Friday, September 26, 2014

Live links for top promo places - supplied by Carmen DeSousa!! @GreatBookDeal

Carmen has a huge heart and is always helping other authors  have their time to shine. Today, it's hers...

 
 
One of the number one questions other authors ask me is how do I promote my new book on social networks?

Well, my answer might surprise you. You can’t. It does little good to promote your book on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and umpteen other social networks if no one knows you. Sadly, even when many people know you, it still doesn’t work as we all wish it would. Trust me…I just published my eleventh book, and I’m still clawing for answers.

What I do know is that you need an online presence. The more places you set yourself up, the more likely readers will recognize you and your book when it’s available or when you offer it up for a promotion. The more sites you and your book land on, the better chance that Google search engines will pick up your post too.

No time to be sociable; no problem. Most of the places I recommend you join require very little time after your initial sign up.

Here are just a few sites to start you off, along with why I think you should join. Need help? I’m always an email away.

Set up a blog, preferably with a custom domain name. Blogger is easy and has tons of free widgets so you can customize. If you have a book published, readers and aspiring authors (who are readers too) want to hear from you. They want to know how you wrote your book, what you went through, and how you got published. You may not feel like an authority, but you are. Post at least once a week and change up your posts. You can promote your book, but make sure you offer writing and publishing posts in between self-marketing posts. And don’t be afraid to promote other authors. If you set up your site properly with links to your books, every time someone clicks on your blog to read about other authors and writing posts, they see your book. You’re marketing without marketing, and that’s the best way to market. https://www.blogger.com/features

Triberr is one of my favorite social network sites. Once you sign up, simply find Tribes that you have something in common with. Set your sharing at the interval you prefer (I like once an hour), and then you simply go in once a day or every few days and approve all the blogs you want to share. Why is this good for you? Well, it keeps your Twitter feed active, and when you post a blog, all those tribemates you shared will share yours. There simply isn’t a better way to get your blog noticed, again without you promoting it ten times a day on just your feed. Marketing without marketing. http://triberr.com/

Twitter… The necessary evil… I love Twitter, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. With sharing devices like Hootsuite, Triberr, and Roundteam, you don’t have to feel trapped by it. Nor do you have to be a bot. Do what you can. Pick a time that you want to chat and meet friends. My best advice. USE THE LISTS. Make a private list of your readers. And then, any lists you want of your favorite author friends and book bloggers. It will make it so much easier to stay in touch without you spending time looking for your mates.

Google Plus: Don’t miss this! I’m pretty sure Google will rule the world one day. The nice thing about Google follows is that like a Facebook fan page, you don’t have to approve friendships. And once readers sign up, every time you post, it’ll go right to their inbox. https://plus.google.com/

Don’t forget to sign up for your Amazon Author Page: Readers can sign up to receive notifications of your new releases, see your Twitter account, and even your blog. https://authorcentral.amazon.com/

Facebook fan page: Yep, you have a friend page, but make sure you set up your fan page. Readers want to connect with you. The nice thing is you don’t have to decide whom to friend. Anyone can like your page. https://www.facebook.com/

Email signature. Seems easy, but it amazes me how many authors don’t use this. Again, you’re not asking anyone to buy your book, read your website, or follow you on Twitter. It’s just there. So if they like chatting with you, more than likely, they’ll click a link.

Whether you ever use these next sites or not, you should sign up for them. They’ll be there when you’re ready. Don’t forget…we’re looking for platform building and online presence.




Okay…now I know you’re asking…but where do I market my book? The best place to market your books in online book clubs. Some charge, some don’t, some only promote free or 99-cent books, some promote all books.

There are hundreds and hundreds…but here are a few I recommend that your book doesn’t have to be on sale to post your book.

















If/when you ever offer your book at a discounted price, there are thousands of places; however, I only like a few for the money.

The best, but very expensive: http://www.bookbub.com/home/contact.php

The best, for the price:

http://ereadernewstoday.com/


http://www.theereadercafe.com/p/authors.html







http://www.kornerkonnection.com/


Oh, and my free place… I’m picky, but I’m FREE! And once I promote you, I promote you forever! http://www.greatbooksgreatdeals.com/ (The only charge is if you want me to boost your post, and I highly recommend boosting. Boosted posts receive 30% more hits. BUT…as I said, it’s optional. I don’t charge a penny. J

I hope some of the information above is helpful. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just take a day here and there and go down the lists. Once you set up the sites, they’ll be working for you. And as I said above, I’m always available for questions. You can email me Carmen@CarmenDeSousa.com

You can also connect with me at one of my cyber homes.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

#FREE!! This book is free today only. Make sure and grab your copy now!!! @Author_Carmen

****I want to welcome my friend Carmen to my blog so she can share the news with you about her book Entangled Dreams is free today. Make sure and get your copy...


 
 
Excerpt:

She jerked back from him. “I don’t expect you to take care of me,” she retorted, obviously not thrilled with his remark.

He reached for her. “I’m sorry; that was rude.”

She shoved away his hands. “You can’t keep saying whatever is on your mind and then just say you’re sorry. That was rude. If you think I’m such a tramp, why are you even interested?”

 “I don’t think that. I’m just accustomed to saying what I’m thinking at the second I’m thinking it. But I really didn’t mean it. I don’t think you’re a tramp. If I thought that, would I ask you to move in with me?”

 “I don’t know. I’m so confused.” She dropped her head into her hands again. “I just don’t want to make any more mistakes.”

He put his hand under her chin and lifted her head. “Am I a mistake?”

 “You are probably the only thing in my life that hasn’t been a mistake.”

 

A note from the author:

We live in a world where few people find their happily ever after, even though most of our childhood stories preached that to us. Wait a minute. Did they? I keep hearing…and I’ve been known to write this statement, “I’ve obviously read too many fairytales...” But when I looked back, the fairytales weren’t all sunshine and roses. In fact, many of the characters in what we tag as ‘fairytales’ were beaten, banished, orphaned, poisoned, lost, and on and on…

 

So where does the fairytale aspect actually play out? Is it when the dashing prince on the white stallion sweeps in and they live happily ever after? Chuh! But hey, the protagonist had to go through many trials to get there. So what’s so bad about that? Personally, I don’t think there’s a problem, except for putting all your dreams in one knight in shining armor who turns out to be a frog. But you can still work at your happily ever after, with or without the prince, right? Though, in my opinion, I think we’re all looking for someone who completes us.

 

The fact of the matter is a troubled past helps us appreciate a wonderful present. When we experience trials, we often seek out God and loved ones for support and are that much more thankful when the trial ends. So, I don’t have trouble with fairytales; that’s why I write them, modern-day fairytales, that is. I put my characters through trials and tribulations because I know that somewhere, someone can relate. Yes, there’s normally a knight in hidden-armor, who usually requires some polishing before he’s fit to be a prince. But again, isn’t that what great relationships do? They feed off each other to become better partners.

 

This is what I write about in all my stories. People who have flaws, but learn to overcome, trust when all else fails so they can love again, and forgive so they can know peace.

 

In Entangled Dreams, I tackle these and many other issues head on. So, for my version of a modern-day fairytale, read on for how to get your FREE copy!

 

Happy reading,

 

Carmen

 

For more information, reviews, or to download Entangled Dreams FREE, visit Amazon:



 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Do you write honest despair and tragedy - or is it fake? How can you tell?


 

When you’re working on your manuscripts, do you dread scraping your insides raw to produce the reality of honest-to-goodness tragedies? I’m talking about those sad times that people suffer through in real life. The very ones, as authors, we must create in our stories.

Let’s face it, the times when you feel as if your heart won’t make it through the next few minutes, and you just want to give up, is hard enough to live through never mind write about. But to be a good novelist and reproduce a story about real people, it’s essential. Otherwise, our characters will end up like paper dolls, flat and boring. Sure we can dress them up pretty and move them around the pages, but if they don’t have real emotions, then the conflicts we subject them to won’t come alive for our readers.

I’ve read books like that myself and never finished them. On the other hand, I’ve read stories where the author tries to effect emotions that don’t ring true. They’re just words without any substance or genuineness and it’s noticeable – at least to me.

Every time I write a touching passage full of disturbing words that I hope will bring out some feeling in the reader, I worry about whether I’ve taken it too far… or not far enough. I figure if tears appear while I’m writing the words, then chances are they will affect the reader in the same way.

For instance, one passage I wrote in Together Always makes me bawl like a baby every time I review it. But I wonder - is it too much…? At the time, it seemed perfect for the characters.

 Example: My heroine, Grace Joye, wakes up in another woman’s body terrified of the man who she now has to accept as her husband.  Afraid he won’t let her play the role of his wife; she lies in the hospital bed and worries about what will happen. This day, he comes to visit and brings their son. The boy he caught his wife beating just before her accident.

Finally she couldn't stand the tension another minute. “Is something wrong, Lucas?”

He stopped and sat in the nearby visitor’s chair, surveying her from head to toe, his eyes like a laser as they travelled her length. Then he zeroed in on her face. She could have sworn the man's expressive smoky-blues were pleading and for some unknown reason a sickening rush of shame curdled her insides. 

“Yes. I have to ask you a favor, and I honestly don't know what will work best, a bribe or a threat.”

“My goodness. It sounds serious. Why use either? I'd be more than happy to grant you whatever you ask, be that it won't harm anyone.”

He shook his head and sighed. “I don't get it. You're different. And I don't trust you. But your son needs you, and as much as I wish I could deal with this, you're the only person who can. Now I know you've never wanted anything to do with Samuel.  But for once in your selfish life, I'm asking you to behave like a mother.” The scorn he showered her with felt like shots of acid burning her soul.

His words slapped her soft heart and she felt battered enough to pass out. What did he mean? She didn’t want anything to do with her own son? What kind of woman could possibly feel that way? Despite his glaring, she picked up on his desperation and her spirit snapped into place. The backbone vital to dealing with her particular life's challenges had kicked in with a vengeance.  She clenched her teeth, swallowed, then spoke gently.

“Of course I’ll help. What is it he needs?”

“You must understand, Sam's very fragile right now and I won't have him upset. But he's also blaming himself for your accident and is making himself ill over it all. Between the lad's nightmares and loss of appetite, I feel scared and well…rather frantic. Last evening, he finally broke down and told me what's been making him so unhappy.”

“Oh, the poor baby. What did he say?”

“Seems he feels responsible for your being in the hospital.”

“Why in the world would he think that?”

“You don’t remember?” His searching gaze probed her innocence and seemed satisfied when she shook her head. “Before you ran from the house, you'd been angry with him. In fact, you were furious.” Again, his penetrating stare drilled into her as he leaned closer and watched her expressions. She knew he'd see confusion and empathy because those were the emotions that roiled inside.

“You really don't remember, do you, Vanessa?”

“No. Nothing. It's all blank.”

Her answer seemed to satisfy Lucas who stood tall and resumed his wandering.  “He made me promise to bring him here to see you. Now, I want your promise that you'll be kind and tell him he's not to blame. Trust me. If there were any other way to settle this, to clear his little mind from the torture he's undergoing, I would do so in a flash. But it seems you're the only person who can help him.”

“Of course I ca—”

Lucas, caught up in his speech, swiveled and leaned over her. “I've never begged you for anything Vanessa. I've given you everything I thought would make you happy, but I'm begging you now. Please don't let our son grow up bearing this horrible burden. He's been so unhappy. I'll give you anything—”

“Stop! Lucas, stop. You're breaking my heart. I want to see the boy and of course I'll tell him it wasn't his fault. Of course I will.” Grace had reached out without knowing and had grasped Lucas’s hand. With each assurance, she'd tightened her grip. Sincerity rang from her shaken voice to where even she could hear it. “Is he here?”

Seeming to be confused but hopeful, Lucas nodded, swallowed and turned away quickly. “Yes, outside.” Did his voice wobble? She could have sworn it did and, if nothing else, that chink in his armor told her just how much the next few minutes would mean to him. She'd never let him down. Not only was he a thoughtful man, but obviously a wonderful father. Sadly, it seemed, he'd just chosen the wrong wife.

He left, and a few moments later the door opened again and Grace pulled herself higher in the bed and tucked her loose hair behind her ears. One stroke of her now-smooth cheek settled her nerves and she smiled.

A small boy, dressed in short pants and a sweater, the spitting image of his mother, crept into the room as if afraid he'd wake her up. He stopped as soon as he passed the threshold, hesitating, waiting, fear imprinted on his little boy features. His hands were clasped in front and Grace could see how his fingers were pinching each other, twisting and rubbing. His father, looming behind him, placed a supporting hand on his thin shoulder.

“Hello, Mother.”

“Samuel, I'm so glad you've come to see me. Please come closer.” Grace motioned him over to her side. She smiled as gently as she could, and a coaxing wiggle from her fingers and encouraging nods drew him nearer.

“Daddy said you were better now. I wanted to see for myself.”

“Can you see from all the way over there? If you'd like sit up here with me, then I’ll get to see you also.”

First fear and then a blossoming pleasure filled his little face. Green eyes, the twins of hers, lit up and a tiny smile emerged. “Daddy? Can I?”

“Sure, sport. If it's okay with your mother, it's fine with me. Can you climb up alone or do you need a lift?”

“A lift, please. I don't want to hurt Mother accidentally.”

Grace spoke softly. “Oh, Sammy-son, you could never hurt me.”

Lucas’s head reared up at her words and his eyes narrowed. Sam lifted his arms. Both man and boy hesitated at her bedside, not sure what to do next.

“Come and sit right here.” She patted the comforter next to her. “Then I can hug you like I've wanted to do since you arrived.”

“You want to hug me?”

“Ever so much. Do you mind?”

The youngster carefully leaned toward her and that was all the encouragement she needed. She gathered him to her, and as she soon as she felt his arms go around her neck, she heard the sobs that wracked his little body.

“Shh, baby, it's okay. Don't cry, my lad. Mummy's here.” All the while she soothed him, she rocked his little body back and forth and placed kisses everywhere, his hair, his cheeks, on every surface covered with tears.

“Oh, Mother! I'm sorry I was such a bad boy. You were so an…angry with me that you got into an ac…accident. It was my fault, wasn't it? You weren't looking where you were going ‘cause I made you lose your temper.”

The sobs grew louder and Grace became fearful that the little guy would never stop. Hiccups wrenched his body and the wails broke her heart into smithereens. Suddenly, she experienced a tremendous welling of emotion from within and it overpowered her to where she felt she'd lose consciousness. Afraid, staggering under the double onslaught, she reached her hand toward the man whose eyes were brimming over.  

He came closer, gingerly sitting on the bed next to them and rubbed his large hand gently over the boy's back. It seemed to soothe Sam and his cries quieted while he lay with his head nestled on her chest.

Lucas spoke softly. “Take it easy, Samuel. Don't cry so. Everything is okay now.”

The boy refused to look up and burrowed even harder into Grace's embrace. “Sammy, please, you must stop or you'll be sick. Listen, baby, the road was slippery, and I wasn't being careful. It was my fault the car went off the road, not yours. I didn't want to have to admit this but here's the truth: your mum's a rotten driver.”

“You are?” Hope lit up globby eyes of green glass, and sniffles replaced the bawling from seconds earlier. His body relaxed and he leaned away from her so he could stare into her face.

Grace had always had a soft spot for children, but since they tended to shy away from her birthmark, she’d never had the pleasure of any up-close relationships with them until they were sick and needed a nurse. Then she'd been in her element.

Having this precious little guy stare at her with such adoration brimming out of his gorgeous eyes filled her heart. Love, such as she’d never before experienced, overflowed and oozed into every pore and cell until she belonged to him. From that moment on, she knew he’d be her first consideration in the same way that a dog knows its own pup.

She swallowed and prayed her voice wouldn’t break. “I'm afraid so, Sammy-son. Actually, I'm really quite awful.”

“Is that why you'd never take me anywhere with you?”

Sickened by the actions of the woman's body she now controlled, she shook off her anger and stared into his questioning, glistening eyes, then nodded. “Uh huh! I'd never want anything to happen to you, baby…ever!” She dropped a kiss on his soft blond hair. “But I promise you one thing. From now on I'll not go anywhere in a car until I've gotten lessons so I can learn how to drive better.”

“Then you could take me with you.”

She looked up at Lucas, a question blazing. His nod was hesitant but finally forthcoming.

She smiled at the boy. “I would like that very much.”

The indecision the boy fought before he kissed her cheek was telling and, oh so sad. She leaned forward ever so slightly, encouragingly, and felt his warm lips caress the one area on her body that needed the tender touch. She knew before falling asleep, and every night afterward, she would relive that moment over and over again.

She hugged Sam once more, and like little boys do, he settled down beside her and curled up in her arms. With a loud sigh, his eyelids began to droop. Sifting her fingers through his blond curls worked the magic as he released one last quivering sound and then went limp.

Lucas shifted and drew her attention. Still pale from watching his son suffer, he rubbed at his cheek one side and then the other, his hand finally covering his mouth as he leaned his chin onto it and stared at her with his head angled to the left.

Mesmerized, his grey eyes compelling, she couldn't look away, not even a little. His held her prisoner, and having no talent or skills in concealing her feelings, she knew her emotions were open to him like a picture on a television screen.  God, don't hurt me, she worried, her skin flushing hot and cold—terrified.

Before she knew what he would do next, he leaned over and kissed the same cheek his son had moments earlier. When the little boy lips had touched her skin, love had resulted. When the man's lips touched the same place, she thought she'd swoon. Never in her life had a moment been so beautiful.

His hand reached up and caressed the opposite side of her face and he leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “We both know you’re a terrific driver, Vanessa. Get better soon. I want you to come home.”


 

http://www.amazon.com/Together-Always-Spirit-Romance-Vicarage-ebook/dp/B00K9XYACC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407108096&sr=8-1&keywords=Together+Always
 
****
 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Have you ever recognised someone you’ve never met before?





This happened to me a few weeks ago. And because it’s been on my mind, I decided to share my experience with you.

I was visiting my folks in the small town where they reside in the interior of B.C. It’s a lovely, sleepy kinda place where many people like to retire because of the mild winters and hot summers.

This day I had chosen to walk across from the lodge where they live to the Safeway store nearby.  My mother has this fondness for marshmallows and in one of the end-of-the-isle tubs; they had large, striped pink and white ones. I grabbed a bag for her and got a few other things. Then I went to the checkout and put my stuff down and searched in my purse for my wallet.

A young native man stepped up behind me. He reminded me of a fellow I knew and cared about as a teenager, only this young man’s hair was quite long, decorated with a feather attached on one side. His black leather vest had some beautiful Indian artwork and matched the black of his sleeveless t-shirt and jeans. His tattoos were indicative of his culture and I thought him handsome. Maybe the pot-marks on his face spoke of earlier hard times but this day he looked clear-eyed, healthy and strong.

His smile caught my eye and I smiled back. “It’s nice and warm,” I said, wanting to be polite.

“Yes it is”, he answered as he put a briefcase down and got some money from his pocket. He probably thought I had noticed he had nothing to pay for (I hadn’t – I live in my own little world most times and that didn’t dawn on me until afterwards). “I’m just here to buy cigarettes for my dad.”

Without thinking, I grinned and responded. “Aha! You’re an enabler are you?”

He laughed and nodded. “Guess so. He can’t afford to buy his own anymore so I treat him when I’m here. I can afford it.”

Hearing the pride in the way he said the words, I accepted that he told the truth and maybe he sensed that I did. He looked at my groceries and teased. “You must like marshmallows?”

Automatically, I shook my head. “No, they’re for my mom. She has a sweet tooth.”

“Ahhh… so you’re an enabler too.”

I had to laugh and he chuckled with me, a moment when strangers meet. Then he looked rather pensive and after a few seconds, he reached into his briefcase and pulled out the picture you see at the top of the page. He said something I’ll never forget. It was as if he knew there was insurmountable grief awaiting me in the future. “You must live life “fearless”. He emphasized the last word and motioned toward the painting at where it was printed.

Touched, I looked at the wonderful artwork. “Not easy to do sometimes.”

“But it’s the only way to survive.” He motioned for me to take his present. “This is for you.”

I looked at him, in his eyes and saw a spirit that I recognized. “For me!” It wasn’t a question. I knew he meant for me to have it. The only way I knew to thank him was to show him. I hugged that young man, and when he hugged me back, he sighed. I felt his body trembling and without any hesitation, I kissed his cheek and felt him kiss mine.

A moment out of time I’ll never forget - two souls who found each other in this lifetime.

 

~~~~~~
  
 

 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Do I have a great cover artist or don’t I? You won’t believe what I asked for…





My new cover!!!

I still say I have the best cover artist in the business. I bet you’re asking yourself – did he pay me with a free cover to say this? Aha! I’m not admitting to anything…  lol

Seriously, it’s the best feeling in the world to know that when you get a crazy idea, it never gets scoffed at. Every time, I’ve asked for something special or extra, he’s tried to crawl into my imagination and produce what I’ve envisioned.

Thankfully, most times, he’s come up with something even better and I’ve grabbed it quick before he changes his mind. I guess it’s the difference between an artistic brain and one filled chockablock full of words.

This time though, I have to say I asked for exactly what he produced.

My request: Steven, can you make me a new cover for “She’s Not You”. One with a little blonde baby girl, about three years-old, a bride and make it with a Christmas theme.

I think he did a fabulous job.

If you’re looking for a person with lots of patience, a businesslike persona and a good sense of humor, try my guy…

Steven Novak – novakillustration@gmail.com

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cinematic video trailers that are super cheap and super good! My story... @IntBookPromo


 


I’ve just had a trailer released by the International Book Promotion group and had to share my experience with you all.

The first time I heard about IBP was from an e-mail I received in June - Paranormal & Fantasy Addicts on Book Blogs! See message here...

LIMITED TIME OFFER! If you are looking for SUPER CHEAP, classy and attractive book trailers, we have a solution for you!

We have readymade template videos and we can make a trailer for you within two days. We will provide you royalty free pictures, music and script. You will have ONE free revision (where applicable) OR feel free to send in your own lines of script and pictures and we will place them accordingly. Get your complete 1 min book trailer for only $20! Order now via http://www.internationalbookpromotion.yolasite.com/our-services.php

So how could anyone ignore the finger itching to click the link? I couldn’t!! I got in touch with Jas Praba and was pleased with the businesslike treatment I received. I decided my Special Agent Francesca needed a trailer and for $20 – I would get it. I think I made a fantastic deal….
Unfortunately, that sale is now finished but the regular price is only $60 and that's still a good buy.
Here's what my $20 got me:
 
 



Do you think I got a good deal???? I do!!

Sometime later, Jas wrote to tell me of another promotional opportunity and I decided once again to go for it. Their normal cinematic book trailers were $200 and they were having a 25% discount. I thought of the Vegas Series, 6 books in the set and I decided what the heck – why not? I could do the six altogether. So I went ahead and worked with Jas once again. All she needed was a tag line for each story and the covers.

I waited impatiently to see the outcome and again, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did they create a lovely trailer, they threw me a release party on Facebook and invited their two thousand plus friends. How nice! https://www.facebook.com/events/1534535803442206/
I offered to give away a free copy of the Vegas Series and Kelli Sue Landon has offered a free e-copy of The Summer Shack so if you leave a comment their you might be a lucky winner.

So...here’s the result:





What do you think???