Monday, May 18, 2015

AUTHORS, WHY YOU SHOULD RETWEET YOUR BOOK BLOGGERS!

Authors,
Chances are you have quite a few book bloggers on your Twitter feed that you've been neglecting. Instead, I suggest that you support your book bloggers, especially those who blog books in your genre. I'm not talking about authors who also have blogs or book bloggers who charge for reviews. I'm talking about good old fashioned book bloggers who read books or hear about books and talk about them to their people.

Why should you support them?

  • They love books. The world simply needs more people who love books. In fact, they are so passionate about books they can't stop talking about them. 
  • They instill a love of reading to the general public. We need more readers! 
  • Your readers want to hear from them. You can't write enough books to keep your readers busy all year long. So keep them entertained with other great content. 

But what do you get out of it? As my Grandfather would say, you get 'nutin' . . . Well, maybe not exactly nothing.

  • You get the appreciation of your readers. 
  • You further solidify the community interest in reading. 
  • If you retweet your bloggers all year long, they see your name and your books and it might inspire them to review YOUR book. No guarantee on this though as the best book bloggers operate outside of author influence. 
  • If they follow you back on Twitter, which I'm sure they will, they'll see your sales and new releases and they might post about it. Again, no guarantee. 

But if you don't start the relationship, you'll never know what benefits might come of it. So take some time to examine your follower list and identify your book bloggers. Add them to a Twitter list, then make a point of retweeting them.

Bloggers, 
It isn't all on us authors. I've been looking through my blogger list and I see a general lack of uniformity on book blog posts. I use an automated retweeting service and I want to retweet your book blog posts to my 19K followers. But I can only do this if you use a hashtag that my retweeting service can find.

Based on this article, and comparing to the metrics on hashtag.org, I believe the best hashtags to use are:

  • #bookbloggers 
  • #bookreview 

#blog also gets a lot of retweets but it is way too general. It could be a blog about luxury cars and I don't want to retweet that. I'm absolutely retweeting #bookbloggers and #bookreview though because I know my readers want to hear about that.

Be careful about the plural forms because #bookbloggers gets lots of retweets but #bookblogger gets hardly any. Likewise #bookreview gets lots of retweets, but #bookreviews gets hardly any.

Authors, 
If you use an automated retweeting service (like roundteam.co), I suggest you add those hashtags to the service as part of your regular retweeting schedule. Or, for a low tech solution, you can add your bloggers to a Twitter list and just check it occasionally.

Bloggers, 
I suggest you use those hashtags on your book review posts so we can find them and retweet them.
   
Authors and Bloggers, 
Please retweet this tweet to get the word out!
https://twitter.com/Lilo_Abernathy/status/600487308454924288 

P.S. If you're a book blogger who blogs Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance, I want to retweet you. So let me know. 
 
P.P.S. Isn't that book image on my post soooo cool. It's a book that can be read six different ways! 
 
Happy blogging and retweeting! 

Lilo Abernathy 
Author, Book Lover, Retweeter 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What's My Middle Name?!

If you're following me on Facebook you know I been searching for a middle name. I made a mistake creating a Google Plus account and had to create a new email address different from the first. So I stuck a 'J' initial in for fun. The only problem was I didn't know what the 'J' stood for. So after almost a year and a half of being only an initial, I asked my Facebook friends to help me pick a name. 

If you do follow me you also know I'm a tease, so it will come as no surprise that I'm making you wait until the bottom of the post for the winning name. I'll try to entertain you with humor on the way, but if you're impatient, you can skip to the bottom. Meanwhile, I'd like to hand out some Honorable Mentions by Category.
 
MOST HUMOROUS NAMES
First Place - Jay
Submitted by Keith Fritz, Giselle Marks Author, Raul Sprovieri, Jamie Lockett, And Adri Sinclair 
 
Keith says, "Homer J. Simpson's muddle name = 'Jay' lol. Just kidding." 
Jamie says, "Homer that shit. Lilo 'Jay' Abernathy."
 
I know you weren't kidding Keith. You can't fool me. And Jamie, I hate Homer Simpson, but even I have to agree this is brilliant! But thank goodness it didn't win. It was probably due only to that lucky horseshoe I have hanging over my computer.

Second Place - Jabberwocky
Submitted by Martha Fawcett Vincek
'Jabberwocky' is a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll and included in his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Here are the first three Stanza's:

Jabberwocky

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
 
Here's a nice post if you want to read the whole poem without reading Through the Looking-Glass. I can't read his work because my mind goes into insane land as it tries to put everything into correct boxes. There are no correct boxes with Lewis Carroll and I already have a headache.

Third Place - Juggins
Submitted by Joe Ward
This is humorous simply because it means I'm an idiot. Definition: a silly person; simpleton: one easily victimized:  "was a clumsy juggins and let the ladder get out of control."

Now I might be offended, but . . .

  1. Joe Ward is actually a relation through marriage so he's allowed a level of casualness I wouldn't necessarily like from others. Yes. My brother-in-law is calling me stupid.
  2. I'm not all that worried about my intellect.
  3. Joe isn't that bright and probably had no idea what it meant anyway. (Kidding Joe! Sorry, you walked into that one and I had to give it to you.)
  4. Let me remind you Joe that we're related through marriage so I'm allowed a level of casualness you wouldn't necessarily like from others.
  5. You started it.
 
MOST INTERESTING NAMES
First Place - Jeronimo
Submitted by Kate Sullivan
I did a search on Jeronimo and kept coming up with Geronimo. So I assume this is Kate's attempt at telling me that I seem like a wild warrior woman capable of wreaking havoc on my enemies and being a celebrated defender of my people. Thank you for that Kate. For those who want the story of Geronimo, visit this nice post. It says that Geronimo means, "one who yawns." That's right. I'm such a bad-ass, I yawn in the face of my enemies.

Second Place - Jinx
Submitted by Ana Crow Clemans
Wikipedia gives Jinx a number of different meanings and the following are among them:
 
  • A type of curse placed on a person that makes them prey to many minor misfortunes and other forms of bad luck.
  • An object or person that brings bad luck.
  • A penalty that one person can invoke on another when the two of them say the same thing at the same time.
 
 What makes this so interesting is that I'm about the least superstitious person on earth. I will laughingly:

  • walk under ladders,
  • take black cats home,
  • break mirrors,
  • spill salt,
  • stay in a motel on Friday the 13th,
  • open an umbrella inside,
  • forgo saying "God Bless You" after someone sneezes (Yes, that's a superstition mistaken for etiquette.),
  • drive by a cemetery without holding my breath,
  • put my hat on in bed,
  • wear my wedding ring on a finger other than my forth (Yes, another superstition!), and;
  • step on a crack. Though my mother has had back problems so perhaps I should rethink this one.
 
One thing I won't do is place my shoes on my table because that is just gross! You were thinking the same thing, weren't you? Jinx! You owe me a Coke!

Third Place - Jupiter & Justice
Jupiter was submitted by Michelle Lewis
Justice was submitted by Annette Drolette Mardis and Deborah Ehling
I couldn't make up my mind on which of these were more interesting, so they're tied.

Justice would be a great name for me, though my sister would probably correct me and say I'm a "nark." I was quite the nark when we were growing up.

And being named Jupiter after the fifth planet from the sun and the largest planet in the solar system (one thousandth the size of the sun) is just way cool. It speaks to my geeky side. But my sister would probably say it speaks to a big head. You decide.

P.S. This is the same sister who is married to my brother-in-law who called me stupid. Are you drawing any correlations?

PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE I AM THEIR CHILD FROM ANOTHER LIFE
Now a few people like me so much they wanted to name me after themselves. I want to take a moment to thank you. I appreciate your self-esteem, err I mean, your esteem and regard. (Teasing!) I don't have a ranking for these so I'll just give them to you.
Jasper
Submitted by Kasper Beaumont
This one is sneaky. Kasper, I bet you didn't think I'd look it up. Kasper is the German form of Jasper. Busted.

Janice
Submitted by A League of Independent Writers
This one is in complete disguise. A League of Independent Writers is otherwise known as Janice Williams. Peeps, you REALLY should follow her. She's fantastic and you can find her on Google Plus and Facebook. She has been amazingly supportive.

Jeanna
Submitted by Jeanna Ford Read
Jeanna gets the prize for boldness since she brazenly gave me her first name as she displays it to the world.

To all three of you, I'm honored.

MOST BEAUTIFUL NAMES
I don't have a ranking for these names either. I just loved the way they sounded with Lilo Abernathy.
Janae
Submitted by Pam Mastricola
Lilo Janae Abernathy

Jazina
Submitted by Giselle Marks Author
Lilo Jazina Abernathy 

Joella
Submitted by Itsjoysworld Blogger-Author
Lilo Joella Abernathy

 If I were picking solely based on beauty, I would probably have picked one of these. Great suggestions!
 
MOST POPULAR AND THE REAL WINNER
Third Place - Jade, Jane, & Jay
All three of these tied for third place, getting six votes each.

Jay - Submitted by Keith Fritz, Giselle Marks Author, Raul Sprovieri, Jamie Lockett, and Adri Sinclair
I've already said a few words about Jay and I'm sure I have a four-leaf clover to thank for this one not winning. 

Jade - Submitted by Christina Lynn, Ann Marvin, Dawn Singh, and Arriane Alter
Not only is Jade the name of a beautiful semi-precious stone, but it's also the name of my author friend Rose Montague's first book. Suspiciously, all of her characters have names that start with 'J'. I wonder if she named them after my middle initial . . .
 
Jane - Submitted by Rebecca Stoneham Gladu, Arriane Alter, Ann Moynihan, Jeanna Bini, Rachel Mustain, and Annie Palone
My first thought was, "Are you all Edgar Rice Burroughs fans too?" Jane actually goes very well with Lilo Abernathy and I would have enjoyed it. But to me it sounds a little too innocent and I feel far from that. Speaking of innocence . . .

Second Place - Jezebel
Submitted by  Mary LoMar and Ann Doherty Jurmain
This one got seven votes, narrowly beating out the three above and almost winning. I do love Jezebel and wouldn't have minded it at all, even though it doesn't really flow with Lilo Abernathy.

According to Wikipedia . . .

According to the biblical accounts, Jezebel incited her husband King Ahab to abandon the worship of Yahweh and encourage worship of the deities Baal and Asherah instead. Jezebel is said to have persecuted the prophets of Yahweh, and to have fabricated false evidence of blasphemy against an innocent landowner who refused to sell his property to King Ahab, causing the landowner to be put to death. For these transgressions against the God and people of Israel, the Bible relates, Jezebel met a gruesome death - thrown out of a window by members of her own court retinue, and the flesh of her corpse eaten by stray dogs.

Jezebel became associated with false prophets. In some interpretations, her dressing in finery and putting on makeup led to the association of the use of cosmetics with "painted women" or prostitutes.

According to Israel Finkelstein, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, apart from the names of rulers and some of the buildings and battles mentioned, the Biblical stories of Jezebel and her family contain "very little verifiable historical material".
 
Doesn't it feel like we're playing the Telephone game? Now, Jezebel sounds like a radical trouble-maker and a regular bad-ass. If I were superstitious (and we've already covered this) I might be worried about the history. But I'm not. So you may call me Jezebel if you wish.
 
AND THE FIRST PLACE WINNER IS . . . LEAVE IT A MYSTERY!

Submitted by Dannika Dark

This got 10 votes, far outstripping the other options. Thank you so much Dannika for the suggestion. For your prize I'm giving you a big fat plug. Dannika Dark is a prolific author and highly rated by her readers. I've personally read her Mageri series and loved it. Chances are, if you like The Light Who Shines you'll like her work as well. You can find her books on Amazon here and her Facebook page here.

So I guess I'm back where I started and have no middle name. However, I'm planning on having fun with this and may start signing my emails and posts with a different middle name every time. I'll never explain to anyone why, and only those of you who were in on this process will know the secret.

Thank you all for participating!

May the rest of your week be successful and bright, knock on wood.

Lilo Jaracanda Abernathy

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: BLOODGIFTED (Urban Fantasy / Romance / Myth & Legend)

Bloodgifted
The Dantonville Series: Book 1
By Tima Maria Lacoba
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1zvdKIn
#UrbanFantasy #Romance #Historical #Myth #Legend

A deftly woven tale of myth, legend, action, and romance. 

Bloodgifted starts out with a prologue that takes us back to 263 AD when the battle between two warring parties, the Pictish and the Romans, culminates in a curse thus creating the first vampires and the bloodgifted.

Author Tima Maria Lacoba spins an exciting tale of romance and intrigue as her heroine, Laura, comes into her bloodgift and the vampire race grapples at a chance to shift the power. This story is an exciting recount of the struggle between two factions of vampires, those who want to maintain order and integrate with human society and those who see humans only as food to be devoured.

Trapped in the middle, Laura struggles to survive the violent power-plays between these volatile factions, who both consider her the winner’s prize. To spice things up further, Laura must deal with the rivalry between her current boyfriend Matt, a tenacious detective, and the irresistible Alec, a vampire from the new underworld she is just discovering. But there is more! An obsessive stalker is on the loose . . .

If you love action packed urban fantasy or paranormal romance, and have a taste for history, myth, and legends, you should definitely try this story.

Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: NIKO (Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction / Gene Mutations)

Niko
The Outsider Chronicles: Book 1
By Kayti Nika Raet
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1OGgLvO
#UrbanFantasy #ScienceFiction #GeneMutations #Monsters

Before I even go into the review, I feel this cover must be mentioned. IMHO it is kick-ass. Not only does Niko look tough, but she looks sexy with some great booty. And, pleases, let's talk about the bat. Chains and nails and dripping blood? Sweet . . .

Okay, moving on to the story. If you like original stories, creativity, and new creatures, this story is for you. 

Niko lives in a time where something happened to the atmosphere to turn all rain to acid rain. The acid is so strong you can't let it touch you, least it eats through you. Acid proof shingles have to be put on roofs. Your shoes have to be acid proof or they will melt away. And all water must be treated or it will kill you. This is a harsh world.

It's made even harsher because humans have divided into the Haves and Have Nots because there are limited resources. Only the wealthy can afford to live in the city where purified water is in plentiful supply. The rest are kept out by gates, guards, and guns, surviving by their brawn and wits.

If that isn't bad enough, there are genetically mutated humans who have transformed into scary as hell creatures called Slithers. Slithers eat people and move with incredible speed, far beyond the average human. Luckily, some rare people have an innate ability to move fast enough to kill them.

Enter Niko, a seventeen year old girl who's entire family is killed by Slithers, except for one brother who goes missing. When the insider populace finds out Niko can kill Slithers, she's taken to the city to protect the populace. However, her brother is on the outside and all Niko cares about is finding her brother. Outside of the gate waits Slithers galore, acid rain, starvation, thirst, gangs, and other people doing whatever required to survive their brutal existence. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a unique kick-ass urban fantasy with science fiction elements in a dystopian environment.
   
Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Book Review: JADE (YA Urban Fantasy / Action)

Jade
Three J’amigos Series: Book 1
By Rose Montague
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1bFej6S
#UrbanFantasy #Paranormal #Action #Shifter #YA

An Action Packed Story of Good Versus Evil
The story opens up with Jade Smith joining her new police partner, Rolfe, a shifter who takes the shape of a huge Kodiak bear. Rolfe initially thinks Jade will be a weak female partner, a liability if you will, but he is soon disavowed of that notion. Jade kicks butt. 

But what is Jade? She has the build of a shifter, but keeps mum about her shifter form. She has vampire fangs and fay relatives. One part of her is even more secret than all the rest. Where did Jade come from and what did she do in her life prior to working with Rolfe? How does she happen to know the secret of a weapon legend says was used by angels?

The plot is rife with twists and turns, new friends and lovers, and set-ups and betrayals. The mysteries are slowly revealed.

This story will be enjoyed by YA readers and adults alike. Kudos to Ms. Montague for weaving in a LGBT relationship into the story. There is considerable focus on diversity, which I really appreciate.

Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Book Review: THE CALLING (YA Urban Fantasy / Romance)

The Calling
The Gateway Series: Book 1
by Louise White
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Fz42Wb
#YA #UrbanFantasy #Romance #Action

I loved this book. The beginning was absolutely incredible. Carolyn walks in to see her family being destroyed and something happens to her. She becomes this beautiful feral wild thang. She is called the Destroyer and her purpose is to kill Demons who steal humans.

Let's just pause here a moment and reflect on the Feral Wild Thang. When I say feral, I actually mean feral, as in the movie Nell with the feral child, starring Jodi Foster. It's fantastic like that too. I am soooo envious that Author Louise White thought of this idea before I did. Now that she's written it and I've read it, I can't use it. Maybe in about 20 years. But for now, I can't. So . . . major envy here.

The story is filled with thrilling action as Carolyn completes her mission of destroying demons. Eventually, she starts to move toward a more aware mind and way from being a raving killing beast. The transition is fascinating to watch. Then, several possible love interests appear, each with potential ulterior motives, leaving the reader unclear who's safe and best for her. I'm rooting for one male, but I'm not sure if Louise is with me on that. :) Deception and betrayal complicate the plot and the characterization is excellent, allowing you to feel deeply for Carolyn's team.

Several side plots further enrich the story and mysteries abound. Do some of the secondary characters have a relationship? What is the relationship of the strongest Mage to the God-like Protector? What is this parasitic power that has attached to her first, and secondly to Note? So many mysteries . . .

I'm looking forward the next book!

Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Teaser: The Light Who Binds

Exciting News: THE LIGHT WHO BINDS is coming soon!
I've just finished integrating the changes from my Beta Readers and I've sent it off to editing. At this point, I'm estimating about six weeks. So with the book complete now, I've drafted a teaser and wanted to share it with you. Please note this is unedited!

THE LIGHT WHO BINDS
Teaser 
 

The Prophecy

Inspector Bluebell Kildare has waited months for her sexy Vampire boss, Jack Tanner to divulge the secrets he knows about her. She couldn’t be more shocked when he finally reveals her birth was prophesied over two thousand years go and she’s expected to save the Vampire souls so they can escape their fate of eternal damnation and burning on the Plane of Fire.

The Case

A savior she is not. Blue and her wolf Varg are busy battling several factions attempting to abduct her. Plus, she’s chasing a vicious serial arsonist who’s setting houses on fire and burning victims alive. Is it random or Genocide?

The Wolf

The furor accelerates when Varg displays new powerful abilities and a complaint is filed against him. But when the sorceress who sent him shows up, Blue fears she’ll lose him forever.
 

The Romance

Jack is the final straw. His eyes and sometimes his hands vow yes to her, but his delicious mouth murmurs no, until she puts her foot down and demands he makes a decision about them. What will he choose? And can she handle the answer?

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Well, did that tease you enough to want it? This will become my Amazon description and the back of book blurb so I'd love to hear your opinions on it. Please comment below.

Want more?
You can read an excerpt of Chapter 1 here.

You can sign up here to be notified right before THE LIGHT WHO BINDS is released.

Best,

Lilo

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SWEAR WORDS IN URBAN FANTASY / PARANORMAL ROMANCE BOOKS?

I just checked my reviews today and saw a new one came in addressing swear words. The reader writes,

"I like that you told a great story and you didn't have to use curse words. Thank you for that."

This isn't the first time I've received a comment like this and I love that readers are communicating their thoughts on this issue. However, it wasn't really a goal of mine when I wrote the book to produce a curse word clean story. I'm not pro or con swear words. I'm fine with them when they fit the story. Interestingly, my book actually does contain swear words, but they are rather mild and infrequent.

The Light Who Shines is a cross-genre book that spans Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Mystery. The first two genres are known to be proliferated with swear words. When I first drafted my main character profile for Bluebell Kildare, I decided that she only said soft swear words, as this fit her personality. She says things like, "Holy cow!" "Holy smokes!" and "cripes!" That is just her way. She grew up in an orphanage associated with a Catholic church so hard swears are not comfortable for her.

One of the detectives she works with is Catholic and his expletives are things like, "Jesus Christ!" and "Jesus, Mother Mary, and Joseph!" He doesn't swear a lot because his image is important to him and he likes to be seen as cultured. One of my editors felt that the religious cusses would actually be disliked more than the non-religious hard swear words, but I haven't received any negative feedback on it. I should clarify that this is not in anyway a religious book, even though the various religions of the characters shape their actions and thinking.

The other main character, Jack Tanner, does say more common swear words, but not often and usually not in the presence of ladies. He's a five hundred year old Vampire and a bit old fashioned that way. He has been known to say, "Crap!" "Shit!" and may even say, "Fuck!" in future books, though he hasn't yet.

So, while I didn't set out to create a book purged of swear words, it ended up being fairly clean based on the personality of the main characters. I was pleasantly surprised with all the comments I've gotten from readers who have been hungry for a great action book in these genres that has cleaner language.

How do I feel about swearing in books that I read?
Naturally, I've read a considerable amount of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance to be able to write in those genres. I recall being turned off by a few where the main character cussed all the time and it seemed unnecessarily ugly. But other times characters will belt out the harder curse words during times of danger, pain, or when emotions run high and I'm fine with that. I'm also fine with no swear words.

When I first released my book, one of the negative comments I received was that I had too many exclamation marks. I took this to heart and removed almost all of them during my revision. I left them at only the highest points of emotion in the story. I think all those exclamation marks tired people out.

Similarly, I think hard swear words do the same thing. In my opinion, too many is too many. You risk losing potency.

Still, even though I know that many of my readers don't care for the hard swear words, I think others would be fine with them in any quantity. I think some people feel that if the book doesn't have sufficient hard language it's more of a young adult book, even though the official definition of young adult has nothing to do with swear words.

So, in light of all of these questions, I'd created a poll. The results of the poll are available here:

http://svy.mk/1Pe2ljF

I'd love to hear your comments!

Lilo

Friday, April 17, 2015

Excerpt: THE LIGHT WHO SHINES

Dear Readers,

It occurs to me that since so many people loved the excerpt of book 2, I should probably post an excerpt of book 1, THE LIGHT WHO SHINES. (smile)

I do have to give you a bit of warning. This excerpt contains graphic violence and a torturous death. So TURN BACK NOW if you can't handle a taste of dark fantasy. The book in its entirety contains some very steamy sex scenes, though this excerpt does not. The dark scenes of the book are well balanced by magic, whimsy, love, and humor.

This excerpt is the entire Prologue which takes place 2000 years before the rest of the story. It begins in Year 1 of the Red Ages. The age was named thus because it's the year that Vampires were first created and the time that followed was so bloody, it's said the rivers ran crimson and the ground was cloaked in scarlet. This Prologue is the story of Shaina, the wife of the first Vampire.

So here goes!


THE LIGHT WHO SHINES
Book 1 of the Bluebell Kildare Series 
Prologue  
Shaina
Winter, Year 1, Red Ages

I wake to the sound of pounding on the door and Mor’s voice yelling, “Shaina. Shaina.”

Sorcha wakes up crying as I rush to open the door. A bloodcurdling scream tears through the night, destroying any illusions of a peaceful return to slumber. I swing open the door with trembling hands and see anguish in Mor’s eyes. The words that tumble from her mouth bring to the fore all the fears I’d been trying to suppress this winter.


“Shaina, Conor was found dead, killed by the bloodsuckers. Grainne and Aongus are calling you a Witch and gathering the town folks to burn you as one. Quick! We must run.”

I start gathering my things together, but Mor yells, “There is no time. Grab the bairn. We must go now!”

Sorcha is wailing now. Tears streak her little cheeks as she grips her blanket tightly in tiny fists. I grab my plaid and wrap it around us both as I follow Mor outside.

“You must quiet her,” Mor whispers.

I try to comfort Sorcha in a hushed voice. “Shh, Sorcha, you must be quiet. Shhhh.”

Sorcha pays no heed and cries all the louder as she clutches me with her little fingers.

I hear the voices of the villagers coming now, yelling and screaming, “Burn the Witch. It was her husband who brought this upon us.”

Aongus’ voice rises above the rest. “Let her die too. Why should she be spared?”

Mor leads me past the blacksmith’s shop, behind Fergus’ cottage, toward the forest. I see their torches at my cottage now. A voice yells, “They’re gone,” and the villagers continue to chant, “Burn the Witch. Burn the Witch.”

I cast through my mind wildly now, seeking a remembrance of a place to hide. My mind comes up empty, just as it did all winter when I feared a night such as this would come. I should have braved the cold and gone to the sea caves where the dragon tribe dwells despite the perilous winter journey.

Just then, Sorcha lets out a loud bawl, and I hear Grainne yell, “She’s over there.”

Mor and I run around Fergus’ cottage and make for the tree line. The throng is following us quickly with the younger men in the lead. The woods are just up ahead—if only we could lose them in the deep of the trees. If only Sorcha would stop crying.

We reach heavy brush, and I hear the thunder of feet behind me. Just at the edge of the woods, my foot catches on a tree root and I tumble to the ground. As I land on the hard dirt, I twist to protect Sorcha from being crushed by my weight, and pain shoots up my leg. Fear strikes my heart as I realize I’ve a choice to make.

“Mor,” I yell.

Mor glances over her shoulder and sees me on the ground. I try to stand, but my knee gives way. I see the torches through the dark coming swiftly closer.

“Mor, take Sorcha. It is too late. Run. Keep her safe.”

Mor stands there, petrified. She looks at me, she looks at the woods in front of her, and she looks at the torches that are almost upon us. I thrust Sorcha out while warm, wet tears stream down my cheeks and fall unheeded onto the snow. “Take the bairn! It’s me they want.”

Mor grabs Sorcha and my arms, bereft of their lovely burden, fall uselessly at my sides. I stare hungrily after Sorcha for one last moment, and just as Mor and Sorcha disappear in the dark of the woods, the torches are upon me. First the young men arrive, their faces ugly with rage. I know each of them, grew up with them, broke bread with them, bartered with them, sang with them, but it matters not. It’s fear that drives them this night, and no proclamations of innocence or fond memories will help me now.

Niall grabs my arms and drags me into the throng. I try to gain footing, but my right leg will bear no weight. Tadgh holds my other arm, and together they pull me to the center of town. The mob crowds around, cursing me, throwing sticks at me as I’m roughly tied to a large ash tree. The faces of my friends and neighbors swirl around me in angry confusion with rays of moonlight shining on a gaunt cheek here and a slashing brow there. The bindings are pulled tight, cutting into my wrists and ankles as I struggle, but I know it’s useless. It’s been useless since Torloch made his pact with the devil’s handmaiden, Lilith. It’s been useless since Torloch took my wee baby boy and returned home with his blood on his hands. It’s been useless since Torloch became a bloodsucking monster and spread his disease through the village.

I look out at the faces of the crowd, and I see anger and fear. I see despair. It’s a mercy they’ve let me live this long. I curse myself again for not leaving earlier despite the biting cold of winter. I hear one voice among the bloodthirsty yell, “Give her a Witch’s Trial.”

Another voice responds, “We’ll give her a trial of fire. If she’s innocent, let her be saved.”

Bundles of dry oak twigs and sticks are piled at my feet. Oak, the tree of strength. I wonder if the oak will give me strength in my last moments of life. I think of Sorcha, the twin of my poor baby boy. I hope only that Mor got her away safely and at least one of our family will be spared.

Grainne walks right up to me and spits in my face. “You filthy Witch,” she snarls. “Your monster husband and his kind killed my son. Shredded his neck.” Tears run down her dirt-smudged face. “We are going to watch you burn for what you’ve done.”

Una, who lost her husband to Torloch, grabs a torch and sets the wood at my feet on fire. The firelight reflects off her savage face, and I see months of grief and seething anger in the depths of her wild eyes. There is no mercy here.

I feel the heat rising, and it burns. I look at their faces, and even through my fear, I feel their sorrow and rage. I feel it in me as well. That has always been my curse: to feel others as myself. Their rage now feeds mine. The flames lick my ankles, and smoke fills my eyes.

I look up at the night sky and my fury overflows. Months of rage at Torloch, who took the life of our son to try to save himself. But most of all I rage at Lilith, who made him an empty promise and turned him into a monster for the price of our child. Tears stream down my face as I recall my own black pit of grief at losing my lovely little boy. I feel the grief and pain of everyone on this dark night.

I smell the smoke from the ash tree I am tied to mingling with the oak kindling about my body. My childhood learnings flit through my mind even in my last hour. While oak gives strength, ash is the bridge between Earth and other worlds. Good. Let it make a bridge to the Plane of Fire for me so that I might reach Lilith and pay her back in kind.

I shout to the blackness of the sky above. I call to the dark with all the rage of my soul. “Lilith, I call on you to hear me. By my blood, you will be destroyed. A light will come. A light that shines through your evil. A light that calls you to answer for your deeds. A light that binds you as I am bound and burns you as I burn. A light that rips you asunder and destroys your darkness.”

The pain is so great. The flames sear my legs. I can’t help but scream and convulse, though I know there is no escape. I writhe, trying to get away from the fire, but it just grows and grows as my calves blister and melt. A part of my mind wishes the fire were higher so this pain would end more quickly. The only escape now is death, and it fast approaches. The smoke is so heavy I cough as I scream. The fire has reached my waist now, and it envelops me in its excruciating embrace. I see the horrific faces of the mob, distorted and cast in red from the fire that consumes me.

I scream with all the strength I have, willing my voice to carry through the between spaces. “Lilith, hear me. I call to you. By my blood, you will pay for what you have done.” I cough and hack, unable to get a breath of air. I thrash my head as the tongues of fire lick ever higher, melting my flesh, binding me to the holy ash tree as though we are one. The pain is so great now that I know nothing but the feel of it engulfing me. It seems to be all that was before me and all that will ever come after. I’m being eaten alive by the ravenous fire. The agony and the rage are the whole of who I am now.

I think one last thought, unable to even catch enough breath to scream it, unable even to work my mouth to speak it as the flames lick my chin. My dying thought sears into my soul and lifts with me to the Plane of Light. “Lilith, by my blood you will be destroyed!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
AVAILABLE NOW! If you enjoyed that excerpt, you can get entire book, THE LIGHT WHO SHINES on Kindle here: amzn.to/1zdMqub  It's also available on Audible and in print either on Amazon or through your local book stores. 

COMING SOON! Be sure to sign up here to get notified when book 2 of the Bluebell Kildare Series, THE LIGHT WHO BINDS is released.  https://sites.google.com/site/lilojabernathy/home

Please do comment and let me know how you liked it.

Lilo

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE ENCHANTED (Fantasy, Magic, Greek Mythology, Romance, Fun)

The Summer Solstice Enchanted 
The Summer Solstice Series: Book 1
By Author K.K. Allen
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1bgapkq
#Fantasy #Magic #Greek Mythology #Romance #YA #Fun

Well, I've been in love with this cover for the longest time. Now that my second book is with my beta readers, I finally had a chance to read it. And let me just say that the cover exactly portrays the story. This was such a light fun read, I loved it.

Kat, recently orphaned, moves in with her estranged Grandmother and weird things start happening. Her sight and hearing senses become impossibly accurate. Disturbing and dangerous dreams haunt her sleep. She’s confused about what’s happening and her Grandmother isn’t giving her much. Plus, she’s lonely, and nervous about being the new kid in school. Then along comes the handsome neighbor boy. He gives her some confidence, but the two girls who feel she’s infringing on their territory give her equal measures of trouble.

Author K.K. Allen has filled this story with all the drama of a young girl in this situation. There’s suspense woven in through the enigmatic Grandmother, the unfolding of the family history, and the magic capabilities Kat is learning to control. Unbeknownst to her, danger is creeping up as she comes to the attention of evil forces. But, Allen keeps it light with the beach town setting and the threads of romance.

I recommend this lovely story for YA readers or anyone who enjoys YA and magic. It was quite an enjoyable read.

Let's give a collective sigh for young love. Sighhhh . . .

Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Excerpt: THE LIGHT WHO BINDS

Dear Readers,

One of my readers suggested I post a teaser from The Light Who Binds. I was hesitant to do this, because I didn't want to, well, tease you too much. It seems different if the book is already out and you can go buy it right away. But my reader said she could handle it and she would love to read something from me.  

So I'm going for it. But to be fair, I'm sharing it with everyone. If you can't handle suspense, TURN BACK NOW!

But then again, if you can't handle suspense, you probably shouldn't be reading this series. 

Note: The teaser below is a good portion of the first chapter. It's unedited and uncut. Things could and probably will change, at least a bit.



THE LIGHT WHO BINDS
Book 2 of the Bluebell Kildare Series
Chapter 01 
Three Deaths 
Bluebell Kildare 
July 9, 2022, Red Ages 

Lightning streaks across the twilight sky, casting a brilliant glow on the building before me. The eyes of the gargoyles above me, seem to gleam and blink; their great serpents wings, arched for flight. A slow roll of thunder fills the air, sounding as though the bowels of the earth are opening. I contemplate the formidable oak doors that mark the entrance to the Dragomir Magical Artifact Shop, wondering what secrets lay inside. Ohh, I know there are many spells, charms, and magic secrets held within the artifacts, but those aren’t the secrets I seek tonight. It’s with excitement and trepidation that I anticipate learning secrets about myself. In truth, I’ve been impatiently waiting months for this day, while Dragomira was away on business.

From behind me, I feel the light brush of Jack’s chest against my back and Varg leans against my thigh. A measure of calm returns. Whatever news awaits, I’m at least comforted to have friends at my side. I straighten my back, lift up my chin, and remove the remaining space between me and my future, pushing the heavy oak doors open and boldly striding in. The warmth of the shop immediately fills my senses even as the dust coalesces from the swish of the doors into a mini whirlwind at my feet. It has been just a few months since I was here last, but I feel like an entirely different woman now.

Dragomira stands behind the counter, next to the familiar brass bell and the scourge of a sign that reads, “Please ring bell for service.” She looks up sharply, with a weary expression and a fierce glint in her warm brown eyes. No, she is not Dragomira at this moment. She is The Dragomir. Her movements, as fluid as rippling water across a deep pond, trace a path across the room as she quietly deadbolts the door behind us. 

With a wave of her hand she beckons us into her back room. A small fire flickers in the fireplace casting dancing shadows across the room. Jack and I take two of a trio of wing-backed chairs surrounding the hearth while Dragomira, curiously still silent, pours drinks from a beautiful decanter sitting on a small table amidst the chairs. She places one in my hand in silent command, watching as I taste it. The shock of whiskey burns my throat and slides warmly to my belly. With a nod, she sets a glass in front of Jack and takes one for herself.

As Dragomira takes her place, I notice again how strikingly beautiful she is. Her hair cascades in long tumultuous brown waves against her olive skin and her deep set eyes gleam with life. Finally sitting back in her chair, she directs her gaze to me and offers, “Welcome Illustrissima. I’m sure you have many questions.”

Her harmonious voice rolls through me in a soothing wave. I forget myself for a moment and tilt my ear to enjoy its song. Shortly, I gather myself and reply, “I do. Let’s start with the name Illustrissima. Why do you give it to me?”

Dragomira blinks. Then with a steady gaze she answers, “I no more gave you the name Illustrissima then I gave you your blue eyes. It is a Latin name and has many meanings: The Shining One, The Bright One, The Lustrous One, The Famous One, The Distinguished One.” She waves her hand as though all of that is inconsequential. “You are all of these things. You simply are the Illustrissima.”

I take a slow sip of whiskey. “You can see my light.”

The Dragomir’s eyes briefly flare with a glint of yellow in acknowledgement.

“How?”

She gazes into the fire for a moment before responding. “I am also many things. I have magic . . . Gifts you might call them, that allow me to see things that would normally pass unnoticed. However, what I have been most, as of late, is a scholar.” She looks at me intently again. “Tonight, your time would be better spent allowing me to share what I’ve learned about you.”

“Yes, why don’t you.” I answer abruptly.

The Dragomir raises her eyebrows and Jack gives me a warning glance, but I am not so easily cowed.

She nods and settles back in her chair. “Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve told you the story of Patersuco and how he sacrificed his son and started the Vampire race. It didn’t take long for him to kill in bloodlust and turn Dark, as corrupt as he was, but he had already started creating children. And so the curse spread.”

“What I did not tell you was that Patersuco was survived by his wife. Shaina lived in the village and before the first winter had passed, several of the villagers died at the hands of Patersuco and his Vampire progeny. The villagers turned on Shaina and burned her as a witch.”

I shudder at the thought of that pain, thankful I wasn’t there to feel it.

“Yes. These were rough times Illustrissima. We have very few written accounts of the history of that time, but from what we know, Shaina was gifted. Like you, she was an empath. The villagers, perhaps unwittingly, tied her to an Ash tree and used Oak branches to burn her. Both these trees have a deep old magic. Ash acts as a bridge between worlds and Oak provides strength. Somehow the combination of the rage of the villagers, the rage of Shaina, the strength of the Oak, and the Ash, opened a pathway from Shaina to Lilith. As she burned, Shaina was able to reach across to the Plane of Fire and lay a powerful curse on Lilith. A trusted witness told of the great force that was felt that night as she burned and uttered her curse. She vowed revenge on Lilith.”

“What was the curse?”

Dragomira leans back and her eyes glaze as her mind transports to another place and time. The firelight flickers, and shadows play artfully on the curve of her cheekbone and the waves of her hair. Her husky whisper carries throughout the room.

Lilith, I call on you to hear me.
By my blood, you will be destroyed.
A light will come.
A light that shines through your evil.
A light that calls you to answer for your deeds.
A light that binds you as I am bound and burns you as I burn.
A light that rips you asunder and destroys your
darkness.
Lilith, hear me.
I call to you.
By my blood, you will pay for what you have done.
Lilith, by my blood you will be destroyed.

As the words wash over me, tendrils of fear wrap around me, sinking into my flesh and threading through my soul. The curse grabs something deep and dark inside of me and by body starts to shiver. My mind fights what I feel and I reach out for my drink, taking a burning sip. My voice comes out, breathless, but laden with protest, filled with rejection of the truth I feel. “And you believe I am this light? You’ve proved no connection.”

Dragomira takes another drink of whiskey, a deep pull this time. I’m not sure if it is the fire reflecting off her eyes, but they seem to swirl with yellow in their depths. “Three times Shaina called Lilith’s name that night. Three times she demanded that Lilith listen. Three times she said that retribution would be by her blood. But what you need to know most is that while Patersuco’s son was sacrificed, a twin sister survived. Her name was Sorcha.”

“Still, how does that relate to me?”

She raises one dark eyebrow at me, “When Shaina said ‘by my blood’ she meant her lineage, not the blood that flows in her veins. You are the only remaining direct descendent of Shaina, through Sorcha.”

I stand rapidly and knock into the table holding my drink. The table rocks furiously for a moment, and the whiskey threatens to over tip. The table eventually comes to a rest, but I do not. I fling myself across the room and start pacing as the thoughts roil around in my brain. But one truth keeps popping up, more urgently then the cacophony of questions on the tip of my tongue. 

They think I’m supposed to destroy Lilith!

I spin around to see the both of them watching me with grave concern. 

Dragomira says, “There’s more.”

Jack and Varg growl simultaneously. 

I swipe my drink from the table and knock back the rest. The liquid scorches my throat and traces a fiery path down to my belly, providing a momentary distraction. With a huff I sit down again and cross my arms over my chest. “Just tell me all in one shot please. I’d like to process this once, not five times.”

When Dragomira deliberately refills my glass, I consider it a bad omen. She begins again, this time, her eyes watch me intently.

“Shaina was close with a woman named Mor who had the Gift of Sight. She warned Shaina that the villagers were coming. Still, they could not escape in time. When Shaina saw that she couldn’t out run the villagers, she entrusted Sorcha into her care. Mor watched the burning from the safety of the woods and it is she who documented the events of that night. Afterward, Mor took Sorcha to the Dragon tribe, a clan who lived in the Sea Caves nearby. While she was there, she had a vision, which was recorded by the tribe and is what brings us to you.”

Dragomira lifts her hand and a roll of parchment flies off the mantle to land in her palm. It passes to me and I carefully unroll the aged hide. Then in a hushed voice, I reveal my fate . . .

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

COMING SOON! Be sure to sign up here to get notified when The Light Who Binds is released.  https://sites.google.com/site/lilojabernathy/home

If you happened on this blog without having first read The Light Who Shines, you should start with that. It's available here: amzn.to/1zdMqub  

Now, did you enjoy it? Or was that torture?

Lilo

Monday, March 30, 2015

Update: Book 2 of the Bluebell Kildare Series: THE LIGHT WHO BINDS

Dear Friends and Readers,

I just wanted to give you an update on where I stand with The Light Who Binds. The book has been written and I'm in the process of getting it into shape to send to beta readers within a week.

My process will be:
  • Beta Readers
  • Revision
  • Full Edit
  • Revision
  • Light Edit / Cutting / Tightening
  • Revision
  • Proofing
  • Publishing

I have to tell you that I'm so excited about this book I can hardly keep quiet. And if someone were to beg me for info, I would have a hard time not divulging. With that said, it really gave me some trouble there for a while, but after coaxing and cajoling, it is now behaving like a stellar student.

There are three major plot lines in this book. So, the last 20 chapters are practically non-stop thrills and emotional chaos as each plot line has a climax of its own.

MINOR SPOILERS!!!!!
We definitely learn who the heroine, Bluebell Kildare is and what Illustrissima means. Maud and Harry's (Blue's mother figure and her neighbor) relationship progresses, in what direction I won't say. Alexis (Blue's friend) may have a love interest. And Varg (the ever loyal wolf) gets a mini plot of his own. All of this is in addition to the three major plot lines. And yes, we get to dig deeper into the hero, Jack, as well. He's featured a lot in this book.
END MINOR SPOILERS

Ohh, so many mysteries revealed and so many more mysteries yet to unravel. Yes, I'm a big fat tease. If you can imagine a woman sitting by her desk reviewing her work while waving her pointy fingernails in the air and cackling with glee over the angst she is creating, that would be about right.

If you are familiar with my work you know I write each separate scene as an individual chapter, so that means some are long, but some are short. I don't try to artificially tie chapters together or make them longer to be some predefined "typical length." Every scene serves a purpose in the plot, and when the purpose is achieved, I move to the next. Right now it's at 81 chapters and about 105,000 words as it stands. And let me tell you, it is PACKED so much, I can hardly believe all that stuff can fit in one book.

The entire series will be:
  • The Light Who Shines
  • The Light Who Binds
  • The Light Who Burns
  • The Light Who Destroys

For those of you who haven't seen it, here's the trailer for The Light Who Shines.
 
Ohh, one more thing . . . As we're getting closer and closer to release, please be sure to sign up for my news so you get notified of its release right away. https://sites.google.com/site/lilojabernathy/home
 

Best,

Lilo

Friday, January 30, 2015

So, What Stage of Social Tolerance and Acceptance Have You Achieved?

Well, this blog is called Lilo Illuminates and I figure it is high time I do some illuminating. First off, let me say, I am not a licensed psychologist, counselor, or anything relevant for that matter. Like all authors, I'm simply an observer of life, perhaps too observant. Be that as it may, this is my interpretation of the stages of development people go through on their way to tolerance and acceptance. If it is not illuminating, hopefully it will be, at least, thought-provoking.

  1. UNDEFINED VALUES: You understand what values society holds in high esteem, but you don't understand what your personal values are. (For instance, people say "Don't steal" but you aren't entirely sure if all stealing is wrong. What if I'm broke and I really need to snack on these restaurant crackers later or perhaps the buffet cookies would be a perfect midnight snack?)
     
  2. NEGLECTED VALUES: You understand what values society holds in high esteem and you understand how your personal values differ from society, but you act in a way that goes against your personal values. (I cheated on my boyfriend. I feel really bad.) Acting this way is self-harming and you will never feel good after acting outside of your personal values. (I insulted a gay person, even though I'm secretly gay, but my church hates gay people.) In this case you adhered to your micro-societies values but you didn't adhere to your own. This also feels terrible and will never make you happy.
     
  3. ADHERED TO VALUES: You have learned that not listening to your values sucks and causes you pain, so you have finally decided to live up to your values even when they diverge from other people's values. You try this on for a while and it takes a bit of practice. (I went to third base with my boyfriend on the first date. I'm 23, but still, my mom would kill me, but personally, I'm fine with it.) In this case you adhered to your values even when they diverged from societies values (your Mom's). Hey, what Mom doesn't know, won't hurt her.
     
  4. ANGER AND REJECTION OF DIFFERING VALUES: You have now fully owned your own personal values and you are good at keeping to them, but you believe your values are the best and other people with different values suck. You are pissed that they do stupid things that go against your personal values. (I can't believe those people eat meat, that man is homophobic, that woman is pro-life, that man fired someone who has cancer.) In this case you adhere to your own values but your mad at other people who don't adhere to your values.
     
  5. ACCEPTANCE OF THE INFERIORITY OF OTHER PEOPLE'S VALUES: After a while of being pissed, you eventually begin to understand that not everyone can be as great as you and have the perfect set of values. Most people are pretty good and only suck in small ways, but no one has the perfect set of values you do. (He cheated on his wife who is at home with their disabled child all the time, so that makes him a snake, but it was only once and he treats them well and provides for them.) In this case you sadly wish other people's values could be as perfect as yours, but you aren't angry about it anymore.
     
  6. ACCEPTANCE THAT YOUR VALUES ARE NOT PERFECT: Eventually, after you accept weaknesses in others, you will look at yourself more closely and realize that your values are not exactly squeaky clean all the time. (I believe we should annihilate every group who practices genocide. Wait, isn't that genocide too? Maybe we should just kill all the leaders. I'll sit at home and let the guys in the army do it so my conscious is clear. Wait, that kinda sucks too, doesn't it?) This stage can be a bit twisty, but don't worry, you will come out okay.
     
  7. TOLERANCE TOWARD ALL VALUES: At this point you understand that all people's value systems have some weaknesses, yours included, and you understand that everyone is at a certain point of growth in the development of their value system. In fact, whole groups of society are at different points of growth and are developing slowly together. (The pope now acknowledges that child abuse does occur in the church and says it isn't okay. The United States is slowly developing the value of accepting the LGBT community and they are beginning to gain rights. African Americans are still struggling for equal treatment. Women's equality in the workplace is still out of whack.) You may wholly reject certain values, but you have empathy for limited thinking of the person who believes that value system and you try to see how they might have arrived there. (If I walked a mile in their shoes . . . ) At this stage you try to gently guide the people you can toward a more developed value system while at the same time knowing that you have some growing to do yourself. You are also able to honestly evaluate if other value systems have merit over your own. You may switch values at this point. I believe that to achieve this stage, you must have acquired some humility along the way. You understand at some level that you are progressing along with everyone else.
     
  8. STAGES I HAVE NOT ARRIVED AT OR GLIMPSED YET: Anyone want to fill me in?
     
Most of the time you toggle two or more stages at a time. Sometimes people actually go backwards, like an alcoholic might have a fully developed set of values and suddenly may stop adhering to them. Some people will never get far because of various personality, intelligence or social factors, but I believe most people move steadily forward.

The great news is that reading helps you move along these steps as you get to see into the minds of so many characters and try on their value system for the space of a story.

So what stage are you at in your personal development?

Lilo

Saturday, January 17, 2015

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT AND GIVEWAY OF THE LIGHT WHO SHINES

Over the holidays while everyone was busy with their new toys, I was working diligently on book two of the Bluebell Kildare Series, The Light Who Binds, and going back and forth with Author Jane Bled, on an in-depth interview.

The interview is done and done quite well, in my humble opinion. I love Jane's style. She asked one question at a time and waited for my response before moving on to the next. This process took several weeks and was accomplished over a massive family holiday and through a bout of the flu. I hope you are feeling better Jane!

About Jane Bled
If you don't know Jane, I'd best describe her as someone extremely artsy with an exquisite sense of detail. She describes herself as "a fiction writer with the soul of a poet." I have a feeling that everything she completes is done for the joy of the beauty she creates. She only completes one Author Spotlight a month, so I'm extremely honored she chose to spend her time with me.

What the Interview Covers
The interview itself covers a great span of topics, from my marketing methods, my philosophy on labeling people, insights into my characters and what drives them, my own secret mark, my reading habits, and two short excerpts from The Light Who Shines.

If you are interested in reading the interview, you can do so here: http://wp.me/p4P6Db-dh

Giveaway of The Light Who Shines
If you comment on the interview (link above) before the deadline on 1/21, you will automatically be entered to win a copy of The Light Who Shines. Scroll all the way down the page to the very end to comment.

Warm regards and good luck!

Lilo

Friday, December 26, 2014

THE LIGHT WHO SHINES: HOLIDAY SALE! $1.99

Friends!

If you are like me, the holiday season is a time of giving, but it strains the pocketbook. It also often gives you a lot of time off. Time to read that is!

But what to do when you want to read, but you spent so much money on others? As an Amazon Kindle Select member, I can only do a sale every so often. So, I saved my sale for the week between Christmas and New Years just for this situation. I've been broke after Christmas myself often enough that I know exactly how it is.

The Light Who Shines
On Sale: Only $1.99
When: Now through 12/31, Midnight
Regular Low Price: $4.99
Amazon Suggest Retail Price: $5.99!
Link: http://amzn.to/1wM9fGw

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season.

Best,

Lilo

P.S. If you have already read The Light Who Shines don't forget, you have until December 28th to enter the Audio Giveaway! See this blog post for rules and how to enter: http://bit.ly/13EYtoU

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 10 Free Audible Versions of THE LIGHT WHO SHINES for Current Fans!

As you may have heard, I've just released the audio version of The Light Who Shines. Today, I got a great gift from Audible; coupons for free Audible books of The Light Who Shines! So, I'm passing the gift on to current fans of the book who have already reviewed it. I'll do a drawing and select 10 people out of those interested.

The audio book regularly retails for $24.95 and is 14 hours and 25 minutes long.

Here are the rules:

  • You must have already read the book. This is a gift to current fans as a thank you for your support. 
  • You must have already reviewed the book on Amazon (regardless of the rating, so long as it was honest). This is because I want assurance that you really will leave a review of the Audible version on Audible.com. If you've read it, but you haven't reviewed it yet on Amazon, it isn't too late. Go review it on Amazon! 
  • You must agree to listen to and leave the review of the audio version on Audible.com within 2 weeks of receiving the coupon (but sooner is better!) 
  • You must enter the drawing by leaving a comment on this blog post with a link to the review of the book that you already left on Amazon. (Click on the title of your review. Then click on "Permalink". Then copy and paste the URL into the comments.) Entries without the link won't be accepted. 

I'll randomly select 10 people from the comments section (assuming I have that many interested parties.)

I'll accept entries until Sunday, December 28th at 8:00 p.m. EST. I'll announce the winners then.

The purpose of this is naturally to get reviews on the Audible version, so I'd really like your review to contain some focus on the narration as opposed to just a copy/paste of your book review. That way future Audible listeners will know what to expect.

And for all my dear readers who already bought the Audible version, I am so sorry! I didn't know these coupons were coming. Big bummer.

To learn more about the Audible Version, see this blog post.

Listen to the sample here.

Happy Holidays and Best of Luck!

Lilo 

The Giveaway is now closed! Thank you to all who participated. I'll contact each of you individually with you coupon for the free Audio. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

BIG NEWS: The audio version of THE LIGHT WHO SHINES is released!

I hope you are as excited about this release as I am. But I'm going to tell you why I'm so excited, just in case you're not there yet. The Light Who Shines is narrated by Elizabeth Klett.

So who is Elizabeth Klett? 
Her resume says: "Elizabeth has a B.A. in Theatre from Drew University (one of the top theatre programs in the U.S.), and has recorded a variety of dramatic projects, performing roles ranging from Lady Macbeth to Antigone to Juliet. She also holds M.A. and doctoral degrees in English literature from the University of Illinois and teaches at a university in Houston, TX."

I say: "She is a master of accents and voices." Truly she is. I literally hunted through hundreds of narrator voices before choosing her. Just wait till you hear it.

Main Characters 
First of all, I asked Elizabeth to read Blue and Jack in a straight voice (no accent). I felt that since so much of the book was them speaking that it would be difficult to listen if they had a strong accent. Jack comes across as a somewhat formal rich man with confidence and power, which I think is appropriate for a vampire who lived 500 years ago in more formal times. Blue sounds like a 23 year old woman in modern times. Their voices do come across as very clear and easy to listen to.

Side Characters 
In contrast to the main characters, I wanted the side characters to have accents to give flavor and style to the story. These are some of the voices you can expect:

Shaina: Sounds like a middle-aged Irish woman. It is so dramatic.

Maud: Sounds like an older southern Caucasian lady with spunk.

Alexis: Sounds like a young adult southern African American lady with a lot of sass.

Ernesto: Sounds like a middle-aged Spanish gentleman, full of respect and dignity.

Rubalia: Sounds like a middle-aged adult southern African American lady who is straight-laced and formal.

Father O'Brennen: Sounds like an older affable Scottish immigrant with a great brogue.

Dragomira: Sounds like a middle-aged Middle Eastern lady, with a very rich and exotic accent. We could not make her sound like 10 people speaking at once without introducing technology into it and most people would hate that. But her voice is fantastic. Trust me.

Chief Mack: Sounds like a slow talking southern African American older gentleman. The voice is very deep and very slow.

Yes! She does all those voices and accents brilliantly. It seems like I had a whole production company involved, but really it was all Elizabeth. It is amazing how she flips from one voice to the next in conversation. This is why I'm so excited. I'm sure you will be in awe of her skills like I am if you listen to it.

My favorite voices are Dragomira, Chief Mack, and Shaina, in that order. To me, their voices are amazing. I want to know who your favorite voices are!

Are you excited now?

Reviews 
Right now I have zero reviews on Audible and could really use your support. If you have already reviewed it on Amazon and you decide to get the Audible version, you can copy your review from Amazon to Audible when you are done, or you can review it separately as an audio, considering the narration as well.

Availability and Pricing 
Unfortunately, is not yet available in Whispersync. Audible tells me they have to process it to see if it is eligible and that will take a few weeks. But it is available on audio through Audible and Amazon.

Update! It is now Whispersync enabled. Yay! It is only $3.47 for those who have purchased the ebook version. This is now the cheapest way to go after free (with a trial membership).

Audible Link: Different prices are offered for members and non-members. You can get it free with a 30 day trial membership.

Amazon Link: Offers a discount on the Audible price.

So in order of price, lowest to highest:

  • Audible (Free with Trial Membership)
  • Audible (with credit considering your monthly membership cost if less than 3 months old) 
  • Amazon Whispersync (with purchased ebook)
  • Audible (with credit considering your monthly membership cost if greater than 3 months old) 
  • Amazon (full price with the Amazon discount)
  • Audible (without credits/full price) 

But I'd really love reviews on both Amazon and Audible regardless of which version you purchase, if it isn't too much trouble.

Happy holidays to you (and to me now!) This is definitely my Christmas present to myself.

Lilo

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chills and Thrills Giveaway!



Happy Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Festivus, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, New Year, and National Fruitcake Day! Or any other holiday that you celebrate this time of year. If you know me, even causally through my Facebook account or other social media, you will know that respect for diversity is important to me.

Personally, the holidays mean family time, great food, and a chance to buy my family what I think they need. Sometimes, I even pay attention to what they want. Sometimes, not so much. (wink) But giving is always more fun for me than receiving. I'm notoriously bad at remembering birthdays, so I try to make up for it this time of year.

This year we are doing casual Mexican fare for Christmas. Though I'm not religious, I consider religious holidays to be a cultural event, and wherever there is good food and fun, I'm happy to show up!

In the spirit of giving, I, along with 11 other authors have joined together to do a Holiday Giveaway. Each author is giving away a book and a side gift. There are some really great books and fun gifts here. It is open to international and if any gifts are out of stock at the time the winners are selected, comparable gifts will be given.

Please share this giveaway with others you think might be interested. The winners will be announced on December 23, 2014.

Happy Holidays!

Lilo

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Curiosity Killed The Cat: The Kindle Daily Deal Selection Process

I've been asked several times, "How did you get selected for the Kindle Daily Deal?" So, I thought a blog post would be the most efficient way to share the answer.

The short answer is easy. "I don't know." I must have won a lottery of some sort. I do have some speculation, which I'll share later, but here's how it went down.

The Initial Notification
In September, I received a letter from Amazon asking me to agree to participate in a special they would run sometime before the end of the year. I had to agree to allow them to mark my book down up to 85%. They didn't say exactly what the promotion was, or when it would happen, or even if it would happen for sure. They also warned me that I couldn't place my book on sale a certain number of days before, or after. So naturally, without a date from them, that meant I couldn't put my book on sale at all. 

The Agonizing Wait
And naturally, being completely at the mercy of their massive promotional machinery, I said, "YES!!!!!!" Then I checked my email, and checked my email, check, check, check . . . You get the point. I was on verge of despair as it had been well over 90 days since my last Kindle Countdown Promotion and my numbers were dropping. Alright, it wasn't really despair, but I was less than pleased about the whole "submit and don't ask questions" thing.

And then, glory of glories, I got the response! It's really a blur at this point. I was, perhaps, in a bit of shock that it actually happened. I'm going to copy the dry content of their messages below for authors who are really interested.

So how did I get picked? 
I didn't sign up and they didn't tell me why they picked me. But here are a few key factors that I suspect were involved.
  • For the previous two months, my rank had been floating between 2500 - 5000 on its own, without promotion. If I were Amazon, I wouldn't give this coveted spot out unless there was proof the book was well performing to start with. After all, why promote a book that won't sell?
  • My rating is 4.7 stars and most of my 153 reviews contain explicit requests for the next book. If I were Amazon I wouldn't want to promote a book that was getting bad reviews. So the better the rating the better the chance, I'd think.
  • My book cover looks fabulous! Thank you Ravven for the gorgeous art! And, my heroine is fully clothed. I am certainly no prude, but if I were Amazon I would want great book art on my site and I wouldn't want to send mass emails out with half-clothed people on the cover, out of respect for the variety of tastes of customers.
  • My price is $4.99. I don't think they list lower priced books in Kindle Daily Deal often. This makes sense to me because people wouldn't feel they were getting a great deal otherwise. Plus, they wouldn't make much profit.
I call this intelligent speculation, but it is just speculation.

What do you think?

Lilo

(See dry emails below at your own risk.)

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The First Contact

Hello!

I work with the Kindle Direct Publishing team and from time to time we reach out to our authors and publishers about participating in certain types of promotions.

We are considering including your books

The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare Series Book 1) (B00HYH3ZU4)

in an upcoming promotion in some or all of the WW Amazon Kindle Book Stores. We would offer the books at a discount we determine off of your book’s list price for a period of up to approximately one month. Your list price won’t change, so that customers see your list price and the discount.

If your books are included, your royalty will be calculated based on our discounted price (not your list price), up to a discount of 85% off of your book’s list price. For example, if we sell your book at $1.99, where the 70% royalty option applies, your royalty will be calculated as 70% x ($1.99 – delivery costs and taxes). To be included in this promotion, your book must have a list price between $2.99 and $9.99.

The promotion will begin on a date we determine, which we anticipate to be at some point between October 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.

Here are some other terms:

Not all books made available will be included, so we can’t guarantee yours will be, and we may discontinue the promotion at any time.

You must keep your book in the Kindle Store for at least 90 days after the promotion ends; you can’t un-publish it or terminate your participation in KDP during that period.

Due to system latencies, the exact start and end times of promotions are approximate and can take from a few minutes to several hours, but in some cases this period may be longer.

If you agree to participate, this email and the KDP Terms and Conditions will be the entire binding agreement between you and Amazon Digital Services, Inc. with regard to the promotion.

Except as provided in this email, the KDP Terms and Conditions apply to your book and this promotion.

If you represent a Publisher other than yourself, by agreeing to participate you also confirm that you are authorized to agree on behalf of the Publisher.

The list price you provide us with for titles submitted for this promotion must remain the same for the 30 days preceding the start of the promotion, during the promotion and for at least 7 days following the promotion. This means that titles included in Kindle Countdown Deals or Free Promotions in the 30 days preceding the start of the promotion will be ineligible for inclusion. Please also note that you will not be able to schedule a new Kindle Countdown Deal until at least 30 days after the end of the promotion. Any Kindle Countdown Deals scheduled during the promotion or during the 30 days following the end of the promotion will be cancelled and you may not be notified.

If you would like to participate in this promotion and agree to the terms above, please respond to this email stating: “I would like to participate and I agree to these terms.” 

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 The Second Contact (You must really be a dedicated author if you are still reading!)

Hello!

I’m reaching out to let you know that, barring any unforeseen changes, The Light Who Shines is scheduled to run as a Kindle Daily Deal on Amazon.com on 11/20.

It will be discounted to 1.99 for that day.

Thanks! 

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And now you know as much as I do! You have been "Illuminated!"