Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hello my lovely fans! Just got a message from Deanna Sletten and thought I would share!

Here it is:

I want to thank all of you for participating in my Book Release Blog Tour for Sara’s Promise. You were all so generous with your time and support of my latest novel, and I just can’t thank you enough for all your help. The blog tour went really well and we had dozens of comments and several people who actually followed along to each site. It was a complete success – thanks to all of you.

Now for the fun news. I promised a drawing for a $50 Amazon Gift Card to the participants in my blog tour. Using, the winner selected is: Janna Shay
I will contact Janna personally so I can send out her prize.

Blog Tour Giveaway Winners

Now for the blog tour winners. I collected the names and emails from all of the people who commented on all of the blogs. After using to choose the winners, here are the names of the lucky winners. I will also be contacting them to let them know they have won and to get the information I need to send out their prize.

$25 Amazon Gift Card – Tima Murrell
$25 Amazon Gift Card – Paul Hewlett
Sara’s Promise Paperback – Shannon Ro
Sara’s Promise Paperback – Cynthia Gail

Once again, thank you all for helping me promote my latest novel.

I had fun doing the interview with her, and I hope you guys had fun reading it!

Until Next Time,

Keep Writing!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Author Interview: Deanna Sletten on Dialogue

Guess who’s got two thumbs and loves doing author interviews? This girl! Author Deanna Sletten graces us with her presence, despite being very busy getting promotions together for her book, Sara’s Promise, to be released today! Here is the back cover info for the book, if you are interested!

Do you believe in soul mates?

William Grafton had the perfect life with his lovely wife, Sara, and two teenaged children. But one day his perfect forever was shattered when Sara died suddenly, leaving him alone to raise his children and wonder how he would ever get through life without his soul mate. Five years later, he finds himself looking into a familiar pair of blue-green eyes that remind him of Sara. The woman is the exact opposite of his late wife, yet he finds he is drawn to her. But after a few strange occurrences, he begins to wonder–are these just coincidences or has his Sara come back to him as she once promised in the form of this new woman? 

Annie Paxton doesn't believe in soul mates or fate. She had watched her father die of a broken heart after her mother passed away and has since cast away any fairy tale ideas of love. Then she meets the man who has been haunting her dreams and she begins to see love in a whole new light. But her dream man is still tied to his deceased wife, and Annie doesn't know if he will ever be able to break away from his past. As strange occurrences unfold, Annie wonders if William could ever truly love her for herself and not for the traits that remind him of Sara.

Were William and Annie brought together by fate, coincidence or by Sara keeping her promise?


Deanna Lynn Sletten writes women's fiction novels. Her stories dig deeply into the lives of the characters, giving the reader an in-depth look into their hearts and souls. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Deanna started her writing career in the early 1990s writing articles for parenting publications and local newspapers. Over time she transitioned to writing for blogs and websites and was a contributing writer for the women's website, She Knows. In November 2011, she changed course and put all her energy into novel writing and hasn't looked back since.

Deanna writes amazing dialogue, so I thought it would be cool to find out how she does this. Dialogue is something I have noticed a lot of new authors falling short on. Deanna has received a lot of praise for her prose, so let’s see if we can’t learn something from her.

Deanna, thanks so much for joining us! As we have all learned, planning a book is very important.  How do you plan your dialogue?

I don't really plan my dialogue – it just happens as the story unfolds. Before I write a novel, I sit down and write a detailed profile for each character so I know everything there is to know about that person. From this profile, I can determine how each character speaks. While I'm writing, I see and hear each character as if they were in a movie, so I write each character's dialogue just as I imagine they would say it if they were acting on screen.

 What do you think is the most important aspect to consider when writing dialogue?

Keep it real. Not every person is going to speak proper English and have perfect diction. Real people speak in broken sentences, make gestures, nod their heads and interrupt each other. If you want the reader to believe your characters are real people, you need to let the characters speak the same way that everyday people speak. Of course, this changes depending upon the type of story you are writing (historical, fantasy, science fiction, etc.) because a person in 1890 isn't going to speak the same as a person in 2012. An educated character's dialogue will sound different from a high school kid's dialogue and a person from the south will speak with different words and phrases than a person who lives in Canada. But no matter if your character is a little green alien or a teenaged girl, the dialogue has to sound real to the reader.

 How do you keep the voices of your characters separate in your own mind?

The mind can be a scary place. As I mentioned before, as I'm writing a novel, it plays out in my head like a movie so it's very easy for me to separate each character's dialogue as I write it. Many times I even speak it out loud as I write it to hear how it sounds. When I wrote my latest novel, Sara's Promise, I loved writing the dialogue for Sandy who is a very vocal young woman. She is often rude, combative and sarcastic, so she was fun to write dialogue for. On the other hand, her brother Sam is low-key, polite and shy, so his dialogue is very different from hers. I think knowing each character's traits backwards and forwards is the most important key to knowing how to write dialogue for each one.

How important do you think dialogue is in a story?

I think dialogue is extremely important. It helps move the story forward, it reflects the emotions and traits of each character and it keeps the reader awake! I like stories that are loaded with dialogue and have less narration. Haven't you ever found yourself skipping over the paragraph that describes the night sky or what the characters are wearing and moved on to the next bit of dialogue? Like in a movie, the dialogue is what propels the story forward and should be considered important to every fiction writer.  

What would you say is the most important thing for an author to consider when planning dialogue?

Make sure that each character can be identified by his/her dialogue. Even subtle differences can be detected by the reader. Have you ever read a page of dialogue and become confused as to which character said what? If I have to keep re-reading a page to figure out who is speaking, then I will probably not want to finish reading that book. Each character has his own look, his own past and his own story, so he should also have his own way of speaking. Make sure you know your characters completely before writing even one bit of dialogue.

And if you are wondering whether Deanne knows what she is talking about, why not try one of her books?

Memories    Women's Fiction/Romance  

Widow, Virgin, Whore    Women's Fiction  

Outlaw Heroes   Children's/Middle-Grade Fiction - 

Sara's Promise   Women's Fiction/Romance  Available 12/10/12 

Deanna, what do you do for fun?

When not writing, I enjoy walking the wooded trails around my northern Minnesota home with my beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing in the boat on the lake in the summer. 

Want to connect with Deanna and learn more about her? She has a blog, you can friend her on Facebook , or follow her on Twitter  @DeannaLSletten

I hope you try one of her books. I personally am looking forward to Sara’s Promise! After you read one of her books, be sure to give her a review on the site you bought it from. If you are on  Goodreads you can add her to your friends list .

And be sure to leave her a review there as well. (If you aren’t on Goodreads, you should be!)

Want to follow Deanna's virtual book tour, and see what reviewers are saying about Sara's Promise
 Follow the Tour Schedule here:

In celebration of Deanna's new book release she is having a giveaway! Leave a comment on this site to have your name entered in the drawing for one of four prizes: Two $25 Amazon Gift Cards and 2 paperback copies of Sara's Promise. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you. You can enter at each site of the blog tour for more chances to win! Giveaway starts December 10th and ends December 17th at midnight. Winners will be contacted December 18th after noon. 

Until Next Time, 

Keep Writing

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

I know it has been awhile, but I have had a lot in the works of late. As you know The Hunters has been my latest pet project. Although we did not win America's Next Author I did get some great exposure and encouragement! Thanks to everyone who voted.

I also "won" NaNoWriMo.Though I didn't finish the novel, I did get the 50,000 word minimum. I am eagerly working on that story while The Hunters is in final, final, final edits. (I know, I thought it was in final edits a couple rounds ago, but due to people not really liking working for free.... but that leads me to my next exciting project!)

My latest project has been to join forces with my good friend, and fellow author, Dawn Tevy (the creator of Angels & Warriors.) We are putting together an indie publishing house run by authors, for authors.

It is such a great concept and I am pleased that The Hunters will be published under this company, Soul Star Multimedia. We have been hard at work putting together teams of contractors who are willing to work with authors who want the freedom of self-publishing, but who may not have the income to pay professionals upfront and/or do not have the experience to go it alone. We are even open to those authors who have the experience, but don't have the time. That is ok too.

The key to this venture working is for us to produce quality products that we feel passionate about. I am pleased to say that we have quite a few passionate folks signing up to work with us! We have publishing agents, content editors, line editors, marketing specialists, formatting specialists, audio book specialists, tons of great resources for new authors working on a limited budget, and we are working on a bunch of other great services!

Now to start hunting down some great stories.

Have you written a book? Are you interested in publishing? Send me a query to Put in the subject line "Query  for (title of your book and name of author here)"

In the query,  give me your back cover blurb, tell me a bit about you as an author, your experience in writing/ publishing and what you are hoping to get from Soul Star. Attach the first ten pages of your story to the e-mail. I will forward these to our publishing agents.  

The Hunters will be published on January 10th, 2013 and I am eager to get the ball rolling on our next project. We want to bring in some fresh blood and help authors achieve their dreams. If you have a book written and polished, and are ready to be published, give it a shot!

Until Next Time,

Keep Writing

Monday, October 22, 2012

America's Next Author

Hello my lovelies! Been super busy and the blog has gotten neglected. Sorry for that!

So, what have I been up to? Well, working hard on getting Hunters to publication, of course! I have also been helping a couple other authors with marketing, expanding my social media kingdom, and trying to generate buzz for The Hunters!

One of the ways I am generating buzz is that I entered an excerpt of The Hunters in a writing contest, America's Next Author.  This writing contest is a pretty cool new concept, in that it is driven by reader's votes.

Yes, you guys get to decide who is the best author, not some unknown (probably stodgy) panel of people who the industry thinks are experts on the written word. (Not that we don't love experts!)

The competition does have a panel of reviewers (they call them a jury) who will add in a handful of stories that they deem deserving, but that did not get enough votes to survive the cut. (I am certain that they do not look like stodgy folks at all!) You can see more about them at 

And although, I hope that they will pick The Hunters, I would feel better and safer, if all of you were so kind as to go out and vote! I would prefer that you vote for The Hunters (You can do so here!)

But this is such a neat concept, and really deserves to gain some ground, so even if you don't vote for The Hunters, come out and vote for some author you deem worthy! The other contestants are here . Crazy thought, please don't start with the first story. Of course, most of you won't read 242 stories, but bounce around in the rankings and give a variety of authors a shot!

 It is time for the publishing industry to take more consideration of the thoughts and opinions of their clients, YOU, the readers! This contest will demonstrate that readers do care!

Thanks so much!

and until next time,

Keep Writing!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Something New! Author Interivew with Gus Gallows

Hello ladies and gents! I have been interested in doing author interviews for a while now and thought that the best approach, to fit with the theme of the blog, would be to ask the authors questions regarding a specific aspect of writing that they consider themselves to be experts on. Today we get to have our first author interview with Gus Gallows, a fantasy/ sci-fi author. Gus wrote The Price of Honor, Book 1 of the Lore of Algoron and The Price of Dignity, Book 2 of the Lore of Algoron series. 

Gus has an interesting approach to creating his stories. (Remember when we talked about planning out your book, and finding what works best for you? Here is a cool thing to try if story boards, lists, or outlines aren’t your thing!)

 He is a very organic writer and develops his stories in a role-playing environment. So here is the interview!

Heidi: Gus, you say that you develop your stories using a “play to write” technique. Can you explain that a bit to everyone?

Gus: Certainly. Most of my stories have come from a game my brother runs. It is a MUD (Multi-User Domain) that was developed starting over 20 years ago. In this text based role playing game, I got to develop cities, and kingdoms, and most importantly, characters and role play. I would develop the beginning of a storyline to get the role play flowing and then simply let it flow organically. Each player played their part to grow the story. I became so engrossed in these story lines that I and all who participated had an amazing time while at the same time, inadvertently, I had captured enough material for a complete series of novels. 
     All that was left was to organize the material, make a few creative changes and embellishments, fill in some gaps, and BLAM, a novel emerged. Early Dungeons and Dragon novels were written using the same concept. They would run a campaign and at the end, loved the storyline so much that they were able to embellish it where needed and come out with some fantastic novels.

Heidi: What games do you typically like to play to get you in the right mood?

Gus: Pretty much any role playing game. Anything from my brother’s mud, The Dark And Shattered Lands, to World of Warcraft. Sometimes you can find inspiration in unlikely places, like a board game. So many games are out now that are story based that it is not that big of a stretch to lay the foundations for a novel.

Heidi: Do you think this technique only works for authors of fantasy or sci-fi as those are typically the genres where you find role playing games?

Gus: Actually no. It is a pretty common misconception that RPGs are limited to Fantasy/Sci-Fi. There are excellent mystery RPGs like the Call of Cthulu, or even something as open ended as the Sims. You are only limited by your imagination.

Heidi: So, how do you manage the time? Is it kind of like you play for an hour, then write about everything you just played?

Gus: My first book was written on a storyline I had developed in game over 4 year prior. The story had been nagging at me and I had written a few short stories on it to try to let the story out, but what really put it to print was when I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge during the month of November where you have 30 days to write 50,000 or more words. I decided to write mine on the story line I developed while playing a disgraced Minotaur who was trying to reclaim his honor. 
     It had been 4 year since I had played the character, so I had to add a lot to it and omit a lot, but at some point, the story took over and pretty much wrote itself as the memory of the experience came pouring back to me. You don’t have to play then write, play then write, play then write. For me, it works best if you play to completion, or at least to a reasonable part 1 conclusion and then take time to absorb everything that you experienced, maybe take time to interview the participants and then put it to paper. Most prefer to write while it is fresh in their memory’s, I prefer to wait, let the story mellow and blend a little bit. If I try to go right from the experience to the writing, I lose some of the cool things that happen when you let your memory fill in the blanks with things that weren’t necessarily there. :)

 Heidi: How do you think this style has helped to improve your writing?

Gus: I think that it has freed my mind from what would normally develop into a writer’s block. It’s like a collaborative effort. When many are involved, the human dynamic can take the story into direction you would never have considered. On a side note, you can’t always follow the developed storyline 100%. There are time when your author side has to change things to keep it flowing in the right directions. This is also largely due to the human dynamic. You just have to know when to step in and change direction of the stream or when to just let it flow freely on to the river.

Heidi: Do you think there are any drawbacks to this style of writing?

Gus: I don’t think it is for everyone. I think you have to be of a certain mindset to write this way. There are many OCD types that would have a stroke if they came in while I was writing. There is no rhyme or reason behind it, very little organization, and a sense of chaos that could overwhelm most traditional writers. You do have to be organized to the point where you keep track of your characters and descriptions and city names, etc, so that they do not inadvertently change throughout the story without a reason. But most of it is organic. You just let it happen.

Heidi: What advice would you give to a budding author who would like to try this technique?

Gus: Pay attention. Pick good role play partners to participate in the game so your story does not wind up on the side of ridiculous. Most important though is to have fun. If you’re not having fun and if the game becomes too much like work, it will not be as memorable as it needs to be for you to create from it days, months, or years later.

Heidi: Do you have any projects in the works that you’d like to tell us about?

Gus:  I am starting my third book, The Price of Love, book 3 of the Lore of Algoron. I can’t wait to write this one. It was my favorite storyline in the game and it is even told to this day in character by the many bards still roaming the text based world of Algoron. It is the tale of a Dragon who inadvertently inherits the foster care of a toddler elven girl. It is a tragic story that I can’t wait to put to print. Right now, it’s just a matter of finding time to do it. My work and my life has me way busy, but I will do it soon enough.

Also you can find my current books in print on Amazon worldwide or on my CreateSpace stores and they can be bought for the Kindle. The links are as follows:

Paperback on CreateSpace


Paperback on

The books also have their own FaceBook pages at:

I also try to keep everyone up to date on my latest developments which can be found on one of my blogs at

Heidi: Well, thank you so much for your time today! This is such an interesting and exciting method to creating books and I am thrilled to find someone who has experience and can give us some of the ins and outs!

Gus: Thank you, Heidi, it was a sincere pleasure.

Readers, I hope you found it as exciting as I did! Look forward to a guest book review on Booksfor Linda in the near future! Better yet, go try them out yourself!! Any questions or comments for me or for Gus? Ask away in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep writing!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vote for The Hunters Book Cover Art!

Hello all my lovelies! Final edits are well underway for The Hunters and I have three cover options. As a reminder, here is the back cover description:

The Hunters
What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear, changing the groups lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs.

Now that the vampires know the hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help.

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?

And here are the three covers.

Cover 1

Cover 2 

Cover 3

So which one do you like best? Why? Let us know in the comments below

Until next time,

Keep Writing

Friday, September 7, 2012


or "How Being an Author is Like Being Unemployed, and What You Can do to Deal with the Stress"

That was the original title for this blog post, but that is a bit wordy, isn't it? This blog post is inspired by the fact that my business account is dwindling, delays on Hunters publishing are stressing me out, my husband is under-employed and for all intents and purposes, I am technically unemployed. Given today's market climate, even the non-writers out there can understand that stress. 

What matters is what can I (or if this relates to you, what YOU) can do about it?

Most writers have a full-time job while they struggle at the beginning to "make it". The reality is that money is a necessity in this world we live in. We need food, clothes, a roof over our head. Many writers work a full-time job and then put in 20 hours a week to their craft. Just like any good entrepreneur we are putting in long hours with no immediate benefit.

Yet, with the economy as it is, many who always wanted to be writers have turned full-time to this pursuit because we thought it would be less depressing than the constant rejection of all those applications. In some ways it is. We are actively pursuing something we love. We are constantly learning. We are developing skills. We aren't just pushing applications around the internet hoping something will give.

BUT (I hate that word!) in a lot of ways being a writer is like being unemployed. There is no one there to make you put in job applications, and there is no one there to make you sit down and write. You can send out application after application and never hear back why you were not accepted for the jobs. Writers live on rejection letters that are as pro-forma as the rejection notices the unemployed receive. Those who have been unemployed for months get desperate and apply for any job, not just ones they are qualified for. Authors who keep getting rejected may settle for lower quality agents/ publishers, or worse pay what little money they have to a vanity press in hopes of providing the basic needs for their loved ones and themselves.

Some who have been unemployed may track back to that good old American trait of ingenuity and create a start-up business. Everything from handyman services, to tutoring. It is no different with writers, we turn to self-publishing. In modern America it has never been easier to self-publish. And as any other entrepreneur, when writers turn to self-publishing they find themselves doing more than they ever expected. It is overwhelming.

As bills come due, and money isn't coming in, the entrepreneur may find themselves tempted to cut corners. Writers have to publish to make money. It is tempting to put out as much work as you can, without taking the time to make sure it is quality work, in hopes of making money now. I know. I am feeling that pressure intensely.

But like any good business person, you must remember that quality is more important than quantity. Take on those extra hats. Sure, if you can send your book out to a professional editor, you should. But when you only have $60 in your business account, find a creative way to get it edited. Writer's groups help a lot. Friends and family will often be happy to do so. English teachers are great. Just know that it will take time. Send it to more than one person. I have yet to have a single person who offered to edit get all the way through the book. Learn from what they send you and fix the rest yourself.

Book covers are hugely important. Many people stop to look at your book solely on the look of your cover (especially if you are new in the business and don't have a name out there). Putting the bare minimum cover together is not an option. Talk to friends and family who are artistically inclined. Check out DeviantArt, and ask people whose artwork you like if they would be willing to do it for a % of sales. If all else fails, do it yourself. It takes time. It is hard, but make sure you make the best cover you can. Don't slap something together and say "Meh, good enough."

Marketing, especially on little or no budget, is tough. It takes a lot of time and energy. But without marketing, you are just another author out there with no audience. Marketing is much like pushing a really big boulder up a hill. You will backslide, it will get heavier and harder the closer to the top that you get. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, you will be running to keep up!

Most importantly, keep at it. Step-by-step, you will be closer today than you were yesterday. Eventually you will get there. Take your time and produce quality work. You will build a following. You will make something that you can be proud of. You will get the work out there. Then one day, if you work really hard and make sure that the product is the best that you can make it; perhaps you too can become the next John Locke, Amanda Hocking, and J.A. Konrath!

As always until next time,

Keep Writing!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Analysis of Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells

Hello all!~ Summer is over, kids are back in school, and I am getting back into a routine! I miss my routine!! I have not finished up with The Hunters yet (editing away!!!) but I will keep you posted. Something I want to start doing occasionally is looking at other author's work and analyzing it to help improve my writing (and hopefully yours as well!)

Today, we are going to take a look at a book I got on Amazon for free! It is Entitled Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells Book 1, Lust.

Now that right there is a mouthful, isn't it!!! I did a reader review for this  on my friend Linda's blog Books4Linda, and if you are not familiar with this book, then you might want to read the review there before you continue reading this post.

So, first thing I noticed when I picked out this book to do a review for my friend Linda, was that it was self-published. I was a little leery, but then I saw that the author is a creative writing professor at Oxford University. I had high hopes. But I only gave it a three out of five rating at the end.

His writing was sound, his imagery was nice, the tale was even believable. All great and important things to a story and worth mentioning. As a teacher, he has something that he can show is technically sound. Makes it worth reading for an author too! We indie- and self-pubbers can learn a lot from that, if we pay attention. I'm not gonna talk about all the things that made this a quality book, book though. What I want to talk about is why I thought it wasn't.

First thing, there is this movement out there to do serialized e-books and sell them at 99 cents to make some money. I have listened to arguments on both sides of the fence for a while and the biggest issue, or concern with this idea, that I have is that I know that I am not a short story/ serialized fiction writer. I am long-winded and I want to have 60,000 to 80,000 words to tell my story. But I know that serialized fiction was quite popular back in the day. Some folks used to buy the newspaper just for the serialized stories. I figured, if an author wants to do something like that, then let them. More power to them.

Then I took a step back and thought about it from a consumer's perspective. When you have new authors putting their work out there for 99 cents to get a following, there has become this expectation of gettting a full book from an unknown author for 99 cents. Then to get what is not a full book for that price? Hmmm... I see the potential for serious confusion in the industry.

Which leads me to the frustration I had with this story. This is sold as book one. I did not get a book. I got a cliff hanger. I got a longer version of a serial. I was left going WTF!!! Where as a typical book with a sequel (such as the Twilight series, The Ender series... ah hell, pretty much every series book worth it's grain of salt!) at the end of the story, the main arc point is concluded. There may be a couple of questions hanging out there; a larger, longer sense of doom to let you know that the story isn't quite over and you do want to get the next book. But at the end there is a sense of closure. You have most of the big answers. In the following books, new issues will create new plot points, etc. etc.

With this story, just as I was getting into the main plot, it ended. ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!! I didn't like the main characters, I did not connect with them at all. Yet because I got NO RESOLUTION there is a part of me that wants to get the next book, just so I can see what all I was set up for. That is just cruel. It is kind of like getting a girl all worked up and then leaving her hanging so you can watch a game. (Especially since my husband pointed out to me that I was complaining yesterday about not really liking the story, so it would be stupid to go and buy the rest of the books. He is completely right. But I have this OCD need to finish things... grrr.....)

Which brings me to my next issue. And really this is not an issue with Mr. Wells. It is sort of an issue I have with society... and literature which insists on continuing this perpetuation... anyway... I give Mr. Wells mad props on writing a book almost exclusively from the female perspective. But you know what I despise about the female perspective in most adult literature? We are so damn cookie cutter about it. I cannot think of one adult female in literature that I can relate to, or that I like (Well, except for Riatha in Eye of the Hunter, but she was an adult Elf who lived in a time before time, so I don't think that technically counts.)

Can we please have a female character who does not have to talk about/ admire/ lament clothing, jewelry, nails, pink fluffy kitty shit. As strange as this may seem, not all women care about this crap. I am one of them. As a matter of fact, I have been so inundated by the expectation that I should/ do that when I see pink I immediately want to puke.(Can I just say, Breast Cancer Awareness?)

And on the few occasions where I have found a female character I can relate to, she ends up being gay. Given how much I dig dudes... the "being able to relate" thing ends right there.

I am not going on some feminist kick (their the ones who said "why can't she be badass and like pink!) I am simply saying that it would be nice to have a kick ass heroine chick who does not need to conform to checking labels, putting on make up,  being a "modern woman". (I realize this is really contradictory and now my head feels like it is going to explode. Ugghhh...)

I am a tough, kick ass kind of girl. You get an attitude with me and I am in your face. When the zombie apocalypse happens, my neighbors should be concerned because if I didn't like you before, I have no intentions of saving your sorry butt after! I don't wear make up (except when society makes me feel obligated), but I still look good. Unless it is something super important, my hair is lucky to get ten minutes of my time. I wear pithy shirts like "I'd rather be a ninja". I have never bought anything from the Banana Republic and wouldn't even know what the store was, if it hadn't been between Spencer's and Hot Topic when I was in my teens. Despite my theater director's assertions, I am not a lesbian. I am also not alone. I know lots of women who are, in their own unique way, not a part of the cookie cutter mold women are shoved into in books.

Fortunately if you like kick ass girls like me, I have three books coming out over the next year or two that feature such awesome ladies. If you know any books like these, please refer them to me because I would really like to read such books.

Really, those two things were the only problems I had with the book. Unfortunately, they were huge issues. If a person doesn't like your character (or at least like to hate them) then why would they waste their time reading them? If you set me up for a hot story, then leave me hanging at the climax  you won't be the guy I call next time I want a book.
*wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!*

I give Mr. Wells credit, he tried something wild and potentially revolutionary. I am not faulting him for it. And based on his "best-selling author" status, maybe he is right. But I know that I have gotten so caught up in listening to the experts about how to be a good writer, that I forgot the most important experts. The readers.

They are the reasons that books like Hunger Games (which had SPELLING ERRORS, never mind the grammar nightmares) and I am Number 9 (which was written more simplistically than my genius 10 year old could have managed... which is weird, since the main character was supposed to be a 16 year old genius who wasn't even human!) became raving successes, despite some issues that most authors would thumb our noses at. But they had issues and characters that the masses cared about.

I'll be honest, 

Alright, those are all issues for another time.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

P.S. If you do want to buy Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells (the full three-in-one e-book.) I have a link on the right to the full copy on Kindle. Can you let me know how it ends... that darn OCD!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Come Slay Vampires!

Welcome folks! I am pleased (and relieved) to announce that I have finished the rough draft of my next book tentatively entitled The Hunters. In celebration of this, I am sharing the first several pages to get your opinion. Keep in mind, this is the rough draft! I have done some minor editing (that is where I am right now!) and I want to get your opinion on it!  The storyline follows Chris and his friends, whose town has been invaded by vampires. They team up to fight against the onslaught and run into some strange people who have come to their town looking for a very specific vampire. These strangers, Fury and Havoc, are vampire hunters and find themselves working with these kids to meet a common goal: exterminating the vampires.  There are vampires, werewolves, elves and us boring old humans.

Warning: This book contains language and graphic violence. It is not geared for kids or people with sensitive dispositions. Sorry!

What do you think of the title?

What of the concept?

Do these first couple pages catch you?

I am very seriously thinking of self-publishing this one. Would you buy it?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Here is the opening of the book, hope you enjoy!

The clearing was dark and quiet, the full moon hidden behind a bank of clouds. Four youths sat in two vehicles at the edge of the clearing. At first glance it would appear that this was the local make-out area. Both vehicles contained two young people. However, there was more than meets the eye to these two vehicles. The first was a black Saturn. The driver, a young man just entering manhood, sat quietly; his eyes half closed, as if he were listening to some inner voice. He was oblivious of the young woman sitting next to him, clenching a knife in her tense fist. Every muscle in her body was strung as tight as a bow and she anxiously chewed on her lip.
            The second vehicle was a 1974 ford pickup truck. The occupants of this vehicle weren’t much older. A man of twenty four with a marine cut, black hair and a tight cropped goatee sat listening to an mp3 player. One ear bud was tucked in his ear, the other dangled in his shirt. The platinum blond sitting next to him glowered at him.
            “You know Chris would be pissed if he knew what you were doing. Lucas told us not to!” She  hissed, gesturing angrily at his mp3 player.
            “Chill the fuck out. It helps me relax. I’ll hear anything coming, I only got one bud in.”
            The blond put on a full pout, her pink lips glistening. “What if they hear it or something?”
            “Hell, you’re making more noise than this is. For all we know they can hear us breathing, hear our heart beating. Fuck it! I’m tired of living in fear of them.”
            “Why do I always have to get stuck with you!” she hissed then sat silently, holding her breath. Ricky knew it was in fear of what he had just said. He smirked. It really was the simple pleasures in life.
            Suddenly the young man in the Saturn sat up, gesturing to the two in the truck to listen. The girl next to him tensed beyond what could be believed as humanly possible.
            “What is it Chris?” She asked in a squeaky whisper.
            “Shh… Listen.”
            She strained her ears and her eyes went wide with the intense effort. After a moment she looked at him blankly. “I don’t hear anything.”
            “Exactly.” He whispered back. Suddenly it dawned on her that the clearing only moments ago had sounded quiet, but had been full of the subtle sounds of the night; crickets, owls and other critters scurrying about. Now it was as silent as a tomb. Chris gestured to the others and slowly crawled out the window of the Saturn. The young woman with him suddenly felt terrified and scrambled to exit through the window as well, desperate to not be left alone. She stumbled on the uneven ground and fell. Moments later the platinum blond was silently beside her, offering a hand.
            “ Thanks Bianca,” she mouthed silently, afraid to speak, so afraid she probably couldn’t speak even if she had to. Bianca nodded and they all crouched down next to Chris in the shadows of the Saturn. Another few agonizing moments were spent with all four pairs of ears straining to hear anything in the darkness.  Gradually the sounds of the night returned. Chris cocked his head.
            “False alarm?” Ricky whispered.
            “I don’t think so,” Chris shook his head.
            They all sat quietly waiting for Chris. The young woman began crying silent tears.
            “Please, let’s get out of here. I have a really bad feeling!” She was trembling uncontrollably. Chris held up a hand to silence her, and listened intently. Bianca patted the young woman’s hand reassuringly then crept forward to Chris’s side.
She leaned in close to his ear and breathed, “We should go. She’s cracking up. We’re too vulnerable.”
            “Too late.” Chris pointed across the clearing. Just as they all looked in the direction he was pointing the moon peaked out for a brief moment revealing clearly what he was indicating.
Two beings were dragging a third across the far end of the clearing. They all could hear clearly now the shh…shhh sound of the body being dragged across the ground.
            A gurgled scream suddenly erupted from across the clearing. They all shuddered at the sound. The young girl was frozen in perfect terror.
            “Now!” Chris hissed, “while they’re distracted on their feeding.” He bolted low across the field. The others followed him, everyone except the young woman. She was still frozen in fear. She tried to move, but her muscles absolutely refused to respond.
Chris was halfway across the field when he felt a strange sensation, a tingling in his spine; as if someone had just tap danced across his grave. He paused and an instant later was driven into new action. From behind them a howl ripped through the night. Without even looking he knew what had happened. Terah had been attacked. In front of him he saw two more creatures rise from where the other two were feeding. In that split second he knew.
“Ambush!” he yelled, immediately veering to his left, moving in a zig-zag pattern. He could hear the other two following behind. More screams erupted from their fallen comrade and he was blinded with rage.
“Scatter!” He shouted the order and immediately turned back the way they had come. If he was going to die tonight, he was going to kill at least one of these bastards! As the moon peeked out again, the scene before him became grotesquely animated. Terah’s body was pinned on the truck, her entire chest ripped wide open. He knew she was dead, but his body refused to stop this course of action. His mind exploded with fury as he watched the creature rip Terah’s heart out of her chest.
The creature held the heart up savoring the blood as it poured into the awaiting mouth and splashed over its face. Chris could see in his peripheral that two of them were already halfway across the field, closing off any escape if he continued on his present course, but he didn’t care. He pulled a gun from his left pocket and a cross-hilted dagger from his right. As he dove at the creature devouring Terah, he shot blindly at the ones coming at him. As his blade embedded to the hilt in the monster’s back he prayed that Bianca and Ricky were getting the fuck out of here. Maybe his distraction would save their lives. The monster arched back trying to reach behind and dislodge Chris and the knife. Black blood oozed from its wound. It struggled to turn, but clearly the knife had hit the spine. Surprised that the other two weren’t upon him yet, Chris aimed the revolver into the creature’s face and pulled the trigger.
At that same moment two other shots rang out in the clearing. Chris pulled his dagger free and leaped away from the body as it burst into flames. He turned, preparing for the attack that should have already been upon him. Looking out in the field he saw Ricky stand up about center point and fire at the vampire that was headed straight for him.
“Run!” Ricky screamed, but it was too late. The woman dove at Chris, knocking him to the ground. He immediately recognized her as she pinned his arms over his head. It was Ms. Frost, his old high school teacher. She looked ten years younger and had the strength of a football player.
“Hello Chris, so good to see you again,” she whispered in a sultry voice.
“Wish I… could say… the same.” Chris groaned, trying to hold her back. Her breath was putrid!
“Come, come Chris, you always were a difficult child.”
“Gifted was the term you used back then.”
“You know you want me,” she laughed evilly.
“Of course.” Chris twisted his wrist and cut her fingers with a blade that was hooked on his cuff. She hissed and began lapping at the wound as it poured blood. She was obviously newly made. Too bad for her. Even with one hand occupied, she still managed to hold him down, but no more!
“I want you dead!” Chris growled, ripping his crucifix from his neck and stabbing it into her throat. She gaped in shock and tried to physically force the blood back into the wound, causing it to widen. Suddenly her skull was obliterated before his eyes.
Bianca stood there holding a small-caliber gun. Chris quickly shoved the body away and Bianca pulled him to his feet, yelping when the body suddenly burst into flames. Chris looked around the field for Ricky. He was running like a bat out of hell in the opposite direction with two vamps on his tail.
“Bianca the car!” Chris yelled, tossing the keys and running after Ricky, hoping to get there in time. His legs were pumping as hard as they could, but he wasn’t catching up enough. Ricky was starting to waver and the two vampires were gaining ground. Chris didn’t dare shoot at them, for fear of hitting Ricky. He’d been lucky Bianca’s shot hadn’t gone right through Ms. Frost’s skull and into his own.
Directly ahead of Ricky two figures rushed into the clearing. Ricky stopped short frozen like a rabbit, unsure where to go, then quickly made a ninety degree turn. In the moment he was clear of the two vampires, Chris pulled his gun up to line up a shot. He popped off two shots, hitting one. It went down, but Chris didn’t believe for one moment it was dead. The other continued to hurtle after Ricky. Just as Chris had lined up the next shot he felt a sudden gust of wind and smelled death. Whipping around he found himself face-to-face with another creature. He pulled the trigger and the creature’s shoulder exploded. It grabbed him around the throat with its other hand, laughing a high-pitched maniacal laugh.
“So you are the one making all the trouble. Well, no more!” It lifted Chris clean off the ground squeezing hard.
“Who the fuck are you?” Chris gasped, struggling against the grip, trying to find a foothold to help him breath, maybe gain some leverage.
“One who is older and stronger than the others you’ve disposed of here.  I will be your executioner!” Chris clawed at the hand that now had a vice-like grip on his throat. He noticed that the shoulder wound hardly bled at all. He kicked out at the creature’s stomach and felt the inch long spikes he’d added to his boot tips embed itself there. The monster roared and threw him on the ground like a used-up rag doll. It flung itself forward, clawing him with its long nails in rage. He struggled to crawl away, but the creature continued to maul him. Searing pain tore through his chest and shoulders as the creature grappled with him. This was it. He knew he was going to die; but a part of him refused to go out alone. This bastard was going to be coming along for the ride, if Chris could help it.

Ricky was running as hard as he could, but his strength was quickly waning. He could hear one gaining on him and he knew the other two weren’t far behind. This wasn’t how it was supposed to end! He was about ready to give up when he saw the Saturn come barreling toward him. Bianca leaned out the front window, and Ricky saw the muzzle flashes exploding in the night as she fired on the vampires behind him. He veered toward her, hoping she wasn’t too late; praying he had the stamina to stay ahead until she got to him.
He risked a glance back. There were only two pursuing him, the third had turned back toward Chris. Ricky looked back and realized he couldn’t see Chris. Bianca was closer, but Ricky couldn’t keep his speed up. He didn’t think he would have time to get in before they would be on him. In which case he would be risking Bianca’s life too, and he couldn’t do that!
A howl erupted from behind him and he glanced back. What he saw stopped him in his tracks. The one nearest him, only five hundred feet away now, was frozen in its place with flames coming out of its chest and arms flailing at the sky.
A powerful voice yelled, “Get down!”
He dove to the ground and rolled over. A moment later a shock wave hit him. Rocks, sand and other debris scorched his skin. As soon as it passed he leaped back to his feet. The other figure was just rising as well. Where the vampire had stood was a burned out hole. Ricky prepared to dive back down so that the other didn’t see him, but realized that it wasn’t interested in him. It had turned and faced the other figures across the field. There were two running ahead of a third. Ricky was pretty sure that one of the two was Chris. What the hell?
The one nearest him pulled up what looked like a cross bow and shot a flaming arrow at the third creature.  The third creature pulled up short and turned and fled.
Ricky leaped in shock as Bianca pulled up in front of him and yelled at him, “Get in the fucking car! Chris needs our help!”
Ricky was shaking. What the hell was going on? His brain couldn’t process everything it had just seen. He dove in the back of the car and Bianca revved the engines, pulling the small car around and heading toward Chris.  As they looked through the window another vampire rocketed up. The other figure with Chris leapt toward it, grabbing for its ankle. They hit the ground together and the vampire attempted to flee, but something pulled it back. Some kind of rope? It looked like the two mystery figures were on their side, but where did they come from?
The vampire attempted to flee again and this time broke free. Ricky realized that Bianca had stopped the car and gotten out. She was heading toward a heap on the ground… Chris. Ricky started to get out too, but a woman’s deep voice shouted for him to get back in the car. He looked up and saw the figure coming toward them. How had she gotten so far so fast? Before he could even react she was shoving him back onto the car. The other rear door opened and a man got in pulling Chris with him. Bianca jumped in the front passenger seat as the woman climbed into the driver’s seat. Something slammed into the roof of the car, denting it.
“Shit!” Ricky couldn’t help himself. The man fired a gun into the roof. The thunderous sound deafened him and as the car spun out a howl ripped through the air as a body flew off the roof of the car. Ricky looked back and saw the vampire standing behind them shaking his fist at them as they hauled ass.
Ricky’s ears were ringing and his head was spinning. The woman shouted something, but Ricky was so disoriented that he couldn’t understand anything. The man next to him was leaning over Chris. Ricky sat back numb. What the fuck was going on?!

The car hurtled out of the woods and spun out onto the highway. The woman driving was tall and solidly built, clearly in control even though the car careened madly.
“Is he alright?” she called to her partner in the back seat. Their eyes met in the rear-view mirror and he nodded once tersely. She glanced at Bianca in the front seat. The blue eyes burned into Bianca before passing on and looking out the window.
“Are you alright?” the woman asked. There was no warmth or concern, merely evaluation. Bianca hesitated before nodding.
“I… I think so. Ricky?” She looked back at Ricky. He was staring out the window dazedly. “Ricky!” He turned and stared at her dumbly. “Are you alright?” Bianca demanded. He finally seemed to focus looking at her, then at the woman driving and the man in the back seat. They were tall, dark and exotic looking.
“I’m not hurt,” he finally responded. “What are you doing to Chris?” he asked, looking at the man.
The woman answered from the front seat. “Your friend is badly hurt. He is healing him. Now, be quiet and watch the sky.” She was doing just that, only occasionally glancing at the road to keep the car on it. The speedometer crept past 85 mph and the engine began to whine.
“Who are you?” Bianca whispered. The woman seemed to ignore her, continuing to scan the sky.
“Why the sky?” Ricky asked angrily. “What are we looking for?”
“That is where they are most likely going to come from,” the woman answered matter-of-factly.
“They can fly?” Ricky gasped in shock. No answer seemed forthcoming
“Chris said he thought they could,” Bianca whispered.
The woman looked at her, clearly startled for the first time. Once again she and the man in the back exchanged glances in the mirror.
“You know what they were?” she asked hesitantly.
Suddenly Ricky exploded in anger.  He had been able to process part of what had happened and the realization he’d come to infuriated him.
“We were fucking ambushed!” he yelled.
“How could they have known we were coming?” Bianca asked wide-eyed.
The woman’s eyes continued to roam, but she took yet another glance at Bianca and Ricky seeming to size them up.
“You were hunting them?” she asked, not entirely expecting an answer.
 Ricky had come to another conclusion. He held the gun up to the woman’s head. She did not flinch, but the man next to him did. He did not stop whatever he was doing to Chris, though.
“Who the fuck are you two and where in the hell did you come from?!” Ricky demanded.
Bianca turned and saw the gun. “Ricky, stop it! They saved our lives!” she yelled at him.
“Why? How!? What the fuck are you!!!”
The woman replied frostily, “We’re hunters. We didn’t realize you… were… also.”
“For God sakes, Ricky, put the gun down!” Bianca snapped.
Suddenly the man next to him spoke. “He is healed.” He pulled Chris to a sitting position. Chris began gasping for breath, which sent him into a coughing fit and the man thumped his back as if he were burping a baby.
Ricky hesitated, the gun wavering.
“Fuck!” Chris gasped, holding his hand up to the man. “I thought for sure that was the end. How?” He looked at the man sitting next to him, then at the woman driving recklessly.

The silent tension continued for several minutes, the woman pushing the car as fast as it would go, taking hazardous turns. After a few more minutes she began to slow to a more normal speed.
“I think we’re clear of trackers.”
“Trackers?” Bianca asked.
“There does not appear to be anything following us,” the man concurred, speaking past the three in the car. They seemed to be ignoring the three in the car, including the gun Ricky still held to the woman’s head.
“Thank you for healing me,” Chris finally said.
The man simply nodded. He was tall and lean, but muscular like a panther, with long black hair braided down his back. He looked Native American, but Chris couldn’t be sure.
“I don’t know how you did it, but thanks. You saved us out there.” He watched carefully, but the woman didn’t react to his statement at all. “So, you guys are hunters too?” Chris asked casually.  He looked them both over carefully. They were both tall and muscularly built, wearing tight black tank tops and black cargos with black combat boots. Both wore seemingly matching silver pendants shaped like a dagger. The hilt had an amber liquid encased in a small vial.  It appeared that both the dagger and the vial could be detached. Interesting.
“So, you’ve come to get rid of the vampires?” Chris asked nonchalantly. There was another exchange in the mirror. This exchange lasted quite some time; easily two or three minutes. Finally there was a subtle nod from the man and the woman sighed.
“We came for one, but I suppose we’ll have to clean up his mess before we leave.”
Chris tried to quell his excitement, but he could still hear it in his voice when he spoke. “That’s great. We could use the help. With all of us there is no way they stand a chance, especially if you can teach us…”
“Woah!” The woman held up her hand. “Us? No. Havoc and I work alone.”
Chris was numb with the sudden refusal. “But…but we could help you.” He hated the whine in his voice.
“Nothing personal, kid,” she said matter-of-factly “but you guys would be more of a hindrance than a help. You should just lay low for a couple of days and we’ll take care of the problem for you.”
Ricky burst out in derisive laughter, but an icy glare from the woman caught the rest of his laughter in his throat. “Sorry, but how do you expect to kill… what was the last estimate Chris? Fifty?”
“Those are conservative estimates. We know of thirty for sure… sorry, twenty nine after tonight. Then there are at least twenty with strong suspicion and another thirty or so that are likely.”
The woman seemed to mull this over for a moment. “You say you know for sure that thirty are vamps. How do you confirm?”
Well, the first five died of seemingly natural causes and were buried, but I’ve seen them up and walking since then. We checked the graves. They’re empty. The others are people we’ve observed changes in. The thirty confirmed don’t go out during the day... ever.  We’re still working on the list. We follow those we suspect for several days, until we’re fairly sure.”
“What is the population here?”
“Around 5,000,” Ricky answered quickly.
“That is an awfully high vamp count for such a small population,” Havoc said thoughtfully. Another meaningful exchange in the mirror.
“When did you realize there were vamps among you?” The woman looked at Chris.
“About a year ago,” Chris responded.
The woman looked at him closely gauging his response. His whole body itched at the scrutiny, but he didn’t dare squirm. She was measuring him up and he would not be found wanting if he could help it.
Seemingly satisfied, the woman continued her interrogation. “How long have you been hunting them?”
“As a group?” Chris shrugged. “About six months, but that’s because it took some work convincing the others this was really happening.”
“How many others?”
“Nine, all together.”
“Eight after tonight,” Bianca mumbled as she stared out the window and fingered her cross. Chris blushed. He’d forgotten about their fallen comrade. Poor Terah; they hadn’t even tried to turn her, they had simply butchered her.
“How many have you killed?” the woman continued. Chris looked to the others, but both seemed to avoid his eye contact. The interrogation was exhausting him.
“Five,” he muttered when the others didn’t volunteer.  The woman arched one perfectly shaped eyebrow at him. He knew five wasn’t impressive, but it was better than none at all. “That’s beside the point. We’ve learned a lot and are ready to learn more. Besides, we can show you which ones are vamps. It’ll save you a lot of time.”
“We have our own methods of determining accurately who is a vamp and who is not.” The woman seemed to dismiss the conversation.
Bianca, not able to bear the silence, quipped. “What do you do, dunk them in water and if they don’t drown stake them?”  She was clearly flustered.
Chris rolled his eyes. “That’s the legend of witches!” he snapped.
Bianca rolled her eyes back. “Whatever!”
Chris turned back to the woman. “Listen, this is our town…”
“Oh, by all means, then we’ll leave you to it!” the woman scoffed. “As I have already said, Havoc and I work alone. End of discussion.” She whipped the car into a motel on the highway.
“What are we doing here?” Ricky asked, snapping out of his silence. He was always better at asking questions than at answering them.
“Parting ways.” The woman jumped out of the car moving lithely towards the nearest door. She withdrew a hotel key card from her hip pocket. Chris scrambled out of the car and rushed to catch up with her long strides.
“At least come back and meet the rest of our team before you write us off,” Chris pleaded. He sensed Havoc right behind him. The man moved swiftly and silently. Chris couldn’t help but think that he would hate to meet either of these two in a dark alley. Here in the empty motel parking lot he could sense that they were primal predators. “We aren’t just going to stop what we’ve been doing just because you’re here.  At least we should coordinate our moves. We’ve got a system set up already.”
“What, kill a few a year ‘til you’re all dead?” The woman responded flippantly. “Look, just stay out of our way. We know how to handle these bad asses. Go home and pretend this was all a bad dream. In a week you’ll wake up and it will be almost as if it had never happened. Then you can go back to your normal life.” There was something in the way she said it that made Chris pause. All his life he’d never wanted to be normal. He wanted to be just like these people. Yet here this woman was practically pleading him to have a normal life. She reached out to open the door to room thirteen.
As the door opened a shadow crossed the lamplight. Chris heard the woman gasp and as she slumped forward Chris got a glimpse of blood red eyes and a pale face. Even then he was only just beginning to understand what had happened. Suddenly her arm came up in an ark and the head of the ambusher rolled over her shoulder landing right between Chris’s feet. He recoiled in horror recognizing the face of his newspaper carrier. Fuck, he’d never have thought of him!
He stared numbly and was unable to react as Havoc shoved him aside to grab the woman before she fell. “Move,” Havoc growled. “Move, get back in the car!” He shoved Chris toward the car where Ricky and Bianca were sitting oblivious of the violence that had just occurred as swiftly and silently as the wind.
Even though he was carrying the woman, Havoc moved fast. Chris heard the sizzle and pop as the vampire’s body began to burn. Only then was it becoming clear to him what had just happened. He jumped in the front seat and could only shake his head to Bianca’s unspoken question. Havoc was already setting the woman down in the back seat.
“Fury? Fury!” Havoc whispered hoarsely. There was no response.
“Is she dead?” Chris asked, turning in the seat. She hadn’t even made a sound. Unbelievable!
“What the hell is going on?!” Ricky snapped, the confusion making him angry.
“Watch out the windows. They may attack again at any moment.” Havoc ordered. Chris was already on it. Every shadow seemed alive, yet when he looked closely it was only his imagination.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to More Effectively Market on Twitter

Twitter is a great social media and marketing tool. The opportunity to reach thousands of people is remarkable. But it is easy to become just another voice yelling into the internet with nobody listening to a word you say.

As with any social media site, you need to be engaging. Make sure that you talk with other people on twitter, not just spam your followers with links to your books, blogs, articles, etc. Resist the urge to buy followers. It is better to have 2,000 followers who are truly interested in you than to have 15,000 followers who do not engage. Above all, follow the age-old adage "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." You want people to re-tweet your stuff? Re-tweet other peoples' stuff. You want people to read your blog? Read other peoples' blogs (make sure you comment so they know you are doing it! I frequently comment on the blog, and then comment on twitter.) You want people to click on your book links and buy? Do the same for others. Be honest, be fair, and play nice!

Now, some specific tips for marketing on twitter.

Don't just announce "Hey, I wrote a book, please check it out at i'"

That could appeal... to... your mom... maybe.

Find creative, attention-grabbing ways to engage the audience.

Ask them a question that your book can answer.
For example: "Looking 4 great Sunday activities? Discover your inner creative with Creative Exercises to Inspire, on the Nook at "

Give a great teaser about your book, such as this one by author Monty Fowler " A raging for millions of years follows man as he conquers our solar system & heads to the stars. "

Quote people/ interviews about your book, such as   "Royal Prince Vince; the best story you can read your child this year!" Wendy Sampson -- LCSW"

Find unique details that would appeal to your audience and set your book apart from other books in the same genre, such as Michelle Brookes clever line, which totally sold me! "Plz ReTweet: If you like girls that blush & bad guys that sparkle, best not to peek under the covers of Bone Dressing. "

And of course, capitalize on even the slightest holiday. For example, with Mother's Day coming up,  you should be using it to market your book. Ask Amazon! They have been rocking the holiday marketing!!

Now there are some cheats out to get your name out there, to get tweets referencing your book. I have not found that they have done me much good, but I haven't really seen any harm (other than possibly time wasted) so I will share it with you as well.

World Literary Cafe has a group of authors who  work in tweet teams as a systematic way to get your book out there. It is sort of a free version of cross marketing. And free is awesome right? Well, you get what you pay for with this one. I have found that a lot of folks who post their tweets, don't always return the favor. I suspect there are several reasons for this. The cynic in me says, "they want something for nothing". The struggling artist in me thinks that maybe because the rules of the chain are hazy, perhaps not everyone gets how you are supposed to do it. But here are some tips to keep that from biting you in the rear, should you decide to participate. I make sure to go in and follow anyone I am posting for. At the end of the day, I check to see if they have shared mine. (Two reasons, A. I can re-tweet their tweet and B. I can mark them on my bad Karma list if they have not!) Next time they are in my tweet chain, I will tweet, but am even more inclined to double-check them if they did not share the first time. Three strikes of not sharing, I don't do their tweets.

As I get more authors following me on twitter and I return the follow, I am developing my own sort of homegrown karma chain and this one seems to be much more effective. (Hint: if someone, like, say, me! RT something of yours on twitter, then you should go in and find something of theirs that you found interesting and RT it back. Karma... yup!!)

Managing twitter could be a full-time job, if you are not careful. Here are some tips to streamline the process and save you time:

1. Utilize Tweetdeck. It will allow you to pre-program messages to post at a certain time. This is great for your advertisement, and if you do tweet team, it is invaluable, so that you can post everyone's tweets in one short setting, without spamming the crap out of your followers!

2. Each and every creative tweet to get someone to market your book can be used again! I have a word doc with all of them from each of my books. Once a week I go in and program tweetdeck to post advertisements for my books. I try not to post more than three a day, and I mix them up so that they are not all from the same book. I also cycle through my ads to make sure I am not using the same ones too much. Ones that get RT get * next to them to be used more often because they obviously got peoples' attention, right?

3. Find some credible sources to pick up friends directly related to your profession. Linked, Goodreads and World Literary Cafe all have discussion threads for twitter follow backs. 

4. Whenever you follow someone, if you wait half a second suggestions pop up, follow those too! I get fifty e-mails a day (on average) for follows and follow backs. It is worth it.

5. There are a lot of folks on twitter who are... not honest and don't play fair. Early on I found my twitter followers fluctuating very drastically. One day I had 1,000 followers, the next I only had 800. A nifty new tool allows you to see who followed you back and who un-followed you after you followed them. There is nothing that will turn people off  faster than seeing the follow and follower numbers drastically different. Keep yours relatively balanced by getting rid of dead weight. I believe that it is important to be following more than are following you and as you gain more followers, then the distinction between those numbers can increase at a proper percentage. But if you are following 1,500 people and only 300 are following you back... that just looks bad. Conversely, unless you are already super famous, if you have 15,000 followers and only follow 1,000. Yeah....

 6. Last but not least, a nifty tool I only just recently found, is that in Facebook you can go in under settings and link your two accounts, allowing every status update on Facebook to also post to your twitter account. I love this tool, because bouncing from site to site re-posting the same message "Off to another day of exciting writing!" is exhausting.  It is also great, because it only links your status updates, so if you congratulate your girlfriend on her baby boy on Facebook, twitter folks aren't confused.

7. Do not rely too heavily on these time savers, as your authenticity will drop. For example, even though I have Facebook updating my status on twitter, and tweedeck posting several times a day, I still go in and post genuine twitter updates, taking advantage of Tweetspeak, hash tags and all that fun stuff. Without that, my twitter account would just be an extension of my Facebook account, and twitter users would feel it. It becomes disingenuous.

Well, those are my tips for twitter, over the course of a year and a half of working with it. Do you have any other tips? I would love for you to share in the comments below! Any questions about twitter? Post those as well.

Until next time,
Keep writing!