Monday, August 31, 2015

Bat Crazy by Carole Brown | New Novel News

Bat Crazy 
by Carole Brown

August 25, 2015
Story and Logic Media Group
Purchase: Bat Crazy

Monster Bats with red eyes that attack humans? Denton doesn’t think so and Alex hopes not, but who are they to quibble with the local gossip?

Transmission problems and a blown tire land Denton and Alex Davies right in the middle of a dilapidated, unfriendly town that’s welcoming no strangers, least of all nosy ones with a bent toward solving mysteries.

But with support from the town detective--an admirer of the Davies--and their own tenacious personalities, Denton and Alex aren’t easily scared off. Not when warnings in the form of painted bats show up on the porch of their rented cabin, not when the mayor threatens to run them out of town and not even when Denton finds the bones . . .

An ancient story, a bit of a map, a lost jewel and even a bat clan serve to provide the Davies and their sidekick, Taffy, the dog, their hardest case so far.

Get to know Carole...

What are the names of your pets?

One dog: Taffy, who looks like a Jack Russell. Showed up at our place and no one ever claimed her. At about the same time one of our horses died and the other one was grieving. When my husband and son came home that day, Taffy sat close to Shyenne. Whatever Taffy said to Shyenne we’ll never know, but from that day forward, Shyenne was fine! 
Outdoor cats: Tipper (tiny, touchy/grouchy and found by son #1 in a school building being torn down when she was a kitten), Simon, Sandy
One horse: Shyenne

What are you reading right now?

Mary Ellis’s Midnight on the Mississippi (a mystery!)
Renee Blare’s To Soar on Eagle’s Wings
Norma Gail’s Land of My Dreams

If you were stranded on an island what are three things you couldn’t live without?

My husband
My grandsons
My computer! (Yeah, I know: probably no internet, but I could still write my novels on it! Oh, I’d have to have hubby rig up some kind of electricity gadget (whatever!). :)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Winners & Such | A Time To Die by Nadine Brandes

Welp, I'm back from vacation! It was a lovely trip (check out my Instagram for some pics if you'd like to see the Oregon Coast where we camped).

And, as promised, we have a WINNER from last weeks author interview with Nadine Brandes (check out her interview here if you missed it).

Drum roll...

Brittany Valentine 

Yea! Congrats Brittany :D

But, don't worry! There are still TWO chances to win things on my blog...crazy, right?

Leave a comment on this post to enter to win a copy of Battered Justice by Linda J. White.

Enter on the Rafflecopter giveaway and sign up for my new newsletter to enter this fun giveaway!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Linda J. White {Writer Wednedsay}

A little bit about Linda...

--> Linda J. White is a former journalist. She writes FBI thrillers from her home in rural Virginia. Her husband worked at the FBI Academy for over 27 years. She has three traditionally published novels out, including the HOLT Medallion-winning “Seeds of Evidence.” Her fourth novel, “Battered Justice,” is an Indie.
How to connect with Linda...

Purchase: Battered Justice

Author Interview  | Linda J. White

--> You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing? ...Twenty years ago, recovering from knee surgery, I had an idea for a story in the middle of the night: What if a confident, self-assured FBI agent had his life spin out of control when he son was kidnapped by the drug gang he’d been investigating? I told my husband about it the next day, and (bless him!) he said, “That’s a great story! You ought to write it.”

...Yeah, sure. Me? A mom at home?

....He was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy and began taking me over there and introducing me to agents. They were so helpful! A year later, I had a novel on my computer. It was amazing.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I have to say, “The Tiger’s Cage,” that first book, is still my favorite. Yes, I’ve learned a lot and I am a better writer now, but what can I say? It was my first baby!

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The hardest thing about publishing is the inevitable disappointments. So much is out of a writer’s control. Waiting for contracts, then patiently accepting the rejects and downturns in the market, is tough.

...The easiest, for me, is writing—getting lost in a book I’m working on.

--> Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?
...“Battered Justice” takes two FBI agents from my first published book, “Bloody Point,” and extends their story. Jake, a non-custodial father of two, remains determined to be a great dad and a terrific agent. Those goals conflict, and when a case he and his partner, Cass, are investigating gives indication his ex-wife’s new husband, Senator Westfield, is corrupt, life really gets complicated.

...“Battered Justice” deals with both domestic abuse and injustice. I wanted to explore both issues. And I couldn’t get “Bloody Point’s” characters out of my head! However, my agent and I agreed no traditional publisher would take it, so I self-published “Battered Justice.”

Do you have a favorite character in this work?
...I love Jake’s masculine tension and his secret love for Cass.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you in due time.” From I Peter 5:6.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Hmmm… my sister gave be a sweatshirt with an applique that reads, “Watch out or I’ll put you in my novel!” I have to say I have drawn characteristics from people I know and combined them into unique characters. Just one character—Aunt Trudy—in “Bloody Point” is actually based on a real person. I got her permission to do so. Her story is amazing.

...I am close friends with a number of FBI agents, and many more have shared stories or their expertise with me over the years. One said to me, “You’ve gone over to the dark side! You’re thinking like an agent.” That was a compliment!

...The stories may come from the news (I was an editorial writer for thirteen years) or just from my head.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...My goal is to share my passion for Christ through “white-knuckle fiction.” I want to create books that keep readers up all night. And I want to depict characters struggling with the same spiritual questions we all do.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Persist. If God calls you to writing, then just keep writing. 


What is your favorite activity during the summer?  
...The beach! And a lot of my novels are set on or near the water.
What are you currently reading?
...“Ordinary,” by Tony Merida, and four books on dogs (research!).

Apparently August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day (who knew). What is your favorite dessert?
...I don’t do dessert much any more! 

Thanks so much for being on the blog again Linda! Readers, I've had the pleasure of meeting Linda a few times in person and she's the best. I'm so excited she's offering a copy of Battered Justice here. Remember, I'm on vacation so I won't be able to respond to your comments but NOT TO FEAR - I will read them all :)

As for last week's winner, the contest is closed as of today (August 26th) but I will announce the winner of Nadine's book on Saturday when I get back from the coast. This post was scheduled and I won't have any way to update it. Thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From the Start by Melissa Tagg | RE:VIEW

I love picking up a book that takes me along for the ride. One that's comfortable, meaningful, exciting, and sweet. From The Start is that type of book.

I found I could really relate to Kate Walker and her desire to have her writing be filled with substance. Her quirks, and the quirks of her family, were endearing and she was easy to emotionally connect with.

Colton Greene is everything I like in a hero. Handsome, caring, talented, and a hard worker. The fact that he's got things to work through (and how he works through them) make him that much more intriguing.

Melissa weaves a beautiful story that highlights each characters growth in a natural and organic way. The romantic tension is fantastic and the setting, vibrant.

I highly recommend this to anyone who's a fan of Christian romance. Melissa has some awesome twists and turns in here that keep the story from being predictable. I also found myself tearing up a few times with the beautiful truths she incorporated.

Get this book - you won't be disappointed!

Rating: 5*
Purchase: From the Start
*Pick up the prequel novella Three Little Words for FREE

Book Description
(from Melissa's website)
Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays…until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it’s like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of the plan, but it just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Found My Heart In San Francisco

Yep, that's the golden gate bridge up there! I've been having a blast all over California (or at least it feels like all over). I spent some time with my family then headed down to Sacramento to visit my friends Adri and Ryan...yes, we're a goofy lot! {evidence below}

On Saturday we headed over to San Fran and enjoyed the amazing weather. I'm talking about mostly clear, low 70s, and some wind but my-oh-my what a view!

I did family photos for Adri & Ryan and then we explored the city. Cue adventure!

I ate lots of Ghirardelli ice cream, enjoyed the view from the top of Lombard Street, and even captured a few images from Treasure island. It was rather magical.

Now I'm back at my parents house in Northern California and we're about to head off to the Oregon Coast. I can't wait! But, I wanted to make sure to let you all know I'll be pretty MIA this week. That happens when your camping and without power ;-)

Please don't let that stop you from interacting here. I've got a great author already scheduled for this Wednesday and I'll be sure to come back and check on my comments this weekend.

And don't forget (while you're at it) to stop by my Newsletter Giveaway post. I'll be picking out my final prize this weekend *rubs hands together* I wonder what it will be :D

What are YOU up to this weekend?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Through Deep Waters by Sarah Sundin | RE:View

Take a journey back to 1941 and the Boston Navy Yard with Sarah Sundin's latest release, Through Deep Waters.

Filled with historical gems, romantic tension, and a mystery to solve, Through Deep Waters will draw you in and have you thinking like Nancy Drew right along side Mary Stirling and Ensign Jim Avery.

I have an affinity for WWII era novels and have loved the books I've read from Sarah. With that in mind, I had high hopes for this first book in her new series, "Waves of Freedom". I really enjoyed this first book and the story Sarah weaved through the lives of shy and orderly Mary Stirling and calm and easygoing Navy man Jim Avery.

One of my favorite things about Through Deep Waters was the ability to see the surroundings of Boston, the Navy Yard, and the Navy ship the Atwood. I loved all of the details about life during this time period and can trust that Sarah has done her homework with regards to accuracy in the time period. You will actually feel as if you're right there, jumping pack in time with the characters.

I also loved the element of mystery. Being a Nancy Drew fan myself, I enjoyed the suspicion of sabotage at the Navy Yard and Mary and Jim's efforts to find the culprit. There's nothing better than the element of mystery and a well equipped sleuthing team.

Through Deep Waters will appeal to fans of historical romance, mystery, and anyone who enjoys the tension of romance lingering in the air. It has the atmosphere of the 1940s that you'll remember from movies like Shop Around The Corner, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Sergeant York. My recommendation? Read it!

Rating: 4*

Purchase: Through Deep Waters
Get to know Sarah Sundin here

Book Description
(from Sarah's website)

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.

Friday, August 21, 2015

4 Tips to Successfully Using Instagram as a Writer

My oh my...who doesn't love Instagram? Maybe I'm jut crazy about it because I'm a photographer? That's more likely I'm sure, but I did want to take a few minutes to chat about using the Instagram platform as a writer. Not to worry, if you aren't a writer you'll still enjoy this post because I'll include pretty pictures ;)

4 Tips to Successfully Using Instagram as a Writer

1. What to post

Ok, I'm not really going to tell you what to post, but I will give some helpful tips in how to decide what you should post.
1) Ask yourself what type of account you want to have. Writing/book promotion, for fans, personal use, or a mixture of these.
2) Think about sharing photos that fit with the type of account. For example, my Instagram account is for my photography business and writing but it's got a personal flair to it. My point of consistency is in the look of my photos though. We'll talk about that later.
3) Like with any/all social media for promotion sake, think about sharing things that fit with your brand. This picture of a typewriter fits with my writing and I could talk about what I'm up to writing wise in the comments (also more on that in a minute).
4) Consider your audience and followers. If your account is personal, then 10 pictures of your kids may be expected. BUT if you are trying to gain followers, consider their feeds. 10 pictures of your kids in a row (though they may be the cutest kids EVER) will quickly have your followers considering unfollowing  you.
5) Ask why you are posting each picture. This may seem extreme, but if you're serious about gaining followers and posting within your brand (to an extent) then have a purpose behind your post. No, this doesn't have to be some grand concept and you could use a random photo to tell your fans you just wrote "The End" but it helps to have a reason for each post - even if that's just to share a fun quote.

2. What to say

The comment section of Instagram is a hugely untapped resource (in my humble opinion). I know there are Instagramers out there who are super clever and just post one word captions (or no captions). I've done this. BUT, we're writers! Use your words ;-)
I've personally found that people are more willing to connect with me (and like my picture) if I've got something worth saying. Again, that's not to say that my captions are life changing, but they should be relevant to you, your brand, and your followers.
Use Instagram to give out fun info about your day like you do Twitter, but tie it to a picture. Maybe it's your work space, your coffee, your editing screen, or your TBR pile. Whatever it is, share about it. People can love your images, but they can also begin to love your voice even over Instagram.

3. How to make it pretty

Yes, I know that Instagram comes with it's own filters...but there are some awesome apps out there that give you even more control over what your photos look like.

This is my personal favorite! It's what I edit every photo with on my phone. Maybe that's because I like to tweak things (the photographer in me) but they've also got some great presets.

There are some fun things with this app, like the ability to add some old-school flair to the side of a photo, overlays, and great presets.

This app gives you a LOT of control. Maybe too much for those of you who just want to snap a shot but hey, here it is.

Want to combine two photos - or more like I did here? Use this app! It's one of my favorites for the ease and ability to do a whole bunch with it.

P.S. I was in our local Christian bookstore and saw one of my author headshots on the back of this lovely novel. Eik! See that...E.A. Creative Photography. That's ME :D Ok...back to Instagram stuff...

4. How to be Effective
  • Make your account public (and don't post anything you wouldn't want "everyone" to see)
  • Use hashtags (research popular writer/genre hashtags like #amwriting or #books or #scifi etc.)
  • Tag people and products (as long as it's relevant to the photo of course)
  • Use personal captions when possible
  • Post around 2AM or 5PM and on Wednesdays (so they say...?)
  • Follow Instagramers in your "field" as well as book bloggers/reviewers and comment on their images
  • Be interactive! Comment and reply to those who comment to you (don't for get to tag them specifically with the "@" sign or else they won't see it)
  • Be consistent! Build up a fun gallery of images that represent YOU and what you like. Your readers will love seeing that. 
I hope this has been helpful! Instagram is a great platform and can definitely help you connect with more readers on a personal and fun level.

Are you in Instagram? I'd love to connect with you!