Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Road Trips? Stab Me in the Eye

            I hate road trips. There. I said it. Everyone talks about how fun road trips can be looking at the scenery, talking, listening to music. B.S. After about an hour (or less), I’m done talking, the music is boring, and I don’t want to see another tree. I am ready to chew off my own arm to escape. It’s a monstrous waste of time. I just want to get to where I'm going. If I could pick a super power it would be teleporting. Screw flying.

On Friday of last week, I had to pick my son up from science camp. A stupid 2½ hour road trip. The camp happened to be located in the mountains near Santa Cruz. So I decided that if I had to drive that far, we might as well stop off at the beach. That would make the trip worth it.

The freeways here in California are insane. To get to Santa Cruz, I had to brave the San Francisco Bay Area commuter traffic of death. I myself am a bit of a lead foot, but I might as well be riding a tricycle around these people. That’s at least when the cars can actually move. Don’t even get me started on the traffic. You do not want to get pulled over here because the Highway Patrol officers are not very nice, or so I’ve heard anyway.

My favorite Bozo is the insane speeder guy who acts like I am the only thing standing between him and the open road, like the 5000 cars ahead of me are invisible. I’m just going slow because I feel like it. It certainly wouldn’t have anything to do with traffic. Insane speeder guy finally gets a chance to pass on the right and gives me a dirty look on the way by before cutting back in. Congratulations. Only 5000 more cars to pass and you’ll be home free. Moron.

The other thing that drives me crazy is that the Bay Area highways are confusing. There is the 280, the 580, the 680, the 880, the 8080… I think you get the point. Who planned that? My Honey drives all over Northern California, so he knows almost every road by heart. Whenever I have to drive somewhere, he tries to be helpful by giving me directions.

“That’s easy to get to. You just take I-5 to 205 to 580 to the 680 interchange. Take 880 south and get off on the third exit. Go about 2 miles, turn left at the Burger King and you’re there.”

“I’ll just Google map it, Honey. Thanks anyway.”

Once I got passed the Bay Area traffic of death and got into the Santa Cruz Mountains, I thought I could relax. The scenery was nice, the speed limit was lower and the traffic was ligheter; a nice cruise through the mountains to the beach. Sounded good until the highway narrowed; it was bordered by the alternating mountain face with jutting rocks and steep drop offs of doom on the right and a huge cement barricade down the middle of the freeway on the left. Add in cars and curves and you have yourself a “No room for error” party. The scenery may have been nice to look at if I wasn’t worried about dying in a fiery ball of twisted metal.

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the Google map was wrong and I wound up having to call Honey for directions anyway. “See, you should have listened to me in the first place.” Sigh.

I finally made it to the camp to pick up my son. I even made it to Capitola where we were able to have a nice lunch in the sunshine right on the beach. Ahhh. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t so bad.

Well, at least not until we had to go home…

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Indie Books - The Best Kept Secret

Lately, I have read several blogs by some of Amazon’s more successful indie authors. I thought I would be able to find the magic formula to send my book sales skyrocketing. I was doing everything I was told. I had a blog, I joined Twitter and Facebook, I got some great reviews. I also got mentions on several author promotion sites. All of that has not translated into book sales. So I decided to learn from the experts. Imagine my surprise when the best selling Amazon authors said that they attributed the majority of their success to luck. Luck? I’m screwed. The only thing they seemed to agree upon is that having more books is better. That makes sense. If people like your writing, they’ll be back for more. If there isn’t more, readers will move on and may not come back.

I started thinking about my book selling tactics and noticed several problems. One is that I promote on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is filled with most of my close friends and family, and some new author friends, but they already know about my book. So obviously that avenue is limited. I have met tons of people on Twitter, but they are mostly authors. I have often joked and said that I am Tweeting to the choir. I’m trying to promote my books and blogs and so are they. That’s nice, but I need to reach readers as well.

That brings up another problem: the whole indie book thing. I knew there were people who self published, but until I published my own book last August and started to connect with other authors, I had no idea how huge the indie pub industry was. I hate to say it, but I had never read an indie book before I published my own. I followed traditionally published authors and had no real interest in indie books. Not because I thought they would be poorly written, I just didn’t think about them with all of the traditionally published books available.

I’m not alone. I met a woman the other night who was reading on a Nook. I asked her what she likes to read and she ticked off a list of some popular traditionally published authors. She knew nothing about indie books. Several other friends and acquaintances who have read my book reported the same thing. It was their first exposure to the world of self published books.

As authors, how do we connect with readers and not just each other? And not just as individual authors promoting our own books, but how do we get the word out to readers that indie books are amazing and a fraction of the price of traditionally published ebooks (which are insane by the way, and should be downloaded with a tube of digital lube - $9.99 for a ebook novella from one of my favorite authors? Bite me!). My book has been posted on several “reader” sites, but those listings have only created a small spike in sales if any. We need some way to raise awareness of indie books in general.

I’m just thinking out loud. If you have any great ideas…let me know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review - Chael's Luck by Mireille Chester

There is a reason you haven’t seen any book reviews on my blog. I suck at writing them. It’s that simple. However, when Mireille Chester asked if I wanted to get an early look at her soon to be released Chael’s Luck, I have to admit my curiosity got the better of me. I had been reading the excerpts she had been posting on her blog and I loved the characters, so I agreed.

I sat down yesterday afternoon thinking I would just take a peek at it. After the first few chapters, I knew I had to make a pot of coffee, get a warm blanket and settle in because I wasn’t going anywhere. I read the whole thing because I literally could not stop.

There is nothing I love more than getting lost in an amazing world with characters I want to spend time with and Mireille Chester has created that with Chael’s Luck. I have to admit that I am a romantic at heart and her story transported me to a beautiful world of knights, elves, quests, friendship, honor, betrayal, and love.

Chael was named after the god of bad luck and it fit. He was a runt and had to fight to prove himself worthy to be a knight. Commissioned by the king to retrieve a magical book, Chael and his father are attacked and a dark family secret is exposed that threatens to destroy everything Chael has fought for.

Enter Ian Murphy. With Ian, it was love at first sight. I’m talking about myself of course (swoon). Ian is an honorable man who passed on becoming a knight based on moral principles. He agrees to help Chael find the book and keep their family secret while dealing with some family issues of his own.

I would give Chael’s Luck 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an amazing love story with a touch of action and fantasy. This book made me a Mireille Chester fan and I cannot wait to read more!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Amazon Borg - Resistance is Futile, or Is It?

Another author and I were talking about the possible advantages of the new KDP Select program. The buzz on Twitter was crazy at the beginning of this month. Seemed like a lot of indie authors were split on whether or not to join. I myself was hesitant. Mostly because of the exclusivity and the ambiguous payment plan for “borrowed” books. Amazon seemed kind of fuzzy on exactly how much money would be available.

A lot of authors were saying “What have I got to lose? What I’m doing now isn’t working.” I’m starting to feel that way myself. Like most authors, the largest majority of my sales are from Amazon. The few ebook sales I have received from Barnes and Noble and Lulu would not stop me from considering dropping them. At least temporarily while trying Amazon’s program. It’s only a three month commitment…

My bigger concern is the queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach from the obvious move Amazon is making to try to corner the market and squeeze out competitors. Do I want to be a part of that? Obviously my decision to join Amazon or not isn’t going to matter in the big picture, but I think it has the potential to get really ugly. As promised, Amazon has already excluded other print on demand companies from listing their paperbacks on the website. I decided to go with Lulu, so my paperback is no longer available on Amazon. Of course, that limits authors to Amazon’s print on demand baby, Createspace. I don’t like having my options limited.

How are other companies going to take Amazon’s muscle flexing? Hard to say, but I already got a message from Goodreads that to save my ebook, I had to use another source of information because as of January 30, 2012, they were no longer going to be accepting any book information from Amazon. Any books that had been added to Goodreads from an Amazon link would be removed after that date if the book hadn’t been “saved” by the author through other means. Why the resistance from Goodreads? They don’t sell or publish books, so I don’t know. I looked them up and they are privately owned and do not appear to be linked to any other publisher or book seller. They reportedly have over 5 million members. Maybe they don’t like having their options limited either.

I don’t know what the end result of all this will be. It’s still too early to tell. I do know that as an author, I want to do whatever is best to help my book sales. I’m not sure I want to alienate everyone except Amazon to do it though. As a consumer, it makes me uncomfortable to have one company with so much power limiting my options as an author and as a consumer. I feel like it’s the beginning of some kind of war, and I am being forced to choose a side. It’s a gamble either way. I believe in the old saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” I may be paranoid, but as far as I'm concerned, I don’t want Amazon to be the only basket.

Why I Dedicated My Book to My Dad

This book is dedicated to my father whose optimism never fails to inspire me”

            For me, the dedication of my first book was a no-brainer. I may have had questions about the plot, the characters, the formatting, but I knew I was going to dedicate the book to my dad.

            My father and I have not always had the best relationship. The story of my childhood isn’t unusual. My parents divorced when I was young, and they both remarried. My father worked for a bank, and as he moved up in position, he was required to move. A lot. My brother and I were only able to see him for two weeks in the summer and sometimes even less. While I was growing up, I always sent him copies of any poem or short story I wrote. He had two more children with his new wife, sometimes it felt like my father was off on his new life with his new family and didn’t really think about me all that often.

As I was finishing college, dad finally settled down in the Seattle WA area. He invited me to come and visit for a month when I graduated. It would be the longest time I had spent with my father since my parents had divorced. During that visit, we were able to work out a lot of the issues I had growing up without him, and we agreed to start building a new relationship. I continued to send him samples of my writing until life and graduate school consumed my time and the writing stopped.

When my father was diagnosed with a terminal neurological disorder, he came to live with me and my family. I am constantly amazed at how he faces this disease with such optimism. He never complains and does his best to stay positive despite his mental and physical decline. Currently there is no cure and no treatment and still he faces each day with grace and gratitude.

One day, dad and I were talking about some book ideas I had discussed with my sister and best friend. Dad said “Remind me again why you stopped writing?” I gave him the big story about how I was too busy to write a poem much less a whole book. He said it was a shame because he always thought I was very talented. I made some remark about the fact that he probably didn’t remember what I wrote. That’s when he took me to his room and to this gigantic desk he had brought with him. He opened the drawer and pulled out a file with my name on it. Inside was every poem, short story and letter I had ever sent him. Some were just paper scraps I had jotted something on. I was overwhelmed. He said he knew I could write a book. He believed in me and my talent even when I didn’t. So I started writing again. Handing that completed book to him was one of the most amazing moments in my life. Thanks for believing in me Dad.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Speak Out Against Bullying!

My dear #cyberbud K.C. Neal was recently overwhelmed by the horrible experience of a fellow author, Katie (K.M. Parr). She recently released her first novel and someone she knew started bullying her online, mocking her accomplishment. K.C. had just released her first novel as well and couldn't imagine what it would be like to have such a negative experience associated with it.

Together, the two women decided to join forces and rally bloggers to speak out against bullying on February 3, 2012. They are calling their campaign Share <3, Not Hate. I have already signed up and am more than happy to join this amazing cause. I urge you to help out. If you have a blog, sign up here. If you don't have a blog, you can still help. Follow the sign up link to K.C.'s blog and find the list of participating bloggers. On February 3rd, go to those blogs and show your support by leaving comments of encouragement or take the opportunity to share your story.

Many of you may know that in October, I also wrote a blog called Kill the Beast - Bullying in Schools about my daughter's recent experience. My daughter found my blog and left the most amazing comment. I was overwhelmed by the response to that blog both in the comments section and on Twitter. So many people contacted me to offer their support and to share their stories about how bullying has touched their lives and how those scars can last long after we leave the playground.

Let's show our support for Katie and for others whose lives have been forever changed by the cruelty of another. Lets Spread <3, Not Hate!! Please join us!

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Got the Versatile Blogger Award!! Happy Dance!

This blog post is long overdue! My dear #cyberbud Maureen Hovermale was awesome enough to nominate me for this award back in November. Read that post and others here at her blog The Zen Corner. One of my favorites is her blog on Twitter Jail  complete with a diagram that John Madden would be proud of. First, I want to say thank you to Maureen although that doesn’t really cover the amount of gratitude I feel for her encouragement and support.
As a baby blogger, I was overjoyed to be recognized by a writing pro like Maureen whose blog was one of the first I visited. I love her sense of humor. Like me, she isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself and to turn her everyday life into something spectacularly amusing. Maureen and I hit it off right away, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that we had so much in common.
Getting that nod from her was the good news. The bad news was that I was still very new to the whole blogging thing and was not following more than a handful at the time, so I panicked. In true Maureen fashion, she didn’t want to stress me out and said that I was not obliged to do it, but there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to give others the cloud floating giddiness I got from this award. Thanks to Maureen, I have spent the last few months on a blog marathon that I have thoroughly enjoyed. At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with 15 nominees, but in the end I was crushed that I had to cut some out.
Here are the rules:
Thank the person who nominated you. Tell 7 things about yourself so that your readers may learn more about you. Nominate 15 other newly discovered bloggers then let them know you nominated them. I also agree with Maureen’s rule, you are under absolutely NO obligation to pass this on.

7 Things About Me (because I love talking about myself…not):

1.    I’m a Disney freak. So much so that a good portion of my wardrobe has a Disney character or logo of some sort on it (including the adopted Jack Skellington, my fav)

2.    Chocolate is an essential part of daily living. I hate white chocolate which isn’t really chocolate, so it doesn’t count anyway.

3.    Sometimes my Honey insists I sit and watch basketball with him which I hate more than white chocolate right down to that nails on a chalkboard squeekity squeek squeek sound of their stupid shoes. To entertain myself, I make sexual innuendos out of the announcers comments like “He’s driving hard to the hole.” One of my all time favorites “They need to pass that ball out to the master stroker.” “They all better start stroking if they expect to score.” Honey ejected me from the game for laughing so hard. Immature? Yep.

4.    On the other hand, I love football! GO FINS!

5.    I hate movies with sad endings. I don’t care how good the acting, story, or cinematography may be. Real life has enough sadness. I’m not going to pay to watch fake sadness. Sign me up for a comedy or action movie.

6.    I have a Jeep Wrangler and one of my favorite things in the world is to drive around in it with the top off in the summer, hair flying. Sigh…stupid winter.

7.    I’m a fighter not a lover.

Without further ado here are my nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award. Display your button proudly and feel free to share with it with the bloggers you love if you want to. I love each and every one of these, so they are in no particular order.

Claire Smith: Claire’s blog is amazing. She is definitely versatile. There is something for everyone on her blog! Not only is Claire a writer, but she spends time promoting other authors as well doing #CelebritySaturday interviews that are a ton of fun. She also has an interesting segment called #askthereader in which she tries to bridge the gap between readers and writers. Now there’s an idea!

Thomas Amo: Of all the writers I have met, Tom is probably one of the most generous towards his fellow authors. One of my favorites is a segment called Writer to Writer, where he reads a book and then chats with the author. His blog also keeps readers up to date with his projects including his horror novel An Apple for Zoe and his recent comedy release Let’s Get Lade.

Allie Burke: Warning: Highly Addictive. Allie recently started a new blog appropriately named “in the clouds” because she says “it is so me” and it is. I have been following Allie for awhile. The way she writes her blog posts makes you feel like you’re sitting there having a cup of coffee with her and just chatting. While you’re there, check out her books Violet Midnight and Emerald Destiny!

K.C. Neal: I have to admit, I have blog envy ;) K.C.’s blog is crazy amazing. She is one of the busiest bloggers I know. Plus, she has lots of great info to help other bloggers and is even teaching classes about it! Oh, and did I mention she has an awesome book out as well? I need to borrow some of her coffee.

Roberta J. Gordon: Roberta, like me, is new to blogging, but you wouldn’t know it. Her thoughts are honest and direct. She is currently looking for an agent for her book Gemini Witching: Elements 101, and will be writing about her experiences, so bookmark this one. Roberta is going to be one to watch!


M.R.Merrick: I am a huge fan of Matt’s. I read his book Exiled and was hooked. His blog is amazing! Not only does he have information about his projects, but he also talks about writing, does book reviews, and other fun stuff. He is very generous when I comes to supporting his fellow authors. I cannot wait until the release of his second book Shift!

Tymothy Longoria: Aspire No More is the name of his blog and that says it all. You just have to read his blog because it defies explanation. Tymothy is a juggernaut and I have to doubt that he is going to take over the world!

Nicholas Denmon: From his blog title (Cat Get off My Keyboard) to his posts and pics to his Jack Kerouac quote, Nicholas’ blog is a treasure trove of goodness. As you may have guessed by now, I love humor and Nicholas has it. He also has lots of information about his writing projects including his novel For Nothing which is currently being adapted into a screenplay! Congrats! 

Mireille Chester: First off, I love the tiny little dragon!! Yeah, I want one too! Mireille writes amazing reviews and is incredibly supportive of her fellow authors. Also, I totally love the cool countdown calendars she has for the release dates of her new stories. Since I’m a fan, I’m counting down too!! Since I know you will be curious, you can find out more about her here

Chuck Wendig: Chuck is awesome and incredibly brilliant. His blog is full of great information for authors mixed with wicked humor. He makes me laugh out loud while I’m learning. But if you decide to dive into his blog, better have your big kid pants on because Chuck holds nothing back.

Mark Everett Stone: Let me just say that I am a HUGE fan of Mark’s books! His writing style is original and distinctive. I love the way he writes, and I love his sense of humor. Mark’s blog is honest and hilarious at the same time.  In between the release of his books, I’m so glad I can someplace to go to get a Mark fix!

John D. Ayers: John’s blog is called Darcy-Esque World, and if you love Jane Austen this blog is perfect. John has captured the essence of Austen with his prose and musings as Mr. Darcy. He is currently working on a Darcy novel. If it is anything like his blog, I cannot wait to read it! Is it because I have a mad crush on Mr. Darcy? Could be...

DanielNest: Daniel is also fairly new to blogging, but you wouldn’t know from reading his posts. Versatile is a perfect description for his blog. In addition to his regular posts, he has a wide variety of stuff to read including short stories, reviews and guest posts. Anyone brave enough to blog about Chuck Norris jokes wins my vote!

Amber Mitchell: Amber’s blog Down the Rabbit Hole is beautiful to look at. Once you get passed that, she has some great information on Y.A. books. I tend to read adult novels, but my daughter is a voracious reader who is getting into Y.A. books, so I really depend on Amber’s spot-on reviews and information about authors and books in this genre. Amber has a genius section called Happily Never After in which she summarizes the end of novels, so you can get a quick review before reading the next one in the series.

Mark Dave Mark is fearless. He is not afraid to voice his opinion even if it means he might offend others. You may be wondering why I would be drawn to a blog like that, but I respect his honestly. Not to mention the fact that what he says is often true and what people may be thinking but are afraid to say. We need people like Mark to challenge us and to make us think. Plus, he sometimes uses the word “boobs” because he likes them, which makes me giggle like a girl (heehee…he said “boobs”).

Congratulations!! Time to party! Pat yourselves on the back and keep up the good work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Got Tagged!

I just got tagged by Maureen Hovermale (@zencherry)! One of my favorite people! Love Maureen's blog because it is a fun place to visit - full of book reviews, author interviews, and smiles. Her positive energy is absolutely contagious. Her blog posts are like Lay's potato chips, you can't read just one. Try it...I dare you!

Since I got tagged, I'm "it." I like this kind of tag though since I don't have to run. Running has never been a favorite pastime of mine, but I am extremely competitive, so I had to come up with ways to minimize running and still win. I made sure our tag playing always included a "home base" like a tree or a car that players (mostly me) could touch and be "safe" while being free to taunt the "it" person. Freeze tag was another genius move. If you were tagged, you had to "freeze" like a statue. The last person to get tagged would be "it." Of course, I would let myself get tagged first, so I could stand in my regal statue position while the other kids ran around like maniacs.

And now for the questions...

This last year has been pretty uneventful. I'm not complaining, mind you. Uneventful is not a bad thing. However, my sister surprised me on my birthday by booking a Disney cruise for the two of us. I felt like I'd won a game show! Woohoo!

My grandmother's health has declined and her dementia has gotten worse. I hate that. The good news is...she's happy as a clam, so I can't complain.

I have two. I joined Twitter and started a blog. I swore I would never join Twitter (or Stalker as I called it) and the thought of blogging gave me a stomach ache. I have been amazingly surprised by both. The people I have met and the feedback I have received are a constant source of joy and inspiration. I'm a goober for waiting so long.

No one I can think of. No one I let live anyway...heehee.

I have a twisted sense of humor, so I generally laugh at just about anything. Probably one of the most reliable things is the television show Wipeout. That show kills me every time!

Finishing my book. Over the years, I have started a million books/projects that I never finished. It became a serious mental hurdle for me.

I'm a very private person, so the thought of stepping out into social media, self promoting, and sharing personal things about myself made me crazy. I actually got some good advice from Maureen. She basically said that if I was going to put myself out there as an author, I would have to get used to dealing with people getting to know me. It's part of the package. So here I am...talking about myself again. Argh...lol. Ok, I'm still working on it.

I'd like to be more organized and use my time more efficiently. Since I would have to organize my time so I could find some time to organize, I think I'll have to go with plan B which is working on healthy lifestyle changes for me and my family and being more disciplined about my writing.

Sweet...I get to tag two people without running! I tag...

Roberta J. Gordon (@GeminiWitching) and Lisa McFerren (@Lisas_alter_ego). I have a serious soft spot for these ladies. I absolutely love talking with them. Their honesty and generosity always makes me smile. Hugs!

Roberta's blog

Lisa's blog

Tag! You're it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Giveaway! Free Copy of Where Will You Run?

Hi everyone!
Just a quick note to let you know that Becky at Book Bite Reviews is hosting an international giveaway of my book Where Will You Run? in conjunction with the review she posted on Tuesday. The giveaway started last night and entries will be accepted until January 23, 2012 at midnight! There is a signed paperback available for US followers and an ebook for International followers. If there is enough interest, I will add another ebook.

Check it out here! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

5 Stars from Book Bite Reviews!

Check out my review and others at Book Bite Reviews

      Honestly, i have got to tell you i am really getting into adult paranormals. I always thought that adult books were boring, but it was obviously only because i was reading the wrong ones. Where Will You Run? is anything BUT boring. It is heart racing, heart breaking, sexy, scary, dangerous, action packed, and romantic all at once. Mari is such a great character. She is strong and fierce and doesn't let anyone tell her what to do. And Raith is sexy and dangerous, but kind and caring. I loved this crime duo so much.
     I loved the relationship's between all the characters and think that each of their own stories was very unique and kept you reading. You wanted to know all about these characters. You actually got to know them and cared about them. You rooted for them and were heart broken when anything bad happened. There is a really sad part about two fifths into the story and you honestly feel numb like the character does when you read it.
      Ms. Franco did an amazing job with this story and with her characters. She made them come alive. You really do get sucked into the story, because from the first page you want to know more and keep reading. Most stories you have to get through the first fifty pages before really getting into it, but this novel is automatic.
        There is only one thing that got me a little ticked about Mari. I did quickly get over it, but it really bugged me when it happened. Mari is a super strong character and sticks up for herself. She isn't like most female characters where they depend on a man. She is very sarcastic and makes sure no one thinks they can tell her what to do, but in the beginning when Raith got mad and got in her face she turned to putty and just let him. This is the only guy she backed down to. I realize it works for later on, but it bugged me so much. Here is this girl telling people how she will string them up by their balls and then when one guy gets in her face she turns into a little girl. I wanted to hit her. There was also a couple times when i had some witty comebacks i could have thrown in there instead of Mari getting embarrassed and not knowing what to say back, but there weren't too many times. This wasn't really a big deal, and it definitely didn't make me love the story any less, but it did bother me. So i thought i should rant about it =D

       This was a fantastic story. The characters were all amazing, every single one of them. Each had life and a story behind them that really drew you in and made you care about them. You wanted to know what was going to happen to them and rooted for them like they were real people. I really loved that Mari was such a strong female character. I loved that she wasn't dependent and told people where to shove it. I especially loved that from page one you were sucked into the story and didn't want to put it down. REALLY great story. I recommend this to anyone who loves the paranormal, anyone who likes a little romance in their paranormals, and anyone who has been turned off by adult novels by how boring they are, because this novel will make you realize that some are plain fantastic.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 5/5

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Favorite Indie Book Picks for 2011

            In August of 2011, I was launched into the self publishing world I didn’t even know existed. Since then I have been filling up my Kindle with books from fellow authors. I am so impressed with the quality of writing I have found in self publishing. The only problem is – I can’t read fast enough! Here are some of the books I have read this year that I really loved. I was lucky enough to get connected with some self published authors early on, so I started with their books and have since found more people on Facebook and Twitter. Meeting so many talented authors gave me a chance to check out some other genres that I would not normally read, which I really enjoyed. Without further ado, here are my favorite books for 2011. They are in no particular order, so do yourself a favor and look at all of them!

Exiled by M.R. Merrick – I met Matt on Facebook and we also connected on Twitter. We published our books about the same time, so it was fun to compare notes. Exiled was one of the first self published books I read and I was blown away! I love this book so much, I can’t even tell you. It will suck you in from the first page and will not let go. I cannot wait for the next installment of this series!


An Apple For Zoe by Thomas Amo – Tom has been a dear friend of mine for more years than I care to say. I have always admired him because he has spent his life living and pursuing his dreams. He inspired me to take the self publishing leap and was there to give advice and help me at every turn. It had been a long time since I had read a horror book when I picked up this page turner. AAFZ reminded me how much fun horror can be. This is the first installment in a trilogy that is a must read for horror fans. I am dying to see what happens next! This book will have you sleeping with the lights on!


Blood Lust by Gary C. King – I met Gary on Twitter. Have to say I really have a secret passion for true crime/forensic books, and Gary did not disappoint. His writing style is clean and concise with just the right amount of detail. He sticks to the facts and never sensationalizes the crimes. He shows great respect for the victims and their families as well as for law enforcement. I already have two more of his books waiting on my Kindle!


The Case of the Forged Fingerprint Killer by Eric J. Ekstrom – I found Erik through a mutual friend on Facebook. I don’t normally read thrillers, but I picked up his book just to be nice. I was surprised to find that I fell in love with this story and the main character Everett Holmes. He isn’t your classical kind of hero, but I am really addicted to this series. Totally twisted!

Tough Adult J

For Nothing (An Upstate New York Mafia Tale) by Nicholas Denmon – I met Nicholas on Facebook. His mafia book didn’t really interest me, but I was curious and downloaded the sample. His writing style is breathtaking. I think I held my breath through the whole first chapter. Downloaded the rest of the book and became an immediate fan.


Things to Do in Denver When You’re Un-Dead by Mark Everett Stone – Okay, how can you not buy a book with a title like that? Mark is another gem I found on Twitter. I have to admit that I’m still reading this one, but I have a feeling this is going to be one of my favorite books ever! I am so glad it’s going to be a series because I cannot get enough of Mark’s writing. I love his sense of humor and his writing style is original and distinctive. I look forward to getting lost in the world of the BSI.

Adult (Maybe older Y.A.)

Model Agent by Sean Sweeney – This was another book that surprised me. Sean is one of the first writers I met on Facebook and has been a great source of information. He has a number of self published books, but I picked this thriller which is the first in a series. I loved the main character Jaclyn Johnson, and Sean has a great talent for creating truly frightening bad guys. The spy gadgets in this book would rival any James Bond story. There are several more books available in this series that I will be adding to my reading list!


Betrayed by Wodke Hawkinson – Found this writing duo on Twitter. Initially, I was a little concerned about this story because it deals with a rape victim. The book is very descriptive, so be warned. However, this story is more about healing, forgiveness, and the power of love. I have a serious soft spot for these characters.


Deadly Reunion (The Taci Andrews Deadly Series) by Amy Manemann – Met Amy on Twitter as well. This book was pure fun. Sometimes is nice to sit down with a book that keeps you smiling and eager to find out what happens next. I will definitely be following this series!

Adult (Maybe Y.A.)

How to Date a Werewolf (Rylie Cruz Series) by Rose Pressey – Rose has a lot of books with titles that are just as catchy as this one. Another book I bought for the title, but what a great read. You can tell that she really has a lot of fun with her characters and stories. Looking forward to getting How to Date a Vampire!

Adult (Older Y.A.)

            I have a bunch of new books as well that I can’t wait to read including:

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto

First Chosen (Tears of Rage) by M. Todd Gallowglas

Driven to Kill by Gary C. King

Let’s Get Lade by Thomas Amo

And more to come…