Friday, July 27, 2012

Fun Friday

GENERATION Y
-    People born before 1946 were called The Silent generation.
-  People born between 1946 and 1964 are called The Baby Boomers.
-  People born between 1965 and 1979 are Generation X.
-  And people born between 1980 and 2010 are called Generation Y.

Why do we call the last group Generation Y? Well …

Y should I get a job?
Y should I leave home and find my own place?
Y should I get a car when I can borrow yours?
Y should I grow up?

Y should I clean my room?
Y should I wash and iron my own clothes?
Y should I buy any food?
Y should I care what you old folks think?

 But a cartoonist explains it VERY eloquently in this picture.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The NEXT Two Years

Recently, I wrote an entry about what's happened with my writing career over the past two years. Today I want to talk about looking forward to the next two years and what I plan to do differently …

#1 - Reserve a day a week to do absolutely nothing, except maybe read. Working seven days a week is not good, no matter how much you enjoy it. My brain needs some down time.
buildings,females,heels,people,ponytails,readings,reads,skirts,windows,women,personal appearences
#2 - Format my manuscripts from scratch in “Kindle format” – meaning, in 12 point on 18, using section breaks instead of page breaks, etc. I've already started doing this with my new WIP, Ain't Too Proud to Beg.  It saves so much time in the long run.
#3 - Spend less time online. even though I love it, I realize I can’t read everybody’s blog, Facebook messages, or look at all y’all’s Pinterest photos.
#4 - Get out to more literary events. Last year I only made it to two, and that’s pitiful. In previous years, I went to every free/low cost workshop, seminar, book expo or signing I discovered.
#5 - Start a street team. Author Tonya Kappes has done a marvelous job with this. In essence, a street team is comprised of readers, online friends, other authors, anyone that has volunteered to help get the word out about your new book. Of course, there are little perks for these generous souls - free books, swag, discounts. There are some folks who have always helped me promote, and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude, but this will be an official team.
applauding,audiences,Crowds,events,fans,iStockphoto,males,men,mobs,people,Photographs,rugby,screaming,soccer,spectators,sports,stadiums,teenagers,teens,world series,young adult
#6 - Try some innovative ways to promote my books. I have already started by creating new promo postcards to hand out in person. Before I had a separate card for each book with the cover image on one side and the story description and buy links on the other. Now that I have six books out, that doesn’t work very well. 
 #7 - Get all of my books onto other e-tailers. Right now I only put Have You Seen Her? on Bibliocracy and All Romance Books, but I did get the first four onto Kobo last week.
#8 - No more free or 99 cent offers. Been there, done that. These kinds of promotions are fantastic for getting your name out there. As a result of KDP Select, I've gotten my books into the hands of more than 15,000 readers. Not bad... 
#9 - Have a new web site created, since mine is stagnant. I haven't made any major changes on it in two years. This is something I don't plan to do myself, and I've been investigating people/companies to create a new site at a reasonable cost.
#10 - Get a new author picture taken. The current one is almost eight years old, but since I hate taking pictures, I'll have to force myself ...
aperture,close-up,digital cameras,electronics,entertainment,focus,Fotolia,lenses,media,mirroring,optics,photography,technologies,telephoto,wide angle
Well, those are my top ten. If you're an author, what are your plans for the next two years?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fun Friday


HE SAID, I SAID
     
He said to me . ... . I don't know why you wear a bra; you've got nothing to put in it
I said to him .... . . You wear pants don't you.



He said to me ... . ......... Shall we try swapping positions tonight?
I said to him .. That's a good idea - you stand by the stove & sink while I sit on the sofa and do nothing but fart.



He said to me. ... What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?
I said to him . ..... Turn sideways and look in the mirror!



He said to me. . How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper?
I said to him .. .. I don't know; it has never happened.


    

He said to me. . Why is it difficult to find men who are sensitive, caring and Good- looking?
I said to him . . . They already have boyfriends.


He said to me...What do you call a woman who knows where her husband is every night?
I said to him. . .. A widow.



He said to me.... Why are married women heavier than single women?
I said to him .. . .. Single women come home, see what's in the fridge and go to bed..Married women come home, see what's in bed and go to the fridge.


I'm just saying ....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Author Spotlight

Today I have the awesome pleasure of welcoming author Sharon Cooper.


Sharon has just released her new novel, Blue Roses. I'll let her tell you about it.


Where most women would welcome love from a wealthy, good-looking man, Chicago-based investment manager, Dallas Marcel, is not one of them. She will never let a man control her life again. That includes handsome entrepreneur, Tyler Hollister. Dallas is on track to making partner and she’s not letting anything or anyone get in her way. But when her life is put in danger, and a Ponzi scheme ignites a SEC investigation of her firm, she realizes the one man she'd banned from her heart, might be the only one who can save her career and her life.

Tall, dark, and handsome, Tyler Hollister can have any woman he wants, but he only wants one - Dallas. When he starts talking marriage, she breaks things off between them, claiming she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement to hinder her plight to making partner. A chance meeting, six months later, brings them face to face and Tyler soon realizes the intense sexual attraction they once shared is stronger than ever. But he swore he was done with her. Except he finds out her life is in danger, and his protective instincts take over. Can he save her life without losing his heart … again?

Excerpt

         “Man, where are you?”

“I’m on my way.” Tyler Hollister pinned his cell phone between his shoulder and his ear as he fumbled for his keys on his way out of the dentist office.

“You were supposed to be here a half-an-hour ago.”

“Q, I’m sorry. Is the meeting over?”

“Nah, but I don’t know how much longer I can stall for you.”

Tyler glanced at his Breguet watch and hurried to his truck. He knew how much Quinn, his best friend and business partner hated meetings. “Okay, give me ten minutes. My appointment took longer than I thought, but I’m ... damn, I’d know that sexy walk anywhere.” He stopped in his tracks when his eyes zoned in on the beautiful woman on the other side of the street.

“What? Ty, dude what’s up?”

He continued to observe as she made her way to the middle of the semi-crowded block in downtown Milwaukee weaving around people along the way. True to form, she caught the eye of a few guys passing. Tyler chuckled when they turned and enjoyed one more view once she’d passed. She always did have that effect on men. It wasn’t until she stopped to throw something in the trash, that he knew for sure it was her. Dallas Marcel, his ex-girlfriend.

“Q, I’ll call you back.” He disconnected not giving Quinn a chance to respond, and shoved the phone into his pocket. Tyler moved in her direction, stepping around a broken orange and white road barrier sign that was lying in the center of the sidewalk.

He stole a quick glance at Dallas as she came to a stop at the corner to wait for the light to change. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to say hello, he leaned against the brick building to his right, ensuring that she would have to walk past him once the light turned green.

Still gorgeous. Tall, fierce, and dressed to the nines. He loved it when she wore her long, thick hair piled high on top of her head, the way she had it now, with a few curly tendrils hanging down. The look complimented her perfectly sculpted face and revealed her long, sexy neck.

He cursed under his breath and looked away. He didn’t want to still be attracted to the most bullheaded woman he’d ever met. Too independent for her own good, but one of the best investment managers in Chicago, she was a woman on a mission. Her goal in life, or as he saw it, obsession, was to make partner at her firm – which was why she turned down his marriage proposal. According to her, she didn’t have room in her life for a serious relationship, despite the fact that they were perfect together, in every way.

“She threw what we had away, so why am I standing here just to say hello?” He mumbled and slipped a piece of gum into his mouth, not understanding his need to see her again.

His cell phone chirped twice signaling a text message, and he pulled it out of his pocket, and scanned the screen. No need to come - postponed the rest of the meeting until next week. Headed to Bradley Rd. to check on the guys.

Good. One less meeting. Tyler deposited his cell into the inside pocket of his suit jacket and adjusted his tie. As a real estate developer, it seemed most of his days were spent in meetings, reading over contracts, or dealing with building inspectors.

He pushed away from the building and rolled his shoulders just as the light turned green, and Dallas stepped off the curb. Finally, he’d be face-to-face with the woman he’d tried hard to forget, but couldn’t stop thinking about. He took a few steps when suddenly their eyes met, and a sensuous light passed between them. All of the sexual energy, passion and love he once felt for her came rushing back to the surface, and his heart hammered double-time in response. Damn. 

Dallas’s pace slowed, but she continued across the street, her magnetic brown eyes held his attention, immobilizing him. Less than twenty feet from him and it was as if he were seeing her for the first time. A raging fire grew in the pit of his stomach, his hands ached to touch her, and all it had taken was that one look. This is not cool. He quickly pulled his eyes away and looked everywhere but at her, feeling the need to regroup. I’m supposed to be over her.

After a long cleansing breath, he looked up again just in time to see a car barreling toward her.

“Oh shit. Watch out!” he shouted, and then sprinted in her direction.

Screeeeechhhhhh! Boom!

“Nooo!” He yelled as her body bounced off the hood of the car. He slid to a stop before he reached the corner, shock kept him from moving forward. It wasn’t until the four-door dark sedan sped away in the opposite direction that he moved into action.

“Excuse me, excuse me.” He pushed his way through the swarm of people. An icy fear crawled up his spine when he saw her lifeless body on the hard pavement, a puddle of blood   painted the ground near her head. “Oh my God,” he whispered and fell to his knees. “Dallas. Baby…” He caressed her cheek, afraid to move her. His heart pounded against his chest, and beads of sweat surfaced on his forehead as panic rioted within him. “Get some help over here!”

Time ceased as a haunting sense of foreboding wrapped around him when he checked and found her pulse was weak. He needed to do something, but thankfully, in the far distance he could hear the sirens. “Hold on, baby, hold on.”

****

Tyler paced the length of the waiting room battling the emotions wreaking havoc throughout his body. It all seemed so unreal - seeing Dallas in Milwaukee for the first time in six months, and then having to lie about being her husband in order to ride in the ambulance with her. And if that weren’t enough, he had to relive it all just moments ago when he was questioned by the police. God, I can’t believe this happened. He ran a nervous hand down his face, and then jammed it into his front pants pocket. One minute he was admiring Dallas from a distance and in the next moment he witnessed her being run down by an idiot driver.

He dropped down hard onto a nearby paisley printed chair and rested his head against the cold, dingy wall. Through half-opened lids, he glanced around the sparsely furnished room. With small groups of people scattered about, he sat trying to tune out the chatter going on around him.

Mixed feelings rattled in his chest knowing he’d have to face Dallas soon. Sure he was glad to have spotted her hours ago, but when their eyes connected, and all of the old feelings returned, he knew he wasn’t over her. Despite that fact, he couldn’t go back. She’d been the only woman to reject him, and the night she walked out of his life, a part of him left with her. Now here he was, pretending to be her husband in order to get word on her condition. He grunted at the irony of it all.

“Mr. Marcel?” A doctor called out several times before it dawned on Tyler that it was he the doctor was calling. Tyler jumped up from his seat. 

“It’s Hollister. Tyler Hollister. My wife uses her maiden name.” 

“Oh, okay. Well, I’m Doctor Malone,” he said as they shook hands.

“How is she?”

“She’s a very lucky lady.” The doctor, short enough for Tyler to see the bald spot on top of his head, glanced at the chart in his hand. He pushed up the glasses that were perched on the end of his nose. “Your wife has a mild concussion and a broken leg. She had a collapsed lung which we were able to repair. And though her left shoulder and ribs are seriously bruised, there’s no permanent damage. You’re going to notice a few cuts on her face and neck, but they should heal without much scarring. It’ll take a few weeks, but I have no reason to doubt that she’ll make a full recovery.”

Tyler blew out a shaky breath and wiped his forehead with his shirt sleeve. Part of him wanted to turn and leave the building now that he knew Dallas would be okay, but the other part of him wouldn’t let him move.

“Mr. Hollister,” the doctor continued, “your wife is very dehydrated and her blood pressure is dangerously low. Has she ever had a problem with her blood pressure?” He removed his glasses and stuck them into his jacket pocket.

“Not as far as I know.”

“Well, we’re going to continue to monitor her over the next couple of days, get some fluids into her, and see how it goes.”

“So what would cause those things?”

“Exhaustion and malnutrition would be my first guess.”

Her workaholic lifestyle must have caught up with her. “Uh, can I see her?”

“Well, she’s still—”

“Please. I need to see her.”

Purchase your copy today at:
All Romance ebooks (ARe) - http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-blueroses-866846-149.html
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Roses-Reunited-Series-ebook/dp/B008J4NIKS/ref=la_B007WLT1QO_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1342099400&sr=1-3
Barnes and Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-roses-sharon-c-cooper/1112006251?ean=2940014604741
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/180513

About the Author
Sharon C. Cooper lives in Atlanta with her husband and enjoys reading, writing, and rainy days. She writes sweet and contemporary romance, and is currently working on book two of the Reunited Series, Rendezvous with Danger. Sharon is a Pro member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), a member of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and a member of the Page a Day Writers Group. To read more about Sharon, visit www.sharoncooper.net


Connect with Sharon Online:

Email: sharon@sharoncooper.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1575943684&ref=tn_tnmn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Sharon_Cooper1
Subscribe to her blog: http://sharonccooper.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5823574.Sharon_C_Cooper


Friday, July 13, 2012

Fun Friday

Lately I haven't had anything comical to post for my Fun Friday entries, but finally a friend sent me this one. Most men won't think it's funny, but it took me about five minutes to stop laughing when I read it the first time...

***

We've all had trouble with our animals, but I don't think anyone can top this one:

Calling in sick to work makes me uncomfortable. No matter how legitimate my excuse, I always get the feeling that my boss thinks I'm lying.

On one recent occasion, I had a valid reason but lied anyway, because the truth was just too darned humiliating. I simply mentioned that I had sustained a head injury, and I hoped I would feel up to coming in the next day. By then, I reasoned, I could think up a doozy to explain the bandage on the top of my head.

The accident occurred mainly because I had given in to my wife's wishes to adopt a cute little kitty.

Initially, the new acquisition was no problem.

Then one morning, I was taking my shower after breakfast when I heard my wife, Deb, call out to me from the kitchen.

"Honey! The garbage disposal is dead again. Please come reset it."

"You know where the button is," I protested through the shower pitter-patter and steam. "Reset it yourself!"

"But I'm scared!" she persisted. "What if it starts going and sucks me in?"

There was a meaningful pause and then, "C'mon, it'll only take you a second."

So out I came, dripping wet and butt naked, hoping that my silent outraged nudity would make a statement about how I perceived her behaviour as extremely cowardly.

Sighing loudly, I squatted down and stuck my head under the sink to find the button. It is the last action I remember performing.

It struck without warning, and without any respect to my circumstances. No, it wasn't the hexed disposal, drawing me into its gnashing metal teeth. It was our new kitty, who discovered the fascinating dangling objects she spied hanging between my legs.

She had been poised around the corner and stalked me as I reached under the sink. And, at the precise moment when I was most vulnerable, she leapt at the toys I unwittingly offered and snagged them with her needle-like claws.

I lost all rational thought to control orderly bodily movements, blindly rising at a violent rate of speed, with the full weight of a kitten hanging from my masculine region.

Wild animals are sometimes faced with a "fight or flight" syndrome. Men, in this predicament, choose only the "flight" option. I know this from experience. I was fleeing straight up into the air when the sink and cabinet bluntly and forcefully impeded my ascent.

The impact knocked me out cold.

When I awoke, my wife and the paramedics stood over me.

Now there are not many things in this life worse than finding oneself lying on the kitchen floor butt naked in front of a group of "been-there, done-that" paramedics.


Even worse, having been fully briefed by my wife, the paramedics were all snorting loudly as they tried to conduct their work, all the while trying to suppress their hysterical laughter......and not succeeding.

Somehow I lived through it all. A few days later I finally made it back in to the office, where colleagues tried to coax an explanation out of me about my head injury. I kept silent, claiming it was too painful to talk about, which it was.

"What's the matter?" They all asked, "Cat got your tongue?"

If they only knew!

Why is it that only the women laugh at this?



Thursday, July 12, 2012

New review!

Yesterday I got a pleasant surprise - a fantastic review of Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing from book blogger and author Ray Stocks. Just wanted to share it with you here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

RJS Book Review: A Chicki Brown Winner
RJS Book Review

As if my summer wasn't hot enough, I had the exceptional pleasure of reading Chicki Brown's latest novel Aint Nothing Like the Real Thing, e-published on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I'll admit, I wasn't very interested in the book at first because it was categorized as Christian fiction, and (I'm sorry) but Christian romance can be done a little too prudishly for my taste. Not so here. Ms. Brown tells a remarkably realistic story, with all the candor and grace of traditional romance. Her themes are decidedly Christian, but not to the extent that a lover of romance is overpowered or turned off by its message.

The novel follows Dee and Michael, an interracial couple (as you can see from the cover) happily married with a toddler and, owners, individually, of two companies. So, why, if they are so happy, does Michael find his way into a daring affair--with a world famous supermodel no less--he meets in his nightclub? Michael does not fail to make things worse; because Dee feels so betrayed by his infidelity and no longer wants to even see his face, Michael moves out--to the model's home. Yeah, you heard me right. That part truly struck a nerve.

What I loved about this story is that even though it's about an interracial couple, the couple's reactions to one another are typical of any man or woman. While Dee does have her characteristic "black woman" moments telling Michael where to go and how to get off, it is an intimate look at how things in a relationship can go horribly wrong, even when everything looks right. Dee and Michael eventually concede to see their pastor about their marriage, and yes, this is the more Christian element of the story, but there's nothing the pastor tells or shows them about their relationship that a good friend wouldn't say, making the story just as relatable for those without a Christian faith or background.

Ms. Brown paints a vivid picture of this couple's life, even from the opening club scene, which feels authentic and real from the very first line. The lovemaking is described passionately without being overtly crude or racy. I was fascinated and gripped by the surprising twist, which I won't give away here, but enlightened me of the author's incredible storytelling.



4.5/5 suns: This book is a must read, whether or not you believe God can save your soul.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The First Two Years


Last month marked two years that I’ve been an independent published author. On June 25, 2010, I uploaded my novel, Have You Seen Her? to Kindle and a few months later to Barnes & Noble’s Nook. I’d like to share what I believe I have learned along the way.
1)      Hiring a professional editor is essential.

Readers are very particular, and they have the right to be, even if they’re only paying 99 cents for your work. But I have noticed that readers are overly critical of indie authors when it comes to typos, grammatical errors and even formatting errors. Considering the fact that I’ve seen these same types of errors in almost every single book I’ve read recently from major publishers, I think the harsh criticism indie authors have received is extreme.


Even though my critique group read every line of each of my manuscripts, we didn’t catch the errors. I didn’t have the money to hire a professional editor with my first three books, but once the royalties started coming in, I used that money to pay for editing on the last three. Since then, I’ve gone back over the first two and re-edited them myself. One more to go …

2)      Marketing and promotion can take over your life, if you let it.

For a while, I had allowed those tasks to do just that, until I got to the place where I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, irritable and wasn’t fit for human companionship.  I’d made the mistake of trying to do everything, which is virtually impossible.


It didn’t take me long to understand why most bestselling authors have assistants. The amount of work an author needs to do every day is enough for two or even three people. Being an indie author, all of the responsibility falls on you, so it’s imperative to learn how to balance writing, marketing and promotion and your business and personal reading. I’m still learning.

If you are able to hire an author’s assistant, do it. If not, it might be possible to delegate certain tasks to a very organized, trustworthy family member.

Since June 2010, I have also discovered that I am capable of learning anything I need to. Formatting for Kindle and Nook was daunting, but I figured it out and became better at it with each new book. Formatting is just the first challenge an e-book author will face. If new e-authors let the first challenge beat them, surely they will be crushed by the other challenges that are soon to come.


Some new e-book authors allow the formatting to frighten them, and they end up paying a service to do it. If you have the extra cash to do that, I say go for it, but if you’re just starting out and have no budget, this is an unnecessary expense. There are many places where you can get help with your formatting, from the Kindle and PubIt! forums to wonderful sites like http://www.cjs-easy-as-pie.com/. Keep that money in your own pocket.

3)      Entering the social networking world as an author can be unnerving at best. The differences between groups, boards, pages, and networks could fill an encyclopedia volume. It takes time to learn what’s allowed, when and where. A couple of times I got myself banned from a particular board for posting a promo in the wrong thread on the wrong day, but I sucked it up and moved on. In my opinion, if these folks are that picky about an unintentional slip, then I don’t want to be bothered with them. There are thousands of other places to promote.

That being said, online promotion and marketing takes tact, courtesy, the ability to follow instructions, comply with rules or regulations, and submitting to somebody's authority.

4)      Possibly the most important thing I’ve learned is that the indie reading and writing community is incredible. In the past two years, I have met hundreds of wonderful supportive people that have assisted me by answering my questions, directing me to places where I could get help and, most of all, by promoting my work. These folks have invited me to participate in anthologies, to chat with their group online, to speak in person, to visit their blogs/web sites, all free of charge.

The indie book community is an amazing machine that is fueled by reciprocation. When we do unto others as we would have them do unto us, great things happen.

I read that before the advent of electronic publishing, the average self-published author only sold a total of 100 copies of his/her book. E-publishing and social networking have allowed me to sell sixty times that amount in less than twenty-four months. The book bloggers, reviewers, bookclubs, and general book lovers have helped to make my dream possible. Women like Dee Dee Scott are doing a fabulous job in telling the reading public about the work of independent authors like myself. All I can say is thank you! 
I dare not compare myself with Joe Konrath, Amanda Hocking or John Locke, but I do consider myself a successful author. Of course, sales are important, but I have also given away thousands of books in order to build a readership. My readership is growing daily. There is nothing like the joy I get from reading letters from my readers. My readers. Just saying that phrase is surreal. Getting fan mail is amazing, and I answer every single one I receive.

Can’t wait to see what the next two years brings!