Monday, 15 October 2018

Hauntingly Romantic Winter

Welcome readers!  Autumn is here, and my most favourite month of the year, October.  It’s great for snuggling in fleece-lined socks, close to your sweetie, up to a cup of hot cocoa, and especially reading.
I’m excited to be participating in A Hauntingly Romantic Winter: A Fairytale Collection, a beautifully illustrated anthology of previously unpublished fairy tales (fractured and otherwise) compiled and published by Tamara Rokicki and D. Fischer.  These entrepreneurial authors head up The Other World, an online community of writers and readers who love fantasy, paranormal, and dystopian reads.

I’m thrilled to team up with other talented writers and photographic/illustrative artists in this gorgeous publication out November 1, 2018 some of whom are Lucille Moncrief, H.M. Gooden, Tabetha Waite, Martin Wilsey, Erin Casey, Lecia McDermott, and more for this gorgeous winter publication.  This is being offered as a paperback for the beautiful visuals as well as ebook format. 

Cursed Ice Prince is a tale I’ve been working on that is inspired by traditional fairy tale, The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen.  I love this story for its magical winter qualities and wanted to do a fairy tale re-telling so this was the one for me.  My idea was, what if Kai and the Snow Queen like each other?  What might draw them together, and what elemental problems would come between them?  Could they ever come together, really, a human and an elemental?  Some big questions but I’ve got a pretty active imagination! 
The blurb:
Anyu is the Sovereign of Snow since the beginning and for eons, always alone, yearning for connection, maybe even the love that humans prize so much. But she reaches out to human men only to kill them with her frozen kiss of death.
The hobgoblin Rhaznomr’s evil magic mirror has splintered into a zillion pieces, lodging in the hearts and eyes of humans all over the world. Perhaps a man with mirror splinters could withstand her cool brand of love with such black magic to keep them safe and alive.
Anyu’s trail of frozen lovers comes to a fantastic resolution with Kai as Anyu is determined, even if she must enlist the aid of the evil Rhaznomr himself, to make him her Ice Prince.

Meant originally to be a novella size read (and will be completed into winter 2019/2020), I’ve trimmed Cursed Ice Prince to a short story for this anthology but with key points about the plot.
If you’re looking for the magic and myth about the Snow Queen, be sure to check out Cursed Ice Prince and the entire fabulous anthology to cuddle up to on a cold autumn or winter night to whisk you away to another world!
Pre-Publication Reserve Orders and Orders Here  
Check out The Other World Here to learn more.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

How to Join a Group Board on Pinterest

How to Join a Group Board on Pinterest
Hello Readers!
Today I’m going to blog a quick guide to joining and pinning on a group board on Pinterest, mostly because I believe there’s a great marketing opportunity on this growing platform, especially for writers/authors/self-publishers, that inherently is a great tool for selling and in my own efforts to get on group boards and now creating one of my own, it took a bit of work to get a clear notion of how it’s done. So hopefully this short list will help others interested in getting on group boards but struggling to make sense of the process.
Group Board:  A Pinterest board owned and managed by one person who invites others on Pinterest to join and pin onto that board. This occurs by invitation only. You can tell a group board by the multiple person image icon at the bottom left of the board.
Why a Group Board:  The power of increased activity/exposure to the marketplace also leveraged by the help of others. Aside from pinning to just your own Pinterest page, to pin and re-pin on active group boards will really up the number of times your pin is seen and possibly re-pinned by many others, further increasing exposure. The other members of the group board may also re-pin your pin their own boards considering that you have a common interest.
Quick Steps
·        Identify a suitable group board that you want to join.
·        “Follow” the main page of the owner of that group board (a must).
·        Message the owner (once you’ve followed someone a “Message” option becomes available top right of your screen to communicate with them and which starts a dialogue box that later shows up bottom left of your screen) that you would like to join their board unless they note differently in the description of the board.
·        In order to actually become a member of the board you will need to receive an Invite from the owner. The owner must also ‘Follow’ your main board first.
·        You will know you’ve been invited when you receive a message in your Inbox (top right icon on your page). The invitation will show either a ‘Decline’ or ‘Accept’ option. Choose ‘Accept.”
·        Refresh your Pinterest main page.
·        Look back onto your main page and you will find a new board, the group board you’ve just joined! You can now click on the board and pin away (allowing for board rules). This extra board on your main page may be the only downside depending how you feel about the number of boards on your page. When you subsequently go to pin on this board, depending on whether you have 100 boards of your own, this will add to the list of boards to choose from when you place your new pin.  I’m now involved with about 10 group boards and find this manageable.
·        You can later ‘un-join’ if you change your mind by clicking on +people icon which will then show a drop down menu of all the collaborators. When you find your name you can remove yourself and the board will vanish from your home Pinterest page.
·        Be aware that if the owner of the board finds that you’re pinning inappropriately they can delete your pins and remove you from the board.
Both parties get a win~win as you both get more followers and more activity/views on Pinterest.
On the other hand I find that Pinterest overall moves slowly (I’ve heard the term ‘slow burn’ applied) in terms of response (sales) and re-pins. This may be due to many factors including I likely have limited reach at this time, I haven’t been active enough or don’t know important facts to making pins go viral, etc. Still, I think the opportunity is too valuable to pass up. Consider that with every pin you can add a URL to your sell site. When you think about Instagram, for example, you cannot put links into your posts or comments (Facebook I won’t address as I refuse to go there, especially now after the Cambridge Analytica etc. scandals.) but on Pinterest you can with every single pin.
I find it interesting that Pinterest has removed the ‘likes’ function for pins. At first this annoyed me but as I think about it, if someone really likes your pin they will re-pin it if they have a suitable board. I think Pinterest is more of a marketplace versus social media because it’s really a search engine for finding something that you want. It’s sort of like a giant store that you search visually for either items you want or ideas.
As the world is going more mobile, a recent stat I saw that Pinterest has 80% mobile traffic is important. It’s also growing with increase in male participation (article HERE).  
And consider that you can not only pin book covers (authors/writers/indies) but create a variety of advertising type pins that include snippets from your book (example to left is of a recent pin for Fated for Sanchez), promo pins for discount days, etc. The possibilities are endless.
To get an idea of what types of pins are getting lots of re-pins, check out this page from Pinterest stats (study the construction of these pins!) HERE.
As with everyone, the time demand to participate in and research/learn ‘social media marketing’ is crushing. I’m currently only on Twitter and Pinterest as an indie author and Zazzle designer. From a business perspective I’m thinking Pinterest may evolve into a very good online marketplace that is not too mired in privacy and other scandals that is definitely worth considering, especially for indie authors/writers as I don’t see a huge presence there yet (I’ve done a trial of Tailwind Tribes) meaning huge growth potential.
So come and join my Fiction Reads group board for writers already HERELet’s grow a hopping writer’s community on Pinterest.
I would love to hear your comments about experiences, successes and failures about Pinterest in comments below.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Whisperer, by A. Ireland King - Review

The Whisperer
By:  A. Ireland King
Publish Date:  February 19, 2018
Published By:  Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Contemporary,  
Pages:  412 Kindle Edition
Source:  Author

She chose death.
She got life.
When Meredith Potts jumps in front of a train, the first surprise is that she still exists.  She meets the mysterious Michael, a guardian angel of sorts. As Meredith learns to help the living in quiet ways, she must also face her own demons.
Events are now in motion that will uncover a terrible secret and expose a killer. Where will Meredith’s unplanned journey lead? Can the truth really set you free?   
Set in Scotland’s capital city, this gripping tale of treachery and redemption is ultimately optimistic. Prepare to be swept away by authentic characters—The Whisperer will keep you guessing and leave you warm and fuzzy.
Welcome readers, back to a book review today with a look at The Whisperer, debut novel by A. Ireland King, an indie author from Scotland getting started in this crazy challenging world of self-publishing.

A. Ireland's novel sounded intriguing in that we the reader are going to get a take from the other side of the veil after a suicide and maybe learn what pain had led someone to take such drastic steps. It also sounded from the blurb like there was a mystery being solved from the other side. I love reading stories set in far off places too, earthbound and fantasy, so the Edinburgh, Scotland setting cinched it for me.

The story begins on the tracks, the train tracks to be precise, where Meredith gives up the ghost.

She is surprised to find she’s suddenly and unexpectedly still ‘around’ in some new form and then meets Michael, another being on this plane who tries to help her understand her new found mobility and possible purpose. Meredith discovers she can hang around with anyone, former family, even people she didn’t know, though of course they can’t see her. If I could hang around with those who couldn’t see me or know I was in ear shot, I’d definitely learn some interesting things and so does Meredith, both good and not so good. These things begin to shape her other-side mentality in a new direction so she’s actually growing as a character after death.

The author has a direct, easy flowing writing style that speeds you along several different story lines, some connected to Meredith in some way, and a simple easy way of drawing you into their lives, thoughts and emotions. We learn more about Meredith through her/and omniscient observation of the living she left behind (great show not tell). You feel for Meredith in the way that life is just tough but also that she could have been more communicative, braver in her discourse with others while still alive and that might have helped her. Maybe this is a message for the rest of us.

On one level however I find these concurrent stories somewhat depressing. Admittedly I read mostly paranormal fantasy in order to escape from the ‘life is tough’ thing (have enough of that every day in reality). While the stories in A. King’s novel are interesting, heart felt, and ultimately warming with an essentially positive and encouraging undertone, reading the struggles the various characters work through (or not) was a bit of a downer for me.

The story gathers steam as the murder investigation gets underway and from this point I read through to the end in one sitting wanting to find out the truth. The end reveal is a really great twist and I loved the unexpected and uplifting ending.

If you enjoy reading stories involving the human condition and trying to understand how to better the lives of those around us and thus our own, don't hesitate to pick up The Whisperer. 4.5 stars for a very good debut novel!

Why do we sometimes get ideas from nowhere to do things, to take unexpected actions we didn’t think we would? Maybe it’s a whisperer …

My thanks to the author, A. Ireland King, for a reading copy in exchange for an unbiased review. You will find her on the internet at the links below:
Grab your copy at Amazon