RissaBlakeley

Instagram: https://instagram.com/rissa_blakeley/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7179689.Rissa_Blakeley

Merchandise: https://rissablakeley.spreadshirt.com/

Email: rissablakeley@gmail.com

The Shattered Lives series is available worldwide on paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon page link: http://www.amazon.com/Rissa-Blakeley/e/B00K042WWU

The King’s Fate is available worldwide on Kindle. More platforms and paperback coming soon!

Amazon:

US: https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Fate-Corvidae-Guard-ebook/dp/B01GOLONEM

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GOLONEM

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01GOLONEM

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01GOLONEM

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1121434697

Kobo:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-king-s-fate

Page Foundry (Inktera):

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/39b8b9ff-2654-4d76-803d-ab4fa4c893cc

 

 

⭐20 Questions⭐for Author Casey L. Bond

 

dramatic sky with dark clouds at sunset

Today, I have the honor of interviewing Casey L. Bond, author of the bestselling “Frenzy” series. I’ve known Casey for about 2 years, and she’s become one of my favorite indie author friends. Always enthusiastic and optimistic, her motivation to succeed in the indie world is truly inspiring, and she’s always there to lend a hand, or offer advice when you need it. ❤

If you haven’t checked out Casey’s books yet, spanning an array of various romance sub-genres, I highly recommend you do so >HERE< after you read the interview. 🙂

Let us begin!

 

  1. Casey, what’s your writing process like?

Fast and furious! LOL! I don’t get to write every day, so when I get a free hour or a few of them, I write as fast as possible. Typos and rewrites can be done later in the process. The first draft usually takes me 6-8 weeks and then there are revisions, edits, formats, etc. before I hit the publish button.

On the days I don’t write, I’m plotting what is coming next. I usually make a rough plot based on an 8-point story arc and follow it, but that leaves a lot of details that need filled in.

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Slightly both. A hybrid? I plot major points and then pants most of the in-between.

  1. How many genres do you currently write in? Do you have any pen names?

I write romance and in sub-genres such as dystopian, fantasy, horror and contemporary. My adult works are published under C.L. Bond and my YA is published under Casey L. Bond. I felt the need to separate the two slightly so that teens don’t pick up the adult books. But, I did want people to be able to search Bond and find me.

  1. If you could have one super power or special ability, what would it be?

I would love to fly! As crazy as it sounds, it seems exhilarating and peaceful at the same time.

  1. If you were stranded somewhere with no other way to write, would you rather use your skin as paper, or your blood as ink?

I’d use my skin. Blood (as weird as that sounds considering I write vampires) skeeves me out. (Especially my own).

  1. If you could only choose one, would you rather read or write for the rest of your life?

Write. As much as I love reading, I love writing even more and my mind is full of stories. There are so many and new ideas popping in all the time. Most will never be written.

  1. If you could be one Disney princess, which would you be, and why?

Hmmm. I love Merida from Brave and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. Both are strong women who aren’t afraid to fight and work hard for what they want. 🙂

  1. What’s your favorite thing about being an indie author?

The control. (I’m not a control freak.) I love being able to see my sales each day, to control pricing and keep it affordable for readers. I was traditionally published at first and had no say in anything with regard to pricing. My e-book was priced at $9.99, which is insane for a brand-new author that no one had ever heard of.  I only saw sales on a quarterly statement and was left in the dark most of the time. So I like knowing how my business is doing on a daily basis. I enjoy the interaction with readers and fans and look forward to continuing down the indie road. Would I consider an agent and traditional publisher now? Yes. I’d love a publishing deal, but it would have to be right and with a large press for me to consider it at this point in my career.

  1. When did you first start writing? When did you write your first full-length novel?

I’ve always written to some degree, but seriously began writing around five or six years ago. That’s when my first book was written. Winter Shadows taught me a lot about writing, the publishing industry and the book community as a whole. It was the first stepping stone and I’m incredibly grateful for all of the local and online support I received with publishing it.

  1. Would you rather be the sky, or the ocean? Why?

The ocean. I’m part fish! LOL! I love water. I love the smell of the salty air and the waves slapping the shore.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I have several projects planned for the next five years, each more elaborate and intense than the last. Several will break boundaries for me and I’m excited about the potential. I will query a few of these projects in search of an agent who might be interested in representing them and potentially negotiating publishing rights, audio book rights and foreign rights as those arise.

  1. Where do you get most of your story inspiration?

I would say several sources inspire me: daily life, the news, dreams, music. There are a lot of what-if’s and my imagination runs wild with possibilities.

  1. What genre do you wish you could write, but probably never will?

I really wish I could write a crime novel and considering that I majored in Criminal Justice, one would think that would have been the first thing that I was pulled to, but I’m a lover at heart. I love the possibilities of life and love in desperate situations. I love building worlds even more than setting stories in our own.

  1. If you could live in any of your story worlds, which would you choose, and what character would you be?

Of those I can disclose….I’d say Frenzy and I would be Porschia Grant. This story and character have almost taken me over. I love Porschia’s strength through adversity. She’s tenacious, determined to preserve who she once was and I respect her for that.

  1. If you could have any two of your own characters over for dinner, who would you invite?

Seriously? Gray and Tage. Gray is from The Harvest Saga and Tage is from the Frenzy Series. Need I explain more? They’re book boyfriends but sweet and funny. The conversation would be hilarious.

 

  1. Name your top 5 favorite books of all time.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Night, Elie Wiesel

The Premonition Series, Amy Bartol

The Fate Series, Heather Lyons

 

  1. Do you prefer paperbacks or ebooks?

I prefer to keep paperbacks of my favorites, but read on a Kindle. I can easily read at night that way and won’t mess up my pages. 🙂

  1. Where’s your favorite place to read? Favorite place to write?

I read while chillaxing in my recliner after the kids go to sleep. I write at my desk, though we’ve been moving and I’m sort of displaced right now.

  1. What items must you have on your desk at all times while working?

Paper, pen, a drink, post-it notes, computer, phone and earbuds. Those are the essentials! I love my music.

  1. How do you deal with distractions when you’re trying to work? Do you limit your social media time, etc.?

I can easily tune out the world while working. I love to listen to music, softly. When I write, I need “brain-breaks.” I’ll write until I need to stop and process for a minute, so I’ll check in on social media, etc and then go back to it when I clear my mind.

 

Thanks so much, Casey, what a fun interview! You and I have a lot of things in common, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

And for you, person reading this interview, here’s the link again to Casey’s Amazon page. Go check out her books!

Thanks for reading! And happy writing. ❤

xoxo

Christina

FREE Bestselling YA Dystopian

ttm free promo june 2016

If you haven’t read “The Treemakers,” now’s the time to snatch it up!

FREE through June 3rd

—–> “The Treemakers” on Amazon

Blurb:

Stay on guard. Be aware of your surroundings. Notice the nuances. Cover your tracks. Always be prepared. Question everything. This is how you stay alive, Joy. And this is how you keep the ones you love alive.

Sixteen-year-old Joy Montgomery, daughter of Zephyr the Magnificent, the great magician, can only reminisce of better times. Before the Superiors. Before the uprisings. Long ago. Before the dying Earth ripped the family she loved away from her.

In this desolate dystopian future, the Greenleigh orphans are “privileged” with the task of building mechanical trees for Bygonne, so their world behind The Wall can breathe another day, and so the Superiors may continue their malevolent reign.

Lured by a yearning for freedom, tenacious curiosity, and hunger for adventure, Joy discovers hope and magic amid the misery, and power in her promise to care for those remaining, whom she loves enough to risk her life for. To save them, herself, and the boy she adores from the abuse and slavery by the Superiors, Joy must entrust the aid of an unlikely ally who harbors a dangerous secret.

With an intriguing stranger at the helm, Joy and the treemakers embark on an intense and terrifying, yet liberating quest for the truth about the existence of the forbidden paradise beyond The Wall.

The Best of the Besties: My Top Ten Favorite Literary Friends-Guest Blog by M.A. Phipps

It’s happened to all of us. We’re reading a book, and then, out of nowhere, the protagonist is no longer our favorite character. Now, we’re dazzled by someone else—by a secondary character who steals the show along with our hearts. This person becomes our favorite. The one we root for more than any other character in the book, not because the protagonist no longer matters but because this individual encompasses everything we love.

When I first began writing my debut series, Project W. A. R., my favorite character was obviously the protagonist, Wynter. Until a new character came to life in my brain: Jenner. Now, I still love my girl, Wynter—don’t get me wrong—but Jenner just has that special quality that makes him stand out more than anyone else. He’s funny. He’s likable. He’s protective. He’s the light in a dark world while still having something about him that makes him complicated and interesting. Basically, if I could turn him into a real person, I would shrink him down to pocket-size and pull him out whenever I need a cuddle. I love him that much.

My point is, we all have those characters we become borderline obsessed with, and they don’t even have to be the hero or the heroine of the story. They can be the lover. They can be the friend. They can be someone who was created solely for moral support of the other characters. Regardless of why they exist, we’re just so freaking happy they do.

With that said, I thought I would present to you my top ten list of my favorite literary “besties.” Some of them cross the border into lover territory, but first and foremost, they are the friends to our protagonists that we all wish we could have in real life.

10. Mogget from Sabriel

Mogget is an interesting character as he isn’t exactly friends with the protagonist, Sabriel. He helps her in her quest to find her father, but strictly because he is bound by magic to serve the Abhorsen and all subsequent Abhorsens, making him her servant more than anything else. The reason he’s included on this list—apart from being an awesome character—boils down to his actions when he and Sabriel find themselves in one particular moment of trouble. Sabriel knows the only way to get out of their predicament is to free Mogget of his bond and unleash his true form (with the intention of using his power to help them). In his true form, Mogget is overcome with anger toward the Abhorsen for imprisoning him in the first place, and generally, wants nothing more than to exact his revenge. What he does here instead suggests at least a respect for Sabriel: not only does he help her, but he offers her the one way to bind him again, rather than kill her and take his freedom. He willingly chooses servitude over liberation, and in the end, is the one who gives Sabriel the power to defeat evil.

9. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

Fitzwilliam Darcy, or Mr. Darcy as he’s more commonly known, is pretty much the standard for what all women want in a man. Tall, dark, and handsome. Brooding but affectionate. And to top it off, he’s a great friend. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Mr. Darcy is an ass! He purposely separated Mr. Bingley from Jane, and they were soulmates! SOULMATES, I TELL YOU!” Let me just say, I hear you loud and clear. Mr. Darcy was a bit of an ass and acted prematurely, but you have to see it from his perspective. Mr. Bingley is THAT friend. You know the one. The one who crushes a little too hard on people and doesn’t seem to realize when the feelings aren’t mutual. The one who just can’t seem to take a damn hint. Pride and Prejudice also took place in a time when you would propose to someone after a five-minute conversation. How well did Mr. Bingley really know Jane? They never spoke to each other the way Mr. Darcy did with Elizabeth. They just frolicked on the dance floor at a handful of balls and co-inhabited the same home while Jane recovered from the flu. Mr. Darcy didn’t know Jane and saw her shyness as indifference, so he thought he was sparing his friend inevitable heartache down the line by nipping things in the bud before they had the chance to develop. Sure, he could’ve actually used his noggin and looked into their relationship a tiny bit more, but he made up for it by bringing them back together in the end. He embraced his mistakes and went out of his way to fix them.

8. Newt & Minho from The Maze Runner trilogy

These two are kind of a package deal. You rarely encounter any moments in the trilogy where you have one without the other, and it doesn’t seem right to only include one on this list. With that said, these two are devoted friends to the protagonist, Thomas—sticking by him and defending him pretty much from the get-go, even when they don’t really have reason to do so (and even if they don’t always agree with his actions). At only one point do we feel a strain in their relationship, and even that ultimately boils down to trying to protect one another from an otherwise horrific fate. They display an unprecedented bravery and determination considering their age and the world they live in, and show a loyalty toward friendship that helps to set this series apart from other books.

7. Will Parry from the His Dark Materials trilogy

Will doesn’t actually show up until the second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, but in spite of that, he steals the show. Thrust into a world completely different to the one he knew, instead of giving into fear and uncertainty, he helps Lyra, the protagonist, without question or hesitation. Although he has his own reasons for joining in on her adventure, he still sticks by her side throughout the remainder of the trilogy, venturing into dangerous situation after dangerous situation, and showing such absolute and admirable bravery for a child. He even stands up to pretty terrifying adult characters, unwilling to back down when Lyra is in trouble. He even makes one of the hardest choices a human, let alone a child should ever have to make: separating from someone you love for the greater good of all mankind. Not only is he Lyra’s bestie, he’s pretty much the bestie of the entire universe for saving the day.

6. Ian O’Shea from The Host

Like a few of the others on this list, Ian kind of dances on the brink between friendship and love. In the beginning of The Host, he’s a bit of a shit and even tries to kill the protagonist, Wanderer, at one point. However, once he gets to know her and sees that she isn’t a threat to their community, they develop a sort of friendship that later becomes something more. Even though they’re different species and a relationship is difficult because of Wanderer inhabiting the body of Melanie (who is ironically the girlfriend of Ian’s best male friend, Jared), Ian still goes out of his way to show his dedication to her. He defends Wanderer, he protects her, and he even supports the idea of banishing his brother when his own flesh and blood tries to murder the soul he loves. Not to mention, he has the absolute best line in the entire book.

5. Brienne of Tarth from the series, A Song of Ice and Fire

Similar to Mogget, Brienne is a character bound more by servitude than actual friendship. Still, girl is loyal to a fault and makes damn sure to follow through with her promises—or die trying. She ends up in some pretty tricky situations where old alliances are tested, but when she sees the people she cares about in danger, she does what’s necessary to save them, no matter the cost.

4. Mikael Blomkvist from the Millenium trilogy

Mikael Blomkvist has a rather unusual relationship with the protagonist of the Millenium trilogy, Lisbeth Salander. You couldn’t find two people more different from one another, and yet, their friendship not only worked, it was some of the best chemistry I’ve ever read. Their relationship was sometimes sexual, but it never detracted from how much Mikael respected Lisbeth. In the last two books in particular, he went above and beyond to help her, really setting their friendship apart and setting the bar for a great bestie. When Lisbeth is suspected of murder and everyone believes she’s guilty, Mikael is the only person to see her innocence. When everyone else is trying to bring her down, he risks everything to save her life. What makes him an even better friend is the fact that Lisbeth isn’t exactly the most grateful human being. She has a tough exterior and refuses to show weakness, but in spite of that, he never once gives up on her. He works hard to break through her walls and is there for her without fail when the rest of the world isn’t.

3. Margo Dunne from Gone Girl

While Margo is technically the protagonist’s twin sister, she is also, in many ways, his best friend. When Nick’s wife goes missing and he is suspected of foul play in her suspicious disappearance, Margo not only takes him in, she stands by his side throughout the entire investigation. Even when she finds out he committed adultery and questions whether he actually did murder his wife, she still sticks by him, regardless of any uncertainty about his innocence. She becomes the brunt of incestuous rumors due to her public defense of her brother, and at one point, she even gets arrested because of her involvement with him. Nick is one selfish S.O.B., but through it all, Margo is there, defending him and standing beside him, even when she thinks he’s making the wrong choice. If that doesn’t make you a great friend, then I don’t know what does.

2. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

I’m not sure I really need to explain this one. Hermione is easily the best character in the Harry Potter series. She always has all the answers and never backs down when her friends are in trouble—not even out of fear. She’s brave, determined, and she makes some incredibly difficult choices throughout the series, which makes her stand out as truly selfless. When she sees injustice, she fights against it. When she realizes her very existence could put her family in danger, she erases all memory of herself from every facet of their lives. But what makes her a great friend is what she does in the final book, The Deathly Hallows. At this point, the romance between her and Ron is starting to really become evident, but when the ginger packs up and leaves, she sticks by Harry to help him finish his quest. She chooses friendship and what’s right over chasing after the boy she loves, even though it pains her. She sticks by Harry’s side because at that point in time, she’s needed as a friend more than she’s needed as anything else. Plus, she helped stupid Ron and Harry with their homework throughout the entire freaking series. Girl has some legendary patience.

1. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Choosing my top literary best friend was easy. Aside from my undeniable and inextinguishable love for The Lord of the Rings and all things Tolkien, my decision to choose Samwise wasn’t at all biased. Sam doesn’t have any special qualities. He’s not brave—at least not at first. Truthfully, he’s a bit of a homebody. He just wants to do some gardening and make some babies with the hot tavern lady. He doesn’t ask for adventure but embraces it anyway because his best friend needs him. He is put in dire situation after dire situation, comes close to death who knows how many times, and yet, never lets the fear get to him because protecting his friend is top priority. When Frodo chooses to abandon the fellowship and go to Mordor alone, Sam goes with him. When Frodo starts acting like a bit of an assbag and shows a preference to Gollum who we all know can’t be trusted, Sam sticks that much closer to his friend out of determination to keep him safe. When Frodo gets kidnapped by the enemy, what does Sam do? Homeboy takes down a GIANT FREAKING SPIDER and then slaughters shit tons of goblins until he not only finds his best friend but saves him. Finally, when the duo arrives at the Crack of Doom and Frodo inevitably gives into the darkness, ultimately choosing to not destroy the one ring, Sam STILL rescues his friend and essentially saves the day. On top of all that? He doesn’t take credit for any of it. He lets everyone think Frodo is the hero. A true friend is someone who will stick by your side through thick and thin—who will be selfless in your friendship by putting your needs before their own. Samwise Gamgee might not have special powers. He might not be a warrior or even a leader. But he exhibits all of the qualities of a true friend, and in my opinion, that makes him a hero.

*BONUS ROUND*

WORST LITERARY BEST FRIEND

While there were many contenders for this particular dishonor, there is really only one character truly deserving of the award for the Worst Literary Best Friend. The winner is Jorah Mormont from the series, A Song of Ice and Fire! Now, it was kind of a toss-up between him, Theon Greyjoy and Frodo Baggins. All three have exhibited pretty craptastic qualities that make them terrible friends, but the reason Jorah ultimately takes home the crown is because of his actions toward Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. I’m pretty sure trying to get your bestie assassinated is the worst thing you can possibly do as a friend.

Well done, Jorah. At least you manage to redeem yourself later.

 

*** 

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M. A. PHIPPS
is an American author who currently resides in the picturesque English West Country with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.
Official Webpage: http://maphipps.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormaphipps/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authormaphipps
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682371.M_A_Phipps
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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkOGI201TU2Z1r0ZRW_aFog
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/authormaphipps/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00U7ET67M
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bEvsef
Book Links
 Amazon Links: smarturl.it/Ultraxenopia OR http://amzn.com/B01AP1AJYU
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28463043-ultraxenopia
 Book Trailer
https://youtu.be/9j9sxPRdLjQ

 

 

Introducing: The Twisted Book Curmudgeon Indie Review Group

cranky

Today I’d like to welcome a very special group of people. The Twisted Book Curmudgeon has done spectacular deeds for the indie community in the past year, in the form of a multitude of well thought-out, honest reviews, and they do so gracefully, skillfully, (insert more adverbs) for their one love of the indie community.

Joining us as the Cranky spokesperson, and an indie author herself, is the lovely and talented Neeny Boucher. She’ll be answering a few questions, then you’ll be able to find out more about them in the bio following the interview.

Why do you do what you do? What led you to organize this amazing group of reviewers?

Reviews are really important for all authors, but especially for new and indies. They’re a way to increase visibility.

We started this group because we’re in the indie community. Authors were always seeking reviews and sometimes, found it hard to get them. We thought we could help.

Sooooo, we sought out people who loved reading and encouraged them to review for our crew. Our reviewers are really good. We’re lucky to have them and I know people are surprised at the size of our group.

I think one of the reasons we work well is that we all have different genre preferences and come from different backgrounds, but we function on the basis that this is fun. Fun – is a good thing.

How many reviewers do you have currently? How many did you have when you first started?

Currently, we have twelve reviewers. When we first started out we had about four, but the team has grown and keeps on expanding, which is great.

Are there any genres you won’t review?

We review all genres. Our reviewers are a great mix and are diverse in their book tastes. Someone is always going to prefer one genre over another, which makes our team work really well together. What one doesn’t like, someone else will love.

What are some qualifications of reviewers you bring on board with your team of Cranky reviewers? Must they be “cranky”?

The main qualification is that someone is a book lover. We check out their reviews on Amazon and Goodreads to see if they will fit in with us.

In saying that, experience is not essential. We are more than willing to help someone structure their reviews until they’re confident. I think reliability and enthusiasm are what we look at.

Cranky people… they are definitely our tribe, but we’re not mean people. To be honest, the group is filled with lovely people – kind and generous and extremely helpful.

Where did the name come from?

Logan Keys and I came up with it. We liked the word “curmudgeon” and the image it invokes. It conjures up grumpy librarians and battle-ax grandmas.

How many books would you say you review per week, on average?

I’d say on average, our crew reviews about seven books a week. I’ve discovered that there are peaks and troughs. Sometimes, we’re inundated. Other times, there are less books to review. We try to spread them out and post a maximum of two books a day on our page.

We also try to manage how many books our reviewers get. Most of our group consists of working women with jobs and families and responsibilities. They do this in their spare time and out of the goodness of their own hearts.

What is it, exactly, that you love about the indie community, and about reviewing in general?

I like the people. I’ve met some great people in the indie community. I’m a bit of a rebel and an outsider. I admire people who give things a go and step outside mainstream avenues to achieve their goals.

What’s your favorite thing about being a Cranky reviewer?

My favourite part is our review crew and also, knowing we’re helping people in some way. I’ve discovered wonderful people and books through this experience.

I’ve made great book friends and I buy a lot of books on the basis of Cranky reviews now.

What are your future plans for The Twisted Book Curmudgeon? Where would you like to see it in, say, five years?

We’ve made great strides in the year we’ve been going.  At the moment, we have achievable goals – increasing our ranking and visibility, become a preferred reviewer in the field.  I know people enjoy our reviews and we love the feedback we get from authors and readers.

We keep growing and changing. We meet new people and other bloggers, readers, and groups. We’ll continue to make connections in the community and be a work in progress.

I think when you stop evolving and reaching for something – the fun ends.  We started this group on the basis it would be fun and we aim to keep that promise.

The Twisted Book Curmudgeon

cranks

“I’m not Cranky!”

We’re a group of twisted sisters from all over the world who love to review books. Our crew includes people from the US, UK, Europe, and New Zealand.

We formed because of the need for reviews in the indie community, but we read traditional and indie books. We know it’s tough to get reviews, so we sought out people we knew who loved to read and review. They then brought friends.

At first, it was slow, but steadily, review requests climbed. We just posted our 300th review on Amazon and we’ve only been going a year.

We read all genres and are open to authors who are established or just starting out. We’ll give you a chance – no matter what. If you are interested in submitting a review request, all our details are in the banner above.

We are always open to people who are interested in reviewing for us. At the moment, we’re looking for a reviewer who reads YA, fantasy, paranormal, and dystopian. If anyone is interested, please send us a personal message on Facebook.

Get in touch to request a review, or to apply to be a reviewer by messaging these Cranky ladies on Facebook >HERE<

11 Things All Readers Should Stop Doing Right Now- Guest Blog by Kyle Perkins

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Author Kyle Perkins to the stage…

 

This article is collection of my observations in the indie community. While some of these opinions are my own, many are just complaints I have heard from various authors. So readers, please don’t bite my head off. 😀

11. Criticizing authors.

Do we want your feedback? YES. Do we want you to personally message us to shit all over our work in a thinly veiled attack, disguised as constructive criticism? No. Whether you know this or not, bad reviews and negative feedback does hurt our feelings, no matter how tough of a face we put on. Authors are never supposed to react negatively to reviews, so most act like bad reviews don’t bother them in an attempt to either save face, or prevent fans from calling them crybabies that can’t handle criticism. For most of us, this has been a life dream, and this makes our work, our life’s work. We want reviews, and honest ones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be constructive. Tell us what you didn’t like, but offer what you did like. A “This book was fucking garbage” doesn’t really help anyone, and it’s a poor reflection of you. Negative reviews are fine as long as they are constructive and not just personal attacks. We just ask you to have a little tact when dealing with authors, because after all, we’re people too. You’re not writing a Yelp review about a McDonald’s down the street, you’re reviewing an author’s life work, so be conscious of that when contacting the author. We don’t come to the park and say, “Man, your kid is really good at monkey bars, too bad he’s ugly as shit.”

10. Returning E-Books.

This behavior is so disgusting. You’re not sticking it to the man and ripping off a Walmart to fight the system, you are robbing an indie author that is likely struggling as it is. This is incredibly selfish. Sometimes it takes an author months of hard work to get a book out, reallythe least you could do is keep it. What’s worse is, I have met people with the audacity to try to justify their returns. I’m sorry, but if you have to go back and spend your precious time on refunding a 99 cent book, you should not be buying books. I have never met ANYONE in a position where they couldn’t afford 99 cents, so you are STEALING their work. Now, there is an exception. If you accidentally hit the one click button on a book and bought it by mistake, by all means return it. If you are abusing the system however just to get free books, you are a horrible human being.

9. Rating a book on the genre, and not the quality of work.

Look, we all have different preferences in books right? Cool! That’s totally fine. Giving a five star book a three star rating because it’s not your typical read is not cool however.  This behavior is nothing short of insanity. I don’t go to an Italian restaurant and rate it based on how Chinese the food was. “The food was delicious, service great, but I usually eat at Chinese restaurants, so two stars.” I mean, come on. If you rate a book, rate it on the characters, the story telling, or how engaged you were. Your personal preferences are irrelevant. Cool, you like westerns, what does that have to do with the dystopian book you’re rating?

8. Using your network to bully authors.

So, some of you have a small network of readers, and pals that come to any event you invite them to, which is AWESOME for authors. Your pull in the community helps authors tremendously, and we love you for it. However, a few of you abuse this and get a big head. I have seen these small networks bully authors out of gift cards, prizes, and so on with the threat of pulling their friends from events at the last second. Even worse, some authors cave to the bullying and give these people what they want, reinforcing their behavior. That part is on us. Never use your pull to threaten an author, it’s a scenario where everyone involved gets hurt.

7. Demanding an author’s attention, and harassing them.

No surprise, authors are busy, right? Not only are we constantly writing books and building our market, but we need time to ourselves to create these worlds you like to spend a few hours in. I think a lot of readers think because they see an author online all day, that we aren’t working. Truth is, if we are online, chances are we are working. So please, don’t make us feel like horrible people for not responding to your messages in what you personally consider to be a timely fashion. We already feel guilty when we don’t have enough time to interact with fans, please don’t make us feel worse. Always feel free to message us, tag us, or interact with us any way you’d like, but don’t get salty if we can’t respond back.

6. Don’t trash our genre!

People have this idea of what “real writing” is and cling to it like it’s the last Furby on Black Friday. Dystopian may be your thing, and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean erotica books are somehow “less” of a book or genre. It takes the exact same amount of work, foresight and planning. Seriously, I have heard of people being put down, or blacklisted because they write in a genre that some people don’t feel is “good enough” or “true writing.” Of course, this is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like saying because you like football, baseball players aren’t real athletes.

5. Not leaving reviews.cmon

Okay, so you read our book. You either loved it or you hated it, but either way, give us a
well thought out review. At the very least on Amazon, but if you can, do so on Goodreads and anywhere else you can think of. Especially if you received the book for free. We sometimes, like I have said before, spend months of our time on these books. How much is a month of your time and work worth? I bet it’s a lot more than we get paid, so you’d be pretty upset if you wrote a 60k word book and don’t even get a “Neat book” out of it.

4. Asking for free paperbacks.

Ask most authors, and if you really want their book or to sample their work before making purchases, they will send you a free e-book. Most authors give out free books all the time! Asking authors for free paperbacks though is a bit much. Not only does it cost us money to pleasehave them printed, but then we pay for the shipping to us, then to you. If you live in another country, it’s another whole ordeal. As I have previously stated, most indie authors are flat broke. We love to share our stories with you, and let you venture into our minds, but asking us to venture into our already depleted bank accounts puts us in a pretty awkward situation. Would we love to send you all hard copies of our books? Of course! Maybe someday we will as a thank you, but as an indie author, we don’t have the resources. So please, don’t make us feel terrible about this.

3. Posting spoilers in your reviews.

You have likely been on Earth long enough to know that spoilers are universally hated. It’s right up there with smallpox and drowning puppies. So please, don’t spoil our books in the review section! This hurts our sales and may stop readers from even picking up the book. This doesn’t just bother the author; it bothers other readers. If you are one of the people doing this, you are doing the same thing as people live tweeting the newest episode of GOT.

2. Putting pressure on us to write sequels.

We are really happy that you are excited about our books and want more of them, however, giving us unnecessary pressure isn’t needed. Trust me, we of all people put the most pressure on ourselves to get a sequel out and while your reminders may seem friendly enough, it just causes us much unneeded stress. Some books may not even have a sequel, and as bad as you want us to make one, that was never part of our artistic vision for the characters. Any good show knows when to drop the curtains.

1. Sending penis pictures.

To be fair, this one doesn’t happen to me often (but totally has happened). I have heard of female authors from all genres getting unwarranted dick pics. Fellas, we get that you’re proud of your junk and want to show it off, but there are laws in place to prevent this verypenis pics thing. If someone wants to see it, they will ask. Considering you’re sending random dick pics at all would suggest it doesn’t happen often for you, but be patient. Your number will get called. The last thing any author wants to wake up to is a random picture of your penis. Whatever happened to flowers?

 

Now, with all that said….

We as authors adore and love each of our fans. Your support means the world to us, and you are the very reason we write. Sure, a lot of professional athletes say that, but they get paid millions. We don’t make a ton of money, so rest assured, everything we do, we do for you. This wasn’t meant to be an article taking shots at readers, but instead a guideline to break some nasty habits that cause us harm.  Please, if we do anything that bothers you, let us know directly, or in the comment section below. This is a two-way street. =)

 

About the author: It was only recently that Kyle Perkins discovered his love of putting his imaginative daydreams in writing for others to enjoy. He founded and managed some of the largest text-based roleplaying groups on Facebook, which sparked his passion for storytelling and helped him sharpen his skills as an author. Since the January 2016 release of his debut dystopian novel, Reddened Wasteland, Kyle has published three other works with plans to release several more in the upcoming months, including the second installment of the Reddened Wasteland series. He’s a dog person, an Aquarius, and he lives in Florida, though he’ll tell you he lives on the internet.

Website: https://kyleperkinsauthor.wordpress.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kyle-Perkins/e/B01BO9SYUI/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14924560.Kyle_Perkins

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KylePAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KylePerkinsAuthor/

The Path to Becoming an Author Isn’t Straight- Guest Blog by Sarah Noffke

article pic for Sarah N.

The other day during a routine office visit, my doctor asked me what I was doing these days.

“Writing YA sci fi fantasy novels,” I told her.

I could tell by the blank expression on her face that this was not the answer she was expecting. I was supposed to say, “Working in the accounting department at XYZ” or “Managing a few accounts for XYZ.” Fessing up to being a writer makes people pause I’ve noticed.

My doctor then asked, “So did you study journalism in college?”

“Management,” I informed her.

Another pause. She actually furrowed her brow at me. “How does that happen?” she asked.

The short answer is I got bored. Bored of spreadsheets and meetings about meetings. I loved the people. The mission. The product. But the day-to-day was draining my creative vault more and more each year. I wanted to do something that was creative. Something that gave to our society in a different way. So I took down my diplomas and replaced them with a bulletin board which I quickly filled up with notes and ideas.

However, I still have a real job. One that makes me sound normal. I’m a college professor. Often I have students tell me they have no idea what they want to do with their lives. They’re in college, taking classes towards a degree, and one day they’re going to have to use it…but for what? Some of the college students aren’t young either. They have returned to school after raising kids or retiring from the job they never really liked.

These students must think that because I’m qualified to teach them how to write, that I might know something about advising them on the future. Or maybe like all those searching for answers, they’re just asking anyone who might have an answer.

These lost students of mine are thoroughly afraid that they’re going to earn a degree in something and then not like it. They’re even more afraid that they’ll end up getting a degree in one thing and do something totally different. “That would be a total waste,” they tell me.

A waste? Or is it the path to get you to where you want to be, even if it’s not where you were headed? The thing is that if you’re true to yourself then you’re going to grow up to be “you.” No matter what path you choose, it will take you there. I have a Masters in Management. Without that degree I would never have gotten to that crucial place in my life where I became unbelievably and painfully bored out of my mind. Maybe if I’d gotten my graduate degree in psychology (as I intended) then I would have been content in that profession and never become a writer. Maybe. Hard to know for certain.

So what advice do I actually give to my students when they ask me how to figure out what to do with their life? “Pick a path. Recognize you might not end up where you expected. And until you arrive, enjoy the ride.”  If they don’t like this advice then I follow it up with saying, “Do something that makes people pause.”

Sarah Noffke writes YA and NA sci-fi fantasy and is the author of the Lucidites, Reverians, Ren and Vagabond Circus series. She holds a Masters of Management and teaches college business courses. Most of her students have no idea that she toils away her hours crafting fictional characters. Noffke’s books are top rated and best-sellers on Kindle. Currently, she has eleven novels published. Her books are available in paperback, audio and have been translated into Spanish and Italian. Learn more about Sarah Noffke here: www.sarahnoffke.com