Looking up

Over the weekend I managed to set  up the preorders for the first two books in my upcoming series.

Give me your thoughts!

Cover image for Shadow Walker

Nine Houses rule the nation, and Melaina stays away from them at all costs. She lives by one hard rule: never mingle with the supernatural.

Driven by fear of discovery, she remains on the fringes of society, occasionally stealing to provide for her aunt and her brother. When the opportunity to work for a corporation not owned by a House falls into her lap, she can’t believe her luck. With a forged non-magical certification in hand, she’s ready to embrace a bright future.

Unfortunately, the future is an ambush by blackmailing thugs, notorious assassins, and an unscrupulous House leader.

Entrenched in House conflict, Melaina’s dream of normalcy has turned into her worst nightmare.

Now, to save her brother and family secrets, she’ll have to partake in one last dangerous heist. Success meant exposing her forbidden magic, but Failure could cost the lives of everyone she loves.

Releasing on October 14th, 2022

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFVHDPTK

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58827383-shadow-walker

Meet the author: Tyler Colins

Hi peeps. I’ve decided to start a segment in this blog by introducing other indie authors I know and enjoy.

I’m opening  it with a dear friend and author, Tyler Colins. We met a few years back here in the blogosphere, and have been friends ever since.

So, without any further ado, let’s start.

A brief bio:

Tyler Colins

Tyler Colins is primarily a writer of fiction and blog posts, and a sometimes editor and proofreader of books, manuals, and film/television scripts. She’ll also create business plans, synopses, film promotion and sales documents.

Fact-checking and researching, organizing and coordinating are skills and joys (she likes playing detective and developing structure).

Her fiction audience: lovers of female-sleuth mysteries. Her genres of preference: mysteries (needless to say), women’s fiction, informative and helpful “affirmative” non-fiction.

She aims to provide readers with smiles and chuckles like the ever-talented Janet Evanovich and the sadly passed and missed Lawrence Sanders, the “coziness” of Jessica Fletcher, and a few diversions and distractions as only long-time pros Jonathan Kellerman and Kathy Reichs can craft.

And now, the interview (read to the end for an excerpt of Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie)

Q: What inspired you to become an author?  And why Hawaii?

A: As an only child with a mother and father who didn’t really have time or support for me as parents tend to, I had to find my own source of “play”.  I started drawing and writing.  My grade 7 teacher, Mr. Kennedy, loved a short story I had written and read it to the class.  I had no idea I had any talent.  That afternoon made me look at myself as something more than a friendless, lonely kid.  Little ’ me was actually good at something.  I started writing . . . and writing . . . and writing.  The rest, as the saying goes, is history.  😊

I fell in love with Hawaii the first time I stepped foot on Oahu.  It wasn’t that I saw “Paradise” there (because, off the tourist track, it has its issues as most places do), but that I felt a connection to the history and spirituality.  I felt like I belonged.  There wasn’t anywhere I wouldn’t go; I felt no fear or anxiety.  And when I began the sequel to The Connecticut Corpse Caper, which was initially intended to be a stand-alone, Hawaii seemed the perfect place to have my three private eyes move to.  Even if I can’t live there—given laws and finances and all that—Hawaii is my home . . . in heart and soul.

Q: What do you think is the most difficult part about writing, and how do you motivate yourself to continue?

A: For me, the most difficult thing about being a writer is finding the time to write.  Mom-care still takes up a few hours, most days, and the full-time job isn’t your usual eight-hour day.  Freelance editing also detracts (but I’d not give up editing for anything because I do so love it).  One day, hopefully, I’ll find a way to juggle time more constructively.

I can’t say I “motivate” myself.  😉  I simply do.

Q: It’s a strange and tough world out there. Do you find that it hinders or improves your writing?

A: It is indeed.  The state of affairs around the world can be daunting and/or depressing.  Some days, it can weigh heavily; you wonder (worry) that those state of affairs will never improve but, then, bursts of hope and faith—like a double Hawaiian rainbow—take over.  And you think, believe, hey, maybe things will turn out all right after all.  I wouldn’t say exterior forces hinder my writing, nor improve it.  But they may provide ideas for scenes or twists in plots.

Q: What is your favorite way to relax?

A: LOL – I haven’t found one yet.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  When I get to Hawaii, that’s where I find ways to relax . . . strolling along a beach, splashing in the ocean, finding a fun farmer’s market, or enjoying shave ice while sitting on a rock by the water’s edge.

Q: Do you read your own books after they’re published? If not, why not?

A: I haven’t read my books after they’ve been published per se.  But when I require an excerpt for a post, then I will scan one or two of them to find the perfect one.  I think the reason I’m not inclined to read them from front to end is that I might discover typos or something that didn’t gel.  Then I’d spend the week or month kicking myself repeatedly.  😉

I believe one of my favorite excerpts is from Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? when JJ and Cash’s budding “relationship” starts to take off . . . or not . . .

Q: If you were to become the mc of the last book you read, who would you be and where?

A: I edit a lot of books, but I don’t read a lot of books . . . save for, believe it or not, the odd Nancy Drew book.  I pick one from the pile in the closet if I’m going to ride the stationary bike in the fitness room.  It’s an easy read and it takes me back to simpler times—when I was kid living in (escaping to) my little world.  I always wanted to be Bess or George, never Nancy.  She always seemed so perfect and privileged, and for a little kid being caught up in a not so perfect or privileged world, I couldn’t relate to it.  But I’d love to be involved in one of their mysteries.  My favorites were The Haunted Showboat and The Secret of the Wooden Lady, so the setting of either one would be very “Keene”.  LOL

Excerpt for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie

Cover taken from Goodreads

“No stitches required, fortunately.”

Linda propped Cash’s head on a fit thigh and continued to dab a tiny sponge on an open cut above the right eyebrow. “But he’s going to have one big headache, a knob on his temple, and probably a scar. Perfect timing, me stopping by. If Makjo hadn’t taken the afternoon off, you’d be the one administering medical aid.”

He stirred twice, but was having difficulty opening his eyes.

“Fortunately, you’re here,” I smiled wryly, “and you have first aid certification.”

“So will you and Rey after next month.”

Linda had taken first aid and CPR training last summer while still in California. Rey and I had discussed doing something similar upon arrival on Oahu. As professional private investigators, first aid was at the top of the list, but other courses like investigative techniques and interviewing methods were also on the agenda.

“Who is this guy? I don’t think you’ve mentioned knowing someone this hunky.” Digging through a kit, she located antiseptic cream and a large bandage.

“He has different names. Cash. Richie J. Richard. He’s a drug dealer.”

Linda stopped and searched his face. “Really?”

“He doesn’t look like one?” I asked drolly.

“I’ve never met one before.”

“Damn.” He winced, and brought a hand to his forehead. “What happened?”

“You got beaned by our favorite beaner,” Linda explained merrily, gently applying cream to the wound before applying the bandage. “She can pack a mighty wallop.”

He squinted upward. “Who are you?”

“Linda Royale.” She peered so closely, they were nearly nose to nose. “I hear you’re a drug dealer.”

A flummoxed gaze shifted from her face to mine. I was standing behind Linda, looking down, hoping the damage was minor enough not to do any serious or permanent damage, but major enough to make him think twice about entering the condo uninvited again. “Did I deserve that? Bitch.”

If looks could kill. “Watch the name calling,” I trilled, getting a glass of water and passing it to Doctor Linda.

She supported his head and got him to drink a third of the glass. “Do you deal locally or on the Mainland, as well? Do you hobnob with guys who have the status of the once-super-rich-and successful ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross and Amado ‘Lord of the Skies’ Fuentes?”

He eyed her as if she were as demented as Norman Bates’ mother.

“Oh, sorry. You probably don’t want to share your criminal life with us. That’s okay.” Linda smiled and he closed his eyes in a give-me-strength cast. “Let’s get you upright.” She assisted him into a more vertical position.

He noticed her dressing. “Did she bean you, too?”

Linda instinctively touched the binding on her head. “This is courtesy of a creep I had the displeasure of not meeting last night.”

“She got dinged by a psycho,” I said simply.

His expression suggested he wasn’t buying it.

Get a copy! https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/can-you-hula-like-hilo-hattie

Connect with Tyler Colins here:

https://www.audible.ca/author/Tyler-Colins/B01KHOZAL2

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14150735.Tyler_Colins

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Tyler%20Colins

https://ca.linkedin.com/in/tyler-colins-24833326

Finally!

An update on my last post, Cyberthief.

More than three weeks after I’ve been hacked, I finally managed to get things in order–more or less–but I’m almost there!

Girl reaching for the moon – according to Pixabay

There was plenty of banging my head on the desk, but I finally decided to try a different route. I hunted an old correspondence with KDP, and after some back and forth and hair-yanking, I finally got permission to create a new account. ✌

I lost all info save for ratings and reviews, but at least I’m back on track.

I also managed a new facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085638402950

Come befriend me!

My facebook author page is floating, untethered, in cyberspace. I’ve been told there’s no way to recover it.

I’m going to give another shot at creating a newsletter, though even as I’m writing this, I’m sighing, aware of how daunting and unfruitful my previous attempts have been. But I can’t stop thinking that if I had a newsletter, I could reach my followers/fans – regardless that they were only a few hundred – and let them know that I’d be moving someday soon.

But that’s a topic for a future post, or not.

This week, I’ll be spending time in my KDP dashboard, preparing my upcoming books for preorder.

Wish me luck!

Cyberthief

Last Friday, someone hacked my gmail account, and then proceeded to hack into all my other accounts. Before Friday, I never used 2 steps authentication. I don’t use a cellphone. I gave my last one to my daughter because I never learned to use a touchscreen, and because as an agoraphobic, I rarely leave the house. When I do, because I’m also blind, I never go alone. If someone wants to call me, they do it through messenger or the landline.

As a person striving to be as independent as I can with limited parameters, sending codes to verify it was me was never a logical step, not when I’d need someone to read me the code, and especially if that someone wasn’t available.

I’d thought separating the email for amazon and the one I use to purchase things from my everyday life was enough to protect myself. That, and the fact I’m a tiny fish in the sea. No not even that – I’m but a grain of sand in the bottom of the ocean.

I didn’t know that when google asked “save this password” that it was hoarding all my passwords into gmail, and that if someone accessed that, they could access all. I thought it only kept it saved on the laptop.

I was so, so wrong.

My brother was able to secure my gmail account, but I lost the fb – both the personal and the author page – and my amazon.

The hacker wasn’t able to steal any money. When he tried buying himself a $25 gift certificate, amazon paused the purchase, suspended my account, and my bank blocked my card because I never bought a gift certificate, and because I’m not in the location where it was issued from.

Yesterday, after spending days trying to recover my accounts, my brother told me that my fb account was gone, that he couldn’t recover it because not only was the password changed, but the email as well, along with the ads manager email for my author page.

I filled amazon’s form to appeal the account suspension, and last night received an email saying that they’re closing my account. They wrote:

“After a review of your details, we have determined it is necessary to close your Amazon.com account. Any pending orders have been canceled.

We may not reply to further emails about this issue.”

They said nothing more, gave no other explanation. Simply signed as

“Account Specialist”

When I tried replying, I got an automated response saying I’ve “written to an account that does not accept incoming e-mails.” It was one of those no-reply emails businesses use to reply to you but that you can’t reply back.

Without an amazon account, I can’t contact amazon or KDP support again.

I don’t know what to do.

My next series is coming out nicely. I’ve finished the first and second book, ordered their covers, finished drafting the third, and am at the end of the fourth. I was planning to release book 1 at the end of September, with the rest following a month apart from the other. But my KDP account is gone.

I cried a lot, because I’m sad, but more because I’m angry.

I’ve been banging my head figuring out how to use amazon for years, always settling for less because not all of their features are accessible to the blind or because I’m not in a “preferred country”. But now, I can’t even settle for less because they won’t allow me that.

Ever see the saying “we look forward to inquiries from marginalized groups, disabled people, lgbtq” and so on? It’s just a propaganda that is thrown out there. When I told Bookbub that their page isn’t accessible to the blind, they told me they were sorry but they didn’t have the bandwidth to upgrade. When I reached out to an agent whose submission guidelines said “except for marginalized groups” they weren’t taking queries, I got an automated response saying that they wouldn’t be taking queries regardless that I followed their instructions. And when I finally did find an agent that did, their “submission form” wasn’t accessible.

I’m trying to look forward. I wrote a bit yesterday and today, tried creating a new fb account (and failed, because apparently they’ve upgraded to non-accessible forms), but everything feels tainted somehow. I didn’t just lose my accounts, I lost years of memories and friendship on facebook, and the possibility of success that amazon offers. I’m realistic enough, and have the experience to know that simply uploading a book to amazon doesn’t mean success, but the hope was there.

Closed doors, open windows

I’m guest posting today at George Rede about my journey to blindness.

Come give it a read:

image of the sea seen through an open window

On July 24th, 2007, my quest to save the last vestiges of my vision began. I left my small apartment in Tallahassee, Florida, with my husband and nine-month-old baby, and drove down to Miami International Airport, because I refused to board a connecting flight to Rio alone. My goal was to undergo glaucoma surgery, which I couldn’t afford in the U.S., but which I could receive in Brazil with my health insurance.

Most people in the U.S. measure normal sight at a distance of twenty feet. A 20/20 vision is the norm, but back then, my ophthalmologist had mine measured at 235/400, according to my medical file (for my left eye). I could see only through the periphery of my left eye, which was my dominant one. With my right, I could see no more than light and shadows.
Whenever I moved and needed to see ahead, I’d look sideways (all the way to the right), so that I’d have the periphery of my left eye focused to the front. It made for awkward moments with people who’d think I was focused somewhere else when talking with them.

Awesome books that deserve more attention

As a binge reader, I often come across many great books that are, for the most part, overlooked by the majority of readers. It’s disappointing to tell a friend, “Hey, I read so and so book,” only to realize the other person not only never heard of the book, but has no idea who the author is.

So, I wanted to start sharing some books I enjoyed very much, but that I think don’t get enough credit.

For this post, I will be introducing The Guild Codex Universe by Annette Marie.

There are four series in this urban fantasy world and one magic system. I’ve read them all and enjoyed each equally.

First, let me introduce you to the series, where the characters are interwoven:

  1. The Guild Codex: Spellbound
  2. The Guild Codex: Demonized
  3. The Guild Codex: Warped
  4. The Guild Codex: Unveiled

And here’s the first book in each one, as well as a goodreads description and a brief thought:

  • Spellbound
Image taken from Goodreads

Starting with Three Mages and a Margarita, this series is complete at eight books, all of which are amazing.

Goodreads description:

“Mages, psychics, sorcerers, druids, demons—and a human with a feisty attitude, no magic, and one last chance at gainful employment.”

I loved the fact that Tori is one tough kick ass human, no hidden powers, no magic at all, but she stands equally to all the supernaturals and is just as badass – and sometimes more.

This was the first book I read by this author, but not the last.

  • Demonized
Image taken from Goodreads

Starting with Taming Demons for Beginners, this series is complete at four books.

Goodreads description:

“When shy bookworm Robin found a hellish creature imprisoned in her uncle’s basement, she never intended to make a contract with the rare, deadly demon. And their contract? His protection in exchange for… cookies. There’s no way that could go wrong.”

Between this one and Spellbound, the two series really come alive. I read them in their reading order, which you can find here.

  • Warped
Image taken from Goodreads

Starting with Warping Minds & Other Misdemeanors

There are three books in this series, though there are more to come, and I can’t wait!

Goodreads description:

“When psychic conman Kit is arrested, all he wants to do is escape. Instead, he finds himself partnered with by-the-books MagiPol agent Lienna and tasked with bringing down his ex-partner-in-crime. That might make escaping custody a tad more difficult.”

Narrated from the pov of a male character and a convict as well, this is, by far, the one to make you laugh in the middle of the night. You can’t help but root for the underdog – and yes, it’s action packed as well.

  • Unveiled
Image taken from Goodreads

Starting with The One and Only Crystal Druid, there are four books published in this series, and like Warped, there are still more to come.

Goodreads description:

“When ex-convict and incompetent witch Saber encounters the notorious Crystal Druid, she tries to kill him. Then she discovers a mysterious fae on a deadly rampage. Together, they have a chance to stop it—if she can resist stabbing her new ally.”

I’ll admit that after reading about Zach as a secondary character in the other three series, I was so excited to finally read his story, that when I finally picked it up and found it told in the female’s pov, I was disappointed. I wanted Zach as the lead character, and for that, my enjoyment dimmed. That doesn’t mean that this series isn’t awesome, because it is, only that I felt betrayed when I picked up the first book and found the story told in someone else’s pov.

So that’s it. Have you ever read any of the above?

There are other books by this author in other worlds – Steel and stone, and they’re great reads as well – yes, I’ve read them all. But to keep this post short, I’ll stop here, for now. Next week, I’ll come back with a new post and a new author.

Do you know any similar books overlooked by the majority? Let me know in the comments below!

The Road to Publishing

While it’s true that the path of writing is a solitary one, getting published isn’t. In fact, there isn’t an author out there who wouldn’t agree with the fact that publishing a book is the work of a team.

While I’d been absent from the blogosphere for most of this year and the last, I spent all my time (the free ones) up in a tree, enjoying the moonlight.

Cat in a tree at night – according to Pixabay.

I mean, in my dreams. In my waking hours (though I might or not have been lucid because I can’t remember how the time passed by), I wrote an upcoming trilogy, which I’ll be posting about in the following weeks.

For today, I wanted to take the time to thank some of the authors who’ve helped and supported me in my latest endeavor.

Author Tyler Colins, for reading my books and for the proofread – but especially for being a good friend. I treasure all the back and forth emails we share. You’re an amazing person, an amazing writer, and an amazing editor.

Thank you. I did sniff back some tears of despair when you told me “house” should be in upper case, but I gritted my teeth and went back through book 1 and book 2, and capitalized all 500+ “house”. And yes, I went over one by one because not all the “houses” in the story belonged to a house of power. But hey, I survived.

Author E. Denise Billups. Thank you for always being there whenever I despair about the layout format. Your help is the reason my books are well-formatted, and I appreciate you always taking the time to reply to my emails, format my books – which sometimes you do more than once because I keep messing it up – and for always replying to my rants. And most of all, thanks for being my friend for the past five years.

I promise I’m learning the war strategy for layout format, and hopefully, one day, you’ll tell me that I’ve done it right. My fingers are crossed. Hopefully, they won’t get stuck like that.

What happens when the competition is gone?

I’ve been hearing about the merger for Penguin Random House with rival Simon & Schuster for some time now. Who here never played monopoly?

Some people say less competition is better, but what they forget to consider is that without competition, options become limited. If the Big 5 becomes 4, there’s nothing stopping another merger to happen, then another, and another, until there’s one publishing house monopolizing the publishing industry.

When competition is gone, there’s no stopping the provider from setting the rules that benefits them the most, with the prices that benefits them the most.

I’ve read an article today that even established author, Stephen King, stood up against the merger, regardless that his books are published by Simon & Schuster.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter!

Here’s a quote, and the link for the article below that.

“Blockbuster horror writer Stephen King testified on Tuesday as the star witness in the Justice Department’s case against the merger of publishing giant Penguin Random House with rival Simon & Schuster. The author, whose own books are published mostly by Simon & Schuster, said he had watched as consolidation in the industry lowered pay for lesser-known colleagues.”

https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/stephen-king-takes-on-big-publishing-5931570/

Still alive!

It’s been months since I’ve last posted here. So much has happened. I’ve started a few times to post, but I never hit the publish button.

The other day, I had the honor to be invited to a fun and entertaining interview by fellow writer and blogger Jonathan Pongratz. He’s the author of Reaper: A Horror Novella, among a few others.

Reaper: A Horror Novella book cover

So, without further ado, come take a look!

***

Through an unknown magic you are teleported to the world of a book you’ve recently read. Where have you ended up?

Jina: Velaris, from A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas. Most make-believe places in books are plagued with war and monsters (at least most books I read), but Velaris is a wonderful place, filled with happy people. So much so that only its citizens know about its existence (to prevent an influx of people and corruption, as well as for protection). To everyone else, Velaris, (or The Court of Night as outsiders know it), believe the place to be in another location, and to be a nightmarish court, fraught with violence.

Jonny: Wow, what a change of scenery from your typical reads! I don’t think I’d know what to do in such a happy setting since I’m used to blood, guts, and scary stuff. Enjoy some deep, calming breaths while it lasts, I suppose.

Woosh! I’ve been transported to D. Wallace Peach’s The Ferryman and the Sea Witch. Oh lordy, I’m terrified of the ocean! As long as I’m in the city of Brid Clarion or Haf Killick I’ll be okay, but put me on a boat and I’ll probably be seasick the entire time. Not to mention the dire fate I’ll suffer from the merrow if I fall overboard. Get me outta here!

Come read the rest – it’s a fun and entertaining post!

Great news–come celebrate with me!

It’s almost Christmas, the year is over. So much has happened in the past two years, a lot of them bad, but there are also some good.

It’s impossible to forget the bad, but I’ve been focusing on the good, and today I’d like to share some of it.

So, I’m excited to announce that From Fame to Ruin is releasing tomorrow!

I’ve spent the last two and a half months on marketing strategies and campaigns, and will be sharing those in the next post so other authors and readers can benefit as well.

But today is for celebrating.

Help me spread the word!

From Fame To Ruin Book Cover

What if surviving a murder attempt, a heartbreak, and the loss of the family business wasn’t the hardest thing you ever faced?

Carol is the sole heir to a broken empire, Ricardo the newest celebrity in the rock world.

When they came together, their fire blazed. When their past caught up, they were left burned, scorched to the ground.

When a psychopath decides it’s payback time, Carol is faced with an impossible choice – save her son or sell her life.

Ricardo wants nothing to do with the woman who played him for a fool, but finds himself moored by circumstances, half truths, and memories of the past.

They say time can heal anything. So far, time’s brought nothing but complications.

This is a standalone romantic thriller told in alternating timelines and point of views. Warnings include character overdose and mentions of child abuse.

AVAILABLE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED AND PAPERBACK FORM.

Universal buy link: https://mybook.to/FromFameToRuin

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58827418-from-fame-to-ruin

Note: I’m getting the hang of posting to wp. It only took me half an hour this time!