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Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. https://lachesispublishing.com contact me at joanna@lachesispublishing.com

Are You Scared Yet? Hunting Ghosts and Writing About Them by J.D. Spikes (aka JD Spikes YA paranormal author)

J.D. Spikes explores her fascination with the paranormal in her writing.

J.D. Spikes explores her fascination with the paranormal in her writing.

The invisible world has fascinated me for as long as I can remember.

Not the once a year Halloween treats, though they added to my cache, but stories that spoke to questions of my heart, like why some of us saw shapes emerge from the corner’s shadows and some did not. Why some of those shapes are merely imagination and tricks of the light and some—maybe not so much. Why some people can easily laugh either off and go on their way, and others of us start on a quest to find answers.

In my younger years KATIE JOHN by Mary Calhoun was everything I was thinking and held the hope I had that maybe it really WOULD be a ghost and not sounds wafting up through an antiquated intercom system, since I didn’t have an intercom system. In my older years I learned it could be a ghost, but others, with less belief in the invisible world, would still try to find a physical explanation for that ‘bump in the night”. And I would continue to look for answers.

I am now a paranormal investigator. Many of you have a common understanding of that title but seeing it on TV and walking through it are two very different things.

Yes, I’ve been a member of a local ‘ghosthunting’ group. It has since disbanded, but I learned so much being a part of it. The members were dedicated to sifting out the truth. We used everything at our disposal to provide both the client and us with an answer or a starting point to work from. That is the basis of every legitimate group out there.

"A ghost hunter taking an EMF reading (Electro Magnetic Field), which proponents claim may be connected to paranormal activity." (source, Wikipedia)

“A ghost hunter taking an EMF reading (Electro Magnetic Field), which proponents claim may be connected to paranormal activity.” (source, Wikipedia)

So I will now tell you this: What you see on TV and think is ‘so cool’—shakes your core when you’re there. When you listen to a playback and hear a voice or voices speaking, and you know you were RIGHT THERE and never heard it? It changes your life more than any prior experience you couldn’t document. Because now you have proof.

That makes you want to learn more.

So, yes, I love writing about the paranormal, the invisible world, and how it ‘might’ affect . . . anyone. I will write about what could be out there and how it might choose to interact with us. I will study the invisible world and I will write about it. Because in the end I think sharing the knowledge, even that chill down the spine that unites us in fright as it goads us forward, will lead us closer to the truth. The reality of our world. A truth I need to know.

Have you experienced the invisible world?

You can get your copy of The Possession by J.D. Spikes right at Lachesis Publishing or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe

Connect with J.D. on her web site and on facebook

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Filed under Lachesis Publishing, PARANORMAL ROMANCE, SCARY BOOKS, YA, YA PARANORMAL, YA Romance

So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 16: Social Media Beyond the Cat Pictures

Rachel-Thompson1-225x300Rachel Thompson is a branding and marketing consultant for authors, a sexual abuse survivor and advocate, and a kick-ass redhead.

Rachel runs Bad Redhead Media, a company that helps authors with social media, marketing, and branding. Rachel is also a multi-published award winning and bestselling author. Her books include the following:  A Walk In The Snark humourous essays about women and motherhood/work/relationships; The Mancode Exposed witty essays about men, women, sex, and chocolate; Broken Pieces poignant and compelling essays about her experiences as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She Social-Media-Bootcamp-Startis also one of the contributors to Self-Publishers Monthly. And she offers a social media bootcamp for authors.

Wow! Rachel Thompson is definitely a kick-ass redhead! She joins us today to share her insight and wisdom about the importance book marketing for authors.

Tell us about your background and how you got into the business of helping authors market their books?

Broken-Pieces-paperback-1I started out in marketing and sales back in 1987 (in soul-sucking Big Pharma, mostly recovered now thanks). I quit in 2004 to focus on family and start my writing career, which really took off in 2009 with blogging. I self-published my first two (humor) books in 2011, my third book of creative nonfiction/poetry Broken Pieces in late 2012, and am very close to releasing Broken Places (I’m now with hybrid publisher, Booktrope). I’m also working on a social media book for authors.

I found that applying my marketing and sales experiences to marketing and selling books fairly easy, and as a working mother, social media and digital marketing is a great way to build relationships and target readers. Utilizing my skills as a marketer and an author, I started my business, BadRedheadMedia in 2011, and most recently more affordable group sessions at Author Social Media Boot Camp. I focus strictly on social media, branding, and marketing authors, either doing their social media for them or teaching them how to do it.

Many authors just want to write their books and let amazon or their publishers take care of the rest – what do you say to that?

It’s a nice dream, but not reality at all. I have clients who are traditionally published by the Big Five and they are still doing all their own marketing. With advances in tech, readers expect to be able to connect with their favorite authors on Twitter or at the very least, Facebook.

And it’s not just about blasting book links — social media is social! This doesn’t just mean chatting about your cat. Provide great content (articles, quotes, pictures of said cat, or whatever interests you), branding yourself so readers think of you when they see something. It’s about creating expectations.

badredhead2-5-300x134You work with authors one-on-one to help them maximize their social media and sell books. What are some of the key things that you do to help authors become more savvy about social media?

As I mentioned above, branding isn’t some silly buzzword, it’s the foundation of everything you will do as an author. What interests you, what are you an expert in, what are you passionate about? This can have nothing to do with your book (though it usually does). Pick four or five topics that you find interesting and write about those (tweets, blog posts, pictures, quotes). This is you being authentic, not a automaton sharing ‘buy my book!’ links repeatedly which is ineffective at best and will get you blocked and reported for spam at worst.

For me, I experienced childhood sexual abuse, so I write about that openly in Broken Pieces. As a result of sharing my experiences so openly, I’ve created a survivor community on Facebook, a chat on Twitter (#SexAbuseChat every Tuesday 6pm PST that’s open to any survivor), an anthology (the #NoMoreShame Project), and more. And that’s just ONE topic!

This branding is very different than what I share on BadRedheadMedia, which is my business. There I share social media, marketing, and branding information.

Can being really good at social media translate into really good book sales?

Good question. Yes and no. LOL. There’s no one magic bullet. I have a list of about twenty things authors need to do to be successful, starting with a great book (professionally edited, designed, proofed, etc), along with multiple marketing activities that I share here in this article Tough Love for Authors.

Certainly developing a social media presence and personality helps an author it’s publicity, SEO, and interaction all rolled into one.

Some authors have social media accounts but no website. Do you think websites are necessary or do you think that being on facebook, amazon, and goodreads is enough?

I absolutely believe you must have a website! You also need to purchase your domain (it’s usually about $10). Think of it this way: your website is your home, a home you own. You decorate how you want, throw parties, invite people over for conversations. This is where you get to be you and it’s yours.

If you only have social media accounts, you are renting space that could, at any time, be taken away or shut down for repairs. Not only that, but you are subject to someone else’s rules and whims (aka, algorithms), and believe me, those change frequently.

One or the other isn’t really an option, either. It all works together.

When you look at the bestselling authors out there – aside from writing great books – what do they do well?

Most are ‘out there’ — interactive, authentic, approachable. Some are controversial, and that’s fine, too. Nobody said we have to be watered-down and palatable to all. They are well-branded, they know and trust their voice. We are no different — we need to trust ourselves, too. We are fascinated by story, as a culture. Famous authors are (usually) great storytellers.

There are sooooo many authors out there selling their books. How can Jane Doe Author stand out amongst all the rest?

Focus on your topics, and connecting with readers.

Each of us has unique experiences and we’ve got something to say. Not everyone is an amazing writer, but we all have stories to share. Being authentic and sharing those universal truths connect us. Don’t be afraid to be real!

What do you love to read? Who are some of your favourite authors?

I love paranormal — not your ‘vampire’ kind of stuff, but more the traditional ‘slightly south of normal’ kind of para. I’m a sucker for a good time-travel story. The Time-Traveler’s Wife is still one of my all-time favorite books. Anne Rice (The Witching Hour is great). I’m reading Deborah Harkness’ All Souls’ Trilogy now (which does have a non-sparkly, non-annoying vampire and a witch).

John Irving, Pat Conroy are literary fiction favorites. Hemingway, Wolff, Sexton, Dylan Thomas — a lot of the classic twentieth century poets.

Thank you Rachel Thompson for joining us today.

Connect with Rachel on her facebook page for bad redhead media, on twitter and on her bad redhead media website.

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Filed under Best-selling authors, Bestselling Authors, KELLYANN ZUZULO, So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author?, Social Media Networking for authors

Celebrate Halloween with a scary suspense thriller DEATH CROSSES THE FINISH LINE by D.M. WOODS (aka DeAnn Smallwood)

DeathCrossesFinishLine_850-1Tuesday’s Revolving Book is the suspense thriller DEATH CROSSES THE FINISH LINE by D.M. Woods (aka DeAnn Smallwood)

GET IT ON AMAZON: Death-Crosses-Finish-Line
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Crosses-Finish-Line-ebook/dp/B008G0YXB8/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1362083762&sr=8-7&keywords=deann+smallwood

PUBLISHER: SoulMate Publishing

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Carrie Preston has a puzzling and mysterious gift for sensing motive, desire and direction of a perpetrator and killer. Homicide Detective Tom Watts recognizes this gift and is not beyond exploiting it. Waking one midnight to the ringing telephone, Carrie knows the voice on the other end.

Tom begins his familiar plea, asking for her help in solving recent murders that appear to be connected. A pattern develops of brutal knifings in health clubs with the victims all women. What is the tie in? Carrie protests she doesn’t need Tom Watt’s brand of sickness, but she cannot help feeling the familiar draw both to solving the tragic killings and to Tom Watts.

Carrie and Tom chase clues throughout Colorado from Denver to the famous ski town of Aspen, stopping over to recoup and enjoy each other’s company in the world famous Hot Springs Pool at Glenwood Springs. Carrie and Tom may be getting closer as they follow the horrendous trail, the sites of brutal and gruesome deaths, but so is the killer. Closer to Carrie that is. Suspense mounts with each murder, each clue, and every sensation that Carrie follows toward revelation. In a parallel line, the growing tension between Tom and Carrie increases and builds. Both resolutions promise like terror-risk and danger. Will the killer change his pattern and decide to make Carrie his next “special treat, his bon-bon”?

REVIEWS:

Carrie Preston has a gift she thinks most people have, but keeps locked within themselves. She’s happy with her life teaching seminars on how to unlock your inner potential. So why does she agree to help Lt. Tom Watts with a chilling serial killer? But the draw of the case – and the man himself, has her climbing out of her warm bed and heading to a grisly murder scene.

Lest I spoil the story for you, I won’t say more than get a copy of this book. D. M. Woods has constructed a riveting tale, with strong characters, and a fast paced plot. To say I couldn’t put the book down is a major understatement. Ms Woods has started a fantastic series, and I wait with bated breath for #2. Colleen Greene w/a Callie Hutton

ABOUT D.M. WOODS/DeANN SMALLWOOD:

DeAnn Smallwood, (D. M. Woods), lives in Colorado with her husband, Marvin and their two Yorkies, Stormy and Eli. These two mischief makers are her pride and joy. She has the support and encouragement from her best fan, her husband. DeAnn writes under the pen name of: D. M. Woods for her suspense/thrillers. She uses her real name for the historical romances she also writes. DeAnn is a native of Colorado, but lived several years in the beautiful states of Wyoming and Montana. She draws from this time for many of her novels. Her greatest pleasure next to writing is having her books read and enjoyed.

CONNECT WITH D.M./DeANN ONLINE:
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/DeAnn-Smallwood-also-writing-as-DM-Woods/366637150050917

Website: http://www.deannsmallwood.com/

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Filed under DETECTIVE, PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER, ROMANTIC SUSPENSE, ROMANTIC THRILLER, SUSPENSE, SUSPENSE THRILLER, THRILLER, THRILLER FICTION

Sneak Peek Monday: Hybrid by Greg Ballan (science fiction, horror and suspense)

hybridToday’s Sneak Peek is the science fiction/suspense thriller Hybrid by Lachesis Publishing author, Greg Ballan (Book 1 in the Hybrid series)

What it’s about:

Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.

Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.

After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.

EXCERPT:

“Erik!” Shanda whispered in alarm. “Something’s here, stalking the girls. I can’t see it, but I can sense it.”

Erik looked throughout the park grounds, focusing his vision, but he couldn’t see anything. Fifty yards away, the children played unaware of anything but their innocent fun. Erik walked quickly over to where the party was, Shanda following close behind him. As he closed the distance he noticed that his daughter was staring at something and pointing. Erik looked in the direction she was pointing and saw a patch of darkness. His mind shrieked with panic and he ran toward his daughter, screaming for the other girls to leave the park area. The girls looked at the direction Brianna was pointing at and froze. They were terrified, frozen into inaction.

After a quick sprint, Erik was beside his daughter. Several of the other mothers had gone to their children as they all pointed out the closing patch of darkness.

“Get your children back!” Erik commanded. “It wants your children.”

Mothers and children were panicking. Children were crying with fright as the afternoon sun seemed to dim and the temperature in the park suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Brianna hadn’t moved since Erik came by her side.

“What do you see, honey?” he whispered.

Brianna’s eyes were transfixed on the corner of the park. Her finger still pointed in that direction. “It’s a tall man, I think. I can tell that it wants me. It’s calling to me, Daddy. I’m scared. Please don’t let it take me. I can tell it wants to take me.” She screamed in mindless terror.

Erik reached behind his back and pulled his Ruger from its place of concealment. He wrapped both arms protectively around his daughter, his gun pointing in the direction of her finger.

“Bri, point me in the right direction. I won’t let it hurt you. No one is taking you anywhere.”

She gently guided his hands so that the pistol was aiming at the heart of the dark anomaly.

“Daddy,” she whispered, “it’s coming right for us.”

“Go back with Shanda and the others, now!” he told her.

“Daddy, I don’t want to leave you.”

“Go, honey! Please,” he whispered. “Shanda!” Erik shouted, breaking the eerie silence. “Take Brianna.”

Shanda came up quickly and took Brianna. “I can just barely see it, Erik; it’s just like you described. It stopped when you pulled the gun. All the children can see it, but the parents can’t. All they can see is the darkness, and they can feel the cold.”

From behind them, the ponies were shrieking in panic.

“All right, you two, get back!” Erik stood up. He holstered his weapon and began walking toward the darkness.

“I know you’re there!” Erik called out to the inky darkness. “Maybe you can hide from them, but you can’t hide from me!” Erik focused his eyes; concentrating his extra senses on the darkness as he continued forward. Slowly he saw the man-like figure materialize. The figure had stopped its approach and assumed an aggressive stance. Erik paused a scant twenty feet from it and assumed a basic combat stance he used in Kung Fu.

“You can’t have the children!” he shouted, his voice booming above the silence, challenging the being of darkness. “You can’t have my daughter or any other child here.”

The thing responded with silence. Erik finally saw the blood-red eyes looking right through him. He could feel the hatred, the sheer malevolence; yet, now he also felt desperation, a hunger that was beyond his ability to define. The hostility threatened to overwhelm him. Erik fought his own emotions, fought down his own fear and doubt. He knew he couldn’t defeat this thing physically, but he would not let it have his daughter or any other child there, not while he drew breath.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Hybrid right here at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.com.

To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.

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Filed under DETECTIVE, Lachesis Publishing, SCARY BOOKS, science fiction thriller

Fun Friday Question of the Week: Win a Free Book!

halloween-2013-costumes-ideas-dos-and-donts1Week 6 in our Lachesis Publishing QUESTION OF THE WEEK!

Every Friday we’re asking a question right here. You have until midnight tonight (EST) to leave a comment to get your name put in a draw to win a free e-book! The winner will get to choose one e-book from our site (winner’s choice!) and we will send it to him or her. On Saturday morning, I’ll post the winner’s name here and on our Lachesis Publishing facebook page and contact him/her on facebook as well.

This week’s question is: WHAT IS YOUR BEST AND WORST EVER HALLOWEEN COSTUME? Good luck and happy reading!

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The Mystery of Cozy Mysteries by J.M. Griffin (cozy mystery author)

Image courtesy www.clker.com

Image courtesy http://www.clker.com

Have you ever wondered, really wondered, what the difference is between regular mysteries and those well-loved cozies? For years, I read as many mystery novels as I could get my greedy little hands on, but my favorite ones were cozy mysteries.

A mystery is like a puzzle. The pieces are scattered here and there, until bit by bit, they slowly come together to take shape and form, and whammo, you have the complete picture.

JessicaflectherTake Jessica Fletcher for instance. She lives in the small seaside village of Cabot Cove on the coast of Maine and is an amateur sleuth. She becomes embroiled in the least likely situations and never takes the sheriff’s word for anything. She knows his idea of the guilty party is far from accurate and sets out to prove it by linking pieces of the puzzle together as they present themselves.

Most cozies take place in a small town where people are friendly, except the killer, of course. Many of the residents also have something to hide, which is a perfect ingredient when whipping up a cozy mystery because we need more than one suspect, right?

mi David Suchet as Hercule PoirotThe cozy mystery usually has a well-educated, female, amateur sleuth, unless he’s Hercule Poirot, Inspector Barnaby, or Inspector Lynley, that is. The town is generally small, and the story has a theme. (I have a cupcake theme in one of my own series, an Italian family and their histrionics in another, and then there’s the artist with visions theme in the third series. Humor runs throughout each of these series, since it’s important to find humor in life, no matter how dastardly it becomes.) Often times there are cat, dogs, or some pet or other that is crucial to the plot. Animal lovers enjoy it when their favorite type of pet is included in the story.

SEASON FOR MURDER COVERIn the Vinnie Esposito cozy mystery series, my heroine lives in a small Rhode Island village. She’s nosier than any person should ever be, which in turn leads her to discover someone has been murdered and she needs to find culprit. Her Italian father insists she mind her own business, find a husband, have a slew of kids, and settle down, which results in an ongoing clash of wills. There’s a stray cat that wanders in from time to time, who manages to help out when need be. I also write the Faerie Cake cozy that includes faeries and cupcakes. (People love food themed stories.)

I digress . . . Let’s get back to the differences between regular mysteries and cozies. Besides the small town and an amateur sleuth, there is little to no sex in a cozy, or it takes place behind closed doors. That alone gives the reader something special to imagine. Cozies don’t tend to be gory, other than a stabbing or conk on the head with a blunt instrument, the description of the death is brief. For those who don’t like blood and guts, that really counts.

Focaccia fatality 453x680Many cozies are in series form. Why? Because the audience enjoys following their favorite character through the ins and outs of finding who committed the crime. At the end of every cozy mystery, the killer is found, explanations are made and all is again well in the quiet, peace loving, town where people greet each other in the local diner, neighbors talk over fences to each other, and the story’s pacing has moved quickly. I enjoy a fast read, a page turner, a story where I can relate to the characters, with an ending that will surprise the daylights out of me. Don’t you?

J.M. Griffin. is the author of two cozy mystery series for Lachesis Publishing. The popular (and sexy) Vinnie Esposito series and the fun (and yummy) Deadly Bakery series.

Connect with J.M. Griffin on social media: twitter, web site, facebook

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Filed under COZY MYSTERY, COZY MYSTERY SERIES, J.M. GRIFFIN, Lachesis Publishing, MYSTERY, MYSTERY SERIES

So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 15: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Fail, Fail Again

WEB PIX PURPLE BOOK copyWhen I was working on Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings?, my documentary about the world of romance novels, I interviewed many successful authors. and one thing I often heard was how long it took so many of them to get published. I was flabbergasted. For some authors it took many years, even 10 years or more. My question is how can you even think of becoming a bestselling author if it took you 10 years to get published in the first place? Easy. You’ve got what it takes for the long haul.

Not everyone is going to get published from their very first query, or start a bidding war between publishers, or land a top agent with just one pitch. Yes we hear and read about those authors who become a huge success with their first book. Do you ask yourself – what does she/he have that I don’t? Of course you do. We all do. The point is, don’t wallow in that way of thinking. Some people become successful right away. That is the minority of course. They may or may not be able to deliver on book 2 or 3. Or they may continue their star status for years to come. But that doesn’t matter. Because you are on your path.

CarrienovelIf you believe that failure is not a good teacher then you are wrong. History shows us all the remarkable people who failed in their careers before becoming who they were meant to be, including Albert Einstein, the most famous physicist in history, and one of the richest and most successful business people in the world, Bill Gates. Check out this article in the huffingtonpost about famous people who had tremendous failure in their lives before going on to become great successes, including Stephen King, whose first novel Carrie, was rejected 30 times before he finally got published. Apparently he threw the manuscript in the trash and his wife fished it out! Now that’s a success story! The idea is don’t give up. If you have the passion, the drive, and the commitment to write then you have what it takes to become a bestseller.

And when you do get there, just imagine the great story you’ll have to share about how you became a bestselling author! :)

100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, great ideas, and a good story.

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Filed under Best-selling authors, Bestselling Authors, Promoting Your Books