#NewRelease: The Immortal Mark, by @Amy_Sparling

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From the bestselling author of Summer Unplugged, The Immortal Mark is the first in a new paranormal romance series by Amy Sparling.

The only thing Cara got for her eighteenth birthday was an unexpected invitation to move out of her uncle’s house. College isn’t an option for a poor girl with average grades, so when her best friend Riley finds them a mysterious job opportunity that includes room and board, Cara is interested but thinks it sounds too good to be true.

The night before their interview, Cara has an epic night out with Theo, an impossibly handsome guy she just met. He’s charismatic, a little mysterious, and it feels like she’s known him her whole life.

When she runs into him at her interview, he’s cold and elusive. He makes it very clear that he doesn’t want her working with him, which only makes their mutual attraction burn hotter. Cara takes the job for Riley’s sake and promises herself she’ll avoid this jerk and his mood swings, no matter how hard it is to keep away from him.

Soon she finds out her millionaire employers aren’t normal guys who live and travel in luxury. They’re immortals. Theo wasn’t trying to ruin her job prospects. He was trying to save her life, because the girls they hire never make it out alive.

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You can grab a copy of this book from

Amazon

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About the Author:

Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She also writes books for older teens under the name Cheyanne Young.

Find out more:

#NewRelease: Lana’s Ex Prom Date, by @Amy_Sparling

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Lana Clarke just got asked out by one of the hottest guys in school. Toby Fitzgerald is undeniably gorgeous, but his charismatic personality makes Lana the envy of every girl at West Canyon High School. Senior prom is right around the corner, and although Lana had planned on a stag outing with her friends, Ashlyn and Bennet, Toby asks her to be his date in the most romantic way ever. Her friends are bummed, but support her anyway. After all, Toby Fitzgerald is the boyfriend everyone wants.

Lana’s life is now perfect—until Toby breaks up with her three days before prom.

But he’s a nice guy, and he still wants to take her to prom as a friend. After all, they’d already rented a limo and picked out Lana’s dress together. Her friends think she shouldn’t ditch them for a guy who ditched her, but when she discovers Toby’s secret, she’ll have to choose between lying to her friends, or lying to the whole school.

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You can grab a copy of this book from

Amazon

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About the Author:

Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She also writes books for older teens under the name Cheyanne Young.

Find out more:

#NewRelease: When Zoey Fell Too Hard, by @Amy_Sparling

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Zoey Caplan has led a sheltered life, but it’s never really bothered her. In fact, she just went on a date with a super hot senior, thank you very much. But what she thought was a fun date leads to a new nickname on the school’s unofficial Dis List: Biggest Prude. Maybe if she wasn’t such a pathetically good rule follower, she could get her name off the list. Maybe, just maybe, if Zoey started living less like an old lady and more like a seventeen-year-old girl, she could experience high school like everyone else does.

Fed up with being a loser, Zoey decides to experience all the things she’s missed out on over the years: parties, underage drinking, ditching class, and most off all, hooking up. Guys seem to love the attention she gives them, all except for Jonah Thedford. The gorgeous bad boy can flirt better than anyone but he’s the only guy immune to Zoey’s charms. And yeah, he’s the one she truly wants, but in order to stop being a prude, Zoey gives her affection to other guys instead.

It turns out that crossing over to the dark side is easy. Almost too easy. The moment Zoey’s name drops off the Dis List, it’s added right back.

As Biggest Slut.

If she wants to make things right again, she’ll have to change a few things in her new crazy life. Luckily, Jonah is more than willing to help her.

This book has mature content and some profanity. Recommended for older teen readers.

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You can grab a copy of this book from

Amazon

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About the Author:

Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She also writes books for older teens under the name Cheyanne Young.

Find out more:

#Review: In Every Way, by @Amy_Sparling

in-every-wayTitle: In Every Way
Author: Amy Sparling
Rating: 5/5 stars

“It’s the start of summer and Josh Graham will be working at his parent’s surf shop. When his best friend Colby goes on vacation, Josh is stuck working with Bryce—and all of Bryce’s terrible ideas for summer. They make a list of what the “perfect girlfriend” would be like, and now they plan to find her. It shouldn’t be too hard, since Josh is one of the hottest, most popular guys in school. Right?

Bess Navarre would rather read a book than go outside. She’s chubby, dorky, and a self-proclaimed loser. But when her grandmother volunteers her to work at a boutique on the beach, Bess has to comply, no matter how humiliating it is. Bikinis and Bess do not go together, and now she feels even dorkier than ever.

When Bess and Josh’s paths collide, sparks fly. But it won’t be that easy. Bryce wants Josh to date a supermodel. And although Bess might just fit all of the things on Josh’s list, she won’t give herself a chance to figure it out. (description from Goodreads)

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I’ve never read Sparling’s work before now, and I’m glad I started with this book. The description is what grabbed me. It sounded like a quick, light beach read of a romance. With summer winding down, the setting is something that definitely caught my eye, but there was more to the story that kept me reading.

I haven’t read many books set in that in-between time after high school graduation and before college starts. It’s a strange summer in limbo and a lot happens in an adolescence’s life. I enjoyed that aspect of this story. Both Josh and Bess grow over the period of time this book takes place. They’re done being high schoolers, but not quite adults. There’s young love, but maturity between both at times. It’s a fresh take on romances for me.

Sparling also touches on bullying, popularity, and self esteem issues in the book. Both are very real for the age group of these characters to deal with. They make the characters who they are, while at the same time the book isn’t bogged down by drilling these into the reader’s head. It’s there, it’s important, but the characters slowly overcome issues and I enjoyed how the author did it. And even in the end, like in real life, things don’t go away magically. People, and the characters in this book, need time to work through things.

In Plain Sight is a book that deals with Josh and Bess’ friends and if it’s anything like In Every Way was, I know I’m going to enjoy it. This book was a great way to end my summer reading. Maybe I can start my fall with more from the author.

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You can grab this book from:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She also writes books for older teens under the name Cheyanne Young.

Find out more:

#Review: Ari, by @thesmboyce

AriTitle: Ari (To Each His Ghost #1)
Author: S.M. Boyce
Rating: 4/5 stars

A Ghostly Paranormal Horror Novel

The moment Ari Bowers stepped inside the abandoned farmhouse on the outskirts of White Haven, Pennsylvania, she wanted to hightail it out of there like the ghost-fearing girl she was. Instead, she let her crush, Marcus Wagner, lead her into the shadows.

Oops.

As she predicted, they ran out screaming. But something followed her home.

Since that night, Ari is haunted by something she can’t see. It watches her when she sleeps. It caresses her in the shower. It carves words into her skin and lives alongside her, never satisfied with her terror. It always wants more, and Ari begins to fear it will take her and her date back to the farmhouse… forever.

For Ari and Marcus, it’s not a matter of whether or not monsters are real; It’s a life-or-death race to figure out which one is out to drag their souls to hell.” (description from Goodreads)

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S.M. Boyce is back with a new series and a new genre. She’s also back as a gateway for this reader to explore this genre more.

Ari is the first book in S.M. Boyce’s brand new series To Each His Ghost. Previously I’ve only read fantasy from this author. Her Grimoire Saga is one of my favorite series of all-time. I won’t lie. The previous series was fantasy. There was magic, world building, incredible creatures. All the elements that make fantasy great. I wasn’t sure how the transition to a new genre would work for me. Would Boyce be able to pull it off? The answer: Yes. Yes, she did. And I think she did it very well, even coming from a novice horror reader like me.

The only thing that wasn’t working for me with this book was the switching of points of view in the beginning of the book. The book, throughout, is told from a 3rd person POV and alternates focus on Ari and Marcus. They’re the two main characters. And the switches happen at chapter breaks. In the beginning I felt like the switch was happening a little too often and I wasn’t able to get a good feel for the characters. Well, I enjoyed Ari from the start. She felt like the real lead. Marcus on the other hand isn’t a likeable character. That’s how he’s written and there’s no issue with that. I think his sections were a little short and I wasn’t caring as much for him. This all changed as I kept reading, though. It actually really pulled itself together once I gave it time. I think it was how the book was meant to be done. In the end, I grew to like both characters (and some of the minor ones that come along the way). Marcus grew on me, even if I didn’t expect him to.

The horror elements of this book were great. As I said already, I’m not the biggest of horror readers, but I know what’ll scare people. I don’t get scared from books. I don’t even cry during the saddest moments of some. (Maybe I have no soul.) Despite this, Boyce was able to paint a great visual in my mind of the ghosts, demons, and other horrific parts of the book. She didn’t hold back much either. I helped when I read this book at night with only my book lamp on. Added to the overall atmosphere as I read along.

Would I recommend this book to other readers? Definitely. I had a great time reading it. I also want to try more horror now. I’m looking forward to other books in this series. I think horror lovers will enjoy it as much as I did, and I don’t think it’ll turn away non-horror readers, either. Yes, it’s scary, but there’s a great story underneath it all, too.

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Want a copy of this book? You can find it on:

AmazonB&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author

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When S. M. Boyce graduated with a degree in creative writing, she realized that made her well-qualified for serving French fries. It would take years of writing hundreds of thousands of words of all kinds before she became the bestselling action and adventure author she is today.

Boyce specializes in action-packed stories that weave in fantasy, mystery, and heroines with an knack for mischief. All romantic leads are based loosely on her husband, who proves that soulmates are real. She has a deep love for ghosts, magic, and spooky things. If you’ve already finished her books, check out her blog or twitter feed for a dash of adventure.

Find out more:

#NewRelease: ARI by @thesmboyce

Y’all remember S.M. Boyce…right? Who am I kidding? If you don’t know who S.M. Boyce is, then you probably haven’t been reading the blog for too long. If that’s the case, then I have a treat for you. If you know of Boyce already, the treat is also for you.

THERE’S A NEW S.M. BOYCE BOOK OUT TODAY!!!!!!!!!

S.M. Boyce, the author of the 4-book fantasy series The Grimorie Saga, kicks off a new series today, Valentine’s Day. To Each His ghost is a look into Boyce’s darker side. A step into the horror genre. We got a little taste of dark things in Grimoire, but this is so much more. I should know. I’m almost done reading an ARC of it right now. (Really close to finishing. Keep an eye out for a review very soon.)

I think fans of horror will enjoy this book. If you’re not into horror too much, you might still wind up liking it. Fans of Boyce’s writing in general…I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the least. And don’t worry, there’s more Ourean Chronicles to come in the future. Boyce isn’t leaving Ourea and the Grimoire completely. Not yet. We’re just getting even more to read!

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Ari

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A Ghostly Paranormal Horror Novel

The moment Ari Bowers stepped inside the abandoned farmhouse on the outskirts of White Haven, Pennsylvania, she wanted to hightail it out of there like the ghost-fearing girl she was. Instead, she let her crush, Marcus Wagner, lead her into the shadows.

Oops.

As she predicted, they ran out screaming. But something followed her home.

Since that night, Ari is haunted by something she can’t see. It watches her when she sleeps. It caresses her in the shower. It carves words into her skin and lives alongside her, never satisfied with her terror. It always wants more, and Ari begins to fear it will take her and her date back to the farmhouse… forever.

For Ari and Marcus, it’s not a matter of whether or not monsters are real; It’s a life-or-death race to figure out which one is out to drag their souls to hell.

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Want a copy of this book? You can find it on:

AmazonB&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author

Boyce 300

When S. M. Boyce graduated with a degree in creative writing, she realized that made her well-qualified for serving French fries. It would take years of writing hundreds of thousands of words of all kinds before she became the bestselling action and adventure author she is today.

Boyce specializes in action-packed stories that weave in fantasy, mystery, and heroines with an knack for mischief. All romantic leads are based loosely on her husband, who proves that soulmates are real. She has a deep love for ghosts, magic, and spooky things. If you’ve already finished her books, check out her blog or twitter feed for a dash of adventure.

Find out more:

Guest Post by @AuthorLHerman: The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

a guest post by Louise Herman

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Hello everyone, and I hope you are enjoying the week.

I have decided to take a week’s respite from writing the third book in my YA urban fantasy series, Split Blood, to catch up with author interview and guest post requests. I am looking forward to discussing my thoughts and opinions on the economics of self-publishing a bookas well as giving some advice on what aspects of self-publishing is essential to a budget and what I have experienced as a waste of time and money.

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Why did I decide to Self-Publish my books?

I would love to say it was a choice, however, after I sent a number of emails to literary agents and received no replies, I decided to close my eyes and jump straight into the self-publishing ocean.

It was nerve-racking at first because I had no idea about self-publishing but after a lot of research and learning from my mistakes along the way, I am enjoying the self-publishing journey.

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What are the common misconceptions of self-publishing?

I think the biggest misconception about self-publishing is anyone can publish a successful book in today’s technological world.

For example, you have a great idea for a story, you get so engrossed in writing it, you take the leap and self-publish it on the internet and then you sit back and wait for the big bucks to start rolling in, along with literary agents fighting to represent you, right?

Not quite!

The reality is only a handful of self-published authors break even (the total cost of publishing against the profits of the sales, after each website has taken its percentage) and if you do not have a regular presence on social media sites then you could find it difficult to be seen and network with influential people who can help potential readers find your books.

These people are bloggers and reviewers.

I have built up a good relationship with many bloggers and have added them to my list of ‘Go to People’ when I need to do author interviews (to discuss my past, present and future. This is not all about promoting my work. It is for potential readers to get to know the person behind the books), Guest Posts (topics related to writing that are important to me) and Spotlights (a full discussion about myself, my work and upcoming projects).

It’s also fun to communicate with these bloggers because it is a two way process. They advertise an author on their blog and social media sites, therefore, as an author, I also do the same (I will post the promotional item on my blog, which advertises their blog to my followers, and on my social media sites).

However, not all bloggers work the same way.

Some specialise purely in reviews but some are open to other forms of promotion.

I have found that trying to get reviews can be quite hard because many are overwhelmed with requests and often close their review request channels until they can catch up with the backlog.

While others will state they do not accept requests from self-published authors, with some going as far as to state that they have a problem with the quality of the self-published books they have previously read.

I used to find this slightly insulting but when you take into consideration that they are doing these reviews for free, they should be allowed to have an opinion on what types of books they want to review.

NOTE: Reviews are usually free and reviewers usually have full or part time jobs but review in their spare time. This means try to give at least three months’ notice to your reviewer. If you are asked to pay for a review, try somewhere else! Not only is it slightly frowned upon in the self-publishing industry but it’s just an unnecessary, extra cost to your ever rising budget!

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What are the advantages of self-publishing?

I like that I have the opportunity to learn about online publishing first hand and that I have the chance to communicate with a range of people with similar interests.

I learn something new every week to help enhance my writing and advertising skills and I really enjoy having full control over every aspect of publishing my books.

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What are the challenges of self-publishing?

Although I enjoy having full control over publishing my books, I do sometimes think that it would be nice to have a literary agent to help take on some of the advertising tasks because having full time job, restricts the time I can dedicate to writing and sometimes the advertising infringes on the writing time.

I have also found that it takes a lot of work and effort to gain a strong following. I write Young Adult Urban Fantasy novels, which is a popular genre and I have found that it is extremely difficult to get new followers interested in looking at my new pieces of work if there are no reviews to give them an inclination of how the book has been received by other readers.

There will be potential readers and followers who will read the synopsis and give the books a try but there are some who use reviews to help them decide whether or not it is the kind of story they would enjoy reading.

It is the latter type of follower that bad reviews can affect your potential sales.

Some reviews that are lower than five stars can be disheartening to an author but if they offer constructive criticism (e.g. “there was too much fighting in it”) then it could be a case of what one person dislikes about the storyline, another reader maybe looking for this type of drama.

However, if they give you one star because they “just couldn’t read it because you should never write again”, it offers nothing to a potential reader about the story and many would not take this type of review seriously.

And lastly, I have given out copies of my eBooks for a review in the past, only to be disappointed to never receive one.

It is disheartening but all these things are part of the learning process and have helped me focus on what works and avoid what wastes time and money.

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What are the costs to publish your own book?

Here are the basics of what it cost me to self-publish my first book (The Orcus Games: Blood Moon):

  • Book cover artist –  This is difficult because it depends on the type of cover you want? You can get book cover images from a variety of stock photography sites and prices vary on each site. For a basic book cover with an image that does not need to be edited and text, I would estimate between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Proof-reader or Copy Editor –  Between £600 (~$850) and £1,000 (~$1418) (depending on word count, how many hours it takes them to work on the book and how much work the book needs).
  • eBook Conversation Costs  If you cannot convert your eBooks yourselves then it might be worth getting a professional to do this for you. I convert my books myself but I have received quotes in the past for this type of work and the prices were between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Distribution costs –  (for reviewers who only accept hard copies): I have heard that some websites do give a small discount to authors who buy their own books but I am yet to find these sites. Therefore you would be paying the same price as a customer to purchase your paperback books to send to reviewers. Many authors buy in bulk for this purpose and can spend between £599 (~$849) and £1099 (~$1558) for an order of 100 books.
  • URL for website Having your own website is essential for an author and you can buy domain names from nearly anywhere on the internet at the moment.

I have a website through Fat Cow and bought my URL through them as soon as I set it up.

It cost me approximately £8.99 (~$12.75) to buy the domain name + £60 (~$85) for the year (with added extras).

However, different extensions can either increase or decrease the cost (e.g. com, co.uk, org. Etc.)

  • Publishing sites percentages
    • Amazon – There are two royalty options. (correct as of January 2016)
      • Option 1: Keep 70% of the royalties. However this option is only available to books sold in a specific territory of countries set out by Amazon Kindle. Any books sold outside of these regions will give you a 35% royalty.
      • Option 2: Keep 35% of the royalties. This is the standard royalty rate.
    • Smashwords – (correct as of January 2016)
      • “Smashwords authors and publishers earn 85% or more of the net proceeds from the sale of their works. Net proceeds to author = (sales price minus PayPal payment processing fees)*.85 for sales at Smashwords.com, our retail operation. Authors receive 70.5% for affiliate sales. Smashwords distributes books to most of the major retailers, including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and smaller retailers.  Sales originated by retailers earn authors/publishers 60% of the list price.”
    • Lulu – (correct as of January 2016)
      • Lulu prides itself on working on a 90/10 royalty split, therefore if you have published your book after 6th September 2011 and it is priced at $1.24 or higher then you can qualify for a 90% royalty revenue.

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What advice would you give to someone wanting to self-publish their first book?

There might be something I have missed out because every week I am learning something new about the self-publishing world but so far I have eight tips that would help a new author get started:

  • Test it out on free sites like Wattpad first to see if there is an audience for it and find Beta readers in these groups to help highlight elements that may need extra attention (e.g. such as continuity issues, plot holes, creating believable characters or scenes, etc.)
  • Build up a following and make amendments based on the feedback
  • Get a professional book cover artist (unless you are good with graphics software or you are a good artist)
  • Get your work proofread or copy edited
  • Publish on the main publishing sites
  • Build up a group of regular reviewers
  • Be active on social media (not just to talk about the book but share your interests and get involved in group discussions)
  • Remember success doesn’t happen overnight (it could take years), so continue with your passion and never give up!

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About the author

Louise Herman is a North London Fantasy author obsessed with pear drops sweets and 80s Fantasy films.

In between reading James Herbert novels and drinking too much coffee, she writes Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels.

Louise Herman has currently written five YA Fantasy books to date (December 2015); The Orcus Games Prequel Trilogy and The Split Blood series, which take the reader on a journey of magic, mystery, obsession and forbidden love with seductively dark consequences.

For more information, please go to: www.louisehermanauthor.com

Find out more:

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