Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Five for January 29, 2016

1. I've been busy writing up the guest posts for The Paramours Tour next week. Eight stops in five days with a giveaway for a $20 gift card! Come talk about ghosts, inspiration, and the naughty stuff!

2. Big news! The subscribers of my newsletter already heard and now I can share it with everyone. I signed a contract for three more books with my publisher! Woo-hoo! Things are moving along quickly as they did with The Paramours. This time, I'm featuring a trio of lovely Bigfoot researchers out in the Oregon wilderness. The Sasquatch Susies! Who knew that love could be more difficult than finding Bigfoot? The first book is already being edited. I'll keep you updated on the details.

3. Between prepping for the tour, and doctors and dentists appointments, I haven't gotten much written this week. Book #3 of my Totem series has been started, and so far, two of my beta readers loved book #1.

4. This month, I've been drinking in Orphan Black. I'm in the middle of season two and I love it. I often find myself talking in a bad Ukrainian accent like Helena. A problem, I'm going to assume, any fan might have... right? Any other Orphan Black fans out there?

5. Typing with a cat on your lap isn't easy! But he's so darn cute. This isn't my number five this week, though. Today I'm thrilled to share with you Yolanda Renee's new cover for her thrilling mystery, Murder & Obsession. Here it is!

As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

The conversation comes to a deafening halt as the team finds a bloody crime scene in the bridal suite. "Where's her body?" is a question Steven cannot fathom. 

Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind.

The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being.
Steven bolts…

Although running is never the smart thing to do, Steven’s not thinking clearly and his escape into the wilderness of the Brooks Range proves almost fatal.

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.


About the author: At one time Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two wonderful sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

You can find Yolanda at:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wicked Wednesday - binge reading and release dates

(For some reason the picture won't stay rotated!)

Hi. My name is Christine and I'm a binge reader. If I find a new series I really love, I'm going to read the books as fast as I can get my hands on them. I won't stop for anything else until I've mentally ingested them all.

If the series isn't finished, and I have to wait a while for the next book, it's painful. I want it. And I want it now!

Society has been seeing a rising trend of binge watchers. You see those memes all the time.

This is creating more binge readers.

What does this mean for authors? Well, series do excellently. The problem with this is that it takes a long time to write a series.

I've learned the hard way to write all the books in a series BEFORE releasing them. This way you can concentrate on promoting the series, and you can release them in quicker succession. But how quick is quick enough?

That's my big question of the day. Everyone has varying opinions. Six months is too long. Many readers will have moved on by then. Three months gives you plenty of breathing room. I like having a month between releases. But then I've read that having two weeks between releases keeps your sales from drooping.

What do you think about release dates for series? And are you a binge watcher/reader?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Review for Travelers

Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive.

Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die...
My review:
Sienna Crenshaw isn't happy about the rules. What fun is it to be a time traveler if you can't go beyond your natural lifetime or change your own death? She especially hates the rules because she couldn't change the fact her boyfriend, Henry died. Yet Sienna's best friend, Joan who is also Henry's twin sister dares to break all the rules and creates what she believes to be a better reality with Henry still alive. And this might be good with Sienna except the fact all her family is gone. Will Sienna be able to right the timeline even if that means going against her best friend and losing the love of her life again?

What a wonderful fast-paced and action packed YA read. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was happily surprised by the twists and turns and the complexity of time traveling in this story. Every action echoes over time. It certainly did make me think what I'd do if I were in Sienna's position with my heart pulled in several directions.

Sienna transformed from a typical complaining teen into a brave heroine who must make immensely tough choices. I sympathized with her, and hurt with her when I guessed what she might have to do. I also really liked she wasn't perfect. I can see how she fell for Henry. And oh how I fretted over wondering who he was really helping!

4.5 stars for Travelers. Highly recommended YA time travel romance.
Find out more about Meradeth Houston on her site.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Five for January 22, 2016

1. It's Friday already? Where did my week go? I had two days to myself this week between MLK Day and snow days. I haven't been that productive, but I do have some big news... which I'll share soon. Subscribers to my newsletter will hear it first. So if you aren't already a subscriber, all you have to do is put your email address into that little widget on the right and click!

2. I haven't managed to get more than a few hundred words of writing done, but I've been keeping up on my critiquing for one of my critique partners. I do love getting to read new awesome stories before everyone else!

3. The Paramours Tour is just over a week away, but I'm going to do less touring this year with my books. What I want to try to do is have guest posts on blogs more often. Spread out the dates throughout the year. Keep myself out there without the fuss and stress of touring. I also wish to welcome other authors to guest post on my blog. I'll host them on Mondays, and I'm open to a variety of topics. If you'd like to write a guest post for me, please email me and we can work out the details. As you might have noticed, my most popular posts on my blog are guest posts.

4. Adorable kid moment of the week: My son had his 100th Day of School yesterday, and he wanted to dress up for it. He wore a button up shirt and tie with a Superman t-shirt underneath.

5. Finally, an awesome and easy Meme Blog Hop! I'm happy to host this with the terrific Tara Tyler and C. Lee McKenzie. We're giving away ebooks and gift cards. The rules are simple: post your meme and visit others and smile. I'll be reminding you of this again very soon! Sign up here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wicked Wednesday - your own worst critic

Have you ever found yourself making this face at something you've written, or something you've made, a task you didn't get quite right, or even at your own reflection? I do. A lot.

I am my own worst critic. Which, in turn, makes me my own worst boss. It gives power to that nagging voice in my head that says I'm not doing enough and what I am doing isn't good. The rotten voice that drags me down and makes me want to give up on everything.

Sometimes I can defeat my inner critic with my defiant will. I will finish writing the story and it will be dang good. I'll show that doubter I can achieve my goals.

Other times, my will falters. I can't manage to rally the strength to power through with a KAPOW! What then? Do I fall into the black hole?

I've learned how to avoid the void (most of the time!). You don't need to pull all your energy together at once and attack the critic. What you can do is chip away at it. Little acts. Writing for five minutes. It adds up. Stretch during the commercials of your favorite show. Your body will feel better for it. Smile and hold the door open for a stranger. Doing something nice for someone else will help drown out the critic.

The critic usually nags you about the big stuff. But it is the small things that can topple it.

How do you handle your inner critic?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Review for Cloaked

Raised by an overly protective wulfkin pack, Daciana leaps at the chance to venture into the human world for her one-year independence ritual. But after someone steals the endangered bear cubs she’s been assigned to protect, she must locate them or lose her job and return home in disgrace. The sexy inspector on the case isn’t making this any easier. He knows nothing of her kind, and wulfkin rules forbid relationships with humans.

Newly divorced Inspector Connell Lonescu trusts no one but himself. He’s convinced relationships are a waste of time and thinks burying himself in work will ease the pain. Yet he’s attracted to the gorgeous and mysterious Daciana, even if there’s something slightly odd about her. Can Connell learn to trust the sexy but secretive woman? 

Cloaked is the prequel to Cloaked in Fur, book 1 in The Wulfkin Legacy Series. Find out how Daciana and Connell fell in love and set in motion the paramount events that forever change their lives and those around them.
My review:
Daciana wants nothing more than to be free to live as she chooses, but she only has a year of freedom from her over-protective wulfkin pack. When two bear cubs are stolen from her place of work, she feels responsible and is determined to find those responsible. The inspector assigned to the case is gorgeous Connell Lonescu. He's a distraction she doesn't need but desperately wants. Will they survive their investigation and get a chance to see if there's more than lust between them?

This is the fantastic prequel novella to Cloaked in Fur. It has all the aspects of what I loved from the novel: lush details, incredible characterization, and heart pounding action. Plus a little dose of steaminess! What I liked best is seeing how Daciana and Connell met. While I adored Daciana before, this tale let us get into Connell's head too. I loved his edgy, noir-ish narration.

You don't need to read this novella first before Cloaked in Fur. In fact, it adds to the tension and depth having read it after. I highly recommend you wrap yourself up in T.F. Walsh's wulfkin world. It's top notch paranormal romance. It left me craving more in the series, and pastries. Custard filled pastries. Yum.
Cloaked is only 0.99c
Grab Your Copy: AmazonB&N | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes
Publisher: Crimson Romance

You can find T.F. Walsh at her site!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Five for January 15, 2016

1. I'm feeling more like myself this week. We had one snow day and two delayed starts to school, so I haven't gotten much writing done. I started a short story, but my mind has been distracted.

2. One of those distractions comes in the form of my furry buddy, Thunder. He's young and loves to jump, and sometimes he's a bit crazy about it. On Tuesday, he did a big tackle/flip with his cat tree and it fell with him. I thought he broke his leg and rushed him to the vet. Thankfully nothing is broken (except his pride), but he'll be limping for a while.

3. I received payment for a story and it's the most I've ever made for a short story! Plus, I'm super excited about this collection. Eldritch Embraces is putting the love back into Lovecraft! I'll keep you updated on the book, but here's a peek at the cover for you. Dark and gorgeous!

4. February is fast approaching and I'm prepping for a week-long tour with The Paramours. If you're interested in helping out, you can go here at Goddess Fish Tours. I'll be offering a $20 gift card prize to one lucky winner during the tour. Check out the awesome banner on my sidebar!

5. The final distraction this week comes from losing two of our world's greatest inspirations, David Bowie and Alan Rickman. My heart is heavy, and my sympathies go out to their families and friends and to everyone who has felt their loss.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wicked Wednesday - reviewing the numbers

I always find it interesting to hear how other authors are doing on social media. Do they focus on one or two sites or a bunch of them? How many hours do they put in? What are their marketing tactics? To give you an idea of what I do, here are my numbers from last year.

Start of 2015:
Facebook: 332
Twitter: 4796
Blog: 523 (GFC)
Newsletter: 18

Last year, I had my first books published with my publisher. This brought me to a new audience. Did it help on social media? I don't know. I'll break each of the four main tools I use down individually.

End of 2015:
Facebook: 409

I don't use Facebook (FB) much for promoting. I post maybe three times a week on my author page. (Mostly I use my personal page to put up pictures of my kid and cat!) I'm not a big fan of FB. My numbers did go up. They rose with my giveaways at the beginning of 2015 when one of the entries was to like my page.

Twitter: 6101

I made the most changes to how I handle Twitter. I promote my books less - only two or three times a day. I used to do it at least a half dozen times. I interact with people more, talking about all sorts of things beyond books. This has helped and has made Twitter more enjoyable to me. I unfollowed all the inactive followers, the spammers, the bots, and the ones just selling stuff. I'm following less people than are following me.

Blog: 522

I always say my blog is my number one tool. I still believe it even though it doesn't seem the number has changed much at all. I can only go by the number on GFC. It has gone up to 528 and dropped to 519 over the year. It's stable. I do know I have new readers following in other ways because they comment. Sometimes people will do so on the blog, but they also email and comment via Twitter or Goodreads. I always do my best to return comments on the blogs of people who comment on mine.

Newsletter: 156

This is the biggest jump. The one that made me most excited. I know exactly where over 120 of these new subscribers came from too. Back in September, the marvelous Graeme Ing posted 35 free ebooks on his blog and the response was astounding. Here's the post in case you want to get yourself some awesome free ebooks! Within the first week, I had over 50 new subscribers. If you have a newsletter, you know it's super tough to get people to sign up for it. I offer a free ebook to new subscribers, but that alone didn't draw in a lot of readers. Graeme's post was the key.

My 2015 review and sales numbers were, well, not even worth reporting. Not a good year. Except I still don't know how my Paramours series has done since they came out in the final quarter, and my publisher has no sales ratings on their site. That check will come to me in a few weeks.

2016 will be a fun year to watch the numbers. I hope to start releasing my newest series, Totem, and it will sing to the 13th Floor fans. (I do wish I kept track of my numbers in 2013 when I was releasing those books!) I'm going to try a few different marketing strategies that don't involve me wearing myself down every time I release one of the books.

Do you keep track of your numbers? What tactics do you use for your social media tools?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cloaked Tour - Romulus and Remus with T.F. Walsh

Romulus and Remus with T.F. Walsh

Hi Christine, thanks for having me on your blog today.
One of my favourite characters of Cloaked and Cloaked in Fur is the city of Brașov. The city is a perfect setting for any European tale with a long and varied history. Researching the city gave me a sense of the people and the traditions of the area. But one of the facts I learnt was especially surprising. Similar to the Capitoline Wolf in Rome, a bronze sculpture of Romulus and Remus can be found in front of the City Hall in Brașov.
The city of Brașov was for a long time a part of the Roman Empire. The statue is a reminder of that time it formed part of the north eastern border. But more importantly, it’s also a reminder of the extensive lore and mythology around wolves in Europe, especially in Romania.
But its time as a part of the Roman Empire, and many other sovereignties, gives it a varied geo-political history as well. Another facet I chose to introduce in my novels and explore even more the remaining stories.
What have you recently discovered during reading or researching?

Raised by an overly protective wulfkin pack, Daciana leaps at the chance to venture into the human world for her one-year independence ritual. But after someone steals the endangered bear cubs she’s been assigned to protect, she must locate them or lose her job and return home in disgrace. The sexy inspector on the case isn’t making this any easier. He knows nothing of her kind, and wulfkin rules forbid relationships with humans.

Newly divorced Inspector Connell Lonescu trusts no one but himself. He’s convinced relationships are a waste of time and thinks burying himself in work will ease the pain. Yet he’s attracted to the gorgeous and mysterious Daciana, even if there’s something slightly odd about her. Can Connell learn to trust the sexy but secretive woman? 

Cloaked is the prequel to Cloaked in Fur, book 1 in The Wulfkin Legacy Series. Find out how Daciana and Connell fell in love and set in motion the paramount events that forever change their lives and those around them.

Cloaked is only 0.99c
Grab Your Copy: AmazonB&N | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes
Publisher: Crimson Romance

Coming Soon
Cloaked in Secrecy (Book #2) – March 2016
Cloaked in Blood (Book #3) – May 2016
for T.F. Walsh’s newsletter to keep up to date with latest releases, special offers, and exclusive content.
About The Author
T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she's always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.

Author Links: Website  |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon

Giveaway! Click and enter to win one of these awesome Cloaked bookmarks.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Five for January 8, 2016

1. First off, I want to let everyone know that I have not forgotten about you. I've been really sick since the first of the month. I was sleeping 18-19 hours a day. Whatever virus had me in its clutches, had a vicious hold on me. I'm feeling a little better now, but I have a ton of blogs to visit and catching up to do. I hope your new year started off better than mine.

2. 2015 didn't end off very well either. Three days before Christmas, a woman back into our car, smashing the driver's side door and shattering the window. Thankfully my son and I were on the sidewalk feeding the meter when it happened. Yet we were without a vehicle for two weeks over the holidays. The next day, one of the cats we adopted, showed her true colors. She viciously attacked my son several times, and she even attacked me when I picked up my son once. She had scratched him a few occasions before, but we called a behaviorist and we tried to work with the cat. Unfortunately, she didn't like children. We still have Thunder and he's the perfect cat for our family. Gentle, playful, and loving. Our power went out with a wind storm for a day, my husband was sick, my son fell and smacked his head on a concrete floor, the lid of my drink at the movie theater slipped off and spilled all over me... You can see 2015 had a pfffft end for me. 

3. One good thing did happen, though. I had my short story, "George and the Dragon" accepted by Randi Lee for her anthology, The Thing That Turned Me. What makes me more excited is all the other fantastic writers who has stories in it. Getting a story accepted is great. Getting a story accepted in an anthology with writer friends is pure awesomeness! Randi Lee has already made a trailer for the book. Check it out!

4. I haven't done any writing or editing. I feel so far behind, but I know it's just a week into the new year. I have been reading, though, and watching television that inspired me for a new series. I know, I know. Too many ideas, not enough time!

5. We didn't get to do much over the holiday break, but we did do one thing I had planned. We visited the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. I've been before a few times, but I love going back. It was my little guy's first time there. You get to be a few feet away from the biggest felines in the world. It's amazing. This is not a zoo experience, and I think it shocked my son how big these critters really are!

(Belle Fille. She kept us company while we waited for our tour guide.)

(A Canadian lynx. Which is super cool since I have a lynx shifter in my newest series of books. Research!)

(A flurry of furry fury. Feeding time! She's tearing off the fur from her deer leg.)

(A lazy lion. He looks adorable, but that head is bigger than my nearly six-year-old!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#IWSG for January 2016

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

Make sure to check out the IWSG site to find out who the winners of the anthology contest are. I'm so excited to find out who they are!

The awesome co-hosts for this month are: L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace!

As the new year looms before me, I see so many possibilities and just as many potholes. Never mind the ones I can't see. I'm taking on the biggest project I've ever conceived and I want to do even more.

More? I must be bonkers. Yet if I set up a schedule, I can do it. Maybe. I don't know!

I'm trying to reason with the voice that nags me to do more and the other voice which exclaims I'm crazy to try any of it. Finding the middle ground is difficult. All these years I've been writing, I still haven't managed to find that balance.

But it doesn't stop me from trying. I will never give up. This is too important to me.

Into 2016 we go! Here's to all of us finding balance, peace, and success. And even if we don't achieve those this year, here's to perseverance. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Goals for 2016

As much as that nagging voice in my head says I should have done more, I had a productive year in 2015. I published one novel and six novellas plus a handful of short stories. I met all but two of my goals. One was a novel I put aside because I wasn't ready to write it yet. In its place, I wrote and published The Paramours and started on my biggest project yet, Totem. I read over 100 books and wrote reviews for them, but I could not find a way to coax more readers to write reviews for me. I also did not manage to find the balance between writing and blogging. I did better than 2014 with that, but I have to learn to be more strict with myself and stick with my schedule.

Here are my goals for 2016:

1. Revise and submit the Sasquatch Susies to my publisher. The first drafts are done. Not too much I have to do story-wise in the revision phase.

2. Write the rest of the Totem books and start to publish them. The first two novellas out of nine are done, but not revised. I'm trying very hard not to rush myself with these. I learned some valuable lessons in publishing the 13th Floor series. I will be much kinder to myself and my CPs/editor with this one. Tentatively, I'd like to say I'll start putting them out by early summer, but I'm not putting any definite deadline down on paper yet.

3. Read and review 100 books. I did it last year and the year before. I'd love to continue it for the rest of my life.

4. Write and submit six short stories. I managed to do this last year. I was short-listed on pro venues five times. I'm so close to my goal of being accepted by one.

5. Blogging. Once again, I'm going to attempt to find a balance between writing and blogging. The writing of my blog posts doesn't take too long, but keeping up with everyone's blogs and returning comments does sometimes. I will not give up the latter. So I will schedule a certain amount of time each weekday for returning comments, and if I have time left, I will make some visits. I must decide what is the appropriate amount of time for that, though. How much time do you spend a week returning comments and visiting blogs?

What are your goals for 2016?