Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Feeding My Addictions

For those of you who write, you'll understand when I say it's an addiction. I constantly have stories in my head wanting to be told. Even when I'm not writing, I'm still writing. You know... staring off into space, aloof to life that continues to happen around you because you're stuck in your own little fictional world.

Some of those stories may simply be an idea, a short story, or maybe it's a bit too crazy to share, so I shove them into the back of my mind, knowing they may never get told. Sometimes, ideas have to remain just that... ideas. However, an occasional opportunity arises that will cause me to pull one of those crazy stories out. For me, that opportunity is often times in the form of Wattpad.

Whether it's Harry Potter fanfic, that I could never share otherwise, or a story that gets featured on Wattpad and chosen by several popular horror movies as a featured story on their Wattpad profiles, I can always count on Wattpad to be there to feed my addiction; an outlet I can let loose on.

Because of the popularity of Wattpad, many aspiring authors have gotten some pretty awesome publishing contracts with big companies, including Anna Todd and her After series, which is now published by Gallery Books. Not only that, but there are also other companies looking to utilize Wattpad's growth, including TV networks. TNT, for example, is currently hosting a horror contest... and the grand prize is $20,000 AND your story made into a TNT series. How flippin' cool is that?
So, for those who say Wattpad is a waste of time, since authors make no income from it, that's not totally accurate. For those authors who commit to writing on Wattpad, building a reader base and gaining popularity, the possibilities are endless. From publishers who follow popular stories on Wattpad to contests with a potentially high payout, Wattpad is nothing to laugh at.

Because I love the interaction and support Wattpad offers, as well as the possibilities it can possibly provide, it continues to feed my addiction. And it's all FREE! Free for authors, free for readers, free for everyone to enjoy.

I happen to be partaking in one of Wattpad's many contests, which is provided by the TNT Network. This was one of those perfect opportunities to pull two crazy stories out of the shadows of my mind and submit them, since they fit right in with the request of wanting creepy and macabre:

Feel free to read, vote, & comment!
It's always greatly appreciated.

As you can see, Wattpad is super shareable! From Instagram to Facebook posts and tweets, Wattpad makes your stories look nice. This is why I always encourage new authors to utilize and enjoy the tools they provide. There are already millions of readers on Wattpad (I happen to be one), so I'm sure there's someone waiting to become your newest fan. (If you can spin a good ghost story, it will most likely be me.)

I will warn you, though, that Wattpad can be a bit addicting. From all the amazing stories and authors, such as Colleen Hoover and Jennifer Armentrout, to all the enthusiastic readers, Wattpad will become one of your favorite apps, if it's not already.

Happy Wattpadding!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Parapalooza Giveaway


Your Worst Fears

YA Horror Novel

In celebration of my ninth novel being published,
I've decided to give signed copies of ALL my paranormal books away!
This YA horror novel was simply supposed to be another novella, however, it ended up being my second longest book to date, coming in at a whopping 400 pages!
"Reality was now a nightmare I couldn't wake up from."
When a paranormal research team spends the night in the notoriously haunted Smoky Mountain Sanatorium, they imagine it will be like any other investigation. However, when the normal things that go bump in the night turn into screams, with investigators running from things they can't see, they realize it will be nothing like other investigations. Determined not to let the ghosts of the sanatorium win, they stick together and stay until morning, not leaving until the sun comes up.

 What the team fails to realize is that they might be able to leave the sanatorium, but they'll never really be able to get away. Once the ghosts of Smoky Mountain Sanatorium are awakened, so are your worst fears.

I've taken my own worst fears, as well as those readers submitted, and woven them into a story that I hope you enjoy... and that it creeps you out just a bit. YWF is spooky, yet, as usual, has romantic elements, which I can't seem to get away from, even in a horror novel, so I'm hoping readers like it.

Join the Parapalooza event HERE
so you don't miss out on any giveaways!

Make sure you enter my giveaway,
which includes:


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

After pre-ordering my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for myself on my birthday in March, I've anxiously waited five months for it to arrive at my local BAM store. Once I got my hands on it this past weekend, I was able to read it a little every day and finish it today, four days later. Sadly, I liked the anticipation of waiting for it more than actually reading it.

Don't get me wrong; this is an engaging and interesting story, especially since it's in the form of a script, which can come across a little flat. However, despite its intrigue, it in no way compares to the magic, characterization, and eloquently written first seven books. To me, regardless of what it's called, this is not an eighth book. I consider it more of a bonus story for potterheads, like myself.

The main reason I can't call this an eighth book is the fact that it's not completely written by J.K. Rowling, herself. This is a script book 'based on an original new story by' her, but it actually appears to be written mostly by Jack Thorne. This is not an eighth story, it's a play based on the series. The other seven books had to happen for the story to progress, but this one didn't. Yes, it was nice getting to revisit old characters and peek inside their relationships and how they developed over the years, but it wasn't a necessity. The series, for me, ended with the Deathly Hallows, and I'm happy with that, as much as I miss it.

With that being said, this is actually going to be a book I can't rate. On one hand, if I look at is as just a stand-alone bonus story, I'd give it four out of five stars for the interesting plot and twists that continued to arise. On the other hand, if I look at it as what it's called, the eighth book in this series, I'd only give it one star. One star! *gasp* I know! *still shaking head in disbelief* I never thought I'd give anything that had Harry Potter written on it anything less than the highest rating, and maybe that's why I can't rate it properly. It would just hurt too much.

First off, the characters irked me. Ron was more like his twin brothers were in the first books than himself. Hermione and Ginny seemed more like themselves, as did Professor McGonagall, but that was about it. Albus's frustration with being Harry Potter's son, and having to live up to his name, was to be expected. On the flip side, Scorpius seemed more like Neville Longbottom's son, light-hearted and jovial, not a Malfoy. It was weird thinking about him being Draco's son. I just told myself he was more like his mom than his dad, but it was still odd, especially how much he ended up hugging Albus, which is weird for boys to do at that age, anyway, and definitely not something you'd think a Malfoy would do.

And then we have Harry, himself. Ugh.

Harry Potter was a butthole. He was a butthole to Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, and he was a royal butthole to his own son, Albus, at one point. This story made me not like him, which is another reason I wouldn't be able to rate it high. At the end of the Deathly Hallows, I loved how he was so reassuring with Albus on his first day at Hogwarts, which was completely lost with this story. I found myself liking Draco so much more than Harry, which is just wrong... for me, anyway.

And then we have Dumbledore. I actually wish he wasn't even in this book.

When Dumbledore's name came up as speaking, I was like, "Yes! He's back." However, once he actually started talking, my excitement quickly deflated. In the other books, he's portrayed as a strong and wise wizard, but in this one, even though he's dead and in a portrait, he seemed sad and weak. Yes, he's a mere essence of his former self, but, in my mind, even that would be pretty great.

Something else that didn't jive with me are just minor things that kind of contradicted the other books. I can't say exactly what, since I don't want to give away spoilers, but it was enough for me to question the validity of what was going on and being said. At one point, I was like, "What?" because I knew that wasn't right.

Despite these things, this is Harry Potter! I enjoyed reading about this magical world once again, nonetheless. Yes, it did kind of read like fan-fiction, but who doesn't love fanfic? I've even dabbled in a Harry Potter fanfic story, myself. I am glad I read this book, and did like it, despite some of the negative things I've mentioned, but an eighth story it is not.

Would I recommend this story? Well, that depends.

Yes, if you:

  • love Harry Potter and will read anything pertaining to it, like I do
  • don't mind reading a script
  • are okay with Harry Potter coming across as a bit of a butthole
  • are okay with minor story discrepancies
  • can read this as a bonus story, not an eighth book
  • just need a Potter fix
No, if you:

  • don't like fan fiction
  • don't like reading a script
  • don't want the original story to be tainted by an 'unnecessary' eighth book
  • love to hate Draco, because he was one of my favs in this one

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I passed an idiot today.

*climbs on soapbox*

If you text and drive, or do anything else that impairs your driving or takes your eyes off the road for no good reason, you’re an idiot.

Driving down my curvy road this morning, I approached an above mentioned idiot who was driving a rather large, nice, gray car partially on my side of the road. Thinking she’d get over, like most people do when they see a car coming, I didn’t think much about it—til she didn’t. 

As she continued to come over into my lane, I knew I had one of two choices: 1. slow down and let her hit me head-on or 2. swerve and miss her, sending my truck off the hill that was beside me, probably flipping it, while she continued on her merrily way. Well, I chose option one, hoping if I blew my horn she might have time to get out of my way. Just as she got to me, my hand hovering over my horn, the idiot happened to actually look back up at the road and swerve over. 

What’s crazy is that this wasn’t some teenager or twenty-something person who hadn't been driving long enough to realize the responsibility that comes with getting behind the wheel. No, this was a curly, blonde-haired woman who looked to be my age, maybe a little older. A put-together looking woman who should’ve known better than to not be watching where she was going while in control of a couple tons of metal. She could be a wife, mom, daughter, maybe even a grandmother... who knows? I'm sure that, somewhere, somebody loves that idiot I passed today. This is proof that idiots come in all forms.

Once my heart slowed down, I was so flippin' mad! Not only at her, but all the other drivers who do stupid stuff like that while they're driving, not only putting themselves in danger, but everyone around them. I see it all the time; someone driving with their phone under their nose, glancing up and down, back and forth, like it's no big deal.

The sad part is that it's probably one of you. One of my friends. Family. You may do this.

Despite the fact that everyone knows how dangerous it is to look away from the road for just 5 seconds, people still do it... every day! Truck drivers, mini-van & sports cars drivers, bus drivers. The only person I've not seen do this (so far) has been a motorcycle driver.  

It's So Important

"I'm on my way." Really? Then let them know BEFORE you're actually on your way.

"Whatever." Oh, just one quick word won't hurt, right? Well, that one word can take at least five seconds to type and send while juggling your phone. Five seconds you're not paying attention. Five seconds that could lead to you running off the edge of the road, making you over-correct into the car of a new mother who is taking her newborn baby home from her first doctor's visit. Five seconds that could ruin another family's life FOREVER. So, explain why that one word couldn't wait til you're at least at a red-light or til you're home. I'm sure whoever is waiting for your answer won't mind, especially if they know you're driving, and if they do, then you don't need to be talking to them, anyway, because they obviously don't value your life very much.

"lol" or "ttyl"... I can't even with this one.

There is no social media notification, text, email, or phone call that is more important than a life. NONE! Yet that's exactly what you're risking when you pick up your phone. 

Just like that woman assumed she could multitask and look down while driving and still somehow stay in her lane, don't assume that you're such an amazing driver or texter that you can, too. Don't assume that no one will pass you or that you won't swerve into the other lane. Don't assume that you can still put makeup on because the road just happens to be in the same direction as the mirror. Don't assume your mad driving skills will keep you in your lane even though you're not looking. Don't assume that one text or glance at your phone won't kill you or someone else. 

I wanted to turn around and follow that woman just so I could ask her what she was doing that was so important that it could've taken me away from my two kids forever today.

I wanted to ask the guy who was driving beside me and family on the interstate, going 70 mph, looking at his phone more than the road, what was so important that he'd risk swerving into us. Into MY truck that is carrying MY kids. 

So, let me ask you... what's so important? I'd really like to know what you think is more important than my kids, who are usually with me when I'm on the road. Or more important than your kids? Or your parents, when they get a call that you've been in a bad wreck? Is it more important than the pain it can potentially cause?

The next time you think it's okay to look up a number and call somebody, send/check that one text, or look at that notification... do YOU really think it's worth it? Worth your life? A child's mother's life? A hard-working father whose family depends on him? My life? My kids' lives? IS IT??? 

All I know is that if you're an idiot and end up hitting me (especially if my kids are with me) because you were looking at your phone or drunk... and you don't get hurt... then you better run. Run fast.

If one of my kids happens to be riding with you and you wreck because your phone was more important than them, you better go into hiding, and hide well.

I'm so not joking. 

I respect you and your loved ones' lives, so please respect mine. If you're driving, then drive. Both eyes on the road, both hands on the wheel... you know, that sort of thing. 

Don't be an idiot! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Writing: It's a Piece of Cake

I don't know how many times I've heard non-writers say how easy it is to write. Some say we sit at home on our butts all day. Well, yes, I do write from home, and that does, in fact, involve a lot of sitting on my butt.

"Writing is easy. Anyone can do it." Well, I somewhat agree. The millions and millions of books on Amazon are proof of that. The act of writing is easy and anyone who has a computer, or even a pen and piece of paper, can do it. However, writing something people will want to read isn't so easy. It's the difference between making a box of brownies, which takes no skill at all, or as complicated as a whipping up a fresh-baked eclair. Just because I can make a mean box of brownies doesn't make me a master baker.

The reason I'm writing this post is to explain that I, as well as a lot of other writers, don't simply sit on our butts doing nothing all day, which I feel a lot of people assume if you're a big-name author. Aside from writing my tenth novel, I also have marketing to do; social pages to maintain and keep going, messages to answer and send, promotions to handle, and readers to (somehow) keep engaged until my next book release. Not only that, but I also have to stalk research agents and write query letters *said with loathing hostility* for those who I think might be a fit for me and my work. And did I mention the book events, both online and in person, I have to plan for and attend? There's always something I need to do. Even when I'm relaxing, I'm working, writing the next chapter in my head.

Writing, for me, isn't just a hobby, it's my career, which I work very hard to maintain and try to build. Unlike some jobs, my success and salary doesn't rely on my boss or my co-workers; it relies solely on me. If I fail, there's no one to blame but myself. If I don't work hard, I don't get paid.

Writing isn't just about writing; it's a business. 

Am I complaining? Not at all. I'm beyond blessed to be able to work from home doing something I love. However, the fact that I do work from home, or spend that time 'making up stories', doesn't mean I don't do anything all day.  

First off, writing isn't simply about sitting down and making crap up. One has to do research, make an outline, or at least a list of characters and scenes, locations, that sort of thing. Once that's done, the story has to be planned out. Once all the prep-work is put in, that's when the actual writing begins. However, even that is a process, since it doesn't always happen as freely as I'd like. For instance, I recently wrote and deleted the ending to my last manuscript, Your Worst Fears, not once, but four times. (Four times!) Deleting chapters is painful. I'm not only deleting words when I do that; I'm causing all the time spent on those chapters to be wasted. Ugh! 

Once the story is finally finished, the editing begins, which is a time consuming process, but is detrimental in the success of any book. During this time of transition, I'll start on formatting and cover design, which I usually do myself. These two things, alone, are enough to make any sane person rip their hair out.

What I'm getting at is that there's more that goes into writing than just sitting on our butts and playing on the computer. Like any other job, if I don't write and market what I write, and do both well, I don't make money. And the fact that I write from home doesn't mean I don't work. I don't have the usual 8:00-5:00 hours, but I do have hours--writers' hours, which may be day or night, depending on when inspiration hits me. There's been many nights when my husband ran me out of bed because the key tapping at midnight was driving him nuts.

I'm so thankful I was blessed with a vivid imagination and the ability to tell a story. I'm also thankful I can call myself a published writer, I just wish more people understood the process. Writing's not just typing words to make a sentence, putting them together to form paragraphs, which leads to a chapter, ultimately filling a book. It's a long, drawn out process that includes a lot of hours (sitting on my butt), hair pulling, growling (yes, I sometimes growl), worrying, and, when I'm lucky, celebrating when it's all over. If it didn't include all these things, then I'd know I wasn't doing it right.

Writing, for me, can be mentally exhausting and makes my eyes want to pop out, but I love every minute of it. Would I rather be a nurse, cop, or in the military? Heck no! Those are some of the toughest jobs there are, in my opinion. I'll gladly stick to writing stories that allow readers to get lost in another world for a small part of their day. Books, to me, are a gift--a free adventure I can go on at any given moment from wherever I happen to be--and I'm glad that I'm able to be a part of that.

So, when it's all said and done, is writing a piece of cake? Well, I guess that depends on your taste and pastry skills.

Until next time...

Friday, July 1, 2016

Wattpad for Writers

To Wattpad or not to Wattpad... that's the question.

In the book and writing world, there are many varying opinions regarding Wattpad. The ones that surprise me the most, however, are the ones that come from writers. After speaking on a panel at the Rocket City Lit Fest last year, an attendee said they thought Wattpad was useless and a waste of time for writers, since it was putting your work out there for the world to read for free. Well, I'm sure Anna Todd, now a NY Times best-selling author because of her After series, which was originally 'just a Wattpad story', disagrees. Her simple Wattpad story has been picked up by Paramount Pictures, so this is proof that Wattpad has its perks.

Why Wattpad?

The real question, in my mind, is why not? Firstly, you have the potential of gaining new readers who may enjoy your writing so much they become loyal readers, purchasing anything you write. Secondly, you get free feedback from readers who are (sometimes brutally) honest about your story and writing. This information is vital to authors and often gets sugar-coated by beta readers. Personally, I only have a handful of betas, but with Wattpad, I have thousands. 

Aside from the free feedback, there are many Wattpad stories, like After, that have garnered a huge following, not to mention a loyal fan base, and have gone on to be published, with some being optioned for film. Many literary agents and publishing houses are taking notice, as well. Why wouldn't they? Everything they want to know is right there; author's writing ability, story interest, established fan base. It's the perfect hunting ground for a possible next best-seller.

Oh, did I mention WATTPAD STUDIOS???

With all that being said, not everyone who uses Wattpad will become the next big thing, no matter how amazing your story is. The sad truth is that many stories get lost in the vast ocean of other stories, and a lot of those stories are even better than the ones that have gone viral with millions of reads. In the grand scheme of things, it seems to be the luck of the draw as to which stories get read and voted on and which ones don't. However, there are ways to help your stories get seen and establish a following.

Get Your Story Featured

Wattpad has it's own list of stories that are featured by category on their home page. This is the list all readers go to when they are looking for a new story to read, so you want yours on that list. The list is chosen by Wattpad staff, but you can request that yours be considered. For all the information you need on how to have yours considered, click HERE

Be Social

Wattpad is not only a reading site, it's a social site, so be social. When someone comments on your story, reply back to them. If they vote on a chapter, thank them for voting. Find stories you like in your genre, add them to your reading lists and comment/vote on them, as well. It's like being at a party; if you sit in the corner and expect everyone to come to you, you're more than likely going to be partying alone, which is never any fun.

Be Punctual

Readers like knowing when you're going to update your story, so make sure you update regularly, preferably on the same day each week. Not only do readers like this, but you will, too, since updating regularly seems to help with your story's rank, keeping the interest flowing. When your story is in the top ten, or reaches number one, it only draws in more readers. So keep that story hopping, jumping right up that ranking list, and update weekly. Personally, I like Fridays, but whatever day you pick, let your readers know. 

Share Your Story

No one will read your story if they don't know it's there, so make sure you share it. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social site you use. One of the great things about Wattpad is the ability to share stories, including your own, right from each page. When using their mobile app, they have cool tools that allow you to easily turn quotes into shareable photos, which are great for Instagram. 

Aside from sharing new stories, you can share samples of books you've already published. My published books are all on there, but only the first few chapters, giving new readers a sample, which has led to book sales. If you decide to do that, make sure your publisher is okay with it first.

Still Not Sure About Wattpad?

Wattpad isn't for everyone. 

Some writers don't want to 'give their stories away for free', even though that may very well be what puts their story in front of millions of new readers, which could include someone who can take that book somewhere besides a slush pile or lost on Amazon. To remedy that feeling, I added chapters from alternating POVs to my most-read Wattpad stories once published, making Wattpad readers want to buy it for the bonus chapters, alone. 

Some writers don't want their work being seen among some of the frivolous stories that litter Wattpad, thinking it's more of a children's/teen's site. Yes, Wattpad includes some younger writers who are a bit, shall I say, *clears throat* immature. However, Amazon does, too.

There are also several contests, as well, including the world's largest on-line writing contest, The Watty's. Harlequin even hosts a contest where the winner gets a contract. So, as you can see, some of the contests can be lucrative to many writers. 

Who's on Wattpad?

I am! And so are some amazing, best-selling authors, such as R.L. Stine, Jennifer Armentrout, and Colleen Hoover, just to name a few. There are also several movie profiles, companies, and even musicians, not to mention publishers, such as Harlequin and Source Books. All in all, there's some pretty cool people on Wattpad.

My Wattpad Experience

Haunted was the first story I posted on Wattpad, which was just an idea I had while in a funk writing the second book in my For Always series. Once it became a featured story, reaching #1 in paranormal, I wrote Unleashed, which never became a featured story, however, it still reached #1 in paranormal. Haunted was featured on the Paranormal Activity and Sinister II movie profiles as a promotional story, and Unleashed was featured on the Ouija movie profile, which I found to be super cool, being somewhat of a para-geek. Despite the fact that Haunted was thrown together rather quickly, and is my lowest rated book on Amazon to date, it has over half a million reads on Wattpad and is still my most popular Wattpad story. 

Because of the stories/sample chapters I've posted on Wattpad, I've gained new readers, been a part of some great groups of people, have made some great friends, and constantly get feedback on the things I've written. Sometimes I get involved in other things and can't post every week, which has happened lately, but I'm still gaining followers and new readers, despite my temporary absence. 

Am I a Wattpad All-Star with thousands and thousands of followers? Or do I have publishers filling up my inbox with contract offers? No, or shall I say, not yet. With Wattpad, you just never know what might happen. 

Be active. Be consistent. Be a part of it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I Will For Always Be Inspired

This is a post I did a while back for a blogger about gaining inspiration from places we love, but coming across it again recently, I thought I'd go ahead and post it on my blog, too, since it's a part of who I am and how my first book series came about.

Inspiration can come from many things, including books and places. Even as a small child, I'd read a book and it would inspire me to think about that world and how it differed from, or resembled, mine. Or I'd visit a place and it would make me think about the people who lived there, wishing I knew more about their lives. Needless to say, my love of reading led to a love for writing, and my love of the small, historic town I once lived in led to my first novel.

 A photo taken at The Revolutionary War Graveyard in Dandridge,
TN, where an actual scene from For Always takes place.
Living in a house that was once slave quarters during the Civil War, we had many strange things happened, which led us to believe our house was haunted. Because of this, I became intrigued by the paranormal. The beautiful, historic town of Dandridge, TN, where we lived, only added to this interest. As you walk down the streets of this tiny, little town, it's like the history around you comes alive, making the ghosts of the past almost feel like they are walking among us. I love it, and this love of a small town, as well as my fascination with the paranormal, inspired my very first published YA paranormal romance, For Always.

This novel takes place in Dandridge, where many readers have actually taken pictures of themselves at certain book locations and sent to me. There's even a cemetery right in the middle of Downtown where several scenes in this series take place, which local readers of Dandridge seem to love, visualizing the story as they drive through town. Aside from this town being an inspiration for my first novel, my first novel has actually become an inspiration for me, taking on a life of its own, it seems.

When I wrote For Always, I never thought it would be something that anyone would read, let alone become published, with thousands of copies downloaded within a few months time. I also never thought readers would love this story and the characters as much as I do. So, when I started getting messages about how this series got someone into reading again, or how it's someone's favorite series ever, and the fact that I still get messages and comments like this, it inspires me to continue to write. There are several other books and authors that I take inspiration from, but For Always is the most personal one.

Putting so much of myself into my characters, they each have a part of me in them, and vice-versa. To this day, one of the quotes I say most often (even more than Harry Potter quotes) is one from my main character, Malyn Reed. "Sometimes keeping your mouth shut and not saying a word takes more strength than opening it and saying a thousand." When I want to blow up on someone, or voice my opinion, when that opinion won't add anything to the conversation or topic at hand, I say this quote to myself, biting my tongue. My characters seem to inspire me to be a better person, not only when it comes to writing, but in my everyday life. So, if you see this quote pop up randomly on my news-feed, you'll know I'm having one of those moments.

When it comes to books, especially those I love, I don't just read them, I devour them, highlighting those lines that take my breath away, re-reading them again and again. Books, including mine, are mostly written to tell a story, however, that story can light a fire inside us, inspiring us to do things we may not have done otherwise. Harry Potter makes us believe in magic, transporting us to a place muggles would never be allowed to go had it not been for J.K. Rowling. Twilight gave a new birth to YA readers across the globe, including me, causing us to embrace that once forgotten love of reading. The Hunger Games made us want to unite for a greater cause *hold up three fingers & insert whistle here*. They're not just stories for some of us. For some of us, they are a part of us; a world we are a part of each time we open that book or think about that character, who we feel like we actually know, not just read about.

No matter if it's Dandridge, TN... Forks, Washington... or Hogwarts... it's home to us for as long as we like; or at least until we close the book.

Connect with me!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Something funny happened this week....

We all know eBooks will be pirated from now until they become obsolete, taken over by some other up-and-coming new technological breakthrough. As much as authors and publishers try to fight it, contacting the pirating sights, sending DMCA take-down notices, it's still just a small drop in the vast bucket book pirates. (I've written an entire blog post with DMCA info & tips--you can find it HERE.) What usually doesn't happen, though, is to have book pirates connect with you, the author. Well, that's exactly what happened this week.

For the most part, I know most readers, including myself, use the proper book purchasing etiquette; buy book from appropriate authorized site, read book, leave book sitting on virtual eBook shelf. On the other hand, you have those who (may or may not) buy the book, (may or may not) read it, then resell it or add it to their illegal pirating site... or social media site.

I had some notifications on one of my social media sites saying someone followed me. Since I don't want to follow nutters (a rule I apply to my life, as well), I went to their profile to see who they were, and guess what? It was a pirate, and not the sexy kind! She had any eBook series you want for just $5, single eBooks for $2, and the first request was free, just message her with the book(s) you want. Hmmm... interesting.

The fact that she'd followed me was a bit funny and ironic--not smart, but funny, nonetheless. I wondered how many other authors, or even worse, publishers, she'd followed. That's like downloading a movie of Harry Potter and befriending someone at Warner Bros., offering to sell them a copy for $5.  O_o

Well, once I looked further, I saw that she was conveniently sending files in an attachment, which could then be forwarded to hundreds of people, if the person receiving them wanted to do that, or could be resold to someone else. She had posted screenshots of actual transaction conversations (not smart) and seemed nice enough, so I decided to just send her a polite message asking if she had permission to sell the eBooks she had listed (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, etc.) and if DRM was applied to them, which I already knew the answers to.

If her profile picture was actually her, which I'm thinking it was, since she soon deleted it, she looked young, maybe in her early 20's, if I had to guess, so I didn't want her to get in trouble. The fact that she was going about it so publicly, following thousands of people (including authors) to gain followers, I knew she had no clue what she was possibly getting herself into. Because of this, I shouldn't have been surprised when she didn't reply and blocked me, which made me mad. Here I was, an author she was (potentially) trying to make money off of, trying to be nice to her... and she blocked me!

A while later, after I reported her account (Yes, I did--her reaction angered me slightly), she unblocked me and messaged me back. This was her reply:
Sorry but what's the difference between me selling ebooks and people selling regular books? I see people doing that all the time. I actually buy these books with my own money so what's wrong with me reselling them? It seems that selling or giving away your copy of a print book that is under copyright is not a problem, so how is that different than passing on your copy of an ebook?

At first I had to laugh, knowing that what she was saying was ridiculous, but then, once I though about it, I'm sure a lot of people think that way. If so-and-so can sell paperbacks, why can't I sell eBooks? Well, I politely let her know the exact reason why. YOU CAN'T SELL AN EBOOK IF YOU DON'T OWN THE RIGHTS TO IT OR DON'T HAVE PERMISSION TO SELL IT. Simple as that. (Well, my reply was much longer, but that was the gist of it.)

In the US, I make anywhere from $1.05-$2.05 for the most expensive book I have self-published on Amazon, which is Life Can Change, listed for $2.99. For my For Always series, which Limitless Publishing owns the rights to, I much less. If I tried to sell any eBooks from that series, even though I'm the one who wrote them, I would get a nice little phone call from Jennifer O'Neill, the owner of LP, requesting that I stop. If I didn't, I'm sure she'd take legal action against me. Why? Because I don't own the rights to them or have permission from them to sell them, just like the average person who buys an eBook doesn't have the right to resell them. So, when someone else tries to do that, usually making even more than the authors do for their own book, it angers them (i.e. me).

EBooks are NOT like print books in the fact that print books aren't digital. One print book can only be bought and sold as many times as it passes through ONE person's hands or ONE book store's doors. However, one eBook file can be given/sold electronically to THOUSANDS of people at once, who can then share it with THOUSANDS more. See the difference? See the money lost for authors right there?

When 'Jane Doe' is selling an entire Harry Potter series ($56.64 on Amazon) for only $5 on her social media site and word gets out about it, who wants to pay over ten times as much? (I would, but I'm a book lover/author supporter.) Yes, I'm sure J.K. Rowling may not miss a few bucks here and there, but most authors, like myself, would. Many authors don't make enough money from writing books to keep doing it. After three years of being published, I made my largest profit last month, and it was from my self-published books. Three years! When authors--the ones who've poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their work--can barely make it as it is, why make it worse just to make a quick (illegal) buck for yourself? Why support that and buy/download from them? Why should some random girl get paid for my books when she has no right to be selling them? When I can't even sell them, myself, and I wrote them?

There's a process for selling eBooks, and unless you do your research and abide by that process, don't sell (or buy) them. 

For those who don't understand what the big deal is, why authors get mad, THIS is why we get mad. And for me to be nice to someone who is, in fact, making an illegal profit off authors' work--my work--only to have them block ME, then unblock me just to try to tell me what they are doing is okay and they don't see a problem with it... that's not cool. Funny that they followed me, yes, but still not cool.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Redeemed Cover Reveal & Release Party

~~ Coming April 29! ~~

Nightmares. The oncoming war. More Gifted emerge and not all of them are on her side. Secrets about her father are revealed. Who are The Children of The Light?
Will Rayna be able to resist the powers of The Shadow with Jayce’s help? She had planned to face down her demons with Liam by her side, but now that he's lost his soul, is he really lost to her forever?
Question after question, obstacle after obstacle present themselves in the last installment of The Darkness Trilogy. It's coming to an end - the battle, the war. The only question Rayna Stone wants answered is whether or not she and her friends make it out alive.

Not only do I LOVE the covers in this series, but I love this story, too. The writer, who I'm so glad I met at a signing event a few years back, is a great storyteller, bringing her words to life and causing them to suck you right in, making me super excited about this release! 

The entire series is what I'd call a clean read, which means there's no profanity or graphic/sexual content. If you've not started it, but would like to before this release, you can find info and buy links here:

Now, I have another announcement regarding this release, and that's the FACEBOOK EVENT, which I'm going to be a part of. There will be several other authors & giveaways & should be a whole lot of fun. So, if you're a party animal (book dragon), then make sure you join us!

You can join the event HERE!
Invite your book loving friends!

A.G. Porter is the author of The Darkness Trilogy, a YA Paranormal Thriller. She is an Independent Author (Indie Author) who enjoys writing scary stories as much as she loves reading them. When she isn't writing, she's either taking pictures, reading, making nerdy jewelry, watching movies or spending much needed time with her family. A.G. lives in New Hope, Alabama with her husband, Billy, stepson, Brenton, and their 4 dogs. 
A.G. enjoys writing stories about real people in supernatural situations. She also puts a lot of her faith into her books because she knows that without Christ she is lost and without God she is nothing.
Want to know more about A.G. Porter and her books? 
You can find her on Amazon & Facebook

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pieces of My Heart by A.G. Porter

Love. Heartbreak. The world through her eyes.

Pieces of My Heart, a poetry collection by A.G. Porter, is now available at all of your favorite online retailers!  In this poetry collection, A.G. Porter shares part of her story with you through the pieces of her heart scattered in the pages. She transports you through love, loss, strength, and sorrow which we’re all familiar with.

 * Links * 

When asked if I'd like an ARC for A.G. Porter's new poetry collection, I immediately said yes. Not only do I love her Darkness Trilogy, which is a paranormal YA series (Check out last post for signed copy giveaway!), but I also enjoy poetry, having written a lot of it during my life. So, getting one of the first glimpses inside her poetic mind was a given. 
Reading through this collection of poems, I found myself in awe of how she can say something that seems so simple, yet has such a deep meaning. Her words flow in a way that I don't have to spend ten minutes trying to figure out what each one means, despite the complexity of them, which I love in poetry. I like how a play on words can be personified to have such an impact, making me nod my head in agreement as I'm reading, understanding the feelings that were poured onto each page. 
Another awesome thing about A.G. Porter is the faith behind her words, not only in this poetry collection, but in her novels, as well, making them not only YA friendly, but okay for younger readers who may like to read above their age level. Her works are clean and appropriate for any reader, young or old. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Janae's Birthday Book Bash

Happy Birthday to me... and to you, too!

For my birthday, I wanted to celebrate by having a giveaway. So, if you'd like to be a part of the celebration, make sure you enter & share the giveaway with your book loving friends.

In this giveaway...

Winners will be announced on (or shortly after) March 8th, the day after my birthday, on my website's giveaway page. Due to international shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only. (I'm sorry!) 

Good Luck!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child... an Eighth Book?

When I saw where The Rowling Library had posted that at least two publishers were trying to get the rights to publish the script play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I was ecstatic, to say the least. Being deathly afraid to fly, I'll never get the pleasure of enjoying this Harry Potter sequel. But a book, on the other hand, would be a true gift for all HP fans. I mean... an eighth Harry Potter book? Yes, please!

Well, once I remembered that this play was written by Jack Thorne, my heart sank just a bit. Even if this book does become a reality and gets published, will it be like the others? Will it capture us and pull us in like the other Harry Potter books did? If not, it would be a true disappointment to the Harry Potter literary legacy, especially if it is dubbed the eighth book in the series; a series that already seems so complete, in my unofficial potterhead opinion.

J.K. Rowling has a way of writing, telling a magical story with magical quotes and imagination, that is signature to her, so would The Cursed Child (as a novel) live up to the others, or would it end up feeling like a knockoff? So many authors have tried to profit from this series by making copycat versions that will never live up to the real thing. However, unlike Jack Thorne, they didn't have J.K. Rowling there to collaborate with them, either. 

If a publisher does get the rights to this story and we get a book version of the script, will her input, alone, be enough? I guess we'll all have to wait and find out when the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play comes out this May... or when the book hits the shelves, if it ever does.

Personally, I would be surprised if J.K. Rowling allowed an eighth book to be published, especially one she didn't completely write, herself. Not because she wouldn't get the royalties from it, but because that is her world. A play is one thing, but an entire novel is another. So, until we hear an announcement straight from J.K. Rowling's mouth, I'll continue to dream about what a book sequel to the best story I've ever read would be like.