Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simulation Cover Reveal!

Hello, all! I'm still catching up with life after being on vacation, (I had a great time and came back feeling recharged and happy, yay!) so I'm turning the blog over to Tara Tyler today to showcase the stunning cover for her upcoming novel Simulation. Tara also has a great bit of writerly advice to share. But first I just want to say thank you to everyone who shared about my free books last week and over the weekend. I really appreciate the support! Thank you all so much. :)

And now on to the Simulation cover!


To go with the cover reveal, here's a bit of writerly advice from Tara Tyler...

I have a terrible memory that gets worse all the time (where's my phone??) So I use a spreadsheet for each book to help me remember names I've used, gadgets and symbols I create, how to spell things, etc. I also keep track of my chapters with my own titles when I have to check on something... How do you remember the details of your writing??

Now,
It's finally here!! I give you the taunting cover of SIMULATION!

SIMULATION by Tara Tyler
Release Date: September 14, 2015

In 2082, androids are an essential part of daily life. Some are helpful, some would make better toasters, and some are so human-like they're creepy. Back in Atlanta, Detective Cooper's latest client has him searching for her boyfriend who she thinks was replaced by a simulation, an illegal clone android. The guy also happens to be a popular new congressman.

To make matters more frustrating, Cooper keeps crossing paths with his ex, FBI Agent Geri Harper who is looking for the same guy. As Cooper closes in, Geri is kidnapped. But when she resurfaces in Washington and goes on a killing spree, he knows it isn't her. Now under suspicion himself, Cooper must find the real Geri to prove her innocence, not to mention hunt down the powerful villain behind it all. Never a dull moment.




Book One, POP TRAVEL
Re-released July 1, 2015

In 2080, Detective J.L. Cooper thought he could avoid pop, until he stumbles onto a video of a traveler who turns to dust. With help from the neurotic, genius “Creator” and a beautiful Southern charmer, Cooper has to expose the deadly glitch and shut it down or die trying. No problem.

Available now!
Amazon ~~~ B&N ~~~ Goodreads


Tara Tyler has a loud voice, loves to help others, and is ever forgetful. That's why she always writes things down, sings, and teaches. She has no idea how she became a writer, but as long as the characters and stories are flowing, she'll never stop! Tara is also the Lazy Housewife, one of the Really Real Housewives of America - a new blog dedicated to doling out tips and advice on how to economize time and money for a happier life.

Twitter ~~~ Facebook ~~~ Blog ~~~ RRH


Also by Tara Tyler, MG/YA Fantasy series, Beast World,

Only a few days left for the POP TRAVEL giveaway!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Get My Books for #FREE on Kindle!




Hi, all! I'm on vacation right now but my books are having a party to celebrate my publisher's anniversary. My titles as well as lots of other Ink Smith books are free on Kindle today through Monday, July 27th.

Click here to get to my books plus the other Ink Smith books that are free for the taking, or visit my Amazon page here for links to all of my titles.

Since Polar Night and Polar Day are both free I thought I'd make The Turnagain Arm, their prequel, free as well so people can read the whole series if interested. Click here to pick up The Turnagain Arm.

I'd love to get one or all of my books ranking on the free charts so if anyone is willing to help spread the word about the giveaway on Twitter I would so appreciate it! I am including some ready-to-go tweets below.

Love paranormal? Mysteries & thrillers? Horror? Get all of @JulesFlanders books #FREE on Kindle now through 7/27! http://tinyurl.com/pjc2dpy 

Take a trip back in time to 1880s #MarthasVineyard in The Ghosts of Aquinnah by @JulesFlanders #FREE 7/23 - 7/27 http://tinyurl.com/m6ef8nu 

Crime fiction with a paranormal twist - the Polar Night series by @JulesFlanders #FREE through 7/27 http://tinyurl.com/pjc2dpy #Alaska 

Thanks so much in advance. I hope everyone is having a great week and I will catch up with you all when I get back from vacation. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blog the Change for Animals: A Sunrise Sanctuary Follow-Up


It's time for the quarterly Blog the Change for Animals bloghop and today I'm following up with the organization I wrote about on the Blog the Change homepage back in April. I didn't plan to write about Sunrise Sanctuary again but something happened back in June that made me feel like I simply had to once again spread the word about the wonderful people who make the sanctuary a home to nearly 200 abused, neglected, and unwanted farm animals.

On June 8, 2015 a truck carrying thousands of piglets crashed on a state route near Xenia, Ohio, which is about an hour away from my hometown of Cincinnati. I found the headline so disturbing that I couldn't stand to read any articles about the crash, but did see that hundreds of the pigs were killed immediately while the rest were rounded up to continue on their way to their ultimate destination, a slaughter house.

I would not have expected something heartwarming and life-affirming to come out of something so upsetting to read about, but that is exactly what has happened. As it turned out, one little pig survived the crash and wasn't rounded up with the others. Instead, he was found tangled in the wreckage by a Good Samaritan who managed to get the piglet to Sunrise Sanctuary.

Little Nathan sleeping with his toys not long after he arrived at Sunrise. Photo courtesy of Sunrise Sanctuary

Mindy Mallett, the founder of Sunrise, took the piglet under her wing and named him Nathan after Nathan Runkle, the founder of Mercy For Animals. Though traumatized and suffering from a respiratory illness that required hospitalization at the Ohio State University veterinary hospital, Nathan managed to thrive. He now charms everyone he meets.

The darling piglet has become a social media star and I can't deny that his pictures and updates are one of my favorite things that I see in my Facebook newsfeed. My sister and I plan to visit Sunrise next month and we can't wait to meet little Nathan.

When I first visited Sunrise back in April the farm reminded me of a real life Charlotte's Web or Babe. Now the little piglet named Nathan has only added to that feeling. Sunrise is definitely a place like no other and one that will bring a smile to anyone who visits it.

If you'd like to learn more about Sunrise Sanctuary and the amazing work they do for animals, visit their site or find them on Facebook.

If you're interested in joining the Blog the Change hop add your name to the list below and hop around to check out some of the other bloggers. :)


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summertime Blues & The Miracle Girl by T.B. Markinson


I'm over at Untethered Realms today talking about my hatred of summer and how that played a role in the development of my novel Polar Day. I know I'm in the minority when it comes to summer, but I really don't like it at all. By the time we pass the July 4th holiday all I can think about is how anxious I am for autumn to arrive. Anyone else with me or am I totally alone when it comes to the summer season? I have a feeling I'm alone and that's okay, I can take it. :D

Please visit me here at Untethered Realms and check out all the fantastic books by my fellow group members while you are there.




I'm also helping to spread the word about the new release from T.B. Markinson, The Miracle Girl. Congratulations, T.B.! Here's all the scoop on the book, along with a short excerpt:

Tagline: To secure a loving future, she must shed an addicting past.
Blurb:
Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname. Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction.
When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life.
Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media.
Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?
Praise for The Miracle Girl:

“The Miracle Girl is phenomenal!” Christine

“The best one yet.” Shellie

“I don't often give 5 stars to books, but I loved this book.” Heidi

“Impossible to put down.”  Windowwasher

“I was hooked by the first sentence.” Cheryll

Excerpt:

Maybe it was best to make a clean break. College was over. Like she said, time to grow up.  
         I wiped my eyes, determined to be strong. A small object by the door caught my attention. It took me a second or two to finally figure out what it was. Claire’s matching friendship bracelet, the one we made our first summer together when we were co-counselors for a day camp. Since the day we had made them, neither one of us had taken them off. That was her parting gift: a clean break.
         I snatched her bracelet from the floor and then yanked mine off. While rolling both of them in my fingers, I made a decision.
         Yes, it was time for me to grow up. Leave my college love behind. Move on with my life.
         The next morning I boarded a plane and never intended to see Claire again. It wasn’t until the plane took off that I realized I had made a terrible mistake, but it was too late. Or so I thought.
         Running was easier.

Buy Links:

Amazon US       /      Amazon UK       /     Amazon Canada

Author bio:

T. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.

Mailing List:

To sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

Where to find T. B. Markinson:

Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG, Writing Resources Column, & Tara Tyler's Pop Travel


Happy July, all! As usual I can't believe another month has gone by and we are meeting again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This great group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and has expanded exponentially from its humble beginnings. If you're not a member and would like to join us just add your name to the group list here. You can also find Alex's co-hosts for the month and all the other group members at that link.

I'm making my IWSG post short and sweet today and just want to say that my biggest insecurity at the moment is the fact that I've decided to work on two novels at once. This is something new for me and I hope I can pull it off. I was feeling frustrated with my Chicago ghost story so I thought I'd set it aside and start working on an idea I've had for a story set here in Cincinnati that has its origins in my own family history. It also has a ghost, but a friendly one this time. :D

Anyway I realized there's no reason I can't work on both at the same time, so that's what I'm doing. I am just trying to be flexible about it and work on whatever inspires me the most when I sit down to write. Since this is a new process for me I hope I don't end up screwing both stories up, but so far, so good!

Also, I wrote a column on writing resources for College and Research Libraries News as part of my day job, and was happy to be able to include the IWSG in the article. Thanks to Alex for letting me use the logo to go along with the IWSG entry! If you'd like to check out the article and see if it includes any resources you may not be familiar with yet, you can find it here. It was kind of fun to combine my two personas in this way. :D

And now I'm turning the blog over to my buddy Tara Tyler and sharing her fantastic new cover for Pop Travel. Congratulations, Tara!

Julie and I are Queen City Sistas! We both live in the Cincinnati area and I'm so glad we've done several book events together and more to come! 

Doing book events with a friend is pretty awesome. We bounce ideas off each other, give each other advice, and support each other during a long stressful day of wearing a smile through thick and thin!
I'm really thankful to have a book event friend so close!


Thanks Julie, for jumping in to let me stop by and show everyone POP TRAVEL's new cover - it's eye-popping! And the re-release has a sneak peek at the first chapter of SIMULATION which comes out Sept 14th!

POP TRAVEL
by Tara Tyler
Re-released July 1, 2015

In 2080, technology has gone too far for private detective J. L. Cooper. He thinks he can avoid pop travel teleportation, until he stumbles onto a video of a pop traveler who turns to dust.

Sparking a series of murders, attempts on his life, and threats to his brother, Cooper wants to pass off the evidence but knows he’s being watched and can’t trust anyone. And who would believe him?

With help from the neurotic genius “Creator” of pop travel and a beautiful Southern charmer, Cooper must expose the deadly glitch and shut it down or die trying. No problem.

Amazon ~~~ B&N ~~~ Goodreads


Tara Tyler has had a hand at everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have a moral, and a few laughs!



Also by Tara Tyler, MG/YA Fantasy series, Beast World,

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Humane Cosmetics Act


Back in October I posted about the use of animal testing in cosmetics and how I found this practice barbaric and deplorable since humane alternatives exist and have been in use for years by many companies. I posted this as my entry for the Blog the Change for Animals hop, which is held four times a year and aims to highlight issues concerning animal welfare and rescue.

I was thrilled and pleasantly surprised this week to read about the introduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act, which proposes to prohibit animal testing for all cosmetics sold or manufactured in the United States. The act enjoys bipartisan support and was sponsored by U.S. Representatives Martha McSally (R-AZ), Don Beyer (D-VA), Joe Heck (R-NV) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). The act is also supported by cosmetics industry powerhouses like Paul Mitchell and The Body Shop, both of which already prohibit animal testing on their products.

There has been so much horrible news in recent weeks that it was a treat to read something that actually made me smile. I especially love that this act has bipartisan support, as the word "bipartisan" seems increasingly rare nowadays.

The Humane Society launched a Be Cruelty Free campaign to help end animal testing and provides a contact form on its website for Americans to contact their own representatives and ask them to support the new legislation.

Cruelty Free International, the largest organization working to ban animal testing in the world, states that the United States will join the European Union, Israel, and India among those who have banned this outdated practice if the legislation. New Zealand, Brazil, Vietnam and South Korea are also working on bans. As you'll see if you click on this link, Peter Dinklage is the US Ambassador to Cruelty Free International and an advocate to end animal testing on cosmetics and toiletries. If Tyrion Lannister is behind it, it has to be a good thing.  :D

In all seriousness, I think anything that can reduce the amount of cruelty in the world is a wonderful thing. This legislation is a step in the right direction.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Summer Solstice, St. John's Eve, and a Voodoo Priestess Ghost

Summer Solstice 2
Bethel, Alaska at midnight on the summer solstice

Yesterday was the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere, and since the solstice plays a big role in my novel Polar Day I had hoped to find a juicy ghost story to tie in with it. Unfortunately when searching for solstice legends all I could find were stories about faeries. I realized I shouldn't have expected to find haunted stories connected to the day when the sun enjoys its longest time in the spotlight.

But I happened to stumble upon something new to me, which was the close connection between the solstice and the Catholic celebration of the feast day of St. John the Baptist. Celebrated on June 24, St. John's day has always been closely aligned with the solstice and the beginning of summer, and was originally celebrated any day between June 20 and June 26 before the church fixed the date as the 24th. Now, most celebrations to mark the day are held on June 23, or St. John's Eve.

The feast of St. John has a great deal of historical significance in the practice of Voodoo in Louisiana. I have always been both intrigued and a little freaked out by Voodoo. I think it is super cool to read about but also more than a little creepy.

Voodoo Altar in New Orleans, taken by Greg Willis

Apparently, the most important time of the year in the Voodoo religion is midsummer, or the solstice. I was thrilled to discover that the most famous Voodoo priestess in Louisiana history, Marie Laveau, was known to hold Voodoo rituals on the Bayou St. John in New Orleans on St. John's Eve, and many believe her ghost still keeps the tradition alive today.

Marie was believed to have been born in 1801 and she lived until 1881. Throughout her adult life she was the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans and the most powerful and influential priestess in the city. Marie's ceremonies included the singing of Voodoo hymns, nighttime dances around a bonfire to show respect to the deities, and offerings made in sacrifice to the gods. I don't know what those offerings were but it's creepy to imagine, as the rituals were performed in the dark in an isolated stretch of the bayou north of the city.

Legend states that Marie's voice can still be heard chanting and singing at St. John's Bayou on St. John's Eve. In addition, city residents have reported seeing Marie at her home on St. Ann Street. If the stories are to be believed, Marie continues to walk St. Ann Street at night, wearing a long white dress, a turban, and a knotted handkerchief around her neck.

Marie Laveau is buried in the St. Louis cemetery in New Orleans, which is considered the most haunted cemetery in the United States. Visitors to the cemetery have reported seeing Marie walking between the graves and muttering Voodoo curses under her breath. Others have said Marie's ghost has taken on the form of a Voodoo cat with glowing red eyes. The cat disappears through the sealed door of Marie's tomb.

Source

I have to admit I think a Voodoo priestess cat is very cool. What animal could be more appropriate for the ghost of a Voodoo Queen? I'd love to see this kitty and now part of me wants to come up with a story for a Voodoo priestess cat.

I really wouldn't want to be in New Orleans this week as I know the heat and humidity would be way too much for me, but I can't deny I'd be curious to go to St. John's Bayou on St. John's Eve and see if I could hear Marie's ghost leading her followers in hymns and chants. If by chance I did hear someone singing I'd probably run all the way back to Ohio. :D

I hope everyone had a great weekend!