Saturday, March 31, 2012

Round 2 - The Priest and The Peaches

Since I didn't have any entries...I'm going to re-start the giveaway!  The giveaway will now end on 4/3 at midnight EST.  This giveaway has ended!
What's the prize? An ebook copy (in the winner's choice of format - Nook, Kindle, iPad/iBook, etc.) of The Priest and The Peaches by Larry Peterson.  For more information about this book AND the author click here.

How to enter: leave one comment on this blog post...could be anything as long as it's clean and friendly.  Don't make me pull out the *Evil Librarian* again! (She's always watching the comments...and she's really scary awesome, and not scary at all).

The winner will be chosen using Random.org - to keep it...random!  I will announce the winner on April 4th here, on Facebook and on Twitter.

So my friends, readers, fellow ebook enthusiats, novel addicts...enter the giveaway! Who wouldn't want a free ebook!?  Good Luck and Happy Giveaway Day!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Review Day: Art Journal Prompts

It's Review Day!

Title: Art Journal Prompts & Points to Ponder: A Workbook for Beginners Exploring Book Arts
Author: Jennifer Greenleaf
Rating: 3.5 stars

I am not an artist, talented at drawing, savvy with a paintbrush in hand.... The only types of artsy stuff I *claim* to be good at are origami (basic stuff...we're talking kids could do a better job kind of stuff), some paper crafting/fun random anyone-can-do-it type of crafting AND cake carving.  With that said, I decided I would try out JM Greenleaf's Art Journal (non-fiction) prompt workbook.  Her workbook promises to help you do different things depending on the prompt and the type of crafty-project.  It sounded like so much fun (plus we love to doodle) that I roped my co-workers, Sidney and Darlene, into participating.  We had a BLAST!  Here are the results! (I purposely made it so you can not enlarge the photos.)

Project 1: Scribbles

My Scribble Page
Sidney's Scribble Pagr
This is what our projects looked like when we were finished!  And I must say..this is probably our best looking project.  Most likely because it was designed for children... heh.  This project was the most fun out of the three we did.  We had to scribble inside the box using as many colors as possible.  Every adults dream - to act like a little kid! :)

Project 2: Stress Relief

This (monstrosity) is what my final project looks like.  Sorry for the terrible photo quality! You get the idea...kinda.  I didn't really like this project very much.  It just...didn't look right.  Keeping in mind I had to improvise.. a lot.  I did this project three different times trying to make myself happy with it.  It's designed to get rid of stress, but in reality it made me stress... (sigh). BUT that's because I didn't have the right materials

Project 3: Stenciling/Layering (for kids)

My Stenciling Page
This project was designed to show the different layers that can be achieved with color and stencils.  We didn't have that many stencils, so we used paper cutouts and swirly shaped paper-clips.  We didn't have enough time to fill up the entire paper (like the instructions said to) BUT we did get enough layering done to get the point across.  This project was really fun to see how all the colors could work together and how you can change the way an object looks by using it as a stencil.

Sidney's Stenciling Page

I'm giving this workbook 3.5 stars because: a) the projects required a lot more knowledge of crafts than a beginner might have b) if you use the exact materials in the book, it's more than the average items found around the house and c) the projects are a TON of fun, but can be a little confusing so be sure to read through the entire project first.  I loved the projects we did.  We had a great time working on them and it really allowed the three of us to bond and work together on something un-work related.  Jeniifer also has workbooks similar to this that can be purchased on Amazon for only costs $.99.  For that price, it's such a bargain and you definitely get more than you pay for!


(Darlene didn't have as much time to doodle so her picture isn't as filled up with craziness, but it's still awesome).

Happy Review Day!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Authors Not-So-Anon. Wk #12 - Blog Tour!

Welcome everyone to the twelfth Authors Not-So-Anonymous weekly meeting AND the Priest and Peaches Blog Tour!!  This week, I would like to introduce Larry Peterson and his novel The Priest and the Peaches!

Larry Peterson is a YA and Children's book author who started writing as a child.  "As life pushed forward I never seemed to find the road that led to "writer" but I did always think about finding it.  I could go on and on about "stuff" but suffice it to say I finally found the road I was looking for about five years ago and I have been on it, bumps, pot-holes and detours included, ever since."  Larry also actively participates in his Catholic church, coaches little league for his grandchildren, and leads an active family life.  Larry battles MS all the while having a happy married life, three grown children, and six grandchildren.  His novel The Priest and the Peaches released in December, 2011 and has been doing well ever since.

The Priest and the Peaches Book Summary:
Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960s.


Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad's funeral.


They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of "grown-up world." A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. (end)

ANNNNDDDDDD..............
Here is a giveaway from Larry to you!!  To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway begins today and ends on 3/31 at midnight EST.  The prize? An ebook copy of The Priest and the Peaches in the winner's choice of format (Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony eReader, etc.).  So... what are you waiting for!? Go enter!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Larry's novels can be found at: Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Tribute Books, iBook for iPad, on PDF, and Larry's blog "The Priest and the Peaches".  Follow Larry and his novels on Facebook and Twitter.  Follow Tribute Books on Facebook and Twitter as well to stay up-to-date with other giveaways, blog tours, book releases and more.  Happy Blog Tour Day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quick Tip!

Today's quick tip is rating a book.  When you finish a book, rate it!  You don't have to review it, just go on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Goodreads, etc and rate the book.  Keep all your ratings on the site you use the most - Kindle? Amazon.  Nook? B&N.  Ratings will help the site 'recommend' books to you more easily.  They also help the author know, with the least effort from the reader, if you do or do not like their book.  Here is the average rating scale:

1 star = poor; hated it; would never ever read it again
2 stars = really didn't like it, but...there was still one or two things you liked about it.
3 stars = eh...neutral; I don't hate it or like it.
4 stars = like it; I'd recommend this book, but probably not read it again.
5 stars = loved it!; I'd recommend this book to all my friends and even pester them to buy it!

Most sites do not allow users to have 1/2 star ratings, so stick with full star ratings when possible.  1/2 star ratings means you're stuck between two different stars and can't really decide which it fits into best.  My rule of thumb: under 3 stars and given a 1/2 star (1-3), round down; over 3 stars and given a 1/2 star (3 1/2-5), round up.  Happy Quick Tip day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Carole Fowkes: Short Stories (Guest Post)

Carole Fowkes is a freelance journalist, as well as a food and restaurant reviewer.  Her articles and short stories have appeared in Dallas Morning News, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Cup of Comfort, and several other short story and news publications.  She has six books published with Ink Lion Books.  Carole’s writing has a quirky twist Joe R. Landsdale fans will enjoy.  I met Carole through Writers-Unite, and we quickly set up a guest post.  Keep reading to rediscover the magical world of short stories!

Many children grow up reading short stories, perhaps about fuzzy bears or cute puppies.  As they get older, some switch to novels and never look back.  What a shame, since those readers are missing out on a wonderfully compact delight.
That’s right, the short story.

Most people will agree a short story can conveniently be read in one sitting.  But that isn’t the only thing that makes this type of literature such a joy.  As a published writer and lover of short stories, I want to tell you what I believe makes them not just good, but compelling reads.  The very first thing is the story’s opening. 

Since it’s written to be read in one sitting, the short story’s beginning must catch the reader’s attention not just in the first paragraph, but in the first line.  Since, by definition, a short story has fewer words than a novel, each word must count for something, and this is no truer than in the opening.  The first line also sets the story’s tone. For example, in Carol Ann, my story of a sin-eater, I hope to do both by beginning with, “Nick first spotted her in late October as she worked the street with the other hustlers.”  

As for the body of these story types, if a sentence or even a word doesn’t move the plot along, it should be eliminated.  This goes for extraneous characters as well.  Whenever I write dialogue or introduce a new character, I have to ask myself, for what purpose?  I’m the first to admit I have a hard time eliminating something in my story I consider witty.  But when it’s critiqued by other writers, if it isn’t needed, it goes.

Along with keeping the characters and what they say on target, the same is true with the central theme or idea.  If more than one theme presents itself, the writer may be creating a novel because a short story only allows the full development of one central idea.  With more, the author risks the reader getting to the end and wondering where the rest of the story went.  Or worse, the original idea is watered down in an effort to keep the word count low and the reader loses interest.

So much for the beginning and middle of a short story, but what about the end?  Even if the short story is horror or fantasy such as what I write, the story should come to a logical conclusion.  For example, unless it’s set up in the plot, a demon bent on destruction will not, at the very end save the village.   
And now, the logical end of this all is to encourage those of you who haven’t read a short story in a while to pick one up.  You never know what thrills await you in those compact, written pages.

To learn more about Carole and her books, visit www.carolefowkes.com or www.Inklionbooks.com. 

Here are two of Carole's books.  Purchase Thirsthere and Little Cookbook of Horrors vol.2 here in ebook format only.

Now...how badly do you want to pick up a short story?  Thank you so much Carole for writing this amazing post for us!  Happy Short Story Day!

Soooo pretty!

Welcome to the all new design for Novel d'Tales!  Thank you SO much to Steph from Writers-Unite who helped me make the header, button and decide on backgrounds!

The biggest changes are the obvious ones - colors, background, and layout.  There are a few other changes that are noteworthy though.
  • The pages/tabs above have shorter titles and have been rearranged BUT have the same content.
  • My favorite sites/blogs list has been moved to the very bottom of the site.  Just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling... (singing like Dory)
  • Buttons for events such as the TBR challenge and 10K giveaway are also at the bottom of the site.  (continues to sing..like Dory..kind of) just keep scrolling..
  • I have a NEW button! AND it's amazing!  Grab the new button, because the old ones no longer exist/work.
  •  You can now follow using Networked Blogs.  This allows to you follow all your favorite blogs using Facebook.
  • AND for those people who like to read Novel d'Tales on their phones... I have enabled the mobile viewing so it will now allow you to easily see the page!  It does look different, and not all the features are available, but you can read the posts and comment!
 SO now that the new and improved layout is finished and up...what do ya think!?  Hate it?  Love it?  Miss the old one?  Neutral? Telll mmeee! Pretty please. *doe eyes*

Also, if something isn't working, or it's too hard to use, or somethings just...bad...tell me so I can fix it!  Happy 8new* Novel d'Tales day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Live Chat Wrap Up!

Here is the highlights from last week's live chat.  The topic was: How to get a 5 star review/What it takes to get a 5 star review.  I was the "host" for last week, and will be hosting it again this week.  It's quite long, so feel free to skip through.  I tried to shorten it where I could.  Let me know if you want to see this kind of thing for every live chat.

Jason: so Hilary ... 5 star reviews... (segway.. lead in... whatever works...) tell us all about it !!! GO

Hilary: It's actually a lot easier than most authors think.

Hilary: When I'm reading a book, I want to be part of it. I want to be taken to another world, place, etc.

Hilary: Adjectives are an authors best friend. :)

Jason: swept away...

Hilary: pretty much

Writers Unite: What puts you off a story?

Hilary: There's a couple things.

Jason: *and then they woke up - it was all a dream*... the end...

Writers Unite: That goes without saying!

Hilary: 1. Bad character development - I don't want to fall in love with a character and never learn more about them. Have them fall off the face of the earth within two lines. If your book is designed to kill off people, cool but...give me something to go off of

Hilary: haha Jason - that's definitely one of them.

Hilary: Like Jason just said, a book that ends too soon.

Hilary: That's one of my pet peeves.

Jason: I struggle with the concept the first chapter and first paragraph is supposed to engage the reader and yet the reader doesn't know the characters or the situation. How can you engage if there is no immediate context.

Hilary: That's such an old concept.

Hilary: I don't judge a book by the first paragraph or the first chapter.

Jason: my first chapters are always slow, leading up to something big because if the big thing happens too early the reader has no empathy for the characters yet or even an understanding of what it means etc...

Hilary: Yes and no.

Hilary: It depends on the book.

Hilary: For example, The Angel Chronicles by Amy Lignor - starts out with a very very dramatic opening.  Catches you from the very first sentences and never lets you go. BUT it works for that book because of the action, fantasy, thriller, theme.

Jason: Over the water here where the Kangaroo's roam free we have two largish publishers (Pan Millan and Allen and Unwin) who both do submission days and promise an editor with read our drivel. - My point is both ask for first chapter only.. ggrrr.... not a true reflection of the depth of a book IMHO.. and I am off topic so going to go hide now.. rant over... *sigh*...

Hilary: I don't know your books well Jason, sorry, but many books that start out slow like that tend to be my favorites. :)

Stephanie: My first novel started with a car crash, and my second has more of a long monologue - but everyone has said the monologue is much more tense

Hilary: I like to get to know the characters first, build up the story and background a little bit more.

Hilary: IMO it depends on how you write it.

Hilary: Sometimes overly dramatic scenes are expected.  Whereas the monologue opening isn't, but it's filled with raw emotions.

Stephanie: :) Anything else you base your preferences on? i.e. book cover, blurb, author?

Hilary: book cover sometimes, blurb for sure! author...eh, not so much ( no offense! )  I give all authors a fair and equal chance.

Stephanie: That's really great.

Hilary: I love cover art, and authors spend SO much time working on it..why not admire it and "judge a book by it's cover"?  If the cover art has nothing to do with the book, I'm a little put-off by the choice the author made.  It makes me think the choice was rushed or forced.

Hilary: With the little blurbs, I love them. The author has 200-300 (if that) words to tell you exactly what the novel is about.  Not only is it a challenge for the author to get it right, but it will tell you exactly what to expect about their writing style.  Long, wordy blurb = more depth and development

Jason: So if the author's a really cute guy does that help? (joke)... I just realised I'm the only guy here.. lol.. I should really be more serious...

Hilary: LOL nah

Hilary: Half the time I don't even remember the authors name while I'm reading a book. I'll have to look at the cover or menu to remember. lol Sad, I know, but I read so many and I try really hard to keep the person separate from their material - just to give an honest review.

Stephanie: lol

Jason: so who writers better men or women?

Hilary: Depends on the genre.

Hilary: women write better sci-fi; men write better thrillers

Jason: Romance - women? *insert genre here* - Men - maybe action thriller stuff?

Stephanie: women write better sci fi??

Hilary: I tend to favor male writers with romance/chic-lit, but there are some extremely talented female romance authors

Hilary: Yes Steph. :)  Women don't try to compare it to Star Wars, Star Trek, (or their favorite sci-fi shows) etc. as much

Jason: really better sci-fi? I didn't know that - I always think of the amous men of sci-fi Clarke, Wells, Verne etc... etc..

Hilary: Women sci-fi authors have a more unique take on it then men do.  Think outside the "top 10" sci-fi authors.

Jason: I guess my limited general knowledge is well, limited...

Hilary: heh. I've read WAY too many books... lol

Hilary: When it comes to fantasy and paranormal, both men and women are pretty equal I've found.

Jason: so can you read a book and get a sense of where the author has gone wrong? an appraisal? do you do that sort of thing?

Hilary: Yes

Hilary: That's pretty much what my reviews are. I try to point out the good parts of the novel for the reader, but also talk about the logistics side - plot, character development, word use, etc.  When you read all the time, you catch the mistakes.

Jason: I'll stick mostly to urban fantasy and action thrillers... I think to write really good sci fi you need to be science and maths smart to get it right... not for me!

Hilary: Lets see...other things I look for?

Hilary: Characters that are real.

Hilary: I want characters that I can believe are actually possible.

Stephanie: any further elaboration on that? :)

Hilary: When I read, I literally "create" the entire story in my mind. I want to be able to see what the author saw when they created the characters.

Hilary: The more believable the characters are, the more I like them. I want to feel like I could travel to wherever they live and meet them....even if I can only do that in my dream world. :P

Stephanie: that's cool :D

Hilary: The more detail I can pull out of a story, without it being too much, the better.

Hilary: Thanks! :)

Hilary: You want readers to be able to feel the way you do about your novel.

Hilary: If you write a novel, and don't really feel confident about it. I'll know.

Stephanie: So what do you feel is most important? Character, plot, setting...?

Hilary: Characters by far for me. :)

Hilary: And plot twists

Hilary: I am a HUGE sucker for good plot twists.

Hilary: I love it when authors make me think the story is going to go one direction, and I think I have it figured out... then WHAM! something changes.  It always gets my adrenaline going and makes me so excited.

Stephanie: awesome :) any recent books that have made you feel that way?

Hilary: oh yes.  The Angel Chronicles by Amy Lignor; The Circle by RG Lawrence; a couple chick-lit short stories...Its very exciting when one tiny thing in a novel changes the entire plot.

Hilary: Another way to hook readers is know exactly who you are trying to write for.

Stephanie: I'm selfish...I write for myself haha

Hilary: Envision the type of person you want reading your novel - be it a 13 yr old punk rock girl who's always getting in trouble or yourself.

Hilary: That's a great way to write too though Steph. :) At least you know exactly who you are writing it for.  If you're writing just to please the world, you'll get no where.

Jason: part of the problem of real characters is often they are a bit too normal which can come across a bit dull sometimes.

Hilary: Very true Jason :)

Stephanie: I think you can have "normal" characters, but just put them in extraordinary situations.

Stephanie: No one is "normal" anyway, hence my quotations. haha

Hilary: Agreed Steph

Hilary: I don't really like the word "normal" for people.  lol It has too many negative thoughts associated with it.

Jason: regular people you can still put them through hell...

Hilary: exactly.

Hilary: It's up to the author to decide if the characters or plot should be the most "exciting"

Hilary: I've read books with both, and a little in between. But only the authors who stick with their idea are successful.

Jason: So what makes a book 5 star - is it that perfect balance of characters to plot with pacing that holds your interest? like a cake cooked to perfection...?

Hilary: Yes. It's a delicate balance of all the elements in a book.

Jason: What do you think of the million word theory / myth?

(I am a newbie still to the writing world...keep that in mind!)

Hilary: I read a book, it was the authors very first book and it was written in less than 3 months.  Phenonmenal.  It was one of the best books I've ever read. Writing will improve with practice, yes, but I don't think an author will change that drastically.

Jason: I"m on my 5th book and I know my writing is improving in some areas however others I think I have made no progress at all..

Jason: 3 months - entire book - what length?

Jason: first book... *insert green eyes*....

Jason: my first book was 150,000 words and took 10 months and it is dreadful.. good story, awful writing... I love it.. lol

Hilary: It was about 450ish pages. It's been years since I've read it.

Jason: 450 pages.. oh so a Novella (joke)...

Stephanie: A guy wrote 50,000 words in one day here if you're interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pqwRwLG7J8

Hilary: 50,000 in one day! O.o my hands would fall off! Talk about carpel tunnel!

Jason: I agree... OUCH !

Jason: I did 3,000 last week night and my arms were sore the next morning (wrists ache)...

Jason: I know some authors do 10 hours a day...

Hilary: I can read for about 8hrs straight but I could never ever type for that long!

Jason: I write short stories when I am between books.

Hilary: I hope this helped a little...

Stephanie: of course it did! Thanks for coming Jason, hopefully next week it'll be a better turn out - I'll be promoting like crazy! :)

Hilary: Good! :) Thanks Jason and Steph!

(goodbyes were said...)  Join this week's live chat here.  I'll be talking about how to find your next favorite book.  Have a question about the chat?  Just ask!  There are also two other chats scheduled.  See a full list here.  The other two chats are much more exciting than mine.  Happy Highlights Day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Authors Not-So-Anonymous Week #11

Welcome everyone to the tenth Authors Not-So-Anonymous weekly meeting!! This weekly series is about authors from Twitter and Facebook!  This week, I would like to introduce Jesse VanDeWalker into Authors Not-So-Anonymous!


Jesse VanDeWalker is an Indie author who writes in multiple genres, attends business school three nights a week and works a retail job as the store manager.  " I feel most comfortable writing fiction for adults, be it crime, western, science fiction, horror or what have you."


He started writing in high school, when he couldn't find books that fit his reading preferences.  "Let me tell you, I wasn't very good at it.  I had passion though, and there were stories I wanted to read that no one had written.  There wasn't anything for it but to write those stories myself.  In the summer of 2011, I won an award for a short story titled Drywaller. Holding that $30 worth of validation in my hands I thought: What's stopping you? I had a sheaf of rejection letters that basically all came down to this-We receive too many unsolicited manuscripts and can't give yours the time of day. It became clear that unless I had some sort of connect or relationship with someone already on the inside of the industry, I wasn't going to make any headway. In the spirit of this great country we live in I decided to do it myself, and damn the torpedoes."


Jesse gets most of his writing inspiration from other authors - Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Clark Ashton Smith.  "What they did have was a story to tell and by God, they told it. That's the meat of the matter, telling stories. That's what I wanted to do."


Here is a short list of some of Jesse's favorite authors and titles:
Richard Stark – The Hunter, The Man with the Getaway Face, The Outfit, Comeback, Backflash
George RR Martin – A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords
Hayao Miyazaki - NausicaƤ of the Valley of Wind
David Weber – On Basilisk Station, The Short Victorious War
Bernard Cornwell – The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North
C.S. Forester – Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Beat to Quarters
Kazuo Koike - Lone Wolf & Cub
Joe Abercrombie – The Blade Itself, Best Served Cold
Steven Pressfield – The Afghan Campaign, Killing Rommel, The Gates of Fire, Legend of Bagger Vance
Joe Hill – Horns, Locke & Key, 20th Century Ghosts
Ted Chiang – Stories of Your Life and Others
John Steinbeck - Cannery Row, The Winter of Our Discontent
Joe R. Lansdale – Dead in the West, The Big Blow
Max Brooks – The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z
Stephen King – Skeleton Crew, Everything’s Eventual, Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Art Spiegelman – Maus
Robert E. Howard – The Phoenix on the Sword, The Frost-Giant’s Daughter, Rogues in the House
Brian K Vaughn – Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina
Brian Azzarello: 100 Bullets
Garth Ennis - Preacher, The Boys
Steven Brust – Agyar, Jhereg, Dzur, Issola


With the recent release of Crow Wing, Jesse has been working on the sequeal Saint Lucy, that is due out in 2012. 

Click here to read my full review of Crow Wing.

Excerpt from Crow Wing:
The hardest thing about your part, Dan, will be staying away from women and booze.” Corsey had told him after the other three men had bedded down for the night. Daniel had rocked on his heels thinking that what big bad John-High-and-Mighty-Corsey didn’t know couldn’t very well hurt one Daniel Washburn, and nodded to show he understood. Corsey flicked away the bit of dried straw he had been chewing and spoke further,
“You’ll think ‘What could a drink and a woman hurt? I deserve at least that much for sticking my neck out on this!’ I’ll tell you right now those are the most dangerous thoughts you’ll ever have. I ain’t threatening you here kid, I’m saying the way we’ll know you didn’t listen to me on this is you won’t be in that stagecoach to hold up your end on the heist. Liquor will start you talking or fighting and pussy’ll finish your talking, or the Sheriff’ll finish your fighting and then where’ll that leave us?” Daniel had opened his mouth to frame a hot retort and then closed it when Corsey kept on making sense. He nodded again, this time meaning it.
“I understand Mr. Corsey.”
“Good. Now get on to your bedroll.”
 He had gone, a bit flushed and embarrassed that Corsey had read him so easily, even in the dark.(end)


Jesse VanDeWalker can be found on Amazon, Facebook and LuLuHave an author to nominate?  Send me a message via Twitter or leave a comment with the author(s) name and Twitter name.  I'd love to add new members!  Happy Reading

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review Day: Crow Wing

It's Review Day!!!!!!

Title: Crow Wing
Author: Jesse VanDeWalker
Rating: 4 stars

Photo from Amazon
(description from Amazon)
In this gritty, hard-bitten look at the American West a gang of robbers calls in a professional to help them rob a stagecoach. There are more players in the game than anyone realizes as the coach and the gold it carries prepare to leave Crow Wing, California.
(end)

Author Jesse VanDeWalker did a great job of bringing the American West to life with this book filled with characters that are true to the old-west style.  The story feels like it has been passed down from generation to generation. Full of wild adventures and true old-Western character - the reader feels like they are sitting around a campfire being told a story.  I sat near my screen with big doe eyes trying to guess what was going to happen.

I'm giving this book 4 stars because even though it was an well written book, I found it a little flat at times.  I wanted to know a little bit more about each character, wanted a little bit more from the story. However, this is exactly how a true American Western book should be written.  Jesse did a remarkable job at making the reader feel like they were part of the story and I could picture each scene.  I laughed out loud more than once and I felt nervous for the characters during sticky situations.  Overall, a great read.  Perfect for ages 14+ (some sexual tension and activity in a whorehouse).

Purchase Crow Wing in paperback here and ebook here. Happy Review Day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The season of change!

If you haven't noticed... there have been a few changes.  Before you get too scared, everything will be okay! The changes will be helpful!

Here's what changed:

1.  You can now follow Novel d'Tales using Networked Blogs.  Networked Blogs allows you to follow all your favorite blogs without creating another log-in.  You access it with your existing log-ins! Most commonly it will ask you to log-in using Facebook.
2.  Buttons have been added and taken away.  I added two buttons to the top of the side bar..go ahead and click them if you are interested in learning more about those topics.  I took away the buttons for Novel d'Tales.  If you wish to get a button for my blog, please contact me and I will send you one.
3.  I've added a list of my "favorite" blogs and sites that I follow.  These sites and blogs are amazing! Go check them out!  The list is towards the middle of the side bar.

PLEASE let me know if anything on the site is not working properly so I can fix it quickly.  Happy Changes Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

eBook Site How To: Smashwords Part 2

Photo from Smashwords.com
Part 1 will explain how to download the ebook onto your eReader (using Kindle as an example) and how to know which format to choose.  Part 2 will walk you through all of the features Smashwords offers such as gifting and viewing a sample.

Click here to go to Part 1 - Dowloading an eBook onto your eReader

Smashwords offers similar features to Amazon.  You can send ebook gifts, preview chapters, search for novels based on length/content and price.  Makes searching faster and easier.

Gifting an ebook 
1. Log in to Smashwords
2. Search for the book you wish to give as a gift.
3. Click the "Give as a Gift" on the right hand side under "Add to Cart"
4. Fill in the recipients email address and their name.
5. Purchase the ebook like you normally would.
6. The ebook will now be sent to the recipient's email address. They can easily redeem it by clicking on the link provided and logging in. Super simple and quick.

Preview an ebook
1. Log in to Smashwords
2. Once you find a book you are interested in, scroll down to the download list.
3. Click on "view sample".
4. The sample will be shown on your screen.

Searches are pretty simple too. Use the buttons on the home screen to do a more specific search.  Go here for Smashwords FAQs.  Visit the right hand side of my blog to find more eBook Sites and a quick link to Smashwords! Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Authors Not-So-Anonymous Week #10

Welcome everyone to the tenth Authors Not-So-Anonymous weekly meeting!! This weekly series is about authors from Twitter and Facebook!  This week, I would like to introduce John Lawson into Authors Not-So-Anonymous!

John Lawson isn't a "traditional" author.  He is both self-published and published by his publishing company.  He hasn't picked just one genre to write in, but writes in them all.  "I guess I just consider my self a storyteller, or better yet a translator for the characters who deny me rest until I've committed them to paper."  John is most widely known for his poetry and "bizarro" writing.  "Bizarro is a new literary movement that got its name form a massive discussion on my blog back in, what, 2005 I suppose.   I'm not the "creator" of bizarro, just one of a handful who influenced its development way back in the beginning."


Despite battling learning disabilities when he was young, John has been writing since he learned how.  During school he was in the media/communication arts magnet program, causing him to spend years with an increased level of reading and writing.  During his twenties, John was an audio engineer who ran a small recording studio and wrote screenplays in-between secessions.  "My first short story took second place in the Fiction International Emerging Writers competition, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, got published in a prestigious literary journal, and earned me a huge chunk of money.  It was just like, 'Wow! Being an author is easy!' Afterwards I spent years struggling to be published... I cannot stop the composition occurring within my skull.  I can only do my best to stay out of its way."

John's biggest writing influences have come from his fellow Authors at Raw Dog Screaming Press.  "I'm a very, very lucky person to not only do the things I love on a regular basis, but also work with the people I admire in my industry."  His favorite authors are Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, and Sylvia Plath.

John's books can be found on his site here.  He has two books coming out within the next few months - a novella and a collection of poetry (SuiPsalms) - and several more books due out within the next year.  John can be found on Twitter (@bizarroguy) and his website here.


Have an author to nominate?  Send me a message via Twitter or leave a comment with the author(s) name and Twitter name.  I'd love to add new members!  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Something Odd is about to happen.

Thank you LoLo for pointing this out to me!  You're the best boss and friend I could ever ask for!

Guess what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Library Journal and Dean Koontz press team recently released information about the newest installments in the Odd Thomas series! FINALLY! *happy dance*

Preorder here - Odd Apocalypse: An Odd Thomas Novel Book 5

Photo from Amazon

Due out on July 31, 2012 - but may be released early in June.

(Description from Amazon)
Odd finds refuge at a rundown mansion, but soon discovers a frightening presence.Odd Thomas has seen danger and he has seen death. He lives between two worlds, communicating with the lingering dead.He stands between us and our darkest fears, never failing the tests that confront him, whatever the cost.Now he has found refuge in a crumbling mansion in Santa Barbara, along with his closest friends both living and dead. But the house is a place of terrible secrets, haunted by lingering spirits. And there is a stranger, more frightening presence still… (end)

Deeply Odd - Book 6 due out in fall of 2013. No full descriptions have been leaked.  If you find one, let me know!  The brief description currently available - Odd returns to Pico Mundo and face his ultimate fate.

Odd Interlude - an eNovella that will be a weekly sneak peak of what is to come in books 5 and 6.  From the information I can find (correct me if I'm wrong) the eNovella will start coming out on June 4, 2012 and have at least four parts.  If you are fortunate enough to live in the UK, or normally purchase your ebooks through the Amazon.co.uk website, you are able to preorder Odd Interlude.  HOWEVER, the rest of us have to wait.  *sigh* I am not patient!

Now, before those of you who don't have an eReader freak out, don't forget you can buy and use ebooks without having an eReader!  You can get the Kindle App for FREE - thus allowing you to be able to use the ebooks without purchasing an eReader! See! Loop hole! And it didn't even cost you extra!

(Description from Amazon)
The first part of an exclusive e-only novella. Small-town guy meets big-time evil…
Odd Thomas, the fry-cook who can communicate with the dead, finds himself drawn to Harmony Corner, a very small town on a lonely stretch of the coast that boasts a roadside diner, a ten-cottage motor court straight out of the 1920s, and a small, quaint garage. Behind all that is the house in which the Harmony family lives – the owners of the enterprise. Odd soon finds out that Harmony Corner is an exceedingly strange place, that the Harmony family doesn’t live up to its name, and that between life and death there is something more frightening than either. (end)

Book 7 - the final book in the Odd Thomas series, has been promised by DK but a title and date of publication have not been released to the press as of yet.

So my friends - any other Oddie fans excited!? I'm ecstatic!!  If you haven't read all of the first four books, don't worry.  It's not 100% necessary to. The best part about this series is that each book works perfect independently, but together they create the most outstanding series known to paranormal fiction.  Click here for my full review off books 1-4.  Happy Announcement Day!

10,000 Book Goal!

I have some VERY exciting news for you!

If you haven't already noticed, I added a nice little button to the side bar (look to the right).  This magical little button will take you to a giveaway.  But not just any giveaway... The most awesome giveaway EVER.

Author S.M. Boyce is trying to reach a goal of 10,000 copies of Litchgates sold.  And when that happens a giveaway winner will be announced!  Now, this giveaway will continue until she reaches the 10,000 mark.

What are the giveaway prizes you ask?  Only the most generous prizes I've ever seen on a blog!  ONE winner will get a choice between a Kindle Fire or a Nook Color!  How amazing is that!?

In order for you to participate in said giveaway....
  1. You have to purchase a copy of Litchgates by S.M. Boyce (see below for places to purchase) - the best part about it?  The ebook is currently on sale for only $.99!!
  2. Click on either the button or right here to go to the giveaway
  3. Enter the giveaway using the form on her site - super simple!
  4. Spread the word about the giveaway to your friends, family, etc.
  5. Check back every week to see if the winner has been announced.  I will let everyone know when the winner has been chosen as well.
S.M. Boyce is an incredible author who really works hard to make her readers happy.  Here is a little info about Litchgates:

(Description from Amazon)
The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it, and Kara Magari is its next target.

Kara has no idea what she's getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she's thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying things that want the Grimoire's secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, and most want to control the new-found power the book bestows upon her. Even if Kara does escape, Ourea will only drag her back.

Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known of life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book—one question that can fix everything in his broken world—and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.

There’s no going back now. (end)

Litchgates can be purchased at:
If you won a copy of the book during the blog tour or have already purchased a copy of the book, you can still enter the giveaway!  Thank you everyone for helping her reach this goal!  Happy Giveaway Day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Live Chat on Writers Unite!!

Photo from Writers Unite
Ever wanted to just... I don't know... talk to me?  Ask me questions, for help, or just in general pick through my brain (since it's packed full of crap)?  Well... It's your lucky week!!  I will be the hosting this weeks "Live Chat" on Writers Unite!

When: Sunday, March 18 and Sunday, March 25
Time: 6-7pm US EST
Where: Writers Unite (click here!)

How to participate - log in to the chat with either Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo or MySpace.  The chat bar is located on the WU home page, at the bottom of the page.  No need to scroll down, just LOOK down (see the picture below?  That's what you're looking for)  If the bar is "hidden" there will be an arrow button on the far right side of the bottom of your screen.  Click the button and the chat bar will appear.  Then you just log-in and voila! You're in!

This is what the chat bar looks like.

This is what the hidden chat bar looks like.
What's a live chat?  Basically all you have to do is stop by Writer's Unite and chat with me and the other participants.  It's actually really fun.  Kinda like the old school chat rooms, but much much better... AND talking about the same thing.  It's all message based, so no need for cameras or anything special.

What's the topic you ask?  Read everything about this event by clicking here. Click! Click! You can learn a little about me even.  I'll be chatting about "what reviewers want from your novel."  Writers and authors, this is especially for you! See what I am looking for in a novel, short story, blog, etc. when I am reading and reviewing it, as well as my tips for getting more reviewers!

Can't make it on Sunday at 6 pm?  Not a problem!  leave a question, comment, or just a "Hello!" on THIS blog post!  I will answer all questions as soon as I can. :)

As Jenn explains here, we don't have a way to show you the chat log yet.  So if you can't make it or plan to come and miss it, we are going to try to do an 'unofficial' chat log from now on.

Please keep it friendly and PG - no spammers or trolling allowed. We'll be watching!
 (note serious face)
(heh. I've always wanted to use that picture!!)
Come join us!  I'll try to keep it fun and interesting.  You don't have to stick around for the full hour. *sniff* I know you still like me... Can't wait to see you there!!  Happy Don't Have Nightmares about a Creepy but Awesome Picture Day!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

eBook Site How To: Smashwords Part 1

Photo from Smashwords.com
Smashwords is a great site to find more ebooks from.  They sell ebooks for any eReader.  It's simple to use AND cheap!  Many eReader users are a little timid when using other sites (I know I was) - you don't want to mess up and ruin something right!?  Smashwords is safe, reliable and eReader friendly - no worries!

Here are a few helpful tips and instructions when using Smashwords.  This will be a two part "How To."  Part 1 of 2 will explain how to download the ebook onto your eReader (using Kindle as an example) and how to know which format to choose.  Part 2 will walk you through all of the features Smashwords offers such as gifting and viewing a sample.

For this demo, I will be using Ginnie Dare: Crimson Sands by Scott Roche.  Here is a code YB49F to get his ebook for $.99!

Purchasing an ebook using a coupon code
  1. If you don't have one already, create a log-in for Smashwords.  Click here to be taken directly to the site's home page.  Smashwords is free to use and will not spam your email.
  2. Search for your desired ebook.  For this demo... please search for Ginnie Dare: Crimson Sands - simply type in the title and click "search."
  3. Click on the title with Scott Roche as the author.
  4. Once the page loads, click "Add to cart." You will be taken to the check-out page, you can either continue shopping or check-out.
  5. BEFORE YOU CLICK CHECK OUT enter the coupon code YB49F in the "coupon code" box.
  6. Once you have added the code, click "update."  The price should now be $.99 U.S.
  7. Now click "check out"
  8. Voila! You have purchased the book!
Downloading an ebook from Smashwords 
(Do not use a public computer to download ebooks from Smashwords.  You won't be able to follow these steps unless you have access to all of the files.)
  1. After you purchase an ebook, click on the title of the ebook to be taken back it's page.
  2. Scroll down to see a list of downloads. Select the version that best suits your eReader - the description will tell you which is best. Kindle = .mobi  Nook, iPad, Sony eReader = ePub
  3. All the download to finish.
  4. Save the file on your computer - somewhere you can easily find it.
  5. Plug your eReader into your computer using the USB cord that came with your eReader. This is where things can get a little tricky.  If you are not familiar with the files on your computer, please ask for help.  If you share a computer with your family, ask parental permission first.
  6. Click on the start, menu or windows button located in the lower left hand corner of your screen.
  7. Go to "My Computer" and double click to open.
  8. Go to the file you save your ebook on.  I save mine in a folder labeled "ebooks".
  9. Right click the ebook and click 'copy'.
  10. Next - locate your eReader's files.  My Kindle is called "My Kindle Content" or "My Kindle".
  11. Open the file.
  12. *skip this step if you see a list of all your ebooks* open your ebooks/content file.
  13. Do another right click inside the ebooks and click 'paste'.
  14. Voila! Your ebook is now on your Kindle!!
Now safely remove your Kindle from your computer and turn it on.  The ebook should appear on your Kindle.  If not, turn your Kindle completely off and turn it back on.  If you still don't see it, contact me and we can work through it.  Once you go through the process the first time, it is super easy every time after that.


Go here for Smashwords FAQs.  Visit the right hand side of my blog to find more eBook Sites and a quick link to Smashwords! Happy Downloading!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hidden World Blog Tour!!


Welcome to the Lichgates Hidden World Blog Tour!!!!! Click here to read more about the blog tour and the other stops it will take.

I'm thrilled to be part of this blog tour!  I had the pleasure of interviewing S.M. Boyce in January for Authors Not-So-Anonymous week 1.  NOW I've brought her back with another interview, a giveaway and some behind-the-keyboard information about her books.  Now.....on to the good stuff! 

During the tour, Litchgates the ebook has been reduced in price to only $.99 on Amazon and Smashwords! Click here to purchase from Amazon or here to purchase from Smashwords.

Oooooohh look! A video just for us! :D Watch it!

Click here to purchase!
S.M. to the readers: "There is nothing quite like writing or discovering new details about a character, but seeing people who enjoy the novel as much as I did is an amazing thing.  To be able to say that someone bought, read, and loved my book is surreal, beautiful, and amazing.  I cannot thank you all enough for being as awesome as you are." 

The trilogy originated from a lump of modeling clay and the vivid imagination of 16 year old S.M. Boyce.  "The first flicker of an idea for the Grimoire Trilogy actually came almost a decade ago, when I was creating spell casters out of modeling clay.  I was at my aunt’s house, and my brothers and I were just playing around. I created a series of spell casters, each of which could only be used by a certain type of magical being.  It was fun, and just play, but I started thinking about it more when I was 16.  What did those people look like? Were they nice?  Thus, the kingdoms of Yakona were born. Then, Ourea. Then, the Grimoire.  It was a snowball from there, and culminated in 7 years of thorough world building and character/plot development. "

Photo from Grimoire Encyclopedia
While writing the trilogy, Boyce has also been super busy writing short stories and an encyclopedia that enhance the novels even more.  "The encyclopedia is free online, of course, but I know print copies are just too cool not to have.  Once the series finishes, I will print the finalized encyclopedia of the world.  It will have color pictures of the characters, places, and creatures, previously unrevealed secrets, and there might even be a deleted chapter or two as a special thank you!"  Every Grimoire trilogy fan will want the encyclopedia just for the shear amazing fun of it!

To make it even better, S.M. plans to have releasing more for the fans in between the novel releases and after the trilogy is finished.  "On top of that, I’ll be releasing both a short stories collection and a series of novellas from several side characters’ perspectives so that you can get a different perspective of the story.  For those of you who have read Lichgates, or are about to, tell me what character you want to know more about!  I love connecting and hearing what you have to say."  Read that? Leave a comment with your favorite character!!

Book 2 Treason, is scheduled to come out in the Fall of 2012.  "I’m making some great progress on it and it might be ready as early as this summer."  To hear the latest news about her book releases and more, subscribe to the newsletter here (it's free!), follow S.M. on Networked Blogs, or on Linky.

Getting a piece of Litchgates is super easy.  You can play Twitter Hangman to win some book swag, enter several giveaways being held during the tour, or head over to Boyce's website and simply pick up a couple.

Click here to be taken to her website store.  Litchgates can be found on Amazon , AmazonUK, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, Createspace, and on S.M. Boyce's website.

 Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!
Giveaway has ended!