Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Late Night Fright, #MFRWbooks Blog Hop

Book Hooks Blog Hop #MFRWbooks

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Today we're joining the Book Hooks Blog Hop sponsored by the Marketing For Romance Writers Group. (#MFRWbooks) Each participating blogger shares an excerpt from a novel. I'm featuring my paranormal suspense, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. Hope it will give you smiles and chills.

You're invited to
ome on along to visit authors sharing their books with you.The link to the list of participants is at the end of the page. Have fun!

Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose
Paranormal Suspense

Back of the BookRescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed? Investigating mysterious murders Not the usual calls for first responder Jim Hart. He expects slip and fall accidents or low blood pressure emergencies in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge Senior Community and Golf Resort. The ghastly crime scenes turn the winter time fun into a terrifying season of death and mystery when the authorities cannot track down the predator responsible. 

Jim and his wife Gloria could escape the horror and grief by returning to their northern home, but concern for their friends and residents keep them in Florida. With the entire community in a dither over the deaths, the Harts participate in the normal winter activities of golfing, dancing, and pool parties with their friends to distract them from the sadness and loss.

Can Jim and Gloria work with the authorities to discover who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard and stop the increasing body count?

Video: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard Book Trailer 

Excerpt: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard, Chapter 4

Mr Tweeble’s next door neighbor, Doris Hadley, couldn’t sleep. She prowled through her cupboards to find a snack. Sometimes slurping up some raisin bran cereal and milk and watching a late night movie on the AMC channel made her sleepy. She filled a bowl and settled into her recliner.

Placing her spoon and bowl on the table next to her chair, she pulled her heavy robe around her thin body and sat down in her lounger. She clicked the remote and the TV across the room shined bright in the darkened room. Pleased to discover a favorite oldie on the classic movie channel, Doris traded the remote for her cereal and concentrated on watching the movie and indulging in the night time treat.

After a few minutes, she turned up the volume, and then again turned it louder. Ungluing her eyes from the TV screen, she realized she couldn’t even hear the TV with Mr. Tweeble’s confounded dog barking and howling interrupting Casablanca.

Doris set aside her cereal bowl on the end table. She pulled her frail body from the deep seat ready to make a phone call to complain about the dog. Of course once she was up, the pet quit yapping. She looked out the window to see if his owner had let him out into the backyard, but the motion light wasn’t on. Ah, silence from next door. Maybe now she could watch her movie without that annoying barking.

Doris picked up her cereal bowl and returned to the kitchen to fill it with more raisin bran and milk. She settled down in front of the maple TV console. As she brought a spoonful of her midnight snack to her lips, the terrier next door began raising the roof with his howls and woofs again.

She had enough of that damn dog. She wrestled herself up from the recliner as fast as she could and stood mesmerized by a dazzling yellow light blazing through Old Man Tweeble’s house. Momentarily blinded by the amazing brightness, she scrambled out to her screened-in porch to get a better view and caught a whiff of the most putrid odor she had ever smelled in her eighty-three years on this earth.

Doris moved as quickly as her legs allowed to call 9-1-1. Where was that dad-burned phone? Who ever thought of cordless phones anyway? When there were phones hooked up to the wall with a cord on the handset, no one ever missed a call because they couldn’t find the damn thing. She was exasperated, but she was more scared the house next door might explode into flames if she didn’t call right away.

Doris checked the kitchen table, the couch cushions and the night stand by the bed for the phone. Finally she found it where it should be…on the desk in the charger. She grabbed it and called 9-1-1.

“Come quick! There was a flash of bright light next door. Something’s on fire!” Doris couldn’t breathe. “Hurry!” Everything turned black as she passed out and fell to the floor clutching the phone to her chest.

* * * *

Two bodies were discovered in that early morning in the homes on Sunshine Boulevard—Mr. Ralph Tweeble and Mrs. Doris Hadley. The aura of death and mystery overshadowed the gorgeous sunny day.

Meet Jingles
Available in Paperback at Amazon 
and in ebook formats at major digital retailers.
Click here to order at these online booksellers.

Click here to visit bloggers who are participating in the Book Hooks Blog Hop. Enjoy meeting new authors and visiting your favorites. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Author Toolbox Blog Hop: Authors are Small Business Owners

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Author Toolbox Blog Hop #AuthorToolboxBlogHop which meets every third Wednesday of the month. This is my first post in this group. Thanks to Raimey Gallant for spearheading this venture. Hop around cyberspace and pick up useful information from these helpful bloggers. The list of participants is at the bottom of the page.

Authors are Small Business Owners
Small businesses in Hebden Bridge, England
Authors are small business owners too. Did you ever look at it that way? Your book is your product. I know you didn't write a book thinking about selling it. I know the story swirled in your brain until you just had to write it down. But because you had a message or a desire to touch people's hearts, you shared it with the public. At the moment the book is published--indie or traditional--it becomes not just a heart work, but also hard work. You need to set aside the creative area of your personality in exchange for the practical reality of being a business owner. Your responsibilities include editor, publisher (indie), marketer, speaker, and bookkeeper.

I never realized there were so many "jobs" associated with being a published author until my first novella was published. The good news is there are many tools/resources to help you learn about running this small business- books and online websites, writing groups, and authors who are willing to share their experiences.
Blog series on Focused on Story
 featuring romance
and mystery authors

I hosted a blog series featuring romance and mystery authors who discussed their tips on writing, marketing, and publishing. Not only was it a wonderful opportunity to meet authors, but also a chance for writers to gain valuable information from the experienced authors. 
AUTHOR TIP: I collected the authors' blog posts into an ebook and published it on amazon. I gave a PDF copy to the contributing authors so they could use it as a giveaway/opt-in.

Today I'm sharing resources I use and websites suggested by my guest authors for use in their writing businesses. Click the highlighted resource to take you to the website.



Writers Groups
Insecure Writers Support Group 

Search on Facebook for Writers Groups

Do you have a favorite website for finding out information for writers? Please share in the comments section below so we can visit. Thanks.

Click here to visit the participants in the Author Toolbox Blog Hop!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Importance of Book Reviews for Readers and Writers and Tips on Writing Book Reviews by J.Q. Rose

Book Reviews: Their Importance and
How to Write Them
The Importance of  Book Reviews for Readers and Writers

Book Reviews, oh the pressure of reading the book and then writing the review brings back the picture of my sixth-grade teacher hovering over me, making sure the book review I write for a grade is perfect. And don't even go there about her criticism about the grammar and spelling or even neat handwriting. Visions of all the red ink that covered the page come to mind where Miss Oldaker noted every error. And then, the command to "re-write" the entire review.

Okay, relax. You can breathe now. We are not talking about a sixth-grade book report. Far from it. I'm discussing online book reviews, a kinder, gentler exercise written because you want to share the great book you read with other readers so they can enjoy the experience as much as you did.

Word-of-mouth is the best advertising when one receives information about a product or service from a friend, neighbor, or family member. Online book reviews work in a similar fashion. Do you read product reviews online to help you decide whether to purchase? Click here for a study showing that 85 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Book reviews can make a difference in influencing readers to buy a book.

Book publishing has changed the way it does business. Authors and small presses are able to publish their books with easy access to readers instead of having to go through only the elite few of big city publishers. The advent of super booksellers online allows readers to share their opinion about the books they read to help readers find a book as well as authors to get noticed.

No longer is a book published, then off the shelves after a few months. Instead, the book is available for a long time on virtual shelves and its popularity can grow through time. Sales can occur throughout its lifetime rather than a flush of sales when first released. 

Readers and their reviews drive this new model and mindset in book publishing.

If you're a writer, be prepared to market your book forever! Just because your book is a year old or two years old or more, celebrate each birthday and in between with fresh new ideas on promoting it.
Tips on Writing a Book Review
Tips on Writing a Book Review
Consider these tips when writing a book review.
* Go to the page where you bought the book and near the book review comments area, you will find a place to click that says "Write a Review."
* Rate the book using the bookseller's ratings e.g. 1-5 stars. 5 Stars means you really really loved the book, 1 star is you didn't like the book. 
* Because you are on the book's sales page, you do not need to explain the whole plot of the book because it is on the sales page.
* Don't worry about a title for the review yet. Write the review first, then pick out a phrase you used in the review as the title.
* You need not write a long review. Three sentences or more are fine as long as the reader understands if you liked the book or not and why e.g. I liked the book because I really identified with the main character or I liked the way the author described the setting of the book.
*Write as if you are talking to a friend on the phone or at a coffee shop. Keep it casual and write how you talk. 
* Compare it to another book you liked and why this book reminded you of the other book.
* If you feel you'd like to read another book by the author, say so.
* Recommend it to readers of the genre such as cozy mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.
* If you received the book as a gift from the author or publisher, amazon requires you to divulge this. But just say you are voluntarily leaving a book review. 
*You'll receive an email from the bookseller allowing you to read through the review and make changes if needed.
* You can leave your book review at goodreads, amazon, kobo, barnes and noble, walmart and booksellers where you have an account.

The information in the diyMFA newsletter by Gabriella Pereira inspired this blog post. 

Articles on Book Reviews by Sandra Beckwith contributed to this post. 
Click here to visit Sandra's site at Build Book Buzz.
Thank you Gabriella and Sandra!

This article was originally published in February 2019. Because it was a popular one, I thought I'd re-cycle it this week so I can enjoy a lovely summer week!

Do you leave book reviews online? I hope so. Since my publisher turned my mysteries into second editions, I lost all the reviews. Sad. If you have read my books, I would appreciate adding a review to the book sales page. Thank you.

Meet authors and discover new books
at the Summer Readers Circle.
GOOD NEWS: Double the fun next week when two guest authors visit to explain why they wrote their book and to answer questions from readers in the Readers Circle. Stop in to meet my BWL Publishing pals, Reed Stirling and Connie Vines. 

Have a fantastic week full of summer fun!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Creating Videos for YouTube, #IWSG Blog Hop

IWSG Badge
IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.

Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop! 

Always on the first Wednesday of the month.

What is the Insecure Writer's Support Group?

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. To find out more, click this link: 
 Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The purpose of the group is 
* to share and encourage. 
* Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. 
* Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. 
*It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 
You're invited to become a member of this supportive group. Click here to sign-up to join.

February 6 question -
Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

While I do love to get lost in writing a great scene or brainstorming characters and their personalities, motives, emotions, I have a few other creative projects I love to play with--Photography and Creating Movies for YouTube  

1. Photography is my first love. I'm no pro at using my camera, but I DO love taking pictures with a "real" digital camera. One with an eyepiece and a zoom lens. Composing a fall scene in the lens, catching a goofy shot of my family, memorializing our travels via photo albums or catching that deceptive hummingbird flitting among the red impatiens baskets always give me a thrill. Unlike the good old days of film photography, the best part of picture taking is I can snap as many photos as I want at no expense to me and keep only the best shots.

Lowther Castle in England
2. I am no Steven Spielberg, but I do enjoy creating videos for my YouTube channel using my photography. "Creating" seems like a big word for dabbling in making videos using PowerPoint.

I must admit the process usually results in frustration for me when I can't put the video together as quickly as I had hoped, but I do enjoy sharing our travels with viewers. I like putting together book trailers for my books too. If you'd like to take a peek at some of my videos, please click here to visit my YouTube site. 

3. My latest fun creations, for me anyway, is live streaming via Facebook Live. The first few videos were definitely learning exercises. Bad lighting, sound, stuttering, forgetting to look at the camera. The great thing about FB Live is sharing it on Facebook of course, but also placing it on your YouTube channel so you can share it there and to all your social media outlets.  

VIDEO: Writers Groups--8 Tips for Having a Successful, Productive Meeting

Have you dabbled in creating videos? What program(s) do you use in your movie-making? Do you have any tips on making videos? Share your YouTube URL with us so we can visit. 
* * *
If you want to use free photos without requiring attribution when making your videos,
Click here to visit Pikwizard. It's a new site. Here's what their representative told me--"We have 100,000 completely free images on the site, over 20,000 of those are exclusive to us. We are also adding new images to our library daily and our ultimate goal is to get to more than 1 million images."

Thanks for visiting. Click here to visit more participants in this month's IWSG Blog Hop.

Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream, Happy Mother's Day, Working Moms

YouTube VIDEO: Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream Hello and welcome! I wanted to pop in to wish you moms, grandmoms and those w...