Tag

indie author

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.

Continue Reading…

Congratulations Sherry Rentschler

Congratulations Sherry Rentschler

The Book of Now has just won another award!
The Independent Press Awards will be announced in a day or two. I just received word that I won Distinguished Favorite for Book Covers Non-Fiction Category!!!!!!

IPA gives out a Gold Winner and a Silver Distinguished Favorite in each category. Thousands enter!!

 Marisa-rose Shor, Cover Me Darling you took an idea and turned it into art.

Buy your copy now.

Cover Reveal THE GYPSY THORN by Sherry Rentschler

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 Reviere 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.

Coming May 31

Sherry Rentschler

 

Books Can Save the World- Guest post by Tiffany Shand

Guest Post – How Books Gave Me a Career

Books can mean a lot of different things to different people. Some people books are a form of escapism, a way of learning new things or the answer to solving a problem. Ask the person what books mean to them and you’ll be sure to get dozens of different answers.

I’ve been reading books from an early age. One of my earliest memories is of reading books. I used to love reading books about animals. Being an only child, books gave me an escapism. I loved reading about different worlds and seeing places through the character’s eyes. When I was five I started writing short stories – which were mostly about my pets. I especially liked writing about my border collie, Jack and my hamster, Hammy. After reading so much I think writing just came naturally to me.

As I got older books became more a part of my life and I started reading different genres, fantasy always being my favourite genre. When I left school at thirteen due to health problems and became home-schooled I didn’t know what to do with myself. Going from school to home schooling was a big change. Reading definitely helped me cope with the sudden change. I did lose out on the social aspects of school due to always being off sick all the time or going to the hospital to have more tests done. But this also provided me with the time to actually sit down and write.

I mainly started writing short stories in my late teens or short novels that rarely ever got completed. Although I read a lot of different genres including history, romance, crime and adventure fantasy was the genre that always drew me in both the reading and writing. Since there are no limitations with what you can read or write when it comes to fantasy.

After my grandparents bought me a writing course for my 16th birthday, they encouraged me to start pursuing writing more. I did start the course by found the concept of writing professionally pretty scary so I only did the first assignment and then let the course just sit there for a few more years. I did carry on writing and indulging my love of reading over that time. But the course sat there forgotten. I did try going back to a few times but never drew me back in.

Over the past few years as my health declined, reading and writing became an outlet to help with chronic pain and illness. During that time also went to college and started studying law but because of my health problems, I reluctantly had to stop pursuing my dream career. For a while I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, working in law had always been my main focus. This inspired me to go back to the writing course and start going over the assignments again. Luckily the course provider was happy to let me start doing the course again despite the number of years that passed since I’d first gotten and started it. I had a great and encouraging tutor who gave me some great feedback on my work and where I was going wrong. During that time, I still carried on writing novels but doing the writing course introduced me to other forms of writing. I even started writing non-fiction which was something I never imagined I would do. I always thought I couldn’t write non-fiction and I would be bad at it.

After some encouragement and nagging from my grandparents, I finally decided to go ahead and complete my first proper novel and see about getting it published. At the time, I knew nothing about publication or how books even got published. Luckily, I had a chance to meet another author who mentioned to me about self-publishing. I’d never even heard of self-publishing at the time I didn’t really know what it entailed. One of the hurdles on my road to publication was that typing on a computer became very hard due to having very painful hands so I switched to using a voice recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking. Without that, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I do.

I decided to have a go at publishing my first novel myself. I’m a very independent person so self-publishing was the right route for me. Despite a lot of ups and downs with bad editors and bad formatters, I published my first ever fantasy novel in March 2015.

After completing my creative writing course, I later went on to study copywriting, proofreading and social media marketing through the College of Media and Publishing. These courses really inspired me and gave me the confidence the start working from home. I love being an editor and helping other authors to have their work looking the best they can be. This helped me realise that I want help other authors like myself and teach them about the business side of publishing and being an author.

So books can really help change and shape a person and even give them a career when I thought I would never have one.

______________________________________________________________________________

Tiffany Shand was born in Essex, UK and started writing short stories when she was a child.

She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.

Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance during this time.

She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but mostly fantasy and paranormal romance.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s she is now a freelance writer and professional proofreader. She is currently studying for a journalism degree.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.

Find Tiffany on:
tiffanyshand.com
@tiffanyshand on Twitter

The Truth Will Set You Free- guest post by Sherry Rentschler

sherry_rentschler__034and scare the hell out of you!

I just published my fictional memoir and it took me over 20 years to do it. Why? Because telling the truth is harder than it sounds when it comes to talking about yourself. I love to create fantasies, weave spells in poetry, and paint images with my photography. But telling the truth is hardest when it is all about yourself.

First, let me explain the difference between a fictional memoir and a regular memoir or an autobiography. When writing about a section of time, you write a memoir. When telling your entire life’s story, then that is an autobiography. When someone has a reason for telling only a piece of their life, that’s when you usually read a memoir. There have been folks who do one ever 10-20 years. Seems a bit much to me but to each their own. In my case, I had a few important lessons to share and that pushed me to write my story.


A fictional memoir isn’t fiction. The definition means is I’ve changed the names of the people and the locations, recreated dialogue that isn’t exact, and perhaps reordered some events to make sense of confusing situations. But the story is true as are the people and events. The historical nature is intact.

A regular memoir tells a story exactly, without alteration. I couldn’t do that for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was to protect some folks who might not want their truth told for them. So fiction is an added, necessary element to help recall special moments that drive the story.

Some people also call this genre autobiographical fiction but the two are actually separate. The autobiography employs more truth and in-depth storytelling techniques as in a regular novel. Also, typical autobio fictions are longer works than memoirs due to the length of the life involved.

With all that understood, the question returns, why write something that requires you to bare your soul with truth? Good question. Part of the reason is the truth I needed to tell. Lesson learned in my time seemed distant and unrepeatable. Until now. Now as I see my mistakes repeated by others, I felt the time was right for me to tell my story, to reveal my truth. Perhaps my revelations can help someone where I didn’t have the help when I needed it. That’s one reason.

Another reason is I’ve reached that age in life when I don’t care as much what people say about me or think about me. What matters now is the truth. To tell your truth is to find yourself among the internal muck and debris. When you sift through all that “stuff” you carry around and get right to the heart of your true self, you set yourself free. Free of all the debris like self-doubt, self-recriminations, self-censure, as well as guilt and blame, and the other dirty little secrets we lug around like unpaid, excess baggage.

Owning and releasing one’s truth is to say, “here I am with all my flaws. I own them. I am them. This is me.And you stop daring the world to criticize and point fingers at you because you stop caring if it does. You become more yourself than ever. That’s freedom.

Now I’m not necessarily advocating that everyone sit down at age 50, 60 or older and write a memoir. If you have a special story to tell, then tell it when you are ready. That’s key. When you are ready. Don’t be bullied or pressured into telling your tale until you feel its time. What I am advocating is whatever you write that is personal, use the medium to tell the truth. Let it live. This one action is empowering because you allow yourself to be your most complete self.

Some young people today say, “I am always myself. I always tell the truth.” In the decades to follow, I hope those confident youth can continue living those words. Skeptical me doubts because life has a way of pushing down truth for compromise, guilt, shame, or just plain necessity. Worse, we can convince ourselves that we are being honest when instead we couch or color our truths to make ourselves more “acceptable” to others (and haven’t we all done that at one time or another?).

But eventually, every truth will need a voice.

And so it was with me. I wrote, Breaking the Glass Slipper, because I had a special story to tell. How I spent my life searching for love and a promise of a fairy tale after disillusionment sent my life off course. My chosen path was filled with hard lessons and the memoir is my truthful testament of those events. As a result, I am free of my past and I have shared what I learned along the way. I hope I do some good with these memories and that is my reason for exposing myself and letting everyone see the real me.

Truth is frightening but empowering. Truth can also elevate a writer. Ernest Hemingway said, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” You can’t do that unless you dare to write truth. To tell the truth is to expose what makes you vulnerable and afraid. What few realize is once you’ve revealed your secrets, there’s nothing left to fear.

And isn’t that the hardest part? To actually tell the truth. I finally did and it changed me. Is it scary out here? You betcha. But I’m glad I shed my chains and now I can fly. Because the only things that matter aren’t what others say or think but how I feel and how I choose to live with myself.


BreakingTheGlassSlipper-2That’s why I chose to write my memoir now. It was time to write about what hurt, to face the hard truths, and maybe to prevent others from making similar mistakes. Best of all, I owned who I was and who I am because of my past.

Writing about yourself is scary. Writing honestly about yourself is scarier. For me, it was the hardest writing I’ve ever done and the most empowering. The truth really did set me free.

Breaking the Glass Slipper is available on Amazon for pre-order. Buy yours today before the price goes up.

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The Drogue by M.A. Nichols

51rurs5zbbl**I was contacted by the author to review this book. I got it through Kindle Unlimited but then liked it so much, I bought it.**

Creating worlds is hard, and it takes talent and skill to do it well. This author nails it. From the very beginning, the reader is drawn into this alternate universe and the real world drama that the main character, Annie, has to face. I felt the author did a great job of “showing” the story instead of “telling” the story. The author goes beyond the typical YA fantasy tropes we see today. Yes, the kids in the book are wizards going to school, but the story becomes more twisted and involved so it transforms the reader into a new fantasy world. I really appreciated that the characters in this book acted and reacted like real young adults. They react to situations just like the young adults I know in my life. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

From Amazon blurb:

No one knows for certain what the Drogue is or where it came from, but the Dark Knights have spent millennia searching for it. And now, they know who has it. Even if he doesn’t realize it.

For as long as Jake could remember, he’s felt writhing, wriggling energy floating in the air around him, but no one believed it. Not even his own father. Don’t talk about it. Just ignore it. Only crazy people sense things no one else can.

Just act normal.

But when his father disappears in the middle of a parking lot, Jake’s definition of normal changes forever. Here one minute and gone in a cloud of smoke the next, his dad vanishes in front of Jake’s eyes, abandoning him to a hidden world of wizards, magic, and the mystery of the Drogue. Jake doesn’t know why the Dark Knights think he has it, but he must find it before they find him. For where the Dark Knights go, death follows.

Amazon

 

The Book of Now by Sherry Rentschler

now-available-on-e-bookIn her third volume of poetry, award-winning author Sherry Rentschler rips topics from current events: Terrorism, Politics, Domestic Abuse of women and children, Nature (both human and Mother). The subjects and events exposed from real lives are the focus of this honest, contemporary book of verses. Neither timid or sweet, these poems examine events as they have unfolded, and define them with bluntness, compassion, and her unique talent to expose and explain the unimaginable. This is nonfiction. The events are real, sometimes haunting and often controversial. Topics traverse bigotry, racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia and domestic violence, as well as ecological destruction, international slavery, and immigration. Rentschler suggests that with understanding there is a key to unlocking a better future. Readers will discover this key as they pass through the volume designed to replicate a terrible grimoire, a book succinctly defining the four elements of chaos destroying our world. A better future awaits and needs your help. Find the key. Enter Now.

This is unlike any other book of poetry I have read. There are so many horrible things that we are doing to each other and our world and these poems challenge the reader to face the harsh realities of our time. The images and play on words draw in the reader right away. These passionate poems strive to challenge the reader to find “the key” in four areas; terrorism, politics, abuse, and nature. Rentschler’s collection of social conscious poems needs to be read by as many people as possible. The time for change is now. I highly recommend this book. My favorite poems are “San Bernardino”, “For Sale”, “A Slave to Sales”, “Faith Challenged”, “Left Out House”, and “History Lesson”.

*** I received an ARC copy of this directly from the author. I also do some PAA work for this author***

Available at Amazon

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Lore Master (Warrior of the Way Book 2) Robbie Cox

31752403One of my favorite things to do as a book blogger is to find a new author. There are so many authors out there in this big ocean of books. When I find one I like, I want to share with everyone. Robbie Cox is one of those authors. I met him through a mutual friend. He writes books in several genres. That is one of the reasons his blog, The Mess That is Robbie Cox is pretty well named.

I read the first book in the Warrior Way  series, Reaping the Harvest and was hooked. I like flawed characters and find themselves in impossible situations with impossible obstacles. Of course, I want the hero to win, but I think it makes a better story if he gets tarnished along the way. Rhychard saved a life and his reward is anything but pleasant. He found himself in the middle of a war with a most unpleasant demon who desperately wanted to open a portal to let all his friends come over to this world and play. In book two, Lore Master, Rhychard struggles with a most unpleasant brother/ sister team.  He still struggles with his new role, but now he finds out he has more friends on his side who want to help him.

Cox creates a story that is  not the typical hero-quest-fight. He develops his characters and creates a believable world that makes his books fun to read. I highly recommend both books. I especially enjoyed the ending in book two.

Do It Yourself

Many people think of writers as tortured souls who hide away in coffee shops toiling away at the Great American Novel. The author then waits for acceptance from a publishing house. It doesn’t matter how much work an author puts into a book. If a publisher does not give it a green light, the book typewriter-1240422-1280x850will never make it to the light of day. According to Bowker, the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories and Australia, reports that over three million books published in 2010. With a statistic like that, it would seem publishing a book is easy. However, this statistic includes any book that applied for an ISBN. Only about 1% of all books submitted each year are published. Of those, a very small percentage will even sell. (citation)

JK Rowling received twelve rejections. Louis L’ Amour received over 200 rejections. Jack Camfield was told over 140 times that anthologies don’t sell. After three years of rejections, C.S. Lewis did not stop believing in his work. Margaret Mitchell received 38 rejections. Each of these went on to defy rejection and become hugely successful books.  (citation)

If a book passes through the pearly gates of a publishing house, the author must work just as hard sell the book. Many beginning authors can plan on developing their own marketing campaigns. These campaigns include face-to-face, social media, conventions, or as in the case of Chicken Soup for the Soul finding unique niche markets. Even with successful marketing campaigns, though, authors make only a small percentage of sales in revenue. Most authors use their book as a springboard, developing speaking engagements or a boutique selling t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other memorabilia centered on characters from their book.

Unhappy with slim opportunities to be published and low rates of return, many authors are turning to independent, indie, publishing. The main difference between indie and traditional publishing lies in the orchestration. If an author chooses to publish independently, she assumes responsibility for every aspect of the book. She takes all the risks, but also reaps all the reward.



We are living in one of the most exciting times to be a writer. We finally have the ability to take control of our own careers instead of waiting for luck or publishers to smile on us. It’s the difference between BEING discovered and GETTING discovered. It takes you from a passive role in your own life and career to a position of control. No artist ever made it big by ‘being’ discovered. It was mostly about connections and getting discovered. Now, it’s easier than ever.  Delvin Blake

A lot of controversy surrounds indie/self-publishing. Many feel that since anyone can publish independently, the quality of the writing is inferior to what is being published traditionally. In a blog post by Michael Kozlowski, Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader, he quotes Andrew Franklin, founder and managing director of Profile Books, who blasted authors who self-publish. “The overwhelming majority of self-published books are terrible—unutterable rubbish, they don’t enhance anything in the world.”  He also included a rant calling most indie authors lazy and corrupt. (citation) 

With every well-established system, change is slow and painful. For years there was no challenge for big house publishing companies. Now more and more writers want to take control of their own success. Does that mean that the quality of work is inferior? Many think that if a writer publishes independently, she was not able to create a worthwhile manuscript. Yes, I will be the first to admit I have read some indie works that were not good. My ten year old creates better stories when she and her sister are playing Barbies. However, there are many indie authors who are creating good quality books. With the “indie” label though a lot of readers and professional writers will not even consider the chance that these rebels are capable of creating solid works.

Lisa Genova could not get her book, Still Alice, traditionally published. It wasn’t until she created her own marketing campaign and sold thousands of copies of her book, INDEPENDENTLY, that a publishing house took her seriously and her book sold in 2008 for over half a million dollars to Simon and Schuster (citation) 

When I thought about refocusing this blog to focus more on books and book reviews, I researched other book blogs. So many people will not review an indie written book. I think that is very unfortunate. Indie does not mean inferior. An indie written book is a symbol of an author who took control of all aspects of the book; from the writing to the finished
product. There is a sense of entrepreneurship behind that book. Good stories are good stories and readers need to be open minded and not judge an entire section of the books.