Saturday, April 27, 2013

Win a Spellbound Lined Journal

With Enchantment's blog tour right around the corner, I'm extending the Spellbound Journal and $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaways to last through the tour: May 13 - 23.

This will give those of you who requested extra reading time a few more week to post reviews at Amazon and earn extra entries. ;-)

The journal is now available for sale on Amazon for $6.95. My copy just arrived and it turned out beautifully. The picture on Amazon doesn't do it justice. There are 120 lined pages on nicely textured cream paper. Simply gorgeous!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

FOUND by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

To celebrate Stacey Wallace Benefiel’s 3rd Indieversary, FOUND (Penny Black #1) is only 99cents April 20-27!

I nabbed my copy. Yay!

From Stacey Wallace Benefiel, the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, comes a new NA trilogy set in the Society world.

FoundPenny Black hasn’t had it easy. Just about everything you’d expect to happen to a harassed foster-kid turned junkie has happened to Penny. Add in the mysterious power to rewind time, conducting events around her, and it’s a wonder she held up on the streets for so many years. Now, at seventeen, the New Society has found her. Finally, Penny is where she belongs. But that doesn’t stop the visions, or the need to protect the victims shown to her. Wyatt Adams is excited and intrigued when his sister Melody assigns him to be Penny’s Lookout. Being the youngest, and hopelessly ordinary in the family that created the New Society, has left Wyatt feeling like he has a lot to prove -- and Penny is a big deal. She’s got abilities that surpass any he’s seen before…and pretty much every quality he looks for in a girlfriend, but no one needs to know about that, especially Penny.

  *The Penny Black trilogy is a companion to the Zellie Wells trilogy and not a continuation of the series. (PBT is set 18 years in the future with a new cast of characters.)

  *Due to language and sexuality, FOUND is recommended for older teens (Most of the characters are out of high school and preparing for college.)

 Also available at: Kobo Smashwords Apple

 Haven't read the Zellie Wells trilogy yet? Pick up all three novels together for $6.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and iTunes. Or get the first novel, Glimpse, for FREE at all e-book retailers.    

Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, FOUND, the Day of Sacrifice Omnibus, The Toilet Business - a collection of humorous essays, and multiple short stories. Look for her upcoming New Adult Contemporary Romance, CROSSING, Spring 2013. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel or Reina Stowe, but knows she's not foolin' anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her two kids and their old, smelly dog. When she's not writing, thinking about writing, or driving her kids somewhere, Stacey is at CrossFit lifting heavy things and cursing the inventor of burpees.

Author Links:


One signed Zellie Wells trilogy e-card (Zellie Wells is companion to the Penny Black series and this card allows a download for the complete Zellie Wells trilogy). (INT)

To Enter: Just tell me why you want the Zellie Wells trilogy in comments along with your email address. Ends: When I pick a winner. I will let everyone know in comments. The prize will be sent out the week of May 13th.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cover Reveal: Sacrifice by K.A. Last

I'm excited to be part of the Sacrifice Cover Reveal trough Xpresso Tours. I loved Aussie author K.A. Last's first cover Fall For Me the moment I saw it. The combination of red, black, white, and gray is so eye catching. These are truly outstanding covers and I'm even more impressed because Last designed them herself! (Talk about multi-talented.)


Sacrifice – A Fall For Me Prequel by K.A. Last
Series: The Tate Chronicles, #0.5
Publication date: May, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Seth’s heart is breaking. He knows his decision will hurt the one person he keeps breathing for, but he can’t take it anymore. He can’t be near Grace knowing she will always be just out of reach.

Grace is oblivious to Seth’s turmoil. She loves him unconditionally, but not in the way he wants. They both know that in Heaven physical love is forbidden, and to break the rules is to defy everything they’ve ever been taught.

When Grace and Seth are sent on a mission to save a young mother and her unborn child, Grace must face the fact that Seth won’t be returning home. She doesn’t understand Seth’s decision and hates him for it. But what neither of them realise is how big a part that single decision will play in shaping their entire future.

What would you sacrifice for the one you love?


K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney with her parents and older brother when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam, and fell in love with it. She now resides in a peaceful leafy suburb north of Sydney with her husband, their two children and a rabbit named Twitch.

Author links:
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review Writing Tips with BlookGirl + Giveaway

Last year she won a bloggy award for "Best Reviews." I fell in love with Katie's review writing voice over a year ago when I first stumbled upon BlookGirl and I'm thrilled to have her here today to share her tricks of the trade. Let's hear it for Katie!

"We must remember that literature and the way we connect with it is a very personal and individual thing." 
- BlookGirl

1. I can’t stress this one enough: Take notes! You may think you’ll remember exactly how you felt and what you thought throughout certain parts of the book, but you just won’t. Either make notes in the margins and highlight, or if you’re OCD like me, have a separate notebook for your notes. Jot down page numbers, quotes, and even conversational sentences. It’s no surprise to find that my notes include things like, “Wait, what? Did she really just compare her love interest’s voice to the sound of a meteor?!” (Yes, this is a real note, unfortunately…)

Taking notes helps to lay the groundwork for the final review and makes things much easier. My lack of note-taking is the direct cause of why I have so many reviews waiting in my queue. Let my (temporary) downfall be your lesson, dear reader!

2. Tell the reader what you feel about the book and why, not just what the book is about. That information is easily found via Goodreads, or even within your own review if you post the synopsis like I and many others do. The point of your review is to express your opinion, and by doing so, persuade the reader to read the book (or avoid it!)

3. Include (short) quotes from the book, when possible, to make your point. These will give your readers an idea of the authors’ writing style and voice, which will aid in their decision to read or avoid the book.

4. No spoilers! This probably goes without saying, but if you give away a major plot point, your readers will not likely be very happy. My friend, Jenni, once read a spoiler for a book she was reading, and was so disappointed because the book was actually very good, but once spoiled…

If you are writing a review where you want to discuss important aspects, use a spoiler tag or warn readers far in advance that there will be spoilers within the review.

5. Summarize your thoughts at the end and suggest the type of reader you feel would really love the book (i.e., fans of paranormal romance, young teens, etc.)

Review Writing Tips for Books You Didn’t Enjoy

We’ve all been there: You read a book that just doesn’t tickle your fancy. Perhaps it’s a book that you bought yourself, or a book given to you by a publisher. So many bloggers struggle with writing reviews for books they didn’t like, especially when they are ARCs. It’s like they feel an obligation to review favorably, which is understandable, yet not truly fair to anyone. We must remember that literature and the way we connect with it is a very personal and individual thing. A book I love may be someone else’s least favorite book, and that’s okay. It’s these differences that are fascinating and exciting, and probably what I love most about reading books reviews.

With that said, I have a few tips to offer on reviewing books that you did not particularly enjoy:

1. Review the book, not the author. There is a fine line between friendly snark and taking things too far. Don’t insult the author’s intelligence and don’t make personal comments. If you didn’t like the plot, characters, writing style, etc., tell your readers why. Leave the drama in fiction!

2. State your opinion; don’t cite “facts.” In simple terms, don’t declare the book in question “bad;” state that you disliked it and then follow-up with solid reasoning.

3. Provide context. Just because you didn’t like the book doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. If you’re more of a contemporary fan, you likely won’t swoon over straight sci-fi. Let your readers know where you’re coming from as a reader yourself. Remember, taste is relative! (Just think of Nicki Minaj!)

4. Talk about what did work. Even if the overall book was not your cup of tea, surely there’s something that was intriguing or that had great promise. For example, “…I really like this idea and wish it had played out a bit more within the story.”
Q&A with Katie

Why BlookGirl and not BookGirl?

Ha! The short answer is, “Because someone else already had BookGirl!” What grinds my gears is that whoever owns it hasn’t even done anything with it in over two years! Grrr! ;-)

Seriously, though, when I decided to start a blog and was trying to think of a catchy domain/blog name, I went through a variation of coffee-and-book related names, but realized just how many of them are out there (XpressoReads and BookAndLatte to name a couple.) Then, as I was throwing out book, blogging, and reading-related names and terms, I came up with BlookGirl. A play on words: “A girl who blogs about books.”

I loved it. It stuck :-)

About how long do you spend writing each review?

It really depends on whether I loved the book, disliked the book, or had no strong opinion either way. Sometimes describing why you loved a book is just as hard as describing why you didn’t like or love it. I think the toughest review, though, is when you have an overall feeling of “meh;” when it’s not particularly good or bad. 

I’d have to say that, on average, it takes about an hour to write and perfect a review.

On average, how many books do you review per month?

It’s been much less lately, as I’ve been more into reading and less into reviewing, but I’m getting back in the swing of things :-) At my peak, I was reviewing 2-3 books per week, which resulted in 8-12 books per month. Currently, I’m at 2-3 books per month. Yikes! I need to get on the ball! (You really don’t want to know how many books I need to review >.<)

How long have you been writing reviews? 

I began writing reviews when I founded BlookGirl, so it’s been about a year and three months now. I wrote a stray review here and there before that time, but didn’t really start reviewing books until I discovered GoodReads, and then my first book review blog.  

What do you love most about reviewing books?

I love reviewing books because it gives me an outlet for my fangirling, and alternatively, for my ranting. Even if I don’t physically have someone to talk to about my latest read, I can put my thoughts out “into the universe” (okay, into cyberspace) and know that someone, somewhere, sometime will read them and relate. 

I also love the community that comes with being a book reviewer/blogger. [For the most part] everyone is so supportive and generous, and I’ve met some of my best friends through books and blogging. We all go through our highs and lows, but at the end of the day, no matter our differences, what brings us together is our love for literature. The insatiable desire to share that love is why I love reading, and in turn, reviewing :-)

Big thanks to Katie for guesting here today! You can check out her reviews of Entangled and Duplicity by clicking the title links. And now for the week's last party favor. I saved the best for last!

Win! A brand spanking new Spellbound Journal
*Will be available for sale on Amazon and CreateSpace next month*
Use it to jot down your review notes, write love poems, or even pen your own masterpiece!

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Thank you to all my guest bloggers and everyone for checking out the posts this week during the Enchantment Release Party. There are still a few days to enter to win Rafflecopter prizes. Hope to see you next mont for the Enchantment Blog Tour! xoxo

Facebook Party Tonight. Piñata! Prizes!

Win one of the following ebooks during the live Piñata tonight. Party starts at 8 p.m. EDT. There will also be swag. Must be present to win. I'm thinking we'll be a small group, but that just means more chances to win! ;) Join the Facebook Party Event!

Thank you to these fabulous authors for contributing to the goody bag!

Spellbound Trivia

Win instantly! Be the first to answer correctly and win a "Reading is Sexy" sticker and signed Entangled bookmark. (One sticker/swag set per person.)

Greatest Love Songs Competition

Get ready to link to your favorite love song on YouTube. One winner will receive a bottle of Love Spell fragrance mist from Victoria's Secret. It's a flirty, floral irresistible blend of cherry blossom and peach. (US only, it's a liquid thing.)

Drawing for an Enchantment Paperback

I'll let you know the details during the party. (US only please, unless you want to cover shipping, around $17 to Europe. For the international folks there will be ebooks and swag. Don't feel left out!) Shipped in a pretty floral padded envelope. ;) Enchantment is now available in paperback at CreateSpace and will be appearing on Amazon, B&N, and Book Depository in the next week.

Bonus Day! Bonus Prize!

Couldn't resist. Tomorrow, Katie from BlookGirl joins us with more review writing tips and one last bonus giveaway for the first Spellbound Journal - available soon! So come back tomorrow for one last hurrah! (I'll even make it international.)

Thanks for checking out the release event on the blog. Hope to see you tonight! ;)

Did you enter?
MON - One ebook of choice from Najla Qamber's portfolio 
TUES - Book Lovers Journal or $10 Gift Card
WED - $10 Gift Card
If you purchased Enchantment - $25 Amazon Gift Card

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Feature: Gizmo's Reviews + Giveaway

Last year she read 383 books! No, I did not mistype. That is more than a book a day.

Addiction? Obsession? Passion? Let’s find out. Please welcome Shelley from Gizmo’s Reviews.

Hi Nikki! It's a pleasure to be here! Thanks so much for having me!

The immediate question that comes to mind is how do you find TIME to read this many books? (Please tell me some of them are short stories or at least novellas.) And, secondly, how do you manage to write all the reviews that go with them?

The honest answer to this question is that I've been out of work for a few years and have nothing better to do with my time than read and write. Perhaps, if I was working full time again, I would be reading a great deal less. Or, if my writing WIP really made sense to me and I tried to get it published, things may have worked out differently. My enjoyment of reading found a new kick start when I stopped working.

More than 90 percent of the books I read were full length novels. Yes, that pretty much means I was reading a book a day, sometimes more. There are, of course, some novellas thrown in there for good measure but not that many.

As for the reviews, I am a wee bit behind at the moment after learning about a family members health concern and trying to mentally deal with it which was a struggle. I take copious notes while reading so that I can go back and remember key points and characters as I am reading a novel. This is something I recommend to everyone unless you have perfect memories or write reviews immediately upon finishing your book!

 You read 383 books last year and just as many in 2011 (if I’m not mistaken), any plans to “slow” down in 2013?

You are definitely correct. I read more than 400 books in 2011 which was also my first year of blogging. As for 2013, it all depends on my families health, real life in general, and whether or not I finally get burned out from reading so much.

As of right now, I still have over 70 books scheduled to be read between now and July. If you haven't already guessed, I have an obsession with requesting books from Netgalley & Edelweiss as well as my local library.

What compels you to read a book or more per day? Does it ever feel like a chore – like Book Reading Boot Camp or homework?

I would say that it's from the lack of any real motivation to do anything else, the fact that I've lived alone for years, and the fact that on a normal night, there is absolutely nothing on the TV for me to watch. Also, having a Kindle makes things easier for me to take my reading to the beach, or on the road, or when I have different appointments to attend to. I don't feel as though reading is a chore; at least not yet. Keeping up on the Household itself is the chore!

Biggest pet peeves? (Love triangles, cliff hangers, etc.)

Excellent Question! My biggest pet peeves are: weak and ineffectual heroines who have to rely on a male character to help save them time and time again; Heroines who are "changed" over the course of a series from human into something else because that is "expected" by readers of PNR, and UF series.

I don't mind characters finding out early in a series or book that they are different from everyone else around them. I don't mind that they are "changed" after being attacked and have no choice but to figure out how to live in their new skin. I can handle that. I'm most likely in the minority with this particular fact but I'm okay with that.

Love triangles irk me when they are done poorly or because that's what everyone else is doing these days. If it's done with respect to the characters involved, then I don't complain as much.

Cliffhangers are what they are. Even though I may dislike them, I can see their uses in keeping readers entangled in the story line which then carries over into the next book. I will still complain, moan, and groan, but that is my right as a reader.

Favorite place to read? Favorite reading beverage? 

My favorite place to read is in my recliner usually with my cat sitting alongside me keeping me company.

Favorite beverage(s) are Pepsi, Sweet Tea, and Lemonade. I live in the south people, I love Sweet Tea!

Percentage of ebooks you read vs. paperback?

I would say that as of right now, the percentage of E-Books is much higher than paperbooks/hardbacks. The reason for that is quite simple; the library has come into the 21st century, more publishers are providing E-ARCs than hard copies; and I'm absolutely addicted to my Kindle!

What early influences (Family? Friends? Life? Particular books?) ignited your love of reading?

I would have to say former co-workers who shared their books with me and I them. Book sales where you can get a bag of books for a really cheap price! Life in that I learned about different social outlets where books were being discussed and traded. My mother was a romance novel reader when I was growing up. The rest of us would laugh at her. Now, we all pretty much read different genres and trade books back and forth. It's not unusual for my father to send me a box of books, and I return the favor when I have enough to fill a box. My sister has picked up on reading as well and is a huge fan of vampires (romance) and Dean Koontz. As for particular books, I would say that when I started discovering different authors and their series my interest in reading really grew into an obsession. I found myself making lists of authors, their series and slowly but surely trying to catch up to current releases. To say that I follow A LOT of authors would be a fair assessment.

How many books out of say 300 (or what percent) do you purchase yourself vs. review copies?

Looking back at the books I read, I probably purchased maybe 10-15 percent of the books I read. I received the rest from either my library (big source!) who has really come into the 21st century, publishers who send me books on a monthly basis, because of my Kindle, NetGalley, and Edelweiss.

What are your best sources for review copies? 

Without hesitation or reservation, NetGalley and Edelweiss make up 80 percent of all review copies that I receive. 20 percent are from authors and direct from publishers.

Your review policy is open to self-published authors. What type of books do you love best? Can you name a few of your favorite indie reads to give us an idea of your reading tastes?

I enjoy reading Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Dysopian, Steampunk, and Mysteries. I'm open to reading contemporary, and historical as well. Tim O'Rourke is an independent author whose books go over extremely well with me. I have tremendous respect for indie authors and try to accomodate as many as possible into my schedule when I'm not backed against the wall with release day reviews etc.

Do you have any other obsessions we should know about? ;)

This is going to sound boring, but, I would say my cat is one of my obsessions. He keeps me busy, entertains me on a daily basis, and knows exactly when I'm in the mood, as it were. My other obsession includes watching NCIS, Arrow, and Supernatural.

I'd like to thank Shelley for guesting here today. I don't know about you guys, but I'm Blown Away by the amount of reading she does! (Maybe it's time to up my Goodreads goal. LOL.)

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review Writing Tips with Candace + Giveaway

A warm welcome this Tuesday to Candace from Candace's Book Blog and CBB book promotions! I have always been impressed by Candace's review writing skills and today she has been generous enough to share her 8+ years of reviewing expertise with the following tips.

First of all, I don’t really think there’s a right way or a wrong way to review. We all need to find our voice and practice usually does that. If you write enough reviews you start to find your own style and once you have that style and your voice is down people will start to realize your own uniqueness and will come back time and time again to read your fabulous reviews! 

I have been reviewing books for almost 5 years (on my blog) and even longer on other sites. Once I found my voice (which has changed over the years, BTW) I discovered it’s best for me to write like I talk.  This isn’t always easy. I mean, sometimes we just don’t have much to say, right? Well this is where I have a few things that I purposely try to point out.

  • My Emotions ~ What did I feel when I finished reading the book?  Recently I said in a review that I had so much love for the book that I hugged it close after finishing that last page.  I stroked it tenderly while tears ran down my face. Yeah, that might sound a little creepy to non-readers, but any avid reader will understand. (What? You don’t hug and stroke your books?!)
  • Characters ~ I talk about what I like and what I didn’t like. Did I connect with them? Did they annoy me? 
  • Plot~ Did it move at a smooth and steady pace? Were there surprises I didn’t see coming? Was I satisfied with the resolution?
  • Romance ~ If relevant, of course. Was I ‘feeling’ it? Did I fall for him/her? Did the romance have anything that bugged me? 
  • Setting~ Sometimes the setting has a lot to do with how much I enjoy a book while other times it doesn’t really matter at all. If it does make a difference, I point it out. I love small town stories, I love European settings, and I love the Southern settings.
After all that I wrap things up with whether I was happy with how the book ended, if I’m excited to read more by the author and who I would recommend the book to. If it’s YA and needs some warnings for content I usually say whether it’s more for mature YA readers, or if it’s appropriate for all MG and YA readers (for example). I end things on a happy note every time.

I do not take notes while reading. But I do try to review as soon as I finish a book if at all possible. If I wait too long the book fades from my memory, the excitement I felt has dwindled and my review ends up sounding blah.

I avoid spoilers in my reviews. If you ever have a spoiler in a review you should always label it, but since I read a lot of series books and later books in a series will obviously have spoilers for the first books, I usually just do a review about the emotions I felt when reading and whether I was satisfied and leave out any content to avoid spoilers for previous books.

Reviewing books I feel negatively about:

I’ll be honest; I rarely ever write negative reviews. This isn’t because I’m opposed to them, but more because I don’t finish the book. I have hundreds of books on my shelves to read. If a book isn’t catching my attention in the first 50-100 pages I set it aside.  And while I often intend to pick it back up, I rarely ever do.  However, if I do write up a review that’s at all negative I always remember to not bash the author. I’m not a snarky person anyway, so my reviews are usually pretty mild.  I’m careful to be kind while pointing out the things that didn’t work for me. I know that some things I consider a negative, others may consider a positive. 

Q&A with Candace

About how long do you spend writing each review? 

I take forever to write my reviews! Sometimes I can type up a review in 5-10 minutes and other times it takes me 30-45 minutes. It just depends on the book and if I have plenty to talk about. 

On average, how many books do you review per month?

Every month is different but I think it’s about 20 or so. I like to have at least 5 reviews a week and sometimes it’s a double review, especially for middle grade or children’s books.

How long have you been writing reviews? (Not how long blogging, but writing reviews, like if you started out submitting to Amazon or Goodreads before you began blogging.)

I’ve been blogging for 4 ½ years but I was really active on Shelfari since 2005. I didn’t write real great reviews there, but usually a very short and general review. So I guess I’ve been writing reviews around 8 years or so?

Thanks so much for having me on today Nikki!  I hope that my ‘tips’ are helpful for some new reviewers still seeking their ‘voice’.

Win a Book Lover's Journal (US) or $10 Gift Card (INT).

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cover Designer Najla Qamber + Giveaway

One of the most frequent questions I receive in interviews is: Who designed your Spellbound covers? So I thought what better way to kick off the Spellbound Release Party than by bringing over the designer herself?

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Naj of Najla Qamber Designs.

Najla Qamber Designs

Thank you for joining us, Naj. Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

I'm turning twenty-one this year. *woot woot* I was born in Bahrain (Middle East) to a funny bald Bahraini dad and a short and loud Filipino Mother (I love you mom and dad!). I've got two sisters and one little brother. I absolutely love books and I've made it a habit to read at least one hundred each year. (Yes, I know. I'm crazy.) 

Because of my love for them, I started a book blog for my reviews and along with that, I contribute book reviews at a local newspaper. And in 2012, I managed to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Business Informatics (so out of my passion). I'm currently a CEO in training for my dad’s company which I will take over and put my design business right beside it. I've got a loving best friend/boyfriend who I am attached to for the past 2 years of friendship and 4 years of dating. And it is a pleasure to be here! *big hugs to Nikki*

How did you get started designing book covers?

I only started in the graphics design industry when I got an internship at a branding consultancy alongside talented senior creatives. They literally paved the road to my future in my teens and when I went back to school I started freelancing and learning more and more. I got into designing book covers when my first client, Maria Rachel Hooley asked me if she could buy my photo-manipulations for her book, December Rose. That was the beginning of many more book covers. Thanks Maria for helping me realize my calling!

Can you tell us about the design process, including how you work with authors to conceptualize their covers?

My goal as a cover designer is to provide the author with a book cover that relates to the contents as much as it is beautiful and attractive enough to make readers pick it up. So, what I do is ask for a short or long synopsis of the book and the gears in my head start clicking. And I ABSOLUTELY make sure the author loves the concept as much as I do before I start cracking on the cover.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

EVERYWHERE! Fashion ads, artwork online, other book covers, music, just about anything as long as it manages to capture my attention.

What is the most difficult or frustrating part of cover designing?

When my clients think they know better than I do and say it looks better this way when it absolutely does not! This is usually when I've got zero creative freedom, which by the way, is the worst thing you can do to ANY creative mind. Hence, there are many book covers I have made that never go on my portfolio because I absolutely hate it.

What’s the most rewarding?

The most rewarding thing about this job is to see happy authors doing so well with the books I designed covers for.

What is your favorite cover you’ve designed and why?

The Watcher by Lisa Voisin because it was one of the only covers that is really in my art style. If you noticed, all my work falls in different styles and genres that very few of them are actually in my very own art style.

What other design work do you do?

A lot of other designs! Bookmarks, banners, blog layouts, logos, stationery, other bookish swag and so much more!

Beside book covers, you also do book reviews. Can you tell us about your blog Unputdownable Books – how long have you been reviewing and why it’s a passion of yours?

I've been reviewing books since December 2011. So that's about 2 years and a few months. Books are my first love, the passion that helps me escape when I was a kid and till today and having a book blog just helps me help others share love for books all over the world. :)

So I have to ask, do you decide what books to read based on their covers? Why or why not.

Actually! The book covers always attract me first. So I click on it and then I read the synopsis and decide whether or not to read it. Does that count as deciding to read books based on their covers? Lol! Why do I pick up books based on their cover? I'm human. I see a pretty thing, I pick it up. LOL.

The Short Answer

Favorite genre
Historical Romance

#1 fictional crush
Mr. Darcy

Most kickass female character
Cat from The Night Huntress Series!

Favorite snack food
A chocolate called "Picadilly"

Favorite music to design to

Winner's Choice!
One lucky reader will get their choice of one ebook from Najla's portfolio. Pick from any of the ebooks pictured below or anywhere in this post. If you haven't heard, Entangled is now FREE wherever ebooks are sold! Party favor. ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you want to know more about the cover process, check out my guest post How to Work With Your Cover Designer to Help Come up With a Killer Design at Sarcasm & Lemons

And if you have a good time this week, follow my news and musings on Facebook and Twitter. I'm not going to bribe you with entries. ;)

Have fun!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spellbound the Journal?

Oh Snap!

Due to the enormous amount of cover love Entangled has received, it has been redesigned into a lined journal coming out the end of this month on Amazon and CreateSpace for $6.95.

Use it to jot down your review notes, write love poems, or even pen your own masterpiece!

You can enter to win the very first one Friday, April 19th during Enchantment's Party Week here on the blog. Extra entries for those of you who have purchased or gifted Enchantment, and additional entries for anyone who has reviewed all 3 Spellbound books on Amazon.

There will be a new guest post and prize every weekday. Don't miss this epic trilogy party week!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Indie Life: Can You Made a Living Writing?

Hosted every 2nd Wednesday of the month by the Indelibles. This is a chance for indie authors to post about indie life, find each other, offer support, encouragement, news, helpful hints, and anything else that makes life as an indie author a little easier. See full link list for April here.
One of the perks of writing - meeting other writers! With authors Jenni Merritt, Keary Taylor, and Rachael Wade during an October 2012 book signing on Orcas Island when Rachael 
was visiting from Florida.

A lot of people have asked me if I make a living from my writing so I thought I’d address this question in a post.

I know what the real question is. How much do you make writing? Hey, I wonder the same thing about other writers all the time.

My answer is: zip.

During the 3 ½ months that I’m unemployed in the winter I work 60+ hours a week writing and marketing my books. (During my months of employment I write on weekends and evenings.) I don’t make a living at it. I don’t make a profit. I don’t even break even at this point.

This is not a post to bitch. This is a reality check for anyone who thinks they can get rich writing ebooks. Feel free to get angry and disagree with me. You wouldn’t be the first.

Someone once insinuated that I overspend on copy editing and such. No. I bargain hunt. I hire professional freelancers to do my design and copy editing. I don’t have the funds to afford services from industry professionals. That doesn’t mean I skimp on quality. There are many talented individuals out there who offer their services for a fraction of the price since they work for themselves and have no overhead.

Bottom line, I strive to put out the best possible product within my budget.

Authors Stacey Wallace Benefiel and Keary Taylor (above) are a huge inspiration to me. I took self-publishing seriously for the first time after reading an article in The Islands Sounder in summer 2011 about author Keary Taylor on neighboring Orcas Island who had just sold 11,000 books in one month! 

I met Stacey online soon after and learned the ins & outs of publishing ebooks through this wonderful woman while working on a group project. If you're a writer or aspiring writer you must check out her group: The Indelibles. Lots of great advice and affordable resources on that site.)

It’s easy to get starry-eyed on all the hype about indie authors who have made it big, but they're the exception, not the rule, and they’ve worked hard to get there.

New York Times Bestselling megastar, Abbi Glines, recently wrote a post that it took her 10 books before she made the New York Times Bestseller List.  

“It takes EXTREME work on an author’s part to make their self-published book successful.” – Abbi Glines

For over two decades it's been my dream to "Hold my book in my hands." Last year that dream came true and I feel all the more triumphant having been a part of the whole process and worked so hard for it.

I’m proud of my accomplishments. I’ve published four books. I’ve met many wonderful readers and writers along the way who have enriched my life. Hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed my books puts me into a state of indescribable bliss.

I'm passionate about writing. I’ve invested every spare penny since I was a teen into writing courses, conferences, retreats, supplies, and books. I first knew I wanted to be an author in 5th grade. I've been chasing my dream a long time. I'm 35. (Don't let my pictures fool you.)

I love my characters. I love writing!

If you feel the same way, follow your dreams, but don’t expect a big payout. First you gotta put in your time. And, most importantly, have fun along the way! Most likely if you’re having fun, your readers will, too. ;)


I will be off island and offline all Friday. My husband has an appointment on the mainland and I'm going to take the motorcycle permit exam. Hopefully soon I'll be both a writer and rider. ;) I'll let you know if I pass on my Facebook Author Page.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Enchantment is Live! And Giveaway

Gray returned from the dead, took on a duplicate, and now faces her biggest adventure yet.

Barcelona. Summer escape. Or so Graylee Perez thought until her old adversary, Adrian Montez, brings his magic show to Spain.

Gray seeks out a Spanish wizard to help banish Adrian from her life once and for all. Instead, she tumbles headfirst into a love spell with the arrogant warlock.

After Gray follows Adrian to Paris, she must face her true feelings and decide if Adrian’s worth fighting for.

Two more ways to earn entries after you purchase a copy: Tweet and, for you speedy readers, write a Review by May 13. Thanks for your support of the Spellbound series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
***If you review Enchantment it's going to be very tempting to include spoilers, but please try not to. Kisses! Or as the French say, Bisous!***

Entangled (Spellbound #1)

Now FREE in ebook

Download your complimentary copy at Amazon, Barnes and NobleSmashwords, Kobo, or the Apple iTunes store.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cover Reveal: Northern Bites AS Vol. 2

NORTHERN BITES, Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter, Vol. 2

Love bites.
Probation sucks.

Thanks to Dante’s recklessness, Aurora is now partners with Valerie: the redheaded, backstabbing vixen.

Dante is in full flirt mode. Fane’s tactics are more ruthless. Something carnal has awakened in Aurora and neither boy is helping tame her cravings.

When a member of the unit’s team is found dead, Aurora and Valerie are sent after a vampire in Sitka, but Aurora suspects the killer’s much closer to home.

ADD it at Goodreads.

Expected Release Date: June 27, 2013

On SALE: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Vol. 1 is on sale for 99 cents until April 7th for Kindle and Nook.

Enter to WIN: Signed Aurora Sky paperback, Blood Bath cherry scented shower gel, and a Blood Transfusion mason jar with straw (US) or an Aurora Sky ebook, 3 winners (INT). Ends soon!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Enchantment Upcoming Release + Party

Enchantment - the third and FINAL Spellbound book - is releasing next week and I've got fun stuff in the works. Schedule now posted!

Release DISCOUNT April 9 - 11

Blog Party with guest bloggers & giveaways April 15 - 18

Facebook Party with prizes from a dozen authors. One big virtual pinata! April 18 at 8 p.m. EST

Najla Qamber Designs

Back to the Blog Party. My cover designer Najla Qamber of Qamber Designs will be making a guest appearance the week of April 15th.

Now's your chance to ask QUESTIONS. If there's anything you'd like to know about Naj or her design work, please submit your questions in the comments by April 7th and I will see about including them in her interview.

You can check out a profile I did of Naj a year ago: Cover Appeal. (Just ignore the outdated info. along the sidebars.)

Also during the blog party I will have Katie Tuccelli from BlookGirl, winner of last year's bloggy award for Best Reviews. She and Candace from Candace's Book Blog, and possibly one other guest book blogger, will be sharing review writing tips including How to Write Reviews of Books You Don't Like. (Hey, those are hard!)

Gizmos Reviews

And I will be profiling Shelley from Gizmo's Review who set the Blogger World Record for most amount of books read last year: 383!!!

Next Spellbound related post will be to announce that Enchantment is LIVE! Oh, snap! I'll include the buy links for Amazon and Barnes and Noble and post the first giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Be there or be square! xoxo