Family and work

Finding myself with nothing specific to blog about, I decided to just recap on my week thus far.

Last weekend I got to spend time with my family. We all pitched in to rent a cabin in Munds Park, Arizona, where we could spend the weekend together. Before this, it had been a year since we’d all been together. It was a special time of food, games, puzzles, and a watered down version of Dungeons and Dragons which included every geeky thing imaginable (from sonic screwdrivers, to Lord of the Rings riddles, to Star Wars quotes, to Indiana Jokes traps). Ezra did a great job as Dungeon Master.

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From left to right: My big brother (Ezra), his wife (Ceceilia), and their two boys (Micah age 3, and Thomas age 1). My “little” brother (Joe). My big sister (Anna) and her boyfriend (Ivan). Me and my husband. My parents (Becky and Isidro) are the ones sitting down, of course.

My sister got to give me her notes on my latest WIP in person. That’s always fun. I always get thrown back in time, to when we’d sit in our room (me in the swivel chair by the desk, her on the bed), discussing ideas for our stories. We were just girls with dreams back then. Now she’s got a Bachelor’s in English Literature and I’m a published author. Who would’ve thought?

My sister-in-law was amazing, doing all of the cooking while defusing any little tantrums her sons had (which were few but still!).

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I also got to play and get lots of cuddles from my nephews. Yes, they’re adorable and they love their Auntie Becca. Be jealous.

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And then we came right back home to begin another week of work. Back to sitting duty for my husband, and receptionist work and book promotion for me.

In the Dark was published yesterday, by the way. Hooray!

I’ve been looking forward to this since the day I signed the contract for it but was super disappointed when I found out how many people pre-ordered it.

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I guess because my first book did so well, I assumed that the second one would be just as popular. I’m doing all the same things for In the Dark as I did for I Dare You to Love Me, the one difference being the book reviews. I Dare You to Love Me had reviews up on Amazon the day it was released, thus boosting its popularity. I was only able to acquire one review for In the Dark‘s release date. Others are coming, though. I can only hope that they’ll be positive and spark the interest of more readers.

In the mean time, I’m utilizing reader and author groups on Facebook and Twitter, posting quotes, snippets of reviews, and links to purchase. Three times a week. Of course, I’m using this blog too. I’ve heard conflicting opinions on whether hosting contests and giveaways are still popular ways to inspire interest. My publisher recommended talking about the book and any other books I’m working on, but I’m not sure how to do that without giving too much away…

Night Owl Reviews is putting together packages of bookmarks, thin coasters, business cards, and short excerpts to mail to their readers. They’re currently looking for romance authors to provide some of these promo items for them to mail and I’d love to get all over that. I’m just waiting for the next paycheck. Because it costs some money to sign up. That’s the hardest thing, I’ve found. A lot of promotional services cost money these days and I’m living on a budget.

Anyone have any suggestions on free, effective ways to promote? I’d appreciate any thoughts you might have on the subject. What are some things that have worked for you, authors? What are some things that have spurred your interest in a book, readers?

My first review

In the spirit of building good relationships with other authors, I agreed to do a swap review with short story author T. L. Sallie. Her story, “The Submerged,” is a twenty page long futuristic romance. I was given a free copy in exchange for this review.

“The Submerged” starts off by introducing us to Phillip Hoffman Jr, a single man living in London. He has lost his job of eight years and doesn’t know quite what to do with himself. Because of his lack of income, he has moved into an apartment on the ground level, which is under three feet of water.

In this futuristic setting, the polar ice caps have melted so much that the sea levels are higher than they’ve ever been and are flooding coastal cities all over the world. Civilization has adapted to this inconvenience by raising the blocks of building foundations every few months, and by creating water-proof items (clothes, furniture, gadgets, etc). There is even floating furniture and cars in this story. Anyone who can’t afford floating transportation has the option of phoning a ferry or using whatever inflatable device they have at home to maneuver the streets, now rivers.

The premise alone is unique and interesting. It made me think of the poor people affected by the hurricanes, especially the people in Houston who suffered from flooding. How does life go on? How is a new norm developed when there’s so much water everywhere? At least the people in the story had the latest technology on their side to make things a little easier.

Anyway, Phillip ventures out of his apartment for the first time in a long time and runs into his neighbor, a young lady named Clara. After exchanging pleasantries, Phillip gathers his courage and asks her out on a date. The rest of the story tells about their evening. Clara turns out to be a straight-forward girl who pursues difficult topics of conversation and states her honest opinion without fear. Phillip, who is a little unsure of himself and insecure about the fact that he hasn’t been on a date in a long time, is drawn to Clara’s blunt personality and pretty brown eyes. Through the ups and downs of the evening, he falls in love with her. Whether the feelings are reciprocated or not is unclear. The ending comes quite suddenly, leaving the reader wondering what could’ve happened to this odd couple had the story continued.

The story could’ve done with another round of edits to get rid of unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, but was otherwise enjoyable. I liked its originality and the descriptions of this futuristic London with its unique water problem. The character of Clara is truly one I’ve never come across before. The author had me guessing what she was going to do or say next.

Interested in reading the story yourself? Click here for a ninety-nine cent ebook copy.

For more information on author T.L. Sallie and her work, check out the links below!

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTLSallie/

Author site: https://tlsallie.wixsite.com/author

Author blog: https://tlsallie.wixsite.com/author/blog