Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Spotlight Is On Indie Author Kathryn R. Biel

I am excited to share with you amazing readers this month’s Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author, the talented Kathryn R. Biel.

Take it away, Kathryn…

Five Things About Declan McLoughlin

Declan McLoughlin is the dashing hero of Jump, Jive, and Wail. Here are five things you may or may not know about Declan:

  1. Declan started figure skating to pass the time while his older brother played hockey. Declan’s dad thought Declan was too small to play hockey. Declan grew up to be 6’2″ and solid muscle. His brother, Ronan, topped out at 6′ tall.
  2. While Declan is no longer romantically involved with figure skating partner, Natalya Koval, they keep up the pretense for the sake of the media, who seems to love a good romantic story. In reality, Declan cannot stand Natalya.
  3. Delcan’s plan when he retires from figure skating, is to return to the University of Michigan, and study to be a physical therapist. His desire to do this came from years of physical therapy while being injured during skating.
  4. Declan’s manager is his mother’s best friend, Frankie. She knows him better than he knows himself. If you need a mental picture, try Estelle (Joey’s manager) from Friends.
  5. Declan is somewhat embarrassed to have been named as one of People Magazine’s sexiest bachelors. Somewhat. That being said, maybe, just maybe, he uses it to his advantage.

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Here’s an excerpt from my new novel, Jump, Jive, and Wail. This is told from Declan’s perspective:

I head toward the shops, prepared to kill a little time. Then, I see her—the woman I ran into. She’s sitting in a chair by the water feature. She looks hypnotized by it. Propelled by a desire to be near her again, I veer toward her. Her hand is in her light brown hair, absently twisting away. She’s crying. That’s not good. I should abort this mission and walk away. But something in her face looks so lonely and vulnerable, and I can’t resist.

I sit down and start talking at her. That’s my strategy whenever a woman cries. I just talk at her until I distract her from what’s really bothering her. It may or may not be the reason why I haven’t had a relationship in a while. Natalya is the big reason, of course, but I may be lacking in the interpersonal skills as well. I ramble on. “Sorry for running into you back there. I really am. I’m not usually very clumsy. Not at all. I don’t even know why I was hurrying so much. I knew my flight was going to be delayed. Is yours delayed also?”

She’s not listening, I can tell. I don’t know why I’m even bothering, other than the fact that she has a look about her like a lost puppy or something. Regardless, I keep talking. That’s the one thing I can do. I can talk a blue streak. It gets on Nat’s nerves. Sometimes I talk just to annoy her. This girl is certainly not Nat, but I keep talking anyway. “Yeah, the last thing I want to be doing is flying right now. I’m so burnt out with traveling. I just want to stay home in my own bed. How about you? Do you like to travel? Where are you headed anyway?”

There’s no response, so I’m about to get up and walk away when she actually responds. I repeat my question and am strangely pleased that we are going to the same destination. Why? What is it about her? Certainly not her personality. She’s a bit abrasive. I don’t need more abrasive. I’ve already got that in spades with Natalya.

Okay, the small talk is not quite as difficult as pulling teeth, but almost. She just looks so sad and alone. I notice that her brown eyes are a bit almond shaped and her skin is a milky white. It looks smooth and creamy and I think about how her hips felt underneath my hands. I wonder if her skin is that creamy all over.

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Author Bio:
Telling stories of resilient women, Kathryn Biel hails from upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients’ needs, and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her musings and rants can be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather. She is the author of Good Intentions (2013), Hold Her Down (2014), I’m Still Here (2014), Jump, Jive, and Wail (2015), and the short story, Fly Robin Fly (Part of Cupid on the Loose!: A Valentine’s Anthology of Short Stories, 2015).

 

JUMP, JIVE, AND WAIL Links:
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
iTunes

Kathryn’s Social Media Links:
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Pinterest

 

RRBC Blog Recruiting Day And The Celebration Of Women

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Hello and welcome to Rave Reviews Book Club’s Blog Recruiting Day. For those who may not yet be members of this amazing book club, let me introduce you to this incredible community. Rave Reviews Book Club, in just over a year, has grown into an indie authors/readers family of nearly 600 members. The very purpose of this amazing group of people is to Profile, Promote & Propel each other as authors and readers.

My name is Beem Weeks. As the club’s reviews coordinator, I track and log all RRBC member reviews of fellow members’ books. Being in the reviews coordinator’s seat offers me a unique view of what great support is all about.

See, this is how it works: Members buy, read, and review fellow members’ books. It’s as easy as that! When you join, your book gets added to the Rave Reviews Book Club indie authors catalog. Other members will then have the opportunity to buy your book through the catalog, read it, and post honest reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and personal blogs—among other sites.

But wait!!! There’s more!!! Yep. Being a member of Rave Reviews Book Club carries many wonderful perks. “Perks?” you ask. “What sort of perks?” Well, for starters there are the #PUSHTUESDAY and #PUSHWEEK promotions highlighting different members each week. This gets your book—complete with link—in front of readers via potentially 600 Twitter accounts.

And that’s not all!!! Three talented author/members books are chosen each month as Books of the Month. This means the light shines on particular books for the entire month, promoted through Twitter, Facebook, the RRBC website, and the WEEKLY CLUB UPDATES.

Our Spotlight Authors enjoy two weeks of recognition and celebration of their name and their work, taking them on a lengthy blog tour that reaches a vast audience of readers that may not have heard of this author before.

Member of the Month and Member of the Week honors those who exhibit great support for fellow members.

Have I mentioned our amazing Twitter Support Team? Imagine a small army of Twitter soldiers taking to the social media site to promote RRBC members, their books, blogs, and Facebook pages. The reach is quite incredible. Thousands of tweeps across the world see these tweets.

And just who is responsible for this brilliant idea of a book club? The incredibly talented indie author Nonnie Jules turned an idea into reality! Nonnie is our president, our matriarch, our fearless leader. The strongest woman I know. It all began as a seed of a notion and has blossomed into the fastest growing book club in the cyber world.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to discover Rave Reviews Book Club’s web site for yourself: https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/

In keeping with the theme of this Blog Recruiting Day—which happens to be Celebrating Women—I would like to take the time to introduce you to some very talented women authors. Just click on their names to discover great works:

Nonnie Jules

Marlena Hand

Harmony Kent

Michelle Abbott

Liz Gavin

Shirley Slaughter

Traci Sanders

Joy Lo-Bamijoko

Rhani D’Chae

Robin Leigh Morgan

Sarah Stuart

Micki Peluso

April Adams

Lorraine Adair

Sienna Rose

Jane Yates

Blog Recruitment Day Voting Link

Don’t forget to tell ’em Beem sent you!!!

Author’s Workshop

Hello, dear readers. I am pleased to once again participate in a blog tour. Please give a warm welcome to indie author J.L. McFadden as he discusses publishing! 

Take it away, J.L.!!!

Author’s Workshop

First off, I want to say thank you for having me here for a humbling chance of doing a workshop for up and coming authors.  Besides the fears and self-doubt that besieges every new author’s mind, there is also the questions of how for so many different things in writing, so let’s start with the largest and most loaded question that we all have been faced with:

To Self-Publish or hunt for a Publisher?

By all means if a large publisher wants you, have a lawyer look over the contract and have at it, but without a Literary Agent none of the large publishers will ever take a look at your work. Literary Agents are very hard to get your hands on, so it leaves most to go with a smaller E-book Publisher, a Printing House that camouflages its self as a Publisher or go it alone.

Many pray for a publisher and there are some that curse their publisher – some of my published friends are very happy and others all anything but happy – the secret is all in the contract.  There are so many E-book publishers and printing houses out there that promise you the hills. Research everything and do not be afraid to reach out to some of their authors and ask questions – most authors are very kind and glad to answer any of your questions.

Some of the small E-Book publishers offer you to have your books go to print after so many E-books have been sold. Some of them do a good job at PR and others leave you out in the cold to do all your own.  It is best to vet anyone you are going to do business with.

Editing

This is more for a self-published author – because most publishers will have you use their own- I believe the editor makes or breaks the book. It is very important to find an editor that you feel comfortable with; because this is the person you are going to spend a lot of time debating parts of your book. Even if your grammar is perfect and you believe you have everything in order – because there are times when an author will write something that is obvious to them – but not to many of the readers – I have been guilty of this many times – just ask my editor – we have gone over this item a few times.

Distribution

There are a ton of options: Create Space, Smash words, Ingram Spark, lighting Source and many more.  You need to find the one or combination that fits your need in distribution.  Be careful, because some “publishers” or “printing houses” actually will be using one of the above as their printing house and distributor while taking a percentage from you or charging you an extra flat fee.  I believe that having your books on Amazon and BN is the most important of all of the companies.  One of the tips I would like to give is after a good book blits and you have some reviews to use, contact a smaller independent book store and try to have some sort of promotion there, to get your books on the shelves and their shoppers to know about you. We will talk a bit more about this in the next section – for it is more fitting since it is about PR.

PR

Now it is game time – you have gotten your books on to a distribution company and now you are waiting for the sales to flood in – and waiting. You will be waiting until after the cows come home if you do not get yourself some help. I know that a lot of people are misguided into believing that all they need is a Facebook page and Twitter account, but how many times can you ask you friends to pass your promo for your book around until they unfriend you or ignore you. A Publicist has connections with bloggers and these bloggers have various sized followings – followers of people that follow, because they trust this bloggers reviews and taste in books – these are the people you need to reach – not your friend’s great, great aunt that once read a romance novel.

When it comes to online book tours, this is when your Facebook and Twitter friends are good, because by now you already should have some friends that are authors, giving you a chance to ask what tour company is effective and which one is not.

Who doesn’t like a good giveaway? Or what about a fun filled scavenger hunt that not only can you get a gift certificate, but also a collection of books to go with it? These are all great tools, but do not forget about your locals that may not visit these blogs or sites, they are just as important; I suggest calling smaller independent book stores and offering some sort of promotion: Gift Card for that store, Signed books, free books, other merchandise you may have for your books at a speaking engagement for instance.
You always need to take a step back and ask yourself, “What parts of the market am I missing and how can I afford to get my iron into those flames?”

Formatting

The bulk of your money will come from your e-books, so you need to have a good format, so that you can get distributed on all of the sites. BN, Apple, Google, and Kobo all have strict regulations on the formatting of the books; usually, my books cost $35 -$50 for formatting – not much to gain a lot more ground on distribution.

Translation

After you have gotten your book onto your domestic market you may be thinking about expanding abroad – this is very tricky – because a translator may lose the entire feeling of your book. I have been blessed by not only finding a good translator, but having enough fans that read the books in English and were willing to proof read the translations in their native language. Ending up in a book that not only was these readers loved – but has opened my books up to so many more people – that I would never be able to reach without their help. You need to be very careful with translators, because many of them will to a literal translation and murder your story; it will be void of the emotion that it once had. Some things do not translate well – I speak four languages, so I can support this – idioms and certain things just do not translate to some cultures – so you need a translator that is just as gifted in their language as you are in your own.

Be yourself

There is only one of you and you should be proud of that; always strive to improve yourself, because all of us have room for improvement.

I hope you all have enjoyed this short workshop and a lot of success on your writing.

J.L McFadden

Author Photo

Author Bio:
J.L McFadden was born in  Pennsylvania and spent his life bouncing around the States until beginning to travel the world. Starting out he was a well-known musician in upstate New York that had a heavy playing schedule. Later he went back to his home state to work in the Lumber mills of the mountains. In California working in sales, management and even directed a small moving company until deciding to see the world. His travels around the world have allotted him to not only join an International Aikikai Aikido Federation, but have trained with Sanseis from Belgium, Ukraine, Russia and other European countries. He accounts his journeys and meeting of new people to his broad character types in his books.

Book Cover

Book Blurb:
While still doubled over, picking up a book, Adela stated with a sultry voice, “One of these days, I am going to make you deliver on all of those promised ideas, running through your head when you watch me.” She had a playful sound to her voice with her smile, telling that fulfilling his dreams was not out of the question.

Site: http://jlmcfadden.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officaljlmcfadden

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JamieLeeMcfadde

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20842432-choices

Purchase:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Choices-The-Guardian-Volume-2/dp/1492747246/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1423908742&sr=8-1

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/choices-j-l-mcfadden/1121101320?ean=9781492747246

Rafflecopter Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4af5be7f12/

Goodreads Event Page: https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/956279-choices-blog-tour

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

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He Said, She Said: The Art of Dialogue

Here are a few thoughts on writing dialogue. This is NOT meant as a teaching lesson. These are simply my opinions.

Dialogue. It can make or break a story. Dialogue is the lines your characters speak aloud in a written story. They differ from the narrative voice in that even the peripheral characters are given a voice through dialogue.

Writing lines for your characters is not always an easy task–though it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. In real life, people speak in ways that may seem impossible to capture on paper. Consider the varying dialects within the same languages. British English has its own patterns and words that differ from American English or the Aussie brand of the language. (And that’s not even counting the varying dialects within the same country.) A skillful writer should be able to illustrate that, of the three characters conversing in the opening scene of chapter seven, two are from England while the third is from Australia–without mentioning this every time they speak.
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If the writer can hear those voices in his/her head, they should be able to drop in little vocal hints within the written dialogue that give life to the characters and to the stories they tell. But it’s not always easy.

When writing my novel Jazz Baby, I had to research the era (1920s) and the region (Deep South, USA) in order to capture the voice of not just my narrator but of each and every character that utters a line in the story. Some were Louisiana Cajun. They spoke with a twang, had a particular way of saying things, which is not always easy to put onto paper.
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What about Neesie, the young laundry girl, who befriends the main character? These two girls are the same age, but they come from vastly different backgrounds. Though both were poor, one came from Mississippi and the other from Alabama; Emily is white and Neesie black. They would have had differing speech patterns–as would the better-educated adults who crossed paths with my young narrator. These differences have to come through in the dialogue. There’s a rich stew of slang going on in these characters’ words. Slang is part of language–no matter where you come from. This is where good research pays off. It takes time, searching for words and idioms used in certain regions and eras, but that extra effort is worth it in the end.
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Dialogue is probably my favorite part of writing fiction. These are words and accents that give personality to characters that did not exist until I put pen to paper (or tapped those computer keys) and gave them meaning, reason, and life.

So here’s my advice to any writer who might be struggling with dialogue issues: Just write what you hear. Listen to voices on the street or those being spoken inside your head; read works by other authors; study classic films. That little extra effort will usually show up in the finished product. The great thing about language is: it’s all around us in so many differing forms.

California’s Ghosts

Hello, readers. I am thrilled that Beem’s Blog has been selected as a stop on indie author Rebecca Reilly’s blog tour. Please give a warm welcome to my guest.

 California’s Ghosts

The Ghoulish Research Behind Rebecca Reilly’s Haunting Megan

According to local legend, a bevy of mountain lodge websites, and men drinking at a Placerville tavern, there is no shortage of ghosts in California’s Gold Country.

“I saw this skinny kid walkin’ in front of me down Bull Creek Trail.  I thought he was lost.  Then, he turned and looked right at me.”  The 280-pound construction worker shuddered and gulped his beer.  “He didn’t have any eyeballs.  Swear to God—only holes where his eyes shoulda been.  Freaked me out.”

“I gotta better one than that,” a guy three stools down joined the conversation.  “My sister’s boy, they live in this hundred-year-old house in Coloma.  Well, one night he woke up, and he was floating a foot above his bed.  No lie.  Just floating.  A ghost was holding him up.  Couldn’t see anything or anyone, but he said he could feel hands just holding him in the air.”

“He was high, alright,” his barstool neighbor interjected, “but I don’t think ghosts had anything to do with it.”

Skeptic or believer, tales of ghostly hauntings send shivers up even the bravest spines.  While researching material for Haunting Megan, I came across a myriad of similar stories told by people with no connection to one another.  I used those narratives to help form a picture, or set of rules, to realistically portray ghosts in my novel.

Location is important.  In many ghost sightings, the person died, often tragically, at the place he or she haunts.  But that is not always the case.  Sometimes, the place of haunting holds a significant meaning other than death to the ghost.  Birth, tragedy, or in some cases, happy memories are linked to a spirit that died elsewhere.

Sight, smell, touch, and hearing are the senses most often affected by ghosts who visit the living.  Odors, from sweet-smelling perfume to putrid stench, often accompany a sighting.  Sometimes the smell acts as a precursor to an appearance, but some people report that the ghost leaves an aroma behind when he or she leaves.

Ghosts can cause minor annoyances like the interruption of electrical currents.  Many stories include the turning on and off of lights, radios, or computers.  Room temperature often drops when ghosts appear.  Small objects can move or fly across the room.  Ghosts have been blamed for hiding objects, too.

Ghosts usually wear outfits befitting the time they reportedly lived.  Though often portrayed as floating in the movies, many sightings report spirits walking as they would have done when alive (including using a cane or hobbling).  Flying tends to occur when ghosts seemingly feel intense emotion such as anger, fear, or frustration.

If ghost hunting interests you, you may want to visit one or more of these California Gold Country sites:

The Cary House

300 Main Street

Placerville, CA

The ghost of a man is said to haunt the lobby and some people claim a cat is haunting room 220. It is said there are four separate ghosts in the building.

Hotel Jeffery

5001 Main Street

Coulterville, CA

Reportedly haunted by an old miner from the hotel’s gold rush days, this man is just one of the many ghosts reportedly spied at the hotel. The hotel plays up its haunted reputation and apparently rents out “ghost detecting kits” that you can reserve with your stay.

Holbrooke Hotel

212 West Main Street

Grass Valley CA

There are a variety of ghostly rumors that surround this place, including the sighting of an unfortunate gambler who slit his own throat with a straight razor in one of the rooms. Several different full-body apparitions appear throughout the hotel and people claim to hear a variety of ghostly noises, including children playing and rattling and banging noises coming from one of the women’s bathrooms.

National Exchange Hotel

211 Broad St.

Nevada City, CA

This is considered to be the oldest operating hotel in California, and possibly in all the West. Established in 1856, it has been in continuous operation except for a brief period where it was closed down due to fire damage and repaired.  People have reported seeing full body apparitions of men dressed in old-fashioned clothing sitting in the lobby and smoking cigars.  Some claim to have seen the figure of a woman in Victorian era dress gliding through the bar area.  The piano is said to sometimes play at night and people have reported hearing other strange noises and to have felt cold spots.

My hope is that Jessica, Haunting Megan’s primary ghost, gives you chills and makes you think.  Happy reading!

Rebecca Reilly is a pastor and has worked in ministry for over thirty years. A passionate reader and writer, Rebecca took on four wildly different genres for her first five books – a murder mystery at sea (Into Dark Waters), a humorous look at sex and marriage (Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage), a children’s chapter book on bullying and self-esteem (The Geek Club under the name Becky Reilly), and two picture books (Jammers and His Flying Bed Adventure and Heart of a Kitty). She returned to the mystery/romantic suspense genre for her sixth book (Haunting Megan), and is currently working on a non-fiction manuscript, Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated!  Visit Rebecca’s Amazon Author Page at http://bit.ly/RReillyAmazonAuthor, and follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/RebeccaLynnReilly), Twitter (twitter.com/RebeccaReillyL), Goodreads, and at www.rebeccareilly.net.

Becky

Author Bio

Rebecca has an innate belief that if she dreams about something, she can accomplish it. Prompted by that sense of adventure, Rebecca pursued careers as a pastor, a health coach, a massage therapist, a Zumba instructor, a musical theater director/producer, and a writer – all at the same time.

An avid reader, Rebecca begins each morning in the hot tub with a good book. She then wakes her muscles and her creativity with a long trail run, grabs a cup of coffee and gets to work.

Rebecca took on five wildly different genres for her first seven books – a murder mystery at sea (Into Dark Waters), a humorous look at sex and marriage (Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage), a children’s chapter book on bullying and self-esteem (The Geek Club under the pen name Becky Reilly), and two picture books (Jammers and His Flying Bed Adventure and Heart of a Kitty). She returned to the romantic suspense genre for her sixth book (Haunting Megan).  Her current project (summer 2015 release date) is a non-fiction work called Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated!

Rebecca has been happily married for thirty-one years, is the mother of two, grandmother of one, and lives in Northern California. You can follow Rebecca on Facebook (facebook.com/RebeccaLynnReilly), Twitter (twitter.com/RebeccaReillyL), Goodreads, and at www.rebeccareilly.net. Contact Rebecca at rebeccareilly.author@gmail.com

Contact Info

 

Web Page: Rebeccareilly.net

Twitter: @RebeccaReillyL

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaLynnReilly?ref=bookmarks

Book Buy Links

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/RReillyAmazonAuthor

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/RebeccaReilly

Haunting Megan

 Haunting Megan Cover

Apple iBooks: http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganiBooks

Amazon Paperback: http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganAmazon

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MQA5YSU

Barns and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haunting-megan-rebecca-reilly/1119986375?ean=9781499373653

Diary of A Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey To Spice Up My Marriage

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Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/diary-christian-woman-how/id655703128?mt=11

Amazon: http://bit.ly/amazondiarychristianwoman

Barns and Noble: http://bit.ly/nookdiarychristianwoman

4WillsPublishing Links:
Rafflecopter Giveaway:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4af5be7f14/

Goodreads Event page:   https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/956832-haunting-megan-blog-tour

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

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Publishing, Indie Style!

Is it such a terrible thing to self-publish that novel you’ve spent hundreds of hours perfecting? Some authors think so. There are those who believe self-publishing is selling out the dream for baubles and beads. Others claim it’s a shortcut that’s not been earned. I beg to differ.

A+ Jazz Baby 2 Front Cover

I chose the self-publishing route because of a desire to get my work to readers in a quick and timely fashion. And it worked! Jazz Baby, my first novel, is available all over the world in print as well as in e-book formats. The downside of this form of publishing is the lack of a big-budget advertising campaign. That’s where social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads come in handy.

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But not all self-publishers are equal. The cheaper you go, the lower the quality you can expect. I’ve read excellent self-published novels that suffer from poor punctuation. Without a solid editor to comb through your manuscript, you can expect errors to reach your readers. Some readers might not care–or even notice. Others will, and they’ll fault the writer. This will cost that author in the long run.

Sure, even the big publishing houses let slip an error here and there. But online publishers who don’t offer professional editing really do the industry a serious disservice. These are the ones who take your money and publish your work, warts and all.

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Don’t shy away from this wonderful medium. If you’re tired of rejection letters, try the indie route. It’s a growing industry with a bright future. Just take your time when shopping. Beware of hidden fees, make sure they offer professional editing, and be ready to work your tail off to sell your product to the world. Because writing it is no longer the difficult part of the deal. Letting the world know you wrote it is.

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Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories

Jazz Baby