Tag Archives: Rave Reviews Book Club

Projects and family

I managed to assemble a future Lisa Burton Radio interview early this morning, but that was about it. I don't actually have a lot of projects looming right now, so I feel pretty good about this. I hit it hard during my time off and cleared some space.

Our daughter was here, and we all had a nice visit this morning. She and my wife went to the mall, but I still didn't get a lot done. Otto was pretty lively, and I admit to spending a good chunk of time playing with him. About all I managed to do was add one line to my list of short stories. It isn't a bad idea and might make a decent Macabre Macaroni someday.

My main goal now is to finish the first draft of The Yak Guy Project. After that comes several rounds of edits on The Enhanced League. Right now it's looking like Monday is my best opportunity. I have the post over at Story Empire that day, so I'll have to monitor comments more closely. At least I hope there are comments to monitor. It's an opinion piece about “write what you know,” and I'm trying to be opinionated this time.

We had date night at Red Lobster, and got our cheddar biscuit fix. It was a nice date, but we're back home now. Nothing too spectacular, just a few hours together.

Party day was a big success once more. It started off a little slow but that was my fault. Club rules are to send in a link before it goes live so they can include it on the tour page – piece of cake. They also want the post to go live around midnight Central Daylight time. I always schedule for midnightish, so that's what I did. Then I rolled back the time by a couple of hours to make sure it was live when the club expected it to be.

Yeah, when you roll back prior to midnight it doesn't change the date. This means I had it scheduled about 23 hours later than it was supposed to be.

I got it fixed about 4:30AM and sent an emergency email to the club. They fixed me up, but it took several hours. I know I missed some of the early traffic, but it was completely my fault. What a rookie.

There was still a lot of sharing, and some great comments. I gained blog followers too. Every little bit helps. The club will tell me who won the mugs, and I hope to get them sent out PDQ.

There may be a week long delay in shipping. My paycheck job is sending me to Louisville on Tuesday for a convention. I'm excited to go somewhere new, even though I'll be working most of the time. Maybe I'll see something interesting to share with you while I'm on the road. Is there anything I can't miss while I'm there?

I keep thinking about how one week later might have been more interesting, and caused me to stay a few extra days at my own expense. I've always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby, and I'll miss it by one week. I have a hunch some bourbon will get sampled as a consolation prize.

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It’s a party, yo! #RRBC style

Welcome to my stop along the Springtime Book & Block Party route. Let’s get the preliminary stuff out of the way first. I’m giving two prizes away, and you don’t have to be a member to win. All you have to do is leave a comment, and a random draw will decide the winners. Contestants are only eligible from North America, due to the restrictive cost of shipping.

So what could you win? How about one of these awesome coffee mugs, featuring my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my writing career, Lisa Burton the robot girl.

Look how beautiful that marble bust looks, oh and Lisa looks nice too. These things are huge, and you’re going to want one.

This time the party took me by surprise. Last time we did one of these, I timed a book release around it, and that worked out extremely well. I don’t have a book release today, but I can still give you the tour.

At the top of my blog there are a couple of pages that might interest you. There is the standard “about me” page, but there is also a free selection of Lisa Burton paper dolls if you’d like them. I wanted to come up with some swag for an author who only has ebooks available. Make sure you print the pdf files and not the images shown.

The fun one is called Lisa Burton Radio, I’ll let her tell you about it.

“Hi everyone, welcome to the new visitors, and I see some familiar faces here too. The show is really fun, and I interview the characters from your books. At the end I include covers, bios, purchase links, whatever you want, really.

“When the post goes live, I share it to Flipboard, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and two Facebook sites. I try to help as much as I can. I’m always looking for guests, so drop me an email. If you want to check out past interviews there is a link in Craig’s sidebar. I’ll let him tell you about the sidebar, he loves his sidebar.

Thanks, Lisa. I also tweet out the five most recent interviews every week after Lisa finishes with them. My sidebar starts out with a link to obtain a free reading app. As an ebook guy, I don’t want to make it difficult for anyone to read my stories. Then I post the two most recent publications with direct links to those books. I have all the covers in a slideshow, because it doesn’t feel right to have them all on there. Lisa mentioned the blog categories, and this is where you can always find her interviews. Those of you who write speculative fiction might find some inspiration in the Idea Mill posts too. Oh, and before I forget, there is an Entertaining Stories Facebook page too, if any of you are so inclined. It’s the only place you can see videos of my dog, Otto. (Don’t laugh, I know some of you are into this stuff.)

That’s the grand tour. Hope everyone is enjoying the party, it’s one of my favorite events. I hope to have two new books coming out soon, but I got caught without them ready yet. One is a collection of short stories called The Enhanced League, about a futuristic baseball league. The other is kind of an alternate world fantasy novel called The Yak Guy Project. Coming soon, I promise.

I guess if I’m going to promote something, The Playground could use a bit of review love. I know some of you are holding shiny new Amazon gift cards at this point in the tour. The club even has a list of who you are. Mwa ha ha…

For those of you who aren’t RRBC members, this is an awesome club. We thrive on mutual support, and it’s kind of a pay it forward system. We’re growing by leaps and bounds, and we’d love to count you among our members. There are too many benefits to mention here, but things like this blog party are happening all the time. Why don’t you check it out at this link.

Party on! Sign up for your own character interview. Leave me a comment. I love interacting with everyone, and you could win a prize.

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The downfall of a weekend

I've been a bit quiet around here this week. Most of it is because I had things to promote here that deserved time in the spotlight. My post at Story Empire on Monday did very well. Today, I forgot to write a post about the Rave Reviews Book Club, but managed to reblog Mae Clair's post. If you decide to join and take advantage of the discount, tell them Mae Clair referred you.

We ran some errands on Saturday. Bought my mother a birthday present, got my wife's car serviced, pretty mundane stuff.

We managed to go to The Great Wall with Matt Damon. We thought it was great. Not a ton of plot, but lots of pageantry and color. It's kind of a mash-up with a bit of Kung-Fu style, some action, and a fantasy. It may not be for everyone, but we had a great time.

That's kind of where it came to a screeching halt. Our bulldog puppy, Otto, weighs in at 65 pounds now. He gets kind of crazy, and one of his favorite things is to jump around on the bed for a few minutes before we go to sleep.

Bulldogs have short legs, and when you add in that weight, he can't jump on the bed… so my wife lifts him up. She usually goes to bed about 30 minutes before I do, so I get to lift him down. Only this time, she wrenched her back.

“Don't give me that look. You played a part in all this.”

Anyway, my wife's Sunday was spent on the couch, followed by calling in sick on Monday and Tuesday. Oh, and lets add in a couple of visits to the chiropractor.

So, my big plans to make Monday my writing day evaporated. Maybe this coming weekend I can get something done. My wife and daughter are flying out together for some quality time. It will be just Otto and me, and my keyboard.

She's on the mend and went to work today. It's just one of those things you need to be aware of from time to time. The keyboard will always be there, but this weekend turned out to be about something else.

Oh, and come back tomorrow for Lisa Burton Radio.

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A day off

I managed about 1500 words today on The Enhanced League. I could have finished the first draft, but I had some other commitments. I wrote one complete micro, and it needs a bit of something. I also started the last short story. I will add one more micro after the short, and may include another anthem piece. The anthem would allow me to talk about the Hot Stove season without spending a bunch of time on it.

I had to finalize next week's Lisa Burton Radio, and get it scheduled. I also have a fun guest appearance of my own where I get to be a castaway. These things take time too, and they're important. I want to do a good job for my guests and my hosts, and didn't want to take shortcuts with any of it.

I tried to participate in the Rave Reviews Book Club's “Pay it Forward” day. I believe in paying it forward, and sent out quite a few tweets using #RRBC, and made my own hashtag #RRBCPIF – you know, just in case it helps. I don't know if anyone else picked it up, but it's out there now.

Beyond that, there was a bunch of Otto time. I may need Tommy John surgery after all the throwing I've been doing. He's a ball playing boy.

He actually watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on television. I've had dogs who notice the TV before, but he watched the show. He seems to get more excited over the white dogs. I decided this could be because he can see them better, but he could be one of those guys who prefers blondes too.

I posted a couple photos on the Entertaining Stories Facebook page. People love Otto photos, and my FB page could use more traffic so I tend to post them there. Here's a link, just in case you need it.

There you have it. Dabbling mostly, working toward the end of the Enhanced League season, while looking forward to the MLB actual season. Blog work, plus some puppy time, and that was my day. Back to the grind tomorrow.

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The Rave Awards! #RRBC

The limousine pulled into a row of other limos. Lisa Burton* sat across from me in the back. A four-hundred pound man sat next to me in a tux. “Why is he here again?”

“Don’t worry about him,” Lisa said. “He’s from Harry Winston, and he comes with the diamonds. I have to give them all back after the program.”

“That’s too bad. They look really nice.” We pulled forward a few car lengths, and I asked him to let me out.

“What are you doing? You’ll miss the red carpet.”

“That’s the idea. I’m slipping in the back, grabbing a beer, and meeting you at our table. You’re the spokesmodel. It’s your job to take this bullet for me.”

“You’re such a baby. Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”

I wound my way to our table and sat where my name card indicated. The room filled up as Lisa wound her way over. She paused to pose for selfies, and sign some autographs.

The show started and we applauded when Jan Sikes won for most creative tweets. Lisa grabbed my arm, “Her character appeared on Lisa Burton Radio, and she included you in her presentation on promotion. So excited for her.”

“I agree, she’s a talented lady.

Rea Nolan Martin’s, The Ansesthesia Game won for best cover, and Beem Week’s, Jazz Baby won for best book trailer. We applauded their victories. I started chewing my nails.

The award for best blog site was called. “In third place, Entertaining Stories, by C. S. Boyack.” The crowd applauded and I waived. The cameras were mostly focused on Lisa though. “In second place, Fiction Favorites, by John Howell.” We applauded again.

Lisa grabbed my forearm. “John’s so nice. I’ve been to his house, and his characters appeared on my radio show a couple of times too.”

“And the Blog of the Year goes to, Nonnie Jules for Watch Nonnie Write.” The crowd went crazy. Nonnie is one of the hardest working people I know, and deserves all the awards she can take home.

Nonnie also won the award for Most Giving Hands. The Most Supportive Member of 2016 is Wendy Scott. Jan Hawk won for Member of the Year, and Lisa reminded me that Jan’s characters have appeared on her show too.

Karen Ingalls is the Top Reviewer of 2016. Stephanie Collins is the Top Recruiter of 2016. I took my napkin and dabbed it across my forehead.

“For Book of the Year, in third place, The Playground by C. S. Boyack.” I waved once more, and Lisa attracted camera flashes. “In second place, She Dies at the End, by A. M. Manay. And the Book of the Year, for 2016, goes to Type and Cross by Staci Troilo.” The crowd went wild. The Book of the Year competition was tough, and all the entries were good. Lisa grabbed me once more and reminded me that Max the dog appeared on her show.

I shook hands with those around me, and slipped quietly to the lobby. The bar was only a few steps further, so I went inside. John Howell was already there. I offered my hand. “Congratulations, John.”

He waived down the waitress and she slid me a dark frothy beer. “Congratulations yourself. Where’s Lisa? Is she joining us?”

“Hardly. She went to the Governors Ball. I think she wants to recruit characters for her radio show.”

“How does she rate? She isn’t even a nominee.”

“That doesn’t matter. Velvet ropes just move aside for her.”

“I can see that. I heard they have an upgraded bar at the ball. Wanna check it out?”

“Why didn’t you say so sooner, John.” I dropped a twenty on the bar and we headed across the street.

***

*Lisa Burton is my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She’s also a robot, and makes regular appearances here.

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You might guess that we have a lot of fun in the Rave Reviews Book Club. It’s all about supporting each other, and climbing that ladder together. The Rave Awards are only one fun event, and there are a couple of blog parties and some writing contests that are worth checking out. In December they held an online convention that was very popular.

If you think this club might have something to offer you, please check us out at this link.

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Welcome Author, Marlena Smith #RRBC

One of the benefits of membership in the Rave Reviews Book Club is the ability to host other authors. Today it’s my turn to bring you Marlena Smith, one of the hardest working members in the club. Please give her a warm welcome in the comments and with the sharing buttons.

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Hi, there!

Welcome to Day 1 of my RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour! I am so excited to have you join me! A huge THANKS to RRBC and to my awesome host!!

To kick this tour off, I thought some Q&A would be fun, your chance to get to know the author!

1. You have been writing for a long time now, since you were a child. What were some of your first story ideas?

Yes, my earliest memory of writing comes from 2nd grade. I wrote a story about my mother and received the honor of attending the Young Author’s Conference in my state. At 8 years old, it seemed like a big deal!

I still have all of the things I wrote as a child/teenager. One story was about princesses who had magical powers. Another was about a family on a ranch that go through some hardships. Looking back, the ideas were kind of all over the place!

2. What influenced you to take a career path in writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, putting my thoughts and ideas on paper. It has always been an escape for me, even to this day. I’ve tried other jobs, other ideas, but I’ve always came back to writing. It’s my home, where I belong. When you continuously come back to a certain thing, you realize maybe you should just stick to it.

3. What inspires your writing?

Nature, people I see or speak to, the world… Inspiration can be found in so many places if you simply open your eyes or your ears. Life, itself, can be inspiring.

I’ve also had a few ideas come from my dreams. It’s funny, I rarely remember my dreams. But when I do, it’s usually something to write about.

4. What part of writing do you find most exhilarating?

Putting the idea onto paper. You take a simple idea, and turn it into a book. You create a world, characters, meaning, drama, romance… all from an idea. That’s an amazing thing to me.

5. What part is most difficult?

Actually publishing it. Putting your book, your work in someone else’s hands. It’s in the public eye for all to see. Some will love it, others may hate it. It can be a scary thing. I think that’s why I’ve always procrastinated with my own writing. What if all that hard work that you put into your book isn’t received well? I suppose, though, that’s a risk we take in a lot of things. You just never know.

6. What is your process for creating characters?

For me, the story idea comes first. Then, I create the characters to make the story come alive.

When I do create my characters, I like to be thorough. Give them a personality and an appearance. From that, they develop throughout the story, almost on their own. I hear so many authors say that their characters often take over the story. This is so true. Sometimes, the story leads a completely different path than you planned… All because of the character.

7. What can we expect to find in your first book?

THE POWER OF LOVE is about a woman needing a fresh start. She has left the place she once called home, her husband, her family, and is now living in an abandoned apartment alone. She keeps to herself, never acknowledging anyone that crosses her path. That is, until she bumps into Lucas. Lucas forces her out of her shell. He has this way of waking Scarlet up, making her alive again. We see her grow and embrace the new path she is on. We also see her constantly battle with herself and her past. It’s a story of heartache and pain, but also of hope and love.

8. Will you give us an insight into your main character?

Scarlet is a strong woman that has been through a lot. Taking the first step of living on her own, helps her to find her independence again. She takes chances and goes against her fears. With Scarlet’s character, you see hope. Hope for a better tomorrow, hope that you can and will find your own path.

9. What do you hope readers experience from this debut book?

I simply want readers to enjoy the book. To take from it, what I put into it. I hope they laugh and cry, and feel the emotion as they walk Scarlet’s journey.

10. What part of the romance genre do you find most exciting?

I’m such a hopeless romantic! I’ve always believed in true love and love at first sight, and all of those other cliches. I like where the romance genre can take you. It can often open your eyes, give you hope, make you believe again.

I also like the never-knowing, the constant guessing game of wondering if love will win. Like I mentioned before, your character can truly take over your book and you may have no idea how it will end. The woman doesn’t always need a man to save the day. Sometimes, she saves herself.

11. What’s the best tool or resource you’ve found during your writing career?

Of course, I believe social media is a must. Twitter, Facebook, and all the other sites and apps can be great marketing tools. You also get to connect with readers and other authors. Networking at its finest!

I also am a strong believer in finding a group or organization of people that are on the same journey as you, people that you can relate to, people that can help you and inspire you. I found that with RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB – an organization that is all about supporting and promoting one another. This group has been the push I need to put my words out there. You don’t find support anywhere else like you do at RRBC.

12. Aside from writing, what are your passions in life? What can you be found doing when you’re not behind a pen or computer?

Writing and reading definitely take up a majority of my time, as does RRBC. Being the secretary for a book club can keep you busy, which I love. My other passion is cooking, specifically baking. This is another escape for me. I enjoy being in the kitchen, seeing what new recipe I can create.

I am also a horror-fanatic. I can watch scary movies all day, especially Indie ones. I’m actually fascinated by the paranormal world and enjoy doing my own research and “hunting.” There’s a lot of incredible places in my state, places I have yet to explore.

13. What can we expect next from you?

Aside from THE POWER OF LOVE being released in Spring 2017, I have a few other works-in-progress.

I’m hoping my YA Romance novel, A MOMENTARY GLANCE, will be released this year. Of course, it’s still in the first draft stage. This is a story idea I’ve had for a very long time and can’t wait to get finished. You can find some snippets and such about this one on my blog.

I also have a horror screenplay in the works. The outline is done and it’s played out in my head; I just need to get it all on paper.

Thanks for stopping by!! Hope you’ll join me and my hosts for the rest of the tour! 🙂

***

Book Blurb:

All she wanted was a fresh start.

Eight months ago, Scarlet made the choice to leave the prison she called home, and to escape the man that put her there. She had made a new home for herself in the small town of Belmont, Montana. The abandoned apartment was far from luxury, but she was better off, away from her past life.

She never expected to meet Lucas, the local hero and town’s only doctor. She didn’t expect to enjoy the small town life. She didn’t expect her past to catch up to her.

Will she risk it all? Risk revealing her secrets at a chance of love? Will she be forced back into the life she hated? Will she gain control of her own destiny?

Available Spring 2017!!

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Author Bio:

Author Marlena Smith is a true Southern Belle at heart. Her home has always been in Alabama and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, faith and family played a large part in her life.

Her earliest memory of writing was that of 2nd grade when she was selected to attend the Young Author’s Conference in her home state. Little did she know then that her future was being mapped out.

Today, Marlena is an Author, Freelancer, Book Reviewer, Researcher and Secretary of Rave Reviews Book Club. She may wear many hats, but her passion remains with writing. That’s where her heart is and that’s where she feels she belongs. She has several works in progress, including an upcoming short romance, THE POWER OF LOVE, expected to be out in Spring 2017.

Until then, you can check out some of Marlena’s writing in the RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL ANTHOLOGY, available on Amazon.

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Find Marlena online:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Website

You can sample Marlena’s work in the anthology Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul, available at this handy link.

 

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Check out Marketing 101

Back in December, the Rave Reviews Book Club held its first annual Writing Conference & Book Expo. Other commitments kept me from attending, but Jan Sikes asked if she could use me as an example in creative marketing. As a reminder, Jan is the author of The Convict and the Rose, that was presented on Lisa Burton Radio yesterday. (Link here.)

This presentation comes in three helpful videos, and its full of useful information. Several popular authors and bloggers were mentioned, but since this is my blog, I'll mention that part three is where I'm featured. Lisa Burton is also mentioned, and you should check it out. It's packed with good information beyond the part where I'm discussed.

Here is the handy dandy link.

 

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