Friday, September 28, 2012

Cover Reveal

Griffin’s Storm 

(Book Three: Water)

For centuries, there have been rumors about a lowly caste of supernatural beings known as the Terrae Angeli. Armed with the power to control Earth, Fire, Wind and Water, these warriors and their apprentices clandestinely serve as guardians for humans in danger.

An old enemy returns. A new alliance is formed. And Griffin finds himself in the eye of the storm when an ancient racial hatred is set loose, jeopardizing the very existence of the Terrae Angeli.

Once again, the teen guardian angel is forced to battle his worst nightmare. But this time, Griffin comes back swinging. With a vengeance.

After all, an eye for an eye...

About the Author:
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should. Her YA books include Griffin Rising (2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year) and Griffin’s Fire. Her debut Middle Grade novel, Finn Finnegan (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, Gideon’s Spear (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014.

Be sure to visit Darby's WEBSITE and say hi to her on her blog BLOG.

Title: Griffin’s Storm (Book Three: Water)
Series: Griffin series #3
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Copper Square Studios, LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9741145-5-2
Release date: December 2012
Format: Paper, e-book

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Blatant Self-Promotion Alert: You may leave now or stick around to read about MY book. However, there are others mentioned in this post, so I have redeemed myself . . . slightly!

Before I take my blogging break--which I totally crave--I've joined the THE NEXT BIG THING, thanks to JOSS LANDRY super blogger who invited me. 

In this hop we're going from blog to blog to discover some exciting books that we might not have heard about yet or that are still in WIPs. To let us know a bit about the books we each answer 10 questions. 

So here we go!

Q and A

  • What is the working title of your book? 

Well, my title is a done deal because Alligators Overhead came out in July. I never had a "working title" because the idea of the book came from the title. Odd? Yes. But true.

Can you see the alligator? This is only one of them in that ceiling.
  • Where did the idea come from for the book?

My knotty pine ceiling had all kinds of alligators up there staring down at me when I was a kid. I slept under the covers most of the time and when we moved I checked out the ceilings in the new house before I chose a bedroom. I didn't want any more KOTTY PINE with alligators to keep me shivering at night.

  • What genre does your book fall under?

It's fiction and it's aimed at kids 8-12; however, the old characters are kind of fun in it, so just because you're past puberty don't  pass it up.

  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Now you've got me. I do not have a clue. Maybe one my readers will come up with an idea or two.

  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

To rescue the last member of his family and save a threatened habitat, a twelve-year-old trouble-maker struggles to control his mysterious powers and change from prankster to warlock hero.

  • Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I did this one myself. Lots of work. But I'm in control.

  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It seems like all of my books are one year in making. This is one I started, then stopped, then started again, so I'm estimating about a year in total.

  • What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Maybe Hoot? But only because of the ecological thread. I don't think there are other similarities. Maybe readers will see them and tell me.

  • Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Just that ceiling. I loved the idea and I loved the title. I just needed to find the characters and the story to fit.

  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Maybe the alligators? Usually cats do the job of familiars, but in my book we have alligators instead. Also the witches are not very witchy; they don't sail across the sky on brooms or anything like that.

Now I've tagged 5 other writers and they'll be posting their Q & A next Wednesday, October 3. So I hope you'll stop in and read what they have to say about their books. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Taking Some Good Advice

Yesterday I took some good advice and spent the day doing just about anything except sitting in front of a computer. I also relaxed so much I forgot to schedule my Monday post. Guess what? The sun came up anyway. 

This was my yesterday.

An old California Mission is begin restored and to raise money to help, there was a fiesta, so I moseyed through the mission grounds, ate tacos, drank Margaritas and listened to music.

Loved watching this toddler who couldn't resist a fresh strawberry. He didn't quite get that they were for sale, nabbed one before his parents had time to explain and gobbled it down. 

Took a short hike up a hill for take a look at the beach.

Watched a perfect September sunset.

What did you do yesterday? Hope it was as wonderful as mine.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Kindness Project

One of the KINDEST acts I can think of at the moment is acknowledging a wonderful blogger who shares beauty in all ways: words, deeds, and images. A way to expand that KINDNESS is to share that beauty with others. So here's part of one post DAISY HICKMAN wrote recently.

Daisy's QUESTION: Are you always evaluating something?  Do your thoughts run you around the block a few times before you even get up in the morning?

Lee's ANSWER: Oh dear, yes.

Her question reminded me of those other times--those times of being in the moment--those times of JOY. I decided to turn off my "thinking" mode the mode where I'm constantly evaluating and strategizing and planning for the next step. I decided to just BE. Just listen. Just watch. Just attend to what my senses presented--for one day. 

Here was my JOYFUL day. Here's a day when I was "willing for things to be as they are." 

A Garden Griffin

One Rose for the Garden

Sand Sculpture of Plein Air Artist

A Bit More Art

A Quiet Space
My Stare Off Into The Trees Place

Thank you Daisy Hickman for reminding me about the 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Beating The Bushes For Those Professionals-Part 1

My last installment was about doing everything yourself. If you're not ready to take on The Whole Enchilada, you're going to need some professional help.


I've already urged you to use a professional proof editor as the last editor to consult before going to press or sending your digital book out for readers. But you may need more than simple proof reading, you may feel the need to consult with a professional on more global issues in your manuscript.

EMMA DRYDEN has been in children's book publishing for 25 years. Nearly 19 of those were with Simon  & Schuster. Now she has launched a business of her own in which she offers editorial and creative services to authors of children's books.

My editor, EVELYN FAZIO, has 32 years of publishing experience and has worked at Simon & Schuster/Prentice-Hall, Random House, Marshall Cavendish, and M.E. Sharpe. A former Vice President of E-Content Acquisitions for Baker & Taylor. She's now freelance editing, and I can highly recommend her. She never guided me wrong with my first two books, and from my experience she has a keen sense about what a book needs to bring it to publication. I hope to work with Evelyn again.

Barbara Watson has recently set up her editing business, and in November I'll try to lure her onto The Write Game to tell us more about her career and what she offers to writers. Find out more about her  EDITING SERVICE.


Now I'm going to show you why you need professional help with that book trailer by totally embarrassing myself. Below is what I was pulling together for my book trailer . . . on my own . . . no help except from my computer. Then my primary Critic-Help Mate-Chief-Of-WhackUp-The-Side-Of-The Head (AKA husband) said, "You've got to be kidding." No, he was kinder than that. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Get a professional, honey."

I rest my case and give you the link to the professional I hired. MISTY TAGGART who blogs at TRAILER TO THE STARS and you've probably seen her product because I proudly display it at the head of my blog.

In Beating The Bushes For Those Professionals-Part 2 I'll see what I can come up with that might be helpful on the topics of Distribution and Buzz. In the meantime, if you know of an editor you'd recommend or another way to create an exciting trailer give us that contact information. Also in October there's going to be a special post with Karen G. (Coming Down the Mountain) and me about SMALL PRESSES, so I'll let you know when that's up on Karen's blog.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cover Reveal for Kismet by Beth Fred

Beth Fred is here to day to tell us why she chose to become an Indie Author and to introduce her book KISMET! When you've finished reading what she has to say about her important decision  come over and say hi to me at SHER A. HART's.

Why I Decided to Self Publish

Lee, thanks for having me today.

For me, deciding to self publish was a bit of a process. It’s something I always wanted to do, but never had the confidence for. 

Then I wrote a really cute “sweet romance.” It got full requests and revision requests from multiple small presses. I vented about the revision requests as they came in, took a week to think, made the revisions and responded. But then I started getting round 2 requests for revisions, and at this point was un-changing things. 

True, it’s because each editor is looking for something different, so something one editor had me change another liked, but still, it was maddening. And in addition to un-changing things, there were new changes that I didn’t agree with. 

Royalties have always been higher in self publishing. Big publishers don’t buy short stories, and marketing budgets are about the same for a self published author and an author with a small press. And it allowed me greater control. I did un-change things, because I wanted to. I changed something no one told me to. And I didn’t change anything else. I wrote a beautiful story that could have perpetually changed or stayed dormant on my hard drive. Instead, I’m sharing it with the world, still intact. I hope people enjoy Kismet. 

About Kismet
When twenty-four-year-old Tiffany escapes her sister Kammy's too wild Cancun bachelorette party, she finds herself in a bar with the unwanted attention of a gorgeous local named Luke.
Luke may be charming but Tiffany is leaving in two days and doesn't need any complications. But complications are exactly what she gets when the cops show up to raid Kammy's party. After Kammy is arrested, Tiffany agrees to have dinner with Luke, so he'll help her get Kammy out of jail. Kammy's arrest forces her to spend an extra day in Cancun, meaning she'll miss a crucial meeting, and as an accountant in tax season, she is already drowning in work. Not to mention, every second she spends with Luke makes it harder to leave. With Luke, Tiffany can forget about work.
But will the airport be their final goodbye?

And for a limited time it includes an excerpt from best selling author Lizzy Ford!

Beth Fred lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their little ELF (Emily Lace Fred). She spends her time bringing her day dreams to life on paper, and blogging about bringing day dreams to life. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Build a Hot Fudge Sundae

Who: Hosted by M. PaxLaura EnoBrinda Berry, and Ciara Knight

Hot Fudge Sundaes win the contest for my favorite chocolate. I splurge a whole day's caloric intake once a year and go full out, major sundae indulgence. I have to have the best vanilla ice cream to begin with. That's not Baskin and Robbins. It's homemade, hand cranked ice cream from my grandmother's recipe. 

Then the special hot fudge sundae glass is a must. 

Freshly chopped and toasted walnuts and . . . what else? 


This makes about 3 1/2 C. so it lasts exactly one day at our house . . . the HOT FUDGE SUN DAY.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 whole cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Over medium heat, combine milk, butter and vanilla until the butter has melted. Add dry ingredients to the milk mixture, constantly whisking. Boil, stirring constantly until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Cool and refrigerate unused portion. 

You reheat this in a double-boiler, or microwave, but as purist I use the whole 3 1/2 cups that day. I do share when I make these, so other benefit from my yearly fetish.

Now top that off with a maraschino cherry and I'm in heaven.

The Perfect Hot Fudge Sundae

Be sure to visit the other What's Your Chocolate and report back. Is my chocolate indulgence best or did you find something that topped it? OH, AND HERE'S A BLATANT BRIBE. IF YOU GIVE MY AMAZON PAGE A LIKE I'LL SEND YOU MY GRANDMOTHER'S SUPER SECRET VANILLA ICE CREAM RECIPE!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cover Reveal for Strength by Carrie Butler

While I'm off researching my next post on what I've learned about self-publishing, other people are actually out there publishing. Like look at what Carrie Butler has just come out with. Take it away, Carrie!

Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1

New Adult (NA) Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release Date: March 07, 2013

Want a sneak peek at what's behind that cover?

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re reallyin trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.
Now you know you have to read this, right?

Where to find Carrie:

Where to find Strength:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Who Me Insecure? I'm a RAPper!

Today I'm supposed to share my Insecure Writer Self, but I'm just not Insecure any more, you see. I've faced my Insecurities, they've backed down and I've moved on to a solid footing . . . a very Secure writer with a plan and goals and all of that kind of thing.

Who turned out the light?

Still, one can't let a few nervous twitches stop them from moving forward. So . . . Next Monday I'll be posting my second in the series on self-publishing. The first was called The Whole Enchilada if you'd like to read it. The second is going to be titled Beating the Bushes for Those Professionals. I'm sure, pretty sure, sort of confident, a little confident that you'll find the post helpful . . . maybe.

Also I've joined the Random Acts of Publicity and have no fear of putting myself out there where the readers and reviewers lurk  await me with great anticipation.  However today isn't about me or my book --no it's about other people's books that are making their way into the world. 

Here are three. Hope you take a look and buy their books.

Mike Jung's Debut 
Another enchanting book to explore.

Don't you love this cover? 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kai Strand Publishes New Book

I'm part of RAP and proud to share books with readers.

Save the Lemmings! Identifying the Bullies defines bully as: a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. However, I think we know that it isn’t always that simple.

In my middle grade novel, Save the Lemmings, the main character, Natalie, is an incurable priss, which makes her anything but popular. As a matter of fact her goody-goody personality draws the attention of the class bully, Trudy. Trudy picks on Natalie any chance she gets. However, Natalie doesn’t let Trudy’s taunts and tricks bother her. 

Want to read a bit of this new book? Well, here you go.

“Imagine that.” Trudy deadpanned to her buddies, Eric, Isis and Flame, as she watched Natalie walk toward them. “They actually make two pieces of clothing in that horrible pink.”
“Ooohhh, Trudy.” Natalie sighed. “Making fun of me doesn’t make you better than me. It actually makes you…well…mean.”
Trudy burst into laughter and dramatically clutched at her heart with both hands. The spikes on her bracelet glinted in the light. “Natalie, you’ve hurt my feelings.”
“I hate to be harsh. Plant a kind word and it will grow into a sentence.”
Trudy laughed so hard she stumbled into Eric who was also bent in hysterics. Together they crashed against the lockers. Trudy gasped. “God, Natalie, you are such a dork!” 
Natalie knit her brow and clutched her books to her chest. “Well, you’re…rude!”

So what do you do when the bully is in your face? Here's what Kai has found and shared today.

According to an article posted on She Knows Parenting, the top tips for dealing with a bully is:
  • Ignore the bully. Don't even respond.
  • Walk away/remove yourself from the encounter.
  • If you must respond, respond without emotion. The bully wants to see you respond emotionally; don't give the bully the satisfaction of knowing they have succeeded. 

That last bit of advice can be especially hard, but bullies will turn to new victims if they fail to get a rise out of you.

A bully isn’t always the biggest kid in your grade. A bully isn’t even always a kid at all. Sometimes a bully is an adult, or in this case, the media. Yet when the media starts to bully Natalie by printing lies and stretching truths about her, she definitely feels the pressure. By sending her running for cover at school or trapping her inside her house, the media gets the emotional response they want that fuels the affects of their erroneous stories. 

What should a child do if he is being bullied by an adult or a group? The same thing he would do if the bully is another child. Find a trusted and responsible adult to tell. Avoid being alone with the bully. If they end up face to face, then do what is suggested above.

Natalie does eventually figure out how to deal with the media and even learns to appreciate Trudy. Her strength should be inspiring to any child currently dealing with a bully in their life.

About the Book: SAVE THE LEMMINGS! 8th grade inventor, Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards is the N.I.C.E. girl who finishes last with the kids in school. Sappy inspirational phrases and monochromatic outfits have all but her best friends wrinkling their nose at her. When Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky, goes nationwide, she becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly her days consist of photo shoots and interviews with little time left for her friends. A local reporter shatters her good-girl image by reporting a graffiti incident and the media launches into a smear campaign. It is so bad, even her friends start to believe the stories. Will Natalie be able to overcome the lies being printed about her? Pick up your copy of Save the Lemmings here. 

About the author:  Kai Strand writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale is set in the same storytelling village as The Weaver. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home. 

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her WEBSITE:  HYPERLINK "" She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, Kai Strand, Author.  

Review: So glad Kai could be here today. She provided me with a copy of book, so I could review it. I was happy to do that. Here's my take on Save The Lemmings.

Natalie’s the brainy girl who is so sweet and so corny, she’s the target for practical jokes. Her classmates even conspire to get her into trouble, which they do. When Natalie’s caught painting a mural, she’s charged with defacing school property. She’d been told the mural was an authorized project. 

Still she takes her punishment and continues to be the Pollyanna at school while completing an invention called the Texty-Talkie. The invention becomes a huge success and catapults Natalie into the limelight. All is wonderful, until the limelight turns ugly. She’s even accused of being affiliated with a subversive group called The Lemmings. It’s all a mistake because the only thing Natalie has in her mind while she circulates her petition to  Save the Lemmings is stopping the mass suicide of those “cute” rodents.

Close to losing her friends and being shunned by the community, Natalie makes a drastic change in her lifestyle. She’s no longer the happy, upbeat girl in pastels. Now she’s a sad-faced girl in black. Then she turns from the defensive to the offensive so the world will know who she really is and not believe the false stories that are in the news.

Save the Lemmings is a sweet story for young readers. It shows friendships that don’t always run smoothly and touches on jealousies that are so common, even among good friends. I liked the simple, straightforward characterization of Natalie and how she took charge of an out of control situation to bring her life back to normal. I also liked the theme of fame and how it can bring positive and negative changes into your life.