January 29, 2018

Calling ALL Animal Lovers! + Monthly Mishmash


A friend emailed me about a great cause she's helping with to rescue at least 20 stray cats. In her email she said: 

"It was brought to my attention that there is a colony of cats living outside of a home that went into foreclosure. The people who were living there moved out a little over a week ago so the cats lost their source of food. They never had the cats spayed/neutered so the cats kept reproducing. At one point, a few years ago, over 50 cats were euthanized. Absolutely heartbreaking!! I can't...

"So my friend asked me if I could help save the remaining 15-20. And here I am, trapping, vetting and transporting these babies to a beautiful sanctuary I found. The woman who owns the sanctuary is very private and it was extremely hard to get them accepted there since she has over 100 cats to care for.. but at least she has hired help there.

"The sanctuary is amazing! Such a beautiful place filled with lots of warmth, food, love, and nature.

"We set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for vet bills and donations to the sanctuary. We originally thought it would cost 160 per cat but it's been nearly 200 because of the spay/neuter, vaccinations and treatments they need in order to go to the sanctuary. Especially since they will be living among other healthy cats.

"This is such an incredible project. I nearly cry every time I am doing the final transport to the sanctuary because I know what these poor animals could have endured if we didn't save them.

Even if you just donate $5 or click the link and share the campaign to your FB, you'll make a difference.


Blog Tour: If you missed my blog tour, or missed a few days, here are the links, so you can hop along and read my true story about the fire that inspired Flaming Crimes.

The Fire that Inspired Flaming Crimes (Parts 1 – 10):

Part 2 - Sandra Cox 
Part 4 - Julie Flanders 
Part 7 - Just Jemi
Part 8 - Sandra Dailey
Part 9 - Fundinmental
Part 10 - Elizabeth Seckman

First Public Speech - Last year, I was invited by a women's committee to be the speaking author at their annual luncheon. This day happened January 10th.

I practiced a few days before by reciting my speech twice at my desk and recording it. The day before, I practiced it twice by standing behind a dresser, to mimic a podium. Once again, I recorded it. I never reviewed these recordings, though. I used the knowledge of being recorded to help me create some nerves. I only had note cards to remind me of points I wanted to make. Practicing like this helped me to remember what I wanted to say but because I could also speak from the heart, it made it more real. 

The moments leading up to my speech, I was nervous and couldn't enjoy the food, but once I was behind the podium, holding the microphone, I was fine. That was a miracle for someone who is an introvert and never thought she'd do something like that...in her life. HAHA

January 15, 2018

Organization Tip - Release Day #AuthorToolboxBlogHop


Several people have commented over the years about how organized I am and that they wished they were as organized as I am. So, I will be sharing 10 posts this year detailing what I do to be organized as a writer.

When it comes to preparing for a release, organization is important. And so is planning ahead.

If you self-publish, you get to choose when your book will be released, which is great, because being the one to decide this important date means you know ahead of time what you need to do and when. Or, at least, that’s what it should mean.

When you traditionally publish and your publisher gives you the release date, you may be lucky and know 6 months in advance. Or you’re like me with my publisher for the Disaster Crimes series, which means you find out with about a month to the big day.

Either way, you can have an orderly and neat release.

1.  Before you get your release date, consider what you want to do to promote your new book. For Flaming Crimes, I knew I wanted to do a blog hop and a short blog tour on 10 blogs for a continuous story. That meant coming up with a blog hop prompt for participants to answer.

2.  If you’re doing a blog tour, you can ask select bloggers to host you or let people sign up by using a Google Form. For Flaming Crimes, I chose 10 blogs to host my continuous story. For other releases, I chose the Google Form option.

3.  Once you know the details of your blog tour, start coming up with post ideas 3-6 months ahead of time. A good idea is to jot down fun things you can discuss while editing your book.

4.  2-3 months before release date, write those guest posts. Doing this now means there’s no crunch time to get it done.

5.  Contact bloggers to host you 2 months in advance. Sometimes 3 months is even better for busier blogs. If you’re using a Google Form, set it up 1-2 months in advance on your blog.

For the blog hop for Flaming Crimes, I announced it and set up the Linky list on my blog a month before release date. Usually a month in advance for a blog hop is good so participants don't forget.

6.  Keep a list of all bloggers who will be participating in your blog tour and what post you’ll be giving them. If you’re good with spreadsheets, make one.

TIP: Google Forms automatically creates a spreadsheet with all info (blogger’s name, website, email) if you use one for sign-ups.

7.  Save every email you send and receive from your blog tour participants. I create a folder in my email’s inbox and move each email, as well as my my replies, there.

8.  Email your guest posts and all of your book’s info 2 weeks before your scheduled time to be on their blog. I like to ask participants to please let me know they recieved the info, because you never know what'll land in the spam folder.

9.  It’s also important to be organized with your review requests. Figure out where you can submit review requests. Many reviewers need 3-4 months lead time. So, make a list of bloggers you want to ask and update that list when you get your replies. Once again, save all emails that come in and go out in a folder in your inbox.

TIP: When reviewers accept one of your books, put them on a list for future releases. I have several reviewers I come back to again and again.

10.  Other than a blog tours and reviews, figure out the rest of your marketing plan. Create tweets, pre-schedule a newsletter blast, and set up blog announcements. Remember to do these things a couple of months before, so when the time comes, you don’t have to worry.

Release time is always stressful. Why make it more difficult by doing things last minute or by being disorganized? Go step-by-step with enough time to get things done and release time will go smoothly.

January 03, 2018

2017 Achievements + Flaming Crimes Blogfest

If you visited my post in December, you know that I struggled with depression last year, but I did a lot of awesome things in 2017, even with that burden.

In 2017 I:

- self-published Lightning Crimes and made it perma-free.

- went to my first big book event (Space Coast Book Lovers)

- At SCBL, I was part of an author panel.

- Also at SCBL, I did my first recorded interview with Hangin with Web Show.

- signed a contract to publish Flaming Crimes.

- started my YouTube Channel

- In August, I did a radio interview with Off the Chain.

- Then I did a live YouTube Interview with Evan Carmicheal for the IWSG.

- signed a contract to publish Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication

- and then I went to my second book event in November

I did a lot I am proud of, and I am looking forward to 2018.

And kicking off 2018 is the release of Flaming Crimes!

Prompt: What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

After your family, pets, and important items are safe and sound (that includes anything writing related), what is the one odd thing you'd want to grab from your home?

MY ANSWER: When a brush fire threatened my childhood home, my mom grabbed a bag of potatoes from our house. That seems like a rather odd thing to grab, right? Well, she’ll tell you that she was a mother of five and wanted to make sure she could feed her kids. And just like that, saving a bag of potatoes sounds reasonable. 

It was this memory that inspired the blogfest prompt.

He's missing his nose and beard, but I love him!
I was only a child when that fire surrounded my house, and I was terrified. I remember grabbing my blanket and my school backpack, but I was so scared that I didn't go back inside to grab anything else. If I had, I would've grabbed my favorite Nutcracker, which I still have. I believe it would be the one thing (after my pets and writing stuff) I'd want to save from becoming ashes.

Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304 
Digital Price: 4.99 
Print Price: 16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13) 


BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could've been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they're trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

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