A new release for Alicia Joseph

 

Another bound-to-be best seller for Alicia Joseph has just hit the stands in e-book and print. This young author’s style and voice tear at your soul. Joseph delivers more than a pretty tale. Her words create a web that wraps around the reader and draws them into a compelling story.


“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

Prologue
1993

I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Kindle Worlds ~ a primer

terri and me

L to R: Chris Cacciatore & Terri Reid

This post was originally published in May of 2017 on another blog, the Life and Times of Poopwa Foley in response to questions from the public about Kindle Worlds. Not too many people are familiar with Kindle Worlds and it was my important civic duty to educate them. 🙂

 

My writing group, the In Print Professional Writer’s Group, had a guest speaker named Terri Reid in the Spring of 2011.

She spoke to our group about her foray into self-publishing with the release of her first e-book, Loose Ends, a Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery. When we had secured her as a guest speaker, her book had been downloaded over 40,000 times. By the time she came to speak to our group, only a few months later, it had been downloaded 80,000 times.

Six years later, Terri is a best-selling author and not only has finished Book 19 of that series; she’s also written several other series and has fans around the world.

Because her books were selling so well, Amazon approached Terri with the idea to create a Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery World. She needed to assemble several authors for her end of June 2016 launch.

Here’s her email to me, in part: “I’ve been approached by Amazon to create a Mary O’Reilly Kindle Worlds – it’s like an Amazon fanfiction arena, but writers actually get paid for what they write. You write a story within the Mary O’Reilly World using the Mary characters and any other characters you want to create. You can write in any genre you want – as long as you use the main idea of the Mary O’Reilly World. 

“The other cool thing about this is that if an author has an established character in their own series – they can “visit” the Mary O’Reilly World and interact with Mary – but get publicity for their own character and book.”

To be honest with you, I could not say yes FAST ENOUGH.

WHAT IS KINDLE WORLDS?

Kindle Worlds is Amazon’s answer to fan fiction. Directly from their website:

“Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties.”

Before we started on our books, Terri sent us a character bible, describing the characters in her books that we could use. We were also told that if we wanted to, we could bring a character or two from one of our own books into the Mary O’Reilly Kindle World book that we were writing.

The nuts and bolts of it? Write a book over 10,000 words set in the Mary O’Reilly world. Add much or as little of Terri’s character (s) as you wish. Your book should be properly edited, proofread, and formatted. You will also need a cover for your book using the Kindle Worlds template found on their website. Kindle Worlds also puts a copyright page in for you, and prices your book, generally $1.99. Then writers use the self-publishing tool on Kindle World’s website and upload it. It’s extremely user friendly.

For the launch of the Mary O’Reilly Kindle Worlds, we all had to have our books ready and submitted to Kindle Worlds so they could go live on June 30 of 2016.

The day for the launch came. It was so thrilling. Six authors had brand new Mary O’Reilly World books to bring forth—a world where fans of the series were practically salivating to get their hands on books that featured her characters.

The following are links to the Mary O’Reilly Kindle Worlds books. Click on the name to be taken to their Amazon author page!

Chris Cacciatore wrote Trouble Lake in 2016 and Grave Injury in 2017. I believe that writing for the Mary O’Reilly Kindle World has been a boon for my writing career. For instance, in Trouble Lake I brought in two of my characters, Baylyn and Cat, from Baylyn, Bewitched. In Grave Injury, I wrote bought in a character from Knew You’d Come.

Vicky Holt wrote Safety Measures in 2016 and Missing Links in 2017, last month. Vicky says, “For the process of writing for it, that part is easy. Simple to upload and quick review process. It’s nice to see my work getting more exposure than it would, thanks to Terri’s awesome success. That’s probably the biggest perk.” Vicky also points out, “As far as I can tell, no extra marketing going on. I even find it difficult to find Kindle Worlds in a basic search.”

Jan Hinds wrote Widow Maker, (Otherwise Engaged Book 3) in 2016. Jan writes, “It was a wonderful experience and I took the opportunity to overlap some of my characters with Terri’s. I have gained several new readers in the process and am thrilled to meet all of you. Having been a fan of the Mary O’Reilly series I thoroughly enjoyed working with her characters. I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to Terri for enabling me to join this group and let my imagination mingle with Mary and her friends.”

Ophelia Julien wrote A Scattering of Bones in 2016. Ophelia writes, “Writing a story based on Terri’s characters and then having it go up for sale was an amazing experience. I loved being a part of it, and also meeting all of you in the process! I think there needs to be a lot of clarification on exactly what KW is. I have a review on mine that complains about me writing a story using someone else’s characters, and notes that if I have a story to tell, I should just write my own work and stop using someone else’s. Terri very nicely got on and addressed this, explaining in detail exactly what KW was and why all these people were suddenly writing Mary O’Reilly stories, and with her permission. But there are still folks who seem to have a problem with the concept and don’t quite seem to grasp the underlying intent of a KW story.”

Donnie Light wrote Tangled Trail in 2016 and True Song in December 2016. Donnie’s books are doing very well, and although I did reach out to him for a comment, I don’t think he’s on Facebook a great deal—probably busy writing!

Maureen Tan wrote Hair of the Dog in 2016. Maureen says, “I’d say my overall experience was good…fairly straightforward paperwork, publishing interface, and prompt payment of royalties. Oh, and I got to meet all of you, which was FABULOUS! Zero support, as far as I can tell, from Amazon on publicizing the books, so that was a little disappointing, mostly because it seemed like they were going to be more aggressive about it. I guess my biggest frustration with it was readers who didn’t understand the concept of Worlds–back to Amazon/Kindle Worlds maybe needing to do a better job promoting/explaining the concept.”

Mary Lamphere published Kinder Garden her first time out, and recently released Baker’s Dozen. She is one of the newer writers of Kindle Worlds. Mary says, “I find a lot of people I talk to want to dismiss it as “fanfic”. There’s a lot of terrific fan fiction out there, but the ONE people know is 50 Shades and that seems to be what they want to compare my work to. I figure those people will be disappointed either way, right?! My experience with KW has been fine. It’s still early for me, so not much to report. I definitely plan on writing more in the Kindle Worlds!”

So, what does a Kindle Worlds writer make as a result of writing a KW book? That $1.99 is divided into three parts—a third for the author, a third for Amazon, and a third for the owner of the World you’re writing in.

Terri’s fans are some of the most loyal in existence, and the sales for the first few months our books were out in KW were astounding. Fans of our own writing were buying our books, and fans of Terri Reid’s Mary O’Reilly series were thrilled to have books about her character to hold them over until Terri’s next book came out.

That’s the special thing about her fans—they are absolutely in love with Mary O’Reilly and her now husband, Bradley Alden. They can’t get enough of Mary’s close friends, Stanley and Rosie, and the ghost named Mike, who is their daughter Clarissa’s guardian angel. Her fans read them voraciously the day they are live on Amazon.

My advice to you if you’re a writer looking to gain readership? Go to Kindle Worlds, browse through all the worlds they have to offer, and pick one that interests you. Then get to writing! You have nothing to lose, and only readers to gain.

If you’re a reader? Click on this Kindle Worlds link and immerse yourselves in quality writing in worlds you love. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll meet some superb new authors!

From Zero to Fifty One in No Time Flat

I have noticed that there seems to be only three days in the week anymore. They are: Monday, Friday, and today. The weekends go far too fast. We shop for groceries on Friday night and one blink later, I’m packing lunches again on Monday. I refill our pill boxes, clean the bathroom, wash the floor one day and suddenly they already need to be done again because an entire week has passed. I have just gotten used to writing 2017 on our checks, for crying out loud.

Time is going way too fast and I don’t like it at all.

My father once told me that the years leading up to your 21st birthday go very, very slowly, but once you hit 21, your birthdays start coming in fives. He’s right. What he didn’t tell me was that after 30, they come in tens. 22366445_10154794883401603_6421149369811760401_n

I was joking with one of my kids that since I love Halloween so much, I should get the powers that be to rename October “Halloween.” It started me thinking, then, that the other months of the year could use a little tweaking too. I mean, since time is going by so quickly, might as well have some fun with it.

Therefore, I submit to you the new names of the months. For the Midwest, at least.

January shall now be known as Cold.

February should be known as Short and Cold.

March, I rename Icy. (or Cancun, for those lucky people who can escape the last little bit of winter by buying a plane ticket and flying to warmer climes.)

April shall be known as Slush.

May will be renamed Getting There.

June, I will call Pre-Summer.

July can stay July.

August shall be renamed Hot as Balls.

September is a three-way tie between School Begins, Parents Rejoice, and Those Fucking Yellowjackets.

October is, of course, Halloween.

It follows, then, that November shall be renamed Thanksgiving.

December can be called Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanza. For those who don’t celebrate any winter holiday, you may use Pre-Cold.

I will submit my suggestions and let you know what “they” say. If my suggestions are accepted, I’ll be sure to get some new calendars printed up.

They should be ready by August. I mean, Hot as Balls.

Happy Halloween – Here’s a Free Read!

Alls Fair_Love & Warlocks_Updated_Cover

“Why the hell am I here? Why me?”

“Talking to yourself, even for a witch, is generally thought to be a bad sign. Unless you’re casting a spell.”

Adanna jerked her hand away from the thick, wooden door handle and glanced over her shoulder at the person who was speaking. The curtain of her hair obscured her view somewhat, but she saw enough to know she did not recognize the handsome warlock with thick, dark hair and gray eyes. At least, she assumed he was a warlock. Most covens frowned upon making their otherworldly selves known to humans, even though they all lived in the same world.

“Not casting a spell. Do I know you?”

“Probably not.” He offered his hand. It was a human custom, but most were.

“Anton Burke. I’m from New England. Salem, to be exact. Weather’s certainly nicer here at this time of year.”

Salem. Humans, of course, were obsessed with the town, as so many (non) witches had been executed there, several centuries ago. It was a particularly troubling period in their history. And witches, despite their disdain for humans, were just as enthralled with the area.

“It’s pretty mild in Savannah, with the exception of July and August. Your coven is the one that’s taken over all of New England, isn’t it?”

Something akin to a grimace darkened his face but did not dim his handsome features. He had the kind of rugged good looks that screamed bad boy, the kind that caused red-blooded women to tumble into his bed and ask questions later. Her grandmother’s lessons to always read people before interacting echoed in her head. She pushed away the memories, the reminder of who she was, what she was.

“Yeah. It’s easier that way, I guess. So many small covens; it just wasn’t, you know…”

“Personal?”

He smirked. “Economical. Hard to support all those mini empires. Made more sense to create one mega-coven. More money, more control over issues and stuff.”

“I heard your coven now stretches all the way to South Carolina.”

“You sound suspicious.”

Adanna shrugged. “I’ve belonged to the Savannah Coven my whole life, and we’ve always been pretty small-town. Seems hard to believe all those covens were willing to be swallowed up by Big Brother, so to speak.”

“Times are changing. Most of the covens were run by older witches. They were tired, wanted to retire. And there aren’t enough marked Supremes to take their places. What else were they supposed to do?”

Adanna raked a hand through her long locks and focused on steadying her temper. Why it flared at the mention of the conglomerate of covens along the east coast, she had no idea. What did it matter to her if an abnormally larg group of witches and warlocks wanted to band together under one Supreme? Everybody knew witches needed someone to manage them, or at the very least, help when they ended up in hot water, which happened more frequently than it ought to.

***

Like it so far? Keep reading by downloading the rest from Amazon – FREE – only until Friday!

All’s Fair: Love & Warlocks

All's Fair_ Love & Warlocks

Happy reading & happy Halloween!

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund writes romance, drinks wine, and wins awards. If you want more, check out her website: http://tamilund.com

 

Do the weird thing. Life is fra-geel-ay.

IMG_20161114_112851311_HDRBecause I am a nerdy geek, I did a nerdy, geeky thing with my sister, Jenny. To begin celebrating the holiday season, we took a five hour car trip to Cleveland Ohio, where we went on a tour at the house where the holiday must-see movie A Christmas Story was filmed! We had no idea what to expect. Would it be cheesy? Embarrassing? Would there be only one person there besides us? As it turned out, it wasn’t cheesy or embarrassing at all but in fact far more nostalgic than we ever dreamed.IMG_20161114_112909033~2

IMG_20161114_111820315

They charge $11 per person for the tour, and in our group there were fifteen. The tour guide said that the closer it gets to Christmas, the lines and groups are incredible—approximately twenty to twenty five people per hour all day long, with lines around the block. The tour guide was knowledgeable and told us entertaining, behind the scenes information. For instance, the snow wasn’t real! Watching the movie now, would you have ever been able to tell? Also, Darrin McGavin, who played the furnace battling father, is the only one who got royalties from the movie!

We stood on the landing where Ralphie wears the horrifying pink bunny outfit. That was a dream come true. The tour took us upstairs, where we saw the phone Ralphie’s mom used when she made the phone call that got Flick in trouble. As a matter of fact, when you pick up the phone, you can hear a recording of the conversation. The bedroom Ralphie and Randy shared was open for viewing, as was the bathroom where Ralphie solves the “drink more Ovaltine” puzzle and where he is also punished by having to hold a bar of Lifebuoy soap in his mouth. IMG_20161114_113145721

We saw the kitchen where the Bumpus’ dogs demolish the turkey, where mother hasn’t eaten a hot meal in nine years, Randy eats like a little piggy, and where he later hides under the sink because he thinks Daddy’s going to IMG_20161114_113343260kill Ralphie. We also went outside into the back yard where Ralphie has his imaginary shootout with Bad Bart and breaks his glasses. Let’s not forget the most important thing of all…the crate containing THE leg lamp.

When the tour was over, we were allowed to enter the Christmas Story museum and see costumes and props from the movie. We found out there were six different Red Ryder BB guns used in the movie. There were lots of pictures of behind the scenes filming—fans of the movie would love it.IMG_20161114_115709099~2

We next went to the gift shop. My Discover card is still rather warm to the touch from our shopping. I mean, they had everything you could hope for in souvenirs. I bought a t-shirt, a leg lamp ornament, and horrid red Christmas sweatshirts that features the leg lamp on them and says “Fragile”, which I forced my long suffering husband to wear not only to Christmas with the family, but also to our corporate Christmas party. We needed to get our money’s worth out of them before they’re put away for the season.

The highlights of our trip were many. We talked about kids, writing and husbands. I was informed that I snore, but “very lightly.” I might have misheard because I was pretty high on painkillers from a dental procedure. And we were eating potato chips in the car when driving out to Cleveland; my sister misjudged how quickly a toll gate would come down. It turns out it comes down VERY quickly. It hit the top of her minivan and cracked off. We spit out chips and cough-laughed for almost an hour over that, calling ourselves Thelma & Louise (but in sensible shoes). We also had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which was awesome. I got a piece of Lemon Raspberry cheesecake and if that wasn’t a Christmas miracle, I don’t know what is.

All in all, this was one of those unusual trips that turned out to be so much more fun than we ever imagined, and we’re already planning our next nerdy geek adventure.

A day in the life

You may or may not know (or care) that I’ve spent the last two years self-publishing a series as Marci Boudreaux–my sweeter self. I chose to self-publish because in the span of just a few months, three–THREE–indie houses I was with closed and left me with rights to almost all my books.

I didn’t want to deal with that again, so I ventured into self-publishing. And I loved it, but it is a lot of work and there isn’t that feeling of acceptance that comes with having a publisher (even a small one) believe in your writing. Recently, I decided to try my hand at the submissions game again.

And I immediately remembered why I hate this effing game.

Rejection is the real name of this game. Constant, unwavering, soul-crushing rejection. If you are lucky, you get a kind word to go with the form letter…if you get a form letter at all. Many editors and agents just don’t respond if they aren’t interested, leaving you hanging on to a thread of hope that they just haven’t read your manuscript yet and will be reaching out at any moment to tell you that you are brilliant!

After a recent string of rejections from agents and publishers, I confided in a friend that I feel like maybe this isn’t “my path.” Like maybe, I’m not cut out for this after all. I have thick skin, I know rejection is the norm and acceptance is the high we authors are addicted to and always seeking. I know all this.

But I guess I’d forgotten out hard it is to hear “no” ten times in a row and keep believing in yourself.

That sounds pouty, doesn’t it? Maybe it is. Maybe I am pouting just a little (maybe even a lot), but bear with me. That’s also part of this process we authors go through. Rejection stings. Even when you are prepared, even when it is part of the game, even when you know you should wear it as a badge of honor to prove that you’ve tried.

burnout [Converted]

Rejection. Hurts.

But we have to keep believing that we are talented. That if we keep working hard maybe more people will buy our books. That someday a big publisher or agent will see that we do have something to offer.

I’ve asked myself more than once during this particular rejection cycle why I keep going. Why do I keep banging my head against this wall?

Because I believe in myself. Because I know I’m talented. I know I have something to offer my readers–even if I haven’t found the right agent or publisher–I have wonderful readers who always say nice things when I meet them at book events or chat with them online.

Maybe I won’t ever be rich or famous or even more than moderately successful, but I have to keep trying. Because this is my path. I didn’t choose it. It chose me. And I’ll keep walking it until I get to the end.

I just hope that end isn’t another brick wall to bang my head against.