Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author Interview: Amber Stokes

1. Who inspired you to complete your novel and publish? 

For Bleeding Heart, I was especially inspired by a new author friend (and my cover designer!) Lena Goldfinch, as well as a writing challenge called Speedbo, hosted by the Seekerville blog in March (similar to NaNoWriMo). I think being witness to Lena’s journey to self-publishing Aire (YA fantasy romance), as well as having the opportunity to challenge myself to complete a book “alongside” other authors, helped give me the push I needed to finally finish a book that was about two years in the making.

Beyond those two influences, I think it was just that season in my writing life – a time when I felt ready to finish the story and share it, and when I felt the urge to go through the things I needed to go through in order to accomplish that (like hiring an editor and a proofreader, working with a cover designer, etc.). I’m sure it helped that I was working with my first client for my freelance editing business (who contacted me in February) on preparing her book for republication via self-publishing. Through our shared journey, I got to see how all the details would come together.

All in all, the time was right, and I feel blessed that God allowed me to meet and form friendships with people who would help me through the steps of self-publishing. Bleeding Heart is now available in Kindle format and will soon be available in paperback. 

2. What advice would you give to aspiring authors regarding the publishing and marketing process?

There are so many options available now for publishing! For deciding which route to go, I’d take into account the stories of other authors and writers you know, blog posts and articles about the process, the story you want to share, and your personality. For example, with Bleeding Heart, I had seen Lena Goldfinch and my client’s successes and experiences with self-publishing. It seemed to be a great option for me because I had such wonderful people to help me through, and I had been learning some neat things about how self-publishing through Amazon worked. The story itself would not be an easy one to pitch to editors and agents, as it’s not typical for its genre and it’s shorter for a novel. And self-publishing allowed me to be in control of the process – to be creative in my marketing and branding, to work with the people I wanted to work with, etc. All of this added up to a decision that just sort of became obvious to me, and one that excited me.

All of the different options have their pros and cons. I know that traditional publishing opens up doors that self-publishing cannot, and it offers a level and appearance of quality that’s harder to replicate on a self-published level. But self-publishing offers a lot to the author, including more choice and higher royalties and less of a wait time (no querying or getting an agent required, generally). So basically, I’d recommend that aspiring authors weigh the options and consider what their goals are for the story they want to publish. Each story might require a different journey, too!

As for marketing, I think it’s important to find your brand or identify the theme of your story/stories and run with it! Be creative and connect your story with you as an author and your online presence. Pick the social media sites you love to use or would be most interested in learning how to use and focus on those, matching them with your style and using them as a way to communicate with other readers and writers – and not just about your book! Make friends, be a friend, and then share the story/stories of your heart with those people. They’ll be the ones you turn to when it comes time to look for cover-reveal participants and reviewers.

3. What would you tell authors to "Start Now" concerning social media?

It’s never too early to build your platform. I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t let social media distract you from writing, as writing a good story is the most important aspect of marketing – and I agree! However, if you enjoy reading and interacting with other readers, and if you enjoy learning the ins and outs of the book world and social media sites, I think it can be very helpful (and super fun!) to find some online places to hang out and build into your “home base” for future writing endeavors.

I started a blog almost three and a half years ago (Seasons of Humility), and it has given me so much insight into book marketing and writing, in general. Through it I became a part of the book-blogging community. I started reviewing books, learning more and more about the sorts of books that I love and why I love them, as well as the sorts of books and book covers that readers enjoy. I branched out and joined reader sites like Goodreads and Shelfari, then eventually went on to join Twitter and Pinterest when other readers showed me the merits of those sites. And the original “seasons” theme that holds my blog together ended up bleeding into my freelance editing business (Editing Through the Seasons) and the name of my “publisher” (Seasons of a Story).

Each author might favor different sites and different ways of reaching out to readers, but I think taking a chance and starting somewhere (I recommend blogging, if you have the time!) is so important for building a readership and meeting the people that will support you through your writing career.

Thank you Amber for an insightful interview! I wish you the best along your literary journey!

Tomorrow, hop on over to the next two stops on the blog tour!

Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey. 

Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her. 

All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

Inspirational Historical Romance

Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.

You can connect with Amber on her personal blog (Seasons of Humility), the group blog she contributes to (The Borrowed Book), TwitterPinterestGoodreadsShelfari, and LinkedIn.

To drop Amber a line, e-mail her at She would love to connect with her readers!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Exciting New Adult Paranormal Thriller: Empath (Flawed #1) Book Release and Giveaway

Empath eBook cover SMI'm very excited to announce the release of my latest New Adult novel Empath, the first book in the Flawed Series. Read on to find out more about this paranormal thriller and be sure to enter the giveaway at the end for an awesome prize package.

The Struggle of an Empath

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.

Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.

When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.

Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Empath eBook Now Available

Get your ebook copy now at any of these sites (paperback copies are not yet available, but coming soon!):

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Barnes & Noble

Kobo (coming soon!) | iTunes (coming soon!)

Prize Package Giveaway

To celebrate the release, I'm running a giveaway for two lucky winners.

Grande Prize:

A rare, autographed proof copy of the paperback

A 12" X 18" poster of the cover art

Empath notebook Empath notebook

Empath collector's button

Empath button prize copy

Second Prize:

An autographed paperback copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway IMG_9817 a lowresBecca J. Campbell is the author of the New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, and Sub-Normal, a series of short stories. An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: The Chosen by Andrea Buginsky

The Chosen

by Andrea Buginsky

Phantasma is under attack requiring the assistance of The Chosen. The main character, Halli, is surprised when the Queen approaches and informs her of her healing powers. Halli leaves her family and joins The Chosen. Despite the objections of a few skeptics due to the healer's lack of training, Halli is allowed to join the team and learns how to heal, quickly. The journey has multiple battles with diverse enemies in the fantasy world of Phantasma.

This is a very quick read and appropriately labeled MG. I gave this book three stars due to the predictable plot and lack of descriptions. The character diversity and setting are great but there was not enough description for me to see it. The emotions from characters were quick and jumped from Halli's shock and disbelief to her willingly riding away from her home to join the Queen.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and would recommend it for younger MG. Parents, this is a wholesome, fun read for your kids just starting to read chapter books!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Author Interview: Kimmie Easley

1. Who inspired you to complete your novel and publish? 

My family inspired me to actually get the story out and complete my book. Souls Set Free is fiction, however it is inspired by my own childhood and journey. The main events and struggle are all true. So, although it wasn’t an easy process, it was quite healing. I do know I wouldn’t have followed through if it weren’t for my husband and daughters.

2. What advice would you give to aspiring authors regarding the publishing and marketing process?

Do your research. Be thorough and professional. Be prepared to work hard and be your biggest advocate. It can be daunting, but all worth it. Figure out the path that works best for you, traditional or self- publishing (again, do your research), and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re doing it wrong. It’s your choice. If you’re going to write a book, go all out and own it!
Also, the best marketing took you can have is to support fellow authors, writers, and readers. It makes all of the difference in receiving support on your end.

3. What would you tell authors to "Start Now" concerning social media?

I think I lucked up in this department. I think the norm used to be write your book, and then get on the social media train. I was the opposite. Probably because I’m such a research hound. I was on Facebook and Twitter as a writer at least two years before my book came out. This helped me literally reach a platform of thousands of people. I was fortunate that it happened this way for me because I couldn’t imagine doing all of the hard work promoting my book, and writing the second, all while attempting to build my platform from scratch.
It cannot be said enough, hop on the social media train ASAP and ride that sucker all the way to the top. The information you receive along the way is priceless. But the networking, connections, and supporting friendships are life changing.

Thank you, Kimmie, for your heart felt answers! I can't wait to read Souls Set Free!

Souls Set Free by Kimmie Easley

Women’s Fiction

Emma Carter isn’t your average loving mother and wife. Actually, she’s not loving at all. Unable to move on from a tormented childhood of abuse she’s now at risk of losing her own family. Hopeless, she goes to bed every night secretly longing to not wake up the next morning. That all changes the day her mother is murdered while living on the streets. Emma must now face all of the pain she has spent years trying to numb with pills and alcohol when she is forced to travel back to her hometown to identify her mother’s body.

If only it were that easy…

Will reliving the abuse all over again help Emma forgive her mother or send her spiraling back into a world she fought so hard to survive? 


Kimmie grew up traveling the country, rarely settling in one place for much longer than a minute. Being no stranger to heartache, she allows her unconventional childhood to fuel her writing.
Kimmie serves as secretary to the East Texas Writers Association.  She is a 2012 NaNoWriMo winner. 
Kimmie is addicted to cupcakes, books, chocolate, and flip flops. She is a homeschool momma, southern wife, and pug wrangler.
She lives by the motto, when life gives you lemons ~ write about ‘em!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

10 "Friend-zoned" Phrases

1. "Love you sis/bro"

2. "You're like one of the boys/girls"

3. "I wish I could find someone like you to date"

4. "Isn't your brother coming with us?"

5. "Come pick me up"

6. "Split the bill"

7. "Booger check!"

8. "I just want to stay single."

9. "I don't want to hurt you."

10. "I love our friendship too much to risk damaging it."

Thanks you Kiersten and Kaylee!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Author Interview: Karina Gioertz

1. Who inspired you to complete your novel and publish? 

A while before I actually began to write The Final Descendants, I had this vague idea of what I wanted to do. I knew I was ready to tackle the daunting task of writing a series (something I've avoided until now because I'm not what you might call great with commitment...). Nevertheless,  I wanted my next project to span out over several books, five to be exact and I wanted to write for a younger audience than I had before. Along the way, I went back and forth with different angles and storylines before finally settling on the idea that I wanted to put a new spin on my all time favorite fairy tale - Cinderella.

Because this novel was pretty far out of my comfort zone, I struggled with doubts a lot along the way. Thankfully, my mom - and biggest fan - was there to constantly encourage me, as well as my best friend and fellow author, who was always ready to point out how much I was loving the story so it wouldn't matter if anyone else did or not. She was right. I wrote this book because it was in me to be written. And then I published it because, well,  it seemed like the next logical step :-)

2.What advice would you give to aspiring authors regarding the publishing and marketing process?

 I would start by saying, don't be afraid of it! It can seem overwhelming at times, but the self-publishing beast can be tamed pretty easily with just a little bit of practice. Also, I’m extremely shy so this was an important lesson for me to learn – Don’t be afraid to reach out to other authors through blogging or other networking sites. There is so much to do and figure out in this business when you’re going it on your own, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from the experiences of other Indie Authors  – Especially when most of those authors are so willing to share.

3. What would you tell authors to "Start Now" concerning social media? 

I would say you need to be two places - Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has been incredibly valuable to me in terms of networking and learning. I've gotten more support than I ever imagined from the other authors I've met through the different groups I'm in (have made some great friends this way, too!).  For marketing, Twitter is the way to go. I have yet to discover another outlet in which I can reach thousands of people in an instant without spending a penny on it. How do I know it works? Ask me how many books I have on my kindle compliments of a tweet that caught my eye! Or how many great articles I've read...or awesome blogs I've discovered! And that's just me as a consumer...

Thank you, Karina, for taking time to share your insight with other authors!  

 The Final Descendants

At fourteen, Bryze Brooks has no idea about her extraordinary ancestors. After her father's death, she had grown up far away from the family manor on Ratclif Circle and the secrets it held within its walls. But everything changes when a surprise phone call leads Bryze back to the house where she comes face to face with her astonishing past. Once there, she begins to discover that all is not what it seems. Fantastic tales begin to intertwine with her reality when a magic arbor leads her into a world she never even dreamed existed. From mesmerizing visits at enchanted Oak Cottage, to terrifying encounters with villainous beasts of the dark, Bryze finds herself on the adventure of a lifetime as she begins to understand her royal responsibilities and what it means to be among the final descendants.

The book is currently available on Amazon -  and Smashwords -

 Karina Gioertz

          Although Karina Gioertz has been writing for most of her life, it never quite registered with her as something out of the ordinary or worth pursuing, because it was so closely connected to who she was. It wasn't until she became a stay at home mom and finally took the time to write an entire book from beginning to end, that she understood what all of those ideas she had been jotting down all those years were really for. Since then, she has written several books, including Country Girls, Lucky In Love and Blood Bound.
            While writing and motherhood have become her main focus over the years, she also enjoys many other creative activities such as painting and photography. Most sunny days she can be found in her courtyard working feverishly at painting and refurbishing old furniture…that is, of course, only if it wasn't a suitable day to spend at the beach.

Karina resides in sunny Florida with her family and two dogs and can be contacted via Facebook or Twitter.

To learn more about her work and upcoming projects visit her blog and website.