Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling!


Joanne Rowling, (July 31, 1965) CH, OBE, FRSL, who writes under the pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, film and television producer, screenwriter and philanthropist, best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. The books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. They have become the best-selling book series in history and been the basis for a series of films, over which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts and was a producer on the final films in the series.


QUOTES:

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.”

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

“It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

 

From Google and Wikipedia

5 Things Authors Should Remember When Planning a Book Tour #MondayBlog


5 Things Banner


Book promotion services provide a wide range of services to authors including promotional tours for cover reveals, new releases, and blog tours. Many also offer publishing support features for indie authors like manuscript editing, book formatting, cover design, and book reviews. These are invaluable services to any author which may not necessarily sell books, but go a long way in garnering name recognition for an author and help build the author platform.

When it works.

Recently, a group of authors shared their most recent experiences with promotion services. The emails went from humorous to frustrated to angry quick, fast, and in a hurry.

Not all their complaints were the fault of promotions services. Authors have to be held accountable also.

I’ve been on all sides of promotions—as a blogger, a service provider, and an author and last week, I posted five things for promotion services to remember—this week, it’s the author’s turn.

Authors, when planning a book tour of any type;

Do your homework! Most services have FAQs—read them! Granted, some are more detailed than others, but this simply means you need to ask questions.

Does the service have a wide reach? Many services boast blogger listings of 200, 400, even 800 or more. This is usually followed by a disclaimer stating there is no guarantee on how many bloggers will sign up for the tour. Pay attention.

Where are these bloggers? Facebook? Blogspot? Tumblr? WordPress? Will HTML be provided to tour hosts? Is everything DIY? Does the author receive the tour post too? Does the author receive a copy of all participating blogs?

Are Rafflecopters/giveaways included? Can the author create and include a giveaway?

Make no assumptions and have no expectations of items not discussed. This means you need to…

Get a clear understanding! What exactly are you getting? Most services include tour banners, but do they also have original icons, buttons and/or section dividers? Can you include your logo? Does your tour allow for a synopsis/blurb AND an excerpt? A playlist? Are URLs simply typed out or linked to object or titles?

These things may seem minor weeks before a tour begins, but getting the details agreed upon and confirmed will strengthen business relationships and lead to successful promotions.

Be prepared! Ideally, you have a media kit complete with book covers, buy links, blurbs, excerpts, author bio/photo, and social media links, right?

If only.

With the time involved for services to build tours, you may have to book a date even before you’ve finished the book.

But this thing begins and ends with you… and now the clock is ticking. Promo services need as much info as possible from authors to build an event which is appealing to bloggers/readers, so before you book a tour date, make sure you have a timeline for items not yet completed and share it with the service in advance so all parties know what to expect.

Regardless of the items still waiting to be received from editors, cover designers, etc., send the promo service everything you already have.

Follow up! The most repeated comment I’ve heard from authors regarding their upcoming tours was “I haven’t heard from them” when speaking about the service. What are you waiting for – contact them!

Best practices! Whether you’re elated or less than thrilled after a tour, document it and share it with the service.

Was the excerpt too long? Blurb not detailed enough? Did the tour run over a weekend? Should it have? Were you tagged in blogger posts? Did you confirm you would be? Were links broken and never fixed? Were reviews posted in a timely manner? Did YOU stop by blogs and comment? Respond to comments?

Promo tours may not always sell books, but they’re great for getting an author and their work in front of new readers. Authors should remember regardless of whom they hire, it’s the author who’s ultimately responsible for how they’re promoted to the public.

 

Next week: 5 Things Bloggers Should Do When Hosting Book Tours

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moon river

52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 30
Another Camp NaNoWriMo is nearly over. I validated four days ago, exceeding my word count goal. But, of course, the story isn’t over. This is another unedited excerpt of Calla, my Camp Nano project.

Exiting the banquet hall Calla smiled, reinvigorated by the sweet scents of spring carried on the night air from nearby Golds Lake.

The clouds carrying the rain Tena feared would ruin her wedding day, at last, gathered in the late evening sky but even their dreary darkness couldn’t hide the brilliance of the full moon.

Gazing toward the lake stirred feelings of wanderlust in Calla.

Though small and not a true lake, the body of water was just one of many tributaries winding its way through the small towns of eastern Missouri to join with the mighty Mississippi River a couple of hours away.

Even the water was going places.

Shaking her head, Calla clicked the release button on her car remote, opening the back hatch of her Chevy Equinox.

She’d stayed far longer at the reception than planned. But after Tena and Lloyd made their departure for their hotel and Tanya had to get her fussy two-year-old home, Calla felt obligated to pack up Tena’s personal items used before the ceremony and help Neeri oversee the hall’s cleanup.

Her mood darkened as she deposited garment bags and overnight cases into the large compartment.

Slamming the hatch with more force than needed, Calla stalked to the driver’s door, flung it open and launched herself into the vehicle with all the grace of The Hulk.

Exasperated, Calla slid down in the seat, burying her face in her hands.

Why do I allow this to bother me?

Most people look forward to going home, but the thought of it is bringing on a migraine.

No longer avoiding the inevitable, Calla flipped open the center glove box, took out her cell phone and turned it on.

An array of musical tones and beeps played for a full minute while messages loaded. Swiping the screen, Calla knew the nine most recent texts were sent from Mavis’ phone, candid shots of the bridesmaids during the reception.

Ignoring the rest of her notifications, Calla opened the reception photos, her good mood returning with the first photo.

All five of the bridesmaids were grouped together around Lloyd with stern faces and clenched fists, as if to say, “Hurt Tena and we’re coming for you!” The goofy grin on Lloyd Taylor’s face proved the photo was in jest… especially since Tena photo-bombed the shot doubled over in laughter.

A photo of Calla and Tena tugged at Calla’s heart. Her lifelong friend had been there for Calla through everything, good and bad. The two women had never had a single argument. They each had a way of speaking truths the other didn’t always want to hear, without judgment or meanness.

Happy for her friend, Calla would miss their girl-time together. After a three-week honeymoon with stops in Vegas and Hawaii, the Taylors would return home and to work.

Tena promised a girls-night out the week she returned, but Calla knew better. Newlyweds only had time for each other, and that was the way it should be. Both thirty-four, Calla also knew her friends wouldn’t waste any time starting a family.

The joy in Tena’s face made her smile. She got her happily ever after.

Studying herself next to Tena, Calla wasn’t sure what she saw.

Large, dark ringlets left out of her formal up-do hung down the side of her full, cherubic face. Her maid of honor dress was the same pale straw shade of gold as the other bridesmaids, but Calla’s dress didn’t have an empire waist or sweetheart neckline. Instead, Calla’s dress hung from her shoulders and cinched to one side, showing off her full, hourglass figure while the color made her smooth honey brown skin glow.

She looked good.

Calla also looked happy, which she was… for Tena. But a closer, more thorough inspection would find the sadness in her eyes.

She tossed the phone into the passenger seat and massaged her lower abdomen.

The slow burn she’d ignored for most of the evening was making itself known again, searing a feverish path across Calla’s stomach.

She had only herself to blame.

The peptic ulcer was all but gone after weeks of bland foods and Calla’s rock-solid determination to not allow things to upset her, but the champagne and rich foods of the wedding reception found their way to the weak, still open areas of the ulcer and went to work.

The pain wasn’t easing up and Calla had no antacid with her, so she started the car and headed home… to the cause of the ulcer.

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EDITING 101: 48 – Using Quotes in Your Book and Research Tips – Part 1…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing

Using Quotes in Your Book and Research Tips (Part 1)

As often as I run into authors wanting to use song lyrics in their novels, I also run into authors wanting to use quotes in their non-fiction books. (If you missed the post about using song lyrics in your manuscript, you can find it HERE 101:08) It seems that many authors like the way somebody else said something previously and don’t think they can say it any better.

Well, I don’t know about that. But I do know that you cannot simply take someone else’s words—no matter how wonderfully written—and plop them into your for-sale book. That’s plagiarism. And, you cannot simply use a significant amount of material…

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#ExcerptWeek Is Coming Up Again!

The Write Stuff

It’s here again! Yep, starting Monday, 7/31 and running through Sunday, August 6, it will be #ExcerptWeek here on The Write Stuff. A lot of you know how this goes, but for those who don’t, this is your chance to share an excerpt from one of your published books or a work in progress, with your Book Blurb, Author Bio, Buy Links, and Social Media Links. It’s a great chance to tell everyone why they should buy your book, so don’t miss out!

If you are already a contributing author on this site, feel free to post at will, on any day that works for you. And you may post more than once during the week, though only once a day, please.  If you are not already a contributing author, you will have to email me to find out how to take part. My contact info is in the Menu at…

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“She made so many mistakes.”


Free, a Novella cover


“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

#99cents #KindleUnlimited

Amazon US – bit.ly/LindenLane
Amazon UK – bit.ly/LindenLaneUK
Amazon CA – bit.ly/LindenLaneCA
Amazon AU – bit.ly/LindenLaneAU

Goodreads – bit.ly/FreeANovella

Snippet

She made so many mistakes.

While trying to give her sons the best life possible, Lenore Porter had misjudged her own situation. By first ignoring Ranard, and subsequently divorcing him, Lennie felt she kept her focus on her boys at all times. But were they her true focus?

Lennie buried her face in her hands as her heart screamed the truth.

It was a lie.

Her commitment as a mother couldn’t be denied, but Lennie floundered as a wife… and as a woman.

In the early days when they were dating, Ranard was always so attentive… always holding her hand or stroking her hair. When they became intimate, he couldn’t seem to get enough of her. The sex wasn’t mind-blowing compared to her past relationships, but Lenore cared deeply for the awkward young man and reveled in his constant attention.

The young couple found out Lennie was pregnant with Duncan a few months into the marriage. Their lovemaking all but stopped. With all the changes in her body and hormones racing, Lennie read books, crawled through the Internet, and daydreamed of new ways to seduce her husband. A few times the seduction worked, but more often than not, a rejected Lenore Porter would leave their bedroom in tears finding solace in the guest bedroom or on the living room sofa.

Ranard would offer a heartfelt apology the next morning, with promises of candlelight dinners, followed by slow, passionate lovemaking. Frustrated, Lennie turned to the person who knew her best for advice – her mother.

 

 

“In the Best Interest of the Child” #WriterWednesday

Best Interest_Full_Revised

In this short excerpt from In the Best Interest of the Child, Olivia Chandler is meeting Bruce Bellamy for lunch. There is a definite attraction between the two, but both are holding back – though Bruce…not as much! Enjoy!


Having arrived fifteen minutes early, Olivia took a few minutes to visit the ladies’ room to check her hair and makeup, and wash her hands. She was glad no one else was around because every time she glanced at her reflection in the mirror, she couldn’t stop herself from grinning.

“Get a hold of yourself, Olivia Louise! It’s just lunch with a man. You’ve done this more times than you can count.”

Exhaling slowly, Olivia hung her head. Yes, lunch with a man who seems to like me. Lunch with a man I actually like even though I just met him.

Olivia groaned and leaned against the sink. She should never have agreed to this. Bruce seemed like a decent man. He didn’t need to be getting involved in the dark pit which was her life. But even if she walked out the restaurant right now, Bruce would not disappear. Courtney and Marissa were his were his family, and he was very much involved in Rena’s life.

The silly grin returned to her face. Honestly, she didn’t want him to disappear. They may never do more than have lunch, but Olivia wanted it in the worst way. She wanted to be normal and have a life without her past hanging over her like the Sword of Damocles.

Steadying herself with a couple of deep breaths, Olivia decided to stop hiding in the ladies’ room and talking to herself like a crazy person. She grabbed her handbag and went in search of her lunch date.

As Olivia approached the hostess stand, the young woman working there smiled. “Good afternoon, I’m Connie.”

Olivia returned her smile and gave her Bruce’s name.

“Yes, Ma’am. He’s already here.” Laughing, Olivia shook her head slowly.

“That man. Of course, he is.”

The hostess smiled but looked confused, not understanding the joke.

Olivia waved her hand. “It’s nothing. Lead the way.”

Olivia tried to spot Bruce as they approached the main dining room, but was caught off guard when the young hostess turned right and proceeded down a short hallway. No stranger to the Black Dragon, Olivia knew there were formal banquet rooms in the opposite direction, but she’d never been down this hallway. The hostess stopped in front of a small elevator.

“I never realized the restaurant had an elevator. I thought it was a single story building.”

Connie nodded.

“You’re right, it is.”

“Then where does this lead? You have a basement?”

Covering her mouth to hide her giggles, Connie nodded.

“We do, but trust me, you do not want to go down there. This elevator goes up to the mezzanine.” The elevator doors opened as she finished speaking, and both women stepped inside.

“Well, I didn’t know you had one of those either!”

“Few people do. The owners don’t advertise it much. It’s usually for special guests or customers who request a more… intimate setting.”

Olivia’s eyes quickly widened.

Connie gave her a knowing grin.

Intimate setting? She had no time to process the hostess’ comment. The doors opened. Connie took a step outside the elevator and motioned to the left.

“Your date is right over there.”

“Date? But this isn’t a da-…”

Connie quickly stepped back into the elevator, leaving Olivia with a wink as the doors closed.

“What am I going to do with this man?”

She only had to take three steps before she spotted Bruce. Olivia froze as her mouth gaped open.

Rising from the table, Bruce walked towards her.

Olivia still hadn’t moved, too in shock at his appearance. Gone were the weather-beaten jeans and worn Henley shirt. The thick heavy work boots? Gone too. The Bruce Bellamy standing before her was elegantly attired in a charcoal gray, two-piece Brooks Brothers suit and gray Sardegna Loafers. And he’d had a haircut. He leaned in and kissed her cheek.

“Good to see you again, Olivia.” He glanced at his watch. “And right on time. Why am I not surprised?”

Olivia still stared at him, wide-eyed.

Bruce frowned. “Olivia? Is something wrong?”

Taking a deep breath, she finally found her voice.

“Who are you? And what’s all”, she motioned up and down his body, “…this?”

His big boyish grin returned as he took her hand and led her to their table.

“I’m a successful businessman having lunch with a gorgeous, successful attorney in one of the city’s finer restaurants. I couldn’t very well show up in jeans and boots, could I?”

“Well, no…but- “

“And besides, I had to show you I could dress myself and behave appropriately in public.”

Olivia threw her hands up, laughing.

“There you are, Bruce! How nice to see you again!”

Filling their wine glasses, Bruce stopped mid-pour to keep from spilling it the laughter hit him so hard.

Laughing along with him, Olivia visibly relaxed and placed her hand on his arm.

“And just so we’re clear, Mr. Bellamy, I like you in jeans and work boots too.”

The smile he gave her nearly took her breath away. Suddenly self-conscious, Olivia placed her hands in her lap.

Bruce didn’t miss the gesture but continued pouring the wine while changing the subject.

“Would you like to look at the menu, or do you already know what you want?

“No menu needed! I definitely know what I’m having!”

He chuckled as he handed her a glass of wine, then signaled for the waiter.

“I had a feeling.”

Olivia smirked.

“Think you have me figured out already, Bellamy?”

“Not even close, beautiful one. But I do look forward to the adventure.”

She grinned at the compliment and the comment.

“Oooo! I’m an adventure!”

Bruce couldn’t help but stare at her face. The way her eyes sparkled, the genuineness of her smile. She was the same woman he met in his cousin’s driveway, but there was no sign of the sadness he saw in her eyes that day. He had long ago made peace with his own issues of abandonment, but this woman was the first woman to actually make him want to risk his heart again. Bruce was getting lost in Olivia Chandler, and he had no problem with that. His cheeks reddened as heat rose into his face when he realized the waiter and Olivia were staring at him. “I’m sorry. What?

“Where did you go, Bellamy? Are you ready to order?”

He nodded.

“Of course, but ladies first.” Olivia clasped her hands together excitedly.

“I’d like Yum Nuah salad, Tom Yung Kung with shrimp, and with steamed rice, and Pad Thai with chicken…extra spicy, please.”

Bruce’s eye widened.

Olivia frowned. “Is that too much?”

“Not at all. It just sounds like my usual meal here. But my brother goes on and on about me not trying new dishes, so I promised to try a different entrée on my next visit.” He turned to the waiter. “I’ll have the same as the lady, but instead of Pad Thai, I’ll have Phad See-ew with beef.”

After the waiter left, Bruce folded his arms and leaned towards Olivia. “So…how long have you been into Thai food? The dish names usually confound most people, but you seem to have memorized the menu.”

Olivia laughed while shaking her head.

“Only my favorite dishes. And like you, it wouldn’t hurt me to try something new.” She folded her arms on the table and leaned in his direction. “I first had Thai food during my intern days. This place wasn’t open yet, but Siriwat’s was around the corner from the courthouse.”

“And your boss always had lunch delivered to keep you working, right?”

Olivia shook her head. “It was more the boss’ wife dropping in and reprimanding him for working me so hard, and dragging me out of the office to Siriwat’s. After one visit, I was hooked.”

“Wow! The boss’ WIFE? Sounds like you made an impression.”

“Miss Dee is good people. She and Judge Dennison have always been kind to me. He’s actually the judge who assigned Rena’s case to me.”

Bruce whistled.

“He must be really confident in your abilities. I knew you were a legal shark!”

“I am not a shark! The judge just taught me to pay attention to the details, and what is not said. I’ve never forgotten that, and it’s always seen me through, especially with the difficult cases. What about you? When did your love affair with Thai food begin?”

He refilled their wine glasses, while Olivia wondered when she’d emptied her glass.

Slow down, Chandler.

“That is yet another story in my life which involves Court.”

She smiled remembering their antics.

“You two are really close, aren’t you?”

“As brothers. He seemed to be at my side during all the important moments of my life. Including my introduction to Thai food.”

They shared a chuckle.

“It wasn’t too long after Joanna, my ex-wife had left. Mom and dad had taken the kids for the weekend. I’d planned to use the time working on cars, but Court shows up, says he’s hungry and orders me to get in his truck.”

Olivia grinned.

“HE ordered YOU?”

“Never underestimate Courtney Bellamy. He may not be a big man, but he’s all muscle and heart. He’s dropped me on my ass more than a couple of times.”

She laughed aloud and he scowled. “You laugh so easily at my pain.”

This made her laugh even harder. Olivia buried her face in her hands, embarrassed as Bruce continue to stare at her.

“I’m so sorry, Bruce. I don– “

“Don’t ever apologize for laughing, Olivia.” He reached over and pulled her hands from her face.

Olivia placed one on the table, but Bruce had not released the other. She didn’t pull away.

“Or for enjoying yourself. Makes me feel good to know you’re comfortable with me.”

Still holding his gaze, Olivia slowly flipped her hand over until they were palm to palm, and squeezed.

“I’m very comfortable with you, Bruce, and yes, I am enjoying myself.”

Bruce froze. The squeeze of her hand and the sexy timbre of her voice had gone straight to his crotch. She was flirting with him and he loved it! Bruce assumed from her demeanor, Olivia would be a tad more skittish. Perhaps she truly was comfortable with him…maybe even liked him a little. He deftly adjusted himself under the table.

“But you didn’t finish telling your story about you, Courtney and Thai food.”

“Oh yeah. Well, he gets me in his truck and we drive over to Blaine. I think we’re headed to Mike’s Dugout for meatloaf and mashed potatoes, right? He pulls up to this tiny little building near downtown. I have no idea where we are because the name is not written in English. I ask tons of questions before we even get out of the truck, and Court just said, “Trust me.” I follow him inside like a big goof, and the aromas hit me in the face. It smelled like every food dream I’d ever had.”

Olivia’s brows furrowed. “Food dream?”

“Yes, food dream. Women are not the only thing men dream about.”

“Good to know.” She smirked.

He pulled a face at her and continued. “Court had only been there a couple of times himself. Of course, introduced to it by the Mighty Marissa, so we asked the owner to bring us an order of whatever it was we smelled, and keep it coming.”

“Seriously?”

“Yep. I’m sure I had at least three orders of Pad Thai and Tempura vegetables.”

“What appetites!”

“The food was great, but it wasn’t just that. It was the first time I’d allowed myself to admit how I felt about Joanna walking out on the kids and me. The family knew I was hurt and upset, but Olivia, I was pissed off… and it felt good to say it. Even if she didn’t want to be with me, what kind of woman walks away from her children? Breck wasn’t even six months old! And she just… leaves.”

Olivia tightened her grip on his hand. She understood all too well how it felt to be abandoned. But she couldn’t share that with him… could she? He made it look so easy to admit his feelings. He was open and honest. No. She couldn’t tell him her story. He’d see how thoroughly damaged she really was and walk away. Olivia knew she couldn’t have Bruce in her life forever, but she greedily wanted whatever time with him she could get. Just the chance to feel normal for a little while was better than not at all.

Bruce appeared lost in his thoughts too when she spoke.

“It must be wonderful for you and Courtney to have each other to lean on. And you mentioned a brother?”

He cleared his throat.

“Actually… I have–“

Bruce was interrupted when the waiter appeared with a huge tray of hot food, followed by a co-worker with still more food. Olivia gasped.

“Bruce! What did we order?”

“Oh no, no, no! Not ‘We’… YOU. I was just following your lead, Counselor.” Glancing at the food-covered trays, he added, “And I hope you have more than a thirty-minute lunch hour.”

“That’s your defense? Blame me?”

“Only if it’s working.”

One of the waiters turned away and covered his mouth to keep from laughing.

“Olivia, you’re disturbing these gentlemen while they’re trying to work.”

Her mouth flew open. Then, she didn’t even try to stop the laughter bubbling forth. Neither did the waiters.

The couple chatted amiably as they devoured the hot and spicy food. Bruce loved that Olivia wasn’t one of those women who wouldn’t eat in front of a man, choosing to munch on lettuce and sip water instead.

Olivia couldn’t remember a time when she’d had more fun, and was so relaxed. Bruce was easy to talk to and attentive. She reveled in his admiring glances, so different from the leering, lecherous looks she learned to ignore around the courthouse. He told her about building up his business until he had the current dozen auto shops—and plans to open two more—and Olivia suggested new advertising ideas to him because the guy doing his commercials always looked sleepy.

Learning the guy was actually a supervisor at one of Bruce’s shops, and that he had taken acting lessons at the local college especially for the commercials, caused Olivia to nearly choke on her food.

“You okay?”

Bruce stood behind her, patting her back and trying not to laugh.

“I’m glad… you… find… this amusing, Bellamy,” Olivia sputtered, the coughing only made worse by her laughter.

“Here, try this.” Sliding his large hands under her upper arms, Bruce raised them straight up into the air. Within seconds, her coughing stopped. Leaning her head backward, Olivia looked up at him, frowning.

“Where did you learn that, and why did it work?”

Bruce was momentarily speechless. Staring down into her eyes as she leaned back against him tested all his resolve. He knew Olivia was special. When he dared consider his future, he saw her by his side. Bruce didn’t know how or why, and he wasn’t about to second-guess himself. He hadn’t wanted to spend more than a few hours with any one woman since Joanna left. He’d known Olivia Chandler less than a week, and he couldn’t get enough of her. Bruce hadn’t even had the pleasure of kissing Olivia, but he would wait for that too. He would do what it took to make the vision of his future a reality, but it would never happen if he followed his carnal mind in this moment. Bruce quietly exhaled, grateful for the chair separating his hardening erection from Olivia’s back.

“Just something you pick up during the journey of raising kids.”

He slowly lowered her arms, then side stepped behind Olivia to adjust himself. Clearing his throat, Bruce returned to his seat.

“You know kids… little scamps. They can turn a quiet movie night into a high-speed car ride to the emergency room in a heartbeat. Happened to me more times than I care to remember. And boys are the worst. I took Casey, my daughter, to the ER one time in eighteen years, when she had the flu and spiked a high fever. But those boys?” He shook his head. “Science experiments gone wrong, superhero stunts, bike races…no matter what they were into, an accident could… and usually did happen.”

Olivia didn’t miss the faint smile playing on his lips.

“I’m glad everyone was okay… eventually. But, you look as though you enjoyed it.”

Bruce grinned. “Every last second!”

“Sounds like they are lucky to have a dad like you.”

“No, I’m blessed to have them. My life may not have gone the way I intended, but my children saved me. Without them, I would have been just some loser guy spending way too many evenings sitting in a bar. Having them made me see what was truly important.”

Olivia nodded slowly.

“Yes, they are definitely lucky to have a dad like you.”

The slight tilt to Bruce’s head let her know he didn’t understand.

“I have no problems believing you would do anything for your children.”

She glanced away unable to hold his gaze. “There are far too many people on this planet having children and then treating them as an afterthought, or even a burden. Some even believe their young children owe THEM something.”

“I didn’t miss the fact you did not refer to these people as parents.”

“No. Bringing life into the world does not make one a parent.”

“I guess you see a lot of ugliness in your line of work.”

Olivia was still looking away, focused on a spot in her mind she couldn’t clearly see when she heard him.

“Excuse me, what?”

Looking concerned, Bruce grazed his fingers across the back of her hand.

“Where did you go?”

Embarrassed, Olivia tried to slide her hand away from his, but Bruce caught her hand in a firm, gentle grip and held on.

“I meant what I said the other day, Olivia. I’m a good listener. Anytime you want to talk, I’m available. No sermons, no judgments, not even any advice. I’ll just listen.”

He watched her slowly raise her head to look at him, and squeezed her hand as the pain he saw hit him like a punch in the gut. What haunted this beautiful, intelligent woman? She was engaging, witty and funny. She spoke with purpose and authority. But, something triggered a memory. An event? A person? Bruce wasn’t sure, but whatever it was caused Olivia’s walls to rise swift and high.

“Thank you, Bruce, I just may take you up on that.”

He smiled as he felt Olivia squeeze his hand in return. It gave him hope.

“I hope you do, Olivia. I’ll take any opportunity I can get to look into those beautiful eyes of yours.”

Before Olivia could respond, Bruce raised her hand to his lips while his eyes were still lost in hers, and kissed it gently. He didn’t miss the slight tremble in her hand nor her barely audible gasp. He was not in this alone. Olivia was affected too. Neither spoke for several seconds, both of their minds… and pulses racing.

Olivia leaned towards Bruce about to speak when the Imperial Death March from The Empire Strikes Back began to play. Bruce’s eyes widened, then he smirked. Olivia had already buried her face in her free hand, totally embarrassed.

“Guess you’re a really big Star Wars fan, huh Olivia?”

Raising her head, Olivia tried to avoid glancing in Bruce’s direction as she slipped her hand down into her bag to retrieve the offending cell phone.

He leaned in trying to glance at the screen. “Who merits such an ominous ringtone?”

Olivia’s lips twitched as she tried to decipher the text. She figured it out on the third try and her mouth fell open.

“I’m going to kill her!”

Bruce watched Olivia, amused and curious. She finally met his gaze, smiling sheepishly.

“My office manager, Margot. She can be a bit of a… pain.”

Frowning, Bruce asked, “Has she fouled up a case or upset a client?”

“Oh, no. Nothing like that. Margot’s a jewel. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

“And yet, you want to kill her? What am I missing?” He leaned in again, still trying to see the cell screen.

“As an executive assistant and office manager, she’s the best. As a friend, Margot can be over-the-top pushy.”

Recognition dawned in his eyes.

“Was that text about me?”

Olivia dragged her hand over her face. “Just kill me now.”

Bruce pumped his fist in the air.

“I’m trending with the women!”

Olivia roared with laughter. “There’s only two of us, Bellamy. I hardly call that trending.”


What readers are saying…

“I can’t wait to read the next installment, and I highly recommend this book to everyone. I don’t care what your preferred genre is, read it.”

“I wanted to read the whole book in one sitting but had to pace myself because I wanted to savor the wonderful words that Felicia has written.”

“LOVED IT!! In The Best Interest of the Child by Felicia Denise is a powerhouse novel, overflowing with emotion and real life messages that quite frankly NEED to be said...My heart strings were pulled from cover to cover!”

“Fantastic debut for Felicia Denise. Incredible character study.”


Best Interest front cover

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5 Things Book Promotion Services Should Remember #MondayBlog


Book Promo Banner


Book promotion services provide a wide range of services to authors including promotional tours for cover reveals, new releases, and blog tours. Many also offer publishing support features for indie authors like manuscript editing, book formatting, cover design, and book reviews. These are invaluable services to any author which may not necessarily sell books, but go a long way in garnering name recognition for an author and help build the author platform.

When it works.

Recently, a group of authors shared their most recent experiences with promotion services. The emails went from humorous to frustrated to angry quick, fast, and in a hurry.

This is not a condemnation of book promotion services in general, nor any one service in particular. Several authors using several different services all encountered similar ‘problems’ which left authors feeling shortchanged, leading them to cross the service off their list for future promotions. (Authors are not without their responsibilities either – that’s coming in part two.)

If you run a book promotion service, here are five things you might want to take into consideration:

  1. Equal and fair treatment – Some authors felt the service they received was less than stellar and their questions were brushed off because they were not bestselling authors or recognizable names, yet they paid the same fees. Some services do have ‘new or debut author’ packages. (Kudos to you!) But if your prices are the same for everyone, your services should be the same for everyone.
  2. Communication – Many services require advance bookings of three to six weeks (or more). It takes time to sign up blogs and create a schedule that accommodates authors and That being said, do not take payment from an author and disappear. A prevailing comment in our ‘talks’ was, “I haven’t heard from them.” A weekly update of a few words to an author means more than you know.
  3. Prompt response to emails from authors and bloggers would be appreciated. And prompt doesn’t necessarily mean fifteen minutes to an hour, but it shouldn’t mean 24-48 hours either for a current or fast-approaching event. People have day jobs, families, and responsibilities – that’s a given. But you’re still doing business and should strive for the best response times possible. A response—or lack of one—could make the difference in the timely posting of the event.
  4. FAQs – Most services have FAQs. Some are more detailed than others, but it’s generally stated that “a WORD doc, book cover and everything needed for posting will be provided.” What’s not stated is if the service provides HTML or WordPress HTML. This is a biggie for some authors and bloggers… and a deal-breaker.

HTML posts are quick – cut, paste, confirm, and schedule!  But it takes time to build an aesthetically pleasing post, and the more files and images included, the more time it takes.  DIY posts should be an option, never the norm unless the service is exclusively for Facebook pages or non-WordPress blogs. Tour hosts are volunteers and the onus of building a tour post should never be expected of them unless they know in advance what they’re signing up for.

If HTML/WP HTML is not provided, it only needs to be a simple sentence or bullet point of disclosure in the FAQ or on the sign-up sheet… but it should be disclosed.

  1. The Author/Blogger Chose Your Service – Whether it was your price/promotional package, seeing your work on another blog, word-of-mouth, or reputation, an author chose your business to promote their book, or blogs chose to host tours for you. If you want them to return, keep the lines of communication open and allow for some flexibility.  Not all authors/bloggers and services are a good fit, and that’s okay, but the book event can still be a successful event for all parties.

If you run a book promotion service, you may already be doing these things.

Or none of them.

Does it mean you’re doing anything wrong?

No.

However, it could explain why some authors are not doing repeat business with your promotion service. Just some things to think about.

 

Next week: 5 Things Authors Should Remember When Planning a Book Tour

 

 

“It’s Just a Dance.”


Shoes at a Wedding

52 Week Writing Challenge: Week 29
This is another unedited excerpt from my Camp NaNo project , ‘Calla.’

“I cannot believe you said that!”
Calla grinned, shrugging one shoulder.
“She shouldn’t have dared me.”
Calla’s grin was replaced by a dramatic eye roll when staccato clapping sounded behind them.
Neeri.
“Okay, Taylor Bridal Party! Prepare to join the bride and groom on the dance floor, please.”
Cherri’s face fell. “Do we have to wear shoes?”
Neeri shot the young girl a withering look. “Of course, you do!”
“Then we’re not dancing.” Mavis leaned back in her chair, done with the conversation.
“Of course, you’re dancing! It’s tradition! Tena is counting on you!”
“We’re done with you playing the Tena-card, Neeri.” Donna motioned toward the dance floor. “Look at her. She doesn’t see anyone or anything except Lloyd.”
The rest of the group nodded in agreement.
“A lot of time and money have gone into this event. I know you ladies will not ruin it by doing something as common as,” she raised her hand to her chest, “dancing barefoot?”
Fuming, Mavis smacked the table. “Common? Excuse me? That’s it! I’m not dancing!”
Cherri, Donna, and Calla all crossed their arms, daring Neeri to argue. Before she could speak, Tanya did, taking a different approach.
“Gilda, look around you. This isn’t New York or even Chicago. It’s Reedsville, Missouri, home to farmers and factory workers. You’re one of us and know we’re not common… we’re just small-town folk.”
The wedding planner bristled at the use of her birth name, but she was also fighting panic. The song was nearing the mid-point. She had to get the bridal party on the floor.
Smiling sweetly for anyone who might be watching, Neeri responded through gritted teeth. “Fine! Just please get ready.”
More staccato hand claps summoned the groomsmen from the other end of the table, and with all the flourish of a symphony conductor, Neeri directed the group to the dance to surround Tena and Lloyd.
Before Calla had cleared her chair, Gibson grabbed her hand, dragging her behind him. Twirling Calla around twice, Gibson pulled her into his arms, holding her closer and tighter than Calla thought necessary.
“Ease up, Gibby. This isn’t our wedding dance.”
“It could be, pretty girl. Just say the word.”
Laughing, Calla gave him a wary look.
“Gibby, you just delivered a beautiful, moving best man’s speech about love and how it continues to elude you. Don’t you know it will until you get serious and stop falling into insta-love with every female who crosses your path?”
“Ouch, Calla! Every female? Am I that bad?”
She answered with a smirk.
“Okay, okay. I love women. Sue me.”
Calla grinned. Gibson twirled her twice again, dipped her low and pulled her even closer against his broad chest.
“What if you’re the one? What if you’re the woman my heart’s been waiting for to share forever with?”
Laughter erupted so deeply from his dance partner Gibson felt it vibrating against his chest.
The sadness in his eyes halted her laughter.
“What do you want from a man, Calla?”
Without missing a beat, Calla Barrett looked over at Tena and Lloyd, still dancing, lost in whispers and kisses.
“I want that.”
Gibson pulled back, frowning.
“No, I don’t mean their love… but that kind of love. Unwavering, unbreakable.”
Gibson looked at his younger brother, understanding.
“Life and family didn’t make it easy for them, but you’re right. What you said in your speech. Their hearts bonded and withstood everything thrown at them.”
Calla patted Gibson’s chest.
“And that, dear friend, is how I know we’re not a match. I will be enough for the man meant for me. You, on the other hand, will forget about me as soon as this dance ends.”
Gibson laughed in spite of himself.
The song ended and Calla started for their table but Gibson grabbed her hand, stopping her.
“I know you’re right, Cal… but I do wish things were different between us.”
“Who knows, Gibby? Maybe in another life.”
Backing away from her, Gibson Taylor winked, turned, and headed straight for the group of women watching him from the dance floor’s edge.

 

©Felicia Denise 2017