Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Author Donneil Jackson.........."Writing Was My Passion"

                                                   "Writing Was My Passion"

On my website, I say I write because it's an escape. Truth be told, it is. The moment my fingers began clicking against the buttons on my keyboard, or the moment my hand gripped a pen and the words begin to flow fluently on the pages of my notebook.  Donneil D. Jackson has left reality headed straight for La La Land. When I was younger, this used to fun. Escaping was something I looked forward to doing each day. These days-not so much.

There is a scene in the movie, Love and Basketball where Q asks Monica why she stopped playing ball. She told him he it wasn't fun anymore and to leave it alone when he continued to probe. This is how I feel about my current state of writing. Writing is something I have loved forever. Yet it no longer fun.

As quickly as I published my first novel, Chante's Song, my love for writing changed. It was no longer an escape, it was a job. Well let me correct that, writing was the easy part. It was still an escape. Yet, it's all the things that come afterwards that spoiled my milk. Producing a book is simple, writing, editing, and printing copies of your masterpiece. It is everything else that follows, the publishing business that I didn't and still don't like. It had me questioning if this business was for me, and also contemplating giving it up writing. There's so much to publishing.

You have to know who your audience is. I thought I knew but its 5 years later and I just now really understanding who my audience is. You have to know how to reach said audience. And that process is a forever changing process.  You have to market your works to your audience. Facebook and Twitter are not the only outlets you should be using. Arranging book signings are no longer effective, you have to create an event. If you don't know effective ways to target your audience then you have to pay someone to learn, or do it for you. So now the hobby that you loved so much becomes even more expensive.

This brings me back to the line from Love and Basketball. In the end, Monica tells Q she quit basketball because it nolonger fun. Something was missing. And that's exactly how I feel. I battle with it every day. I want to write. I enjoy it. I love receiving feedback from readers. I love observing their reactions while reading and then they ask that famous question, "When is your next book coming out?" This question from my readers is what motivates me. It is this question that is slowly bringing the fun back to writing. It's the anticipation of the readers that is fueling my passion at the moment. I want to get back to that fun place. I always said as long as readers will read I will write. I am going to stand by that sentence and write

Monday, November 18, 2013

Virtual Blog Tour,Winter Swan with Danica Winters


A curse that forbids her to love…A child that he must keep secret…An attack on the culture she holds dear…And a battle that could get them killed… Single dad and professional poker player Chance Landon, hates the world after his ex-wife is found dead in a cheap apartment in rural Idaho On a lone-wolf crusade to find the killer, he instead learns that he is the father of a strange little girl who carries secrets that only a woman like his ex-wife can answer When his ex-wife's killer learns about his daughter's abilities and decides to come after the young girl, Chance enlists the help of the beautifu and deadly swan-shifting nymph, Harper Cygnini nymph, Harper Cygnini who helps to teach him the truth of his daughter's condition Chance soon realizes that he alone can't save his daughter from the sadistic killer and he finds himself in a battle between his head and his heart. Will Chance gamble on a future that involves falling in love— which may wel cost him his life— or is that one bet his is unwilling to take?


Winter Swan is the third book in the Nymph Series. "Where do I begin?" Although, I've only read Winter Swans I have to say I was pleasantly surprised how much I really enjoyed reading this book. I say that because I don't usually read paranormal books; that has changed. Let me say I didn't go into this review process with negative thoughts, but an openess to read in another genre. So, to start this review, I must say for starters I loved Winter Swans book cover. It was just breath taking. There was a peaceful beauty about it.(elegance).
This was a sweet and suspenseful love story about two people; Chance & Harper.
Harper a cursed nymph swan shifter who life has been cursed to live out her days alone, and Chance, a drifting poker player. Meeting Chance opens a whole new world for Harper, with reservations. Chance feels the instant chemistry between them as well, but for his own reasons, remains skeptical. Their were characters named in this book from the two previous books to this series that I couldn't relate to, but it was still an easy read to follow.
What really made the story even more interesting was the mysterious woman that approached Harper asking her to find a man for her and then she just disappears. Once the man is located, Chance goes along with Harper to tell the woman and they find her murdered, and its Chance ex, and he finds out he has a child he never knew about. Wow! Crazy and nail biting. Danica Winters really put her skills to work in this book. The characters were well developed, and you could feel the emotions from each of them. This was a sexy and fun romance. I have been converted. Grab a cup of Hot Chocolate and curl up with this read. Well done Danica Winters. I would gladly recommend this book and give it 4**** chocolate stars, but please read the first two books first.

Please note that I received this novel free from the author in exchange for a honest review!


Danica Winters is a bestselling author who is known for writing award-winning books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and often a touch of magic. She is also the Marketing and Promotions Manager for Books To Go Now publishing. When she's not working she can be found in the wilds of Montana working on her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing).  She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but filled with wine.



Winter Swans Blog Tour Schedule

November 16th – November 29

November 16th – Kelly at Kelly P's Blog – Character Interview

November 16th – Gloria at Globug and Hootie Need A Book – Review

November 17th – Cremona at Mythical Books – Author/Character Interview

November 17th – Jessica at Jess Resides Here – Character Interview

November 17th – Joana at Alwaysjoart – Review/Playlist

November 18th – Chemistry at Author Chemistry – Review+ CI

November 18th – Jessica Our New Generation for Reading – Review

November 19th – Renee at Reading Renee Reviews – Review

November 19th – Laurie at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews – Character Interview

November 19th – Pam at Unconventional Librarian – Playlist

November 22nd – Stephanie Stephanie's Bookshelf Review/Promo

November 22nd – Beth at Curling up with a Good Book – Interview

November 27th – Megan at Amethyst Daydreams – Top Ten List

November 29th – Michelle at Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review








Interview Questions

1. How long have you been writing?

Sometimes it feels like I have been writing forever. However, I have been writing professionally for the last five years. I started in children's fiction then moved into magazines before finding a home in the world of romance.

2.What inspired you to become a writer?

I love to read. I love to entertain people. It didn't take long for me to realize that the best way to reach people's hearts was through the written word.

3.What was your first written work?

That's a tough question. It seems like I have been writing forever. However, my first romance novel was a book called, Curse of the Wolf. Before that, I actually won a publishing contract with BTGN for a short story called A Christmas Miracle which subsequently hit the bestsellers list.

4. How do you come up with your characters?

It depends on the book. With Winter Swans, it was a continuation of the series and the question "What if?" It seemed natural to step into the point of view of Jenna's sister. As for Chance, he was the perfect counterbalance for her personality. I suppose at the basic level, I'm always looking to create two characters that balance. I like to use the characters to create situations in which they must step out of their comfort zone, or identity, in order to succeed.

5.Why did you choose to write in your genre?

I loved reading romance, but more than that, I love the promise of a happy ending. Life can be hard; books should be there to entertain.

6. As a writer, what have been your three main struggles?

I'm still learning how to handle being bullied. When you become an author you are a public figure. Not everyone loves romance, shape shifters, or being kind. It's tough to be personally attacked for a work of fiction that you have spent thousands of hours pouring your soul into. I look forward to the day when I can truly be immune to the nastiness of strangers. I always tell new authors that you must be thick-skinned to continue on in this industry, but the truth is that regardless of the length of time you've been writing, or the name on your books (from Stephen King to Shel Silverstein) you will encounter someone who enjoys being cruel.  It's a constant battle to stay positive.

My other struggles? Keeping my bum in the chair (especially in the summer). It's too easy to want to go play outside!

Lastly, I am trying to become a plotter (meaning that I know the entire story before I begin writing). This is not as easy as you think!

7. What have been your three inspirations?

Oh, great question. I wrote Charlaine Harris forever ago and she was kind enough to respond. It was the only fan letter I have ever written and I was shocked that she would take the time to write back. From that day, I worked my tail off to get published. Now, I make sure to write my fans back. Every Sunday I hand-write letters to fans. It's a fun ritual.

8. As a writer, how do you deal with negative reviews?

I touched on this, but when I get negative reviews, I try to take what I can from the review. I have learned that there are two kinds of negative reviews, the critique and the slam. From a critique you can learn, from a slam you must stop yourself from reeling. Luckily, I haven't gotten a great deal of slams, but I'm just like every author and do have a few under my belt. When I receive these I walk away and do things that center me. Often that means going hiking. I reside in Montana and it is hard to walk outside and not think you] may be living in heaven.

9. What new projects are you working on? And do you write full time?

I am working on several projects. On the top of my to-do list is the next book in the nymph series, Savannah Sacrifice. This book is slated to be released June 6, 2014. I'm also working on a contemporary romance project. 

10. How did you come up with the concept for your latest work?

Winter Swans was a continuation of the previous book Montana Mustangs, but when I started writing, I wanted to create a different experience than most romances so I included the sporting aspect of poker.  Without giving any spoilers, I wanted each character to be forced to take a deal with their own personal devil.

11. What advice would you give other aspiring writers?

Aside from being thick-skinned, I would tell new authors to write every day. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be a lot, but if you continue each and every day it is amazing how much you can accomplish.

12. What are some things your readers do not know about you.

I'm a Leo a.k.a. Ms. Stubborn-pants. This may be one of the reasons I've been so determined in my writing journey.

I'm addicted to coffee.

My other name is Mom.

My favorite color is red.

My latest release (even after Winter Swans) is an anthology called Christmas Romance. It has been on the Bestsellers List since a week after its release on November 1. My short story, Christmas Wishes, was selected as one of four of the best short romances of the year for BTGN Publishing. I couldn't be happier.

13. Leave our readers with some last words and how to contact you?

I want to say thank you to my readers. Without your kind words and love of my books, I would not being doing what I am today. I love bringing joy to your lives thank you for allowing me the honor of doing so.

As for contacting me, I am very active on Facebook (did I mention I have a Candy Crush addiction?) and Twitter. Please feel free to contact me regarding questions, comments, or just to send me pictures of hot men!

Happy Reading-

Danica Winters






Saturday, November 16, 2013

Praying God's Word By Author Beth Moore

"Praying God's Word" by Author and Evangelist Beth Moore, is a powerful and spiritual book. This book teaches us how to overcome the strongholds in our life. Idoltary, Unbelief, Depression, Anger,Pride and many more that halt our spiritual growth in God. Once I got this book and starting reading it, I couldn't put it down. So many of these strongholds I could relate to. This book gives you the scriptures, prayer and tools to head down the road to victory. This book is a must read. If you are dealing with addiction and strongholds, then pray and read this book, along with the Holy Bible. 5***** star read, without a doubt.

About Beth Moore:
Beth Moore was born on June 16, 1957, on a Army base in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She is an American author, evangelist, mother and wife. She now resides in Houston, Texas, along with her husband and two daughters. Beth Moore is the founder of Living Proof Ministries, a Bible based organization for women. The ministry focuses on aiding women who desire to model their lives on evangelical Christian principles.

Upcoming Winter Swans Virtual Blog Tour Stop with Danica Winters

Join us here on Books & Chocolate: on November 18, 2013 with an interview & book review with Author Danica Winters. With her third book to a series, Winters Swan.

Friday, November 15, 2013

How Do I Handle A Not So Nice Book Review

"How do you handle a not so nice book review?"
When choosing a genre to write in, we have to know and realize that not everyone is going to approve or like what we write. You may find some that love your written work, and others that do not.
A not so nice book review does not mean its the end of the world, or that your writing career is over. Some people read books just to find errors and flaws; some read because they are genuinely interested in your book.
Now what? You take the not so nice review and keep your head up.
You can take constructive criticism and apply it. Take the negative and keep it moving.
Also, when sending your book out for review always know what genre the reviewer reads in.
Continue to write, smile, laugh and keep striving for excellence.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's to all that served our country. Salute our fallen heroes!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wifey Extraordinaire By KiKi Swinson

Wifey Extraordinaire by KiKi Swinson.
What can I say about this book; its truly filled with backstabbing, betrayal, greed and pain. Two friends deciding to exchange wives for 7 days, in hopes of winning $10,000 dollars, from the reality show "Trading Wives".A huge mistake that turned out to be. Trice O'neal, married to Troy, and Charlene, married to Leon. Marriages and friendships truly being tested and pushed to the limit. Lives are shattered, lives changed and blood shed. Wow! A truly gripping and action packed read.

5 chocolate stars *****

The Pastor's Wife...By Jennifer AILee

The Pastor's Wife is about Maura Sullivan, a woman who think she has found the man of her dreams, Nick Shepherd.  Nick was soon to become a pastor and Maura thought she knew how life would be, until she finds out that she is not the love of Nick's life, but his church congregation. Maura starts to feel unloved and unimportant and she decides to leave; her husband and the small town of Granger, Ohio. Six years later she is forced to come back to the very place she ran so far from. Forced to face Nick, towns people, her friend Rachel and the secrets she has kept.

Find more info on Author Jennifer AILee @ wwe.jenniferallee.com

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Launch Party Ideas For Indie Authors

It's Party Time! Book Launch Parties for Indie Authors         
By Joel Friedlander

We don't often talk about one very important part of self-publishing: it can be a lot of fun!


Maybe it doesn't feel that way when you're trying to figure out which ISBN option to choose, or how to hire a cover designer, or which font would really be the best for your book. But if you like the book creation process, you might also enjoy all those little decisions and the many chances to be creative that it opens to you.


One of the more institutionalized ways to have a good time in book publishing is with a book launch party. Sometimes authors plan parties because they want to celebrate, and there's nothing wrong with that. But a book launch party can be a great way to give your marketing a push, too.


After all, a lot of books take years to write and months to edit, design, lay out, proofread, and set up for publication. When your book is finally published, it's the end of a long, sometimes arduous journey.


Do you need a book launch party? Well, it's difficult to say you really need one. Although it can be a great promotional activity, a big party can put your budget into a hole so deep it will never recover. However, there are ways to host launch parties on a budget.



So if you're thinking about a book launch party, here are some tips that will help you decide whether or not to go ahead with one and, if you do, some things to look out for.


But First, A Decision


Before you can start planning your book launch party, you'll need to decide whether you're throwing this party to congratulate yourself and share your joy with friends and family, or whether it's mostly intended to be a chance to promote your book.


There's nothing wrong with throwing yourself a party. Hey, knock yourself out, invite the neighbors and anyone else you like. A book launch party also can be a great way to say "thank you" to people who have played a significant role in getting your book to market.


But if the party is part of your overall book launch strategy, you'll want to focus mostly on what's going to help get news about your book out to the people you really want to reach. The tips that follow are aimed at these sorts of parties that are meant to promote books.


Tips for Authors Thinking About Book Launch Parties


  • Make a budget. How much are you willing to "invest" in this one promotional event? Expenses for live events can easily get out of hand as unexpected wrinkles arise. Compare what you're willing to spend to other possibilities. For instance, to hire someone to write a professional press release and have it electronically delivered costs about $200-300. Will that accomplish more with the resources you have than throwing a launch party?

  • Find a venue. Hold your party in a retail environment if at all possible. Bookstores and other retailers will be happy if you can bring in a lot of people to their store, and they usually will handle the sales. They will probably sell your books on consignment (no payment unless books sell) and will require a minimum 40% discount from the retail price. Another good strategy is to locate a retailer with some connection to your book. For instance, for the launch of a book about moving to Spain, an author had her launch party at a Spanish tapas bar with authentic foods and beverages mentioned in her book. For a hiking, bicycling, or trailwalking book, try the local recreational equipment store. And you don't have to be limited to retail spaces, either. A book launch that's more of a celebration can be hosted at a private home. And some people have taken their launch parties outdoors; with a permit from the local authorities and some good weather, you could have your launch party at a park.

  • Plan your space. If your party is in a store, you will probably be supplied with a table but don't count on anything else. You'll need to provide some appropriate decorations and don't forget any bookmarks or other "freebies." If you're having your party at a retailer that's not a bookstore, you may have to help the store with planning for tables to sign books and other details.


  • Get the word out. If you're working with a retailer for your launch, ask about promotion. For instance, they may be able to include you in mailings or email newsletters about in-store events. Or they might allow you to put a flyer up in the store a couple of weeks before the event.

  • Keep people entertained. You've gone to a lot of trouble and expense to set up your party and get people there. What are you going to do next? Instead of planning one long reading, why not create a shorter event you can repeat over the course of 3 or 4 hours? If you can, include appropriate music and visuals for entertainment. A slide show or book trailer running on a laptop can capture the attention of browsers who will want to know more about your book.

  • Make sure you have books. Yes, there's nothing worse than planning a party, then realizing you can't get printed books in time. Work backwards from your party date and plan to have the physical books on hand at least a week beforehand, just to be safe.

  • Use the media. Let local media know about your book launch party and invite them to come around to join the festivities. At larger media outlets, look for writers or editors whose subject specialties correspond to your book topic and notify them.

  • Build your crowd. Don't forget to invite your friends, family, co-workers, writing group, and social media contacts. More people equals more excitement, and that's what a party is all about.

  • Take pictures. Ask a friend to take pictures and make sure to get some shots of you signing books, talking to readers, and speaking. If you have any "notables" attending, get a shot of the two of you together. These will come in handy for your promotional efforts.

  • How to sign. If you've never autographed books before, spend some time thinking about what you'll write. Many authors use a few stock phrases which can be helpful when the autographing line is long. Many people like their name included, too, so make sure to ask for the correct spelling. I've often used the phrase, "Good luck on your publishing journey," which fits with the subject of my books.

  • Prizes and giveaways. Who doesn't like them? Having a drawing for a free book or a prize themed to your subject will be popular. And if you repeat your reading a couple of times, go ahead and have a couple of drawings to keep people interested.

  • Gather addresses. Here's my last tip, and it's one of the most important. You want to stay in touch with people you spend time with at your launch party. Make sure you have a way to capture each attendee's email address, whether it's a sign-up sheet, a bowl for business cards, or a laptop or tablet where people can opt into your mailing list on the spot.


Planning and executing a book launch party is quite a bit of work, but it can pay off. You'll establish good relations with the venue, with media contacts, and with attendees. You'll make sales and add to your email list, too.


And listen, you worked long and hard to get to this point. Throwing yourself a party - and getting all the benefits - is a great way to celebrate.


This article was written exclusively for CreateSpace by Joel Friedlander. Joel is a paid contributor and the proprietor of Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California, a publishing services company where he's helped launch many self-published authors. He blogs about book design, writing and self-publishing at www.TheBookDesigner.com. Joel is also the author of the newly-published A Self-Publisher's Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder

Author Susan McBride is the author of The Good Girl's Guide To Murder. She wrote Blue Blood. In addition to writing her acclaimed first Debutante Dropout mystery, Blue Blood, she is the author of three novels in her Maggie Ryans series. McBride is also the founder of The Deadly Divas, a group of sassy scribes, who tours the country.

Website: www.susanmcbride.com

The Good Girl's Guide To Murder, was a good mystery. It was fun and entertaining. This is a fairly older book, but it was worth the read. Andrea Kendricks was a a successful website designer who was high society. Her momma was a sneaky and under handed woman that will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Attending a Dallas tv studio launch party proves to be a lot more that just a party, when a dead body is discovered. Andrea finds herself in a world wind of situations. I really like this book, makes me want to read her previous work. The characters were entertaining and believable. I felt humor and dislike of some of the characters. I turned page after page wanting more. If you love humor, mystery and alluring characters, then read the Good Girl's Guide To Murder.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why Are Book Covers So Important

Book covers are a huge part of getting a potential readers attention. If a book cover is appealing, it is more likely to gain interest. A book cover should portray what the book is about, in some way. For example, you wouldn't put a murder scene on a book about humor. When choosing a book cover for your written novel it should pleasing to the eye. Boring looking book covers makes a potential reader feel the book may be boring and uninteresting.
So always remember to take pride in your book cover as you would your novel.