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Moonborn by Terry Maggert

The more I review books and get to know authors, the more I see how fun it is to read multiple series by the same author. This is the second series from Maggert that I’ve read. The first series I discovered, Halfway Witchy was fantastical fun filled with witches, shifters, a vampire, and waffles. (Some of my favorite things) I heard the first book in this series, Heartborn, on audio. You can read my review here.

As soon as I finished this book,

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Find Your Strong: How I changed my MIND to change my BODY and heal my HEART by Cassy Roop

 

It’s hard to open up to people who know you. It’s even harder to put yourself out there with people you don’t know. I admire people who share about their struggles in an open, loving, and compassionate way. It is obvious Roop wrote this book out of love. She believes in the power of her book and it’s message. I liked the pictures of her scattered throughout the book. It added a sense of “realness”.

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Five Things Authors Must Do From A Reader’s Point Of View

1. Respect your reader’s intelligence.

I am tired of books who spell EVERYTHING out instead of realizing the person reading the book has something of substance between her ears. Read this to see what I mean:

 

Terri spent most of the day cleaning. A clean house shows better than a dirty one. After last night’s storm, this hot, steamy, summer Georgia morning made cleaning even harder. There almost wasn’t enough time to clean up before her date with Jeff. She desperately needed to shower away all the sweat and grim typical to Georgia in the summer, the morning after a storm.

Now before you ask, I made up this passage, so please do not think it is from one of the books I have read for a review. Did you catch the issue? I think it is a very safe bet to assume your reader will know about summers in the south. If you don’t, let me fill you in, it’s hot and the morning after a nighttime storm it’s miserable.  Perhaps the reader has spent her whole life on Antarctica and has no knowledge of the weather patterns in the southern states. The author does have the responsibility to create a full experience for the reader. However, look closer at the passage:

After last night’s storm… summer Georgia morning… Georgia in the summer, the morning after a storm

We get it. It’s hot, it’s the morning after a storm, and it’s in Georgia.  Trust your reader to understand the first time she reads it. If this detail is important to the story, reiterate a different way, or better yet show the reader.

2. Know when to end your story.

I love stories. Trust me when I say that is not an exaggeration. I have withdraws when I don’t read for a few days. I actually get moody. Sometimes I feel depressed when I finish a book. If it is a series, I jump into the next book, but when that series ends- oh boy I may not be a very nice person (you could even call me that word that rhymes with ditch). However, all good things must come to an end. I can’t tell how YOU will know because it is YOUR story, but a hero doesn’t need to face obstacle after obstacle.

3. Interact with your readers socially.

Do you know why I review books? Yes, I get free books and that’s way cool. But I like working with the authors. It’s exciting to meet an author and help them promote their book. Many of the authors I work with are indie authors and they need all the help they can get. I see it like rooting for the little gal. I know these authors are busy. It takes less than a second to like a post. It takes about two minutes to share a post or respond to it. When an author responds to me socially, IT MAKES MY DAY. I totally geek out. I have printed screen shots of some of the interactions I’ve had.  See, every author has done the one thing I have been working towards- they have finished a book. I admire each author I’ve reviewed, interviewed, and spotlighted.

4. Don’t always use a thesaurus.

Read this:

Terri waltzed into the room wearing an accouterment made of dazzling baubles. Every fellow in the ostentatious room turned his craniumum to watch her flow down the staircase.

I understand not using the same old words over and over. However, it’s ok to just say:

Terri looked so hot as she walked down the stairs that every guy in the joint turned to watch her.

5. Use a professional editor.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is I cannot edit myself. When I read what I’ve written I see it the way it should be. Please pay for a good editor. Find one who will not only check grammar but will also make sure the main character stays blonde throughout the whole story. Read this and see if you can find the mistake.

Terri leaned in to talk to Jeff. The music loudly played, making it hard for any kind of polite coversation.

I’ll just share this to show you what I mean:

This post may make some mad. That’s not what I want. What I want is for every writer who dreamed of finishing a book to not only make it to THE END but to succeed.  So who am I to write this? I’m a reader who’s read over a hundred books last year and has read over fifty books so far this year. I’ve read multiple genres from both indie and traditionally published authors.  Books are who I am. They are in my blood.

Let’s Chat with Jess the Audiobookworm

Before we begin, I have to thank Terri (my fellow “Carolina girl”) for the opportunity to be featured on #CarolinaReads!

First and foremost I have to ask why audiobooks? What draws you to this format?

Primarily, the convenience. I grew up with a voracious appetite for reading, but as I got older, it dwindled. Life got in the way. I became busier and began to accept that reading was a luxury I didn’t have time for anymore. I’m sure this is something a lot of folks can relate to.

My seemingly incidental introduction to audiobooks re-opened a door I thought had been shut forever. I’m not being dramatic, I genuinely thought that part of becoming an adult meant that I wouldn’t have time for a luxury such as reading. Audiobooks not only allow me to fit reading into my schedule but now I’m able to consume more books than ever!

Do you think every book lends itself to the audio format? Why or why not?

No, I don’t. Most do, but some still translate better than others. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t think all books should be translated into audiobooks. Every book deserves an audiobook!

But a lot of times, audiobooks are afterthoughts for authors. Something they don’t even think about until the book is well underway, if not already finished. That’s completely understandable because writing a book and getting published are hard.

Sometimes, a book is written in a manner that’s just meant to work best on paper.

Two popular examples come to mind: Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments and Taherah Mafi’s Shatter Me. Both are excellent novels but seem (to me) to work better when visualized rather than heard. Attachments is written as a series of emails between coworkers. The novel was formatted in a very unique way to resemble email attachments. In audio, the novelty of this formatting doesn’t come across as well as it should. In Shatter Me,  the protagonist constantly strikes through her words as she writes journal entries. Again, I love this idea, but the only way to convey it in audio was to use a scratching sound effect to mimic the protagonist’s writing utensil striking through a word. It took me a good portion of the novel to understand what was happening there.

How do you fit listening to audiobooks into your schedule?

Listening has become a habit to me now.  I always have an audiobook playing.  Luckily, I work from home, so I’m able to listen continuously and at whatever volume I want!

There are so many daily opportunities to listen. Think about all the times you have music playing.  That’s when I play an audiobook.  

  • In the car
  • Exercising
  • Working in the yard
  • Falling asleep at night
  • Doing housework
  • At the beach or swimming pool

Anytime I’m performing a mindless task (something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration), I listen to an audiobook.

When I listen to a book, I find it even easier to picture the whole story in my head. How does listening to the story enhance the experience for you?

Oh, absolutely. I love relaxing in bed at night when listening to an audiobook.  I can close my eyes and see the story play out in my mind. It’s effortless.

It’s also fun to create mental images of the characters.  I love casting the characters of the audiobooks I hear. I ask myself  “If this story were being made into a movie or television series, who would I want to play the parts?”. That takes the visualization to another level.

Tell us a little about your company. How did it start? What services do you offer?

It all happened in a very kismet sort of way.  I began looking for blog tour companies to work with as an audiobook blogger.  After applying to several of them, I was politely told that there likely wouldn’t be many opportunities for me to participate because audiobook blog tours weren’t very popular.

I thought that was odd because I was getting several review requests a week from authors, narrators, and publishers. Why weren’t these people approaching tour companies about promoting audiobooks? This felt like a gap in the book marketing world that needed to be filled.

Shortly after that,  I was approached by an author about coordinating an audiobook blog tour for his audiobook that I had previously reviewed. My first instinct was to say “No, I can’t do that.”,  but then I thought “Hey, maybe I could do that…” , which eventually turned into “ I can do that!”.

A little over a month later,  Audiobookworm Promotions was born. I explicitly cater to the audiobook community, of which I am proud to be a part. I believe that, with a little creativity, audiobooks can be marketed just as effectively as traditional books.

Audiobookworm  Promotions seemed like a natural progression from The Audiobookworm.  I’m excited to be unveiling a new website for Audiobookworm  Promotions in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be gradually expanding my services. Right now,  I offer blog tours, review tours, graphic design and web design services, as well as a number of other brand management and marketing services.

I  organize virtual tours for all genres and I’m always looking for tour hosts. Anyone interested can sign up here! There are also a number of audiobooks available for “adoption” on my Adopt-An-Audiobook page.

What is the first book you remember reading?

That’s tough because I’ve been reading from a very young age. Like most of my generation, Harry Potter was my childhood.

It’s much easier to recall my first audiobook.  The first audiobook I heard was Stephen King’s 9/22/63 and it remains my favorite to this day.

What are you listening to right now?

I’ve gotten to the point now where I can’t just listen to one audiobook at a time. Maybe it’s a commitment thing. I like having several options available to me because of my listening mood changes with the wind.

I currently have about 30 minutes left in Night Broken, the 8th installment in Patricia Briggs’  Mercy Thompson series. That series is a must-listen for paranormal fans.  Lorelei King (the narrator) is doing an amazing job.  

I’m also listening to  Mary Roach’s  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and it’s every bit of what it sounds. Although, I’m having to hear it in stages and never while eating.

Why did you choose that story?

I started the Mercy Thompson series after it was recommended by too many people to ignore. I love the paranormal genre and this series (as well as its spinoff) has become one of my all-time favorites.

Whenever I’m in a listening slump,  I temporarily switch over to podcasts for a day or so. That’s how I came across Mary Roach’s TED Talk, which sparked my interest in her writing. I highly recommend her work (and her TED Talk), but not to those with weak stomachs!

Who is an author or book character you would like to meet one day and why?

I feel like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin are the obvious answers here, but they’re also pretty far-fetched (probably). Now that I’m thinking about it, I’d love to have a conversation with Mary Roach. After hearing her TED Talk, I immediately searched for more of her interviews because I found her work so fascinating. She seems very down-to-earth and to have a great sense of humor,  which is evident in her writing. Dinner with her would be fun and informative, although we’d probably have to set some parameters about what could be discussed at the table (for my sake!).

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What would they be and why?

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their bookshelf. Physical book are pretty scarce around my house,  but I have hung on to a few:

What Is My Cat Thinking? This is probably my most referenced book (unfortunately). I have three cats and anyone who follows me on Instagram knows which one of them makes me pour over these pages.

The Lady of the Rivers– It’s about Jacquetta of Luxembourg (my 18th-great grandmother). I love doing genealogy and having such a popular book written about one of my ancestors excites me. This will be neat to pass down a future generation one day!

The Everything Dreams Book: What Your Dreams Mean And How They Affect Your Everyday Life– I’ve had this since I was 12. It may be the oldest book I own.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Ed.– From my grad school days. I still reference it occasionally and it’s handy to have around.

Gone with the Wind– I read this every summer between 8th and 12th grade. Even though time has significantly changed my view of the story, I can’t bear to give up my tattered copy.

 

Heartborn by Terry Maggert

I read Mr. Maggert’s series, Halfway Witchy. I couldn’t read those books fast enough. This series has a completely different type of characters so I wanted to see if he could do it again. I was not disappointed. This book deals with a heavenly war between the angels. That alone fascinated me. He created an angelic world which felt like a complete universe inhabited by ancient beings. So many stories I read with angles create an illusion of differentness. I really liked that these angles felt like people capable of a wide range of emotions and very human actions. Just as in his other series, the plot drew me in fast and I couldn’t get through the book fast enough. Unlike the other series, this book switches back and forth between points of view. Well, not really pov more like it switches back and forth between realities. His reason for doing this makes complete sense by the end of the book. My only complaint is he destroys the stereotypical happily ever after ending. I’m a huge sucker for those. It makes sense, and I don’t want to give away any of this great story, but I’m having a hard time being patient for book two. Moonborn will be out at the end of June. 

The narrator of this book absolutely nailed it. She was so easy to understand and did a fantastic job going back and forth between the characters.

About the Audiobook 

Author: Terry Maggert

Narrator: Julia Whelan

Length: 6 hours 20 minutes

Publisher: Terry Maggert⎮2016

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Heartborn, Book One

Release date: Oct. 3, 2016

Synopsis: Her guardian angel was pushed.
Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.
His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.
Until Keiron arrives.
In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.
Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

Buy Links

Buy on Audible/Amazon

About the Author: Terry Maggert

Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as “Seasons”. After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school–which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master’s Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.

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About the Narrator: Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan is an actor, writer, and audiobook narrator. She is perhaps most well known for her acting work on ABC’s Once and Again and her award-winning narration of over 200 audiobooks (including Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl). Her debut novel is forthcoming.

After a healthy career as a child actor, Whelan attended Middlebury College and Oxford University, graduating with a degree in English and Creative Writing.

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**I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for a review**

 

The Alpha’s Daughter by Tiffany Shand

Happy release day, Tiffany!

This author continues to rock it with her paranatural, urban-fantasy stories. This series focus on the complexities between dads and daughters. Only Shand twists this idea. This dad and daughter combo are shifters with even more going on than just the ordinary dysfunctional family trouble.

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The Six Month Novel Writing Plan by Caitlin Jans

 

I think sometimes people need to hear the same thing numerous times before it sinks into their head. I can’t say there is nothing new in this book, but what I like about it and why I would recommend it is because of the author has an awesome delivery. The tone of this book is to the point and easy to follow. She does not waste time with long explanations about why something works. It was a quick read and her ideas are very easy to follow for any writer at any level. Books like this help motivate me to “git er dun”.

 

 

 

 

Most authors have heard of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, a novel writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Many famous authors, including John Green and Rainbow Rowell, have participated.

But for many writers who work full time, writing a novel in one month is difficult, if not impossible. Before I had a child or a full-time job, I completed NaNoWriMo twice.

Both times I participated in NaNoWriMo I really enjoyed the process, but I was forced to type at such a pace that both books required a great deal of copy and content editing. I made many typos per page, regularly contradicted myself, and filled the novels with many plot holes. After November, I never managed to make it very far past the first draft because of the amount of work required in terms of editing.

Now that I have a full-time job, a child, a husband, and any number of writing projects on the go, NaNoWriMo is unfeasible. But even if I had the time to do it, I am not sure it is the right challenge for me. It generates a lot of very raw material without giving the writer any time to edit. I thought I could write a much better novel if I had more time to edit as I wrote but still had a strict “must finish by” date.
I believe one of the enemies of novel writing is not having a strict deadline.  If I spend too much time writing a novel I often forget most of the details and plot that were covered in the beginning, so the start of the novel and the end do not merge. I then have to go back and edit large swaths of writing.

I have also noticed that writers who don’t set deadlines for themselves often end up spending a lot more time working on their novels, and many never finish their novels at all. One of my friends just finished his first draft of his first novel – it took him ten years to write that first draft. Another friend has been writing for almost two decades and has yet to complete her novel.
Even if you don’t end up following my plan or making your own plan, at least take this away from this book – create a deadline for yourself! It is important to stick to deadlines. Even famous authors with established fan bases struggle with this. George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones, is infamous for announcing when his next book is coming out and then delaying it by years.

I gave myself six months to write a novel and outlined a loose schedule – which appears later in this book. I was able to complete not just a first draft of the novel but also a second draft during that time. Only after the third draft was I able to come up with a name for it, The Orphan Smugglers. In just six months, I wrote a novel from scratch that I am very happy with.

The Orphan Smugglers is 63,000 words in length, which is much closer to the length of most published novels than NaNoWriMo’s 50,000-word goal.

This book, The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan, started out as an article, but I received a great deal of positive feedback and so many questions about it, that I have expanded it into an eBook. While the initial article was just a modified version of this introduction and a very basic version of the plan itself, this eBook gives a more detailed plan and covers all sorts of important details that will help you execute the plan, such as: what you need to do before month one, tips for modifying the plan to suit your personal needs, and many more important pieces of information.
The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan that lead to the creation of The Orphan Smugglers has already changed my life, even though the book hasn’t been published. The experience itself was so enjoyable and so productive that I could not be more grateful for it. It enabled me to be a parent and a writer. It allowed me to complete the most polished rough draft I have ever written. I really hope The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan changes your life as well.

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The Gypsy Thorn by Sherry Rentschler

Since the first time I met Sherry, I’ve known about these vampire characters who live inside her head. Over this last year that we’ve worked together, I’ve been able to work with her on bringing this series to life. This prequel sets the stage for the Evening Bower series starting later this year. It is a great overview and introduction of some of the characters. What I really like about this story is that the vampires are real vampires who love everything about being evil. Angst and guilt do not interfere with their true quest for power. Drahomira meets a Phoenix and an Angel of Death and learns her connection to both of them is deeper than just a passing encounter. Dra is saucy and powerful- and “hey that’s ok.” Sherry does a great job of sharing a story taking place over many generations. I also enjoyed learning some new things about this time period. I can’t wait until the rest of the series comes out.

 

When Atlantis fell into the sea, a single creature survived–a scarlet phoenix. She escaped with ancient man’s historical record, The Great Book of Forgetting. This book recorded mankind’s every legend and prophecy. Only the Archangel of Death understood man’s survival depended on the fulfillment of one particular prophecy, that of the scarlet phoenix.

Rhea is the scarlet phoenix, transmuted into human form with wings of fire. She hides The Great Book from those seeking to steal it and prevent the prophecy. The Archangel befriends and protects her as he watches her traverse time and mold history. She is the proverbial rose that blooms in a future garden.

Jean-Louis Riviere is an aristocrat who became a vampire during the American Revolution. He is haunted by an ill wind whispering strange and incredible possibilities. His family ties will lure those who wish to destroy the prophecy; however, the Archangel also knows his blood is all that will save the rose and secure the future

Drahomira is a gypsy, a bastard princess, and a vampire. The Archangel of Death chose her to protect the phoenix because she is an irreverent killer but loyal to family. She will journey across continents and be the catalyst that brings Rhea and Jean-Louis together. First, she must leave her people, her throne, and her lover, cross a continent for vengeance, die, and be reborn. Only then will she discover that she is the rose’s legendary thorn in the Evening Bower.

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Sherry Rentschler’s poetry has appeared online and in print. She’s a previous Assistant Editor, Amateur Poetry Journal (online), and a newspaper photojournalist. She lived in Italy, traveling around Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and Greenland.

Sherry’s latest release is a fictional memoir entitled Breaking the Glass Slipper. This is a true story about a woman’s search for a real happy ending and examines the lessons learned through sexual exploits, marital disasters and adventures around the world. This tale will surprise, inspire, and touch you with poignancy and honesty.

Rentschler’s newest fiction release is Midnight Assassin: A Tale of Lust and Revenge. This character novella promises action and a bit of sexy teasing as Rentschler introduces us to two of her favorite vampires while delivering a high-energy drama. Look for her vampires to continue in 2016.

Paper Bones, Rentschler’s first poetry collection, is a 2014 Global Ebook Awards Gold Medalist, a 2014 National Indie Excellence Book Award (NIEA) Finalist, a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Honorable Mention winner and a 2013 Best Cover Award Gold Medal Winner from AUTHORSdB.

By Light Betrayed is Rentschler’s is gothic poetry release and includes color photography as well as a delicious fiction excerpt of Midnight Assassin, a character novella. In this poetry collection she has a bit of fun poking at the dark side of the vampires, what gives them soul, and insights into their seductive ways.

The Book of Now is Rentschler’s final poetry collection. In this volume, Sherry rips events from the headlines covering current events in Terrorism, Politics, Abuse (domestic and international) and Nature (human and natural). Her hard-hitting insight into our reality offers a key to change which is discovered at the end of the book.

I Wish You Joy is Rentschler’s only photographic compellation and makes a lovely coffee table pictorial.

Among her hobbies are all things vampire, plus dragon collecting, photographing trees, and dancing with faeries. She loves old movies, reading urban and gothic fantasies, fine wine, and consuming rich, dark chocolate. Rentschler is a retired USAF veteran and currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, also a retired USAF veteran. They await the return of the dragons.