Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sweet Little Lies Giveaway: July 28 - August 2

I'm so excited to announce that my new suspense book, "Sweet Little Lies" is now available on Amazon (yay!)

 
To celebrate, I thought it would be cool to give some stuff away, so this entire week (July 28 – August 2) I'm running a promotional contest with some fun prizes:

PRIZE #1
FIVE Kindle Copies of "Sweet Little Lies" (Limit 1 per winner)

PRIZE #2
ONE $25 Amazon Gift Card


PRIZE #3
ONE DVD copy of one of my Favorite Movies about The Dark Side of Love.  To learn more about the movies, read my blog post, here.

Winners choice of:

 

OR

 
OR

 

 
OR

 

OR

 

About "Sweet Little Lies":
What would you do if you found out your husband had been unfaithful?

Divorce him? Take him back?

Kill him?

Mark Monroe becomes the victim of option “C” after his wife, Kelly, discovers evidence of an illicit affair and stabs him to death. In a panic, she flees, deciding she will turn herself in the next day.

But before she can, Kelly learns devastating secrets about her husband, and starts a frantic mission to unravel the mystery of the man she married and murdered – all while trying to stay one step ahead of a dogged police detective determined to bring her to justice.


Praise for "Sweet Little Lies"

"The ending... O.M.G!.. Another amazing story by a great author. Check it out. You won't regret it!"

"This novel starts out with a bang... This book not only impressed me, but wowed me. That doesn’t happen very often. The suspense you feel while waiting to see what happens next will leave you waiting with bated breath, eager to turn the page."

"I highly recommend this book. It was a fast paced gripping novel with quite a few twists and turns."

Fun Extras
To go "Behind the Book" with me, click here.
To hear my "Sweet Little Lies" playlist, click here.
To see who I'd cast in the "Sweet Little Lies" movie, click here.

I've made it easy to enter the contest – just use the Rafflecopter below to choose how you want to submit your entry!
 

Winners will be chosen at random and announced on August 5, 2013
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 15, 2013

Child of the 80s, Girl of the 90s

Anytime some retrospective of the 80’s comes on TV, I’m all over it.  NatGeo recently ran a six part docuseries “The 80s: The Decade That Made Us,” and I was glued.  Being a bonafide Child of the 80s, I remember when we got our news from Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw, that shoulder pads were as essential as shoes and how everyone revolted against New Coke.  I remember when the world premiere of a video on MTV was an event that you stayed up late for on Friday nights; when “Material Girl” by Madonna made its debut, my loyalties forever tilted from Cyndi Lauper to Madge.  For the uninitiated, they were the Britney and Christina of their day. The Demi and Miley…you get the idea).

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love - the Prom King and Queen of the 90s (image from buzzfeed.com)
As nostalgic as I get for the 80s and as much as that decade’s influence continues to be felt, even today, I hold a special place in my heart for what I sometimes think is a forgotten decade: the 90’s.

Remember Melrose Mondays? (image from http://marcharshbarger.blogspot.com)
 
I think for my generation, the 90s is probably like the 70s was for my parent’s generation: a red-headed stepchild forever lost in the shadows to the more glamorous, more revered decade that came before it.  Whenever  my father gets misty for days gone by, it's usually about Motown’s heyday, standing in line to see “The Graduate” and watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon.  When he talks about the 70s, it’s all high gas prices, inflation and a disdain for disco.  Similarly, hardly anybody waxes nostalgic about the 90s with the same fervor as they do the 80s.

Though my childhood is all 80s, all the time, I am unequivocally a Girl of the 90’s.  When I think about the 90’s, I envision matte lipstick, chokers and frilly blouses.  I strutted around in baggy denim overalls with one strap hanging down my back and baby doll dresses with black patent leather lace-ups and thick white socks.  My boyfriend wore Drakkar Noir and Z Cavaricci suits (don’t judge) both of which only made him hotter.  Just the other day, I was reminiscing with someone about “Melrose Mondays,” a time when the FOX bitchfest ruled Monday nights (and my VCR – remember those?).  When Dylan cheated on Brenda with Kelly, I burned (though thankfully, I didn’t chant “Donna Martin Graduate”).  When “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit the airwaves, like everyone else, I was stunned – what WAS that?  I listened to my cassettes of “Born to Sing” by En Vogue and “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe so much, the tape eventually stretched to the point that whenever I listened to them on my Sony Walkman, I could hear the songs on the other side screaming through.

Seriously...only in the 90s (image from buzzfeed.com)
 
My new book, “Sweet Little Lies” is the teeniest, tiniest little homage to the 90s (it’ll be FREE on Amazon July 17-18, if you want to give it a whirl).  The main character, Kelly, was “one of those ubiquitous 90s supermodels,” and part of the action takes place during that time.  When I sat down to write it, I did want to include a little bit of that 90s flavor in the book and even came up with a playlist drawn largely from tunes from that decade (check out the playlist here), such as “Freedom ’90,” “My Lovin’(You’re Never Gonna Get It,” and “Supermodel.”  It’s kind of fun for me to think about Kelly rocking out to the same songs and wearing some of the same fashions as I did back in the day…after all, writers always put a little bit of themselves into their characters J   

While the 80s may get all the glory, the 90s was a highly impactful decade that shouldn’t be taken so lightly.  It birthed Lilith Fair and Lollapalooza. It was the 1992 L.A. riots.  It was O.J. and Monica Lewinsky.  It was Must-See-TV on NBC.  It was the rise of hip hop, boy bands, Spice Girls and grunge.  On a personal note, the 90’s was when adolescence and adulthood collided for me.  It’s when I started high school, moved to Chicago, got my first job, went to college, fell in love for the first time and began my career.  Many of the close friendships I have today were formed in the 90s. Not to go all “Wonder Years” or anything, but the decade played a huge part in who I am today (alright, alright…insert my Kevin Arnold voiceover here.)

So, while I’ll continue to worship at the altar of the 80s, there’ll always be a little room up there for the 90s.

And rightfully so.

 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Great Summer Reads Hop! - July 9 - 13


Find Your Next Great Summer Read!

 
 
Welcome to the Great Summer Reads Hop hosted by Author Cindy C Bennett, featuring books that make for a great summer read!

Enter my giveaway and then click on any link in the linky list at the bottom of this post to hop over to the other blogs participating to win more great prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yes, You Need a Proofreader

Back in the way back day, I was the lone PR person working for an advertising agency and as such, I became the de facto proofreader for every proposal, report and piece of ad copy that came out of the agency (well that and because of my perfectionist Virgo tendencies, which will be the death of me one day).  It was really easy for me to point out the flaws of what someone else wrote, but doing it for myself?  Forget it.  I would always miss something.

Always.

Now that I’ve joined the ranks of Indie authors, having my manuscripts professionally proofread is right up there with having an actual graphic designer create my eBook covers (thank you, Torrie Cooney!).  It’s an essential component to the overall presentation of my book.  I’m always perplexed by the debate that continues to rage on in the world of Indies about whether or not to have a professional edit/proofread their work.

Granted, trying to figure out the distinction between an editor and a proofreader can be a little confusing, so here’s a little breakdown of the differences:

A proofreader checks your work for typos, spelling, punctuation and spacing issues.

A content editor reviews manuscript inconsistencies in style, theme, character behavior/speech and overall readability.    

A line editor (sometimes called a copy editor) is similar to a proofreader (in fact, the two are sometimes interchangeable).  A line editor will go over each line for clarity to make sure your work really sings.   

At the very least, engaging with a proofreader should be high on your pre-publication checklist (your beta readers can give you guidance with the content editing).

Some Indies decide to proofread their own manuscripts, arguing that 1) they can do a better job than any professional because they know their work best 2) they can’t afford to retain a professional proofreader and 3) traditionally published books sometimes have typos.

While it’s true authors know their work better than anyone, that’s exactly the reason why proofreading it yourself is a bad idea.  You look at the words so often that you start to see what you think is there or what you meant to be there, not what is actually there.  And that inevitably leads to missed typos, missed misspellings and missed punctuation, among other issues.  No one is immune and it doesn’t make you somehow less of an author/writer because you missed a typo or spell check didn’t know the difference between “through” and “threw” (as Stephen King reminds us, as writers… we need to make sure we know the difference.  And if your proofreader doesn’t know… find a new proofreader!  Just don’t let it convince you that you don’t need one – it just means it’s not the proofreader for you J).

Another common refrain is not being able to afford it.  My philosophy is “find the money.”  Put aside a little bit of money at a time while you’re writing your book so when it comes time to engage with a proofreader, you’ve already got a fund established.  Get creative.  Are you a professional chef?  Offer to cook a private dinner for four in exchange for proofreading services.  An IT whiz?  Exchange computer services for proofreading services.  Don’t have a skill to trade? Propose a payment plan. There are a lot of different ways to make it work.  Truly, a professional proofreader is the best and biggest investment you can make in your book.

I recently read a traditionally published book that had three typos; two bonafide typos and one that just skated on this side of being a typo.  Surprising?  A little.  Reason to adamantly refuse having my own book proofread because I once in a while see a typo in a traditionally published book, which somehow makes it okay to skip the process entirely?  No way.  It’s a ridiculous justification and really, we’re all better than that.  I’ve seen reviews from readers where they counted up typos in books that numbered in the three digits.  I can forgive a book with a minor typo here and there; but a book riddled with them?  Can’t and won’t do it.  And why should we think it’s okay to ask our readers to (literally) pay for our mistakes? 

So how do you find a proofreader anyway?  Here are just a few ways to do it:

1)   Look in the acknowledgement pages of other authors books for the names of their proofreaders

2)   Try the Yellow Pages at Kboards.com (formerly Kindleboards)

3)   Good old Google

4)   Reach out to a former English professor/teacher to if they might be able to recommend someone or if they themselves might be interested in proofreading your manuscript

5)   Talk to your fellow writers and find out who they use

You can ask for a sample edit to get a feel for a proofreader’s work.  Don’t be afraid to ask for references and don’t be afraid to do a bit of comparison shopping to find the best fit for you.

Please forgive any typos you see in this post – I proofread it myself. J