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  • Celebrate the End of the World With a Free Book (Giveaway) – The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse

    Posted on December 21st, 2012 jean 28 comments

    It’s the end of the world.


    It’s like a locker combination. A locker combination to doomsday.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever, right? I’m going to an end of the world party tonight to enjoy my last moments on earth… but in the meantime I had an idea.

    Celebrate the end of the world--death of a plant

    And yes, this plant started it all last Friday.

    And then (FINALLY!!) on Wednesday night (two days ago) these arrived at the local postal outlet:

    The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse print copies

    Want one?

    It’s easy. Really, really easy.

    As a thank you for reading my blog (even if you are new around these parts) I’d like to give one lucky reader (oh, okay two lucky readers–why not? The world is ending I can afford to be generous.) a copy of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse. Either ebook or a print copy–your choice.* If you want to more than double your chances, check out Judy Croome’s Goodreads giveaway of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse. She is giving away 20 copies! Whoa!

    What do you have to do? How many hoops do you have to jump through?


    Just leave a comment–even if it as simple as saying “count me in.” Be sure to leave your email address in the comment’s sign in box thingy so I can contact you if you win. (That way you don’t have to keep checking back–or better yet, subscribe on the right to the blog so my posts come right to your inbox. I’ll be posting the winner(s) on Saturday, the 22nd.)

    Since the world is ending today, let’s leave this book giveaway open until midnight tonight, End of the World Friday, December 21, 2012.

    And if the world really does end, well dang! I guess that’s it. It’s been nice knowing you and thanks for reading.

     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~

    What is The Fall about?

    (14 short stories by 13 authors.)

    What would the end of the world look like?

    What would end our civilization?

    Would it be a dark and scary place or would it be full of hope? (Hint: It is the latter of the two.)

    Find out in The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse

     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~

    P.S. Curious about The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse? You can buy copies on (print) or ebook as well as on ($2.88 for ebook). Proceeds go to charity. If you have already read it we would LOVE it if you dropped a review–even just a line or two–on your favourite online site whether your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, or… where ever! Thanks!

    * I am willing to send the ebook version anywhere in the world, but I ask that since this is a charitable project–all proceeds from the book go to charity–and I, like the other contributing authors, donated my story, Crumbs, to The Fall (as well as at least 80 hours editing the anthology) that only American or Canadian addresses request a print version as the shipping elsewhere will kill me! Er… no pun intended. Tee, hee.

  • Podcasts for Authors and a Giveaway Sneak Peek

    Posted on December 14th, 2012 jean 2 comments

    Happy Friday everyone!

    Some good news for you and some good news for… well, you again!

    First you.

    I’ve discovered a great way to fill my writer’s brain with even more information about writing, branding, publishing, selling books and more. And it is so easy. And you can do it on the go. And it’s free.

    Know what it is? Podcasts. Yep. You can learn more about my top five favourite, must-listen-to podcasts for writers over on From the Write Angle today. Let me know what you think. Have you checked out podcasts? What’s your favourite?

    And the second bit of good news…

    I’m planning a giveaway. (Assuming my copies of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse ever come… it’s been one mishap after another for the past 6 weeks. You’d think this book was about the end of the world or something. 😉 And seeing as the world ends next Friday, December 21, 2012, I’m giving away a copy of The Fall. Why? Just ’cause. I’ll tell you more next Friday.

    BUT, if you want to enter a contest right now… you can also enter the giveaway on Goodreads being held by Judy Croome (fellow The Fall author) by clicking on the nice little button over on the right. Click now. You’re free to go. Good news over. Clicky, clicky.

    Thanks for reading and have a happy Friday!

  • How to Make it Happen: How to Expand Your Reach

    Posted on November 8th, 2012 jean 8 comments

    I’ve discovered a secret.

    The secret to success.

    It’s so simple. So straight forward.

    Why don’t more people do it?

    Because it is this… With all the research I’ve been doing about the business side of writing and business in the past eight months is this (are you ready? Better sit down): Those who succeed, do so because they work really, really hard to make it happen. They take action. Every day.

    Damn. You were hoping for an easy answer, weren’t you?

    Okay, I’ll admit that can be a bit overwhelming. However… it doesn’t have to be crazy scary.

    How to Expand Your Reach and Succeed

    The thing about expanding your reach–whether you are a writer, a blogger, a business person, or even an Avon lady–is that the magic doesn’t happen overnight. One ‘thing’ is not going to suddenly make you famous. Think about how many songs Parry Grip put out before he suddenly became ‘that guy on YouTube.’ (Heard of the Duck Song? Baby Monkey Riding Backwards on a Pig? That’s him.) It is a slow, methodical build. One brick on top of the other. Chris Brogan is another amazing example of this.

    These tips may help:

    1. Don’t freak out at the idea of all you have to accomplish. Do one small thing a month. Don’t try and rock Twitter, Facebook, and guest posting all in one month. One at a time. Once one feels ‘old hat,’ move on to the next one.

    2. Be focused. What is your goal? What steps do you think you HAVE to take to get there? Not the ones you want to take because they are fun time-wasters.

    3. Make a plan. Evil dictators have five-year-plans. Do you?

    4. Don’t go whole hog on an idea and burn yourself out. Pace yourself. Make a realistic timeline.

    5. Research. Educate yourself. Don’t expect to know everything at once. And don’t let yourself off the hook. This is a slow, methodical, and INFORMED growth we’re doing to expand our reach. You can write the greatest blog post ever, but if you don’t know how to get it to an audience or write a compelling headline, you aren’t going to expand your reach.

    6. What motivates you to take action? Figure it out and use it to your advantage.

    7. Be patient. It takes time and experimentation.

    Want some proof that the slow, methodical planned approach works? Check out author Ruth Cardello who made it happen for herself last fall. She hit the New York Times Bestseller list for three weeks with her self-published romance.

    How? How? How?

    By trying something new every day when it came to publicity and marketing herself, her brand, and her books. Day after day. (Not sure if she includes weekends, but even if she doesn’t she’s doing at least 20 things a month to get her books out there.) She was patient and experimented. And it paid off.

    She’s now a full-time author.

    Small Steps to Success

    Yup. We all want it now. That’s natural. Completely natural. And so is the–everyone else is rocking this, why can’t I?

    You want to know ANOTHER SECRET?

    Those who want it, find a way to go get it. They make it happen.

    Okay, that wasn’t really a big secret after showing what Ruth did!

    And while you may only see all their successes, there are failures too. There are always guaranteed failures. The thing of it is, people who succeed take flub-ups and leverage them. They add them as part of their growing expertise.

    Let me share a small, personal example. (So you don’t think I’m yakking out of turn.)

    I read about this thing about ‘drafting.’ Basically, the idea is that you use some popular blog/post/news topic and draft off it. You find a way to slide yourself in there and get a slice of the publicity. But in a non-slimy way.

    About a month ago, I thought I would try it out. I spent an hour sending out emails to about 5-7 blogs/news sites, contacting the writer/reporter. I *tried* to create intrigue around this other angle I had on the news story they had reported on. Whether my emails were read, whether I was too late to ride the wave, whether I was too ambiguous, whether I was wasting their time and didn’t hook it right… I don’t know. But I didn’t hear back. An hour of my life I will never get back. (Maybe that’s the problem there–maybe it was too much of a slap-dab-and-slash appreoch.)

    BUT… last week the publication of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy. Aha! I thought. This is an opportunity. I might be able to make something happen.

    Because I had been researching (see #5 above) how to write press releases (don’t ask me why, it just seemed like something I should know) I decided to write one using the Hurricane Sandy angle to ‘draft’ off a news topic.

    Did it work? Well, I think so. As ‘big’ as I had hoped… well, maybe not quite. However, of the six newspapers I contacted with my press release (with minor tweaks to provide a local connection for each paper) I was (so far) granted one interview which has appeared online and will come out in today’s physical paper. So, not bad. Better than my first attempt at drafting and always better than a kick in the pants with a pair of cowboy boots.

    Lesson: I didn’t wait for them to come and find me. I went to the papers and shared the news. And I was prepared. I had taken headshots a few weeks ago and I had a press page on my site with more information which I linked to. I had cover art ready as well. All my gathering of resources and knowledge came together for me, expanding my reach and making it happen. I’m in the paper! And it’s not for starting kindergarten! (I really was in the paper when I started kindergarten. Yeah, slow news day or else I am actually a princess in hiding. Or, you know, from a really small town. Your pick.)

    The indie Chicks Contributor

    Another quick example of behind the scenes work coming to fruition? Today I am on The Indie Get Ahead Girl is a new series I pitched a few weeks back, but had been thinking about and honing in my mind for months. I had previously answered their call for submissions when they first started in May. While I didn’t have anything for them after my first post, I continued my connections with them and waited until I had something well-suited to their brand and could help mine as well. Today, “Who to Follow on Twitter” is out building their brand as Chicks Who Make it Happen as well as mine which is The Helpful Writer. (Okay, still working on that brand!)

    The overall lesson here:

    Sometimes things come to you, sometimes you have to make it happen. <– Tweet this.

    You can do it! Get Ahead! Expand Your Reach! Make It Happen! You can do it! I’m cheering for you! <rah, rah, rah!>

    What have you always wanted? Can you use the tips above to create a plan that will take you there? Do you have tips to share as well? Share ’em in the comment section!


  • What I’ve been Working On: (AKA… The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse)

    Posted on October 1st, 2012 jean 6 comments

    I’ve been a bit busy lately working on some ‘secret’ projects… and today I am proud to share one of the things I’ve been working on.

    1) I’ve been enjoying writing chick lit again. Yes, I’ve decided that even though agents are having troubles selling it, it’s my passion, so why not write it and see what happens? See what kinds of opportunities I can dig up.

    2) I decided to try my hand at writing a short story. Which kind of helped bring about #1, actually. I decided to write a chick lit genre short story to see if I could get something accepted for the Elephant’s Bookshelf Press’s upcoming anthology, The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse. (To tell the truth, I had been tempted to try one since reading J. Lea Lopez’s short story, The Adventures of Sasquatch, in Spring Fevers (also by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press).

    The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse

    Cover for The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse (Available October 29, 2012)

    Right now you might be thinking, Uh Jean? Chick lit? Tales from the Apocalypse? Hello? These things don’t jive. Well, I broke the mold with my short story, Crumbs. In fact, quite a few stories in the upcoming short story anthology did. How do I know? Read #3.

    3) I’ve been editing. No longer bits here and there for friends and the odd manuscript, but a very LARGE project; pro bono. It’s called… The Fall. Yes, I edited the anthology as well. And no, my story (so they tell me) wasn’t accepted *just* because I was editing the book.

    So there it is! I’m going to be in The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse coming out later this month! (October 29th, 2012) More details about all the wonderful other authors can be found on Elephant’s Bookshelf Press’s blog.



    More about Crumbs:

    Crumbs is about a 20-something photojournalist, Anastasia, who has always wanted the attention of the hottie who lives across the street. Now, with the world in shambles after a flash 11-day world war, this gal has the perfect excuse to not only catch his eye, but also gain more than precious crumbs of attention as she holds the one thing he needs in this decimated land.

    How about you? What have you been working on? Have you tested your boundaries lately? If not, why not? You just might surprise yourself.