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IreAnne Chambers on Using Social Media, and a Giveaway!

IreAnne ChambersToday’s guest is my friend and NEORWA chaptermate, IreAnne Chambers.

Welcome, IreAnne! We are delighted to be your first foray into guest blogging!

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EXTRA!  EXTRA!  READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Getting the word out has come a long way since the early 1900s.  For a new author, finding a readership can be challenging.  Using all the social media available today may feel like these words are screaming out across the internet.  Many avenues are available, such as websites, social media, book trailers, author interviews, podcasts, book readings, to name a few.  All of these are created with the hope of attracting readers.

I have found the quest for readership both fun and sometimes a bit discouraging.  If you are an author reading this, no doubt you have too.  If you are a reader, maybe you didn’t know about all the places you may be able to connect with your favorite authors.  Below are some things I have tried and my experiences on my journey so far:

  1. Wattpad – This was the first place I went. I found it a great place to interact with other writers and readers.  It is also a way to get feedback on what you have written.  As it turns out, my first draft of my debut novel still gets votes and reads.  Yes, I actually posted my first draft and for now, it is still there.  I decided to leave it up until the final is published.
  2. Facebook – I love Facebook. There is no limit to the number of characters you can post in a comment.  You can post videos and pictures and I find it to be the most commonly used among authors.  The drawback with Facebook, as many of us know, is the lack of control on who we reach.  Facebook only allows us access to about 10% of friends.  So, I find myself reaching out to other forms of social media.
  3. Goodreads – My experience with Goodreads is really just limited to sharing what I like with others and sharing some reviews. You can choose to belong to different groups of interest as well.  I have found some “good reads” here.
  4. Website No. 1 – The design of my own website using WordPress. This first attempt at a website revealed the need for a more professional look.  More on this below.
  5. Twitter – Twitter is much different than the Facebook realm – trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Keeping tweets to only 140 characters is challenging.  Learning the significance of hashtags is also challenging.  I’m still learning those.  I found out the hard way you can only follow 2,000 people before Twitter doesn’t let you follow anyone else if you follow more people than follow you.  I tried to find help on Twitter.  Of course, there are no email contacts for exactly what I was looking for help on.  So, I tweeted and emailed different help contacts.  No one from Twitter responded.  A Facebook friend recommended Manage Flitter.  I tried the free version.  So far, this has been wonderful!  Manage Flitter helped me get my Twitter account under control and manage it.  I found out it is important to keep your follow/following ratio close and follow less people than follow you or Twitter will consider you a spammer.
  6. Google – I have been told this is the place to be for the future. I have a profile.  It seems similar to Facebook and for now I am just posting updates on blog posts.
  7. Website No. 2 – Adventures in Guernsey Interactive Blog Series. As noted above, I took on the challenge of designing my own website using WordPress.  This was a learning experience.  But, clearly, as time went on, I realized I needed a professional.  So, I hired one who helped me get the job done.  This, by far, is where I hope to interact the most with my readers.  Here is where I will feature new releases and book trailers as well as continue my current Adventures in Guernsey blog series.  I want to encourage readers to comment on what they think will happen in the next chapter of this series.  I want to incorporate some of the ideas and keep the story going.  I thought it might be a fun activity for readers to suggest what they think happens next and then see if it does.
  8. Guest Blog Posts – This is the newest addition to my quest. My first guest blog post is here at Heart-Shaped Glasses!  To celebrate, at the end of this blog I have a rafflecopter giveaway set up for a $25 Amazon gift card.  It will run through the weekend.

I have also joined Tsu and, as noted above, Google, but I have not been able to cultivate those yet.  There are so many ways to reach out and find people.  The question is, does it work?  I have had some tell me absolutely yes and others tell me no, not so much.  While I have a presence on the major social media networks, I am focusing on my Website, Twitter and Facebook for now.

So, what have I concluded?

  1. If you want to find readers, you need to write a good book. If you write a good book, readers will find you.
  2. It will rarely be an overnight success. Building a readership will take time, patience and perseverance.  Focus on writing and don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
  3. There needs to be balance when it comes to social media. As authors, you need time to write that good book.  Find the balance that works for you.

So, my friends, if you are a reader, where do you like to connect with your favorite author?  Writers, what have you found to be the most successful way to connect with your readers?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Marin McGinnis

Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. She writes Victorian era romance, set in whichever locale takes her fancy at any given moment. When she's not chasing after big dogs or watching tweenagers skate around Ohio hockey rinks, you can find her hanging out here with her HSG friends, at marinmcginnis.com, or on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis.

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A Diversion in Time…

Right now, I’m working on Flying through Fire, book 6 in my Dark Desires series. The books are essentially space opera (I got the urge to write them after watching Firefly for the third time) and follow the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of the crew of the space ship, the Blood Hunter. But along with the space stuff, there also more than a hint of paranormal, as Rico, the pilot of the Blood Hunter, is a vampire. My editor refers to the series as Vamps in Space, but in fact there are far more than vampires; there are werewolves, demons, aliens and more recently, dragons (actually alien/dragons.)

Flying through Fire is supposed to be the last book in the series. I’m really struggling with it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t want it to end. So when I got the chance to write a short story for inclusion in an anthology, The Dragon Chronicles, I thought why not take a look at what happens after the end of Flying through Fire. And so my story, A Diversion in Time, came about.

The Dragon Chronicles (The Future Chronicles)

 

Dradragon chroniclesgons. They are more than a memory from an age of wizards and heroes. These winged, fire-breathing beasts soar through the traditions of many lands, and through our dreams. In their many guises – Western or Eastern, reptile or lizard or serpent, wyvern, hydra, basilisk – dragons embody everything that we humans call magic.

A Diversion in Time 

At last there is peace in the Universe. But some people just aren’t interested in peace, so once the dust has settled, the crew of the Blood Hunter set off in search of a little excitement. They are heading back to Earth and going back in time.

Along for the ride, are a couple of stowaways. Angel, a young werewolf in search of adventure, and Kronus, an ancient dragon, seeking to regain the power his people once wielded. But when things don’t go entirely as planned, can the two overcome their differences and help each other find what they are looking for?

The Dragon Chronicles releases on April 30th and is available for pre-order here!

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

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A Game of “Would You Rather…” with Jessica R. Patch

Jess color headshotThank you so much for inviting me today! “Would You Rather…” is so much fun to play. So here goes:

Would you Rather…

…Would you rather be a master of every musical instrument or be fluent in every language?

Jessica: I’d rather be fluent in every language because I’d love to travel all over the world. I’ve been to Thailand and the worst part wasn’t the food or heat but the language barrier.

Gabe: I’d say fluent in every language. I’m a pastor and I’d love to be able to share the Gospel easily to whomever I encounter or if I travel on the mission field. I was with Jessica in Thailand and I agree. Also, she was worse than I was at catching on.

Audrey: I want to be a master of every instrument. Sometimes I feel like I have no talent. Playing every single instrument would give me the opportunity to do something amazing. Plus music transcends every language.

…only be able to whisper or only be able to shout everything?

Jessica: I’m going to say whisper. I’m already too loud! Besides, I’ve found that people hush when you whisper and ignore you when you yell. Or maybe that’s just my family. Ha!

Gabe: Whisper. It’s the still small voice that can be heard.

Audrey: I’m beyond loud. And quite frankly, I like it. So I’m going with shouting. It’s just fun.

… go forward or back in time?

Jessica: Forward. I like moving toward something not going backwards. Looking ahead is exciting. Going back, while there are things I’d like to change, seems dreadful. Blech.

Gabe: Forward. We can’t change our past, but we can learn from it and shape our future. Plus, I believe if we ask, we’re forgiven our past mistakes. Every day, to me, is a fresh slate to start over.

Audrey: Past. I’d change some of the major messes I made that caused a lot of crap to the hit the fan in my present. I know God forgives us our sins. But I’d still like to go back and fix them myself.

Here’s a peek at the new novella. It’s FREE right now for a limited time. You can receive it by signing up for my newsletter, http://www.jessicarpatch.com/p/blog-page.html the Patched In and it will automatically come to your inbox after you confirm subscription! It’s the 2nd novella in the Seasons of Hope series. Also check out the Pinterest page https://www.pinterest.com/jessicarpatch/just-the-way-you-are/ and take a look around Mistletoe and take a peek into some of the fun scenes from the story.

Just the Way You Are - High ResolutionWhen Pastor Gabe asks Audrey Gilbraith to use her mad florist skills to help him design a prayer garden, she’s all in, especially since it helps take her mind off the fact she’s about to lose her job and her apartment. But working closely with Gabe and not falling for him is complicated. She’s not pastor’s wife material, and she has the past to prove it.

Gabriel Brookson wants out of Audrey’s friend-zone, but when he pursues her romantically, he ruffles more than a few feathers in his congregation. How much is he willing to give up for this wonderful, quirky woman, and will Audrey accept him if he risks it all?

Connect with Jessica on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, watching way too much Netflix with her daughter, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Her debut novel with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense will release in early 2016.

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

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My Guilty Pleasure

I’ve always had guilty pleasures. Maybe I just have bad taste, but I like to think if I recognize the badness, then I have good taste, I just don’t employ it often. A guilty pleasure, per wikipedia is:

“something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, such as campy styles of entertainment.”

guiltyMy latest one is… real housewives. As in -of Orange County or -of Beverly Hills. It’s not the people (although, Heather Dubrow, my freaking idol), or the catfights, or the bad taste. Or the good taste. It’s all of it and none of that. It’s knowing that, really, it doesn’t matter how much you have or how easy your life appears, it’s only as happy as you choose to be.

That being said, my oldest daughter and I have spent many an evening, mouths agape, asking, “Did she really just say that? Go back.” Maybe it’s the catfights a little bit.

What are your guilty pleasures? Please make me feel better.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. It's all about the story. Always.

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Interview with Jill Kemerer

Jill KemererJulie Jarnagin: I’m so excited to have you here today, Jill! I can’t wait for you to tell everyone about your awesome new book, but first, the important stuff – What are you loving right now? Give us some recommendations.

Jill Kemerer: I’m loving the television show, Portlandia. It’s on the IFC channel, and it’s so weird and random. I also can’t get enough of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna Gaines help people find homes to renovate. Chip does the construction, and Joanna designs everything. The results are so pretty! Since I’m on a health kick, I’m getting to know the MyFitnessPal app. It helps me stay on track calorie-wise.

Julie: Now I know why we’re friends. I’ve watched Portlandia, I love Fixer Upper, and I use that same app. Were we separated at birth? :)  Let’s move onto writing. What has your writing journey been like? What keeps you going?

Jill: I started writing twenty years ago, but I didn’t get serious until about eight years ago when I started writing full time. I think of my publishing journey as a cross-country car trip. At first I was thrilled to hit the road, but as time wore on, I grew weary of sitting in the car for days! I’m thrilled to finally be “published” instead of “aspiring.”

 As far as what keeps me writing, I’d have to say God does. I feel a deep pull to write, and every time I’ve considered quitting, I’ve prayed and felt let to continue.

Julie: So where have you done all your writing over the years?

Jill: I’m very blessed to have an office in our home. I treasure it! I do all of my writing there. I’m a planner and an organizer, so I spend a lot of time just letting a story come together in my head before I write it. Long walks help with this. Then I fill out plotting sheets to make sure I’m on the right track. After I put together a rough synopsis, I write the first draft. Revising is a huge part of my process, too, and I always have at least one of my critique partners read it before sending it to my agent or editor.

Julie: We definitely know the importance of great critique partners here at Heart-Shaped Glass! We also know the importance of great characters. What is your favorite kind of hero and heroine to write?

Jill: Heroes? Easy! I love strong, protective, and devoted heroes. And I enjoy heroines women can relate to—they drown their sorrows in ice cream but always pick themselves up and try again.

Julie: I know I can relate to that kind of heroine. :) All the ladies here write different kinds of romance – from sweet to spicy. What made you decide to write inspirational romance?

Jill: My first novels were sweet romances, but I felt something was missing—my faith. I figured I’d try to write an inspirational romance, and I ended up loving it. It’s a perfect fit!

Julie: Okay. Now to the book (which I ADORED). I love that you have a pair of otters in your story. What inspired their role in the book?

Jill: Aren’t otters the cutest little things? My kids used to attend school at our old church, and the principal’s wife at the time worked for the zoo. Their backyard was next to the parking lot, so I was chatting with her one day and she told me she was caring for an otter who wasn’t adjusting well with the others. She had a baby pool for him and everything. He moved back to the zoo a week later. I’ve wanted to take care of otters ever since!

Julie: Such an awesome idea! I love when we find inspiration in unexpected places. Okay, now what we’ve been waiting for. Tell us more about your book.

Small-Town-Bachelor-Cover-smallJill: When Reed Hamilton arrives in Lake Endwell for a family wedding, he expects to do his part as best man then head back to the big city. But when a tornado postpones the wedding, the town is in shambles and Reed is injured. Thankfully maid of honor Claire Sheffield offers him one of her cottages to recuperate in.

Dedicated to her family and her dream job at the zoo, Claire is all about roots. She’s this city slicker’s opposite, yet as they help the town rebuild, Reed is captivated by her stunning looks and caring ways. He can’t ask Claire to leave the life she loves for him, but he also can’t imagine ever leaving her behind…

Interested in buying Small-Town Bachelor? Click on http://jillkemerer.com/books/small-town-bachelor/ for links to purchase!

Thank you so much for letting me be your guest today!

Julie: Thank you for being here!

If you could have any animal in your backyard, which one would you pick?

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About Jill ~

Jill Kemerer writes inspirational romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer and homemaker, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules.

Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&MS, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website www.jillkemerer.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter.

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

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Reviving The Old

03212015-Easter-Market-#1

Spring is the time for renewal and while most springs don’t give me that sense overall, this year it’s come on like gang busters. Maybe that’s because we’ve had a mild winter here in Austria, maybe it’s just my attitude this time around. I know this year, I feel more alive than ever before.

Along with this renewal comes a need to change up the website, the blog and start some awesome stories. I’m taking classes, deciding what stays or goes with the old things and how I can make it all work. And this is exactly what spring is all about or at least to me.

During the season of spring, the Earth is beginning its tilt relative to the sun, which results in the rapid increase of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere life is moving toward fall. As the land begins to warm, new plant growth can be seen thus the term ‘spring forward.’ Also, during this time, snow begins to melt, streams swell with the run-off and flooding can occur. In our hemisphere, spring is heralded by the blooms of some deciduous trees such as magnolias, cherries or quince. Still, spring can be a volatile season with many storms caused by cold/warm air currents.03212015-Easter-Market-#2

Some have told me I’m taking on too much this time around. Still, I’m writing more than ever yet changing it up in different ways. For example, one of my works-in-progress has taken a life of its own. It started as a little paranormal story with quirky characters and a few murders. It’s blossomed into the heroine’s journals, a series of short stories and flash fiction, and more book ideas than I could have ever imagined. Not bad for renewal if I say so myself.

There’s one last thing I love about spring and that’s the Easter holiday. Easter is very important for a religious country like Austria. While I don’t celebrate it so much any more, I can appreciate the wonder and splendor of it all. The pictures this time are from one of the fabulous Easter markets they have strewn around the city. I’m an egg lover myself and used to decorate them in a variety of ways. However, what I did can’t hold a candle to what they do here.

However, this year, besides loading up on a variety of wonderfully decorated eggs, I purchased an undecorated ostrich egg. My husband was skeptical as to what I’d do with it and I quipped that I might just decorate it. Then again, I might just leave it for another time.

Hope you all are having a fantastic spring season with all the hope and joy that renewal should bring. Until next month…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest though her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband of many years as he works his dream job.

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  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Out now from Ellora's Cave, HOW TO CAUSE A SCANDAL by Tina Vaughn *** Nina Croft's LOSING CONTROL is out! *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available. *** Congratulations to Julie Jarnagin now represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency!