Using Tarot to Understand Your Characters and Their Actions.

A while back I wrote a post about using the Myers-Briggs Personality test to define your characters and give them depth. It was a popular post, so I thought I’d come up with another way to understand characters, and see into their future.

Using Tarot cards is a unique way to find out what your characters are going through, and perhaps help you decide what they should do next. Since you’re reading Tarot for characters and not real people, you don’t have to be an expert on Tarot to do it. And unless you’re interested in learning to read Tarot, you don’t even have to buy a deck of cards. You can use online Tarot decks and draw cards from there.

A bit of background: I have been reading Tarot cards for nearly twelve years. My mom bought me my first deck for Christmas and said, “Your great-grandmother used to read tea leaves in Ireland. Maybe you’ll be good at this.”

I don’t know if I’m good at it, but I’m definitely passionate about Tarot. I’ve spent years studying tarot, reading tarot for myself and others, and acquiring new decks. My first deck was the Marseilles deck, which is one of the oldest decks in use today.artisanal-igorbarzilai

 

My next deck was the Rider Waite deck. Probably the most widely used deck, this is a good one to start with if you’re a beginner.

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The deck I use now is the Legacy deck, which is more modern and has stunning artwork. There are numerous decks to choose from, and if you choose to embrace Tarot, you’ll understand the feeling when you connect with a deck. Legacy is my deck.

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If you don’t want to purchase a deck to read for your characters, here’s a good link for an online Tarot card spread http://serennu.com/tarot/horseshoe.php

That link offers a seven card horseshoe spread.

(*Note: This example is a simplified reading for a fictional person. Reading Tarot for real people is much more in-depth, and personal. Spreads are often more complex, and the reader is very careful with how they deliver the message of the reading to the querant.)

I drew cards for my character Mara, the main character in The Dia Chronicles series. In book two, The Embers of Light, Mara was left with a broken heart, some hard decisions, and her enemy still on the loose. I thought of her as I shuffled the cards, and the ones that came up were very interesting. For the purpose of this example I chose a five card horseshoe spread, with a card in the center known as a significator, to represent Mara. I will only give brief descriptions of each card, but if you read for your character, take the time to understand what each card is telling you.

 

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Summary of the Reading.

The cards reflect Mara’s broken heart and her sense of loss. They suggest that perhaps she’s made a wrong choice, which has contributed her to sadness. Her obstacle is clearly a person, a young man, with a selfish, childish demeanor. Her strength is another young knight, a man with a balanced view of the world and a generous heart. She must find this person to help her through this tough time. He might even have the answers she needs. The final card reveals the outcome, which seems different than what Mara has planned. Her life will be shaken up, and she’ll have to accept fate in order to succeed. (See the individual cards below).

This reading is helpful to me because there is a potential ending in book three I’ve been thinking about for some time, but was unsure if it’s the best choice. I can see from the cards that I should go with my gut and use the planned alternate ending, because it will create balance for my characters.

The Reading Card by Card.

Significator – represents the subject of the reading, Mara: Queen of Swords. The queen of swords is an independent woman. She is perceptive, assertive, independent, and a natural leader. At her worst she can be vengeful, short tempered, and deceitful when she thinks it will benefit her cause.

Card #1 – Where the character is now. Five of Cups Reversed – Separation from a partner. Loss. Inner Turmoil. Regret.

Card #2 – The character’s next step. Seven of Cups Reversed – Wrong choices. Overestimating yourself. Seduction.

Card #3 – Obstacles. Knight of Swords Reversed – Often represents a person who is reckless, unrealistic, impulsive, and foolish. This person acts first and thinks second. (Sound like Malcolm, perhaps?)

Card #4 – Strengths and Resources. Knight of Cups Upright – An honorable, possibly attractive man. He is considerate and thoughtful in his actions, but not afraid to jump into the fray. He prefers peace to violence, but as a knight he will defend those he loves. (Definitely sounds like Corbin).

Card #5 – Outcome. Judgement. A Major Arcana card, also known as a destiny card. This card represents a major change of life, a new phase, a new cycle. Face the things you fear, make the hard decisions. This character will have to accept fate, even if it’s not what she planned, in order to have a positive outcome.

What do you think, would Tarot help you with your characters? If you choose to do a reading for them, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles

Get To Know Your Characters With The The Myers-Briggs Personality Test.

Creating dynamic, complex characters is important if you want your readers to care about them. It’s also important to ensure that your characters have their own distinct personalities. Just like people in real life, each character should have their own way of speaking, their own way of thinking, and their own way or reacting to a situation. No two characters should be exactly alike. One way to get to know your characters better, and to understand what motivates them, is to identify their Myers-Briggs personality type.

You may have taken this test in high school or college, or you may have been given this test for a job. There are 16 different personality types, and by answering the questions as your character would, you can learn who they are and why they do what they do.

I decided to take the test as Mara, Corbin, and Malcolm; my three main characters in The Dia Chronicles. Since I’ve written three books with these characters, I know them well and had no trouble answering the questions from their perspectives. I found the results fascinating, and completely in line with who they are.

Mara’s personality type didn’t surprise me much. When I take the test myself I’m always defined as an INFJ, and since I intentionally created Mara to mirror my own thoughts and feelings, she tested as an INFJ as well.

MARAINFJ 

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Introvert(89%)  iNtuitive(75%)  Feeling(38%)  Judging(33%)

  • You have strongpreference of Introversion over Extraversion (89%)
  • You have distinctpreference of Intuition over Sensing (75%)
  • You have moderatepreference of Feeling over Thinking (38%)
  • You have moderatepreference of Judging over Perceiving (33%)

The INFJ personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As Diplomats (NF), they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging (J) trait – INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.

INFJ Strengths

  • Creative
  • Insightful
  • Inspiring and Convincing
  • Decisive
  • Determined and Passionate
  • Altruistic

INFJ Weaknesses

  • Sensitive
  • Extremely Private
  • Perfectionistic
  • Always Need to Have a Cause
  • Can Burn Out Easily

Corbin’s test results surprised me a little because he wasn’t a character that was as plotted out as Mara. He created himself as I wrote, and now that I see his definition, it really does fit his profile, especially because it says this personality type would be found in a military position. Perfect for a soldier like him. 🙂

CORBIN- ISTJTF_no_writing

Introvert(22%)  Sensing(1%)  Thinking(1%)  Judging(78%)

  • You have slightpreference of Introversion over Extraversion (22%)
  • You have marginal or nopreference of Sensing over Intuition (1%)
  • You have marginal or nopreference of Thinking over Feeling (1%)
  • You have strongpreference of Judging over Perceiving (78%)

The ISTJ personality type is thought to be the most abundant, making up around 13% of the population. Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty make ISTJs a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies and military. People with the ISTJ personality type enjoy taking responsibility for their actions, and take pride in the work they do – when working towards a goal, ISTJs hold back none of their time and energy completing each relevant task with accuracy and patience.

 

ISTJ Strengths

  • Honest and Direct
  • Strong-willed and Dutiful
  • Very Responsible
  • Calm and Practical.
  • Create and Enforce Order
  • Jacks-of-all-trades

ISTJ Weaknesses

  • Stubborn Insensitive
  • Always by the Book
  • Judgmental Often Unreasonably Blame Themselves

Malcolm’s profile was spot on! Answering the test questions from his perspective was easy, and the resulting definition sums up Malcolm perfectly.

MALCOLM – ENTPart

 

Extravert(78%)  iNtuitive(12%)  Thinking(38%)  Perceiving(22%)

  • You have strongpreference of Extraversion over Introversion (78%)
  • You have slightpreference of Intuition over Sensing (12%)
  • You have moderatepreference of Thinking over Feeling (38%)
  • You have slightpreference of Perceiving over Judging (22%)

The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil’s advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don’t do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it’s fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.

ENTP Strengths

  • Knowledgeable
  • Quick Thinkers
  • Original
  • Excellent Brainstormers
  • Charismatic
  • Energetic

ENTP Weaknesses

  • Very Argumentative
  • Insensitive
  • Intolerant
  • Can Find It Difficult to Focus
  • Dislike Practical Matters

 

 

If you want to get to know your characters better, try taking the test from their perspective. There’s a free version here. 

And you can find in-depth definitions here. 

Let me know how your characters tested. 🙂

** Added – You can also use these profiles to determine how your characters will interact with each other, and what their challenges with each other might be. For example, if you have an ISFP character and an ESFJ character, research the relationship between the two.

Why Authors Should Stop Stressing About Book Pirates.

Book Pirate

I see the statuses and tweets often. An author has discovered their book on a pirating site and is FURIOUS about it. After all, why shouldn’t they be? Their work is being stolen, the hours of writing, revising, and editing has been reduced to a freebie download for any cheapskate to steal at will.

The first time I spotted one of my books on a pirating site I was livid, but as time went on, and I got used to hunting these files down and requesting their removal, my perspective on book pirating changed. Hear me out, and perhaps the next time you spot your book on a pirating site you won’t feel the wrath of Lucifer bubbling up inside you.

Pirating is NEVER Going Away. Get Used To It.

This is just common sense. Pirating has been around forever, and with the digital age, it’s only gotten worse. Hollywood and the music industry were the first to feel the effects of digital pirating, and they took up a fight to try and prevent it. Millions were spent suing websites, fighting for legislation, and trying to create a digital barrier between pirate sites and would-be downloaders. Much like the war on drugs, the war on pirating has proven difficult, and nearly impossible to win. Book pirates are the same. We can’t stop them, no matter what we do. If we find a new way to encrypt ebooks, they’ll find a new way to steal them.

It’s A Right Of Passage.

It might not be the most pleasant right of passage, but it does mark your transition from aspiring author to published author. Congratulations! Someone finds your book interesting enough to steal it!

When I was an aspiring author I would have done anything to get people to read my work. During the drafting process of my first published novel, I pushed it on anyone willing to give it a read. If you had told me back then that someone would want to STEAL my work, I probably would have wrapped it in a bow and sent it off with a thank you card. So if someone is pirating your book, you’re officially in the club. 🙂

Most Of The Sites Are Fake.

In my quest to track down and vanquish book pirates I’ve discovered that most of the sites claiming to offer my book for download are total bullshit. One site might say that 1200 people have already downloaded it, another says 26,000. That’s a lot of books! And if I calculate the royalties lost on those numbers I might faint. BUT if you go a step further and actually try to download your own book you’ll find that you can’t. You either get prompted to enter a credit card number or the links lead to nowhere. Oftentimes these are bait sites designed to lure in unsuspecting book-seekers, and when they try to download the link they get hit with a virus. So if you see your book has been downloaded 47,000,000 times, don’t freak out, chances are, it hasn’t.

But what if it has?

Worst Case Scenario: You’ve Found New Readers.

Chances are the illegal downloaders did not hinder the legitimate sales you’ve made. Let’s face it, those people illegally downloading your books were probably never going to buy your book anyway. I know, I know . . . you don’t want to give your books away for free, but in the unfortunate event that it HAS been downloaded a bunch of times, stay calm. The truth of the matter is, readers have found your work, maybe they even like your work, maybe they join your FB page, follow you on Twitter, maybe they go on to buy your other books, or tell all their friends about how much they loved your book.

If your book was in a library and you found out it was borrowed 6,000 times, are you upset that you weren’t paid royalties on 6,000 sales? If your book is in paperback, and someone buys it, reads it, and sells it to a used bookstore that then sells to another person, would you be angry you weren’t given a cut of each sale?

No.

You’d be happy that people were reading your book, and hopefully that reader is the word-of-mouth you’re going to need to be successful. As a new author you’re main goal should never be income. It should always be exposure. You want everyone and their mother to read your book, and if your book is being pirated, you have certainly been exposed. 😉

Book Pirates Suck! Book Downloaders Might Not.

We can all agree that the hosting sites for book pirating are a bunch of SUPER JERKS! If not for them being the book pusher, we might not have this problem. But they’re here to stay, so let’s take a look at the people downloading these pirated books. Do you have an image of who might be sitting behind that computer, snickering as they basically steal your work? I used to, but in my search of pirating sites, I came across something that made me reconsider my view of the downloaders.

My first book, The Darkness of Light, was available for download on a pirating site. I know it had actually been downloaded because people were discussing it in the forum. Then in the thread, someone posted the cover of the sequel, The Embers of Light, asking where it was available. The thread went on and on, and no one could find the link anywhere (it was fairly new at that point, so it’s definitely available now). A few of the posters made comments to the original poster about buying the book, that illegally downloading books was wrong.

The original poster, and some of the follow-up commenters defended themselves. One guy said he lives in the Philippines, doesn’t have a tablet, and can’t afford to buy the books he wants. Another poster said her parents wouldn’t let her buy books like that. A few others showed little concern for their actions.

It was a mixed bag of responses, and while I completely agree that book pirating sucks, I feel better about it knowing that people, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to my books, found a way to read them. This is why I no longer get angry when I spot my books on sites. If I can find one true reader, take the damn book if you can find it.

Taking Action.

Since the previously mentioned site appeared to be a legitimate downloading site I sent the DMCA Takedown Notice (you can find a sample notice to copy here) to the admin, and within 24 hours, my books were removed.

Now I have a monthly routine for hunting pirates. Somewhere around the first of the month I track my sales numbers, enter them into a spreadsheet, then move on to Google and type in my name, and the names of my books to find pirated copies.

I almost always find at least one website claiming to have one or all of my books available for download. If I can find a place to contact them, I send the DMCA notice and forget it. If I can’t find contact info, it’s usually a virus download so I don’t bother.

Then I go about my day, happily writing books and not spending an ounce of energy on book thieves. Sure, I could spend hours trying to track down the hosting sites, checking and rechecking to see if they’ve taken the books down, but what good does that do? I’m wasting my time being angry when I could be writing. And after all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing most of the time anyway. 🙂

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Seven Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Now that I’ve been a published author for one full year, and I’ve spent these last twelve months marketing, blogging, and tweeting about why you should buy my books, I think it’s time to get real with you. I want to save you all the trouble. It’s time to tell you why you shouldn’t buy my books.

7 – I’m an indie author

Yes, it’s true—I’m an independent author. I don’t have an agent, I don’t have a publisher, and I pay for the production of my books up front. By now we’ve all seen, and maybe even read, at least one train wreck of a self-published book. It might have soured your opinion of indie books altogether, and I don’t blame you. But I can promise you that professional editors, cover designers, and formatters have worked on my books. While no books, not even traditionally published books, are entirely free of errors, I have taken every step possible to provide the best quality product for my readers.

But . . . if you think indie authors are just traditional publishing rejects, and have no talent to make it in the business, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

6 – I’m not famous

Only my dad and my friend’s six-year-old son think I’m famous. To everyone else I’m just another author trying to sell my wares. I’ve never made the NYT Bestsellers list, I’ve never been asked to speak at a writer’s convention, and I’m guessing the cease and desist letter I got from HBO means they’re not interested in adapting my novels. Okay, that last point wasn’t true, but you get my what I’m saying.

I might not have a long list of dedicated readers waiting in line at Barnes and Noble for my latest release, but one year into being a published author I do have a growing fan base. I’ve even received quite a few emails from readers all over the world, writing just to tell me how much they liked one of my books. So while I may not be famous in the conventional sense of the word, sometimes my readers make me feel famous.

If my “nobody” status bothers you, and you’d rather read a book from a well-known author with rave reviews, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

5 – I’m a shameless rule breaker. I break 6 of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. Somebody should stop me right now!

I must confess, I’ve always been one to bend the rules, but when it comes to my writing, I happily take those rules and break them whenever I damn well please. It’s not that I don’t know what the rules are. I know them very well. But if I want to use an adverb, a variety of dialog tags, or describe a setting, then I’m going to do it! I’m mindful of how and when I use them, but I can assure you, you’ll find broken rules scattered throughout my books. It’s like a rule graveyard in there.

So if you’re a stern believer in the rules of writing, please, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

4 – They’re not free

With the digital publishing age, millions of books are at our fingertips, and many of these digital books are free. Why would anyone want to pay money for my books when they can get a similar book for free?

You see, the trouble is that I don’t want to give my books away. Yes, I love writing. Yes, I would continue to write books even if no one wanted to read them. And yes, occasionally I will offer a title free for a day or two. But if I’m going to have fancy covers, editors, and formatters, I have to justify the cost of production with at least a marginal return on my investment. The good news is that, so far, I’ve earned more money than I put out to produce my books, which tells me I must be doing something right.

But if you’re offended that I’m asking you to pay to read my work, or if you’re irritated that any of my books cost more than 99 cents, DO. NOT. BUY. MY BOOKS. Like, ever.

3 – I like cliffhangers.

I love them! And while I don’t always employ the hard-hitting, mid-scene-cutting cliffhanger, I like to leave the door open for the next book. In some of my books I wrap up the main story and leave a teaser for the next, in others I leave some unfinished business. It’s just the way I write and if you’re going to read my books, be prepared for a cliff here and there.

The good news is that if you’re not too enraged by my cliffhanger, you can always go on to read the next book in the series. I promise the answers you seek will be right there.

But if you can’t stand a cliffhanger, and you would prefer a series to be a two-thousand-page book, then I warn you, DO NOT BUY MY BOOKS.

2 – Some people don’t like them.

If you’re still reading this post, then you’re either a glutton for punishment, or I haven’t done a good enough job of convincing you not to buy my books. This should do it: there are people who HATE my books. It’s true. My books have gotten one and two star reviews; endings have been called trite, characters unconvincing, and it has been stated that certain plots make no sense at all. Some people hated my books so much they couldn’t even get through them. To some people, my books are just that awful.

I guess I should quit torturing the world with my vapid prose and one-dimensional characters, but like any visionary mind, I’m driven by my passion and positive feedback. For every negative review my books receive, there are double, and even triple the positive reviews. For example, The Darkness of Light has a 4.7 average star rating on Amazon, and a 56% 5 star rating on Goodreads. And despite the horror show that some claim this book to be, people still keep buying it. Weird. I wonder when the world will catch on to my failures and stop encouraging me. 😉

So be forewarned, if you don’t want a book that some people don’t like, DON’T BUY ANY OF MY BOOKS.

Are you still with me? If so, this should be the nail in the coffin for you . . .

1 – I didn’t write these books for you. I wrote them for me.

I’ve tried to write them for you. I really have. But it’s never worked out. Initially, my debut novel, The Darkness of Light, was merely the result of a crazed mission to claw my way out of writer’s block. As I wrote chapter after chapter, publication was never on my mind. I was just happy to be writing again and completely in love with the story. It wasn’t until after I’d finished writing it that I started to consider publication.

The same is true with all my other books, even if the genre is a popular one. I started writing The Embers of Light with reader expectations in mind, but when I kept hitting brick walls I decided to stop focusing on what my readers expected, and focused on the story I wanted to tell. That’s the only way I can write. I’m sorry. And I swear that if no one ever bought another one of my books again, I would still want to write them.

So if you want something tailored specifically to reader expectations, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS. I guarantee they won’t always follow the guidelines of the genre, they won’t all have happy endings, and they won’t be predictable. If you can’t put it down, that’s not my fault. I warned you.

Here are the covers of the books you shouldn’t buy, just in case you get lured in by the pretty covers and intriguing blurbs. It’s happened to quite a few people, and I wouldn’t want you to fall victim as well. You might end up loving them and hating me for it. 😉

AllBooksAnd if that’s not enough, you can add this Amazon page to your block list.

One Year Later ~ I’m Still Here.

I’ve been quiet lately. I know, I’m sorry. I skipped writing the 2014 year in review post, and I didn’t write the “One Year As A Published Author” post. The truth is I’ve been SUPER busy. Book writing busy. So I hope that’s enough to earn your forgiveness for being quiet on the blog.

Forgive-Me

January 28th marked the one year anniversary of the release of my debut novel, The Darkness of Light. It was also the release day for my sequel The Embers of Light. It’s been an incredible year, and if you look back through my blog posts from last year you’ll see that it’s been filled with highs and lows (but mostly highs). 🙂

Right now I’m hard at work on the third book in The Dia Chronicles, The Ruins of Light. I’m about 30,000 words into it and the entire novel is plotted from beginning to end. SO unlike me, but I love knowing where this story is going.

My absence from the blog is mainly due to the fact that I’ve got a second book series, The Highborn Chronicles that takes up every second of my free time. It’s a heavy workload, especially since my shifter readers love quick releases. It’s certainly a pace I’m not used to but one I’m growing to love. That’s why it’s so great being an indie author. I can work at whatever pace I set. And right now, it’s fast.

This month the third book in The Highborn Chronicles, The Lycan Lady, is set to release, and assuming the idea monsters in my head don’t start harassing me, I should be able to commit more time to Ruins, and give more attention to the blog.

In the meantime The Embers of Light blog tour is underway. A reader turned friend “TK” has written a lovely blog about my books, and she will have a very in-depth interview with me posted on Thursday. Be sure to check her out and enter the giveaway here: Why Bother Reading Independent Authors

For the blog tour for Embers I’ve also written some guest posts. Check out my take on The Perfectly Imperfect Romance, as well as enter to win signed copies of Embers and an Amazon Gift Card.

Now, if we’re all forgiven, I must  get back to writing. These books won’t write themselves, you know? 🙂

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Cover reveal & Giveaway for Kara Jemal’s YA Distopian, Dominick.

I LOVE this cover! Check out the blurb & Giveaway details below. This one sounds awesome. 🙂

DOMINICK _ Book Cover

Title: Dominick (A Prequel to Inferno)

Author: Kara Jemal

Genre: YA dystopian

Release Date: March 2015

Publisher: Glass House Press

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24376214-dominick

 

Blurb: Dominick Grant had the perfect life: parents who loved him, a beautiful girlfriend, and a best friend who always had his back.  He knew who he was, and how he wanted to live his life.
But in Dominick’s world, that choice belongs to someone else — a totalitarian government that dictates the lives of its citizens, decreeing that Dominick must be separated from his girlfriend and forced to work for the very government he detests.
The question is…will Dominick accept his predetermined path, or risk making his own choices and bringing his world crumbling down around him?

About the Author:

AUTHOR PIC 1

David Jemal_Author Pic

Kara Jemal is the writing duo of Kara Leigh Miller and David Jemal.

Kara is a 30-something, stay at home mom, multi-published romance author who enjoys writing across a variety of genres & categories: adult, young adult, new adult, romance, dystopian, and thrillers just to name a few. When she’s not writing tall-tales of love, she’s spending time with her family, friends, and good books.

David is a nineteen-year-old college student with a background in real estate who is eager to breathe life into the many stories and characters banging around in his head.  When’s he not writing, he’s reading or working out.

Website: www.karajemal.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KaraJemal

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KaraJemal

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/885c9b9321/

RELEASE DAY for Kristen Strassel’s THE TROUBLE WITH BREE

TTWB - RWE_edited-1

We’d love for you to join us in celebrating the release of THE TROUBLE WITH BREE (A Spotlight Series Novella) by Kristen Strassel! Checkout the excerpt below!

TTWB ebook FOR WEB

Title: THE TROUBLE WITH BREE (A Spotlight Series Novella)

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 19, 2015

Goodreads Page

Amazon

  The-Trouble-With-Bree-4The-Trouble-With-Bree-3The-Trouble-With-Bree-2

 

 

Blurb:

The trouble with Bree is…

Bree Farrell is ready to turn her life around. A twenty-one-year-old mother of two, she’s not sure where to start. She could use a little help, but her string of horrible ex-boyfriends keep setting her back. First step: she’s swearing off men forever. Or at least until she gets back on her feet.

Josh Maxwell got a second chance at life, and now he wants to help kids who are in the same situation he was in. His new job as the coordinator at a preschool for underprivileged kids is the perfect place to do that.

On paper, the policy not to get involved with the families of the students makes perfect sense. But when Bree meets the new coordinator of her son’s school, she and Josh learn that some rules are made to be broken, no matter what the consequences.

EXCERPT

He ran a hand through his hair. The curls didn’t go back to the exact same place. “Does it bother you? To have someone so new be in charge of Landon’s school?”

“Are people giving you a hard time because you’re young?” I asked. I did some quick math in my head, and settled on Josh being twenty-five.

“Yeah.” Josh looked a defeated. “The administrators wanted someone fresh, but then they’re not always open to new ideas. It’s a struggle.”

“This is what I think. I’ve been in charge of Landon up until now, and something tells me you’re a couple years older than me. I’m a little biased, but I like to think I’m doing all right. So if I can do it, you can totally handle him three mornings a week.”

Josh leaned back on the couch, relief washing over his face. Maybe his age did bother some other people. Whatever. People judged first and asked questions later. I stopped letting it bother me when I had to bring Landon with me to high school. “I knew I liked you,” he said.

“Did you?” A smile spread across my face.

“You were the best fifteen minutes of my day.” He nodded. “Those evaluations can be pretty stiff, but with you guys, I felt like I was talking to friends. That’s why I asked if I could see you again. To be honest with you, I shouldn’t be doing this.”

And there it was. The catch. “Why?”

“It’s against school policy to have a relationship with the students outside of school related activities. That includes their parents.”

“That makes sense.” There were so many creeps out there, in most circumstances, I’d be one hundred percent in favor of that rule. But now I was wondering what the loophole was.

Josh had gone back to the kitchen for a second round of food, and dropped another Rangoon on my plate when he came back. “That’s actually why I didn’t get in touch with you right away. But I just moved here, and you were the first girl I couldn’t stop thinking about.”

My heart stuttered in my chest, confused. He couldn’t stop thinking about me, but he already had his doubts. He was putting a lot on the line by just being here. “I’d said on the way to the meeting that I was never going to date again.”

He raised an eyebrow. “So we’re both breaking the rules.”

About the Author:

Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Publishing Books Is Like Investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Publishing books is like investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Of course, we all wish it was. It would be nice to write your debut novel, see it published, and suddenly it becomes an overnight success, but chances are that’s not going to happen.

Hopefully, what really happens is that you write a book, gain some fans, make some sales, and write another book.

Each book you write is an investment in your future, and your career. When you save for retirement, do you put $100 on a stock and hope it grows to a million? Noooo. You save over time, build on what you have, and diversify your portfolio.

Publishing books is very similar. You have to keep writing books, keeping depositing into your writing portfolio, and keep growing your audience.

I realized this when I released the first two novellas in my Highborn Chronicles a few months ago. My first novel, The Darkness of Light, was starting to slip in sales and I was still months away from releasing the sequel. Then I released The Highborn Chronicles and suddenly sales jumped across the board. I was bringing in new readers that also bought my first book, and my current readers were excited for something to tide them over until The Embers of Light comes out. So the more I write, the more readers find me, and the more my other books sell. The formula is so simple.

Now, like investing, there’s a chance not all of your books will make gains all the time. That’s just the nature of the business. I’ve noticed months where I make a lot of sales, and months (like December) when book sales tend to decline. That doesn’t mean you are a failure, and that doesn’t mean you should quit writing books.

WRITE MORE!

The more you write, the higher the chances that you’ll eventually create that gem that makes the rest of your work soar. If your first book didn’t do so well, write another, change your approach, expand your knowledge of the craft. Giving up means NOT investing. And I think we all know by now that investing in your future is something we all HAVE to do. 😉

Happy writing.

 

 

Kat Daemon’s KILLING DARKNESS IS HERE!

Killing Darkness, the long awaited sequel to Kat Daemon’s Taming Darkness is finally here and I can’t wait to read it! *THROWS ALL THE CONFETTI!*

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Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Brielle, born of a mortal-immortal union between a human mother and the devil Himself, is prophesied to be the one capable of turning the tide in the brewing apocalypse.

As Brielle’s thirtieth birthday draws near, she strikes a deal with the devil and sets out on a journey of self discovery. In an attempt to comprehend what it means to be fully human, Brielle finds herself at the door of her therapist, Adam. Blurring relationship lines and questioning everything, she quickly learns that humanity, vulnerability, and love are things she isn’t prepared to handle. Distancing herself, she finds shelter in her father’s arms once more.

Two worlds are about to collide…

When the archangel Michael suddenly takes a deep interest in Brielle, Lucifer begins to understand that his greatest opponent is curious about more than just her choice. Michael’s fall will be Lucifer’s rise and only Brielle holds the key to making it happen.

With a human, an angel, and a demon all tearing at her heart, Brielle realizes it’s time to decide if her loyalties lie with Michael in Heaven or her father in Hell.

PURCHASE LINK: AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Kat Daemon grew up in New York where her imagination always seemed to get the best of her. When she’s not hanging with demons, she’s usually armed with a strong cup of coffee and dreaming up her next tormented character.

She is the author of the The Darkness Saga. Book one of the saga, Taming Darkness, the story of the world’s most infamous fallen angel and the one woman who was able to hold temptation over him, is available now.

You can find out more about Kat and her books at www.katdaemon.com

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

You never learn anything from critics.

Sometimes inspiration and insight come from the strangest places. Yesterday, none other than Shia LaBeouf turned on a light bulb in my head. I know, right—how strange.

I was reading Dazed and Confused Magazine’s piece on him. It’s a fascinating article about (who I feel) is a young man struggling to find inner balance in the face of personal turmoil, professional mistakes, and fame. I was fascinated as I read the article, but when I came to one simple line: you never learn anything from critics—I was inspired.

In my first year as a published author I’ve experienced criticism first hand. I think every author fears being judged, we’re terrified of bad reviews, and we’re terrified of failure. But we’re brave because we risk facing these things. When someone criticizes us, we take in every word like poison and let it weave its way into our minds so that we doubt ourselves.

We must STOP doing this.

We live in a society full of critics.

Every day we see tabloids cutting up celebrities, FB posts against this or against that, parents criticizing each other, politicians criticizing each other, people criticizing people.

Professional critics aside, the definition of criticism is: The expression of disapproval of something or someone based on perceived faults or mistakes.

Just the word “criticism” guarantees a negative outcome, and even when the criticism is well intentioned, if it’s unwelcome, it offers nothing constructive, what does it do for us? It cuts us down.

In one breath we hear people say: Don’t judge others. And then in the next they have a “criticism” for us. Hmmm…Something isn’t right here.

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

It’s taken me some time to figure this out, and here’s what I’ve decided: unless I ask for advice, unless I’ve solicited an opinion from a friend, peer, or professional, the criticism I receive does NOT require my intention.

Imagine if we all spent our days listening to what we were doing wrong. Even the toughest person would crack, eventually. Doubt is a sneaky monster, and it feeds off of criticism—in fact—that’s its favorite food. So by paying attention to criticism, you are feeding your doubt, and only hurting yourself.

In the last year I can honestly say that I’ve never learned anything constructive from true criticism. Actually, I think we should scrap the phrase “constructive criticism” from our vernacular altogether. It’s a complete oxymoron. “Constructive” means to build, criticize means to point out faults. Unless it’s advice, it’s main purpose is to tear down.

Sure, I’ve taken advice from those I asked for advice, I’ve grown based on the opinions of those I admire, and respect. But when it comes to true criticism—the kind that tells you nothing but your faults, DON’T LISTEN! DO. NOT. LISTEN.

The Lesson.

Be wary of constantly searching for reviews of your work. Be wary of Googling yourself. Be wary of those who force their opinions (of you) on you without your consent. Be open to advice. Be open to change. Be open to growth. But when that uninvited friend called criticism knocks on your door—slam that damn door shut and don’t even THINK about peeking out the window.

Even as I write this blog, the doubtful voices in my head are screaming at me: But criticism is a valuable tool. We can learn from our critics. We NEED criticism to grow.

Maybe those statements would if be true if we didn’t live in a society where we feel the right to judge each other so harshly and, often, without understanding.

The Solution.

Spend a day listening to your critics and you’ll find yourself deflated. Spend a day listening to your advisers, those whose opinions you value, and you’ll continue to grow.

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