#IWSG September 2017: How I surprised myself with #writing, my insecurities, & my kudos.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? (For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?)

Never would I have thought in a million years that I would write anything resembling romantic comedy, yet, I have. And, I’m attempting to do it again in a sequel, but I’m pretty sure I’m in over my head. Give me fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal stuff to read all day long and I’m a happy camper, but when it comes to romance and or comedy, things are little more complex. I honestly don’t like most of the romance I read, but I keep trying it. I do find that romance with comedy is what I’m likely to enjoy more. When it comes to writing comedy, I don’t actually try to be funny; I just stick to what I know best- sarcasm.

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Now on to the personal updates.

I had a health scare recently, on top of my usual health issues, and became consumed with worry over it. I’m fine now, but I lost about three weeks of productivity. My house was in shambles, I got no writing done, and I was barely able to hold myself together my first week back to work. Since then, I’ve cleaned house, recorded a few videos (see my thoughts on book reviews below), finished reading some books, and plan to start writing (working on my current wips) after scheduling this post.

I’ll admit that I’ve been struggling with insecurity over whether or not I’m able to finish series I’ve started. I have so many notes outlining the continuation of stories I’ve already published, but I’m having the darndest time putting the continuations down on paper or screen. I think the main problem with this issue is that I also have new stories that need to be written. And then, I have all these side stories, works of fan fiction or, what I call ‘venting fiction’ (where I write a story to vent about an issue I’m having) that keep popping up. Needless to say, all of these stories are starting to keep me up at night…Oh…And…Of course, I feel like everything I’ve written to date needs to be rewritten so they can simply be better than they are (I may be able to come up with great stories, but I’m not always the most skilled writer).

My book, Chip and Skip Need Each Other, is nominated for an award and could use your vote. Please check my side panel <– if you are up for it. I’m still just so honored that someone actually nominated me. 😀

I got a great review (the first) for my book, Plants and Animals Change Over Time. Check it out here.

Next month, for my birthday on October 21st, I’m having a Kindle sale and a giveaway. For the occasion, I’m attempting to put together a Blitz and would love it if you signed up.

If the Blitz isn’t your thing but you’d wouldn’t mind to help spread the word, please consider supporting my Thunderclap campaign. Jump over to my side panel <– to support in the manner that suits you best.

If you have a moment, I’d love for you to visit my CURIOUS QUESTIONS page and offer your two cents on the question being asked. Thanks bunches.

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So, have you surprised yourself with your writing?
Insecure about finishing a series or two?
Received any awards or great reviews lately?
Think Thunderclap campaigns are worth the bother?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tyrean Martinson,
Tara Tyler,
Raimey Gallant, and
Beverly Stowe McClure!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #60).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Cover Reveal, James Witch-Hunter #fantasy #giveaway

Title: James: Witch-Hunter
Author: K.S. Marsden
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: 1st October 2017

 

Goodreads

Synopsis
~Prequel to the Witch-Hunter trilogy~

James Bennett is a Yorkshire lad, making the big move to Oxford to start university.
His ambitions involve getting a good education; impressing the Rugby Club; and not throttling his roommate. All perfectly normal drama, until Hallowe’en.

A girl’s murder throws James into the dangerous world of witches, and those that hunt them.

After playing a sidekick in the Witch-Hunter trilogy, it’s only fair that James gets to be centre stage in his own prequel.
This can be read as a stand-alone, and does not contain any spoilers. It may contain witches, bad jokes and cringe-worthy scenes; but definitely no spoilers.

~

Excerpt:
Charlotte had just made her second coffee of the day, when she heard a very insistent banging at the front door. Not in the mood for visitors, she reluctantly opened it.
And was met by the sight of James.
In a dress.
“I’ll never get used to your humour, James.” She said, stepping aside and letting him in. “Fancy some fresh coffee? And when I say fresh, I mean instant stuff I’ve only boiled once.”
James closed the door behind him, and made his way through the narrow corridor to Charlotte’s tiny kitchen.
Charlotte promptly poured an extra coffee and added sugar, her normally bright eyes were red, and it was clear she’d been crying.
“I broke up with Nathan.” She said, looking embarrassed that he had to see her like this.
“I think my roommate’s a murderer.” James countered.
Charlotte handed him a mug of coffee, shaking her head. “When a girl says she’s broken up with her boyfriend, most people would offer… never mind. You win. Why is Hunter a murderer?”
James gently lowered himself down onto Charlotte’s rickety sofa. “I followed him last night. He was bein’ weird, and I have a tracker on his phone-”
“What?!”
“And he went to this warehouse, where…” James trailed off, his throat closing around the words.
Charlotte misread his inability to speak, and gently rubbed his shoulder. “It’s alright, you’re safe here. Who do you think he killed?”
“Bea.” James gasped out. “You remember the blonde, Scottish lass? They hooked up at start of term; then the other night she was looking for him; next thing you know, she’s dead!”
Charlotte put down her coffee cup, her hand shaking too much to hold it. She looked at James in all seriousness, “And you saw Hunter kill her?”
James shook his head, thinking back to last night, and the hooded figures. He was sure it was Hunter, “I couldn’t clearly see who it was, but why would Hunter be there? It’s one hell of a coincidence, that he bails on the Hallowe’en party and ends up at the same warehouse where the girl he was shagging ends up getting sta-”
“Did you physically see him there?” Charlotte asked.
“No, I was following a tracker.” James admitted.
“An illegal tracker, that’ll never hold in court, James.”
James snorted, “Trust the trainee-lawyer to say that.”
“Hey, I’m just trying to see every angle.” Charlotte said, punching his arm. “There could be another, perfectly normal explanation. Maybe someone mugged Hunter and stole his phone – that sort of person would be more likely to head to the dodgy side of town.”
“Ha, it’d have to be the king of muggers to get the better of Hunter.” James argued. “He’s super-fast, super-strong, and has anger issues. Which all adds up to someone very capable of murder.”
“How-”
“Do you not remember how we first met? It’s not often I get thrown against a wall, instead of the usual handshake. And I do rugby training with him – trust me, it’s like getting hit by a car-”
“James, you’re exaggerating.” Charlotte sighed.
“And I’ve seen him run – I forgot to show you.” James dug out his phone from the flowery handbag, and quickly found the video he’d taken weeks ago. “Look – look how fast he is! And don’t you find it weird that he’s never that fast in rugby games? It’s almost like he’s holding back.”
Charlotte looked at the video, and when the brief clip was over, she shrugged, “It doesn’t look that fast to me.”
“Well, it seemed it when I was watching with my own two eyes.” James tucked his phone away. “He’s not normal.”
“Yes, but there’s a huge leap between what’s not normal, and a killer.” Charlotte said, exasperated. “Don’t get me wrong; I want to help you James, I really do… have you been to the police?”
“Yes, I stayed there overnight.” James answered. “I got knocked out, and some cop must’a found me. Next thing I know, I’m waking up in a cell.”
“Oh no, what happened? Did someone attack you?”
James opened his mouth the speak, but he didn’t even know what to say. He remembered getting knocked off his feet by some powerful force, but that didn’t make sense.
“What did the police say?” Charlotte asked, when it was clear James wasn’t giving her an answer.
He shrugged, “Not much, just that Bea had died. They were dodging a lot of my questions.”
“That’s normal police protocol for an ongoing investigation.” Charlotte said, knowledgably.
James shook his head. “There was summat not right about the whole thing. It just felt shady.”

~

Goodreads

Author:
Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has two successful series under her belt.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ideas expressed in this promotion are not those of this blogger.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Discover an author! #IntlAuthorsDay #giveaway

Happy International Authors Day!

“What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic historical fantasy series including “The Redoubt,” voted one of 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016, and ”The Lost King,” awarded the All Authors Certificate of Excellence. She also wrote “Detour,” ranked in the Top Ten Thrillers in Preditor/Editors Readers’ Choice Poll and “The Zen Detective,” a finalist in the Golden Books Award Contest. She co-authored the contemporary thriller, “Naked Came the Sharks,” with Jed Donellie, contributed to “Masters of Time: a SciFi/Fantasy Time Travel Anthology,” and “Magic Unveiled: An Anthology,” and has several Mystery Mini Short Reads to her name. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in The Barefoot Palace on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky.

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On the road to Zen enlightenment, homicide detective Will Mansion takes a seductive detour down the path to perdition. When a bust goes terribly wrong, Paradise City detective Will Mansion nearly dies while saving his partner. On leave, Will seeks relief from post-traumatic stress disorder through Zen meditation and abstinence. He responds to the plea of the cryptic Sister Clyde to find a man missing from her soup kitchen, a man who may provide a lead to the vicious drug dealer who nearly killed Will. The search seduces Will away from the healing he seeks and he finds himself on the smarmy Miracle Mile. Alcohol, sex, and the potent drug “Nearvana” numb Will’s pain better than his infant Zen practice. He slips further and further into an underworld of the lost and hopeless only to find himself facing death—again.

Amazon | Facebook | Twitter

If you liked this, check out what I have to offer over at Devorah Fox’s blog.

Want more options? Visit Reading Indie for a $10 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY and more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG July 2017: Indie Drama, Personal Drama, #IntlAuthorsDay, & #Giveaways

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

If you can find a good critique group, cherish it. No author can make their story the best it can be all on their own. We all need someone else’s eyes and impressions at some point, even if we don’t like them. I’m constantly on the search for effective feedback that goes beyond “I liked it,” or “I don’t get it, or “Just add more showing and you’ll be fine.” Luckily, I have several resources at my disposal now, and it’s still a struggle sometimes, but it’s a struggle worth dealing with.

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Now for some personal and professional updates… There’s a lot of them.

1) I’ve been experiencing a great deal of family drama lately. If you are a praying person, please send your prayers my way. Otherwise, well wishes are also greatly welcomed.

2) There always seems to be some scandal or drama going on in the indie book industry, anything from vanity press scams, pirated ebooks, and, most commonly, the fight to find space on book store shelves. Recently there’s been an uproar about the new review policy at Amazon.com. Authors are heartbroken over finding that some, or many, of their reviews have been removed. This has many indie authors having to reconsider their partnership with the company and pursue other options.

For me personally, I never liked the idea of putting all my eggs in one basket, but that decision wasn’t an easy one to stick to. I’ve tried so many different promotional and distribution avenues, but the only one that ever paid off was Amazon. I think it’s important for every author to do what’s most beneficial for their royalty gains, and while many argue that they don’t pay the best royalty rate, I recognize that it’s difficult to earn royalties when your books aren’t selling.

There are indie authors out there who are able to build up sales and readers over many platforms and are in a position where they can remove their books from Amazon and still make a profit. To those authors, I say, “what a blessing”. Considering the time and maintenance required to manage multiple platforms and convincing readers to purchase from a different outlet, it just isn’t worth it for someone like me. I whole heartily support any author’s right to manage their business the best way they can and hope that others will understand why I choose to manage mine the way I do.

3) So, I thought that International Authors Day was July 18, but I was wrong. It’s July 14. I’ve created an event for anyone who wants to take part. It’s a come and go as you like Facebook event where anyone can talk about any indie authors they like. Just to be clear, INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS DAY is a celebration of ALL authors, whether traditional or indie. Even if you don’t join my event, please head to social media on July 14 and show an author you love some appreciation.

Oh, and I’m still accepting submissions for anyone wanting to try the blog swap.

4) I finally posted another YouTube video after a very long time.

5) Lastly, here are a two giveaways I’m helping to promote. Please check them out.

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If you’re going through some personal drama, let me know and I’ll pray for you or keep you in my thoughts.

Have you considered making a change to how you run your indie book business?

Gonna try any of the events or giveaways listed?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tamara Narayan ,
Pat Hat ,
Patricia Lynne ,
Juneta Key , and
Doreen McGettigan !

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #64).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG June 2017: New Adventures, Counting Blessings, Blog Break, & Can’t Quit

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I’ve never said I’d quit writing once I started and really understood what I was doing and how much it was a part of me. I have thought about saying “I quit” to blogging from time to time, but that’s usually due to me feeling like I never have enough time. Even if I decided at some point not to pursue publication anymore, I don’t think I would ever stop writing.

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Now for some personal and professional updates. 1) I’m taking a one month break from this blog to regroup my focus and put some work into another project. I need to get my head together so my posts will go back to being regular and consistent.

2) I recently shared a few blessings on social media that I’d like to share here now. Over the Memorial Day weekend, here in the US, I did not run any kind of a book promotion, but I still managed to get a spike in my Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel sales. A few days after I realized this nice blessing, I got a fan email from a woman who bought my romcom, It’s Like the Full Moon, at a local Con and loved it. It made my week.

3) New adventures abound for me. I’m working to develop a new blog community, but it’s not what I think other people think it is. I don’t want this blog to be competition for other book blogs and I don’t want to do this all by myself. My hope is to create a collaboration that helps bring indie books mainstream.

As blog admin for the Reading Indie blog, I want to:
-create a list of other book and author blogs to help readers find the kinds of books they are interested in.
-promote books even if they aren’t free or discounted and show readers that authors are people too.
-give authors an outlet to build up their SEO with guest posts, interviews, and creative link backs.
-create a gift box prize that intrigues readers into wanting to know more or experience more that indie has to offer.

4) My adventures don’t stop there. I’m attempting to plan two blog events for the Reading Indie blog:
-one for Indie Pride Day (July 1st I believe). Would you like to be featured in a book promo video?
-one for International Authors Day (July 14th). Would you like to do a blog swap promo?

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So, ever thought about saying, “I quit” to writing?
Thinking about taking a blogging break anytime soon?
Wish me luck for my Reading Indie adventures? :/

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
JH Moncrieff,
Madeline Mora-Summonte,
Jen Chandler,
Megan Morgan, and
Heather Gardner!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #64).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords