Friday, July 29, 2011

COWBOYS VS ALIENS - A surprise Fun Ride



A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force.


I love westerns! But I have to admit, the title and the previews of this one didn't impress me at all. My husband wanted to see this and it was his turn to pick the movie for our date night.

We have this sick ache for the excitement of our youth and therefore rush out to go to the opening midnight showings of new movies. Mainly in the summer we indulge this addiction, but hey, it's fun.

So I sat down to watch this movie, just hoping to stay awake, and I have to admit - it more than kept me awake. There was a bit of a mystery, a great dose of Western fun, and some corny parts that was what I had expected. But there were some parts where I jumped in my seats, some where I laughed, some where I smiled and then cheered. And I wasn't alone either, there was a packed house in the theater on Thurs night midnight and people were engaged then committed to the movies. I give this 3.5 spaceships.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Can a Publicist Do For You?


Being an author is hard work. You have to write your book, edit your book, and now they want you to market it as well (while you’re most likely still living life and writing something new)? I’m not a published author…but I do write, and to be published one day is a goal of mine. However, I’ve worked with various authors on many levels of their promotion and I know how time-consuming and confusing it can be.

Therefore, I would recommend a publicist. No, it’s not for everyone. Some people are quite capable of promoting on their own or just prefer it. And I know publishing companies often do what they can, but if your book isn’t a TOP PICK for them…it can get lost in the shuffle. It’s not your fault, right? So think about hiring an independent publicist, which is what I am. I’m relatively new but I’ve already worked with many authors in the past (and through my business, Shooting Stars Promotion).

But back to you, the writer. What can a publicist do for you anyway?
Here are some reasons you should think about branching out (and yes, these all apply to me):

1. They’re on your side. They want you to succeed on some level.
2. They have less books and authors to focus on than a publishing company so you get more of their attention.
3. They are often happy to work with unique avenues of promotion instead of over-covering the same places.
4. They can be cheaper than you think, as long as you do your research.
5. They are easier to get a hold of when you need them.
6. They are happy to work with your own ideas/suggestions.

Here are some things that I like to do with my own clients:

1. Work with businesses that sell products related to client’s book…cross-promote.
2. Find the best blogs to promote on and not just all YA blogs (you’re hitting much of the same people).
3. Make sure my client isn’t overspending for anything. While you do pay me, I don’t want you wasting money.
4. Try and find similar authors/books you could cross-promote with.
5. Figure out the best forms of swag to use for your particular novel.
6. Target other websites, newspapers, magazines…if applicable.

I’ll be the first to admit that not everyone needs a publicist, but I think it could be a big help to a lot of people. You just need to do your research and find someone you want to work with that fits your budget.

To learn more about me and my business, visit my website: I also blog at and You can contact me through any of these sites.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

Yay! NYIA our TEEN BOOK REVIEWER has been on a reading frenzy this summer!

Amazon Blurb:

In an alternate 21st century, teens have cell phones and cars, and worry about who will take them to homecoming and whether or not to have sex. They also have dragon drills—just in case the creatures cross the border and attack. After World War II, the dragons, who had been in hiding for centuries, reemerged from myth into real life. Humans, still on edge from the trauma of the war, struck out at them, causing a conflict in which many on both sides died. A truce was reached, a border was created, and a tentative peace was established. Seventeen-year-old Kay lives on the border of Dragon. After a fall during an ill-advised solo climb, she is rescued by Artegal, a dragon who is studying human language. Over the next weeks, a tentative friendship grows into a bond between them. When the border is breached and a conflict begins, they must rely on their friendship to repair the damage before too many lives are lost.


The Voices of Dragons had a great concept. The character Kay was likeable. She was adventurous and wasn't afraid of being herself. Her friend Jon was also likable; him and Kay seemed like a great match. A lot of the time the main character, Kay, wasn't actually apart of the action unfolding. When the climax of the book took place, the reader heard about most of the outside action from the news that Kay was watching. The ending didn't seem to solve the problem either, which kind of frustrated me. The whole dragon part didn't seem to play that much of a role because it seemed to have parts where it didn't even come across the main character's mind. I would have liked to see more of that. As it happens whenever Kay thought about the dragon, then she went to see the dragon. It was very predictable. Also, the history behind the story was intruiging. Overall I give the book a 3.5 out of 5 dragons.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Oh my FREAKIN' GOSH!!!!!! Okay I'm totally gonna skip to the best part of the movie....after the credits roll, you get an AWESOME tease....THE AVENGERS PREVIEW!!!!!


After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals.


Okay, I'm biased and invested. I've seen all of the Avengers movies and I have enjoyed them. No...they weren't bada** (shut your mouth!) flicks that make me want to watch them over and over again. But, they are entertaining and kept my interest throughout. Not to mention --- who doesn't dig a hero (even though the villain stole the show in Thor...that a whole other story).

Sorry, I digressed. Here's my review:

I like this. Steve Rogers is my type of character. A boy bullied, beat up, kicked out, put upon and everything you can think of. But you know what - he never gave up. This movie covers the story of Captain America (the past him) back in the 40's and the villain is a bit quirky. Also, I would have really liked a bit more depth to the story, but it was still a good one. As far as it lining up to the comic book depiction it did so for the most part. There were little off points. Like Captain America was a king with Hand-To-Hand combat. But in the movie it was all about the shield. I give this movie 3.5 stars with stripes. And just so you know, I FREAKIN' totally enjoyed the tease trailer for THE AVENGERS!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Please welcome TEEN BOOK REVIEWER, Nyia!

She is reviewing another great book I got from the BEA conference.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…


The Faerie Ring was exciting and had a great plot. The whole idea about a truce between faerie and humans held on a cursed ring was so exciting. I loved the main character, Tiki, and how she acted like a real thief and didn't trust anyone that she had not grown up with. It was interesting seeing her relationship with Raeker, her fellow thief, grow as she had to try to find a way to keep the piece between the faeries and humans. The villain as you would say was very diabolical; she used Tiki's family and her relationships against her to get the ring. Prince Leopold, who the ring was in a way stolen from, was very keen and did use his clues to figure out what was going on. The author did a great job at making everything real and uncut. I really liked that Tiki was the center of the action and didn't take a backseat to anything. She followed her instincts and that worked in her benefit allowing her to make the right choices. Overall I would give this book a 4 out 5 rings. The only thing I didn't like was that it seemed like Prince Leopard was suppose to play a big role, but it ended up that he wasn't that important.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Promotional Burnout

With the face of publishing changing, many authors are finding themselves having to hustle to get their own promotions for their books on the roll.

One of the main complaints is burnout. Lot’s of work to do, but only a few (sometimes just the author) to do it.


The major way to get to burnout and fast is – NO PLANNING.

When an author doesn’t plan how they are going to promote their books they do wild and crazy things to get the word out. Things that may turn off readers and waste time and money.

No pacing or scheduling of task.

When you create a marketing plan for a book, scheduling out in person events, blog tours, ads, and exposure is a major player in making sure promotions is a fun thing instead of an exhausting exercise.

Pointing out the valuable exposure over useless exposure.

Some authors in their zeal to get exposure step on many toes along the way. They spam others blogs, they spam emails they make inappropriate promo sales of their books in the weirdest places. All of these things can backfire – but most of all they add to the burnout.


Burnout can be prevented with proper planning and scheduling. This is something I personally learned over time. Also, if you books shelf life is – forever (which it is because when you – the author – are given back the rights to it, you can repub it if you want), then you have a long time to promote it.

Create a Book Marketing Plan

Research what others with books in your genre, your demographics area and are authors like you are doing to sell their book. Break down the cost/investment you are willing to make in time and in money to promote.

Pace yourself.

Take the time before the book comes out to give it proper buzz (about 6 months) then schedule the days, times of the week you are willing to spend on hands on promotions (in person tours, blog tours, twitter promo, FB promo, etc)

Take time off.

Don’t allow burnout to creep up on you. Schedule in vacations and use auto tools to help you maintain your social media presence and do online ads during this time to keep your name out there circulating.

Invite Others To Help.

Rome wasn't built in a day - nor by just one person. Getting a little help from your fiends is always a great way to drop off some steam.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 Review

I'm am certifiably a nut...I went to 2 movie theatres last night to get tickets to this movie. After seeing lines of people dressed as Witches and Harry Potter cast offs, we finally found a tucked away theatre that we could purchase tickets (we did this 5 hours before the showtime.)

The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemort's final horcruxes, but when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.


I really enjoyed this one much better than the last one. Why, it was excitement from the moment it started until the end. You definitely had to see the Part 1 movie to get this one. They again stayed closely to the book with some scenes shortened. However, I must say I really enjoyed the ride and am a little sad that Harry will not be meeting me each year at the theatres. I give this a 4.5 wands out of 5.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Places you can find my books this month

Just because I've been on vacation, my books haven't. My in person tours have slowed until the Baltimore Bookfest (which is one of my favorite events).

But you can check out my babies in the blogsphere:

Writerly Wednesday invited BANDITS to drop in.

The Frugal eReader gave away copies of The Pack

Book Blogs has Ad for The Pack

FrugalFinds is doing a giveaway of The Pack

So check out some of the places my babies are hanging out - you just may be able to win one for free.

Here's some fun depictions of my characters from The Pack and Bandits:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers

Amazon Blub:

Luc Cain was born and raised in Hell, but he isn't feeling as demonic as usual lately... thanks to Frannie Cavanaugh and the unique power she never realized she had. But you can't desert Hell without consequences, and suddenly Frannie and Luc find themselves targeted by the same demons who used to be Luc's allies.

Left with few options, Frannie and Luc accept the protection of Heaven and one of its most powerful angels, Gabe. Unfortunately, Luc isn't the only one affected by Frannie, and it isn't long before Gabe realizes that being around her is too tempting. Rather than risk losing his wings, he leaves Frannie and Luc under the protection of her recently-acquired guardian angel. Which would be fine, but Gabe is barely out the door before an assortment of demons appears - and theyre not leaving without dragging Luc back to Hell with them.

Hell won't give up and Heaven won't give in. Frannie's guardian exercises all the power he has to keep them away, but the demons are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell's grasp. And not everyone will get out of it alive.

NYIA's Teen Reviewer's Opinion:

I can’t wait to tell you how much I loved this book! I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. The book is exciting, drama filled, and has a nice romantic touch to the whole story. The main character Frannie and Luc make the most adorable couple. Their romance is a play off of the bad boy turned good by the girl. Luc is an ex-demon, so now he lives a human life like Frannie. Frannie has a guardian angel named Matt who used to be her brother. Between these three drama unfolds as they fight temptation so that they can stay protected from the other demons who are trying to get to Frannie. I love how Luc really is concerned for Frannie and they both seem to really love each other. The real twist is that Gabe comes in again to steal the girl. Overall this book has fighting and romance...What more could you want? The only thing I didn't like is that sometimes things got a little corny, but that didn't happen that much. The ending was very exciting and hope there is another book.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Transformers Dark of The Moon

Fandango Blurb:

Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) taking his first tenuous steps into adulthood while remaining a reluctant human ally of Optimus Prime. The film centers around the space race between the U.S.S.R. and the USA, suggesting there was a hidden Transformers role in it all that remains one of the planet's most dangerous secrets. The villain of the third film will be Shockwave.

My Review:

I really wasn't expecting much out of this movie. Why? I mean because how many times can they get it right? But you know what...they nailed it - again! They actually spent a little time building up enough story to get you to like Sam again. But there were some parts that looked thrown together and yet again - totally unbelievable, but hey, this is a movie you go to for fun and action (it wasn't quite as funny this time though). So if you don't want to spend time at the beach, the park or the pool. And you want some action and great special 3D effects, check this one out. I give it 4 out of 5 cubes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where I got my world building ideas for Bandits

I've been in Hawaii for 2 weeks. A revisiting of the place I first got the idea for the world I would build for Bandits. Of course I morphed it up a bit, but I gotta tell you Hawaii is right here on Earth and a word, amazing!


The green sand beach. See the picture above. That is it and I actually four wheel drove there with my husband, oldest son and friends.

The black sand beaches. I had a huge turtle walk up right next to me on this beach. The water was clear and warm.

Cliff diving - my son and his friend actually did this and it was just the most awesome thing I've ever seen.

Waipio Valley, is just like being in paradise. Waterfalls, black sand beach, plush surroundings that smell like sweet flowers. A horse actually came up to our car, looked at us then veered into the brush.

The Road to Hana, the most beautiful drive (besides the one we took to the Florida Keys) that revealed more beauty than is imaginable with each curve. This was the most curvy road I've ever in my life traveled.

Volcano National Park, when we came here 3 years ago we were actually able to see Lava flow - do you believe that! It was wow! and if you read Bandits, you'll know that's where I morphed Daniel's family trove from.

Mauna Loa, the observatory where the telescopes stand above the clouds was another beautiful tidbit I used in my world building. Although not in this version of Bandits, stay tuned for more.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

DREAM LIFE by Lauren Mechling

NYIA - Our Teen Book Reviewer is here to talk about the latest read in her library.

Book Blurb-Amazon:

Picking up where Dream Girl (2008) left off, Claire is learning to command her ability to see into the future through her dreams. In addition to figuring out how to decipher her psychic gift, Claire is secretly dating her best friend Becca’s brother. Turns out that Becca belongs to a secret society of do-good teen philanthropists whose mission is to spruce up the city anonymously—but someone is out to expose the group, and it’s up to Claire to thwart the plot. Teen girls looking for a light read with elements of mystery, adventure, romance, and life in high society will appreciate this satisfying stand-alone sequel.

NYIA's Teen Review:

Just so you know, I haven't read book 1 in this series, but I didn't feel like I missed anything from book 1 by reading Dream Life, the second book in this series.

It was an interesting mystery book and involved a lot of unsolved problems, but at times the book could get rather slow as the story is woven. There were long amounts of time where it seemed like nothing happens, but the information gathered during that reading time is important. The mystery could have been more of a gotcha, but it was okay. In the end Claire didn't even stay in the "secret" club that was helping the community and decided to go her own way apart from her friend. The Blue Moon had this enemy club called the Elle House, but those girls didn't even seem to do anything. Basically the mystery and dreams didn't seem to give a lot of struggle or make it seem like all hope was lost especially since Claire's grandma just seemed to always give the answers to everything Claire was challenged with. It's an easy read if you like mysteries. I did like the overall plot and thought it could have been played out better. The side romance with Claire and Becca's, brother was adorable and I liked that the author didn't keep it as a "side" romance not making it the main focus. Overall this book was nice and if you want a little bit of teen drama while liking mysteries then this is your book. I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nothing is Ever Forgotten on the WWW

As an engineer who has built large applications and databases, I sometimes laugh at the naïveté of travelers on the world ‘wild’ web. It’s not a safe place out there. Every site or ‘street’ you turn down has the ability to haunt you for life.


With all of the advances of socializing, writing, chatting and traveling on the web there is the temptation to drop your manners and be wild. Well remember, ANYTHING you put out there on the World ‘Wild’ Web – NEVER EVER gets destroyed.

That means that twenty years after you blasted out your parents, took naked pictures for your boyfriend, cursed out your boss on a rant site – it can be found.

When you delete content from a site, it does not get deleted from the many replicated data sites that google and other search engines or crawlers have. That means that meta-data or subset of information about whatever you posted is held or copied in the many different search engine databases.

For example: Let’s say you uploaded a picture on photobucket. You named that picture um ‘naughty name’ then after about a year, you delete it from your photobucket website. Now if anyone searched for that item in a year, and the search engine grabbed it – the picture and description may have been copied and saved. So years later when you put in a search – you have an 80% chance that it will pop back up.


I know, I know…you’ve heard this before. Well I am here to tell you that predators are still out there. So set up your social networking accounts with proper privacy settings, and check those private settings continuously. Also, DON’T ever post your personal information (even though someone can plop in your name and find out anything they want about you on peoplesearch – scary thought huh?)


When you are surfing the web, speaking your opinion, or having a wild time at Spring Break – remember you have a future. If something questionable is placed on the web about you – your prospective employer, spouse – even kid may see it. So just for grins and giggles – search yourself on the web. You may be surprised at what you find.