Promotions From Vendors Attending The 2019 Winter
Jack VanAllen has spent his long life following the rules and, as a member of the Vampire Committee, he also enforces them. So, when he awakens in an alley next to an illegally-turned vampire who resembles his late wife, he must prove his innocence or suffer the punishment: death. The problem? He doesn’t remember a thing.
Sunshine Petersen’s life as a vampire isn’t getting off to a great start. She’s got no control over her powers, can’t find a job, and sexy Jack is being stand-offish. The only thing she’d like more than catching the creep who turned her is getting Jack into the closest bed. But, could Jack be the one who turned her?
When he and Sunny team up to find the culprit, Jack discovers feelings he hasn’t had in years. But once Sunny finds out he’s keeping a major secret, she disappears. Unfortunately, the man who turned her still has plans…
Jack VanAllen woke and immediately knew something was wrong. Contrary to many myths, vampires never slept, and since becoming one, he’d never passed out.
The cloying scent of wet cardboard and urine heightened his sense of wrongness and he bolted upright. Snow fell off his face and chest. What the hell? Close to six inches covered the ground. How did he end up in a narrow alley beside a dumpster? He searched his memories and came up with…nothing. Blank. Zip. Zilch.
Whatever that bum drank or snorted had sure done a trick on Jack. Damn Frank for wanting to go out in the first place. So what if it was New Year’s Eve? It wasn’t like he hadn’t celebrated over two hundred of them.
Jack brushed the snow off his hair and gazed upward. Crap. The sky should be inky-black, not medium-blue tinged with pink. He scrambled upright, flinging snow in the process, and checked his watch.
Seven-thirty? The sun would rise in less than fifteen minutes. If he didn’t get his ass in gear, he could very well fry, but where the hell was he?
He sloshed through the snow and stumbled over something solid, landing face first in the fluffy stuff. As he stood and spit out the ice crystals, the lump moaned.
“Frank?” He frantically brushed away the snow, uncovering the back of a hooded, blue coat and long, shapely legs. Well, she was definitely not Frank. And her shoes were missing. Damn, she had to be freezing. He pulled the hood down.
Red hair framed a flawless, creamy-white face.
“Clara?” His heart skipped a beat.
No. Wait. Not Clara. This woman sure looked like his long-dead wife, though. Then it hit him. She’d been at the bar Frank had dragged him to. The reason he’d fed from that bum. So what was she doing out here?
“Miss?” He tapped her face. “Come on, sweetheart. Wake up. I can’t stay out here much longer.”
Her head lolled to one side. No, no, no. This couldn’t be. Two bluish welts stood out on her slender neck, a couple of inches apart. Only venom injected into a human would leave those marks and they couldn’t be hidden.
A vampire had turned her.
Damn it. Jack punched the side of the dumpster. The explosive sound echoed in the alley as the container slid several inches. Why? Was the vampire an idiot? There was no way someone had permission to turn her. As a Committee member, he’d have known about it. And why dump her in an alley as if she were trash? None of it made any sense.
The woman moaned, bringing him back to the present. Time was short. If he didn’t get them to safety before sunrise, they were cooked.
Stacy McKitrick fell in love with paranormal romance, decided to write her own and found her passion in life. She used to work in accounting, now she spends her time with vampires and ghosts. Born in California, she currently resides in Ohio with her husband. They have two grown children. You can find more about her on her website at www.StacyMcKitrick.com.
Author of the Bitten by Love and Ghostly Encounters series
I have a monthly newsletter and I sometimes give books away. Interested? Sign up HERE.
Sometimes, the beast gives advanced signals and the rider can anticipate what's coming. Other times, the buck comes as a surprise. Neither one portends good fortune. In the first scenario of anticipation, the rider--consciously or not--braces for the upheaval which can put him or her at a disadvantage when the bucking starts. In the second, the rider may not have the skill to react and counteract in time to avoid eating dirt.
While many reasons exist for softening language, writers often employ five words when one will do to pad their word counts or because they don't know the one correct words that means exactly what they want to say. Or they coin new words because the correct, existing word escapes their sum of knowledge--and they don't think to consult a thesaurus or dictionary.
This results from a general "dumbing down" of education and expectations which further results in an expectation that effective writing means writing for the lowest common denominator of adult reader. Where once publishers encouraged romance writers to write for an eighth grade education level, they now urge writers to write for a 6th grade education level. Somehow the idea of stretching one's vocabulary--easing a reader out of his or her comfort zone with the occasional, uncommon word such that the reader may be spurred to consult a dictionary--has become anathema.
Balderdash. Poppycock. Nonsense.
We learn by venturing beyond our comfort zones. Reading, even for pleasure, offers an opportunity to learn something while being entertained. If that learning happens to be a new word or twelve, then so much the better.
The pitching and heaving of a beast trying its best to rid itself of its rider also describes many other aspects of one's life and career. Frankly, I've experienced many involuntary dismounts, both literal and figurative: efforts that led to disappointment or outright catastrophe.
We are doomed to suffer disappointments large and small. Authors, musicians, and artists especially must learn to cope with the concept, whether rejection comes in the form of negative reviews, low sales, lack of appreciation, whatever. Disappointment following disappointment discourages continued effort; however, I suggest that it should encourage continued improvement. Ask yourself the important questions of why and what. Discover the reasons for failure and learn from them. Then accept that your creative endeavor won't please everyone.
Say what you want about Amazon, that's where book sales happen. Therefore, I play their games and agree to subject myself to their demands for exclusivity.
But I digress. Today's topic on "worth bragging about" began with reviews. The Falcon of Imenotash received a second review this week. Because it's a solid 4-star review, I posted it on Facebook. Hey, it's something for this hen to squawk about.
Because we--women, especially--are taught not to brag, posting praise of our work oftentimes comes across as self-aggrandizing and boastful. We have an inherent distaste for someone who toots her own horn, even though we want to hang out with the popular crowd, to be included in the next big thing, to be known as au courant and hip. We're reluctant to spend our hard-earned money on something likely to disappoint us. We depend upon (reader) reviews to help us make our purchasing decisions. We don't know the people who leave reviews, but, strangely enough, we trust in their candor.
Marketing and advertising capitalize on that desire to align with what's popular, so authors and every other industry out there selling some product or service make an art of tooting our own horns.
It's nice, though, when positive reviews pop up. We can boast without being braggarts because--and this is important, folks--the glowing praise comes from someone else. We aren't telling the world, "Hey, this is the cat's pajamas!" Someone else kindly did that for us and we're just spreading the good news. We all get that warm, fuzzy feeling when we receive praise and recommendations.
For instance, consider these four titles: The Cowboys Heart by Helen Evans, Finding Love Again by Jessica Matthews, The Loving Cowboy by Erica Ratliff, and Falling for the Cowgirl by Holly Watkins. Only one of them has a cumulative rating of better than three stars. In reading the negative reviews, one sees common themes of poor writing, poor editing, and cliffhanger warnings. Despite covers that look professionally designed and book descriptions that hint to good stories (note the suspiciously similar wording in those cover blurbs), reviews warn readers away with comments like this: "So poorly written I stopped reading before half way through because I just couldn't take it any more. Not jjust [sic] the spelling and poor sentence structure but also the absurd details in and needed details left out. Get a new editor. Yikes!!!!"
(By the way, I have not read the above books.)
It's so easy to sink a book's future with poor reviews that every positive one deserves mention. I've received a fair share of negative reviews, which have a purpose beyond warning away potential customers. Negative reviews sprinkled among myriad 5-star reviews add authenticity and veracity. Do you trust a book with an extensive list of only 5-star reviews? Or do you suspect that the author paid or cajoled friends and family to post positive reviews?
When I see an author posting a book promotion wherein the author states that the book is just fabulous, thrilling, amazing, and any other superlative, it immediately draws a snort of disbelief. Toot your own horn and I'll immediately assume you do so because no one else is candid enough to blow it for you. In other words, the book is inferior despite the author's desperation to convince us otherwise.
Authors want reviews. We crave positive reviews, so we can proclaim to the world that someone--someone--liked our stories. We bask in that validation. We preen and congratulate ourselves even while sighing with relief and gratitude. Even a writer assured in his or her craft cannot exempt herself from that roller coaster of neediness, that yearning for approval. Soaking in that temporary warmth of praise, we know the next review might not be so kind.
Authors who haven't achieved best selling status react to positive reviews like Sally Field once famously exclaimed at an awards ceremony: "You like me! You really like me!" Our careers thrive only upon the sufferance of good public opinion. We learn not to toot our own horns, but to let others validate our creativity and mastery of the craft.
We know that pretty is as pretty does.
#HenHousePublishing #HollyBargoBooks #SpringfieldOHBookFair
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
View Guest Author Posts
Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
For more information: