Tag Archives: spotlight week

Meet #RRBC Spotlight Author Kim Cox

You guys have read my posts about the Rave Reviews Book Club before. This club is all about helping and promoting authors to new readers. This week the club’s Spotlight Author is Kim Cox. She’s here to tell us all about writing a Paranormal Mystery. Take it away, Kim.

Writing the Paranormal Mystery

What enticed me to write a paranormal mystery series? Why did I want to write a series about a psychic female private investigator who could communicate with ghosts? What contributed to my interest? I get ideas for writing from everywhere and everyone, but I never use specifics from the instances and persons around me. However, all things spark ideas for totally unrelated subjects.

Ideas

A while back my husband and I were talking about cloning. Not sure where the conversation started, but we were wondering about how a soul comes into play in the overall scheme of this process. Does the cloned person even have a soul? Well, the what-ifs started and I have a futuristic, science fiction book on the back burner, meaning that I have an idea about one that I want to write. So, I added some thoughts about cloning to a file, and I’ve downloaded some books about cloning for research. Anyway, this is insight into how my mind works and where ideas can come from because of a simple conversation.

My reading passion has always included all types of mysteries, and since I started writing, I’ve wanted to write a series about a female sleuth, private investigator. As far as psychics and mediums, they fascinate me along with the ghosts they communicate with. I’ve heard numerous stories about ghosts from family and friends. I’ve come to believe that the state of Ohio is full of them. By the way, I would love to hear from others who live or have lived in Ohio about this.

I grew up watching “Shock Theater” for goodness sake. For those who don’t know, “Shock Theater” came on late nights on Friday in the 1960s and 1970s. These shows featured zombies, vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein, swamp monters, and probably other things I can’t remember right now.

I remember during one episode about zombies, my brother, David, had a large glass of milk and two or three banana sandwiches. I think he was around sixteen or seventeen at the time. We were watching this show where a man was running from the zombies saying, “Feet don’t fail me now,” and David laughed so hard that he spat milk and banana sandwich all over the floor. Tears were streaming from his eyes and he was rolling all over the furniture.

As a teenager, I had a friend who swore they had a ghost named Oscar (not sure if this was the name he gave them or a name they gave him, although, I believe it was the latter) living in their house. He would do odd things—move objects around or write on a steam-covered mirror in the bathroom but he was never mean or scary. Once, I remember hearing them say that Oscar may not be a man after all, because one night the entity climbed into bed my friend’s brother.

This friend lived in a small town in eastern North Carolina, but Oscar had followed or hopped a ride with them back from a place in Ohio where they’d lived during the summer. I don’t remember the name of the town or anything else about it.

Then there was my husband’s aunt who told me numerous ghost stories about houses she’d lived in near Dayton. She’d seen many apparitions over the years and for the life of me, I can’t remember any specific stories except one about her seeing this filmy, translucence spirit which seemed to be more of a residual haunting where the ghost went about their normal routine as if they were still alive.

All of these stories have fascinated me over the years and that fascination manifested itself into the stories in the Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery series. Not any stories I’ve heard specifically but portions of things in them sparked ideas. I can only think of one specific thing I may have used and that’s the writing on the mirror in Get Out or Die. These stories have contributed in part to me wanting to write about ghosts, psychics, mediums, etc.

After my first book, “Haunted Hearts” was written, television shows such as “Ghost Whisperer” and “Medium” began to air and my interest only grew. I loved those shows and hated it when they stopped showing them.

The Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery Series

 

In the LANA MALLOY PARANORMAL MYSTERY SERIES, Lana Malloy is a psychic, private investigator who is on a mission to help the dearly departed even when they don’t realize they need help. With each book, Lana’s psychic abilities grow. As she’s pushed to new limits, she learns she’s capable of much more than she knew.

In book one, HAUNTED HEARTS, Lana sets out to solve her first case—the twenty-year old cold-case and double murder of her great aunt and her great aunt’s fiancé. If she succeeds, they’ll spend eternity together; if she can’t, they’ll be stuck as Haunted Hearts. With the help of the ghosts and a new love interest, she is able to find the murderer.

In book two, GET OUT OR DIE, the success of Lana’s first case has spread throughout the local Charleston area and her business is booming. At one pro-bono job, Lana helps a widow communicate with her late husband where she learns of a frightening new ability—an ability that could give the next spirit, an angry ghost, the upper hand if she’s not careful.

In book three, THE WEDDING CRASHER, Lana is on her honeymoon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee when she learns that a reoccurring vision about an abducted woman took place in nearby Knoxville. This case takes her hiking up mountainsides and trekking through rough terrain to find a madman before he can harm this young woman.

In the fourth book, CHRISTMAS CRUISE, Lana boards a cruise ship haunted by dead women who were brutally murdered. While aboard the ship Lana has an experience that mentally injures her. Once she recovers, she’s more determined than ever to find the murderer.

Coming up next, book five, HAUNTED BY HER PAST: Lana is faced with the task of helping, Jena, a domestic abuse victim to escape the ghost of her dead, abusive, ex-boyfriend.

Other Books Coming In This Series

In book six, DEMI’S SERIAL CASE, the town of Charlestonhas a serial killer and Demi requires Lana’s assistance. Demi is Lana’s best friend and a police detective. Lana helps Demi profile the killer who is believed to be a copy-cat killer (copying another serial killer’s modus operandi) of the man who has been in jail for about five years.

In book seven, DEATH COMES CALLING, Derek, Tony’s brother has moved back to Charleston after living in the middle east and Africa, treating serious injuries while associated with the organization, Doctors Without Borders. A ghost that died in his care begins to haunt him.

Book eight is of yet untitled, but the idea is that shortly after Demi is promoted to Police Captain, she will be involved in a shootout that leads to her being charged with murder. Lana will need to find the truth in order to save her friend. The problem, the dead spirit isn’t talking and he’s the only one that knows what truly happened.

About Kim

*INSERT AUTHOR PHOTO*

 

 

 

Kim Cox is an author of Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense and Romance. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her chain saw artist husband, their West Highland White Terriers–Scooter and Harley, and a Yorkie mix, Candi. Kim is published in novels, short stories and articles.


Sign up for Kim’s Readers List for exclusive information, new releases, contests, giveaways, and free books.

Visit her at the following sites:

Author’s Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com

Blogs: Kim’s Musings, Kim’s Author Support Page

Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/kimcox

Social Media locations:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCoxAuthor

Google: https://plus.google.com/+KimCoxAuthor/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimcox

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimwrtr/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimwrtr

***

Suspicious Minds

Betrayal, Revenge, and Hidden Identity

In the city of Boston lies a story of betrayal, revenge and hidden identity. Ryan Donatelli, posing as Thomas Randolph, sets out to avenge his sister’s death, even if it means using Sam Southard’s daughter to do it. After all, Ryan is sure Sam’s responsible.

Natalie Southard is determined to keep her family business out of the hands of known crime boss, Nick DeMarco. After her father is killed, Natalie and Ryan are forced to run for their lives. But, will they live long enough for their hearts to heal once everything is revealed?

 

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“SPOTLIGHT” Author Janelle Jalbert Blog 3

Insights into Indie publishing Out on a Limb or Positioned for Success?

No one wants to believe they are at a disadvantage, but reality is reality. Yes, getting your books into print or available on an e-reader is easier now than it has ever been. But, is publishing the goal or is there more to being a success? Is it possible to go out on a limb and define your own success?

The Hat Juggler

Understand from the start that as an indie author/publisher it all rests on your shoulders ultimately. There are three hats that you are required to wear: author, producer, and promoter. Notice there are 3 and not 2 roles filled. It’s easy to see the writer and the promoter (marketer) role, but the producer role is both the lynchpin and the bridge in the process. Being a book producer encompasses everything from editing to layout/formatting to cover design.

The difference is that as an indie author, you never really get to take off your marketer hat while at the same time you are working as an author and producer of upcoming titles. It can be daunting to say the least. That’s why it is important to truly understand your strengths and weaknesses and seek out qualified help to ease the burden of the tasks you are not as solid on. Not only will your finished product be better but your sanity will remain intact (at least a little bit longer) than if you try to handle everything on your own.

Yes, many authors begin on shoestring budgets, but remember your books are alongside the shelves, virtual or physical, of those who have an army to support them. David may have beat Goliath with his slingshot and a stone but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have some assistance along the way to get himself prepared for the fight. Find your tribe, enlist your supporters (both readers and non-readers), and remember…celebrate every victory along the way. It makes the daunting feel more like a series of parties rather than a war and a series of battles.

The Myth of the Overnight Sensation

Overnight sensations rarely (if ever) happen that quickly. Sure, things can click in an instant and catapult you to a new level, but the reality is that you will inevitably have to pay your dues in one form or another. There is no magic bullet, genie in a bottle, or secret sauce to make that truth disappear.

What you can do to insure that you are positioned best when opportunity knocks is to simply dedicate yourself to your dream/goal and religiously do what it takes to make yourself (and your work) as opportunity-friendly as possible. Constantly learn more about the world of indie publishing. It’s easier and faster to learn from others successes and failures than it is to test everything yourself. Not to mention it’s usually cheaper too.

While learning from others makes your own learning curve faster and easier, dismiss or at least be very skeptical of anyone claiming they have the golden ticket to the “fastest”, “easiest”, “automatic” way to become a successful indie author. There are tons people and businesses willing to take money from success-starved authors by making outlandish promises. That’s why you have set yourself up for success and be clear about your goals.

Know Your Goals

Sure people would love to be the next best seller or find a bibliophile willing to promote them to the moon (a la the Oprah nod from years gone by). Indeed, I believe you need to dream big to get your book baby out into the world, but there’s no need to set yourself up for disappointment. The truth is that more than 90% of titles fail to reach 100 in sales, and 80% of those that do, don’t make it to the 250 mark. That means that only approximately 2% of titles published exceed sales of 250, let alone the millions of copies people envision.

Instead of getting depressed and questioning your sanity in your publishing pursuits, back it up a bit. You need to lay the groundwork and give yourself a chance to celebrate victories along the way. That’s the only way an indie author/publisher can remain motivated and courageous for the long slog that produces a writing career.

You don’t control the best seller lists or the mysterious algorithms that proclaim best seller status so stop making that your goal. If it happens great…if not you’ll still be building for greater success as you continue on your path. Instead focus your goals on what you can control, For example:

Promote your book(s) to reach the 100 sale mark and then shoot for 250. Then up it (realistically) from there.

Work to add x number of people to your mailing/newsletter list with each title.

Get comfortable with the fact that you are never done marketing (if you want sales to continue), so always have marketing material available and ready to share. Then make a goal of sharing your work with X number of real/live people each week. At the very least ask them to join your newsletter, and don’t rely only on social media.

Explore ways to cross promote. Helping others is the key to helping yourself. Stop thinking of publishing as a competition. There are plenty of readers out there. If a reader buys someone else’s book, it doesn’t mean you lost the opportunity for a sale. It means you’ve found someone who reads, and readers are not a “one-and-done” crowd.

It can be overwhelming to write, edit, design and then market your book, but remember…we live in a world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? That means, don’t rest on your backside once your book is out there. If you want a career rather than simply checking of the bucket list item “write a book”, start working on the next one while keeping your marketing hat on.

Ultimately, always deliver the highest quality product that you can. A single poor book can undermine all the work that you have done by breaking the reader’s trust. It’s challenging to win readers over in the first place, so if you break that trust it is HIGHLY unlikely that they will give you another go. Don’t give them a reason to seek something else. Once you win a reader, make sure you keep them wanting more by honoring the time and investment that they place in your work.

In the end, if you decide to self-publish for your love of writing and reading, success is possible. Don’t let anyone deter you, and most definitely don’t let anyone tell you success is impossible. You simply need to remain dedicated and define success on your own terms…on that point, no one else’s vote matters.

Excerpt from Wingdog Soul Pup

First Date

Yes, I slept with him on our first date. It felt so good to have his warm body against mine. He was gorgeous and sweet as slumber set in, and I couldn’t help but curl up closer. We were already doing our own version of spooning, just hours after meeting. Everything was once again right with the world thanks to his warmth by my side. It was a case of love at first sight that grew deeper in the darkness of the bedroom around us.

I couldn’t help but run my fingers through his fur as his brindled coat rose and fell with deep, sleep-filled breathing. His fur was the perfect texture, not too course but without fluff. The hairs behind his bouncy ears were already my favorite, so silky fine. He sighed as I continued rubbing up and down his side before once more scratching behind his ear. With the ear rubs, he pushed closer into me. His sixteen pound body firmly tucked at my hip.

Ah, I’m home.

I wasn’t sure if it was my thought because it could have easily come from the pup at my side. For the first time in weeks, I began to doze off, peaceful and content. The neighbor problems that plagued my previous weeks faded away with his comforting presence.

Sometimes it does all work out. Bad things can lead to great opportunities.

The stress of moving from California to North Carolinaevaporated. The distress that plagued me eased. It was what I'd been craving: a chance to forget and to enjoy life again. It was what my soul needed. I sighed and let go. All was good, at last.

The day started like most of late when I got sidetracked by my inbox after clicking on the message. A small, brown puppy snuggled face-to-face with a tabby kitten appeared. The expression in the picture wasn’t curiosity. It was more like a big brother protecting a younger sibling. The other picture was of the same puppy looking up at the camera. His brown ears were as big as his head. The look in his eyes was that of questioning intelligence, and only the slightest hint of his blue left eye opposite the brown one showed. He seemed to know it was not simply a picture being taken.

It took less than thirty seconds. I was in love.

Immediately, I hit reply. He’s adorable. I’d love to meet him!

With that, a flurry of emails was exchanged. I rushed out into the silvery, fall day, filled with clouds. I stopped at the ATM before getting on the highway for the trip down to Rock Hill from Charlotte. It felt odd to pull money out to buy a dog. Granted, I rescued pups before, but this felt different. Then, it hit me. There’s something not all together right about exchanging money for a living creature’s spirit, and that thought caught me off guard.

“What’s that all about?” I muttered as I turned down the onramp to Highway 85, heading south. I shook off the feeling with the thought that it helped pay for his care rather than buying him per say.

As I made the transition to the 77 near uptown Charlotte, I started thinking of names for the pup. Angie named him ‘Ace of Spades’ or Ace for ease, but that wasn’t right. I knew that instantly. My dogs have always named themselves. He’ll let me know. I thought, but still names flitted through my mind.

What do I want from all this? That made me laugh. It’s a dog adoption, not a marriage. The truth was already apparent. This was going to be bigger than a simple custody transfer. The anxiety over recent events with neighbors at my apartment complex threatened to rear up again. I needed someone…something…to help watch my back. I wanted a right-hand man…a wingman…or, in this case, a ‘wingdog’.

That’s it! Goose. Like the wingman in Top Gun, he’d be my extra pair of eyes and ears. I loved it immediately and settled on it before remembering that the dog does the choosing.

“Okay, just keep it in mind,” I mumbled as I got off the highway and made a convoluted trip to the apartment. I texted Angie from the parking lot because I couldn’t make sense of the numbers in the complex, so she agreed to bring him down to meet me. I waited in the car for a few minutes, laughing at myself for having a bit of ‘first date’ jitters about meeting a puppy.

They seemed to appear out of nowhere and stopped at the end of the walkway.

I got out, and as soon as I cleared the bumper, he spotted me. It was magic – a connection in an instant – as he leapt towards me despite his leash. His eyes lit up like I’m sure mine did. With a big smile and open arms, I walked up to him at Angie’s side and said hello. He barely reached my kneecap, but his eyes were wide and bright. I dropped to my knee. Given my earlier thoughts about marriage, I chuckled and shook my head to clear the whole proposal analogy from my head. He nuzzled into me immediately and toppled me onto my rear.

Who are YOU? I haven’t seen you before. He did a once over with his nose. Yep, you smell nice. You’re a good one. How ya doin’?

I smiled ear to ear as I situated myself, sitting cross-legged so the little guy could sniff away at will. If that isn’t an enthusiastic yes, I don’t know what is. My heart swelled as his furry little body shivered with excitement. His wild tail matched the leaping in my chest. I looked into his wide, trusting eyes: one brown, the other blue. It was a match. You choose me too! I thought as I wrapped my arms around the brindled bundle showering me in warm wet pup kisses.

“We found him on the highway. He was in bad shape, but we nursed him back to health. He’s been dewormed too.”

He sat listening to the conversation like he would chime in at any time, sneaking glances at me as Angie debriefed me about his circumstances.

How could someone be so evil to such an adorable boy?

“Several people have come to look at him, but the brindle coloring gives the impression of a pit bull.” Angie sighed. “He’s incredibly friendly, but the people who’ve come to see him have scared him as well as my husband and me. It’s like he knows they’re not right. My husband and I figured they were looking for fighting dogs, or even bait dogs, when they start asking about his bloodlines.”

A chill traveled down my spine at the thought of people looking to sacrifice a loving creature for a blood sport.

Angie continued, “That’s why we’ve been saying that he’s a Jack Russell mix. We’re not sure though, and we can’t keep him anyway.” Angie went on to explain about their impending move as Goose scanned the yard of the apartment complex.

Hold on. His name isn’t Goose yet. I thought as my mind and heart made the leap. He gets a vote. Remember?

“He’s big into sticks,” Angie stated as she reached up into the branches of a small, almost bare tree near us and broke off a branch for Goose. He immediately plopped down to tackle his new toy. “I was going to name him Lucky, but that’s too common. So, I thought that the Ace of Spades is a lucky card. That’s how he got his name.”

I noticed that he wasn’t too fond of the name either, since he didn’t even twitch when he heard her say it. Good boy!You’re definitely a smart one. I thought. I could tell Angie was stalling a bit with her continued chatting.

“He’s still damp. I was cleaning the bird cage in the bathtub, and he jumped right in too. He loves water.”

“Perfect! I’m a surfer girl who needs to be around water all the time.” I said with a laugh and smile. “Yeah, I know Charlotte’s not near the ocean, but we’ll be at the lake a lot.” I felt like I was selling myself to win favor.

“He loves going for rides too. My husband has to take him every time he goes to the store or wherever.”

“That works out perfectly too. Though I am teaching online classes fulltime, I’m a bit of a road warrior right now with a side gig as a motorsports reporter. That’s what brought me to NC. We’ll be going to California in a couple of weeks for the Phoenix race, Thanksgiving, and Champ Week. He’ll get the ride of his puppy life.”

Angie’s shoulders slumped as we transferred his things to the car, and I handed Angie a hundred dollars for both the pup and all of her supplies. There wasn’t much: a used cat collar, a small leash, some food and a bowl, but it was a start. The supermarket dog food was going to be replaced immediately.

You’ll be eating way better than that. I vowed silently. I could tell that Angie was both happy and sad. I passed the test. He was going to a good home, but it meant that he was leaving her.

Whether it was Angie’s demeanor or plain puppy energy, he grew restless, starting to explore the yard as much as he could while still on a leash. After Angie ran out of things to chit-chat about, I opened the passenger’s side door and cradled him in my arms. His warmth traveled to my core as the soft bundle of brown, black and white fur rested close to my heart. A sigh escaped as I held him to my chest before placing him on the seat.

Shotgun! He perked up and sniffed the interior, which was already filling with the smell of kibble.

His investigation stopped abruptly and he stared at Angie and me. He knew something was different. This wasn’t a casual, meet-someone-on-a-walk encounter anymore. It was a strange new car. He looked at Angie. Thank you. I’m happy. She’s a good one.

Angie sighed. “Bye, Ace. You’re a good boy.”

He seemed to smile as he stretched, puffing out his puppy chest. Then he got distracted by the straw to my iced coffee. He was at ease, and inside of two hours, I became a pup mom. Life wasn’t going to be the same again.

Janelle Jalbert is the award-winning author of WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir as well as Triangulating Bliss, Book 1 in The Mystique of Living Series, medalist for cross-genre fiction in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards, and Flash 40: Life’s Moments, winner of the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Silver Medal for Anthologies. She worked as a ghostwriter, a copywriter, and a motorsports reporter. Jalbert enjoys bringing stories to life that celebrate the magic in everyday living. Jalbert currently lives in Southern California, though she regularly returns to her second home in North Carolina when her pack of pups grants her a vacation. Learn more at www.triangulatingbliss.com or www.janellejalbert.com.

Website: www.janellejalbert.com

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/JanelleJalbertRRBC

Twitter handle: @JustJJWriting

Facebook: Facebook.com/janellejalbert.author

WINGDOG: Soul Pup will be released on Amazon, March 7,with full release across most major retailers in June 2016

 

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Point of view, by SM Spencer

As a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, I get opportunities to host some amazing authors. SM Spencer is the beneficiary of a “Spotlight Week.” As such she will be popping up all over Blogland to promote her wares and introduce herself.

She's here today to tell us how she chooses a point of view.

HOW I CHOOSE POINT OF VIEW

A lot has been written about the various POV options, as well as the pros and cons of each. I’ve Googled the topic, read articles and a multitude of chapters in editing books and even so I find some of the discussions can get rather confusing. So, how do I go about choosing between the various POV options? Well, let me start with a simple definition and then I’ll tell you how I do it.

Works of fiction are narrated by a person (or sometimes an animal) that is telling the story. Point of view (“POV”) is, put simply, the perspective from which that narrator speaks.

So, who is the narrator of any given story? Is it a single character from within the story, or is the story told by more than one character? Or is the narrator not part of the story at all? Is the story to be told by an omniscient being with knowledge and understanding of all the characters? The decision as to who the narrator is determines whether there is a single viewpoint or a dual, multiple or omniscient viewpoint. The type of narrator can be first person (“I”) or third person (“he” or “she”).


So, armed with a definition, how did I choose? I put on my reader hat and thoughtabout what books I’ve really enjoyed as a reader, and then I went back and had a look at how those books were written.

Take the Janet Evanovich books for example. Stephanie Plum is a sassy bounty hunter who I found it incredibly likeable. These books are written in first person single viewpoint.


Another style of first person, first person present, is gaining popularity and can be found in books such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. I’ve read a few books written in this fashion, and while I find that the writing can seem somewhat abrupt initially, if the story is good enough I do settle into the style. However I suspect it must take a great deal of concentration to consistently write in this style without slipping up.

If you don’t want to write in first person, as in “I”, then there is third person. Narrated by “he” or “she” and considerable use of the character’s name, third person can have single, dual or multiple viewpoints. Third person dual viewpoint is often used for contemporary romance books as it allows for a much greater development of the hero. This provides greater insight into the feelings and motivations of both characters, not just the female protagonist.


Third person multiple viewpoints is the technique used in many books, but a warning to authors: make sure the changes are clearly identified by spacing, and use of the characters names in the course of the narration.

So, having said all that, how do I choose the POV for a particular story?


I answer the following questions. Is it best for the story to unfold through the eyes of one main character, knowing that the reader will only know what this main character knows? Or will the story work better if told from two or more viewpoints? Then I decide whether I would prefer to write in first person, or third person. Again, going back over books I’ve read and liked helped with both decisions.


Another key factor for me in determining the POV to use is to keep the reader’s best interests in mind. It is crucial that the reader never be in doubt as to who is telling the story.


In writing the Absent Shadows trilogy I chose a single point of view, being that of the main character, Lili. This was her story, told from her perspective entirely. As many of the other characters in the story were not human, I felt it best for the reader to see them as Lili saw them rather than to delve too deeply into their thoughts, desires and motivations.


However I am employing other POV’s with my current works in progress. The contemporary romance is written in third person dual viewpoint. Another, which I am still struggling to categorise, is currently being written in third person with multiple viewpoints.


My advice to authors would be to read articles and books to expand your knowledge but above all, keep it simple, and trust your instincts.


S M Spencer’s first series is called Absent Shadows Trilogy. To find out more about the series, and obtain free samples of each of the books, visit Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=series_rw_dp_labf?_encoding=UTF8&field-collection=Absent%20Shadows%20Trilogy&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text

You can also follow her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SMSpencer.writer for advice about upcoming promotions as well as updates on the books she’s currently working on.

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Time for an assessment

Is anyone tired of seeing my mug all over the Internet? I’m just plain tired. Dog tired.

I took my story, The Cock of the South, on a blog tour last week. This was part of a Rave Reviews Book Club spotlight week that I won. I participated in a contest to recruit new members for the club, and came out on top.

As soon as I learned of my victory I started researching. This would surely put me over the top, right? It appears that isn’t the case. All of the experts told me not to expect sales, and don’t try to milk the tour for sales. A tour is all about recognition. It’s about meeting people, getting my name out there, and having fun too. I approached the whole thing with that mindset.

RRBC sent me a very professional spotlight kit. It involved filling out a bunch of forms, and swearing I wouldn’t talk about my spotlight until it happened. I was instructed to prepare 8 – 10 unique blog posts, and they even provided some suggestions.

Not being able to talk about it was tough. I could have posted some Writing Cabin tales about the preparations.

There wound up being an email snafu somewhere, and I had to resend one post on Christmas Day under emergency conditions. My first lesson is to just roll with it.

I sent ten blog posts in, but two of them never appeared anywhere. I suspect the email gremlin was involved. These were excerpts from my book. If anyone would like to post them, they’re fair game now. Let me know if you’re interested.

I made sure to go back to each post during the week and reply to every commenter. I am a generally friendly guy, and anyone who takes time to comment deserves a reply. This includes those that didn’t find the post until three days later.

I took part in a live Twitter interview today. The connections plagued us, and I had to reboot and log back in at one point. It was only attended by my host and I, and one other person. I think a bit more promotion might have helped.

As a prize, I didn’t get to select the week of my Spotlight. It was set during Christmas, and that might not have been the ultimate time. I just rolled with it. It’s a thousand times more promotion than I would have gained without it.

The promotion included all forms of social media. I use this blog and Twitter only. That’s about to change, and deserves its own blog post. I must have circulated through a million Twitter feeds. I kept track of how many followers each Tweet and retweet had. I’m sure there are a lot of duplicate followers, but I’m impressed. I have no idea what might have happened on Facebook or Pinterest, but I’m sure it exists.

Right at the end of my Spotlight, a dear friend posted a very favorable review for my book. The timing couldn’t have been better. Thanks, Ali.

I gained exposure. People know my stories and I exist. I gained about a hundred new Twitter followers. Best of all, I gained about twenty-five new blog followers. That’s a huge week for this blog. There were a bunch of commitments to add my story to various TBR lists. I even got an ARC request for Will ‘O the Wisp. Score!

I suppose one can’t have everything. Sales were horrible. They were worse than almost every other week, and I have to believe the holiday had something to do with that. On the plus side, there are a ton of Amazon gift cards floating around out there. Maybe some fantasy fanatic will take a gander at my book.

Keep in mind, this is for all titles combined. Even Panama was flatlined, and that’s unusual.

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I am not whining. I am ecstatic with the amount of support and number of people I reached. In fact I’m probably going to sign up to host others who wind up in the RRBC Spotlight.

This is a good club, and if you’re interested in exploring Rave Reviews Book Club further, hit the link at the top of this post. Thanks to everyone who hosted, liked, commented, or read my guest posts. Thanks also to the Twitter world for the overwhelming support you threw behind this project.

A writer’s work is never done. I’m off to critique group now. Then I have another behind the scenes project to help out with.

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