Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fresh Fiction Giveaway!

Need some new ideas for fiction reads? You have come to the right place. Join our giveaway for books from some awesome Indie authors! Seven prizes to be won! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find other great contests at http://www.contestheat.com/

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

When An Editor is Not Enough

I know I tend to ramble, but I really hope you aspiring writers will read this through, for your own sakes.

I've been in the world of Indie publishing for over two years now, and I've heard all the snarky comments about "People only choosing to self-publish because they can't get accepted by a traditional publisher," and many other accusations and assumptions. I made a choice to go Indie, and I'm thrilled with my choice. But I've also made a great deal of effort to break stereotypes. I've put time and effort into honing my writing, gathering critiques, and making sure my books are as professional looking as possible. I don't just dash off a manuscript, slap together a landscape snapshot from my phone and add a font for a cover, and send it fluttering off into the Amazon world.
Since I'm an Indie writer, I think it's only fair to support others in my trade. So I'll see an intriguing Indie book with a great cover, and buy it.
Sometimes the book is fabulous. But many times, I will start reading, and the book will have typos from the first page. Now, I'm sure my books might have one or two mistakes the army of people I have help me edit might have missed. And we will all agree we've found typos in even books published by major publishing houses. But I'm talking about many typos, often several to a page.
I don't want to be horrible, I want to be helpful. And as irritating as it is to me, I would like someone to tell me if they find a typo or a mistake in my published work. Better a friend find one and tell me behind closed doors than a reader blast it out on Amazon! So if the author of the book I'm reading is a friend on Facebook or other online group, I will often tell them, "Just to let you know, I saw several typos in chapter so-and-so."
The most terrible thing happens. Every. Single. Time. They will tell me, "But I paid a professional editor to edit for me."
Oh, this makes me so upset! Indie authors shelling out hard-earned money for edits, taking that manuscript and putting it on Amazon, thinking that everything has been taken care of for the 200.00, 500.00 or even 2000.00 that they have paid. I can't even imagine how they must feel when well-meaning people like me tap them on a virtual shoulder and say, "excuse me, but on page 42..."

Here are some things to keep in mind before you upload your book to Amazon, or if you are going the traditional route, send your child off to an agent or editor.

1. Run your story through a good critique group before you even think about editing. Find a local critique group, or an online group with subjective folks who don't know you from Adam who will comb through your story, line by line. This has been the best thing I've ever done for my writing. the great thing about this sort of group is you will learn writing techniques and find out what editors and readers are looking for. Two good groups are www.scribophile.com and Critique Circle.

2. Know the difference between types of editors. I have two wonderful ladies who get my book at the very last. One is an English teacher, and one is a retired copy-editor. They are fantastic at finding grammatical errors and spelling issues. But I need more help then they can give as far as plot, story line and character development. Sometimes copy-editors might not be familiar with your genre. They may be more familiar with non-fiction, which is a wildly different style than fiction. Make sure you are getting the type of editor you need.

3. Don't depend on family and friends as your only feedback. Why? Because they will LIE to you. Lie. Or they will tell you it's wonderful because in their eyes, everything you do is wonderful. Ten adjectives in the paragraph? They are all wonderful because they were written by you! But Amazon reviewers... they don't care.

4. Research your editor before you hire them. You can check up on several types of publishing services on the Preditors and Editors site. They also have lots of other helpful information. Another good way to find a good editor? Contact Indie authors of books in your genre that you have enjoyed. Ask them who edits for them and the prices.

5. Always ask for samples. Before you shell out a penny, ask for a sample of their work. An honest editor will be glad to oblige. Again, have another few pairs of unbiased eyes check over the sample before you agree to it.

6. Expect to pay a fair wage. Don't expect a good editor to be cheap. But they are worth their weight in gold!

I would love to hear any comments or stories you might have to add to what I've written here. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cover Reveal! "Blue Hydrangeas" By Marianne Sciucco

I wanted to share a new cover from author Marianne Sciucco. This design was done by Perry Elisabeth and I think it's just lovely.

What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn't remember your name? A pair of retired Cape Cod innkeepers struggle with the wife's Alzheimer's. A beautiful love story written by a masterful storyteller who happens to be a nurse.
Amazon-rated 4.7 out of 5 stars
Goodreads rated 4.11 out of 5 stars

Readers say:
Heartbreakingly beautiful.
I felt drawn to Jack and Sara from page one and find myself wondering about them even now.
The book is very well-written and believable.
A heartfelt tender story that is entertaining and emotionally gripping!
A real page turner and it gives you insights of the daily life events living with this crushing disease called Alzheimer’s.
While not a "happily ever after" love story, Blue Hydrangeas is sure to be one you will ponder for some time after you have finished reading it.

Purchase Blue Hydrangeas in ebook, paperback, and audiobook

About the Author
Marianne Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. Her debut novel, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller, IndieReader Approved, a BookWorks featured book, a Self-e Selection, a 5-star Readers Favorite, and winner of IndieReCon’s Best Indie Novel Award, 2014. She's currently working on a YA novel, Swim Season, about the new girl on the team who challenges a longstanding school record, to be released in 2015. A native Bostonian, Marianne lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, and when not writing works as a campus nurse at a community college. She loves books, the beach, and craft beer, and especially enjoys the three of them together.
Connect with Marianne Sciucco
Why did I Write a Book about Alzheimer’s?

Connect with Perry Elisabeth

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cover Reveal and Pre-order for "The Comanche Girl's Prayer," release date Oct 15th!

I'm pleased to reveal the cover for my new book, The Comanche Girl's Prayer, which is Book 2 in the Texas Women of Spirit series. It will be released October 15th.

Huge thanks go out to Cherie Haines with FairyGirlPhoto (website HERE) for taking the photo, Elaina Lee at For the Muse Design for designing a gorgeous cover, (website HERE) and the incredibly lovely Sara Vanderbush for being my Soonie.

The book is available for pre-order on Kindle HERE
You can order it in paperback at my website, http://angelacastillowrites.weebly.com

It's 1891. Called by God, nineteen-year-old Soonie Eckhart travels to an illegal Comanche and Kiowa settlement in North Texas to become a teacher for the children in hiding. 
Despite her Comanche roots, she finds many in the group, including a volatile young man named Lone Warrior, refuse to accept her. 
After a chance encounter in the hills with a band of dangerous men, Soonie must draw on the deepest parts of her faith and courage to survive. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cover Reveal! Mercy's Gift by Katy Huth Jones

I am posting this for a good friend in the Indie World, Katy Huth Jones. If you would like some good books that will lift your spirits, you should give the Mercy's Prince a try.

Cover reveal for MERCY'S GIFT, Book Two in the fantasy series He Who Finds Mercy by Katy Huth Jones:
Peace is fragile. Gifts have limits.

While Prince Valerian adjusts to marriage as well as his new title, conspiracy brews in the south among disgruntled lords who wish to separate from the north. The situation is made even more volatile by a charismatic rebel leader whose guerilla tactics are swift and brutal.

The clandestine efforts of a witch hired by one of the lords render Valerian's gift of Sight ineffective, and Merry's Healing gift is sorely tested.

It has become dangerous for a northerner living in the south, and if the gifted young royals fail to stop the growing rebellion, evil will reign in Levathia.

The story begins in Book One, MERCY'S PRINCE:
A heart of peace in a time of war

As second son of the King of Levathia, seventeen-year-old Valerian desires the quiet life of a scholarly monk. But when he fails to save his older brother in battle, Valerian must instead become crown prince.

While a traitorous knight schemes against him, Valerian meets Mercy, a pacifist Healer with whom he can speak mind-to-mind like the great dragons. Their bond emboldens Valerian to seek out the legendary dragons and ask for their help against the monsters who killed his brother.

Can Valerian survive the traitor’s assassins long enough to find the dragons? And if he does, can he convince them to lay aside their hatred of humans and help him save the land from destruction?

Praise for MERCY'S PRINCE:

"Easily one of the best indie books I've ever read." Story Sanctuary

"A truly believable fantasy world saturated with suspense." Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

"The action is heart-stopping, the love is pure, and the emotions are real." Amazon reader

"A lovely, spiritual tale with all the adventure, mystery and romance a reader could want. Oh. And dragons!" Amazon reader

MERCY'S PRINCE will be FREE on Amazon September 17-19, and MERCY'S GIFT will be released September 25.

Link to Katy's website: http://www.katyhuthjones.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 8, 2015

National Cat Day!

In honor of national cat day, Toby says hello. Of course, he's not technically full cat, he's a Trilby, which means he was born with cat ears and a tail. But he celebrates the day all the same.
Toby was born underground, and created by six scientists. One day, he hears a mysterious Voice who instructs him to journey to the outside world.

First book in series is FREE on Kindle!

Thaddeus Whiskers: Thaddeus has been granted eternal kittenhood by a wizard and is the pampered pet of Princess Clarice. But when the wizard tries to garner even more favor, Thaddeus finds his world turned upside down. 

This book is 2.99 on Kindle http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_17?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=thaddeus+whiskers+and+the+dragon&sprefix=thaddeus+whiskers%2Cdigital-text%2C207

Nightcat: Nightcat is an ordinary cat by day, but at night becomes a giant cat who can talk. He lives in a castle with his prince and princess owners. Great beginner chapter books. 
First book is free for Kindle on Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Nightcat-Kitty-Castle-Book-1-ebook/dp/B004S3HTNQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439054638&sr=8-1&keywords=nightcat

Jane: Adults like books about cats too! Jane is a little black cat who likes to escape into the woods near her house and climb trees. She's featured in this cozy mystery.
3.99 on Kindle! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M7OJG48

Socks: Socks is the spoiled pet of a young couple. He's in for a surprise when a new baby comes into the house. Great story from classic author, Beverly Clearly.

Socks is 6.99 on Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Socks-Beverly-Cleary-ebook/dp/B00188V80Y/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1Q3XFHFARN9P6N3CAKTZ

Does anyone else have a favorite literary cat in honor of National Cat Day? Please share a link in the comments!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Prime Day Indie Writer Deals!

(This article was put together courtesy of H.L. Burke)
If you are at all into Online Shopping, then I'm sure you've heard rumors of Amazon's big "Prime Day" bash. July 15th only they will be hosting what they hope will be a bigger sales event than Black Friday. . .

Well, of course most of us Indies are on Amazon anyway, so while you're grabbing up big screen TVs or Kindles or whatever floats your boat, grab some Indie Books!

Here are some free and discounted Indie Deals for July 15th (all these promotions are subject to change so please check to make sure the price is still valid before you buy):

HER IMAGINARY HUSBAND will be 99 cents ~ ★★★★★ How can Nikki date the campus cop with Her Imaginary Husband hanging around? Romantic comedy. Click HERE.

THE SECOND SON will be Free!  
In an attempt to manipulate the future, a nation is forced to decide between brothers. A family-friendly-fantasy novel for all ages. Long before Aom-igh needed a champion, Llycaelon had a second son. Click HERE.

TURNED will be Free!
A Sweet Shifter Paranormal Romance. Click HERE!

A Sweet Shifter Paranomral Romance. Click HERE!

A STITCH OF HONOR will be Free!
A Science Fiction short. Click HERE!

MALEVOLENT will be Free!
A YA Paranormal Romance. Click HERE!

CHRONOCRIME will be Free!
A YA Urban Fantasy. Click HERE!

DRAGON'S BRIDE will be Free!
The fourth book in the Dragon and the Scholar Saga, a Sweet Fantasy Romance sees Dragon Prince Ewan travel into the past to regain his human form and reunite with his beloved. Click HERE!

"Uplifting and entertaining" Historical Fantasy THE PLACE OF VOICES by Lauren Lynch FREE July 15! Click HERE!

KEPT will be $1.99!
Can a woman with a messy past find love with a good man? Reality-driven fiction filled with real issues and real hope. A Christian Romantic Suspense. Click HERE!

LINKED will be 99 cents!
When a cryptic message and a string of crime brings Jordan and McKenna face-to-face, for the first time in a decade, neither anticipates their hasty Vegas nuptuals. Persuading her their relationship is worth the risk, and his protection needed, means keeping the only woman he's ever loved, alive.  A Romantic Suspense. Click HERE!

“One single decision can send you careening down a path where you don’t want to go.” "Well written and focuses on real life issues even though it's fictional. Absolutely loved it!" -Undercover Book Reviews. Christian/Inspirational Romance. Click HERE!

How can one military operation bring about the downfall of the world's governments? What happens when a single man attempts to take over the entire world? Christian Thriller. Click HERE!

If God sent his angels down to earth to find the righteous, would you be one of the chosen ones? A Christian Thriller. Click HERE!

A YA/Paranormal Fantasy! Click HERE!

A YA Christian Fantasy! Click HERE!

BEAUTY WITHIN will be 99 cents!
Could a parking ticket signal Katherine's second chance at life and maybe even love? A contemporary Christian romance. Click HERE!

WAITING FOR APPA will be Free!
An Award Winning Christian SciFi Short Stroy! Click HERE!
LIBERTY will be 99 cents!
When the financial collapse of America wipes out life as Carrie knows it, she finds the will to survive with a man determined to hate her. Dystopian. Click HERE!

A Christian Suspense Novella! Click HERE!

A Christian Suspense Novella! Click HERE!

FOREVER, FOR ALWAYS will be 99 cents!
Vada has been on the run with a new identity for four years now, fearing the man who killed her husband and set her up for it. Will she finally let her guard down and let herself love again even though she can't tell Isaac the truth? Romantic Suspense. Click HERE!

SHATTERWORLD will be 99 cents!
Amish wannabees flee to another planet, only to find conflict has followed them.
Christian Middle Grade Scifi! Click HERE!

MY LIFE AS AN ONION will be 99 cents!
An Interracial Paranormal Romance! Click HERE!

BEGGAR MAGIC will be 99 cents!
This YA Steampunk Inspired Fantasy takes you into a world of musical magic where two girls from different backgrounds must fight to defend what matters most. Click HERE!

In this fantasy series, Hannah Winters has gone from Earth to Aerisia, college student to prophesied savior. She must now contend with danger, betrayal, and romance, while mastering a new skill... magic. Click HERE!

A Middle Grade Christian Dystopian SciFi! Click HERE!