Archive for the 'Author Friend Promo' Category

First Books. . .First Loves

April 15, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from the C in C.D. Hersh

While rummaging through some file cabinets the other day I came across a worn notebook containing my first novel, written when I was in high school. As one might suspect, it is a romance—an angst-ridden story about a young girl who falls in love, marries, and lives happily ever after with the movie star teen idol she adores. Compared to my books today this is a poorly written book, but, hey, I was a teenager. It’s so bad, in fact, I won’t let anyone read it.

As I looked through that book I began thinking about the other stories I had written in my youth and the subjects I had chosen for school papers. The ones that stood out in my memory were the romance novel, which I kept; a short story called Bloody Buttons, about a witch; an outer space story featuring aliens; and a school paper on an Aztec myth about a magical feather.

Notice a theme here? Romance, supernatural elements, magic, and fantasy—the backbone of paranormal romances which my husband and I write. Wondering if my discovery about my basic writing affinities held true for my husband, too, I questioned him about his teenage manuscripts. His reply was as a teen he was too busy with sports to write, but he did have some old school papers, mostly about running and sports.

Since he hadn’t written much as a teen I asked, “So what did you read when you were younger?”

He pointed at the bookshelves on his wall displaying his childhood reading collections of Tom Swift (science fiction/fantasy), The Hardy Boy mystery series and Sherlock Holmes. Not exactly in the paranormal realm but science fiction could be considered in the ball park, and there’s usually a mystery of some sort to be unraveled in our books. A quick scan of his bookshelves revealed another set of fantasy/alternate-world series, written more for men, but definitely in the paranormal genre. If I could see his current e-library I know it would show scads of romance and paranormal romance. The books he has penned as an adult include a Sherlock Holmes story and a time travel adventure—both still within the realm of his early reading interests.

I found it remarkable that over the years our taste in home furnishings has changed. We started out Colonial and Country and ended up Southwest. My taste in jewelry went from gold to silver and turquoise. We used to window shop in the malls, and buy at Goodwill. Now we go antiquing. Rock and Roll gave way to Country music. Jeeps and sports cars moved over for more luxurious vehicles, although Donald is still longing for a Corvette. Apartments gave way to houses, and patios lined with flowerpots grew into a huge garden.

We have continually evolved in almost every aspect of our lives, sometimes even making 180 degree turns. But one thing hasn’t changed. We still love books, and we still love the genres we cut our reading and writing teeth on. Romance, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction claim a big part of the bookshelves in our home, both paper and ebooks.

I guess what they say is true—write what you know … and what you love.

What’s the earliest book you remember writing and reading? Are you still writing and reading in that genre? Let us know in the comments.

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after, and that’s why they write romance.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available in e-book format on Amazon. Can’t Stop The Music, their standalone romance novella currently out of print, won the 2018 Uncaged Book Reviews Contemporary Music Raven Award.

Ghosts and Gardenias, the first book in their time slip romance series Ghosts of Garnoa Road, will come out in the spring of 2024.

In addition to writing Catherine and Donald love antiquing, traveling, singing, and going to the theatre. Catherine is also an avid gardener and has drawn Donald into her garden as a day laborer. They figure the couple who plays together and works together, stays together—and that’s just what they aim to do.

Amazon buy links:

The Turning Stone Chronicles series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1) eBook

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2): eBook

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3) eBook

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4) eBook

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their Website, Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon Author Page. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads. Be sure to follow their Blog.

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C.D. Hersh Cover Reveal

April 1, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

Ghosts and Gardenias!

 

Where we live, in Southwestern Ohio, one of the most haunted cities in the area is Cincinnati, Ohio. Here’s a sampling of some haunted spots in that fair city.

Music Hall, in downtown Cincinnati, built on top of a pauper’s grave, is rumored to be haunted and was selected as one of the Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places in America.

Union Terminal
photo by Donald Hersh

Union Terminal, or the Cincinnati Museum Center as it’s known now, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a security guard named Shirley, who was murdered there.

At the Cincinnati Art Museum a seven-foot specter rises from a mummy sarcophagus.

Kings Island Amusement Park employees have reported sightings of a little girl in a period 1900s blue dress believed to come from the graveyard adjacent to the park.

Mother of Mercy High School has a nun, Sister Mary Carlos, who haunts the auditorium, which is named after her. The Sister interferes with performances unless she is asked for permission to use the space and is invited to the performance.

At the Cincinnati Zoo not all the animals are caged. A ghostly lioness prowls the park at night.

We haven’t seen any of these apparitions, and don’t plan on going ghost hunting to find them.

Now that we’ve thoroughly frightened ourselves by writing about all this spooky stuff at night, we think we’ll go double check the dead bolts, flip on all the lights, and look up some paranormal ghost busters … just in case.

Happy Haunting!

Have you ever had any spooky, paranormal encounters?

While you think about that here’s the blurb from the first book in our Haunting of Garnoa Road Series.

Susan Trowbridge is the victim of mistaken identity, trapped in the past by a ghost and a haunted wedding gown. To return home she must discover the identity of the ghost’s murderer. Can Susan stop the murder, or will history repeat itself, with her as the victim this time? And if she does stop the murder, must she return home and leave the man she has come to love?

Duncan Hawthorn is a man battling his own demons. But when Susan falls into his life, Duncan finds himself inexplicably attracted to a woman he thought he hated. Should he believe she is in danger? Should he believe her irrational claims that she is from the future? Either way, he realizes he will lose the woman who has become his salvation and his true love.

Amazon pre-sale link Ghosts and Gardenias

When your “goose bumps” disappear perhaps you might be interested in the links for our other paranormal books on our Amazon Author Page.

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to award-winning co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

Their paranormal series titled The Turning Stone Chronicles can be found on Amazon.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Social Media Info:

Website

Soul Mate Publishing

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

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Spy on Your Competition to Succeed

March 25, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

by Sharon Ledwith

Spying is a catchy way of saying “do your research and stay tuned in.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s a mandatory part of being successful. It’s also a great way to build connections. There’s an old saying that to be successful you have to stop obsessing about the competition. I agree with that to a certain degree, but to be unaware of what other authors in your genre are doing is never a smart idea.

Regardless of what you write you need to be dialed into the competitive landscape. Knowing what others in your target market are doing, writing about, and promoting can be key to your success as well. Not that I would ever encourage copying, but being in tune with your genre and market can be a fantastic idea generator, not to mention it gives you the ability to stay ahead of certain trends that haven’t even surfaced at the consumer level yet.

First rule of spying: study your target market, the books as well as other authors in the industry. It helps you to also differentiate yourself from them in products, services, and pricing. Again, you don’t want to copy, you just want to be aware. Another lesser known reason for doing this is that if you’re struggling with your social media (like me)—both from the aspect of what platform to be on to what to say to drive more engagement—keeping these authors on your radar will greatly increase your marketing ideas. Living in a vacuum never made anyone successful.

Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, you want to know who else is writing on your topic or in your genre. Google search is a great place to start. The results will not just turn up names and book titles but also show you the best ways to interact with your reader.

Google is packed with names of authors who write about your topic or genre. As you begin to compile your list, I want you to do one thing: ignore big brands because it’s likely that they can do anything they want and still be successful. If you’re a middle grade writer, names like Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull come to mind. These authors are big, powerful brands. You want the smaller names—the people you may not immediately recognize. Why? Because they have to try harder. If tomorrow Riordan or Mull decided to put out a book on poetry, while their fans might be surprised, they would likely still buy it. But if a lesser-known author did that they’d look like they have writer-ADD. Not good.

So start putting your list together, as you do sign up for their mailing lists, and follow them on Twitter and any other social media site they use. That’s what I do. Aside from the obvious reasons why you want to do this, I’m a big fan of supporting other authors in my market. Share their Facebook updates, retweet their great Twitter posts, and like their Instagram images.

One of the hidden gems of this research is it will also show you what social media sites to be on. If you’ve been struggling to figure out where your market resides, this strategy should really clear that up for you. Why? Because if you’re plucking names off of the first page of Google you know one thing: whatever they are doing to show up in search, they’re doing it right. Google has made so many changes to their search algorithms that you simply can’t “trick” the system anymore to get onto page one. Look at their updates. What are they sharing and why? How often do they blog? Are they on LinkedIn instead of Facebook? Is there much going on for them on Pinterest or Instagram? Really spend some time with this. Not only will it help you tune into your market but it will cut your learning curve by half, if not more.

Successful authors leave clues. Are you following their bread crumbs?

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

AMAZON BUY LINK

 

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

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We Hate When That Happens

March 18, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

By C. D. Hersh

Writing is full of challenges, from the perfecting the actual craft to getting the book published to mastering marketing. Along the way, if you’re like us, you’ve probably had your share of writing mishaps-things you hate to see happen.

Here are ten of our We-hate-when-that-happens moments.

1. When we miss the wrong word in a sentence that spell check didn’t catch and send the piece to the editor for publication. Sliver and silver—both are spelled correctly but can’t be used interchangeably.

2. When we see the transposed letters of a word in our blog comments AFTER the comment has been posted and you can’t get to it for a do over.

3. When our hero’s eye color changes mid-book because somebody forgot to check the character sheet. (No we won’t identify the “somebody”)

4. When the find and replace option in Microsoft Word replaces ALL the spaces between the words, instead of the one extra space after every sentence targeted, turning the manuscript into one loooooong run-on sentence. Yes,ithappenedtous. That’s why we don’t recommend using the replace all function.

5. When everyone in the critique group hates our favorite part of a scene. That usually means there’s going to be a lot of rewriting.

6. When your finger finds the delete key instead of the save key. Thank goodness for the UNDO function!

7. When you realize the whole chapter you just finished doesn’t go anywhere, doesn’t move the plot forward, and that chapter has to be slashed from the book.

8. When the critique partners love the secondary characters more than the hero or heroine. Ugh!

9. When we love a secondary character more than a hero or heroine. (One solution is that means a second book.)

10. When you close down the computer and it crashes the next time it‘s opened. This is why Catherine prints out a hard copy every time she creates new pages and stores them in a three ring binder. Paper is her friend. (She has the file drawers full to prove it. 20 at last count.

Do you have an I-hate-when-that-happens moment? We would love to hear it. Please share in a comment below so we don’t fell so inept. 😉

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after, and that’s why they write romance.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available in e-book format on Amazon. Can’t Stop The Music, their standalone romance novella currently out of print, won the 2018 Uncaged Book Reviews Contemporary Music Raven Award.

Ghosts and Gardenias, the first book in their time slip romance series Ghosts of Garnoa Road, will come out in the spring of 2024.

In addition to writing Catherine and Donald love antiquing, traveling, singing, and going to the theatre. Catherine is also an avid gardener and has drawn Donald into her garden as a day laborer. They figure the couple who plays together and works together, stays together—and that’s just what they aim to do.

Amazon buy links:

The Turning Stone Chronicles series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1) eBook

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2): eBook

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3) eBook

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4) eBook

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their Website, Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon Author Page. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads. Be sure to follow their Blog.

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SIP & SCRIBBLE

March 4, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

By Leigh Goff

 

Wine tasting and writing fiction may seem like two very different realms, but when you look closer, you’ll see that they share intriguing similarities. Both experiences involve sensory exploration and the art of storytelling.

 

I recently began a journey into wine tasting and am now studying for my level 2 certification (yes, the homework rocks). How wine tasting appeals to me was similar to how I feel about writing. After some research, I discovered there was a connection. Just as a wine taster engages their senses to explore the intricacies of a wine, a fiction writer harnesses the power of sensory details to bring their story to life.

A highly skilled winemaker tends to the grapes and the winemaking process to produce a wine like a Napa Cabernet that boasts flavors of ripe blackberries, velvety dark chocolate with subtle hints of cedar, culminating in a full-bodied magical experience on the palate. When I craft a story, I construct compelling plots, drawing on my sensory experiences to enhance them and then refine the work through editing and revision. In my first novel, Disenchanted, the story I created was filled with sensory details. I wanted to immerse the reader in the magic of Sophie’s world, her star-crossed romance, and the haunting history of Old Wethersfield.

Some writers through the centuries, such as Jane Austen, were known to imbibe on too much wine. Research from the University of Graz shows that drinking wine enhances creative thinking for writers. Of course, it does! Now winemakers are harnessing the art of storytelling to enhance their connection with consumers. Using a new phone app called Winerytale, the user can read the story about a wine of their choice and learn about the winemakers.

While wine tasting and writing fiction may seem unrelated, the parallels are undeniable. Both pursuits involve sensory exploration, layered complexity, subjective interpretation, storytelling, and a blend of artistry and craftsmanship. The next time you savor a glass of wine or dive into a captivating novel, take a moment to appreciate the shared essence of these two worlds, where sensory delights and imaginative tales intertwine.

Cheers!

Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she and her husband enjoy the area’s great history and culture.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

 

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Bite into Something Delicious

February 26, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Sharon Ledwith

Cookies are high up on my family’s snack list. Heck, some would consider them a breakfast. These oatmeal cookies can be served as both. They are so easy to make, and you can use only chocolate chips, raisins, or leave out both if you prefer. Make the combo your own.

Did I mention these tasty morsels possess soft centers, crispy edges, and a mind-boggling chewy texture? Well, I just did. Wink. Face it. These cookies are a family favorite for a reason, and now they can be your family’s favorite, if you dare to wander into the uncharted territory of baking from scratch.

With a prep time of 15 minutes, chill time of 1 hour, and cook time of 10 minutes, they’re the perfect cookies for impromptu bake sales for your kids. Eat them either warm and fresh or prepare these treats in advance for family gatherings or a much-needed dessert when someone pops by unexpectedly. You’ll be glad you did.

Thumbs up Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour, leveled

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1½ tsp vanilla extract

1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup raisins

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla. Mix until creamy and well combined, about 1 minute.

Blend in flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the oats until combined.

Then add the chocolate chips and raisins and mix until well distributed. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Scoop 16 equal-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons/45g) of cookie dough, roll into even balls, and place 6-8 cookies, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart, on each prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are set and lightly browned, and the centers look under-baked, pale, puffy, and dry.

Remove baking sheet from the oven and let cookies cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, or until firm enough to move. Transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

While you’re waiting for the cookie dough to chill, pop on the kettle or turn on the coffee pot and settle into your favorite chair with one of my books. May I suggest a nostalgic visit to mysterious Fairy Falls or perhaps go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to keep some cookies for yourself. After all, you deserve a break from the craziness of the world.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

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AGING GRACEFULLY

February 19, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

by Anne Montgomery

I have worked out most of my life. I started ice skating at five. I skied and swam. When I was 24, I started officiating sports and called football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games, an avocation I practiced for 40 years. When I was 30, I got my first health club membership and I have had one ever since.

So, I’m a long-time gym rat. I’ve lifted weights, utilized aerobics equipment, and practiced yoga, but I’m primarily a lap swimmer. I mention this because recently I turned the golden corner for those of us who spend time at the gym. The reason? Silver Sneakers.

For the uninformed, Silver Sneakers is a health and fitness program that provides gym access and fitness classes for people 65 and older. It’s covered by some Medicare plans. That means I no longer have to shell out those monthly fees to the health club.

The idea, of course, is to keep old people moving so they’re less likely to succumb to problems like heart disease, broken bones from falls, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. If people get exercise, chances are they won’t become ill or injured, which keeps those Medicare costs down.

I’ve been swimming laps regularly for 35 years, so I am pretty comfortable working out.
I was feeling pretty smug the day I walked into the club and asked to be moved to the Silver Sneakers rolls. I had just finished swimming a thousand meters – sadly, I used to swim two thousand, but as I’ve already intimated, I’m old.

“Of course! I’d be happy to help,” a tall, twenty-something smiled down at me. “Sit right here. Just show me your ID and your membership card, Ms. Montgomery.”

I noted he was very solicitous.

After putting the important bits of information into the computer and handing me my new key fob, he placed both elbows on the desk. “Now, we can provide you with a free one-hour counseling session.”

“What for?”

He tilted his head. “To help you learn how to work out.”

I squinted. Did I look like I needed help finding my way around the gym? Did I look like I spent my days on the couch eating Ding Dongs? Did I look like I didn’t know a free weight from a foam roller?

Then, I had an I-glimpsed-myself-in-a-store-window moment. I know you’ve done it. You walk by a reflective surface and the person you see staring back is not the one you always imagined. I was forced to consider how this nice young man saw me. He smiled sweetly. I stared back, realizing I might now appear to be a little old lady.

I said I’d think about the offer. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to see if there’s anything I’ve been missing. I thanked him and left. Though I stared at the floor whenever I got close to a window.

This is my latest release. It’s Native American Literature and U.S. Historical Fiction. Picking a genre definitely is not easy.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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Enjoy a Bewitching February

February 12, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from Leigh Goff 

February’s Featured Book is a witchy young adult historical fiction with more than a hint of romance thrown in the mix. Disenchanted is the perfect book to keep you spellbound through the rest of winter!

A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice…

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families’ wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch’s true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

February is for bewitching romances–get Disenchanted, a YA witchy fantasy romance inspired by the historic Wethersfield Witch Trials–available in paperback and e-book at Mirror World Publishing and Amazon!

 

Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she and her husband enjoy the area’s great history and culture.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

 

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GIFT GIVING

February 5, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

The C of C.D. Hersh talks about

Valentine Gifts

Valentine’s Day is a short time away. Maybe you’ve received flowers or candy or jewelry or even a new electronic device for a past Valentine’s Day. In fact, what you got might just be the most memorable gift you’ve ever received, or perhaps it was the gift of your heart.

This year I have a date for breakfast out, a movie and dinner. My sweetie is a romantic that has done some special things over the years but, never the same thing two years in a row.

Several years ago, I got the offer of breakfast out and whatever gift I wanted. I’d been thinking a lot about it. A diamond tennis bracelet was high on the list until I saw the price. I wandered through the gift shop at Cracker Barrel where we had breakfast and a turquoise scarf caught my eye, but it wasn’t anything that said “That’s the gift!”, so we left with full tummies and empty hands.

Hubby had to get something at Home Depot, so I wandered through the seed section and purchased some peas, carrots beans, cucumbers and zucchini seeds for my garden, but those didn’t fall in the gift category.

Then, as we were leaving the store I saw it—the gift of my heart for that Valentine’s Day.

You might wonder what I’d find in Home Depot. In fact, if my husband told his friends he got me a Valentine’s gift from Home Depot, they’d probably hoot him out of the room. But there it was—an anthurium.

“You don’t have any more room for plants,” my husband said. And he’s right. My windowsills are crammed full. I tried to walk away, but the plant kept calling to me, so I went back and picked it up.

This Valentine’s Day gift didn’t cost a lot of money. But every time I look at it reminds me of my mother, who received an anthurium from Dad when I was young. I can see that flower so clearly in my mind’s eye. It’s the one Valentine image from my youth that has stayed with me.

Another Valentine gift that didn’t cost much also remains lodged in my memory: A jar of green olives for my mother and a second jar of black olives for me. If you think those are odd gifts, consider the fact that my husband and father were out together shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts. Mom had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, so candy was out. At the time neither my dad nor my husband had a lot of money to spend. While in the pickle aisle of the grocery store, one of them said, “They like olives, don’t they?” And so it came to pass that we got olives and cards for Valentine’s Day that year.

As romance writers it’s easy to stress the bigger than life aspect of love—the stars-in-their-eyes, hot, lustful can’t-keep their-hands-off-each-other part of romance. In our efforts to make the love stories passionate and keep things moving, I think we sometimes miss the heart of the love.

Olives for Valentines were strange gifts, I know, but the gift wasn’t the important issue that year. What counted was my husband and my father tried to give Mom and me something they knew we would like. That year I learned a big lesson about gifts, love, and Valentines.

Gifts don’t always come in fancy packages that have hefty price tags. Love doesn’t always have to be hot, lustful, or starry-eyed. And the best Valentine is about caring and being with the one you love, no matter what stage of life, love, or romance you are in.

When I look at my anthurium I’ll remember that … and two jars of olives.

Have you read a story where something has been inserted about a “special” day or gift that made the characters seem genuine?

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after, and that’s why they write romance.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available in e-book format on Amazon. Can’t Stop The Music, their standalone romance novella currently out of print, won the 2018 Uncaged Book Reviews Contemporary Music Raven Award.

Ghosts and Gardenias, the first book in their time slip romance series Ghosts of Garnoa Road, will come out in the spring of 2024.

In addition to writing Catherine and Donald love antiquing, traveling, singing, and going to the theatre. Catherine is also an avid gardener and has drawn Donald into her garden as a day laborer. They figure the couple who plays together and works together, stays together—and that’s just what they aim to do.

Amazon buy links:

The Turning Stone Chronicles series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1) eBook

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2): eBook

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3) eBook

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4) eBook

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their Website, Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon Author Page. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads. Be sure to follow their Blog.

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PICKING A GENRE IS NO EASY TASK

January 31, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from Anne Montgomery

The moment I mention the impending arrival of a new book, prospective readers ask, “What’s the genre?”

“Well, um…it’s hard to say,” I respond, staring at my shoes, wondering why such a simple question has no equally simple answer.

I have a tendency to write stories without giving thought to where they might fit in literary culture.  So far, my titles have been variously listed as soft-thriller, contemporary fiction, romantic suspense, historical fiction, women’s fiction, and young adult fiction. So you can see why labeling my work tends to make my head spin.

Still, identifying a genre for your novel is important.

A Light in the Desert is a suspense novel.

“We use genre as a way to identify the category of a book. Where it should be sold in a store. Or who its competition will be,” long-time literary agent Steve Laub wrote in his blog article Does Genre Matter? “The best way to describe it is to say that publishers and booksellers sell books out of boxes. The boxes are labeled “Romance” “Thriller” “Mystery” etc. Before we resist that exercise I would claim that we consumers buy books out of those boxes. It is quite possible that the boxes were created by us (the consumers).”

 

 

Wild Horses on the Salt has been called women’s fiction and suspense with a touch of romance.

There is some dispute about which English book should be called the first novel. Some believe Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote of La Mancha, published in 1605, deserves the honor. Others opine that Daniel Defoe’s 1719 Robinson Crusoe should get the nod. Either way, neither author had to think too hard about genre.

“In 1719, when “Robinson Crusoe” appeared, many people considered “the novel,” in itself, to be a genre,” said Joshua Rothman in his The New Yorker article titled A Better Way to Think About The Genre Debate. “The novel was a new thing—a long, fictitious, drama-filled work of prose—and its competitors were other prose genres: histories, biographies, political tracts, sermons, testimonies about travel to far-off lands. What set the novel apart from those other prose genres was its ostentatious fictitiousness.”

Clearly, modern-day authors can find labeling their work infinitely more complicated than those early novelists.  Look at today’s overwhelming number of possible fiction genres. The Book Industry Study Group’s list of fiction topics includes approximately 140 genres, all of which can be combined in what seems like a never-ending number of possibilities.

 

The Scent of Rain was marketed as young-adult fiction.

I’ll admit, sometimes I’m jealous of my romance-writer friends, their covers bursting with muscled torsos and over-flowing bodices that leave not a hint of confusion about what type of story resides inside. Still, as difficult as pinning down that perfect genre might be, there’s no way around it, especially if you want to contact agents, or publishers, or editors, or reviewers, because those folks are pretty specific about the types of book they’re interested in. If you want to be considered an amateur in the publishing world, go ahead and send a query about your sci-fi, apocalyptic, young adult romance to someone who has made clear their genre of choice is Regency historical fiction. (And you were wondering why you hadn’t heard back.)

While some authors may be tempted to leave the genre decision to others, remember you wrote the book. You know the story and the characters better than anyone. Ultimately, you should choose. An article on the blog Rock Your Writing called How To Figure Out Your Book’s Genre suggests you consider, “who is the mostly likely to seek out this particular type of book, buy this type of book, and enjoy this type of book.”

While the decision on genre is yours, it’s the reader we authors need to consider, because, as Laub pointed out, if our “baby” is in the wrong box, maybe those readers won’t find it.

 

The Castle is contemporary women’s fiction/suspense

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

Maggie, a National Park Ranger, is back at the Castle – an ancient Native American pueblo carved into the face of a limestone cliff in Arizona. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt. As part of her therapy Maggie volunteers at the local rape crisis clinic.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, always greets her with a warm smile and fills pink boxes with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver, is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses a deep spring filled with strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Then there’s Dave, with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist, and Maggie is his next target.

This is my latest release. It’s Native American Literature and U.S. Historical Fiction. Picking a genre definitely is not easy.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

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Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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