Posted in book review, books, ebook, Indie Author

Book Review: The Hatch By Michelle Saftich

The Hatch by Michelle Saftich is available in paperback and on kindle.

This is a science fiction novel with a twist of paranormal that is intriguing and thrilling to read. It follows the journey of Britta Tate from a young girl to young woman as she struggles with the loss of her mother and the disappearance of her brother. She also must tame her strong psychic abilities by joining the EASA. He brother warned her not to join the agency, but somehow she knows it’s going to lead her to the answers of what happened to her family.

Earth is on the brink of destruction as she sets out to an alien planet to contact another higher form of being. She’s being called there and she doesn’t know why, but she knows it’s important to help Earth and to discover more about her mother and brother.

Along the way she reunites with a fellow EASA member that she remembers meeting as a child. He used to be her brother’s close friend, and now she finds herself getting close to him as well, but in a different way. She also battles her high emotions as she gets closer to the truth of what happened to her family.

This is a masterful story told across space and time. It dives heavily into psychic phenomena as Britta astral travels to reach out to higher vibrational beings and even her lost family. But it is well-balanced with some awesome space travel technology to create a believable world that engrossed me right away.

This is one of the best space traveling books I’ve read in a long time, and I truly hope the author either continues this story with another book, or something close to it.

If you like a good space exploration book and highly character driven plot, this is the book for you!

Posted in a guided journal, better life, journaling, self-empowerment, writing

New Release: I Feel Peaceful Because… A Guided Journal

I am excited to present another project I have been working on the last few months. Here is I Feel Peaceful Because…, a guided journal created specifically to help those who are interested in reaching for good feelings on a regular basis.

I have been on an intense spiritual journey for a deeper discovery of self the past several years, and one of the themes that has continuously popped up for me is the need to feel good. I believe that when we focus on thoughts, emotions, and situations that feel good, we invite more good feeling thoughts, emotions, and situations.

If we do this consistently, we can significantly change our lives for the better over a relatively short period of time. How long that takes really depends on how often negative thoughts and emotions are exchanged for positive (good feeling) thoughts and emotions.

This journal is a really great step to start doing that. It rotates through fourteen different positive emotions for about a three month period. It begins with a short prompt like I feel peaceful because…, and then it’s up to the user of the journal to fill in the rest.

In this journey of discovering what good feelings already exist and why, many more will be revealed, allowing for a deeper, richer, and more positive life all around.

But don’t take my word for it, if you are looking for something to help give you a positive boost, then try this journal and see how it can work for you.

If you do decide to try it out, please consider leaving a review on Amazon to let me and others know how it worked for you. This is the first book in a series of books I am looking to create, so helpful feedback is welcomed. Thank you in advance!

Posted in author, author interview, book series, Indie Author, Self Published, writing

An Author Interview with Michael Taggart

I have had the distinct privilege of being on the editing team for Michael Taggart’s new book Melee Mage. It is the second in his Fledgling God series. I reviewed the first book Misfit Mage last year about this time. Since then, Michael has been working hard at starting and completing the second installment.

Late last year, he contacted me to help with the editing process, and I was glad to do so. I truly enjoyed the characters and the world he built in book one and was excited to help bring the second book to completion. Now that the second book has been published, I thought it would be fun to learn more about this awesome series and the author who wrote it. Check it out below.

You have an amazing series with a lot of great characters. You even have some characters that aren’t human like Penny and Eggy. Can you explain a little bit about these characters and what gave you the idea for them in the first place?

The characters evolved as I wrote them. My writing process is to just write out a bunch of scenes that sound fun––then put them together in a loose outline. From there, I have the characters I want in the book––but in the process of writing them, they change and evolve.

  • Sandy has pretty much stayed true to who I thought she was––Head of Household––wanting to make a positive difference in the world and help new Supernaturals.  In the 3rd book (current project)––she heads off to the Gathering with Jason, so when I write more of her, she may change a bit.
  • John was a complete surprise. I knew he was the maintenance man, part mountain troll, and Sandy’s best friend and lover. I didn’t know he was going to be so much of a prankster. The whole ‘Painted to Circle’ scene in Misfit Mage was a lot of fun that just showed up.
  • Annabeth––Jason needed a best friend in the house. I knew she would be a much older person with health issues, but because of her new magical powers would be growing younger. I didn’t know she would so happy and supportive. That just showed up and I love it! Plus, she hears magic, so it has been very interesting to figure out how to work that in. Her powers are really strong, and allow her to do stuff with charms that shouldn’t be possible (run 3 healing charms at once by humming with them). Even on the physical level, she rocks (She creates her own feedback loop on punching better by listening to how her body is reacting)
  • Penny. It’s been a blast writing for a nonhuman metal character. I knew Jason was going to make a sentient charm, but I didn’t know how much personality she was going to have. I’ve had so much positive feedback from her conversation with Jason about how fleshy people ‘get sick’ and ‘can she watch?’ We even have metal humor and a metal language between her and Eggy.
  • Eggy. I knew I wanted a magic sword in the book. But the idea he didn’t want to be a sword just happened while writing. He wants to be a very ornate vase and sit in the window and watch the world go by while looking pretty. Don’t we all? LOL. I now have lots of ideas for this character as he was created by a supernatural Master over 2000 years ago. He will be able to give Jason a view into the past and secret techniques that have been forgotten.
  • Tyler. I knew he was a good Incubus when I started writing him. I didn’t know how mature he was going to be. He is an amazing friend, lover, and partner for Jason. He takes all the crazy that comes with Jason’s journey and just rolls with it. (watering the flowers––i.e. peeing all over the bathroom, comments from Anna Lykit the imaginary drag queen). He is a lot more than just a super sexy hunka hunka (although he is that too).
  • Jason––he’s turning out just like what I wanted. He’s not perfect and he gets nervous a lot. But he tries hard, has a good heart, and is very creative in his solutions. He’s someone you can root for––as well as full of life and adventure.
  • All Characters––I want them to grow and change too. Sandy and John get married and exchange oaths and magic. That is going to change them a lot as she is a mage and he is a natural. Tyler is starting to search for meaning in his life and is finding that with his relationship with Jason.  This is going to continue as he comes even more out of his protective shell. Jason, of course, is changing all the time. Who knew a mage would be a great physical fighter?

You have a really in-depth world that has a lot of “rules” for the magical/supernatural world. Was there a single inspiration for how you came up with these rules? Or did the rules form as you wrote?

Back in my college years my goal was to be a game designer. I actually made a game as my Senior Design Project and won top honors. After school, I made a 2nd version of the game and released it as shareware. This was back in the days when having 256 colors was a Big Deal and not everyone had a mouse! I got letters from people all over the world saying they really enjoyed it (this was also pre Email! Dang, I’m old.) (I even got a letter from someone in Luxembourg––which is a tiny country of only 1k square miles).

I said all that to say––I love creating a world of simple rules, and then figuring out how to use them to surprise people. I have spreadsheets and documents that I use to put the rules together and make sure that Jason’s power progression is consistent.

Rules are much more than constraints. They allow the reader to feel comfortable in the world. They can settle in, enjoy the characters, and get into the flow of the world. Then, when Jason does something new with his power, it’s surprising and enjoyable for the reader. I was seeing that a lot with the beta readers. As they were reading the book they had notes about what they thought would happen. Then they either guessed right, or were happy to see the world in a new way. It make magic so much more than just a ‘word’ or ‘gesture’. It gets the reader invested in the world and they take it on as their own.

So to answer the question––the rules came first––then the writing. I’m just starting book 3––and realized I still had a few holes in my logic. So I’m taking the time to nail down exactly how a Creative Core works.

Continue reading “An Author Interview with Michael Taggart”
Posted in blog tour, book series, Book Tour, ebook

Blog Post Tour: Power Divided By S. Behr

A runaway princess with elemental powers stumbles upon a thousands-year-old archive of ancient tech that will forever change her utopian kingdom.

The citizens of Amera are blessed with a range of extraordinary powers ­– from telepathy and healing to growing plants and breathing under water. As descendants of genetically modified humans desperate to survive an ice age, Amerans have built a peaceful, prosperous kingdom uniting nine realms, each with their own king and queen.

Violet is a princess of Neyr, the third of the nine realms of Amera, living in the transformed ruins of ancient New York City, high up in the reborn Chrysler building. Born into Neyr’s talented ruling family, she struggles to show evidence of any special power herself. Raised by one of the most powerful healers in Ameran history, Violet wants more than anything to pass her Criterion, a test all citizens must take to prove they are worthy and to find their place in society. But when her powers explode to catastrophic effect in front of her entire court, she runs from the unthinkable damage and misery she has caused.

In her desperate escape, Violet stumbles upon an incredible archive of ancient knowledge and awakens Hailey, an artificial intelligence relic who reveals hidden truths that could be the key to her return home.

But when the sanctuary of the Amera is threatened by humans, old enemies of Amera who live in violent colonies beyond Amera’s borders, Violet must master her burgeoning powers and find a way to protect her idyllic kingdom from the outside world.

A thrilling, action-packed blend of Young Adult fantasy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Perfect for fans of the Lunar Chronicles and Shatter Me series.

Genre Categories: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Power Divided can be purchased at Amazon for Kindle on in paperback.

Author Bio: I love a good story, in all artforms. I have been a professional photographer for nearly 20 years and I had to learn to tell a story with a click of a button and capture the layers of emotion in a single image. Little did I know it was boot camp for writing.
Being an author was a childhood dream and as I got older it seemed to be a dream that grew further out of reach with each passing year. But with encouragement from a lot of friends, new and old, my husband being my biggest cheerleader, The Evolutionaries series has begun with Power Divided.

To keep me company during my writing bubbles are my husband and our fur babies. They love whatever I write, even if they can’t read it but they don’t always love the music I write to. We all have to make sacrifices! And I am still pinching myself ever since I found out, that, recently I became a Featured Author. Power Divided will be in the Feb 15th Issue of Kirkus Magazine.

You can connect with S. Behr through her website, on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Download and read the first chapter of Power Divided

You can also learn more about this book and the author by following Power Divided Blog Book tour. See dates and blogs below.

Posted in blog, blog tour, guest post

Guest Post By Anna Mocikat: Are Book Trailers Useful or a Waste of Money?

Trailers have been around forever in the movie and TV industry. The big studios spend a lot of money on their creation, and even indie films have to come with trailers if they want to succeed in their niche markets. Video game studios also put a lot of effort into the production of trailers, which often show scenes exclusively shot for them.

With the rise of YouTube and social media, trailers have become even more important for the entertainment industry than they used to be in earlier decades.

So, why are book trailers still such a rare phenomenon? And why are many of them so poorly made?

Many indie authors consider the (often costly) option of a trailer for a marketing tool as a waste of money––which is understandable. A good custom-made trailer can cost $300-$500, but of course, there’s no limit on how much can be spent on them. Big publishers often hire marketing companies specialized in TV commercials and easily pay between 10k-50k to advertise the latest books of their bestselling authors.

Others argue that a trailer makes no sense for a book, because, after all, you’re supposed to want to read the book, not watch it like a movie.

I have to admit that ten years ago when book trailers were still a new phenomenon, I thought the same and was therefore surprised when my publisher asked me to have a trailer produced for my book.

However, I completely changed my mind on making trailers since then because of the success of mine.

I have come to believe that book trailers are a valid marketing tool for various reasons.

First of all, our daily life has become much more visual-oriented than ever before. More people are watching YouTube videos nowadays than reading books (sadly). To convince such an audience to give a book a chance, it’s a good move to offer them visual impulses they understand. This is only possible with a trailer. Marketing experts know that moving images are way more powerful than single images, which is why we see short clips as ads for all kinds of products in our feeds on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Secondly, if big publishers are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single trailer for a single book, then it must be worth it. Big publishers never spend money on anything for no reason. They have stone-cold marketing experts who constantly evaluate which strategy is useful and which isn’t. So if it works for the big publishers, then it can also work for Indie and small press authors.

All that being said, I would strongly advise keeping away from making a trailer yourself if your only experience with videography is shooting little videos with your phone and posting them on Facebook.

It’s the same as with book covers. Every book marketing guru will advise you to hire a skilled cover designer instead of trying to photoshop something by yourself. Don’t. Just don’t.

It’s similar with trailers. A bad trailer is counterproductive. It quickly can turn out boring or look amateurish, which will likely scare potential readers off instead of convincing them to buy your book.

The same can be said about so-called “generic” trailers. If you do some research, you will quickly find people willing to make you a trailer for $50-$100. As so often in life, you will experience a simple truth: you get what you pay for. Your trailer will turn out dull, soulless, and/or feature footage and images everyone has seen a hundred times.

If you decide to have a trailer for your book, find someone who will put effort and creativity into it, and who is willing to create something unique for you––as unique as your book, and transporting its essence visually.

There are two kinds of trailers I would recommend:

Continue reading “Guest Post By Anna Mocikat: Are Book Trailers Useful or a Waste of Money?”