what's interesting about the tips is that they not only apply to writers but to bloggers as well. writers need help on how to increase their sales in a competitive market.
bloggers too need tools on how to boost their site traffic.
i am not an author but i am a blogger. this guide has opened a can of fresh ideas on how to attract more readers to my blog and where to find them. in fact, right after reading the guide, i immediately implemented a couple of Mark's tips and they worked for me.
i recommend this free marketing guide to amateur and professional writers and bloggers. in fact, i recommend this to anyone who does marketing and want to see positive results - whether they be short or long-term ones.
thanks Mark for writing and sharing this with us!
A Smashwords fan,
this well-written story has certainly moved me in so many ways. it is chilling in its realism, frightening in its possibility yet profound in its underlying message.
this urban fantasy is an entertaining read from start to finish and would certainly find a place among young and mature fans of the genre.
for the complete review, please check out
what is it about love that makes one do or say stupid things that seem so illogical and outrageous to other people but make a lot of sense to the enamored? why is it that one also fails to hear the alarm when warning signals suddenly go off? are we plain stubborn or just acting out what our "flesh is heir to?"
readers may find themselves saying "oh, i've been there done that" as i have while reading the story.
Sarah Massara's debut novel The Other Boyfriend is a funny, real, feel-good book and though the author herself labels it as "chick-lit," i believe that male readers may see themselves in a character or two and learn valuable lessons about falling/being in love and about the women they love or pursue.
“Never moon a werewolf.” - Mike Binder
Christy McCauley is back in West Virginia. her homecoming is far from pleasant. her grandmother has just passed away. after the funeral, Chrissy learns that Gram bequeathed to her a cabin in Misty Valley, thirty acres of land, seventy thousand dollars and a life insurance policy worth one hundred thousand dollars.
she then decides to leave behind her job as assistant technical writer at Manning Graphics in South Carolina and invites her colleague and best friend Graeme Pierce for a visit.
meanwhile, something is out there in the hollows and woods of rural Augusta County. it stalks, it kills and is hungry for more.
while reading this book, i fondly recalled memories of my high school teacher who used to regale us with stories of werewolves a few minutes before she dismissed us from class. i also remember The Howling series by Gary Brandner.
McCarty Griffin's take on the werewolf was a delightful and frightening read. i loved how she portrayed life in "hillbilly" country with its interesting characters and their idiosyncrasies.
Chrissy's friend Graeme with his city ways was entertaining and memorable. Chrissy's strained relationship with her mother was contrasted with Chrissy's close connection with her father. her oldest friends Tess and her husband David are shown as a loving and supportive couple. the widow Marla Fullard, her emotional state and what she had to go through were aptly described.
these are just some of the players in this book. readers may find a lot of them showing up here and there but each had stories to tell and all of them are linked together as the novel progresses.
though i had some niggles - which i cannot mention here as they would lead to spoilers - Monster Story was still a fun, fast-paced read.
i never had a dull moment and the last couple of chapters were as gripping as the first few ones.
[E]very time a child says, "I don't believe in fairies," there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead. - James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan
it is the summer of 2045 and sixteen-year-old twins Grasiella and Tatiana are sent to Kauai, Hawaii to visit their grandmother "G". they each know of their special abilities but what they find out and who they meet during their stay on the island will make their holiday something they will never forget.
in this fast-paced book, i was treated to some mystery, magical creatures, gods and goddesses, secrets and age old battles. the book's prologue drew me instantly to the story. the last few pages were exciting as well and obviously hint at a sequel.
the lines between the world of magic and reality are non-existent. mythical beings have no trouble blending in with the human population who seems to be oblivious to what is going on. only a handful, like the twins, know that there is more out there beyond the surface of things.
despite their limited powers, knowledge and their grandmother's disappearances just when they needed her, Grasiella and Tatiana go out of their comfort zones to find answers. it does put them in danger but i like the idea of the teenage twins taking part in something heroic that could bring about the world's salvation from an alien threat.
overall, it was a fun read. author M.M. Shelley's writing debut is wholesome and imaginative. although i feel that the book would cater more to a younger audience, adults would also enjoy reading this as i have.
Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity. - John Ruskin
Special Delivery is about a 39-year old woman coming to terms with the death of her husband and entertaining the possibility of welcoming someone new in her life.
this short story by Lia Fairchild is sweet and poignant with a surprise twist at the end! i loved it!
initially, i thought something was wrong with the file i downloaded but a double and triple check confirmed that i had a good copy. i have never come across anything like this before and consider it a new reading and learning experience.
James Hutchings' thirty stories cover a range of genres and are written in less than 140 characters. my favorites are those about using rope, a stalker, a brain-eating creep, a lonely guy's web profile, a Pavlovian treatment for students and a Mama Monster. there are a few more but the ones i mentioned really grabbed my attention.
Two-Fisted Tweets is a very quick read that - pardon the pun - delivers a punch and then some. it is perfect for whiling the time away - waiting for a ride, commuting or waiting for your date to show up.
Sarah Alexander leaves Los Angeles and her ex-husband and begins a new life in Salem, Massachusetts. despite the change in scenery, she still continues to be plagued by dreams of an earlier time and a faceless stranger. when she meets real witches and the enigmatic James Wentworth, her ordinary life spirals into the unknown.
the historical facts regarding the Salem witch hunts, trials and executions served as the backbone for this interesting paranormal romance and i loved how author Meredith Allard wove her magic around them. though this started a tad slow for me, things started speeding up after some time especially when secrets and more secrets started unraveling . an unexpected threat that could resurrect another hunt added intrigue. how this dilemma was developed and resolved was one of the highlights that kept me reading late into the night.
i also loved how the author's use of modern English seamlessly flowed into 17th century speech when her characters Sarah and James relived their dreams and memories respectively.
two more books follow this one and though they have not been released yet, i feel that this book can stand alone.
magic, romance, mystery and suspense make Her Dear and Loving Husband a great read for me!
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. - Jane Howard
Leah Tyler is not your average teen. she is a star football player and her school work is brilliant . her father Will and her mother Zoe could not have been more proud to have a daughter like her. her sister Justine looks up to her, too. everything seemed perfect for Leah until she gets involved with Todd Corbett and his crowd. suddenly, her future and that of her family did not appear so promising anymore...
have you ever gotten to read a book that you could barely put down and that stays with you long after? i have and this is one such book. in her amazing debut novel, Terri Giuliano Long invites the reader to witness the ups and downs of a middle class American family. she takes us inside each major character's point of view and we become intimate with them as we learn about their feelings, dreams, hopes, fears and secrets.
i feel for everyone in this story. whether they did something that could be considered right or wrong turned out to be irrelevant to me because each had something significant to tell. moreover, i could relate to a few of these characters. as i continued to read, i was struck by how similar dynamics among family and friends could be wherever you live or come from and that some events can really spiral out of control despite one's good intentions. as the drama and conflict played out among the Tylers, i could not help but think about my own family, my relatives and friends and the problems and issues we lived through and those that we still face as well.
i highly recommend this book to everyone who has ever been a part of a family. my wish is that after reading In Leah's Wake, we all continue to learn to be more open, honest, caring, understanding, forgiving and loving individuals.
We have been friends together In sunshine and in shade. - Caroline Sheridan Norton
Alexandria Carmichael and her BFF Seth have known each other since first grade. Alex, though, has fallen in love with Seth over the years and secretly pines for him. it would have been less complicated or perhaps simpler for her to deal with her feelings if Seth were not gay but he is.
author Reena Jacobs has written a beautiful and bittersweet young adult coming-of-age story that deals with friendship, love, bigotry and self-discovery. set in a college campus, it introduces the reader to football jocks, campus queens and slices of academic and dormitory life. the characters are well fleshed out and the language is fresh and contemporary. situations and emotions echo humor and pathos which readers can relate to regardless of sexual preference, race and even religious affiliation.
Alex's unrequited love and Seth's attempts to "stay in the closet" bring drama and conflict which caught my attention from the story's beginning to its unexpected conclusion.
overall, this is a wonderful book about people falling in love and finding themselves a place in the world where they could grow, be happy and simply be free.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. - Charles Darwin
having been home-schooled most of her life, Jaycie Lerner has a hard time fitting in in a private high school where people find her strange and different. well, she is. Jaycie has telepathic and telekinetic powers. even her best friend Matt is unaware of them. through the guidance of her trainer Alison, Jaycie undergoes rigorous mental and physical exercises in order to improve and learn how to control her abilities. when a stranger tells her to apply for a job at the local Christian bookstore where she meets Haylee Mitchell, Jaycie's life will never be the same again.
author Natasha Larry's novel is an interesting and complicated look at people with extra-sensory gifts and how they each cope or deal with these powers - privately and in public. for the most part of the book, i was definitely entertained with a lot of scenarios. i liked the dynamics among Jaycie, her father, her godfather and her trainer. i was amused by Jaycie and Matt's relationship that turned into something more serious. i loved how Jaycie and Haylee's friendship developed and what it meant for both of them.
there were also some discussions and references to Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. they got me a little confused but i felt that these added intelligence and depth to the story without sounding too pedantic.
however, i was pulled in a different direction when Haylee's deep dark secrets were revealed. what Jaycie did to help out her friend became a moral and ethical issue for me. i was really surprised with how things went in the latter part of the book. i found it dark, disturbing and against my personal beliefs. i wish things did not turn out the way they had but they did.
other than this, i still find the book well written.
Love and pregnancy and riding on a camel cannot be hid. - Arabic Proverb
Pace Kelly did not expect nor want to believe that she could be pregnant again. after all, her husband Jason had a vasectomy three years ago but her recent medical record says otherwise. Jason submits to another examination and he turns up sterile. how did Pace end up pregnant then and who was the man responsible?
this novel is about a happy marriage gone sour because of an unanticipated pregnancy. it also examines further how this scenario affects relationships between couples, their children, their neighbors, friends and immediate family members.
Pace's predicament is complicated when Jason loses trust and feels betrayed despite her claims of innocence. as a counterpoint to their situation, readers will read about Pace's father who is having an affair and about her mother who carries on as if nothing has happened.
we have here two families facing their respective marriage's darkest hours and it was interesting to read how the story progressed from each family's perspective. the characters are well developed with personalities that are shaped by their social status, background and experiences.
drama and a bit of mystery added tension to the whole book and i found myself hoping for a peaceful resolution and closure for each of the protagonists. the revelations at the end, however, were totally unexpected. for me, these unforeseen disclosures were simply brilliant.
i commend author Christy Hayes for beginning her book with a conundrum that puzzled me, generating scenes and emotions that sustained my interest and giving it an ending that is worth discussing!
Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality - Emily Dickinson
Keely Morisson lost more than half of herself when her twin Jordan was murdered. wallowing in grief and hoping to be reunited with her sister, Keely commits suicide. the afterlife, however, was not what she expected. with a reaper and a demon for company, she finds out what being dead really is and that the battle for souls including her own is being wagered.
author Michelle Muto's book is a haunting journey and exploration of what lies beyond the grave. it is dark and sometimes frightening to contemplate but more often than not, it is filled with nostalgia and a deep-seated longing for forgiveness, justice and peace for and from both the living and those who have passed on.
Keely is caught in a purgatory of her own doing. her suicide condemns her to witness and be part of a world of demons, angels, reapers and wandering souls. she is unable to cross over and her soul's final destination hangs on a balance.
the author's premise that love does not stop with one's final breath does not surprise me. the idea that it becomes stronger and more tenacious even in death is something i agree with. the possibility of departed loved ones continuing to watch over and love those they left behind somehow brings me relief and some closure. i find it very comforting too .
i find the book's details quite plausible. Keely's story is also a reminder for me to live for the moment and to be thankful for everything and everyone.
i have to admit as well that this was a very emotional read for me. my late parents, relatives and friends were constantly on my mind as i read about Keely and her wanderings in the afterlife. my hope is that their transition from this world to the next was smooth and joyful and very unlike Keely's own.
this is an excellent literary collection of stories that i relished and loved. i was amazed by the author's writing style. using a wide range of vocabulary, she still managed to make everything readable and accessible. out of the six eerie tales and one poem, my choice picks from this sampler are Heartbeat, Unleashed: Tail One, Bedeviled and Macabre.
What we hear while we are asleep continues to resonate with us upon awakening. - Henry Reed
Leeowyn Blake was still little when her parents split up. life was pretty much normal for her and her Mom in Jacksonville, Florida until she was fourteen when her Uncle Cyle suddenly showed up. four years later, her father's family is looking forward to Leeowyn's eighteenth birthday and her awakening...
reading author Mary Parker's debut novel was a pleasant surprise. i was hooked from the book's beginning to its cliffhanger ending. the story was fast-paced and intriguing. there were so many secrets concerning Leeowyn and her relatives and some of the other characters were quite suspect as to their real motives. it was like reading a mystery with fantasy elements on it and the combination worked well for me.
i liked how Leeowyn's visions were described. whether they were real or not just made the whole story more interesting.
i also liked the coming-of-age theme in this book. Leeowyn's character gradually develops when she experiences her awakening and finds out what she must face and what her responsibilities are. she may react like a typical teenager now and then but one can see the changes in her personality as she transitions from childhood to adulthood.
overall, i find Ms. Parker's first book entertaining and delightful. i hope the second book in the Kahl'Nar Saga would be the same as well.
To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. - Buddha
happiness is all around and it is for everyone. it is not as elusive as some people think it to be. author Bryan Cohen believes that it is within one's reach and explains why and how through his treasure trove of data gathered from his personal experiences, his readings and research.
this book was an eye-opener for me. how i wished that it were already available when i was still in college and getting myself ready to face the world. i would probably have been better equipped but as the author asserts, it is not and never too late though and i agree with him.
i liked the way everything is structured. there are eight chapters that provide a wealth of information and tips. each ends with doable "happiness workouts." however, the first step to any undertaking and achieving something is usually the hardest. so i personally feel that a thorough understanding of the first chapter and doing the exercises until they become second nature is critical before moving on to the next one and so on.
i also liked the bibliography provided at the end of the book. among those listed, two are already in my personal library - Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.
change does not happen overnight and it takes some time. success - whatever that means to you or me - can be achieved by a willingness and conscious effort on one's part.
as i look back at the past and think about my future, i have realized that achieving a general feeling of happiness is really worth it. after all, i only have one life to live and it is my desire to make the most out of it by being happy no matter what.
"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible." - Oscar Wilde
Lamont Simms is a New York City cop who does his job well and has a clean record to show for it. after days of little sleep and putting up with his partner on their beat, Lamont takes his boat and goes on vacation. little did he know that this trip would forever change his life and the way he would view the world around him.
author Michael Lorde's novel crosses multiple genres. his story, which has a combination of sci-fi, police procedural, crime, mystery and thriller elements, grabbed my attention from the first chapter to the last. at each turn of the page, i never knew what was going to happen next. it was a strange, oftentimes surreal yet exhilarating ride that sustained my interest from beginning to end.
this page-turner deals with a subject matter that has been written about and even shown on the silver screen but i have never read or seen anything like it before. the fact that the author still managed to come up with something brilliant and original is really remarkable.
although the setting is contemporary, it has a classic, vintage feel to it reminiscent of the 50s and 60s which i liked.
overall, i loved this book and its premise. even if this book can stand alone, i would not mind if there were a sequel. in fact, i welcome it.
“Listen to them - children of the night. What music they make.” - Bram Stoker, Dracula
in Drisdak, the city on the Sea of Sorrows, the disappearance of Guild Master Arcalian and a mysterious fire in the Mages' Guild House prompts Councilman Regecon to hire a bounty hunter, a rogue and a warrior to investigate and solve the enigma. the quest for answers brings these three men to confront an ancient, evil and powerful enemy - the vampire Lucian val Drasmyr.
author Matthew D. Ryan's novel is a refreshing take on the Dracula legend and is set in a world inhabited by humans and supernatural creatures.
i was very impressed with this dark literary fantasy. it is filled with heart-stopping scenes and a storyline that engages the reader from the first page to the last. the prose is also excellent and i never had a dull moment as the story progressed.
i highly recommend this book which i devoured in one sitting. it has enough magic, mystery and adventure combined to provide chills and thrills for lovers of fantasy and vampire stories.
the first chapter pulled me in but things got confusing after that. there was so much going on and lots of details to take note of that i felt lost every now and then. still, i was impressed with the quality of the writing. i wish, though, that there were a better and simpler way of presenting the storyline and the different characters.
"All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost..." - J.R.R. Tolkien
Major James Henry Craig, commander of the Eighty-Second Regiment, is off on a mission and leaves the care of Wilmington, North Carolina to his lead criminal investigator Lieutenant Michael Stoddard. together with his assistant Nick Spry, Michael needs to put a stop to two miscreants terrorizing the town and find a missing English heir before Major Craig returns and especially before Lord Cornwallis and his army of redcoats arrive.
based on historical facts, Suzanne Adair's second novel in her Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thrillers Series only gets better. it is fast-paced, well researched and an engrossing read.
as always, the writing is excellent, the characters are well-developed and the author's attention to detail is remarkable. she was able to capture the colors, sounds and smells of Spring and the life of the denizens in the frontier town of Wilmington. all of these burst into life, escape from the pages and grab the reader's attention from the first page to the last.
one of the things that made this novel extraordinary for me was how the author delved deeper into the heart and soul of her protagonist Michael Stoddard. surprises and more are revealed about him as the story progressed. as layer after layer is peeled away, we are offered a glimpse of the man under the uniform. the more we get to know him, the more he becomes real and endearing.
another thing i liked was how the author made a bold risk in the story with regard to descriptions of intimacy between some characters. it was a daring move that was not present or detailed in two of her books i read previously. however, it did not come out vulgar or offensive in any way.
readers who are familiar with her other novels will also welcome the appearances and or mention of a few characters like Adam Neville, Mathias Hale, David St. James and Claude Devereaux. moreover, this novel would not be complete without the presence and menace of Lieutenant Dunstan Fairfax, Michael's arch nemesis.
the more i get to read Ms. Adair's novels, the more i become convinced that she truly deserves to be called "the Mistress of American Revolution historical fiction!"
"Marriage should be between a spouse and a spouse, not a gender and a gender." - Hendrik Hertzberg
in a distant future, Dr. Anthony Smith worked hard to ensure that injudicious breeding would no longer pose a threat to the survival of the human race. twins Aiya and Aiyan, of the ruling House of Gaeland and descendants of Dr. Smith, are about to meet their betrothed. in the days to follow, each of the twins would prove that "love is love" and it knows no gender...
author T.M. Smith's debut novel introduces the reader to a different world where gay and lesbian relationships are the norm and heterosexual relationships are not. it is an uncommon and daring story that explores how society has evolved especially with regard to same gender relationships.
from the get go, i was impressed with Ms. Smith's worldbuilding and her attention to detail as she talks about food, clothing and customs of this dystopian society. there are also many characters involved whose personalities are distinct and are as colorful as the garments they wear or the tattoos inked on their skin.
it took some time getting used to the flow of the story though as people and scenes suddenly shift from one to the next. however, i soon got past that difficulty and settled in comfortably to read the rest of the twins' story.
the sexual situations are very graphic but they are crucial to the storyline and in being true to the overall theme that love knows no gender. there are plenty of non-erotic moments as well. there is also humor in some pages involving Aiyan and Kaden and the couple's propensity for breaking things.
the best part for me, i think, was the middle to last part of the book. things got more exciting when conflicts arose, lives and loves were threatened and secrets were revealed.
although, this book was edited, i still think it could benefit from some further editing.
all things considered, i enjoyed the book. it may not be for everyone but its intended audience may enjoy it for its being unique, bold and highly imaginative.
"Your grief shall last far longer than the corpses of those you mourn." - Keeper of Knowledge (Wayward epigraph)
grieving for her parents and desperate for food and company, Cristiana Rowe leaves the only home she ever knew. salvation finds her through Elder Henrik but what Cristiana thought was her deliverance turned out to be her damnation. she is a wayward after all...
Mark Stone's Calasade: Wayward is how graphic novels should be - more graphics and less prose. through his vibrant illustrations, the author has presented a story that cuts through the chase and goes straight for the jugular or your heart - whichever comes first.
the plot is fairly simple but it is the development and presentation of that plot that sets it apart. the art work is very detailed and there are no superfluous components that would distract the reader's eyes. there are only three major characters and a minor player involved and the story flows smoothly from beginning to end.
regarding the prose, it is formal, elegant and reflects the language of the continent of Calasade with its smattering of Latin terms. readers who are familiar with Mark Stone's works will easily recognize words like aio, nulla, lupa and caupona.
i have only just recently been reading another Calasade novel and Wayward was a most welcome diversion. it only needs a few minutes of one's time and i highly recommend it to fans of fantasy and sword and sorcery.
Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite classic horror-romance stories and i loved it even more when i saw the London production in San Francisco. of course, the movie adaptation was excellent as well.
having mentioned the above, i commend author Lesa Howard for doing an excellent job in shying away from and/or focusing so much on Leroux's masterpiece. the essentials were there but she made Phantom's Dance truly her own. instead of musical ingenues and divas, she turned to the world of ballet for her novel.
although it started out slow and easy, the story soon sped up with a few twists and surprises that even i did not consider.
this had been another great read that i would gladly add to my Phantom-related literature.