Book Spotlight – “Mirrors & Thorns” by OWS Ink, LLC Catterfly Publishing

Book Blurb

Where the fairy tales ends and the reflection begins….
A dark fairy tale collection from the twisted pens of:
J.M. Ames, Kerry E.B. Black, J.K. Allen, C.L. Bledsoe, Lucy Palmer, Stacy Overby, T.S. Dickerson, Edward Ahern, Melanie Noell Bernard, S.L. Scott, Sarah Chamma, Paul Stansbury, Cassidy Taylor, and J. Lee Strickland.

OWS Ink, LLC is very excited to announce the publication of our 2017 anthology, Mirror & Thorns. Just in time for Halloween, these fourteen stories from fourteen different authors will have you curled up on the couch ignoring those trick or treaters! These exceptional tales will stay with you long after the last page. This collection of short stories releases on Wednesday, October, 25th, 2017, and a Facebook Release Party open to the public occurs on October 21, 2017.

The authors have weaved each one of these enchanting stories with quirky and intriguing characters as well as plots with compelling twists. You can learn more about these authors and the anthology by following along with the book blog tour which begins on ourwriteside.com on October 20th. Preorders will begin at the Facebook event on the 21st.

Pre-order Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

Stephanie and Amanda (A.L.) were partnered up during a writing project nearly 10 years ago. They learned they had much more than just writing in common and bonded right away. Over the years, they have supported each other’s other writing and have grown together, eventually adding Heidi to their dynamic duo. This writing relationship naturally evolved into a dream: to build a writing community that would offer others the support they found in each other. Our Write Side was launched in October of 2015 and has seen incredible growth since.

Where To Find OWS Ink, LLC Catterfly Publishing

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Book Spotlight – “A Haunting of Words” by K.N. Johnson

Book Blurb

From Scout Media comes A Haunting of Words—the third volume in an ongoing short story anthology series featuring authors from all over the world.

In this installation, the reader will experience a multi-genre journey beyond traditional haunts; from comedy, to drama, fantasy, romance, and horror, these stories put eclectic spins on the every-day ghost tale. Whether you are running from the ghost of a vengeful mother, falling in love with an apparition, touring with a deceased famous musician, saving a newborn from a possessed crib, or having a specter cat as a sidekick, these stories of hauntings and apparitions will warm your heart, send shivers down your spine, and tickle your funny bone.

Whether to be enlightened, entertained, or momentarily caught up in another world, these selections convey the true spirit of the short story.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

K.N. Johnson’s dark tale “Frigid” won Mythraeum’s Pygmalion contest and is being developed into a short film by Mythraeum, LLC and Loste Films. Filming begins January 2018. Johnson’s work has appeared in Proximity Magazine and Incandescent Mind literary journal. Her short stories are included in the anthologies A Journey of Words, A Haunting of Words, and Polterguests. Her dark science fiction story “Regolith” will appear in Kristell Ink’s upcoming anthology Terra Nullius. “The Clearing” will appear in the anthology On Fire published by Transmundane Press.
For more: Check me out on Facebook

Where To Find K.N. Johnson

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Book Spotlight – “The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove” by Mackenzie Flohr

Book Blurb

A collection of strange tales is set in Graves Grove, a small town in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It sits in a valley between the mountains of the Canadian Rockies. The town is shrouded in mystery, unsolved crimes, and intrigue. The people seem normal superficially, they function well enough. But each one is deeply disturbed, wrapped in secrets and neuroses which drive them to strange behaviors.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback, Hardback

From the Author

Mackenzie Flohr is the author of the popular YA Fantasy series The Rite of Wands, published with BHC Press. Mackenzie grew up in the heartland of America, chasing leprechauns and rainbows and dreaming of angels. A storyteller at heart, she loves to inspire the imagination. Mackenzie makes her home in Michigan, where she is currently penning her next adventure.

Where To Find Mackenzie Flohr

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Book Spotlight – “Bright Needles” by Anais Chartschenko

Book Blurb

Bright Needles is uncompromising poetry. Myth is mixed in equal measure with gritty realism.

Excerpt: Out of the Ashes

into the garden mother.
i need to be born
out of the ashes
the deaths i’ve endured
and the breath i discovered
it all flows mother
i want to know who i am
not just a name but a heart
but i’ve been to the grave.
escape the pressure little one
let her take control
but not anymore! i want to be my
own!
into the garden mother.
i need to be born
out of the ashes
the deaths i’ve endured
and the breath i discovered
i want to absorb it all
i want to be whole.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

Anaïs Chartschenko hails from the Canadian wilderness. She has come to enjoy such modern things as electric tea kettles. Her published works include two collections of poetry, Bright Needles and The Whisper Collector as well as a novel in verse, The Weightless One.

Where To Find Anais Chartschenko

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Book Spotlight – “Ambrosia ” by Heidi Angell

Book Blurb

Whispers to the gods are like honey from a poet’s lips. When several poets raise their voices together, it’s a sacred feast of memories and dreams. Poetry is divine food for the soul, full of emotion and celestial feeling. Join us in our longing, our pain and passion, heartache, logic and insanity, fear, faith, confusion, hope, unity, solitude, daily life, and political strife brought to you by Eric Keizer, A.L. Mabry, Alyssa Trevitt, Mello Sakia, Phillip Matthew Roberts, Sam DeLoach, Stacy Overby, Stephanie Ayers and Veronica Falletta.

As the whispers of muses fly from poet’s lips, join us for this heavenly celebration.

Ambrosia is an eclectic collection of poetry from poets on various walks of life. Their words will jump from the page and brand themselves on your heart. The anthology releases on September 16th, 2017 and there is a book tour, open to the public. Learn more here: http://wp.me/p6KXDO-67E

Reserve Your Copy Now! E-Book

This project was a labor of love between the poets involved and the OWS team. Now we aim to take that love and put it to good use. The royalties from Ambrosia will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org) . This is a cause that all of us at OWS feel strongly about and we are honored to be able to contribute to their efforts and programs. Purchase your own copy on Smashwords or Amazon

To learn more about these poets visit Our Write Side (http://ourwriteside.com) or to learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention visit their website (www.afsp.org).

From the Authors

Ambrosia is an anthology completed by 9 wonderful poets Eric Keizer, A.L. Mabry, Sam DeLoach, Alyssa Trivett, Mello Sakia, Stacy Overby, Phillip Matthew Roberts, Veronica Falletta and Stephanie Ayers, and all royalties will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Where To Find Heidi Angell

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Author Spotlight – Connie Cockrell

I had the pleasure of running into Connie Cockrell a little while ago, and we’ve been talking back and forth about setting up an interview swap. What I didn’t realize when we started talking is just how many genres this amazing woman manages to write in.

I know just how difficult it can be to write different genres, but Connie Cockrell seems to find it effortless. Maybe she’ll give us an insight into just how she does it in this interview. How about it Connie?

[Update: I just found out that this post coincides with Connie’s birthday, so please show her some love]

Introducing Connie Cockrell

A 20-year Air Force career, a manager at a computer operations company, wife, mother, sister and volunteer, provides a rich background for Connie Cockrell’s story-telling.

She writes about whatever comes into her head so her books could be in any genre. She’s published sixteen books, has been included in five anthologies and been published on EveryDayStories.com and FrontierTales.com. Connie’s always on the lookout for a good story idea. Beware, you may be the next one.

 

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I grew up in Gloversville NY and joined the Air Force at eighteen. Lots of life happened the next 20 years, marrying, having a daughter, travelling around the world with the Air Force and retiring after 20 years in the service. Then we retired back to Northville NY where I worked for a computer company then, tired of the snow, moved to Payson AZ. That’s where I started writing on a challenge from my daughter in 2011. I haven’t stopped writing yet!

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My very latest book is a cozy mystery, Mystery at the Book Festival. It’s book 3 in my Jean Hays series. My last science fiction book is Troubled Streets, book 1 in my Zoe Ohale series.

Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare, and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

For Zoe Ohale, life on the streets is hard. Maybe too hard. She is one of the lucky few in the gang to have a place to lay her head, but for the rest an old abandoned warehouse is the best they can hope for to keep out of the rain.

Zoe has debts to pay. On the one side, the Lees are pressuring her to be an informant; on the other, the criminal underworld threatens to swallow her whole. But Zoe would do anything for her gang of orphans, so she shuts up and straddles the line of loyalty between night and day, always teetering on the edge.

But when a new gang of credit thieves comes to Baia Mare, everything is thrown into disarray, and Zoe’s precarious balance starts to crumble. With lies, kidnapping, corruption and even worse in the mix, the city is bound for a descent into anarchy.

Will Zoe find a way to help right a few wrongs? Or will she be the one who ends up needing help?

Who is your intended readership?

Women and girls who are looking for a smart, tough, yet sensitive main character. In the first book, Zoe is 17, so it could be considered a YA story though adults have enjoyed the story, too.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always dabbled at writing. Mostly just a few chapters then I’d toss the whole thing. Then when my daughter challenged me to participate in National Novel Writing Month, she loaned me her copy of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He laid out everything in a way that made total sense to me. I started plotting out my story in mid-October and finished that first book by the end of Nano. I was pretty pumped and I’m still going strong.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I’ll have to say the classic scifi authors like Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and others. Female authors too, C.J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Moon, and so many more. All of my favorites tell compelling stories and with every book, take me on a vacation to far away exotic locations. What’s not to love!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

I’d say find what works for you and follow that. There’s a lot of advice out on the internet about how to be a writer. Some say you need to plot everything out, some say you should work by the seat of your pants. Other advice is to write every day, or edit as you go or don’t edit as you go. All I can say is I know authors who break one or more of all of those rules. Take classes, read craft books and figure out what works for you. You should find joy in writing. If you aren’t, perhaps you’re doing it wrong.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Once when my husband I were travelling west along I40 from Flagstaff, I saw a highway sign for Devil Dog Road. What a great name! I had to write a story based on that and I did. It’s in my collection of Halloween Stories, available on most book retailers

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I like to hike. I belong to a group that goes out and about central Arizona every Tuesday. I also belong to a monthly Bunco group and I started an annual book festival here in Payson.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I have several projects in the works. I have completed a first draft of the second Zoe Ohale story, Troubled Campus. It needs a lot of work so I probably won’t publish it until 2018. Coming out soon, though, is the 4th book in my Brown Rain series, Tested. A dystopian scifi series, the books are novelette or novella length so they’re great fast reads.

Mystery at the Fair

Welcome to Greyson, Arizona. Population: One less than yesterday.

When Jean Hays moved to Greyson, Arizona, she thought she’d found the perfect place in which to get away from her sleazy ex-husband and start over, a fresh beginning far from the big city.

But when she discovers the desiccated corpse of local quilting legend Ina Grange in a storage container on the fairgrounds where she’s volunteering, she inadvertently starts uncovering a deadly conspiracy just under the surface of the sleepy town.

Between managing the annual Greyson fair and pursuing the shadowy trail of destruction left by the murderer, Jean has her hands full dealing with drunken brawls and nasty falls, suspicious ex-wives and keen-sharp knives. And that’s not to mention the stubborn Police Chief himself.

Will Jean find the truth before the killer decides enough is enough?

Troubled Streets

Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare, and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

For Zoe Ohale, life on the streets is hard. Maybe too hard. She is one of the lucky few in the gang to have a place to lay her head, but for the rest an old abandoned warehouse is the best they can hope for to keep out of the rain.

Zoe has debts to pay. On the one side, the Lees are pressuring her to be an informant; on the other, the criminal underworld threatens to swallow her whole. But Zoe would do anything for her gang of orphans, so she shuts up and straddles the line of loyalty between night and day, always teetering on the edge.

But when a new gang of credit thieves comes to Baia Mare, everything is thrown into disarray, and Zoe’s precarious balance starts to crumble. With lies, kidnapping, corruption and even worse in the mix, the city is bound for a descent into anarchy.

Will Zoe find a way to help right a few wrongs? Or will she be the one who ends up needing help?

First Encounter

Seventeen years ago, the brown rain started falling without explanation, without excuse. It killed everything it touched.

Then, after four years of death and destruction, it stopped just as inexplicably.

Now Alyssa and Kyra, two young women from a surviving community, are sent out into a desolate world to look for other survivors. Between Alyssa’s unique power and Kyra’s roguish skills, they might just succeed. But what they end up finding in the outside world, despite its veneer of civility, may be slightly less human than they had been expecting.

Book Buying Links:

Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords

Where to find Connie Cockrell:

Website, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook

B2BCyCon2017, Scavenger Hunts, and Publicity Hounds

A Round-Up of the Weekend

The B2BCyCon event is at an end, but the fun isn’t over, and I’m left wondering what’s happening next.

After spending the best part of two months coordinating over seventy authors, putting together scavenger hunt quizzes, arranging genre tours, and fighting technical issues that could have derailed my planned discussion panels, I’m finding myself with a lot of spare time all of a sudden.

But, that’s not going to stop me working on the post-event activities that will help me get stuff ready for next year, and improve on what we did as a genre.

Things That Went Right:

  • We ran THREE very successful discussion panels, (despite some technical issues on my end). I’d like to thank everyone who took part, either as a panelist, or watched from the sidelines, and commented in the chat. Those videos are still available.
  • The Scavenger Hunt has received a LOT of very POSITIVE feedback. See the breakdown below for some interesting stats.
  • I saw a lot of our genre members interacting with the readers, and other writers, which was great to see, especially from those new to the event.
  • For those of you who took part in live events, discussions, or dropped in to see me fumble my way through running discussion panels for the first time… THANK YOU! This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to do these events, and why I volunteered to do so much behind-the-scenes work this year.
  • Brain to Books launched it’s first anthology collection, with stories provided by participating authors – including “April Fool (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #0.5)”. The proceeds from “Book Dreams: Volume 1” will be funneled back into funding the 2018 CyCon.
  • We were BY FAR the BIGGEST genre at the event, and event though I didn’t manage to reach EVERYONE, I think we all learned a lot along the way.

Things That Went Wrong:

  • For me, it was technical problems on Sunday, that almost canceled the last of the discussion panels.
  • Also, I should NEVER send emails when I’m tired, especially without checking that I changed everything I needed to.
  • The biggest thing we’re looking at behind-the-scenes, for next year, is ways to clean up communication channels, and better represent the various events being run.

The Scavenger Hunt – A Breakdown

The First Lines Scavenger Hunt has apparently been a success on a number of levels. Even though it’s still running until Saturday, I thought I’d give you a breakdown of the stats so far (as of 4/10/17).

  • We had 77 Visitors
  • 13 of those visitors completed the whole quiz
  • The average completion time was 40 minutes, meaning people spent time actually visiting the book pages
  • Of those who completed the quiz, only 2 got a wrong answer (and ONLY one wrong). I’ll NOT be disqualifying them from the prize draw as a result of this, because right answers was never really the goal.
  • 9 of the 13 have agreed to signup for newsletters from the participating authors.
  • On a 1-to-10 scale, 9 people rated this quiz a 10, 1 rated it a 9, 2 rated it a 6, and 1 rated it a 4. From my perspective that means we had an enjoyable quiz, in a format that people found interesting enough to do again.

So in conclusion, I would DEFINITELY run this event again, even if we don’t get any more participation. That said, PLEASE feel free to pass the word around that the quiz is still running, and will close on Saturday night. Here’s the link: https://timothybatesonauthor.typeform.com/to/tshdCP

It Gets Better…

Even more interestingly though… This little quiz drew very positive comments from someone I have followed for a while, and whose opinion I trust. Joan Stewart (AKA The Publicity Hound) is a blogger, publicity consultant, and mentor, who has helped a lot of small businesses and self-published authors become better at marketing what they do, and who they are.

The Publicity Hound puts out a twice-weekly email, with tips, blog posts, videos, training classes and dog videos. In Tuesday’s edition of her email, there was a section on using quizzes as a means to get people’s attention, along with an invitation to have a quiz featured in her blog.

Well, I sent out the information about the Scavenger Hunt quiz, along with a link, and Ms Stewart was very interested in featuring it. I’m very excited by this development, not just because the quiz was really an interesting experiment, but because The Publicity Hound emails and blog posts go out to a massive audience.

We are just discussing some final details, and I’ll post the link if/when it goes live on her blog.

Some Thoughts From Other Participating Authors

Here are some thoughts from other B2BCyCon participating authors:

If you took part in the Cyber Convention, either as a reader, or as an author, I’d love to hear your impressions in the comments.

And here’s those discussion panels for you…