What I Learned after Writing my First Book by Janice Tremayne – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What I Learned after Writing my First Book

Like many authors, we become emotionally attached to our first book, whether it be a standalone or the first book in a series. My experience taught me several critical aspects of writing as a career. I would like to share them with you.

The first important point I learned was that your first book will not be your best work. You may even look back at it after writing three or four books and regard it as not an excellent literacy achievement. We are learning the craft of writing, and unless you are abundantly blessed with writing talent and all the stars line up in a row, you will not make much money from it. Yes, there are the exceptions that strike it rich with their first book, but they are a rare commodity.

The second point I learned was not to spend too many resources on your first book when it comes to marketing. It’s a simple strategy because if you don’t have another book for your readers to progress to or a mailing list to capture their interest. You have spent a whole lot of marketing dollars for nothing. I learned this the hard way and many thousands of dollars later.

The third point I learned was to become an effective marketer if you intend to be an indie author. Master all the techniques beforehand that will help grow your brand and readers. These techniques include building an effecting mailing list so you can create a following. Write your second and third book so your readers can progress to the next book and follow you before you start spending lots of money on marketing.

The fourth point is to understand where to put your money effectively into marketing. There are many expensive options out there, and you need to discover cost-effective promo sites for your book. Some of this will be trial and error. You always want your book to outperform. We become impatient, which can lead to spending money on so-called quick results that are not sustainable in the longer term.

The next point was the importance of an excellent editor and to build a professional relationship over time. Editors are critical to turning your novel into a quality piece of work. They are also very expensive, and you need to find one that is effective but not overpriced. The longer an editor knows you, and the context of your work, the better the outcome.

You need to know how to get good reviews. A book without good reviews will not sell. Your mailing list and other services like Book sirens and Hidden Gems have excellent cost-effective review services that won’t get you into trouble with Amazon. There are techniques upon which you can achieve reviews before your kindle book is published. Don’t spend money on marketing until you have some reviews under your belt and some social acceptance of your work.

This is a snapshot of what I learned. I could tell you a lot more about book marketing and developing your brand—it’s endless. The thrust of it is to have a book marketing strategy and plan. You need to be good at marketing your book if you want to achieve a good sales ranking and income to become successful.

Oh, and by the way, never give up your day job and a secure income when you start your writing career.

An Australian Ghost town. A resident demon and a local Shaman. A confrontation with evil awaits.

Clarisse realizes that running from evil is not a bad idea until you figure out you can’t hide. When some ghosts get tired of hanging around, they latch onto you. At the centre of the war on evil is a historic Church that carries dark secrets within its walls. After she meets with the local Shaman, Clarisse discovers secrets with evil consequences by digging too deep into the town’s past. When matters become complicated, she visits a circus of young performers on the outskirts of town triggering unexpected paranormal events and unleashing memories of a one-hundred-year curse. After being caught in the crossfire of a battle for evil supremacy, Clarisse confronts Little Charlie as he rallies the town’s ghosts into an impeccable evil stronghold.

Can the local Shaman and townsfolk rally in her quest to defeat the evil incarnate or will the town succumb to Little Charlie and his evil crew?

Haunting in Old Tailem is the third book of the Haunting Clarisse Series. If you like spine-tingling, chilling, creepy and spooky supernatural thrillers, then you will love this story by 2020 USA Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Finalist in Supernatural Fiction, Janice Tremayne.

Pick up your copy today and follow Clarisse through her battles with evil!

Enjoy an Excerpt

He hung with the rope around his neck, his tongue sticking out with a red-starved oxygen face. At the same time, he was smiling as though he was only having fun. Death was a reenactment that he had become accustomed to, to the point he thought it funny; a way of horrifying others and making them pay attention. He had a young mind—innocent and conditioned to get the attention of others. Little Charlie didn’t know whether he was dead or alive; far too young to understand. As far as he was concerned, tying a loop around his neck, jumping, and choking to death made him realize he felt no pain. He could do it over and over again.

Clarisse knew from her encounter in Hartley that Little Charlie was an attention seeker and someone who liked to cling onto you. That could explain how he had ended up in Old Tailem Town. Running away from evil might seem like a good idea at the time, but you could not hide.

“Come over here, Little Charlie. There is nothing to be afraid of,” she said.

He replied with a cheeky grin on his boyish face. His mousy brown hair thrown from side to side, he signaled with his right index finger, waving it left to right many times.

“Nuh-uh,” he mimed, his way of saying no.

About the Author: Janice Tremayne is an Amazon bestselling and award-winning ghost and supernatural writer. Janice is a finalist in the Readers’ Favorite 2020 International Book Awards in Fiction-Supernatural.

She is an emerging Australian author who lives with her family in Melbourne. Her recent publication, Haunting in Hartley, reached number one on the Amazon kindle ranking for Occult, Supernatural, and Ghosts and Haunted Houses categories, for hot new releases and bestsellers.

Janice is well-versed in her cultural superstitions and how they influence daily life and customs. She has developed a passion and style for writing ghost and supernatural novels for new adult readers.

The concept of writing the Haunting Clarisse series was spawned over a cup of coffee many years ago, and she has not looked back since. Her books contain heart-thumping, bone-chilling, and thought-provoking ghost and paranormal experiences that deliver a new twist to every tale.

Website | Email | Facebook

Buy the series or Haunting in Old Tailem at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Finding Writing Inspiration in Everyday Life by Maria DeBlassie – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maria DeBlassie will be awarding a free ecopy of Hungry Business to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Finding Writing Inspiration in Everyday Life

I love everyday life, corny as it sounds.  The magic of a Monday, the quiet bliss of an afternoon cup of tea, the illicit joy of reading late into the night…these are the simple pleasures that make life wonderful.  It’s easy to overlook them, get swept up in our to-do lists, but when we pause and take in the beauty around us, we remember to be more than that to-do list. We glean wisdom in the whispering trees and the synchronous happenings that punctuate our day.  We remember to dream.  And that kind of ordinary joy is pure magic.

It’s also the kind of magic that inspires all of my writing, from the cozy Gothic short stories like Hungry Business, to my first book, Everyday Enchantments, which is what I like to call my everyday magic manifesto.  You see, as a bruja, I believe in the power of the universe, the seen and the unseen, and the daily spells we cast without thinking—the wishes, thoughts, and actions we cast out into the world to bear fruit.  When we’re more intentional about this energy, we can direct it towards hope and healing.  I also hoard way too many mason jars, have my own witchy herb garden, deal the tarot, and know that storytelling is one of the deepest forms of magic.

All of that witchy know-how gets poured into my stories. Something as simple as a series of bad dates turns into the ordinary Gothic in my latest short story. The protagonist’s crisis is all the more terrifying for how relatable it is.  But there’s also more than a little magic in the form of hope.  The Gothic genre is all about facing the darkness so that we can see the light.

I write all sorts of things, from inspirational non-fiction, cozy Gothic stories, urban fantasy, and romance.  I find they all nourish one another.  My non-fiction books on everyday magic help me craft the enchanting worlds in my fiction and my genre stories guide me deeper into everyday conjuring for my life beyond the written word.  Storytelling will always be the deepest spellwork I do.  I work through stuff.  I allow myself to dream deeply.  I let go of old and worn narratives that no longer serve me.  I become the heroine of my own life in the pages of books—and extend that magic to my day in, day out life.

So get comfortable.  Put on a pot of tea and turn on those twinkle lights.  Settle in for an afternoon of deep reading and enjoy the creepy and strangely comforting world of Hungry Business.  Who knows what kind of magic it’ll offer up.

From the multi-award-winning author of Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings comes a cozy Gothic short story about searching for connection in a world that’s forgotten the power of everyday magic.

Looking for love can be deadly…

You know how it goes. You go out, hoping to meet someone. You wade through your fair share of brainless automatons, lifeless bodies, and ravenous undead good at passing as human.

The more you go out, the less hope you feel and the colder your body gets. But you keep at it. All you need is one beating heart to match your own before yours stops pumping altogether. How hard can it be to find one living, breathing human in a city full of bodies?

Dating.

It’s hungry business.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The things you do for love.

Like talking yourself into thinking that the lifeless body across the table from you has his own kind of charm. Surely his gray pallor is only a trick of the light. His skeletal frame might even be considered athletic. You try not to look at his chipped and bloodied fingernails as you force down your mediocre steak tartar. Sadly, that room temperature appetizer will be the hottest thing on the menu tonight.

About the Author:Maria DeBlassie, Ph.D. is a native New Mexican mestiza blogger, award-winning writer, and award-winning educator living in the Land of Enchantment. Her first book, Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings (Moon Books 2018), and her ongoing blog, Enchantment Learning & Living are about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and the life of a kitchen witch. When she is not practicing her own brand of brujeria, she’s reading, teaching, and writing about bodice rippers and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there. Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at her website.

Website | YouTube | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

The book is $0.99 during the tour at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Haunting in Old Tailem by Janice Tremayne – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a print copy of the book to two randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter. Please click the tour banner at the top of the page to see the other stops on the tour.

An Australian Ghost town. A resident demon and a local Shaman. A confrontation with evil awaits.

Clarisse realizes that running from evil is not a bad idea until you figure out you can’t hide. When some ghosts get tired of hanging around, they latch onto you. At the centre of the war on evil is a historic Church that carries dark secrets within its walls. After she meets with the local Shaman, Clarisse discovers secrets with evil consequences by digging too deep into the town’s past. When matters become complicated, she visits a circus of young performers on the outskirts of town triggering unexpected paranormal events and unleashing memories of a one-hundred-year curse. After being caught in the crossfire of a battle for evil supremacy, Clarisse confronts Little Charlie as he rallies the town’s ghosts into an impeccable evil stronghold.

Can the local Shaman and townsfolk rally in her quest to defeat the evil incarnate or will the town succumb to Little Charlie and his evil crew?

Haunting in Old Tailem is the third book of the Haunting Clarisse Series. If you like spine-tingling, chilling, creepy and spooky supernatural thrillers, then you will love this story by 2020 USA Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Finalist in Supernatural Fiction, Janice Tremayne.

Pick up your copy today and follow Clarisse through her battles with evil!

Enjoy an Excerpt

He hung with the rope around his neck, his tongue sticking out with a red-starved oxygen face. At the same time, he was smiling as though he was only having fun. Death was a reenactment that he had become accustomed to, to the point he thought it funny; a way of horrifying others and making them pay attention. He had a young mind—innocent and conditioned to get the attention of others. Little Charlie didn’t know whether he was dead or alive; far too young to understand. As far as he was concerned, tying a loop around his neck, jumping, and choking to death made him realize he felt no pain. He could do it over and over again.

Clarisse knew from her encounter in Hartley that Little Charlie was an attention seeker and someone who liked to cling onto you. That could explain how he had ended up in Old Tailem Town. Running away from evil might seem like a good idea at the time, but you could not hide.

“Come over here, Little Charlie. There is nothing to be afraid of,” she said.

He replied with a cheeky grin on his boyish face. His mousy brown hair thrown from side to side, he signaled with his right index finger, waving it left to right many times.

“Nuh-uh,” he mimed, his way of saying no.

About the Author:

Janice Tremayne is an Amazon bestselling and award-winning ghost and supernatural writer. Janice is a finalist in the Readers’ Favorite 2020 International Book Awards in Fiction-Supernatural.

She is an emerging Australian author who lives with her family in Melbourne. Her recent publication, Haunting in Hartley, reached number one on the Amazon kindle ranking for Occult, Supernatural, and Ghosts and Haunted Houses categories, for hot new releases and bestsellers.

Janice is well-versed in her cultural superstitions and how they influence daily life and customs. She has developed a passion and style for writing ghost and supernatural novels for new adult readers.

The concept of writing the Haunting Clarisse series was spawned over a cup of coffee many years ago, and she has not looked back since. Her books contain heart-thumping, bone-chilling, and thought-provoking ghost and paranormal experiences that deliver a new twist to every tale.

Website | Facebook | YouTube

Buy the series or the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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What would I tell a new author? by Matt Carter – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Matt Carter will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would I tell a new author?

So, you’ve decided to become an author. Well, first and foremost, congratulations! Welcome aboard, and I am happy to see that you want to make a life out of your creativity. That is a wonderful and beautiful thing, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck upon entering this world. May your successes be great, and may your reviews only be the kindest of kind words.

That being said, here comes the part where I say, “head’s up!”

Nothing should ever stop you from doing what you love, and if that’s writing, then you write. What you should be aware of, however, is that what you’re embarking on is a long, hard road. Sometimes you will hear stories of someone who gets a worldwide bestseller right out of the gate, and if you’re one of them, well good on you! Odds are, however, you won’t be. Writing is a constant uphill battle of working on projects, putting your blood, sweat and tears into something you love, and then putting it out there for the world to tear apart should they decide to notice you at all. Sometimes they will love you, sometimes they will hate you, and much of the time they will feel cruel and indifferent. You will see books of dubious quality become worldwide bestsellers while you struggle to get friends and family to review your work on Amazon. It is a long, hard road, but it is the one you’ve chosen.

And it is at times like this that I look to the great and immortal words of Peter Quincy Taggart when I say, “Never give up, never surrender.” Just because the road is long and hard doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. Writing is what you love to do, and what you’re meant to do, and no matter what gets thrown in your way, keep going! Keep building up your skills, your network of contacts, your resources that you can call upon when you have a new project. Keep putting out works, self-publish if that’s the route you want to go, or keep contacting publishers and agents if that’s the route you choose. Keep reminding yourself that this is your dream, and never forget that. It’s a long, hard road, and it will be tempting at times to give up when you face rejection after rejection. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. It’s just the name of the game. But if you can feel writing in your soul, if you’ve got words that need to get out and must be shared with the world, then you don’t give up.

So, those are my warnings and my suggestions on how to deal with those warnings. Whatever you do, keep writing, keep going, and I shall wish you nothing but the best of luck in your venture.

Though here are some parting tips I couldn’t work into my main ramblings:

– Get plenty of sleep, you will value it.
– Invest in a comfortable chair to write in, your back and neck will thank you.
– Eat healthy, but eat comfortably.
– Learn when to trust and not to trust your spell check.
– Get an editor or beta reader, you will value it.
– Study up on how to write a good query letter.
– Be excellent to each other.
– And if you feel like going outside where other people might be while we’re still living under the specter of COVID-19, please wear a mask! This is a part of being excellent to each other.

For nearly sixty years, Bennytown has been America’s most exciting family theme park destination. Under the watchful eye of cultural icon Benny the Bunny, the park has entertained generations of children with its friendly atmosphere and technologically innovative rides, acting as a beacon of joy and wonder, where magic is real and dreams come true.

Bennytown once saved sixteen-year-old Noel Hallstrom’s life, and to repay it, Noel has applied for a summer job. Though the work is messy and the hours are bad, Noel is happy to be a part of the Bennytown family, until he sees the darkness beneath the surface. Strange, mechanized mascots walk the park perimeter. Elegantly dressed cultists in wooden Benny masks lurk in the darkness. Spirits of the many who’ve died in the park roam freely, and every night the park transforms into a dark dimension where madness reigns and monsters prowl.

Noel is about to find out more about Bennytown than he ever wanted to know, and that its darkness might have designs on him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):

Excerpt One:

“I believe in Bennytown,” Adam sniffled.

You weren’t supposed to cry at Bennytown, since it was a magical place where dreams come true. Bennytown was a themed wonderland of rides, shows, and fantastical worlds that let you escape from real life.

His parents and commercials repeated that to him on a regular basis, so it had to be the truth.

It didn’t feel really magical right now, though.

Adam sat on the curb in Happy Hollow, whimpering and wiping away tears. Bits of vanilla ice cream and chocolate smeared his chin. He wanted to kick Shawn for ruining everything. Mommy and Daddy always took Shawn’s side and barely listened to their other son. Even when Adam was right.

He wasn’t supposed to cry, but he did anyway.

“I believe in Bennytown,” he repeated.

Repeating the phrase helped ease the pain a little. The words had a power he found comforting, like saying he believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny. Unlike any of those mythical figures, these words had extra power because Bennytown was real.

About the Author Matt Carter has used his lifelong love for writing, history and the bizarre to bring to life novels like Almost Infamous: A Supervillain Novel, Pinnacle City: A Superhero Noir, and the Prospero Chronicles young adult horror series (all co-authored with Fiona J.R. Titchenell). Bennytown,is his first solo horror novel.

He is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel and lives in the usually sunny town of San Gabriel, CA with his wife, their pet king snake Mica, and the myriad of strange fictional characters and worlds that live in his head.

Publisher Book Page | Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Buy the book for only $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or IndieBound.

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Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent by Jennifer Anne Gordon – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer Anne Gordon will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Adam, a young alcoholic, slowly descends into madness while dealing with the psychological scars of childhood trauma which are reawakened when his son and wife die in a car accident that he feels he is responsible for. After a failed suicide attempt, and more group meetings that he can mention. Adam hears a rumor of a Haunted Island off the Coast of Maine, where “if someone wants it bad enough” they could be reunited with a lost loved one. In his desperate attempt to connect with the ghost of his four-and-a half year old son, he decides to go there, to Dagger Island, desperate to apologize to, or be condemned by, his young son. Adam is not sure what he deserves or even which of these he wants more. While staying in a crumbling old boarding house, he becomes involved with a beautiful and manipulative ghost who has spent 60 years tormenting the now elderly man who was her lover, and ultimately her murderer. The three of them create a “Menage-a-Guilt” as they all come to terms with what it is that ties them so emotionally to their memories and their very “existence”. Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent is a poetic fever dream of grief, love, and the terrifying ways that obsession can change who we are.

Enjoy an Excerpt

She walks slowly to his bed, leaving a trail of wet footprints in her stead. She is a ghost ship, silently making its way across the sea of his room. She looks at his sleeping form, he is curled in on himself. When he was younger and stronger, he would sleep like a warrior. He was so proud. He would dominate everything, his bed, his dreams, even sleep itself would bow down under his perceived strength.

He is so much older now. These days he sleeps like a child, or a cat, both starving but petrified of the mouse.

She hears the rattling of death, climbing out from the deepest parts of his lungs each time he exhales. It was the little things like these moments, she supposed, that she grew to love. They were her favorite part of all of this. Her favorite part of this very long endless day.

This existence, it is not a life, but it is not death. She is in the in-between. She is in the empty.

She climbs into his bed and into his world. She lies next to him; her body is damp and seemingly heavy. Her wet hair and wet face, and waterlogged body creep into his dreams. She is a memory revitalized, a nightmarish creature, a visitor come back to stay.

She stares at him, intently, she is focused. You would think, after 60 years she would grow tired of his face, of this, her nightly ritual, but she hasn’t, and she expects she never will. She stares until she feels something building in her throat, it’s her anger, it’s her fear, it’s her rage. It feels like fire, it burns inside her, aching to get out.

He opens his eyes, with the confusion of age, alcohol and too many dreams. Before thinking better of it, his arm reaches across the bed. It reaches for her memory. He finds the other side of the bed empty, but damp. She doesn’t let him touch her, not for many years. In the morning, his sheets will smell like the ocean, at least her side of the bed will. It will have the aching scent of brine, salt, and wet. It is so different from the way his side smells, which is of tears, whiskey, and the sour sweat of fear.

He gets up, ignores the wet foot prints she leaves on the floor, the ones that lead to his bed, the ones that circle him while he sleeps. He plods to the bathroom, washes his face, rinses the staleness out of his mouth, he thinks for a moment he sees her out of the corner of his eye. She will always look the same, with her soaked hair, white dress, her head down, no, she doesn’t let him look at her face, not directly. His breath catches in his throat; he makes a sound, somewhere between a cough and a scream.

He should be used to this by now, used to her. The simple fact she can still surprise him like this is what keeps all of this from becoming commonplace. He thinks he picks up on the sound of her laugh, the way it would ring like silver in his ears, but he is mistaken.

She loves him.

No, that’s not quite right.

She loved him.

She tries to remember the time before she felt those things. this task of hers is more difficult than one would expect, the simplicity of trying to remember when she existed before they met, before she wandered into his life. This a burden she has not yet managed to bear.

Was there a time before they collided and destroyed each other’s worlds?

She hates him.

She never hated him while she was alive, she should have, she knows that he deserved it. He deserved her hate.

She does hate him now. She knows is both a beginning and an ending.

Hate can be powerful, but not as powerful as fear.

She fears him now.

She feared him then.

There are ghosts and memories in this house that even she fears. This man, he only fears her. It is what keeps her here.

She opens her mouth, and she invites the rage that burns in her throat to finally have a voice and it feels like fire, waiting to be born. She feels it rushing out of her. It is a scream that has taken 60 years to finally be birthed.

She opens her mouth, and all that’s there is saltwater.

About the Author:

Jennifer Anne Gordon is a gothic horror novelist. Her debut novel, Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent broke presale records with her publisher (Breaking Rules Publishing) and has received critical acclaim. Her second novel, From Daylight to Madness, is set to be released in late summer 2020 and is the second in her “Dagger Island” series.

She had a collection of her mixed media artwork published during spring of 2020, entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon
Jennifer is one of the hosts of Writer Someday, to Author Today, as well as Prose Garden, she is also a book reviewer and contributor to HorrorTree.com, as well as the Creator and Host of Vox Vomitus, a video and podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network.

Jennifer is a pale curly haired ginger, obsessed with horror, ghosts, abandoned buildings, and her dog “Lord Tubby”.

She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she studied Acting. She also studied at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Art History and English.

She has made her living as an actress, a magician’s assistant, a “gallerina”, a painter, and burlesque performer. For the past 10 years as an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor, and choreographer.

When not scribbling away (ok, typing frantically) she enjoys traveling with her fiancé and dance partner Roman Sirotin, teaching her dog ridiculous tricks (like ‘give me a kiss’ and ‘what hand is the treat in?’) as well as taking photos of abandoned buildings and haunted locations.

She is a leo, so at the end of the day she really just thinks about her hair.
Her novel as well as her art collection are available on Amazon.
For more information and benevolent stalking, please visit her website.

Website | Facebook |
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennifergenevievegordon/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferAnneGo5
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20063036.Jennifer_Gordon

Buy the book at Amazon.

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FEED YOUR READER – Spotlight and Giveaway

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Slayers – A Retrospect by L.T. Getty – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. L.T. Getty will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Slayers – A Retrospect

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. Friedrich Nietzsche

Iconic Monster hunters are not just relics of a bygone era. I grew up with stories of Solomon Kane and Van Helsing, but in Junior High, my friends adored Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Not gonna pretend I never watched an episode, but not nearly with as much fan appreciation as some of my good friends). Nowadays, I’m watching Geralt of Rivia not take down vampires but as a professional Witcher he exterminates the monster of the week, and in our down time at work, my partner got us watching Shadowhunters. Well, like most TV shows she watches the first season and I’m in for the ride for season 2…

Nietzsche’s quote refers to men, not those bestowed to fight monsters and are given supernatural powers. The quote is essentially to remind us that just because we have good intentions doesn’t mean that our actions will always be justified. I could go on about crooked cops or veterans who develop a taste for killing, but my own industry, paramedicine, has compassion fatigue and a lot of us cope with dark humour.

That being said, one thing I noted when thinking about the question, does indeed take me back Junior High and High School – the Brooding Hero. Now, not all heroes brood and not all heroes deal with the supernatural. For the sake of this very short article, let’s discuss about what I consider the three categories of monster hunters, but this could extend to superheroes and villains as well as I think fantasy as a genre.

The first category of monster hunter’s I’m going to put as tied directly to the dark or hidden world, and are usually physically marked in some way. Marvel’s Blade, are born into the hidden world and can never be normal by virtue of what they are. Blade, for instance, is a Dhampyr, as are characters such as Alucard (in most iterations. Upon doing research, he had his start as a vampire in a 1943 film, but he’s most known for standing against his father and assisting the Vampire Hunting Bellmont family). Characters like Geralt of Rivia are modified to improve their senses and strength to even stand up to monsters, so characters like Witchers or King’s Father Callahan were once regular people, but normal is forever lost to them. Typically, these sorts of characters are the most hated and feared of the monster hunters, because they’re the most like the creatures they’re fighting, or at least trying to balance the duality of supernatural and humanity.

I’ll put characters like Buffy and Claire’s Clary into the next category – they’re the ones who are chosen because of a bloodline or because of a prophecy and were chosen, and on the surface, can fit in with the rest of us, or at least pass by unnoticed. They may have incredible powers or something that allows them to stand up to the monsters. In one of the episodes of Shadowhunters I watched, Clary waxed how she wanted to go back to normal and paint, and I’m sure watching snippets at my friend’s house Buffy was the same way (I remember the episode where she got a job at a fast food joint. I thought being a guardian of the ether was a full time gig, let alone High School). This might be because they can fit in or had some semblance of a normal life, but keep getting thrust back to keep the normals ‘safe’. Like the first category, they tend to be balancing a duality of their supernatural nature, trying to be human but unable to explain it to everyone around them.

The final category are those who lack supernatural abilities per say. They’re often aided by their knowledge or mystical items for protection, able to stand up to the creatures from the abyss because they know enough about what monster they’re facing to take precautions and fight with knowledge and or mysticism. I’ll put Stoker’s Van Helsing in this category, as well as Howard’s Solomon Kane, but I’ll go as so far as to put characters like King’s Roland Deschain. That’s not to say that they aren’t supernaturally impressive in some way – Roland is a Gunslinger and his skills are legendary, and Kane is given a staff that protects him from evil. Are they part of a family trained from birth, do they belong to a religious order? Ironically, perhaps these characters don’t brood, they’re firmly in the trenches and are aware they’re one adventure away from rotting in a ditch forgotten. The first two categories are pretty firm as to why the characters even belong in the supernatural – they’re part of it. Mortals who chose this lifestyle are often tainted by darkness early in life, or they have some sort of uncanny skill that makes them ideal for fighting. In many stories, these same heroes who are seeking to do good are seen as the true monsters, such as in Matheson’s I am Legend (you’ll have to read the story. They changed the ending for the 2007 film with Will Smith).

What do you think of my categories? Could I subdivide further? Do you have any favourite vampire or monster hunters not mentioned here?

Every decade, Marie must leave her home and everything she loves to start anew. She can’t risk the locals learning the truth of her immortality, much less her vampiric need of feeding off fear. Fortunately for Marie, fear comes easily and she spends her endless days mourning the loss of her beloved.

When she is summoned to the leaders of the masquerade, she is persuaded to assist them in uncovering a mystery of powers possibly more ancient then their own order.

As a rare daywalker of exquisite beauty, there is no society Marie cannot infiltrate. Having spent the last few centuries growing into her abilities, she expects to learn of the old powers, and return to her lonely eternity of mourning.

She doesn’t expect to fall in love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Where is this fool taking us?” one of Raoul’s men asked.

I realized then that they hadn’t been paying attention.

“Driver!” He reached his arm outside the open window to rap and get his attention, but I could smell the hiss of venom and knew it was intentional.

The horses ran quicker, and I could hear more coming up. They sought to isolate us and do their deed in the woods. Interesting choice, as there was no need to restrain ourselves without potential witnesses.

One of Raoul’s guards kicked open the door. He glided out. His gift included some manipulation of his form, and like a shadow he leapt onto the path, while his fellow went to climb up on the stagecoach.

Raoul glanced at me. “You’ll be safest in here.”

“Do not leave your men, guardian mine.”

His gaze darted from mine as I recognized the smell of flesh turning to ash, and light pierced the chest of the fellow on the roof of the coach. He exploded into dust before he could scream. The stench of sulphur was undeniable, even without our honed senses. The other fellow met a similar end a moment later.

Unfazed by the strange tool on a chain, Raoul unsheathed a rapier from his cane and struck the driver in the leg. The man was young. He met a knife at the rapier for the second strike, but the riders coming up were too late. Raoul knocked aside the gun and slashed the driver’s face before he pierced his heart. I bounced along uncomfortably as the driver was pushed forward and went under the back left wheel.

The horses squealed and ran faster. Raoul reached for the reins, but a rider came up from beside the carriage, then put her pistol in through the open window at me. I grabbed the weapon with such force I nearly knocked her off her horse and into the carriage’s paneling.

About the Author: L.T. Getty is a science fiction and fantasy writer who hails from the Canadian Prairies. When she’s not writing, you can likely find her driving an ambulance and dreaming about travel.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Edgar Swamp – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Edgar Swamp will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. NOTE: the book is currently only $0.99 at Amazon.

How to Handle Negative Criticism
Let’s face it, no matter what you do, no matter how well you think you’ve done it, there is always going to be someone who thinks you didn’t get it quite right on some level, during a particular phase of the writing. Inevitably you’ll receive backlash regarding the character description/development, the plotting, pacing, or the ending. You think you’ve done the best job you could, and somebody is of the opinion that you didn’t. Sigh…

Ultimately, the reader is the final judge when it comes to what you write when you share it. Those are the breaks. Not everyone is ever going to be totally happy with something you’ve done, but unfortunately it can really set you off. You think, “Do you know how hard I worked on this?” or “You didn’t like the ending? Then you’re an idiot!” These are knee-jerk reactions to a project you’ve nurtured since it was just an idea, then an outline, finally a book. Rejection is downright hard; there is no way of denying that. And taste is subjective; one person’s poison is another’s cure.

That said, negative criticism can also help you learn how to get better, to refine and further develop your story so that your intended audience is more engaged.

When you receive negative criticism, really look at what the critic is saying. Are your characters stereotypical and contrived? Is the plot dragging? The narrative unconvincing? Sometimes what readers who are willing to share a review are doing is helping you to develop ways of becoming a better writer, by letting you know how it genuinely affected them. If you are a novice writer, the site Writing.com is a great (and inexpensive) place to submit your writing to an audience of fellow writers who want the same thing: to write, read, and review.

I had my chops busted there for over two years before I started submitting stories to e-zines (the only real viable market for short stories by unpublished writers) and it took another year of learning what it was they really wanted before I had several stories published, often after numerous rewrites suggested by the editor. Constructive criticism can be a great learning tool to help you master your art, to drive you to do better every time.

OK, now let’s say you just wrote the best novel ever, the ultimate defining moment of your life. In your opinion, it’s so awesome that you’re finally gonna be able to tell your boss to take this job and shove it because you’re about to launch your world book tour…and someone who received a free copy on a reading site says in their review, “I set it down and didn’t know if I really felt like picking it back up, but eventually I did, I don’t know why. I got really bored near the end and I felt like if this was an analogy for sex, I just totally ‘faked the orgasm’. I don’t know if I’d exactly recommend this to anyone but the mentally challenged.” …you may be right in taking offense. I actually just sort of (very loosely) paraphrased something someone wrote as a review for my latest novel “Amber Hollow,” a book of mine that has been generating tons of wonderful praise.

Out of 20 or so reviews, it was the first negative one, and I was tempted to fire off a reply to the tune of, “I’m sure your partner feels the same way about you!” but I refrained because of what I already said: The reader is the definitive judge of your work when you share it; everyone has their own opinion, and everyone’s is different. If that is what one reader thought about my book, well, I have to live with that. Fortunately, that was only one person’s opinion.

If you write a book and the majority of your criticism takes that tone, you might want to go back to the basics and find out what you are doing wrong. Use it as a learning experience and you’ll feel better about it, except at three in the morning when you can’t sleep. The question of why they didn’t like your book may go over and over in your mind, so my advice is this: Take a valerian root and forget about it; it’s not worth losing sleep over. That critic probably actually LIKES a book by (fill in the name of the author you think is overrated) so that actually means they have terrible taste and wouldn’t know brilliance if it hit them in the face. Sweet dreams!

On July 15, 1991, an isolated village in Northern Wisconsin is ground zero for an unprecedented, fiery tragedy. Of the community’s 600 residents, there are only five survivors. Detailed accounts by the victims contradict each other; the only link is a man named Anthony Guntram, but because he is presumed to be dead, this claim can’t be verified. Further investigations reveal a culture enshrouded in mystery. What are the survivors hiding?

Only the villagers know the secret of Amber Hollow, a place where sanity is checked at the town line and the parameters of reality become blurred. An unconventional horror story by design, Edgar Swamp delivers an action-driven page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the calamitous ending.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The call came when they were five blocks from St. Mary’s, blaring from the radio in a raucous hiss of static that made both of them jump. Sadie looked at Jeremy, and the confusion in her eyes would be almost comical if the situation wasn’t so dire. He grabbed the handset on the radio, pressed the button.

“This is Detective Jeremy LeFevre. Please repeat the transmission.”

“There is a ten fifty-six A in progress on the Tower Drive Bridge, I repeat a ten fifty-six A.”

“We’re two miles from that location,” he said calmly, although his nerves suddenly felt as if they were live wires spitting enough electricity to power the entire city. “We’re en route.”

“Ten four,” the dispatcher said, and Sadie flipped a switch on the dash that fired up the siren. She then grabbed the bubble next to her, rolled down her window, and tossed it onto the top of the car where the magnet on the bottom held it firmly in place. For some reason, she always felt like she was in an episode of Starskey and Hutch when she did that.

“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Jeremy asked his partner.

“What are you thinking?”

“I don’t know, maybe I’m jumping to more conclusions, but somehow I think this is one call we need to take.”

Turned out, he was right.

About the Author: Edgar Swamp is the author of the “Gyre Mission,” “Glitch in the Machine,” and “Blackout.” His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California.

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The Basement by Dianne Hartsock – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dianne Hartsock will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Alex is haunted by visions of the dying, but now it seems the ghosts he’s seeing are real as well.

In this sequel to ALEX and THE SHED, Alex wonders if he’s seeing ghosts. His friend Justin has bought the Fulton place, a beautiful old mansion on the edge of Oakton. But something’s wrong in the house. Alex has visions of a small boy, trapped in the basement, and a man at the top of the stairs who won’t let him leave.

And Logan Fulton has come to town, Helen Kramer’s cousin, a psychic medium who wants something from Helen, whatever the cost. He and Helen had spent time in the Fulton house as children and Alex suspects Logan has something to do with the spirits now awakening in the old mansion. But whether Logan is calling them forth or if something else is controlling them, Alex can’t be sure.

The child’s spirit calls to Alex, as do others trapped in the house. There is a dark entity holding them there, keeping the child forever in the basement, the others for his amusement. But Alex has never believed in ghosts, so what is really going on? As he strives to learn the boy’s secret, his friends are one by one pulled to the Fulton place and put in danger while Logan works against Alex, having an agenda of his own. Will Alex be able to solve the haunting of the old house, or will he and his friends be taken one by one, doomed to walk the dark hallways forever?

Enjoy an Excerpt

A step creaked, and Alex froze. Was the house settling? Why had he sat with his back to the staircase? Dammit! He hadn’t put up a shield. Another creak, and the fine hair rose on the back of his neck. He shuddered, dread seeping into him as he became aware of a presence behind him. He choked back a cry when a cold breath brushed his skin. What is there? Alex wanted to look, but fear kept him immobile.

“Christopher?” he tried, but the word was snatched from the air before it became sound. Pressure built in Alex’s ears. Oh, God. The thing pressed against his back, a blanket of ice, chilling his blood. The air froze, a sharp knife stabbing his chest with each inhalation.

“Christopher!”

Why couldn’t Christopher hear him? Couldn’t he feel the terrible presence in the room? Alex stared at him, but Christopher continued to gaze at his hands relaxed on his lap. Fingers cold as death ghosted over Alex’s cheek. “Mine.” The whisper was a spike of ice in his head, and Alex watched in horror as a dark tendril of something curled around him and stretched toward Christopher, taking shape as an arm and reaching hand. Christopher’s aura flared, but couldn’t keep out the darkness that spread like a bruise, blocking his light.

“No!” Alex scrambled up, slipping on the smooth floor but managing to keep his feet. Adrenaline pumped through him, and he clenched his hands, stepping closer to Christopher. “Get away from him!”

About the Author:

Dianne grew up in one of the older homes in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. A house where ghosts lurk in the basement and the faces in the paintings watch you walk up the front stairs. Rooms where you keep the closet doors closed tight at night. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from. Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind.

She now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. Dianne says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee in her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

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What Kind of Writer am I? by P.D. Alleva – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. P.D. Alleva will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What kind of writer am I?

Thank you Long and Short Reviews for this opportunity.

Great question. I’ve always had shifting dreams between genres; I enjoy horror and dark fiction, scifi, thrillers, classic literature and a great love story. I’ll read just about any book or any type of book and never remain consistent to one specific genre. My writing reflects this. Honestly I despise labels, if a book is good, I’m going to read it, despite genre or who wrote it.

Mainly, I’m the kind of writer who believes in giving something for everyone. I’ve got so many stories rattling through my head at any given moment, stories that strike a cord in my soul and want to be heard. I don’t know where they come from but they burn deep and are my children. Just like any living being life proceeds on a path of its own. Most of the time I have an idea of where I want the story to go, however, the story has its own plan and plot to follow, and I’m often finding myself following the characters on a different path. Stories are like little children, and what children want is attention, to be heard and have that moment in the light where they stand center stage.

I’m also a psychotherapist and hypnotist, a field I’ve been involved in for the past thirteen years. I’ve written protocols for mental health and addiction programs, self-help and philosophy books and numerous articles on healing, how the mind works and processes information, and have always been a keen observer of the human condition. I’m a people watcher, with an ear to actually hear what people are saying. On the flip side I love conspiracy theories (I’ve got a few of my own), and I’m a student of spirituality and quantum physics. My inner circle consists of clairvoyants, mediums, Buddhist teachers, world-renowned philosophers, astrologist, alchemists, and healers. I believe in and understand the nature of good and evil and the individual battle between them that exists inside each one of us. As a writer, my story’s central themes reflect this battle. Deon Young wrote a proverb titled The Fight of the Two Wolves Within You, about good evil, and how both exist simultaneously but the one who wins is the one we feed. But there’s also influence, evil’s plan, and paying attention to the signs, awareness of the self, and knowing we are on the right path. Sometimes we are manipulated; mostly we manipulate ourselves. I enjoy including these themes in my stories.

I am a multi-genre author. I’m writing a dark fiction dystopian scifi thriller that is book three in the Beyond the Chamber Door series and includes an alchemy meditation as the super power used against the alien race. After, book four will feature a 1940’s socialite whose male sculpture comes to life after a break up with the love of her life. Think My Fair Lady meets Frankenstein. I enjoy large and universal themes concerning the corruption of the soul, revenge, and redemption, always toying with the notion of light and dark and how quickly we can tip in either direction if we are not aware of our ‘self’. I’m also in love with love, which is the ultimate of all redemption from darkness. I love what I do and I’m passionate about creating a true body of work that strikes the emotional cord in the reader and is ever lasting. Something for everyone. Sometimes the good guys win, sometimes the bad guys win, and such is life.

The Beyond the Chamber Door series allows for these multitudes of genres, travelling across space-time and alternate dimensions where we never know what we’ll find on the other side. The series features stand alone stories in each installment, connected with the universal theme of light and dark and their raging battle that exists over multiple lives. For what truly lies beyond the chamber door is the dark and sinister heart of man, the corruption of power, ego, manipulation, and suffering. Pain and suffering drive evolution, however, if a character is not aware of this need to change, they fall further into darkness, consumed by anger, hate and rage. If misery loves company, than misery is what they reflect and what they receive.

Conclusion: I write the stories that beg to be heard, those that burn deep within my soul and quench my desires. I’m the kind of writer who seeks to create an undying bond with the reader by writing everlasting stories that take the reader on a wild journey through darkness and eventually, somewhere in the future, into the light.

Twisted Tales of Deceit is the first installment in the Beyond the Chamber Door series. Featuring three tales (The Calculated Desolation of Hope, Somnium, & Knickerbocker) chronicling an evil influence on the human psyche, tipping our hands into the engagement of what is most horrifying; our dastardly, human deeds steeped in self-destruction, desperation and the loss of dreams. Metaphorical warnings have been constructed inside these pages to reflect the everyday signs the universe provides under the guise of reflective light that return to mirror how evil tempts our hand so to not fulfill the dreams of the soul. Our doubts, our sadness, our indecisions rooted in fear, are toiled with by the presence of imps bent on hatred and in need of our nightmares to survive. Here, the human spirit is dripped like honey, tasteful to the dark corridors of human malevolence and taken advantage by the corrupt and seamlessly endless parade other worldly dimensions have on what should be our earthly utopia, creating rage in the cosmic hedonism of jealousy.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He remembered the wolf, roaming in the room. Saw the gamer and the boy he had saved with their throats cut out as the wolf fed on them. Their black eyeballs staring at William.

Remembered how the bodies were taken from the room. Remembered how he screamed but had no strength to do anything about it.

And how Katarina appeared again, another needle in hand. Remembered how he wanted it now, to help him forget. She shot him up and his world became smaller, the walls closing in to squeeze all that he knew in between the four walls of that tiny room, now no bigger than the bed he lay on.

He remembered how the world disappeared, melted away like ice.

Remembered how the darkness invited itself into his space, and how the world had gone mad.

“What the fu…” he grumbled, collapsing to the floor. His heart fluttered, and his skin flushed pale white and red. He leaned against the wall, watching the final dissipation of daylight outside the window. And the room grew dark with a sliver of moonlight that broke through the window as his memories faded and an unnerving hunger cried out from his veins. A tiny voice in his head.

“More,” it called. “Please, more.”

His body felt pain, pain like he’d never felt before. His mind felt confusion, he couldn’t put a thought together. His eyes turned wet with tears and he started to wail. He wailed until his voice gave out.

And then the footsteps. Loud, clunking footsteps against the wood floor. The massive image half hidden in the darkness, half illuminated by the moonlight, seemed to drift toward him with a mindful caution only to disappear just before reaching him. His vision wavered as the hunger grew.

In front of him, nose to nose, Mephisto shined his yellow eyes on him. And Mephisto grinned, scooping him in his arms like a baby and delivering him to the bed.

“Rest,” Mephisto said, pausing as he looked on William who saw the death of stars gleaming in Mephisto’s eyes.

“And welcome…to oblivion.”

His grin was sinister, daring and satisfied.

About the Author:P.D. Alleva is an author, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist specializing in trauma, addiction and mental health. He is the author of several books, including fiction novels, Indifference and A Billion Tiny Moments In Time…, Seriously Twisted; These Gods of Darkness (Poetry), Let Your Soul Evolve (1st and 2nd ed), and Spiritual Growth Therapy: Philosophy, Practices and Mindfulness Workbook (non-fiction). He has developed behavioral protocols for addiction and mental health and teaches mindfulness, Buddhist meditations and manifestation techniques to his patients as a means and alternative to using pharmaceuticals. Go to spiritualgrowththerapy.com to learn more. Mr. Alleva offers a special discount on his video tutorials for his readers, so please use Promo Code 7474 for a special 90% discount. He is currently in private practice with his wife, Lisa. He lives with his wife and children in Boca Raton, Florida.

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