Coming Soon: Death of a Secret

Check it out! Christy Mann, author of the Fogoyle series, has a new July release coming up. Take a look, then swing by social media and give her a follow. You can pre-order Death of Secret on Amazon, May 15. Enjoy!

Death of a Secret
By Christy Mann

Blurb:

Sarah Rosenthal is a Senator’s daughter.  Despite the high-profile lifestyle that comes with her father’s political career, she has managed to avoid most of the chaos.

On the surface, things seem perfect, but perfection never lasts.

When a stranger comes knocking, blackmail in mind, Latham Buchanan steps in to clean up the mess and Sarah’s life takes a dark turn. Her intention to end the madness may just be the end of her.

Release Date: July 15, 2018 on Amazon
Pre-Order May15, 2018
Rating: 18+

About the Author

Christy likes the finer things in life. Taking walks on the beach, tall cups of coffee, and hitting her friends with sticks.  She really enjoys writing things intended to take readers on emotional roller coaster rides.

She spends most of her days sitting in front of a laptop screen yelling at her brain to produce the words while scrolling through Facebook. Sometimes, it does, and from time to time, the words are worth sharing.

As a relatively new member of the SCA, you can find her on the tennis courts at her local park dressed in armor and swinging a “sword” at least one night a week, attending SCA events, or providing heraldry assistance and teaching historical accuracy about shield symbols and name creation.  She enjoys the hell out of it too.

Excerpt:

 

If she had any doubt about it being Latham, she wouldn’t have stopped. Latham was a big guy, but her father was a powerful man and he could take care of this guy for her if it came to that, but she was a big girl now. She was going to fight her own battle.

He was no stranger, and right here right now, she was going to give him what for. She did not get treated by people the way he treated her on Saturday, and he would not treat her like that again.

She steered her car to the grassy shoulder and made an immediate stop. He was driving close enough that she expected him to fly right on past her. Instead, he pulled in behind her and slid to a stop a few feet behind her. His high beams glaring in both mirrors again.

Fire burned in her eyes and nostrils. She swung her door wide open and stepped out, slamming the door shut behind her. She stomped back toward the truck. She reached the driver side door at full steam.

The driver swung his door wide open at just the right moment. The door smacked her in the face, splitting her lip, and sent her flying backward. She landed flat on her back with a thud.

Follow Christy online:

Author webpage https://christymannauthor.wixsite.com/mysite-1

Amazon’s Christy Mann Page   https://www.amazon.com/Christy-Mann

Facebook: Christy Mann-Author page https://www.facebook.com/christylynharu/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter- @cmannauthor

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16168437.Christy_Mann

Other books available by Christy Mann:

Fogoyle: A Short Story: myBook.to/ChristyFogoyle
Fogoyle: A Short Story Two: myBook.to/Fogoyle2
Fogoyle: A Short Story Three: myBook.to/fogoyle3

Guest Post: Michael G. Munz

About two years ago (holy cow, this blog is old…), I hosted author Michael G. Munz as he debuted his novel, Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure. Fast forward a few years through the ever-changing, entropy-laden atmosphere of the modern publishing industry, and Michael found himself in a position that may be familiar to more than one Indie Author out there. I invited him to stop by and talk a bit about how the closing of his publishing house affected him, and how he is working through that to continue his writing career. Sit back, grab a caffeinated (or non-, that’s cool too) beverage of your choice, and check out his take on overcoming disruption in the publishing biz.

Take it away!

~ ~ ~

Two years ago, my comedic fantasy adventure Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, entered the world. While I’d self-published two novels previously, Zeus was my first book to be picked up by a publisher: Seattle-based indie publisher Booktrope. The book opened to great reviews. It gained momentum through word of mouth, association with other popular books in the Amazon system. Zeus Is Dead received multiple book-of-the-year honors last summer, which boosted its visibility even more. Things were going great!

award-spread

Okay, you know that part in a movie where someone says, “Things are going great!” and then, say, zombies with flamethrowers burst in and wreck up the place? Well, last April, Booktrope sent word to all of its authors: the company was going out of business. All books would be removed from publication as of May 31st.

I won’t go into the circumstances of Booktrope closing its doors here. The good news was that I retained the rights to my books (Booktrope had later republished two of my self-published sci-fi novels as well). The bad news is that all of Zeus Is Dead’s associations on Amazon were just gone.

Zeus Is Dead Cover

I didn’t realize that at first. In its final days, Booktrope gave its authors a lot of guidance on republishing their novels. We received the layout files and other things necessary to make the process of publishing under our own label as easy as possible. After creating my own label of Red Muse Press to give the republished versions a greater air of legitimacy (registering the trade name, setting myself up in Washington State as a sole proprietorship, etc.), I got the ebook versions back up. For Amazon, I used Amazon KDP. For Nook, NookPress. For Kobo, Kobo Writing Life, and for iTunes… Well, apparently you can only publish on iBooks if you have a Mac, so I and my PC went through Draft2Digital instead, which is an accepted third party aggregator for iBooks. There was a bit of a (re)learning curve, but it went smoothly enough. I opted to worry about paperback copies later, as my ebook sales had always dwarfed the paperbacks.

So, back to that thing I didn’t realize: While Amazon was great about porting over Zeus Is Dead’s 157 reviews and 4.3 average star rating from the Booktrope version to the new version, there’s something they don’t—and claim “can’t”—port over: the sales rankings and search associations. Zeus Is Dead had a lot of fans who also liked books by more famous authors (e.g. Christopher Moore). You know that “Customers who bought this book also bought…” section? Before, you’d see Zeus Is Dead in that section on some Christopher Moore novels, as well as plenty of other authors. Those associations, built up over two years of marketing, contest awards, and word of mouth, were feeding Zeus Is Dead’s sales.

I tried to get this changed. I emailed Amazon’s Author Central. The answer was apologetic but not helpful: Those things cannot be transferred. Their computer system doesn’t even allow for it. Undeterred, I actually picked up the phone and TALKED to someone at Amazon—which, if you know my introverted proclivities, tells you how desperate I felt. Still no dice. It seemed I would have to start from scratch and crawl my way back into visibility.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve reached out to bloggers (like Infamous Scribbler!) who featured Zeus Is Dead during its initial release. I did a re-release announcement through BargainBooksy, which resulted in enough sales to at least cover the cost of the announcement. I’ve experimented with Twitter ads to drive people either to a page on my website or to the book’s Amazon page, but haven’t had much success. I’ve got an add running on Facebook, targeted toward fans of similar authors to try to regain the lost associations. These seem to be helping, so far, but it’s slow going. My big goal at the moment is to secure a Bookbub promotion for a 99 cent sale, which is always hugely helpful to sales rankings if you can get Bookbub to run it.

money.gif

Zeus Is Dead’s sales numbers for June are about 30% of what they were just before the Booktrope editions went away. I choose to believe that means I’m making some headway, but only time will tell. What stings the most is knowing that the boosts the book had gotten from book of the year contest honors aren’t something I can recapture again. I can’t re-enter the same book, after all. But I suppose I’ll just have to keep working on the Zeus Is Dead sequel, won’t I?

For the record, I’m thinking of calling it Zeus Is Undead.

~ ~ ~

MICHAEL G MUNZ

About Michael G. Munz

Michael G. Munz is an award-winning fantasy and sci-fi writer who is fascinated with Greek mythology. He also possesses what “normal” people might deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though he prefers the term geek-bard: a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none. Or mostly none. There are exceptions. He dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini. Follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, and on his website, michaelgmunz.com.

Breaking before you shine … Guest Post by C.M. Wilson

“It’s okay to be a glow stick. Sometimes you have to break before you shine.”

–        Anonymous

I’ve had a lot of people give me a weird look when I recite that quote. I guess it’s hard to understand it unless you’ve lived it. Or maybe, because I’m shining now, they don’t understand how broken I was before I got to where I’m at now.

My name is C.M. Wilson. I am a best-selling author for BraveGirl Publishing. I have a ton of friends, an amazing boyfriend and from the outside looking in, I seem to have the world at my fingertips. What people can’t see, is that I’m also an adult survivor of childhood bullying.

What you need to understand, is that even though high school eventually ends, the long term effects of bullying do not. It took me decades to finally send in my work to my publisher because I didn’t think I was good enough and I thought that I’d probably quit writing if I got a rejection letter. And it was all because of not dealing with what happened when I was in high school. I let people’s opinions become my reality.

Author C.M. Wilson

Author C.M. Wilson

And then, National Novel Writing Month 2013 came along. I had stopped participating a few years before and hadn’t planned on doing it again. Then, I got in the shower and suddenly, I heard characters start to speak to me (writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia). In that twenty-minute shower, I had the premise, the characters, the motivation and what Glow Stick needed to be about. At the time, it was called High School Ain’t For Sissies.

When I told my boyfriend that I was going to lay my demons out on the paper for people to see, he asked me not to do it. He was concerned that it would hurt me too much to have to relive all of that stuff again. And I appreciated that but I needed to do it like this. I let those demons haunt me for so long that I thought it would be easy to write it out one last time.

 Glow Stick

Without giving the book away, 85% of the book happened. The plot is actually something that I’m surprised didn’t happen. There are 3 scenes that are almost verbatim of what went down. I was having flashbacks when I was writing it, so I worked through it by tapping into those memories and writing what I saw.

I wrote the book in a month and by far, it was the hardest one to write because it took an emotional toll on me. There were a lot of tears. A lot of sleepless nights. But by the time I wrote the last word, I felt like I was cleansed. I felt like I was able to close the book on that part of my life and move on.

I was bullied because, at 12, I was 5 foot 9. And I was a nerd (before being a nerd was cool). I dressed like everybody else, but that’s because my family made sure I looked good. My mom was a single mom and going to school but made sure I didn’t realize just how tight things were. I got picked on because I couldn’t afford things like everyone else. And once it leaked out that my mother was gay, I was picked on for that too.

As I got into high school, the boys got meaner. They started teasing me with the possibility of liking me and then laughed when they realized I thought they were serious.

I kept hearing that high school would fly by. I’m about to celebrate 20 years of being out of it, but while I was in high school, it seemed like it was going to go on forever.

It didn’t, but it affected how I live and deal with people today.

I still have most of the same friends that I did when I was going through all of it because they know the real me.

Because of this, it takes me a very long time to open up to people and show them who I am. However, the first thing I do is tell new people my mother is gay because it saves me time on who I should get close to and who I shouldn’t.

I got through it because of my friends and because of my writing. Even though I can be gun shy, I am a stronger, more empathetic person because of what I went through. But as strong as I am now, I am so freaking glad that I graduated before the information age. Social media has heightened the intensity of bullying. When I got bullied, I could go home and I got a break for a night, a weekend or a summer. And outside of prank calls or tee peeing, I was pretty much left alone. Now, the torment never stops.

There are hate groups and IMs and things are probably being invented that we had never thought of.

Parents, we need to start being more aware of what our children are doing. Ask them what’s going on at school. If there are changes in their demeanor, then find out why. And do something about it. There is something to be said about not allowing lap tops in their rooms or still having parental controls on devices so you know what they aren’t doing. Yes. It’s a hassle. Yes. They’re going to complain. But yes. They’re going to be safe.

This is where I want to talk to the ones being bullied.

My advice is, don’t put up with it. I wouldn’t allow my mom to go to the school and raise the hell she wanted to and I was wrong for that. This has less to do with you and everything to do with the people that are harassing you. You do not deserve what’s being said about you or done to you.

Do not allow what they’re saying to become your reality. Don’t change your appearance, your behavior or what you like just for them to like you. Because at the end of the day, not only will they still not like you, but you won’t like you either. And the most important thing is for you not to lose who you are. As long as you’re comfortable with yourself, then let the haters hate. What other people think of you is none of your business.

Chances are if you’re being bullied, the bullies are miserable too. Their lives aren’t as perfect as they want people to think, in fact, their situation may be worse than yours. This one is hard, but try to have compassion for them and realize that they’re just lashing out.

And finally, turn off social media. They can only get to you if you allow it. You can stop what they say, but you can control your access to it. What you don’t know, won’t hurt you and, in fact, it may save your life. Seeing that stuff day after day and watching strangers jump in on it would make anyone crazy. But it’s up to you how you handle it. Not feeding into it gives them less fuel and they will eventually get bored and go away.

And now, I’m turning my attention to the bullies. Yes, I’m calling you out. Why? Because that’s what you want. You’re not getting the attention you’re seeking at home so you lash out on who you perceive to be weaker than you so can feel better about yourself. Is it working? I didn’t think so. Talk to someone. A relative, a teacher, a friend’s parent – even the kid that you’re picking on. Chances are, they’d understand just what you’re going through. It doesn’t make you cool to pick on the underdog. In fact, it makes you look pretty bad.

We only get one life so we might as well choose to be happy and spread as much of it as we can.

I started this post telling you how I broke. And in one simple statement – I’ll tell you how I started to shine. I wasn’t going to let them win. The things that happened to Camille in the book, actually happened to me. They followed me around for 20 years, and finally, I said enough is enough. So when I wrote the book, I gave them to Camille and when she left those issues at Green River High, so did I.

And that is when I really began to shine. When I freed myself of what other people said. I have really come into my own as a writer and as a person. But, let me say this; I am stronger because I was broken. I know what I will and will not stand for. I do not regret what happened because without it I would not be who I am. And who I am is pretty terrific.

So as I close, I have one last thing to say; “It’s okay to be a glow stick. Sometimes you have to break before you shine.” – Because when you’re breaking, you find out what you’re made of.

~ ~ ~

For more information on Ms. Wilson and Brave Girl Publishing, head over to their Facebook page, or check out their blog.

Book release!

Okay, so a few days ago, I blogged about some upcoming guests. And then NaNo and laundry ate my life. Well, mostly laundry, because I’m really behind on NaNo right now. But let us not dwell on my procrastination, let us check out…

BEAST WITHIN

Book III of The Inhuman Chronicles

Beast Within

New release from Caitlin Hensley. It is currently available on paperback, with Kindle coming soon!

Check back with us for an upcoming interview with author Caitlin Hensley. And check out her stuff, because it’s fun. 😀

Book Launch/Guest Post

Coming this Saturday … a post on writing Young Adult fiction by YA author Caitlin Hensley, whom you may recall from her featured interview. In the post she will talk about some tips for writing YA, one of which is, of course to read YA. One book you may want to start with is Paranormal Legacy, Caitlin’s debut novel, current available for free on Kindle.

Caitlin is embarking on a blog tour to promote the book launch of Untold Promise, the second book in the Inhuman Chronicles series, which will be released tomorrow, July 26. Check back soon for links and info!

In the meantime, my Amazon review for Paranormal Legacy:

“I don’t normally read YA, but I picked this book up and found myself really enjoying it. The prose was clear and polished, and the narrator was a wisecracking, headstrong young lady. This book was seriously funny – I found myself laughing out loud more than once as I was reading. The plot was well-paced and didn’t fall victim to cliche. There were a couple of places where I found my eyebrow raised, mostly over archaic terms like “lady cop” and the like, but it never detracted from the enjoyment of the story. When I saw “Epilogue” at the top of the last chapter and knew the story was about to end, I was disappointed because I want to read the next one. Get writing!!”

Writing After the Silence – Noelle M. Kalipetis (Guest Post)

Two feet away from each other, and we never spoke. Our eyes and fingers flew across keys and screens, composing and destroying lives within minutes, totally silent. Suddenly, out of the quiet, there’d be a voice:

“Hey, dude, what do you think about this?”

And she would commence reading a section of text, carefully constructed but nowhere near to being released to the rest of the world. I’d listen, give my impressions (which were usually along the lines of ‘Dude, that’s awesome, totally go with it.’), and then the silence would resume.

Hours later, there’d be the regroup, which came down to us being incurably thirsty and ravenous for ice cream, mac ‘n cheese, or some other delicious, deep-fried, totally bad for your body but redeeming for your soul sustenance that only writers and teenage boys know how to turn into a meal. And so went the impromptu trip to the A & P for food and soda that was a dollar or less (sometimes we splurged on Ben and Jerry’s and Snapple). Thus refueled, we returned to our writer-caves, also known as the kitchen table or her bedroom, and ran through what we’d written.

Noelle and Jenn on St. Patty's Day. Pretty sure they were again up to no good.

Noelle and Jenn on St. Patty’s Day. Pretty sure they were again up to no good.

So it was writing with my best friend, Jenn. Even when we weren’t out adventuring on the ‘Trail’ (a section of the Appalachian Trail that ran in the swamp and clung to the sides of the mountains beyond), it was a ducky trip no matter where we went. Whether the A & P, which is a cultural center in our little town of Vernon, or the artiste-Mecca that is Warwick just over the New York border, there was always something going on, something to enjoy together.

But like so many things that are enjoyable in the fact that they are simple and pure, it was terrifically interrupted. In 2009, just after I turned 21 and Jenn was 24, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a pediatric cancer that, at the time of its discovery, turned half of the x-ray of her pelvis black with its malignity. Sudden drives to the A & P and Warwick were put on hold as Jenn was admitted to the hospital for the first of what seemed as endless series of chemotherapy treatments. To my everlasting shame, I admit that I didn’t want to visit her in the hospital at first; I was terrified of what I’d find. But my parents, seasoned cancer-friends themselves, expressed the necessity of my presence, and so I tagged along the first time they went down to Morristown.

You always wonder how people can ever be comfortable in hospitals, in beds not their own with wires and drips going to every place on your body that they don’t belong, pumping some manmade chemical into your veins and dowsing you in eternal drowsiness and nausea. Though she wasn’t that bad at first, Jenn sure as hell didn’t look like the fiery best bud I was used to seeing every day when I first walked through that hospital room door.

Me, quiet and careful, “Hey, dude. How you feeling?”

A snort from the bed. “Like shit, how do you think?”

Well, at least she kept her sense of humor. And she would always manage a smile when I walked in.

It became a battle for normalcy. I looked around at all of the equipment and drugs it took to keep my best friend alive, and I was determined to try and bring some sense of what she was, what we were, back to her. It would never be the same, we both knew it, but why add insult to injury? Why not try? Carefully, but try nonetheless.

Noelle & Jenn ... still up to no good.

Noelle & Jenn … still up to no good.

And one of those bits of normalcy that wasn’t as hard to keep intact was our writing. Sure, it was a matter of timing between medications and chemo treatments, getting to a spot where she had enough energy and mental stamina to focus on decoding that handwriting of hers (sorry, dude: love you to death, but your handwriting could rival Da Vinci’s for its illegibility). To make it easier, I encouraged her to start copying her writing, particularly a novel she’d started about a redwinged blackbird and a time-traveling girl, into her laptop. Using the computer was easier than holding a pen and notebook, especially since writing by hand required her to turn any paper a full 90 degrees to the left. Artists.

For three years it went on, with a trip to Scotland in between. Though starting strong, as the cancer metastasized, even clicking the keys on a laptop was too much for her. The days where we would sit in silence, typing away for hours on end, were replaced with watching episodes of “Supernatural” on her iPad because it was less taxing (and, you know, the Winchesters are great creative fodder….That’s our story and I’m sticking to it). But the notebooks would always be on her desk, and I’d push at her, “Did you get to copy any more of the story? I want to read it again.” She answered with the tired sigh of “No” and I’d scold her and we’d go back to watching the iPad. But it always sat at the back of my mind. To me, her writing, finishing the story (she hadn’t yet), would be some kind of salvation. It would change everything, bring it all back to normal. Get rid of the hospital equipment in her bedroom, where we spent so many days and nights growing up. It would bring her back from the edge.

Jenn in Scotland, spending some quiet time.

Jenn in Scotland, spending some quiet time.

In November of 2012, the day after Thanksgiving and just about three weeks after her 27th birthday, Jenn passed away. She slipped into a coma the week before, her witty and persistent sarcasm quieted, which silenced more than just one household for a number of days. She died at home, her family surrounding her, and in her ever-artistic writer style, left a letter for us, to be read “after she croaked” (her words, not mine, I swear!). In a blue envelope, written in her Da Vinci hand, she detailed the fates of her many books (if you could ever see her bedroom, it was nearly floor to ceiling with books, and she read them ALL), her car, her funeral and post-funeral (aka party) arrangements, and the destiny of the numerous notebooks and files we’d composed together and apart.

Noelle's tattoo - a red-winged blackbird alights on a cattail, much as Jenn used to watch from her window.

Noelle’s tattoo – a red-winged blackbird alights on a cattail, much as Jenn used to watch from her window.

“To Noelle, I leave my manuscripts. She knows what to do with them.”

I was still numb from the news; it was only about an hour after I’d been told. When I heard her decree, I was somewhere between a smile and bawling all over again. I didn’t feel unworthy, unsure of what I should do with them. I knew, even if she wasn’t there to tell me directly.

Finish them.

We always planned on writing a book together, but it was one of those things that you always put off, planning to do it but never making the time. This is our chance. She knows I’ll argue with her in my head, and she sure as hell will argue back. But this is her way of letting me keep her, letting me hear her voice going over the lines again, listening to her unique perspective on characters, on plot, on the world.

Right now, her family is going through the notebooks, getting to see a side of her that she allowed me to glimpse when we spent those hours in silence. I can’t wait for the day I can hear her voice again, and let everyone else hear it, too.

Jenn climbs the mountain.

Jenn climbs the mountain.

~~~

Learn more about Noelle and her writings at:

The Dark Myth on Lulu

Author Profile on Goodreads

Like her on Facebook!