I recently took a trip with my daughters and my best friend to a resort in the Texas Hill Country.
That was us at the airport, all excited and looking forward to some relaxing girl time!
But, what I was not prepared for was to be totally cut off from the outside world. NO cell service and EXTREMELY limited internet. There was one bench situated by the office that if you sat on it, you could pick up spotty internet service. Wow!
I didn’t realize how dependent I’d become on staying connected. I have to admit I freaked out a little. I had an online board meeting I’d miss with the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and I had blogs to keep up with and emails to answer, not to even mention Facebook and Twitter.
But, what could I do? We had paid our money and we were there in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Isolated, cut off and yet pampered. It took an entire day for me to finally get over the panic and let go. After all, what could I do?
So, by the second day, I was resigned to the situation and began to relax. Of course the massage and facials helped. 🙂
For me, it was a HUGE lesson in letting go and being in the moment. It is something I don’t do well, so THANK YOU, Escondida Resort for the lesson. The time spent with my beautiful girls and my friend was time I’ll never get back again.
I have posted this before, but today is Recruitment Day at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and I can’t say it any better than this!! If you’re an author looking for a community where you truly belong, are supported and become like family, this is the place for you.
I know you hear me refer to The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB a lot, but when I find something that is exciting and rewarding, I like to talk about it.
I first became a member of #RRBC in August, 2014. I didn’t get involved much – read my required number of books to remain active in the club, tweeted now and then, caught a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk radio show now and then and skimmed through the WEEKLY CLUB UPDATES.
I didn’t see a whole lot of benefits at the time, except that immediately, when I listed on my Profile that I was a member of the club, my Twitter followers increased substantially. Well, that was good. I now had other authors interacting on a consistent level and more opportunities to spread the word about my books.
Then, in November 2014, I received the honor of a #PUSHTUESDAY spot that showcased The Convict and the Rose. I saw an immediate spike in sales on Amazon. At the time the book was spotlighted, I had ten reviews. That number went to 25 within a few short months. Hmmmm, I thought to myself. Maybe I need to get more involved with this club because it seems to make things happen!
Long story short, I got more involved. I began supporting other members, following their blogs and helping spread the word about their books. Again, I saw a huge spike in followers of my own blog. Wow! Now that meant I had to consistently start blogging and provide interesting and interactive content.
Two more examples -I earned a spot in April 2016 on a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk Radio show where I had the opportunity to discuss and answer questions about my books and again the support I received was overwhelming.
When the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB chose my third book, Home At Last as a featured book of the month in July 2016, even more miraculous things began to happen. Up until that date, I had only eight reviews. And even though it’s not a huge number, I now have twenty.
I’ve participated in a virtual Writer’s Conference with the club, gone on numerous Block Party Blog Tours and read some absolutely amazing books by talented indie authors. In fact, at the end of 2016, I decided to put together a TOP TEN list for the books I enjoyed the most during the year. Out of the 10 books, 8 of them were #RRBC Authors! Check them out here!
All I’m saying, is that if you’re looking for a community of like-minded people to support, uplift, encourage and propel you to greater heights as an author, you might want to take a look at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. Go to the FAQ page for the answers to any question you might have.
Membership fees are VERY affordable and the results (IF YOU PARTICIPATE) are amazing!
This group of supportive authors and readers have POWER!
OH YES, AND ONE FINAL THING. WHEN YOU JOIN, PLEASE TELL THEM I SENT YOU!
For many of us in the world of authors-marketing-ourselves, we know Sally Cronin as a treasure who selflessly promotes others, spotlighting their new books, re-showcasing their old ones, and offering endless encouragement and support to artists of all stripes.
But Sally is also an author, and a prolific one at that. Not only does she write blog posts that enlighten her readers on everything from the benefits of garlic to heart health to the weather in Ireland, but she also writes short stories and books, both fiction and nonfiction. And she’s here today to tell us about her latest work, What’s In a Name.
Thank you so much Amy for asking me over for an interview.. It is a real pleasure.
Tell me about your new book, What’s in a Name.
The short stories in this collection are about ordinary people who in some way bring their…
While recently attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, I sat in on a workshop that gave out this information. I felt that it was valuable enough to pass along.
1) Nothing happens in the opening pages. No one will keep reading about a bunch of characters that are going nowhere, or pages filled with pretty scenery. Start out with some interesting action or problem, and hook your reader.
2) Too much happens in the opening page or too many characters. If the reader has to make a list to keep track of who’s who, you’ve got too many characters. Also, avoid the same sounding names or names starting with the same letter; Kark, Kanya and Kumbla.)
3) Info dump. Your story barely gets going when the reader is saddled with pages and pages of back story. This bogs down the pace and is tedious to read. Once we get engrossed in the story, a little bit of back story will add a deeper understanding of why your character is acting the way he/she is. The key words above are ‘a little bit’. In the workshop, it was referred to as “Salting” the story, not dumping the entire shaker out. 🙂
5) Too much of anything will spoil your story. If it’s a romance, keep the romance alive with sexual tension. If it’s a mystery, don’t just have murder after murder. Give us a clever mystery to solve. If it’s an action/thriller, don’t have chapter after chapter of fight scenes and bombs and car chases. The reader needs to get a break. And this is the perfect spot to talk about cuss words. Use them sparingly. Okay, gang members swear. To be realistic you have to have dialogue that fits. Just don’t overdo it. It is very easy to lose readers from extended profanity. (I realize this is totally based on opinion, but I think most readers will agree that over use of profanity turns them off to the story.)
6) Factual errors. Whatever it is that you’re writing about, someone out there will be an expert in the subject. If you don’t know medicine, be careful when writing a hospital scene. If you don’t know police work be careful when writing about a crime scene. If you have your characters doing something dumb, not only will you get letters, you will lose fans. These types of errors take the reader out of the story.
7) Too helpless and too hopeless. Don’t have your plot revolve around something that could be easily cleared up by asking a question or two.
8) And it is worth mentioning that hiring a professional editor (if you are self-publishing) is of utmost importance! A poorly edited manuscript is the #1 reason a reader will stop turning pages and close your book.
What are the things that will cause you to close a book and put it away without finishing it?
There is nothing more exciting to an author than the day a new book releases to the world. And, today is that day for Linda Broday!
Three Brothers. One Oath.
The MEN of LEGEND
One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met-a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.
All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband-or any man-after the heartache she’s endured. Yet when her troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs.
I was born with a bit of Gypsy blood in me. I love to travel. I not only enjoy seeing our beautiful planet, but the history that carved this land fascinates me.
I left home on Friday (yes, only three days ago) to travel to Atlanta to attend the huge Romantic Times Convention. Along the way, my sister and I got to stay in a bed and breakfast that is 141 years old in Vicksburg. (RRBCers, notice the shirt I’m wearing.)
That evening we dined at a rooftop restaurant in Vicksburg and this is a aerial shot of the Mississippi River.
The next day we visited the old cemetery in Vicksburg. The intricate carvings caught my eye.
The rows and rows of graves that stretched for miles brought tears to my eyes. So many lives lost in the bloody civil war. Will we ever learn? I prayed to God to forgive the ignorance of humans. I’ll never understand the need to destroy each other.
Then we moved on to the Vicksburg Military Park where the magnitude of this battle was nothing short of overwhelming. This picture is only one part of the battle. At times, the opposing forces were no more than ten feet away from each other and could carry on conversations. They were just soldiers doing what they’d been told to do by the powers that be.
The soldiers dug tunnels to escape the Mississippi heat. I wanted a closer look but it was roped off.
Then we moved on to Meridian, Mississippi, the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers in hopes of touring the museum. We got there too late so we are hoping to catch it on the way back home.
Now on to the conference. I know it is going to be overwhelming, but I will soak up as much information as I possibly can and hope to network with other authors. Such an amazing opportunity and I am thankful to be here! More to come!!
This stop is being brought to you from Plano, Texas
What I’m giving away on this stop:
One (1) $5.00 Amazon Gift Card
One (1) $10.00 iTunes Gift Card
Two (2) Copies of Discovery – Poetry and Art eBook
Number of winners for this stop – Four (4)
For a Chance to win, please leave a comment on this post.
And, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it on Social Media.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to bring to you the Poetry and Art book, Discovery, in eBook format!
First and foremost, I want to thank Jan Hawke for her hard work formatting the artwork and poems to convert to eBook. She did a phenomenal job. The clickable links in the Table of Contents take you directly to a specific poem or piece of artwork.
This book is unique first of all because it was compiled by Rick Sikes during the fifteen years he was incarcerated in Leavenworth Prison. Secondly, the artwork that accompanies the poetry is what he called pen-and-ink drawings, which I have learned is technically called Pointillism – Artwork made up of millions of tiny dots.
A few bitter years into his imprisonment, Rick Sikes reached a pivotal turning point.
He made the decision to be, think, and act only in a positive manner. This poetry and art project was partially his means of doing just that.
What you’ll find between the covers of this book are expressions of raw emotion…Poems of deep sadness and loss, humorous musings, political wisdom, life observations and tender love from Rick, while Jan lends her own deeply personal poems at the end of the book to round it out.
This partial excerpt from the poem entitled “Discovery” is the first expression of that pivotal point in Rick’s life where he determined he was going to crawl up from the bottom and become a worthwhile human.
Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way
Seldom looking up to see the light of day
Stumbling blindly, ‘til so weary, I could go no more
In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor
My eyes focused upon a wounded but lovely thing
Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing
Said I, “Stranger, what will be your name?”
A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same…”
Comes the Dawn by Jan Sikes
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
You learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security
Eventually, you understand that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
Then you start to accept your defeats
Head up and eyes open wide
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
And learn to build your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
Futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight
After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns you if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you can endure
That you really are strong
You truly do have worth
And you learn and learn
With each goodbye – you learn
I hope you’ll take a peek at the Trailer for Discovery. Click HERE!
I hope I’ve piqued your interest and that you’ll check out this new eBook version of Discovery!
Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post. Good luck on winning my giveaways! I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY!
My late husband used the phrase “Out of West Hell” when someone was beyond great at something. While I never knew where West Hell was, it obviously produced the best of the best.
Most of you know I attend a lot of live music events and once in a while, there is a musician that literally makes my jaw drop. That is exactly what Guitarist, Steve Rhian did. Wow!
While most of the attention and focus goes to the singer or band leader, without great musicians behind them, they wouldn’t be the popular stars they are.
I wanted to know more about this incredible player. So, here’s what I found out.
Like most dedicated musicians, Steve began playing music at a young age. He recalls his earliest influences to be Motown and R & B, “I put coins on top of the LP to slow down Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” to figure out the parts. I wore that old record player out and probably ruined more than a few 45s and vinyl records back then.”
But that was only the beginning. Steve goes on. “The Beatles and Rolling Stones had been out for a little while but it was “Sympathy For The Devil” that made me sit up and take notice. I think that record more than any other was responsible for changing the pop culture. In my mid-teens, I had all the standard influences like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and of course Jimi Hendrix. It was an exciting time with so many emerging great players and new sounds being created. But, this is what drove so many of us.”
I wonder how many can say they saw Jimi Hendrix at a live show? Steve Rhian did and he recounts the event. “I got see Jimi Hendrix at Temple University Stadium in Philadelphia and he was amazing. This was an outdoor football stadium and little fires were burning all around not to mention Jimi lighting up his Fender Strat near the end of the show like a ritual. Yeah, it was burning.”
And the desire to learn to play, and to play well, continued for Steve Rhian. There is a common thread among these phenomenal players and it usually has to do with studying under some of the greatest around. Steve spent many years studying Danny Gatton‘s emotional range and depth of playing, and got to hang out with him on several occasions. Danny was known as “The Telemaster.”
Steve also studied under Australian Jazz guitarist, Steve Brien. I will say firsthand, the jazz influence comes out in a big way when Steve plays. Others Steve studied along the way, were D’Jango Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, both stellar jazz players. Steve is a huge fan of Gypsy Jazz, which Reinhardt and Grappelli put on the map.
He had this to say about D’Jango and Stephane. ” I still go back and listen to those old “Hot Club” recordings and would probably have to put D’Jango at the top of the greatest guitarists of all time pile, when you consider there were few blueprints back then and he only had partial use of his fretting hand. Lenny Breau is another I would have to include.”
An avid student is always learning and that couldn’t be more true for Steve Rhian. In his own words. “In 1990, I headed to Cincinatti to meet with renowned guitarist Scotty Anderson. I spent about a week with him soaking it up but it took years to assimilate some of his techniques and of course, I was altering things to fit my sensibilities as I got more comfortable with it. Scotty’s groundbreaking harmonized double and triple stop runs are beyond the grasp of most players but sure are fun to listen to, along with his jazz infused country lines. I played a lot of guitar that week. I’ve always been influenced by great playing. If it spoke to me, I wanted learn it.”
More guitar greats that drew Steve Rhian’s attention were Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Jerry Reed, Doc Watson and Norman Blake. Here’s a video clip that showcases this style of picking from Steve Rhian. Click HERE!
In the 90s, Steve met Deryl Dodd, who was playing lead guitar for Martina McBride at the time. They struck up a friendship and fast forward a few years, Deryl formed his own band, The Homesick Cowboys, with Steve on lead. And that brings it current as he is still a member of this band, which has had multiple chart-topping hit songs.
Steve has played on over sixteen album sessions. He is a highly sought after musician when artists go into the studio. Why? Because he’s a guitar picker “Out of West Hell!”
Click HERE for a video that shows off a tiny bit of Steve’s style.
I could write volumes about this extraordinary guitar player. Truly, he deserves recognition for his dedication to the craft.
If you ever have a chance to see Steve live with Deryl Dodd and The Homesick Cowboys, don’t pass it up! It’s guaranteed entertainment.
You can learn more about Steve Rhian on his FACEBOOK page.
In this sequel to the first book of the Point Pleasant Series, A Thousand Yesteryears, Mae Clair takes us on a fast-paced adventure that doesn’t end until the last page.
Katie Lynch stops to help a motorist in trouble and gets more than she bargained for. Mysteries begin unfolding all around. A coded message, a policeman that vanishes into thin air and unexplained phenomena galore set the stage for A Cold Tomorrow .
We met the famous supernatural mythical creature, The Mothman, in the first book of this series. But, it is becoming almost as much of a character in these books as are the people. Mae gives us a glimpse into the creature’s mind when it is wounded and Caden is able to communicate with him. All the characters in this story capture me. The two brothers, Ryan and Caden, both in law enforcement – rugged and good looking, Katie Lynch, a single mom raising a son, Eve Parrish, owner of the famed historic hotel, Sarah who loves digging around in archived historical records, and even Katie’s renegade mom who really comes to life and redeems herself in this novel.
Mae does an exquisite job of weaving this story with lots of unexpected and unpredictable twists and turns. Giving the reader a deeper look into Indrid Cold and Evening Lach, and their connection to the Mothman, only adds another other-worldly dimension to this story. If you like a great mystery with a lot of adventure and a little romance thrown in, you’ll love both of Mae Clair’s books in the Point Pleasant series. Looking forward to the third book, coming soon!
A Side Note – I met Mae Clair through the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB along with a slew of other amazing authors that I now call friends. The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is like no other organization on the planet. It is a community that promotes, profiles and propels authors and their books. Does this sound like a place you’ve been looking for? You can join right now, here today. See for yourself. JOIN RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB
I love supporting other authors and helping spread the word about promotions they have going on. So, today I’m supporting an amazing author of Western Historical Romance, who also happens to be my sister! I love all of the characters who make up the Men of Legend series.
They are blood. They are brothers.
They are LEGENDS…
Stoker Legend — Tough patriarch who runs the huge Lone Star Ranch and keeps his sons in line.
Houston — The one most like his father. He only wants to be a rancher.
Sam — A Texas Ranger who has no desire for ranch life.
Luke — An outlaw who never knew who his father’s name until his mother lay on her deathbed.
Linda Broday’s first book in the Men of Legend series, To Love A Texas Rangeris filled with plenty of action and adventure. Unforgettable characters like rugged Texas Ranger, Sam Legend, and beautiful Sierra Hunt will steal your heart and set you on the course to follow this three-book series. And, it is only 99 cents!
Gravely injured on the trail of a notorious criminal, Texas Ranger Sam Legend boards a train bound for his family ranch to recuperate…only to find himself locked in battle to save a desperate woman on the run. Determined to rescue the beautiful Sierra, Sam recruits an unlikely ally. But can he trust the mysterious gunslinger to fight at his side?
Sam is shocked to discover his new ally is not only an outlaw, but his half-brother. Torn between loyalty to his job and love of his family, Sam goes reeling straight into Sierra’s arms. Yet just as the walls around his battered heart begin to crumble, Sierra is stolen away. Sam will risk anything to save her-his life, his badge, his very soul-knowing that some bonds are stronger than the law…and some legends were born to be told.
Here is what one reader had to say: “Linda Broday’s books are intriguing yet easy to read. She paints vivid pictures with words while maintaining historical accuracy. Her writing is richly romantic and vividly entertaining. I highly recommend any and all of her books. She is my favorite western romance author.”