Month: September 2017

Baltimore Bookfest: Finding Your Tribe

Baltimore Bookfest: Finding Your Tribe

Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like you belonged? Like you were with people who got you and you got them? Well, that’s exactly how I felt at this year’s Baltimore Bookfest. This reader nerd (I say it with pride) festival was three days of any book lover’s dream. Not only were there tons of books for sale (which I brought a very nice amount of) but there were so many panels on both writing and reading.

Needless to say, I was in a sort of reader bliss. But what really trumped it all was the feeling of community. Perhaps I’m gushing over nothing. I mean, there are tons of ways to connect with readers and fellow writers both online and offline. Yet, how often do you get to bond with this many literary lovers for a whole weekend? I mean there were hundreds of bookworms gathered at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor this past weekend and though we have some disagreements (met a few fans of “Twilight” which I am not), we still share that common love of a cozy book.

Two organizations present at the Baltimore Bookfest were the Science Fiction&Fantasy Writers of America and Maryland Romance Writers. I spent most of the three days going between these two groups to attend various panels. The panelists were (of course) members of their respective organizations but they were also experienced authors, some self-published, others traditionally published, all offering great insight into the world of professional writing.

Two of my favorite panels were “Cracking the New York Times Best Seller List” and “How to Self-Publish Your Novel.” What was so enjoyable about these panels was the sheer honesty. The authors were very candid in their own statements and in their responses to questions. Nothing was sugar coated and, let me tell you, if you thought the panel on the New York Times was going to be some setp-by-step, boy are you wrong. Instead of getting some crappy how-to guide, we attendees got a nice dose of the truth aka there’s no key to cracking the New York Times list. The list itself isn’t even based on who has the highest sales. You can imagine my face when I heard that. Jaw dropping doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

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“Saving Jace”: A Review

“Saving Jace”: A Review

Title: Saving Jace
Series: A Fada Novel Book 4
Author: Rebecca Rivard
Genre: paranormal romance (sexy/steam)
(can be standalone)
Release Date: September 25, 2017

THE DARKTIME ISN’T OVER…

Jace Jones, a Baltimore earth fada lieutenant, lost nearly his entire family in the clan war known as the Darktime. Scarred by the deaths, he pours his soul into rebuilding the clan. The only person who has a claim on his heart is his niece. Then an attack by a night fae assassin leaves him dying on a human’s doorstep…

Tough, edgy Evie Morningstar is doing her best to raise a teenage brother on a waitress’s pay. She has no time for men—until the sexy jaguar shifter is stabbed just steps from her house. Evie hides Jace from the night fae, saving his life—only to find that both she and her brother have been drawn into the fada’s dangerous world.

(This post is a part of a blog tour. Keep reading for a chance to win a giveaway!)

Excerpt:
Someone was watching her.
Evie gripped her keys and glanced around.
The watcher was standing in the shadows across the alley. His eyes gave him away: a faint, luminous green.
Her heart kicked into a gallop. “Jace?” she called. “Is that you?”
Please let it be him.
He stepped out of the shadows. She blew out a breath. It was Jace.
He crossed the alley in a few long, loose strides. An atavistic tremor went down her spine. This was the real Jace—and he was nothing like the injured, feverish victim of last week. No, this man was dark. Powerful. Raw-boned. A panther in a T-shirt and jeans.
She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, because damn it, she’d saved the man’s life. She refused to let him spook her.
He stopped a few feet away. “Hello, Evie.”
He was bigger than she remembered, but then, last week he’d been hunched over nursing his injuries. Now she realized he was a good half foot taller than her with the lean, hard build of a soldier. Another shiver went down her spine—but this one had nothing to do with fear.

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Living As An Aspiring Author: Writer Self-Care

Living As An Aspiring Author: Writer Self-Care

The countdown has begun. I officially have twenty-two weeks and a day until my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” releases. To sum it up, that’s five months and fifteen days. Needless to say, I am feeling the pressure and I am completely exhausted. All I really want to do is crawl into my bed and sleep through all the madness that is to come. Sadly, I do not have that luxury nor is my sleeping skill at that level (I’m still training).

Still, this got me thinking. Being a writer is a stressful job. Whether you write full-time, part-time or whenever you can manage to find the time, this is not a road for the faint of heart. However, like anyone, we writers sometimes need to take a break. We need to refuel our creative chi and show ourselves a little bit of that TLC. If you don’t, you’re likely to have a complete shutdown, hit writer’s block, have a general freak out or maybe all three.

With this in mind, I’ve come up with a short list detailing some of the ways I relax when the writer’s life just becomes too much.

First, sometimes you’re going to have to take a break from your writing. I know that sounds like terrible advice. You want to finish your novel. You want to publish it, so, the world can see your genius and you can finally kick your feet up and let the royalties pour in, right?

Well, not to be a downer but the publishing process is so much more than writing. Honestly, writing is just the first step among many. So, even though you think taking a short break from your work-in-progress is going to set you back by a lot, it won’t. After the writing, there’s the querying (if you’re taking the traditional route), the editing, the betas, the marketing, and etc. Therefore, it’s not as big a loss as you think.

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Author Highlight: Rebecca Rivard-Build a World That Readers Don’t Want to Leave

Author Highlight: Rebecca Rivard-Build a World That Readers Don’t Want to Leave

Paranormal and Fantasy Romance: Build a World That Readers Don’t Want to Leave

Hello, I’m Rebecca Rivard. First, I want to thank Natasha Lane for inviting me on her blog today! As a paranormal romance author, I create worlds with magical creatures like shifters, fae and vampires. I have books in two series—my own Fada Shapeshifter series and Michelle Fox’s Vampire Blood Courtesans series. When I started my Fada Shapeshifter series, I wanted my books to stand out in the crowded world of paranormal/fantasy romance. So, I set out to create a world that’s a little different—but that seems alive, real. To my delight, I succeeded, since readers often say they don’t want to leave my world. How do you build a fantasy world/paranormal world that readers want to visit again and again? Here are some tips.

1) Study your favorite fantasy/paranormal world(s).

Setting: Is the series set in the real world with magical elements such as Harry Potter (paranormal) or an imaginary world such as Faerie or Middle Earth (fantasy)? What is the geography and the socio-political system?

Magic: Note the rules for magic—and yes, your magic must have its own, consistent rules.

Origin story: A good fantasy world has its own origin story, one that affects the characters’ beliefs and actions. For example, the origin story may be celebrated with its own holiday.

I could go on, but for a thorough list of world building questions, check out this post by Patricia C. Wrede on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

2)Give it a twist. Is everyone else writing fantasy worlds based on medieval times? Then create a fantasy world set in a different time; for example, 1920s steampunk, as my friend L. Penelope did in her Earthsinger Chronicles (coming in 2018 from St. Martin’s Press).

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Living As An Aspiring Author: Time Management Is Key

Living As An Aspiring Author: Time Management Is Key

Time management is probably a skill listed on every college graduates resume in the last three decades. It’s something we all have to do but we’re all not necessarily good at. For writers (aspiring, traditionally published, self-published, etc), being mediocre at managing your time isn’t really an option. I think this skill is even more crucial when you’re self-publishing but I’m going to try to speak generally here.

Currently, I’m planning for my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” to come out in the next five to six months. This deadline essentially means that I’m in crunch time! And what I’ve realized since entering crunch time is that I’m already so far behind where I need to be. I seriously had no clue how many steps behind I was and now I’m racing to catch up.

My social media interaction isn’t where it needs to be, so, I’ve been really pushing it. I’ve outlined optimal posting times for my different accounts and have started planning specific content that needs to be posted. Additionally, I plan on hosting a blog tour and Facebook release party as part of my publication process. Oh, how lovely it would be if these things could magically plan themselves but sadly I still haven’t received my Hogwarts letter, so, I’m stuck handling things the muggle way.

Now, like any aspiring author I have to eat! So, that means I need to work. A few weeks ago, I did a video on my YouTube channel about the different ways aspiring authors can earn money. Since returning from visiting friends across the pond, I’ve been putting these resources to work. Sometimes I’ve applied to eight or more jobs on the freelance website I use, several on Wyzant and I’m hoping to get another request on Rover soon, too.

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Essentials for Author Websites

Essentials for Author Websites

Essentials for Newbie Author Sites:

The saying  is “Don’t judge a book by its cover” yet we do. In that same sentiment, it would be great if readers didn’t judge authors by their websites (or lack thereof) but they do. Not to sound all preachy but an author’s site is the impression they give to the world. Like all social media, an author’s site is representative of the author. Unlike other social media, a website is more stagnant. It’s like the home base to all your branding. But why am I harping on about author’s websites?

Recently, after a lot of trial and error, as well as a lot of hair pulling, I’ve got my author website up and running properly. I’d like to say I feel happy at this moment but, honestly, I feel relief more than anything else.

While getting my site together I did a little research into what makes a “good author site.” I also looked at the sites of several successful authors I know and even reached out to one author because her site was so beautiful. Long story short, I’ve got some second-hand information, firsthand information and some lessons I’ve learned from my own mistakes.

After all that here are a few things I think all authors (aspiring, newbie or otherwise) should include on their website.

1. Books Page

The Books Page or tab on an author’s site lists all the books (stand alone or series) they’ve written and usually offers a short description with the cover. This page is essential because it lists everything you’ve ever written, including your old work that you aren’t currently promoting. If a reader falls in love with your fifth book and they check out your site, they’ll know you have other work available and may decide to purchase those books, as well.

Also, I think this page is a necessity even for aspiring authors. Why? Because you can list your works-in-progress here. Basically, it’s another form of promotion. If you’re marketing yourself like a boss on twitter and someone decides to check out your site, they’ll see all your WIPs (works in progress) and the name recognition will continue from there.

2. About Me

 Has anything ever been harder to write? The About Me section is equivalent to the “Tell me about yourself” question in a job interview. Initially, your mind goes totally blank and you probably stumble or stutter for a moment. Well, I did, at least.

Here are a few tips about this section. First, don’t put too much personal information in your response. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying you’re from (insert city name) but going into which neighborhood you live in or giving away too many landmarks can be dangerous. I mean, no one likes stalkers, right?

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