Is Facebook’s Messenger The Future?

Back in 2011, Facebook acquired an instant messaging system that would become known as Facebook Messenger. Back then it was used primarily for sending messages between friends, but in time it grew into something more.

Over the years features have been added to the service, and it has become a separate entity from Facebook itself. You don’t even have to have an active Facebook account to use the services available through Messenger (although it does help to have one for certain features).

These days you can send pictures, files, money, and videos and it’s being used by everyone from individuals to companies who want to make it easy to contact them.

What makes it really powerful is the ability to make video calls and send automatic messages.

Well, I’m embarking on an experiment, which I’m hoping some of my readers will join me for.

Messenger allows people and companies to create automated messages through the use of software bots. These bots come in various forms, from sending automatic welcome messages to new subscribers all the way through to gateways to hotel room bookings.

I’m checking out a service called ManyChat, which allows me to create my own Messenger Bot, and customize it’s behavior. My plans are to use it to help readers find out more about my writing, me as a person, and to hold live chat sessions with those readers.

Readers who sign up to join me on Messenger will find themselves following a few questions that will help me introduce them to books that I can be sure they’ll be interested in. This happens by of applying tags to each subscriber, allowing me to send messages that hit a particular group of followers.

If you’re interested in joining me on Messenger, and wouldn’t mind me running the occasional experiment, click this button.

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12 DAYS OF INDIE BOOKS – In conjunction with Our Write Side

Our Write Side (OWS) is a team that has built a writing community dedicated to supporting authors, and providing reviews.

From their inception nearly 10 years ago, the team has continued to grow, as have their range of services. I’m proud to have worked with OWS to feature a number of great authors on this very blog.

What is “12 Days of Indie”?

From December 1st through December 12th OWS will be featuring a selection of books each day. These books will range from $0.00 to $2.99 in price, and their review team is offering up a challenge;

Pick one book per day, and enter your receipt into Rafflecopter for an entry into their prize drawing. Each receipt is one entry, and at the end of the event a winner will be selected to win  an exclusive mug.

More information about the event can be found here

Where Can I Find These Book Lists?

The lists won’t be available until the actual day in question, but I have all the links below…

Day 1 – December 1st
Day 2 – December 2nd
Day 3 – December 3rd
Day 4 – December 4th
Day 5 – December 5th
Day 6 – December 6th
Day 7 – December 7th
Day 8 – December 8th
Day 9 – December 9th
Day 10 – December 10th
Day 11 – December 11th
Day 12 – December 12th

Don’t forget to sign up for the OWS news updates, to get new day’s lists as they are released…

At the end of the event you should have 12 or more great books to start your reading for 2018. If you enjoy those books, please remember to leave reviews.

English Rules Broken – “I before E”

I know I’m not the only one who was taught that “I comes before E, except after C”. But, then as I got older, I discovered an endless supply of words which broke that rule.

My wife brought the above example to my attention last night, after spotting it on a Facebook post, and I knew that I had to share.

There are many more “rules” of the English language that are frequently ignored, or aren’t hard and fast rules, as we’re led to believe. If you have any, please feel free to share them…

Update On My Reader Survey

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a request for feedback from my blog readers. And I’ve been looking at the answers I’ve received so far, and been a little surprised by the answers. But, I will admit, I’m working from a very small sample.

The Top Three Topics People Want More Of:

Book Spotlights

Guest Stories/Poems

Character Interviews

I’m planning to let this survey run until the end of the year, and get as many responses as possible.

While I’m waiting on the end of the year I will be making a few small changes to the post format. If you’re reading this post, you’ve seen two of them already.

A couple of weeks ago I started putting graphic headings in to the posts, instead of just text headers. And today you’ll see everything centered. I want to see if people find this easier to read, or if there is a preference for left justified text formats.

It’s clear that people want to hear more about upcoming books from the Urban Fantasy and Science-Fiction genres. So, I’ll be putting together a plan for reaching out to more authors so that I can provide the best in new books.

Then just before we head into 2018 I’m going to take a look at the final numbers, and work out where this blog will be heading.

Click the banner below to go to my reader survey. Let me know what you like and dislike about my posts, so I can provide material YOU want to read.

Book Spotlight – “Raven’s Gift” by Angel Lawson

Book Blurb

‘Twas five days before Christmas
and all through the Nead,
Not a Raven was ready,
to fulfill Morgan’s needs.

Morgan’s stockings were pulled,
tight over her legs,
In hopes that a guardian
Would soon kneel and beg.

Then to what to her
wondering eyes should appear,
but an idea of how the Ravens
could bring holiday cheer.

Each takes a day,
A tradition is set,
Morgan knows in an instant
that her desires will be met.

In thundering heartbeats,
and wandering hands,
Morgan’s Ravens attend to her eager demands.

Oh Dylan,
Ooh Clinton and hold tight, here comes Bunny
On Sam and with Damien
there’s time for everybody.

Let the countdown begin,
for some holiday cheer,
may Morgan and her Ravens
Have a Happy New Year.

Raven’s Gift is a Christmas Novella that is part of the Raven Queen’s Harem. Readers do not have to have read the series to enjoy this romp of holiday fun!

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book

From the Author

Angel Lawson is a USA Today Bestselling Paranormal Romance author of adult and young adult fiction. She lives with her family in Atlanta and has a lifelong obsession with creating fiction from reality, either with paint or words. On a typical day you can find her writing, reading, plotting her escape from the zombie apocalypse and trying to get the glitter out from under her nails.

Angel’s most recent work is The Death Fields Series, a five book Post-Apocalyptic Thriller. She is the author of the Creature of Habit and The Wraith Series and The Lost Queen. Contemporary novels Serial Summer, FanGirl, and For the Win.

Where To Find Angel Lawson

Facebook, E-mail, Website, Newsletter (Angel Lawson’s Mailing List)

Shaking Things Up & Reader Survey

I know a lot of my readers have been following this blog for a while, and seen a few things change over the time I’ve been running it. And change is a good thing, but it doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to mix things up a little. I have several reasons for wanting to do so:

  1. I’ve been writing this blog since March 2014, and it started out as a very random thing. Updates weren’t all that regular, and I really no plan as to what I was going to write. Posts were written, as and when I came up with an idea, or had something to say.
  2. We’re now more three-and-a-half years down the line, and things have changed a lot. I have particular posts that go out on scheduled days, as well as a lot of guest posts from fellow authors.
  3. I’ve changed a lot in the same period of time, having gone from a hopeful writer, with aspirations of getting into print to a self-publishing author. I’ve also learned a lot more about producing graphics, videos, and appeared on several podcasts.
  4. I’ve even been mailing a weekly blog update email out to my mailing list… (Sign up here, or Join the RSS feed)
  5. In all, I’d like to think I’ve become more professional in many aspects of being a writer and blogger…

But…

At the end of the day, I know what I like to write about, and what kind of guest posts I like to run.

But, I’m not just writing this blog for myself anymore. Since 2014, it’s evolved into something that I hope book lovers enjoy coming and taking a look at.

Sure, I still make the occasional post about my upcoming book releases, or events I’m taking part in, but I’m thinking of making some changes in what I focus on.

So, I’m asking you, my blog readers to help shape the future. The 31 Days of Halloween event covered lot of different types of post…

  • Book Spotlights
  • Author Spotlights
  • Guest Stories/Poems
  • Top 10 posts
  • Event Spotlights
  • Features on particular topics
  • Character interviews

Tell me what you enjoyed most about the event, or even what kind of posts you’d like to see…

Click the banner below to go to the survey.

Author Spotlight – Cassidy Taylor

Introducing Cassidy Taylor

Cassidy Taylor is a fantasy author who studied English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was there that she found her niche in children’s literature, and won the Bill Hooks Award for Young Adult Fiction in 2007. Her first novel, When Rains Fall, is forthcoming in December 2017. The prequel short story, The Dry Season, is available for free on Amazon.

She lives in beautiful North Carolina with her husband, two kids, two dogs, and one cat who thinks he’s a dog.

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

I’m a paralegal by day, writer by night. I’m currently editing my debut novel, When Rains Fall, scheduled to release in December 2017. I also do editing work for authors through Dragon Realm Press.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest story, The Life & Death of Cora Svanros, is available exclusively in Mirrors & Thorns: An OWS Ink Anthology. It is set in the same world as my upcoming novel, When Rains Fall, and loosely based in Greek and Norse mythology.

Cora Svanros, a self-sacrificing slave girl with an iron will, wants nothing more than to protect her little sister. Sold into slavery after the death of their mother, she’s spent the last eight years being tortured by a cruel young chief with an unusual ability. When a seer tells her that to defeat him, she must pluck three feathers from the Crow of Malos, she knows she must try, even if it means dying to get what she needs.

If you like fierce female characters, a bit of magic, and a smoldering god of death and darkness, this is the story for you.

Who is your intended readership?

My stories would be perfect for readers of YA fantasy comparable to SJ Maas or Morgan Rhodes. I have big, complex worlds and character-driven action that wouldn’t be complete without a splash of romance.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was a writer before I could read. One of my earliest memories is making up a story to the Peter Pan picture book when I couldn’t find anyone to read it to me. I wrote through school, majoring in English and Creative Writing in college. I lost focus for a couple years when I graduated and got a desk job, but I’m back at it, more determined than ever.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

Strangely, some of my favorite authors are contemporary writers. Sarah Dessen (who was one of my professors at UNC), Jennifer Weiner, Rebecca Wells, and Becky Albertalli. If I were to narrow it down to fantasy authors, my faithful go-to’s are SJ Maas, Morgan Rhodes, Shannon Hale, and Kristin Cashore.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Read widely and write often. You won’t improve without either of those things.

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

When I’m not working or writing, I’m reading. I read at least 50 books a year, but this includes audiobooks that I listen to during my commute. I also have two young, active children, so I spend a lot of time reading in the gymnastics lobby or during soccer practice.

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

My debut novel, When Rains Fall, will be out in December 2017. It’s the first in a new YA fantasy series. You can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36154732-when-rains-fall.

“When rains fall and tides rise, you must decide on which shore you stand.”

Sibba Hallowtide has never felt like a Fielding, but fierce loyalty to her mother has always kept her close to home. When tragedy strikes, Sibba suddenly has a chance to leave the Fields in search of independence. But unless she can rescue her brother and return him to his rightful place as chief, the duty of clan leadership will fall onto her shoulders.

Rayne Crowheart is not just any rebel, but the daughter of the Casuin emperor, estranged from her family from the time she was only 12. Now, five years later, with the training of an assassin, she returns home on a mission to kill the crown princess—her own little sister—and hand the country over to the rebels. That is, until she makes an unexpected ally who gives her hope there might be another way.

Sibba wants nothing more than to be free, but her journey to save her brother reveals that instead, her destiny may lie in a land across the sea. A land rife with turmoil, rich in magic and revenge, where a new queen is about to take the throne.

Two girls, two worlds, and one destiny collide in the first installment of this new fantasy series.

Mirrors & Thorns: An OWS Ink Anthology


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 Nour, Paul Stansbury, Cassidy Taylor, and J. Lee Strickland.

Buy Now: E-Book

Author Pages:

Amazon

Where to find Cassidy Taylor:

Website, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Newsletter (The Reading Warriors), Facebook