IAM15 Guest Post…How I Became an Indie Author

IAM 2015 - TopperToday’s guest is Hannah Harvey, author of several contemporary YA fiction novels. After a chance meeting via Twitter, Hannah has previously taken part in our regular Sunday Write-Up creative challenge, and was invited to join this month’s event from that 🙂

So, that’s enough from us, let’s hand over to Hannah for her guest post on how she became an indie author…

How I became an indie author

I’ve always loved writing. I was home educated my entire school life by my mum, and growing up, I’d always loved English the best. I’d love it when my mum would set me the task of writing a short story. This led pretty quickly into me writing not just for school, but for pleasure as well.

Hannah Harvey - Author I started to fill notebooks with stories, and even started a few novels. My main problem, was that I couldn’t finish a novel. I found it too hard to stick to one idea, because I had just so many running around in my head. This is where National Novel Writing Month came in. I started taking part and before long I was finishing full novels. My love of writing grew.

At the same time, I’d started college and I had the plan of becoming a nurse, however I was diagnosed with a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Basically meaning that I I was collapsing all the time. I couldn’t attend college anymore, and I still have the condition now over six years later. So I couldn’t go to college anymore, I could hardly stand up in those first months, before I got onto the right medications and got a small amount of control.

So plans had to be reworked. I was at home a lot of the time, and I had my laptop so naturally I started writing. I poured myself into writing, and I had so many finished first drafts, that I just decided it was time I did something with them.

It was round this time that I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing. This seemed like an amazing chance for me, because breaking into the publishing world is so tough, so I thought if I could do it myself then that would be amazing.

It’s hard work. I’m in charge of writing, editing, promotion, the whole lot. It’s also a lot of fun, and I love having the freedom to set my own deadlines and write exactly what I want. I’m learning so much about writing, editing, cover design and promotion, and it’s been incredible.

Currently I’ve published four novels and one novella, and I hope to have another book out in the not too distant future.

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Between Now and Goodbye final - CopyThree friends. One eventful summer.

Libby finally has the settled life she’s always wanted, and never before had. She has a happy family, two best friends Julie and Charles, and loves her home.
This summer will be the best of her life. A summer spent learning in a culinary camp in New York, but when something happens at home and she’s forced to return, how will her summer turn out?

Charles had big dreams for his future, college, medical school, and spending as much time as possible with his girlfriend Julie. This summer will change all of that. His mom’s sick, his dad’s gone and he’s left trying to hold his family together. On top of that, Julie’s pulling away from him. Will he be able to fix things before they fall apart?

Julie is bored. She’s bored of her private school. Bored of always doing the same thing. Bored of having plans cancelled by her boyfriend who’s always busy. She’s bored and she wants a change. When she attempts to liven things up with some of her school friends, she ends up making a mistake. How will that mistake end up shaping her summer?

Follow Libby, Charles and Julie as they fight their way through an emotional summer, as they learn that sometimes theirs no escaping goodbyes, but that they aren’t always bad things.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Hannah Harvey is a 23 year old self published author, blogger and avid reader from the UK. When she’s not writing or editing novels, she’s working on three different blogs, and reading a tonne of books.

Amazon     Website
Goodreads     Read First Chapter Free
Twitter @booktowerblog

IAM15 Author Interview…Carys Jones

IAM 2015 - TopperWe’ve already met author Carys Jones today, in her first feature about her Writing Routine. But, she was nice enough to fill in some interview questions for us as well and so we thought we might as well share them with you 🙂

 

 

Snapshot Interview with Carys Jones

 

  1. A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what would you wish for and why?

Ooh! That’s a fun question! I think I’d first ask for the ability to slow time down, especially when I’ve got deadlines looming as sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But then secondly I’d also want the ability to speed time up! Particularly when I’m waiting on a submission as publishing is a notoriously slow paced industry and I’m an insanely impatient person! Lol.

Finally I’d ask for the ‘F’ key on my laptop to get fixed. I always write on my beloved pink laptop which I’ve had for years and just can’t bear to part with even though it’s now past it’s best. So if the genie could fix the keyboard that would be awesome : )

 

  1. Describe your ideal writing space.

I’m really fortunate because I already get to work in my ideal writing space. The room I work in has bright pink walls and is littered with Disney memorabilia and there are pictures everywhere of me and my friends. It is easily my favorite room in the whole house. I like that when I sit down to write I’m surrounded by all the things I love and so many happy memories. My dog, Rollo, even has a bed in there so he can come and sit with me when I work.

 

  1. What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Flowers in the Attic. It is beautifully written and deeply moving. But don’t make my mistake and tackle the rest of the series as they really don’t live up to the brilliance of the first book.

 

  1. How do you react to a bad review?

I totally get that not everybody is going to love the same book. It would be a very boring world if we did. When I get a bad review I take on board what the reviewer is saying, any negative feelings they have and am then just grateful that they took the time to not only read the book but to put in to words their thoughts about it. There have been loads of times when I’ve really hated a book that everyone else has loved. But that’s fine, it’s my opinion and I’m completely entitled to it! So if someone loves or hates my book, I’m just excited that they are reading it and having a reaction.

 

  1. What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I’m working on a really exciting YA series at the moment which is Geek Girl meets John Green but I’m kind of sworn to secrecy on it at this point! Sorry!

 

  1. What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

The most rewarding part of being published is connecting with writers, readers and book bloggers. I’ve met so many awesome and interesting people through writing. I feel like I have a totally new network of friends thanks to my books and I’m so appreciative of that.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

carys jones author    Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

When she’s not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.

She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.

To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

For more information about Carys please visit www.carys-jones.com or follow her on Twitter; @tiny_dancer85

 

Blog   http://carysjonesauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Website   http://carys-jones.com

Twitter   https://twitter.com/tiny_dancer85

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/CarysJonesWriter

Buying Links   Amazon

IAM15 Guest Post…My Writing Routine

IAM 2015 - TopperWe’re around halfway through Indie Author Month for this year and still have lots more features and authors coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Today, our guest on the blog is author Carys Jones, who will be sharing her ‘writing cave’ 😉 and Writing Routine with us…

 

My Writing Routine by Carys Jones

I’m lucky enough to have commandeered an entire room in my house for the sole purpose of writing! When I moved in the walls were already pink which felt like fate guiding me to where I should set up my trusty pink laptop (which is missing a few keys but I can’t bear to part with it) and forge my writing base.

PinkI pretty much write every day. There are of course exceptions but generally I try and stick to my daily routine. I write first thing in the morning as my mind is sharper then. I have daily word targets that I stick to. The targets are scrawled down along with my all my jumbled notes in my assortment of notebooks which are stacked beside my laptop.

The desk where I write is my self-created little corner of heaven. I’ve covered it with all my favourite things; like my Disney ornaments and pictures of my friends. On the walls are more pictures and also all the programs from the ballets I’ve been to with my Mum. I like to surround myself with things that make me happy, so that when I’m writing a particularly intense scene I can always look up and see something that makes me smile : )

I’m very disciplined with my writing as I’ve found that works for me. I set myself deadlines and do my best to stick to them. And I’m never alone when I’m writing. My beloved dog, Rollo, always comes and sits in his little bed of cushions on the other side of my desk. Sometimes he snores so loud that I lose my train of thought but I love having him with me!

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dare-to-dream-V2 (1) “The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain.”

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog   http://carysjonesauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Website   http://carys-jones.com

Twitter   https://twitter.com/tiny_dancer85

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/CarysJonesWriter

Buying Links   Amazon

IAM15 Guest Post…How I Became an Indie Author

IAM 2015 - Topper Ever wonder how people end up as an indie author? Adam McVeigh joins us on the blog today to tell us his story…

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   I’ll keep this brief…or at least as brief as it needs to be. I had no grand childhood plan to become an indie author; nor a grand teenage, or young adult plan for it. I think, if I remember correctly, I actually wanted to be a police officer. Why that didn’t happen? I do not know – something to do with the requirement for a high level of fitness probably. Anyway…one event led to another and my main interest arrived at being a community campaigner for social issues in the town where I live in South Lincolnshire, England.

I quickly learned that being part of an active community meant that social media was an essential tool, and being able to use it efficiently even more so. I started many campaigns and did my best to rally fellow residents by establishing and posting regularly to a blog. Over a period of four years, I think I must have typed enough words to fill several novels, and I enjoyed doing it.

I eventually hooked up with a friend and together we founded a community group. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves right in the middle of what was to be a two year, fairly high profile, campaign against a development company. When things were going well (a rarity) he suggested that given my love for writing and documenting, it would be good for me to write a book about our experiences fighting…well, I guess, ‘The Man.’ That was it for me; instantly I had visions of the completed product. But, as every indie author knows, the vision is one thing – achieving it is another.

I got straight down to typing out the beginnings of the manuscript without a clue as to what I was doing or what lay ahead. As you would imagine, I came unstuck very quickly and put the project to one side. The idea, nestled snugly at the back of mind, never really left me, and I would be constantly reminded of my friend’s belief in me during interviews with the local press. He would always answer the first question put to us by firing back to the interviewer the proposition that they should hire me as a freelance writer. Was I really good enough to be a freelance writer for the local press? Most certainly not, but his cheering was always appreciated though.

Sadly, he didn’t get to see the end of our campaign as he died three months before it was concluded. It was with his death that I decided to make completing the book a priority, and with little money and even less time to spare, I dived into the world of the indie author. I had a lot to learn. In fact, I still have a lot to learn. But, although I wrote much of the book with a heavy heart, I found the joy and satisfaction in running a long project to its end with the amazing feeling of seeing the finished product. It was because of that joy and satisfaction that my motivation carried me forwards to keep writing, and now I’ve settled in the genres of fiction.

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kindlecoverzephaniahChristmas nineteen ninety-five: a physics teacher takes his family on holiday to the snow-covered village of Gwennal, in Cornwall. When his five-year-old daughter tells him that she has seen Santa Claus, unwelcome and chilling events begin to plague the family’s stay at their seventeenth-century cottage. His choice of accommodation is further brought into question when his wife suffers a series of mind-bending paranormal horrors. Firmly believing scientific explanation-just like his fourteen-year-old son who plans to follow in the career footsteps carved-out before him-he suspects that she has relapsed to her abuse of prescription painkillers. Until, that is, the comfort blanket of science becomes an instrument of torture when staff at a local museum reveal more than he can bear to discover.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Author picture Adam McVeigh lives in South Lincolnshire, England. His first book, Keep Off The Grass, a narrative non fiction account of his time as a community and political campaigner, was released as an independently published paperback in January 2015. His fictional works are primarily psychological and paranormal thrillers that are inspired by real life events and scenarios, including recent titles: Polly, and The Hanging Bridge. Both are short, quick read stories that form a ten volume collection due for publication in 2016.

 

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Zephaniah-Horror-Novella-Adam-McVeigh-ebook/dp/B00UGFVZ80

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13706575.Adam_McVeigh

Author website: http://adammcveigh.com

IAM15 Guest Post…Michael Pang

IAM 2015 - TopperWelcome to day seven of our Indie Author Month, we hope you’ve enjoyed the mixture of features and authors so far. Stick with us, as there are plenty more to come in the next few weeks as even more ‘indies’ share their experiences and books with us… So, who’s here today?

Today’s featured author is Michael Pang…Project manager by profession but modern Renaissance man by nature, Michael Pang has dabbled in many different areas in his career. From working with steam turbines to eventually switching into the world of IT, his plethora of experience highlights his personality – he’s a person always searching for more knowledge.

MichaelAndMaiaMichael was born in Hong Kong in 1983. His family immigrated to San Francisco when he was three and eventually landed in Florida. After graduating from high school, Michael gained his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. Despite his currently demanding work schedule, Michael is very involved in activities at his local Project Management Institute Chapter where he fulfills his passion for teaching as the Vice President of Education. But, his desire to serve and help others doesn’t end there, he’s an avid Christian and very active in his local church. He loves kids, with two daughters of his own with his lovely wife, and volunteers at children’s church in his ministry.

He speaks fluent Cantonese and Mandarin and in his free time enjoys reading, writing, eating, cooking, playing music, dancing, singing, and watching musicals. One of his mottos is “Everyday that he hasn’t learned something new is a day wasted.”

So, without further ado, let’s hand you over to the man himself to learn more about how he came to be a writer.

 

My Writing Journey…so far…

I have always enjoyed reading and writing. However, I never really had a chance to simply sit down and write for fun until I was in my late twenties. About four years ago, my wife and I had our first baby. Months of sleepless nights went by and we both looked like zombies. Then, one night a very strange dream (more like a nightmare) came to me about a teenager working in a mental asylum. The patients there were all gaunt and ghastly with very abrupt demeanor changes. Some of the things the patients were doing were fairly odd and supernatural (like levitating, retrieving objects via telekinesis, and speaking with multi-vocal projections). And I remember wandering to myself, are these people all just insane or demon possessed. Okay, you might wonder, “wow, how did he jump to demon possessed so quickly?” If you saw what I saw in that dream, you would jump to that conclusion too. Then the teenager went into a room and called the patient residing in the room, “mom.” She turned around abruptly, and the expression on her face was terrifying as she pounced on him. I woke up immediately. As shaken from the dream as I was, I couldn’t help wanting to find out what happened to the teenager. I tried to go back to sleep in hopes of getting the dream to continue. But it didn’t work. The next morning, I told my wife about the strange dream and how I had hoped that it had continued when I went back to sleep. So my wife told me that it sounded like it would make an excellent novel and that I should write my own ending.

I guess I would have to say that, it was then that my real writing journey began. Over the past four years, I wrote (and re-wrote continuously) whenever I got a chance. The dream came at a very opportune time when my role in the energy company I worked for changed and I ended up traveling almost every other week. I was constantly on 3-7 hour flights and due to company policy almost had a layover every time. There are only so many movies you can watch on a plane before you are just bored out of your mind, so I took the advantage of the travel times to write. Also, since I worked for the energy industry, I would always be traveling to some sort of power plant or manufacturing plant. There really was not much to do in those areas after work, so I sat in my hotel room and wrote.

Being that my novel borderlines on horror, I kind of spooked myself out a couple of times writing alone in a hotel room. When you are alone, your mind can really go to some strange and dark places. As terrified as I am of the original Exorcist movie, I am mystified as to how I had written two exorcism scenes in my book. I remember re-reading parts of my novel last year and I was like, “Whoa, where did that come from?” Due to some these darker themes of my novel, I really struggled with what the appropriate age group my novel was written for, but I really like the YA genre. I feel that it is the age where everyone gets a chance to venture out and discover who they really are. It gives me so much freedom to infuse that sense of excitement and drama to my book.

As much as I initially thought I loved reading and writing before I started on this project, over the past four years that passion has grown exponentially. Just thinking about having free time to write, gets me so excited. So, with book 1 of the Declan Peters Chronicles released, I am now in the process of writing book 2. I hope that I have as much fun writing it as I did the first one. I just need to work on finding free time to write. Did I just say “free time?” What is that? I vaguely remember what that means….

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Eye Of Madness   A near tragic incident at the hands of his psychotic mother left Declan Peters alone and with so many questions.

Years later, Declan is determined to find a way to be closer to his mother and takes a job at the institution where she’s being held. That fateful decision will be the impetus for a chain of events so terrifying that Declan will question his own grasp on reality.

What he finds will be more horrifying than anything he’s ever experienced and more dangerous than anything he’s yet known. In a place, rife with demonic possession and sadistic beings, will Declan finally be able to find the answers he’s longed for before its too late or will he succumb to the evil forces that inhabit the institution and all who live there?

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Amazon (Print) http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692437339/
Barnes&Nobles http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-eyes-of-madness-michael-pang/1121840881?ean=9780692437339
Goodreads

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25466295-in-the-eyes-of-madness

 

Website http://www.InTheEyesOfMadness.com
Facebook Fanpage https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-The-Eyes-Of-Madness/772675372847165
YouTube Book Trailer https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=eXHSq06oxb8&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DPRAaXcCUZdU%26feature%3Dshare
Twitter https://twitter.com/michaelkcpang

 

 

IAM15 Guest Post…Author talk-show ‘Changes’

IAM 2015 - TopperToday we’re pleased to welcome author Sally Ember to Indie Author Month.

The experiences of every author are different – how they come to write in the first place…how their writing evolves over time…how their life experiences shape their work…

Sally’s guest post is one of the most interesting and in-depth we’ve had for an author feature on the blog. We hope you enjoy reading it and learning more about her work, just as we did.

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Sally Ember - Author  “Why I Started a LIVE Talk Show: *CHANGES* conversations between authors on Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and YouTube”

 In early April, 2014, I had just completed and uploaded Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, of my science-fiction/romance/ multiverse/ utopian/ paranormal (psi) ebooks in The Spanners Series for adults, New and Young Adults, and joined two new writers’ groups in the East Bay (one in Berkeley and one in Hayward, California, where I had been living), when I was in a terrible accident. The resulting broken nose has been healing fine and didn’t require surgery; the concussion has proven to be a lot more problematic.

For several months, it was as if I were in a fog. I wasn’t allowed to do any serious computer work, reading or thinking (I had been about halfway through Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, when I got hurt). Since I couldn’t wear my glasses without causing myself enormous pain (glasses would be sitting on the broken nose, right?), and I was overwhelmingly aphasic, exhausted, confused and injured, unable to process much, the respite from writing, reading and working seemed necessary. The accident had also caused extreme damage to my arms, hands, shoulders and upper back, so keyboarding wasn’t all that feasible, anyway. Plus, when I did type, I made more errors than words, typed very slowly (usually over 100 WPM; then, about 40 WPM, with numerous mistakes).

However, once the enforced hiatus was over, I still couldn’t return to my regular life. My memory was horrible, both short- and long-term. I couldn’t find words, or the right words, to speak or write. I no longer sounded as if I were drunk, but I was still extremely slower and less able, all around, than I had been prior to the brain injury. I usually function in the top 10 percent of intellectuals, with an extremely large vocabulary and many types of intelligence. I had been fortunate, up until the accident, to be a wide reader of many subjects, with both formal and informal education beyond the doctoral level and a larger variety of knowledge, experiences and insights than most people. Post-concussion, I was barely above-average and often, not even that.

 Before the injury to my brain, I had been writing my fiction series quite quickly, often exceeding 2,000 words per day. My creativity seemed boundless, my energy matching it. Volume I’s first draft had been completed in under two months, and it was over 130,000 words. I had developed a spreadsheet to record my (very brief) notes on my series’ dozens of human, animal and alien characters, multiple timelines, overlapping realities, historical and future events and people, but most of the series’ details and plans had been in my brain which had been injured to the point of being severely compromised.

 In July of last year, I discovered all I could create were short, nonfiction blog and other posts, and it took “forever” to finalize each one, since I typed sentences that were riddled with errors. Each post needed to be proofread multiple times. I could barely read others’ blogs and reblog/share, almost couldn’t read short pieces/stories.

 Yes, after a few months I was improving and could do these with increasingly better understanding, but I still couldn’t return to my fiction series. My “executive functions” and “working memory” were still extremely low-performing due to the post-concussion syndrome I had been diagnosed with in June.

 I wasn’t well enough to return to my “regular” life of work or writing, but I was well enough to be bored. Luckily, I had discovered Google+ the previous year. During the winter and spring of 2014, I had been attending Hangouts On Air (HOAs) somewhat regularly. I attended and participated (when that was allowed) in many HOAs by leaving comments, questions, and interactions with others also viewing or presenting, on topics ranging from books, book marketing, authors, writing, marketing, social media, spirituality/meditation and more. I watched most on Google+, but they were also archived so I could watch those I missed on YouTube, where I found even more entertaining, informative videos.

After my accident, watching videos was about the only thing I could do, since reading, writing and other glass-wearing activities were excluded. I got into watching one HOA in particular, “Lights, Camera, HOA!”, run by an excellent trio of women: Meloney Hall, Rayne Dowell and Sheila Strover.

 After I attended a few shows, Rayne read Volume I of my series and reached out to invite me onto the show to learn more about being in/on a HOA. The entire reason for this show’s existence is to help newbies (like me) get comfortable with the HOA format and technology, both on- and off-camera. I LOVED it! What a great service this show provides. THANK YOU! https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Bigupticksociallightscamerahoa/about

 As a former actor/performer, being “on camera” wasn’t hard for me. As a writer/author, being able to interact with viewers LIVE was so much better than having readers I almost never hear from or meet. I was hooked on HOAs and wanted my own. I learned everything I could in the next several months, wondering if I’d be able to manage my own show.

 What could I have a HOA about, exactly? There were an infinite number of choices. By then, I had been interviewed on several radio shows online and submitted many “author interview” posts to others’ websites, so I was familiar with that format and was beginning to feel it was somewhat overused. Frankly, and no offence to the current website(!), I find most author interviews to be awfully repetitive and, well, boring.

 I did NOT want to interview authors, but I wanted to meet more authors and talk about writing as well as many other interesting topics. By the end of July, four months post-injury, I still couldn’t write for my series, but I was able to talk better and listen very well. I decided to launch in August and to have a show that I would want to watch.

 Since I wanted to be around other writers and hear about their experiences, hoping to be entertained and inspired until my own writing would (hopefully) be accessible to me again, I posted on Twitter, Facebook groups and in general, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ communities to invite authors to be guests on *CHANGES* conversations between authors. I also ranged around to those sites that posted award winners in science-fiction, particularly, and invited many of those authors on my show as well.

 The response has been more than gratifying. I welcomed Dr. Shay West as my first guest for my August 6, 2014, premier Episode, with several more super authors scheduled to be on subsequent shows. Since then, with a few planned and even fewer unplanned exceptions, I have had an Episode each week. The live show airs three or four times per month (with one week off, to rest) on Wednesdays, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, and in August 5, 2015, I will air my one-year anniversary show!

 Amazing authors have been guests on *CHANGES* (http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on my website for full schedule of past and upcoming guests). I have had guests who joined me live from France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Canada, and many states in the USA. The authors I have talked with enrich me weekly (and my viewers as well, I hope), writing in every fiction genre and including those who also write nonfiction, plays, screenplays and poetry. Ethnically, my guests have been American mixed-Causasian, African-American, African-Jamaican, Spanish, English, Indian (continent, not tribe), Russian, Jewish, German, Norwegian, and Greek (so far). Editors, publishers (magazine and book), and translators, with an age range, as of August 5, 2015, of 16 – 78 years old, are in my *CHANGES* guests club.

Our conversational topics list is too lengthy to include here, but has been exactly as I had planned: wide variety, high-level subject discussions that are informative, entertaining, insightful, funny and poignant. My guests and I share personal and professional stories, discuss books and writing, publishing and editing, book cover artists and much more.

I am quite happy to say that, as of June, 2015, *CHANGES* Episodes (now up to 32, http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on YouTube) have garnered audiences as large as over 1000 in one day, totalling over 2300 views, so far. My YouTube channel went from having 2 to over 40 subscribers. I now have over 2400 followers on Google+ and Facebook, each (although some are the same people, I’m sure), and almost 5000 on Twitter. Pinterest followers’ number has quadrupled; so has LinkedIn’s. Many compliments, positive comments and excellent questions appear for each *CHANGES* Episode from viewers who watch live or later.

I wish to convert the *CHANGES* videocasts into podcasts, for those who prefer to listen-only, but the podcast hosting sites are not free. I also wish to pay for my next book covers, buy better equipment for my home videocasts, and keep writing, but the concussion has severely limited my ability to work and I am in deep debt. If you’d like to help, http://www.patreon.com/sallyember has a video about my goals and rewards to donors in which I sing (really; not so well, but, hey; I’m not a professional singer!), and more information. $4 gets you a free ebook; larger donations earn you deep discounts on professional editing, proofreading and writing tutor services, all of which can do well, despite the concussion.

Since starting *CHANGES*, I’m delighted to report that downloads of Volume I of my series, which is permafree since I uploaded Volume II (right before my accident), are steady. I do wish for better sales for Volume II, but I’ve heard a series has to have three books released to “really take off.”

About that: in other good news, as of May, 2015, I am back to writing new parts of Volume III! I hope to finish all drafts and revisions (more slowly, but well) by mid-fall, to release it around November or December, if all goes well. Wish me luck!

Beta readers and reviewers of all Volumes welcomed! Contact me: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

CHANGES Trailer Image_3

Also, watch a few Episodes of *CHANGES*any time: http://goo.gl/6xjSKl

#Authors and #bloggers, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction, but not only those: learn more about and get yourself on *CHANGES*, and #Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest. More info, schedule and past/upcoming guests list here: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV.

I strongly suggest you check out others’ HOAs as well: there are some great shows out there in Google+ land! Two good places to find them (and another great G+ community, User2User: LIVE!):

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101944073205735325459 for User2User-Live!

Http://www.hangouteventscalendar.com

 

Best to you all!

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This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks  Volume I, This Changes Everything

  The Spanners Series

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse.  When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth? This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series. Are YOU ready for the changes?

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Sally Ember, Ed.D., has been passionate about writing since she was nine years old, winning prizes for her poetry, stories, songs and plays from a young age. She also began meditation in her teens. Now, Sally delights fans of psi elements with romance by blurring the lines between fact and fiction in The Spanners Series ebooks, a multiverse of multiple timelines, often including exciting elements of utopian science-fiction and Buddhism, for New Adult/adult/YA audiences; two out (first is permafree) with eight to come, Born Jewish on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, Sally’s life has been infused with change. Currently, she meditates, writes, swims, reads and hosts her Google+ Hangout On Air (HOA) *CHANGES* conversations between authors, LIVE conversations with authors, almost every Wednesday, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA.

 

BOOK LINKS:

Volume I, Permafree:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

Volume II, $3.99:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969
OTHER LINKS:

http://www.sallyember.com
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW  Author Central Amazon page

https://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd   Twitter: @sallyemberedd

https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber   Spanners Series‘ page on FB

https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember

http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember

http://goo.gl/tZKQpv   Spanners Series‘ page on Google+

http://www.google.com/+SallySueEmber   Sally Sue Ember on Google+

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember

CROWDFUNDING SITE: http://www.patreon.com/sallyember

IAM15 Interview…Vanessa Morgan

IAM 2015 - TopperToday’s guest is author Vanessa Morgan. A lady of many talents, she is an author, screenwriter, and blogger. Two of her works, The Strangers Outside and A Good Man, have been turned into films. Her short film script Next to Her is currently in pre-production. When she’s not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, digging through flea markets, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats (http://travelling-cats.blogspot.com). Avalon (the cat) has appeared in several of her books and films.

We’re pleased to be interviewing Vanessa today for Indie Author Month – so let’s find out more about her and her work!

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What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day? In bed, with a cup of hot tea, a cat, a blanket, and a scented candle.

 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you? Most people see me as someone confident who knows what she’s doing. They would be surprised to see that I’m actually insecure and shy.

 

You’ve found a time machine on your driveway this morning – where are you going to go in it? I’d go a few years back in time to be with Avalon my cat who passed away in July 2013.

 

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? I’d like to cure sick animals and bring the deceased ones back to life.

 

Night owl or early bird? I’m an early bird. I need a fixed schedule to be able to work and write effectively, and the best times to concentrate are during the day.

 

One food you would never eat? Meat.

 

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Because cat lovers will laugh and cry, and they will love their cats even more after reading Avalon.

 

What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works? I’m currently editing a book on animal attack movies. It’s a project for which different movie aficionados from all over the world will write an essay about their favorite film in this sub-genre. The writers are a mix between film historians, bloggers, horror fiction writers, authors of movie reference guides, film festival organizers, film critics, actors, screenwriters, and directors. The book will be released later this year.

 

What inspired you to want to become a writer? Seeing As I Lay Dying on stage in London. I wouldn’t be an author without it.

 

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book? Kenji Kawai’s theme song from the movie Avalon.

 

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? I asked my friends and everyone agreed on Naomi Watts.

 

Cats or Dogs? I can appreciate any type of animal, but I like the quiet attitude of cats.

 

Facebook or Twitter? Right now, I’m more into Twitter, because my posts reach a wider audience than on Facebook and it’s also easier to share books from fellow authors.

 

Truth or Dare? Truth.

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avalonSome cats need nine lives to make a difference. Avalon only needed one.

From Amazon bestselling author Vanessa Morgan, Avalon is the heartwarming and once-in-a-lifetime love story of a girl and her neurotic Turkish Van cat.

With humor, the author details how Avalon made other creatures cringe in distress whenever he was around, how he threw her dates out by means of special techniques, and how he rendered it almost impossible for her to leave the house. Avalon was so incorrigible that even her landlord ordered her to get rid of him. But beneath Avalon’s demonic boisterousness, Vanessa recognized her own flaws and insecurities, and she understood that abandoning Avalon would be the worst she could do to him. Thanks to her unswerving loyalty, Avalon transformed into a tender feline, and even landed a major role in a horror movie. In turn, Avalon made it his mission to be there for his human companion.

By turns jubilant and deeply moving, Avalon is a memoir for anyone who has ever been obsessively in love with a pet.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vanessa-Morgan/50159391888

Twitter: http://twitter.com/eeriestories

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/follow/eeriestories

Google+: https://plus.google.com/111498119214855356614/posts

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/vanessa-morgan-4135473

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Vanessa-Morgan/

Blog: http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2890032.Vanessa_Morgan

 

Purchase links for ‘Avalon’

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1FTC8Ep

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1ImdPRo

Amazon.fr: http://amzn.to/1JTGIF2

 

IAM15 Guest Post…Writing Problem Characters

IAM 2015 - TopperAnyone who has been around Aside from Writing before may well recognise today’s guest author – Hazel West – from her visits to the blog in previous Indie Author Month events, or from our review of her novel On a Foreign Field (you can link to Hazel’s other features on the blog here).

So, we’re very happy to welcome back our regular visitor and see what she has to share about writing ‘problem’ characters. A little bit of Writing 101 for you today, along with meeting a lovely author.

Plus, as it’s the fourth of July, we thought it only proper that an American author take the centre stage today 🙂

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Writing Problem Characters

If you have not encountered a character who has given you problems at least once, then chances are you aren’t actually a writer. Something I always tell writers who are starting out is that characters are people too. This helps to form realistic characters but it also means they can take on a life of their own, and usually to the chagrin of the writer. These problems can either manifest as characters being unwilling to cooperate with you, refusing to do what you want them to, or even becoming completely different characters all together. I’ve had villains decide they were more anti-heroes by the time I get to the end of a first draft and have to go back and rewrite everything to accommodate their newfound generosity. It can definitely be troubling, but here are some tips to make dealing with problem characters easier.

First off, another thing I tell new writers is to just listen to your characters, because, yes, they do talk to you; no, you aren’t going crazy even though you hear those voices in your head when you’re trying to sleep at night. Usually if you just listen to your characters and let them run the story, even if it’s not anything like how you imagined it starting out, things should go smoothly. You can’t write characters out of character and expect your process to go well.

Sometimes it’s a little more complicated than that. If your character has decided they are not going to be the person you thought they were, they you may have quite a bit of decision making to do and things to figure out. In this case, you may—and likely will—have to change parts of the story itself to fit their new personality. If you haven’t realized it yet, characters are divas, and you do have to cater to them if you want your story to go well. Otherwise, they have a way of sabotaging stories if they don’t get their way. If your baddie decides to go good, you might have to create another villain to keep the story going, otherwise your readers will feel cheated and all thanks to your ex-baddie’s change of heart. Villains seem to be some of the most problematic characters to write. If they’re not leaving the dark side, they refuse to tell you their plans and why they are doing what they’re doing, which makes fun many long frustrating hours of trying to squeeze information from them all while attempting to construct a plot without any real reason behind it. Infuriating. Unfortunately, this is just one of those things that has to be worked out in time. There are really no good ways to get your villain to talk, although you can always try torture if you wish.

I have also found names to be a huge factor in character personalities. If it turns out a name really doesn’t fit the character, you may have a very hard time writing them and getting their voice correct. I usually play with names and spellings a long time before I start writing a book. I know there were certain times where I have had a hard time writing a character but after changing their name, it was super easy. Just another one of those weird tips that writers pick up.

Everyone has problem characters, it’s impossible not to, but don’t let it stop your writing process! I hope these tips might help a bit, or you might find other things that will help you more. Let me know some of your tips for wrangling those characters who just don’t want to cooperate.

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bloodtiescover copy In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool, bands together with a company of young warriors to go on a quest to recover their missing family members who were captured on patrol by the Goblins during a shaky peace between the two kingdoms. Ciran and his companions must figure out not only how they are going to rescue the prisoners, but how they are going to complete their mission without killing each other. This first book in the new urban fantasy series by Hazel West is a story of brotherhood and friendship against all odds, that mixes the ancient Irish legends with a modern setting for an action-packed read.

(Coming Fall 2015)

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Hazel West lives in Florida and took up writing mostly as an excuse to stay out of the heat. Apart from being an Indie author, she also enjoys reading, drawing, drinking coffee, and knitting and crochet. Hazel is also a lover of all this historical and a good deal of folklore and mythology and enjoys seeing how those things can be written into stories. She currently shares her living space with a hedgehog named Horatio.

Hazel B West

Hazel B West

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Tales From a Modern Bard (short stories/fiction): http://talesfromamodernbard.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/artfulscribbler

Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/artfulscribbler/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5289626.Hazel_B_West

You can find all my books here: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com/2013/03/purchase-links.html

IAM 15 Guest Post…Geoffrey Saign

IAM 2015 - TopperHello! Welcome to day three of Indie Author Month, we hope you’ve enjoyed the first couple of days and features…there’s a lot more to come with a new visitor each day.

Today we’re joined by author Geoffrey Saign, sharing his writing journey (so far) with Aside from Writing. Let’s see how he found himself becoming an Indie Author…

 

Geoffrey Saign  WhipEye has won the 2015 International Book Awards for Children’s Fiction, but I’m not an overnight success.

In fact, if I didn’t love writing, I would have quit at rejection 599, or thereabouts. Over several decades, I had 6 NY agents, some of the best, in several genres—though most of my books had elements of fantasy—my favorite genre. The last agent told me we’d have 50K in thirty days (he’d just sold a $20 million screenplay), but it didn’t happen.

Fast forward to a year ago, and the small publisher that had picked up WhipEye ran into financial problems, and informed me I’d only get 3 cents/book. I decided to form KiraKu press and publish it myself.

A year later, WhipEye won a number of accolades, including a Top Pick on LitPick, the number one site for kids reviewing books. To have kids reviewing your book, and loving it, is a great thing. WhipEye was also awarded a Notable in Shelf Unbound, and came in as a bronze finalist in eLit Book Awards.

Most of my writing includes my passions for nature, wildlife, water, and adventure. I’ve sailed all over the South Pacific and Caribbean, and was lost at sea for 3 days on my first charter out of Key West. That was pretty funny—and another story. I live by intuition, another element in WhipEye. I teach in special education, and work hard to build self-esteem and get students to trust themselves. I was able to include those aspects in WhipEye naturally, so the reader isn’t hit over the head with those themes. WhipEye is still a fast-paced ride that reluctant young readers love. I’m proud to say that adults love WhipEye too—it’s a great to please so many readers of varying ages with a story.

Since age 15 I’ve cared deeply about the planet (nature and wildlife). Thus, I mention 100 different species of wild animals in WhipEye. It’s my way of educating young readers without their knowing it. I wanted to create a protagonist who is an animal nerd, Samantha, so the reader sees the world through the eyes of someone in love with wildlife, and nature, and isn’t attached to electronics. I try to get my students into nature and the outdoors every chance I get, and hope they will do more on their own. There are also themes of love in the story, and what that means when we’re faced with a choice of helping others or doing what is right.

My vision of life is that we all suffer and go through pain, but at the end of the day we learn and grow and become happier for it. In WhipEye, Samantha, the main character, and her side-kick, Jake, are grieving losses, but they come out better for it. I also like to joke around with my students, so it’s important to me to have humor in my writing. Charlie, the wise-cracking thousand-year-old parrot in WhipEye, keeps the story from being too dark when things are tough for Sam and Jake.

I’m currently finishing up Book 2, Gorgon, WhipEye Chronicles, which should be out Sept. 1, 2015. My goal is a movie for WhipEye. I don’t know where all this will lead, but intuition is guiding it, and as long as it’s a blast to write, I’ll keep at it. Right now I have an environmental book proposal with a publisher, a non-fiction book I just finished, and a YA epic fantasy series that I’m ready to put out. It’s all exciting, and I’m glad I’m off summers from education so I can write. A fun day for me is writing, swimming, seeing friends, and sharing great food. It’s a great life.

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WhipEye Cover

A thousand-year-old wise-cracking parrot convinces animal nerd Samantha and her spunky side-kick Jake to save him and two worlds. The two children are hunted by magical Great Ones, and have twenty-four hours to decipher the supernatural staff, WhipEye, and find the courage to stop a traitorous guardian and his enslaved monstrous animals.

   …a story about love, nature, wildlife, intuition, and trusting yourself…

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Geoffrey Saign can often be found looking for interesting critters, and magic, while swimming, snorkeling, sailing, or hiking in the woods. His passion for nature and wildlife inspired his series, WhipEye Chronicles, and led to his nationally endorsed book, Green Essentials: What You Need to Know About the Environment, as well as African Cats and Great Apes. He has a background in biology, assisted in field research with hummingbirds and humpback whales, and sailed as far away as Australia. With more than twenty years of experience working in special education, he has taught adults and children everything from sailing to self-awareness and novel writing. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Website: http://www.geoffreysaign.net

You Tube Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQQt4_0PIO0

Personal: https://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.saign

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/geoffreysaign/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20508452-whipeye

Twitter: https://twitter.com/geoffreysaign

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffreysaign

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/WhipEye-Chronicles-Volume-1/dp/0990401308

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/whipeye?store=allproducts&keyword=whipeye

iBooks; https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/whipeye/id926521924?mt=11

Smashwords;  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498116

Kobo; https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=whipeye

IAM15 Guest Post…Marie Landry

IAM 2015 - Topper Today’s guest author for the second day of Indie Month 2015 is our lovely friend Marie Landry! Over the last few years since we started the blog in 2012 Marie has featured with us many times, sharing her writing and blogging experiences as well as her books. (You can check out previous features here).

Today she joins us sharing her thoughts on how she became an Indie Author.

Marie-Landry-AuthorHow I Became an Indie Author

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. I’ve had a vivid imagination my whole life, and I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. Even when my path went in various different directions during and after college, I always kept writing and hoped to be published someday. I always assumed it would be traditional publishing, because that’s all there was. I was willing to query agents, have my books sit in slush piles, and persevere until my work was out there for the world to read.

Several years ago, I began writing with a partner. We started out with fan fiction (my lips are sealed about which fandom!) and short stories, and eventually wrote a novel together that we hoped to have published. Self-publishing was quite new at the time, and after a bit of research, we knew it wasn’t the path for us. It had a horrible reputation at the time – the general consensus was that only people who could never get published traditionally were self-publishing. We sent out query after query with no success, but we kept writing.

When we parted ways as writing partners, a friend encouraged me to pull out a story I’d written after college and polish it. I spent months rewriting it while researching publishing options. This was around the time Amanda Hocking was blowing up the indie scene. I read countless articles and blog posts, and realized self-publishing was a viable option. It wasn’t that I wanted to rush the process, but I liked the idea of having complete control over editing decisions, cover, distribution, etc. I also really just wanted people to read my books and I knew with self-publishing it would be a matter of months rather than the years it can take to get published by a publisher, even once your manuscript has been sold.

I published my debut novel, Blue Sky Days, in January 2012. Over the next three years, I published five more books, and I’m currently working on my next novel, which I hope to release late this summer or early autumn. I haven’t regretted my decision to self-publish for a minute. Would it be nice to have someone else do the marketing for me? Yes. Would it be nice to have an advance or have a decent budget for marketing? Heck yeah! But does that outweigh the freedom of being my own boss and being able to get my books into the hands of people who love to read? No. Is self-publishing for everyone? No. But it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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Take-Them-by-Storm-Marie-Landry  Sadie Fitzgerald has always been different, and not just because she makes her own clothes and would rather stay home watching Doctor Who than party with kids her age. When it’s time to leave Angel Island for college, Sadie is eager to put her old life behind her. Small-minded people and rumors have plagued her for years, but with the love of her adoptive family, the O’Dells, Sadie has learned to embrace who she is. Now she’s not afraid to admit the rumors about her are true: she’s gay.
For the first time in her life, Sadie feels free to be herself. She dives into college life and begins volunteering at the local LGBT center, where she discovers her small-town upbringing left holes in her education about life outside Angel Island.
The world is a bigger and more accepting place than Sadie ever imagined. She’s finally found where she belongs, but with the reappearance of someone from her past, an unexpected new friendship, and a chance at love, Sadie soon realizes she still has a lot to learn about life, friendship, and love.

 

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Marie has the best job in the world—one where she gets to make stuff up for a living and shamelessly eavesdrop on everyone around her. She writes happily ever afters while dreaming about the day she’ll have her own epic love story to tell. Most days you can find her writing, reading, fantasizing about traveling the world, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece.

For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie83 any time!

 

Blog: http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLandryAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SweetMarie83

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Take-Them-Storm-Angel-Island-ebook/dp/B00PBA7KNE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-them-by-storm-marie-landry/1120852304?ean=2940046432121