Veteran’s Day 2016

file7621263245344Happy Veteran’s Day. Today we honor those who served in the military. Because of these great men and women, our liberties have and continue to be protected.

I admire the courage and strength it takes to serve so selflessly. To know that by volunteering your name–you are leaving your family, your home, and have to go to someplace unknown; I know, I couldn’t do it. It takes the heart of a hero to do something so incredible.

That these amazing men and women would give up their comfort and their safety so that we may continue to have ours is humbling. They are my heroes.

All I have to say is THANK YOU!

Updates

tempestdawnfinalHi!

This is a quickie post to provide some updates:

  1. Cecily has a new book out! Tempest Dawn is live and on sale at Amazon.com. Grab it now or wait for some promotions that Cecily will be running soon. Dates are pending, but it’s coming.

2. If you haven’t checked BB&B’s Facebook page, you might just want to take a gander here. The posts there are more regular and I try to keep them fun and entertaining. Also, a new Facebook cover is coming soon! I don’t even know what it’ll look like. LOL! Totally leaving it up to the designer. We’ll all be surprised at the same time.

3.I’ll be posting more regular reviews on books I read. Freebies and bought books. I’ll take you on my learning journey. Hopefully it’ll be helpful for you as well. I’m looking forward to taking my TBR pile down a few books.

If you haven’t yet read any of Cecily’s books and want to get a feel for her writing, ya got three (3) options:

  1. Prelude to a Storm is free on Amazon. This is a short story prequel to the much bigger Order of the Anakim series. It’s a quick read that’ll take you on fantastical trip to Tijuana, Mexico.
  2. Gathering Storm is available free on Cecily’s site. Click this link and you can get a copy of this novel for free! 
  3. Escaping Midnight is a reader exclusive available only to Cecily’s reader list. You can get this for free by clicking this link.

It’s a smorgi of free books. 

Enjoy and happy reading.

Think and Grow Rich

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I’ve had Think and Grow Rich in my library for a looong time. It’s one of those books that I’ve seen numerous times mentioned by successful people.

Mentions like, “I always carry it with me,” “It changed my life,” or “Amazing,” are just some of the descriptors I’ve associated with this book. So, my thought was ‘how good could it be?’

When I came upon it on Amazon.com and it was free, I had to grab it out of curiousity, but that was two years ago? Anyways, I’ve swiped through my library, see it, and swipe past. But something made me stop this time and actually download this 70+ year old work into my Kindle.

I’m so glad I did, cause WOW! Let me just say that I just started reading and I’m not finished, but I can’t get this guy’s lessons out of my head! If you like the Secret or are familiar with the book or movie or have heard of the Law of Attraction, this was the originator. At least in my opinion anyway. But it doesn’t just scratch the surface, he gives you actions steps and plans. He provides explanations and such wonderful stories to stress his point.

I also thought that I might have trouble reading writing from that time. Too formal? I thought I might fall asleep, but I haven’t. Napoleon Hill’s writing style is smooth, easy, and understandable. I kind of feel like I’m listening to a really eloquent uncle.

Napoleon Hill was teaching about success mindset and coupling action with desire 70+ years ago. The book was written right after the Great Depression. The American economy had taken a large hit and many people were ruined. People were desperate and hopeless. It was a time when it would have been easier to give up.

Although the book is old, reading it now — it’s still so relevant. Again, in my opinion, our situation now, may be a little bit better economically, but with so many wars, and general hatred being spewed all over the place… there’s the same sense of hopeless and desperation. It’s crazy. Anyways, that’s not really the point of this.

My point is that this book is a MUST READ for anyone who has a dream they’d like to accomplish and breathe into reality.

It is a classic, but more importantly, the work is eternal in its wisdom. Mr. Napoleon Hill’s words are alive and well in the 21st century and I am so grateful for it. I now understand all the accolades 🙂

If you want to pick it up, as of this post, it’s not free on Amazon.com, but it’s running for .99.

Here’s a link if you’re curious.

 https://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Napoleon-Hill-ebook/dp/B00AIR8CMS/

If not, search the web and I’m sure you can find a free .pdf of it somewhere 🙂

Happy reading!

 

 

Starting a new habit

miraclemornwritersI recently finished reading The Miracle Morning for Writers by Steve Scott and Hal Elrod. I heard Steve Scott on a podcast not too long ago and I really took to his seeming humility about the book business. I really have an affinity for down to earth people.

Anyways, I’ve been going through a lot of self inventory and self evaluation lately. Some of my internal digging has to do with  my personal life as a mom, wife, and day jobber, but much of my introspection was also about books.

What about books?

Everything books — from writing, to publishing, to marketing.

I’ve done all that, but with little success. You may say, but you’ve written books! Yes I have, but it’s not enough. I love to write, but more importantly, I want my books to be read and enjoyed. Doesn’t every writer?

So, I started to think, Ah geez, what if my writing sucks? Problem is, I don’t know that I can objectively critique myself. I know my writing isn’t at JK Rowling caliber. I’m not delusional. But is it so terrible that it’s unreadable? I don’t think so. Can my writing skills improve? Of course it can and this is a craft I’ll happily keep working on for as long as I can type, write, and think. Problem is between my shiny ball syndrome and my bad habit of procrastinating, I have a hard time being consistent with writing.

I can’t improve, if I don’t write. Practice makes perfect, right?

Then suddenly, I hear a choir of angels singing “AAAAAHHHH” as streams of gentle, glowing lights shine upon me, and I find The Morning Miracle for Writers.  Okay, it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but the book still came at the right time.

To get to my point, I LOVE this book. I have implemented the recommendations and I am happy to say that I am starting a new habit of waking up early. I thought it would be more difficult, but so far this week, there was only one day I overslept. I am tailoring the recommendations to suit me better so that my system doesn’t go into shock, but I plan on waking up earlier as I get used to this new behavior.

As of today, I’m waking up 30 minutes earlier than I usually do.

This book is not just about why the morning hours are a gift to every person who wants to be productive, more to the point for us writers, is that this book is also full of suggestions and recommendations on how to leverage your time in general as a writer. Yes, absolutely The Morning Miracle recommends writing during the morning, but more so, the book recommends writing consistently whatever time of day that happens to be for you. It gives ideas on how to collect inspirations to battle writer’s block and a bunch of other helpful tips that are very doable.

Because I am re-evaluating, I’m trying to really decide and understand what is mosmiraclemornwriterst important for me to focus on at this time. Writing is not a full time job for me and I have to make the best use of my time. When I think about everything that has to be done to move me closer to my dream, ‘overwhelm’ is not a big enough word to describe how I feel.

One benefit so far of Miracle Morning for Writers is that I have gained time in my day. For real. I thought I would be tired getting up earlier, but to my surprise that hasn’t been the case. My goal  is to ultimately wake up 2 hours earlier. That means waking up at 4:30 every morning. But I’m not there yet. Give me a month and I’ll update my progress.

I think this book is definitely worth a read. It’s one, I know I’ll be going back to again and again. I’m sure the next time I read it, I’ll find something else I didn’t catch before. (Don’t you just love that about books?)

Again, I’m not an affiliate of Steve Scott or Hal Elrod, but I am now a fan 🙂

I have a new author crush :)

I published my very first book in 2012 and I cannot believe that it’s been four years since my journey began. In that time, I wish I could say that I’ve made great strides toward bestseller status, but truth be told, it feels like I’m still only a few steps away from the starting line.

Ugh! What the poop have you been doing all these years, you might ask?

Well, I haven’t been completely holed up in a proverbial cave — only somewhat 🙂 Let me explain.

  • I have an incredibly stressful day job. I used to enjoy this job a very long time ago. Today, having this job is a necessity to support my household. I’m not going to belabor my agonies about my day job because that’s not the point. The thing is that at the end of the day, I’m wiped.
  • While I read books and buy self-publishing and marketing courses, I can’t seem to implement the lessons successfully. (I actually consider myself a pretty smart person, but this… this makes me feel like a complete idiot!)
  • Admittedly and with some embarrassment, I confess I have “shiny ball syndrome.” You know when the latest and greatest becomes your new toy and you forget about the old one? That’s me. I’m like this fat little bee going from flower to flower to collect what I need. But unlike the bumblebee who will actually do something useful with the pollen she collects, I just keep fluttering about until I’m so exhausted I just drop out of the sky, land in mud, and die.
  • In all my past endeavors, whether that be school or the jobs I’ve had, I’ve always achieved success. I was the good student, the good worker. I knew exactly, what I had to do. There was a path and I just had to follow it. I got A’s and I got the promotions and pay increases. School and work came very easily for me. I was successful with very little effort. This same level of achievement has not been happening for me in self-publishing. It’s been incredibly frustrating and makes me want to quit all the time.
  • I am afraid. Since self-publishing, I’ve realized that I’m fearful of everything — success, failure, criticism… When you fear everything, it becomes easier to be unknown. Being unknown is “safe.”
  • I could go on and on, but what it all comes down to is that I HAVE BEEN MY OWN WORST ENEMY! I’ve “failed” because of me. Have I been duped? Sure. I’ve spent good money on stupid products. I was upset about it then, but when I look back… I’m grateful for the consequence. Why? Because, I wouldn’t have fallen prey, if I hadn’t been looking for an easy way. I was an easy target. (So, buyer beware out there.)

Being an Indie and a self-published author is NOT EASY. It takes work, dedication, and patience. Since dipping my toes in self-publishing, I have taken the greatest journey of my life. While I feel like Sisyphus and his giant boulder right now, I have a feeling things are about to change.

If you are thinking about going into self-publishing, be prepared to work. There will be many days you will want to cry, pull your hair out, or make the next pint of ice-cream your new best friend. Be prepared that your passion for words will keep you up at night. Be prepared that self-publishing is a journey and there are no short-cuts. Finally, be prepared, that each time you write a book, you change for the better as a person.

Hang with me, I’m almost done… hahaha!

Why the post title? Because I have been re-evaluating why I’m doing this.

In my four years of chasing the shiny-ball and getting in my own way, I have forgotten and have completely gotten away from why I went into self-publishing in the first place.

In the last few years, the only time when self-publishing has been fun is when I’m actually writing or when I’m getting ideas and I start thinking about how far I could take a story or a concept. But because of my other responsibilities, there has been little time for the craft itself and I’ve been sad about that…

Then today, I came across an old podcast between Tom Corson-Knowles and Hugh Howey and I literally had to stop what I was doing and just listen. The interview was awesome and it reminded me of why I went into self-publishing! I love writing. Bottom line, our success as writers and authors lies within the pages we craft.

Maybe I haven’t been a complete failure. I have been writing in these four years and the fact that my books are not known now, doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way forever.

HUGH HOWEY, you are officially my new author crush. You have brought things in perspective for me when I needed it most. 

 

Publishing-Profits-Podcast-Cover-Image1If you want to listen to the interview with Hugh Howey, click here. I recommend you listen 🙂 it’s so good and it may give you a new perspective like it did with me.

I’ve only been able to listen to a few of the Publishing Profits podcasts, and Hugh Howey’s was one of the firsts, but for the ones I’ve heard, they’ve all been great and I’ve learned something valuable from each of them.

FYI–I’m not an affiliate of Publishing Profits. I just like sharing great content when I find it.

 

Free High Res photos

When I find a cool thing, I like to share it. As indies, we have to finance every little bit of our projects.

Costs add up — quick!

Thank goodness for awesome people who don’t mind sharing their talents and products for FREE! Such as in the case of Unsplash.

This year is actually their 3 year birthday. Check out their story by going to Unsplash.com. While you’re there, go ahead and subscribe and you will receive a collection of photos every week. Their tag line says you can do whatever you want with these photos.

Since I’ve subscribed, I’ve gotten a set of at least 5 pics a week. They are beautiful. I haven’t used the images yet, other than to admire them, but that’s enough for me. Some pics have certainly stirred the creative juices in my head for possible future stories. That’s always a plus, right?

Here’s a couple of the pics, I’ve received direct in my email. The ones I’ve received have had some really cool architectural images and nature images. Some are very geometric, there’s been a good variety.

Like I said, I haven’t used any of the images for creative endeavors as in including the images in my blogs (well except for right now), or covers, or promotionals. If you are thinking about using Unsplash images for that, I would encourage you to really read up on what they allow and don’t allow.

Remember you are responsible for your creative business including checking out usage rights for pics, vectors, quotes, and all that other fun stuff. Don’t steal, that’s the golden rule 🙂

To see more images like these go to UNSPLASH.COM 

 

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Dark Skies is FREE!!

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Dark Skies is running free today and tomorrow at all Amazon stores — US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.

This is Cecily’s third book in the Order of the Anakim series and it twists and turn into a fun, but dark ride into the lives of The Order. If you’d like to find out what happens check it out.

https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Skies-Urban-Fantasy-Anakim-ebook/dp/B00QBQWLXQ

 

Promo Sites

12_Angels_Publishing_2

One of the things that indie authors/publishers are constantly on the look out for are promo sites. I recently ran a promo and found out there are soooo many sites out there. Some offer free promo opportunities, while others only post for paid advert.

The problem is, it’s hard to tell which sites are good and will actually give you positive results vs. the ones that just look good, but don’t do much to add to your campaign.

I’m certainly not the expert in marketing and promotions. This is the great big aspect of self publishing that has scared the bajeebies out of me. I’ve stayed away from it cause I didn’t want to deal with. LOL!

Good news is that it didn’t kill me. LOL! Even better news is that I’m learning and some things that have always bothered me or confused me are finally making some sense. There’s still A LOT to learn, but I’m on my way. (Have I ever mentioned, I’m a bit hard headed?) I should have done this a long time ago, but it’s never too late to start.

I wanted to share the sites where I posted. Hope this is helpful for you too:

BKnights at Fiverr.com — This by far got the best results. For $5.00 it’s hard to beat.

Psymon at Fiverr.com — This was okay. Not as good as BKnights, but still okay. ($5.00) I would buy this gig again.

Bookzio — I wasn’t impressed, but I know of other authors who have had great results with this site. ($19.00). Maybe if it was cheaper? I dunno.

SweetFreeBooks — This was okay too. I would use them again. ($5.00)

Ebookasaurus — I’m kind of on the fence, but it was only $10.00. I may use again.

Pretty-Hot –$15.00 with a coupon. The site looks great and I expected to get more downloads, but I didn’t. Funny thing is the download rates weren’t great, but the customer service was really good.

KindleBookReview — I did the $5.00 option. They have several packages to choose from. Again, great looking site and I thought I would get more downloads, but I didn’t. They also have a section to submit a review request. That’s free. I submitted, but haven’t heard back anything, so I’m guessing none of the reviewers are interested in the submission. Eh… looking for reviews that’s a whole other beast to tackle.

LovelyBookPromotion — This was a FREE submission 🙂 We got a good amount of downloads. This site also has a review request section. I submitted for a review here also, so far no response yet either.

Lesson? Running the promotions for the first two weeks during October (2015) boosted the book’s ranking at Amazon. The book actually hovered in the top 5 of its categories for a few days 🙂 We also got a decent amount of downloads and a few sign-ups. All in all, it was a positive campaign.

Was it perfect? LOL! Not even close. But that’s the beauty of it, even in its imperfection, it was still positive and met the goals we set for the campaign.

If you haven’t dipped your toe in the marketing pool… try it. You can take baby steps like I did and see what happens. Don’t expect fame and fortune with your first try. Be realistic and be open to the lessons. Be able to step back from what you did and look at your efforts in an objective way, but most of all, don’t get discouraged. Keep trying and see what works for you.

 

New Release Alert! The Boy Who Fell from the Sky

Books, Blogs, and Bits proudly presents:

NEW RELEASE ALERT

New Dystopian Novel for Young Adults

Highlights Climate Change Threat to Future Generations

JuleOwenAuthor Jule Owen has spent her working life in high tech. Her new novel, The Boy Who Fell from the Sky, explores the paradox of living in the age that will likely see the introduction of miracle technology, find a cure for cancer and prolong human life, but that may also see civilization as we know it destroyed by climate change.

The Boy Who Fell from the Sky is the first book in The House Next Door trilogy, a series of three science fiction, dystopian, time travel novels for young adults. They are set in 2055, in a world ravaged by climate change and are adventure stories with a serious message about the future we are making for ourselves.

Jule Owen said, “It’s the big issue of our times. There’s a huge scientific consensus about the fact that climate change is man made and that it is likely to massively disrupt our lives, but the majority of people don’t care about it. Frighteningly, young people, who are likely to suffer the most in the future, are not all engaging with the issue. I love books like the Hunger Games and Divergent. They are exciting but they also make you stop and think and I wanted to try and use the genre as a way of getting people to talk about what’s coming. I used time travel, because it allows my main character, Mathew, to live through the impact of climate change over time.”

In The Boy Who Fell from the Sky, The world is falling apart in 2055. Another flood has devastated London and it’s the eve of the First Space War. With the city locked down, sixteen-year-old Mathew Erlang is confined to his house with only his cat, his robot and his holographic dragons for company.

Desperate for a distraction from the chaos around him, Mathew becomes fascinated by his peculiar and reclusive neighbor, August Lestrange. Mathew begins to investigate Mr. Lestrange, turning to the virtual world of the Nexus and Blackweb for answers. But as he digs deeper, Mathew realizes that Mr. Lestrange doesn’t seem quite human.

When Mathew accidentally finds himself trapped in Lestrange’s house, he opens a door and falls four hundred years into the future—a week before the end of the world. Unwittingly, he starts to destabilise the course of human history.

A 1984 for a new generation, The Boy Who Fell from the Sky delves into a future where climate change and technology have transformed the world. It is the first book in The House Next Door trilogy, a young adult dystopian

The Boy Who Fell from the Sky will be available on September 30, 2015 on Amazon and in bookshops on October 30, 2015.

~**~

JuleOwen

 

 

Click to download The Boy Who Fell from the Sky here

 


New Release Alert from Amos Cassidy!

Books, Blogs, & Bits is proud to present: 

Scartlett’s Path 

by Amos Cassidy!

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Do not stray from the path.

There is magic in the forest, a serenity that calls to your soul.

The woods may turn your head, they may keep you forever…

Scarlett knows no peace. Fear and disappointment are her constant companions and hope is simply a word. A stepfather who watches her every move with desire, a mother who spends her days and nights in an alcoholic stupor, and a cottage too small to escape from it all. The forest is the only place Scarlett can breathe, the only place to run, until the final straw, until the final betrayal. Scarlett makes a choice that will change her life…

She steps off the path…

“The woods can turn your head… It’s easy to lose yourself in amongst the trees and you, my sweet Scarlett, are a delicious treat the woods would love to keep forever.”

~ ** ~

Street Team Banner pic croppedAuthor Bio:

Amos Cassidy is the pen name for Richard Amos and Debbie Cassidy. Amos is a 31 year old Diva and Cassidy a 38 year old mother of three; well, four if you include the husband. A common love of all things Joss Whedon, Urban Fantasy, and a tug of war over Jensen Ackles, brought them together, and one cold February afternoon, over nibbles and coffee, their partnership was born.

You can find Cassidy hard at work in her fortress of solitude which has eaten up the majority of her garden, and Amos…well he’s still trying to get the invisibility gizmo he got off a friendly alien in exchange for a pair of earphones to work. Funnily enough he hasn’t been seen around much lately…

Frequent doses of sugary snacks, coupled with regular injections of caffeine aid in their production of a unique brand of cross genre tales. They are always writing, but are happy to take a break to chat with their wonderful readers, so drop them a line at amoscassidy.com, or just pop over to see what they’re working on and they’ll bust out the biscuit tin.

release day teaser for scarlett

Scarlett’s Path 

is available through all these awesome e-book retailers on

September 28, 2015:

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

Nook

Kobo

Googleplay

Smashwords

Don’t forget to visit Amos Cassidy at their website and see what this dynamic duo has brewing for your reading pleasure.